Friday, May 14, 2010

New York State of Mind?

I can't say I feel bad for Lebron James for falling short again of winning an NBA Championship despite having the best record during the regular season. It almost felt like he expected today's game to be his last this season. There was no yelling at teammates, emotional outbursts, and even an outpouring of emotion from the debacle. At least not that I saw while watching on TV.

I'm not the type of person who believes in karma but every once in awhile I think there might be some truth to it. I was in Macau 4 years ago when the Orlando Magic played the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Venetian. As part of a media contingent, we did have access to some players and some functions during while the teams were there.

One thing that stood out in my mind was how aloof Lebron was and how he was untouchable to anyone outside of his own entourage. Here's a guy who's never proven anything (and still hasn't) in his professional career acting like the God that he probably thought he was because he was being treated like it by everyone around him. We were all able to talk to all the players including Dwight Howard who was uncredibly accomodating along with NBA commissioner Stern. During official functions, Lebron would always just drop by for 10 minutes, surrounded by 4-5 bodyguards, and not talk to anyone outside his teammates or the commisioner's office. So it was difficult to even steal a photo as one of the bodygards covered every angle to get close to the King. After all, he was the main attraction, the guy all of us wanted to see, King James of the Cavs.

I thought to myself, this guy if he doesn't start to appreciate how good he has it, will not become one of the all time greats. Ok, maybe I'm being too hard on LBJ and he's still young enough to realize that having his current attitude of entitlement will not get him to the top of the mountain, nomatter what title is bestowed on him. Or maybe he can't help it since everyone around him treats him like he doesn't have to work for anything anyway. Whatever the reason, the deep down fire and desire is not there to win right now and he better find a way to get it if he wants to be more than a Dominique Wilkins who was known for athletic ability and that's about it. He definitely doesn't want to take over the title "best player never to win a championship".

Lebron is the most talented player in the league. Heck maybe of all time. If he ever finds the heart, the respect for the game and the fans, and the overall gratitude, maybe he can enter the same realm as Michael, Magic, Larry and Kobe, the true modern day basketball greats.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Is Mayweather a PR Genius?

Mayweather put on an awesome technical display of boxing yesterday as he dismantled Sugar Shane Mosley to remain undefeated in his professional career. But outside of the boxing purists who enjoyed every single second of the technical display, everyone else probably was bored to death watching the fight.

I liken it to the San Antonio Spurs led by Tim Duncan who won championships without any flare or excitement compared to Magic's showtime and the Jordan/Pippen show. Same result, just a difference in how it was done.

But when all is said and done, yesterday's hyped fight probably exceeded the 1M PPV mark at $65 a pop along with over $11M in gate receipts. I doubt many of those who watched felt they got their money's worth. I'm glad I didn't pay to watch the fight. But even if we all knew that Floyd isn't really an exciting fighter, we all still wait in anticipation curious what will happen.

It's because of what Money Mayweather does and says in between fights. He knows how to push the right buttons, to excite, piss off, and get every interested in his uninterestng style. I think he is a genius at getting people to pay attention. Over the top statements and unexpected moves keep people guessing and really glued to what he does.

So whether the Pacman/Mayweather fight happens (and it probably will), Floyd Mayweather will figure out how to keep people interested in Floyd Mayweather.