Why Kobe Will Never Be Jordan

The 2012 NBA Playoffs are underway and I’ve been reading a lot of underlying stories that could take place given certain circumstances. Will LeBron finally get his first elusive ring? Will Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich upgrade their legacy by grabbing their 5th title together? Can the Bulls win without former MVP Derrick Rose? Can Kobe get his 6th Ring and finally catch up to Michael Jordan? That last one is the one that bugs me the most and has been for several years now. There is no question Kobe Bryant wants to be compared to Jordan, if not surpass him when it comes to their ring collection. Does Kobe winning a 6th ring make it fair to evaluate Kobe on an even playing field with Jordan? Does 6 rings for both men mean they are equal superstars? Is Kobe really being compared to being the next Jordan? I mean all rings aside the two aren’t even in the same league. I’ve heard it all too. Kobe had developed a better jumper earlier in his career than Jordan did. Kobe this and Kobe that. I’m not saying everybody actually believes Kobe could be considered an equal or even better than Jordan, but the media seems to like to compare the two when really there is no comparison at all. The only thing Kobe has over Jordan is the number on his jersey.

First lets compare their stat lines per game:

Michael Jordan: 30.1ppg 6.2rpg 5.3apg 2.4spg 0.8bpg .497FG% .835 FT% .327 3P%

Kobe Bryant: 25.4ppg 5.3rpg 4.7apg 1.5spg 0.5bpg .453FG% .838FT% .337 3P%

Jordan scored more points, more rebounds, more assists, more steals, and more blocks per game than Kobe. Jordan also shot a higher field goal percentage. Their Free Throw percentage is basically the same and Kobe has a slight edge on his 3 point percentage than Jordan. The way people say Kobe is a much better 3 point shooter than Jordan made me believe the percentage was at a great disparity when in fact it is not. Kobe has made almost a thousand more 3 point shots than Jordan has, but that wasn’t Jordan’s game and he didn’t shoot much less efficient than Kobe. I’ve previously said Kobe’s numbers are more comparable with Dwayne Wade’s but that’s up for another discussion.

Kobe is blessed with playing in a league where it is nowhere near as physical a game as it was when Jordan played. The NBA is catered to offense because fans rather see an offensive game than a low scoring defensive struggle. It’s like that in baseball, hence the American League adopting the DH. It’s like that in Football which is why we saw 3 QB’s eclipse the 5,000 yard passing mark this year while only seeing twice before that. Kobe still averages less points per game. Kobe has only scored over 30ppg twice in his career while Jordan has done it 8 times. Kobe is a prolific scorer but has only won the scoring title twice while coming very close to grabbing his third this year. Jordan won the scoring title 10 times. Kobe has one MVP award. He probably deserved maybe a few more, but never got it. Jordan won MVP 5 times second to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 6. Jordan probably deserved it every year from 1987-1998.

Jordan won rookie of the year and a defensive player of the year award. Kobe was on the bench his rookie season and is never even mentioned in the conversation for top defender honors. Kobe came straight out of high school, but that’s no excuse for him to start his career on the bench. I’m sure he could of went to any college in the country to play, but he declined and headed straight for the NBA. Jordan spent three years at the University of North Carolina and won a National title. Some will argue and I agree that going to college prepares a player’s body and mind for the NBA. Kobe has already been playing a whole season longer than Jordan. There is no doubt that the both are Hall of Famers, as Jordan was inducted in 2009.

I don’t really like the rings comparison for players to determine how great they were, but it’s a hot topic so I need to have some input. Jordan won 6 NBA Championships along with 6 Finals MVP trophies. He was the best player on the best team every time they played in the Finals. Kobe has won 5 NBA Championships so far, with 2 Finals MVP trophies. He was not the best player on his team when they won the first 3 championships. There was one of the most dominating centers in the history of the NBA named Shaquille O’Neal on his team and the recipient of 3 Finals MVP awards. If it wasn’t for Shaq would Kobe have those 3 rings? If it wasn’t for Kobe would Shaq have gotten those 3 with the Lakers? Who knows and it’s hard to tell. It’s hard to say that someone is as great as the greatest player in most people’s opinions when the one who wants to be compared had a player who out shined him. Didn’t Shaq leave LA because Kobe wanted to shine? If were talking about rings then isn’t Robert Horry better than both of them? Didn’t think so.

My main argument for why Kobe will never be Jordan is that Jordan never lost in the Finals. Kobe has lost twice in the Finals. The 04 Pistons and the 08 Celtics beat the Kobe led Lakers. In essence Kobe has had more opportunities than Jordan to win more rings. And had Jordan not taken two years off to play baseball I’m almost positive that Jordan would have led the Bulls to two more Championships. It’s hard to argue otherwise. Most great players in that era didn’t get to win a ring because of Jordan. Those two years off had NBA greats salivating at the opportunity. Hakeem Olajuwon and the Hawks were the one’s who capitalized on that short window. Jordan doesn’t lose when it matters most. Jordan won a NBA title with the flu. Kobe is always hurt, but I’m almost convinced it’s for effect because he still will come out and drop 37 without a grimace on his face unless he misses.

Jordan is the greatest of all time. So great that Pat Riley of the Miami Heat retired Michael Jordan’s jersey. His legacy was so great that he believes nobody on the Heat deserve to wear that number. No LeBron didn’t just change his number he had too, and the whole change of scenery remark he made. Kobe changed his number from 8 to 24 to prove he is one better than Jordan. Like I said before that’s the only thing he has on him.

as of 2010

Advertisements

2012 NBA Playoff Predicitions

Yesterday was the last day of the regular season in the NBA for 2012. Now the playoff teams are set up with their respective seeding. The last month has been a roller coaster ride watching some teams make a strong push at the end while others seemingly faltered. The Spurs took over the #1 seed in the West while the oft-injured Derrick Rose and Bulls finished the season with the #1 seed in the East. Seeding deems very important in the first round in particular because of home court advantage. The Spurs and Thunder seem to be the favorite Western Conference matchup and the Bulls and Heat will have a rematch of last years Eastern Conference Championship. How could you not think those are the favorites going into the playoffs. Let’s take a look at how each team will get there.

FIRST ROUND

EAST

(1) Bulls vs. (8) Sixers

The Bulls have shown that they can beat teams without Derrick Rose or even if he is playing limited minutes. The Bulls have a stifling defense that make them a favorite to make it to the Eastern Conference Championship for the second straight year. Defense wins championships, or at least that’s what the motto says.
The Sixers have no real superstar on their team. They very much play team basketball. They have a great defense themselves and are good in transition, which can negate any defense. At the end of the day Coach Thibodeau is mastermind on defense and will lock this series up by out coaching Doug Collins. The Sixers could steal a game maybe two since Rose is pretty much coming off an injury and the current Bulls squad hasn’t played enough to have it’s chemistry where it needs to be.

BULLS IN 6.

(4) Celtics vs. (5) Hawks

Remember when the Saints had a better record, but had a lower seed than the Seahawks? The Saints had to go to Seattle for a playoff game, which is one of the toughest stadiums to play and they lost. The NBA however has this format right. The Hawks have a better record and the Celtics have the higher seed, but the Hawks will get home court advantage for having more wins throughout the season. This is probably the closest matchup in the East in the first round. The Hawks have been playing well even without their All-Star Center, Al Horford. Josh Smith has taken his game to another level and Jeff Teague has shown some improvement as well. This team bounced the Orlando Magic out of the playoffs last year, but that was last year and they still lost one of their best players for at least the first round.
The Celtics have been one of the hottest teams since the All-Star break. They have the experience and champion caliber players to make one last run. Rondo has proven he is an elite point guard and doesn’t even need to score to have an impact on the game. Garnett has moved to the 5 giving the Celtics more talent on the floor as far as starters go. This is going to be a tough defensive series. With all that being said I think the clutch shooting of Pierce and the loss of Horford will be the difference in this series.

CELTICS IN 6.

(2) Heat vs. (7) Knicks

This is the series to watch in the first round. No, not because I’m a Knicks fan. No, not because Dwayne Wade’s my guy. This is the most star-studded matchup. LeBron, Wade, and Bosh vs. Carmelo, A’Mare and company. Any reason we refer to the Knicks on a first name basis and the Heat players by last name? Either way this matchup is going to be fun to watch. Playoff basketball inside Madison Square Garden. The Knicks are actually playing defense under Woodson and aren’t giving up like they did under D’Antoni. Do you really trust guys that quit on their coach when things are going rough? I don’t. Miami has arguably the best player in the game in LeBron James on both sides of the floor. LeBron is on a mission to win his first elusive ring. His performance this year has proven that in which he should win his 3rd MVP trophy. The Knicks have been a great 3-point shooting team as of late, but maybe too much 3-point shooting will hurt them. Remember you can live and die by the 3. Most times you die by it, ask Orlando. The Heat defense is too quick and I think ultimately will force the Knicks into some bad shots as they already seem to take time to time. It’s hard for me to say this, but I don’t think the Knicks can take down the Heat this year and certainly not in the first round.

HEAT IN 6.

(3) Pacers vs. (6) Magic

The Magic have lost Dwight Howard to injury for the remainder of the playoffs. I repeat the The Magic have lost Dwight Howard to injury for the remainder of the playoffs. I think that says enough about this series. I’m not taking anything away from the Pacers because they are probably the most underrated team in the NBA this year. The Pacers should handle the Magic pretty easily without the big presence of Dwight Howard in the paint, which will have a negative effect on the entire Magic team.

PACERS IN 4.

WEST

(1) Spurs vs. (8) Jazz

The Spurs are probably the quietest franchise ever. Nobody ever talks about them until the playoffs roll around and even then there are a lot of skeptics. I’ve been saying for the past I don’t know how many years, I lost count, watch out for the Spurs they have one last run in them to win the championship. One last run. Gregg Popovich is probably one of the most underrated coaches in the league and it coincides with what people think of the Spurs franchise. The Jazz are just too young at certain positions. They have a really good team, but not one that is going to be able to surpass the experience that the Spurs big three have along with it’s deep bench. I loved the addition of Stephen Jackson and I think they have what it takes to come out the West.

SPURS IN 4.

(4) Grizzlies vs. (5) Clippers.

This is the best matchup in the West in the first round. The Grizzlies make a deep run last year without their star forward Rudy Gay. He’s back this year and I think they are going to surprise a lot of people. The Clippers have taken huge strides this year from being a franchise that was only known for playing in the same building as the Lakers to being a legitimate title contender. Well maybe we won’t go that far. The Clippers lack size at the guards and small forward position and after their starting rotation they don’t have much depth. This is going to be a good series, but I’m going to have to say the Grizzlies finish off the Clippers.

GRIZZLIES IN 6.

(2) Thunder vs. (7) Mavericks

Last year’s Western Conference Championship rematch will be seen in the first round this year. The Thunder were the favorite pick to win the West this year and probably still are by most people. The Mavericks have been playing lackluster basketball which isn’t comparable with last year’s title run. Ultimately I think this series is tighter than most people expect, but the Mavericks don’t seem to be playing the same as they were a year ago. Their heart and soul doesn’t seem to be in it this year and Durant and company have been playing championship level basketball all year despite conceding the #1 seed to the Spurs.

THUNDER IN 6.

(3) Lakers vs. (6) Nuggets

The Lakers are going to miss Ron Artest (sorry I refuse to call him by his new name) for pretty much the entire first round. It might even be a service to them if they can take this series to 6 and win it of course. You don’t want to sweep the Nuggets and go into the next round without your best perimeter defender out for the first 2 games. I don’t see a sweep here anyways. I actually see a very close matchup and could possibly be the next series to watch in the first round in the West after the Grizzlies and Clippers. The Nuggets benefited the most from the Carmelo Anthony trade last year. If you don’t believe me go look at the numbers. Better yet look at the seeding. The Knicks got a perennial All-Star and are the 7 seed while the Nuggets got half of the Knicks teams last year and are the 6 seed in the much stronger West. The Nuggets are deep. They play with a lot of energy and they have good guard play. They are undersized in the paint to say the least and the Lakers have over 14 feet down low.

LAKERS IN 6.

SEMIFINALS

(1) Bulls vs. (4) Celtics

This series will be something to watch. Both teams play superb defense and have amazing point guards. At this point I think it comes down to who is more healthy. Can the Celtics Big 3 hold up? Will Derrick Rose and Luol Deng be able to carry the Bulls past the Celtics? Defense is going to be the name of the game in this series. I see it being a low scoring affair night in and night out, but I’m going to have to go with the team that plays better on the road here. In a tight series the team that wins is the team that can steal one on the road.

BULLS IN 7.

(2) Heat vs. (3) Pacers

The Pacers are the quintessential team. Many believe they really don’t have an All-Star type player. I think Granger is one of the most underrated players in the league and Roy Hibbert was an All-Star, but I’m not sure he gets the nod if other players in the East were healthy. They have great depth and play good defense. They are the #3 seed for a reason. The Heat play way too fast and I think you will see in this series that LeBron is ready to take that next step and become All-Worldly. That’s not a real team? Whatever the dude is on another planet when it comes to his skill set. Did I mention the Heat have Dwayne Wade? Chalk one up for the “BAD GUYS”. I don’t see them being stopped in the East.

HEAT IN 5.

(1) Spurs vs. (4) Grizzlies

Last year we watch the Memphis Grizzlies shock the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs. The Spurs were old then. They are older now, but somehow they are better. Manu Ginobili is healhty. Rudy Gay is healthy. I think this series goes the other way this time, but not by much. Tony Parker is playing at such an elite level right now and I see him getting the Grizzlies into some foul trouble. Spurs will have the taste of last year’s defeat in their mouth. Sorry Grizzlies.

SPURS IN 6.

(2) Thunder vs. (3) Lakers

Ron Artest (I told you I refuse to call him MWP) will make his return in this series. James Harden will be looking to come off the bench and punch the Lakers in the mouth. Ok, not literally but figuratively. The 6th man of the year will look to ignite the offense. The Lakers have a decent bench, but nothing to brag about. The 2 7-footers in this time will be matched with Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka. As long as Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant aren’t missing 20 shots each they should handle the Lakers and make it back to the Western Conference Championship once again.

THUNDER IN 6.

CONFERENCE FINALS

(1) Bulls vs. (2) Heat

These two teams met last year and Miami handled the Bulls rather easily, although each game was pretty close. I had to remind myself that it only went to 5. The Heat are hard to beat in a 7 game series especially in the weak Eastern Conference. The Bulls are a better team this year, but still seem to be a one trick pony. It’s Derrick Rose or bust and the Heat found out last year how to slow him down by putting LeBron on him. Both teams play good defense and neither team has lost to the other at home, but the playoffs are different. I look for the Heat and LeBron to take over this series much like last year.

HEAT IN 6.

(1) Spurs vs. (2) Thunder

My pick before the season was to see the Thunder and the Heat. My pick now is…well it’s going to be a tough choice. The Thunder lack scoring outside of Durant, Westbrook, and Harden. The Spurs have seemed to rest a lot of their players late in the year and still overtook the Thunder for the #1 seed. Both teams are very good at home and on the road. The bench of the Spurs will probably get them to surpass the Thunder this year. I know teams don’t play much more than an 8 man rotation in the playoffs, but I think the Spurs make this run to the Finals because after being bounced early last year, they are on a mission.

SPURS IN 7.

THE FINALS

(1) Spurs vs. (2) Heat

It’s a matchup of the Big 3’s. Manu, Parker, and Duncan vs. LeBron, Wade, and Bosh. Outside of each teams big three the Spurs have a better team. The Spurs Big 3 have played way longer together than Miami’s Big 3. This is going to be a good series as each team seems to be on a mission to prove itself. Coach Popovich will have his hands full, but I’m sure he can handle it and Coach Spoelstra will have to utilize his lineups right to come out victorious. Part of me would like to see Tim Duncan get ring number 5 and part of me wants to see LeBron finally get his first ring. It’s hard to say who really holds the advantage, but I think LeBron has to come out and take over and win this year. It is an absolute must. Wade knows what it takes to takeover a series and win a ring, but he is many injuries removed from that and it has to fall on the shoulders of LeBron to take the crown as king. Let the party begin in South Beach.

HEAT IN 6.

Who is the Greatest All-Around NBA Player Ever?

Recently I had an argument, no, no, a discussion with one of my friends on who the best all-around player in the NBA. We both agreed without argument that it is LeBron James. I chimed in that the next closest player to him is on his team in Dwayne Wade. Both players are the two best two-way players in the league today by far. Then I took the conversation even further in asking who does he think is the best all-around player ever. Hmmm, that’s a tough one he says and then almost instantly says LeBron James. What about Oscar Robertson? Larry Bird? Magic Johnson? Michael Jordan? We can cross Dwayne Wade out because we both agree LeBron is better all-around than him and I’m going to contribute that to LeBron’s size. So we both ponder for a moment to really see who’s the best all-around player to ever play the game. Here’s what we come up with.

I’m only 24 years old so it’s safe to say that I’ve only got to “witness” LeBron play in the entirety of his career thus far. I’ve caught the latter days of Jordan’s career, but not enough to say I really got to watch him and when I did he was winning his last two NBA championships. At about 8 years old you don’t know too much about basketball, not the way you would when your older and understand the game better. Then I watched Jordan comeback playing for the Wizards, not nearly as good as he used to be, but if you’re anybody else those numbers are still pretty good. I never got to see Larry Bird play although you hear stories, see some clips, and you know that the guy was a prolific player. Unfortunately I never really got to see Magic Johnson play. When he came back during the 95-96 season, it was like Jordan playing for the Wizards, a good player but a shell of what he used to be. I mentioned Oscar Robertson and I wish I could have seen him play. He is the only player in the history of the NBA to average a triple-double in a season and has come very close several other times. The Big O also played during an era in which not all statistics were kept like they are today. Steals, blocks, and turnovers were not tracked and he also played in a league that did not have the 3-pointer as part of the game.

Before I make our case for why LeBron is the best all-around player I would like to argue the other players cases first, with the best of my knowledge. First, I want to say that it’s possible we left out a candidate that deserves consideration. You might be thinking where’s Kobe Bryant? Well in our eyes Kobe is purely a scorer and while he can do other things very well nobody really looks at him as a true two-way player. While Kobe is probably one of the best players to ever play the game and has the championships to back it up, his career numbers are actually comparable to Dwayne Wade’s and Wade is a much better defender than Kobe. While I’m not counting rings as a sign of individual success, it should be noted that Kobe had Shaq for three of them, and had a very good team for the next two rings. Dwayne Wade leads all active guards in blocks with 610. Kobe has 594 and 7 years more playing time than that of Wade. Sorry Wade’s my guy and I’d take him over anybody in the league, but were not arguing over popularity here.

Oscar Robertson averaged a triple-double. That’s an amazing feat being that the best players today don’t even come close to that. Maybe LeBron does, but if you think that only getting 2-3 more assists and rebounds is easy, think again. I never got to see him play and only get to hear what others say about him. He might have been the original all-around player. In terms of stats he’s the best. I don’t know how well he played defense although I hear he was never really known for his defense, but I’m sure his triple-double status overshadows that. Either way the guy could score in bunches, dished out dimes, and grabbed boards all in the same game. He has to be up for consideration right?

Larry Bird was one of the most prolific scorers ever. He could score at will. He averaged 24.3 points, 10 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. He is by no means the best defender to ever play the game, but he did play defense and made three 2nd All-Defensive teams in his career. He made 10 All-NBA teams, won 3 NBA championships, 3 NBA MVPs, and 2 Finals MVPs. He is the only player on my list that is strictly a forward. He is an underrated defender even though most would agree he played good defense, he is not an elite defender, but you wouldn’t want him guarding you.

Earvin “Magic” Johnson redefined the point guard position. At 6’8 his athleticism and court vision were uncanny. Magic averaged 19.5 points, 11.2 assists, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.7 steals a game. He has 5 championship rings, 3 Finals MVPs, and 3 NBA MVPs. He is probably the least defensive minded on this list, but that is by no means an insult. This is an elite list and not a list of best ever, but best all-around ever. His ability to pass, rebound, and score are what some would say as being ahead of his time. Most young point guards in the league today model their game after his.

Michael Jeffrey Jordan is regarded by most as the greatest player to ever play the game of basketball. His talents are second to none. His competitive spirit and willingness to win is second to none. He is a true competitor in every sense of the word. He is the best player in the biggest games. He might be the best scorer the league has ever seen. His stats back it up too. He averaged 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 2.3 steals a game. Mind you his two years with the Wizards brought those numbers down. He is the proud owner of 6 NBA championships, 6 Finals MVps, and 5 NBA MVPs. Oh yea he also won defensive player of the year once, the only player on this list to do so. He is the player that players today dream to be. Kobe wishes that he was Jordan. Kobe changed his number to 24 to signify that he was better than Jordan, but that’s the only thing Kobe has on Jodran, 1 number on his jersey. Jordan was the best all-around player to ever play the game. That is until October 29, 2003.

LeBron James made his NBA debut on October 29, 2003 with the Cleveland Cavaliers as the first pick in the draft. LeBron James is a combination of the previous four players. He has the triple-double capability of Oscar Robertson, the scoring ability of Larry Bird, the court vision of Magic Johnson, and the two-way mindset of Michael Jordan. Here’s why LeBron is the best all-around player to ever don an NBA uniform: he got to watch and learn from these players. If Jordan came after LeBron he would be the better all-around player. Players today have the ability to watch previous greats and take a part of their game and incorporate it into their game. My friend brought this to my attention and then I thought, wow, he’s right. Michael Jordan was considered the best dunker in NBA history, but then a kid named Vince Carter came along. Vince Carter got to watch Jordan display his panache and then add that to his own arsenal. It’s only right that new players have the ability to be better than former players.

LeBron James averages 27.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. He has yet to reach his full potential which is even more scary. He has the ability to play the 1-4 positions. Something that none of the other players were able to do. He can bring up the ball or play the 3, you could even play small and fast and put him at the 4. Something that makes him stand above the rest is his ability to also defend the 1-4. We saw it last year in the Eastern Conference Finals, when he guarded Derrick Rose and took him off his game. He guards other small forwards and sometimes power forwards like he did Pau Gasol earlier this year. No other player in the league can do that, not with the success that LeBron would have. That’s what sets him apart from any other player in the history of the league. He is one of the 5 category players in the league today along with Dwayne Wade. The other players I mentioned before him had the ability to put up stats in 5 categories as well. Did I Mention that LeBron is only

LeBron may never have won a defensive player of the year award, but I think this year he should have a really good consideration because of his ability to guard 1-4. He should also win the NBA MVP for the third time in his career this year, despite talks that Durant could potentially be the MVP. LeBron’s Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is above 30, no other player in the league has that. He might have another MVP candidate on his team in Wade, but of all the elite teams in the NBA they have the weakest team. They have no depth, and after Wade and Bosh there are no real scoring options. Durant has a better team as a whole than LeBron. Durant is really the only threat to take the MVP honors away from LeBron.

LeBron is highly criticized for his late game meltdowns as of late. This team has only been playing for a little over a year and when you have 3 players who are used to taking the last shot now playing on one team it’s going to take a while to gel. Personally I’m sick of the media coming up with stories about how un-clutch LeBron is. Ever heard of believe none of what you hear? Well it’s true. Since LeBron has come into the league, he leads the league in shots made to tie or take the lead with under 5 minutes left in the 4th quarter. If that’s not clutch I don’t know what is. Ok, so he’s not Robert Horry. He passes in situations he should shoot, but that’s the right basketball play. Isolation plays are the least successful in terms of scoring, so the media would rather him have a lower chance of scoring than setting up a teammate with a better chance to score? That doesn’t make any sense to me. Listen, I understand why he is being criticized, but let’s not make up stories about the BEST ALL-AROUND PLAYER EVER.

The State of Officials

Officiating is a big part of every sport. Calls can change the outcome of a game or the momentum of a team. In America’s big three sports; baseball, basketball, and football, the officiating is very different. Needless to say the referees or umpires hold some weight when considering the outcome of a game. For the most part they make the right calls, but which league really has calling the game down pat.

Let’s start with baseball, more particularly the MLB, or the show as some would like to call it. Baseball is the most traditional sport we have in America. The rules have changed very little from it’s inception in 1869 with the leagues first team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings. One of the most notable changes in the rules of recent years is the ability to review home runs via instant replay. Before that the biggest and most distinguishable rule adoption was the Designated Hitter (DH) by the American League, or Junior Circuit, in 1973. Replay is used in the NBA and NFL, but MLB was reluctant to add the use of replay because of baseball being so traditional. Bud Selig, however felt that it would not hinder the game but only aid in making the right call. That’s helping the officials make the right call when it may be hard to determine some 325-plus feet away.

In my opinion baseball does the best job of officiating out of the three sports. Ok so there are some blown calls here and there, but the umpires are only human and everybody, yes everybody makes mistakes. The most notable blown call of late came on June 2, 2010 where umpire Jim Joyce blew a call at first base which would have cemented Armando Galarraga’s in baseball history by pitching a perfect game. Jim Joyce later, in tears, admitted he blew the call and apologized to Galarraga. At least he was man enough to admit he blew the call and clearly he did miss out on making the right one. Like I said before were all human and humans make mistakes. It happens. Had the call come in a game where someone was not pitching a perfect game I’m not so sure people would remember Jim Joyce for that call.

Baseball has the best officiating because it’s a slower paced game and therefore less likely to continuously make bad calls. The home plate umpire may be scrutinized by fans and even managers, but for the most part I’d have to applaud the job they do. Is it hard to tell exactly where a 98 mph fastball landed? Yea I’d say so. A 12-6 curve ball that makes even a hitter flinch could be hard for an umpire to see, but they do and they do it well. The main reason why I think that MLB does the best job is because they are consistent. Each umpire may have a different version of the strike zone, but they stick to that strike zone. Sure an outside pitch just off the plate may be called a strike. Some umpires are pitcher friendly while others are hitter friendly. When there are 2 strikes on the hitter maybe the pitcher gets a little more breathing in terms of the strike zone. Ever here the phrase protect the plate with 2 strikes? You shouldn’t be looking at close pitches in that situation. At the end of the day MLB umpires do a great job of calling a consistent and mostly justified game.

The NBA and NFL are probably the harder games to officiate with the fast-paced uptempo style of play. I will give the NBA referees a slight edge in difficulty of officiating. There are two factors that make me believe this and here’s why: It’s a fast-paced game in constant movement where referees have to run up and down the floor with the players for the full 48-minutes. Also, the league has been plagued by “flopping” and in real-time it may be hard to distinguish whether it was actually a foul or a player acting to get the call. This is a part of the game that I can’t stand and I think most would agree, especially when it’s pretty blatant. A smaller guard running into the paint with a forward or center in their way, then contact, the larger player falling to the ground, the foul call. I mean come on, that same player who flopped was getting bumped in the post on offense by a big defender and now he’s falling to the ground with slight contact from the smaller opposition.

My biggest gripe with the NBA officials is the lack of consistency. I fully and completely understand that it must be hard to run up and down the court with these athletes and make the right call every time, but at the same time at least call it the same both ways. Like most fans if there are two NBA games on I’ll surf between channels and watch both games. I remember watching one game with the score being fairly close and the game clock around 30 seconds. The team losing was trying to foul a simple touch of the player that received the inbound a foul call was made. Free throws. Flip to the other game almost an identical situation. This time though the defender repeatedly grabbed the other player before a foul call was made taking a good 3 seconds off the clock. A foul is a foul is a foul, no?

Then there is the superstar call. Hey, I get that rookies don’t have the same credibility that veteran players, particularly superstar caliber players have, but sometimes its just ridiculous. Thunder vs. Lakers 2010 playoffs. A defender falls down while guarding Kobe Bryant. Kobe pulls up hits the shot. A whistle. A foul call. Free throws. Wait what? Shout out to Bill Simmons for that one. Where was I? Foul really? His defender was on the floor how could he foul him? Kobe gets all the calls. I dislike Kobe for this reason and it’s not even his fault. I’m not a Kobe hater. I respect his game and can’t deny he is one of the greatest basketball players that I’ve ever seen and that ever lived. I’m not denying that, but when someone gets calls like that and he thinks he should get calls like that since he often wants the foul when he misses, I can’t stand it. On my own New York Knicks I often hear A’mare Stoudemire screaming, “AND 1!!!”, whenever he goes up in the paint. Come on guy that’s not gonna help your case. That’s right in line with flailing your arms and throwing your head back to draw the call. Let the ref do their job and next time you get fouled make the shot and the free throw, I think that’s way more productive than screaming and then slowly getting back on defense with your palms to the sky.

I don’t really have much to say with the NFL, except that they do a pretty good job particularly with all the new rule changes for player safety. They blow calls yea of course. They do a pretty good job thought officiating especially in the playoffs. A lot of no-calls go a long way in the playoffs. More is at stake and it’s a physical game, so I’m glad they let them play. For the most part they are consistent with their officiating, calling a past interference the same way for each team. Good no-calls in some cases. They almost always get false start and neutral zone infraction calls right. Yea there are some games where I say wow they just want the other team to lose. The recently headlining Saints and their whole “Bounty-Gate” scandal was started in their 2009 Super Bowl run. I remember watching the Saints vs. the Vikings in the NFC Championship game and saying wow they are really letting them play as more often than not Brett Favre was on his rear-end. A lot of no-calls in that game, but like I said before they call less penalties in the playoffs so you can’t really get stuck on that game. The thing that bothers me most and it’s not even the fault of the officials is that the league is so invested in protecting their players that it hinders the defensive side of the ball. You can’t hit the quarterback like you used too or you’ll get a fine. Hit a defenseless receiver, yea that’s another fine. Numbers don’t lie and that’s why this season saw 3 quarterbacks throw for over 5,000 yards. Eli manning was only 77 yards away from eclipsing that mark too. Only 2 players before this year have ever done that and Drew Brees was one of them along with Dan Marino. So for 3 players to do that this year is remarkable or is it? Yea it’s a real pass happy league now and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if we see 3 more people do again this year. Hey that’s not the officials that the rules and the officials are supposed to uphold the rules.