Earlier this summer, “The Last Dance” gave the world a look at how Michael Jordan used every slight, real or perceived, as motivation.
“It became personal with me” was the calling card that signaled His Airness was about to take things to another level.
After finishing second to Giannis Antetokounmpo in the MVP vote, LeBron James had his own phrase that he kept going back to: “pissed me off.” He’s quoted with those words five times in one story from Dave McMenamin at ESPN.
So, James and the Lakers went out and put a 126-114 beating on the Nuggets in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Friday night, a game Los Angeles led by as many as 27 points before Denver had a 12-point edge in the garbage time fourth quarter.
Thanks to it being a blowout, James was able to take it a little bit easy and clock out after 31 minutes. He finished with 15 points, 12 assists, and six rebounds, while Anthony Davis handled the bulk of the scoring load with 37 points.
It’s Davis who is as big a reason as any that James wasn’t closer to Antetokounmpo in the MVP vote, because he’s a legitimate superstar in his own right, while Khris Middleton is… there’s no need to be extra insulting to Khris Middleton here — he’s not also first team All-NBA like Anthony Davis, leave it at that.
James not winning MVP might be the worst thing to happen to the Nuggets, because whatever arguments there are about MJ vs. King James, the two greatest players of their eras have at least one thing in common in their ability to take it to another level when they feel they have something to prove, whether it became personal with them or whether it pissed them off.
Bless the Golf Channel for assembling the golf content we really want, a video called “U.S. Open 2020: Worst shots from Round 2.” It’s beautiful, it really is. The thing that makes the U.S. Open the best golf tournament is seeing the best golfers in the world look completely ordinary and see how they handle the frustration of normal people when they go out to the golf course and hit shots that leave them further away from the hole than they started.
Patrick Reed leads after two rounds at 4-under-par. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, and Jordan Spieth all missed the cut. John Pak, who had a really nice start with a 69 in the first round, shot 76 in the second and is the only amateur who made it to the weekend.
Albert Pujols is now alone in fifth place on the all-time home run list with 662. Up next is Alex Rodriguez at 696, and it’ll be fascinating to see whether Pujols gets there, as he’s got one year left on his megacontract with the Angels and it’s hard to see what the market will be for a guy who will be 42 years old for the 2022 season and is a first baseman/DH with a .698 OPS since 2017.