Adam Auslund was a long time intern for multiple shows on the FOX Sports Network, but has now found his place, and a job, working for The Petros and Money Show.
Originally from Nor Cal, he’s been described as a bitter, broken sports fan ever since he experienced the rare "Hat Trick of Death" where all 3 of his teams (Sacramento Kings, San Francisco Giants and Carolina Panthers) all lost their respective sports’ championship game in the short span of a year and a half.
Adam now tries to look at sports from a less serious, more irreverent perspective, because that’s what helps bury the pain and keep him sober.
So Lebron James wins the MVP...again. Yes, it’s about as surprising as King Joffrey from Game of Thrones winning an award for most hated character in TV history (complete lock). The honor also puts him in a very select, elite category (where he belongs) as the second player to ever win 4 MVP’s in 5 years. The first being Bill Russell. Also noteworthy, he’s 5 years younger then MJ when he won HIS 4th MVP. So for those who needed to see Lebron pick up some more MVP hardware before they label him as being on Jordan’s level, well, I don’t see any way he doesn’t pass Jordan’s 5 regular season MVP’s by the time King James is done. Of course, many will still want to see him with more championship hardware and Final’s MVP’s before they give him the mantel of the GOAT (greatest of all-time).
So anyways, here’s a video of his best highlights from the season...if somehow you missed any of these looping repeatedly on SportsCenter all year long.
A few shows back on the "FnA podcast" Kevin Figgers and myself were discussing the old school, old man fight, going on between GM of the Celtics, Danny Ainge and Heat owner, Pat Riley, who had some choice words for each other after Ainge was critical of Lebron complaining about the physical fouls he received in the loss to the bulls that snapped "The Heatles" 27 game winning streak. Riley fired back at Ainge telling him to "STFU" as he was one of the biggest whiners in the game, back when he played. That (and the recent video of Rutgers coach Mike Rice chucking balls at his players during practice) got me thinking about one of the most awesome (and despicable) plays in NBA history, involving Danny Ainge and his unmatched, chappy-ass, cry-baby, attitude.
The background: It was the 1994 WC semi-finals and the Rockets were putting it on the Suns pretty good in this game. Mario Eli had delivered what was "the dagger" bucket in Ainge's face, and then taunted him (to which Doug Collins thought he should receive a technical foul for) so at the end of the game, Ainge took the opportunity to get his revenge, by firing an inbounds pass directly at Mario Eli's face!
Now Danny was originally drafted by the Blue Jays out of college and played in the majors for a short time before shifting to basketball, so this was a basketball player who really had the arm strength to put some heat on this throw, and he did –– from about 6 feet away.
The first video gives you some of the context I described above, and the bottom one is just the instant replay of the "pass" in typical youtube remix fashion.
Growing up I despised Michael Jordan. I can still remember my dad driving with me in the passenger seat down Barton road (near my old house in Loomis, CA) in a 70’s, orange, F-150 truck, and listening on the AM Radio to MY Lakers and MY sports hero, Magic Johnson, lose to MJ and the Chicago Bulls in the ‘91 NBA Finals. I was only 9 years old, and had just learned how you could have genuine hatred for someone you’ve never met. Keep in mind, this was also way before I had ever seen a Michael Bay movie. In fact, Michael Bay movies didn’t exist then. It was a better time.
But not for me at that moment because Michael Jordan had just brought tears to my eyes. It wasn’t from the beauty of his “switch the ball to his left hand in mid-air and lay it in” memorable shot from those same NBA finals. A shot I often whined for my dad to emulate in the front driveway, which he did admirably for someone who had John Stockton like hops, if memory serves me correctly.
No, this loss had greater implications and those were tears from sadness and anger, knowing I’d never hear the end of this 5 game slaughtering that MJ put down on my favorite player from my older sister, who couldn’t care less about the NBA until Jordan arrived on the scene. She even had a Bulls Starter jacket. Yeah. How annoying.
Meanwhile I was like an NBA hipster fan back then. Always rooting for the secondary, lesser seen, lesser exposed players in the league. I know it could seem like Magic didn’t fit that formula, but at that time, believe me (and if not, put the documentary "Hoop Dreams" in), everything was already about MJ back then. And now, he had just won his first title.
I was entering a world of pain.
For the next 8 years (minus 1 year where Jordan retired and the following year where he came back late in the season, only to lose in the playoffs to Orlando and my next favorite player, the next Magic Johnson, Penny Hardaway) I would be tormented by false hope that Drexler, Barkley, GP, or Malone would be able to stop Michael Jordan in the Finals and in doing so, STOP the calls to my house from my other nemesis, a rival NBA fan at school, Garrett Vanderboom. I didn’t know it then, but looking back now, he was my Scott Tederman. And not just because he was a full blown ginger. Garrett was a crazed Michael Jordan fan, and one of the popular, cool kids, who was always equipped with the latest air jordans. Every year, as soon as the confetti started raining down in the arena, he’d call my house, laughing, gloating, fresh off just viewing John Paxson, Steve Kerr, or his “Airness” himself, having just seconds ago knocked down another series clinching shot.
To stay within the time period, I could definitely relate to the popular catchphrase from the caveman character Bill in the “The Terrible Thunderlizards” cartoon, whose plans always blew up in his face-- literally. So whenever he found himself underneath a tree or boulder that was supposed to give him freedom, but had now somehow became his undoing, he wouldn’t swear, he’d just simply ask, “when does the hurting stop?”
But there was no relief for me back then and I was seeing red again.
Growing up and maturing as a person can work wonders though, and as the years past after Jordan’s 2nd retirement, I began to fully appreciate the greatness that I had so much disdain for in my youth.
I missed the unnecessary tongue wagging. The aggressive but controlled chaos in his game. The unmatched pairing of raw talent and developed skill that he wielded like a double edged sword. I missed the pain of him dominating my favorite players. I even missed the obligatory calls from Garrett Vanderboom after a big Bulls win.
I was now living in a bizarro world where I found myself defending MJ. I had become so tired of ESPN constantly pushing the next Jordan, be it Grant Hill, then Vince Carter, then Kobe Bryant, who in all fairness is the closest thing, but also in all fairness, is still far, FAR from the real thing. Anyone saying otherwise is just either trying to make news, or too young to have seen the majority of Jordan’s career, live.
These new stars were just cheap imitations of the player I hated. Kids today (I’m officially getting old) can never understand what a terror MJ was on the court. How haters like me would make silent deals with the devil, offering our collective souls to try and combat MJ’s one soul (which was obviously already in the hands of satan in the trade off for all that talent and winning) just to see him lose in the finals. Just once. But it never happened.
So on Sunday, Michael is turning 50 (now I really feel old) and his tease or threat in his 2009 hall of fame speech of his possible return is upon us. Recently, Lakers small forward Antawn Jamison started an interesting debate when saying he believes Jordan could still average 10 points a game today, at half a century in age.
I have to agree.
Jordan is simply too smart, too savvy, too skilled, not to be able to get you 10 points in limited minutes on any team. Of course all of this is dependent on his health and being able to even jog down the court without his knees sliding down to his ankles and falling off. But if he has anything left in the tank, he'd be able to do it. I suspect he would have to rely on his pump fake a lot, but that would be enough to go 4-11 shooting with a couple free throws mixed in there, in about 20 slow-motion minutes off the bench to get that 10 points. But he'd get them.
I met Jordan a couple years ago when he was walking out of an elevator at Harrah’s after a day of golfing at the annual American Century Golf tournament in beautiful Lake Tahoe.
It was a strange finally seeing him in person. For a moment, i felt like I was transported back to the 90’s. He didn’t look like a late 40’s washed up, soft, pudgy, shell of his former self, that I would have expected to depress me. Perhaps the moment just overwhelmed me and I was seeing what I wanted to see, but I swear to you, in those 30 seconds that he walked from the elevator towards me and down into the casino, I thought I was looking at a prime Jordan, who was ready to take off from the free-throw line again.
It was an out-of-body experience...at least right up until he rejected my offer to come on the radio show I was promoting-- WHILE NOT EVEN LOOKING AT ME!
I always knew he was a dick.
Anyways, here’s the very best, obscure, Michael Jordan videos on youtube for you to watch and celebrate him on his birthday. You won’t find a better compilation of Jordan highlights anywhere. I'd say 90% of these clips you haven't seen or certainly don't remember. Relating it to an album from your favorite band, these would be the deep cuts you won't find on mainstream radio. Or you know, not the same old highlights you'll see on ESPN over and over again this week.
It's been a while. Perhaps I've been a little busy. A little lazy. A little annoyed with life and people and relationships and dating and blah, blah, blah, you get it. Adam is bitching about some girl situation, again. Yes...yes I am. But enough about me and my problems (that I'm including in a sports blog where people are expecting actual sports content, consistently) let's focus for a second on a player who should be celebrated and has been overlooked-- for really his entire career.
I'm calling him the "Yen Queinn" of NFL receivers. Remember the gymnist/countortunist from "Ocean's 11" BEFORE the terrible sequals where director Steven Soderberg assumed he could just overwhelm us with enough star actors that we'd suck down any inane plot line like it was Sunny D (although i always wanted the purple stuff). Well, the receiver I'm talking about has that type of body control and could definetely fit himself inside a gatorade cooler on the sidelines to awkwardly spill on the coach after a big win-- if needed.
And regarding his hands, let's just say if your baby was falling out of the Good Year blimp above the staduim and you could only pick one player to try and cradle it (yeah i called your child an "it"), with one hand, while moving the opposite direction, it's this guy.
Here's a few hints.
His team is still in the playoffs...
Plays for the Patriots...
Is wearing Chad Johnson's old number...
YES! It's Brandon Llloyd:
Sure he's only had one single thousand yard season as a pro, but damn it, these mixtapes with some of his greatest catches can at least fool you into thinking he's a first ballot hall of famer for a second, or twelve minutes and fourteen seconds, to be exact.
No, he didn't end up being the next Jerry Rice like some 49er fans thought when he first came on the scene, BUT he had a touchdown catch last week and will most likely be a big factor if the Patriots end up winning it all.
So earlier this week Sporting News released the results of a polling from 103 NFL players asking them various questions. It ranged from who was the “most overrated player?” (Tim Tebow, yeah no sh**) to the “league's worst organization?”, where in a tight race the Cleveland Browns beat out everyone's favorite team to inevitably move to Los Angeles, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the team with the "commitment to excrement", the Oakland Raiders.
But one of the more interesting answers was to the question, “who's the most overrated coach?”, which went to Rex Ryan of the New York Jets. (BTW, Kevin Figgers and I discussed this in our new AM570 RAW weekday podcast, “Fn’A”. Please listen and tell us we’re awesome. There's a link in the words you're reading right now).
I find Rex recieving the most votes a bit curious in some ways, but obvious in others.
Of course some of the negative reaction comes from the brashness, boldness and cockiness of a coach who has not won the Super Bowl, yet talks about it every year like the trophy is named after him. I could see him as a future Jim Rome smack-off title winner though.
To tie in with the biggest national news of the week, you could say Rex Ryan comes across as more of a politician at times (if he didn't have to use so many swear words) then some video tape junky that is looking for habits in an opposing QB’s snap count. He’s a players coach, a motivator, and is looking to excite the base and get his team to buy into his game-plan. He’s the guy you like when you're playing for him, but hate when you’re playing against him (unless of course some of those players polled are currently on this current Jets team). He actually embodies much of the personality of the governor of the state his team plays their games in, Chris Christie. They're both loud, blunt and uh...well Rex is at least slimmer now.
No doubt “Rex just being Rex” rubs some people the wrong way. And because of his style, because he's in New York (and Jersey), he's perfect for the "annoying, overexposure, curse" by ESPN. And with his lack of rings, well that always bothers some people too.
Players being annoyed with the constant media coverage of a coach that hasn't really won anything is what leads me to think it's more of an emotional reason to vote for him as #1, because whoever seriously considers him being the best coach in the NFL anyways? Now if that was the case, he'd clearly be the most overrated. Right now, he's just the most overexposed.
But if you take away his abrasive character, that attracts some, and just look at the teams he’s had and where he’s taken them, Rex really has overachieved.
He took a defense that was ranked 16th overall in 2008 and in his first year made them number 1 in the league. They also immediately became a top 5 rushing team in the league under his control. His ground and pound running game and aggressive defensive philosophies should get most of the credit for the Jets getting to back-to-back AFC championships, and doing it all with a young, inexperienced, Quarterback.
Now it seems Rex has become a victim of his own success. The Jets running game and defense took a step back last year after losing O-lineman Damian Woody, Kris Jenkings and Jason Taylor and most importantly, Mark Sanchez has not developed as fast as they thought he would. This season, with big injuries on defense to Darrell Revis and to one of the only playmakers on offense, with Santonio Holmes, the Jets are 3-5 and look like a team on the ropes.
Back in 2009 and 2010 the defense and running game picked up Mark Sanchez, now he needs to return the favor and raise his game and the play of the guys around him, but he hasn't shown he’s capable, yet. This week, with a game in Seattle, against a defense that’s been suffocating (especially at home with the 12th man behind them) this could be a make-or-break game for Sanchez. If he struggles early and they’re down two touchdowns and he’s thrown a couple of picks, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tim Tebow under center at some point. Yes, that’s how bad things have gone for the Jets this season.
The point is, between the injuries and the lack of talent, especially at the quarterback position, I don’t see how anyone coaching this team could be successful. In fact, as he has in the past with his AFC championship teams, i still think Rex Ryan is getting the most out of his players. There’s just much less ripe fruit to squeeze all the juice out of with this current roster.
Because of these glaring roster issues – barring a complete end of the season collapse where the team is getting blown off the field by the Rams, Titans, Jaguars and Bills (all still to come) – Rex Ryan should be able to hold onto his job for another season. As long as players still want to play for him, as long as the team is still fighting, i think his job is secure. Instead, the hammer most likely comes down on general manager Mike Tannenbaum for not improving the team enough through the draft and free-agency.
In the end, I could see a debate for Rex Ryan being overrated, but saying he’s THE MOST overrated? I tend to think his resume is stronger than that.
Personally, I voted for Andy Reid.