Thursday, June 07, 2007

The NBA Finals are Hoops's favorite time of year

Tiger Woods was by far the most hyped athlete of the last twenty years, if not ever. We were told, before he first teed off at Augusta, that he was going to change golf and then the world.

So he hasn't changed the world yet. But, sportswriters' visions of career affirming grandeur aside, athletes simply don't change the world these days -- the guy who invents the latest generation of cell phone or killer app does.

Anyway, after Tiger, Lebron James was the next "sport changer" -- if not quite a world changer -- and his teenage hype dropped about a decade after Tiger's. Given his relative youth Lebron has been as advertised, talent wise. But because he plays a team sport and has had a tendency to shrink in the game's biggest moments he hasn't been able to enter the scene with nearly the flair and relevance Tiger did.

That began to change in the span of 25 straight points last week. Suddenly Lebron went from a guy with cute commercials and a fear of going to the foul line to a twenty-two old who just had just pulled off -- I'll say it -- the greatest late game post-season performance in NBA history.

Can Lebron continue his roll and lead his team to victory over the heavily favored Spurs and, in doing so, challenge Tiger's loftly Q-scored perch? I don't know. What I do know is the NBA sure is happy that question is being asked instead of the snide predictions of record low TV ratings that would have dominated the run up to a San Antonio/Detroit series.

JSB basketball correspondent Hoops McCann, who always knows, gets all sorts of crazy -- mixing sports mediums and making predictions in his latest dispatch.

No comments: