By Scoop Jackson
Page 2

Hindsight is 20/20? Hindsight exposes ignorance.

The Phoenix Suns either will not make the playoffs or finish seventh in the conference.

Steve Nash
Matt York/AP Photo
Scoop didn't think Steve Nash and the Suns would do nearly as well this season.

Now, I never got into this game because I had knowledge. People tend to get that twisted. I got in it because, in the words of Chuck D: "When I get mad I put it down on a pad. Give 'em something that they never had."

Or better yet, Biggie: "My mind's my 9, my pen my MAC-10. My target? All you wack journalists that started writing."

The ghetto Beano Cook or Mel Kiper I ain't.

The 76ers will win the Atlantic Division. The Kings will win the Pacific Division.

After watching Game 1 of every series this weekend, I realized one thing: Nothing I predicted at the beginning of the season came true, I have no idea what I'm talking about when it comes to the NBA, if ESPN was smart they'd stop asking me basketball-related questions. OK, maybe that's three, but the sum of those three parts is: I's an idiot.

After having the Nuggets, Spurs and Heat winning their divisions and picking Chris Paul as Rookie of the Year, it seems every other regular season prediction I made was as off as BB's home run swing. Shaq: MVP; Sarunas Jasikevicius: Sixth Man of the Year; Paul Pierce will be traded by season's end; AK 47: Defensive Player of the Year; CWebb: Most Improved; the Bulls: 11th in the East, no playoffs; and then this, "Larry Brown is going to make Zeke (Isiah Thomas) look like Joe Dumars."

During the season, I paid this no mind. Really forgot all about my predicts. The only one I was concerned about: The Golden State Warriors will be the dark horse in the West. My exact words: "Best draft, best balance, will make the playoffs."

And this is where I have to deal with the drama. Everyone and they mama, calling me, e-mailing me, texting me, reminding me. Questioning my intellect, making queries of my knowledge, basically making it known that I know no more about basketball than them.

Which always leads to the proverbial: "How in the hell did you get your job, dude."

But in my 15 years of doing this (only 12 if you start when I started getting a paycheck), I've never come off this bad. Not even in 1994 when I wrote in one of my first stories, "There's no way Michael Jordan is ever coming back to the League."

How can one man be so wrong? So off base? So … so … undef in making selections about a sport he claims to be an expert on?

Richard Hamilton
Carlos Osario/AP Photo
Hard to pick against Rip Hamilton and the Pistons getting back to the Finals.

Like someone said to me on Sunday, "No wonder you not on TNT."

Once again, people, I'm a writer. Charles and Kenny are analysts. They know the game.


The Detroit Pistons will finish fourth in the East and not make it back to the NBA Finals.

Now, why the NBA editors at ESPN.com would ask me to make predictions for the playoffs is beyond me. Didn't they read what I wrote in October? Did they forget? Or are they worse than me? Like Obi-Wan asked: "Who's the biggest fool? The fool or the fool that follows the fool?"

Other writers are geniuses. They should have asked them. Ask Ric Bucher, who predicted the Suns would finish first in the Pacific Division and second in the West. Ask Chris Broussard, who said, "Kobe Bryant will play out of his mind this season and Phil [Jackson] will get the most out of a limited squad."

They know ball.

Maybe they asked me because -- if they're thinking like I am -- there's nowhere to go but up. How much more wrong could one man be? Maybe the way to move up the ESPN ladder, to get one of those company cell phones or get to be a guest host on "PTI," is to make a damn fool of yourself? Assassinate your own credibility?

So this is what I'm standing on -- at least I have to, because this is essentially what I said would happen in the playoffs before everyone's Game 1 -- until the end of June.

San Antonio won't make it back to the Finals, the Lakers will upset the Suns in the first round, LeBron won't get past the Wizards, and Denver will play Dallas in the Western Conference finals. And Kobe Bryant will average 55 points in the first round.

Oh, I almost forgot … I wrote in ESPN The Mag that the Nets will win the NBA championship.

So there you go. Ignorance: The Remix.

LeBron James
Mark Duncan/AP Photo
LeBron's doing his best to prove Scoop wrong.

After watching all eight games the past two days -- after watching LeBron remake history, after watching the Spurs serve notice that no one will beat them until maybe June, after watching the Suns guarantee themselves a second-round appearance, Denver lose, Kobe score 22, and the Nets lose their first game -- I've come to the conclusion that I should never make predictions about basketball ever again.

Especially for the playoffs.

I can't take callers from Rome's Nation or Bulls fans who swear I'm hatin', or from anyone from Slam or Inside Stuff who justifiably leave me messages saying, "Whew, glad you don't write for us anymore."

I can't handle everyone being right about me being so consistently wrong. They don't understand. I was born to write, not to be right.

Again, people, I'm a columnist. I write words, stories. I don't do predictions. Greg Anthony and Tim Legler are experts. They know the game.

So from now on, please disregard nothing I write but everything I say. Pay no attention to anything that has my name in print and has something about the future attached to it.

Detroit over Miami in the ECF, Dallas over Denver in the WCF, Sheed the Finals MVP, etc. After watching this weekend unveil the truth, I can say that I am the last person who should be writing a column about basketball for a company that calls itself "the Worldwide Leader."

Unless the Nets win it all.

Then I'm a God. The most brilliant basketball mind that ever lived.

Then I'm … Michael Wilbon.

Scoop Jackson is a national columnist for Page 2 and a contributor to ESPN The Magazine. He has a weekly segment on "Cold Pizza" and is a regular forum guest on "Rome Is Burning." He resides in Chicago. You can e-mail Scoop here. Sound off to Page 2 here.




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