Tim Tebow versus Kyle Orton. For most NFL fans it's a fun debate about who should be the Denver Broncos' starting quarterback. Of course it's a more serious issue for Broncos fans -- and apparently Merril Hoge.
The ESPN NFL analyst sent out a barrage of tweets Wednesday (five total) so critical of Tebow's playing ability that NBA superstar LeBron James of all people jumped to the former Florida quarterback's defense, also via Twitter.
Hoge returned to Twitter on Thursday with four tweets directed at Tebow, explaining that the views he expressed the previous day were about "football only."
It all started Wednesday with this post from Hoge: "Sitting watching tape off bronco offense from last year! Orton or Tebow? It's embarrassing to think the broncos could win with tebow!!"
On the court LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are fierce competitors.
Off the court they appear to be more like allies.
In an interview with ESPN, Bryant told the media to "back off" of James and stop criticizing him for his lackluster performance against the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA FInals.
"I think people need to lay off that kid, that's what I think," Bryant said. "I've gotten to know him pretty well, playing with the Olympic team, and I think they just need to back off him and just let him play and let him live his life and let him make his decisions and let him mature as a player."
Bryant said he could relate to the pressure and the intense scrutiny that James endured.
"It's tough to be under the microscope like that all the time," Bryant said. "So, I would like everybody to just back off of him and just let him play."
Everyone knows about the Miami Heat's "Big 3" -- everyone, that is, except Shaquille O'Neal.
Making his debut as a full-fledged NBA analyst on NBA TV's show announcing the 2011-12 season, O'Neal raved about the Heat's LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, referring to them as the "Big 2."
He made no mention of Chris Bosh, the player who completes the trio known by many as the "Big 3" ever since James and Bosh joined Wade with the Heat via free agency last summer.
"The Miami Heat, they've got a lot of great players, the 'Big 2.' They will be back," O'Neal said, referring to the Heat's series loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals. "LeBron James is taking a lot of criticism, but I know LeBron very well. He hears everything that everyone is saying, so I think he's going to come back and have an MVP year this year."
O'Neal, who recently retired after 19 NBA seasons and landed a gig as an NBA analyst on TNT, later laughed off the suggestion that his "Big 2" comment would start some controversy. Once again, he made no mention of Bosh.
"Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, you know, they're great players, they're probably the greatest backcourt ever assembled," O'Neal said. "And you know, they're going to get back. They're going to get back. They play well, they went through a lot, they put a lot of pressure on themselves. That's how they like it. And they will be back."
Maybe O'Neal just likes being the one who hands out nicknames with the word "big" in them (although he usually gives those nicknames to himself).
Scottie Pippen's recent comparison of LeBron James to Michael Jordan was off the mark, according to a former Chicago Bulls teammate of Jordan and Pippen.
Steve Kerr says the NBA player Pippen should have compared the Miami Heat superstar to is ... Pippen.
"The irony to me is that LeBron is not Michael. LeBron is actually Scottie," Kerr said Monday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "He's so similar to Scottie in that defensively he was just a monster, could guard anybody, really more of a point forward than scoring guard. Scottie always loved to distribute the ball. That's really where LeBron's preference is."
"Phil Jackson used to call Scottie a 'sometimes shooter.' Sometimes they would go in, sometimes they wouldn't," said Kerr, currently a TV analyst. "That's how it is with LeBron. He's a great talent and a great player, but you can see his flaws as a basketball player. He doesn't have an offensive game that he can rely on: no low-post game, no mid-range jump shot, so when the game really gets tough, he has a hard time finding easy baskets and getting himself going. That's what Michael did in his sleep, so that's why the comparison is wrong."
Kerr added: "Michael had three years at North Carolina with Dean Smith. That makes a big difference. I think he was brought up at a time when there was probably better development at a young age in terms of coaching. I think LeBron is a product of the AAU system where you rely on your athleticism, you go and play 100 games a year but maybe you don't focus on your weaknesses and what you need to lock in on.
"As a result, fundamentally and technically LeBron has some flaws. He has to address those. If I were him, I would spend all summer down on the low block shooting jump hooks and turnaround jump shots -- the entire summer."
A friend messaged me with a joke a few moments ago.
"If you ask LeBron James to break a dollar, he'll only give you 75 cents," he said. "Why? Because he never has the fourth quarter."
Of course, he was referring to the fact that James scored only two points in the fourth quarter in Thursday's Game 5 against the Dallas Mavericks. For the NBA Finals series -- which the Mavs lead, 3-2 -- he's totaled only 11 fourth-quarter points.
This after James tweeted "Now or Never" before Thursday's game.
It seems like King James is looking more like The Joker.
In the wake of LeBron James' dominant play in leading the Miami Heat into the NBA Finals, Scottie Pippen, in an interview on ESPN radio, said something a little, er, unexpected.
Pippen said Michael Jordan was the NBA's greatest scorer of all time, but after the showing James has made in the playoffs this season, he said that James might be the greatest player of all time.
We'll let you be the judge as to whether Pippen's memory is in steep decline, and far be it from us to try to influence your opinion on this. But a few things that might be worth considering: Pippen, Jordan's sidekick during the Chicago Bulls' six championship seasons in the 1990s, was selected as one of the top 50 players of all time in the list compiled by the NBA from a panel of experts a few years back. The guess here is that Pippen's inclusion in that elite list might have not have been a slam dunk without the impact of Jordan.
Tell us what you think. LeBron is only four wins away from that first title, leaving him with only five more to go to tie Jordan. Who's better, Michael or LeBron?
The pressure of trying to win an NBA title doesn't appear to be too severe for Miami Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, who had some fun in practice Thursday before Game 5 of their Eastern Conference finals series against the Chicago Bulls.
What we’ve learned after two games is that Miami’s Big Three look to be in championship form and Boston’s Big Three look, well, old. And with the Heat possessing home-court advantage, it’s hard to envision the Celtics winning this series.
That’s not to say Boston won’t make it interesting. The Celtics are too good and too experienced to fade away meekly, and it’s conceivable that Boston could will itself to win all the games on its home parquet and push this series to the limit.
But the younger, more energetic Heat will win a Game 7 in Miami. Sorry, but LeBron and D-Wade are peaking. They won’t be denied in a decisive home game if it comes to that -- especially against a group of battered 30-somethings.