ESPN.com recently offered a somewhat confusing article comparing the 2012 U.S. Men’s Olympic basketball team to the 1992 Dream Team. The headline of the article – “LeBron: We Would Beat Dream Team” – makes it clear that LeBron James believes the 2012 team would defeat the 1992 Dream Team.
The first line of the story, though, makes a somewhat different claim: “LeBron James has joined Kobe Bryant in saying that he believes this year’s Team USA Olympic men’s basketball team could beat the 1992 Dream Team.”
And then further in the article, we see…
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James’s comments echoed those of Bryant, who two weeks ago made a similar proclamation.
“It would be a tough one, but I think we would pull it out,” Bryant said at a news conference. “People who think we can’t beat that team for one game, they are crazy. To sit there and say we can’t, it’s ludicrous. We can beat them one time.”
Bryant appeared to soften those comments a bit Friday, telling reporters, “I didn’t say we were a better team. But if you think we can’t beat that team one time? Like I’m going to say no, that we’d never beat them.
“They are a better team. The question was ‘Can we beat them?’ Yes we can. Of course we can.”
The NBA free agent market opened this month and the moves making headlines include:
Steve Nash signing with the L.A. Lakers
Ray Allen signing with the Miami Heat
Jason Kidd signing with the New York Knicks
Deron Williams re-signing with the Brooklyn Nets
And then there is the Dwight Howard saga.
Each of these stories appears to be summarized by a familiar line:
Big star signs in Big Market. Read More »
The Charlotte Bobcats came into existence in 2004. At the conclusion of the next five seasons, the Bobcats finished out of the playoffs and hence earned a trip to the NBA’s lottery.
After all of these lottery picks, the Bobcats finally made the playoffs in 2010. That Bobcat team – the best in franchise history – only won 44 games and failed to win a playoff game. Nevertheless, this squad was the highlight in the brief history of this team.
Two short years after this epic campaign (epic by Bobcat standards), Charlotte has posted the worst season in franchise history. In fact, with a winning percentage of only 0.106, the 2011-12 Bobcats were the worst team in NBA history.
If we look at what happened to Charlotte’s roster, it is easy to see why this team became so bad so quickly. Back in 2009-10 the Bobcats were led by the following players (Wins Produced numbers taken from theNBAGeek.com, explanation of Wins Produced offered here): Gerald Wallace, Raymond Felton, Boris Diaw, Stephen Jackson, Nazr Mohammed, and Tyson Chandler. Read More »
Matthew Yglesias recently noted that the very rich are unhappy with President Obama because he would like to increase the taxes on the very rich. Although this might be true, the number of people unhappy with Obama exceeds the number of people who comprise the very rich. So why are many of the non-rich unhappy with Obama? And why are so many other people quite happy with our current president?
Perhaps the answer is similar to a story frequently told about sports fans.
Back in the early 1990s, a friend of mine declared his hatred of Charles Barkley. At the time, Sir Charles was an All-Star for the Philadelphia 76ers. Sometime after this declaration, though, Barkley was traded to the Phoenix Suns. As a fan of the Suns, my friend changed his tune. With Sir Charles in Phoenix, my friend was now a fan of Barkley.
More recently, LeBron James was an extremely popular athlete in Cleveland. But when he changed his uniform to something from Miami, his popularity in Ohio plummeted.
These stories are not uncommon among sports fans. In fact, Jerry Seinfeld once observed that fans who behave like this are essentially “rooting for clothes.” Read More »
Here is how the Associated Press led the story describing the Miami Heat’s elimination of the New York Knicks in the 2012 NBA Playoffs:
The final horn sounded, and LeBron James wrapped his arms around Carmelo Anthony in a warm embrace.
Their head-to-head scoring matchup in this series was even, 139 points apiece.
Just about everything else tipped Miami’s way — so the Heat are moving on and the New York Knicks are going home.
Such a lead gives the impression that Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James played about the same in this series. If we delve a bit deeper, though, we see that the scoring totals are quite deceptive. Read More »
If you have been watching the NBA recently – and with the playoffs going on, you should be – you may have seen the following ad for Sprint.
Often people don’t pay attention to what people say in ads. But this one – starring Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder – has a very interesting opening line: “Man I was double-teamed. With no one to pass it to, so I pulled up and hit the shot for the win…”
Let’s think about this for the moment. Durant says he has two defenders on him (i.e. he is double-teamed). That means – if the other team is playing the standard five players, there are three more defenders on the court. And if Durant has four teammates on the court (and that would be standard), there must be someone open. But Durant says that there is no one to pass it to.
Hmmmm…. Read More »
When we think of money and college sports, we tend to think only about basketball and football. In fact, defenders of the excesses we see in those sports – with respect to salaries to coaches and university expenditures – argue that these sports are necessary to support all the other teams universities field. People often argue that outside of football and basketball, athletes in other sports don’t generate enough revenue to justify their scholarships.
A recent paper by Leo Kahane (editor of the Journal of Sports Economics) challenges this line of thinking. Kahane’s paper looks at college hockey, which will hold the Frozen Four this week in Tampa, Florida (really, Tampa). This is college hockey’s championship, an event which doesn’t get quite the same attention as the NCAA Final Four for men and women. (Perhaps also because people don’t associate hockey with Tampa?) Read More »
The Portland Trail Blazers – a team that won 48 games in 2010-11 and was only three games below 0.500 this season – made two puzzling trades a couple of weeks ago. Gerald Wallace was sent to the New Jersey Nets for two injured players and a first round pick in the 2012 draft. And Marcus Camby was sent to the Houston Rockets for a second round pick and two players who had only played 158 minutes this year.
Camby and Wallace combined to produce more than 10 wins for the Blazers this season, and at the time of the trade their level of productivity led the team. Given what the Blazers received back, it seems likely the Blazers just got worse. Read More »