Can they be stopped? When will the Heat’s reign end?

The Big Three now go for the three peat

The Big Three now go for the three peat

The 2013-2014 NBA season has many captivating story lines. Derrick Rose’s injury, Kobe’s bout against father time, and Eastern Conference’s futility. Still, no NBA team is stirring up more controversy and headlines then a certain team from South Beach. The NBA’s evil empire, the Miami Heat.

With the opportunity to three peat as champions and join some of the league’s most storied teams, the heat is on in Miami. The question is can a David step up and topple the mighty Goliath? Can any team upset the Heat and spoil their quest of dominance? The reloaded Nets and the Bulls struggles have many doubting their ability to knock King James of his throne. Can a team from the Wild West such as the Thunder, Clippers, or Spurs be able to shock the Big Three? Without question the Heat are the lightning rod for attention in the NBA.

Whether its Lebron’s legacy, the team’s health, it’s fans, or just the animosity that no other team seems to get attention in the NBA, the Heat are the logical focal point. It’s understandable why this team is hated so much. The best player in the NBA leaves his hometown team and community to create an all-star team just to win championships. Theres the constant media attention where the top NBA story always involves Miami. It doesn’t matter if Kevin Durant drops 50 points for the Thunder because ESPN  needs to analyze James’ supporting cast for the hundredth time. Miami is despised for having the worst fans in sports, who only either care about the team when they are winning or are so spoiled because they have jumped on the best team bandwagon. Heat fans are always complaining for no good reason! Why? Now idea, they’ve won three championships in a decade so what’s the problem? However, the biggest reason the Heat are hated is because they are the best.

They have Lebron James, and your team doesn’t. Their arrogance and cockiness about being the best team drives NBA fans crazy. This team just thinks it will be a breeze to win another championship. However, I think there is another thing at play here. People still love Michael Jordan. The fact that Lebron is threatening what many claim is the NBA’s greatest legacy strikes a nerve within die-hard NBA fans. Then you hear the criticism and laundry list of reasons why Lebron James will never surpass his Airness. The points, position, competition, the list goes on and on and on. The fact that Lebron threatens one of if not the most beloved player in NBA history, and the way he has achieved his success, just riles up Jordan supporters who will try to find any flaws within James’ game. However, there is no question that right now there is no better player in the NBA.

The question shouldn’t be if Lebron James is the best player in the NBA, he is, but is there a basketball team that is constructed better than the Heat right now? Is there such a team whose sum of parts will equal a greater team then the Heat? Obviously, Lebron skews this equation by being the best player in the game, but is there a roster whose depth and overall talent can expose the Heat’s flaws of being a team built on three players? These are the questions that teams in the NBA must answer. I think there is such a team. With so much talent in the NBA and a few teams with loaded and lethal rosters, it might be when not if the Heat are eliminated from contention this year. Will Lebron hoist his third trophy, or will some other superstar begin their own Hall of Fame legacy? We await with bated breath to find out if the King will get another ring, or if his mighty empire will be failed be a worth adversary.

Can anyone topple the NBA’s evil empire

Can anyone knock the Heat off their throne

Can anyone knock the Heat off their throne

“This fall I’m going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat”. When Lebron James uttered these words in front of a surprised nation, a new villain had been spawned. “The Big Three” of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh became the new villains of basketball. Much like the movie Star Wars, this evil empire is led by three NBA juggernauts who for the past three years have bullied the NBA’s best. In those three years the Heat have won two championships and have been in the finals every single year. Now the question is can anyone take down the empire? While it remains to be seen if Chris Bosh will return, there is no question that the Heat will be the favorites to three peat. The thing is that there aren’t many eminent threats to this evil empire’s reign. The Pacers and Bulls represent the biggest threats with their deep pools of talent. However, the Bulls will need Derrick Rose back and healthy if they want to beat Miami. If healthy I think that the Bulls could be the team that is the biggest threat in the East. That is if they can stay healthy. What about the Pacers? While the Pacers have a talented roster and a physical style of play that can exploit the Heats, I think Miami will do two things to prevent this. First I think they will not underestimate the Pacers again, and second I think that the Heat will add a physical big to help counter the physical in the paint style of the Pacers. The only other team that could compete with the Heat would be if the Celtics can reload their roster with young talent while removing the original big three of Garnett and Pierce. What about the West? While Kevin Durant’s Thunder pose the biggest threat it was apparent this postseason that he still needs help around him. The LA teams? The Lakers and Clippers are both messes right now, with the only exception being that the Clippers are a glorified highlight reel. The Spurs? Unfortunately I think this was the last hoorah for Parker and Duncan as father time becomes their biggest challenger. While there may not be an immediate end to the Heat’s reign, the one thing that all other NBA fans have is hope. They hope that their team, or some other team will rise from the NBA depths and overthrow the Heat’s empire for good.

Why Miami Heat fans are the worst

These are not true fans

These are not true fans

After an epic comeback win to force a game seven, the Miami Heat’s victory the other night will go down in NBA history as one of the greatest finals games. Quick question though, if there’s no one around to witness it did it really happen? Unfortunately for the Heat, while they probably have the best talent on the court, they have the worst fans in basketball and probably in sports. When the Heat fell behind in the third quarter to the Spurs, there was a mass exodus of fans from the American Airlines Arena. Instead of waiting to see the end of a historic season, or giving the Heat the home crowd advantage to start a comeback, these fans thought it was more important to hit the clubs early or just go home. Oh I haven’t even gotten to the best part. While the Heat were crafting one of the greatest comebacks in finals history, lead by Lebron James incredible fourth quarter run, these fans had the audacity to come back and try to get back in. Then when they were denied readmission they resorted to profanity and juvenile behavior that was so absurd that the Miami police department was called in. How dare you! If I had it my way  if you had game seven tickets I wouldn’t let you in the building! This once again portrays that Miami Heat fans are spoiled little brats that only care about this team when they’re winning. This Heat team has brought you a world title, an incredible winning streak during the season, and is in the NBA finals for the third straight year. How can you be so ungrateful?  Why does this anger other fans? Most NBA fans would go crazy if there team was just in the NBA finals and would do anything to give their team a home court advantage. But Heat fans? They are not true sports fans who instead decide to take the easy way out when their team is struggling. Someone should tell these fans it ain’t over till it’s over. For real sports fans we stick with our team through thick and thin. Times may be tough right now, but we find the silver lining and now that their could be a bright future for our teams just over the horizon. But here in the present despite dominating the past three years, and having a chance for a comeback, that these fans refused to support a team that other fans would be dying to have. The Heat may win another championship for this city and while the players deserve it, this horrendous fan base doesn’t.

Why Michael Jordan’s legacy is already greater than Lebron James

Throughout these NBA Finals I’ve been getting sick of the constant Lebron James and Michael Jordan debates about who will have the better legacy. While Lebron still has many more chapters to write for his legacy, the Jordan legacy is one of if not the greatest athletic legacy of all time. While these analysts will throw out statistics and try to analytically compare these two icons, Jordan’s legacy goes beyond the basketball court. While this debate will probably never end here are five reasons why Michael Jordan’s legacy is greater than Lebron James will be.

5) College glory

Unlike Lebron, Jordan has a National Championship on his legacy

Unlike Lebron, Jordan has a National Championship on his legacy

This one is a quick and one-sided debate. Since Lebron James never attended college he never had the chance to leave a legacy on college basketball. However, Jordan did. As a freshman, he made the winning shot against Georgetown to win the National Championship in 1982. With Jordan, the Tar Heels helped to build one of the best programs in college basketball which continues today. While Lebron supporters will say that it is more impressive to go from high school to the NBA, Jordan had one of the greatest college basketball careers and has added bonus points to his resume. Only a handful of players have made such an impact in both the NCAA and the NBA, and Jordan is one of them.

4) Hometown Hero

"The Decision" will always be a negative aspect of James' career

“The Decision” will always be a negative aspect of James’ career

Why is Lebron James hated so much? Well when you embarrass your hometown on national television people will tend to think you’re a jerk.  “The Decision”  which aired on June 8, 2o10 on ESPN is one decision that Lebron James wishes he could change. Not necessarily joining the Heat, but how he handled the whole situation. Instead of just having it announced like any other athlete, he decided to torture the Cleveland faithful even more by giving them just a glimmer of hope that he’d return only to take it away in an instant. Also it doesn’t help when you say that you made the decision that morning. Doesn’t look like you put that much effort into it. Personally I don’t think that going to the Heat instead of playing Cleveland should hurt Lebron’s legacy. However, Jordan did stay with one team and did win for the hometown team instead of leaving. For me though I think just how he handled the decision and turn it into a publicity stunt will hurt his legacy more in the long-run then actually leaving Cleveland.

3) Jordan’s impressive 6-0

Jordan's perfect tile record is one thing James will never be able to accomplish

Jordan’s perfect tile record is one thing James will never be able to accomplish

If Michael Jordan was a movie he’d be known as The Lord of the Rings. While he may not have the most rings, there is no question that his perfect NBA title record is unmatched. While you could possibly beat Jordan any other time of the year, when the lights where brightest and it was the final minute of the season, you had no chance. Jordan was clutch, and being able to go to six championships and win six rings in an amazing accomplishment. Heck if Jordan didn’t take off to play baseball he could have probably added another ring or two to his trophy case. Unfortunately for James, his 1 for 3 NBA finals record makes this is an easy win for Jordan. Even if James can pull out a title this season he’ll only would have won 50% of his NBA title shots. Sorry Lebron, Jordan’s got you beat here.

2) His Royal Airness

Jordan is just as big of a winner off the court as on the court.

Jordan is just as big of a winner off the court as on the court.

Jordans. Just saying that jars up the jump man image on the side of a sweet pair of sneakers. The “Air Jordan” brand has become a world-wide icon and cements Micheal Jordan as the most marketable athlete in history. James doesn’t have his own brand and will probably never come close to establishing a brand like Jordan has. Beyond the Jordan brand, while James will probably make more money off of endorsements then Jordan, his airness did create the market for modern-day stars. Jordan was a trailblazer for sports marketing and has allowed for athletes to get the endorsements they do to this day. Jordan’s impact is incredible when you realize how he’s become integrated into modern-day culture. Even today he is still a marketing juggernaut even after stepping off the hardwood more than a decade ago. Think about it Jordans, McDonald’s, Hanes, Gatorade, Coca Cola, Ball Park Franks, Wheaties and Chevrolet. Chances are you still have a favorite MJ commercial you remember and that you’ve seen all of his commercials from these brands. As for James, his only commercials are with Nike and his most memorable one is when he had this pity party commercial because people now looked at him as the villain. Sorry James MJ wins with impact, volume, variety, and doesn’t whine when it comes to his commercials. Also the man played with Bug Bunny in Space Jam! Seriously every kid I know has seen that movie. Have you played basketball with a world-famous cartoon character? Nope didn’t think so Lebron.  Click here for a trip down memory lane.

1 ) Coming through in the clutch

Now one was a better closer then 23

Now one was a better closer then 23

Game 7, clock about to expire, your team needs a basket who do you give the ball to? I’m betting that if you could choose any player to take the winning shot, it would be Jordan. This basket at the end of the 99 Finals is one of those moments when Jordan came through in the clutch. In the face of adversity Jordan always seemed to come up big. Whether it was game winning shots, dunks, or being able to overcome the flu (click here), Jordan’s career was filled with coming through in the biggest moments. James, on the other hand, has come up short in big spots. Sure he had the game winner against the Pacers this year, but other than the game winner in Cleveland a few years ago what has he done? Not only has Jordan created more clutch moments but, but he’s done it on the biggest stage in the finals. Has Lebron made any memorable plays in the finals? Jordan has, heck you could have a highlight show of all his memorable moments in the finals. In the end there is no question that when you want a game winning basket, you’re giving the rock to Jordan.

While I still find it difficult to pick between these two players, they’re both very different players in very different eras, in the end of the Jordan versus James debate it is clear that Jordan is the clear winner. Sure Lebron could break his scoring records and even title wins, but at the end of the day no player had a greater impact on the game of basketball then Michael Jordan. While statistically both these men are very close, and you could argue Lebron is superior, when you combine all of the other factors MJ is the clear victor. No athlete has had such an impact both on and off the court as Jordan has. While Lebron may truly end up being the king, there is no question that Jordan will always be the greatest.

Thunderstruck: Durant loses his thunder

Once again Durant will be haunted by another season without a title

Once again Durant will be haunted by another season without a title

Kevin Durant is one of the best players in the NBA today, period. However, he can never seem to get out of the shadows and into the limelight. When drafted, he was the number two pick after Greg Oden, and at the time considered the second best college basketball. Fast forward to 2013, and once again Durant is still number two behind the King, Lebron James. Unfortunately for Durant, no matter how many points he scores, or how many wins he brings to Oklahoma City he will never truly be inducted into the NBA’s elite until he wins a championship. It’s unfortunate, but even Lebron James went through the same thing. Lebron would have never been considered one of the greats until he won a championship. Now that the King has accomplished that, and will probably add another trophy to his hardware this season, he  is without question considered one of the greatest. For Durant he must win a championship to solidify his greatness. We can now say that Lebron James is truly one of the greats, however we can’t say that about Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, or Dwight Howard because they don’t have a ring. Is it unfair? Yes, but winning a championship is the finally piece of cementing a lasting legacy in the NBA. Look at Charles Barkley, undoubtedly one of the greatest basketball players ever, but will never be considered one of the best because he doesn’t have a ring.

Until Durant has a ring, he will be excluded from the NBAs elite club

Until Durant has a ring, he will be excluded from the NBA elite club 

The thing that worries me is that Durant has embraced the fact that he’s the Thunder’s star. He’s to0 eager to pass to his teammates in big situations instead of manning up and proclaiming that this is my team, I’m taking these important shots! Listen, I’m not saying that Durant didn’t have a good playoff series, but if he wants to be an elite player in this league he needs to step up his game especially in difficult situations. If it’s the end of a game and the Thunder need a big shot, he shouldn’t be looking at his teammates to take those shots, but demand the ball. By winning a ring, it proves that Durant overcame his trial by fire and deserves to be included in basketball’s elite club. Without question, Kevin Durant is one of the best in the game today. But, if he wants to be an NBA legend he needs to take his game to the next level and bring home a ring to Oklahoma City. This reminds me of a great quote from the Sandlot; “heroes get remembered but legends never die”. For Kevin Durant he can no longer be complacent with being the second best player in the NBA. He needs a ring if he wants to be one of the greatest players to ever grace the hardwood!

Reality check: 10 Athletes we wish were real

Forget Broadway sports are the great unscripted drama. Sports are so popular today because they feature characters in an unscripted play with an unknown outcome. We have memorable characters that have been born through this drama, but what about the actual scripted sports stars? We forget that movies about sports have created memorable characters that become more nostalgic then the actual players. Hollywood and television has provided the backdrop for some memorable characters that stick out in our mind. But what if these characters were real? How much more entertaining and dramatic could it be if these fictional characters were actual facts. Here is a list of some of the most recognizable fictional athletes that fans would love or hate to see in the real world.

1) Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn: Major League 1&2

Wild Thing! you'd make our hearts sing!

Wild Thing! you’d make our hearts sing!

Stylish hair check! Custom skull glasses check! 100 MPH heater check! Heart-throb to drive the ladies wild double-check!! Before Charlie Sheen was “winning” he was helping the city of Cleveland finally overcome their decades of futility in baseball. While the Indians still struggle in real life, if Ricky Vaughn was at the top of the rotation it would be a different story. From incarceration to the big leagues Vaughn got his nickname because of his terrible control problems. Like most rookies he struggles to find his place at the big league level until he puts on the specs and behold he can see!! By the end of the first movie he overcomes his control problems, and wild off the field antics to become the ace of the Cleveland staff. In Major League 2 he falls into the trap of most bad boy professional athletes and tries to clean up his act. While at first this seems like a good idea, eventually he realizes he must get his edge back and return as the “Wild Thing”.  A baseball player with electric stuff, great looks, and bad boy attitude Ricky Vaughn would be constantly generating headlines with his antics while striking out the fiercest major leaguers. Not to mention he would be the heart-throb of the sport and lead to a hair-style phenomenom.

2) Kenny Powers: Eastbound and Down

He changed the face of baseball now he's looking to do it again

He changed the face of baseball now he’s looking to do it again

Ah yes, the comeback story. Everyone loves a comeback story and Kenny Powers is no different. Once  blessed with a 100MPH canon, Powers faded fast as his velocity dipped into the low 80s and his pro baseball career seemed over before it started. A substitute P.E. teacher making a comeback sounds far-fetched. Add in the egotistical, lazy, and angry sides of his personality and you have a powder keg ready for ignition. Success or failure just watching this train wreck comeback trail for Powers including pitching in the Mexican league with the American flag on his back would be worth the price of admission. Kenny Powers would be great just for the million dollar tweets that would fill his twitter account. Thew foul-mouthed ballplayer would without a doubt be on of the most followed athletes on twitter just for the simple fact you have no idea what this walking time bomb will do next. For you Kenny Powers fans click on the link  for some of his best quotes because I can’t even put them on this page since their so raunchy. Powers would make a great hero or villain if he were a real ballplayer. Love or hate him one thing is for sure and that’s Kenny Powers doesn’t give a S&$% what you have to say.

3) Ricky Bobby: Talladega Nights

He just wants to go fast

He just wants to go fast

When Will Ferrel tackled NASCAR he created one of his most iconic characters. Ricky Bobby, a hotshot race car drive who “pisses excellence”, would bring fans flocking to the race tracks. His fast paced and aggressive racing style, memorable one liners, and catch phrase “if you ain’t first your last” would make him a racing icon. Not to mention the juicy controversies that the media would jump on such as flipping off other drivers while racing in reverse. Ricky would be a marketing icon from Big Red to Wonder Bread. Heck for a few extra bucks he’ll put your brand on the windshield. It may be dangerous but if he gets paid he doesn’t care. Throw in a comeback with him working his way back to the top you have the quintessential American athlete, which Bobby claims to be. Will Ferrell didn’t just leave his mark on one sport and shaked and baked another athlete on this list and that is……..

4) Chazz Michael Michaels: Blades of Glory

figure skating with an edge

figure skating with an edge

Chazz Michael Michaels is figure skating Boom! Let’s face it who here really watches figure skating? Yeah me neither, but I would if this man was in it. Let’s see swagger, rock and roll playlists, not to mention the man shoots fire from his wrists. Don’t worry ladies he hasn’t forgotten about you too, talk about a heart-throb. On top of that he was one half of the first all men figure skating pair and was fire in the fire and ice routine. Throw in the scandal at the medal ceremony and getting banned from singles competition and you have a winner.  Don’t forget some killer one liners like “I swear if you cut my head off I’ll kill you” and you have a whole new edge and image for figure skating. Plus we all know he is going to skate one song and song only!

5) Happy Gilmore: Happy Gilmore

That ball may be to good for it's home but the PGA would be a great home for Mr. Gilmore

That ball may be to good for its home but the PGA would be a great home for Mr. Gilmore

Ah yes how many quotes can you pull off the top of your head when you think of this golfer. Ok, we all know golf is boring, but throw in Happy and you have a completely new ballgame. 400 yard drives, a hilariously bad short game, and a hobo caddy talk about your departure from the normal golfer. Can you just imagine if he was in a pair with Tiger? This hockey jersey wearing, foul mouthed, and goof ball antic golfer would make golf without a question more entertaining. He wrestles gators, beats up people, and not to mention threw hands with Bob Barker (see link)! Happy is also fighting to get his grandmother’s house back from foreclosure. How could you not want him to succeed? Happy would be an athlete that would entertain the masses whenever he picked up a club. Not to mention he makes us hate those clown heads at the miniature golf course too.

6) Willie “Steamin” Beamen: Any Given Sunday

From third string to star

From third string to star

While you could argue that Shark Lavay and Coach D’amato should be on this list here’s why Beamen beats them out. He goes from seventh round third stringer to starter. Hmm sounds familiar, oh yeah Mr. Tom Brady. He goes from having one of the worst first games you can have and even throws up on the field to using his freakish RGIII ability to tear apart defense and leads the Sharks to the Pantheon Cup. While the team falls short he would be ideal for our highlight obsessed society and would make football fans drool with his dazzling plays. Not to mention his good looks, battle to keep the starting job, and being an underdog make him an athlete who would thrive in the real world. He also could make a great villain since the movie ends with him signing a contract under the Sharks noses to leave with coach D’amato to go play with the Aztecs. Talk about pulling a Lebron James to South Beach oh the irony.

7) Thad Castle: Blue Mountain State

Thad don't hit the quarterback in practice!

Thad don’t hit the quarterback in practice!

He’s a National Champion, thinks it’s B.S. that linebackers can’t win the Heisman, looks like “the freakin Hulk”, and hates all quarterbacks with a passion. Thad is the definition of a lovable idiot. While he may have rocks for brains there is no question that he can punish opposing offenses. Manti Te’o having an invisible girlfriend, Thad would probably laugh and tell you about all the girlfriends he’s had at BMS. Of course he did get suspended for using cocaine in his senior year and ended up missing one game. Despite his idiocy you cannot question his passion for football such as building a football field for the championship game when no field was available. Castle would be great as a real college and pro athlete. First he would a great villain for other college teams especially if BMS goes down for illegal scandals off the field. In the NFL he would be another great villain because of his constant trash talking and complete disregard for the rules. You’d love him if he’s on your team, but can’t stand him if’s he’s on any other team.

8) Rocky Balboa: Rocky Films

Rocky! Rocky! Rocky!

Rocky! Rocky! Rocky!

Ok we all know Rocky so this won’t be too long. If Rocky were real his accomplishments could have made him one of the greatest boxers of all time. Not to mention an endorsement icon for generations. While Rocky has had bumps in the road, Rocky 5, he is always able to overcome them and represents the true underdog. He would bring great publicity to a dying sport and would make boxing “cool” again. Plus when you add in an athlete he constantly flirts with retirement, albeit Brett Favre, then you have great drama. When is he coming? Should he come back? When should he retire? These would be questions ESPN would fall in love with and if you don’t think that they would fall in love with Rocky more than Mr. Favre then you would be wrong.

9) Roy Hobbs: The Natural

Comeback of the ages

Comeback of the ages

Talk about your comeback. Roy Hobbs is a naturally blessed baseball player with unfathomable talent. At 18 he’d thrown 8 no-hitters in the minor leagues and struck out the “Hammer” the best player in the majors on three pitches. However, he gets cut down in his prime by a mysterious woman who shoots him. After years of recovering he returns to baseball as a 34-year-old rookie for the putrid New York Knights. However, he goes on a tear and guides them to the pennant while becoming the best player in the game. However, before the championship his old gun shot wound acts up and is told that he could die if he continues playing. However, (movie version) he is able to hit the winning home run and lead the Knights to victory. While this may mirror a current major leaguer, Josh Hamilton, Hobbs had to deal with a miser owner and bribes in order to throw the playoff games. Unlike Pete Rose Hobbs would stay the straight a narrow and represents the honesty that we would like to see in more athletes today. Plus a comeback of this magnitude would have people cheering because people always love the underdog.

10) The Hanson Brothers: Slap Shot

This terrific trio would stir the pot in the NHL

This terrific trio would stir the pot in the NHL

Jack, Steve, and Jeff Hanson would be icons in real life. In the move Slap shot these three brothers were brought in to be the enforcers for the Charlestown Chiefs. Boy did they ever! Recognized by their crazy hair and taste  in eyewear the Hanson Brothers quickly garnered a big following for being the goons of minor league hockey. This dastardly trio become known for starting fights even before the games. One such game had a brawl before the puck was even dropped. Not to mention their child like nature with playing with toy cars you couldn’t help but love them. Could you imagine them in the NHL? Fans would love if they were all on the same team fighting and enforcing. Not to mention the merchandising of those glasses would become a new fashion trend in the NHL. The Hanson’s would also garner criticism as the NHL is trying to clean up the game. Either way they would create a buzz and would have fans flocking to arenas to experience their antics. Especially if they were on a bad team that wasn’t going anywhere at least then the games would be entertaining.

Do you agree with the list? Any that you think I missed? Don’t forget to comment below and tell me what you think and what you would like me to write about next. To forget to follow my blog to get the latest from Rich Sports Talk and be able to email me on what you want to hear.