Shanoff's W.U.C.: LeBron, Magic, Nadal, Zack

Today's Calls: LeBron vs. Dwight Howard, Magic vs. Lakers, Nadal vs. Soderling, Zack Greinke vs. Jamie Moyer, Pens vs. Wings, Strasburg vs. Seminoles, Vick vs. Rams, Harvin vs. Wildcat and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: LeBron turned into LeBaby. ↵

↵

↵The lasting image of the best playoff series ever by a player and LeBron's best season ever as a pro (not to mention the Cavs' best season ever as a team) was LeBron stalking off the court after being eliminated. ↵

↵

↵No handshakes, no interviews. We are all witnesses ... to epic pouting. ↵

↵

↵He was less channeling Michael Jordan's early-career disappointment than the Pistons' bitterness in 1991 after they were eliminated by MJ's ascendant Bulls. ↵

↵

↵That is hardly the way to act for the King of a league in a so-called Renaissance. LeBron claims it is simply because he is so competitive. I wasn't aware that being competitive was mutually exclusive from sportsmanship. (Just ask the NHL.) ↵

↵

↵LeBron's post-game display of immaturity shows that, despite his gaudy numbers and choking supporting cast (and, BTW, let's not forget to credit that the Magic were clearly the superior team), the MVP really isn't much of a leader. No wonder his teammates folded on him. ↵

↵

↵Maybe he thought he was modeling Jordan's competitiveness, but by leaving his dazed teammates to explain away the series defeat in its immediate aftermath, he was just proving he doesn't have that champion's mettle yet to deal with adversity. ↵

↵

↵I'm no Baylessian prude — all I wanted was a handshake and a few words from LeBron to prove he was as much of an MVP in defeat as in success. ↵

↵

↵ ↵

↵

↵What next for Cleveland? All sorts of hand-wringing — mostly by people OUTSIDE of Cleveland, which makes it all the more paternalistic — and frustrating for Cavs fans. ↵

↵

↵But let's get real: Will LeBron have a better shot in Cleveland of winning an NBA title than he had this season? Best record, home-court advantage, an All-Star running mate. No, he won't. His next-best chance will come in New York, with an all-new cast around him. ↵

↵

↵Meanwhile, the Magic's win was an affirmation: ↵

↵

↵— For building your team around a super big: Howard ↵

↵

↵— For max spending on a complimentary player: Lewis ↵

↵

↵— For the Euro invasion of NBA: Hedo > Dirk. ↵

↵

↵— For streetball: Skip To My Lou had a great series. ↵

↵

↵— For Otis Smith: Signing (Lewis); drafting (Lee); trading (Alston). ↵

↵

↵— For the Magic, not the Cavs, as the NBA's rising power. ↵

↵

↵Pre-Finals story line: Will Jameer Nelson be back for the Finals? No, this feels like mere off-day speculation. (But here is something to consider: As good as Orlando is playing right now, imagine them with their All-Star-caliber PG?) ↵

↵

↵Finals pick coming Wednesday. But let's just remember who picked the Magic over the Cavs in 6. (Yes, I get these things correct rarely enough to point it out.) ↵

↵

↵Rafael Nadal shocked at French Open: You will not get a bigger upset this year — perhaps this decade — than Nadal losing in the 4th round of the French Open to a virtual nobody. It would have been shocking enough for Nadal to lose in the French finals — say, to Roger Federer. But now? To the previously low-radar Robin Soderling? Jaw-dropping. ↵

↵

↵MLB Talking Points: Zack's ERA now 1.10 ↵

↵

↵— Greinke Watch: ND! 3 ER, most in '09 (7 K, 0 BB) ↵

↵

↵— MLB's Hottest: Brewers sweep Reds, 1st in NL Central ↵

↵

↵— Red Sox regain pop: 4 HRs in new lineup, Lester Ks 12 ↵

↵

↵— Milestones: Ageless Moyer wins No. 250 ↵

↵

↵— Injury Watch: Grady Sizemore to DL ↵

↵

↵— Fantasy Stud: Edwin Jackson (8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 7 K) ↵

↵

↵NCAA Baseball: 37! Ohio State gives up 37 runs in arguably the most humiliating baseball postseason loss ever. Money stat: "Florida State set NCAA postseason records with 37 runs, 38 hits and 66 total bases." ↵

↵

↵MLB Draft: Stephen Strasburg may have lost some bargaining leverage on Friday night. Sure, he had 15 strikeouts against Virginia, but he also lost the game, the biggest of his college career. If Strasburg can't beat the Hoos, how is he going to beat the Phillies? ↵

↵

↵Stanley Cup: Evgeni Malkin's scuffling last night may have had some symbolic power, but the Pens are still down 2-0 to the Red Wings. (Eric McErlain has a must-read on how the Pens can come back.) ↵

↵

↵Mike Vick Watch: Rams? With Vick out of prison and coming closer to NFL reinstatement, watch as teams float their interest in him — both to manage public perception and to woo Vick, in the event that multiple teams will recruit him (and you can bet there will be). The Rams have very little to lose in pursuing him, given their record over the past few seasons. ↵

↵

↵More NFL: The most exciting NFL news of the weekend? The Vikings were practicing the Wildcat formation — with Percy Harvin. ↵

↵

↵NBA Draft: Length will be back in vogue, especially after the way the Magic's long, versatile frontcourt dismantled the Cavs. That is good news for PG Jrue Holiday, now looking at the Top 5, and PF Austin Daye, now looking at Top 10. (BTW: Blake Griffin is NOT long.) ↵

↵

↵The Last Word: "I'm a winner. It's not being a poor sport or anything like that. If somebody beats you up, you're not going to congratulate them. That doesn't make sense to me. I'm a competitor. That's what I do. It doesn't make sense for me to go over and shake somebody's hand." ↵
↵— LeBron James ↵

↵

↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff. ↵

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

In This Article

Topics
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.