Couldn't agree more. Berman is one of the top 10 (wait...let's double check ESPN's roster...), top 5 talents ESPN has. In fact, I propose a White House petition to bring back, back, back, back, back the Berman/Jackson NFL Primetime.
Like most of you, I watched the LeBron James train wreck (or Lebaclation, as I like to call it) on Thursday night. I was actually looking forward to it because unlike all of the reality shows on television, this was actually real. Would LeBron spit in the face of his fans and pick Miami, or would he stay loyal and choose Cleveland? It almost had an NFL Draft-type feel to it.
When LeBron said "South Beach," I had an uneasy feeling in my stomach. Maybe it was from all the burritos I had eaten. More likely though, it was caused by watching this self-proclaimed "King" make himself look like a complete douche bag by selling out his hometown.
At that point, I decided that LeBron would probably be one of my upcoming Jerks of the Week. And then I saw Josh W. post the following on my Facebook wall:
Walt, I will be enraged of Leb***h isn't a Jerk of the Week this week, it will jeopardize my readership if he isn't one.
Well, that settles it! I don't want to lose a reader, so here are 10 points I want to make about "LeB***h's" Lebaclation:
1. LeBron is a Narcissistic Douche: When Michael Jordan returned from baseball to rejoin the Bulls, did he hold an hour-long press conference on ESPN? Nope. He just said, "I'm back." And as Jason Whitlock pointed out on Twitter, Jordan never called himself "Air Jordan." LeBron, meanwhile, created a Twitter account called "KingJames." Umm... don't you have to win something before you call yourself "King?" And even then, you're still being a narcissistic a-hole.
Anyone who defends LeBron and bashes Brett Favre for his prima donna attitude is a hypocrite. What LeBron did was far worse than anything Favre has done over the years. Sure, ESPN covers Favre ad nauseum, but Favre never called for an hour-long special announcing his decision. LeBron is a loathsome egomaniac for doing so.
2. Why Jim Gray? As if LeBron's reality TV show wasn't enough, he had to conduct an interview with Jim Gray, the a**hole of all a**holes.
Seriously, if you're going to draw all of this attention to yourself, paint yourself a narcissistic jerk and spit in your former fans' faces on national TV, can you at least get someone likeable to interview you?
And why stop at Jim Gray? Why not just go one step up the scumbag scale and get Osama bin Laden, Bernie Madoff or Satan to conduct the interview? Or since you think you're so awesome, why not just ask yourself the questions, LeBron? Maybe it's because...
3. LeBron is the Next Emmitt: I REALLY REALLY REALLY hope that LeBron goes into television once his career is over because he might be worse than Emmitt Smith. In about 30 minutes of interview time, LeBron gave us gems like...
"This whole free agent experience. I'm looking forward to it."
Looking forward to it? This show is the conclusion of it! Am I missing something here?
"It's been heavy a lot."
The opposite of this would be "it's seldom been light." Yeah, that doesn't make much sense either.
"The things that the Miami Heat franchise have done."
Ahh, the classic have/has confusion that Emmitt always struggled with. I miss Emmitt.
"In the seven years I've gave to that franchise..."
Not sure, but based on all the green lines, I think my Microsoft Word wants to kill me for typing up that sentence.
"Miami is a great organ-I-zation."
David Kay stole my thunder here when he wrote, "Is LeBron from Canada and nobody told me? Why did he keep saying organ-I-zation?" I guess LeBron has to build a hoos down in Miami, eh?
"You win championships as a team, from top to bottom, from the players, to the owners and the people in the concession stands."
Pat Riley better make sure he has sharp people running those concession stands!
"I know how loyal I am."
Really, LeBron? You said this as a joke, right?
4. LeBron Doesn't Know the Meaning of Loyalty: What bothers me the most is that LeBron did this whole dog and pony show to announce that he's abandoning his hometown. If he really wanted to move on to Miami, why would he make a big fuss about it? Why put his former fans through this?
The only way I would have been OK with this ridiculous hour-long special is if LeBron said something like, "I really considered going to Miami because the appeal of playing with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh was very tempting, but in the end, I can't leave my hometown and my fans." Now that's loyalty.
Again, I'm not chastising LeBron for picking Miami. It's HOW he picked Miami.
And because I love to compare things to Karate Kid (as I did with the Taylor Mays situation during the 2010 NFL Draft), imagine if Daniel LaRusso held a press conference two months after his first karate tournament and announced that he was joining the Cobra Kai dojo. Sadly, I think the same people would defend LaRusso by saying, "He just wants to win and he's taking less money! He's not arrogant!"
5. Cleveland is Finished: I'm not talking about the Cavaliers here. I'm referring to the actual city of Cleveland.
Cleveland is bankrupt. I can bore you with the details, and discuss what its corrupt mayors have done and how I would fix things, but that would just anger some naive people. What's important now is that Cleveland businesses will reportedly lose a collective $45 MILLION this year in the wake of LeBron's departure.
As a result, these businesses will have to do one of three things: close down for good, leave the city or fire workers. Either way, unemployment will grow and Cleveland's corrupt mayors will have to raise taxes even further, driving the city further into bankruptcy. All because Loyal LeBron left.
6. Cleveland Fans are Awesome: When LeBron announced that he was taking his "talents" to South Beach, I wrote the following on the forum: "Every Cavs fan should torch their LeBron jersey right now."
An hour later, ESPN cameras caught Cavalier fans burning their LeBron jerseys. Thanks for reading the site, guys!
7. Dan Gilbert is My New Favorite Owner: If you haven't seen it yet, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert lost his mind hours after LeBron announced that he's moving to South Beach. Here's Gilbert's response.
Forget the crazy giant blue font and the capitalized letters for a second because this was awesome. Did Gilbert go a little overboard with the name-calling? Probably. But I love his passion. He's agonizing over this just like every Cavaliers fan is right now.
If I'm from Cleveland, I'm at least happy that my basketball team's owner cares this much because many owners just don't give a damn. For example, if the Philadelphia 76ers lost a player like LeBron in this fashion, Chairman Ed Snider would probably ask, "Huh? What just happened? We had someone named LeBron on our team? Well, I'm glad he's gone because I hate French people!"
Thanks to Gilbert's response, I'm adopting the Cavaliers as my second-favorite NBA team. Sure, they're going to win 10-12 games next year, but I'll be rooting for them - especially when they play LeBron.
8. LeChoke Artist: To continue with Gilbert's tirade, he brought up a great point:
"He quit [in the Celtics playoff series] ... Not just in Game 5, but in Games 2, 4 and 6. Watch the tape. The Boston series was unlike anything in the history of sports for a superstar."
He's absolutely right. In fact, I referred to James as "Zombie LeBron" in my NBA Picks page this May after he quit on his team in the second round.
LeBron's only 25, so he still has time to mature. But as of right now, I see him as a quitter and a loser. I don't want someone like that on my team, no matter how talented he is. I'll gladly take Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and...
9. Dwyane Wade: Great tweet from Boombox77:
LeBron needs Wade. Because unlike LeBron, Wade has the heart of a champion.
LeBron may be a gutless prima donna, but the Heat will always be a championship contender because Wade will be there to bail LeBron out.
And because LeBron is now paired with Wade, the Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant comparisons are now nullified; when his career is over, LeBron can only be compared to the greatest second bananas in NBA history, like Scottie Pippen or Kevin McHale - unless LeBron actually grows a pair. For now, Miami is Wade's team; not LeBron's.
10. "But LeBron Took Less Money to Sign with Miami!" I puked just writing that sentence. Anyone who uses that statement as a defense for LeBron needs to realize a few things:
First of all, let's not forget that LeBron saves $10 million by signing with Miami because Florida has no state income tax. I love how most people are ignoring this. So, whatever LeBron signs for with the Heat, just add $10 million to that total.
Second, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard, LeBron didn't sign with the Bulls because they didn't provide enough "perks" for him, his family and his friends. LeBron reportedly asked for some stuff, but according to Broussard, the Bulls said "we didn't do that for Michael Jordan, so we're not doing it for you."
And third, LeBron will be in a much larger market in Miami than he was in Cleveland. He'll have more advertising and sponsorship opportunities with the Heat. So while LeBron will make less on his contract, he'll get tons of revenue from other places.
So that's why LeBron James is a Jerk of the Week. If you agree with me, awesome. If you disagree with me, I'm sorry that you just don't get it. But either way, I'm willing to bet that you're glad I didn't use giant blue Comic Sans font to get my points across.
JERK OF THE WEEK NO. 2: OfficeMax
Two weeks ago, I stepped into OfficeMax for the first time. I was looking for a new computer desk for my house, and I heard that unlike Staples, OfficeMax had some good office furniture.
I found this black desk I really liked that came along with a filing cabinet and complementary shelves. So, I decided to buy it. The guy at the front informed me that if I want someone from OfficeMax to come put the three items together, I'd have to pay extra.
That makes sense, right? I figured I'd have to pay $50, $75 or $100 at the most. That seems fair. However, once I looked at the price list later on, I realized that it would cost me $285 ($95 per item). To quote that annoying little brat on Full House, "What a rip-off!" (Hey, I was in the hospital to get some x-rays recently, and they had Full House on the TV in the waiting room. I swear that's where this reference came from.)
So, whatever. I'd get someone to help me put the desk together. Unfortunately, that was the least of my concerns regarding OfficeMax.
My furniture arrived last Wednesday. The delivery guy unloaded two boxes out of his truck. He wheeled the first one into my house and asked, "Where do you want this box, 'round hmyaw?"
I told him I wanted it placed upstairs. He shook his head and replied, "Come on mang, I wasn't even supposed to bring this box inside right? They told me to leave it on the front step, round 'hmyaw."
Are you kidding me, OfficeMax? You told the delivery guy to leave my furniture outside my front door? What kind of service is that?
So, this delivery guy wheeled the second box in and then drove away. I normally tip, but this guy was a lazy douche and didn't deserve any extra money. Besides, I only had about a dozen $1 bills on me, so I didn't want to look lame by giving him a pile of ones like he was some stripper.
At any rate, my kitchen table arrived the next day. I noticed that the OfficeMax boxes were blocking the path to the kitchen (thanks, lazy douche). I tried to move them, and I suddenly realized why the lazy delivery guy didn't want to wheel them upstairs. They were super heavy - think Rosie O'Donnell and Sally Struthers combined.
Later that day, I went swimming. After finishing up my mile, I got out of the pool quickly to talk to this new hot Asian lifeguard when I threw out my back.
How pathetic is that? I debacled my back trying to get out of a pool. What am I, 65 years old? I later realized that it was a repercussion from moving those two boxes and then swimming, but still - I can't game hot Asian lifeguards when I'm seemingly hurting my back so easily.
The next day, I went back to the house. Looking at the two boxes, I realized that the complementary shelves I ordered weren't pictured anywhere. Upon delivery I assumed they were in one of the two boxes, but I didn't see it written anywhere. I called up OfficeMax, and they told me that the shelves were on back order and will be delivered Tuesday.
Well, thanks for letting me know ahead of time! Seriously, what sort of company does this? If something's on back order, tell me, or have the delivery guy inform me. Don't make me call your stupid number, press 1 for English and have me wait for 15 minutes to speak to someone.
So anyway, the July 4 holiday weekend passes by, and I get a call from some Spanish guy Tuesday morning. "I'll be there 1 o'clock, maybe 2 o'clock at the latest mang," he says. That's good timing, I figure, because I have a doctor's appointment at 3 for my back.
I get to the house at 12:45. I wait for a while, passing the time by typing up my critique of the ESPN Fantasy Football Mock Draft. Suddenly I realize it's 2 p.m. and he's not there yet. I wait a half hour longer and finally call him back.
Me: Hey, do you know when you'll be here because I have a doctor's appointment at 3?
Delivery Guy: Ah yes, I will be there at five, maybe six at the latest mang."
Wow. I can understand running a half hour late, but three hours? What happened to this guy that his schedule got so thrown off in a span of a few hours? Maybe the other lazy delivery guy informed him that "the mang living 'round hmyaw doesn't tip 'round hmyaw."
I went by my house around 7:30, and sure enough, the box was sitting outside my front door. I tried to pick it up, but like the other boxes, it weighed a billion pounds. Fortunately, there weren't any hot Asian lifeguards at my pool that night, or I would have thrown out my back again.
JERK OF THE WEEK NO. 3: The Best Football Player Ever
I haven't fully moved into my new house yet, but I already spotted a neighbor who deserves to be featured on Jerks of the Week.
Two weeks ago, I was sitting outside my front door waiting for Sears to deliver my refrigerator, washer and dryer (yes, they finally figured out that my house wasn't in New Jersey or Buffalo). I was looking through ESPN's Fantasy Football Magazine looking for errors (as I do every year) when I overheard some kid about three houses down from me.
This kid must have been 13 or 14 years old. He was throwing the football around with someone else his age. What made him a jerk is some of the things he yelled to his friend:
"Catch it like this! LIKE THIS!"
The other kid couldn't catch at all. It was embarrassing. Still, Best Football Player Ever made it worse by showing him up. He constantly yelled "Catch it like this!" whenever the ball was sailing toward him. Not everyone can catch, douche - not even some NFL players (cough, Ted Ginn).
"Are you kidding me!?!?!?"
He yelled this every time his friend completely misfired. In all fairness, Best Football Player Ever's friend really sucked. Every pass wobbled, and two attempts hit a Verizon truck parked near their house. One incredibly overthrown pass almost hit my car, which was parked across the street. Basically, he had Derek Anderson-type accuracy.
"Why are you backing away from me!? Stop backing away from me!"
He said this often. The other kid probably kept backing away because he was crapping his pants, scared that Best Football Player Ever would criticize him some more.
"Why are you throwing it so high!?"
He yelled this once. Hilariously, Best Football Player Ever's next throw bounced into the ground.
"Maybe you should start paying attention to me!"
Once he said this, his friend gave up and went inside. Best Football Player Ever undoubtedly proceeded to drink his friend's tears.
The other guy sucked, but still - there's no point in acting like Terrell Owens in a simple game of catch with a friend. It's not like they were training for the local high school football team or anything, and if they were, I'm betting against them every chance I get. (Hey, I'm a degenerate gambler; what can I say?)
The only good thing to come out of this was the comfort in knowing that I have at least one person to make fun of in my new neighborhood. Congratulations, Best Football Player Ever - someone was paying attention to you; just not your crappy football-throwing friend.