published Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

5 at 10: Biggest meltdowns, LeBron's archenemy and the 5 at 10's next contest

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. -- Accept our mea culpas for leaving off Ichiro on Monday (although, we'll say that comparing Ichiro's 11 years in the majors to the first 11 years of any other player is hardly comparing apples-to-apples since Ichiro entered the majors in his mid-to-late 20s after a strong career in Japan and anyone else's first 11 years would start as a green youngster). We're on vacation so here's the structure — we're going to have one or two comments and then a top three or four list and call it a day. From our satellite studios here along the Gulf, here we go.



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    Steve Stricker, right, is congratulated by his caddie after winning the Memorial golf tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio Sunday, June 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Contest news

Who wants to win some Braves' tickets. With the U.S. Open this week — and no Tiger Woods — let's do our Mastering the Masters' Masterful Challenge (remember the Masters Challenge was won by SportTalk's Cowboy Joe, he's a cowboy after all). You remember the game (with a small scoring tweak): Submit five golfers, and we'll give points for each place finish. (If you send in Steve Stricker and he wins that's 1 point. Whoever finishes 15th will be worth 15 points, etc. If your guy misses the cut, it's 100 points. The winner will have the lowest score.)

Questions? Interested? Winner gets four Braves tickets.



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    Miami Heat's LeBron James (6) talks with referee Tony Brothers (25), center, after committing as foul, as Dwyane Wade (3) looks on in the third quarter during an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls in Miami, Sunday, March 6, 2011. The Bulls defeated the Heat 87-86. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

LeBron, archenemy No. 1

Wow, the hand-wringing over the Heatles' implosion in the NBA Finals has been shocking. Shocking, we say. Let it go folks, let it go. The amount of emotion and passion and fever that the Heat have created is stunning. (And somewhere, David Stern is smiling and he would be doing the cartoon evil guy laugh and pulling on the ends of his long, black and twisty mustache if he were a cartoon character and had a long, black and twisty mustache.)

Our man Chuck Barkley blamed the media (of course he did, the media is actually to blame for everything this side of polio) and said, "You guys told him, 'You're great because you're like Michael Jordan.'" ... [LeBron's] not a natural born killer. He's great because he's so physically gifted." Ouch, we'll take back-handed compliments for $1,000, Alex.

LeBron asked for this, wanted this, signed on for this and made a huge mistake in his initial approach to this. (The Decision was the brightest, self-created spotlight ever and it still casts shadows. A year ago, Pre-Decision, LeBron was the most popular athlete on the planet; today he may be the most unpopular.)

OK, everyone take a step back and breath. Now remember that LeBron's numbers in his first 10 NBA Finals games are comparable to Kobe's (look them up), and he has already made two more NBA Finals than Jordan at his age. This is not saying LeBron's better than Kobe or Jordan or anyone else. LeBron has a lot of growing and maturing to do, but wow, LeBron-bashing has gone to DefCon1. ("Do you want to play a game of chess?")

His biggest sins of the NBA Finals were not missing shots or making turnovers as much as being invisible and fading into a supporting role. Stars are called stars because they shine in the darkest moments — vanishing is not the act of a star.

How this shapes him — as a player and as a person — will be the definition of his career.



  • photo
    New York Yankees starter Mike Mussina, center, bites his lips as Yankees gather on the mound. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

You can't handle the truth

The 5-at-10 does not like the word choke (unless EC is describing an MMA event and said someone was choked, then it actually applies).

That said, it has been a crazy run of big-moment meltdowns (remember it was only a couple of weeks ago that JR Hildebrand crashed on the final turn of the Indy 500). Here are the 5-at-10's top 5 all-time crunch-time implosions:

— Yankees in 2004: No other baseball team has lost a 3-0 series lead, and to do it against the Red Sox was overwhelming.

— Red Sox in 1986: Sorry, BIspy, but that was a big-time meltdown. (And it was the year EC was born.)

— Scott Norwood in Super Bowl XXV: Think how the Bills' legacy would have been different if Norwood, who missed a 47-yard field-goal attempt on the final of that Super Bowl loss to the Giants, would have been right on rather than "Wide Right."

— Jean Van de Velde in the 1999 British Open: The Frenchman's 72nd hole meltdown was must-see; like how everyone slows down and looks at a fender-bender. Because it all happened on one hole (Van de Velde needed a double-bogey on the final hole to win the tournament but made triple and lost in a playoff) it was just a touch worse than Greg Norman's Masters meltdown.

— The mighty Bears of South Bend Central: Yes, Jimmy Chitwood (who actually delivered after a much-ballyhooed "Decision" of his own) was awesome down the stretch and the crowd was definitely pro-Hickory, but the Bears had a six-point lead in the final minute and could not hold on for the Indiana state title. It's a good thing that was pre-Twitter, huh?

Until tomorrow.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
Eustice_Chase said...

Good Gravy Bill ! I just typed a very nice response and now its gone!

June 14, 2011 at 10:31 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

I'll Take Martin Kaymer, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Ricky Fowler and Steve Stricker...the last 10 majors their have been 10 different winners....sheesh!

Lebron Lebron Lebron...im sick of talking about Lebron...lets talk about Dwight...who said he was going to test Free Agency next year..unless The Magic Win the Championship next year...which they wont...so where will Dwight land? Chicago with D-Rose? New Jersey with Deron Williams? LA with Kobe? there only a few places that have the pieces that would make this trade happen....but if I have any advice to get to Dwight...Get away from there..load up the family and move to Beverly...Hills that is...Swimming pools, movie stars and Kobe !!!!

June 14, 2011 at 10:35 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

you know the one lesson I learned from WAPR is sometimes...its best not to play at all....which i guess thats the same memo that LJ got before the finals this year. Love the list of all time meltdowns (chokes). I mean who can argue with the Yanks bein at the top after that colossal meltdown of biblical proportions. I'll get the names to ya after some much needed research for my runner's up finish...why change anything now?

June 14, 2011 at 10:54 a.m.
patrickd said...

Pdavi's key to 4 Atlanta Braves tickets:

Luke Donald

Phil Mickelson

Lee West Wood

Martin Kaymer

Nick Watney

June 14, 2011 at 11:05 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

ALERT!!! This JUST in!!! The NBA made a mistake in counting Finals MVP votes...Dirk's Non-shooting, shooting hand has been named NBA Finals MVP!!! Edging out Dirk himself by 2 votes and Lebron James by not 2 not 3 not 4 not 5 not 6 not 7 but 8 votes.....

June 14, 2011 at 11:10 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Im sorry folks...but i had to do it...i didnt get to use that joke during the finals at all...

June 14, 2011 at 11:17 a.m.
patrickd said...

Since this contest is pretty much wrapped up, how about a 2nd contest? The "Who wants to go to the Braves game with Pdavi" contest.

(winners will be selected at Pdavi's discretion.)

((bribes are welcome.))

June 14, 2011 at 12:24 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Gang,

Another big-time perfect day here at the Redneck Riviera. Keep the contest entries flowing (rest easy, Oso, second place is better than last -- unless you're Ricky Bobby, of course).

The Dwight sweepstakes will be a modern day "Moby Dick" -- It will take us a year to finish the story and we all know how it's going to end. He wants to be a Laker; Kobe will embrace it because he's already won a title on his own; so when the NBA returns in 2018, there will be the Lakers, Heatles, Bulls, Knicks, Thunder and everyone else.

Until tomorrow.

June 14, 2011 at 12:59 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

I tell you what Pdavi- if you choose me Ill buy you a snow cone at the game!

June 14, 2011 at 1:31 p.m.
patrickd said...

EC is an early favorite in Contest 2.

June 14, 2011 at 1:39 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

UFC to add one more Weight Class...the 125lb Flyweight Division..this will hopefully be the last weight class added to the UFC..but it will most definately lead to exciting fights...125lbers move like Gazelles...their hands are faster than hummingbird wings...it should be a good move by the industry leader...

June 14, 2011 at 2:16 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Lee Westwood Steve Stricker Rory McIlroy Nick Watney Having trouble with the last spot. It's either Jonathan Byrd, K.J. Choi or Matt Kuchar. Thinking about throwing Snedeker into this mix too. Settled. Going with Choi.

June 14, 2011 at 3:55 p.m.
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