Thursday, June 18, 2015


The basketball player formerly known as Ron Artest Jr. now goes by the handle Metta World Peace. I hope the basketball player currently known as Lebron James does not follow in this path and formally rename himself "I am the Greatest Basketball Player on the Planet," much as he took to calling himself that during the NBA finals.

For one thing, "I am the Greatest Basketball Player on the Planet" is a mouthful. For another, it detracts from rather than underlines or adds to the respect James is definitely due — not only as a player but also as man of some political acumen, as he's shown with regard to turmoil on the streets of Cleveland and with regard to NBA issues, such as racist remarks by octogenarian a'hole Donald Sterling.

Besides, the NBA is in danger of choking on spectacle, as if basketball on the highest level isn't enough, as if the sport doesn't more than justify itself. Especially when it comes to the finals, you've got to get through a lot of spectacular nonsense to arrive at an actual game.

So James should stick to being James, or Lebron, or even King James, since that says it too. Though, wait, wasn't King James ejected for good, as in beheaded, or something? No, he wasn't. That form of ejection was the fate of several other English kings, not one of whom could ever dribble or play defense.

So Lebron, stick to the known and tolerable monikers, and better luck next year.

Now here's where I get in my special pitch: there is, in the NBA, a separate statistic for the one point shot. It's called free throw percentage.

Time to get rid of field goal percentage, which no longer describes the game, and split it into a statistic for the venerable, though increasingly outmoded, two point shot and another for three-pointer, upon which so many teams depend.

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