Game Time: LeBron is Making Me A Texas Longhorn Fan
Kevin Durant -- the anti-LeBron
It's July, it's the All-Star break, the Astros have reached the "what P.R. grab can we make?" part of the season about six weeks earlier than usual, and if I may say, hiring Jeff Bagwell as hitting coach should have far-reaching ramifications on the ball club that will last at least two or three days.
And then everyone will wake up and realize that this is a team that is just really bad at hitting a baseball. Oh, but we'll all get to (NOSTALGIA ALERT) see Baggy in his uniform one more time -- a uniform that will ironically appear...well...baggy! Go ahead and mark it down, Bagwell will bring the lineup card out against the Reds on Friday, July 23. Biggest lock ever.
So at this point, it's just turned into a personal quest for a Ripkenesque streak of seeing how many blog posts in a row I can somehow tie to LeBron James and my white-hot passionate hatred for the new Three Kings in Miami.
I wrote last Friday that LeBron had done the impossible; he made me a fan of Kobe Bryant, who for me had always ranked somewhere between Longshanks in Braveheart and the terrorists on my most-hated villains list (a list that I actually have in the "Notes" app on my iPhone, that's how vindictive I am).
Friday night's "Welcome to Miami" slurpfest in front of a crowd of several thousand Heat fans (most of whom can now name three players on the team for the first time in their adult lives) only made it worse. Try to get through the first five minutes of this video without booking a flight on Southwest to go down to Miami, find LeBron, and kick him square in the Netherlands (in honor of the World Cup, my new name for "junk").
To be honest, LeBron looked just as awkward and lost at this event as he did on his ESPN primetime special last Thursday night. This time there just happened to be pyro, smoke, and uniforms to distract us from the fact that the enormity of what he's done and what an atrocity he inflicted last week on the city of Cleveland may all be hitting him in the face now. We'll see. Once the ball gets tipped, it may all go away, but right now LeBron has two months to do nothing but think about his new life and the carnage he leaves behind in Ohio. If he's human, it will hit him. Big if...
I actually think Toronto fan should be just as offended by Chris Bosh's act as Cleveland is by LeBron's. I hope they are. While LeBron has come off as a "dear in the headlights" of sorts, maybe not even realizing what he's doing (or more appropriately, being asked to do by his entourage and leeches around him), Bosh has taken every chance possible to take a dump on our friends north of the border with a big grin on his face. Tweets about "hey, where should I go?" before free agency even begins, his admission on Friday that this was in the works for months, and then just the way he screams and preens for the camera at this welcome party -- I mean, I'd tell him to act like he's been there before but does eleven career playoff games constitute "being there before"?
Chris Bosh, you've won nothing. You're a voluntary third wheel, and a lap dog to Wade and LeBron. If you decided to be the main guy on your own team in New Jersey or New York, it would have been the equivalent of moving the Raptors to either of those arenas, actually probably worse. You're lucky to be part of the same draft class as two of the five best players in the league because they need a seven footer to (a) handle some of the dirty business down low and (b) get their coffee and dry cleaning. You're overpaid as much as Wade and LeBron are underpaid. There, now stop mugging for the camera.
Perhaps the most ironic development in Summer Heat 2010 is that I've become a huge fan of two former Texas Longhorns -- ironic because for some reason Longhorn fans that listen to my show think I hate the Longhorns, which isn't true. I neither like nor hate them, I am Longhorn neutral (which may be the problem, I guess -- "What you don't LOVE the Longhorns? Hook 'em, ya little prick ya!")
First there was Kevin Durant, whose contract extension primetime special and subsequent welcome party consisted of a tweet to his followers announcing his new deal and then his going and watching about a hundred summer league games because -- and this is a novel concept -- he LOVES basketball.
Then, last night, Daniel "Boobie" Gibson (Houston native and current Cleveland Cavalier guard) posted this letter to Cavs fans on his website, http://www.boobiefor3.com/, which I would normally just hyperlink to the words "his website" but the fact that the URL sounds like something you'd order off a strip club Happy Hour menu...well, I had to spell it out. "Waitress, a round of snakebites and some Bobbie for 3!"
What Up World,
This Message is Directly for the fans of Cleveland from your adopted son, The one and only Boobie G. As you know i was born and raised in Houston, TX. Never once stayed outside the state for more than two weeks and the time I did, that was for basketball. But after two years of college at the University of Texas I decided to make the jump. You can just imagine how fast my mind was racing going to a city so many miles out of my comfort zone not knowing one single person. But I thank God it was Cleveland! Because From day one the city embraced me and made me feel like I was home. My Second HOME. And as time went on I began to see why we connected. Cleveland is a never die city, city of loyalty, hard-workers, passion, desire, and toughness. A lot of the same characteristics I have in me and that inspired me. So I made a promise to myself that every day I stepped foot on that basketball court I would show the world what Cleveland was all about. Leaving everything i had on the court. So no matter what obstacle was placed in front of me, I would bust right through it. No matter how high, I would get over it. Or how wide I would get around it. N I hope I did that and will continue to do that. I said that to say, I know right now emotions are high, and people are confused about the way things went down. But I'm here to say DO NOT FORGET THAT WE STILL HERE. and WE GONE GRIND!!!! The Cavaliers haven't went anywhere, just lost a piece. Everything in life happens for a reason, Some which we dont understand and never will. Somethings we cant control, But the thing we can control is our passion and our love for city of Cleveland and state of OHIO. And that every single night we take that we floor We Will represent. Blood SweAT and Tears. We will go hard. Just like you. From the bottom to the top, this organization is committed to winning and we wont stop now..... Cant stop now. I LOVE you. We Love YOU. And together We gone make it HAppen. O H I O. Hang in there.
As for me on another note, I'm in LA working on my game so that i may be a key part of this movement next season. The family is doing great. MY wife to be is in the studio every day and night trying to create the best album of her career. Cutting no corners putting her heart in it like never before. With so much new emotion to show the world. My son Daniel Jr. is 4 months now. Everyday he gets bigger. We took him to the doctor yesterday to get two shots. And lil man did not shed a tear. even laughed a little bit. Tough lil dude, something like his daddy LOL. The rest of the fam is back home in Houston working with the DGib Hoops Foundation-Shooting for Success. Helping mainly inner city youth to meet new friends, become more discipline, athletically and academically so that one day they may qualify for scholarships and go on to college and be whatever they want to be. Following a living example. ME... Well thats enough for today, yall stay tuned for my next post and remember if you believe, you can achieve. ANYTHING.
Cleveland Stand up
Now, if he had opted to just sleep on it instead of lashing out three minutes after LeBron announced he was leaving Cleveland, THAT is what Cavs' owner Dan Gilbert probably should have said in his rant (with a few excusable corrections in grammar and syntax). Well, not the part about Boobie's wife making an album and having a four-month-old son. That would be weird. But the first part, about the hard working people of Ohio and loyalty and "Hey, we're still here and whatever doesn't kill us can only make us stronger"...yeah, those parts.
In short, I read this letter and became a Boobie Gibson fan. I always think it's fascinating and very cool when athletes who grow up their whole lives in one area of the country fall in love with a figuratively foreign place and it becomes home for them. Cleveland and Houston are very different. Yet, Boobie Gibson, a lifelong Houstonian, has fallen in love with Cleveland because he identifies with the people there and the organization believed in him. I think that's cool.
So yeah, I dig you, Kevin Durant. I dig you, Boobie Gibson. You guys seem like good guys who, based on the two percent that I actually know about you, I'd want my sons to emulate. (I thought that about Kobe at one time, too, but then Colorado happened...and yet, LeBron has me re-thinking the whole Kobe thing again. I'm just so confused.)
Whatever the case, Longhorn Fan, there is a little part of your university that I now love. That's progress, right? (Aggie Fan begs to differ.) Now if we can just get Dexter Pittman to break Chris Bosh's jaw in practice this fall, then it's on. I'll go all in -- Longhorn ankle tattoo, book it. Me, Shanny, and Simmsy.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the "Sean & John Show" and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.