The game we love is FSU getting up to 8 points depending on where you place your bets. There is a bit of a revenge factor in this game as FSU upset Gonzaga in the tourney last year. FSU will be playing without Phil Cofer (dealing with the death of his father) and David Nichols (ankle). I still think this is too many points, even if you like the Zags to win I think a cover is asking a lot. Take FSU and the points.
That’s our best bet for the games on 3/28. Bet the rest of today’s games at your own risk.
On Friday we like LSU getting 6 points vs Michigan State. I would feel pretty comfortable betting LSU money line, to be honest. The safer bet is the points, Michigan State probably has less talent than LSU and when you see a more talented team getting points I say take it.
If you bet another game on Friday then I say take the Hokies getting 7.5 vs Duke. I like Duke to win but seven is a lot and if you’re like me and you hate Duke it’s fun to root against them.
I’m back for another deep dive into A Game of Thrones: What was left out. Where I talk about a small part of the books that were omitted from the series. This week we stay with the Lannisters, as we focus on one of the endless follies of Cersei, the Queen regent.
Queen Cersei as she is portrayed in the show is a far more sympathetic figure than the Queen Cersei of the novels. Lena Headly’s portrayal of the Queen is one of a far more cunning and capable ruler. Cersei of the written word is about as capable a ruler as the Mad King.
Each chapter in the series of A Song of Ice and Fire is written from the POV of a specific character. The name in bold next to the chapter denotes whose POV that chapter follows. Queen Cersei doesn’t have a POV chapter until the 4th book, meaning it’s not until A Feast for Crows that we get a peek inside her mind.
From A Feast for Crows: Jamie: Chapter 17
“I govern the realm!”
Seven save us all you do. His sister liked to think of herself as Lord Tywin with teats, but she was wrong. Their father had been as relentless and implacible as a glacier, where Cersei was all wildfire, especially when thwarted.
It certainly seems like Jamie doesn’t see his sister as the ruler her father was, what about Tyrion? This Quote comes from a part of the books that were completely scrubbed from the TV series. Tyrion is traveling to the Dragon Queen in the company of a boy who is presumably the firstborn son of Rhaegar with his Dornish wife Elia. It is to this boy (Aegon) that he is speaking
From A Dance with Dragons: Tyrion: Chapter 19
I would go west instead of east. Land in Dorne and raise my banners. The Seven Kingdoms will never be more ripe for conquest than they are now. A boy king sits the Iron Throne…
Who does that leave? Why only Cersei.
Westeros is torn and bleeding, and I do not doubt that even now my sweet sister is binding up the wounds…with salt. Cersei is as gentle as King Maegor, as selfless as Aegon the Unworthy, as wise as Mad Aerys. She never forgets a slight real or imagined. She takes caution for cowardice and dissent for defienance. And she is greedy. Greedy for power, for honor, for love. Tommens rule is bolstered by all the alliances my lord father built so carefully, but soon enough she will destroy them, every one.
That’s Book-Cersei in a nutshell for the unschooled. Who is Aurane Waters?
Waters like Snow or Flowers is the bastard name given to those born in the Crownlands. Aurane Waters is known as the Bastard of Driftmark. Driftmark is an island near Dragonstone and it’s ruled by House Velaryon.
House Velaryon is a renowned house that like the Targaryen’s traces its roots bad to Old Valyria. Like the Targaryens they are known to have the silvery-gold hair and purple eyes of Ancient Valyria. (This is important)
Driftmark is sworn to Dragonstone and during the Battle of the Blackwater Aurane Waters fought against Joffrey on the side of Stannis. He was captured and after the battle, he bent the knee to Joffrey and we don’t hear anything about him for a long time…
Until Cersei notices him. This quote comes from the wedding celebration for King Tommen and Queen Margary.
From A Feast for Crows: Cersei: Chapter 12
Margary was dancing with her cousin Alla, Megga with Ser Tallad the Tall. The other cousin, Elinor, was sharing a cup of wine with the handsome young Bastard of Driftmark, Aurane Waters. It was not the first time the queen had made note of Waters, a lean young man with grey-green eyes and long silver-gold hair. The first time she had seen him, for half a heartbeat she had almost thought Rhaegar Targaryen had returned from the ashes.
Rhaegar is the only guy Cersei ever crushed on harder than her brother Jamie. While Jamie had been in love with only his sister. Cersei, on the other hand, wanted more than anything to marry Rhaegar.
From A Feast for Crows: Cersei: Chapter 24
Had any man ever been so beautiful? He was more than a man, though. His blood was the blood of Old Valyria, the blood of dragons and gods. When she was just a little girl, her father had promised her that she would marry Rhaegar.
later in the chapter…
Next to Rhaegar, even her beautiful Jamie had seemed no more than a callow boy. The Prince is going to be my husband, she had thought, giddy with excitement, and when the old king dies I’ll be the queen.
Instead, the Mad King rejects the offer.
“Your father proposed the match,” Lady Genna told her, “but Aerys refused to hear of it. ‘You are my most able servant, Tywin’ the king said, ‘but a man does not marry his heir to his servants daughter’
(All time “get your fucking shinebox line” by the Mad King.)
So at this point, we have Cersei dubiously in charge of the realm noticing a boy who looks like her old crush. The one that got away…
From A Feast for Crows: Jamie: Chapter 16
Jamie speaking to Cersei:
“There is talk you mean to make Aurane Waters the Master of Ships”
“Has someone been informing on me?… Waters is well suited to the office. He has spent half his life on ships”
“Half his life he cannot be more than twenty.”
“… It is past time that Tommen had some young men about him in place of all these wrinkled old greybeards. Aurane is strong and vigorous”
Strong and vigorous and handsome…Jamie Thought
“Paxter Redwine would be a better choice. He commands the largest fleet in Westeros. Aurane Waters could command a skiff, but only if you gave him one”
“You are a child, Jamie. Redwine is Tyrell’s bannerman, and nephew to that hideous grandmother of his. I want none of Lord Tyrell’s creatures on my council”
Cersei wants no Tyrells on her small council…her allies who fought for her on the Blackwater. Aurane Waters was fighting in that battle but on the other side…this she overlooks because she thinks he is cute. She is already destroying alliances like the Imp predicted.
A Feast for Crows: Cersei: Chapter 17
This next bit all comes from Cersei’s first small council meeting as queen regent.
My councillors. Cersei had uprooted every rose, and those beholden to her brothers. In their places were men whose loyalty would be to her. She had even given them new styles, borrowed from the Free Cities; she would have no “masters” at court beside herself. Orton Merryweather was her justiciar, Gyles Rosby her lord treasurer, Aurane Waters, the dashing young Bastard of Driftmark would be her Grand Admiral.
I want to just take a small step back and put forth the theory that everything that leads to Cersei’s downfall and imprisonment by the High Sparrow can be traced back to making Aurane Waters her Grand Admiral instead of taking Jamie’s advice and choosing Paxter Redwyne. It creates a domino effect that I’m about to outline.
Domino #1: Aurane Waters is the new Grand Admiral.
Domino #2: Aurane Waters suggests that they build a new fleet.
Chapter 17 during the council meeting:
“Might we discuss the fleet” asked Aurane Waters. “Fewer than a dozen of our ships survived the inferno on the Blackwater We must needs restore our strength at sea.”
“I propose we build new dromonds,” said Aurane Waters. “Ten to start with.”
The problem is that the crown is in debt and has no money to pay for a new fleet. Cersei thinks she has the answer but it’s actually the key domino in her downfall.
“Though large, the crown incomes are not large enough to keep abreast of Robert’s debts. Acordingly, I have decided to defer our repayment of the sums owed the Holy Faith and the Iron Bank of Bravos until war’s end.” …
“The monies saved will be used for the building of our new fleet”
The lickspittles that Cersei adorned her small council with all concur, only Pycelle speaks against the idea. Grand Maester Pycelle takes a lot of shit in the movies and the book as a bit of a fool, but throughout Cersei’s time in charge all he does is give her good advice and all she does is ignore it and do the exact opposite.
“Your Grace, this will cause more trouble than you know” – Pycelle
Domino #3: Cersei defers her payment to the Iron Bank and the Holy Faith.
At this point, the domino effect splits and now two rows of dominos are falling. One row is related to not paying the Iron Bank, the other is related to not paying the Holy Faith. For this blog, we will go down the path of not paying the Holy Faith. That Domino effect has the most immediately noticeable results.
Allow me a moment of digression to talk about what’s going on with the Holy Faith at this time in the story. The Bells are ringing due to the death of the High Septon. Cersei has the High Septon assassinated for no more reason than he was appointed by Tyrion and he may have heard Lancel confess to bedding her. At the same time, scores of religious people called “sparrows” are flooding into King’s Landing. Cersei doesn’t know who will be proclaimed the New High Septon at the time she decides not to repay the Faith.
The new High Septon, known as the High Sparrow is a direct result of Cersei’s scheming and plays a key role in her downfall.
There is a lot to unpack from A Feast For Crows: Cersei: Chapter 28.
The Chapter opens with the Cersei traveling to Visenya’s Hill, to see the High Sparrow at the Sept of Baelor. She is traveling with her “best friend” Lady Taena Merryweather, wife of one of her councilors Orton Merryweather.
A note about Taena Merryweather, she is incredibly beautiful and much more than she seems but Cersei is too stupid to realize it. (It’s my personal theory that she is Littlefinger’s spy) Taena and Aurane Waters are both attractive in Cersei’s eyes and it doesn’t take much for them to win her favor.
The blessing was an empty ritual, she knew, but rituals and ceremonies had powers in the eyes of the ignorant. Aegon the Conqueror himself had dated the start of his realm from the day the High Septon anointed him in Oldtown. “This wretched priest will obey or learn how weak and human he really is”
“Orton says it is the gold he really wants. That he means to withhold his blessing until the crown resumes it’s payments”
“The Faith will have its gold as soon as we have peace”
We had to have those ships. She could not rely upon the Arbor for her navy; The Redwynes were too close to the Tyrells. She needed her own strength at sea.
The dromondss rising on the river would give her that. Her flagship would dip twice as many oars as King Robert’s Warhammer. Aurane had asked her leave to name her Lord Tywin which Cersei had been pleased to grant.
Another of the ships would be named Sweet Cersei and would bear a gilded figurehead carved in her likeness, clad in mail and a lion helm, with a spear in hand.
This next quote is from a previous chapter but I want to tie it in here as it relates to the fleet that Cersei is building.
The Grandmaester had been especially querulous in council of late. At the last session he had complained bitterly about the men that Aurane Waters had chosen to captain her dromonds. Waters meant to give the ships to younger men whilst Pycelle argued for experience, insisting the commands should go to the captains who had survived the fires of the Blackwater. “Seasoned men with proven loyalty,” he called them. Cersei called them old and sided with Waters.
Cersei has given Waters leave to build a Navy and decide who mans it. Waters who fought against them in the last major naval battle and lost his kinsmen in the bargain.
Eventually, Cersei makes it to the Great Sept of Baelor and has her meeting with the High Sparrow.
Domino #4: Cersei meets with the new High Sparrow. He forgives the crowns massive debt and will bless King Tommen with the seven holy oils and anoint him king, but in exchange is allowed to arm the Faith Militant.
What is the Faith Militant? It was two ancient military orders, The Warrior’s sons and The Poor Fellows. They had been abolished 300 years ago.
The Faith Militant reborn…that would be the answer to three hundred years of prayer, Your Grace.
Cersei thinks it the height of cleverness.
Cersei could not help but smile. Even her lord father could have done no better. At a stroke she had rid King’s Landing of the plague of sparrows, secured Tommen’s blessing, and lessened the crown’s debt by close to a million dragons. Her heart was soaring as she allowed the High Septon to escort her back to the Hall of Lamps.
In a stroke Cersei secures her downfall, she, a person with no moral code just gave an army to an unwavering religious fanatic. Then will later try to use him as a catspaw in her plot against Margery. It will backfire horribly in her face.
We cut to near the end of the book A Feast for Crows. Margery has been arrested for treason by the High Sparrow. Cersei thinks her plot is all going according to plan. She is planning to see the High Sparrow to “free Margery from false accusations” when in point of fact she’s trying to secure her death.
The problem that she won’t see until it’s too late is that if the High Sparrow now has the power to arrest one queen then why not another? That’s the last Domino.
Domino #5 The Faith now has the power to arrest queens because Cersei put aside the laws for her fleet and for Tommen’s blessing.
From A Feast for Crows: Cersei: Chapter 43
The remnants of her small council followed her out. Harys Swift appeared dazed. He stumbled at the door and might have fallen if Aurane Waters had not caught him by the arm. Even Orton Merryweather seemed anxious. “The smallfolk are fond of the little queen,” he said “They will not take well to this I fear what might happen next, Your Grace.”
“Lord Merryweather is right,” said Lord Waters. “If it please Your Grace, I will launch the rest of our new dromonds. The sight of them upon the Blackwater with King Tommen’s banner flying from thier masts will remind the city who rules here, and keep them safe should the mobs decide to run riot again.”
“A prudent measure,” the queen announced “Until this storm has passed I want your ships crewed and on the water”
Waters now with the fleet completely built just needs a reason to put them in the water and now he has it. I don’t know if he was always planning to betray the queen because he knows he can get even more out of her. She had been thinking about giving him lands and making him a Lord in truth. The second she falls from power, he understands that the fleet can easily be taken from him and given to a different Lord Admiral. Waters was smart and made sure the crews were captained and crewed by men loyal to him. So the second the queen is arrested he just peaces out and takes the fleet with him…
Same Chapter 43 much later…
“What of Lord Waters? His ships…If he brings the crews ashore, he could have enough men to…”
“As soon as word of Your Grace’s present troubles reached the river, Lord Waters raised sail, unshipped his oars, and took his fleet to sea. Ser Harys fears he means to join Lord Stannis. Pycelle believes that he is sail to the Stepstones to set himself up as a pirate.”
“All my lovely dromonds.” Cersei almost laughed. “My father used to say that bastards were treacherous by nature. Would that I had listened”
That last line is such classic Cersei. She is the ultimate hypocrite it was her treacherous nature that landed her in this position and all three of her children were bastards. Pycelle hits the nail on the head with Aurane Waters, he stole the fleet and turned to piracy. This is heavily insinuated in a pre-released Arianne Martel Chapter from The Winds of Winter
According to Valena Toland, A new pirate king has set himself up on Torture’s Deep in the Stepstones, styling himself, the Lord of the Waters.
So there you have it Cersei gives way to much power to a man who reminds her of a crush and creates a domino effect that crushes her.
Coming at you with the first ever College Hoops “Wet the Beak” at ATRAIN CORP.
Let’s move some units.
First, my betting philosophy when it comes to round one. Find the teams you think are overseeded, overrated or just flat out stink. Find the ones among those teams that are favored by double digits and bet against them.
Purdue -13 vs Old Dominion: ODU is an athletic team that won’t be intimidated at all by Purdue. They won at Syracuse earlier in the year, I think they cover and possibly win the game outright. Purdue is a very weak 3 seed in my mind. The game is being played in Hartford.
Kansas State -5 vs UC Irvine: This game is being played in San Jose which is still a long drive from Orange County but I think staying on the West Coast to play will favor UC Irvine. I think UCI can win outright so I’d just take the points to be safe. Kansas State inspires no confidence in me at all.
Iowa State -6 vs Ohio State: The game is in Tulsa, I don’t see that favoring either team. These are even steven teams in my mind so if one of them is getting six points like the Buckeyes are, I say jump on that. Mark Titus’s Alma Mater advances I say it’s safe to money line bet Ohio State.
Good Teams can play close games especially if the location is favorable for the opponent.
Florida State plays Vermont in Hartford. That’s a long way to travel away from Florida during spring break season. This could be a VERY pro-Vermont crowd. I think Florida State is a great team. I think they probably should have gotten the three seed that was given to Purdue. They are way more talented than Vermont and can pound them inside. I think FSU wins the game. I’m not sure if they cover 10 points. This is one of those games I see them escaping with a win, not dominating.
I don’t like betting favorites in round one. Crazy shit just happens way too much. But there are a few favorites that I like.
I like Villanova -4.5 over St. Mary’s in Hartford. That’s a long trip for St. Mary’s.
I like Cincinnati -3.5 over Iowa in Columbus. Cincinnati is solid and the game is in their backyard.
This is going to be a different style of piece than you have seen from me in the past. The only way to let anyone who thinks LeBron the NBA’s “GOAT’ cannot be reached via any of usual methods of story telling, and I’m not in the business of doing the same shit over and over and expecting different results. There has been a contentious discussion in the fantasy football group chat that ATrain and I both take part in – its been going for days about MJ vs. LeBron. Train and I have brains, and we have watched most big games, if not all of the biggest games of both men’s careers. We also consume media with a balance (not yelling FAKE or NOT FAKE at everything we see) that is dissimilar or foreign to many people in today’s climate.
NOTE: I changed the entire course of this blog more than once. It reads as it does because the lone “LeBron is the GOAT” nitwit fed me his stance in so many absurd ways, it actually fed me more fuel for the already raging “MJ is the GOAT” fire.
It doesn’t require the level of detail I’m about to go into for Train, me, our manses ‘n them to inherently understand who was a better basketball player – Michael Jeffrey “Air” Jordan. If you’re on Team MJ already, read on. It will only strengthen your position.
Bright minds are aligned with MJ because of these simple yet vital elements to “GOAT” resume:
He made his teammates better, more valuable, and not once did he publicly bash them or play elsewhere during his entire prime.
Once he discovered a way to beat his more experienced, more established rivals HE NEVER LOST A SERIES TO THEM AGAIN. Same for any upstarts who challenged Jordan’s throne.
He won six out of six NBA Finals appearances.
He won Finals MVP every time he made the finals and there was no discussion about who that title belonged to.
His teammates all speak of him in reverential teams as a player and a leader. He took care of them when it came to their careers. Remember, we are dissecting individuals within the construct of a team sport.
I feel like this how LeBron fans are going to take this like Freddy Lounds. Their tabloid universe rooted in his “GOAT” status is going maimed in front of their very eyes. “Phil Jackson created a great red dragon – do you see?”
The False Narrative Generated By Cumulative Stats
Cumulative stats don’t address shifts in the playing era’s style and are only viable to validate the level of play/compare in pairs in the same NBA seasons. Career totals are an indicator of longevity only, which isn’t meaningless as a piece of a solid resume when coupled with mandatory big game excellence. LeBron deserves insane amounts of love for his continued high level of play. He is far and away the longest term great player of a ton of forgettable games. Unfortunately he has used his success to paint half truths and false realities all over the internet. The self-generated, social media fueled narrative model has been masterfully manipulated by LeBron. Check out how LeBron uses his primary sounding board, Instagram, to present one of his “besties,” Chris Paul’s, regular season achievements to the world:
Wow, LeBron. That’s “super humble” and totally misleading. Your fellow banana boat rider has accumulated a ton of dimes. Never won shit at any level, but neither did the top guy on that list or the 3rd and 4th guys. Using this method to determine point great greatness ranks Magic Johnson, whom is the actual greatest point guard to ever by way of his five NBA finals victories + receiving the finals MVP in three of them and getting to the nine finals all together. Truly unforeseen forces stopped his accumulation of stats accrued in forgetful games, and that’s not to the detriment of one’s legacy. It also leaves of Stephen Curry, whom is going to have more championships than you in your own era when he hangs ’em up. Shit, he’s already won AGAINST LeBron in three finals. He’s the also greatest shooter ever, but when considering LeBron, it is important to remember to discount his rival’s defeats of his teams and to hone on LeBron’s being this amazing “team-first” basketball player. Give me a fucking break, ok? He posted this immediately after his post to CP3 -literally his next post and it was to establish superiority over a peer via faulty mechanisms = LeBron Brand Management 101.
“Hey Chris! Congrats on just having the 9th most assists, my guy. Guess what I’ve been up to? Scoring AND passing. Doing things never done, CP3. Well, not you. You got eight dudes ahead of you on assists too. I’M ABOUT TO PASS JORDAN, SON! All love! #striveforfakeness” Stop calling him humble – he’s only searching for new ways to celebrate his own success. In that post, he manipulates his audience by placing significance on a sum that has fruitless parts – i.e. “most total all time assists” and him the being the only attain such massive points + assists IN TOTAL for his career. If this establishes who the greatest it, then it means John Stockton is the GOAT PG. It means Karl Malone was a better scorer than any power forward ever and a better one than MJ and Chamberlain. This merely presents the top level stars who avoid either or injury era-specific physicality. It creates ZERO tangible evidence for your “GOAT” verdict unless paired with sustained championship winning seasons.
Who really was the “ultimate” teammate?
LeBron lovers invest huge in this position without ever citing anything other than “his style of play” and seemingly unselfish stats without acknowledging the difference in game flow by era. That being said, young LeBron, probably up until his first finals appearance, was an unreal teammate on the floor. He led a team at a super age, but he didn’t have a mentor or coach to deepen his understanding. His “GOAT” worthy “48 Special” was like nothing anyone had seen. He carried his team past a seasoned, favored foe to get to the finals. But the story shifts from Jordan’s here, because after getting swept by the Spurs, a team in every sense, he went the other way. He started openly asking for help on his roster (Jordan never did this – not once). The media joined in behind him. LeBron was a big part of the landscape adopting the “hot take” mentality which is designed to provoke / agitate via bold, a lo the times consciously silly opinions. This is also known as “propaganda,” folks.
The notion the Cavs weren’t winning became more tied to LeBron’s lack of support and less tied to his inability to foster a dynamic or modify his style for the greater success of his team. Young Jordan didn’t have this luxury, didn’t want this luxury, and didn’t need this luxury. His blue print was to a win a ring with his original team or a consistently similar squad at every level of success along the way, make sure his teammates felt this way too, and shared the spotlight with them. He was taught and bought to that method fostering sustained dominance. It did. Check out John Paxson speaking on Jordan’s evolution from a stat grabbing, indivdiual star to a unstoppable champion by changing his mental + physical relationship with basketball.
Two pieces of Paxson’s interview are extremely important. Here is the first:
“There was always the element where maybe he didn’t trust the talent around him, but I always thought that he felt a tremendous pressure to win. He put a lot of it on himself. I know a lot of people early on said he was too much of a one-man guy and he tried to do too much, but I don’t think that was selfishness at all. It was him saying, ‘I want to win and I can do this.’” According to Paxson, it was Phil Jackson, who came on as an assistant coach in 1987 and landed the job as head coach in 1989, that sold Jordan on the fact that he had to rely on his teammates to ultimately be in a position to win championships. Jordan understood that, yet it took him some time to truly trust his teammates, and in turn, his teammates needed to earn that trust. “Those things don’t happen overnight,” Paxson acknowledged. “They happen over the course of an 82 game season or a number of seasons together, and eventually we got chances to make a shot or make a defensive play. He realized those were the kinds of things that were going to help us win big. Over time, that all evolved.”
Grow your teammates. Stick together. It will grant you long term success and more notoriety than short-term, simple solutions. Paxson’s defines basketball IG a bit differently than LeBron fans who only apply to his ppg, rpg, and apg numbers. You have to look at stats in the context they were attained – Paxson speaks on excellence via true basketball intellect:
Paxson also pointed out that Jordan has never been given enough credit for how intelligent of a basketball player he was, constantly aware of game and clock situations. His leadership was highly evident even when play was stopped, as he was always the most vocal player during timeouts. In addition, the communication that existed between Jordan and Pippen on the floor allowed them to talk through a lot of game situations.Not only was it Jordan’s ability and talent that made him the best of the best, it was his desire to put it all on the line when it mattered most. “He always wanted to take the big shot and he was never afraid of failing,” said Paxson. “If you could get into the minds of a lot of players in this league, whether they are playing now or used to play, to take on the pressure of making the big plays that count with that amount of consistency just didn’t happen very often. He just accepted it.”
Must’ve not studied Jordan too well, Bron. This was a direct deviation from the “How To Be The GOAT” handbook hypothetically written by Michael Jordan, all editions containing a forward by Phil Jackson and commentary from his teammates via impact statements. Instead, LeBron became a man without a country. A guy who used the modern construct of free agency to unite three men in their prime. A move not engineered for his team to benefit long haul, but for him to do so instead. He celebrated success before he ever put on a uniform in Miami, and only fulfilled a quarter of his promise. Remember this?
Think about going to your new job (LeBron in Miami) in any field and promising eight of the best possible outcomes (titles) to your customers. You leave this company upon fulfilling a quarter of your promise. You return to your old company (Cavs) that you left on bad terms to mind fences. In actuality, it’s because they’re now more appealing as a support group for your personal interests (Kyrie + assets galore + “redemption”). To achieve redemption from your past betrayals, you decide to manage every piece of the process despite having no knowledge of your industry’s financial regulations (GM LeBron lobbying for veterans at any cost). You deliver short term, spectacular success(“The Block,” 2016 title), but only to see the cheaply constructed business model YOU originated (Durant to leaving OKC for GState) upend your long term goals (GOAT status) the following year. The company (GState) you beat for your biggest career windfall adds an employee (Again, Duran) who was tired of his old work environment’s lack of success and craves power differently you. He brings his authentic self to his new team and promises only to do what is needed to achieve success for all involved. Their performance outshines your performance by a margin of 8:1 (GState won ’17 Finals 4-1 and Swept Cavs in ’18) over the next two years. As the twilight of your career nears, you take an offer with an institutional organization in your field (Lakers). You present the move as much about the company’s and your own long term legacies. Only you find yourself out of touch with their young employees due to never truly bonding with or even having young teammates. You’re also not as sharp as you once were, leading a young upstart to embarrass during a national product offering (see video below):
In that same metaphorical world, Jordan would’ve been the boss who maxes out your bonus every year and ALWAYS showed up for work when it mattered for his employee’s the most. Who was the better teammate, LeBron fans? That’s what I thought.
Michael Jordan’s Nearly Perfect Resume
What do you remember about Michael Jeffrey Jordan? The first thing I conjure up is his triumphant fist pump to close games or his iconic logo. Then comes the following – most of them as clear as the day I first “witnessed” them (see what I did there). We’re going to run through all of it, and then we’re going reference for comparative reasons. Once we cover MJ’s “GOAT” creds, we will tackle LeBron season by season, and focus on how each one ended + shaped the following season’s tone. Summoning my inner Jordan – this is what needed to happen.,.this is why I’m here. “Let’s announce my whole team as one because I’m nothing without them, and make sure to get everyone huddled up for Phil’s last words. Coach delivers the game plan, I execute it and enforce it. Win at all costs, and if you can, destroy the chief competition. Create distance not linkage from your peers who want you spot, need your spot, and won’t ever fucking get it. Hit my squad’s music.”
Memory 1: Game Winner in the NCAA Championship for UNC. LeBron skips college and wasn’t a Duke fan boy yet because it was when Duke had surface-level integrity.
Memory 2: 61 on the road, in the playoffs vs. The Bird Celtics to announce he was a new force in the NBA. Yes, t\hey got swept. By a top three season of basketball ever played by a team. The ’86 Celts were 40-1 at home and had Hall of Famers Bird, McHale, Parrish, Bill Walton, and Dennis Johnson. Five HOF guys and four at their apex. And Danny Ainge and a fella named Weidman who consistently averaged 20 PPG. If you want a “super team” to look at it, this is it. This is for all the LeBron fan boys who cite his basic stats in losses. Jordan was better at that too, he just knew there was no longevity in. This moment commenced Jordan’s run of never missing the playoffs as a Bull, and when he entered league in ’84, the East was fucking brutal.
Memory(s) 3.5: Dueling with Dominque in Dunk Contests (majority winner was MJ) + creating his signature logo in the process. LeBron never participated in the slam dunk contest…really weird, right? For a guy whom attempts to mimic Jordan in many ways, why did he skip this part? My theory: too exposed, no control of a live broadcast w/o teammates to sell out, and nothing to gain + a shit to lose. Bronnie prefers to avoid potential risk for priceless rewards…we’ll get there.
Memory 4: “The Shot” over Cleveland’s Craig Ehlo. Oh, the irony.
Memory 5: Getting absolutely beaten to shit by the Bad Boys Pistons and mercilessly taunted in the process – Jordan never stopped attacking nor once did he make an excuse for getting
Memory 6: Finally overcoming the Pistons in dominant fashion (SWEEP) and giving them back the same ferocity in the process
Memory 7: “A SPEC-TAC-U-LAR MOVE BY JORDAN”- the midair layup going to each hand in the process in the Finals against 5x NBA champ Magic Johnson and his Lakers
Memory 8: Winning his first title and embracing his teammates followed by an iconic image of him hugging the trophy in tears in the locker room
Memory 9: The “shrug game” happens while eviscerating the Blazers for his second title and second finals MVP
Memory(s) 10.5: Dream Team Dominance – Jordan took on the team’s alpha/leadership roles they beat the dicks off of global foes. Felt like by 40+ at least every game. Gold Medal procured. LeBron deferred to Kobe in 2012 as the team leader, and they nearly lost to the Gasol’s. I’m getting so happy I decided to write this opus, baby!!
Memory 11: Going back-to-back-to-back and beating his best friend / the guy who stole the MVP from him that year (Charles Barkley) in the process while securing his third Finals MVP. Destroying all-defense “Thunder” Dan Majerle in the process. That Suns team was loaded! Barkley, Kevin Johnson, Majerle, Ainge, Ceballos, Tom Chambers, Richard Dumas, and Mark West was a crew. Didn’t matter – Bulls won in six. Jordan drew a double and kicked it to John Paxson and you already know the rest.
Memory 12: Leaving the game to try and play baseball – still not totally understood as to why, but it definitely provided the necessary wiggle room for recency bias to sneak LeBron into the “GOAT” convos. One of few MJ memories that make you question who he was a person. Private guy with very public pursuits should follow this model…especially athletes. Bron Bron didn’t get that memo.
Memory 13: Coming back for the end of the 94-95 season and nearly toppling the league yet again despite being a minor league baseball and completely gone for nearly two whole seasons.
Memory 14: His team puts on the most dominant NBA season of all time, the best full season ever played by any team in history, by going 72-10 in the regular while winning the NBA championship for Jordan’s 4th ring and 4th Finals MVP in four attempts. He swept Shaq and Penny in the ECF along the way. In the finals he conquered the GOAT defensive guard, “The Glove” Gary Payton. GP, Shawn Kemp, and a real good Sonics couldn’t push the Bulls past 6 games. MJ don’t do seven games in the finals – again, using your job as a reference, Jordan would be the boss who sends everyone early for the week following him securing a huge piece of business and locking in your bonuses for the year. LeBron skips town for a better gig and leaves all his invoices on the corporate for his co-workers to handle.
Memory 15: Back-to-back again. Plays game five with the flu and dominates. 5/5 in Finals and finals MVP every time. Karl Malone and John Stockton are another set of era peers dismantled by MJ, Pip, and the Bulls.
Memory 16: Winning the ECF in seven over the Pacers who were ferocious, determined, and as defensively stout as anyone outside of the Bad Boys. Lasting image of MJ + Scottie holding their hands on their knees in total exhaustion as the game winds down.
Memory 17: Final minute of Game 6 of the Finals: hits a shot to bring the Bulls within one, steals the ball from Malone on the other end (who got gifted the regular season MVP instead of MJ), and hits the game winner to close out his 6th ring. 45 pts in the clincher to lock 6/6 on Final’s MVPs. Finishes the 3peat for a second time…insane.
Memory 18: Retiring as the ‘GOAT’ and having never lost a Finals to his chief rivals of his prime while also getting series wins in his last encounters with the greats who held all the hardware his emergence.
Memory 19: “Space Jam” being a horrific movie and being shocked he did something that wasn’t epic or at least awesome.
Memory 20: Coming back again to play for the Wizards and despite being in his late 30’s and out of the league for multiple seasons going 5th in my college fantasy draft.
Memory 21: Playing like an aging star, only one who missed a ton of basketball with visible rust, yet still could takeover any night he was clicking.
Memory 22: The shock of him losing. Knowing he shouldn’t have come back.
Memory 23: Retires for good, reaches “Don Mega” status and becomes an owner, has had more impact on the commercial industry than any other celebrity despite only utilizing traditional methods of advertising and always prioritizing the progress of the game created his stature.
Jordan had his flaws. Jordan isn’t perfect. If his two major negative choices were on the table and I could change one, I’d prefer him never leaving to play baseball over the Wizards return. Most sports stars seem to exit ungracefully or trying to get back to their former level. Had MJ not left/got forced to retire for two years, LeBron doesn’t even have the dummies dancing to his silly tune. MJ would have not six, not seven, but how many rings? Sheeeeeeeeeit.
LeBron James’ Individual Brilliance Yields 1/2 of The Standard for Greatness
What will you remember about LeBron James? The first things for me are the meme of the kid saying his name, his signature fast break dunk, or “The Decision.”
To really compare them objectively, we can’t look at career numbers. Different eras, different styles, and wholly different league identities. What we can see is the lasting image that was around them following the culmination of each year. We can track progress, dominance, and how they stacked up against the league’s in the largest moments they would as professionals. Time to channel LeBron “don’t know his middle name” James and dig deep!
“Let’s get the attention all on me…I need to stand alone, away from my teammates and their pre-game huddle. Obviously need to ignore my coach. Fuck that guy. You know I’m about to throw chalk in the air – you know why? Because I love Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” and theatrics + distractions convince combatants you’re more than just another man. So do assists and defensive rebounds, FYI. Hey fans – take this dust to the face! Game time, baby.”
I remember watching him on ESPN as high schooler while I was in college and being blown away at his physical size. He was super hyped up, but we were tepid with our expectations. HS to the league guys were very hit or miss, and it normally took them at least a season or two to adjust. Any predictions of immediate impact were met with reservation but definitely more optimism than ever before. He most definitely exceeded expectations an had an IMMEDIATE impact. He was a freight train, and was famously compared to Magic Johnson mixed with young Charles Barkley with the dunking ability of Shawn Kemp by a former ESPN staffer who hadn’t lost his fastball yet. In his second year, the Cavs win more 18 more games than the year prior. He is immediately a player that can beat you on his own on any given night. Yet, the Cavs barely miss playoffs his second year. Jordan never missed him in an era where it was way harder to do so.
Eventually, the Cavs make the playoffs and LeBron nearly brings past the established, brutal Pistons. Sound familiar? Only difference is this Pistons was about 2/3 the level of the Bad Boys group and rule changes made that style ineffective against the physicality of young LeBron – he was incredible to watch these years and I don’t recall him behaving even the slightly like he does in the present day. In his fourth season, the Cavs topple the Pistons in the ECF on the back of this performance. I told you I’d be objective – he evens a get video of his highlights which I won’t reciprocate for MJ:
He doesn’t complete his first championship and gets swept in the finals by Tim Duncan in his prime and in a series that had close games but with final showing just how awful the basketball was. It’s very much the worst finals of my lifetime along with these same Spurs beating The Bad Boys Lite.
The following season he loses in seven games to the loaded Celtics and his performance in the series is vastly overvalued. We are now going to start tracking these two guys and their performances in their last series of each year. LeBron stopped trending consistently upwards here. Jordan never stopped getting better results until he landed on repeating as champion 3x in a row on two separate occasions.
Those box scores put an end to the “Pippen saved Jordan” or LeBron consistently did more with less. Jordan changed his style to make Pippen better – you’ll see what I mean. LeBron changes very little…ever.
Next year, LeBron seemingly did all he could to not get beaten by a fairly pedestrian Orlando Magic squad. Everything accept foster confidence in his teammates via ball movement and playing off the rock once in awhile. He DOMINATED possession much like Jordan in his first 2/3 seasons. Our king may not be coachable, folks.
Here’s Jordan falling in seven to those same Pistons who went back-to-back and cemented their own legacy as an all-time great team. Both Pippen and Horace Grant showed improvement as Jordan built them up to beat their enemies. This stuff matters.
LeBron can’t get past a Celtics that, is shall we say, “aging.” He bows out in six games in the ECF to a team that would fall in the finals to Kobe’s Lakers. LBJ is nowhere the stat monster he was the previous season, and even throws this stat line up in what turns to be his last game before his hometown crowd (Game 5, 2010 ECF).
Here is his series performance:
Jordan faired a bit differently in year seven. Here are his numbers that were attained during his first championships finals appearance.
Holy. Fucking. Shit. He dismantled the Lakers. A team led by the greatest PG ever, his fellow UNC alumnus and Hall of Famer James Worthy, and loaded with experienced role players got CRUSHED by Michael’s upstart Bulls. LOOK AT HIS NUMBERS!!! They are always amazing, but at times they really show how adaptive and surreal his leadership + transcendent confidence manifested on the biggest stage. 31 points. 11 assists. Over 6 boards. Not mention nearly three steals and over a block a game to DESTROY a team with legends and Finals experience. GOAT cheese, bitches.
To recap: After seven seasons, each man had reached a crossroads. Jordan conquered all his rivals and became a champion, as his team’s undisputed leader and the best player alive. He did so with a pristine Finals performance, against a top ten player of all time + FIVE time champion, like few ever seen before or since. LeBron had reached one finals way earlier in career and was swept away with ease by a top ten of all time for Duncan’s 4th ring. He then couldn’t get past the Celtics or even Dwight Howard’s Magic in an eastern conference of devoid of great teams. Did he persevere to rise up and overcome the mountain in front of him? Had he been grooming the team around to join him in this glorious endeavor? Short answer? Nope. He created an express train using free agency like no had ever done before.
The Decision. LeBron televised his choice to crush the city of Cleveland’s hopes and dreams of a title by joining their Eastern Conference Rival, a team led by a man whom already had reached the promised land, D Wade. Not only was he coming down to Miami in a shirt that looked like a picnic table cloth, but he was bringing his pal that resembled a hybrid Giraffe/Predator + legit All Star, Chris Bosh too. Unprecedented in how it was done so publicly…ESPN and LBJ have been married to an absurd violation of media ethics dating back to his HS days. Also unprecedented in that never before had TWO All NBA talents, in their prime, left the teams that drafted them to join a team/peer who was one of their chief “rivals” + an established champion. He was not the people’s king anywhere but Miami after this. Jordan’s Bulls have been described as a concert atmosphere for their roIad games and a Thunderdome at home. LeBron’s Miami was not of that ilk. Did the wins come after such a bold, unpopular move? Season one in South Florida brought him back to the finals. They got the Mavs – a team of past their primes whom nobody thought would be there. The ring was ripe for the taking…how did LeBron respond? See for yourself:
You don’t remember that do ya? No one talks about LeBron only scoring eight points in game three of this series. If you want he’s a pass first, it’s evidence of that. He had no clue how to play with Wade, and deferred like no “GOAT” would or should. It’s defnitely taboo to mention the Mavs being simply not that good, yet still rattling off four straight fairly easy to win the ‘chip. No one talks about LeBron publicly mocking Dirk for what he felt was “faking sickness.” Ironic coming from the “GOAT” flopper himself, right? This was maybe the worst performance in any playoff series of his career, and it was against a mediocre opponent on the largest stage. Anti-GOAT. Here’s what Jordan did the Blazers to win title #2 in his 8th season.
What we know eventually is the standard for MJ in his basketball endeavors. This gem of a series was procured against a team in it’s prime that was led by the second best player at MJ’s position that year + future 2x Champ/HOF, Clyde Drexler. LeBron was not met any in his prime in his matchup, let alone someone who was perennially 2nd/3rd team ALL NBA as his primary defender. MJ eviscerated the Lakers in 5 – who were the team most like this Mavs group only with more experience winning big games than Dallas. Next year was one of LeBron’s best, and here that is:
This what a “GOAT” does in the finals when they get there. Well done, LeBron you are officially 1/3 as great as Michael Jordan…kind of. Out of Jordan’s wins and LeBron’s win, LeBron’s is the worst statistically. Jordan’s third of three finals appearances, for the record, was maybe his best:
Next year, more of the same for LeBron, but also was extremely different from Jordan and required twists of fate unfamiliar and not needed by MJ. Here’s LeBron’s series to go back for back and get minor revenge on Duncan. Spoiler alert: Duncan gets the last laugh.
This is showcases two things: LeBron had “best player on a title team” talent like one of few, because he went back to back. It also illustrates the way in he did isn’t going to yield than or 1-3 titles depending on the climate of the league. With all their tied up in three men, and no draft picks / only able to use leagues or veterans taking pay chats, the Heat had way to improve on their success. It could get worse, and it did. The Heat should’ve lost this series. Chris Bosh made a miracle tip and Ray Allen hit a shot that altered LeBron’s legacy in an enormous way! To his credit, he dominated game seven. But I’ll say it again, Jordan won 6/6 without playing in one!
Jordan’s comp. stats stop here due to the timeline shifting as I’ve mentioned. We will get back to him in ’95-96. LeBron faced the Spurs again the following season and the Heat got DESTROYED. Duncan improves to his legendary status with a fifth ring and runs his personal finals record against LeBron to 11-5.
And thus ends LeBron’s time in Miami. Two titles when he promised eight. A team who left physically exhausted and financially restricted. But hey, the “best team basketball player ever” got them rings, right?
Putting a Bow This Nonsensical Debate
You know the rest…LeBron went to Cleveland and lost to Golden State every time but once. Michael and Scottie stayed together. They aged together. They won together. LeBron ditched dead weight, and won another ring in arguably his best finals performance. It’s one of three title performances that is statistically superior to all of Jordan’s except his Jordan’s best three. Take a gander:
LeBron has since done what did in victory in a statistical sense while suffering MASIVE beatdowns at the hands of Kevin Durant and the Warriors. Durant executed a more calculated and less arrogant version of “The Decision” in leaving his original franchise to join up with another elite superstar’s team. Only thing is, he didn’t need to max their cap out by bringing someone like Bosh with him. Durant went to a team built in the mold of the old Bulls, and his max deal didn’t cripple the Warriors financially. Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson are the modern iteration of what the ’91-’93 Bulls had in Michael, Scottie, and Horace.
When the Durant Warriors met LeBron in the finals a similar trend emerged for Bron’s teams his entire career – regression. The Warriors beat the Cavs 4-1 in ’17. LeBron’s “Pippen” aka Kyrie Irving requested a trade out of frustration / disgust immediately after the finals. LeBron had not necessarily showed the best effort all series, and that’s putting it lightly. The Warriors swept the Cavs in the ’18 Finals as LeBron’s last basketball-related gift to his beloved state. LeBron decided to leave the Cavs for the second time this past off-season. He wanted to go to LA and become a “mentor” for a promising, youthful Lakers’ core. For LeBron, “mentor” must mean publicly pining for a trade that would liquify a promising core to deliver momentary gain – not to mold and teach youth how to succeed. He also is starring in a remake of a really bad, really dated film called “Space Jam” that starred Jordan first. I won’t be watching.
LeBron really is one-of-a-kind jackass. The self seeking, self proclaiming kind and the kind who only once showed real progress in back-to-back years. He got older, he got stronger, and he got more experienced on the court. But he didn’t wiser. And LBJ’s record in the NBA Finals is a staggering 16 wins against 36 losses. Jordan’s in the finals? 24 wins against 13 losses. Against the best competition from their own eras, after vastly different styles on how to play out their careers, Michael Jordan’s immaculate, almost perfect accomplishments stand in stark contrast to LeBron’s stat sheet filling, pseudo amazing performances that ended in his teammates gaining nothing while he “strove for greatness.” Who’s your “GOAT’ now, people?
Game of Thrones hype is building. The trailer for the final season was recently released and I consider myself a Game of Thrones scholar. No, I am not going to break down the trailer. People are already doing that. When it comes to the Game of Thrones TV show I am now pretty apathetic. The show is fine, the early seasons were better but the whole ending has been rushed.
I’m not here to rip what the show has become. It’s just for a different type of audience now. My GoT expertise is in the books and it’s too the books I go for this blog. The purpose of these GoT blogs (this is going to be the first of a few) is to highlight these little subtle moments of brilliance that I am constantly finding in the writing of George R.R. Martin.
They are little moments where if you’re not reading carefully you miss the joke or the irony. The one I am going to start with is just a little joke Tyrion makes at Joffrey’s wedding feast.
It’s relatively early in the feast. Collio Quaynis of Tyrosh is the second singer in an order of seven that will be performing at the feast. The first singer Hamish the Harper had already performed “The Rains of Castemere” as part of his ensemble.
Peacocks were served in their plumage, roasted whole and stuffed with dates, while Collio summoned a drummer, bowed low before Lord Tywin, and launched into “The Rains of Castemere”
If I have to hear seven versions of that I may go down to flea bottom an apologize to the stew.
So he doesn’t actually apologize to stew, it’s just a frivolous thought he has but what does it mean exactly? It’s call callback to a minor thread in Tyrion’s storyline that they omitted from the TV show. Tyrion has Shae hidden at a brothel called Shataya’s on one of the occasions that he goes to visit her, she is being entertained by a singer named Symon Silvertongue.
Symon greets Tyrion as the Hand of the Kind but Tyrion basically threatens him right off the bat ordering him to forget that he ever saw him. Tyrion fears for Shae’s safety because his father threatened to hang the next whore he found in his bed. If word gets out she could be in danger.
Later Symon is hired by Lady Stokeworth to sing for her lackwit daughter Lollys. He becomes privy to the fact that there will be seven singers at Joffrey’s wedding and basically decides to blackmail Tyrion in an effort to be one of the seven and compete for a golden lute. He even suggests that an “accident” should happen to one of the singers and they call him in as the replacement.
He performs a song for Tyrion, a song about him…
He rode through the streets of the city,
down from his hill on high,
O’er the wynds and the steps and the cobbles,
he rode to a woman sigh,
For she was his secret treasure,
she was his shame and his bliss,
and a chain and a keep are nothing compared to a woman’s kiss
For hands of gold are always cold but a woman’s hands are warm…
(this song does make it into the show in the form of Ed Sheeran)
Symon is threatening to expose Shae unless Tyrion gets him on the list as one of the seven singers. Tyrion tells him no problem, Bronn will handle it. Then Tyrion tells Bronn to make Symon disappear. Bronn refers to a pot shop in flea bottom that makes “a savory bowl of brown, with ALL KINDS of meat in it.
Super Short Version:
Tyrion has the singer killed and cooked into stew, then when the singers are terrible he thinks about apologizing to Symon now in his final form of stew. This cracked me up. These are the little things that make Tyrion so great as a character, the little droll musings that only he and the reader get to experience. It also highlights that Tyrion in the book does way more shady shit then he does in the show. Shady book Tyrion that kills singers and has them fed to the poor should have come out more in the show.
Hope you enjoyed this little look back at just a tiny little sliver of the story.