A part of

Issue # 25 Thursday, May 7, 1998

About the Author:

Charles Loyd McIntosh

In 1997 Charles Loyd McIntosh was a news writer for the Talledega Daily Home (www.dailyhome.com). He was a former reporter for The Western Star in Bessemer (a small city west of Birmingham), Alabama, and a former Sports Editor for the Clanton Advertiser. At the time he was writing for the Sideroad, Loyd was pursuing a Masters in English degree at the University of Montevallo, Alabama. An avid sports fan, soccer is Loyd's sport of choice, one he has been known to coach in the recent past.



Well, it appears as if the annual tradition of the Chicago Bulls wiping the floor with the rest of league has begun, despite predictions prior to the start of the season that Michael's squad was done. Never looking as if they had lost control, the Bulls made quick work of a pretty good New Jersey Nets team. Granted, they aren't the Jazz or the Sonics, but I thought they would at least take one game, and many people predicted they might take two against the aging Bulls.

No such luck, Jersey. The Bulls are in play-off form and it looks like they may make their annual pilgrimage to NBA Championship Land.

What makes this Bull team more interesting than previous teams is the general feeling of ill content. The players are pissed off at management. It almost appears that Kraus and Reinsdorf want to be the Golden State of the league. Why these dorks want to give up on the most dominant team in professional sports in perhaps three decades is beyond anyone. But they insist on breaking them up at the end of the1998 season.

Because of this, I wouldn't be surprised if the Bulls win every play-off game they play up to the finals. The rest of the team in the Eastern Conference seem like minor league baseball teams compared to the Bulls. It's almost unfair. You watch them against a lesser team only leading by four or five and the next thing you know they're up by 36 points.

Personally, I don't see a team in the East hanging with them in the playoffs. The West may be a different story.

If Utah gets past Houston and they continue to perform well in the play-offs, a Jazz vs. Bulls finals could see Karl Malone finally getting the monkey off of his back. Revenge from last year's defeat will be a huge motivational factor.

Also, you have to look at the Los Angeles Lakers as championship material. They are young, loaded with talent, and have a lot of energy. Any team with the heir (or should I say "air"?) apparent to Michael Jordan who is considered the #2 offensive threat on the team must be taken seriously. Kobe Bryant looks poised to fill the void if/when Jordan retires, but O'Neil is still the man. If you want to lead the Lakers in points, you have to take up with Shacquille. Period.

San Antonio could be a serious threat as well. If Duncan and Robinson continue to perform the way they have all season and play-off caliber performances from their supporting cast, they could surprise some people and find themselves winning the West. I don't know if they have what it takes just yet to beat Chicago.

However it works it self out, if this is Jordan's last year, the game will suffer. To have that standard of excellence on the floor every night kind of keeps other egos in check, if you can believe that watching the league now. I think once Jordan's gone, team basketball will become almost non-existent as a host of wannabe's start sticking their tongue out while trying to attempt impossible reverse lay-ups and dunks. The NBA will most likely suffer from a leadership void.

And that will be sad to watch.

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Text copyright Charles Loyd MacIntosh, 1997 - '98. Part of the original Sideroad ezine.
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