FALCON POINTS

Hey sports world: It's time to retire the "Houston, you/we have a problem" cliche

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Sports might be the worst when it comes to cliches. Fans and broadcasters alike can't help themselves.

Defense wins championships.

It doesn't get any better than this.

The best defense is a good offense.

One game at a time.

No I in team.

It is what it is.

Then there is my personal favorite, "you guys have a face for radio. When was the last time you heard that?"

Um, yesterday, and 11 other times this week. But yes, you are very creative!

These and many more are all lame. They are lazy. They are dumb.

And then there is the worst one of all:

Houston, we have a problem.

Or, the derivative, Houston, you have a problem.

Memo to fans in other cities: It is time to retire this phrase. Memo to announcers (including the Fox announcer who used it Sunday night) and worse yet, headline writers: You are pathetic and about as creative as a rock.

And if you are from Houston and have used it, delete your Twitter account immediately and pray for forgiveness. You are what we affectionately call a "dumb."

How stale is it? The phrase comes from an Apollo mission (that's space flight, which our country once did) message in the 1960s. That's SIXTIES. It was clever 50 years ago. Yet a quick Twitter search for the phrase yielded thousands of results. A google search? How about 281 MILLION results. So if you use it, you aren't even one in a million. You are one in 281 million. But that makes you clever and creative, right? If we are going to use phrases from the 1960s, how about "make love not war?" Or better yet, "we all live in a yellow submarine?"

Rest assured, there will be fan signs in Indianapolis this week, as there always are. Yankees fans will do it, too. (Although because it's New York, the signs will likely be misspelled. Or it will be "youse" have a problem).

First off, if you make signs for sporting events and are over the age of 12, you have your own issues. But do people really sit around and think, "hey, you know what would be clever?"

The real shame? Houston sports teams have no shortage of targets for clever phrases. You could write a book on Bill O'Brien alone. James Harden is just begging to be made fun of by anyone. Even the Astros have plenty of players to go after.

Houston fans collectively groan every time they hear the phrase. And they hear or see it A LOT. Public service announcement: It makes you look silly, boring and yes, dumb.

So if you are thinking about tweeting it, stop yourself. If you are diligently working on a sign, stop it. YOU are the problem.

And if you are an announcer? Go back to calling junior high school games.

It's also incumbent on the rest of us to stop this menace in our lifetime. If you see something, say something. Send them a shame bell. Or better yet, a link to this story.

Then again, it is what it is.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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