the physical toll ga.
the physical toll ga.in Deutsch in Medien und Literatur 14.08.2018 09:00
von officialsbaseball • 303 Beiträge
LeBron James sprung to his feet and screamed along with thousands of delirious Cleveland fans.
When Indians outfielder Rajai Davis connected off Chicago Cubs reliever Aroldis Chapman for a tying home run in the eighth inning of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series Eli Manning Giants Jersey , James came unglued and reacted the way he might after a monstrous dunk or back-breaking 3-pointer in the NBA Finals.
And while his fanatical response said a lot about James and his allegiance to the Indians, so did the tight, black T-shirt he wore on that unseasonably warm November night.
It said: ”Cleveland Or Nowhere.”
As the sports world waits to see where the three-time champion intends to play next season and beyond, there remains the real possibility that James could choose to stay in Cleveland, his hoops home for 11 of the past 15 years and where this Northeast Ohio son shares a unique and profound connection with fans who have followed him since his teens.
James has other options: Los Angeles (salary-cap space for another star, Magic Johnson in charge), Houston (a chance to play on a super team with MVP James Harden), Philadelphia (young stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid), and maybe more.
But, as has always been the case for James, home will pull at his heart.
For the longest time, the perception was that once James ended Cleveland’s 52-year title drought in 2016, he would leave again as soon as he could. That doesn’t seem to be a slam dunk any longer.
By Friday, James is expected to make his first move and likely decline a $35.6 million contract option for next season with the Cavs, who are hoping their past loyalties to the 33-year-old and his own sentimental attachments – family, legacy – will keep him in Cleveland.
Unlike his free-agency forays in 2010 and 2014, James will not meet with prospective teams. He’s letting agent Rich Paul and his other representatives handle the business side of things as he vacations with family and makes up his mind.
Months ago, James’ connection with the Cavs seemed broken Josh Jackson Jersey Elite , hopeless. Last summer’s shocking trade of All-Star Kyrie Irving, the team’s failed attempt to integrate guard Isaiah Thomas, a lack of playmakers, assorted injuries and coach Tyronn Lue’s medical issues contributed to James appearing ready to pull up stakes again and pursue championships elsewhere.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the NBA Finals.
James was boosted by general manager Koby Altman’s drastic-and-dramatic roster overhaul at the trading deadline, and despite a lack of cohesion and Vegas odds makers labeling the Cavs as underdogs, Cleveland advanced to a fourth straight summer showdown with Golden State, surviving two Game 7s and sweeping the top-seeded Toronto Raptors along the way.
Of course, James did all the heavy lifting. He played in all 82 regular-season games and had perhaps his best postseason, averaging 34 points, 9.1 rebounds and 9.0 assists while making a pair of buzzer-beating shots and doing all he could in a Finals sweep that could have been much different if Cleveland had not lost Game 1 in overtime.
”He gave his heart and soul, die-hard energy, commitment to this team, to this franchise, to the city, to Northeast Ohio,” Altman said last week after the Cavs drafted Alabama guard Collin Sexton, who quickly raised some eyebrows by choosing to wear No. 2, Irving’s number for six seasons with Cleveland. ”It was an historical year and probably one of the best postseason runs of all time. We’re very Sam Darnold Jersey Youth , very fortunate to have him here and what he gave to this franchise this year was nothing short of remarkable.
”We don’t take that for granted at all.”
And it’s why the Cavs haven’t surrendered from the fight to keep him.
Owner Dan Gilbert, whose relationship with James remains tricky if not rocky, has displayed a willingness to spend whatever’s necessary to keep his team championship competitive. That’s unlikely to change whether James extends his second stint with Cleveland.
In a recent Business Insider podcast, Gilbert referred to James as a ”partner,” an acknowledgment by the billionaire to what the superstar he once criticized means to his franchise.
The appeal for James to stay home is different now than it was eight years ago when he bolted for Miami. He’s more mature, with three children and a burgeoning business empire. His priorities, responsibilities and goals are different.
After the Warriors finished their Finals sweep of the Cavs, James revealed an injured right hand but an unchanged view of the next phase of his career.
”I will still continue to be in championship mode,” he said. ”When I decide what I’m going to do with my future, my family and the folks that have been with me for the last 20 years will have a say-so. Then it ultimately will come down to me.”
Sidney Crosby saw Jakub Voracek’s glove on the ice and wasn’t going to let his opponent pick it up easily.
Crosby pushed the glove away with his stick and reignited a melee in a good, old-fashioned Pittsburgh-Philadelphia playoff game that featured three fights, way more scrums and 158 penalty minutes. When Crosby was asked afterward why he did it, the Penguins captain responded: ”I don’t like them. I don’t like any guy on their team.”
Those were the days.
”It was awesome,” then-Penguins general manager Ray Shero said. ”If you look at it, it was wild. It really was. You had villains on both sides and people that hated each other.”
That was six years ago. Is a rivalry still a rivalry in a league that has made a concerted effort against over-the-top hits and where fighting is truly a rare sight?
NHL executive Colin Campbell once famously said the league sells hate, and at no time is hate more widely bought, sold, distributed and celebrated than during the Stanley Cup playoffs. The NHL’s divisional playoff format was brought back specifically to ignite old rivalries and create new ones Lawrence Taylor Jersey Youth , which has been a successful venture even if hate looks different than it did in the days of the ”Broad Street Bullies.” Playoff rivalries are no longer about dropping the gloves or laying out bone-crushing hits.
Teams now play fewer regular-season games against each other and are made up of more skilled players and fewer enforcers. Still, thanks to how tight the league is and the volcanic snowball effect of what a playoff series does to hockey players and coaches, rivalries might have a different look but they have plenty of smoldering intensity.
”Playing against teams with high stakes when there’s a lot on the line – win or go home – that’s how you have rivalries,” veteran New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle said. ”When it’s us or it’s them, that’s how you find those rivalries. The same guys for two weeks, I think that’s how you build them.”
The first round in the Eastern Conference this year already has two old-school rivalries with the Penguins and Flyers meeting in the playoffs for the first time since their epic 2012 showdown, and Boston facing Toronto for the first time since 2013. In the West, Minnesota faces Winnipeg in the first playoff series between the two division rivals, which could heat up fast.
”The best thing about most of them are is the proximity to where they live, the close ones, but I think it needs a good playoff (series) against that individual team to create the rivalry full hand,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. ”Until you play seven games in 14 nights where you learn to hate the opposition.”
Playoff series in back-to-back years made the Penguins and Washington dislike each other plenty, and they’d meet again in the second round if they advance this year. Nashville and Anaheim developed a nontraditional rivalry with intense series the past two playoffs, making that a potentially combustible Western Conference final.
When Predators players think about those Ducks series and other tense ones over the past several years, they know there haven’t been a lot of fights – and they’re not alone. The past four playoffs have included a total of 39 fights. There were 46 fights in the 1978 postseason alone and an incredible 85 in the 1988 playoffs.
”You get the odd scrum that turns into a fight and stuff like that, but there’s not too much fighting left,” Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis said. ”You probably see the amount of blocked shots go up in the playoffs, the amount of hits – the little things that may not be on the stat sheet is kind of what I guess gets your team through the playoffs. It’s just little things like that that really is the playoff intensity.”
Boyle Ty Montgomery Jersey Elite , who has blocked 113 shots in 106 career playoff games, has seen more fights in blowout games deep into a series than at other times because there’s too much at stake to take a retaliatory penalty.
”A lot of times you see a lot of other guys turn the other cheek in a playoff series,” Boyle said. ”You don’t want something like that to make a difference in a series.”
Making a difference is more about scoring a big goal than leveling a big hit or punching someone in the face. Look at the Penguins’ and Flyers’ rosters now and the likes of Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Voracek and Claude Giroux are far more likely to beat someone with a slick shot than their fists.
”I think the game has changed in how it’s being played out there,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. ”I think personnel has changed. But I think rivalries are rivalries. There’s always a heightened emotion associated with the games.”
So much so that retired player and former Penguins coach Ed Olczyk said of Penguins-Flyers, ”It only takes one player, one comment from somebody, where all bets are off and that gasoline tank will be ignited fairly quickly.” Crosby recalls more fights between the teams in the past – he was involved in two six years ago in the game he swatted Voracek’s glove away – but doesn’t want to downplay the intensity of this rivalry.
”You never know what can happen,” Crosby said. ”I feel like both teams are always kind of at their best, and there’s always a little bit extra in those games.”
Capitals defenseman John Carlson said he thinks playoff rivalries have gotten worse more because of what players can get away with, the physical toll ga.
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