James Goldstein Rumors
Jimmy Goldstein: As the years went by, my attachment to the Hawks waned, but my anti-Lakers sentiment became more firmly entrenched for a number of reasons. First, I usually pull for the underdog in any sports competition, and the Lakers were getting to The Finals or winning championships far too often for me. I like it when a different team becomes a title contender each year. Secondly, I didn’t like it that the Lakers were able to attract so many superstars away from other teams. I like level competition, and the Lakers upset league balance with players like Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, and many others leaving their teams to live in Los Angeles. (Wilt and I became good friends, and he once told me of his displeasure over my pulling for the opposition, but nothing changed.)
Many fans see me at all the Lakers games and assume I am a huge fan of the Lakers. Almost every day a stranger will approach me and say “Oh, you are the big Lakers fan.” And I respond, “No, I am an anti-Lakers fan.” In amazement they say, “Then why do you go to the games?” They don’t understand that someone can attend because of his love for the game. In recent years, though, more and more people have become aware that I root against the Lakers, the foremost being Laker players and coaches. Most of the players continue to be friendly to me before and after games (Metta World Peace always came over to me at halftime to say hello). They know that I like them on a personal level in spite of my actions during a game.
But there are a few exceptions. Phil Jackson and I were good friends when he was coaching the Bulls. But our friendship cooled when he joined the Lakers. Kobe Bryant even instructed another Laker star, with whom I was quite friendly, not to talk to me. But every now and then, Kobe surprises me by offering a warm hello. Jerry Buss was always extremely nice to me. He used to joke about my anti-Lakers stance. Similarly, many fans rub it in good-naturedly when the Lakers win and I give it back to them when the Lakers lose. But a few fans don’t take my actions lightly, such as the night-club promoter who wouldn’t let me into his club because I was a “Laker hater.”
It seems that I have heard every general manager of a non-playoff team utter the phrase this summer, “I intend to change the CULTURE of this franchise.” And I am not thrilled with the new trend of teams hiring GMs and coaches based upon their “analytics” background. I believe that the observation of a player during a game is far more important than to rely on his stats. Thus, I don’t like the word for not only its overuse in quotes but also for its application. Something is wrong when proven people like Lionel Hollins and Chris Wallace get replaced because they don’t rely on “analytics.”
Last season, the NBA tried to discourage flopping by fining players. As Commissioner David Stern acknowledged, it didn’t work. Therefore, I would propose another approach to stop the flop. The rule should be changed so any time that a defensive player falls flat on his back immediately upon contact from an offensive player, the officials will not call any foul.
I am bothered by this trend. I enjoy seeing a made 3-pointer under intense defensive pressure. What I don’t enjoy so much is watching an unguarded man make a 3-pointer, especially from the short-distance corner. For me, it is only slightly less dull than a free throw and it is too easy. And in today’s game, a high percentage of 3-pointers are unguarded. What would happen if the 3-point line was made equidistant from the basket in its entirety, thereby eliminating the easy three pointer from the corner? I am not sure, but it would make for an interesting experiment.