In my best impersonation of Count Blah (of "Greg the Bunny" fame) while rounding out my feelings of Game 5 of the NBA Finals: "That was so painful, blah." I love the result, 103-98 Lake Show, but the rollercoasters that were Game 4 and 5 (Lakers giving up 24- and 19-point leads, respectively) are just about killing me.
However, nothing is making me pop the Alka Seltzer like the post-game comments Michael Wilbon (a guy whose opinion I typically appreciate) made about Kobe Bryant's 4th quarter steal off of Paul Pierce: "It's a foul, but...not in Los Angeles." What? Was Wilbon watching the game or did his ESPN/ABC producers get in his ear to make sure this "ref scandal" story keeps its legs? After all, ESPN's decision to air SportsCenter throughout the day has created a huge demand for "new" news.
But if we look at what Wilbon is choosing to criticize, shouldn't he also be questioning other 4th quarter non-calls like Pierce passing while sliding down the lane on his back (traveling) and Sam Cassell pulling a "sweep-the-leg" move while tossing Sasha Vujacic (ended up being a jump ball)? Since I'm a Laker fan, these two non-calls had me jumping off my couch and through the ceiling. Did Wilbon not take issue with these non-calls because it wouldn't fit into his "home-team-ref-bias" theory?
While Wilbon was busy implicating the NBA refs of favoritism, Doc Rivers was asked to give his assessment of Kobe's pivotal steal: "Give him credit. He made a hell of a play." Unfortunately, unlike Doc's opinion, Wilbon's sound-bite will be replayed over-and-over on ESPN.
And funny enough...as I was about to search for information on Wilbon and my initial thought that he might be suffering from an East coast bias (he's written for the Washington Post for 28 years), I came across this article on Yahoo! by Dan Wetzel: Ref's in crosshairs of biased announcers. It doesn't necessarily apply, but I thought it was interesting and timely.
Now, these may just be the angry ramblings of an angry Laker fan, but hearing Wilbon's comment after a game like that just made me want to throw my remote through the TV screen. Fortunately, I can turn to my blog for therapy.
Baseball Jones ~~ Hustling since 1980