Not a good week for sports icons.
Among the urgent storylines:
Tom Brady is no longer an "elite Top 5" quarterback.
David Ortiz "is above all the rules," especially when he delivered his nefarious "f-bomb" last April after the Boston Marathon bombings.
LeBron James wilted in the heat in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
LeBron will probably score 42 points and grab 12 rebounds in Game 2 against San Antonio. So the haters need to get their shots in now.
We know Wilt never wilted. After all, he wouldn't have reached the "20,000" plateau by losing his stamina. It got hot in San Antonio on Thursday night because the air conditioning failed. When LeBron James left the game with cramps in the fourth quarter, the world of social media lit up.
The best line of attack of all came from Twitter, as always.
#LeBroning is now the latest thing. James cramped up in the fourth quarter and had to be carried off the court.
That's pretty much all the idiot side of social media needed.
One thing was settled Thursday night. The "Who's Better: LeBron or Bird?" question has been settled. This breakdown of Bird's performance in the tropical heat and humidity of Boston Garden in Game 5 of the 1984 Finals should be ample evidence to weigh the argument in Bird's favor.
Now, giving Bird the edge in a "LeBron vs. Bird" discussion is not only a legitimate view to take, it's actually relevant in the discussion of what happened Thursday night.
But anyone who's using the #LeBroning hashtag or making a play at social media vanity by trying to mimic what happened to James in Game 1 has fully crossed over into the world of make-believe, or is 12 years old.
The folks at Gatorade, however, couldn't resist the lure. Gatorade was drawn into this by random tweets that contained a huge factual error, creating a false narrative across social media.
Does any of this seem familiar?
@ryanbkoo The person cramping wasn't our client. Our athletes can take the heat.— Gatorade (@Gatorade) June 6, 2014
@LazyBumDrew we were waiting on the sidelines, but he prefers to drink something else.— Gatorade (@Gatorade) June 6, 2014
Gatorade kept it up during the game but, naturally, apologized Friday for its comments.
"Our apologies for our response to fans' tweets during [the] Heat vs. Spurs game," Gatorade said in a release. "We got caught up in the heat of the battle. As a longtime partner of the Miami Heat, we support the entire team."
Somebody got yelled at Friday morning in the office. Now, it's no surprise Gatorade would have been an original supporter of the Heat. They were the first NBA franchise in Florida and the drink was invented by a team led by Dr. Robert Cade at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Their product is also endorsed by one of James' teammates, Dwyane Wade.
The story will no doubt "grow" because, according to The Associated Press, it appeared James was drinking Gatorade during Game 1 and video showed him holding what appeared to be a Gatorade bottle with the label removed.
Stay tuned. Maybe we can get a statistical breakdown of James' performances in games where he was spotted drinking out of a label-less Gatorade bottle.
LeBron will be taking questions on his Facebook page Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Guess he's not too concerned about Game 2.
Bring on the trolls.
Heaven help us who just want to watch the game.
The attempted takedown of Brady on ESPN.com was best summed up in this tweet.:
Tom Brady isn't an elite quarterback belongs on the Mount Rushmore of internet trolling.— Adam Rank (@adamrank) June 3, 2014
According to the bio of the author posted on Bleacher Report, he "is one of the core team members at ProFootballFocus.com, a website that analyzes every player from every snap of every game in the NFL season and provides a whole host of unique data, stats and gradings. He has also contributed to ESPN1500, Footballdiner and other outlets. He lives in Dublin, Ireland having caught the football bug from the year he spent in Minnesota as a seven year old. As a full-time job watching and analyzing football wasn't enough, he also plays the game on an amateur basis with the West Dublin Rhinos."
There you have it.
Brady is no longer elite based on stats and the observations of someone who lives in Ireland "caught the football bug from the year he spent in Minnesota as a seven year old."
And you thought I was clueless for living in Florida.
It gets even better, or worse, depending on your perspective.
"Honestly, for a quarterback I don't think winning matters much at all," the author told WEEI's Dennis and Callahan this week. "It's not the quarterback. The quarterback is not winning games. Fifty-three guys and the coaching staff are winning games. Wins are not a quarterback's statistic, and anyone who thinks they are needs to look at more of what they're trying to analyze. It's just not the way to measure things."
On your computer, no.
In the real world, yes.
Friday was the 70th anniversary of D-Day, one of the most significant days in the past 2,000 years. It was the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany. The Germans had 845,000 men and nine Panzer divisions in France awaiting for the Americans, Canadians, and British in June 1944. More than 160,000 Allied troops crossed the English Channel that day by sea and air. They lost 4,141 men, compared to about 1,000 for the Germans. That numerical advantage favoring the Germans meant nothing after the cliffs at Pointe Du Hoc were scaled, the guns at Brecourt were destroyed, and Utah, Omaha, Gold, Sword, and Juno beaches were secured.
The day was won by the Allies, even if victory in Europe took another 11 months to secure.
Winning usually means everything.
It certainly does when judging success in professional sports.
Interesting contrast. On the one hand, we're so willing to throw away all of LeBron's recent accomplishments, including those two NBA titles, all those points and all that defense, because of one night of cramping. But Brady, who has won 110 regular season games and reached the Super Bowl twice in the past 10 seasons after winning three Super Bowls in four years is no longer elite because his numbers slipped in 2013. Of course, on opening week '13, Brady was missing the receivers who had caught 76 percent of his completions in the previous year.
When you live in the fantasy world of stats or social media, the real world means little. It's a comfort for those who wish to immerse themselves in fantasy.
"Stats are for losers," a hooded, diabolical coach once said.
Numbers and hashtags allow us to create a false reality that suits our needs and agendas. Too many people are finding too much pleasure in tearing down anything and everything that's the least bit successful, never mind someone like Brady or James. That has always been a part of the human condition. The difference is that in 2014 you're able to do it with a potential audience of 800 million people.
The issues with Ortiz, at least in light his current .262 average, the perpetual passive-aggressive whining prior to his two Lifetime Achievement Award Contract Extensions and malaise of the Red Sox, carry some legitimacy.
Extrapolating his back-and-forth with David Price, a positive PED test from 2003 before substances were banned, or the fact that Ortiz has been hit only 35 times in his 15-year career into criticism of his remarks last April crosses over into the absurd.
It's hardly Ortiz's fault if the head of the FCC happened to be a Red Sox fan.
Brady, Ortiz, and LeBron have combined for eight championships since February 2002. But if you were dropped onto planet Earth this week you might think they were three of the biggest flops who ever played. For some on planet Earth in 2014, that doesn't matter when it comes time to count clicks.
California Chrome will race Saturday in an attempt to be the first horse racing Triple Crown winner in 36 years. My heart remains with "Wicked Strong" because he's both running to help raise money for The One Fund and is owned by Centennial Farms. Its backstory and that of its owner, Don Little Jr., is the type of comeback tale New Englanders usually love.
California Chrome appears to have a real chance and will go off as the solid favorite.
For the colt's sake, he'd better win.
Otherwise, he'll be the worst horse who ever lived.
The OBF Column is written by award-winning journalist, Bay State native and Boston.Com columnist Bill Speros. Hit him up on his Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or at his
Obnoxious Boston Fan Email Address . Thanks always for reading and pass the clicker.