Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hey everyone. I am no longer contributing my efforts to this blog as I am now a writer for You can find me and many other gifted sports writers there. Also, go find their page on facebook and follow them on twitter @tornbysports. You can also still follow me on twitter @CheshSports.

Hope to see you over there soon.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Why Change History?

During this intriquing time of Pre-NBA draft analysis, I've momentarily been shifted back to college football, particularly towards the rivalry between Brigham Young University (BYU) and the University of Utah. I posted this last fall and this the previous summer on the same topic. Why have I been re-shifted to it almost a year later? More talk from fans of  wanting to rid each University of their rival indefinately.

In 2010 the Holy War was decided
by a blocked field goal as time expired.

Looking back on my two previous posts, this rivalry has already been changed for the unforseeable future. The football game will no longer be at the end of the season. Often times it decided the conference champion and offered much excitement and intrigue. The Pac-12's scheduling won't allow for non-conference games to be played at the end of the season. (Yet the USC/Notre Dame rivalry continues to be scheduled as such. Explain that one Larry Scott!). Since BYU is now an independent football team, they handle their own scheduling and would love to have Utah on their schedule in November. Yet they can't control that. That all depends on Utah's contractural agreements with the Pac-12.

The most common request of change I'm hearing from some fans (mostly Ute fans), is the argument of dropping BYU completely and creating a brand new rivalry and that being with the University of Colorado (CU). That reason being because CU also left their conference to join the Pac-12. Also, the Pac-12's last week of the season is rivalry week. Every school in the conference is joined by a bitter and respected rival.

Sure some of them refer to the games with the CU from years ago, but lets be honest, what will it take to form the kind of alliance (or hatred, whatever serves you best) that merits a rivalry? Utah doesn't share a state with CU, nor do they compete in recruiting. A Utah fan won't go to a local restaurant or grocery store seeing the CU logo being flaunted casually all around them. Oh and they also have nothing to do with the founding of your school (Brigham Young founded the University of Utah). The vast majority of your fanbase can't remember the last time you played each other.

As time expired, Johnny
Harline caught the game
winning touchdown against
Utah in 2006.

Nothing can make up for what this rivalry has entailed. Since BYU and Utah joined the Mountain West Conference in 1999, their annual football game has been decided by single digits all but twice. It was like that much of the time prior to '99 when they were in the Western Athletic Conference for years. It always goes down to the wire. Blocked field goals, last minute interceptions, final plays as time expires, and final plays in overtime were just a few ways of how the game has been decided. There was even a game that finished 3-0. Fans and players are always spouting off their animosity to the other schoo. Everyone involved always looks forward to that game they call The Holy War, and what war it is.

Athletic directors of both schools, Chris Hill of Utah and Tom Holmoe of BYU, have both said in agreeance that they have every intention of playing each other every year. That animosity previously spoken of may just be ignorant words used as fuel to the animosity the Holy War contains and not genuinely intended as a suggestion. If so, good luck ridding yourself of a priceless history. You can't ask for an opponent like that. It takes many years to gain the credibilty of calling yourself a rival with another school. Doing away with one for no particular reason, wouldn't make much sense. Keep adding to the history. I and others whom I know personally continue to look forward to it. Let the war remain.

Monday, May 9, 2011


This time last year the Los Angeles Lakers were waltzing their way into the NBA Finals with ease. The only hang up was a first round seven game series with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Ten games later they were awaiting their opponent. They'd eventually win their second straight title, squeaking past the Boston Celtics in seven games.

They were notoriously favored to be the NBA champs this season. Kobe'd get his long awaited and coveted sixth ring. Phil Jackson would boast his fourth three-peat. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, was picking anyone else. The folks in Dallas didn't care.

Mark Cuban would love nothing more for his
Mavericks to win an NBA title.

Last night Jason Terry, JJ Barea and Peja Stoyakavic were firing on all cylinders. So were some of the Lakers ... but not in a basketball sense. Ones true colors comes out when facing adversity. As much as anyone wants to hate on Kobe Bryant, he showed much class last night. Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom were ejected after serving cheap shots to Dirk Nowitzki and Barea. Bynum's was disgusting to watch. No champion will be throwing blows like that. The Lakers were swept in a playoff series for the first time since the Spurs did it in 1999.

Dallas finds itself back in the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2006. They've looked very impressive thus far in the playoffs. They seem to have weapons at every position and can get check marks in every spot in the box score. They're well balanced and rounded with ridiculous three-point shooting. Oh yeah and their starting small forward, Caron Butler, has been out with an injury since January. Guys like Stoyakavic, Terry and Barea have created fantastic insurance for Jason Kidd and Mr. Nowitzki. Tyson Chandler has been exceptional on defense and everyone is aware of what Shawn Marion can do. Though he used to be all-star caliber in Phoenix and early with Dallas, he's done very well accepting his role player job now.

Props to Mark Cuban and co. at structuring such a squad to put on that floor. Not many franchsies can do it. It's not easy. A lot of people like to hate on Cuban for his exceptionally odd behavior, but I respect the guy. If I was an owner of an NBA team, I'd do just what he does. Be a season ticket holder, yell at the referees in disagreeance etc ... I'd be fully invested much like he is. He's done so many good things for this franchise and now they look to make another appearance in the NBA Finals.

Dirk Nowitzki could be adding to his collection. The 2007
NBA MVP is looking for more hardware to collect.
In 2006 they were up two games on the Miami Heat. They ended up losing four straight and Dwyane Wade had his first Championship while Shaquille O'Neal had his fourth. Boy how sweet would a rematch with Miami be? Especially if LeBron got there and lost ... AGAIN. Both teams have to get through their own conferences first. Right now the Mavericks are the favorites to win the West. But if eighth seeded Memphis knocks out the Thunder, they'd have all the confidence in the world to reach the NBA Finals. So watch out.

But for now, Dirk has one thing in his sights as they prepare for their next opponent, and I'm sure the rest of the veteran-laden squad does as well. Jason Kidd has been there before with New Jersey ... yet unsuccesful. Stoyakavic has made runs in the playoffs as well back when Sacramento put a good team on their court. Look for Dallas to be hungry. 2011 may be the year of the Maverick. For a franchise who has taken a lot of heat (no pun intended) for being choke artists in the playoffs, an NBA title this year may shut everyone up. Especially after the way they dismantled the Lakers.

We will know in a matter of weeks.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Jimmer Fredette Tribute

The first time I heard the name Jimmer I didn't think it was completely insane like most ... however I did think it was foreign. BYU having a foreign basketball player isn't all that crazy. Rafael Araujo and Jonathan Tavernari were both from Brazil and current player Charles Abouo is from the Abidjan Ivory Coast. Also at the time I couldn't research this "Jimmer" because I was on my LDS mission. I returned home just in time.

I knew this kid was good but I didn't quite understand ... as did most people (besides Dave Rose and other BYU coaches). I was on my honeymoon in Moab, UT when Fredette made his first historic night scoring 49 points in Tuscon Arizona. He set a record in that building, and put some of his first "eye-brow raising" prints on BYU record boards tying the most points in a game and having the most made three pointers. I sent a text to my buddy when I returned from Moab asking if he knew what Jimmer had done. He told me that was old news.

The rest of that season started to pave the way for the Jimmer, the Glens Falls, NY native. He was a junior and in the running for the Mountain West Conference player of the year but had a few run ins with mononucleosis and had to sit out a few games due to that. Some say "what if" ... but I believe that was a blessing in disguise for him and BYU fans. Perhaps he would've had a better junior season. He ONLY averaged 22.1 points per game shooting 45% from the field, 90% from the free throw line and 45% from the three point line. Nothing THAT great. Nothing that sticks out on any stat sheets. However New Mexico's Darrington Hobson was the conference player of the year. What if Jimmer didn't get mono?

Jimmer Fredette rejoices after
leading BYU to it's first
NCAA Tournament Victory
since 1993.
Brigham Young had a history of terrible performances in the NCAA Tournament having not one a single game since 1993. Even though they had 29 wins ... they still garnered just a 7 seed in the tournament that year. Fredette scored 37 points in a double overtime victory over the recent two-time NCAA Champions Florida Gators. Witnessing that monkey off the back was amazing. However BYU lost to Kansas State in the second round and Jimmer's junior season came to an end.

During the off season he worked with NBA scouts while he had his name in for the NBA draft. That made some Cougar fans nervous, though a few weeks later after he couldn't get a guarantee he'd be a first round pick, he announced he would return for his senior season.

Fredette was a pre-season All-American and that's when everybody began to know his name and who he and BYU was.

The season began with a tournament in South Padre Island, TX and a trip home for Jimmer to Glens Falls. BYU played Vermont and he put on a show for his hometown fans. Jimmer had the opportunity to play close to home at Syracuse but Coach Jim Boeheim wouldn't offer him a scholarship but told him to walk-on instead. Jim later state that he "missed out big time" on that. The Cougars began the season 10-0 before losing to UCLA. The next ten game winning streak would be epic.

BYU played Arizona again. Jimmer torched them again scoring 33 points. A trip to Vegas that usually ends in a loss for BYU ended quite differently. Fredette fueled a heated "rivalry" with UNLV's Tre'Von Willis by hitting seven three pointers (one from the V at half court) with a total of 39 points and BYU was victorious. Another monkey off the back. 39 was his season high at the time ... but not for long.

Jimmer Range. Yeah, he shoots (and makes) from there.
"When he starts to shoot from 40 feet out you know he's feeling something." "You kind of wanted to keep giving him the ball." Jackson Emery fellow senior on the BYU squad was speaking of this so called "Jimmer". BYU played bitter arch rival Utah on their home floor and Mr. Fredette was unconscious. Jimmermania had finally hit full swing after this night. That forty footer spoken of was a buzzer beating half court shot to end the first half that you can see here. That gave him 32 points ... AT HALFTIME. Jimmer continued to let it rain dropping in 3 after 3. Then missed a dunk ... not in his range ... I know ... too close to the basket. Then decided to keep shooting threes. His epic performance of this night can be viewed by you here and here. He'd finish with 47 ... two shy of his career high.

That performance saw Jimmer on SportsCenter, Pardon The Interruption, and everywhere else. He was an icon. The face of NCAA Basketball of 2011. "Jimmer Range" was now common verbiage amongst EVERYBODY. This just headlined his way further into the season. He was everywhere ... yet still humble. Never pounded his chest once.

Fredette scored 43 points against San Diego State at home with a similar performance to that Utah game. He again helped his team beat the Aztecs in San Diego with 27 points and 7 assists. BYU had cracked the top 3 in both the AP and Coaches polls. The highest it's been since 1981.

Close to the end of the season things started to change a bit. BYU suffered a huge blow to their team when it lost Brandon Davies ... one of Fredette's biggest helpers due to an honor code violation. Less than two days later BYU had to play New Mexico ... the team who'd given the Cougars their second loss of the season, who BYU doesn't match up very well with, with a change in personnel. After this second loss to the Lobos the doubts were flooding in. Who was going to pull the Cougars out of this slump? You guessed it.

Fredette was pleased with
his teams victory over
UNM. He scored 52 points.
Brigham Young entered their conference tournament as the #1 seed yet no one picked them to make it far because they'd potentially have to meet New Mexico in the 2nd round. They did that. Jimmermania was back in full force. Another monstrous performance from the Jimmer. The look in his eye didn't seem to be human ... nor did his basketball abilities. History continued to be re-written. How does 22 of 37 sound? Fredette had a new career high in 52 points shooting only 1 free throw. Nobody does that. Not even in the NBA. It was remarkable. The highlights to that amazing performance are right here.

BYU earned a 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament ... the highest it had ever been yet people were still skeptical due to the loss of Davies. Their bad history in the tournament didn't help the doubters either. BYU hadn't been out of the first weekend since 1981 when Danny Ainge led them to the Elite 8. The Cougars in 2011 struggled a bit against Wofford in their first round game (I refuse to refer to it as the 2nd round). Fredette scored his number ... 32.Then they had to play Gonzaga next. A team BYU would be playing frequently in the years to come in the WCC. The Bulldogs had some scary big guys. Dick Vitale picked the 11th seeded Zags to reach the Final Four. This wouldn't be an easy task. Or would it?

The entire BYU team was firing on all cylinders all game long. They were 14-28 from the three point range and Fredette scored 34 of his teams 89 points. He also had 6 assists. The Cougars made it look easy as they reached the Sweet 16 where they'd meet Florida yet again.

Jimmer led his BYU team to the sweet 16 after a win over
future conference foe Gonzaga.
That's where Jimmermania would end. Not his best performance (nor his teammates). He shot poorly from the field (yet still had an insanely long three that boosted everyone to their feet). 11-29 and 32 points later BYU loses to the Gators in overtime. What if he had a good game? A bad night for Fredette and he gets 32 points? How can anyone doubt him?

Since that loss Jimmer has earned a spot as an AP All-American as the leading vote getter. He's also been announced as the recipient of the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year Award and rightfully so. More awards should be coming his way soon.

A little bittersweet this end is. I feel privileged to have witnessed this epic era of BYU Basketball. I hope to see him be successful in the NBA but that's a topic I must save for some other time. His jersey will hang in the rafters of the Marriott Center. His name will ne'er be forgotten. "Jimmer Range" will continue to be proper and everyday verbiage on the basketball court. What if Jimmer didn't got mono his junior season? What if this season never happened?

I sure do hope it's not another 30 years before we see a player like Ainge and Fredette at BYU, but if it is ... I can die a happy man having witnessed Jimmermania and being taught how to Jimmer. I shall never Fredetteabout it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's Over Now. What Does It Feel Like?

The BYU Cougars 2011 basketball team celebrates their
regular season Mountain West Conference Championship.
This kinda feels similar to something like ...High School graduation. Bittersweet. Go get a celebratory drink (Mt. Dew, Coke etc...) be sad ... yet still have a smile on. Miss the good times, document them, ne'er forget them ... but still move on with your chin up and perhaps dry the happy tears from our faces (for those of us who are emotional). It had to happen sooner or later. 

Jimmer, Jackson, Logan ... there's nothing I can say that can accurately depict how greatly you will be missed. The success you all brought to BYU is in the record books. We love you ... will miss you ... and cannot wait to see how it goes. 

For Jimmer ... your jersey will be in the rafters of the MC ... We will all have one to sport around casually or at games. Thank you for the memories, EPIC pictures, and some (insert favorite "mormon" swear word here) amazing basketball. We wish you the best of success in the NBA and will follow your career with great interest. 

Jackson and Logan ... wherever your future takes you ... you will always have our support in Cougar nation. We love you. Thanks for all the great memories.

I hope we have more fantastic basketball in the future detailed with deep runs in the NCAA Tourny. If not ... I will still have died a happy man because of this season.

Rise and Shout. Go Cougars.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fantasy All Star Game Results

Before I start I have to say that I hate the backspace button ... I had this post completed ... did some editing and hit backspace ... it sent me to the last page I visited and nothing was saved. Very frustrating.

First off I must apologize for having the results out a bit late. I was under the weather yesterday and the wife still dragged me to help her buy a car (Okay I went willingly) and at the end of the day I didn't really have the time or energy to tally up the stat totals etc ... So for those of you who were anxiously awaiting the results ... here they are (See the link for the actual game stats and results):

Brandons Totals: 47.8 % FG, 73 % FT, 7 3pm, 145 Pts, 62 Rebs, 40 Asts, 12 Stls, 5 Blks, 18 TO's.

My Totals: 49.6 % FG, 82.1 % FT, 7 3pm, 146 pts, 53 Rebs, 37 Asts, 12 Stls, 6 Blks, 18 TO's.

The final tally is ... drum roll please ... 4-2-3 in favor of the Chesh Fantasy All-Stars. I must say that in all of my years as a fantasy sports participant I've never witnessed three ties in one matchup before. Towards the end of finishing my stat totals I could tell things were going to be interesting and when I put both teams stats together I must say ... the suspense was riveting. And of course it didn't disappoint as I was victorious. Every single stat counts. Good job Brandon ... it was a solid matchup.

As the victor I must select an MVP from my team. That has to be Kevin Durrant of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Although Amar'e Stoudemire is a close second). Kevin shot 48% from the field and was perfect from the free throw line. He dropped four three's, had three boards and two assists, steals and blocks a piece. He never turned the ball over. Congratulations to the Durrantula of the Chesh Fantasy All-Stars of winning the 2011 MVP. If Kevin were to accept this award I'm sure he'd mention his team-mates and how important their performances were as well. Great job Kevin and great game Brandon and your All-Stars. Same time next year.

Did you all enjoy the All-Star break? ... I sure did.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fantasy All Star Game

Earlier today on the local sports AM radio station here in Salt Lake, 1320 KFAN, Ben Bagley and Britton Johnsen conducted their own fantasy All Star draft for the NBA. They were inspired by how the NHL conducted their All Star game this season. The two leading vote getters became team captains and chose their teammates.

I was intrigued by the idea that I consulted with a good buddy and big sports fan Brandon Hill. (Brandon and I did our weekly picks of the top 25 college football games and bowl games last season). He and I decided to do the same thing. We drafted our players and will be competing against each other with fantasy style points. The following were our draft results. I picked tails in a coin toss, it being heads gave Brandon first pick. Note that only the 24 players who have been selected as all stars were available for us to pick. I will list his team first:

1 LeBron James
2 Kobe Bryant
3 Derrick Rose
4 Dirk Nowtizki
5 Carmelo Anthony
6 Deron Williams
7 Ray Allen
8 Paul Pierce
9 Joe Johnson
10 Chris Bosh
11 Kevin Garnett
12 Tim Duncan
Brandon selected the following for his starting lineup: Rose, Bryant, James, Nowitzki, Duncan.

My team was selected in the following order:
1 Kevin Durrant
2 Dwyane Wade
3 Amar'e Stoudemire
4 Russell Westbrook
5 Dwight Howard
6 Pau Gasol
7 Chris Paul
8 Manu Ginobili
9 Rajon Rondo
10 Blake Griffin
11 Kevin Love
12 Al Horford
My starting lineup is Westbrook, Wade, Durrant, Stoudemire, Howard.

The point categories are Field Goal %, Free Throw %, Points, Three pointers made, Rebounds, Assists, Steals, Blocks, and Turnovers. For all you non fantasy players, we will add up all of our totals of those statistics and go head to head to see which team has the overall better score. There is a total of 9 points. For example, if Brandon swept me in every category he would win 9-0. Keep in mind a 4-4-1 tie is possible.

Enjoy the All-Star weekend festivities. I know I will.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Super Bowl XLV Preview

Here is a list of my top five least favorite NFL teams in particular order.

5 Denver Broncos
4 Green Bay Packers
3 Oakland Raiders
2 Dallas Cowboys
1 Pittsburgh Steelers

I also must note that the New England Patriots are extremely close to the Denver Broncos. It really is a toss up for number five.

So looking at that list, one who knows of my sports fandom could come to three obvious conclusions.

1. Three of those teams had (one still does) very heated rivalries with my favorite team the San Francisco Forty-Niners in the 90's. (or I should say ... when the Niners were good). The Oakland Raiders being the cross-the-bay rival with the Niners will always remain as said status. So basically that was the high point of the season for me in 2010 ... beating the Raiders.

2. The fans of all of those teams are the most annoying fans in the NFL. The sun shines out of Denver's rear end (It must be the Mile-High elevation ... close to the sun perhaps). Oakland is one of the most evil places on earth on the Sabbath day (see picture to the left). Cheese Heads ... enough said. America's team? You wish Jerry Jones and your 1-billion dollar stadium (How much was the scoreboard?)  Cocky little buggars. And lastly, the biggest bandwagoners in the country ... just like Los Angeles Lakers fans in the NBA. Also, what's with the logo on only one side of the helmet? I've never understood that one.

And 3. This is my least favorite Superbowl matchup of my entire life since the 1996 Patriots/Packers match up. That was the only time I ever rooted for New England. I actually liked Bill Parcells and Drew Bledsoe. Ironically like '96 this year will be the first time I ever root for the Packers. Here's a little preview of Superbowl XLV (45 for those who remain annoyed by Roman Numerals such as myself).

Back in my elementary school days I was known for my 49er fandom as I often wore a Steve Young jersey and my Niners winter coat. A fellow student was the same with the Packers and we'd heckle each other all the time stealing the other's beanie and hiding it (often in the garbage can). Naturally I hated Brett Favre and Antonio Freeman. Just the site of green and yellow made me want to ... well add to it and puke. One of my favorite Niner moments was the Young to Terrell Owens game winning touchdown in Lambeau field in the 1998 NFC Wild-Card game. Green Bay had beaten San Francisco five times previous to that. Getting the win in Lambeau felt awesome.

Brett Favre has since retired (I think ... no one really ever knows) and that rivalry has kind of diminished. In 2005 both the Niners and Packers drafted Quarterbacks. SF went with Alex Smith of Utah with the first overall pick (don't even get me started on that one) while Green Bay went with Aaron Rodgers of Cal much later in the first round. Six years later Rodgers is an elite and Smith has yet to do much with his career and very well may not be in a 49er uniform next season (PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE!). Rodgers now seems like the franchise piece to fill Favre's shoes and here he is playing in a Superbowl.

Brett Keisel's beard has become a
symbol of victory for Pittsburgh.

The Steelers won the Superbowl two seasons ago and I'm pretty sure their fan base has doubled or tripled since then. Ben Roethlisberger is hardly a role model and Troy Polamalu could probably live the rest of his life financially set on his Head-n-Shoulder's campaign. All joking aside I'm not really sure why I just cringe when I see the Steelers logo or hear about them being victorious. Mike Tomlin was the youngest head coach to win a Superbowl and a Pittsburgh win would just add to their great dynasty with a seventh Superbowl victory. No other team has that many. Perhaps it's their success that makes me despise them ... who knows. (Although I must say I'm loving the press that former BYU Cougar Brett Keisel is getting for his beard...Go Cougs). Whatever it is, I will be cheering for Aaron Rodgers. He's very likable, a true competitive athlete who's yet to cause any trouble off the field. (Perhaps a win would lead to that??) A solid person who you'd want to be leading your team. That's who I'd rather be playing for this Sunday if I was in the NFL.

Since Superbowl XXIX (29 ... did I do the RN's correctly) I've had to choose the week of which team I'd be rooting for in the big game. I hope that someday, again in my lifetime I won't have to be making that decision. But this year I can't help but question ... What if the Forty-Niners drafted Aaron Rodgers instead of Alex Smith? Gore, Crabtree, Davis, Rodgers? Boy I'm sure we'd be winning many more games. A guy can hope ... and I will continue to do that. Until next season ... Go Packers.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Several years ago I'm at my cousins house and he asks me if I've heard about this High School basketball player that everyone is talking about. Submissively and intrigued I say no. It took him awhile to remember this kids name so we go about our business. A few minutes later he snaps his fingers in remembrance, gives a cheer and he tells me it's a name that nor he or I have ever heard and he spits it out .... " It's LeBron". I scrunch my face at the weird sounding name I've never heard before. He was a sophomore in High School and apparently already had NBA scouts at his games and some were trying to make negotiations to get him in the league earlier than the minimum, after his senior season. Sure enough my cousin was right.

A couple years later LeBron James' High School games are being broadcasted on ESPN as he carries his school team to the Ohio State Championship. The University of Akron and Ohio State University were heavily recruiting him and why wouldn't they? James was a 6'9 for .... gua ... uhh I'm actually not sure what position he was. He handles like a point guard, can shoot like a two, tall and long enough to play the four but listed as a small forward on his teams roster. He was bringing the ball down the floor much like Magic Johnson did ... except Magic didn't play with such power nor could his sternum be above the ten foot rim. He flew through the air, everyone watching eyes wide and mouths dropped. This kid was special. Much to the dismay of the local Universities, LeBron James entered the NBA draft. Could you imagine if he went to college and played in March Madness? (He may have been at OSU with Greg Oden and Mike Conley ... that would have been ridiculous.) Ironically, his hometown team the Cleveland Cavaliers won the draft lottery that season and picked him number on overall. (I am still suspicious that the lottery could have been fixed that year). 

Nothing I type here can give credit to how phenomenal LeBron James is so I'm going to skip the part where I'm supposed to list all of his accolades and statistics in the NBA. Everyone knows what he's done and how explosive he plays. This blog post is intended on what has happened to LeBron and this league as we approach the 2011 All-Star break. It seemed like the Cavs had nearly every game of theirs on primetime TV either on ESPN or TNT and for a good reason. The atmosphere at the Quicken Loans Arena (aka The Q) was priceless and I can't explain what it felt like to WATCH yes watch their games on television. (My favorite moment being last season when Sundiata Gaines hit a buzzer beating three pointer to beat Cleveland in Salt Lake City ... Go Jazz.) After his rookie contract he reconstructed it to stay in his hometown a few more seasons. The last two of that contract the Cavaliers had the best record in the NBA boasting a number one seed in the playoffs both years. 2007 was the furthest LeBron led his team in the playoffs getting swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals. Then, the most anticipated off-season of the NBA approaches. July 1st 2010 was the day everyone started cruising around and to see what was going on in the LeBron sweepstakes. The New York Knicks had been a franchise who had publicly been trying to lure LeBron to the number one market in the United States and put Knicks basketball back on the map. They failed. (Although after seeing the mock up signs the fans had at their games with LeBron in a Knicks jersey I must say, he looked good in blue and orange.) Many other teams including Cleveland, met with him with sales pitches as to why he should stay/play with that team.

The Decision: This is where it gets ridiculous. Apparently James had made up his mind on which jersey he wanted to wear (and sell) for the next few seasons. He had made arrangements with ESPN to make the announcement. He chose the location (Boys and Girls Club? really?) and who from the media would do the interview. I race home from work and tell my wife what's going on. Being the sweetheart she is, she hands me the remote and says "I needed to take a shower anyways" while rolling her eyes. Love you babe. I pull up the menu and the name of the show is THE DECISION. I was surprised it was listed because it wasn't announced until that day. ESPN is on the ball. As a non Cavalier fan, I'm hoping James informs everyone he's staying until he wins his home town a Championship ... then I hear it "I'm going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat". I couldn't believe it. I just shook my head and kept saying "what an idiot". Not for leaving the Cleveland per say but how he did it and said it. LeBron met up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh (who'd just signed his own contract with Miami days earlier) and they held an introductory meeting (whatever you want to call it) days later. It was just the three of them already dressed in their uniforms in front of hundreds announcing the arrival of LBJ. To me, that disrespected the rest of the team (who had been yet to be signed). He guaranteed they would win multiple championships in Miami. Months later, I've been watching the NBA this season and I've noticed a drastic change in not just LeBron's games ... but the NBA as a whole.

In the first game between the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic this season, it didn't even feel like a basketball game. The introductions to the Heat's roster seemed like a weekend special at a casino in Las Vegas followed by a documentary on MTV. I felt the same way when LeBron returned to Cleveland and everyone was there to boo and heckle him. No one seemed to care about the outcome of the game. Everyone knew the Heat would blowout the Cavs. Now that LeBron is arguably not the best player on his team, I can't help but notice a change in the excitement of his game. He's not as explosive or dominant, nor is Dwyane Wade. And Chris Bosh has looked like the kid who sees two best friends walking together on the field at recess while he's on the monkey bars. He swiftly jumps down, runs over to them and follows them wherever they go. A friend of mine who is a Jazz fan but would wear James' jersey when he came to Utah has said he hates the NBA now. It's a much different atmosphere. James is still putting up the numbers and being all over the court ... but it just feels different with two other all stars on the team. What if Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas and Magic Johnson decided to play for the same team? (I realize that would have been improbable as Magic and Isiah played the same position ... but lets continue for the sake of the argument.) Would their names all have the same value to them? All we hear about is Miami this and Miami that. There are 29 other franchises in this league who James disrespected by saying they'd win multiple titles in South Beach.

I'm sure the animosity in Cleveland will blow over ... okay maybe not. What I'm not sure about is if this Miami team can win the way that's been guaranteed by James. One thing I'm disappointed about is how Mr. James copped out and put the pressure on his superstar best friend Dwyane Wade (who's already been an NBA Finals MVP). Perhaps LeBron thought the "overwhelming" spotlight he had would diminish. Well now he's put it on Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Pat Riley, Erick Spoelstra and the other nine players who support "the big three". I'm scared for you LeBron. I cannot consider you iconic in what you do anymore. It's no longer just YOUR world. I realize it's a team sport, but you are responsible for the pressure and spotlight in Miami right now and for the foreseeable future. You couldn't hack it being the main man in Cleveland, got scared, went crying to your good buddy who has altered his own game to accommodate for you ... but you're still leaning on him to help you win an ...oh sorry ... many NBA titles. I've never really been a big fan of Kobe Bryant, but not even Kobe would do what LeBron has. Bryant thrives on pressure and loves the high risk high reward situations being an NBA superstar brings. Sure he and Shaq had their shortcomings after threepeating the NBA Finals, he even air balled a buzzer beating three pointer his rookie season in the playoffs, but never once did he go running to a highly trusted colleague to help him win. He's learned to deal with the pressure making others around you better brings. Something you never will do ... anymore. You have talent nobody else has. The NBA has embraced that talent and it STILL caters to you because of it. Five years from now, if you have no title, the basketball world may be completely different and the league may have just wasted it's time, talents and money catering to your every dribble of the ball. Enjoy your world of the NB-LBJ-A while it lasts ... It's future is in your hands ... and we are all witnesses.