Sunday, February 8, 2009


In my mind LeBron James will go down as the greatest basketball player ever to play the game when all is said and done. I rooted for him ever since his coming-out party in high school, when he destroyed also-heralded Lenny Cooke in summer league play. He arrived to the Association ready to play, with that once-in-a-lifetime combination of man-child size, strength skill and maturity.

But he lost me during that first playoff series with the Wiz. Write off LeBron's low-class heckling of Gilbert before those free throws as nothing more than gamesmanship, but poor sportsmanship from an all-time great always irked me more than that from the journeyman. He's got the skill to win without whining about calls or tearing down his opponents, but LeBron just doesn't seem to get it. Whenever your mama's got to get involved, your class is suspect.

But since the moment I saw this, I knew LeBron had stepped over the line.
The image of throwing resin is original, cool, a signature move that helps define the King James mythology.
One problem.
Now retired, Mitoizumi started that routine way back in the mid-80's before calling it quits in 2002. A feisty wrestler whose antics were always more memorable than his win-loss record, Mitoizumi came across as a nasty, mean bully who was a pleasure to root against. Hence, his other nickname, "The Asshole," in David Benjamin's immortal The Joy of Sumo. Oh, and just to pile on Mitoizumi with more villanous qualities, he bore an uncanny resemblance to Gabara, the cat-faced monster nemesis in Godzilla's Revenge. In fact, when Mitoizumi and diminutive Takatoriki would tussle, it would seem alot like Ganbara kicking Minya's butt up and down Monster Island. Minus the electro-shocks.
But I digress.
LeBron copped his act off The Asshole, which is appropriate, but unoriginal.
Quoted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer: "I don't know why I started throwing it up," James said. "But it is definitely trademarked."
Sure, but by Mitoizumi, who was doing it when LeBron [edit] first started wearing diapers.

Saturday, February 7, 2009