I'm generally quite tolerant of soccer haters.
I used to be one. I get it. I 100% empathize with those that don't dig the other football.
There is one thing I won't abide, however. The first round of the World Cup came under heavy criticism in some circles for a distinct lack of goals. Though this is a normal occurrence caused by teams playing tight in their first match, some decided that the low scoring games were reason enough to mock. A reader noted that a Boston talk show host mocked the World Cup by betting the under in every game and won virtually every bet in the first round. Hardy-har har.
Normally, I'd let such teasing go good-naturedly. That was before I watched last night's Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
ANYONE who attacks soccer for a lack of scoring and says it's not as exciting as the NBA lacks all credibility.
What I witnessed last night was the lowest form of hoops I could imagine. In what should have been one of the great games in history we had to witness Kobe "Please no one ever compare me to MJ or Magic or any great player ever again because I don't even come close to deserving it" Bryant (hey it beats his old nickname: Kobe "I'm a rapist" Bryant) go an eye gouging 6-24 from the floor.
Here are the two most iconic exchanges from last night:
Paul Pierce gets his pocket picked by Ron Artest. Pierce turns around and strips Artest right back. He then kicks out to Rasheed Wallace for a wide open three. Airball. The Lakers rebound and release down court. Kobe goes up for a 17-footer in transition and gets blocked. Ugh.
Here's another favorite of mine. Lamar Odom misses a wide open three which bricks back to the three point line. Derek Fisher grabs the rebound and then promptly dribbles it off his foot. Kill me now.
After all that nonsense, Kobe wins the MVP and has people saying he's greater than Magic. Please. What I saw last night was not excellent defense. It was a sloppy, unwatchable mess. The highlight of the night was when Jeff Van Gundy had the good sense to say what everyone was thinking, "This is the worst played offensive game I've ever seen." At one point, I wanted a black hole of suck to open at center court swallowing Kobe, KG, both benches, Artest, Rondo, David Stern, and the entire cast of Grown Ups.
It would have been fitting.
It's not like it was just this series. Folks, I tried to watch the NBA playoffs. All year I kept hearing about all the young stars and the renaissance of good play and how the NBA was better than ever. All I saw for the last two months was garbage. It just so happens that Thursday night's game was possibly the worst played Game 7 in any sport in any year since the dawn of the number 7 itself, but it wasn't the exception. It's what the NBA is now and has been all playoffs.
So, if you don't like soccer. Fine. I have no beef with you. Just don't tell me it's because of a lack of offense or that it's not as exciting as high flying sports like basketball. I'm not buying it. I'll take USA Slovenia (even with a referee who is apparently unfamiliar with the rules of soccer and is incapable of discerning between a cheek and a hand) any day of the week and twice on Sunday over the nightmare that is the NBA.
By the way, I hope that talk show host kept making those under bets in the second round. He'd be on his way to losing his shirt.