Saturday, April 17

Tim Povtak owes his readers a refund

OK, I already mentioned this bit of silliness in my last Downtown Report, but it's 1 am and I'm bored waiting for the Tribe game to kick on, so it's time to pull apart this LeBron hatchet job from Fanhouse writer Tim Povtak. It's an article of breathtaking inanity with a big 'ol helping of self-righteousness. You'll love it.

LeBron James Owes Fans a Refund
I looked you up, Povtak: "He has been covering both the league and the Magic since 1989, working previously for the Orlando Sentinel." You toad! You're a Magic fan! No wonder you've decided to write an anti-LeBron piece. Thought I wouldn't notice, eh? As a Cavalier supporter, I would never write an anti-Dwight Howard piece. :)

LeBron James today needs to take the $192,437 he is paid for each game he plays -- or doesn't play -- and divide it evenly among the 20,562 people who bought tickets to the Cavs-Magic game Sunday afternoon.
He owes them each a refund check for $9.35.

I woulda rounded up to $9.36 - he's good for it. Shouldn't the people in more expensive seats get a bigger share if we're so interested in fairness? You're right, I'm missing the point, which is that this is a totally stupid idea.

That's the least he should do for mocking every fan at the arena who paid to see him play. Cavs ownership that encouraged him should pay the rest of each ticket price, and mail those checks immediately.
Did he personally mock them? Did he wander around to each seat and rip on people? That would have been funny. Did I mention what a dumb idea this is? I can't seem to take him seriously in the first sentence of my rebuttals yet. His ideas aren't close enough to real ideas that they grab my attention enough to warrant direct response. By the way, if I had gone to this game and received a check, I would frame it.

James, with the blessing of coach Mike Brown, sat out his third consecutive game Sunday, not because he was hurt,
Stop right there. He's hurt, just not injured. Let's not pretend like he's 100%. It's a rough game. Continue...

but because he wanted to rest up for the playoffs.
This is where Povtak should point out how James has played tons of games in the past few seasons, including his summer gig with Team USA, and that this rest almost certainly figures to help the Cavs' chances at capturing that elusive first NBA Championship. I have a feeling Povtak's going in a different direction.

Joe Hardhat, who paid a day's wage three months ago to buy two good seats so his son could see his first Cavs game Sunday, deserves better treatment than this.
Oh no, we've invoked Joe Hardhat to rally support for the common man. Such Populism! Who spends an entire day's wages on a Cavaliers game? That's serious financial mismanagement. Wouldn't Hardhat buy $25 seats in Loudville? If he only makes $50 a day, he should look for a new job and try to save more instead of blowing it on Cavs games. Either way, Povtak, don't think you slipped that "day's wage" thing past me, because it's flatly wrong. Did Sarah Palin ghost-write this?

It's arrogance at the NBA's worst.
Do I have to bother pointing out the irony of Povtak calling something arrogant after this piece? You'd think the entire Cavalier team refused to take the floor, then lit cigars with $100 bills and then each took turns on the mic telling fans how they weren't as good of people as NBA players. It was actually kind of a close game, ya know.

It's why James never will earn the respect that was once given to Michael Jordan.
Not true at all. Needless invoking of Jordan. You, sir, Tim Povtak, are a hack.

Maybe James should think again about that number change to honor him.
Ha, that number change is to sell more jerseys, don't kid yourself. Maybe he can use the proceeds to refund fans for committing the unspeakable crime of being the best player on the best team in the NBA and resting in an effort to prepare himself for a championship run.

It's why he just lost my vote for NBA Most Valuable Player.
Then you should never be allowed to vote on NBA awards ever again. It's that simple. I appreciate you coming forward and admitting that you have a reasoning deficiency. I know it's not easy.

If he doesn't think it's important enough to play all 82 -- or at least try -- then he isn't good enough to be the MVP.
He played 76. Past winners: 81 (LeBron, you'll recall), 82, 78, 79, 75. Is LeBron's 76 this year really so egregious?

If stars like James think it's too taxing to play 82 games,
Quit this misleading, patronizing bullshit.

then they should offer to reduce salaries during the upcoming collective bargaining talks, and ask to play fewer games. Or set up a refund system.
Great idea - pass it along to the union. You, sir, are a genius. I take back all the "hack" comments in light of this brilliant display of business acumen.

James wants to be treated like the game's best player,
Because he is, by far.

but he doesn't want to carry the responsibility that comes with it.
Of all the NBA players who've shirked responsibility as ambassadors of the game, LeBron is a weird choice to criticize.

Fans don't buy $100 tickets to watch him sit in a nice suit, chatting up Shaquille O'Neal on the sideline. O'Neal was recovering from a broken thumb. James was stealing money.
Most tickets are way less than that - stop trying to buttress your weak points with fake economics. Plus, I think the fans watched, I don't know, the rest of the Cavaliers, who were very nearly derailing the rival Magic, who were operating at full strength. Did you see the game? And the "stealing money" thing is lame, though it would have been funny had LeBron held a bag with a big "$" on it during the game. Can Povtak not see that that money was earned by leading the Cavaliers to the league's best record? Is that really such a difficult point to grasp? Sometimes I leave at 4 on Friday if I get my week's work done early.

Forget that it's a nationally-televised game. Those people can just turn off the television, and tune in something else. Don't feel sorry for them.
OK, I won't. I watched it and rather liked it, though it's too bad we couldn't pull it out. Good effort, though.

Feel sorry for the guy in section 118, row F, seat 6 who watched Jamario Moon get introduced in the starting lineup.
After scrimping and saving for years just to be able to afford one seat, in Section 118, Row F, Seat 6, this poor fellow was subjected to the ultimate humiliation: Jamario Moon's pre-game introduction. And they served him nachos with salsa and cheese instead of double cheese like he requested! You know what? I like Jamario Moon. He had 12 points, 3 boards, and 2 steals on 5-9 shooting.

Although this happens throughout the league late in the season, that doesn't make it right. It's something the league needs to address during these CBA talks. Players are paid richly to entertain, and there is no entertainment value in seeing James smiling on the sideline.
Except the rest of the team. Basketball is a team game.

This is not like Kevin Garnett in Boston taking a night off.
Yes it is. It's exactly the same.

This is LeBron James, the center of the Cleveland universe, Mr. Miraculous, and the only player who matters when you go to watch a Cavs game.
Except the rest of the team. Basketball is a team game.

There is no debating his wonderful and unbelievable talents. It's the commitment you should question.
I can't even tell if Povtak is serious at this point. Do we actually think that LeBron James is not committed to being the best basketball player in the world and that he is not completely 100% focused on winning the NBA Championship right now? You cannot possibly question his commitment to this team. Povtak's runaway train of nonsense just went flying off the rails.

Although he likes to think he knows NBA history, he must not.
Just admire that sentence.

The greatest thing about Jordan was that he played every game he could. He loved the game, and he respected the fans, something James hasn't learned just yet.
Again with the Jordan nonsense. Jordan didn't respect anyone - he has a competitive disorder. And are we suggesting that LeBron doesn't love to play basketball? Thin ice we're skating on here.

Yes, the Cavs already had clinched the No. 1 seed through the playoffs, but that should not matter.
Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. It totally matters. That's all that matters. You should have said this much earlier in your article.

It didn't matter to Jordan, who played 82 games nine times in his career.
Who cares?

Jordan played all 82 in 1995-96, 1996-97, and 1997-98 – when the Bulls clinched early and won 72, 69 and 62 games, respectively.
So what? Did he get an extra NBA title for it? Perfect attendance certificate? This has nothing whatsoever to do with LeBron's situation. I wonder if Povtak has taken a few minutes away from worshiping Jordan and considered that maybe LeBron has some mild injuries that might benefit from some rest?

He cut back his minutes, but he never cut back his responsibility to the game and the fans.
Except for the two-year gambling suspension when the Rockets won those two titles. In all seriousness, Povtak is criticizing LeBron during an MVP season for sitting out a few games at the end, contrasting him unfavorably to a guy who decided not to play at all for two years in his prime but who somehow "never cut back his responsibility to the game." I'm speechless.

He even played all 82 in his last season, in Washington, when he wasn't very good anymore,
Is that a good thing? What if I played 82 games for an NBA team? I'm not very good, at least not by NBA standards. Can we stop talking about Michael Jordan?

when he was 40 years old. He did it because it was the right thing to do, something the Cavs forgot to tell James.
He did it because he was psycho-competitive, even when it might have benefitted him to take it easy for a bit and let someone better play. Even if it was the Wizards and they probably didn't have better players, especially with Jordan spending so much of his energy ruining Kwame Brown.

Apparently, James never watched the old school guys like Karl Malone and John Stockton in Utah,
Betcha he did.

who combined to play every game a whopping 27 times in their careers.
Awesome. Neither of them ever won an NBA title.

If the Cavs weren't so nervous about James bolting town in free agency this summer, maybe they would have reminded him.
Nonsense. This decision was made in the club's best interest.

Instead Brown has treated the end of the regular season like exhibition games. He should know better.
Not just exhibition games, but more like Harlem Globetrotters games. I almost peed my pants when Z threw that bucket of confetti at the Generals' bench. If by "know better" you mean "risk injury needlessly," then we're having a good conversation here.

James isn't the only one with normal bumps and bruises that come with an NBA season.
Let's pretend like he doesn't take far more abuse than the average player.

Magic center Dwight Howard takes more of a pounding than anyone in the league, forced to endure endless hard fouls because opponents know he can't make free throws. Howard, by contrast, is likely to play the last two games, giving him 82 for the fifth time in six years.
I bet Dewey wishes his team had clinched early so he could relax for a bit. Maybe he could work on his FT's during the break, film some ads with Barkley, take in a sermon. And the Magic suck by the way. Didn't want to get through this whole article without taking an unprovoked potshot at them!

While I'm here, I don't defend this just as a Cavaliers fan. Recall a few years ago when the Browns needed Indianapolis to win to secure a playoff spot but the Colts rested Peyton Manning and other key players because the game meant nothing to them. Even though it cost my team a shot at the postseason, I defended and still defend the move because it was the right thing for the team to do. You play to win championships. You do what your organization feels is best.

If James wants some rest, he should reduce his playing time significantly, and sit out the second half.
Because that's a lot different. He should get a hyperbaric chamber too.

It's just not fair to the paying customers, who are too often forgotten by the me-first players like James.
Are we implying that LeBron is lazy and selfish? If so, we've entered a weird Parallel Universe.

Howard isn't the only one who plays every night. Kevin Durant, who is dueling James for the scoring title, wasn't afraid to play every night.
OKC is fighting for playoff position and the scoring title is meaningless. Make some more non-points, please.

Neither was Amare Stoudemire.
Is that really where you want to go? Not only is Amare the epitome of a me-first player on the court, here are his career game-played totals
82, 55, 80, 3, 82, 79, 53, 82

There are many others.
Are there many others who are the best player in the world and play on the best team in the league?

James has yet to finish a season by playing in all 82 games, which will be a clear mark against him when he is judged against the all-time great players in NBA history.
OMG, no it won't! This assertion is completely laughable. No one will ever, for one second, hold this against LeBron. Are we sure this article isn't satire? Did I fall for a trick? Was it back-dated to April 1? LeBron has averaged over 78 games per season, consistently ranking among the league leaders in minutes played while doing so. Jordan averaged just under 73 his first seven years.

Does he really respect the game?
Absolutely. He knows that the only objective that matters is an NBA Championship, and he's giving himself and his team the best possible chance to win that for themselves and for Cavaliers fans. That's all you need to know. That answer could have saved you the trouble of writing this dumb article and me responding to it.

Did your man Jordan respect the game when he went to play minor-league baseball for two years during his prime? Are these lost years a "clear mark" against him when he's judged against the all-time great players in NBA history? I'm going to go ahead and say no, since you omitted it from your lovefest and Jordan is universally acknowledged as the GOAT. If LeBron keeps up this production at ~78 games a season and wins a few titles, and someone actually brings up as a negative that he never hit 82 in a year, that person is completely insane.

The Cavs finish the regular season Wednesday in Atlanta. If he is healthy, James owes it to the NBA to be in uniform.
Nope, he sure doesn't. For what it's worth, Atlanta is sitting four of its starters. Are you planning a piece to hate on Joe Johnson? Now, if LeBron sits out the Playoff opener (the Cavs open at home because they have the NBA's best record), then we've got a complaint. I think he'll suit up.

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