The Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers are playing in Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals tonight, and all eyes are on Pacers guard Lance Stephenson, and it has little to do with basketball.
Hall of Famer and Pacers president Larry Bird told Stephenson to stop pestering LeBron James with his extracurricular antics – which reached its pinnacle in Game 5 with "The Blow."
Here’s the thing: it’s harmless, and it’s definitely funny. And, even if James turned around and cold-cocked Stephenson, it’s still a harmless act, and frankly it would make it even funnier.
I tend to lean more "old school" when it comes to the things players do on the court or field nowadays, but I also realize it’s a game, and it’s meant to be fun. And, in that fun, characters develop.
If Stephenson is a goofball who wants to do goofy things, who cares?
I mean, his flop against the Heat was hilarious. And he knew it was hilarious.
Call Stephenson a clown if you want, but every sport needs its clown princes.
Well done, Bucks fans
I was at the meet and greet between fans and new Milwaukee Bucks owners Wes Edens (left, black vest) and Marc Lasry (right, black hoodie) Thursday night at McGillycuddys on Water Street, and I have to give those guys credit – when they said they were going to shake hands and mingle, they meant it.
I’ve been to plenty of these things where the "guest of honor" shakes hands on the beeline right to the VIP deck, and there they sit and wave or maybe lean over a guardrail to offer a pound, but that’s it. No, these guys cracked some cold ones and pressed the flesh.
The Bucks fans in attendance deserve some credit here, too. Some of them, no doubt, had been there since work let out and the owners didn’t arrive until 8 p.m. But there were no heckles, or inappropriate comments shouted out (that I heard or witnessed, at least). It seems like a small thing to ask for, but nowadays, when one knucklehead can ruin the reputation of many, it was nice to say that there was no need to "report" on anyone acting a fool.
Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.
A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.
To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.
Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining OnMilwaukee.com.
In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.
Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.