The pride and the passion ..

The pride and the passion

With so much happening over the last few days within the sports’ world, fans have not had enough time to collect themselves and to digest all of the information and news emanating from each avenue. The NBA Draft came and went , with little of note beyond the New York Knicks and in particular Phil Jackson proving that he is simply no better or worse than Isiah Thomas as an NBA executive. Granted, Thomas was able to achieve a great deal of havoc within and outside of the organization without having much success on or off the court. In the case of Jackson , he set about presiding over one of the worst seasons ever witnessed in the history of the New York Knicks.

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Phil Jackson and the coaching staff , then set about making their picks in this draft , taking as the fourth overall pick from the first round, Serbian Kristaps Porzingis . To understand the decision, one would also to have to acknowledge the fact it was deemed bewildering by the franchise’s fans who yearned for a player would be able to have an immediate impact for the Knicks. Porzingus in most circles is considered a project and not much else beyond that.

If the New York Knicks are to succeed, then they are going to need players, who are ready to play in the league and not be developed over the course of the next two to three years .

Given the fact beyond Carmelo Anthony, there seems to be no one else on the current Knicks’ roster able to provide the team with anything meaningful by way of productivity , and it easy to understand the bewilderment of their fans and the lack of progress seen or otherwise throughout much of last season with the New York Knicks.

With the choice of Porzingis in the first round by New York, then to be followed by their trading of Tim Hardaway Jr to the Atlanta Hawks for Jerian Grant , acquiring Willy Hernangomez from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for two future second draft choice and money. Somehow, it is hard to explain what Phil Jackson and the front office hope to gain from the acquisitions much less the draft choices , given the poor coaching acumen shown by head coach Derek Fisher and his coaching staff. Fisher for his part has been unable to explain, why it was the team failed to meet his expectations and that of the fans. Granted, Carmelo Anthony missed a sizable chunk of the regular season schedule, managing to play in only forty games during this past regular season.

Anthony has never provided much leadership on the court, simply being nothing more than an offensive minded player . Yet, it is now being reported the former NBA scoring champion is disgruntled at the moves made by the organization. Is it really that much of a surprise to begin with ? Never-mind the fact Carmelo remained with the Knicks in the pursuit of money , rather than seeking to fulfill a goal of playing for a contender. Regrets , most definitely, but the idiots providing the player with their input, as well as the Knicks’ front office, have provided nothing but comedic value to the season , along with the player’s own asinine insistence he remained in New York to fulfill his ambition of winning an NBA title. Four decades and counting, the New York Knicks have barely sniffed or touched the Larry O’Brien Trophy , while being able to call it their very own and signifying themselves as champions.

Injuries asides , there should be no excuses made for the team’s lackluster performances and poor record, but it remains one of the main focal points of another pitiful season, one of no passion from the players, much less among the coaching staff or from within the front office. Team owner James Dolan remains an executive who seems disinterested, simply knowing the franchise remains the most valuable and profitable of the NBA’s thirty teams.

The NBA hierarchy tries to make more out this annual farce, with the NBA Draft barely drawing any notice among the viewing public by way of its broadcast with ESPN or the league’s own cable outlet , the NBA Network. Yet for all sense and purpose the NBA makes more of it than is utterly necessary. In the aftermath of witnessing a less than exhilarating NBA Finals , where the Golden State Warriors had the better of their opponents the Cleveland Cavaliers and the asinine apologies being made by the LeBron James’ supporters. It begs the question , where does the league now go from here ? Six NBA Finals’ appearances for the four-time NBA League MVP and two wins , has now left many wondering if the ten-year veteran will win another NBA title. Clearly , without a team to complement his skill-set, James cannot do it all by himself , in spite of the ongoing ridiculous comparisons being made with Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. Apathy and clear stupidity seems to be the norm among the protagonists of that particular debate.

I have often been told athletes now compete for the glory , but in the world of professional sports , it now has become about the “ bling-bling” , selling an image , brand management , fame and fortune . In the world of the NBA , it has become paramount and one of the primary reasons the league has become stale and vapid . Current NBA Commissioner Adam Silver may well be pursuing ideas, seeking to realign the league’s image , but I believe his predecessor David Stern placed the league on its downward slide , with it all taking shape over the past two decades. There is no pride or passion within the NBA and it has become a soulless entity , without character and a real identity.

With Golden State having claimed their first title in four decades , the franchise will now set about the task of improving for next season . Two key pieces are already in place with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson seen as the keys to the Warriors’ long-term future. Golden State Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr has the backing of an organization ambitious to build upon this season’s success . Owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , alongside consultant Jerry West have laid a formidable foundation from which to build upon and made the Warriors a desirable destination for a free agent to seek out winning an NBA title.

From my own perspective I believe the franchise will be a prohibitive favorite to win the title next season, even with the odds-makers in Las Vegas bearing down on the Cleveland Cavaliers , simply because of the LeBron James’ factor. Predicated upon what the Cavaliers’ front office is able to achieve , re-signing Kevin Love is most certainly a pressing need for the Eastern Conference champions, but it is nowhere near a forgone conclusion , Love wishes to remain in Cleveland. Cleveland’s needs are many and it remains to be seen what decisions are likely to be made by GM David Griffin and head coach David Blatt.

Warriors’ GM Bob Myers after his successful season at the helm of the organization had a very good draft class and it will be interesting to see how the new rookies acclimatize themselves to being members of an NBA championship team , even if they are likely to be losses from the team’s roster. The nucleus of the team will remain intact as Golden State looks to make a successful defense of their title this upcoming season.

A woefully inept season after the era of LeBron James and the success attained has left fans of the Miami Heat feeling bitter and sour. Now it appears the organization might well be willing to move on after what appears to be conflicting rumors concerning the long-term future of Dwyane Wade. The former Finals MVP has been nowhere near the player who brought the franchise their first NBA title and with it being the ” Pride of South Beach” . Wade might well have been part of Miami’s two later successes, but much of that can be put down to the exploits of his former teammate and close confidante LeBron James. And as close as the two players are said to be , I wonder if Wade was made aware of James’ intent to leave the Eastern based franchise at the end of the previous season after the disappointment of losing to the San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 NBA Finals.

During the off-season, Pat Riley and his closest advisers within the front office will have several meaningful decisions to make concerning Wade and several of the other Heat unrestricted free agents. Riley will have to consider the cap as well as whether or not it would be in the best interests of the Heat to retain a player who in recent years has become injury prone and less of a contributory factor , lacking leadership and a proven offensive weapon, beyond Luol Deng and the sporadic play of Chris Bosh , who like Dwyane Wade has his best years behind him , far behind him, that he can barely see it from the view of a rear-view mirror. In some respects the roster of the Heat might well have gotten younger , but several of these players have yet to show the ability that they are capable of playing in this league. Erik Spoelstra and his coaching staff will be back at the drawing board searching for answers once again after such a disappointing season.

It will be interesting to see if Dwyane Wade joins LeBron James in Cleveland or jumps to another contender, either in the East or Western Conference. Wade’s years of earning a top-notch salary have now passed and the thought appears to be he is likely to sign a minimal deal , one likely to be in line with a player of his experience and not much else beyond that.

As an avid San Antonio Spurs’ fan the disappointment of seeing the team bow out in the early stages of the NBA Playoffs was not only disappointing, but I felt the team lacked direction heading into the postseason. Granted , Kawhi Leonard coming off a sensational season and his Finals’ MVP run , a great deal more was expected from this Gregg Popopvich coached team.

The aging wonder , Tim Duncan is still able to play at a high level , even if he has lost a step or two. Teammates , Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli are still able to work their wizardry when called upon to do so. But now is the time for the young guns on the roster to step up and take the lead , if the success of the franchise is to continue.

Five-time championship winning head coach , Popovich has written his legacy in the record books and his achievements speak for themselves. Peter Holt and RC Buford have been no slouches with their wizardry and custodianship of the Spurs’ franchise. The two are indelibly linked with the head coach , the famed trio now on the roster alongside perhaps San Antonio’s best player in its history , The Admiral , David Robinson .

I certainly believe the San Antonio Spurs will be able to challenge for postseason honors this upcoming season given the consistency shown by the franchise over the last eighteen seasons. They are likely to be seen as one of the favorites within the Western Conference alongside the Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies , Los Angeles Clippers and the reigning champions , the Golden State Warriors. San Antonio simply went about their normal business during the draft , as they have often done over the past few years , managing to pick up players who are then able to the readiness of the team. Nikola Milutinov and Cady Lalanne have become the newest members of the Spurs and it will be interesting to see their development within the organization , with their being placed within the development structure of the franchise before making their professional debuts within the NBA during a regular season game.

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Do you believe the state of the NBA is one of the teams lacking passion and a great deal of pride ? Or has it more to do with the state of the game being one of sheer greed and a lack of insight , leadership within the union , hierarchy and the owners ?

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Tophatal

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The devil are all in the details

The devil are all in the details

So in the aftermath of the NBA Finals series’ loss, it would appear the apathetic fools within the press and fans’ apologists for LeBron James are making the excuses for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ loss to the Golden State Warriors. It would also appear that these so called journalists have overlooked the bare facts throughout the series and it simply was the fact Cleveland at no point during the series, were they good enough to defeat the Warriors and this was also borne out during the regular season meetings between the two teams.

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For the Cavaliers this off-season beyond the NBA Draft, it will actually be about how GM David Griffin seeks to bolster the team’s roster , with the likelihood of attrition through the loss of free agents and team acquisitions. Head coach David Blatt , Tyron Lue and the coaching staff may well have misjudged the Golden State Warriors but the biggest signs of complacency came by way of Dan Gilbert and his belief the team could survive around the skill-set of LeBron James with a complement of players who were never showed any signs of cohesion as a team in spite of a winning streak during the regular season which on appearance was impressive.

This aberration would not last during the NBA Playoffs and where the Cavaliers now go from here will be dependent upon the steps taken by the organization as they move forward. It will be interesting to see how things now pan out with the Draft and the moves made by the franchise as they seek to bolster the team’s roster.

The Miami Heat’s season not only ended abruptly, but for the franchise having lost LeBron James during the off-season , the organization simply believed it could proceed ahead behind the talents of Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade . For head coach Erik Spoelstra , the disappointment of the Heat’s lack of success , could be put down to the fact this team simply wasn’t good enough to get the job done along with the complacency and ego of Pat Riley as the lead front office executive for the Miami Heat. To state the Heat has real issues would be an understatement and in complete disarray ,beyond the fact Miami has to deal with its long and short-term future. With Dwyane Wade now contemplating his departure or the possibility of Pat Riley seeking to move on from the former Finals MVP of the 2006 NBA Finals , with the Heat’s victory over the Dallas Mavericks . In the ensuing years Wade has become a mere shadow of the player who was the Finals’ MVP against the Mavericks.

From my own perspective, I believe the Miami Heat will now be an Eastern Conference franchise likely to struggle during the upcoming season , where they are likely to be no better than a fifth or sixth seed within the conference.

What is it about the idiocy of the New York Knicks’ fans and their ongoing apathy , never-mind the ridiculous belief that Phil Jackson as the Head of Basketball Operations has the knowledge to turn around a franchise which over the past four seasons has simply been nothing more than absolute eyesore ? Jackson for some inexplicable reason pieced together a coaching staff led by Derek Fisher which had no real in-depth experience in terms of coaching , let alone a roster whose record this past season was among the worst in the entire conference as well as the league as a whole. Now in the aftermath of the first round of this NBA Draft , Knicks’ fans have shown their utter disgust with the franchise’s first round overall pick and there doesn’t seem to be any signs of things likely to be get any better as the draft continues .

Carmelo Anthony’s season was cut short due to injury and the team simply became lackluster and uncompetitive but yet , their fans continued to be of the belief , Jackson’s intent was to build for their long-term future. Well, if the picks taken are anything to go by, then the franchise will be one surely to be ridiculed during the upcoming season , even if they are able to land a big free agent acquisition during the off-season.

Kristap Porzingis was taken as the Knicks’ first round pick , fourth overall , behind Karl-Anthony Towns taken by the Minnesota Timberwolves , another franchise said to be in a rebuilding mode. as they seek a solution to their long-term future.

Hard to envisage how anyone can believe the New York Knicks will be able to convince their fans, Porzingis will indeed be able to contribute to a team where both defensively and offensively they offered little to appreciate to even the most discerning fans of the game. I for one , believe the Knicks will be no better off with or without Carmelo Anthony, as Fisher remains a very poor work in progress as an NBA coach !

Two Majors in and the PGA Tour season has simply been one where Jordan Spieth has taken the Tour and made it his own alongside world number one ranked golfer Rory McIlroy . Spieth has captured The Masters and US Open , joining a select few golfers to have won two of the four Grand Slam Majors in a season (calendar year). Half way to a Grand Slam , and Jordan Spieth can write his own legacy in golf’s folklore.

Tiger Woods was simply abysmal during the US Open failing on so many counts to show any type of consistency throughout this season , while having not won a Major since 2008. Excuses by the player simply cannot belie the fact he is no longer relevant on the PGA Tour and still a long way off from regaining the form that once made him so dominant. Hard to envisage how Woods can be viewed as a player capable of winning another Grand Slam Major adding to his career tally of fourteen wins , much less winning another PGA Tour title of any significance this season.

The next Grand Slam Major on the PGA Tour schedule will be The Open being staged at St Andrews Golf Club , Fife , Scotland from the 15th to July 19th, 2015 . With over $9.2 million in prize money and $1.6 million to the winner , it will be interesting to see if Jordan Spieth can make it three consecutive Majors , or will another top-ten player in the rankings, have their name placed on the Claret Jug signifying the winner of The Open . For now , as the struggles of Tiger Woods continue , the accolades for Spieth are now there for everyone to see.

I may well have missed something , but with all of the stupidity now encompassing the MLB season, it is hard to imagine if there has been anything at all special about the season , as it plays out. Granted , Washington Nationals’ starting pitcher Max Scherzer’s sixteen strikeout game closely followed by a no-hitter has many wondering whether or not this season , we will see more exemplary feats on the mound by the league’s top starting pitching aces. Scherzer and Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox have been amazing for their respective teams . Though it could be said, Sale has been the sole reason to watch the White Sox , given their team’s poor showing within the AL Central, it must be said if the team can find some real semblance of consistency , they might well be in with a chance of actually making inroads in the divisional lead of the Kansas City Royals .

An 8-7 victory over divisional rivals the Detroit Tigers on the road might well provide Robin Ventura and his staff with some relief for the moment and it will certainly be interesting to see how the White Sox deals with their weekend scheduled series against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan culminating with the final game of the four-game series on Sunday June 28th June, where the starting pitchers will be Jeff Samardzija of the White Sox and David Price of the Tigers.

Elsewhere around the game of baseball, Alex Rodriguez continues to leave his own indelible mark upon baseball, having collected over six hundred and sixty-five home runs, while closing in on surpassing three thousand career hits. Rodriguez and the New York Yankees find themselves just a mere game adrift of the Tampa Bay Rays in a very uncompetitive AL East . While the top three teams within the division are playing above .500 baseball, the combatants within the AL are not proving to be among the best the league has to offer. New York’s 10-2 annihilation of the Philadelphia Phillies has given Philadelphia’s fans and the front office some real cause for concern . Joe Girardi’s players simply had their way with a team lacking leadership among the playing staff and even more so acumen by way of the managerial staff led by Ryne Sandberg.

Alex Rodriguez’s productivity alongside that of Mark Teixeira has been one of the primary reasons behind the Yankees’ success this season along with some solid if not overly spectacular pitching from their starting rotation and relievers.

Thursday evening will offer the fans the chance to see the New York Yankees take on one of the surprise teams of this still young MLB season when they face the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston Texas, with Adam Warren of the Yankees facing Dallas Keuchel of the Astros , in a game featuring two of the AL’s less experienced starting pitchers. Rodriguez for his part will be looking to inch his way up the statistical rankings even further , as he again passes another all-time great within baseball’s annals of singular achievements. Baseball remains tarnished, because of its own self-indulgence , lack of leadership among its hierarchy and the ongoing piousness of the MLBPA , where the union itself, has failed unrepentantly to rein in the misconduct of their players , while seeking to apportion blame among the owners and the upper echelons of the game’s ruling body.

Debating has almost become redundant as to the misdeeds of Alex Rodriguez , while others through their apathy, still seek to make excuses for the behavior of Pete Rose , a player whose character like Rodriguez has to come into question. Both ran afoul of the rules of the game, their lack of contrition and honesty cannot be overlooked , but yet the calls continue for Rose to be inducted into the Hall of Fame , solely because of his feasts as a player. Last I looked beyond Pete Rose’s achievements , one of the cardinals rules concerning this game . was that of upholding its integrity . None of which , either Rose or Alex Rodriguez has sought to do over the course of their collective careers. History may well seek to judge each , based on the merits of their contributions , but one thing cannot be denied and it has been. both have brought a great deal of disgrace to a sport still lacking in character and leadership both on and off the field of play. Somehow , this all seems to have been overlooked by those who claim to be real fans of the game of baseball.

The NFL remains a year-round soap opera of either ridicule or simply one , where if it isn’t the lack of competitive play on the field . Then fans are left wondering what further fiasco awaits them , either with the apathy shown by Roger Goodell or with the misconduct of a current or former NFL player. Hall of Fame inductee Warren Sapp whose career as it waned , was one of a player whose talents began to mirror his ongoing stupidity and being prone to some irrational behavior. Having recently been fired from his television duties as an NFL analyst, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders’ defensive defensive end now finds himself at the center of a battery and domestic abuse charge , which further heightens the issue for the NFL and their lack of dealing with a matter , which has shadowed the league over the past few years. Goodell remains incredulous concerning the issue of domestic violence, while the Players’ Union has been less than proactive in addressing the misconduct of their members.

DeMauice Smith, current NFLPA Executive Director has offered little by way of a statement concerning conduct of his members and there seems to be little doubt the union hierarchy’s only concerns are that of the players being protected , even when there appears to damning evidence as to their misconduct. Clearly, the case , concerning the likes of Ray McDonald and Ray Rice.

The commissioner’s missteps in dealing with Ray Rice have been well-chronicled and it would be fair to suggest the league’s lack of action when first made aware of the allegations concerning Darren Sharper added insult to injury, as he was still retained by the NFL Network as an analyst even upon his arraignment and then indictment by the judicial system . It begs the question, what type of leadership is there to be seen within the NFL and how is it Roger Goodell still remains in his position as the league’s highest ranking executive ?

The league (NFL) may well remain popular, but a number of its fans and major corporate sponsors are growing increasingly indignant with Roger Goodell and his ongoing stupidity, without one having to delve further into the ongoing apathy of some of the male fans, with their rampant disregard concerning the conduct of the league’s players. It would appear for them . misogyny is acceptable. alongside the doses of racism and homophobia the NFL denies takes place within its fraternity, but the proof has been there for all to witness, alongside the laissez-faire entrenched attitude of the league hierarchy and the union.

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What are your thoughts concerning the points raised within this article ?

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Tophatal …

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Can I have some cheese with that whine ?

Can I have some cheese with that whine ?

In the aftermath of the fallout of the Cleveland Cavaliers having lost their encounter in the NBA Finals after their humiliating game six debacle to the Golden State Warriors. It would appear the LeBron James’ apologists are coming out in droves to the defense of the player and his having lost a second consecutive Finals’ series in light of the Miami Heat’s embarrassing loss to the San Antonio Spurs . James’ legacy though not in tatters, is now becoming somewhat languid, even when idiots are still trying to make comparisons to basketball legends Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan.

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Five consecutive NBA Finals’ appearances with two wins and three rather embarrassing losses has to be needling for a player now yearning to be seen as the best player in the history of the NBA. Statistically , James ranks up there with some of the all-time greats and his Finals’ average for this ranks among the highest in NBA Finals’ history , but even that wasn’t enough of itself to stop the Warriors from marching on to their first NBA title in forty-one years.

With the triumph , Golden State’s head coach, Steve Kerr has joined a select few of coaches who have won an NBA title at their first attempt while having won a title as a player. As to what this outcome might suggest about the continued struggle of LeBron James and the fact he was unable to guarantee a title for the city of Cleveland and in particular for the Cavaliers’ fans, might have more to do with the complacency of the organization as well as the team and the player himself.

James faced an impossible task from the outset , with the loss of Kevin Love in the early rounds of the NBA Playoffs and then seeing teammate Kyrie Irving’s postseason come to an abrupt end. Fans and the media alike, seem to have forgotten also , Cleveland’s head coach David Blatt was still a rookie head coach, with no NBA coaching experience , but yet he was being asked to imbue his coaching acumen on a team, while going up a head coach with vast playoff experience as a player , with Kerr having won five NBA titles during his playing career with the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs.

For David Griffin and Dan Gilbert, this off-season will prove to be an extremely tough one for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ franchise , as they look to assess the team’s roster and its needs moving forward. Clearly , Griffin will have to aid David Blatt in seeking to improve the roster by adding players who complement the skill-set of LeBron James.

I have no doubt the four-time NBA League MVP is a great player and undoubtedly the best player of his generation , most certainly the best player to have entered the NBA since 2003. While we have seen the ascent of players such as Steph Curry and Kevin Durant , the issue which now plagues the NBA is that, there are no team rivalries of any merit and there is most certainly no player rivalry matching the combative rivalry seen between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird as the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics created the unprecedented intensity seen between two of the NBA’s most revered franchises. We are unlikely to see that type of rivalry or intensity again, between two teams during postseason play much less during the regular season. As to the view that LeBron James and the Cavaliers might now be the best team in the Eastern Conference. who can prove to be dominant for years to come . Well, that would be predicated upon how much longer James might well be willing to prolong his career. We seem to forget James has now been in the NBA for twelve years having been drafted during the 2003 season with perhaps the best NBA Draft class of the last fifteen years. He has been able to rewrite history with many personal feats, but as we know, the great players tend to be judged by the championships won as well as their singular accomplishments.

During the NBA off-season there will be a number of major moves made without taking into account what is likely to place during the upcoming NBA Draft . With the Minnesota Timberwolves having the first and overall number one pick in this draft, for everyone else , things should then begin to fall into place , unless a team makes a decision to trade up or down during the proceedings.

For this season’s NBA champions the Golden State Warriors they can now sit back and bask in their triumph if only momentarily and then proceed in the next step and that is to somehow make this team better. Undoubtedly, they were by far in a way the best team in the Western Conference without a doubt , their regular season record simply showed they were also the best team in the league during the regular season. It was then emphasized during the NBA Playoffs and then rubber stamped with their decisive slaying of the Cleveland Cavaliers to close out the postseason with their title triumph. Nothing else really needs to be said beyond congratulating Andre Iguodala on winning the Finals’ MVP Award and to reiterate why Jerry West is the best front office executive in the NBA , if not in the league’s history.

For team owners’ Joe Lacob and Peter Guber this has proven to be a triumphant two years, during which, since having acquired the team, this organization has simply been on the ascent and must now be considered the best NBA franchise in the state of California and they certainly have to be considered among the best ran teams in the entire league. The ignominy of not having won a title in four decades is now gone and their future now seems bright with Steph Curry , Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and veteran Andre Iguodala , hero of the series’ deciding game six of the NBA Finals. It will be interesting to what steps are likely to be taken to bolster the Warriors’ lineup during the off-season , with their likely to be some attrition , with some players leaving for elsewhere or likely traded.

For Steph Curry this has been the season where they player has now proven himself to be one of the league’s elite players and now a perennial All Star , while also now having the team seen as an early favorite for next season’s championship in spite of this idiotic insistence the Cleveland Cavaliers will remain the team to beat in the NBA . Cleveland plays in a mediocre division and conference , where their only threat appears to be their own complacency , if nothing else.

Best record in baseball and now all of a sudden the legacy of the St Louis Cardinals has now become all the more perplexing as the conversation now encompasses claims that a senior official within the organization may well have initiated the hacking and information being acquired from the Houston Astros . All the more salacious until you consider Jeff Luhnow , general manager of the Astros, was once a senior executive with the Cardinals. The FBI is still in the midst of an ongoing investigation and John Mozeliak has issued a formal statement insisting any wrongdoing by anyone found to be at the center of this allegation will be fired from the employment of the St Louis Cardinals. Hard to believe that one of baseball’s most revered organizations is now at the center of such a scandal , though not unimaginable when you consider absurdity of this all , with the federal government’s investigative arm has also been at the center of the current investigation concerning soccer’s international governing body FIFA.

Joseph ‘ Sepp’ Blatter’s resignation from the top executive position within the organization , not without merit, has me wondering if we are likely to see the same situation arise with the St Louis Cardinals.

John Mozeliak as the general manager of the NL Central based franchise has to be seen as being proactive in the midst of this all, while the reputation of the ball-club takes a hit . Yet, , in the midst of this all , my question has to be , why is anyone actually surprised by this at all ? It is not as if baseball has ever been a sport that has been above reproach , let alone at any time during its history had an ounce of integrity , much less leadership of any kind among its most senior ranks.

When it is all said and done, the sport (baseball) remains something of a farce, still wrapped in its own self-importance as to where its stands socially and for that matter , as America’s pastime and one of its most beloved sporting spectacles.

Will the wagons be circled around the St Louis Cardinals as baseball seeks to protect one of their own or will there be cooperation between the ball-club and the FBI as the agency completes its ongoing investigation ? Rob Manfred has yet to issue a public statement on the matter , but I suspect he will be monitoring the situation intensely , perhaps even more so than anything that his predecessor Bud Selig has known to have done when it came to any grave situation which has tarnished the reputation of the game. Yet , if for no other reason , why should we expect Manfred to take any type of proactive stance , given his unilateral backing of his predecessor repeatedly on a litany of actions. The commissioner’s biography suggests he was at the centerpiece of baseball’s collective bargaining agreement and the alleged suggestion, has been through his actions whereby baseball and the union have a very close relationship. This has to be the furthest thing from the truth given the ongoing tensions between the MLBPA and the league hierarchy.

For the moment I do not believe this latest baseball scandal will do anything to derail the Cardinals’ present dominance of the NL Central as they look to prove themselves worthy as a legitimate contender for this season’s World Series . It will also be interesting to see how this is all viewed by baseball’s fraternity and the players themselves who if anything have always remained reluctant to speak openly on a litany of issues affecting their sport, if only to gloss it all over as non-important. I guess the steroid era and all of its glow should also be deemed that way along with the media’s lack of due diligence in truly delving into the matter with any great degree.

Mustering together a band of stars and now for some reason the San Diego Padres have placed the blame for the team’s follies on their now fired manager Bud Black . Interim manager Pat Murphy takes over the reins while the front office assesses his progress over the remainder of the season. Padres GM A J Preller now has to deal with the fact San Diego has failed miserably this season , while the money vested in his players have simply brought about nothing tangible on or off the field of play. A 3-1 victory over the equally abysmal Oakland Athletics and you now have to ask , where to the Padres now go from here ? Well, next up, San Diego will match their wits against the Arizona Diamondbacks , who they meet at Chase Field , Phoenix Arizona .

In recent weeks pitcher Chris Sale has been putting up some astonishing numbers for the Chicago White Sox , but it has been of no avail for the last placed White Sox who sit at the bottom of the AL Central where the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins sit atop of the pile , with the Detroit Tigers 5 ½ games behind the division leading Royals. Robin Ventura and his managerial staff will be hard pressed to have this team playing with a great deal of resolve given their present predicament. The failure of the White Sox remains twofold as they have simply been unable to show any consistency throughout the season and it would appear the front office and the likelihood changes will have to be made at some point during the season , should the team not fail to show any type of renewed and competitive form.

Chris Sale might be considered the leading contender among the starting pitchers in the AL for this season’s AL Cy Young Award , but with still a great deal to play for I doubt by season’s end he will be among the front runners for the awards ! A seven-game losing streak has come to symbolize the dreariness and lack of commitment from the Chicago White Sox this season. When they take on the Texas Rangers at US Cellular Field in Chicago , Illinois , on Friday , it will be interesting to see what these two teams will have in store for each other when they come face to face. This will one of a slew of games taking place as the weekend schedule begins in earnest on the 19th June.

Recent success has been fleeting for the Chicago White Sox with their last appearance in the postseason coming in 2008 , where they made it to the ALDS , losing to the Tampa Bay Rays in four games. World Series’ success came by way of their whitewash of the then NL Central based Houston Astros in 2005. A decade on and it would appear the memories of that particular triumph are already long forgotten.

With the second of golf’s Majors now underway, the US Open being staged at Chambers Bay Golf Club , University Place in Washington State. The topic of the moment has been the abysmal first round showing of former world number one ranked golfer Tiger Woods . His ten over-par eighty (80) has been his worst score in a Major and most certainly among the worst of his playing career in the PGA. As to what this might suggest about Woods and his play at present , has more to do with his mental state and physical play. He may well still be a major attraction on the Tour , but he is far from being the best player in the world much less among the top American player of the moment.

Tiger Woods is simply a major draw, in name only , and that might now be the only thing he has to his advantage. The expectations are no longer one, where he is likely to torch a course with a blistering round and an amazing array of stroke play. Instead , as witnessed during his play in the first round at Chambers Bay, mistimed shots and errant play , seemed to be in his bag of tricks on Thursday. The second round gets underway on Friday and Woods sits some fifteen strokes behind joint leaders , Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson , who lead the tournament with a five under-par 65.

(11)

Tiger Woods reacts to his tee shot on the eighth hole during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay on Thursday, June 18, 2015 in University Place, Wash. At one point during his first round Woods’ triple bogeyed a hole leading to his 10 over par score of 80 in the US Open. AP Photo/Matt York

Tiger Woods has now become a mere shadow of his once dominant golf persona and his personal life is once again is in complete disarray , with the ending of his relationship Olympic skier and world champion Lindsey Vonn. It was revealed that Woods had a relationship with a therapist , while his so called relationship with Vonn was said to be ongoing. Back to his old ways , where golf now seems to be taking a back seat and where he has actually mastered his stroke play off the course , while his play on the course has now become an excuse and with his usual ongoing rhetoric and pragmatism for his recent follies . Whine on Tiger , just simply whine on and perhaps you would also like some cheese with that as well ?

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Do you believe it a necessity for athletes to make excuses for their errant or at times underwhelming play , when it leads to either individual or team failure ? Or is it now something that fans should now come accustomed to ?

Tophatal

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Bi#ch better have my money

Bi#ch better have my money

The sports’ weekend threw up no great surprises , other than the fact , UFC Heavyweight champion Cain Velazquez was dethroned as the division’s champion by his Brazilian opponent Fabricio Werdum . For UFC President Dana White , he has seen two prominent champions he believed would become the face of his sport, come up short when it mattered most. Mixed Martial Arts now seems to be at a crossroads , simply bearing out a fact, as a sport there are too few major draws with the staying power now to remain dominant within the genre. Now , other than female protagonist Ronda Rousey , the UFC is chasing after its own tail , seeking to remain vibrant and posing a greater threat to the sport of boxing , which over the past decade and a half , has been a sport , waning in popularity , while having no major draw other than Floyd Mayweather , as its most recognizable fighter.

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In the coming months, it will be interesting to see what either sport has to offer their respective fans by way entertaining and competitive bouts likely to bring out a slew of fans to attend their scheduled fights.

Elsewhere , the NBA Finals , now seems to becoming more of a struggle for LeBron James and what looks to be his sole attempt to bring back a professional team title to the state of Ohio. James has put on a one man show , as the Cleveland Cavaliers seek to defeat the Golden State Warriors in the Finals. Golden State for their part took apart the Cavaliers to win a pivotal game five , taking a 3-2 lead in the best of seven-game NBA Finals’ series.

Steph Curry put on another solid display, as he led the Warriors to within one game of winning their first title in four decades. When this series resumes on Tuesday evening , fans will either witness the Cavaliers evening the series , which I now believe to be doubtful or the crowning of the Golden State Warriors as the NBA champions for this season. It would be a fitting season for the team , through their consistency have shown themselves to be the best in the NBA over the span of eighty-two games.

For LeBron James , if he and the Cavaliers fail in their endeavors , then there will be a great deal of criticism not just of James , but also of the entire organization and how the Cavaliers were assembled as a team to complement the skill-set of the NBA star. From my own perspective , James’ move back to Cleveland simply was one out of sheer frustration , after the debacle of last season in the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs , the complacency shown by the Miami Heat and the front office led by team President Pat Riley. It was the front office executive’s unwillingness to bolster this roster ,which ultimately led to the Heat’s downfall in the series against the San Antonio Spurs , who proved to the far better team over the course of the series.

The expectations are high for the US Women’s National Team as the FIFA World Cup gets underway. With the ongoing farce now facing soccer’s international governing body and the idiocy of calls by the fans without a clue concerning the sport that the body should be folded . It begs the question if they feel FIFA has to be torn apart , then why not the same fate being met with the NCAA , MLB , NBA and NFL ? All four entities over the years , whose transparency by way of their business conduct leaves a great deal to be desired . It would appear that there is an abundance of stupidity to be found with the North American sports’ fan without there being much evidence to be shown in terms of their intelligence.

Team USA is considered to be among the favorites for this tournament behind the defending champions Japan, Germany , Sweden and Brazil and tournament hosts Canada are seen as the tournament favorites. US team manager Jill Ellis has a tough task ahead of her as she seeks to get the team into the next round beyond the group stages of this World Cup. A disappointing scoreless draw against Sweden still has Team USA leading Group D . The team’s final match in the group stages , pits them against Nigeria in a must win contest , that will go a long way in deciding where and who the US will play in the knockout stages of the competition. For players such as Abby Wambach , Alexis Morgan and Hope Solo , theirs becomes a situation where they have to prove the team worthy contenders in the tournament.

Hope Solo in recent weeks, has become the center of warranted attention and the fact, USA Soccer has deemed it appropriate to have the goalkeeper remain part of the US team roster in spite of the fact the player is at the center of a legal situation , wherein she has been accused , though yet to be charged with the aggravated assault of her younger siblings.

Solo , has refused to answer any questions concerning the issue , choosing instead to have her attorney address the matter , with her legal representative citing the investigation, is still pending . Bear in mind , the sports’ landscape within North America in recent months has seen a full spate of legal issues with athletes battering their spouses , partners and even their children. One has to pose the question , why it is , USA Soccer has chosen not to reprimand Hope Solo for her behavior , even though it has not been the first time , where the player has actually ran afoul of the law ? It would appear there remains a great deal of hypocrisy not just among the fans , but also within the hierarchy of the NFL and USA Soccer under the auspices of USA Soccer President Sunil Gulati .

It doesn’t seem all that long ago the Boston Red Sox were triumphant in winning the franchise’s third World Series within the space of five years, with the ball-club basking in the limelight of being crowned champions and atop of the baseball world. With John Farrell leading the team in that series’ victory over the St Louis Cardinals .

To comprehend Red Sox’s fall from grace since 2013 , has been as bewildering for their fans as their team’s record would suggest , from then until now . As losers of six straight and seven of their last ten games , it is easy to understand why the Boston Red Sox have been such a tremendous disappointment while having one of the largest payrolls in all of baseball. For the moment , it would appear the jobs of the managerial staff and GM Ben Cherington remains safe , but I cannot help but wonder how much longer will the managing partners remain tolerant and specifically will John W Henry remain patient , before coming to the conclusion the manager and quite possibly the general manager will have to go ! If neither John Farrell or Cherington can turn things around quickly , then there should be no other option but to fire the manager and the franchise’s general manager. The players acquired over the course of the off-season and leading into this year , have proven to be a monumental failure , without taking into account the veterans who have been part of the franchise since 2013.

A 13-5 shellacking suffered at the hands of AL East divisional rivals the Toronto Blue Jays in a home loss at Fenway Park in Boston , had the home fans booing the home team , after another embarrassing defeat. On Monday , Boston will play host to the Atlanta Braves as they seek to make inroads into the divisional lead of the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays , who head the AL East respectively. Rick Porcello will be on the mound for the Red Sox when he faces off against Williams Perez of the Braves in this intra-league contest.

The issues of the Red Sox are three-fold , as this team is simply poor in just about every facet of the game , from their pitching to their offense and defense . Red Sox players , Dustin Pedroia , David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez have seen their best days , now in their rear view , and it is hard to envisage where the ball club now goes from here as , the perceived expectations and promise from their younger players on the current roster have yet to be fulfilled . Xander Bogaerts , considered to be a future All Star exudes a lot of confidence, but he remains a project still learning the various facets of the game .

As the world turns , so does the never ending soap opera and the idiotic chapters of the NFL as a league , filled with ineptitude at just about every level of the game. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell exudes about as much confidence with his leadership abilities as might be found among the leaders of the Afghan and Iraqi military leadership, for what that might be worth. In this midst of it all, he shows about as much acumen, when it comes impartiality as might be found within the Justice System of a third world country devoid of democracy. Goodell now believes, he will be acting in the best interests of the NFL , should there be an arbitration hearing in the appeal’s case of New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady and the likelihood of his appealing his four-game suspension.

Far be it for me to suggest, Brady is without any guilt whatsoever and his role in the odious Deflate-Gate scandal . With the rising odor of excrement , which continually befalls the NFL , there is clear indication under the commissioner’s leadership , not a damn thing has been achieved , whereby the players are not willing to cheat, knowing full well whatever punishment is meted out. It is likely to be watered down during the appeals’ process. Justice as evidenced with the NFL, is not seen nor is it ever truly representative of anything bordering on anything meaningful or substantial by any stretch of the imagination. Bear in mind , even with the absurdity of the fans out there, who believe in spite of the NFL’s popularity, they believe apathy and the money being made by the league will be enough to assure us all of its relevance on the sporting landscape.

At present. I still trying to figure out this imbued mentality and at times audacious rationale and stupidity of so many general managers within the NFL. That asides, you then have simple selfishness of many of the players with their ludicrous contracts and guaranteed money by way of those deals. Nowhere has this been more self evident than with the idiocy of the Dallas Cowboys and the loss of their record breaking running back DeMarco Murray to free agency. Jerry Jones , owner and de-factoZ general manager explains away the decision as the price of doing business. Unfortunately, that business was pretty much laid to rest with the ongoing postseason and abysmal play of veteran quarterback Tony Romo , his never ending excuses for his lackluster displays come playoff time. Bear in mind.

Romo was given in excess of $50 million by way of his now valueless deal. For those who still believe the quarterback has what it takes to lead the team to a Superbowl. Might I suggest, you simply look at Tony Romo’s postseason record and how abysmal it remains , never mind the fact , his lack of leadership ability. Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson have both amassed better playoff records than the Cowboys’ quarterback during his ten year plus career in the NFL . Food for thought don’t you think considering their tenures in the league ? At no point during the apparent negotiations between DeMarco Murray’s agent and the Cowboys’ front office was there deemed to be a willingness by Tony Romo to renegotiate his contract in order to provide some cap relief whereby the Dallas might well have sought to sign Murray to a one-year deal . Instead the running back was allowed to leave joining divisional rivals the Philadelphia Eagles . Get the feeling , revenge will be a meal best served cold , when these two teams meet during their regular season divisional sorties, specifically from Murray’s point of view?

Playing in what has become an overrated division, the NFL East has become a modicum of sheer idiocy where the Cowboys’ season led to their aberration during the postseason . Add in the fact that there appears to be a number @ss kissing morons, choosing to drink out of the pot Chip Kelly has chosen to urinate and defecate in and it is easy to understand why both the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles have failed so miserably over the past two seasons with their respective postseason forays.

With the preseason being nothing more than a league inducement for fans to part with their money needlessly, witnessing some mediocre play. I personally do not believe those in attendance should really expect anything special at from the teams during this preseason. This season the one thing we know will be made abundantly clear will be the fact the NFL will have raised , their cap level significantly above last season’s figure .

There are one hundred and twenty seven million reasons why former Chicago Bears’ front office executive Phil Emery should be considered an a$s . They can be summed up in two words , Jay Cutler . This being the sum Emery thought fit would be appropriate to secure the services of the quarterback, who in his years with the franchise has simply become an absolute eyesore as a player, never mind the lack leadership skills necessary take the team to the winning of a Superbowl. Cutler remains his generation’s answer to Jeff George in more ways than one could ever have imagined . Now anyone seeking to take the player off the Bears’ hands had better be justified in making such a decision while somehow being able to make use of his mediocre talents.

John Fox has been entrusted to turn the Bears around, as well as seeking some semblance of consistency from Jay Cutler . Easier said than done, given the player’s lack of resolve and being able to raise the level of his play and have it remain there over a prolonged period of time. At $16.5 million for this season, Cutler will not be the highest paid player or quarterback in the league , but be might just be the most overrated and undeserving of those players making in excess of $15 million for this upcoming season.

Continued signs of failure but yet Bears’ quarterback was signed to a seven-year $126 million deal which will not expire until 2021. Any chance of the franchise now seeking to trade the player or simply seek to cut him would prove to be a monumental disaster with the size of the contract and the money still owed to the player under the terms of his deal , being a major hindrance . AP Photo / Garry Wadlow

It will be interesting to see how John Fox fares in his first season with the Chicago Bears, as they seek to make inroads within the NFC North over the course of the preseason and the regular season if the Bears are to fare well at all during their 2015 sojourn. As good as some might deem Chicago to be , I certainly do not believe they are good enough to be the best team in the division or usurping the dominance of the Green Bay Packers and their franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers .

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the salient points raised in this article ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for your continued support of this site as it is greatly appreciated !

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It’s my legacy …

It’s my legacy

Well the sporting weekend provided fans with a great deal of spectacle and some great individuals efforts by athletes and teams alike. While in the world of thoroughbred racing American Pharaoh made history as the first Triple Crown winner in almost four decades, having won the Belmont Stakes in Pimlico, New York with effortless ease. It begs the question will the feat itself provide the world of horse racing with enough interest where the “Sport of Kings” is now taken more seriously ?

Thoroughbred racing remains in a rut , and it has not been helped by a litany of controversy and the illegal actions of a number of trainers in recent years with their drugging of the equines (horses) to facilitate their running in races while obviously injured. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association for their part have simply been negligent with their overseeing of the sport on a national basis.


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American Pharaoh’s trainer Bob Baffert now adds to a long list of achievements in his racing career while for jockey Victor Espinoza , he joins a select few of jockeys to have won the Triple Crown , compromising of the Kentucky Derby , Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. It is undeniable that horse racing in North America needed something to take it out of its doldrums and add to its history. Whether or not American Pharaoh now races again will be dependent upon owner Ahmed Zayat and Bob Baffert , but clearly the horse will be worth untold millions by being put to stud , and likely bringing vast sums in breeding fees for Zayat Stables .

The second of Tennis’ Grand Slam tournaments ended in a fizzle rather than a great deal of excitement. Serena Williams won her twentieth Grand Slam singles’ title with some ease (6-3,6-7,6-2) , defeating Lucie Safarova for her third French Open title. For Williams she remains atop of the WTA rankings and by far the best female tennis player of her generation and likely to be seen as one the all-time greats, once she decides to call it quits. There have been few female players as dominant as Williams at her very best. .

For Williams, having already won a career Grand Slam , Australian Open , French , Wimbledon and US Open . All that now remains for the US player , is the fact of winning at several more Grand Slam singles’ titles, while looking to supplant legends such as Martina Navratilova , Margaret Court , Steffi Graf and Billie Jean King as the greatest female player in the history of the game. She will head into Wimbledon as the clear and unequivocal favorite, while looking to win her sixth title at the All England Tennis Club (AETC) .

If Serena Williams was seen as the clear-cut favorite at the French Open, then Novak Djokovic on the Men’s side had to have been viewed in the same light. As the world number one in the Men’s rankings, Djokovic was seeking to win the Men’s Singles title and with it a career Grand Slam. Rod Laver , Andre Agassi , Roger Federer , Rafa Nadal , Roy Emerson , Fred Perry and Donald Budge are the only men to have achieved the feat of winning all four Majors. This event was not to be for the Serbian as he fell to Stanislaw ‘Stan’ Warwinka in the Men’s Singles Finals, in four thrilling sets. As to what this might suggest about Djokovic’s failure, may explain a great deal about the competitiveness of the Men’s game and the very fact many have questioned why there no longer appears to be a truly dominant male player in tennis.

Novak Djokovic has now come to the crossroads, where if he is to be considered one of the greats of the modern era , his adding the French title to his mantel of Slam successes will have to come sooner , rather than later. Granted , Bjorn Borg and Ivan Lendl , never achieved a career Grand Slam , but the longevity of their individual careers and the titles won has added to their respective legacies.

Baseball’s season is slowly meandering to its midway point and already we have seen the teams have their highs and lows. Players in particular are now looking to make a name for themselves this season, with Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals finally putting together the type of season and productivity , many thought he was capable of doing. Among pitchers, the Tampa Bay Rays’ starting pitcher Chris Archer became the first pitcher in history to have pitched three consecutive games with double-digit strikeouts in each of the contests in question. The Rays for their part are currently challenging the New York Yankees for divisional prominence in the AL East division. Rookie manager Kevin Cash and his managerial staff have seen the team play some inspired baseball over the course of their schedule thus far. .

Both the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays have won seven of their last ten games , with the Yankees currently on six-game winning streak. New York has a home game facing the Washington Nationals , whereas the Rays take on the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida in a slew of games taking place on Monday, 8th Juneand Tuesday, 9th , 2015. From my own perspective, while the season still in its infancy , I believe the New York Yankees , Tampa Bay Rays and Washington Nationals still have a great deal to prove over the remainder of this season !

Alex Rodriguez may well be inching his way to baseball immortality or as some might suggest, infamy. I have to wonder how his career and legacy will be viewed by baseball historians once it comes to an end. . Rodriguez recently passed Hall of Fame great Willie Mays for fourth all-time on the home-runs’ career list and is slowly making inroads on the career RBI list. The seven hundred career home runs’ plateau may not be reached this season by Rodriguez , but two thousand runs batted in , will be the next milestone reached in his career . Something likely to be achieved in his next game for the Yankees as they look to solidify their position within the division.

Chris Archer has proven himself to be one of the better young pitchers on a Rays’ staff , which as an organization has been built upon their pitching rather than their offense. Archer and the Rays will have to play at a high level over the course of this season, if the ball-club is to have any chance of winning the AL East or actually gain a wildcard berth and the chance of making the postseason.

The NBA Finals are now proving to be something of a one-man show as LeBron James seeks to do his utmost to bring the state of Ohio and the Cleveland Cavaliers their first professional sports’ title in the last four decades. Cleveland evened their series , taking game two against the Golden State Warriors , in a thrilling contest marked by several intense performances , but perhaps none more so than James’ triple double performance . Steph Curry may well have been outshone by the performance , but he was no slouch in the contest as the second leading scorer for the Warriors in game two. Certainly Curry played well below par and the expectations sought by Steve Kerr , his coaching staff and undoubtedly the Golden State fans.

LeBron James has been inching his way towards postseason history and is now averaging one of the highest points per game averages in playoff and NBA Finals’ history. The fact he is now doing this all almost single handed, while looking to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA title makes his performances all the more astonishing . Bear in mind the team is without All Star players Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love , while rookie head coach David Blatt is being asked to out-coach his counterpart Steve Kerr, someone with vast playoff experience as a player, having won titles with the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs . A pivotal game tonight in Cleveland, Ohio at the Quicken Loans Arena beckons, with LeBron James and the Cavaliers looking to take the upper hand in this series. This will be the third game in the best of seven-game series, where both teams will now be looking to reassert themselves in this series .

If LeBron is able to capture his third NBA title and quite possibly the Finals’ MVP Award , then the continued comparisons now being made with Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson , as to where he now ranks among the all-time greats to have played the game as well as creating a legacy in Playoff history will continue. Certainly, something achieved by both Hall of Fame inductees Jordan and Johnson with both having won multiple titles over the course of their respective careers.

With a reputed $150 million payday after his clinical dismantling of Manny Pacquaio , Floyd Mayweather has no real challenges left on the horizon in terms of his boxing career and legacy. Forty-eight bouts, 48 consecutive victories , with twenty six coming by way of a knockout . The only remaining mark the multi-titled fighter seems eager on pursuing , is to reach a career-goal of making it to 50-0 .

Over the past four years, Mayweather has not fought anyone of significance and while his opponents have been hand-picked , one has to admit an aging and waning Manny Pacquaio was simply a complete waste of time as an opponent . Even if this alleged mega-fight had taken place five or six years ago, when both fighters were deemed to be at their peak , Pacquiao would still have wounded up on the wrong side of a rather embarrassing defeat . The hype over the Filipino fighter simply acknowledged what many already knew , he is not that great a boxer and he simply cannot take a punch . His knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez showed the fighter to have a glass jaw and the very fact he chose to sidestep Marquez and a rematch, instead seeking to pursue a big money fight against Floyd Mayweather, indicates just one thing. Pacquiao was running scared and in need one last big payday as his career is now on the downside .

Floyd Mayweather for his part, will take some time away from the ring , though still craving the glare of the limelight though not always acting like the icon he believes himself to be. He cannot be seen as a role model, but as the best boxer of his generation , that fact is undoubted . As to his being the greatest of all-time, historians and fans can now begin to debate his legacy and list of achievements and estimations of his wealth and influence on the sport of boxing . His retirement will leave a vacuum within a sport which is all but dead and with no real challenger in sight , even if the likes of Amir Khan , Miguel Cotto and Gennady Golovkin are being bandied about as future opponents. Mayweather’s only concern will not be the caliber of his opponent , but how much his next paycheck is likely to be. “ Show me the money mother-##cker or just get the ##ck out of my way “ !

I firmly believe it is hard to adjudge a player and their greatness until their careers have to come to an end ! Making claims or seeking place them among the ranks of the greats of a game is simply meaningless on so many levels, especially when you consider the eras when these athletes are said to have played. It is even more difficult to make such a judgment when seeking to evaluate an athlete in a team sport.

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What, do you believe, defines a dominant athlete during the modern athletic era? Is it their longevity within a sport or the level of consistency shown and the success attained ?

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So what am I missing here ?

So what am I missing here ?

Well now that the dust has settled it would appear with the sudden resignation of FIFA’s four-term President Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter , and his seeking to salvage his now languid reputation. The future of soccer’s international governing body still appears to be limbo. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth as the institution will simply regroup, weather the storm and simply look to steer a new course . Nothing will actually change and there will not be any greater oversight than there was before.

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With the World Cups of 2018 and 2022 still ahead and the various associations not calling for there to any changes in the staging of those events in Russia and Qatar , respectively. The apparent idiocy shown by journalists, the none too informative and unintelligent sports’ fans in North America who believe themselves attuned to the sport, has simply indicated to me what I have always known all along. Stupidity simply comes in all shapes and sizes, with the country leading the world by an ever widening margin . which is beyond belief.

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch is seen here in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee . Lynch succeeded Eric Holder to become the nation’s highest ranking law enforcement officer. It should be noted as the State Attorney General for the Manhattan District of New York , Lynch was somewhat lenient in her prosecution of international financial institution HSBC for their wrongdoing in assisting wealthy individuals in their avoidance of paying US federal income tax . Get the feeling might well be using the issue of FIFA to show that she’s capable of being tough ? Bill Clark/ CQ/ Rolling Stone

Blatter’s stepping down will not leave a great vacuum within the FIFA hierarchy and the executive committee will now seek to either hold a quick vote in search of a new successor , while also seeking to address the issue of the ongoing investigation by the Swiss authorities who are now said to be working in conjunction with the US Justice Department .

The federal agency’s leadership headed by Attorney General Loretta Lynch has gone on record,. stating , ” the actions of the executives behind a corruption scandal and their actions being so egregious . that it brought the game of soccer into disrepute”. I’m sorry, but soccer was already up to its neck in its own fecal matter , long before this latest scandal.

Far be it for me to suggest that the NFL , NBA and MLB have not had their own litany of skeletons within their vestibules over the past few years. If the likes of Frank McCourt can literally place a baseball franchise into bankruptcy , with acts , which under normal circumstances would be seen as criminal and still not be punished by baseball’s hierarchy . Then it begs the question, what the hell is the Justice Department meant to be doing in its role as the nation’s law enforcement arm ? It is not as if the agency has the greatest success in prosecuting white collar criminals , especially those who simply were behind the eruption of the US economy and specifically within the financial sector . Yet low and behold, rabid idiot fans without a clue are looking for the implosion of an international sports’ governing body? I don’t hear of any calls for the bringing down of the WBA , WBC , IBF or WBU , but somehow those four bodies who are the international governing arms for the sport of boxing, can go untouched, because there is the belief the sport of boxing remains above reproach ?

Former Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt having taken the franchise into bankruptcy proceedings as part of his divorce settlement , was still able to walk away with $1 billion cash , even after it was noted during the proceedings McCourt had leveraged the ball-club to finance private deals, contravening league rules as well as using funds derived from the club’s revenues for his own personal use , buying commercial and , residential real estate, a yacht and several sports’ cars. Somehow, neither MLB’s hierarchy or federal prosecutors saw fit to indict or prosecute Frank McCourt for any wrongdoing on his part. AP Photo / Barry Reed

Consider, the bribery and corruptible practices within the sport and somehow, the antics of such promoters as Bob Arum and Don King are still lauded in numerous circles. Give me a fucking break , with all of this asinine bull#hit as to what the Justice Department is now seeking to do , having unearthed evidence showing that a Miami based sports’ marketing firm was used to launder monies paid to several high-ranking FIFA executives.

The sole reason the federal agency entered the fray, came from the fact a US financial institution was also being used to launder the ill-gotten gains of these executives. I wonder if the US Justice Department would use such zeal, to go after a Wall Street executive much less a US Congressman, were they actually at the center of such a probe ? They failed miserably with an inept attempt to punish former Senator Ted Stevens and all of this was done at the taxpayers’ expense ? What the fuck !

Blatter walks away from an institution which he ran like his own personal fiefdom, where his serfs were equally as corrupt. At the end of the day however, just about everyone associated with the sport has to be apportioned a certain amount of blame. There may well be idiotic outcries from pious members of the press, but they too are not innocent in this spectacle either. I mean here in the US , the media willingly turned a blind eye to the misdeeds of the players in baseball during the steroid era under , which Bud Selig might as well have showed the mendacity to punish a guilty player of steroid use as Congress might seek to punish one of their own, for an unlawful act or bringing the institution into disrepute with their behavior. There has been as much competency shown by the members there, as might be found among some fans, being witnessed now with the utter stupidity , rhetoric , pragmatism and apathy.

Will they or won’t they ? It would appear with each passing day the front office of the Minnesota Vikings are unsure what their intent might be with their running back Adrian Peterson. The disgraced player having been reinstated by the NFL after his own self induced stupidity , has first claimed , he no longer wanted to be part of the franchise and he is now at the point, that his agent still cannot be consistent with regard to his client’s statements , with each passing day , the story seems to be changing. Personally, I don’t believe the Vikings have a good enough team to win NFC North or even make the playoffs within the NFC ! The team’s starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has yet to show the consistency sought and the alternatives on the roster do not appear to be any better than the freshman passer, which leads me to believe things are not ,likely to go at all well for Minnesota this upcoming season.

Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson having been reinstated by the NFL threatened the franchise with a trade request , for what he felt was the Vikings’ disrespect for him during his recent troubles. Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings have not yet fully come away from their impasse , even though all of the right things are now being said by certain forces within the front office . Peterson’s agent and the player are known to be dissatisfied with his current contract as he is said to be seeking a more lucrative deal with the maximum amount possible in guaranteed money. The running back is not due to become an unrestricted free agent until 2017. AP Photo/ Neal Hart

For Adrian Peterson , this might be the last season where the fans get to see him in a Vikings’ uniform. As good as he has been over the years for the franchise, age and time are no longer on his side , while the window of opportunity for the Minnesota Viking have not been truly kind. Their last appearance in the NFL postseason came in 2012 , where they lost in the NFC wild-card round coming unstuck in game played against the Green Bay Packers. Prior to that , another appearance in 2009 saw the Vikings come unglued to the New Orleans Saints in the conference championship game. Needless to say, Mike Zimmer and his coaching staff will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed this season.

Minnesota will be moving into a new multi-billion dollar stadium at the start of the 2016 NFL season , providing the league with its newest state of the art venue. I doubt that comparisons will be made to the Dallas Cowboys’ lavish Texas Stadium, in Arlington, Texas, with its jumbotron and still underachieving team . Yet , there you have it , another franchise under the impression , “ if we build it , they will come “ . Someone forgot to tell these idiot owners and front office executives , you also need to have a winning on-field product the fans can take pride in , while showing their vocal support.

Vikings’ owner Zygi Wilf understands the Minnesota Vikings’ long starved fans yearn the winning of a Superbowl title and with it the bragging rights of saying they are the best team in the NFL. A great deal will be dependent of whether or not that success can be achieved based on Adrian Peterson remaining with the franchise , while producing the form that has made him one of the best running backs in the NFL over the past eight years. At the same time the Vikings will have to prove to their fans and the rest of the NFL that they are credible contenders for the Superbowl.

The Minnesota Vikings will begin that journey in earnest, with their first regular season schedule game in week one against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi Strauss Stadium in Santa Clara , California , and what will the venue for this season’s Superbowl.

Adrian Peterson may well feel disgruntled as a player , having not had a great deal of success in the postseason with the Vikings , while at the same feeling he may well have dealt with harshly by the NFL hierarchy concerning his misconduct off the field of play. Yet like any other self-absorbed collegiate or professional athlete , it begs the question , are they actually capable of showing any real signs of maturity , while also taking responsibility for their actions ? Continued idiocy of fans making excuses for an athletes’ age, yet somehow they seem unconcerned by the fact we have young men and women barely out of high school who serve the country gallantly , while being placed in danger by the decision making of dumb @ss politicians. So I pose this question where should the concern really be, with a selfish athlete or with those serving the country with honor ?

Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers is about to become the next player and quarterback about to join the $100 million club . There are players now in the NFL barely earning a quarter of that sum as a contract , but they are not deemed their franchise’s leader. Newton over the past two years has showed signs of maturity and leadership. It is now felt in some circles with the declining power of both the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints , the Panthers are seen as the team to beat in the NFC South. Here’s the deal , the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ drafting of Jameis Winston will not turn things around overnight for the Buccaneers even if he was the number one overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Was he in fact the best player among the top picks taken ? Well, that is still open to a great deal of conjecture and debate at this moment in time. It would be fair to suggest the Buccaneers will live and die by the expectations and performances seen from Winston during the regular season . The preseason I believe will tell us about his temperament and whether or not he is capable of adjusting to the rigors of the NFL.

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Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton is set to become the next $100 million player and quarterback in the NFL . How this now sits with the other quarterbacks around the league, as they look to cash in for next season will be predicated upon the deal negotiated by the player’s agent Lamell Morris of Perennial Sports & Entertainment Inc . AP Photo / Greg Richards

Last season another Heisman Trophy winner , Johnny Manziel simply imploded on the field of play for the Cleveland Browns while also showing himself to be a complete and utterly immature asshole off the field of play. Early comparisons between Manziel and Winston are already being made . The apt saying , “buyer beware “, seems to be appropriate considering the trajectory their paths have taken coming into the NFL and their troubles while in college.

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Jameis Winston , left and Johnny Manziel are two players seeking to make a name for themselves in the NFL . Both quarterbacks faced their litany of troubles while in college and will now be placed under an even bigger microscope and the glare of the NFL . Manziel’s first season in the league was viewed as an unmitigated disaster. It remains to be seen what lies ahead for the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner and Buccaneers’ draftee Jameis Winston. For Manziel as he enters his sophomore season , it remains to be unseen whether or not he can unseat Brian Hoyer to become the Cleveland Browns’
regular starting quarterback . Getty Images / Brian Carson

Johnny Manziel is unlikely to be the starting quarterback for the Browns when they begin their preseason schedule and head coach Mike Pettine seems to be unsure what to now make of his now beleaguered quarterback , who now seems to be more known for his nightlife activities rather than for his accomplishments on the field . Excuses are still being made after his first season has entered an alcohol dependency program. WTF ! Manziel is no Rod Tidwell ____ ” show me the mother-fu#king money” ?

Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers are likely to be the prohibitive favorites to win the NFC South this season with their schedule to some extent an extremely favorable one. Their toughest tests are likely come in their games where they face conference stalwarts , the Dallas Cowboys , Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks and an out of conference match-up against the Indianapolis Colts . Carolina will begin their bid for regular season divisional supremacy when they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ever Bank Field in Jacksonville , Florida on the 13th September , 2015. This will be Newton’s second meeting against the Jaguars and it is likely to be a very competitive contest.

A 2-14 season last year simply summed up the ineptitude shown <a href=http://nfl.com/ by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Head coach Lovie Smith is said to be a defensive guru and a disciple of former mentor Tony Dungy . Instead what we witnessed from the team last season , was mediocrity all season long . The two victories , one deemed a quality win , was actually over an injury laden Pittsburgh Steelers’ team missing several of their front-line starters . So make of it what you will. Buccaneers’ players are in camp for mandatory OTA’s in preparation for their upcoming preseason and regular season schedule. As alluded to before , a lot will be riding on the wave of optimism as well as the talent of Jameis Winston. If he fails to ignite this team and lead them to some semblance of success this season , then it will be back to the drawing board once again for a franchise that has been so inconsistent over the last ten years.

It will be interesting to see how much playing time will be devoted to Jameis Winston during the preseason, as Lovie Smith and the coaching staff begin to assess their rookie quarterback as well as the other draftees taken in their most recent draft. GM Jason Licht has already stated that last season’s NFL Draft was the most important in the franchise’s history . I get the feeling Licht doesn’t really know enough about Buccaneers to be making such a claim.

The Buccaneers will open up their preseason schedule with a game against the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis , Minnesota , likely giving Jameis Winston his first taste of an NFL atmosphere playing in a professional game. If there is a to be a regular season contest at hand for the former FSU starter , with his dethroning Mike Glennon , then Smith may feel it prudent to have him play in the Buccaneers’ first regular season game of their schedule against the the Tennessee Titans at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida,.

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Do you believe that the US Justice Department will prove to be successful in their prosecution of the FIFA executives at the center of this latest scandal involving soccer’s international governing body ? Also , with Sepp Blatter stepping down as President of FIFA, do you believe he ought to be facing an indictment by either the US government or the Swiss authorities ? With the NFL season not yet in full swing, what impressions do you have with regard to the preseason stories now coming into focus ?

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