Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Stern Programming: “Vice” over “Dallas”

The NBA Loves The 80’s

During the 1980s, many memorable shows dominated the TV airwaves.

Cheers. Dynasty. The A-Team. Dallas. Family Ties. L.A. Law. The Cosby Show. Miami Vice. Roseanne. Hill Street Blues.

Only two of those classic TV shows will receive blockbuster big-screen adaptations in the next year-and-a-half—Dallas and Miami Vice.

While both remakes are expected to be major box office hits, Miami Vice will likely end up becoming the bigger success story.

Miami Vice has Jamie Foxx, perhaps the hottest young movie star in America. Vice has Michael Mann, the award-winning Writer/Director. Vice has Colin Farrell, and while his acting isn’t always De Niro-esque, the Irishman is Hollywood’s latest Fonz. Finally, Vice has the bright lights and beautiful people of South Beach.

Dallas has Luke Wilson, whose career is just “Luke” warm compared to Foxx’s sizzle. Dallas has Gurinder Chadha, who, since you haven’t heard of her, directed Bend It Like Beckham. Dallas has John Travolta, who also is no De Niro, and unlike Farrell, hasn’t achieved Fonzie status since the late 70’s. Finally, Dallas’ homely backdrop can’t compare to the glamour and glitz of Vice’s location

Kinda reminds me of the NBA Finals.

The Miami Heat have Dwyane Wade, one of the best players in the NBA and People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People.” The Heat have Pat Riley, the championship-winning Head Coach. The Heat have Shaquille O’Neal, and while he definitely won’t be mistaken for De Niro, the Big Malapropism is still the NBA’s Fonz. And yes, the Heat have the bright lights and beautiful people of South Beach.

Shaq’s pretty cool, but this cool?

The Dallas Mavericks best player, Dirk Nowitzki, is a lanky German that resembles Scooby-Doo’s Shaggy. The Mavericks Head Coach, Avery Johnson, sounds like he just inhaled a balloon-full of helium. The Mavericks Owner, Mark Cuban, is an ex-computer geek so uncool he makes Technology Kip look Fonz-like. And once again, Dallas’ backdrop ain’t got jack on Miami’s.

Based on marketability, that’s an easy pick. Right?

That’s just the thing—you don’t pick in sports. Ever hear the expressions “let ‘em play” or “may the best man win?” Sure, they are trite, but they are also true. The reason we fell in love with sports in the first place is because sometimes History writes better storylines than we could ever conceive ourselves. I say let History pick up the quills and do its thing.

Unfortunately, NBA Commissioner David Stern doesn’t agree.

Not only has Stern and his regime favored the Heat during these NBA Finals because of the abovementioned reasons, but also because of his disdain for Cuban. Let’s just say that Cuban and Stern have had some tiffs in the past, usually over the policies of the league and the performance of its officials.

As a result of both the appeal of the Miami Heat and his hatred of Cuban, Stern seems hell-bent on making O’Neal and Wade Miami’s most popular duo since Vice’s Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs.

Since I’ve made the accusations, here is the evidence…


The Odds are Stack-ed Against ‘Em

In Game 4, Mavs G Jerry Stackhouse impeded what would have been an easy Shaq dunk with what used to be a "good, clean, hard foul." In fact, even the refs officiating the game didn’t believe that the foul was excessive. They only issued Stackhouse a Flagrant One foul. I think Wade’s knee-jerk reaction to mediate a potential fight made the foul look more severe than it actually was.

Stackhouse is a well-respected player that has been accused of being “soft,” but never, ever of being a bully. He simply wanted to keep Shaq, a horrendous free-throw shooter, from getting two easy points. That is no easy task. Stackhouse had no idea how hard he would have to contact Shaq in order to prevent an easy flush, so he went for the ball hard, getting a lot of body in the process. And when a 340 lb man hits the ground after running at full speed, it will always look bad.

Stackhouse’s one-game suspension is a joke. Sacramento Kings F Ron Artest, the NBA’s version of Mike Tyson, received a one-gamer for maliciously going after Manu Ginobli in a blowout. Heat F Udonis Haslem received a one-gamer for chucking his mouthpiece at a ref. Mavs G Jason Terry and Nuggets F Reggie Evans both received one-gamers for trying to rearrange their opponents man-atomy.

And Stack gets a one-game vacation for what used to be a “good, clean, hard foul?” This is simple—Stern saw his chance to aid the Heat in this series and pounced. Call me clinically insane, but I really believe that Stackhouse, possibly the NBA’s best sub, would have made a difference in the Mavs’ Game 5 101-100 OT loss to the Heat.

Dwyane’s World

Game 5 free-throw attempts: Dwayne Wade 25, Dallas Mavericks 24.

Now I understand team’s getting a call here and there at home, but this is getting re-freakin’-diculous. Wade is a damn good player, arguably as good as any in the league today. But all of a sudden the third-year marvel is getting treatment that I’m not even sure M.J. used to get back in the day. The most free throws that his Airness ever attempted during his prolific 15-year career was 27. The numbers just don’t add up.

To make matters worse, the refs handed Wade the game-winning points on a silver platter. First, it looked like there was a backcourt violation when he caught the inbounds pass with 9.1 seconds left in overtime. Second, even though he drew a foul on his drive to the hoop with 1.9 seconds remaining, it appeared that he was the one who was out of control. Wade even knocked Jason Terry down to the floor.

Nonetheless, despite both the apparent backcourt violation and the phantom foul, Wade was awarded two free throws. He calmly stepped up and knocked down both shots, giving the Heat the 101-100 victory.

Out Of Time?

The NBA and Game 5 refs Joey Crawford and Joe DeRosa stand by the claim that Mavs F Josh Howard boneheadedly burned the Mavs final timeout in-between Wade’s decisive free throws. Crawford says that Howard was looking right at DeRosa when he signaled “timeout.”

That is complete B.S.

Howard has vehemently denied this claim, saying that he “was looking straight at Coach" when he made the signal. I watched the entire game. It was obvious to me that Howard was communicating with Johnson over when to call the Mavs’ final timeout. I understand that Howard has to be more alert during late-game situations, but the refs also have to allow players to communicate with their coaches.

The refs jumped all over the Mavs communication breakdown. Although they won’t admit it, it was a subtle way to ensure Stern’s Game 5 objective—another Heat victory.


Stay Tuned

With two home games still remaining on the TV Guide, the Mavs still have a remote chance to foil Stern’s master programming. The Mavs could do that by winning both games, wrapping up the NBA Finals with a shocking season finale—The Dallas Mavericks first NBA Championship.

It’s inevitable—the 2006 season of Dallas will end tragically.

But from where I am sitting, with my TV Dinner, it certainly looks like Stern will make sure that the NBA Finals have an ending that is more faithful to the two original shows. With Wade and Shaq, Vice’s new uber-cool duo, on top, and Dallas’ new J.R. Ewing, Cuban, shot down.

If that happens, instead of all these “Nowitzness” t-shirts, we’ll start seeing some “Stern Shot J.R” ones.


At 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved the outcome of Game 5! It was a visual orgasm! Though Avery Johnson's "Time-Out" claim will be the most controversial call of the year, it serves them right. The Mavs think they're the new "Bad Boys" (circa Detroit Pistons late 80's, early 90's) but those Home Wins got'em shook. How funny was it seeing Mark Cuban pick an argument w/ a bunch of geeks at the end? Yeah, he lost $250,000 for the incident, which he can wipe his butt with, butt I love watching his "Franchise" go down in flames. Doesnt Mark Cuban remind you of a a baby who can't get his way with his mom? He looks like the kid in school who always went to Time Out. I just hope the Heat doesn't make a fool outta me and the other Anti Mavs. Then again, Mr. Cuban is known for financing films...maybe he's not alll that bad! lol. -Judaz

At 4:29 PM, Blogger Adam Best said...

Judaz, my man, I actually like Cuban. I wish most sports owners cared even 1/8th as much as he does. My vendetta lies with Stern, who as a Pacer fan, he has wounded deeply. I have seen enough from his regime and his officials to cry foul. I agree with Cuban, the NBA "is not rigged." However, some teams do receive a little preferential treatment, like the Heat are right now against the Mavs. I just want the best team to win.

Did you actually refer to the Mavs as the "Bad Boys?" LOL!

At 1:19 PM, Blogger Kodijack said...

Stackhouse known as being soft? Are you high? That is not the reputation of Stackhouse that I have heard. I have heard that he always has his teammate's back, is a professional, and tells it like it is. Interesting.

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Adam Best said...

I am definitely not high. All I am saying is that Stackhouse is much closer to being a poor man's Vince Carter than a poor man's Ron Artest. He's never been considered a physical player. Ever. Now, at this point in his career, he is considered to be a consummate professional that has his team's back. That wasn't always the case. In the early years, he might has well of been called Stathouse.


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