Say it ain't so Tom.

Sports with Bob McFlurry

I’ve been watching the Cleveland Cavaliers courting of Michigan State coach Tom Izzo for the last week or two. It may be a surprise to you that I’m not most interested in whether he accepts the job and stays on to coach Lebron James. I am most interested in whether or not in the near future Michigan State is brought up on some sort of NCAA violations/sanctions. With high profile coaches like John Calipari and Pete Carroll leaving their programs for other jobs right before they were brought up (publicly) on NCAA sanctions it makes me wonder if Izzo might have some of the same motivation to relocate.

I do not have any proof of anything and I am not accusing Tom Izzo of any wrongdoing, however, it seems weird that after all this time at Michigan State that he might to opt for a pro coaching gig.  Money I guess would be one factor, change of scenery may be another, but there are so many “don’t do it” reasons to stay put in the college ranks where you are (hopefully) comfortable and successful. NBA players aren’t always “coachable”, they don’t necessarily need to listen to the coach to stay on the team and you are stuck with these players until their contracts expire or are traded. In the NCAA I think Izzo more or less looks to reload talent every couple of years, things stay fresh and the kids are looking to win a championship, hustle and play well enough and desperate enough to get drafted. There is obviously a higher level of motivation for the average NCAA player to work hard than the average NBA player who already signed a multi-year contract.

I wish the best for Tom Izzo, if he wants to jump to the pro’s for a position he wants he’s allowed to do so. I just hope it’s not a decision resulting from a pending investigation into NCAA allegations. I don’t think it’s just coincidence that John Callipari and Pete Carroll walked away from their positions right before being sanctioned and because of that we can’t know if Izzo to the Cav’s is any different unless we don’t hear anything in the next year or so.

Lebron James: Duke until proven otherwise.

Sports with Bob McFlurry

24 year old Lebron James, King James, just lost the Eastern Conference Finals to the Orlando Magic.  Now I don’t despise Lebron James but I’ve got a real problem with people crowning Lebron James the Michael Jordan of his era without winning anything.

I’ll agree that he is an ambasador of Basketball, I’ll agree that he is a top 5 player in the league, I’ll agree from sitting behind the visitors bench at a Sixers/Cavs game that Lebron James is a pretty cool individual.

What I can’t do is root for the man.  Not when he’s got a Billion other people rooting for him, not when he’s shaking hands with Jay-Z and not when he’s about to bolt from Cleveland for a Big Market after the coming season.

The guy who is supposed to be the epitome of class and sportsmanship walked off the court tonight without shaking the other teams hands, without congratulating Olympic teammate Dwight Howard on his advance to the Finals and without doing any of the postgame press conferences he so enjoys after a win.

I think lost in this is the win of Patrick Ewing, frontcourt coach for the Magic.  This man delivered on a gaurantee to win the series against defending champion Boston Celtics and now helped coach his most apt pupil to a finals birth over this generations version of Michael Jordan, a feat he could never achieve as a player.

What Lebron James proved to me today is that he could take the Orlando Magic exactly as far as the Sixers took them in the playoffs, 6 games.  He proved to me that he could not get to the NBA Finals with the wealth of talent that was given to him this year.  He proved to me that he may end up to be no better than Allen Iverson given the fact that Iverson took the likes of Tyrone Hill, George Lynch, Aaron McKie and Jumaine Jones to The NBA Final and actually won a game.  To liken each others situation, both had a 4 time Defensive Player of the year on the team and Eric Snow running point. and in both instances Lebron either failed to win a finals game or failed to reach the finals.

Basically until Lebron James is paired with his Scottie Pippen, he is at the mercy of defensive schemes that attack him and only him.  As good as he is and as good as he will be, a team game like Basketball can and will never be won by one person.  The sooner Lebron realizes what Jordan embraced and what Iverson ignored, the closer he will be to the hardware he desires from the NBA.

That may be after this coming season when Lebron is eligible for free-agency.  Or it may seemingly be never, doomed to a career of personal accolades and highlight reels but never the ultimate prize of NBA Champion just like Allen Iverson.

Only time will tell, and at 24, Lebron James (or David Stern) still has time to write his legacy.