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Joakim Noah: Heat Hollywood as Hell

Over the course of his college and NBA career we’ve learned that Joakim Noah doesn’t play by the rules. Putting his recent gay slur aside, we’ve seen Noah go shopping for bongs and screw up his rookie duties. He just isn’t your conventional NBA player. That’s why it was no surprise to hear him blast the Heat after losing to them in the playoffs.

Noah ripped on the city of Cleveland last year during the playoffs and that came after his notorious fight with LeBron where he supposedly called him a bitch. Even though I like the way Noah isn’t afraid to speak his mind, I just think he’s wrong here. The Heat’s Bermuda Triangle may have personal stylists and dress funny, but they are a hardworking team that prides itself on defense. They got dirty and out-hustled the Bulls the entire series. That’s just plain disrespectful by Noah considering Miami outplayed them and knocked them out in five games.

LeBron James Unintentionally Rips Ex-Cavaliers Teammates

LeBron James’ decision to leave Cleveland for the Miami Heat was the most polarizing move in recent NBA history. While the fans in South Beach were ecstatic to have a super team, nearly everyone else criticized James for standing up Cleveland and selling out by joining “someone else’s team.” Even though there is no defense for the manner in which LeBron made his announcement, his choice to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh was not only the right one, it was an admirable one.

The Cavaliers did not have the talent to beat the Magic, Celtics, or Lakers, so LeBron put his ego and money aside to join forces with players who could help him beat those teams. It’s hardly different from what Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen did in joining Paul Pierce in Boston, and it’s hardly different from Kobe demanding more help — and receiving it in Pau Gasol and Ron Artest. I always maintained that the biggest reason LeBron James didn’t win a title in Cleveland is because he lacked the support from his teammates.

After clinching his second career berth to the NBA Finals, he subtly said the same thing.

“I understand a lot of the backlash that came with me going to Miami, but I understand also that I did what was best for me, what was best for my family, and what was best for me being a professional athlete,” LeBron explained. “I understand what this league is all about. I wanted to team up with some guys that would never die down in the moment. The opportunity presented itself with this great organization and we made it happen.”

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Dwyane Wade and Erik Spoelstra Believe Early Season Struggles Helped Miami Heat

After a long regular season that included enormous amounts of hate and ridicule, the Miami Heat have reached the NBA Finals. It was an enduring and humbling journey for Miami, especially if you look back at their gaudy team introductions for their first home game of the season. They started off slowly and looked foolish when Chris Bosh admitted he was lost in the offense. Opposing owners celebrated their early-season struggles. They were widely mocked for crying following a March loss. But now we’re starting to see that all those issues helped lead them to become a Finals-bound team. At least that’s what Dwyane Wade and Erik Spoelstra say.

After the Game 5 close out win, Dwyane Wade said the early-season struggles helped build the team. “Right off the bat, beginning of the year, starting off 9-8, we all said in the locker room ‘We start off 17-0, 16-1, that’s not the best thing for this team.’ We needed to go through something, we needed to look ourselves in the mirror and see if we were really committed to this,” Wade explained. “After that 9-8 start, we showed we were committed to it and ever since then we’ve been fighting it out.”

Coach Erik Spoelstra expressed the same sentiment in his postgame press conference.

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Jason Terry got Larry O’Brien Trophy Tattoo on his Biceps Before Season Began

Mavericks guard Jason Terry is either going to look pretty foolish in a few weeks or pretty clairvoyant. Before the season began, Dallas guard DeShawn Stevenson invited his teammates over to his offseason home in Orlando for a get-together. As part of the team-building exercise, Stevenson had his personal tattoo artist over to ink up the squad. Jason Terry decided to get the Larry O’Brien Trophy (awarded to the NBA champion) tattooed on his biceps:

That was a pretty ballsy decision by Terry considering he had never won an NBA title. It even caught Stevenson off guard, and that’s hard to do given how many tattoos he has. Terry said about the tattoo “Everybody laughed and they thought it was a joke at the time. When they actually see me get it, they were like, ‘This boy is serious.’ And our whole talk and conversation was about right now, about us getting to this point and winning it all.”

Like I said, he’ll either look pretty foolish in a few weeks, or clairvoyant. Even though the Mavericks appear to be extraordinarily focused, I’m guessing he’ll end up looking foolish.

UPDATE: Terry says he’ll get the tattoo removed if they don’t win the title.

Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Nike Called Charles Barkley About his LeBron James Negativity

Somehow this NBA postseason has turned into a clash between Charles Barkley and the Miami Heat. Last week Chuck called the Miami Heat a whiny bunch which didn’t sit well with fans. They also didn’t like that he picked the Chicago Bulls to win the series, so they let him have it during TNT’s postgame show after Game 3. Chuck responded with a double bird to the fans.

Most of the problems between the sides date back to last summer when Barkley criticized LeBron James for leaving the Cavs to join the Heat, completely disregarding that he had actually sold out and joined the Rockets in search of a ring late in his career! Putting the hypocrisy aside, Barkley’s negativity towards LeBron was enough to get the suits from the swoosh on the phone.

Check out what Barkley told Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald as shared by Royce Young at CBS Sports:

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Video: Russell Westbrook Walks off Floor Without Shaking Hands

The more the playoffs go on, the less likable Russell Westbrook becomes. That’s coming from a UCLA fan who thought Russell was great for the Bruins and that he would find tremendous success in the NBA. He’s a hard worker, extremely talented, fast, and athletic. But his character is lacking.

In an interview after one of OKC’s playoff games this year, Kevin Durant credited his teammates for the win while Westbrook talked about his individual style of play. When he was removed from a game against Dallas, he yelled at his coach even though his team ends up winning. Sure he took more of a beating from the media than he deserved throughout the playoffs, but his lasting image of the postseason is not a positive one.

Immediately after the Thunder were eliminated, a frustrated and disheartened Westbrook walked off the floor without shaking hands or congratulating Dallas. Check out the video courtesy of Eye on Basketball:

Look, we understand how crappy it feels to lose. Even Kevin Durant couldn’t muster any positive words about Dirk Nowitzki after the game because he was upset his team lost. But Durant did the sportsmanlike thing and congratulated his opponents.

When you’ve been beaten, that’s all you have to do is congratulate the other team and shake their hand. You don’t have to be happy for them and there’s nothing wrong with being angry. Just shake your opponent’s hands. I know this won’t be as magnified as LeBron snubbing the Magic in ’09 because Westbrook isn’t the same caliber player, but this is just another sign of Russell’s immaturity. He’s a young man who has plenty of time to make a mends for the situation. He’s also extremely talented. I want to like him and so should most of the media. He just has to help us by displaying better character in the future.

Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks Ditch Doris Burke During Ceremony (Video)

After coming back to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5, the Dallas Mavericks were happy to have closed out the series. But staying true to their workmanlike character, they refused to celebrate too heavily knowing they still have their toughest task ahead — a meeting with the Heat or Bulls in the NBA Finals.

ESPN brought out reporter Doris Burke to interview owner Mark Cuban and head coach Rick Carlisle about reaching the Finals, but when she turned to speak with Dirk Nowitzki, she realized the team’s MVP had already exited the floor. Soon after that, the party ended as all the players dispersed. Check out the ditch party:

Even though this is the second time Burke was embarrassed this week, you can’t blame her too much. She probably should have interviewed Dirk before Cuban, but players generally stick around to conduct interviews. The question I have for you is why did they do it? One suspicion I had was that Dirk Nowitzki was upset at the way Mark Cuban was going all WWE in his interview and getting carried away. After all, Dirk said the team was doing better this year because Cuban was keeping quiet, so maybe he was upset that Cuban was opening his mouth. But the overwhelming feeling is that he walked off the floor because he didn’t feel it was time to celebrate.

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