March Madness is about to begin and many of you are looking for a trophy to represent your bracket challenge. Well look no further. The Armchair Big Man trophy is the ultimate prize when your name is the final one standing after a long, grueling battle to the end. And the best part ia no one needs to know that you didn’t have a clue what you were doing when filling out your bracket. All that matters is your name ended up on the trophy at the end and you’ll be remembered forever as a CHAMPION. So if you’re ready to step it up a notch and play for a trophy that truly represents what March Madness is all about then the Armchair Big Man trophy is for you.
Good luck this March.
If you grow up in Northeast Ohio like I did, you understand the agony that is associated with it’s professional sports teams. From “The Drive” to “The Fumble” to “The Shot,” each one drives a stake of pain deeper into the collective souls of every fan. Just say the name Jose Mesa to a Clevelander and you might get a beer thrown in your face just before seeing a right hook coming your way. Because of these heartbreaking memories, (along with the river once catching on fire because it was so polluted) Cleveland has been the butt of jokes for years on end. It’s something that you just learn to take and shake off when you hear national media use your home area as a punchline to a tired and overused joke.
Friday’s decision by Lebron James to return to Northeast Ohio and the Cleveland Cavaliers however helps to change that punchline into something entirely different. Lebron understands the pain of the area. He grew up in it as a kid who followed the Browns, Indians, and Cavaliers and experienced the heartbreak right along with so many others. His letter in Sports Illustrated demonstrated his understanding that Cleveland has been without a championship for 50 years when he said, “Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.”
I, like so many others, said one championship in Cleveland would be worth at least 5 in Miami. Lebron seems to agree to some extent. He knows what a title would mean to an area that has been so deprived for so long. He also knows what his return means for so many business owners in downtown Cleveland who struggled to stay afloat in the wake of his decision to go to Miami four years ago. The economic impact he’ll have on Northeast Ohio will be immeasurable. Just ask people in Chicago what Michael Jordan meant to their city financially.
Lebron’s decision will undoubtably keep the Cavaliers in title contention for years to come. However, his return means more than just the hope of raising championship banners. For many it means the difference between struggling to stay open and being able to pay your bills. And for that reason I’m most excited to see Lebron return home.
Lebron James to the Cavaliers seems to be a real possibility. National and Cleveland media have jumped all over the Lebron to Cleveland bandwagon once it was reported that Dan Gilbert’s private plane was headed from Detroit to Florida Sunday afternoon. Many reports had Lebron’s good friend Žydrūnas Ilgauskas on the flight in what many assume was the Cavaliers attempt to persuade Lebron to head back to Cleveland. Will it work? Who knows. The one thing I know is that not only would Lebron’s return to the Cavaliers make them an instant contender, but it would also revitalize a city that has not been the same since he left. As much as I hated him for leaving my beloved Cavaliers, I’d have to learn to forgive and welcome him with open arms. After all, a team with Lebron, Kyrie, and Wiggins or Love on it would be a hell of a show. Fingers crossed.
Professional basketball player Jason Collins announced, in Sports Illustrated, that he is gay. His decision to come out makes him the first active professional athlete to do so. While I realize it’s a major step forward for the gay community, I also believe it’s a shame that this is even an issue and is such a major event in our society.
Over the weekend I took my son to go see the film “42” which is about Jackie Robinson and the breaking of the color barrier in professional baseball. My son, who is fourteen, was shocked at how ignorant and unaccepting so many of the players were during that era. It was wonderful to talk to him afterwards and hear his thoughts on racial hatred and how fear of the unknown drives so many to turn against an individual or entire race. Hearing the news of Jason Collins’ announcement I couldn’t help but think of Jackie Robinson and how he helped to shape the perception of blacks everywhere. Hopefully Collins’ announcement will do the same for the gay community.
The Lakers “magical season” came to a sudden halt last night when Kobe Bryant’s achilles finally said enough is enough. Bryant has been carrying the Lakers on his back for most of the season, and especially in the last month, but even he couldn’t handle the immense load. Now that load will fall on Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash (if healthy), and Metta World Peace. That kind of talent should be able to move forward and make some noise in the playoffs but we all know that’s just not going to happen. The Lakers are now a ship without the only sail they had and will ultimately run aground and sink into oblivion. Ending what many believe is the most disappointing season of any NBA franchise in recent memory.
March Madness is upon us and you know that the office brackets are going to be filling up fast. Who will be the one to win the annual office bracket pool? Will it be the woman from accounting that picks her teams based on mascots? Or will it be the guy from public relations who doesn’t understand what a free throw is? Yes, you know how it works. The people that are clueless about basketball are always those that seem to win these things. Regardless, shouldn’t they be forever remembered on a trophy worthy of the madness the Tournament produces? If you think it’s time your office steps it up a notch and finally plays for a trophy along with that cash prize, then the Armchair Big Man is your trophy.
4. Lebron James– Ok, so he’s the only current player on here but he’s also a 3 time NBA MVP, 8 time All-Star, 7 time All NBA team, and 3 time All Defensive team member. If he retires without a ring he’d easily be #1 on this list. James came close last year vs. Dallas but close doesn’t cut it when you proclaimed you’re looking to win “not one, not two, not three, not four…”
3. John Stockton– The all-time assists leader and king of the tight shorts, Stockton was pure class and a silent killer to boot. He had the unfortunate “luck” of playing during the same time as a guy named Michael Jordan. In 96-97 they pushed the Bulls to 6 games but MJ became MJ and John and his boys went home without a ring.
2. Charles Barkley– It’s too bad young fans of today just think of Barkley as that bald, big mouthed guy on TNT that takes his shirt off and plugs Nutrisystem.
There was a time when he was one of the most dominant players in the game. Coming into the league while Bird and Magic were still in it and then leaving when Michael Jordan was at his prime didn’t help Barkley’s chances at winning a championship. His best chance came in 92-93 when his Suns lost to the Bulls.
1. Karl Malone– When you’re a 14 time All-Star and a two time league MVP and you don’t have a ring, you can only be Karl Malone. Along with his teammate John Stockton, Malone ran into the Bulls and Michael Jordan at their prime. If not, he’d more than likely have a couple titles to his credit. Unfortunately the only title he has now is the best player without an NBA title.