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Friday, June 22, 2012

Thunder Show True Class in Defeat

"We're going to treat them like they're the champions. After the game were going to walk and shake their hands and acknowledge all of them. They beat us fair and square. However how hard that hurts, they still beat us fair and square."--Oklahoma City Thunder Coach Scott Brooks' message to his team late in game five of the 2012 NBA Finals

LeBron James deserves credit for realizing how immaturely he acted last year and for taking steps to become more mature but while many media members stumble over each other to be first in line to praise James and scream from the rooftops, "All is forgiven, King James!" it is important to emphasize that the Oklahoma City Thunder--a team that featured the youngest starting lineup to reach the NBA Finals since the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers--are already very mature human beings, even if they may need some seasoning as basketball players in order to achieve their ultimate goal; James embarrassed himself with both his lackluster play and his immature comments during last year's NBA Finals but the Thunder have displayed commendable maturity throughout their evolution from the worst team in the league to a squad that looks like a potential dynasty in the making. After James' Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the Orlando Magic in the 2009 playoffs, he fled the court without shaking hands with the Magic players and he later refused to apologize for his poor sportsmanship, insisting that his boorish conduct actually was a reflection of his competitiveness. In contrast, Thunder Coach Scott Brooks instructed his players to congratulate the Heat last night--and the beautiful thing is that one gets the sense that most if not all of the Thunder players would have done the right thing even if Brooks had not reminded them in the heat of the moment to do so. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are each just 23 years old but they are young men who do the NBA proud on and off the court and they are worthy future NBA Champions.

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posted by David Friedman @ 3:35 PM

5 comments

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5 Comments:

At Saturday, June 23, 2012 1:36:00 AM, Blogger Ben said...

Pretty sad that coaches have to remind players to shake hands. The worst is when they leave the court with time remaining (the Isiah), the most egregious example recently being KG and Rondo.

Of course since Rondo is not LBJ, he didn't get beat up too badly in the media. I remember the media unnecessarily getting worked up over a non-pregame handshake between Kobe and Shaq.

 
At Sunday, June 24, 2012 4:59:00 PM, Anonymous Michael Joseph said...

The true test of character is how a person handles defeat. It's easy for a person to be gracious when they are on the winning side of things, but it takes true class and dignity to be gracious after a bitter loss. That's not meant to be a jab at LeBron, as he is a worthy champion who demonstrated tremendous poise and maturity after his victory. I just have a sneaking suspicion though, that LeBron's demeanor might have been a little different had the Heat lost the series.

 
At Monday, June 25, 2012 2:54:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Ben:

I don't think that players necessarily have to shake hands before and/or after every single game but I think that at the end of a playoff series the players should shake hands. Isiah Thomas has said that one of the biggest regrets from his playing career is the way that he led the Pistons off of the court in 1991 without shaking hands with the Bulls after the Bulls dethroned them. When the Pistons beat the Celtics a few years earlier, Kevin McHale made a point of seeking out Isiah Thomas to congratulate him and wish him good luck in the NBA Finals.

 
At Monday, June 25, 2012 2:55:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Michael Joseph:

Hopefully, LeBron James has turned the corner from a maturity standpoint but time--and future adversity--will tell.

 
At Monday, June 25, 2012 1:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marcel

U ain't got Too shake hands but it better for u too. SHOW u deal with adversity well. Lebron proved he could deal with adversity. I think it was a good thing for everyone. Brooks and okc got class. They have great young team that will compete for titles a couple more times. Glad that spoelstra and bosh got they credit they stepped up like they should.

 

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