Why talk about the NBA when there is no NBA team in Pittsburgh?

After all, Pittsburgh Beautiful focuses on our great city.

Just this once, let’s peek outside because the biggest story in sports last week was hardly the Penguins signing a middling defenseman and a retread, but was LeBron Raymone James Sr. signing a 4-year, $153.3 million deal to play basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers.

I grew up a Celtics fan whose favorite player was Magic Johnson, so that never meshed.

Then I was the one who liked Kobe Bryant, and I loved Shaq Daddy, so the late ‘90s Lakers were cool, too, but it was still hard to root for them wholeheartedly.

Now I get to kind of root for the Lakers again, under one condition – they win. As a person with no rooting interest in the NBA besides the pure athletic skill of pro basketball players, I can afford to be a fair-weather fan. So now I am a Lakers fan because I am a LeBron fan

Why?

He’s the best.

Just ask G.

G knows the score on things like this and he tells me LBJ is the best. Maybe G did not have to reach too far for that judgment, but he pestered me for a mention in the column, so I am paying up.

Other Moio Musings:

  • Actually, G gets another mention here because he agrees with me about the Pens and their signings of Jack Johnson and Matt Cullen – kind of. We both do not get the Cullen signing. If there is not a younger, faster version of Cullen somewhere in the system, the system might be in trouble. I know he’s experienced and great in the locker room, but so is, uhm Sean Rodriguez. As for Johnson, that’s a bigger question. Cullen is one year and $650,000, but Johnson is 5 years – five years – and $16.5 million. G hates the length of the Johnson signing while I hate the signing all together. Once I verified that Johnson is not the same Jack Johnson who sings the Curious George theme song, I looked closer at his career to see what redeeming value I could find since I only seem to remember him being not very good at best. I was right. Johnson will not add anything in terms of offense from the blue line and his very low penalty minute numbers tell me he is not as physical as an NHL defensemen needs to be. He has the worst plus/minus rating in the NHL over the span of his career. It is hard to question Jim Rutherford who has far more hits than misses in his Penguins’ tenure, but these two signings are head scratchers.
  • While driving my sons home from a day of swimming on Sunday afternoon, I heard a local radio broadcaster speculate the following: “Mason Rudolph has everybody in Pittsburgh excited and I don’t think anybody fears Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement anymore.” Jay and Santino both asked me the same question at the same time: “Dad, who is Mason Rudolph?” 93.7, The Fan’s Ron Cook also speculated that he has heard rumbles that some hope Rudolph ousts Ben as the Steelers’ signal caller sooner rather than later. Wow, can we get a time out here? Is this really the thought process among Pittsburgh sports fans? I get that I live in a city where the backup quarterback is always better. Roethlisberger’s career has had less of that talk (perhaps because his backups, current backup included, have been no real threat at all to Ben), but it is concerning to hear fans anoint a player who has thrown as many NFL passes as I. Mason Rudolph may be Ben’s successor, but it may take three or four years of learning the pro game before it happens.
    Or maybe not. To be honest, a, “Steelers’ rookie QB Mason Rudolph supplants Big Ben as the starter,” story would be all-time column fodder, but I am not holding my breath.
  • No mention of the Pirates? It’s the middle of the season and they are the only game in town! Polanco is starting to hit, that’s funny, and they have crept closer to .500 this past week, so why no love?
    Speaks volumes, doesn’t it?
  • Finally, I need to apologize to my wife for another negative column. I am grateful for her support and her insistence that I adopt a more optimistic outlook, but sports is a cynical world (at least according to Jerry Maguire who wrote an entire mission statement about that idea. Of course, Maguire was fired for his ideas and was also a fictional character, but it is the best support I can muster for my acquittal).

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