Tuesday, May 26, 2009

On Tall People

My latest ESPN column, exploring the logic (or perhaps lack thereof) behind the dearth of tall players in the NFL, can be found here. In keeping with the unexpectedly Cleveland-friendly vibe of this here blog, it is part of larger package about whether a certain very tall Akron-born individual (pictured) could make it as an NFL wide receiver.

This package was not my idea, but I think it is an intriguing one. As you can probably tell, I do not think it is humanly possible to engage in LeBron overkill at this moment in time; in the late 1990's, when I covered the PGA Tour, it was entirely justifiable to write a story about Tiger Woods every single day of a six-day tournament. (In fact, that's probably still true.) This was what interested people; this was what they wanted to read. The demand for profiles of Davis Love III was not exactly overwhelming. So I suppose if "media bias" consists of writing a greater number of stories about athletes that interest a greater number of people, then yes, media bias does exist. Alert the blogosphere at your leisure.

Anyway, let us all agree on an objective truth: In the NBA, the star system exists for a reason; in no other realm can a single individual become so clearly responsible for his team's success, especially in the playoffs. There are four teams remaining, anchored by four outstanding players; and while Carmelo Anthony has become the most weirdly fascinating superstar of this era, anchoring a team that plays like a ridiculously talented AAU squad; and while Dwight Howard is no doubt capable of strangling a crocodile with his bare hands, I would continue to submit that LeBron James is the most captivating athlete in the NBA, and Kobe is a close second, and the only people (beside ironic hipster contrarians) who might legitimately be able to say that they'd find an Orlando-Denver NBA finals more intriguing than LA-Cleveland are Walt Disney*, George O'Leary and John Elway.**

That said, it may happen anyway. In which case, it will be time to re-evaluate everything I've just said.

*Presuming there is basic cable in cryogenics facilities.
**And you should know that the author owns zero (0) pairs of Nike sneakers, and finds puppets kind of intimidating.

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