(above : an “organic” rivalry — because newspapers and TV didn’t exist in the 1980’s)

Other than Dwight Howard family, who could be happier about the 2009 NBA Finals being devoid of a Kobe Bryant/LeBron James storyline?  Try The Kansas City Star’s Jason Whitlock, who protests “the more the NBA, broadcasters and marketers try to convince me that Kobe vs. LeBron is the second coming of Ali-Frazier, the more I reject that notion.” Big Sexy’s not so overwrought with dismissing said matchup (that’s not happening anyway) however, that he can’t find space to disrespect Denver’s point guard.

It™s the hype that I cannot stand. Kobe vs. LeBron has been injected with steroids. The 24-hour sports news cycle, the shoe companies and game broadcasters are force-feeding us Kobe-LeBron to the point that it is counterproductive.

I realize this is not the fault of Bryant or James. They™re probably just as annoyed as I am. It™s the era we live in. The leagues dictate to the television networks which players to build into superdooperstars. John Madden built a career out of making everyone believe Brett Favre was somehow more incredible than Joe Montana and John Elway.

The whole thing just seems worse in the NBA because there are more opportunities (games) for Doug Collins and Jeff Van Gundy to gush about LeBron James or some other player.

(Chauncey Billups is arguably the No. 1 benefactor of NBA broadcasters™ need to glorify a player beyond his worthiness. No team in the NBA took more bad shots this season than the Denver Tattoos. No question, Billups was an upgrade over Allen Iverson. But all Billups did was raise the Nuggets™ basketball IQ from 20 to 35. You put a real point guard on the Nuggets, and they sweep the Lakers and win the title. Someone should change Billups™ nickname from Mr. Big Shot to Mr. Bad Shot. I guarantee you ESPN™s Mark Jackson knows exactly what I™m talking about. If Billups is an extension of George Karl on the floor, then Karl needs to be fired.)

I™m sorry. I had to get that off my chest