There are some things you have to do in life—tip your waitresses, pay your taxes, be nice to animals and always without hesitation NEVER LEAVE ANY SPORTING EVENT EARLY!!! Ok, there are some exceptions. The meter may be out on your babysitter, you may have an emergency circumstance but beyond that there are simply no excuses.

I bring this up after watching one of the worst sports cities in our lovely country once again show their collective stripes. Miami is a popular tourist destination but when it comes to sports they are as lame as Jay Leno‘s jokes. They have blacked out Dolphin playoff games (when they made the playoffs–hard to remember those days?), they built a baseball stadium with the help of the taxpayers and then proceeded to trade all of their great players. Then… you have the plight of their  local basketball team.

How sad was it watching so many Heat fans begging to get back in the AAA after leaving before Ray Allen‘s game tying 3 and subsequent OT classic win?! Funny yet predictable. I have never left a sporting event early—don’t get it and never will. Yogi Berra said it ain’t over till its over—preach on my brother!  Those Miami Vices, one of many hot topics  as we take a stroll in this week’s NABORHOOD.

TV ICONS: Very sad to hear the extremely premature passing of legendary actor James Gandolfini at the age of 51. A tremendous actor and by all accounts a great man from everybody who dealt with him– be it a supporting actor or the millions of fans on the street who knew him simply as “Tony!” There will never be a Sopranos movie or a sequel because nobody else could play Tony Soprano. What a tremendous series, one of the few recently where I saw every episode and always anxiously anticipated the next.

Gandolfini did the impossible. He made you like and sometimes feel sorry for a man with loads of baggage.. A murder, a philanderer but often a great Dad and sensitive man who could take his daughter on a college tour, commit a felony and see his therapist all in one fun filled day. Tony Soprano was the ultimate contradiction but was brought to life by a man who was the only man for the job. It made me think how rare Gandolfini is and while Tony Soprano was one of my favorites—here are the others. Yeah besides Tony—my top five TV characters of all time. Would love for you to weigh in on yours.

(1) ARTHUR FONZARELLI: Sorry growing up there was no one cooler than the Fonz. I’ll admit I had a Fonz birthday party in elementary school. We all wanted to be that cool and respected. The role may have put a dent in Henry Winkler’s career but it left a lasting impression on my childhood. A big thumbs up to my boyhood hero and if you don’t like it—sit on it Potsie!

(2) ARCHIE BUNKER: I would never agree with him but Carroll O’Conner was surely the James Gandolfini of the 70’s. Nobody else could have played this extremely flawed character any better. His interactions with Meathead were classic and his role was certainly groundbreaking especially when the Jefferson’s moved next door.

(3) MICHAEL SCOTT: The Office wasn’t the same after the boss cleared his desk. His performance was classic especially when you consider the show was such a big hit overseas and Steve Carell was able to build off of that. America’s most politically incorrect buffoon was unforgettable and unlike many Carell was able to build a second career in the movies where he has attained other identities.

(4) ARI GOLD: He was the scene stealer in Entourage. Like many great leading men he was a walking contradiction. He was at all times the loudest, most annoying but at the same time could be the most sensitive as well. Loved the dialogue with Ari and his assistant Lloyd. My favorite Ari moments were his arguments with “E” and his business partner “Babs.” Like Soprano he was a sensitive family man but a different guy at work—here’s hoping we see Ari in an Entourage movie in the coming years.

(5) CLIFF CLAViN: Cheers had an All Star lineup but Clffy stole the show. Like so many on this list, John Ratzenberger (had to look that up) will never be known by any other name. From his appearance on Jeopardy to his daily philosophies on life–my man Cliffy was the biggest reason I loved that show.

(Honorable Mentions: George Costanza, Alex P Keaton and Andy “Nard Dog” Bernard)

LEBRON LEGACY: Some love him but its seems most tend to hate him. As for the latter, Lebron James’ critics are now…. crickets. Sure “The Decision” was a decision he’d love to erase from his resume but besides that I have never had a problem with Lebron. He has never been in trouble off the court, by all accounts is a great teammate and represents himself well in front of a media horde whom often double teams him.

After these NBA Finals, King James is no longer the guy who cowers in the clutch. While many athletes like Alex Rodriguez ,Donovan McNabb, Tony Romo and even Peyton Manning have had trouble in crunch time–Lebron James has slammed dunked that stereotype in the Heat’s Repeat run. In the process, James has dribbled closer to the rarified air of his airness himself. Lebron is a better athlete than Michael Jordan, can play more positions but still lacks the same amount of rings and for my money I’d still trust Jordan more with the last shot. With that said– Lebron is gaining grown and fast.

Watching this years NBA FInals, I  was thinking whom would I put on my ultimate NBA starting five? FIrst some rules—I can’t factor in NBA greats I didn’t see play like Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Pete Maravich and Oscar Robertson . To me that would be like putting Honus Wagner or Ty Cobb on my all time baseball starting lineup—hard to justify that. So let me know your thoughts–here is my Dream Team starting lineup :

POINT GUARD: Magic Johnson—the most versatile point man of all time. Magic gives you size, shooting touch and can run the offensive end better than anybody. My apologies to John Stockton, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash and up and comers like Chris Paul and when healthy Derrick Rose.

SHOOTING GUARD: Michael Jordan—is this really debatable???

SMALL FORWARD: Lebron James–Many automatically would insert  Larry Bird here up until about two years ago. James recent run has shot him past Larry Legend where Lebron Legend is just warming up.

POWER FOWARD: Tim Duncan–The most understated NBA superstar of all time. Many say he plays center but on my team we move him to power forward where apologies to Karl Malone and Charles Barkley—I’ll take Duncan’s all around game and consistency. I think he “will play well with others.”

CENTER: Hakeem Olajuwon—He has two more rings than Patrick Ewing whom he beat head to head in the NBA Finals. While many will take Shaq or Kareem Abdul Jabbar—I want “The Dream,”. Compared to the Diesel,and the Sky Hook, Hakeem was a better all around center. While Kareem and Shaq averaged just a few more points than Hakeem—Olajuwon averaged more boards and blocks than both and turned in ALOT more free throws than the Shaq Daddy. With Magic, Jordan,Lebron and Duncan—I don’t need my center to score as much.

80’S MUSIC: On a mini vacation recently and I’m sitting by the pool reading a book. I hear one 80’s song and another and another …and yes another. Next day by the pool, I hear another 80’s song and another. I realize over the course of my entire vacation, the smartest hotel I’ve ever stayed at is playing 80’s music on a loop non stop and then I realize something else–I don’t think I’ve heard a bad song for three days!

I enjoy every type of music but I still contend the 80’s was the best and most unique era of my life.  Music critics likely will have a field day with that statement but that’s how I feel. Growing older, I now understand why my Dad liked the 50’s why my aunts and uncles’s loved the 60’s and why my babysitter’s enjoyed the 70’s?! Music is often a product of our youth and it reminds us of great memories along the way. The 80’s sure does that for me. From Men Without Hats to The Timex Social Club, Big Country, Scritti Polliti and the Fabulous Thunderbirds—nobody can touch the 80’s?!

We even gave the mic to Don Johnson, Jack Wagner and Bruce Willis (OK, I’ll quit while I’m ahead) From here on out, I will make a solemn promise to deliver my 80’s hit of the week for your ipod enjoyment.–would love to hear yours?!

This week’s 80’s treasure—-Timbuk 3 “The future is so bright, you gotta wear shades” Enjoy!

NOBODY ASKED ME BUT: There are always those type of people out there but it seems those people are becoming more and more prevalent in our society especially with the media machine growing and growing. The people I’m talking about are those who love to see others fail. We see it in every aspect of our society from mean spirited politics, Lebron James and yes even picking on those innocent Miss America candidates. Recently Miss Utah came up empty in her attempt to answer why women don’t make as much as men in the workplace? OK I get it, she didn’t give the most intelligent and thought provoking answer—but does it make you feel better to laugh and joke about her on every network and local morning TV show this week? Maybe its because I have two daughters or maybe its because I have made  more than a few on air mistakes or maybe and most importantly we all need to get a life. This just in—we all do things we regret—but should it really make us feel better to constantly laugh at other’s miscues??

EXTRA POINT:  I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Lebron James would play in Cleveland again one day? The Heat are older and the Cavs are building quite the supporting cast for his return.










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