What actually makes a successful NFL owner much less a successful professional sports’ franchise owner today in the world of sports ?

What actually makes a successful NFL owner much less a successful professional sports’ franchise owner today in the world of sports ?

There have been many great owners within the world of professional sports here in North America and undoubtedly the Rooney family and their stewardship of the Pittsburgh Steelers remains the current “standard bearer” within the NFL and with which, every NFL team aspires to be judged by. Six Superbowl victories to go alongside, a Hall of Fame coach in Chuck Noll and a parade of players enshrined in Canton , Ohio , does have a way of making that particular franchise’s legacy stand out above all others . In the case of the San Francisco Forty Niners , for years it was that of the era of Bill Walsh under the then ownership of Eddie DeBartolo with the NFC based franchise having unheralded success with the owner and head coach in tandem. Walsh’s coaching legacy has been borne out by the number of assistants from his staff that have gone on to coach in the NFL, with some having considerable success, themselves.

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With Eddie DeBartolo no longer owning the franchise , with his having to relinquish his ownership after being indicted by the US Justice Department of racketeering with charges of grand larceny , corruption and the bribery of an elected official , which in involved the obtaining of gaming and casino licenses . The reins of the franchise were handed over to his sister , Denise DeBartolo-York and her husband Dr John York , who along with their son Jed York , have seen a successful resurgence of the franchise over the past two years under head coach Jim Harbaugh , after several seasons of underachievement .

Now, one could also suggest, that the tenure of Jerry Jones , as the owner of the Dallas Cowboys has been a resounding success. Three Superbowl victories during his reign, while making the franchise the valuable and profitable of all the league’s thirty-two teams might just be the only thing that the Cowboys might currently have going for it . With the team’s last playoff appearance coming in 2009 and their last victory coming by way of a wildcard round win over the Philadelphia Eagles in a lopsided 34-14 rout . There does not seem to a great deal upon which Jones can now hang his hat and point to the Dallas Cowboys , as having been a resounding success in the subsequent years , since that win over the Eagles . There have been numerous coaching changes , volatile relationships with those coaches , as well as current and former players , never mind the continued deity like worship devoted to the franchise , by the print and television media , alike . It begs the question, when will Jones himself , finally realize that the franchise under his leadership as owner and de-facto general manager, is actually heading nowhere.

It is beyond belief, that Jones continues to overspend on talent , with little to show in return by way of any type of tangible on-field success. While Jerry Jones continues to believe implicitly, in the skill-set of the Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo and the veteran’s presence on the team. It is hard for Jones to justify the faith in a player, who has only one postseason victory to his name , in his ten-year career in the NFL. As if to further emphasize the continued turmoil, head coach Jason Garrett will be under even closer scrutiny this upcoming season , with the general manager having added to the coaching staff without consulting Garrett, with the hiring of Scott Linehan to be the eyes and ears as a consultant and assistant head coach and perhaps superseding the hierarchical coaching structure , where Bill Callahan was the lead assistant to Jason Garrett. What this does, to suggest by way of a “pecking order “ within that structure, is simply another disaster in the waiting, given the comedic nature of the franchise.

Vince Lombardi , after whose name the Superbowl Trophy is named, is perhaps the most revered coach in AFL & NFL history . Lombardi’s career resume’ , simply says a great deal about the man, his stature and what he was able to achieve as one of the Green Bay Packers’ most successful and renowned head coaches in the franchise’s history. Lombardi , simply built upon the foundations laid by the franchise’s founder and first head coach , Curly Lambeau , whose name adorns the edifice in which the Packers’ call their home venue , scene to many a great victory . With four Superbowl victories among the notable achievements within the Green Bay Packers’ history and with that franchise now possessing one of the league’s best quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers , the future does seem bright for the NFL’s only publicly owned franchise, where the shareholders, all residents of Green Bay , Wisconsin, are the only permitted owners of shares in the team.

Over the past twelve years, it would be fair to suggest that the New England Patriots have been the most successful NFL franchise in terms of postseason appearances and Superbowl victories. Presiding over that success, as the team’s head coach , has been Bill Belichick . He in turn, along with Robert Kraft , as the Patriots’ owner , have enjoyed the unrivaled appeal and recognition of the accolades , visibility provided with those achievements . New England and the Dallas Cowboys are the NFL’s only franchises with a near approximation value of $2 billion or more , and the team’s $139.2 million profit ranks second to the Cowboys’ $250.7 million at the end of the 2012-13 season . It certainly also helps, that the franchise does also have the most successful postseason quarterback over the past twelve years helming the team, in Tom Brady , whose postseason statistics , also place him in the upper echelons of passers in the NFL postseason. . Granted, five Superbowl appearances, with three victories to show for it all, still cannot hide the bitter defeats suffered at the hands of the New York Giants, on each occasion. What has been shown by the Patriots down the years, has been the consistency of a well ran organization , where Kraft , GM Nick Caserio , the entire front office and coaching staff led by Bill Belichick, do all appear to be on the same page, with the singular minded goal of being perennial contenders and seeking Superbowl success. Along with those on-field achievements, the bye-product of it all, will be the commercial success for the franchise.

Four of the more famed franchises within baseball are the Boston Red Sox , Los Angeles Dodgers , New York Yankees and St Louis Cardinals . Between them, this quartet of teams have won a combined fifty-one World Series’ titles, with the venerable Yankees leading the way with twenty-seven World Series’ crowns . Their most recent win came in 2009 , under Joe Girardi, as the team’s manager. For the Red Sox, they were victorious in 2013 , having won three titles in the last nine years, whereas, the Cardinals posted victories in the ‘Fall Classic’ as recently as 2006 and again in 2011 . For the beleaguered Dodgers, their last title came in 1988 , with the closest the ball-club has managed in making a return to the World Series , coming in 2013 , with their loss in the NLCS to the St Louis Cardinals .

With the Dodgers having been acquired by a consortium led by venture capitalists Mark Walter and Todd S Boehly , with NBA great Magic Johnson and Hollywood mogul Peter Guber paying unprecedented sum of $2.156 billion for the Los Angeles’ based franchise , which had been forcibly placed into bankruptcy proceedings after the financial mismanagement of the ball-club by former owner Frank McCourt . The latter of whom, is now seeking to sue his ex-wife for $2 million , said to be his legal expenses in their long and drawn out divorce proceedings . The fact that McCourt was able to escape criminal charges in light of his alleged actions concerning the baseball-club , is of fascination to a number people , with the exception of the idiots within the headquarters of Major League Baseball . Bud Selig and MLB CFO Jonathan Mariner have never offered a public statement as to the actions of Frank McCourt and what is said to be his leveraging of the franchise, to meet other personal and business financial obligations , outside the team’s sphere of business operations. Of what use is Mariner , when neither or anyone within his department is said to have audited the organization over the past five years , having only accepted the financial records submitted to the league office ? And one wonders, why the state of Major League Baseball has continued having financial difficulties for a number of teams beyond team payroll imbalances ?

In spite of the largess of a payroll that exceeded $200 million in 2013 , the postseason for the Los Angeles Dodgers proved to be fruitless and the effortless ease with which they were dispatched by the St Louis Cardinals, had to have been a profound disappointment to Magic Johnson and the rest of ownership consortium. As to what this might have suggested about Don Mattingly and his managerial staff with their complacency , points to a number of areas in which the team were simply overrated and completely lacking in on-field leadership, but for some reason everyone bought into the Dodgers as being a “sure fire bet “ this past postseason. A great deal of that vanity was also exhibited by Magic Johnson and number of his associates, who were willing to discuss the ambitions at the drop of a hat, with anyone willing to listen to his ramblings concerning the Dodgers.

The off-season saw Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti making a major financial commitment to their NL Cy Young Award winner from 2013 , with Clayton Kershaw being signed to a long-term contract that makes the player one of the highest paid pitchers in baseball, as well as amongst the highest-paid on the team’s payroll . This season is likely to make or break as the ball-club chases after an elusive title that has escaped their grasp for the past twenty-five years.

The biggest story in baseball, has been the formal announcement by Derek Jeter , this season , his twentieth in the Majors , will be his last . A future Hall of Fame bound player , Jeter now feels , it is indeed time to move on and leave his legacy for others to judge . As to the likely turmoil this may well have caused amongst the Steinbenner family , as the owners of the ball-club , might well be summed up with these words “what the hell do we do next “ ? With no apparent leader on the roster , to assume who that vocal role as the leader of this team will be , one wonders how the New York Yankees are likely to fare over the course of this season . Spend , as they have done this off-season , lavishing contracts to players , many of whom have already seen their best years behind them , rather than ahead of them . Granted , the acquisition of Masahiro Tanaka is seen as an upgrade to pitching rotation that was far from consistent last season .

I will continue to maintain that other than the Yankees’ run through the mid to late nineties and the success attained with Joe Torre , I firmly believe that without the vast resources of the YES Network , this ball-club would not have been able to achieve the success attained then and subsequently . The organization’s draft history, over that time-frame has been sporadic at best, in terms of productivity from the players obtained from 1996 onwards. GM Brian Cashman may well be viewed as a genius in some circles , but when you can simply write a blank check , and the owners are likely to treat that expense as a useful ” tax write-off ” , in terms of the organization’s expenses , there is not much else that needs to be answered concerning how the Yankees continue to operate . Hal Steinbrenner , having stepped into his father , the late George Steinbrenner’s shoes , is now finding out that it will be a tough role to fill.


William DeWitt
and his son, William DeWitt Jr have been great custodians to one of the most venerable names within baseball as the owner of the St Louis Cardinals . Along with GM John Mozelliak , one of baseball’s most revered and best supported teams , has seen unprecedented success throughout a great deal of its history . The loss of Albert Pujols , the ball-club’s best player since making his debut for the team in 2001 , as a young twenty-one year old , has seen the slugger thrive to become one of the preeminent offensive threats of his generation . Having won, an NL MVP Award and countless other accolades. Pujols can count himself lucky , to have won two World Series’ titles with the St Louis Missouri based franchise . A great deal of what he has been able to achieve came under the watchful eye of the now retired Tony La Russa , former manager with the organization. Now with the Los Angeles Angels , Albert Puols’ tenure with the AL West franchise has seen far more highs than lows , with a great deal of his time having been spent on the disabled list. Leading many to now believe, that quite possibly his best days are not necessarily ahead of him, but quite possibly now behind him.

St Louis for its part, with the departure of Tony La Russa, has seen Mike Matheny make a smooth transition as his mentor’s successor , while the team has remained a perennial contender for the NL Central division , while John Mozelliak has systematically made the type of acquisitions for the ball-club that have proven to be fruitful. The DeWitt family have simply allowed their subordinates within the organization to go about running the Cardinals , while they deal with a number of bigger issues as it relates to the franchise that undoubtedly possesses some of the most loyal fans within the game of baseball.

When Mike Matheny and his team embark upon their opening home series of the regular season ,it will be interesting to see how the Cardinals fare in that opening game against the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium , in St Louis, Missouri ,.

John Farrell was lucky enough to succeed in his very first try , in resurrecting the fortunes of the Boston Red Sox , after a year of sheer ineptitude in 2012 , when the ball-club hired a seemingly clues Bobby Valentine . Style over substance, was simply the only reason for the hire, that was suborned by team President Larry Lucchino , who obviously believed that GM Ben Cherington lacked the experience to make a decision that would be in the best interest of the organization. John Henry the team’s owner, who takes a backseat in the day-to-day running of the ball-club must have been dismayed with a last place divisional finish , from a team that had a great deal of experience and talent in 2012.

Cherington and Farrell , along with the managerial staff went ahead and assembled a team in 2013 that was competitive and playing in unison that rebounded from a last to first place finish (AL East) , while strolling through the postseason with the utmost of ease . and then summarily dispatching the St Louis Cardinals without breaking sweat. Coming into this season , I believe that John Henry believes that Boston’s lineup will be good enough to certainly be in the hunt for the Red Sox to make successful defense of their AL East divisional title. As to whether or not, there will be a likely challenge to their crown by the New York Yankees , Baltimore Orioles , Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays , remains to be seen, as well as a matter of great debate between the fans of the respective teams in question.

Three decades of solid growth under David Stern as the NBA Commissioner has seen the team owners served well , wherein the values of the franchises and their profits have grown exponentially, during that time-frame. Granted, a large part of that explosive growth, came with the Michael Jordan era and the Chicago Bulls’ . dominance of the NBA. Yet, the lead-up into that, came about with the one true rivalry that was relished by the fans across the panacea of the league’s fan-base, with the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers and their legendary regular season and postseason meetings. Larry Bird and his rivalry with Magic Johnson was rekindled, in the professional ranks, after some well chronicled contests at the collegiate level.

The NBA today, with its litany of high-profiled stars, has now become more about individualistic effort and less about team achievement . Yes, at the end of regular season , the league regales us with its postseason showcase of the NBA Playoffs , with a champion being crowned at the end of that particular spectacle. With the two-time defending champions , the Miami Heat looking to make a successful defense of their title and young upstarts such as the Indiana Pacers seeking to dethrone the champions. There can be no denying, the Heat will make a tenacious effort to defend their crown with a great deal of zeal. Team President Pat Riley assembled this team , built around the talents of LeBron James , Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh for a specific reason and that was to win not just one title , but multiple championships, while making the franchise not only a competitive one , but one, that is also a commercial success as a business enterprise for the organization and for the team’s billionaire owner , Micky Arison , who also just happens to be Chairman of the world’s biggest passenger cruise line , Carnival Cruises Lines .

Miami may well exceed in their endeavors this season, but I believe their task is not likely to be an easy one, once they get beyond the further rounds of the Eastern Conference series of postseason games . Other than the Indiana Pacers within the conference, there is not one team that is likely pose a serious threat to the top two teams within the East.

If the Miami Heat are said to be the current “glamor” franchise of the NBA, with their trio of All Stars in James , Wade and Bosh. Then, the San Antonio Spurs can be seen, as the workmanlike, by the book franchise , for which success has been beyond priceless. For head coach Gregg Popovich , who has coached the franchise to all four of their NBA triumphs during his reign, having succeeded Larry Brown as the head coach. Team owner, Peter Holt and GM RC Buford have systematically presided over unparalleled sixteen years of heralded success, having made the postseason for fourteen straight seasons.

San Antonio has been lucky enough to have several great players either begin or end their careers with the franchise. Currently, there are seven former players who are enshrined in the Hall of Fame , who can lay claim that they have indeed played a part in the Spurs’ progress of being an “also ran” to one of the most respected organizations in the NBA. It has been players, such as David Robinson , George Gervin , Artis Gilmore and Cliff Hagan , who in essence helped build the foundations for the success of the Spurs, with that torch having been passed their next Hall of Fame inductee Tim Duncan , whose career speaks volumes and arguably makes him the greatest power forward in NBA history. It is also possible to suggest that Duncan is likely to be joined by two of his current teammates, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli , when their respective careers come to an end . It would be a fitting way for all three to remembered , and as well with their exploits for the renowned franchise.

The Spurs may not be in the largest of ad markets or the most valuable of the NBA’s franchises, but its image, makes it by far the most pristine and well-respected around. There few teams within the league, about which that can be said , wherein the front office and its legacy of producing other great general managers and coaching assistants , who are currently serving with great success in an either leading role or as an assistant elsewhere, in the league . Scott Brooks , Sam Presti , George Karl and Tom Thibodeau , made their way from humble beginnings within the ranks and have gone on to more prominent positions within the NBA. Peter Holt , has held steadfast to a single ideal, ” take of the small things and the big things will take care of themselves”. At this juncture, I would say that he has things , just about right !

I defy any Brooklyn Nets or New York Knicks’ fans to tell me, that they are entirely happy with the way that their teams are currently playing or with their standing within the NBA ! At the same time it has to be humbling to see Los Angeles Lakers brought back down to earth , while having one of the worst records in the NBA as of the 25th February , 2014. At this point, one has point a finger at owners Mikhail Prokhorov , James Dolan and Jim Buss , and simply ask , do either of these idiots actually know what the hell they are doing , much less what is currently happening with their respective franchises ? For general managers, Billy King , Steve Mills and Mitch Kupchak , at what point do you ask that trio to simply step down ? The teams might not be playing well , but in conjunction with their coaches , Jason Kidd , Mike Woodson and Mike D’Antoni , are a trio of coaches who are said to be truly overrated . So what if Kidd, won a Coach of the Month Award in January ?

Coming into this past Sunday, the Nets had lost five of their last ten games and had one of the worst road records in the league over the last month . If that is not a damning indictment of his lack of coaching ability, along with the fact that the team’s inflated payroll has been misspent on past their prime players such as Kevin Garnett , Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce , when there is simply no leadership forthcoming from anyone on the roster. Boo-hoo , to the continued whining of the Knicks’ fans, who are now in apoplexy , wondering if Carmelo Anthony is likely to bolt at the end of the season ! The worrying thing here, has been, that is it not Carmelo, who has been responding to questions concerning his long-term future with the franchise, but his television reality-show star wife , Lala Velazquez , who has repeatedly said that her husband wants to remain a New York Knicks’ player for life. And after two thousand years of fighting, there is still no peace in the Palestinian territory’s or Israel, as a whole. In the words of Drew Rosenhaus , “next question “ ?

It is now time for Kobe Bryant to either grow up or simply shut the hell up ! The NBA star continues to rile inner sanctum of the Lakers, and continues to do more harm to his own image, in coming across as an immature and sanctimonious bastard ! Granted, the Lakers’ lineup is no more appealing than witnessing full frontal nude pictures of either Roseanne Barr or Phyllis Diller . Somehow, somewhere , there’s a guy ” whacking off ” ,while picturing that image. News does get around fast doesn’t it ? Kellen Winslow Jr , just got caught once again, massaging his “Johnson” , while complaining that he didn’t know that his On-Star GPS navigation system to his SUV , could not find the nearest location to the local Boston Market restaurant, while the engine was completely turned off.

The Lakers are bedeviled by a season, where Kobe Bryant’s injury has effectively put them out of any chance of making the postseason and where there have been few positives on the court in term’s of the team’s overall play . That notwithstanding and the failed Dwight Howard experiment of last season, there simply is not a great deal for the Lakers to hang their hats on in terms their immediate and long-term future. Steve Nash’s contributions have been paper-thin and Pau Gasol cannot hold this team on his shoulders and lead them with any real authority, As to this continued idiocy, that a marquee free agent will sign with the organization for the upcoming season . Bryant will be in his last year and there is nothing the suggest that he is likely to be entire healthy for a prolonged eighty-two game schedule much less be able to play an entire postseason schedule , were the team to make it that far . The All Star Guard is likely make this 2014-15 season, his last in the NBA, before calling it quits. As to how Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss are likely to prepare for that scenario remains to be seen , but as of now, the current environment within the Lakers’ organization is not an entirely happy one , in spite of the confidence said to be exuded by Buss and Kupchak.

I could continue on with the owners within the NHL , but at this point , that would be fruitless , because the landscape of that particular sport remains from an economic standpoint , is still one that stands on the edge of a precipice . Neither Gary Bettman , the teams’ owners or the NHLPA have learned a damn thing in the aftermath of idiotic league enforced labor stoppage . In some markets, there has a been a marked rise in attendance , whereas , in others there are steep declines , for which the game’s Board of Governors have yet to offer up any type of response. The excitement of the Winter Olympics in Sochi , Russia , placed a spotlight on the NHL , as many of the game’s biggest stars were competing for their national teams, with the hope of taking home Olympic gold . Team USA failed in that endeavor, while Canada proved to be triumphant .

Charles Wang , James Dolan , Mike Ilitch , Jeremy Jacobs , Stan Kroenke , MLSE , Ted Leonsis and Philip Anschutz still have a long way to before they are able to truly entice fans back to their respective venues to witness one of the fastest team sports in the world. The quality is there , in terms of the play, the issue remains how the sport is being marketed domestically and on a global basis . The NHL hierarchy has been failing abysmally, on both counts, in each endeavor .

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Picture gallery .

What are your overall opinions of the owners, in each of the four major professional teams sports in North America? Do you believe that in large part, they have acted in the best interests of their sports, in presenting an entertaining brand, and what of their use of public funds to build the venues that their teams are housed in ? Do leave a comment, as you deem fit with regard to the related subject matter and anything else you believe pertinent.

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Pittsburgh Steelers’ owner , Dan Rooney III is seen here with son Art Rooney , as they are interviewed after the 2011 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Rooney family have presided over the ownership of the franchise since their inception . AP Photo / Michael Archer ……

(2) Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh , left, is seen here with the San Francisco Forty-Niners’ quarterback Montana and the team’s then owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr after the 49ers’ triumph in Superbowl XIX . It would be one of four personal Superbowl triumphs for Montana and wherein , Walsh as a coach , won three for the revered franchise. AP Photo /Asa Hart @ copyrighted material ….

(3) Dallas Cowboys’ franchise leading rusher Emmitt Smith is seen here with the team’s owner Jerry Jones as his bust is unveiled at Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. There have been some considerably lean years since the Cowboys won the last of their five Superbowls. The franchise’s last appearance in the postseason came in 2009 , with the team failing miserably. Jones along with sons Stephen and Jerry Jones Jr run the franchise which also happens to be the NFL’s most profitable and valuable team . That alone may well appease some , but over the landscape of the league’s fan-base Jerry Jones is viewed as something of an imbecile with regard to his running of the Cowboys since their last Superbowl victory . UPI / REUTERS / Christian Pincus …..

(4) Vince Lombardi whose towering presence with the Green Bay Packers made that franchise a formidable foe in the days of the AFL and in the early days of the NFL and its inception, with the Packers winning the first two Superbowls played in NFL history . Inducted into the Hall of Fame , Lombardi remains one of the most revered figures in the game’s history, even after his death. Archived image copyrighted material ….. all rights reserved

(5) New England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick hugs the team’s owner Robert ‘Bob’ Kraft as he provides him with the game winning ball after a team victory. There have been many of those moments, ever since Belichick became the head coach of the franchise . Seven AFC Championships and five Superbowl appearances with three victories have made Patriots the most successful NFL franchise between 2001 and 2013. All of this coincided with the team drafting of current starting quarterback Tom Brady , whose own record now makes him a future inductee in the Hall of Fame in Canton , Ohio ,. Getty Images North America / Vince Miller …

(6) In the background GM Ben Cherington , while Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell holds aloft the 2013 World Series crown after the ball-club’s triumph over the St Louis Cardinals in baseball’s postseason series’ finale. It was the franchise’s third win of the World Series in the past nine years . This year the Boston Red Sox are likely to be the team to beat within the AL in spite of the flurry of off-season acquisitions made by the New York Yankees and others . A seemingly smooth transition from Bobby Valentine’s departure and Farrell’s introduction has made the resurgence of the franchise all the more impressive when you considered they finished last within the AL East in 2012 , while playing some very “bad ball” throughout much of the season . Team owner John W Henry has simply allowed the front office to conduct the business of the organization in a professional manner . Courtesy of NESN . …….

(7) Miami Heat President & GM Pat Riley ,left , is seen here with team owner Micky Arison . Having three NBA titles since 2007 , the duo will be seeking to win a third consecutive title for the franchise which currently has the second best record within the Eastern Conference and a mark that also places the Heat within the top five of the entire NBA . Hector Gonzalez / Palm Beach Post …….

(8) San Antonio Spurs’ executives R.C. Buford and Peter Holt relax court-side as the San Antonio Spurs play the Denver Nuggets at the Cox Pavilion at UNLV on Tuesday, July 13, 2009. Tom Reel/Staff

(9) Billionaire Brooklyn Nets’ team owner Mikhail Prokhorov , left and James Dolan Chairman & CEO of MSG Entertainment the holding and parent company for the sporting interests of the Dolan family . As owner of the New York Knicks , Dolan has seen the team under-perform this season , leading many to believe that there will be a major upheaval at all levels within the organization this off-season . For Prokhorov, his troubles remains the inconsistency of the team under first-year head coach Jason Kidd. Both teams are amongst the highest salaried franchises in the NBA , with both exceeding the league’s “soft cap figure” of $58.679 million , for which both franchises as well as other exceeding the cap will have to pay a heft luxury tax equating $1-50 for every $1-00 amount that they are over the cap . Owners are at odds with the league hierarchy with this edict , having approved it , in a NBA Board of Governors’ vote prior to the start of the NBA season . In coming NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has no wish to rescind this ruling under any measure and believes to be of benefit to the league , in order for the teams to be fiscally responsible . Getty Images / Harry How …..

(10) Los Angeles Lakers’ team owner Jim Buss is seen here alongside team GM Mitch Kupchak , as the two seated court-side, watching the team during a practice session at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California . This season has been a troubling one for the franchise , with Kobe Bryant sidelined by an injury and the rest of the players also struggling . AP Photo / Larry Hughes ……..

(11) Computer software magnate Charles Wang , owner of the New York Islanders . AP Photo / Maggie Briscoe ….

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If all interested , take time to participate in the above poll.

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tophatal ………. 02/26/2014

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Stick to what you know and not what you’re told is the truth …

Stick to what you know and not what you’re told is the truth …

Having surpassed the midpoint of the NBA season and with its mid-season festivities , now a mere memory (All Star Game) with the event itself little more than a repartee the participants from both conferences in what was a totally meaningless , uninteresting and uncompetitive game . What now becomes something of a dash to the end of the regular season, will have teams jostling and jockeying for positions within their divisions , within the Eastern and Western Conference . To suggest that the play , in particular, within the East has been bad , would definitely be an understatement . How anyone can now believe that the NBA is now in better place from a competitive standpoint , than it was a decade or even fifteen years ago , would have to be seen as complete idiocy ! Currently , there are no budding team rivalries that have captivated the television audience much less the fans in the seats at the venues around the league , yet somehow there are those with less than a modicum of actual intelligence trying to suggest otherwise.

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Coming into this season, it was felt that the Chicago Bulls would be one of the teams meeting the challenge of being considered amongst the prohibitive favorites within the Eastern Conference, to challenge the might of conference frontrunners, the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat . With the loss of Derrick Rose , to a prolonged injury for the second time inside of two years , the team’s chances were deemed lost. However, with what was at first thought to be an abandoning of a spirited fight for a playoff berth and a divisional title , with GM Gar Forman making the decision to trade the team’s best player , with the exception of Rose , with the jettisoning of Luol Deng , which now on the face of it, now seems to be something of an ingenious move . At 29-25 as of Saturday 22nd February , the Bulls possess the fourth best record within the Eastern Conference while seated in second place , some twelve games behind the Indiana Pacers, who remain at the top of the Central Division , as they have done for the majority of this season .

Tom Thibodeau and his coaching staff seem to be working a minor miracle, with the current players on the roster, now buying to into his goals and standards . One shudders to think, how good this team might have been, had Rose not gone down to a second knee injury and Deng were still playing alongside the point guard . The leg injury , which many thought may well threaten his long-term career, because, it was deemed something of a re-occurrence of the ailment, suffered before . The talk within the organization, is that the player will return for the 2014-15 season, having fully recuperated and ready to play with his usual exuberance which has been display ever since he was drafted by the Bulls in the 2008 NBA Draft as the number one overall pick . In each of the subsequent years , Rose’s game has blossomed, to the point where he had become one the league’s best point guards as well having won a League MVP. An astonishing achievement , considering the length of his fledgling NBA career at the time.

Coming off a well-deserved victory over the Denver Nuggets , the Bulls can now feel that there remains a great deal to play for over the remainder of their season’s schedule. Obviously the divisional race is beyond their reach, but chasing down that third place within the conference, where the surprisingly resilient Toronto Raptors (30-25) now hold a mere half game lead over the Tom Thibodeau coached team.

Next up for the Bulls, will be a game where they will surely get to test their new-found resolve when they are the guests of the Miami Heat at the AA Arena on Sunday afternoon, one of eight games scheduled to be played on the day . The season series between the two Eastern Conference teams, is tied at one game apiece(1-1) , with the Bulls winning the last contest in Chicago at the United Center , in Chicago, Illinois , 107-87. Their fourth and final meeting of the season of the series will take place again in Chicago on the 9th March. As things now stand, were the season to end as of today, with the Chicago Bulls still holding down their current position within the conference , their projected first round meeting as the number four seed , would seem them face the Washington Wizards over whom they hold a 2-0 series’ lead in their meetings over the course this season’s NBA schedule. A first round win, would lead then lead to a conference semifinals’ match-up against the number one-seeded Indiana Pacers , and from there the sky would be the limit , were they to pull off such a victory over what has been very good Pacers’ team throughout this season.

As great a player as Michael Jordan was said to be , his years as NBA executive have not been all that kind to perhaps the NBA’s greatest player over the last twenty-five years. OK, so we place Jordan on the Mt Rushmore of all-time greats , placing him above the stature of players such as Wilt Chamberlain , Magic Johnson , Julius Irving , Bill Russell , Bob Cousy , John Havlicek , Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson . As subjective as the topic will always be trying adjudge players from different eras , when the game has changed considerably , has never been an easy thing to do , no matter what arguments one tries to use placate or make a point . The idiocy of many suggesting Babe Ruth to be the greatest player in baseball history holds about as much weight , as the Titanic , after it struck an iceberg , sank in the middle of the Atlantic , thereby leaving the world to acknowledge at the time , one of the greatest maritime disasters to take place in oceanic passenger maritime history. As good as Ruth was said to be , does anyone truly believe that he could have competed against players at their peak , such as Willie Mays , Hank Aaron , Ken Griffey Jr , Barry Bonds (pre-steroids, whenever that might have been ) , much less have dealt with pitchers, such as Sandy Koufax , Greg Maddux , Pedro Martinez , Tom Seaver Randy Johnson , Nolan Ryan and lamentably without really wanting to sink such low depths Roger Clemens ? Horses for different courses , but at the end of the day , what we ought to be truly acknowledging about many of these athletes , has to be either their longevity or consistency , if not both , as the case maybe . Baseball and basketball historians can be left to argue amongst themselves , because in essence, the fans don’t necessarily care about their opinions on the matter , knowing full well , that they cannot always be trusted to show any type impartiality , much less be subjective .

I believe the writing was on the wall with regard to Michael Jordan being lured into the front office executive and the business side of the NBA , simply because David Stern , did not want to lose the game’s biggest asset in the aftermath of his retirement finally from the game in 2003 ! Backdoor wheeling and dealing , led to Jordan being named the . Head of Basketball Operations with the Washington Wizards. Once there, having bought a minority stake in the franchise , his relationship with owner Abe Pollin , was said to be tepid at best . He may well have brought some pizzazz back to the still dormant franchise , but in name only , because nothing concerning their play during the years he was a de-facto general manager suggested he knew what he was doing. Still regarded to this day, as one of the biggest blunders in NBA Draft history was the Wizards’ drafting of Kwame Brown as the number one overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft .

Michael Jordan believed Brown to be the best , of the crop of centers available in the Draft that season amongst college and high school players , who at the time were eligible (eighteen years old as NBA requirement , having graduated). The fact should you choose to peruse down that list for yourself , one could have found a litany of far more talented players than Brown at the position sought by Jordan . In the aftermath of this astounding pick , the fortunes of the Wizards simply went downhill and along with it , the former NBA great and his relationship with Abe Pollin , that would take a turn for the worst. Jordan sold his stake in the team and went off to pursue other business interests , while still presiding over a multimillion dollar business empire and his growing fortune.

All you need to know about Kwame Brown’s rookie season , was the fact he averaged 6.6 points per game and was never a factor in any game played by the Wizards that season , much less over the ensuing years did his game ever take shape, or the fact that Jordan may well have taught him nothing by way of the expectations of being a professional basketball player in the NBA .

A second opportunity would arise for Michael Jordan return to the NBA in another executive capacity , as this time billionaire media magnate Robert L Johnson invited the North Carolina native join him on the board and ownership group of the Charlotte Bobcats (who were then known as the Hornets). Johnson would relinquish controlling interest in the franchise selling his stake for a reputed $ 400 million at the time .

At 26-30 and holding down the seventh seed within the Eastern Conference the Charlotte Bobcats may well be on the cusp of doing something extraordinary during the ownership tenure of Michael Jordan. If they are able to maintain their current pace and lock down that seeding by the end of the season , then the franchise would be on the cusp of making its first playoff appearance , with Jordan as their owner. Consider the fact that the last time the Bobcats made the NBA Playoffs , came in 2010 . Being swept 4-0 , by the Orlando Magic , left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Bobcats’ players in that first round series’ loss , which was simply so lopsided !

Coached by Steve Clifford and ably assisted by lead assistant and assistant head coach , Patrick Ewing . It now looks, as if this Bobcats’ team in its current guise has some resilience about it. With a mixture of seasoned veterans and young players drafted and developed with the deft coaching of Clifford , Ewing and the rest of the coaching staff . I am not about to suggest that the Bobcats could send a few shock-waves around the NBA this postseason , but given the right set of circumstances, they might just be able to shake a first round opponent into some kind of complacency . Where it could be taken from there, would be dependent upon the mindset shown by players such as Ben Gordon , Kemba Walker , Cody Zeller , Gerald Henderson , Al Jefferson , Josh McRoberts and Gary Neal . Add in the fact that the Bobcats might have a possible Rookie of the Year Candidate in, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist , playing very well and quite possibly , there could very well be an upset in the making . Michael Jordan needs the Bobcats to be a competitive success as well as a commercial success , if the franchise is to remain viable in North Carolina , where College Basketball is the ” real magnet “ within the state, that draws some of the most knowledgeable and passionate fans in the game to see programs such as Duke (Blue Devils) , UNC (Tar Heels) and others that have made a name for themselves as being amongst the very best of what the NCAA has to offer at the Collegiate Level .

As if to emphasize that the Bobcats mean business, the team was able to push even closer towards that goal of a postseason berth, by taking down the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday afternoon , with a hard-fought 92-89 victory .

I think that it would be safe to suggest , that over the past six seasons the Detroit Pistons have been a conundrum and a puzzle all wrapped up into one. In that time, GM Joe Dumars , has literally sought to ruin the franchise rather than seek its improvement . Billionaire entrepreneur , Tom Gores , having bought this storied NBA franchise , has seen the team this season be mired in mediocrity, having posted a 23-33 record within the Eastern Conference. The firing of Maurice Cheeks , as the head coach of the team, speaks volumes as how out of depth , touch and with reality the Pistons now appear to be.

From my own standpoint, Gores has been ill-served in his retention of Dumars as the general manager of the Detroit Pistons. Gone are those years of consistency , when you knew that they would be a prominent and perennial contender for the NBA Playoffs and their surprising and lopsided Finals’ win over what was seen as a formidable Los Angeles Lakers’ team that fielded several future Hall of Fame candidates , only indicates how astonishing that series’ victory was at the time . The Pistons in their current guise , are a pale shadow of the team that won the 2004 NBA Finals over what was highly favored Lakers’ lineup coached by Phil Jackson , whose opposite number was another legendary coach in , Larry Brown . With their last postseason, coming in 2009 , it is extremely difficult to see what Joe Dumars and Tom Gores will seek to gain out of this season . Had Dumars decided to make the announcement at the beginning of the year , that it would be the franchise’s intent to rebuild around the talents of Brandon Jennings , Andre Drummond , Josh Smith and Greg Monroe , then perhaps it might have sat well with the Pistons’ fans. . Instead, the fans in attendance at the Palace of Auburn Hills , have willingly voiced their disapproval of the team, but voiced the majority of their indignation towards Joe Dumars , and quite rightly so , as he has failed to acknowledge that he is as much to blame for the team’s woes , as was Maurice Cheeks, in some small part. .

Kobe Bryant can now be seen, as an elder statesman within the NBA. No longer the best player in the league , which he undoubtedly was , for several seasons , before the rise to prominence of LeBron James . With his and the Los Angeles Lakers’ window of opportunity now dwindling for him to add personally, a sixth NBA title to his career resumes’ and for the franchise to add to another , which they last won in 2010 . Of late, Bryant has once again began to show his ongoing immaturity and his disdain for the Lakers’ ownership , when he faces on-court adversity . Granted, this season he has been limited to a mere handful of games , before injury wreaked havoc on his aging body . Let us begin to see things in perspective, Bryant , an aging Steve Nash , Jodie Meeks , Pau Gasol , Xavier Henry , Chris Kaman and Nick Young , were never really seen as a legitimate contender for a conference title , much less the NBA championship itself, this season . Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak undoubtedly , already with an eye on next season’s list of marquee free agents, has now begun to dismantle the remnants of this season’s roster. While Bryant, remains the biggest asset and factor that the organization has , it does seem now ill-served that they re-signed him that ridiculous two-year $48.5 million contract . Kupchak’s first order of business , was to send Steve Blake to the Golden State Warriors at the trade deadline .

Bryant felt that without being consulted by either Mitch Kupchak or team owner Jim Buss , as to the trade of Steve Blake, it was simply a mark of disrespect on their part. Last I looked, it was not Bryant’s signature signing the paychecks of the employees of the Lakers’ organization and though in recent years he has played a large part in the franchise’s recent success . The Los Angeles Lakers’ franchise is owned by Jim Buss and it is his, to do with, as he so pleases, in conjunction, in working with Mitch Kupchak, as it relates to player personnel decisions.

To understand the plight of the Lakers’ season and the continued idiocy of their fans , the lack coaching acumen shown by Mike D’Antoni , his coaching staff , but more so the complacency shown by Mitch Kupchak in seeking to rebuild the roster through the draft and developing talent from within , will always continue to be the boon for this franchise. Now while they can point to the their multiple titles won and Hall of Fame players that are part of the Lakers’ legacy . Can we now readily admit that upon Bryant’s retirement , it could very well be a number of years before the franchise is back to the unprecedented heights of success that it has seen in the past . The failed experiment in acquiring Dwight Howard last season , resulted in Howard’s lack of leadership skills , being unable to give any memorable performances , much less being seen as a likely successor to take over the reins from Kobe Bryant , at what would be deemed his actual time of departure . Howard parlayed that one season of misfortune in Los Angeles into a sizable contract with the Houston Rockets , where he is now playing “second fiddle “ to James Harden , Chandler Parsons , Jeremy Lin and the sortie of players that now make up the Rockets’ roster . The fact , that Houston, seen at the preseason as a conference titlist at the start of the season , are domiciled in a non-major market , may well have played a great in the decision of Dwight Howard to seek his fortune elsewhere . As good a center as he is said to be , he is simply not capable enough of carrying a team on his shoulders to any semblance of real success and by that I mean an NBA title ! Idiot fans who point to his years in Orlando with the Orlando Magic are simply showing their complete lack of intelligence and knowledge of the NBA overall !

With three teams firmly rooted at the bottom of the Western Conference, with shared records of 19-36 as of 22nd February , seeing the Lakers, Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz , all sharing that same mark , really does put into perspective how dire the season has become for a number of franchises around the NBA. Of the teams with a a lower mark in the league as a whole , one only has to view the bottom of the Eastern Conference to see why the play there has been harangued all season long , in spite of the idiocy of some who suggest that the outgoing commissioner has nothing to do with the present mess. The changes brought within the NBA over the past decade alone , have David Stern’s imprints all over them , along with that of the NBPA Executive Committee (Players’ Union) , owners and the NCAA . Failure in acknowledging that lone fact once again points to the lack of intelligence of those who come up with the most ridiculous of assumptions as it comes to the lack of competitiveness within the NBA at present. No team rivalries that truly capture the fans’ imagination and only wishful thinking on the part of some who now suggest that a Heat vs Pacers’ rivalry will bring the league some much sort after relevance , will only need to look at that particular record over the past two years to realize that it simply has no weight to it as an argument if adjudged against classic NBA team rivalries of the past.

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Picture gallery .

The second half the NBA season is now underway and what if anything do you hope to see materialize as the season meanders towards its inevitability of the regular season schedule ? In light of the troubles now facing the Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Lakers , which organization do you believe is the best equipped to turn around their misfortunes in the least amount of time ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site !

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
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(1) Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers , who was the recipient of this season’s All Star Game MVP Award . Irving and the Cavaliers will be looking to a far more positive start to the second half of the team’s season . Former GM Chris Grant was fired by owner Dan Gilbert , with the owner offering his compliments to Grant for his stewardship as the lead front office executive during his four-year tenure . NBAE/ Getty Images / Stan Howe …

(2) Chicago Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose (1) is seen here with teammate Luol Deng (9). With Gar Forman thinking ahead and perhaps looking to slash the team’s payroll, the decision was made to trade Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers . With Rose sidelined for the entire Bulls’ regular season schedule , it was thought that the team would likely flounder within the Eastern Conference , but they have proven to be surprisingly resilient , while currently holding down the fourth best record in the East. Tom Thibodeau has his players playing in unison , as a team and they could pose a serious threat to the two contenders in the conference at whatever stage were they to meet. AP Photo / Alex Marsh ….

(3) Kwame Brown , is seen here being congratulated by NBA Commissioner David Stern , with the player being drafted as the number one overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards . Brown was taken by Michael Jordan , who at the time was Head of Basketball Operations for the franchise where he also happened to be a minority stakeholder in the Wizards. Kwame Brown’s career with the Wizards would prove to be non-eventful , as has been the rest of his career since entering the NBA straight out of high school . Along the way his career earnings from the NBA have surpassed $ 60 million , without the player ever positing double-digit figures in assists or points per game over the course of his NBA career except for one season in 2003 . AP Photo/ Chris Martin …

(4) Michael Jordan, center, smiles as he shakes hands with Washington Wizards minority owner , Ted Leonsis , left, and Wizards majority owner , Abe Pollin , Thursday, Jan. 19, 2000 at the MCI center in Washington, D.C. Jordan’s relationship with the Washington Wizards has deteriorated to the point that he and the franchise might part ways, The New York Times reported Sunday, May 4, 2003 With Jordan’s departure and the subsequent death of Abe Pollin , Leonsis would assume control of the franchise , buying the stake then held by the Pollin family estate. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais ..

(5) Michael Jordan is seen here with Kemba Walker at the Charlotte Bobcats’ home venue the Time Warner Cable Arena , in Charlotte , North Carolina . Walker a first round draft pick by the Bobcats is looking to lead the team this into the postseason for the first time since 2010 . Jordan as the Chairman , CEO and majority stakeholder in the franchise has long wished to have the Bobcats make the postseason during his tenure as the team’s primary owner , given his postseason heroics as a player with the Chicago Bulls as well as during the regular season where he also won six NBA titles with the revered franchise , this could very well be the year that it happens for the Charlotte Bobcats . A great of that will however be predicated upon the play of Kemba Walker and that of his teammates . AP Photo / Dave Moss ….

(6) Kobe Bryant (24) is seen here alongside teammate and close confidante Steve Blake , a point guard with the Lakers . In the aftermath of Blake’s trade to the Golden State Warriors , with Bryant voicing his displeasure , as to the decision made by GM Mitch Kupchak , but countenanced by team owner , Jim Buss . Having signed a two-year $48.5 million contract with the franchise , one seriously doubts that Kobe Bryant would once again seem himself at odds with the Lakers’ two lead front office executives concerning a player personnel decision made . Yet, this has not been the first time that the All Star guard has voiced displeasure over such a decision, made . Getty Images / Paul Dominguez …..

(7) AUBURN HILLS, MI – JUNE 23: (L-R) Joe Dumars , President of the Detroit Pistons and Tom Gores , Owner of the Detroit Pistons ‘fist bump’ to show their excitement during the Detroit Pistons Draft Night Party at the Palace of Auburn Hills on June 23, 2011 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The Pistons’ picks were not overly impressive in light of Dumars’ decisions made as to the franchise’s needs . Three years later and it would appear that the fortunes of the Pistons were no better then , than they are now , in terms of the team’s competitiveness . NBAE Photo by Allen Einstein / NBAE via Getty Images ….

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I’m wondering where they have hidden the bar of soap ?

She’s got no one to play with , but herself . So sad , too bad !

Bowing out in style, bowing out gracefully or simply bowing out, because the game has now become uninteresting?

Bowing out in style, bowing out gracefully or simply bowing out, because the game has now become uninteresting ?

In the lead-up to the start of the exhibition season in baseball , known to the most devout of fans as Spring Training . The biggest story of the early preseason has been the announcement by Derek Jeter that the 2014 baseball season will in fact be his last . He brings to an end a glorious two-decade long career that has seen the New York Yankees’ shortstop having won a slew of awards as being anointed as a five-time World Series champion as well as having a World Series MVP award . Certainly , Jeter would like nothing better than to win a sixth series’ ring in his final season, with the only franchise he has ever played for. Last season , he witnessed the retirements of two former teammates , in Andy Pettite and Mariano Rivera who along with catcher , Jorge Posada , made up a core quartet , that were part of four World Series’ triumphs for the franchise during seven-year span , all under the watchful eye of then manager , Joe Torre , who this season was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York . Undoubtedly, Jeter along with Rivera and Pettite will be future bound Hall of Fame inductees having met the criteria needed.

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A great deal will be expected of this New York Yankees’ team after the usual flurry of acquisitions made by the franchise during the off-season , with the organization committing in excess of $400 million on the players acquired by general manager Brian Cashman to bolster the roster , managed by Joe Girardi and his staff .

New York is likely to enter this MLB season with the largest payroll of any team entering the official Opening Day schedule on the 31st March , 2014 . Consider the fact, that for the very first time in 2013, payroll commitment for baseball’s thirty teams topped $3 billion ($3,000,000,000) for the very first time in baseball history . As to what this might suggest , when it comes to teams showing financial expediency can be best summed up by the ongoing idiocy of baseball’s luxury tax sharing scheme which has not really served any real purpose , other than for the hierarchy to penalize the high spending salaried ball-clubs around the Major Leagues. From my own standpoint, I firmly believe that financial expediency will remain the last thing on the mind of baseball’s hierarchy, in spite of the official comments coming out of the league’s headquarters based in Manhattan , New York . The MLBPA is far too powerful a union to take on, with the owners simply cowering far too often in their wake. While the Players’ Union (MLBPA) itself , has a new successor to Michael Weiner as its Executive Director, there is no doubt in my mind, they will continue to always negotiate from a position of power ! Former player , Tony Clark now succeeds Weiner , who lost his battle with lymph node cancer , with his death coming as a shock to many around the word of baseball , with his tenure being such a short one.

The New York Yankees made a big splash in signing of Japanese pitching sensation Masahiro Tanaka , making him amongst the highest paid starting pitchers in the game, with an astronomical seven-year $155 million contract , that also places him amongst the highest paid players on the Yankees’ payroll for this season . Were it not for the year-long suspension of Alex Rodriguez and his $29 million due for this season , Tanaka’s pay of $22 million still places him behind the annual salaries of both CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira . . With the team having missed the postseason , with a lackluster end to their season , falling way behind both the AL East divisional champions the Boston Red Sox and the second-placed Tampa Bay Rays . It will be extremely difficult to suggest that Tanaka’s acquisition along with that of Jacoby Ellsbury , Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran will be enough to see this team possibly leap-frog both of their divisional rivals , while also posing a serious enough threat to the rest of the AL this upcoming season . Last season, injuries alone , were not the sole excuse for the Yankees’ on field failures. Several of their games were lost due to their complacency and a lack of leadership coming from anyone on the field of play , while team captain , Derek Jeter spent a large part of the season on the team’s disabled list with two prolonged spells .

Pitching will have to consistent all season long for the New York Yankees , in a division , where the makeups for the rosters of the Baltimore Orioles , Toronto Blue Jays , Rays and Red Sox will have a dearth and considerable depth to the lineups of the aforementioned teams. CC Sabathia is likely to be the Opening Day starter for the Yankees, a role which fits the veteran nicely. Hiroki Kuroda , Masahiro Tanaka can presumably be, switched around as the number two or three starters in the rotation , to be followed by Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova , as the case maybe . The reliever’s role now becomes all the more trickier for Joe Girardi, as Yankees will no longer have Mariano Rivera to close out games , be it for the last 2 1/3 innings or slightly longer . Rivera’s retirement along with his record-breaking 652 regular season career saves and another forty-two in postseason play , makes him the most dominant pitcher in history in that specific role. A staple for the New York Yankees that they are now likely to miss more than Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild would care to willingly admit .

Robinson Cano’s departure from the New York Yankees to join the Seattle Mariners may well be questioned, as I believe that the player is likely to struggle within an organization that has not made the postseason in several years and whose last divisional title came in 2001 . It begs the question, has Cano simply become a mercenary , albeit that his agent , Jay-z of Roc Nation Sports, sought the best for client, in terms of what he believed was Robinson Cano’s worth ? The player himself , indicated that he felt disrespected by the New York Yankees , and the negotiation process led by Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner as they made a vain attempt to re-sign the player to a lucrative contract . The Yankees have and will move forward , while Cano, by mid-season, could very well be pondering if he made the right decision to leave the New York Yankees to join an organization , merely struggling to remain relevant within the AL West , as it has so often done over the past eight years .

If there is one thing that we do know about Derek Jeter and his persona , it is that he is a gritty and very determined player. Few players have been afforded the privilege, of becoming the captain of the New York Yankees during that proud franchise’s history . The last such player of note, to be given that role, was Don Mattingly , who currently manages the Los Angeles Dodgers . Mattingly’s , own career with the Yankees was filled with highs and lows , but he became a fan favorite with his heroics on the field of play , with his candor , when dealing with the press and the fans alike, away from the diamond. Jeter is likely to go down as one of the most celebrated players in recent Yankees’ <a href=http://m history and franchise history overall , while not necessarily being considered one of the top five or six players ever to have donned the Yankees’ Pinstripes. Yet , a debate is likely to begin amongst the fan-base of the Yankees and amongst the purists and MLB analysts everywhere as to where he ought to be ranked amongst the likes of Lou Gehrig , Joe DiMaggio , Mickey Mantle , Babe Ruth , Phil Rizutto and perhaps, Mattingly, himself. That may well be a debate, that is likely create arguments and counterarguments, concerning a very much heated topic among the protagonists and contraries .

While Derek Jeter claims that now is the right time for him to step away from the game, to devote more time to his charitable and philanthropic efforts , be with his family and by his own words, start a family . It has me wondering, Jeter’s wish may well be to leave on a high note, but I can’t help but wonder, if the player has simply not become disenchanted with the game of baseball and the never-ending controversies, that have come to encapsulate baseball in recent seasons , leaving a number of fans also disenchanted and simply distrustful of the league hierarchy led by Bud Selig . Jeter has never openly discussed the issue of steroids within the game , which is very much line with many of his peers , albeit , that the likes of Albert Pujols and David Ortiz have seen their names brought up as a topic of debate concerning the issue. Pujols has come out and suggested, that if the league wants to test him ‘ then they can’ , as he has never and would never use an illicit substance in order to assist his game . The slugger’s career in baseball since his entry in to Major League Baseball when drafted by the St Louis Cardinals in the 1999 MLB Draft . In the ensuing years he has become one of the most prolific players of this era .

Derek Jeter’s first exhibition game for the New York Yankees will likely see a major turnout , in terms of the legions of fans, wishing to bid him farewell . He has become one of a handful of role models that the game of baseball can actually point to and say “ he has done things the right way” . A case like that, cannot be made for Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa , Mark McGwire , Jose Canseco , Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez or Ryan Braun. Such has been the dismay within the sport and the very fact that Bud Selig remains clueless , on how best to address one the biggest continued stains on the game, since the “Black Sox “ scandal over nine decades ago. Granted, racism , segregation ran the gamut through baseball and while many lauded Branch Rickey and his “ social experiment “, with the introduction of Jackie Robinson unto an integrated team , it should be noted that Robinson was not the first person of color , ever to play in the Major Leagues. Moses Fleetwood “ Fleet” Walker would break the “color barrier” . be it ever so briefly , but therein lies how history seeks to rewrite the annals of the game , to paint the type of picture that appears to be more socially responsive .

Fleetwood    Walker

A historical account is given of Moses Fleetwood ” Fleet” Walker of his being the first player of color to have played in the Majors , some six decades head of Jackie Robinson’s first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 .

The regular season home opening series at Yankees Stadium will likely see a full house with the press in full attendance , print and television media alike , along with credentialed representatives from farther afield , as this story will be of international importance wherever baseball is known to be played and with the Yankees having legions of fans across the globe. That initial three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles starting on the 7th April will prove to be a historic event in the milestone of Derek Jeter’s career and that of the New York Yankees. Subsequently , the Boston Red Sox will come to town and the two teams’ season long series should prove to be eventful, much like their it annual meetings have proven to be over the past two decades . This is perhaps the greatest rivalry within baseball, with so many of these contests having additional meaning for the soon to be retired Yankees’ shortstop. In recent history , perhaps the most memorable contest between the two teams took place series and what is now known as perhaps one of the greatest comebacks in baseball history and also the biggest meltdown by a team leading a series , with their needing one game for victory and a berth in the World Series.. That classic 2004 ALCS contest between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees still has reverberations within both organizations , as it led to the Red Sox’s resurgence under Terry Francona , with two World Series in the span of five years and then with another in 2013 , under newly installed manager John Farrell .

As the season meanders towards its postseason finale , it will be interesting to see whether or not the New York Yankees will be in contention for a divisional title within the AL East or perhaps a wildcard berth as they chase down unprecedented forty-first AL Pennant and twenty-eighth World Series’ title . The month of September should prove to be climactic for all of the league’s thirty teams , but perhaps more so for the Yankees and all that this season is likely to mean for the franchise and the career of Derek Jeter.

How appropriate is it, that what is likely to be Jeter’s last regular season game will be played at Fenway Park in Boston on the final day of the season , when the New York Yankees will be the guests of their most famous rivals the Boston Red Sox ? Nineteen regular season meetings on annual basis , has a great deal going for it , and if the two teams should somehow also be contesting the AL East on the final day. Then look for the heroics to come from Jeter and his teammates, as they seek to send him out in style. That may not prove to be the case however , as it is my firm opinion that the Red Sox are likely to prevail once again this season and repeat as divisional champions. They proved to be far too dominant for their rivals within the AL East as their season long series against the Baltimore Orioles ( 8-11) , New York Yankees ( 13-6) , Tampa Bay Rays ( 12-7) and Toronto Blue Jays ( 11-8)would prove to be as evidence in those contests.

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Picture gallery .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this article and how do you view the career of Derek Jeter as a player with the New York Yankees ? Your comments are more than welcome, so chime in, with a thought as you see fit.

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(1) New York Yankees’ shortstop Derek Jeter speaks with Jennifer Steinbrenner-Swindal , a managing partner within the New York Yankees’ organization . Jeter met with the convened press at the Yankees’ Spring Training facility at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa , Florida where he confirmed that this season would be his last in Major League Baseball , having played his entire two-decade long career with franchise . AP Photo / Chris O’Meara ….

(2) New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter gestures during a news conference Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. Jeter has announced he will retire at the end of the 2014 season. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …

(3) New York Yankees part owner and co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner listens as shortstop Derek Jeter speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. Jeter has announced he will retire at the end of the 2014 season. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara ….

(4) New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman responds to a question about shortstop Derek Jeter after a news conference Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. Jeter has announced he will retire at the end of the 2014 season. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …

(5) TAMPA, FL – FEBRUARY 19: Joe Girardi, Manager of the New York Yankees speaks after Derek Jeter spoke at a media availability after announcing that the 2014 season will be his last before retiring at George M. Steinbrenner Field on February 19, 2014 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images …

(6) Jacoby Ellsbury is seen here with New York Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi after the player was formally introduced to the convened having been acquired as a free agent . Ellsbury coming off a World Series’ win with the Boston Red Sox last season , hopes to be productive for his new team spearheading on offense that will also include Mark Teixeira , Carlos Beltran , Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki . AP Photo / Chris Evans …

(7) Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees poses for a photograph with, from left, general manager Brian Cashman, Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost , President Randy Levine , managing general partner and co-chairperson Hal Steinbrenner , Assistant General Manager Jean Afterman and manager Joe Girardi as he introduced to the media during a news conference on February 11, 2014 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Tanaka signed a seven-year $155 million contract that will see him be a part of the Yankees’ pitching rotation that will include CC Sabathia , Hiroki Kuroda , Ivan Nova and David Phelps . Jim McIsaac / Getty Images …..

(8) Derek Jeter is seen here during the 1996 World Series played against the Atlanta Braves . Coming off his Rookie of the Year Award in 1995 , in his second year as a Major League player he would be in the first of his four World Series’ triumphs with Joe Torre as the Yankees’ manager . Atlanta would succumb to the Yankees in a lopsided series’ loss to the AL Pennant winners of that season . AP Photo / Marcus Shaw …..

(9) A historical account is given of Moses Fleetwood ” Fleet” Walker of his being the first player of color to have played in the Majors , some six decades head of Jackie Robinson’s first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 .

(10) Roger Clemens ,(left) and Barry Bonds , two of the most celebrated players of their generation and long seen as the “faces” of the steroid era within baseball . Bonds a seven-time NL MVP remains the all-time career and season home runs’ leader . Clemens is himself a seven time Cy Young Award winner with over three hundred career wins and over 4000 strikeouts on his career resume’ . Both players were on the 2014 Hall of Fame ballot , but failed to gain the necessary votes for induction into Cooperstown . In 2015 their names will once again be up for submission , but it is highly unlikely that either will be voted in . UPI / Matt Simmons ……….

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Tedium, even in the world of sports … no real stories to be found, unless it meets an agenda

Tedium, even in the world of sports … no real stories to be found, unless it meets an agenda

Something of an uneventful weekend in the world of sports , albeit, that the Winter Olympics are being staged in Sochi , Russia , with the US Olympic Team likely to come away from the events’ staging with a slightly less medal haul than anticipated . From my own standpoint the USOC faces a hard time trying the sell the event as something worthwhile for the nation to be engrossed in . Other than the NHL’s hockey stars on parade , no one in particular , is likely to be interested in a number of events being staged, Granted, for “athletes” such as Shani Davis , Shaun White , Lolo Jones , Ted Ligety , Julia Mancuso and Bode Miller their life-long devotion and preparation for these Olympics are to be commended , but five months from now , are we as a whole , really going to remember who won the country’s first gold medal ?

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For NBC , as the sole broadcast partner for the event in the US and their continued ties to the IOC , with such largess , has me asking the question , is the network able to garner any type of meaningful profit the entire broadcast of the Winter Olympics ? I have no doubt, that for the Summer Games , it does become a formidable success for the network , but is now becoming abundantly clear that NBC may well have to look at how it televised the games and the current arrangement they have with the IOC and fees paid to the institution for the broadcast rights . With a mere five days to go before the staging of the games comes to a close , it will certainly be interesting to see how Team USA acquits itself over the remainder of the games’ schedule .

The NFL postseason came to an end with something of a whimper , as the Seattle Seahawks waylaid the ambitions of the Denver Broncos , on their way to a lopsided 43-8 victory over the AFC based franchise. For five-time winning, league MVP , Peyton Manning , this may well have been the quarterback’s last appearance in the NFL’s postseason finale. It is my own believe however , Manning will make return in , as he and his teammates seek to redeem themselves after their embarrassing loss to the Seahawks.

This off-season and we are likely to see Broncos’ team President John Elway , head coach John Fox and the coaching staff seeking to assess the needs of the team before coming to a decision as to the impending status of a number of the roster’s free agents , and their cap-hit to the franchise . It is my opinion in spite of the depreciation in his productivity , running back, Knowshon Moreno is likely to be retained, to give the team that one-two punch we have seen throughout the NFL this past season , as teams around the league seek to bolster the alternatives for their rushing game.

In the buildup to the 2014 NFL Draft , where already there has been a great deal of speculation as to whether or not Jadeveon Clowney , Johnny Manziel , Blake Bortles or Teddy Bridgewater will be taken as the number one pick overall . Clearly a case can be made for either of the four players mentioned , but the decision will be left with Rick Smith , head coach Bill O’Brien and the coaching staff of the Houston Texans . After the team’s struggles this past season, with their injuries and the startling regression in the play of Matt Schaub , it is clear that the franchise needs a new option at the position once and for all , rather than relying on a veteran, whose best years are behind him and certainly not ahead of him, as far as his future is concerned.

Though Matt Schaub is not a free agent until 2017 , his cap hit to the Texans for this upcoming season will be $14.125 million , leaving the team a little more than $2.52 million at this juncture , but his being released would save the franchise a considerable amount , in order to bolster the franchise by way of free agency and the Draft itself. I believe, like another seasoned veteran quarterback, Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles will be amongst a litany of free agent quarterbacks are likely to hit the free agency market , with many of these players likely to find a team as a backup , rather than being a starter. Vick for his part, may well believe that he is still capable to contribute to a team as a starting quarterback , but from my own perspective , he no longer possesses the skill-set to fulfill that role and it was a clear reason why Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly felt that Nick Foles was a far better option at the position , during this past season.

With Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama , as well as Roger Goodell , DeMaurice Smith , actress and gay rights’ activist Ellen Page coming out in support of Michael Sam’s openness as to his sexuality as being a gay athlete. The prospective second or third round draft pick and defensive lineman with the Missouri Tigers is on the cusp of making NFL history as the league’s first openly gay and active player. Social advances being what they are, the NFL still remains in the dark ages , in spite of the ongoing plaudits . As befitting a league, that hides behind veils of secrecy with regards to its business practices the NFL is and will remain homophobic , misogynistic and where racism is seen as a comedic part of its environment ,rather than being frowned upon with disdain. As to it, being part of the locker room workplace , is that not a great deal of hypocrisy on the part of the NFL , that allegedly tries to portray racial diversity as a positive within its league ? Consider the fact that the NFL itself , while its player personnel is made up of more than 73% of its players being of a minority background , the league itself does not have one African-American owner , other than minority stakeholder Reggie Fowler of the Minnesota Vikings. Shahid Khan , owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars , born in Pakistan , but now a naturalized American citizen , is the only other owner of color within the NFL . We already know the makeup of the coaching staffs , with just about every franchise in the league with a minority on their coaching staff , with general managers such Rick Smith , Ozzie Newsome , Ray Farmer , Reggie McKenzie and Martin Mayhew being of color in those executive positions. Amongst the league’s hierarchy working directly under NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the only person of note , who appears publicly by way of any issue is Adolpho Birch III , Legal Counsel and a senior adviser to Goodell on labor related issues .

With the findings of Ted Lewis’ alleged in-depth investigation of the Miami Dolphins and the behavior of Richie Incognito and three of his teammates in what was deemed unacceptable and conduct detrimental to the league . It begs the question, of those who are suggesting that this is simply locker room humor and not much more than that . Then can someone explain to me, what is said to comedic about misogyny and being sexually explicit in nature, in wanting to sodomize a teammate’s mother and sister ? Never mind the fact, that Incognito and teammate Mike Pouncey are said to have not only directed sexually offensive barbs at Jonathan Martin , but also to an assistant coach on the Dolphins’ roster . How this all could have escaped Joe Philbin’s attention is either an indication of the lax environment within the Miami Dolphins’ organization and the ongoing incompetence that has been shown by the franchise and the initial idiotic response from team owner , Stephen Ross . As to the fans , somehow trying to excuse this type of behavior, as mere school-boyish behavior , it is time for their dumb ass to grow the ##ck up, use common sense and show some intelligence for once !

Both Incognito , John Jerry and Mike Pouncey have been cut by the franchise , but there are rumblings that newly appointed general manager Dennis Hickey would like to reinstate and retain Pouncey as he is said to have provided the franchise with a great deal of productivity this past season . It simply now begs the question , is Hickey not intelligent enough by even proposing such an action , does he not realize that , this will not resolve the matter and places the franchise within the midst of another maelstrom of ongoing idiocy and incompetency ?

As if the image of the league could not be tarnished any further , Darren Sharper , former player in the NFL , a Superbowl champion with the New Orleans Saints and until recently , an on-air analyst with the NFL Network . Sharper, has since been suspended indefinitely, without pay by the league owned broadcast outlet, until the legal ramifications of his case have been resolved . Darren Sharper has been indicted on three accounts of sexual assault , but it would appear that there are as many as eight other incidents, that are now said to be under investigation , in which the former NFL player is said to be primary suspect in each of the alleged sexual attacks. As to what this says about Sharper’s sexual proclivities , predilection and behavior , once again points to the league’s own ongoing policy in dealing with player misconduct . One of the allegations in question dates back to Sharper’s days as a player in the NFL , and how this all could have escaped the league, may well have been predicated upon pressure being exerted by the player against his victim. The lines have been blurred, with regard to this matter, wherein these incidents, though reported, were never dealt with expeditiously by the law enforcement agencies, when first brought to their attention.

As and when a trial date is set concerning Darren Sharper , one can expect the usual “circus “ to come into being , with the national media , print and television, covering this legal process in its entirety.

The NBA this past weekend, scheduled its festivities, that encapsulates the All Star Weekend . Suffice to say, with outgoing commissioner David Stern stepping down to be succeeded by Adam Silver , a new chapter is about to begin within the league. With some still trying suggest the spectacle as being a fan friendly atmosphere, where the fans and players can mingle, can be viewed with a great deal of credulity . For the players themselves , the segue simply provides them with the opportunity to take a break from a long and arduous eighty-two game regular season schedule , while being handsomely being rewarded by way of bonuses and incentives for simply making the roster within either East or Western Conference. As to the thought that the games themselves are actually competitively or even remotely entertaining , can be viewed by the exertion shown by the participants over the course of the weekend in its entirety . In reality , the All Star Game festivities for the NBA , is no better or worse than the NFL’s self-styled Pro Bowl Game . Need I really say anymore on the matter , other than the fact that this particular NBA All Star game that ended in victory for the Eastern Conference and provided the fans with nothing of any tangible value ?

The trade deadline within the NBA is on the 20th February , with the deadline being 4.00 PM (EST) on Thursday afternoon. It certainly will be interesting to see whether or not the teams vying for a divisional title or playoff berth will seek to bolster their fortunes and that of their rosters , as they seek to play themselves into contention over the remainder of the regular season schedule. One of the more intriguing stories may well be that, of the willingness of New York Knicks’ star Carmelo Anthony and his true intentions, as to whether or not he wishes to remain a life-long Knicks’ player or once again seek to move on elsewhere . Such has been the indifference of the team’s season , going from victory to defeat , without ever really being able to out together series of rousing results that would simply be of benefit to the franchise . One can either seek to blame the coaching staff of Mike Woodson , or place the burden of the responsibility of their lackluster season , squarely upon the shoulders of the players .

Whether or not Carmelo Anthony has sought assurances from the Knicks’ hierarchy that they will seek to acquire players in order to make a concerted effort at a playoff berth , is solely dependent upon the communiques emanating from the front office . This much is clear , Mike Woodson is just as much as clueless as the fans of the franchise , as to what the outcome of this saga is likely to be . Neither GM Steve Mills or team owner, James Dolan are prepared to issue a statement at this time . Yet , I cannot help but wonder , how the fans might view this all should the All Star player be traded at the deadline or make it public of his intent to opt out of the final year of his contract ! The only likely winner, in this outcome , will be Carmelo Anthony , himself . The team will resume the second half of their schedule with a game on Wednesday night when they are the guests of the Memphis Grizzlies , who lead their season series 1-0.

As monstrous as the play has been within the Eastern Conference , there are very few positive that one can take out of the season, thus far or at its culmination. We are likely to see seven of the conference’s fifteen teams end the year with a sub . 500 record . It that is not a damning indictment of the state of play not only within East, but also, as it relates to the brand of basketball being played . Then I would like to know what is at this juncture and how the league hierarchy , general managers , owners , coaches and the players themselves consider this to be acceptable to the paying fans who either attend the games or watching from the comfort of their home !

We are, but a week away from the beginning of Spring Training and the beginning of the baseball season . As a die-hard baseball fan , it is the one time of the year I begin to circle dates on my calendar, seeking out which of the Atlanta Braves’ games I am likely to attend on their exhibition schedule . The joy of the regular season in 2013 and the team’s triumph in winning the NL East with effortless ease which had to be tempered by their dismal failure in the wildcard round of the postseason , with their lopsided series’ (3-1) defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers .

Braves’ manager Fredi Gonzalez and the managerial staff were far too laid back with regard to their approach in the postseason , leading to the team’s abrupt demise. That being said, there are lessons to be learned by the veterans and youngsters on the team as well as the entire coaching staff and organization itself. Complacency leads to mistakes and those mistakes were highlighted in the team’s play, as exhibited in the postseason. Jason Heyward , Evan Gattis , Craig Kimbrell , Justin Upton and elder sibling BJ Upton will now have to lead by example if this team in its current guise is to succeed and make further inroads within regard to their postseason play.

Brian McCann’s departure to join the New York Yankees and the team’s five-year $85 million offer was too good to refuse . It now creates a situation where Gattis, Ryan Doumit , Gerald Laird and Christian Bethancourt , the chance to vie for the catcher’s spot on the roster. A contest, that I believe will be very competitive on all fronts concerning the players in question ! Atlanta will begin their exhibition schedule , with a game against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday 26th February in Lake Buena Vista, Florida . This will be one of the seven contests being staged on the day of what will be the second day of the Spring Training Schedule around Major League Baseball .

In baseball there are few players as greatly appreciated , beloved and celebrated as Hank Aaron , the Hall of Fame great and perhaps the most revered player in Atlanta Braves’ history . Other than, Jackie Robinson , perhaps no other African-American player is more renowned and well-respected within baseball . The octogenarian recently suffered a fall while walking on some slippery ice, breaking his right hip and will undergo hip replacement surgery , in the aftermath of the incident . Aaron now a special consultant with the Braves, as well as being a Senior Vice President could be seen regularly walking in around the offices of the organization, simply showing his appreciation of the work being done by the employees from the senior executives on down, to those working within the clubhouse . The thought that he is unlikely to be at the team’s opening game of their Spring Season schedule, might be somewhat of a disappointment , but hopefully , having undergone the initial part of his physical therapy , he will be available for the Atlanta Braves’ opening home game as part of the regular season opener, which will be played against the Milwaukee Brewers on the 31st March , 2014 at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia .

Baseball needs its heroes from the past , because the current generation of players currently within the game , have been a poor example of sportsmanship , much less showing respect for the game , with a few exceptions. Unfortunately, with the league hierarchy being weakened by the unrivaled power of the MLBPA (union) , anything bordering on meaningful legislation being proposed by the league , has been often pushed back , if not completely “watered down “ or negated altogether . Bud Selig and his cast of minions within the league’s headquarters have become cartoon caricatures , with their being little real leadership being shown by the MLB Commissioner or any of his subordinates . With his prolonging the length of stay as the game’s highest ranking executive , it begs the question who is likely to want fill what will still remain a vacuum , in terms of the ongoing leadership hierarchy within the game ? Baseball’s team owners are only interested in reaping the financial rewards that are available , while seeing value of their ball-clubs appreciate substantially over the past few years . Something I believe , was brought on by the sales of both the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers , whose sales combined purchase price , saw the buyers pay out an astonishing $2.924 billion for the two franchises in question !

The expectations will be high this season within baseball , with several teams seen as likely divisional contenders as well for the respective pennants within the AL and NL . For myself , personally, I would like nothing better than to see a competitive season , without their being the continued controversies that have eclipsed the fans’ enjoyment of the game with the ongoing claims of cheating as associated with the use of PED’s . The fans deserve a great deal better from the players , owners , front office executives , but most of all from the custodians of MLB , who remain led by a bumbling stumbling imbecile in Bud Selig , whose departure from the game , cannot come around soon enough ! A February 2014 , retirement now seems to be a thing of the past , as the incumbent led us to originally believe , that he would be stepping aside roughly at the same time as his close friend David Stern . Rumors abound that the commissioner’s departure, might not now, take place, until mid to late 2016. Really, isn’t it enough , that a Presidential electoral cycle will be in full swing without the fans of baseball having to concede , that the search for Selig’s successor may well take precedence over the next buffoon likely to lead the country ?

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Picture gallery .

Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter as you see fit .

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(1) Shani Davis of the United States competes during the Men’s 1000m Speed Skating event during day 5 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Adler Arena Skating Center on February 12, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Getty Images Europe / Quinn Rooney ….

(2) Bobsledder Lolo Jones of the United States visits the set of The Today Show ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Olympic Park on February 3, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. . Getty Images / Scott Halleran …

(3) Snowboarder Shaun White (L) enters the stadium with the United States Olympic Team during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Ryan Pierse / Getty Images ….

(4) Denver Broncos’ head coach John Fox is seen here alongside the team’s wide receiver Eric Decker (87) as the Broncos enter unto the field at MetLife Stadium prior to the start of the Superbowl contest against the Seattle Seahawks . Denver would go on to lose that game in a lopsided loss 43-8 . Getty Images/ Stephen Dunn …..

(5) (L-R) Houston Texans Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Cal McNair , head coach Bill O’Brien , General Manager Rick Smith and owner , Bob McNair pose together at a press conference at Reliant Stadium on January 3, 2014 in Houston, Texas. Getty Images / Scott Halleran ….

(6) Four college players all with the aspiration to be the number one pick in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft . From left to right , Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel , Teddy Bridgewater and Jadeveon Clowney . In some circles Clowney out of South Carolina is seen as the consensus #1 overall pick and is favored by a number of coaches and NFL scouting analysts . AP Photo / Keith Farmer ……

(7) Mike Sam of the Missouri Tigers , who recently revealed that he is a gay college athlete, has been commended on his stance and his proclamation . Commended by his peers within the college game and within the NFL . It remains to be seen whether or not the player is likely to be drafted as a potential first or second round pick as most believe the defensive lineman will be taken . With the NFL in the midst of a great deal of controversy , encapsulating racism , misogyny and homophobia without the continued hypocrisy of league officials and players themselves, all adding into the mix. The NFL currently has an image problem, socially , that it has no idea how deal with or fix with any degree of success . Matthew Garvey / UPI Inc….

(8) 1/8/14 Owings Mills, Md. — Pictured are from left to right , Baltimore Ravens’ General Manager Ozzie Newsome , team owner Steve Bisciotti’s and head coach John Harbaugh , who were present for the 2012 end of the season review news conference. Newsome is one of six general managers within the NFL of a minority background . Photo by Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun Staff ….

(9) Ignorance can be bliss but being an @sshole might well best suited to pictured duo, Miami Dolphins’ teammates , Richie Incognito and Mike Pouncey (61) . Both players have since been released by the organization , with their now being persistent rumors that GM Dennis Hickey may well seek to bring back Pouncey for the upcoming season 2014-15 NFL season . Getty Images / Michael Anderson …..

(10) Darren Sharper is seen here with his attorney Blair Berk of noted Los Angeles’ law firm Tarlow & Berk LLC at the scene of his arraignment having been charged in the rape of three females . @ copyrighted material TMZ Sports all rights reserved

(11) New York Knicks’ team owner , James Dolan , right, is seen where with head coach Mike Woodson . Bearing a record of 20-32 the Knicks currently lay third within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference and 2 1/2 games out of the eighth and final spot within the conference , where the Charlotte Bobcats (23-30) currently hold that final qualifying berth . With Carmelo Anthony being somewhat ambivalent , as to his long-term future and their being no apparent intent from the front office to bolster the team’s roster , there very well could be a major trade in the offing with the departure of the All Star forward . AP Photo / Peter Patterson …..

(12) Feb. 28, 2012- LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL: Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez , right, talks with catcher prospect Evan Gattis , left, during the fourth full squad workout at Champion Stadium in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Tuesday morning in Lake Buena Vista, Fl., Feb. 28, 2012. Gattis is seen as the likely successor to Brian McCann as the team’s regular season catcher for the 2014 season , but Gonzalez also has other options at the position. Atlanta Journal Constitution / Jason Getz …. jgetz@ajc.com

(13) From left to right BJ Upton . Jason Heyward and Justin Upton of the Atlanta Braves . All three players will have to contribute greatly on both sides of the game in terms of offense and defense if the Braves are to fare well over the course of their season as they seek to repeat as NL East divisional champions and make an even deeper run in the postseason . AP Photo Mark Hurst ………

ARLINGTON, TX – OCTOBER 31: Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron looks on prior to the Texas Rangers playing against the San Francisco Giants in Game Four of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. Aaron who suffered fracturing his hip , had to undergo hip replacement surgery in the aftermath of the fall and is likely to miss the ball-club’s opening game of their exhibition season as well their regular season home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers at Turner Field , in Atlanta , Georgia ,. Aaron remembered as the player who broke the career home runs’ record held by Babe Ruth , has since seen that mark surpassed by the now retired Barry Bonds , who was passed over this year for induction into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York . Photo by Elsa Martinez / Getty Images ….

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We love our records ! Not vinyl, but sports’ records

We love our records ! Not vinyl, but sports’ records

In light of Peyton Manning’s demise alongside his teammates of the Denver Broncos in their now historic loss , in which they suffered defeat at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks . It is now my belief, that was the last appearance that we will see of Manning in a Superbowl contest! One victory in three Superbowl appearances and one could surmise that the window of opportunity for the quarterback to join a select few of his peers with at least two Superbowl victories and rings to their name, has now actually closed . This kind of makes me wonder if there is a sibling rivalry between Peyton and his younger brother Eli Manning , who has captured two victories in the NFL’s postseason finale, along with an Superbowl MVP award to adorn his trophy cabinet .

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As the quarterback of the Denver Broncos , Peyton Manning had an extraordinary year, having smashed the single season passing yards’ record, as well as the single season passing touchdowns’ mark. As spectacular as those feats were , the disappointment of that Superbowl loss , has left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Broncos’ players and leaving the front office of the organization completely bewildered as to the magnitude of the defeat. Let’s just say, that team owner, Pat Bowlen and John Elway , President of Football Operations, himself being no stranger to the postseason disappointment of a Superbowl appearance. Elway, as a member of the Denver Broncos , made five appearances in the Superbowl, but rode out on a career-high, having won the last two , on his way to a Hall of Fame induction in Canton, Ohio, at the culmination of his career.

Now we could start to prognosticate as to where Peyton Manning ranks amongst the best quarterbacks to have ever played the game, but with his career, yet to come to an end . Would it be remiss to suggest, that he no longer has what it takes to win at the highest level? With the right weapons around him, Manning was able to achieve success this past season , in the regular and postseason , but we all saw , that the Superbowl contest , clearly showed that the Denver Broncos were not ready to play and they were simply overwhelmed by the Seattle Seahawks . This off-season could prove to be an eventful one for the Broncos’ front office with John Elway , Matt Russell , Tom Heckert in conjunction with John Fox assessing the player personnel needs, with the likelihood of several players on the roster not likely to return for next season .

Peyton Manning within the next two years , should he make the decision to return for the 2014 season , is likely to make a full assault on the career touchdowns’ passing mark of 508 held by Brett Favre as well as the career yards’ passing record also held by the former .. Green Bay Packers’ quarterback. At present the Broncos’ quarterback leads all active players in terms of passing yards, passing touchdowns , pass attempts , completions , career comeback wins , and interceptions , Manning I believe having been on the wrong end of two defeats in the Superbowl, would like nothing better than to redeem himself and that of Broncos’ teammates in making one last attempt to win a second title . As I alluded to earlier, I do believe that Superbowl 48 was indeed the last time we will have seen the five-time league MVP having appeared in the NFL’s postseason finale.

Elway and John Fox will likely spend part of this off-season with behind the scenes closed-door discussions with their heralded quarterback, seeking his input on the weapons he feels best needed, in order for the Broncos to take that next step to a Superbowl victory . Contemplating the future of free agents, such as Knowshon Moreno, Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eric Decker, Dan Koppen, Zane Beadles, Trindon Holliday , Michael Huff and others may well prove to be difficult . Yet the likelihood will be , the team will have to forsake a number of these free agents in order again to their advantage , while also preparing for the NFL Draft and the prospective litany of free agents that will hit the market during this off-season . The Broncos will be in a significantly advantageous position, as their cap figure will not be to their detriment , where they will have in excess of $11 million of cap room available the front office make deals as they see fit.

As talented as Dez Bryant is said to be, his career is still in its infancy , and with his off-the field behavioral issues beyond team owner , Jerry Jones coddling him like a child . I find the player to be an ingrate and someone with a lack of respect of others as well as for the game ! Bryant, a wide receiver with continually overrated Dallas Cowboys , during this past season, made the claim that he was good enough to be placed alongside both Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald , two of the best wide receivers to have entered the NFL over the past eight years. . Johnson has already cemented his legacy in NFL history having surpassed the single season receiving yards’ mark of Hall of Fame legend Jerry Rice , the greatest wide receiver in NFL history and perhaps one of the top-five players to have played the game at any position within the NFL . Fitzgerald has consistently proven to be a top-ten at the wide receiver, since his entrance into the league , having played his entire career with the Arizona Cardinals , a team who this past season proved to be possible future threat to the f supremacy within the now all so competitive NFC West , which over the past seasons seems to have been a two-horse race between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco Giants.

The Cardinals’ wide receiver now ranks fifth amongst active players in terms of receiving yards, with 11,367 yards on his career resumes’. In terms of career yardage , he has a considerable way to go before surpassing Jerry Rice’s mark of mark of 22,985 yards. The one NFL record , which I believe is unlikely to be surpassed , because of the consistency and longevity needed ! If both Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald continue at their present pace , both are likely to be a “lock “ for induction into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio , upon the end of their respective NFL careers. If Dez Bryant truly wants to be seen as one of the elite wide receivers in the NFL , then beyond the ongoing woeful ineptitude that exists with the Dallas Cowboys , he will have to prove also that he can be a game changer and lead by example , not just from a playing standing point, but also as a vocal leader on the team. Because in reality , the presumed leadership skills or qualities, have never been shown by Tony Romo or perhaps the best player on the roster , tight end Jason Witten , who has carved out an exceptional career playing career for the franchise, without having a Superbowl ring to show for his stellar efforts.

I have written with depth and at great length, concerning the woes of the Dallas Cowboys and do not wish to add much more to that content within this site ! Except that, if you so wish , you are welcomed to peruse the articles in question and add your input on the points raised.

Say what you will for this past NFL season, in terms of the season highlights , the game reigns supreme, as it still resonates with the masses . The events of the Superbowl notwithstanding, the fans will now await to see further stories are likely come to the fore , with the upcoming NFL Draft .

Another supreme career within baseball is about to come to an end , once the regular season reaches its finality . With Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees, making it known that this season will be his last in Yankees’ Pinstripes. One can perhaps now begin to ask where the player ranks amongst the all-time greats to have adorned the team’s uniform as well as gauging his contributions to the franchise . A five-time World Series’ champion , Series’ MVP , AL Rookie of the Year but having never won the AL MVP , as well as a multiple time All Star , the player’s resume` is littered accolades and accomplishments , that his departure from the ball-club , will be the last vestiges of the corps of players who alongside then manager Joe Torre , won four World Series , having made six appearances in baseball’s postseason finale between 1996 through to 2005. The short-stop’s last championship game in 2009 , with Joe Girardi helming the team as the manager , with the Yankees’ win over the hapless Philadelphia Phillies in a 4-2 series’ win.

With noted Hall of Famers from the New York Yankees’ rich baseball history , such as Lou Gehrig , Babe Ruth , Reggie Jackson , Micky Mantle , Wade Boggs , Dave Winfield, Jim ‘Catfish’ Hunter , Joe DiMaggio and Phil Rizzuto. In trying to assess where Derek Jeter would rank amongst those players would take a great deal of deliberation . The game has undoubted changed over the course of the last eight decades plus. Yet, the statistics cannot lie when trying make a case for the soon to be retired Yankees shortstop. If there is one thing that truly stands out concerning Jeter’s stature in terms of personal statistics , it may well be his on-base and slugging percentage (OPS) .

With all of the acquisitions made by the New York Yankees during the off-season , which is likely to push the team’s payroll slightly northwards of $200 million . I cannot now help but wonder, how the organization will seek to market the farewell of one the franchise’s and baseball’s most beloved figures over the past two decades. Former teammates, Andy Pettite and Mariano Rivera bowed out last season , in what was jointly their last years with the franchise. Rivera, the all-time career saves’ leader, for the New York Yankees, as well as in Major League Baseball, that may well stand the test of time given the present environment within the game. Pettite’s career can simply summed with the words, most postseason wins in baseball history as a starting pitcher, and five World Series’ titles tend to bolster a career resumes’ as well. A great deal will now be expected of this New York Yankees’ lineup , given the fact that Derek Jeter will start his farewell tour in 2014 and no doubt the team’s season series against the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays , the franchise’s most celebrated rivalries in recent years, will likely take on a whole new meaning. As visitors to the venues of the Red Sox and Rays, Fenway Park and Tropicana Field are likely to be sold out for each of those series’ games.

Issues asides , brought on by the Alex Rodriguez saga , with the player now having to sit out the entire 2014 schedule. How the Yankees now acquit themselves under the guidance of Joe Girardi and his staff will tell us a great deal about the mindset of this team and also whether or not Derek Jeter will be back to his very best after a season, in which, 2013 saw him sidelined and limited a handful of games as the team missed the postseason foray . As I alluded to earlier , with this announcement of the player’s departure the expectations are likely to be high , with the view that the Yankees are to be viewed as a favorite for the World Series. What better way, for the heralded shortstop to bow out, than his winning a sixth World Series’ title. Fourteen other teams, within the AL, are likely to have a different perspective on the issue , no doubt.

With the NBA season having reached its halfway point and about to have their annual All Star Game break . It will be interesting to see what behind the scenes moves are made as teams seek to make use of the break to engineer trades that will likely make or break their seasons , when the regular season calendar schedule resumes. From my own perspective , the first half of the NBA schedule was something of a blur , with the Eastern Conference in particular, offering the fans , the usual incompetent displays , with the actual play, now beyond mediocre . The top two teams within the conference , the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat , seem bound for another conference finals’ series match-up. One that could clearly go in favor of the Pacers , if Frank Vogel’s players continue at the present pace in terms their play and perform as a cohesive unit.

It may not feel like a lifetime ago, since Carmelo Anthony almost single-handed, exploited a bad Charlotte Bobcats team on his way to a career-high sixty-two points in the New York Knicks’ win over their conference rivals within the East. Subsequently , the Knicks have continued to throw in some rather tawdry performances , and yet their fans continue to make all types of excuses for the team’s mundane play . If at this juncture , Carmelo Anthony , still remains unconvinced that his best options lay elsewhere , concerning his ambitions to win an NBA title , then to my mind he is not deserving of the opportunity to move on elsewhere ! He is being asked to carry way too much a burden, night in and night out , while his teammates simply look on , without rarely coming to his aid and contributing positively . Head coach, Mike Woodson for his part, now seems completely out of his depth , along with an unimaginative coaching staff .

Coming off two consecutive losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder and Sacramento Kings , respectively , it is becoming increasingly easy to understand why the Knicks remain a moribund franchise , ran by an unimaginative front office and owned by James Dolan , who remains simply clueless, as to what it takes, to run a successful sports’ franchise. Madison Square Garden , one of the NBA’s most venerable venues , might as well be an elephants’ graveyard , because in terms of competitive and entertaining basketball , it is definitely not on view there by , way of the performances of the New York Knicks . The press within that New York media market, may well try to spin the idiocy of what takes place with the franchise , but in reality , mediocrity cannot be disguised for anything else , than for what it really just happens to be. Steve Mills , general manager of the Knicks , may well be have to consult with James Dolan and Mike Woodson concerning Carmelo Anthony’s immediate future, because should he make the decision to opt out of his contract and seek to test the free agency market , the Knicks could up with nothing in return . They can either, seek to trade the player or gamble, that he might seek to return and re-sign with the team.

Through the first half of this season, the two most dominant players in the NBA , have been , Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder and LeBron James of the Miami Heat , currently the reigning NBA champions. One might seek to add, the Indiana Pacers’ swing-man, Paul George , as stock has risen , along with that of the Pacers and their conference leading mark within the East. In terms of the NBA Most Valuable Player race, James with his four titles , joins a select group of players to have won the award more than twice . Durant, seeks to add that piece of silverware to his trophy cabinet, having already won multiple NBA scoring titles . Yet this season, Durant , is driven , I believe, by the fact that last season , but even more so, the team’s efforts of the 2012-13 season , were to end so disappointingly, with a series’ loss in the NBA Finals to the Miami Heat. That I believe, has been the driving force behind Kevin Durant’s year and that of his teammates , as led by head coach Scott Brooks and his coaching staff .

If Durant and the supporting cast of the Thunder, are to prevail this season, which I believe that they are quite capable of doing! Then a possible match-up in this season’s NBA Finals, against either the Indiana Pacers or Miami Heat could very well a postseason finale well worth watching. What better way for incoming Commissioner Adam Silver to celebrate his elevation to the league’s highest ranking executive position !

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Do you believe that records long revered within professional sports , still mean something to this day , even with the growing trend within some areas , for athletes to circumvent the rules and cheat ? Chime in, with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter.

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(1) Five-time NFL League MVP , Peyton Manning leaves the field after the Denver Broncos’ humiliating loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the Superbowl . The defeat was one of the largest margins of victory (48-3) in a the NFL’s postseason finale. For Manning , it was his third appearance the even and his second loss in an NFL title game. AP Photo / Reed Martin ….

(2) Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway and Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen , left, gather for a photo during an NFL football news conference at the team’s headquarters Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011, in Englewood, Colo., where Elway was named the team’s executive vice president of football operations. The former Broncos’ quarterback made five appearances in the Superbowl all with the franchise , having won two titles in his five visits to postseason event. AP Photo/ Ed Andrieski ….

(3) Brett Favre , now retired is the NFL all-time leader in career passing touchdowns as well as career passing yards . Should Peyton Manning return for the 2014-15 NFL season, then the career passing touchdowns’ mark is likely to be broken at some point during the regular season . Favre’s career passing yards’ mark of 71,838 yards ranks first all-time , leading the second placed Manning by over 6,874 yards . Peyton Manning’s career yardage total of 64,964 ranks first amongst all active quarterbacks now playing in the NFL . Getty Images North America / Richard Hart …..

(4) Dallas Cowboys’ wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) is seen here with teammate Tony Romo (9) prior to the start of an NFL game. Bryant, believes himself to be the equal of experienced receivers Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions and the St Louis Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald . A first round draft pick by the Cowboys in the 2010 NFL Draft , the player has proven to be talented , but also something of a malcontent when things do no got go his way . AP Photo / Marc Carson …

(5) Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald (11) right , are seen here meeting on-field at the end of NFL game between the Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals . The two players represent a new breed of athletic and speedy wide receivers to have entered the NFL over the past eight seasons . Matt Farmer / Engle Inc archives ….

(6) Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees is seen here addressing the convened press . The player has made it known that this will be his final season in baseball , after a two-decade career which has seen him win just about every individual honor that the game has to offer with the exception of the AL MVP award. Jeter will leave the game ranked in the upper echelons in a number of offensive and defensive categories with the baseball franchise.

(7) LeBron James of the Miami Heat is seen here alongside Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Both players are currently seen as the frontrunners for this season’s NBA MVP Award with their being no other serious contenders for the game’s highest individual regular season award. Durant and James are respectively the leading scorers for the Heat and Thunder as well as being amongst the leading scorers within the NBA this season . Both players also , have each won an NBA scoring title . A Finals’ title and Finals Series’ MVP award are the only things currently missing from Durant’s already extraordinary NBA career . AP Photo / Matthew Clarke ….

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tophatal ……………

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With the end of what can only be described as a truly disappointing postseason finale in the NFL ,where the Seattle Seahawks simply steamrolled their way to victory , with a thoroughly lopsided victory over the Denver Broncos . It is now being left to die-hard fans to adjudge what Peyton Manning’s legacy is likely to be in the annals of NFL history . Certainly, Manning’s postseason forays have proven to be less than stellar, in spite of his lone success with an Indianapolis Colts’ victory in the Superbowl and a Superbowl MVP award to adorn his trophy cabinet. So much was expected of the Broncos’ quarterback and his teammates in this contest, that in the end it proved to be a monumental failure for the team as a whole . As to how, this chapter will be viewed in Peyton Manning’s extraordinary career will come down to how historians are likely to record the game for prosperity.

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With the off-season now beckoning , teams and their front office executives will be assessing their rosters , seeking to address their needs during this break as well as preparing for the upcoming NFL Draft. I am not going to speculate as to who the number one pick in this Draft should be and whether or not the Houston Texans as the aspirant of that pick , will go with the choice of taking Johnny Manziel to resurrect what was indeed a rather disappointing season for a team with far more expectations in 2013 than were realized . Certainly, the Texans’ front office led by GM Rick Smith under the auspices of owner Robert McNair , are fully aware as to what is needed if this organization is to rebound and have a successful in 2014, while seeking to usurp the recent dominance shown by the Indianapolis Colts under the guidance of the quarterback Andrew Luck , Chuck Pagano and his coaching staff, as they have now become the dominant force within the AFC South .

It is far too early, to begin dissecting the prospects within the NFL Draft, much less the moves likely to be made by teams during the off-season! It is best left to the fortnight prior to the week of the 22nd April event as we are likely to see teams jostle for position up and down the Draft Board , seeking to make some notable deals .

The NBA has passed its midway point and is now meandering towards the NBA All Star Break . NBA Commissioner David Stern has now stepped down, handing over the reins of power to his heir in waiting , Adam Silver , who will now seek to stamp his own identity upon the league , as his successor had previously done. Stern’s three-decade long tenure was a memorable one, with a great deal of heraldry , growing revenues , league expansion and the popularity of the NBA around the globe.

If there is said to be a major disappointment within the league this season , then it would have to be the continuing issues of both the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks. Their problems have been well-chronicled for much of the season and I doubt that there can be much more that can be said as to their ongoing problems. If these two franchises are unable to get their respective “houses in order” , then both are likely to miss the NBA postseason . Inwardly, I believe both organizations are in need of a major shakeup, from their front offices , on down to the coaching staff and the teams’ rosters ! Whether or not, that happens , will be greatly determined by the positions taken by Jim Buss of the Lakers and James Dolan of the Knicks.

As defending NBA champions, the Miami Heat are seeking to repeat as the three-time champions , if they are able to pull off that feat this season. Erik Spoelstra and this Heat team as of late, are proving that the makeup of this roster , is simply not as good as the one that won a second consecutive NBA title . Poor rebounding and a breakdown in defensive assignments have seen the Heat post some unexpected losses to teams that they would normally defeat. Dwyane Wade has become an injury riddled player, whose career now appears to be on its last legs, literally. As close as Wade’s friendship with LeBron James is said to be , I truly believe, that if the opportunity came, where team President Pat Riley could off-load Wade from the roster and seek to obtain something equitable in return , in order for the franchise to pursue its ambitions. Winning may well have come easily to Riley as a coach , but in recent years , he has shown himself to be an extremely good front office executive , yet, he is now becoming somewhat of a ruthless almost Machiavellian in character , with regard to his ambition and relentless lust and pursuit, in obtaining success for this Miami Heat franchise.

If to further emphasize my point concerning the Miami Heat’s inconsistency of late, in their most recent loss , on the road to the Utah Jazz, for a great deal of the contest , not only were they outplayed , but the team showed a great deal of complacency . Spoelstra, might well be willing to suggest that the players were simply fatigued by what has already been an exhaustive fifty-game schedule at this point of the NBA calendar . Yet I would suggest to the Miami Heat head coach , that his team is not the only franchise, that has hit a roadblock at this point of the season . If anything , it is at this time, with the regular season, that we tend to see the best of the teams, and the ones in particular, who can handle not only adversity and the competitive obstacles laid in front of them . We are also able to see, how the coaches themselves, are able to handle each major problem that seems to be impeding them .

For the Miami Heat their next game will be on Tuesday evening , when they are the guests of the Phoenix Suns , where they lead their season series 1-0 . It will be interesting to see how the Heat players acquit themselves in that particular contest and whether or not, the ongoing justification that they remain the favorites to be the repeat Eastern Conference champions .

Trouble in paradise or simply, the egos of two individuals playing off one against the other? Whatever, now seems to be happening, concerning the Cleveland Cavaliers, a great deal of what we are now seeing , leads me to believe that things could get a great deal nastier, before it gets considerably better within the organization. Dan Gilbert made the decision to fire general manager Chris Grant , thanking him for his service to the franchise , but sought not to be critical of his now deposed front office executive . Whether or not, this can be seen to appease the Cavaliers’ disgruntled star Kyrie Irving, remains to be seen. Irving, himself , was also critical of the team’s head coach , Mike Brown , who in his second stint , seems to be having a far more difficult time in guiding and handling a far less talented group of players , than when he was in leading this franchise to their lone appearance in the NBA Finals , with LeBron James as that team’s best player . With there said to be growing anticipation that James is likely to opt out of his existing contract with the Heat to “test” the free agency market . The thought of the Miami Heat forward and Kyrie Irving linking up, would prove to be a salivating prospect and make the Cavaliers a formidable opponent, as well as a prohibitive favorite within the Eastern Conference for the NBA title . Inasmuch, as I believe that to be a daunting prospect, there is no way in hell, that I believe LeBron James would consider returning to Cleveland under the present conditions , with their being so much turmoil within the organization, even with everyone seemingly denying any major drama within the franchise.

As of the 8th February the Cleveland Cavaliers had a record of 17-33 , good enough for fourth place within the Central Division of the Eastern Conference . While Irving has been far in a way the team’s most effective player , the issues that have been a continuous issue for Mike Brown , has been the lack of real ball movement when in transition and the complete lack of defensive tact from the vast majority of the players on the roster. Seated twelfth, within the conference, the Cavaliers are four games out of the eighth spot, currently held by the Charlotte Bobcats (22-29) . Any chance of Mike Brown’s team being able to erase that deficit and leapfrog the four teams ahead, is I believe, far too tough a task to ask of this team , no matter how deplorable the play has come within all three divisions of the Eastern Conference.

The Cavaliers will seek to make inroads into that conference lead on Sunday, when they play host to the Memphis Grizzlies at the Quicken Loans Arena , in Cleveland , Ohio,.

With pitchers, now reporting for Spring Training and their teammates likely to join them in the coming days . The start of the preseason to baseball’s season begins on the 13th February and then the one and hundred-sixty two game regular season schedule which officially begins with a two-game series (22nd March to 24th March) being staged in Sydney, Australia, between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks . The major Opening Day schedule however , will not take place until the 31st March , albeit, that on the 30th March there will be a single game being played between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres .

With the Boston Red Sox likely to be seen as the early season favorites to my mind to repeat as the AL East divisional champions . Simply, from the belief, that their opponents within the division enough have not done enough to become remotely close to being as competitive as the reigning World Series champions ! John Farrell showed his managerial ingenuity last season , and to my mind , he is now one of the top-five managers in all of baseball. Fans may well love the homely and at times micro-managerial style of Joe Maddon and what he has been able to achieve with the Tampa Bay Rays . Unfortunately, that remains a franchise who chooses to operate on a shoestring budget , rather than Stuart Sternberg seeking to show some of this alleged financial acumen that is said to have made him tens of millions of dollars as a Wall St investor and commodities’ trader. The continued whining by Rays’ fans, who themselves show very little acumen when it comes to the front office dealings within this organization , is why I will continue to question their intelligence on a wide variety of issues concerning the ball-club and that of the local personalities , who continue to come up with idiotic prognosis, as to needs of the franchise beyond the on-field issues . Tampa remains a second class city, with grandiose ideas, normally afforded to a major metropolitan city. Therein, lies its biggest issue , lack of intelligence amongst its political leaders and most definitely amongst the fan-base !

The Tampa Bay Rays may well prove to be worthy adversaries to the Boston Red Sox over the course of this season , and their season-long contests could prove to be a key indicator as to how the AL East could very well play out. The New York Yankees may well have been making a big splash, with the signings of Masahiro Tanaka , Jacoby Ellsbury and slew of other high-priced free agents . It has proven to be a success and boon for the franchise over the years, and the issues that still remain for the Yankees , will be the effectiveness of their projected starting pitching lineup and whether or not Derek Jeter after a prolonged injury can return to form , and the same can be said of Ellsbury , who was brought in to replace the productivity of Robinson Cano . The loss of Alex Rodriguez is not seen as a major blow ,given his lack productivity in 2013 , but questions will arise should the team start to buckle under the considerable weight of expectations .

The New York Yankees this season , will either sink or swim, by their deeds on the field of play as their season begins . GM Brian Cashman and senior managing partner Hal Steinbrenner will once again have to justify their actions , in once again having the team’s payroll close to or on the verge of exceeding $200 million , when the intent of the front office was to be avoid being subjected to the mandatory luxury tax, for which the Yankees had to pay the league $39.5 million in 2013 . By comparison the Los Angeles Dodgers who had a payroll , a mere $9 million less than the Yankees’ commitment to their players , paid only $9.3 million as part of their obligation to the league , by way of the MLB’s now imbalanced and totally inept scheme. . On Opening Day , I fully expect that the Yankees’ team payroll to exceed $200 million, as it has done for the past four consecutive years .

After an excellent season in 2013, the Atlanta Braves having been the runaway winners of the NL East , the team simply wilted in the postseason . Fredi Gonzalez and the managerial staff were simply too lax in their approach and did nothing to hold his players accountable as they were simply dispatched in divisional round of the MLB postseason . Suffice to say , if you blinked , you would not have missed a great deal as it related to the Braves’ postseason foray .

Fredi Gonzalez and the managerial staff were simply too lax in their approach and did nothing to hold his players accountable , as they were simply dispatched in divisional round of the MLB postseason . Suffice to say , if you blinked , you would not have missed a great deal as it related to the Braves’ postseason foray . A lopsided 3-1 series’ loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the divisional series (NLDS) curtailed the Braves quest for a second World Series title.

The off-season proved to be somewhat fortuitous for Braves’ GM Frank Wren and team President John Scheurholz , as the team benefited a great deal , by way of the players whom sought salary arbitration . Granted , the loss of catcher Brian McCann was to be expected , as there would be no way that the front office would have been willing to match or make the five-year $85 million offer made to the player, which was willingly accepted by McCann’s agent , BB Abbott. The catcher becomes the New York Yankees’ first option at the position as well as providing a much-needed boost in terms of McCann’s productivity .

. Retaining Jayson Heyward , Craig Kimbrell and Ramiro Pena adds to what is already a good lineup and with a bunch of very able prospects upon which Gonzalez and the staff can look over during the Spring Training foray will be of benefit to the team. As usual the Braves have also sought to bring in non-roster invitees , to work them out and that also bodes well for the staff.

The Braves will begin their regular season against the Milwaukee Brewers in what is likely to be a very interesting game , as the Brewers are likely to welcome back their 2011 NL MVP Award winner , Ryan Braun as he suits up for the team for the first time in 2014 in a regular season game , Humbled by his suspension and his act of contrition barely convincing , how Braun conducts himself as a player will go a long way in how and if he is forgiven by the fans, for his web of deceit and lies. Clearly something, the player failed to learn from the outset, as he tried to convince us all that he was innocent of the charges originally leveled against him for using a performance enhancing drug . While , Alex Rodriguez sits out the entire 2014 season , one can’t help but wonder if we will also see a repeat performance from the New York Yankees’ player , reminiscent of his then apology to the convened press in February of 2009 at the Yankees’ training facility in Tampa , Florida .

Last season, as befits the game, there were some very great highs and some exceedingly low, lows . It is hoped that in 2014, the game of baseball, can offer the fans a great deal more than the ongoing issue of steroids and ongoing deniable culpability , of whom I believe can no longer be trusted to tell the truth . They have simply outdone their goodwill , and with the union’s lack of action even with the lack action from Michael Weiner , whose loss to the game was tragic, but his own lack of candor on the issue of PED’s is simply another reason why neither the MLBPA or Bud Selig and league hierarchy can be taken at their word to tackle the issue seriously . Yet, the commissioner with his idiocy , believes the use of instant replay within the game , is a far more pressing issue than addressing steroids and the financial imbalances that affect the game . Common sense , and intelligence has never been prevalent within the game of baseball , amongst the players , owners , general managers , league hierarchy and the game officials .

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(1) EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – FEBRUARY 2: Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) walks on the field after the Seattle Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl 48 . The Denver Broncos vs the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey Sunday, February 2, 2014. Manning’s performance in the contest was amongst the worst of his heralded NFL career either in the regular or postseason . Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post …

(2) Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M and seen in some circles as the consensus # 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Houston Texans have that first pick in the draft and it is unclear whether or not they will draft the talented quarterback or seek to bolster a secondary that was amongst the worst in the NFL during 2013 . AP Photo / Richard Engell ….

(3) Robert “Bob” McNair, left , owner of the Houston Texans is seen here with general manager Rick Smith at Reliant Stadium in Houston , Texas . It will he McNair’s final say , that may well be the indicator as to whether or not the franchise drafts Johnny Manziel of Texas A &M. Certainly, drafting the player would create a great deal of excitement within the greater Houston and across the state of Texas . Yet, it is felt that the team’s needs are just as pressing in other areas , without them having to risk that first pick on the mercurial college star, and then having to make a considerable financial outlay for the privilege of making him the number one pick overall. AP Photo/ Arturo Sanchez ….

(4) A bemused James Dolan , owner of the New York Knicks , brushes aside a question from a member of the convened press at the team’s headquarters at Madison Square Garden , New York City , New York . The Knicks are having an indifferent season , with Carmelo Anthony being the only player of note that is said to be productive on the team . Rick Moriarty /. Getty Images …

(5) Mike D’Antoni head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, a team who this season has struggled with injuries , indifferent play from a number of players on the roster. Currently lying in thirteenth place within the Western Conference’s fifteen teams residing there , Los Angeles now remains a long shot to make the postseason , having posted an 18-33 record . AP Photo/ Liam Walsh …..

(6) Kyrie Irving ,left , of the Cleveland Cavaliers is seen here with the team’s owner , Dan Gilbert. Irving of late , has been somewhat vocal , with his concerns and the direction that the franchise is said to be taking . The firing of GM Chris Grant may well have been done to appease and to soothe the ego of the disgruntled star, but unless the front office makes a number of major moves at the trade deadline , then the Cavaliers are likely to squander another season and completely miss the NBA Playoffs, Cleveland Plain Dealer / Getty Images North America / Chris Hansard ….

(7) Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell is seen here congratulating the team’s World Series’ MVP , David Ortiz after the Red Sox’s effortless series’ victory over the St Louis Cardinals in the 2013 World Series . Boston will be looking to make a successful defense of their AL East divisional title , AL pennant as well as the World Series . They will undoubtedly start the season as the prohibitive favorites within their division to repeat as champions . Ortiz for his part will be looking to cement his legacy as one of the franchise’s most popular players of the past twenty-five years . Getty Images / Rob Carr …..

(8) From left to right , New York Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi , the team’s record signing catching acquisition Brian McCann , senior managing partner and team owner , Hal Steinbrenner . Having made a big splash during the off-season to bolster the roster . New York will go into the season looking reintroduce themselves to their fans and baseball in general . The team will also enter the season with one of the highest payrolls in Major League Baseball at approximately $196.5 million , slightly less than last’s season’s record-breaking $228.5 million obligation , tops amongst all thirty teams , wherein, the Opening Day payroll for baseball’s franchises topped $3 billion for the first time in baseball history. This year should prove to be no different with a number of teams likely to add to their payroll commitments during Spring Training and in the lead-up to . Opening Day on the 31st March (officially). AP Photo / Steven Hines ……

(9) Atlanta Braves’ general manager Frank Wren is seen here congratulating Fredi Gonzalez , the baseball franchise’s newly installed manager , who succeeded the long tenured Bobby Cox , now an inductee in Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York. Gonzalez and his team will be looking to build upon the success of last season , although a lengthy postseason presence eluded the Braves , with them falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS . AP Photo / Chris Pendleton ……

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Full steam ahead ……

Full steam ahead …..

The NBA has entered a new chapter with the stepping down of David Stern as commissioner of the league, to be succeeded by his long-time deputy Adam Silver . As Deputy Commissioner, Silver will officially take the reins as the league’s commissioner immediately after 2014 NBA All Star game festivities, with the incumbent likely to return to the private sector either to practice law or in all likelihood, to be hired by a high-profiled Fortune 500 company. Stern’s three-decade long rein has been filled with highs and lows , some might say more highs, bearing in mind the NBA’s visibility on a global basis , as well the rising values of the thirty teams that now currently exist .

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In a recent discussion with a patron , he tried to suggest that the league still remains a team oriented endeavor. In reality, however, nothing, could be further from the truth, as the NBA has now become personality driven, by way of the visibility of the league’s most high-profiled players. Individual feats, are now more admired than the actual team endeavor by way of a victory . This has become glaringly true and can be seen with how the games are now reported not only on the league’s official site , but also across the wide gamut of media outlets . With stars such four-time league MVP LeBron James , Kevin Durant , Carmelo Anthony , Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki , not only being amongst the best players now in the league , these athletes are now among the most highly paid and said to be “ face “ of their respective franchises. A great deal of the financial largess of the teams has come with the fact that the league hierarchy has not sought to rein in expenses by way of the teams’ payroll . Though there is said to be a “soft salary cap” ($58.759 million) in place , few teams actually fall in line and choose to seek to remain within the cap figure.

The departure of David Stern , though expected , what has been a cause for concern over the past several years, has been the decline of the play within the NBA. Scoring , may well be up and down in a number of cases , but the repeated point , has now become the weakness of the Eastern Conference in comparison to their Western Conference counterparts. One could attest to the fact that there are some bad teams within the East , lack of depth in talent , as well as the inexperience of the coaches and their respective staffs. Stern has always been quick to point to what he believes are positives within with game, while seeking to blur the lines with regard to the negatives, the fans and media can readily point to. His autocratic rule, a tendency to place himself in the middle any high-profiled matter concerning the NBA, paints a somewhat cozy image and picture of the commissioner . Whether or not, this trait is followed by Adam Silver, once he officially assumes the reins as the league’s highest ranking executive remains to be seen.

Stern’s tenure can be best summed up , by saying that were it not for Michael Jordan and his unprecedented success and accolades with the Chicago Bulls . Then, the NBA would have remained somewhat of a pedantic pastime with fans, by way of being entertained . Jordan was the “goose “ that laid the golden egg for the league’s massive appeal nationally , . as well as on the global stage .

The Indiana Pacers (38-10) continue to keep apace , ahead of the rest of their conference and divisional rivals within the East. Head coach Frank Vogel , has his team playing some high up-tempo basketball , while having the best ten-game winning streak within the East , having been victorious in seven of their last ten games . Not to be outdone, the defending NBA champions, the Miami Heat have also put together a similar mark of going 7-3 over their last ten contests. . Being the top two teams, within the Eastern Conference, these two franchises may well be on a repeat course for another conference finals’ clash during the upcoming postseason , if both currently maintain their existing pace.

Everything about this NBA season, points to a divide within the East concerning the top two, teams, while the others simply jockey for position , for the seeding’s numbers three through eight . From my own perspective , the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat simply have to play .550 basketball or better over the remainder of the regular season schedule to assure themselves of the top two spots within the Eastern Conference. Miami Heat and LeBron James this season to my mind, are not the team I witnessed at times during last season , simply exerting their dominance over an opponent . If anything , during their travails of their current schedule they have been complacent , and not showing a great deal of consistency as and when needed . Obviously, the change in the makeup of the roster from last season , has a great deal to what the fans have seen, and to my mind the additions of Greg Oden and Michael Beasley , has not borne the fruit desired in terms their combined productivity. Then you also have , an ailing Dwyane Wade , being in and out of the lineup , throughout much of this season. A Wednesday night contest against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California, should prove to be an exciting match-up between the two teams coached by Erik Spoelstra of the Heat and Doc Rivers , for the Clippers. .

The Pacers having come off a narrow four-point victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night , will have a scheduled meeting with the Portland Trailblazers on Friday night in their home venue at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana, Indianapolis.

There is no doubt that the success of the NBA came down to first , those legendary regular and postseason contests between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. Certainly., the collegiate furor built up around Larry Bird and Magic Johnson became even more pertinent once they entered the league to begin their now legendary careers. While, there seems to be a belief that there remains a team rivalry that dominates within the NBA. There is no longer anything or any semblance of a contest that one could point to and categorically state , the league does have a rivalry of note. Both the Celtics and Lakers are currently having indifferent seasons , with the case of Boston a being newly revamped roster , head coach and coaching staff . Their season , will be one of Brad Stevens simply learning the nuances of the game at the professional, while his young team acquits itself within the league. The Los Angeles Lakers, with Mike DAntoni in his second season as the team’s head coach , the labors of the franchise have been well chronicled over the course their schedule . Kobe Bryant remains sidelined , and there seems to be no immediate timeline set for his return to the starting lineup . Los Angeles has a meaningful game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that now seems to be disillusioned , has its best player in Kyrie Irving questioning the direction of the franchise , while team owner , Dan Gilbert , now said angered by the player’s discontent.The Boston Celtics will seek to even their season series with the Philadelphia 76ers , when the two teams meet in Philadelphia Pennsylvania , on Wednesday evening at the Wells Fargo Center .

Courtesy of Forbes.com

Kobe, LeBron Lead NBA’s Highest-Paid Players 2014

This story appears in the February 10, 2014 issue of Forbes.

By Kurt Badenhausen , Forbes contributing columnist & writer

The NBA is a star driven league . David Stern has spent his 30 years as commissioner marketing the game’s best players—Magic, Bird, Jordan, Shaq, Kobe, LeBron—and creating global icons. It has been a mutually beneficial relationship for both owners and players. While league revenue and franchise values soared 40-fold, the NBA’s top salaries jumped from $1 million to $30 million.

The payouts off the court have been even more lucrative for elite players thanks to shoe companies like Nike, Adidas and Reebok, who turned players into bigger than life celebrities. Michael Jordan’s first Nike shoe contract was worth $500,000 a year in 1984 when the Swoosh was a $920 million-in-sales company. LeBron James will bank an estimated total of $42 million this year from endorsements with his biggest benefactor, Nike, now a $26 billion company.

look at the NBA’s top earners on and off the court puts Bryant on top with combined earnings of $64.5 million from salary and endorsements. Bryant is in the final season of the three-year, $83.5 million contract extension he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in April 2010, including the NBA’s highest salary this season at $30.5 million. He is the first player since Jordan in the 1997-98 season to top $30 million with his playing salary. Bryant signed a two-year, $48.5 million contract extension in November that will keep his on-court salary tops in the NBA with payouts of $23.5 million and $25 million the next two seasons.

While Bryant is reaching the sunset of his playing career, his endorsements are at an all-time high thanks to his extended run atop the league and five titles with the Lakers. His deals with the likes of Turkish Air, Lenovo, Hublot, Nike and Panini for merchandise are worth more than $30 million annually. Bryant is the most popular NBA figure in China and cultivates his relationship with the Chinese people through eight straight years of extended offseason visits for Nike. Even after 18 years in the league, Bryant’s jersey is still the NBA’s second best-seller this season, behind only James.

Full Coverage: The Business of Basketball

Basketball is the only one of the four major U.S. team sports that puts a cap on individual player salaries, but don’t fret for NBA players who have the highest average salary in sports at nearly $5 million a year. Bryant benefits from a provision in the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement where players can sign deals at 105% of their previous salary even if it exceeds the cap. The cap this year is $58.7 million with individual players limited to 35%, but Bryant has signed a series of max deals while still performing at a high level over his nearly two decades in the league. The result is a playing salary that is $7 million higher than any other NBA player this year.

The NBA’s 10 highest-paid players will collectively bank $358 million this year, including $149 million from sponsors. Nine of the top 10 make at least $4 million annually from endorsements. James is the leader off the court at $42 million and ranks second overall with earnings of $61.1 million. Two straight NBA titles have sent James’ popularity and fortunes soaring. The NBA’s top pitchman counts Nike, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola , Samsung, Audemar

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There is no denying, that Kevin Durant is a prolific scorer, as borne out by the fact that he has already been a three-time NBA scoring titlist and quite possibly is on his way to securing his fourth , in his extraordinary six-year career in the NBA . What has made Durant’s season all the more astonishing, is the very fact that for a number of games he has played without the aid of Oklahoma City Thunder point guard and teammate , Russell Westbrook . While, there seems to a great deal false bravado, in celebrating a game , where Carmelo Anthony scored sixty-two points in a contest against the Charlotte Bobcats. Let us not us forget , those defensive statistics concerning the Bobcats belie the very fact, that the team is struggling to maintain its grip on the eighth seed within the Eastern Conference.

As the Oklahoma City Thunder seek to make a return to the NBA postseason , the challenge for Sam Presti , Scott Brooks and the coaching staff , will be , at what time will they seek to rest some of their prime starters not necessarily for a prolonged stretch as the second half of the season meanders. It is hard to believe that beyond the eighty-two game regular season foray , the players are then asked to subject themselves to as many as another thirty plus games during the league’s postseason schedule of contests. Too much basketball, or simply the avarice and greed of the NBA as a branded sporting and commercial enterprise ? It is clear that even in light of the Thunder’s effortless victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves , Scott Brooks will have to address the issue of fatigue and unforeseen injuries taking place to some of the more prominent players on the roster. Russell Westbrook’s return cannot come around soon enough, to take the bulk of the scoring burden and distribution off Kevin Druant’s shoulders , even if the player is amenable to assuming that role, as well as being the leader of what it is undoubtedly an extremely talent team.

As fan of the San Antonio Spurs and a long-time admirer of the talents of both Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich . I can say that the disappointment of last postseason still leaves a bitter taste within my mouth ! The NBA Finals’ series loss to the Miami Heat , notwithstanding where in games’ six and seven , the team had the series within their grasp , only to fail miserably. I have written very little about the Spurs as the 2013-14 NBA has taken shape, choosing instead to view the rest of the NBA as I currently see the state play both on and off the court.

At 36-13 as of the February the San Antonio Spurs currently have the second best record within the Western Conference trailing the Oklahoma City Thunder’s (40-11) mark of 40-11 , good enough for the best record in the entire NBA . While I do believe that the Spurs will make the NBA Playoffs once again, I believe that Gregg Popovich will have some major issues with the team in terms of its current guise . There is not enough offensive productivity from the players by way of a third and fourth alternate scorer behind the team’s leading offensive weapon , Tony Parker (18.1 ppg) . Defensively, the Spurs do remain resolute , but the results do not belie the fact that against the top teams the Spurs have been somewhat inconsistent , while losing games to lesser opponents .

For a number of years Popovich has been able to rely on his ” Big Three ” of Tim Duncan , Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli to supply the team with the preponderance of the team’s scoring and much of the success equated with the franchise over last decade. It is now time, for the younger players on the staff to step up to the plate and assume an even greater responsibility in that role. While I am sure that the head coach and his staff have emphasized that point , I am not so sure as to whether or not Tiago Splitter , Kawhi Leonard , Danny Green , Corey Joseph , Aron Baynes and Nando De Colo are yet ready to assume that role. Yet, if the Spurs are to have any semblance of success particular in the run-up before the postseason begins , where teams will have to hit a rich vein of form , the expectations will be of the highest of these players . Peter Holt , as the owner of the San Antonio Spurs, has always been reliant upon acumen shown by GM RC Buford along with that off the coaching staff led by Gregg Popovich. It is hard to envisage the franchise not attaining the success achieved over the past seventeen years, without individuals in question.

Coming off a 125-118 victory over the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center in Washington , DC , the Spurs’ next scheduled game will be against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn , New York , where the Spurs lead the season series 1-0 .

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Less than a week away from the NBA’s All Star Break , the league is likely to commemorate David Stern’s tenure , with the likelihood , that he will be bestowed with some sort of plaque ,with the players current and past , owners and a number of general managers lauding the now departed executive for his services to the league . Adam Silver has a tough act to follow, while seeking to take the brand into a new arena , in terms of a growing fan-base globally . How he goes about seeking to achieve this will be based upon how the game itself is viewed by the consumers he and the NBA seeks to court as well as the major corporations in the regions where the league now seeks to grow. Your thoughts on what you have witnessed within the NBA this season and how do you David Stern’s tenure as the commissioner ?

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(1) David Stern the outgoing NBA Commissioner has stepped down from his position and will be succeeded by his Deputy , Adam Silver. A three-decade tenure and Stern has presided over a numerous changes as well as the league expand to its current makeup of thirty teams and revenues exceeding $ 5.7 billion annually. Getty Images / Paul Matthews ….

(2) Adam Silver, the incoming NBA Commissioner who will be succeeding David Stern after his three-decade long tenure as the league’s highest ranking executive. Favored by the general managers and owners , it remains to be seen how Silver will seek to stamp his own style of custodianship on the NBA. Getty Images / Paul Robinson …

(3) Dallas Mavericks player Dirk Nowitzki a native of Germany celebrates a basket against the Denver Nuggets in the second half of game 4 of second round of playoff game at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas USA, 11 May 2009. Dallas won 119-117. Nowitzki a NBA Finals’ MVP is amongst the highest paid players in the NBA and has been the leading scorer on the Mavericks’ team this season . EPA/LARRY W. SMITH **CORBIS OUT** ……

(4) NBA legends Magic Johnson left , is seen here with David Stern center and Larry Bird . Bird and Johnson contested several memorable NBA Finals as well as regular season contests . Each player has been a regular season MVP and Finals’ MVP award winner. @ Corbis Images ….

(5) Michael Jordan (23) is seen here alongside teammates Scottie Pippen (33) and Dennis Rodman of the Chicago Bulls . The three players are members of the Hall of Fame and three of the most celebrated members of the team that was so dominant during the 1995-96 season that won the NBA title as well posting a season’s and league best record of 72-10 . NBA archives …. @ copyrighted material all rights reserved ………

(6) Tim Duncan, left , is seen here meeting center-court with Kevin Durant before a game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs . Duncan seen as an elder statesman of the league has won just about every individual honor available for a player as a professional in the NBA. Getty Images / Tim Woods ……

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Cronyism , alive , kicking and damn well doing well in the NFL and in being part of our daily lives

Cronyism , alive , kicking and damn well-doing, well in the NFL and in being part of our daily lives …

After yesterday’s rather embarrassing display in the NFL , I am beginning to wonder how the league hierarchy and in particular NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will try to suggest that the game itself was a rousing success , as a branding and marketing of the NFL for a global audience . An expectant worldwide audience of over 1.3 billion people were in fact subjected to one of the most lopsided Superbowl games in NFL history , from what were we informed were two of the best teams in the league all season long . Perhaps , we ought to have really read more in the week two preseason meeting between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks , as Russell Wilson and his teammates subjected the Denver Broncos to a 40-10 mauling . Rightly or wrongly, we are told that we should never read much into the preseason and whatever takes place there, as the games are meaningless . If that appears to be the case, then can someone explain to me , how in the most important game of the season , the Superbowl , an experienced quarterback such as Peyton Manning and his accompanying teammates can once again manage to lay a goose egg with another inept performance of such gigantic proportions ?

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Sunday’s thirty-five point margin of victory in Seattle’s staggering pounding of the Denver Broncos , where the Seahawks’ defense simply steamrolled and outplayed the Broncos’ offense , was not the largest winning margin in Superbowl history ,but by all means it may well have been the most embarrassing , when one considers that we were led to believe that the two combatants were the best that the NFL had to offer all season long in 2013. Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks, in their 43-8 victory , gained the NFC West based franchise their first Superbowl victory of their existence. For owner , Paul Allen this was indeed vindication in hiring the former USC Trojans’ head coach .

Pete Carroll can now go off into the off-season , knowing that his previous experiences within the NFL can now be cast aside as he joins growing throng of head coaches to have won a Superbowl. For opposing head coach , John Fox , this was once again a season of missed opportunities and questions will certainly abound as to what went wrong, and why things went wrong and so abysmally for the Denver Broncos and their presumed to be, high-octane offense. Broncos’ owner Pat Bowlen and the team’s President & Head Football Operations John Elway , have now seen the team falter two years in succession , after a great deal of anticipation in both 2012 and then again this past postseason . It is pretty much safe to say, that the two lead executives will go about reassessing the roster and the team’s needs overall , as they prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft.

What seems eerily strange throughout this contest between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks , was the very fact that John Fox and his coaching staff appeared be at a loss in how counter Seahawks’ every move . Perhaps , it was me , in expecting far more out of Fox as a head coach , given his pedigree in that role !

For a team that might not have been seen as an odds on favorite over the Seattle Seahawks in this Superbowl title match-up , the Denver Broncos were certainly expected to make this game a competitive one. Instead, it became a lopsided affair, with only one team , seemingly eager to display their all-round talents. Something that was effectively done and continually on display thought the game by the Seattle Seahawks , in particular from a defense that was hell-bent on showing why they were the best defensive unit in the entire NFL over the course of the regular season . Russell Wilson, in only his fifth postseason start , can now be called a Superbowl champion. His teammates, Richard Sherman and Superbowl MVP winner Malcolm Smith , are not likely to rest on their laurels , as they seek to make a successful defense of their title at the start of next season. . Seahawks’ GM John Schneider having succeeded John Idzik , has assembled a roster of veterans , as well as a group of young and versatile players at several positions amongst the team’s depth chart . It bodes well for the Seahawks, if they are able to keep the greater part of the team’s roster, as they seek to embark on the defense of Superbowl 48. Granted, they are likely to lose a number of players through free agency and attrition , but with . the salary cap possibly kept in line with the 2013 figure of $124.8 million. It could well lead to the front office being a significant player during the off-season , in seeking retain players , as well as signing a couple free agents to meet the team’s needs.

With the postseason having come to a close within the NFL and stories having been written , with differing plot-lines having been envisaged at the start of the preseason as well as the regular season. It must be said, that the arrogance shown by Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy has simply been nothing short of astounding. Several teams as we know, failed to live up to expectations and with a postseason finale that bordered on being so abysmal, by way of the lack of competitiveness. Any type of postscript to be made by the commissioner that concerns the Superbowl and his selling the game as being a tremendous success cannot be seen in any type of positive light .

The economic impact of a Superbowl can lead to anywhere between $2 and $3 billion being infused into a local economy , and it is understandable that the state of New Jersey harbored the ambition to host this event at the NFL’s newest venue , at MetLife Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey, which just happens to be home to the New York Giants and New York Jets . John K Mara , President & CEO of the Giants went so far as to suggest that no matter what the outcome of the event , it was his belief that MetLife Stadium should now be placed on the list of venues that should be hosting future Superbowl games. Mara, off course, is quite within his right, to make such a suggestion, as is his wish. Yet, were it not for what we know to be the fact that the league and specifically owners such as himself, making outlandish demands of the governmental agencies repeatedly , while a great deal of the time offering them little in return, other than the so-called privilege of stating that they have an NFL franchise within their locale.

Roger Goodell professes his wish to see the NFL grow on a global basis and for the past several years , the fans have seen preseason and regular season games being staged in Mexico City , Toronto and London , England. Yet, for all of that un-abashed gimmickry by the league, in selling the game in spite of annual revenues exceeding $8 billion , the NFL still faces an uphill battle to compete against the likes of the NBA and soccer on the global stage. One factor that hinders the league’s process, comes down to the fact that the NFL’s most highly visible players are not known on a worldwide basis as of yet, in spite of the league’s slow but growing profile in Europe , the Far East and on the African continent.

It will be interesting to see the direction taken by the Cleveland Browns after another inauspicious season , with the firing of Rob Chudzinski and his being succeeded by the newly appointed Mike Pettine , a first time head coach in the NFL. Team owner , Jimmy Haslam , having narrowly escaped being imprisoned , for what he now tries to suggest were actions by subordinates within his company , that were completely unknown to him , now has to convince the fans and players that he is indeed an owner , who will take a great deal of interest in the franchise and its future ambitions . The singular biggest issue for the franchise, may well be, whether or not they can keep faith with Brandon Weeden as the team’s starting quarterback . The player, since his elevation to the role, has been wildly erratic , in not being able put together consistently efficient performances , leading many to now believe that the front office will likely draft a quarterback , while also possibly acquiring a free agent during the off-season.

Having finished with a 4-12 record , afoot of the AFC North and barely being competitive throughout this past season . It is easy to understand why the Browns are now said to be seeking a new direction. If nothing else , it may well give the fans hope, but in reality , it just about creating the perception that the organization is seen to be trying in earnest , in seeking some semblance of success. If Weeden is not the answer for the Browns at the quarterback position, then I expect Mike Pettine to seek out an alternative , for that specific role !

Well, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made the decision to cut short Greg Schiano’s reign as the head coach of the team. A lackluster season and the idiocy of claimants that with the players putting together a three-game winning streak , it meant that Schiano’s position was safe, because of that streak . What, they seemingly failed to realize, the very fact the head coach was ill-disciplined in terms of his coaching style and defensively the team was simply bust . Finishing just ahead of the bottom of the table Atlanta Falcons within the NFC South was a further sign of a lack of progress made under Greg Schiano , after all of the pageantry at his being made the head coach.

Schiano and ousted former GM Mark Dominik simply failed to acquire the players needed, to foster some semblance competitiveness over the course of the season. Add in the fact, that amongst the playing staff, there were few memorable moments for the fans to feed off , as well as their being a complete lack of leadership from anyone on the roster over the course of the year. The apathy of the fans of the franchise, remains , with some trying to point to the fact that this is still a very young team. I guess, having seasoned veterans such as Vincent Jackson and Darrell Revis , simply counts for nothing in their eyes ? And it remains a constant , amongst the fan-base of this franchise.

The hiring of Lovie Smith , a disciple of the Tony Dungy coaching philosophy, it will be very interesting to see the type of dialogue that takes place between Smith and Mark Dominik’s successor , Jason Licht , a former front office executive within the Arizona Cardinals’ organization. If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are to have any semblance of success , then both Licht and Lovie Smith will have to be on the same page and off the same mindset as to what is needed to improve the team and make them competitive and a perennial contender within the division and NFC. No use crying over spilt milk, as the Josh Freeman era with the Buccaneers has now ceased to exist. As serviceable as Freeman was said to be , he simply did not appear to be a player who had honed his craft or learned from his numerous and repeated mistakes over the course of his reign with the franchise. The drafting of Mike Glennon and the ability of the young rookie to make plays while being efficient with the “rock” impressed Schiano during last season. Alas, where Glennon succeeded , his offense at times, simply let him down and was repeatedly the source of many of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ woes this past season.

During the off-season, as Jason Licht and Lovie Smith prepare for the NFL Draft , the team’s will be predominantly on offense, where at least one or two productive wide receivers are needed along with a tail-back and a tight-end. Seeking out that type offensive weaponry via free agency could prove to be expensive dependent upon how Licht views the market in terms of the aforementioned positions ( wide receivers, running back , tight-end).

In the aftermath of what has been a tumultuous season for the Glazer family as owners of two professional sports’ franchises in Manchester United of the English Premiership League and their floundering fortunes within the Premiership (EPL) , to be concluded with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ infamous soiree in 2013. I must now ask the question, are the sons of Malcolm Glazer, completely clued in as to what is needed to either create or simply continue the success of a professional sports’ team? As the patriarch of the family , the now rarely seen Glazer must be shuddering to think that both of these franchises are likely to sink or swim , with the decisions made by his offspring .

As if to emphasize and further reiterate, why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers now appears to be a franchise. without a clue . It is being widely reported that the franchise , are keenly interested in acquiring seasoned veteran quarterback, Michael Vick. With the exclusion of an twenty-two month incarceration at a federal penitentiary, for his involvement in an illegal gambling and dog-fighting ring that he presided over through a company that he was directly involved (Bad Newz Kennels) with . While, the player has served his sentence, for the crimes committed and his league mandated suspension for his conduct. It has been the gradual decline of the Michael game since his return to the NFL in 2010 , that have many wondering, if he is still capable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL . Andy Reid’s implicit and undying loyalty to the then Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback proved to be fateful for the head coach in 2012 , leading to his dismissal at the end of the season, with fans also calling for the release of the player. Last season, while it proved to be a success for the Eagles, Vick played no major role in the franchise’s resurgence under Chip Kelly . Nick Foles proved to be effective throughout much of the season , leading the team to the NFC East divisional title and playoff berth in the postseason.

If the Buccaneers are interested in signing Michael Vick , who becomes an unrestricted free agent this off-season , it simply makes no sense to have a player , who over the last two seasons has not been productive or provided any type of leadership skills , where necessary. Even if merely acquired, as a backup to Mike Glennon, there are far better options than Vick , amongst the quarterbacks who will become free agents during this protracted break before the 2014 NFL season comes into being. This has me wondering, what are the apparent motives behind a possible move like this ! Desperate times, may well call for desperate measures , but this is not one of them, for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If anything, it can be seen, as an act of utter idiocy, from a franchise still seeking some semblance of consistency! .

This past Superbowl may well go down as the most watched and the highest rated in NFL history, as well as being the most watched program in US history, by way of the official figures revealed by the league hierarchy and Fox Television. Yet, the question that has to be asked , how many of those viewers nationally , switched channels , once it became inevitable that this contest was simply going to be a “blowout”, rather than a compelling and gripping game , between what was said to be the two best teams in the NFL?

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Picture gallery.

With the NFL season having reached a conclusion with the determining of a Superbowl champion for the year . Which event during the regular or postseason, in your opinion do you believe to be the most memorable? Also, with John Mara deeming the staging of Superbowl SBLVIII a monumental success, do you think it right, that another postseason finale contest should be staged MetLife Stadium within five years, at the omission of another venue ahead of the scheduled return that proposed stadium ? The NFL hierarchy we know , tends to pander to the more powerful of the owners within the league at the cost of less vocal of the franchise owners. What thoughts, if any, do you have with regard New York Giants owner’s suggestion? Simply leave a comment on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter.

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos is caught off-guard, as the ball sails over his head during the first quarter of the game of the Superbowl contest between the Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks . That play was a sign of things to come as the Seahawks won this lopsided contest in a rout 43-8. The game would prove to be one of Manning’s worst in his postseason career. AP Photo/ Mark Cameron …

(2) An aerial view of MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford , New Jersey as clouds hang over the venue that was the scene for Superbowl 48. In the stadium filled 80,000 fans , this was the first Superbowl to be played in an outdoor stadium in a cold weather city. Getty Images / John Moore ….

(3) Seattle Seahawks’ wide receiver Percy Harvin (11) returns a kickoff for a touchdown during the second half of the game against the Denver Broncos during the Superbowl played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford , New Jersey. The televised event broadcasted by Fox ,was the most watched sports’ program and non-sports’ televised event in US broadcast history , from the figures released by the NFL . AP Photo/ Matt York ….

(4) Russell Wilson (3) of the Seahawks looks to evade the Denver Broncos’ Danny Trevathan (59) while making a playing during the first half of the Superbowl contest played between the two teams on the 2nd February , 2014, at MetLife Stadium, in East Rutherford , New Jersey. In only his fifth postseason start , Wilson can now be called a Superbowl winning quarterback. The player was selected by the Seattle Seahawks as part of the rich crop of quarterbacks that were part of the 2012 NFL Draft class. AP Photo Paul Sancya ….

(5) To the victor belongs the spoils. Russell Wilson is seen here with the Lombardi Trophy after the Seattle Seahawks’ triumph over the Denver Broncos . It was the franchise’s first victory in only their second appearance in the NFL’s most prestigious game. AP Photo/ Julio Cortez …..

(6) Superbowl MVP Malcolm Smith celebrates the Seattle Seahawks’ victory by laying on the ground amongst the confetti while creating a snow angel . REUTERS/ Shannon Stapleton …..

(7) New York Giants’ owner John K Mara having seen MetLife Stadium host the Superbowl would like to see the event return to the venue within the next five years. Whether or not this will be amenable to the league hierarchy and many of the other NFL owners remains to be seen. AP Photo / Paul Harris …..

(8)New Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht, right, smiles as he poses for a photo with new head coach Lovie Smith during an NFL football news conference Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. Licht becomes the fifth general manager in team history. He takes over a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2007 . AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …

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With the biggest event of the North American sports’ world, taking place on Sunday afternoon , when the Denver Broncos play host to the Seattle Seahawks in Superbowl (XLVIII) . The last-minute builds up and news, has now reached fever pitch . With journalists from around the globe reporting on the event , it will be interesting to see how these individuals report the contest, the images and their take on it all. Now while, much of the NFL related news has been about rants and ravings of the Seahawks’ corner back Richard Sherman and his thoughts. From my own perspective , Sherman has simply been trying to “cash in” on the newfound notoriety , while hoping to be part of a victorious Seattle Seahawks’ team . For the NFC West based franchise, this will their second appearance in the NFL’s , biggest postseason event.

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Slideshow .

For opposing quarterbacks, Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks , their respective careers are now at their nascent , in one case and in the other , it has reached a plateau , that is likely to see Manning add to an astonishing NFL career , in terms of the accomplishments and accolades received during his fifteen-year tenure in the NFL.

Wilson will be seeking to win his first Superbowl title, after a little less than three seasons in the league . All the more astonishing, when you consider the draft class in which the young quarterback entered the NFL . . In what will be only his fifth postseason career start ,the Seahawks’ passer will be facing Peyton Manning , who will be making his twenty-third postseason start and third Superbowl appearance , having already won a title with his former team the Indianapolis Colts and also walking away with the Superbowl MVP, for good measure after that victory . This contest, even if it is likely to be played under inclement weather conditions , with the likely weather forecast suggesting game-time conditions will be contested with freezing temperatures. I would like to believe, that this match-up will be competitive and highly entertaining! ! Yet, with that in mind , I would proffer this question to Roger Goodell , did he really have to capitulate to the owners of the New York Giants and New York Jets in acquiescing to their demands in staging the Superbowl at Met Life Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey, which houses both franchises, knowing that the match-up was likely to be played during icy temperatures during Winter ?

The NFL Commissioner, is proving to be an individual with even less intelligence than first thought. A case of the dog wagging its tail or someone else wagging the dog’s tail on their behalf?

Say what you will about this NBA season , but it is becoming abundantly clear , with it being formally the last month of David Stern’s three-decade long tenure as the NBA Commissioner and the league’s highest ranking executive . He leaves the league , in somewhat of a dire situation. His successor was already being groomed as heir-apparent and Adam Silver will succeed Stern as of Monday morning. The league itself is going through not growing pains, but a lack of competitiveness within the Eastern Conference and what appears to be not only dour coaching . but also the lack of a truly engaging team rivalry within the NBA, itself . Gone are the days, where a regular season showdown between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics actually meant something . As of today, both of these heralded franchises are going through pains of their own , borne out by the respective conference and divisional records this season. Lackluster results and some truly unbearable performances and it is easy to understand why both teams are currently struggling.

For the Boston Celtics and their off-season upheavals, that led to the departures of Doc Rivers to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers , a triumvirate of players , Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry being traded to the Brooklyn Nets , and what now appears to be a resurgent Nets’ team . The travails of rookie head coach Brad Stevens and this young Celtics’ team looks as if it is likely to be an arduous first season for the former Butler head coach.

For GM Danny Ainge and managing general partner , Wyc Grousbeck to now start afresh , when it might have been best to have contemplated these moves last season , when it was widely known that Rivers was not satisfied with the direction of the franchise. An influx of young talent by way of the NBA Draft over the past two seasons , and still the signs are that this will be something of a long hard slog for a coach still finding his legs in the NBA.

As losers of nine straight of their last ten contests , it would be safe to suggest that beyond non-availability of Rajon Rondo , suggestions that Danny Ainge might also seek to trade the point guard does seem somewhat speculatory in nature, as well as suicidal , in that concluding that the franchise should simply give up on the season. Granted, the fans are already disappointed with a team bearing a 15-33 record languishing at the bottom of the Atlantic Division , 10 ½ games behind divisional leaders the Toronto Raptors (24-21) . Growing pains abide , but all that is really needed , is for this group of players to find some sort of consistency , with Stevens and his coaching staff getting the best possible contribution out of his starting lineup and bench players .

A narrow one-point loss by the Boston Celtics at home to the Philadelphia 76ers , and then they face another conference rival on the 2nd February , against the Orlando Magic whom they host , before a return engagement with the 76ers at their home venue , the Wells Fargo Center , in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania , on Wednesday evening .

A the leading candidate, in the MVP race , Kevin Durant has been laying siege to the NBA this season. On a tear, that has seen the player score thirty or more points for twelve straight games , along with near double-digit assists or rebounds in several of those contests , in leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to the best record in the NBA. That feat of Durant’s, puts him in the rarefied air of Hall of Fame great Oscar Robertson , who himself , was also prolific scorer and player. An NBA title has so far do eluded Kevin Durant , his teammates and the team must now be seen as the prohibitive favorites to come out of the Western Conference as a likely contender for this season’s title .

If to further emphasize the growth in Kevin Durant’s game , he and his teammates were recently the guests of reigning NBA champions, the Miami Heat . That contest in some circles , may well be seen as a precursor to the title match-up this upcoming postseason , albeit , that the Indiana Pacers are no pushovers and are likely to give the Heat their biggest test of the postseason , if the two teams are indeed to revisit their budding rivalry within the Eastern Conference . The Thunder’s lopsided seventeen-point victory over Miami, led many to believe that not only has Kevin Durant been out playing LeBron James this season , but in all likelihood with his performance in that contest he has to be seen as the current frontrunner in the League MVP race. As good as Kevin Durant’s play might have been against the Miami Heat , I believe his leading the Thunder in a come from behind victory over the Atlanta Hawks was just as scintillating and quite possibly the best individual scoring feat of this NBA season and that is with due respect to the “overrated “ sixty-two point outburst recently by Carmelo Anthony , against what I deem to be a totally inept Charlotte Bobcats’ team . A team that I might add, whose defensive stature at present belies the fact that they have one playoff appearance in their current guise , but yet, there seems to be idiotic hyperbole as to the magnitude of what Anthony was able to achieve against the Bobcats. Mediocrity, can come in many forms and currently , there are no two better representatives of that, than the Charlotte Bobcats and New York Knicks within the Eastern Conference.

I will say this for Dan Gilbert and Chris Grant as the owner and general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers , both laid the groundwork in running LeBron James right out-of-town , when the player declared his free agency options ! Neither thought it appropriate, to consult with the star prior to firing Mike Brown . As the head coach of the franchise , he led the franchise to their only NBA Finals’ appearance , a series that they would subsequently lose to the San Antonio Spurs in a lopsided 4-0 loss , during which Tony Parker was named the Finals MVP . In the subsequent years after that series’ loss, things have simply spiraled out of control for the franchise , with Byron Scott’s tenure being a tumultuous one as the head coach . Brown’s firing, led to his being hired by the Los Angeles Lakers , only for his stay there to be undermined, by the simple idiocy of Mitch Kupchak and owner, Jim Buss . Brown’s successor, Mike DAntoni is currently feeling the heat , if not necessarily the wrath of the Lakers’ fans , as that franchise’s season sinks into oblivion . Mike Brown has since been rehired by the Cavaliers , but it now looks as if history might be on the brink of it repeating itself, as the franchise’s biggest asset and best player , Kyrie Irving is now said to be dissatisfied and unhappy with the current “state of affairs” Cleveland. Any idiotic hope, that there was said to be, of LeBron James returning to the Cavaliers, can be rightfully shot down. Are there still individuals who now believe that James would be willing to opt out of his contract to return to Cleveland , when he is guaranteed a max-contract simply by remaining in Miami that is likely to net him upwards of $140 million gross over six years (averaging $23 million plus a year) ?

Kyrie Irving if nothing else , is simply unhappy with the fact that the team as it is currently built does not complement his skill-set , nor does it make the Cavaliers a competitive franchise within their division or the . Eastern Conference. His reasons for shying away and not actually placating those fans who now fear the worst, seem so contrary to what has been said in private, now becomes a matter of conjecture and a great deal of speculation, while making the media simply ravenous for more concerning Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers . Though, he cannot become a free agent until 2015 , it seems highly unlikely that Chris Grant would seek a trade of Kyrie Irving, a player whose rookie scale contract is still in effect .

Coming off a thirty-one point drubbing at the hands of the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden , in New York City , New York . The Cavaliers’ next game is unlikely to do them any favors , when they face the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center in Houston Texas on Saturday evening . How Mike Brown gets his players to acquit themselves in that contest , may well play a big part in possibly determining the short and long-term future of Kyrie Irving and the likelihood of his remaining with the franchise.

The NBA 2014 All Star balloting votes , have been accounted for and we now know the conference starters , as well as the reserves for the East and Western Conferences. Suffice to say, if you did not vote , then your voice was not heard . Shall we now “Rock The Vote” for next season’s event, because of the number of snubs of players, who were simply overlooked purely through favoritism in favor of those less deserving ? I’m sorry Deandre Jordan , but mine is not to reason why, as the league’s best field goal percentage shooter , you were overlooked , even if you are playing alongside Chris Paul and Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers .The teams, will be coached by Frank Vogel for the Eastern All Stars and Scott Brooks for the Western counterparts. Fan friendly, with the league’s stars making themselves accessible in the weekend’s revelry from the 14th to the 16th February , makes this break, just past the midpoint of the season , a fun time for all of the NBA’s most discerning fans alongside all of the events being staged at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans , Louisiana , and home to the New Orleans Pelicans .

All the chips seem to be falling into place , as it relates to baseball’s marquee free agents , with many of them having signed lucrative contracts , either to remain with their current teams or to move on elsewhere . Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson , formerly of the New York Yankees , have each found themselves a new home . As the drama in New York continues, with a great deal of it, now surrounding how much of an effect will the acquisition of Masahiro Tanaka have on the Yankees and their pitching lineup . Tanaka’s deal by no means the biggest signed by pitcher this off-season was enough to have even the most fiscally prudent of individuals wondering when will baseball start to take heed and reign in their obligatory team payroll commitments . In 2013 , the combined financial outlay for the starting day payrolls of the league’s thirty teams exceeded 3 billion ($3,000,000,000) for the first time in MLB history . While, Bud Selig , continues to sing his melodic refrain as to the financial expediency being shown by the teams. I can’t help but wonder, when was the last time an in-depth audit held for each of the baseball franchises !

Projected figures, for this season’s Opening Day lineups in terms of payroll obligations are likely to come close to surpassing last season’s figure of $3 billion , with once again the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees likely to share top billing at number one and two of the league’s thirty teams.

Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , the present owners of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors have shown an interest in purchasing the Oakland Athletics (A’s) , where majority stakeholder Lew Wolff and GM Billy Beane have rebuffed what is believed to be an offer topping $675 million for the ball-club . In recent years, the A’s have been successful , having made the postseason in successive years and as two-time AL West divisional champions . Unfortunately,their progress in both postseason appearances was somewhat short-lived . Manager Bob Melvin and his managerial staff have assembled a young and experienced team , which has been a revelation recent seasons. In 2014 , the A’s are likely to be seen as the preseason favorites to retain their divisional title. Given that fact, that the Houston Rangers , Los Angeles Angels , Seattle Mariners , Texas Rangers have proven to be less than adequate adversaries over the past two seasons . It begs the question, which of those teams this season will be best equipped to truly challenge Bob Melvin’s group of players ?

In recent years , Lew Wolff has struggled in his dealings with the MLB hierarchy, in seeking their assistance in obtaining a new venue . Not surprising , when you consider that Bud Selig went out of his way to aid New York Mets , New Yankees and the Miami Marlins in the furtherance of their efforts for new stadiums , which were built at an estimated of . over $2.455 billion , much of it, being the use of public funds. The A’s are now left in an unenviable position of being a competitive franchise, but playing in a now aging and archaic venue, the O Coliseum in Oakland , California ,. Stuart Sternberg as the owner of the Tampa Bay Rays should heed the problems of the A’s in their endeavors and stop trying to appease Bud Selig and his coterie of buffoons, who make up the league’s hierarchy.

The reluctance of Lew Wolff to sell the ball-club is understandable, as he now has a winning on-field product , albeit that the A’s still struggle somewhat , in terms of attendance , which remains amongst the lowest in all of Major League Baseball . Yet, I cannot help but wonder , if a new owner with greater financial resources purchased the A’s , would it not be better for the organization overall and perhaps, further aid the A’s pursuance of a new ballpark ! Both Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , have the financial resources , with their respective backgrounds. Were they make another unsolicited bid, that would prove to be successful , then Guber would have to relinquish his interest , which he currently owns in the Los Angeles Dodgers , having been one of the several partners brought in by Mark Walter and Magic Johnson , to make that now record $2.16 billion purchase of that particular ball-club .

Commissioner Bud Selig, like his NBA counterpart David Stern,will be relinquishing their respective roles before the end the 2014 calendar year. Stern will be succeeded by his immediate deputy , Adam Silver , and it remains to be seen what changes if any , are made to how the NBA is operated , and the type of product that is displayed for the fans’ consumption. The MLB hierarchy, have yet to formally announce a successor to the incumbent commissioner, but it is widely believed that Rob Manfred will succeed Bud Selig at the time of his stepping down . Joe Torre , seen as a fan favorite , perhaps isn’t seen in a friendlier light by some who are part of the MLB hierarchical structure, that also includes the owners with their voting clout.

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Picture gallery .

What other sports’ story or stories over the past week or month, have piqued your interest and what do you feel might be the outcome , given the facts as you know them to be ? By all means do leave a comment on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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(1) Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos will face opposing quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday’s Superbowl , to be played at MetLife Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey . With a national television audience expected to 90 million viewers and a global audience of 1 billion. This is likely to be one of most eagerly anticipated watched Superbowl’s in recent NFL history . Carter Evans / AP Photo ….

(2) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is seen here holding the Lombardi Trophy which will be contested by the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks in Superbowl XLVIII (SB48) on Sunday afternoon , when the two teams meet at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. AP Photo / Neil Sharpe …

(3) Dec 30, 2012, Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks corner-back Richard Sherman (25) celebrates on the field following a 20-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field . Sherman has been one of the most visible players during the lead-up to the Superbowl , giving countless interviews to members of the press and fans alike . The thought being , why not “cash in” when you get the chance ? Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports …..

(4) NBA Commissioner David Stern is seen here with Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls after the team’s triumph in the 1996 NBA Finals over the Seattle Supersonics in a 4-2 series’ win . In each of the Bulls’ six appearances in the Finals , Jordan would be named Finals’ MVP. Michael Jordan’s entrance into the NBA as a first round draft pick during the 1984 NBA Draft , draft pick in that now moment in which Hakeem Olajuwon was taken number one overall , only to be followed by Sam Bowie drafted out of Kentucky and taken by the Portland Trailblazers. Jordan was seen as the likely number two choice , but dropped to number three and taken by the Chicago Bulls. His relationship with David Stern and his meteoric career are seen as the organic reasons why the NBA exploded unto the scene and then to become a global phenomenon. The NBA as a commercial entity , has grown from $400 million in revenues in 1986 to become a commercial behemoth with annual revenues exceeding $ 4.8 billion . This growth has been presided over by David Stern , but the greatest contributing factor has been Michael Jordan , his iconic appeal and ability to be seen as a commercial spokesperson for numerous Fortune 500 companies . Down the years, that mantle has been passed on from Jordan to Shaquille O’Neal , to Kobe Bryant and now LeBron James of the Miami Heat . Michael Jordan today. still ranks as one of the highest paid athletes in the world , even after having retired for the final time in 2003 , playing out that final season with the Washington Wizards , a franchise , where he was a part owner at the time along with then majority stakeholder , Abe Pollin . UPI / Getty Images / Christopher Marshall …..

(5) Boston Celtics’ head coach Brad Stevens is seen here with the team’s point guard Rajon Rondo . In a season of transition after the departures of Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry . GM Danny Ainge has seen fit to revamp the roster by way of the draft and trades . The team has got distinctively younger , but also showing a great deal of inexperience . With Rondo also having missed several games on the team’s schedule , their on-court issues have been magnified a great deal , shown by way the Boston Celtics’ record this season . Their next scheduled game will be against the Orlando Magic at the TD North Garden Center in Boston , Massachusetts on Sunday , 2nd February , 2014. AP Photo / Sara Glover …..

(6) Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers is seen here court-side at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland , Ohio , along with head coach Mike Brown as the two discuss a team play that was not executed to the coach’s satisfaction. With growing locker room dissension and Irving having stated that Brown has lost control of the team and the locker room morale. It would appear, r that there is likely to be some major upheaval within the roster prior to or at the trade deadline . AP Photo / Marcus Spears ….

(7) Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are the co-owners of the Golden State Warriors . The pairing in late 2013 made unsolicited bid to buy the Oakland Athletics from managing partner Lew Wolff and the syndicated group of managing partners . Guber and Lacob’s bid of $675 million was rebuffed by the front office of the A’s , who may well have felt that the billionaires’ offer , was far too low a price. For the moment , it would appear that intended buyers, are likely to regroup , rethink their strategy and perhaps come up with a revised offer for the AL team . AP Photo/ Andrew Garcia ……

(8) Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff, left, and General Manager Billy Beane watch their team warm up before the start of Game 1 of their American League Division Series game against the Detroit Tigers , Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Mich. The A’s are at present having to fend off an unsolicited bid from a prospective purchaser and it is likely that both Wolff and Beane will seek to strike a deal with Oakland Alameda County government concerning a new ballpark , something that this pairing have been working on for several years without much assistance being provided by Bud Selig or from anyone within the league’s upper hierarchy . D. Ross Cameron/Staff …….

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