A “Something’s Got To Give Game”

The Cleveland Cavaliers now own the NBA record for most consecutive games lost at 26 games. Next week, the Cavs will face the Washington Wizards at home in Cleveland in a “Something’s Got to Give Game”. As of now, the Wizards are winless on the road for all of 2010/1011; as of last night, the Wizards were 0-25 on the road this season. Since there are no ties in basketball, something’s got to give when the Cavs host the Wiz.

At one point this season, the Cavaliers were 7-8. That is hardly a record for the ages, but it looks positively spectacular when compared to the Cavs’ present record of 8-45. The Cavaliers have not yet surpassed the Sixers’ record of futility in that season where the Sixers only won 9 games all season long whilst losing 73 games. The Cavaliers have 29 games left and they simply have to be able to find two wins in there somewhere – - don’t they?

As a note of comparison, the Sixers’ epically awful team was 4-44 at one point in their season when they decided to change coaches. At 8-45, the Cavaliers look positively radiant…

Despite Cavs owner, Dan Gilbert, and his public bravado declaring that the Cavaliers would win a world championship before LeBron James did, the Cavaliers team without LeBron is putrid. There just is no polite way to describe that team; they stink! Up until LeBron skipped town, the Cavaliers were the only pro sports franchise in Cleveland to merit any fan optimism; the Browns and Indians have been less then competitive for a while now. The Cavaliers used to be the Cleveland fans’ buffer against taunts from other sports fans that Cleveland was “America’s Ass-crack” from a sporting perspective. Today, the Cavaliers make “America’s Ass-crack” seem like a mild epithet.

With LeBron, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh uniting in Miami, other top-flight players have flirted with the idea of co-habitating with a single franchise. The latest “vibe” is that Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Amare Stoudamire might get together and play for the Knicks. Maybe that will happen and maybe it won’t – - but let us just assume that this practice of three top-shelf players joining forces with one team takes hold and spreads.

Here is the question the NBA needs to face:

    How many top-shelf stars does it have such that it can stock teams with 3 stars each?

Are there enough for 8 teams? I think that is a generous estimate and the number is probably only 6; but for the moment consider that there are 24 of these top players floating around out there to stock 8 teams. Here is the problem:

    How long will it be until fans desert the other 22 teams and lose interest in the local squad?

The idea of “wait till next year” is something that can get old with some fans – - ask Chicago Cubs’ fans for instance – - but “wait till next year” has to have some basis in reality for fans to care about their local team from year to year. If “next year” is sure to be just another iteration of last year with no chance at all of winning anything more than a brief moment in the playoffs, the NBA is in trouble.

The NFL markets “on any given Sunday…” even though there are bad teams who rarely fulfill that marketing promise. However, in the NFL, bad teams come and go from year to year. If the NBA star players continue to coalesce around a few teams, the rest of the league will wither and die.

According to a report in the Columbus Dispatch, Art Schlichter is now a suspect in a criminal investigation related to bilking people out of money as part of a criminal enterprise. I am hardly qualified to be Schlichter’s biographer, but my recollection is that he has been involved in illegal gambling, forgery, passing bad checks and now – allegedly – phony investments. If he is found guilty of these charges, here is a question for the legal eagles:

    Why can we not just lock this guy away permanently and keep him away from “normal society”?

There is a lot of caterwauling going on in New Orleans because Saints’ coach, Sean Payton, has decided to move his family from New Orleans to a suburb of Dallas. Saints fans have gone over the top with their outpouring of bile here claiming that they were “ambushed” and have been “abandoned”. They say this is nothing more than a move on Payton’s part to leave the Saints and take over the Dallas Cowboys.

I do not read minds so I have no idea if that is indeed Sean Payton’s intent. Even if it is his intent, there is nothing wrong with him planning that as a career move. However, here is what I do know:

    1. Since Sean Payton has been in New Orleans, the Saints are 49-31. Considering that the Saints had been irrelevant losers for most all of their franchise history, that record is pretty good.

    2. Payton’s team has been to the playoffs three times in five years.

    3. Payton’s team has won the Super Bowl once.

With those facts on the table, may I say clearly and distinctly to the fans of the New Orleans Saints:

      Get Over Yourselves!

The city of New Orleans suffered a great tragedy when Hurricane Katrina struck. However, the sensitivity period for that tragedy is over; New Orleans is no longer a victim of anything that is not self-inflicted; Sean Payton owes nothing whatsoever to the city of New Orleans or the State of Louisiana – - except for his tax filings there.

I mention that New Orleans has self-inflicted problems and one of them is where the city is located. New Orleans is in “hurricane country”; that is a fact of geography and climate that will not change. New Orleans sits on the banks of the largest river in North America. That is a fact of geography. Moreover, New Orleans is a city built at sea level – - or in parts just a bit below sea level. At some future time, it is a certainty that another monstrously large hurricane will hit the city with the same force – - or a greater force – - than Hurricane Katrina did. When – - not if, when – - that happens, there will be similar destruction leveled on the city and the people who have chosen to live there. Those future folks will probably claim “victimhood” then too – - but until then, the clock has run out on New Orleans’ claims to deference from the rest of the country.

From my perspective, Sean Payton – - father of two young children – - may simply have decided that the school system and educational opportunities for his kids might be better in a Dallas suburb than in the school system of New Orleans. If that were his decision process, it would be polite for him not to say that publicly and for him to just move his family quietly to the Dallas suburb. Perhaps the caterwauling folks in New Orleans might be a lot more put off if Payton candidly told everyone the basis for his decision.

Finally, here is some insight from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:

“The USPA national skydiving championships just ended. As far as I’m concerned, every competitor who didn’t die tied for first place.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

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Comments

  • Rich  On February 17, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Schlichter had a sports radio show here in Las Vegas about seventeen years ago, until he came some trouble involving some bad checks. If I remember correctly he admitted that he was losing money on parlays in the sports books. Didn’t he blow his football career by gambling?

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 21, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Rich:

    Indeed, Schlichter gambled his way out of the NFL. As I recall, he had been involved in betting horses and sports for a while but when the NFL had one of its work stoppages in the 80s, he turned his life over to gambling pursuits and seems never to have gotten it back.

    I did not realize he ever had a radio show in Vegas. Given his inability to regulate his gambling, that would be like having a diabetic work in a Dunkin’ Donuts…

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