Friday, February 09, 2007

You will have to bear with me tonight as I write this post. I am so torn by emotion that I am having trouble resisting the impulse to throw my monitor off of each and every wall in my apartment. The particular emotions which are tearing apart the fabric of my universe are rage and disappointment. And I am having trouble finding out who is responsible for these conflicting emotions.

The most obvious target is Dwayne Wade. But there are others who are very nearly as responsible for what just might be the final nail in the coffin of civilization as we know it. The NBA bears responsibility for allowing Wade to talk about things he cannot know. The management of the Miami Heat also bear responsibility for not silencing their star. And all right thinking Americans bear some of the burden for allowing this greatest of travesties to take place.

In case you haven't heard, Dwayne Wade dared question the leadership qualities of the single greatest basketball player in recorded history. In case you might not be as well educated about the NBA as you should be, the best thing that ever happened to basketball is Dirk Nowitzki. And he must never be questioned. Ever. Unless of course you want to make the most powerful of enemies.

Mark Cuban laid what would be the smackdown on Mr. Wade, provided of course that a jock sniff and a fraud could lay down the smackdown on anyone. Of course, one would expect this from the guy who owns the team for which Nowitzki plays. And one would expect it to be as eloquent as all get out considering its author once wrote an impressive evaluation of a recent cinematic classic (believe it or not, he called Happy Gilmore a classic).

Among the many problems with Cuban's defense of his player is the fact that he dismissed Wade's criticism first and foremost because Wade's commercials are boring. Outside of the incredibly, unfathomably, indescribably brilliant ads that feature the PC vs. Mac debate, how many TV commercials aren't boring? I must say that those PC vs. Mac ads are so awesome that I hereby volunteer my services as a free-range organ bank on the off chance that Steve Jobs should ever need a transplant. A man that wonderful and with that much to offer mankind must live forever, and the rest of my life is small price to pay as means to that end.

Of course there is no way that Wade could know Dirk's leadership skills. It's not as though Wade took over the series himself and brought the ring to Miami. To think that Wade did more to win the championship than Dirk did would mean you would have to believe that Wade scored nearly 60 points more than Dirk over the last four games of the series. Oh, wait...

I have tried to be one of the people who doesn't link to his own past posts during the history of this blog. Tonight, I have to link to this post from two days after the Mavs lost the finals. It has a few of my favorite elements in it. For instance, there is the Orwell quote. I am also partial to my little pun on the Nowitzness shirts that Dallas fans wore to answer the Witness ad campaigns featuring D-Wade. I still love that Nowitzless line, and it's funny because it's true.

In Life, The Universe and Everything, Douglas Adams describes the home world of the mattresses. The mattresses live in swamps and flollop around. According to the author, flollop is not a common word because it's a thing only live mattresses can do. Of course, Douglas Adams probably never saw Mark Cuban, as he passed away in May of 2001 (Adams, unfortunately, Cuban will be with us always). Even though I don't know what flollop means, I imagine it's the only word that can concisely describe Cuban's petulant 4 year old act as he sits in the stands.

Perhaps I'm being unfair to Cuban. Maybe he has virtues that I have missed in the infrequent attacks on him in this space. He has done great things to benefit the families of those who have lost their lives in America's military operations overseas. But in my defense, he is also a douche and I hate him.

But more on Nowitzki. He is one of the best players in the NBA and a measure of my sarcasm is probably undeserved. He did score 29 points in the deciding game of the 2006 Finals. He is an excellent player, until the final quarter of the biggest games. He went 0 for the field in the fourth quarter as Miami closed out the series. He passed up an open look to pass to Erik Dampier in the last minute. And most damning, in my view, Jason Terry took the final shot for a Mavericks team down by 3 in the decisive game of an NBA finals.

Imagine this as a scenario. It's the mid-1980s. The Celtics are in a series deciding game. Replace Dirk in the preceding paragraph with Larry Bird. Could you imagine Bird allowing that sequence to occur? Wade had every right to call out the most overrated German athlete since those clowns that Jesse Owens dusted in the Berlin Olympics of 1936. There is no such thing as an almost champion, and second place is a fancy word for king of the losers. Nowitzki didn't play badly, but when a Gatorade container feels your wrath more than the opponent in the NBA Finals, maybe you do need to work a little on the leadership skills.

I did enjoy Mark Cuban's subtle dig at the NBA officials and commissioner, hinting that he would be fined again if he mentioned the secret of Wade's success in the finals and saying that he loved watching him shoot free throws. Mark Cuban would do well to remember the Boy Who Cried Wolf, or at least take an oral tradition class. Then maybe he'd stop whining about the officiating after every game, or at least point out one instance where Dallas benefited from a missed call (I pointed one out in last years' playoffs and I'd link to it if I hadn't already linked to myself tonight).

I don't feel like so much of a dork bringing up fables and oral tradition, since Cuban questioned whether D Wade had taken business classes at Marquette. Of course, I should have realized that the business schools are the new cradles of leadership. After all, look at how the courageous MBAs contributed to the great deeds of Enron and TYCO. And we all know that Patton attributed his ability to inspire troops to feats of greatness to the business seminars he took at the academy.

Running a crap corporation and tricking Yahoo into buying it doesn't qualify you to speak out on leadership. Carrying a basketball team to a title probably doesn't, either, but it's still better than the former. Mark Cuban should remember the one thing that separated from the rest of the dot com busts was good timing. And he should remember to shut his face once in a while, and if it's not too much trouble, any time he feels up to it, he can drop dead.

That final sentiment might be a little harsh, but Cuban reminds me of Ethel Merman's character from it's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The film happened to be on this afternoon, during the 31 Days of Oscar on Turner Classic Movies (which almost makes me forget the NFL season is over when they show some of the greatest movies of all time). And I love the scene where Buddy Hackett suggests that Ethel Merman drop dead.

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