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May 15, 2006

Comments

basketbawful

Lebron is just operating under the Jordan Rules 3.0. Jordan, as you may remember, was an absolute expert in driving with his right hand and stiff-arming/pushing off with the left. By the early 90s, he was doing this every single time he drove to the basket. And it was never, ever called. It became "his move." And he got thousands of freethrows off of these aggressive drives to the basket. He also perfected that post-up move (which Kobe has borrowed) wherein he would turn into the defender, give them a powerful elbow to the chest, and then raise up for the shot.

It was bad enough that Jordan was so physically superior to his opponents...but he got to cheat, too. That's the irony of pro sports, that the best players always get more leeway than the lesser players, who could use a little love now and then.

Anyway, the NBA wants Lebron to be the next Jordan. Not necessarily the same game, but the same charismatic, everybody-loves-this-guy presence. I'm not going to go all conspiracy theorist here, but superstars -- especially the "flavor of the day" superstars -- get preferential treatment. Not 100 percent of the time, but here and there, enough to make a difference in important games to be sure.

That being said, let's also not forget that the Pistons, as a team, get away with a lot more clutching and grabbing and hacking on defense than most teams, because they have developed a defensive reputation.

Clipper Fan

Incidently, Nash is being given this call as well, though his stiff arm is an elbow bent push-off to fade-away bank over Kaman. He has rung Kaman for at least 3 fouls this way.

Craig

Granted, I remember MJ using his off hand to clear out the defenders when getting position down low or driving to the hoop. My beef is that at least MJ tried to conceal his use of the off-hand.

LeBron simply lowers his head and runs over his man, using his off hand to stiff-arm the defender. The refs then follow up with a blocking foul on the defender. There’s no fake, no stutter-step, no lateral movement… just a simple straight line to the bucket. Then after running over his man, the announcers are praising the move. “Look at how strong LeBron is! He’s like a locomotive! What body control! And he’s only 21 years old!!!!”

At least MJ tried to fake out his man and sneak in some clearance with his off hand.

But since we’re allowing LBJ to stretch the rules whenever he has the ball on offense, a game 7 is guaranteed for this series, even though Detroit is waaaaaayyyy more talented than Cleveland.

Sean

Notice the replays always show the _finishes_ of LBJ's moves, not the questionable parts.

basketbawful

An interesting quote from Kareem's autobiography "Giant Steps":

"Most superstars get the calls their way: Jerry west charged for years and was permitted to get away with it; Oscar Robertson jammed his defenders something fierce and was rarely called..."

But here's the best part:

"...Elgin Baylor could use his off arm to hold people off the ball, make the shot, and get a free throw for his effort."

So really, Lebron is just maintaining a 50-year tradition.

Craig

"...Elgin Baylor could use his off arm to hold people off the ball, make the shot, and get a free throw for his effort."

WOW! That's EXACTLY LeBron! Great point!

I guess LeBron's destined to be a shitty GM with the Clippers for 20 years. (I know Elgin's a decent one now, but he was allowed a 20-year learning curve.)

basketbawful

If Lebron doesn't give a callout to Elgin, well, that's just pure superdickery.

I'm so torn on my feelings about Elgin as GM. How much of it has been him, and how much of it has been Donald Sterling?

Of course, the Lakers were blanked in the Finals for his entire career, and when he retired mid-season, the Lakers immediately (yes, starting the very next game) reeled off that famous 33-game winning streak and won their first non-Minneapolis championship. So maybe it really IS him.

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