It takes a village to raise a child, but several idiots, have simply ruined the image of the NBA …..

It takes a village to raise a child, but several idiots, have simply ruined the image of the NBA …..

The NBA Postseason still remains overshadowed, by the fallout, from the ongoing Donald Sterling “affair” . Yet, it is not enough, that fans are now suggesting the self-serving actions of V Stiviano , makes this whole episode all the more sordid . The idiocy to my mind, remains the apathy among idiotic fans, who somehow remain fu#king delusional, when it comes to race relations in this country and merely view because the twice elected bi-racial Barack Obama as President of the United States , makes the environment and that of the issue of race a bygone issue.

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Stiviano, is not the person, who issued the words of bigotry, nor was she the person, whose repeated actions of racial intolerance , were repeatedly highlighted over the Los Angeles Clippers owner’s three decades of ownership of that particular franchise . Somehow, this has been overlooked by the press , fans , but most of all by former NBA Commissioner David Stern , who himself held that position as commissioner during a similar time-span. If the fans are simply not intelligent enough, to look at these facts and sense that there is indeed something wrong not only with Donald Sterling’s hideous actions , then what does it also suggest , their not questioning the inaction of the former NBA Commissioner, in seeking to reprimand the now suspended Clippers’ owner ? Where is the alleged intelligence and intellect that David Stern is said to have, beyond the ongoing hypocrisy that still remains within the league, among the league hierarchy , team owners and the executive committee of the NBPA (Players’ Union).

The first round of the postseason, gave us one or two surprises, but not really anything that one could point to as a major upset. The Chicago Bulls’ falling to the Washington Wizards in their opening series , may well be one of complacency, as much as it could be about the Hawks simply grabbing the opportunity to derail the hopes of Tom Thibodeau and his players during the NBA Playoffs. Chicago’s failure has pretty much left the Bulls’ front office in a state of apoplexy and dismay , but one cannot help but ask , did John Paxson and GM Gar Forman make a monumental mistake when they sent Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the now the departed and under-achieving Andrew Bynum ? I firmly believe, that had Deng remained with the Bulls the outcome of this series might well have been much different in its result .

Having made it to the Eastern Conference semifinals , the Washington Wizards now find themselves facing the brink of elimination, seeking to erase a 3-2 deficit against the Indiana Pacers . Tuesday night’s lopsided twenty-three point victory over the number one-seeded Pacers may well have given their fans some respite. Yet, I believe that Frank Vogel and his playing staff will be looking to stop the bleeding and close out the series when its resumption takes place on Wednesday night , with game six at the Verizon Center in Washington , DC,. If Randy Wittman can encourage his players to successfully defend on their home-court , then game seven could provide for a thrilling finality to a series where the heavily favored Pacers have been exposed as something of a fraud throughout much of these series of contests .

The Miami Heat as the two-time defending NBA champions are simply easing their way through the postseason . Never truly tested by the Charlotte Bobcats in their first round series’ match-up , their conference semi-finals’ contest against the Brooklyn Nets is proving to be equally un-challenging against a Nets’ team that in reality, has more going for it , in terms of their multi-million dollar payroll than they have, for their playoff performances this postseason. While many, might well be impressed with Jason Kidd’s rookie season as a head coach . Let us not forget , that the Nets are playing in the Eastern Conference and a division where the basketball being played can be best described as being redundant , if not downright embarrassing . Yet, this is the type of garbage , that David Stern has presided over the within this conference, for the past several years , where idiotic fans , would still suggest that the now retired NBA Commissioner, was in no way responsible for the level of play on display for the fans to witness.

Stern’s imprints have been all over the league than most would care to acknowledge and apathetic fans, simply have no idea as to the level of mediocrity that he has tried to suggest has been entertaining , while also assailing the public at large , with the fact the league’s revenues have been on the rise . I guess when you can cajole your broadcast partners into paying for an inferior product and still make money is another “ virtue” of American “capitalism” .

LeBron James and his Heat teammates , will be looking to close out their series and then await the winners of the Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards’ contest in the Conference Finals . A repeat of last season’s conference championship contest for the best part, might well be what the fans will yearn, as the Pacers seek avenge that significant series’ loss . When the Nets play host to the Miami Heat on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York , we are likely to see the Heat march on to their third consecutive appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals in the past five seasons. As for the Brooklyn Nets, their outlandish $ 102.3 million payroll and the idiocy of fans, who believe that money and style over substance can equate with success in the NBA. Ask yourselves the following , at what point, was there ever any chance of the Nets being even remotely seen as a likely favorite for the NBA title, much less being seen as a legitimate contender for the conference title ?

As Donald Sterling continues to make a complete ass of himself, seeking the public’s empathy and sympathy . The franchise that he has been force to relinquish control of still continues to march on this postseason . The Los Angeles Clippers in their match-up against the Oklahoma City Thunder , now find themselves on the brink of elimination in that series’ contest , down 3-2 and League MVP , Kevin Durant and his teammates now looking to book their place in the Western Conference Finals. The Clippers’ players cannot be viewed as the “villains of the piece ” , because of the idiocy of the franchise’s owner , but in reality , it would set a bad precedent were the Los Angeles Clippers to advance to the conference finals and even the NBA title contest , with this all being seen as something of a benevolent reward for Donald Sterling’s egregious conduct .

Sterling, in his first publicly televised national interview showed very little by way of an act of contrition but quickly tried to point out to his host and interviewer Anderson Cooper , he was not a racist , was misunderstood , with his statements being taken out of context and his philanthropic work within the greater Los Angeles area community in recent years, had been of benefit to minorities and their well-being. One could liken that to the gas chambers of Auschwitz and Belsen ” concentration camps” , being a great thing among the Jews during World War Two (WWII) and the only harm being done, was the smoke from the stacks that rose into the skies above and into the environment. One of the more pointed moments of the interview during this interview was Sterling’s criticism of NBA great Magic Johnson , with the disgraced owner questioning the altruism of Johnson and what he had for those within his own race . Perhaps, Donald Sterling was not aware has built up a portfolio of companies under this Magic Johnson Enterprises , which employs over 15,000 nationwide and through his charitable foundation assists at risk youth , placing them in educational programs as well as providing paid up college scholarships for minorities.

Magic Johnson Enterprises, also provides internships for college graduates in a variety of areas , as these businesses encompass the following areas of commerce , commercial real estate , residential real estate , insurance , finance , music , business entertainment , hospitality management and auto dealerships, within his corporation .

It should also be noted that the Magic Johnson Foundation the charitable arm of Magic Johnson Enterprises has raised tens of millions of dollars to aid in AIDS’ research , but yet , Sterling comes up with a dumb perception that Johnson has done little for his own race ? The pertinent question , one ought ask of Sterling at this point , are you that much of an ass as you appear on television, as you are in private ?

Donald Sterling remains a pompous moron and those who purport to remain fervently behind someone when those espousing such views , think nothing of it and then hide behind this “ idiocy of freedom of speech “ without taking into account human decency or common sense or respect of others . It has been this type of bigotry that remains common place within American society , while idiots try and hide behind this continued ” bull#hit” of ” political correctness” . If fans do not comprehend what the meaning of common courtesy and having respect actually means, without the now known incompetency and lack of action shown by David Stern and the NBA in general. Then the continued mistrust of the NBA will continue, among some fans , public, with the apathy of the media who cover the league remains on show.

While the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder, continue to contest their series, the conference semi-finals within the Western Conference pits last season’s NBA Finalists and conference champion, the San Antonio Spurs against the Portland Trailblazers . For Blazers’ team owner , billionaire Microsoft co-founder , Paul Allen , as he seeks to add a second professional team championship to his mantelpiece. As the owner of the Seattle Seahawks , Allen was privee’ to witnessing the franchise win their first Superbowl , with their demolition of the Denver Broncos in Superbowl XLVII (SB47) . Trailblazers’ owner , Paul Allen , knows it would take an incredible effort by his team to overcome the wily guile and experience of the formidable Gregg Popovich and his incredibly talented team , led by Tim Duncan , Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli . The aforementioned triO, have played an ever-present role in steering the Spurs to great deal of success over the past decade . This past year marked the sixteenth consecutive season the franchise has obtained a postseason berth in the NBA Playoffs, but yet , little is made of such an amazing achievement , either by the NBA hierarchy or that of the print media in general. Instead, they would rather continue to cover under-achieving teams such as the New York Knicks and the vastly overrated Brooklyn Nets. I guess, when these are the basic staples for the NBA beat writers and columnists in general , accomplishments and feats achieved by the Spurs on appearance seem trivial and where the journalists and analysts who cover the league for a living gloss over those feats.

All season long the Spurs were overlooked, as many felt the Western Conference would be the Oklahoma City Thunder’s by design and right . Thunder GM Sam Presti has assembled a very good team for head coach Scott Brooks to have under his tutelage, as the players made on another season onslaught to prove that they are among the best in the league . A second placed finish by way of their conference record , might well have been seen as something of a disappointment ,but the players had their share of inconsistent performances that led to that conference mark . In their divisional race , there was not much of a challenge for Kevin Durant and his teammates , as they ran away with that particular contest winning their division with ease. Durant , won the regular season League MVP award , dethroning LeBron James , a four-time winner of the award, along the way in with his acceptance speech showing a great deal of humility and reverence towards his Thunder teammates but paying a special tribute to his mother and younger sibling.

If there was said to be one significant off-court to this NBA calendar year , then it was provided by Kevin Durant and his acceptance speech and not the idiocy surrounding Donald Sterling or the self-congratulatory and some might even believe it narcissistic proselytizing in the stepping down of David Stern as the NBA Commissioner. It also seems somewhat asinine, to know the league hierarchy and owners have decided to give upon Stern, the honor of Commissioner Emeritus for his three decade tenure as the commissioner. In light of the recent events , I feel that it is an accolade not befitting an individual, who at every instance has sought to promote himself above the league, along with his autocratic style of leadership. As pointed as this remark may well be , one cannot overlook the issue where the former commissioner did not use due diligence in reprimanding Donald Sterling for his known prior bad acts and now one has to also question his motives in not having also dealing with Richard DeVos of the Orlando Magic and his repeated behavior , concerning his homophobic remarks .

The NBA, like its NFL counterpart, have inferred they are tolerant and socially aware, but the actions the owners of the NBA and NFL and respective unions simply belie that fact . Meanwhile, the apathy of the fans and media remains intact, with their ongoing stupidity and complete lack of understanding of recent events within both leagues.

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As the NBA Playoffs meanders towards its finale , it will be interesting to see how the league tries to placate the ongoing ire of the fans , as they seek to deal with Donald Sterling . The on-court contests have done little to silence the ongoing debates still taking place and the lack of real action having been taken by the league hierarchy under the leadership of newly installed commissioner , Adam Silver. As David Stern’s deputy for the last seven years , he too remained silent while the antics of Donald Sterling and Richard DeVos were well chronicled , but the ongoing idiocy remained with the league, as well as the downright apathy of the fans who sought to paint David Stern as the NBA’s savior . If nothing else, Stern ran with the ball up and down the court , simply painting a rosy picture of a league , that had underlying issues that he failed to deal with adequately and with any degree of real authority . That to my mind , shows the complete imbecilic incompetency of the NBA and the image that they have often sought to portray ! Your thoughts on this and more, simply chime in with a comment

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(1) Beleaguered NBA team owner Donald Sterling seen here in his first public interview on the CNN magazine program AC360 hosted by Anderson Cooper questioned the motives of his paramour V Stiviano , while also seeking to be critical of the NBA and former Los Angeles Lakers’ great Magic Johnson. Sterling remains somewhat delusional , believing his behavior was not racial intent and that he is misunderstood by the media and public alike . Yet for more telling were his comments about the former Lakers’ player and that of his being afflicted with the HIV AIDS’ virus and his contention that Magic Johnson has done little to aid the African-American community at large . Clearly , Sterling was unaware of Johnson’s philanthropic efforts over the last two decades and the fact that his companies employs over 25,000 individuals indirectly nationwide, many of whom are from minority backgrounds . Picture appears courtesy of CNN.com ……..

(2) Outgoing NBA Commissioner David Stern, left, is seen here with his successor Adam Silver , who became the league’s highest ranking executive at the beginning of this past season , during which Silver has been asked to deal with a number of ongoing issues beyond the yet to be resolved drama surrounding Donald Sterling . AP Photo/ Chris Robinson …..

(3) George Hill (3), Lance Stephenson (1) , Paul George (24) and Roy Hibbert (55) of the Indiana Pacers watch from the bench in the fourth quarter of the 102-79 loss to the Washington Wizards in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 13, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Getty Images North America / Andy Lyons …

(4) (L) LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat and (R) Mario Chalmers (15) of the Miami Heat react after the final whistle following their victory over the Brooklyn Nets in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 8, 2014 in Miami, Florida. The Heat would close out their series in Game five with an emphatic win over the Nets winning their conference semi-finals’ series 4-1 . Getty Images / Chris Trotman ….

(5) Tim Duncan , left of the San Antonio Spurs and LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trailblazers contest a rebound during a game in the Western Conference Semifinals between the two teams played at . San Antonio led the series 3-1 in the best of seven-game conference semi-finals series of games . The Spurs won conference semis decisively , beating the Trailblazers in game five and will now meet the victor of the series between the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder . Getty Images / Scott Palmer …………

(6) Kevin Durant (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder is fouled by Blake Griffin (32) of the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 13, 2014 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Getty Images North America / Ronald Martinez ……

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Going for broke ……..

Going for broke

I find it simply amazing the gullibility of today`s sports fan and a belief that they seem to have that because a franchise owner (NBA) is steeped in billions . There is no simplicity to the madness, that an owner can simply spend tens of millions of dollars on talent, in seeking to gain success overnight. Rarely has that been known to happen overnight and more often than not , the franchise itself may well have lost just as much as the owner has spent in acquiring the athletes to fulfill their dreams. Nowhere has this been more self-explanatory than with the fortunes of the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat in recent years . The two franchises in question are the winners of the last three NBA titles . Team owners Mark Cuban and Micky Arison are amongst the wealthiest owners in North American sports , with their names to be found amongst the Forbes` 400 wealthiest Americans. That in of-itself, is by no means a guarantee of their alleged successes as owners of a sport`s franchise. For years, both the Heat and Mavericks toiled in the obscurity of the NBA, as other more illustrious franchises held the limelight and the glare of the spotlight before attaining the success denoted in their respective histories.

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For the Dallas Mavericks after a disappointing season , during which the team posted a 41-41 record , good enough for tenth place in the Western Conference . The front office led by GM Donn Nelson and head coach Rick Carlisle , in conjunction with Mark Cuban sought to revamp the roster of last season , in the hope of building a competitive contender for the upcoming year . What has become abundantly clear with the Mavericks` owner in recent years , was that money was of no object , as he chose to offer king`s ransom to any player willing to sign with the Texas-based franchise . At the height of the executives` capricious spending in seeking to lure some of the top-flight free agents , Mavericks` payroll was as high as $92.5 million during the 2008-09 season . As the sixth seed for that year in the Western Conference , the team would meet the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the NBA Playoffs . The Mavericks` foray in the postseason would be short-lived as they would fall to the Denver Nuggets in the conference semi-finals 4-1 .

Fueled by that loss, Mark Cuban continually spent money unwisely in the chase for that elusive first NBA title, and along the way racking up losses for the Mavericks` franchise in excess of $103 million . Now one should bear in mind also that the NBA did have a soft salary cap in place , with teams exceeding the cap being penalized under the luxury tax penalty structure. . For the teams who sought to exceed that cap , NBA Commissioner David Stern and the league hierarchy continued to sell the fans a “ bill of goods“ , knowing full well that the financial health of the league`s teams were nowhere as healthy as he was trying to suggest . Between 2009 and 2011 the league`s executive committee ( hierarchy) sought financing from major financial institutions to aid teams around the NBA , who were said to suffering acute financial problems . The sum borrowed exceeded over $515 million . At the time , NBA Commissioner David Stern stated that … “monies received by these franchises should not be viewed as a bailout , but merely a way to aid the teams overcome what had been a difficult period for the NBA in the midst of an economic downturn that was adversely affecting the country “ . So good to know that at the time the league could avail itself over of a half billion dollars ($500,000,000) , while small businesses around the country could not be facilitated with a small business loan . Your thoughts on that specifically ? From 2003 to 2011 , the NBA and its teams have received financing exceeding $2.3 billion ($2,300,000,000) and yet it would appear that the greed of the league and its owners seem almost boundless .

The 2010-11 season would see the rise of the Dallas Mavericks , as the team led by Dirk Nowitzki , would finally slay the dragon , on their way to a rather surprising Finals` victory (4-2) over the highly favored Miami Heat , who were at the time were led by their trio of NBA All Stars , LeBron James , Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh . What took place during those series of games was a testament to the strength of the Mavericks and what I believe to be the sheer arrogance and complacency of the players on the Heat`s roster . Nowitzki would come away with the Finals` MVP award and adding to his legacy as perhaps the best European to have played in the NBA during its history.

This upcoming season the Dallas Mavericks will be built around Dirk Nowitzki as the central focus point of a team looking to get younger . As to how they will fare against much younger and far more athletic rosters within the Western Conference will be predicated upon the defensive and offensive capabilities , and how they are able to play in transition . The veteran forward will be looked upon to be and provide a large part of the team`s offensive productivity, Something that the player has been able provide for the franchise over the majority of his career. And it is proof , to the testament of his game and the longevity of his career.

The NBA Draft of 2003, literally provided the NBA with a plethora of stars , that over the past decade have provided the league with one of its richest era during the NBA`s existence . If you simply peruse the list of players taken over the first two rounds , you can see undeniably, that a number of those stars players are still around and very productive within the NBA. . Granted , there were a few hits and misses made by a number of teams in the assessment of the players drafted .

Lebron James taken number one overall, by the Cleveland Cavaliers would be followed by Darko Milicic , taken by the Detroit Pistons . A pick that many believe was so stupid in the sheer gullibility and lack of thought made by Pistons` GM Joe Dumars . The pick would set the franchise back for a number of years , due to Milicic`s lack of productivity , but the Pistons would somehow come through to pull off what I believe to the biggest upsets in NBA Finals` history over the past two decades , when they simply outplayed the Los Angeles Lakers on their way to the 2004 NBA Finals` championship (4-1) .

The Miami Heat`s success in acquiring their first title was built around the premise and skill-set of Dwyane Wade and surrounding him with players complementary of his skills . Wade along with center Shaquille O`Neal , Jason Williams , Gary Payton , Alonzo Mourning , Michael Doleac , Dorell Wright and other role players . Then head coach Stan Van Gundy would be ousted from his position in 2006, as the team would go on to make that season`s NBA Finals. While the controversy concerning Van Gundy`s ouster had more to do with is souring relationship with central figures O`Neal and Wade . It was widely known, that Heat team President Pat Riley sought one last shot at winning a title as a head coach. Riley denies that Van Gundy`s ouster was anything more than his desire to return to a head coaching role. Riley would excel in leading the Miami Heat to their first NBA title along with Wade`s bravura postseason performances that would also see him garner a Finals` MVP award as the team derailed the hopes of the Dallas Mavericks that season .

Micky Arison and Pat Riley would not let team expenditure in terms of the payroll be a hindrance to what was their ultimate goal . Winning that elusive first title would prove to be profitable, but also create even bigger problems going into that off-season . From a team high payroll of $119 million and with the salary cap of $49.5 million , Miami during the off-season paid just over $70 million to the league hierarchy in luxury taxes. Teams surpassing the cap figure were imposed with the customary dollar-for-dollar penalty, as mandated under the collective bargaining agreement. . The team`s payroll would drop from the aforementioned figure to a more manageable $78.2 million for the following season , but still remaining above the league mandated cap (soft salary cap) .

A patron of this site whose business acumen as such simply revolved around zeroes and the wealth of NBA franchise owners, was of the opinion that the Brooklyn Nets merely because of having acquired Kevin Garnett , Jason Terry and Paul Pierce would be a competitive franchise with the prowess of Deron Williams , Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez . The fact that the addition of the former Celtics trio adds an additional $33 million to the team`s already bloated payroll for the upcoming season which will be set at $ 102.7 million , ranking the Nets` payroll atop of the league`s thirty teams . In the past two seasons Nets` owner Mikhail Prokorov has squandered in excess of $250 million in payroll and luxury tax fees on a franchise , whose playoff run was a single appearance last season , that ended rather abruptly in a first round playoff series` loss , with the team itself , being less than competitive , lacking in leadership and any heart , in being able to play , even a modicum of defense during the postseason . Yet somehow, here was an individual now rather vainly and I do believe idiotically, trying to extol the virtues of a team where three aged veterans will not be able to truly contribute to a roster lacking in leadership and who will now have a rather inexperienced head coach at the helm, in Jason Kidd . The Brooklyn Nets are simply an organization looking to keep up with many of their more illustrious luminaries , while simply believing tat throwing money at an issue is the ultimately the best way to solve it , without showing any real knowledge of know what it is they are doing .

In the subsequent years between the Miami Heat winning first NBA title to successfully making a defense of their second title won in 2012. The franchise has seen a number of highs and lows . None more so, than the less than celebratory departure of Shaquille O`Neal and the we ill will between the player and the organization . During the intervening years , there have been multi-million dollar losses , $140 million u in total , upheaval of the rosters and a change of coaches. Pat Riley`s protege Erik Spoelstra succeeded Pat Riley in 2008 , and the young head coach brought a about a great deal of stability and , with the players buying into his coaching style and blend of youthful exuberance .

The biggest coup for the franchise however , was Pat Riley`s engineering of the deals that would bring both LeBron James and Chris Bosh to the team , along with the re-signing of Dwyane Wade. An immediate impact could be felt on the franchise’s bottom line and that proved to be fortuitous along with the astonishing rise in attendance for the organization . Teams at home facing the Miami Heat saw an immediate attendance spike , alongside concession sales . There is a unique business principle that comes into play , something I believe that is often overlooked by inane fans, simply making pronouncements about teams and their willingness to simply spend money on a whim . If you are going to make such a presumptive statement , at least have the temerity to back it up with something more substantive , than that is a good team, simply because of the makeup of the roster and the fact that the team`s owner has a great deal of money to spend . It simply shows ignorance and even more so, a lack of understanding about the economics of a sport that is not solely about X`s and O`s.

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LeBron James, since his entry into the NBA as proven to be everything the analysts and fans believed him to be. The accolades received, have been a testament to that fact , as his game has become more well-rounded , along with a leadership ability , the respect of his peers and the growing belief now , that he could very well over the next five or so years reach the unprecedented heights of surpassing almost every feat achieved by his boyhood idol Michael Jordan . There is no denying that James` decision to come to Miami, was not only of benefit to the player, but a major part in the turnaround of the franchise and the economic impact brought to the city, but quite possibly above all, to the NBA as a whole. James as now joined the rarefied air of being mentioned in the same as breath of many of the all-time greats within of the game . Justified or not, I will let you be the judge of that ! As to the statements made within this article , do you believe that the NBA can now continue on its current course, when so many of the teams choose to ignore the league`s soft salary cap ? Also , do bear in mind that in spite of the increased values of a number of the NBA franchises , a number of the organizations have acute financial issues , wherein profitability is their greatest concern . Your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter? Chime in with a comment, as you see fit.

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(1) Pictured from left to right, are Miami Heat owner , Micky Arison , head coach Erik Spoelstra and team President Pat Riley. The trio celebrating the franchise`s 2012 triumph in winning their second NBA title . A feat that would be repeated again this past postseason with the Heat`s second consecutive title and third overall in the past six seasons . The Miami Heat hope to achieve their own historic three-peat by winning a third consecutive title in the 2013-14 season . The franchise is now a heavily backed favorite by the odds-makers in Atlantic City and Las Vegas , respectively. AP Photo /Bruce Moss …..

(2) Jason Kidd , left, is seen here alongside Dallas Mavericks` team owner Mark Cuban , head coach Rick Carlisle , Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki. The group are pictured just after the franchise`s triumph over the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals . Getty Images / Kim Moran ….

(3) Mikhail Prokhorov team owner of the Brooklyn Nets is seen here with former minority stake owner in the NBA franchise , rapper and entrepreneur Jay-z . The entertainer has since sold his interest in the team back to Prokhorov , having become the founder and owner of sports` management company RocNation Sports , a full consultancy sports management firm sports marketing and promotions company , managing athletes and their business portfolios . Jay`z was also licensed as a certified sports agent by the NBA, WNBA , NFL , NHL , MLB . Prokorov for his part in conjunction with team general manager Billy King in the past two seasons have spent in excess of $ 375 million on team payroll and luxury taxes for a franchise , that has yet to progress beyond the first round of the postseason since he assumed control of the Brooklyn Nets . Getty Images / Mark McNair ….

(4) Carmelo Anthony , left is seen here with LeBron James on the night of the 2003 NBA Draft . The two players were drafted in the first round by the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers respectively , with James being the number one pick overall . NBAE/Getty Images / Christopher Riggins ….

(5) LeBron James and Michael Jordan . Comparisons are now being made between the two players and their respective careers . I believe that certain similarities can be made , but on making a call upon who is said to be the better player . It should and is best left to NBA historians after the career of James has ended , and then true comparisons can be made . Matte Inc . @ copyrighted material ……..

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NB: The NBA bailout , twenty-two of the league`s thirty teams were recipients of the funds disbursed during the years mentioned .

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tophatal ……….
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Credibility ? You’re Not Going To Find It Within The NBA

Credibility ? You’re Not Going To Find It Within The NBA

By tophatal ….

As the farce of the league hierarchy induced labor stoppage continues unabated and NBA Commissioner David Stern’s image is now taking a beating . So much so , that his fiefdom now seems to be under siege . The “House That Stern” built in conjunction with NBA great Michael Jordan is now teetering on the brink of a calamity and collapse that for most fans they’re simply apathetic as to what is taking place in front of their very eyes. The union along with its executive committee are now intent , it appears on de-certifying and quite possibly challenging the league’s antitrust exemption status within US Federal Court . Stern , Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver along with Peter Holt and now joined by Charlotte Bocats’ owner Michael Jordan , are now looking at a peaceful accord whereby the NBA could quite possibly start their regular season , albeit that it would be a mere two and a half weeks behind schedule.

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It seems ridiculous that the two sides cannot reach an equitable agreement that would see both split their $4.5 billion in annual revenues on a 50/50 basis ! Even with the league apparently now stating they’re prepared make that ratio a favorable 51/49 in the players’ favor , the union’s executive committee led by Executive Director Billy Hunter and their president Derek Fisher have publicly stated that they are not prepared to acquiesce to any of the hierarchy’s demands. This whole saga now gets even more ridiculous when you now have NBA superstars such as LeBron James “tweeting ” messages suggesting that he and his fellow players are desperate for a quick resolution to the work stoppage. James by all accounts has gone on to suggest that the economic plight of the nation affects him just as much as it would the common citizen . From my own standpoint for a player , who is earning millions of dollars annually , his rather insidious statement smacks of the stupidity you would come to expect from an athlete who has been coddled throughout much of his career as a professional er from his high school days right up to his entry into the NBA , when he was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003 .

Courtesy of Associated Press in conjunction with Yahoo Sports

Stern: ‘Rational thing’ for union is to take deal

By Brian Mahoney , AP Basketball writer

NEW YORK (AP)—NBA players are facing a Wednesday afternoon deadline to accept the league’s current proposal or face a harsher one that calls for rolling back their salaries, and Commissioner David Stern said Monday “the only rational thing to do is for us to make that deal.”

“We think that there’s a great offer on the table and what we told the players is it’s getting late, the only rational thing to do is for us to make that deal because given what’s going on in our business and our industry, it’ll get worse from there,” Stern said during an interview on ESPN.

That proposal calls for players to receive anywhere between 49 and 51 percent of basketball-related income, though players argue it would be nearly impossible for them to get anywhere above 50.2. Stern said the next one will call for a 53-47 split in the owners’ favor, along with essentially a hard salary cap.

The second proposal also calls for “existing contracts rolled back in proportion to system changes in order to ensure sufficient market for free agents,” a person who has been briefed on its contents told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contents were supposed to remain private.

The rollbacks were previously reported by CBSSports.com and The New York Times, which obtained a copy of the letter Stern sent to union executive director Billy Hunter on Sunday along with both documents.

The league had sought to roll back existing contracts to conform to a new collective bargaining agreement during an earlier proposal, but had since taken it off the table.

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As we all know LeBron James’ departure from the Cavaliers and the tumultuous tete-a-tete` between he and the team’s owner Dan Gilbert left a very unsavory taste in just about everyone’s mouth. As to the idiocy shown by the Cleveland Cavaliers’ fans , it would be safe to suggest James was about as well liked as former Cleveland Browns’ owner Art Modell . And the Browns’ former owner who simply feigned poverty and fled from the city like a thief in the night , only to surface later with in Baltimore , Maryland with a new NFL franchise to be known as the Baltimore Ravens . Modell is now a minority stake owner of the franchise which is now majority owned by Steve Bisciotti . LeBron James might now be more despised than the aged NFL veteran owner but it would be safe to say that if either were to return to the city , neither would be welcomed .

During the stoppage a number of players have either chosen to play abroad in such countries as Russia , France , Lithuania , Spain , Greece and Italy . Others however , who’ve refrained from pursuing that opening have organized a number of charity games displaying their skills across the country for the fans to see. All well and good , no doubt being done with altruistic motives as they and their union seek the fans’ sympathy . While this is now going on, it would appears that there’s a fracturing in the solidarity of the team owners and their support of the league hierarchy , with Charlotte Bobcats’ owner Michael Jordan now openly voicing his support for the NBPA and the players . Do you get the feeling that David Stern would now like nothing better than putting his boot to Jordan’s ass ?

Courtesy of AP & Yahoo Sports

NBA union: No deal; no fear of ultimatum, either

By Brian Mahoney , AP Sports Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP)—NBA players made it clear Tuesday: No deal.

No fear of Commissioner David Stern’s ultimatum, either.

“The current offer on the table from the NBA is one that we cannot accept,” players’ association president Derek Fisher said.

Instead, the players said they will ask for another meeting with owners before Stern’s Wednesday afternoon deadline—and sound willing to agree to a 50-50 split of revenues under the right circumstances—in an attempt to end the lockout and save the season.

In an interview on NBA TV, Stern said that whether he agrees to meet “would be guided by the labor relations committee.”

NBA spokesman Mike Bass said the league has not yet heard from Hunter.

A month of the season has already been lost, and the NBA risks losing fans without an agreement soon. Some already appear to have forgotten Blake Griffin , last season’s rookie of the year, stood around in the lobby of a busy hotel off Broadway and was rarely approached by fans.

The league’s current proposal calls for players to receive between 49 percent and 51 percent of basketball-related income, though union officials argue it would be nearly impossible to get above 50.2 percent.

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If the union were to de-certify and become a trade association it certainly makes their position a great deal easier in challenging the NBA hierarchy within the federal court system . Stern , the league hierarchy and team owners are not willing to have their books opened up for public scrutiny . But at the same time the commissioner and owners simply plead poverty , while the owners and general managers each season through their sheer avarice choose not to rein costs. If only the owners would simply practice what they preach when it comes to being financially prudent. David Stern may well have been at the helm of the NBA structure while its ascent from a small niche operation and sport , to where it now has become a multi billion dollar business entity whose tentacles now stretch across the globe. And inasmuch as the league’s popularity is still high , there are now quiet rumblings abroad as to the inaction of the league hierarchy and the very fact that not is the commissioner’s image tarnished but that too , of the NPBA (union).

The NBA’s fastest growing market has been in the Far East and in particular within the nation of China and its populace of 1.6 billion . The game’s ascent in popularity grew exponentially with the rise in popularity of Yao Ming . And with the player since having retired due recurring knee and feet ailments , specifically plantar fasciitis , you can understand the reason why the NBA would simply feel aggrieved if now they are being criticized by the print and television media within China because of the ongoing labor impasse . If the Chinese journalists who cover the NBA within its own country can be so terse in their criticism but here there has been about as much intense scrutiny of the stoppage without there being little if any in depth of analysis of the events as they have unfolded. Instead we are simply fed mere snippets and sound bytes from the paeans within the league’s hierarchy structure as when they deem it reasonable to do so.

David Stern’s grip on the league has been like that of a third world despot whose tyrannical reign might well have been along the lines of Idi Amin . While the former Ugandan dictator over the course of his rule is known to have committed numerous atrocities against the civilian population , as well as allegation of cannibalism . It can be said at this juncture the only thing that the commissioner has yet to do is to actually consume the head of one of the executive committee members of the NBPA . The animus between the union and league shows no sign of abating , it is now becoming increasingly clear that the impasse between the two sides has reached a point where perhaps it would be better if the two parties’ interest could be best determined within a courtroom. Arbitration between the two sides with a mediator from the FMCS has thus far served no real purpose . The governmental agency presided over by its director George Cohen has simply heard one side simply deride each other , with little inroads being made by either side to show any form of progress. Truth be known , the longer this impasse goes on the less relevant the NBA becomes and the likelihood of one or quite possibly two NBA teams could quite possibly fold . It has already been hinted at by Billy Hunter and there are already grave doubts as to the financial viability of the Sacramento Kings , albeit that team owner Joe Maloof and Geoff Petrie .

The Sacramento Kings to my mind have held the city of Sacramento hostage with their demands and rather naively the city’s mayor Kevin Johnson has began to cave into the organization’s demands . The former NBA star and now city politician is now looking at ways into working in conjunction with local businesses in building a state of the art facility for the team. Johnson has not stated that this publicly but it is clear that public monies in part , will be used to finance any such endeavor with very little guarantee that the Kings’ organization will show any type of reciprocity on their part, in assisting with the financing of such a venue . And I get the feeling that David Stern will be front and center in expediting any deal that would allow an NBA franchise to be once again the benefactor of public funds while also at the same time garnering a number of beneficial tax write offs . All this and the mayor has an unemployment rate that is slightly above the national average within his city and a growing homeless rate but his biggest push is to see the building of a state of the art facility for a family whose estimated net worth is said to be approaching $2.5 billion . Somehow , the NBA , its owners and league hierarchy not only has more than a credibility problem but also one of integrity , honesty as well as a serious image problem ! Anyone who believes that to be to the contrary may well have their lips firmly pressed against David Stern’s sphincter waiting to suck on that act of flatulence .

With the announcement having been made that the league will postpone the first two weeks of the November regular season schedule and now it would appear the month will be completely abandoned altogether. With the preseason having been already lost and an estimated $350 million in preseason revenues , you can understand the urgency behind the NBA’s wish to have the season commence at some point . However , for the union, anything that they can continue to do that would in essence purloin that premise for the league only further exacerbates the fact that they have no real urgency to see the league up and running. Were that the case, then we would already have had a resolution with which both sides would find amenable . The league’s players and union are selling the fans a “bill of goods” that now is of no real value . The NBA brand is no longer what it once and the fact that many of its brightest stars have simply become a slew of preening Prima-donnas whose only wish is to simply be viewed as the victims , rather than the antagonists in this rather idiotic drama that is now being played out for the fans and public’s consumption .

From my own perspective , I have become sick and tired of a bunch mindless idiotic millionaire athletes and multi millionaire owners simply bitch and whine they themselves have been real cause for the malaise that they now find themselves in ! It has been the same occurrence within baseball , football and hockey — ________ in reality the four major professional sports and the hierarchies who govern those pastimes have simply become bastions of greed and corruption . Doubt my word ? Simply ask yourself this what has the NBA done that has really been of benefit for the consumer ? Philanthropic efforts asides , that is merely a gimmick by those hierarchies to begin with , because they benefit far more by the largesse given to them not only by state and municipal agencies but also from the federal government .

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this article ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit and as always thanks for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

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(1) Rudy Gay enters the arena for his charity basketball game at the Desoto Civic Center in Memphis Tennessee , on Tuesday Nov. 8, 2011. AP Photo/The Commercial Appeal, Nikki Boertman ….

(2) NPBA Executive Director Billy Hunter (left) and union president Derek Fisher address the convened press to discuss the ongoing impasse between the league and union concerning the equitable disbursement of BRI (basketball related income) . Neither side finds the others’ offer acceptable . The union now seems to be intent on taking the step to de-certify and perhaps challenge the NBA’s antitrust exemption within the US Federal Court as a way of forcing the league to in part acquiesce to their wishes. Something that NBA Commissioner David Stern would most definitely like to avoid . AP Photos/ Paul Matthews …..

(3) Miami Heat’s LeBron James shoots between the defense of Memphis Grizzlies’ Rudy Gay (22) and Corey Maggette (2) during Rudy Gay’s charity basketball game at the Desoto Civic Center Tuesday Nov. 8, 2011. AP Photo/The Commercial Appeal, Nikki Boertman …

(4) Billy Hunter, Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association, and Derek Fisher , President of the National Basketball Players Association speak at a press conference after the NBPA held a meeting to discuss the NBA lockout at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on November 8, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

(5) Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett (L) and Miami Heat owner Micky Arison (R) arrive for NBA labor negotiations at Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on November 5, 2011 in New York City. Players have been seeking 52.5 percent of revenues in their favor but owners want a deal at 53-47 along with a hard salary cap. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images ……

(6) Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan arrives for NBA labor negotiations at Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on November 5, 2011 in New York City. Players have been seeking 52.5 percent of revenues in their favor but owners want a deal at 53-47 along with a hard salary cap. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

(7) NBA Commissioner David Stern talks with reporters, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, in New York. Stern canceled the first two weeks of the season after players and owners were unable to reach a new labor deal to end the lockout. At left is Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver. Opening night was scheduled for Nov 1st 2011. AP Photo /David Karp …..

(8) In this photo taken Friday, May 13, 2011, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, right, discuss the Sacramento Kings basketball team with California state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg , D-Sacramento, as they walk into Steinberg’s Capitol office in Sacramento, Calif. Johnson, a former NBA all-star with the Phoenix Suns, has worked the last couple of months to keep the Kings in Sacramento . AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli …

(9) Sacramento City Mayor Kevin Johnson is seen here with Gavin Maloof ,co-owner of the Sacramento Kings, also in picture is ESPN journalist & reporter Heather Cox . AP/Photo/Daily Life / Christopher Mayhew …..
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Shay Laren/

Hot chic pic of the day Shay Laren . For more pictures Shay merely click on the link provided for your own personal edification .

Stupid Is , Can’t Be As Stupid Does , Can It …. ?

Stupid Is , Can’t Be As Stupid Does , Can It …. ?

So just when you thought that all that would appear just when we had seen it all concerning the rabid stupidity that exists within collegiate athletics. It would appear that Auburn Tigers’ football coach Gene Chizik is extremely unhappy that the NCAA is still continuing its investigation of the school. Chizik had an impromptu conversation with the NCAA’s vice president for enforcement Judie Loah Roach during which the officer informed the coach that the school and its recruitment of Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton was still under investigation. As we all know there said to be a number of improprieties concerning the player’s recruitment . The player’s father Cecil Newton is said to still be a person of interest in this ongoing investigation . It’s plain to see that there is a great deal at stake should the school be found to be in violation of any type of NCCA rules . The jury is out and the blow-back from this all could very well be another nail in the coffin of another very prestigious collegiate athletics’ program.

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So the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive player James Harrison is simply proving once again why players from the NFL are better to be seen on the field of play rather than being heard . The player fresh off last season’s numerous fines has become a bona-fide asshole of the highest order ! . In criticizing the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell calling him “a crook” , “a devil “ , “a tyrant” and an ” autocratic despot “ whose power simply knows no bounds . At the same time the player was also critical of his teammate Ben Roethlisberger and the very fact that the player at times was simply not playing to the best of his abilities and was being reliant on the defense to bail out the team far too often over the course of last season . Pardon me for saying this , but shouldn’t Harrison be the one to voice these opinions behind closed doors amongst his teammates and the coaching staff as it relates to the team’s play ? As to his criticism of the commissioner , once it’s out there it becomes too late to take it all back . And that is now what the player now seems to be doing by stating that his statements were completely taken out of context. I certainly believe that when it’s all said and done if it is not Mike Tomlin who ends up speaking to James Harrison about his comments then quite possibly look a senior official from the front office to hold a private conversation with the player .

The Pittsburgh Steelers has always been an organization that chooses to conduct their problems behind closed doors and to try and make sure that the players as such are of the highest order in terms of their character. It is easy to undersstand why the are considered one of the most respected teams within the NFL and the success achieved in large part has come down to the fact here has been very little volatility within the organization and turnover in terms of the coaching staff. Unfortunately , with the antics of Santonio Holmes , Plaxico Burress and in particular Roethlisberger , his infantile and rather asinine antics over the last few years has led the Rooney family to once again scrutinize the players on the roster. Recently we had the team’s veteran wide receiver Hines Ward busted for DUI and with the player initially stating that wasn’t intoxicated, only for the police to later inform us that Ward was indeed driving over the legal limit . He would later offer an apology to his teammates and the organization for his behavior .

Shit we know rolls downhill but boy , oh boy the NBA and in particular the league hierarchy now looks as if they will try and do anything to shovel it uphill. The hierarchy feels aggrieved that the NBPA (union ) will be allowed to retain the larger part of $160 million from an escrow account that they funded based on the terms that should their cumulative salary exceed 57% of the basketball related income . Now with the teams owners and hierarchy now under siege with their position now looking all the more perilous David Stern seeks into increase their profile and take the upper hand in the ongoing lockout . It would appear that management would seek to impune the integrity of the union. The league feels that the funds in question should be placed back into a general fund rather than be at the players’ disposal . Somehow you simply knew that the league could not be trusted to show any type of integrity at all.

The NBA is still at odds with the players and the fact that they are still asserting that they are losing money. But many of the league’s problems can be traced back to the fact that Stern allowed the teams and in particular the general managers run amok with in terms of the team salaries as they seek success with apparent abandonment . David Stern has long maintained that the teams are on track to lose hundreds of millions of dollars for the fiscal year. Last season’s losses were in excess $300 million and this year it is projected to be considerably higher . It seems rather ridiculous to think that the league having set a soft salary cap in place would then seek to allow those very same teams to far exceed the figure of $57 million and then expect there not to be any serious ramifications for the league’s excessive spending .

It seems rather strange that many of the league’s high profiled owners such as Mikhail Prokhorov , Jerry Buss , Michael Jordan , James Dolan , Peter Holt and Michael Heisley have all remained steadfast behind the commissioner . However , the longer this situation goes on there is the likelihood that we may well begin to see some dissent amongst the owners who may challenge the stance the league hierarchy is taking . From my own perspective , the lockout has become simply an issue of egos and which party feels that their stance appears to be the best option available. At some point this impasse has to be resolved because before we actually know it the preseason training schedule will be upon us. It’s pretty much safe to say that neither side wants to be in this for the long haul and now with a number of players envisioning that this dispute may well be for a prolonged period we are seeing a number of them considering the lucrative option of playing abroad. It certainly will be advantageous for New Jersey Nets’ point guard Deron Williams who has signed a one year $ 5 million contract with the Turkish side Beseitkas.

Unless I missed something which I am glad that I did but the MLB All Star Game had to be one of the most boring in recent memory. Never mind the 5-1 lopsided result and win for the National League but the game had one of the lowest ratings in almost a decade and this can’t have been what Fox actually wanted from the game’s midseason show case event. At the same time the question now being asked is how best the whole format of the All Star Game can be changed where it is more of an exhilarating event not only for the participants but also for the fans in attendance and those watching the broadcast. Given the actual idiocy of the whole damn format with the fans picking the actual players they want to see on the respective rosters makes this whole event all the more asinine to begin with.

Baseball is a sport that in large part looks to its past in terms of its legitimacy and legacy as the nation’s pass-time . But once Bud Selig assumed control as commissioner of the league his reign and the fact that the league hierarchy has essentially become clueless as the most acute needs of the game , it should not have surprised anyone at all as to the outcome of the spectacle. One listless team simply didn’t turn up at all but somehow they were assured of their respective team incentives. The NL simply dished out an ass whupping of the highest order leaving the AL with their tails hanging between their legs . At this point will there anyone at all interested in the fact that next season’s game will be held at the home of the Kansas City Royals ? Well , I guess not ! The league hierarchy much like the team owners have become totally bereft any ideas and creativity when it now comes to the marketing of the game , its brand in general and likewise as it relates to the All Star Game . Tuesday night was very much a clear indication of that and it was there for all to bear witness to !

Well at last someone had the foresight to hire Brian Shaw with the former Los Angeles Lakers’ assistant coach being overlooked for several of the offseason vacancies that came about . Indiana Pacers’ general manager Larry Bird having interviewed Shaw , hired the former player to be the assistant to Frank Vogel and his staff. Bird has made it clear the new assistant’s role will to teach the players on the Pacers’ roster how best to improve their all-round game . I’ve no doubt that Shaw will prove to be a valuable asset to the team and with being able to provide to a great deal of insight as to what it takes to be successful from a player’s standpoint . If anything this steadies a listless ship and all but assures the team of retaining their best player Danny Granger who could opt to become free agent after the upcoming season.

The Pacers’ organization is flushed with youthful talent but Vogel’s biggest problem has been to harness it all into one cohesive and effective unit. With the addition of Brian Shaw and the existing members of coaching staff we could very well see something of a resurgence from this team. Not since the days of Reggie Miller and Rik Smits have the Pacers been deemed worthy to be considered a legitimate force within the NBA . And granted over the years the organization has had its problems stemming from neglect and the fact that the team was seen as one of the back-water stop offs in players’ career when they’re said to be on the decline. If things are to change with the thought of a turnaround in mind then perhaps with Brian Shaw and Frank Vogel working in tandem there could very well be something beginning to foment within the organization.

On the outside looking in I am not so sure to make of the situation now encapsulating the furor of the US women’s soccer team having made it to the finals of the World Cup . As great an accomplishment as this has been and the fact that the country will be chasing its first Cup win since 1999 the game barely registers a blip on the consciousness of the masses domestically here at home . Granted , all of the patriotism comes to the foreground in the times of triumph but what one sees as a triumph then is simply eroded when you considers that attendances for games at the club level within the WPSL ( Womens Premier Soccer League) averages no more than 2,500 per game . Salaries for players at the club level where the median is approximately $25,000 per year offers the players little by way of comfort with many of them choosing to hold down a civilian position beyond playing or for many of the top stars , some choose to split their time playing overseas.

The 2011 World Cup has to be considered a success for FIFA and in particular for the entrants to this year’s competition. Some of the matches have been competitive while others have been what one might consider to be extremely boring. But the back-drop to this all has been the very fact that the US team has sought redemption and they now have a chance at that by defeating their upcoming opponent Japan in the final game of the tournament .

Both sides have reached this stage of the competition having defeated two teams in semi-finals thought to be their equal at the international level. Japan defeated Sweden in a thoroughly convincing fashion 3-1 and the US had their problems with Brazil having to overcome a deficit before defeating the team in a penalty shootout (5-3) after a 2-2 tie in regulation .

In the final itself , we should expect a highly competitive game between two evenly matched teams . Team USA brings along the experience and a more physical style of play but Japan has speed , exuberance and a technical aspect that one would not normally associate with a team from the Far East. But much of that may well come down to the fact that there are a number high quality European coaches at the club level within the country where fan support for the game reaches rabid proportions. Obviously something that the WPSL yearns for here in the US but it still lacks support of the fans in general and the willingness of the networks to give the game much or airtime than it is now obtaining . Coverage of the game has been primarily with ESPN where basically much of women’s sports now finds its support from a viewing standpoint not only at the professional level but also at the collegiate level. Somehow one can only imagine that Title IX (Title IX) was meant to create something of a level playing field but in reality the success attained by the enactment by this legislation has not really done enough to put women’s sport on the map in the true sense of the word.

Should the USA win Sunday’s final match then we may well see something of an advancement in the game here domestically but considering the missteps along the way previously in trying to create a professional league at the club level , I firmly believe that soccer at the women’s level here much like their male counterpart still has a long way to go before it gets any real level of respect that they feel they rightly deserve . The nation has yet to take the game into its heart , feel as if it is something it can truly appreciate and that is in spite of the fact that now the game is now being played by more children at the middle , high school level and by collegiate players than baseball and basketball combined . Something to think about don’t you think ? And while the game of soccer resonate around the globe with its throng of fans it remains a bewildering back-drop for most here simply because the NBA , NFL , MLB , NASCAR and NHL rule the roost when it comes fans wanting to see something a great deal more exhilarating than 22 players chasing a round ball up down a field .

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In light of the points raised within this piece what thoughts if any do you have ? Do leave a comment as to your thoughts and thanks as always for the continued support !

Alan aka tophatal ……. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) Auburn coach Gene Chizik watches the first day of spring football practice for the national champion Auburn Tigers in Auburn, Ala., Wednesday, March 23, 2011. AP Photo / Garry Finkel …..

(2) FILE – In this Nov. 13, 2010 file photo, Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton (2) dunks coach Gene Chizik following a 49-31 win over Georgia in an NCAA college football game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. Chizik wants Auburn fans to remember Newton “as a great individual,” not just a Heisman Trophy-winning player. The Tigers coach defends the No. 1 NFL draft pick in the upcoming book “All In” but says it is “really a story about football, family and faith.” Chizik discussed the book Wednesday, June 29, 2011, ahead of its July 5 release that will have him hit the road for a promotional tour with nine stops in four states. AP Photo/Dave Martin ….

(3) FILE – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell listens to questions during a news conference at the NFL football owners meetings in Rosemont, Ill., in this June 21, 2011 file photo. Heavily fined Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison calls NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a “crook” and a “devil,” among other insults, in a magazine article in the August issue of Men’s Journal. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ….

(4) FILE – Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison (92) warms up before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Pittsburgh, in this Dec. 23, 2010 file photo. Heavily fined Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison calls NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a “crook” and a “devil,” among other insults, in a magazine article in the August issue of Men’s Journal. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar ……

(5) NBA union chief Billy Hunter speaks to reporters after a meeting with the NBA, Thursday, June 30, 2011 in New York. The NBA is headed to deadline day, with perhaps one last chance to avoid a lockout. Negotiators for owners and players will meet Thursday, about 12 hours before the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement and seemingly nowhere close to a deal. That meeting however would lead to the league mandated shutdown of the NBA . AP Photo/Mary Altaffer ……

(6) National League All-Star Prince Fielder (28) of the Milwaukee Brewers and his sons Jaden (R) and Haven pose with the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award after the National League defeated the American League 5-1 in the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Getty Images North America / Jeff Gross ……

(7) National League All-Star Lance Berkman (12) of the St. Louis Cardinals is tagged out at second base by American League All-Star Robinson Cano (24) of the New York Yankees in the bottom of the second inning of the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix,Az . Getty Images North America/ Jeff Gross ….

(8) Indiana Pacers new assistant head coach Brian Shaw responds to a question during a news conference in Indianapolis, .Wednesday, July 13, 2011. AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(9) Pia Sundhage (2nd L) coach of the U.S. laughs as she listens to striker Abby Wambach (2ndR) during a practice session for the upcoming final of the women’s soccer World Cup in Frankfurt July 15, 2011. The U.S. will play Japan in the World Cup final on Sunday in Frankfurt. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach ….

(10) USA’s goalkeeper Hope Solo is stretched during a training session on July 15, 2011 in Frankfurt/Main, two days before the final football match of the FIFA women’s football World Cup Japan vs USA at the FIFA Frauen-WM-Stadion in Frankfurt/Main, central Germany, on July 17, 2011. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE …..

(11) Members of Japan’s women’s soccer team pose with placards from Japanese children from Frankfurt’s International School prior to a practice session in Frankfurt July 15, 2011. Japan will play the U.S. in the World Cup final on Sunday, July 17, in Frankfurt. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach …….

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Ship Ahoy ………. Look Out For Another Mystery That’s About To Take On A Life Of Its Own

Ship Ahoy ………. Look Out For Another Mystery That’s About To Take On A Life Of Its Own

So here we are and with the ongoing NFL work stoppage now looking as if it’s liable to be a prolonged situation . It no longer comes as a surprise to me that the players are looking to paint the league and the team owners in a poor light. At the same time the league hierarchy isn’t about to make any concessions only seeking to further make this embattled situation more intolerable for the fans . At this juncture it’s pretty safe to say the longer the situation goes on the more suspect that I am the league schedule for the proposed 2011 season won’t commence on time as projected for the 3rd September . Suffice to say that both Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith as the highest ranked executives within the NFL and NFLPA might just be the most despised individuals in professional sports at present.

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Drew Brees in a public statement made the claim that the NFL were circled _____ that their target was indeed the NFLPA like sharks smelling blood after the death of former union executive director Gene Upshaw as they left it would be the right time to seek a change in what was the collective bargaining agreement as it stood at the time. I’m not so sure that I’d disagree with the claims being made by Brees but at the same time I’ve also got to question the confrontational approach of the union as this has all played itself out. From my own standpoint as this idiocy plays itself out and with there now being talk of the NBA quite possibly having their own problems with there also being a lockout there as well I can’t help but wonder when the next shoe will drop. David Stern and his counterpart Billy Hunter are now trying to create the perception that they are capable of acting like mature adults , albeit that the league hierarchy seems to be frustrated at the divergence in the differing views as to what’s best for the league. Union President Derek Fisher and the executive committee has said that the union isn’t prepared to make any concessions without the league itself acceding to the union’s own demands . Given the financial instability of the NBA and the fact that they are projected to lose in excess of $450 million for the fiscal year 2011 .

The NFL is up the creek without a paddle and it appears that the NBA isn’t that far behind as to their stupidity . The NBA’s postseason show case event the NBA Finals are now front and center with the Dallas Mavericks taking on the Miami Heat . A clash of styles and with a quartet of All Stars in Dirk Nowitzki , <a href=”http://nba.com/playerfile/lebron_james/”&gt; LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade . This series has the makings of being a classic if both teams play up to their true potential . But with that being said I can’t help but wonder if the outcome could once again be the same as before when these two teams last met in an NBA Finals in 2006 . The Mavericks would go on to lose that series 4-2 in what turned out to be very much a lopsided finals’ series . The Heat for their part during that series saw Finals MVP Dwyane Wade have a memorable NBA Finals in leading the team to their sole win of a championship. For then coach Pat Riley that would be his fourth NBA title as a coach over the course of his already legendary NBA career.

With Riley now as the team President he now has his protege` Erik Spoelstra coaching this star studded team . The young coach along with his Dallas Mavericks’ counterpart Rick Carlisle are both looking for their first title as a coach. And for Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban and team GM Donnie Walsh they may well now see this as the organization’s chance at redemption. The acquisition of Tyson Chandler has certainly bolstered the mindset of this Mavericks’ team . Certainly throughout this postseason Dirk Nowitzki has been playing like a man on a mission and he’s been ably assisted by a supporting cast that have simply stepped up to the plate .

The Dallas Mavericks for their part made light work of the Oklahoma City Thunder in a thoroughly convincing fashion defeating Scott Brooks’ team —- 4-1 . For many this result may not have come as a surprise but I for one certainly didn’t feel that the Thunder would wilt so easily but then again with this being such an inexperienced team it is understandable that they would succumb under such circumstances.

The Miami Heat are heavily favored to win this series match-up and with their dynamic trio all playing at a </ahigh caliber this postseason showcase event could either be suspenseful or an unmitigated disaster with the Heat simply walking over the Dallas Mavericks with a great deal of ease. I’d certainly like to think that Mavericks will abate all our fears and make this a memorable NBA Finals ! I’ve no doubt that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade would like disprove that although the Mavericks may well have won their regular season series 2-0 the postseason becomes a completely different environment altogether. There’s a great deal more on the line and as such NBA immortality and a legacy to play for as well as an NBA title. That should be enough an incentive for both teams to showcase their undoubted talent and supply the discerning NBA fan with the best possible extravaganza that they can witness . With a worldwide audience approaching 500 million hoping to witness the event ABC as the host broadcast network will be looking to magnify the brand of the NBA as well as their own broadcast talents. And I am sure that David Stern will be hoping that the emerging markets will like what they see. The NBA brand has reached its maturation and saturation point within North America and the league hierarchy now has to look elsewhere to see how best to make the game still a viable and profitable concern. God knows with the mismanagement of the league and the financial mismanagement amongst the teams by their owners and the respective general managers and you can well understand why the league wants a thoroughly entertaining series . Anything that can showcase the league as a entertaining concern would undoubtedly make the NBA a lure for the fan.

As a bye note can someone explain to me how it is that all of a sudden idiocy rears its ugly head with the regard to the comparisons and contrasts with regard to the careers of LeBron James and Michael Jordan . Now looking to add their own thoughts on the matter happens to be none other than Jordan’s former teammate and fellow Hall of Fame inductee Scottie Pippen . The former Bulls’ player stated in a radio interview with hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic on their morning radio show “Mike & Mike” would state that Jordan being the game’s greatest scorer but James to his mind can be considered to be the game’s greatest player. Perhaps his statement can be misconstrued but in reality the idiocy of that statement at this juncture simply doesn’t make that much sense . James has yet to win a title and when I last looked two consecutive league MVP awards simply means nothing albeit that there’s a a couple of scoring titles to be added to that resume`. LeBron James needs to win NBA multiple titles before the contrasts and comparison can actually be made . Scottie needs to take a chill pill , quieten down before he alienates himself not only within the city of Chicago but also with his former teammates . If there’s one thing I know…… you simply don’t bite the fu#king hand that feeds you and for Scottie Pippen the hand that fed him was indeed Michael Jeffrey Jordan ! Enough said on the matter I do believe !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Simply chime in with a comment on your thoughts as to the points raised within this piece and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………………….

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 03: New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees makes his way into the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building for the NFL negotiations on March 3, 2011 in Washington, DC. Photo by Rod Lamkey/Getty Images ……….

(2) Drew Brees has organized workouts for his teammates while trying to organize labor negotiating efforts with NFL owners.
Jonathan Bachman/Cal Sport Media ……

(3) Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, right, watches fellow teammate Jason Terry, left, during practice on Sunday, May 29, 2011, in Dallas. AP Photo/Mike Fuentes ……

(4) Miami Heat basketball players LeBron James (left) and Dwyane Wade talk to the media after a practice session in Miami, Sunday, May 29, 2011. The Heat will play the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA basketball finals on Tuesday . AP Photo/J Pat Carter ………

(5) Jordan and Pippen in a moment of triumph , one of many that the duo had over the course of their career with the Chicago Bulls. Also pictured is Steve Kerr a multiple title winner himself.

(6) A young LeBron James (left) gets the chance to meet his idol Michael Jordan . courtesy of je520wordpress.com ……

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NBA news

Dallas Mavericks news

Miami Heat news

NBA Finals 2011

NFL News

New Orleans news

Now What ?

Now What ?

Well the NFL Draft began and over the course of three days Radio City Music Hall , New York City well become the epicenter of the NFL world . Never mind the fact that although Judge Susan Richard Nelson has sided with the players over their challenge of the league’s mandated lockout the nation’s top collegiate players will be front and center as the teams and their front office executives and coaches will assuage and assess their merits .

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Slide show for your perusal .

No real surprise as Cam Newton was taken number one overall by the Carolina Panthers having been the league’s worse team record wise last season. The draft itself as it continues and until its culmination on Saturday will provide the fans with a great many surprises and no doubt a great deal of disappointment as to the choices that’ll no doubt be made by the various teams. As a discerning fan I for one am not overly interested in the process , as from my own perspective until that first snap and first down is made on an NFL field during a regular season game we’re totally unsure what to expect from the rookies stepping up to the professional ranks . Suffice to say , that the likes of Newton , Von Miller , Marcell Dareus , A J Green , Patrick Peterson and Julio Jones are now set for life financially having been taken as the first six players in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft.

That being said I expect a number trades to take place too as some teams may well look to off-load a prospective free agent in order to move up in the draft order in order to obtain a player that meets their needs. Given the still unclear picture of the league landscape and the very fact that though a 2011 schedule has been made public the fans are still unclear as to what awaits them in terms of there actually be a regular NFL season. The owners have still vowed to fight on in spite of Nelson’s verdict and her denying them a right of appeal at the Appellate Division . So the only recourse for the league and owners would be to challenge that decision in the Supreme Court , with that challenge being heard by the Justices there . And the likelihood that Chief Justice John Roberts and his colleagues supersede or overturn that decision seems highly unlikely , unless the the league as the plaintiffs, can provide a clear and substantive proof that Nelson erred in rendering her original decision .

For now in terms of anything tangible all the NFL fan simply has at this moment in time is that draft and the parade of the players as chattel bound for a new owner. For the analysts and draft geeks I’m of no doubt that they’re well on their way to making prognostications as to who has done well in the first two rounds and who may well have made a profound miscalculation with their picks . Be that as it may , no one really knows for sure what is liable to happen with these players until that first whistle is blown and the season should there be one , gets underway. Then and only then , will we be able to gauge these players and how they’re likely to do.

I’m sorry, but now is not the time for excuses ,…………. especially when your team gets handed its own ass on the proverbial silver platter for all to see . Having watched in large part several of the games in the NBA playoff series between the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic , I have come to the conclusion that the Magic have and become the softest team in the Eastern Conference merely not only from a mental standpoint but also from a physical one as well ! At no time throughout this series has the Orlando Magic actually played well much less with any degree of consistency . If anything their play has been erratic and if anything the hype over these players and in particular the aspirations of Dwight Howard being a viable league MVP candidate was simply hyperbole and not much else . Big players step up and lead , here’s been a clear cut case wherein Howard has simply bitched and complained as things haven’t gone his way and where the team’s animated coach Stan Van Gundy has simply proven that when it really matters most , in the face of real adversity he simply cannot instill anything into this team. I’ve heard it said that a league MVP simply means being the best player on the team , I think it goes way beyond that , as it means also showing leadership qualities and actually getting those around you to raise the level of their play. If anyone can point to the fact where Howard has shown any semblance of the latter during this series where a teammate has stepped up and followed his lead then someone please intervene and show me such an instance ?

This series essentially was over once the Hawks took to taking the Magic and exposing all of their flaws bare for all to see . A one dimensional team that lacked creativity and imagination. The likes of Gilbert Arenas , Jason Richardson and Quentin Richardson have literally been stealing money from the Orlando Magic and undeniably it has been Van Gundy , the front office executives and GM Otis Smith who have been culpable in creating this unmitigated mess with the Orlando Magic in its present guise . There has been no cohesion on this roster as it has simply been assembled as a group of mismatched pieces . The trades that took place that gave berth to the roster must’ve been thought up as a quip at first because in terms of offensive presence what had been hoped simply didn’t materialize and in terms of defensive voracity it wasn’t on display by the Magic as Jamal Crawford , Josh Smith , Al Horford and the sighting of Joe Johnson made the Magic seem all the more irrelevant during the series . Hard to believe that Magic were actually the number four seeds in the Eastern Conference but that’s what one tends to get suckered into if you simply take a record at face value rather than looking over the entire body of work and what’s brought to the table in terms of anything tangible .

Game six and that result (84-81) was an emphatic statement as to which team was simply deserving of this series . Having lost the series (4-2) the Magic , the coaching staff and team will have to reassess where , why and how things all went so badly wrong . This much is certain the Orlando Magic in its present guise I firmly believe will be completely new entity for the start of the 2011-12 season . I certainly don’t believe that Smith , Van Gundy and in particular team owner Rich DeVos , President & CEO Bob Vander Weide and the other senior executives of the Magic can be entirely happy with the outcome of this seris from a competitive or financial standpoint. Especially in light of franchise’s ongoing difficulties , albeit, that they’re now esconced in their new facility the Amway Center in downtown Orlando . The NBA and in particular in order to remain viable not just from a competitive standpoint also have to remain a viable one from a financial standpoint also . And that if anything has cast a shadow over the organization over the past several years . With NBA Commissioner David Stern and the league hierarchy projecting a fiscal loss of anywhere between $400 to $500 million you can well understand why it was imperative for the team to have had some semblance this postseason . Instead they’re now back to the drawing board looking to start over again with a plan in face hopefully with something that will lead to that ultimate goal of securing the club its first NBA title .

Given that in 2009 , the Orlando Magic were one of 18 teams around the NBA who were in receipt of a $175 million bailout courtesy of the league hierarchy by way of several financial institutions which the league itself has guaranteed . In 2010 the same exercise was again the norm with a further $300 million and it begs the question what’s going on with the NBA and in particular with its own financial template ? Anyone care to take a guess ?

I don’t know about you but as more information is divulged about Jim Tressel’s actions and the fact that he knew full well of several players’ improprieties , in their actions of selling memorabilia for financial gain. The more I ask myself , how is it that he still has a job at Ohio State ? Pardon me for saying this but how the fuck can the university condone these actions with a mere slap on the wrist by simply doing nothing more than asking Tressel to make a public apology and handing down a rather menial suspension ? The players involved in this subterfuge as such still have their athletic careers in tact but this simply gives further credence as to how corrupt collegiate athletics has become and the mere fact that the universities and the NCAA are powerless to stop any form of malfeasance that takes place . If Tressel can be allowed to remain on campus without there being real consequence for his actions , lying to senior faculty members and the press alike then it simply tells about this coach’s complete lack of integrity and character. And to think there are idiots about who still think of him as some type of role model ? Only a friggin’ idiot would be of that mindset I believe !

Dr E Gordon Gee the university’s president and Athletic Director Gene Smith have stated that they hope that episode can be put behind them and the school can proceed forward with its integrity still in tact . Well my answer to both Gee and Smith ….. ” had you had the balls to do what is morally right then perhaps your statements could be treated with a degree of realism “ . But given the fact that both have shown that they’d rather keep Tressel within their midst and with a tainted reputation simply emphasizes that within collegiate athletics ….. money simply trumps everything . There’s no denying that the football program brings in countless millions for the school but what that says about the school’s own image and the mere fact that they’d believe that Tressel’s less contrite apology makes up for his misdeeds shows and indicate how naive they actually are .

NCAA President Mark Emmert has stated that he’d like see a situation where student athletes would be able to receive some form of stipend while their collegiate athletic career is ongoing . But that’s something that I for one believe that the purists and many of the various athletic conferences might not be willing to part-take in . Not if it’s going to diminish what they’re receiving in terms of filling their monetary coffers . Imagine you have SEC Commissioner Mike Slive who’s now more concerned whether not the actions of Mark Shurtleff as Attorney General of Utah is stepping outside of his legal parameters ? Merely because Shurtleff wants to challenge the BCS’s antitrust exemption status and where he also feels that the BCS is an illegal monopoly in terms of its existence and how it conducts itself as a business entity. One could well understand Slive’s concerns , as he simply doesn’t want to see that gravy train dry up in any way .whatsoever . Not with there being countless millions at stake and pouring into coming into the major BCS conference coffers each year through various sports and business formats .

At some point there has to be some semblance brought into the midst as to how the NCAA deals with the misdeeds of not only the student athletes but also of the coaches who have been allowed in large have gone untouched for their actions . Simply look at what has taken place with Jim Calhoun , Bruce Pearl and Lane Kiffin recently and you can understand how pointless it as times to expect any sense of integrity coming from within collegiate athletics ! Integrity and greed simply doesn’t mix , much like oil and water is said not to . And that’s why nothing will ever change within the collegiate athletics landscape because in retrospect no one there actually wants it to change , the status quo has to remain the same . Integrity and honor be damned because that’s the least of the concerns of the schools , much less the NCAA itself .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do have on the topics raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit .

Alan aka tophatal …………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1)Carolina Panthers first-round draft pick Cam Newton answers a question after being introduced during an NFL football news conference at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, April 29, 2011. AP Photo/Bob Leverone ………….

(2) Washington Redskins first-round draft pick Ryan Kerrigan addresses the media during an NFL football news conference at Redskins Park, Friday, April 29, 2011, in Ashburn, Va. AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez ……

(3) Cam Newton receives a hug from his mother Jackie on stage after he was selected #1 overall by the Carolina Panthers during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ….

(4) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Mark Ingram, #28 overall pick by the New Orleans Saints, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ………

(5) Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic reacts after a missed basket during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin Cox / Getty Images …..

(6) Dwight Howard(12) of the Orlando Magic reacts after a turnover to the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin Cox / Getty Images …….

(7) A fan hold up a neon green sign with the word “Kryptonite” written on it during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs between the Atlanta Hawks and the Orlando Magic at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox ……….

(8) Gilbert Arenas (1) of the Orlando Magic drives to the basket against Josh Smith (5) and Al Horford (15) of the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox ………

(9) NBA commissioner David Stern, left, chats with Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos during the first half of Game 1 in a second-round of the NBA basketball playoff series between the Magic and the Atlanta Hawks in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, May 4, 2010. Stern announced earlier Tuesday that the 2012 All-Star Game will be held in Orlando. Courtesy of Forbes Magazine & AP Photo /John Raoux ……

(10) E. Gordon Gee, left, Ohio State University president; football coach Jim Tressel, center; and athletic director Gene Smith take questions during a news conference Tuesday, March 8, 2011, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State suspendedTressel for two games and fined him $250,000 for violating NCAA rules by failing to notify the school about information he received involving two players and questionable activities involving Buckeye memorabilia. Tressel also will receive a public reprimand and must make a public apology. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam ………..

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NBA News

NBA Playoffs 2011

NBA Games schedule

Friday 29th April 2011

Conference Semi Finals match-ups

Eastern Conference

Home team designated on the left

Chicago Bulls vs Atlanta Hawks

Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics

Western Conference

Los Angeles Lakers vs Dallas Mavericks

San Antonio Spurs/ Memphis Grizzlies vs Oklahoma City Thunder TBA

The series between the Spurs has yet to be decided with game six to be played tonight at the Fedex Forum in Memphis , Tennessee . . The Grizzlies at present have 3-2 lead in the best of seven game series .

NFL News

2011 NFL Draft

Draft by rounds : Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

Round 5

Round 6


Round 7

NFL Draft 2010

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Wyclef Jean …….. feat’g ….. Mary J Blige ……………. “911”

And So It Begins ……….. The NBA Playoffs Are Here …….

And So It Begins ……….. The NBA Playoffs Are Here …….

The NBA postseason is almost upon us and the first round of games beginning this upcoming Saturday the 16th April . But on a side note it cannot have escaped the latest incident whereby NBA Commissioner David Stern had to impose a severe $100,000 fine on the Los Angeles Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant for using a derogatory homophobic term towards a referee during the Lakers’ game against the San Antonio Spurs . I’ve always felt that far too many of today’s athletes are nothing more than a bunch of entitled primadona self absorbed idiots who think themselves above the law and above the rules that govern their game ! Bryant seems to be no different and his less than contrite apology speaks volumes as to the player’s immaturity at this juncture .

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Slide show for your perusal .

The Lakers’ season has now become all the more tenuous when it was announced that their center Andrew Bynum has a recurring knee injury that could very well sideline him for initial part of the first round of these playoffs. A match-up against the New Orleand Hornets has all the semblance of a potential upset if the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t fully prepared for their task against the Chris Paul and David West led Hornets . This will be a match-up of styles and though many feel that the Lakers are the more athletic of the two teams I personally believe that the Lakers’ Achilles’ heel is that their bench lacks real depth ! The likes of Joe Smith and Theo Ratliff on paper may well look impressive but in actuality , do they actually strike fear into anyone much less you as a fan ? Admittedly , the Lakers may well this season’s potential Sixth Man of the Year in Lamar Odom but beyond that the roster in terms of its bench has nothing . The team’s greatest strength is that of their duo Pau Gasol and Bryant himself who leads the team in scoring .

Courtesy of NBA.com

NBA fines Kobe $100,000 for apparent slur toward ref

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The NBA fined Kobe Bryant $100,000 on Wednesday for using a derogatory gay term in frustration over a referee’s call.

NBA Commissioner David Stern issued a swift disciplinary ruling after the Los Angeles Lakers’ five-time NBA champion guard cursed and used the homophobic slur when referee Bennie Adams called a technical foul on him Tuesday night in the third quarter of a victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

“Kobe Bryant’s comment during last night’s game was offensive and inexcusable,” Stern said. “While I’m fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated. … Kobe and everyone associated with the NBA know that insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society.”

Stern’s action drew praise from gay-rights organizations that had demanded a fuller apology from Bryant and condemnation of his words by the Lakers. Bryant, the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history, issued a statement earlier Wednesday saying his words came strictly out of anger and shouldn’t be taken literally.

“We applaud Commissioner Stern and the NBA for not only fining Bryant but for recognizing that slurs and derogatory comments have no place on the basketball court or in society at large,” Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said. “We hope such swift and decisive action will send a strong and universal message that this kind of hateful outburst is simply inexcusable no matter what the context.”

Bryant’s words and actions were captured by TNT’s cameras during the network’s national broadcast of the Lakers’ regular-season home finale.

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A patron (JW aka Dubs) of my site had posed the question to me who amongst the teams in the Western Conference would simply be good enough to derail the hopes of the Lakers in the off-season ? My response to him ___ was , that should the Lakers and Spurs meet in the conference finals it would not be beyond the realms of possibility to see the Lakers succumb to Gregg Popovich coached Spurs . The equalizing factor may well be the two head coaches in Phil Jackson and Popovich who between them have won nine of the last fifteen NBA titles since 1996 . If that’s not accounting for the dominance of these two coaches and their respective teams , someone needs to explain to me what is.

The seedings within the Western Conference has worked itself out coming into the last week of the regular season schedule with the San Antonio Spurs sewing up the number one seed followed by the Lakers , Dallas Mavericks , Oklahoma City Thunder , Denver Nuggets , Portland Trailblazers , New Orleans Hornets and finally the Memphis Grizzlies .

The Eastern Conference played itself out with the Chicago Bulls taking the number one overall seed much to the surprise of many who may well have felt that Tom Thibodeau’s young team led by MVP candidate Derrick Rose weren’t yet ready to be viewed amongst the elite teams within the conference. Instead we had the inconsistency shown by the Celtics , Heat and Magic all thought to be potential leading candidates for the conference’s number one seed. But the inconsistency shown by those trio of teams over the course of the season opened the door for the Chicago Bulls their successful regular season.

Rose for his part ably abetted by Luol Deng , Joakim Noah , Taj Gibson and Carlos Boozer have all played their part resurrecting the fortunes of the ball-club from those lofty days when Phil Jackson was the coach and Michael Jordan was leading the organization to their numerous triumphs . The question now being asked by the faithful Bulls’ fans who’ve attended the home games at the United Center is whether or not this team is actually capable of winning this season’s NBA title. This postseason may well go a long way in answering those questions and a great deal more not only about the Chicago Bulls also as to the aspirations of several other teams within the Eastern Conference. Undoubtedly the coaching acumen of Tom Thibodeau as coach of the Bulls has to be admired and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him being rewarded with the NBA’s Coach of the Year Award as he’d be thoroughly deserving of the award !

It goes without saying that while the Miami Heat were obviously viewed as the prohibitive favorites within the Eastern Conference merely because of the Pat Riley off-season engineered moves amongst the free agents on the market _____ many felt that the Heat would walk away with the conference. You even had the asinine notion being raised by none other than former coach Jeff Van Gundy and former Knicks’ point guard Mark Jackson that this incarnation of the Miami Heat would be able to challenge the Bulls’ single season record of 72 wins . In essence both Jackson and Van Gundy were enamored with style over substance rather than what was tangible and in front of their very eyes. And hence ,it’s one of the primary reasons why I tend not to take anything that they have to say about the NBA with any sense of intelligence. Because it’s as if duo had a man crush on LeBron James and this team rather than looking at their body of work over the course of the season . Gullible and unintelligent would simply sum up their knowledge and the asinine prognostications that they’ve made about this team and what they thought was actually possible.

Now while I believe that the Heat stands as good a chance as any of the deemed favorites within the Eastern Conference , I firmly believe that if they’re to prevail then the play of their main trio of James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade will have to be at a heightened level with the role players on this roster also stepping up their game . If they’re able to do that then it’s my belief that they can prevail within the conference but given the relative postseason inexperience of the team’s coach Erik Spoelstra it could well be that in part that they will struggle along the way as the team’s postseason efforts evolve. My firm opinion is that the top four seeds within the Eastern Conference will be the conference semi finalists and that the match-ups there will go along way in suggesting who we are likely to see in the conference finals .

If there is to be a surprise to be had in the first round of this season’s playoffs I do believe that it could come at the hands if the New York Knicks pushing the Boston Celtics for all their worth. And though this Knicks’ team leaves a great deal to be desired in terms of their defensive efforts there’s no denying that offensively they can stand toe to toe with just about any high scoring team left in these playoffs. GM Donnie Walsh in acquring Amar’e Stoudemire , Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups made sure that the team was at least capable of competing but there’s little to suggest that there’s now that consistency sought to actually make that one big push in the postseason. But herein lies the caveat once the postseason comes around everything indeed appears to be on a level playing home field advantage or not , and I do believe that both Anthony and Stoudemire wish to prove the team’s doubters wrong.

The Boston Celtics with a mix of some youth and veteran experience seem to relish the postseason and in Doc Rivers they have a coach who knows how to coax the best out of his players. But as I’ve repeatedly said to a number of patrons who’ve proffered an opinion on the team , it’s my belief that GM Danny Ainge made a profound mistake trading both Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson and getting very little in return. The duo of Perkins and Robinson were two of the unsung heroes on this roster . Unfortunately, they have an aging pair of seemingly unproductive players in Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal whom I believe will offer very little beyond their experience in the league. I know Shaq has five rings to his name but in reality after his decade and a half in the NBA, he’s no longer the once potent offsensive player he once was. And to my mind Jermaine O’Neal is literally robbing the Celtics blind while offering little in return !

Now while I’m really looking forward to the postseason it goes without saying that what I truly do hope to see are some very competitive series that are adjudicated by the officials with a great deal of impartiality and sound judgment rather than the usual quantity of blown calls and rather insidious wish of theirs to place themselves in the midst of a series, as if they’re indeed part of an ensemble cast. I’ve always felt that a great game is one where you see very little of the officials and more of the players exhibiting their skills and athleticism ! More often than not once the NBA postseason comes around you tend to see little of the latter and more of the referees interjecting themselves into a game or series for all of the wrong reasons that in the end tends to create more controversy than there really needs to be.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on this upcoming postseason and what if any are you really looking forward to seeing in terms of the teams playing ? Simply chime in with a comment on your thoughts on the NBA postseason . As a bye note are you also in agreement with the fine imposed on Kobe Bryant after his display , pointed and heated comments at a referee during the Lakers’ game against the Spurs ? Once again do leave a comment concerning that incident also.

Alan aka tophatal …………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Sacramento Kings fan Ralph Miller IV, 9, holds a sign conveying his sentiments during the Sacramento Kings NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, April 13, 2011. The Maloof family, majority owners of the Kings, are expected to go to New York later this week to ask the NBA permission to move the team to Anaheim. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli ………………

(2) (L-R) Tiago Splitter(22), George Hill (3) , Chris Quinn (11) , Steve Novak(23) , and Gary Neal(14) of the San Antonio Spurs look on against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California . NBAE/Getty Images/ Andrew D Bernstein ….

(3) Andrew Bynum (17) of the Los Angeles Lakers grimaces after an injury against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on April 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images / Harry How ……….

(4) 12: Kobe Bryant(24) of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots as he is defended by Tiago Splitter(22) and Richard Jefferson(24) of the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on April 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California . Getty Images/ Harry How …….

(5) CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 13: of the Chicago Bulls of the New Jersey Nets at the United Center on April 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Nets 97-92 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……

(6) Carlos Boozer(5) of the Chicago Bulls is called for charging as he hits Dan Gadzuric(50) of the New Jersey Nets at the United Center on April 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois . Getty Images/ Johnathan Daniels ……..

(7) ‘The Three Stooges’ Jeff Van Gundy, right, appears comfortable with his broadcast partners Mark Jackson, left, and Mike Breen. Breen says of Van Gundy, “He’s even smiling sometimes.” . I’m not so sure that the trio mightn’t be the worse on air analysts covering the NBA either on broadcast or cable network today ! What they believe they provide in , insight , is simply dulled by their ineptitude and stupidity with the belief that they’re also funny ! Courtesy of ESPN / Scott Clarke …….

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Eastern Conference

(1) Chicago Bulls …. vs …. (8) Indiana Pacers

(2) Miami Heat …. vs ….. (7) Philadelphia 76ers

(3) Boston Celtics ……vs …… (6) New York Knicks

(4) Orlando Magic ….. vs ….. (5) Atlanta Hawks

Western Conference

(1) San Antonio Spurs ….. vs …… (8) Memphis Grizzlies

(2) Los Angeles Lakers ….. vs ….. (7) New Orleans Hornets

(3) Dallas Mavericks ….. vs ….. (6) Portland Trailblazers

(4) Oklahoma City Thunder ….. vs ….. (5) Denver Nuggets

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Have You Had Your Dose Of The NBA Today ?

Have You Had Your Dose Of The NBA Today ?

Well it’s back to the hum drum return of an NBA schedule that will play its part in now separating the contenders from the pretenders amongst the stalwarts of the league. And I’ve no doubt at present we’ll see one or two surprises as the season now enters its post midseason point. The San Antonio Spurs still remain the team with the best record in the league but they’re closely followed by what seems to be a resurgent Dallas Mavericks team led by their All Star —– Dirk Nowitzki .

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Now while the talk has been about the multiple team , multiple player trade that sent both Carmelo Anthony , Chauncey Billups and several other players to the New York Knicks in exchange for Raymond Felton and what GM Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D’Antoni feels are players obsolete to the team’s needs in the opposite direction to the Denver Nuggets I can’t help but wonder what happens should the Knicks not go deep into the playoffs ? And as much as the Knicks’ fans are in awe of this deal , on the face of it , it merely adds some luster to a team and fanbase that has been in need of it for over a decade . I mean as heralded the legacy has been for Madison Square Gardens you’ve got the readily admit the place has resembled a graveyard in terms of recent success when it comes to the New York Knicks. The days with which the Knicks under Pat Riley were thought of as a constant omnipresent threat in the Eastern Conference seems an eternity ago.

Courtesy of NBA.com news

From West to East, the balance of NBA power starts to shift …..

Dallas-Tx,. Tyson Chandler wasn’t speaking on behalf of the just Dallas when asked about the balance of power relocating from the Western Conference to the East. He might as well have been a spokesman for anyone with designs of winning the West after Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups and Deron Williams split for Greater Gotham.

“I wish we could get Kobe and Duncan and Ginobili and all those guys over there, too,” he quipped, “but I guess then it wouldn’t be any fun.”

No doubt there has been a seismic shift in the makeup of the two conferences. The West, for the past decade, has been considered the superior collection of teams from top to bottom. Twice in the previous three years, all eight of the West playoff teams won at least 50 games.

Not gonna happen this season.

And while the East may struggle to field more than six playoff squads with winning records, the so-called Least only figures to get more Beast in the years to come. The days of Western dominance are over, according to a certain All-Star known to wear a cape.

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Don’t get me wrong I’ve no doubt that the Knicks will do well with their new revamped team but here’s the caveat , in acquiring Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups while they gain a great deal of offense the team now loses to an extent a great degree of defensive capability. But then again a Mike D’Antoni coached team has never been known for its defense and therein now lies the dilemma facing the Knicks over the remainder of the season . As good as this team now becomes unless Amar’e Stoudemire and Anthony are on the same page in conjunction with the coach then this costly experiment will all be for nought ! And this experiment is proving to be costly as the Knicks are now committed to a $65 million commitment for the next three seasons. For some of the Knicks’ most vociferous fans in terms personalities Spike Lee and ESPN radio sport’s show host Stephen A Smith this now becomes their personal Utopia and future aspirations as it relates to the Knicks.

The trade deadline itself wasn’t without other deals that took place but in reality the real talk was in essence WWCAD ……………..”what will Carmelo Anthony do” ? Well for the Denver Nuggets under coach George Karl their future may well seem bright and the coach himself feels that his team can make a run at a Western Conference playoff berth. It may well be that a sub .500 record or slightly above that may well garner the team a playoff spot. For Nuggets’ GM Masai Ujiri this maneuver may well the deal that breathes life into the Nuggets or casts a shadow organization for the immediate and long term future. It seems along way from a postseason where the team made the playoffs before succumbing to the Utah Jazz in a rather lopsided series .

Of the teams that I’ve followed within the NBA this season the Oklahoma City Thunder to my mind are a team to be feared and coach Scott Brooks does seem to have this team playing at a high level . Potential league MVP candidate Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook provide one of the “most potent one two punch ” in the NBA . And if things do pan out as I believe that they will concerning this team I do believe that they will be one of the teams to be feared come playoff time !

From the sublime to the ridiculous as the Cleveland Cavaliers continue their slide into an abyss of ineptitude . I’m not saying that coach Byron Scott has suddenly found himself in quicksand or in a riverbed filled with piranhas but given the state of things there in Cleveland at the Quicken Loans Arena I’d have said that either of those two scenarios might’ve been preferable . This team now seems to have found enumerable ways to lose —- games with ghastly consequences not only for the team but for the entire organization from a competitive and financial standpoint . Dan Gilbert may well be ruing the day that he sought to remain in control of this team rather than sell it outright to a Chinese investor .

Not to be outdone when it comes to showing ineptitude this season we have the continuing woes of the Washington Wizards , Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves proving to us that you can’t teach can’t teach an old dog new tricks . Losing with increasing regularity has become ingrained into these teams and when that happens the fans do tend to depart in droves from the those teams’ respective home venues. I’ve read where fans of some of these complaining that no one comes to watch them play . Well , would you be willing to shell out your hard earned cash to watch three teams who have a combined 36 wins and 130 losses between them ?

The reigning NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t dive into the trade market looking to bolster their roster but you can bet that Phil Jackson has bent the ears somewhat of the players whom he feels have been underachieving . It has been left as usual to the likes of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol to lead the charge offensively but there continues to be disappointment as to overall erratic and inconsistent play of the team. Arguably , Lamar Odom , Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum have played nowhere near their perceived potential when measured by their contributions to the team last season .

There’s now a growing belief that the Los Angeles are now ripe for the taking as it now seems that the team is now more susceptible than ever before in losing the grip on the defense of their NBA title. The two time defending champions are a pale comparison at present of the team that took control of last season’s finals when it looked as if the Boston Celtics to have the championship all sewn up. Instead we saw this Doc Rivers’ coached team flounder like a capsized vessel with the passengers on board being without the assist of a life jacket ! I do firmly believe that both of these teams will make the postseason and should they meet once again in the NBA Finals it will be fascinating to see whether or not this current Celtics’ embodiment of a team can usurp their Western Conference foe.

Now it goes without saying that while the season progresses our thoughts can’t be far away from the current situation evolving the ongoing collective bargaining negotiations between the league’s hierarchy and the NPBA (union). Union President Derek Fisher and Executive Director Billy Hunter have stressed the fact they wish to come to an amicable resolution during this process. And it has to be said that David Stern wants no part of the madness now taking place between the NFL and NLFPA (union) . That whole slew of cow dung now being mediated by a federally appointed mediator can only suggest that these two groups of mindless idiots are so out of touch with reality that it simply doesn’t bear thinking about. And I can only hope that their NBA counterparts show some insight and wisdom and actually do what’s right rather than thinking solely about greed and their pockets ! If not , then both of these sports could very well lose whatever goodwill is left to be had from the fans .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the most recent incidents that’ve have taken place within the NBA over the past few days ? And how as such do you see the remainder of the season panning out ? By all means leave a comment as to your take on it all and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated .

Picture and slide show details below as a guide .

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(1) Amar’e Stoudemire is joined by new teammates Carmelo Anthony (left) and Chauncey Billups (right) in an official picture to introduce the duo to the convened press at Madison Square Gardens , New York City, New York. The duo were part of a multi-player , mutli-team trade that brought them from the Denver Nuggets with several players from the Knicks heading in the opposite direction to the Western Conference team and elsewhere. Getty Images / Chris Trotman …………..

(2) Cleveland Cavaliers general ganager Chris Grant announces a trade which will send Cavaliers’ Mo Williams and Jamario Moon to the Los Angeles Clippers for Baron Davis and a first round draft pick in the 2011 NBA Draft , at a news conference at the Cavaliers training center in Independence, Ohio on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011. AP Photo/Amy Sancetta ……

(3) Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks drives against Carlos Delfino (10) of the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2011 in New York City. The Knicks defeated the Bucks 114-108 . Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ……….

(4) Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks shoots the ball over Andrew Bogut (6) of the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2011 in New York City. The Knicks defeated the Bucks 114-108. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images …….

(5) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, celebrates with teammate Ron Artest after Bryant scored two free throws to ice the game in overtime during their NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Feb.23, 2011. Bryant scored 37 points and Artest scored 24 as they beat the Blazers 106-101 . AP Photo/Don Ryan ……..

(6) Kevin Durant (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots against Tim Duncan (21) and Manu Ginobili (20) of the San Antonio Spurs on February 23, 2011 at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. The Spurs would end up defeating the Thunder 109-105 . Photos by D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images ………..

(7) In this Jan. 26, 2011, file photo shows Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams , center, attempting to score over Spurs guard Tony Parker of France, left, and Spurs forward DeJuan Blair , right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Salt Lake City. A person with knowledge of the trade says the New Jersey Nets have agreed to acquire All-Star point guard Deron Williams from the Jazz in a three-team deal. The Nets are sending rookie Derrick Favors and point guard Devin Harris to the Jazz as part of the package in a deal that also includes the Golden State Warriors . AP Photo/Colin E Braley ……..

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Alan aka tophatal ………………………

🙂

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

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All Star ? Is This American Idol ?

All Star ? Is This American Idol ?

Well at the midway point of the NBA season teams are now jockeying for positions as the meat of the season now awaits after the game’s midseason showcase event the All Star game. Now what many view as one of the better professional staged midseason events amongst the four major sports it has to be said that beyond the MLB All Star game the NBA All Star event might just be the most popular of the four major sports.

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From my own perspective the game itself is about as competitive as the NFL Pro Bowl is meant to be. There’s no real incentive and it is in essence really about the multi million dollar owners —- players of the league merely to have one great big party that in essence in the end comes at the expense of the all too willing public who are in attendance at the game and the surrounding events that take place over the All Star weekend. Now the voting itself for the event borders on the insanity that we see each quadrennial when the Presidential elections take place. Do you vote for who you favor because of their popularity or from the substance of their being ? There’s more acrimony over who’s been slighted but in the end there it’s also nothing more than a popularity contest as the fans participate in this alongside the coaches of the teams participating in the All Star event. And what’s portrayed isn’t far off the non-sense we see on the ratings juggernaut reality show American Idol . Only here there’s no three panel of arbitrators offering up their thoughts of the talent on view but at times you might feel that there ought to be . I mean Paula Abdul use to show about as much insight on the show than the idiocy we’ve seen being shown as to the nominees for some of the spots on the NBA All Star roster .

The Eastern Conference may well give us starters Dwight Howard , Kevin Garnett , Amare’ Stoudemire , LeBron James and Dwyane Wade . Coaching the Eastern Conference team will be Doc Rivers but that may well change given precedence that’s normally set . Reserves for the team will be firmly adjudged with the fans’ voting and that of the input of the coach himself.

The Western Conference will throw up the usual suspects Kobe Bryant former league MVP and the likes of Steve Nash , Carmelo Anthony , Dirk Nowitzki , Deron Williams , Yao Ming who’ll miss the event due to season sending surgery . Cases are now being made for the Los Angeles Clippers’ —– Blake Griffin , and the Minnesota Timberwolves Kevin Love after the outstanding seasons that they’ve had. There are some who may well feel that neither is deserving while others who feel that there’s a possibility that one of the duo will make it unto the Western team roster while the other will be a reserve for the game.

Now while I’ve never really been enamored with the event I do think that for Commissioner David Stern the league’s hierarchy and the owners this is more of getting the NBA global brand further out there. With countless billions of dollars in revenues each season and the mere fact that the game is perhaps more widely recognized across the globe than the NFL and MLB combined. Michael Jordan was and still is the pre-eminent face of the NBA albeit that he’s retired from the game . The mantel may well have been assumed by Kobe Bryant and LeBron James as they seek basketball fame and immortality but other than the regular season and the NBA postseason the regular schedule as such provides us with nothing more than seeing the stars and team we’ve come to support .

Reigning champions the Los Angeles Lakers have had their season of ups and downs but they’ve been able to maintain their status amongst the West’s elite as they seek a three-peat with coach Phil Jackson at the helm of this team . While I’ve no doubt that they’ll be a part of the postseason parade I must admit that they do need to get more solid contributions from players such as Ron Artest , Lamar Odom and in particular Andrew Bynum if they’re to prove to be the team to beat not just within the conference but as the presumptive favorites for the NBA title.

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Picture gallery for your perusal . By clicking on each frame you can view that picture in its orginal formatted size.

Well it does go without saying that glamor of the “Big Three” in Miami engineered in part by Pat Riley at the insistance of owner of Micky Arison that if they should fall short of the expected goals that many believe has been set within the organization even though no one has gone on record that winning the NBA title has been set as the target. It’s clearly evident that this is what is actually wanted by all associated with the team and organization. Should they fall short of that presumed target then questions will have been asked and answered and I’ve no doubt that James’ former employer and team owner Dan Gilbert of the Cleveland Cavaliers would be the happiest man in the world should LeBron James come up short with the Miami Heat.

At midpoint of the season there’s no denying that a number of teams have underachieved and there have been one or two pleasant surprises. The San Antonio Spurs have come flying out of the gate and have the best record in the league . Tony Parker , Manu Ginobli and Tim Duncan are still omnipresent on this team and with there being added contributions from the young players on the roster DeJuan Blair , George Hill , Tiago Splitter and seasoned veteran Antonio McDyess who are making Gregg Popovich quite possibly a shoo-in for the NBA Coach of the Year .

If there’s said to be an immense disappointment it may well be the seasons for the Sacramento Kings and that of the Minnesota Timberwolves . If nothing else both teams could be on the cards for the top pick in the NBA Draft . Jared Sullinger , Kemba Walker and Nolan Smith are thought to be the top three players liable to be the top picks in the draft. And given that triumvirates’ play this college season I’ve no doubt in my that they’d be able to contribute to the Kings and Timberwoves greatly !

At the midpoint of the season what are your impressions of the NBA and the upcoming All Star event itself as a spectacle ? And if anything are you entirely happy with how the players are voted unto the respective team rosters ? Fans’ contributions apart and that of the coaches do you believe that there’s justification as to how the votes are accorded for the NBA midseason showcase ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the topic and as always thanks for the continued support !

Picture and slide show details …………….

(1) In this file photo taken Jan. 17, 2011, Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant rests during a timeout in a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Los Angeles. Representatives for Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood announced Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011, that Bryant will have a ceremony setting his hands and feet in cement at the theater as part of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend festivities on Feb. 19, the day before the All-Star game in Los Angeles. Bryant will become the first athlete honored with the ceremony. AP Photo/Alex Gallardo …..

(2) Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, left, dunks over Portland Trail Blazers center Joel Przybilla during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011. AP Photo/Don Ryan …………

(3) LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Atlanta Hawks at American Airlines Arena on January 18, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ……

(4) San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan, left, congratulates DeJuan Blair during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 104-95 . AP Photo/Darren Abate ……

(5) Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, below, dunks as forward Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ………..

NB

The 2011 NBA All Star Game will be held at the Staples Center home to the Los Angeles Lakers

NBA News

NBA Scores & results …..

NBA schedule

NBA Standings ……….. Conference ………. Division ….

NBA Team Stats

NBA Player Stats

NBA All Star ballots

Alan aka tophatal …………………………………

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Lenny Kravitz ………… “Come On Get It” NBA TNT theme song for the season

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Karmen

Eye candy ………………….. Karmen Sutra and a continued montage of the beauty .

What’s not to like ?

Karmen  Sutra

Bootylicious !

As Kravitz says in his song ‘Come On Get It” …….’come get some of this’ !

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David Stern Proves Why He’s An Ass !

David Stern Proves Why He’s An Ass !

It seems unusual that NBA Commissioner David Stern would seek to punish with impunity through a fine any mention of LeBron James with regard to his impending free agency. By perception alone if any team or team executive should make a statement regarding the player’s status it would be viewed as tampering by the NBA hierarchy . This same edict also applies in the NFL , NHL and MLB .

It would appear that Stern sees fit to show his autocratic power in a number of ways that would give cause for concern. Far too often Stern much like his NFL counterpart , Roger Goodell , tends to fight the battles he presumably can win.

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It is now being widely reported that the Chicago Bulls are in the midst of hiring the Boston Celtics’ assistant coach Tom Thibodeaux. Now pardon me for saying this but with the Celtics being in the NBA Finals where they’re undertaking a highly anticipated contest against the Los Angeles Lakers . Now from where I sit the Bulls are tampering in making overtures in looking to hire Tom Thibodeau while his team are still in the playoffs , which by the NBA’s own mandate would be viewed as tampering. Somehow the league and in particular Stern seems to have overlooked or chooses to overlook this matter. In light of that it would seem somewhat strange that Stern would seek to fine Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban with impunity, $100,000 for the owner merely expressing an opinion as to where he thought that LeBron James might end up concerning his impending free agency status. At no point did the owner expressly make a statement that he’d be seeking to lure the player to his franchise. But yet somehow he gets punished for this ?

Courtesy of Washington Post

Report: Boston Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau to coach Chicago Bulls next season

By Michael Lee , Washington Post

El Segundo , Calif. Boston Celtics assistant and defensive coordinator Tom Thibodeau accepted a three-year deal to become coach of the Chicago Bulls, according to multiple reports on Saturday.

Thibodeau was also a candidate for the vacancy in New Jersey and was offered the New Orleans head coaching job, which was reportedly filled by Monty Williams. The Bulls don’t plan to consummate the deal or make a formal announcement until after the NBA Finals.

Celtics Coach Doc Rivers was unable to confirm the reports, but said that he “hopes it’s true” because “I think he’s the best candidate out there. I’ve said that for three years now.”

Thibodeau joined the Celtics’ staff in 2007-08 after first accepting and leaving a similar job with the Washington Wizards. He devised the defensive strategies that led to the Celtics claiming the franchise’s 17th NBA championship in 2008.

“Tibs brings a passion for defense, I think,” said Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, who won the defensive player of the year award in his first season with Thibodeau.

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Now if Stern purports to be the person he believes and claims to be, as being a dutiful custodian of the game. Then he had better begin to show some semblance of intelligence and stop spewing up this asinine notion that the game of basketball is above reproach. Because if this matter goes down wherein, Thibodeau is hired by the Bulls and there’s no investigation as to how this potential hiring came about . The Bulls front office if it is believed that they approached Thibodeau while his team still remain in the playoffs. Then that act alone by the Bulls can be viewed as an act of tampering.

With its showcase event now in full motion and the world watching . This is the last thing that Stern would want to address. But then again as I alluded to earlier the perception is and has always been about what makes David Stern looks good in the eyes of the fans and public alike !. And one thought that politicians were the only “pompous narcissists” out there ? Meet David Stern perhaps the most pompous of all the four major sports‘ commissioners .

David Stern for all of his supposed business acumen is now facing a situation where the NBA this year alone will lose in excess of $400 million . That averages out at $12,500,000 per team . With declining gates, in terms of attendance at all games and declining viewer-ship in North America. But globally the game has seen a spike in its popularity, in particular in Europe and the Far East. The worrying thing is that Stern and the NBA hierarchy are oblivious to the fact but the real problem is that they appear to have no notion as to how deal with the situation and address it in the appropriate manner.

Courtesy of NY Daily News

Rejection! David Stern sings financial blues but NBA players not listening

By Mitch Lawrence , NY Daily News

NBA players are planning to respond within the next few weeks to the league’s last contract proposal, which calls for a major overhaul to the current economic system and would drastically reduces salaries.

When the players respond, they are expected to reject David Stern’s contention that the league is going to lose $400 million this season. Since Stern brought up that figure — around twice what the league has lost annually over the last few seasons — at the All-Star Game last month in Dallas, the players union has not officially responded. Union officials say they are still conducting their own financial analysis, but more than a few players think that the commissioner has engaged in a negotiating ploy, with the current collective bargaining agreement entering its final season in 2010-11.

“I’m sure there are some owners who are not doing great these days,” said Denver’s Chauncey Billups. “But we’re not totally buying that figure. It’s a negotiating tactic, absolutely. Through our own investigations and due diligence, we have found that not to be 100% true.”

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The commissioner for all of his bombastic attitude you just can’t help to dislike his demeanor and presence as a person. Could he the most despised person in all of sports amongst the executives ? We know that the athletes themselves are continually in awe of the pedestal that they’re placed upon by the fans and press alike. But rarely are they prepared to reciprocate by showing themselves in being supportive of the fans. Moreover, they’re prepared to just sell that their wares rather than showing the fans the respect that they’re undoubtedly due. Similarly the same can be said of David Stern and his attitude towards the fans and press alike.

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

What thoughts if any do you have on the situation and how do you feel that Stern should address the matter concerning the potential hiring of Tom Thibodeau ? Chime on in with a comment on this matter and any other observations that you may have on the world of sports.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………………

TI ………………..”Rubber Band Man”

I’m Going To Make Them An Offer They Can’t Refuse …………..

I’m Going To Make Them An Offer They Can’t Refuse

Perhaps it’s me but unless NBA Commissioner David Stern is trying to pull the wool over our eyes. We’re to believe that NBA and its teams are said to be losing tens of millions of dollars. For the fiscal year of 2010, Stern states …’ that the combined losses of the league will exceed $400 million dollars‘. Now when I last looked the NBA’s revenues exceeded $7 billion a year from all of its global operations. Somehow either there’s ‘financial mismanagement’ on the NBA’s behalf, courtesy of the owners. Or in fact there are indeed some serious inherent problems within the NBA that was overlooked by the game’s hierarchy from the very outset. Which is it to be ?

<strong>NBPA Executive  Director<em>   Billy  Hunter </em>  seated  left   alongside  NBA  Commissioner <em> David  Stern</strong></em>.   At  present the  two  men  are   in  a  very   contentious   negotiation   scenario  with  regard  to   the  league's   collective   bargaining  agreement.     photo  appears   courtesy  of <strong>  NBAE/Getty  Images/</strong>   Andrew  D  Bernstein  ..............
NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter seated left alongside NBA Commissioner David Stern. At present the two men are in a very contentious negotiation scenario with regard to the league's collective bargaining agreement. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Andrew D Bernstein ..............

Now unless the ‘ executive board’ of the NBA that currently exists mirrors that of the board members of both GM and Chrysler combined . And as we know the board members there, essentially ran both businesses to the brink of bankruptcy . Now we’re meant to believe that the NBA and its owners are actually that financially irresponsible , wherein, they’re now trying to stave off their own financial meltdown and irresponsibility ? If we’re to believe and take David Stern at his word , then each of the teams within the league are on average losing $13.34 million each. Somehow, I for one find that inconceivable but then again unless the NBA is willing to open up their books for financial and public scrutiny. I can only surmise, that the sole reason for Stern and the NBA’s hierarchy to pose this to the NBPA (Players Union) is to merely indicate that they’re in an acute financial dilemma .

Courtesy of New York Daily News

NBA Commissioner David Stern: Teams are in $400M hole

By Mitch Lawrence , Daily News Sports Writer

Dallas – NBA players need to face the harsh economic facts and prepare to take major pay cuts in the next collective bargaining agreement, commissioner David Stern said Saturday night.

During his annual state of the NBA speech at All-Star Weekend, Stern said the league will lose $400 million this season – roughly double its annual losses over the last four years – and has to come up with a new “sustainable” economic model.

“We’ve shown the players the facts,” Stern said. “Our current level of revenue devoted to player salary is too high. I can run from that, but I can’t hide from that. And I don’t think the players can hide, either. We need to make significant changes to deal with the very substantial losses that are in the hundred of millions of dollars.”

Owners presented a proposal Friday to the players that called for massive cutbacks in guaranteed salaries, and cutting the percentage given to players from basketball-related income, from its current level of 56%, to around 43%. In terms of salaries for superstar players, the days of those making in excess of $20 million in a season would be over, with those players likely making no more than $13 million. Maximum contracts would plummet from an average of $18 million per season to around $11 million per season.

The players’ executive director, Billy Hunter, rejected the owners’ proposal out of hand.

“You can denounce it, you can tear it up, you can burn it, you can jump up and down on it, as long as you understand that it reflects the financial realities of where we are,” Stern said, while refusing to detail the specifics of the proposal.

Although the two sides have plenty of time to reach a deal – the CBA runs through next season – Stern gave no indication that the owners’ demands will change over the next 18 months. League sources told the Daily News recently that about half the 30 teams are losing “tons of money.”

Despite the glum outlook for labor peace, Stern tried to leave on an upbeat note.

“There’s always a deal,” he said, forgetting to mention that in 1998-99, his owners shut down the league, for the first time, and reduced the season to 50 games. “We plan to make a deal this time, too.”

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Billy Hunter the Executive Director of the NBPA, his executive committee members and the NBA , are in the midst of a very contentious union deliberations as to their collective bargaining agreement . Stern for his part, wants there to be even more financial constraints placed upon the union as to their share of the league’s revenues and how its shared amongst the teams and its players. The present NBA salary cap is $71.2 million and the league and Stern are said to be looking for a 20 % cut across the board amongst the players in terms of the salaries to override the losses of the league. Now one can surmise that neither Hunter or his members would find this at all amenable . Nor are they prepared to cave in to the request of Stern at this juncture.

For all the guile that David Stern seems to possess , I do believe that he’s now trying to play the ‘capo de tutti capi’ in terms of his demands. In 2009 Stern made the asinine statement that the …. ‘ $250 million that was doled out to 16 franchises within the league was to be viewed not as a bailout but merely a way of helping them all financially to remain stable. The question I for one would like to pose to David Stern is how is it that the teams and the ownership aren’t able to show financial constraint but yet they are prepared to impose increases on the fans ? Somehow if even he and the owners aren’t prepared to be held accountable for their actions then how are we now to believe him when he states the financial problems that the league is now said to be facing ?

If the NBPA is acquiesce and overcome this impasse , then they may well have to climb down from off their lofty perch and at least meet David Stern and the owners at least half way. And by all accounts, Billy Hunter hasn’t ever been that trustful of anything emanating from the mouth of the commissioner. And who can blame him ? It’s not as if Stern has ever been known to be upfront and open as to the transparency of the league and its inner workings to begin with. The league’s hierarchy has been so secretive that they now make the conclave of Cardinals who oversee the papal order and its choice of the Pope seem open. But that would be to surmise that the Roman Catholic order was ever open to begin with. The NBA for its part has proven to be nothing more than a business that now has been mismanaged and through the greed of its hierarchy and that of the commissioner’s office has become a microcosm corporate America , and how much of a mess that it has now become. Instead of actually being to produce profits through the natural order of producing a brand and product that appeals to its customers. We now find the NBA conducting itself, like a business that’s now said to be completely devoid of ideas and innovation and seemingly having to massage the numbers through financial creativity in terms of its accounting practices . What more else that can be said can be best done after we are allowed to view the evidence that the NBA is willing to allow us to see.

Make them an offer they can’t refuse David Stern because in all probability the union will be unwilling to acquiesce to your demands. For far too long you and the owners have ran the NBA as if it were a slot machine wherein yourself and the hierarchy have been the sole profiteers of the business template and its rewards therein. C’mon make them an offer they can’t refuse .

Alan Parkins aka tophatal

The classic line as quoted by Vito Corleone in the movie ‘The Godfather’ ……’I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse’ . If Stern and league somehow uses that approach , I seriously doubt that he’ll get what he wants from the union. They’re no longer intimidated by him the league’s hierarchy or the owners, themselves.

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This could well be how Hunter and Stern will actually carry out their negotiations during the collective bargaining agreement deliberations. That bolt of lightning will definitely be striking someone within either side of the NBA hierarchies. Will it be the NBPA or the upper echelons of the NBA itself ?

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Actress <strong> Freda Pinto </strong> one of the  stars of the multiple  Oscar winning   hit  movie <strong><em>  'Slumdog  Millionaire' </strong></em>.  Worth   slumming over  because  Pinto just  needs is <em> some good  loving </em>  that's  all  !  What   do   you  think  ?
Actress Freda Pinto one of the stars of the multiple Oscar winning hit movie 'Slumdog Millionaire' . Worth slumming over because Pinto just needs is some good loving that's all ! What do you think ?

The Real Season In The NBA Starts Now ….Because It’s Christmas And David Stern Is Santa Clause …. ?

Well if you had any doubts that the NBA season is underway, then look no further than the play of the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic , Cleveland Cavaliers , Los Angeles Lakers , Portland Trailblazers, Denver Nuggets, and the Atlanta Hawks. And perhaps the most surprising of these teams mentioned may well be the Atlanta Hawks.

Minneapolis , Minn,. December 22nd 2009. Josh Smith (#5) of the Atlanta Hawks rises to the basket against Kevin Love (#42) of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the game on December 22, 2009 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ David Sherman ...... copyrighted material @ All rights reserved ...
Minneapolis , Minn,. December 22nd 2009. Josh Smith (#5) of the Atlanta Hawks rises to the basket against Kevin Love (#42) of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the game on December 22, 2009 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ David Sherman ...... copyrighted material @ All rights reserved ...

The Eastern Conference Hawks have been playing some exemplary and an exciting brand of basketball. So much so, that one has to say that they’ve got to be looked at as the ‘surprise team’ within the NBA at present. And for Commissioner, David Stern ,this has got to be pleasing not only for him , but the NBA hierarchy and most of all the fans in general around the NBA. Without the usual up and comers shall we say , we’d still be looking at the usual suspects around the league for our entertainment. Granted , we’re also witnessing the privilege of seeing the mediocrity of the New Jersey Nets. And one sincerely hopes that their alarming slide into banality doesn’t continue throughout the remainder of the season ? If so, then their long suffering fans may well have to look elsewhere for entertainment in terms of the hardcourt game. And let’s put it this way the entertainment they seek , won’t be coming from the New York Knicks, either ! This Mike D’Antoni coached team gives a new meaning to the word putrid, in terms of their overall play. And what’s even more alarming is that there appears to be no effort forthcoming from the team.

East Rutherford , NJ,. December 19th, 2009. Kobe Bryant (#24) of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots against Josh Boone (#2) of the New Jersey Nets on December 19, 2009 at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/ Gett Images/ Nathaniel  S. Butler .........
East Rutherford , NJ,. December 19th, 2009. Kobe Bryant (#24) of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots against Josh Boone (#2) of the New Jersey Nets on December 19, 2009 at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/ Gett Images/ Nathaniel S. Butler .........

We know that the game’s major stars in the guise of Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James , Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Brandon Roy will be looking to hold sway over the league with their play. But it’d be remiss not to mention some of the rookies in the league who’ve started off strong. The Milwaukee Bucks’ Brandon Jennings has shown that he’s a star on the rise. And though he’s no longer a rookie the play of the Oklahoma Thunder’s Kevin Durant has made everyone sit up and take note of this ‘one man wrecking crew’. It seems that on any given night when his game is on , then Durant comes out to lay waste to the opposition by running them ragged with his offensive weaponry. Never mind the fact that he’s making the scoreboard register numbers faster than the women who are coming out of the woodwork to lay claim that they’ve been bedded by Tiger Woods.

Milwaukee Bucks' Brandon Jennings, front, backs down Indiana Pacers' Tyler Hansbrough during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Monday, Dec. 21, 2009. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ Michael Conroy ......
Milwaukee Bucks' Brandon Jennings, front, backs down Indiana Pacers' Tyler Hansbrough during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Monday, Dec. 21, 2009. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ Michael Conroy ......

There are number of teams that are on the decline due to a number of factors. A lack of coaching , inexperienced or an aging roster and then some could also say that there might be something of mindset with the lack of a will to win. And at present those traits seem to sum up the Detroit Pistons. The loss of Rasheed Wallace to the Celtics and the return of a ‘prodigal son’ in, Ben Wallace , seems to have not made a change for the better. If anything the team is struggling to show some semblance of competitiveness. And for team coach, John Kuester and General Manager, Joe Dumars this is something of anathema and a dilemma. The acquiring of Allen Iverson backfired with the team trading Chauncey Billups in exchange for the seasoned veteran. But the turmoil that followed, in essence summed up how far the team has fallen. Then coach, Michael Curry couldn’t instill what he wanted out of the players and nor did they reciprocate with their best efforts in return. It certainly then didn’t help that there was a degree of acrimony being built up between Iverson and Curry- and also between Iverson and Dumars. It would all lead to the abrupt firing of Curry and Iverson being allowed to leave the team as a free agent.

Charlotte, NC.,HARLOTTE,  Will Bynum (#12) of the Detroit Pistons guards against D.J. Augustin (#14) of the Charlotte Bobcats on December 22, 2009 at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.  picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Kent Smith ..............
Charlotte, NC.,HARLOTTE, Will Bynum (#12) of the Detroit Pistons guards against D.J. Augustin (#14) of the Charlotte Bobcats on December 22, 2009 at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Kent Smith ..............

Allen Iverson’s sojourn with the Memphis Grizzlies was short lived. And he has returned to where his NBA professional career started, in the city of ‘Brotherly Love’ with the Philadelphia 76ers. His presence there, though welcomed with opened arms, it will take a great deal of more than a love-fest between the two parties for Iverson for to prove that he’s still capable to contributing to a team, not just as a player with offensive presence but also to prove himself as a team leader with veteran presence. That if anything will be the legacy now for Iverson at this stage of his career. He’s at the twilight of it and one seriously doubts if the 76ers has what it takes to be even viewed as a legitimate contender for postseason honors , much less as a contender within the Eastern Conference. At best they may well no more than a fifth or sixth seed out of the conference, when it’s all said and done.

Memphis , Tn ,. December 20th , 2009. Carmelo Anthony (#15) of the Denver Nuggets hugs Rudy Gay (#22) of the Memphis Grizzlies after losing to the Memphis Grizzlies  at FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee.  picture appears courtesy of NBAE / Getty Images/ Joe Murphy ..............
Memphis , Tn ,. December 20th , 2009. Carmelo Anthony (#15) of the Denver Nuggets hugs Rudy Gay (#22) of the Memphis Grizzlies after losing to the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee. picture appears courtesy of NBAE / Getty Images/ Joe Murphy ..............

While there’s a great deal to be said for the talent in the Eastern Conference . It is their counterpart in the Western Conference where ‘the show’ is said to take place. The eight best teams in the conference record wise , all have an above .500 record. Whereas , in the Eastern Conference ony five of the top eight teams even have an above .500 record. The quality and the talent is in the West but in the East there the game is greatly predicated on defense. In the West that’s not always the case. Though you’d be hard pressed to believe when hearing many of the fans there speak about how their teams are defensively. Say it ain’t so ?

Now as we may wile away our time opining on our teams. We ought to remember that the season has essentially started as of now. What little we’ve seen of the teams, has been for them to start to fine tune their games for the onslaught of the next six arduous months of traveling and playing. For some teams their season is already essentially over . No disrespect to the Nets, Warriors , Timberwolves , Knicks and Sixers. Don’t call us but we’ll call you if the NBA is in need of your services for the postseason.

Los Angeles, California ,.  Kevin Durant (#35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder dunks against Andrew Bynum (#17) of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on December 22, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  picture appears courtesy  of NBAE/Getty Images/ Andrew D Bernstein .............
Los Angeles, California ,. Kevin Durant (#35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder dunks against Andrew Bynum (#17) of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on December 22, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Andrew D Bernstein .............

It has to be said that this season is one filled with a great deal if intrigue as there are so many plot lines ,suspense and theater to be had. Will LeBron James with Shaquille O’Neal in tow be able to lead the Cavaliers to a title ? This may well be his last shot at one with the organization. Can the Celtics regain their composure and acquire another title with Kevin Garnett leading the charge ? Or will we see Dwight Howard finally live up to that leadership role with the Magic, instead of the asinine portrayal of Superman ? The thing is, it wasn’t Kryptonite that led to Howard imploding in last season’s NBA Finals against the Lakers. It was his sheer arrogance and naivete’ that led to his and the team’s downfall.

For the Los Angeles Lakers and their influential coach Phil Jackson, this season and NBA championship is theirs to lose. As the presumptive favorites to win it all again this season. It’ll be down to the calming influence of Jackson and the mercurial skills and leadership of Kobe Bryant take to this once again to the ‘promised land’. And one would hope that Bryant’s new teammate, Ron Artest, can above all, keep a level head on his shoulders ? As it is, he’s already proving that his basketball mind is great but anything beyond that intellectually and he’s like a fish out of water.

Commissioner , David Stern sits down with noted columnist and tv sports personality Michael Wilbon. Stern discusses the economics of the NBA.

Plot lines , stocking stuffers , call it what you will. Because ‘Santa Claus Stern’ wants you to enjoy this festive season surrounding the NBA and up to the season’s finale. After all, it is the least he’s asking of you , or is it ? Have fun this NBA season and hopefully your team will do well !

NB: To view the NBA Conference standings click here….

General allround NBA stats click here .

NB: You can also find this post within http://thebasketballoracle.com under the same title The Real Season In The NBA Starts Now ….Because It’s Christmas And David Stern Is Santa Clause …. ?

What’s A Billion Dollars ($1,000,000,000) Amongst Friends …. ? In The NBA It’s Not A Lot ………….

My biggest problem isn’t what happens prior to the game, it’s everything that’s said to happen afterwards. The NBA and all of the proclivities that the league has with regard to its product and how its marketed. No don’t get me wrong, David Stern and the NBA hierarchy has a right to do with as it pleases, with anything within its parameters, concerning the game of professional basketball. This is is now a multi-billion dollar business enterprise ,with revenues across international borders. But herein lies the rub, with diminishing attendances at the games and the mere fact that with several of its franchises in severe financial problems. It begs the question what does the NBA aspire to be ?

$1,000,000,000    One billion  dollars


$1,000,000,000 – One billion dollars cash. Could this really be what it looks like ? Staggering to think that many of us are not liable to see an amount such as this, up close and personal. That’s unless you happen to be a close personal relative of either Warren Buffet or Bill Gates ?

LeBron James  of the  Cleveland Cavaliers  goes  up strong to the  boards for the  dunk  over the  Miami  Heat's  Jermaine  O'Neal .

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers goes up strong to the boards for the dunk over the Miami Heat’s Jermaine O’Neal.The Cavaliers would go on to defeat Miami 111-104 in a game played at the American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Isaac Baldizon ……

For all of the inherent problems that the NBA has, much of it being of its very own creation. I now see the NBA falling back into its same old ways and the needless wish to just continue to market its stars, rather than marketing its teams to the public.

Courtesy of The (New Orleans) Times Picayune

Commissioner David Stern says NBA holding up in tough economy

By John Reid, The Times Picayune

Despite a sluggish economy still causing concerns for many businesses, NBA Commissioner David Stern said his league is weathering the storm with only a slight decrease in season-ticket renewals from last season.

In his annual tip-off teleconference, Stern said renewals are down by less than three percent from last season’s 79 percent rate. He said a majority of teams have kept ticket prices the same or decreased them slightly.

The Hornets have not released their renewal rate or season-ticket total, but owner George Shinn said at last month’s media day their sponsorship sales are better from a year ago and their ticket sales are running about the same rate as last season when they totaled more than 10,000 season-ticket holders.

“Well, our sport is not in recession compared to the economy, but we’ve been working intensely with our teams, ” Stern said. “We’ve been working with them and their pre-sale of game tickets and their group (sales). We also have been working with them on sponsorships, and we’re seeing signs of renewed movement.

“We know that we’ll be challenged by the economy, as all businesses and sports are, and that our revenues may slightly decrease because many of our teams are reaching out to their communities and moderating their ticket prices. So although we expect a season of robust attendance, probably easily within our top five, our fans will be treated to competition that is really unique. We think, like everybody else, we’re going to have to fight our way through the season with respect to the economy.”

To meet their financial bottom line, Stern said their biggest task is making sure ratings continue to be steady. The league announced that 45 million homes subscribe to its NBA TV network on cable. In addition, Stern said the league is targeting its digital media to attract more fans.

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While I’m no David Stern apologist,with him holding the game’s highest official post,as its commissioner. I think from the outset he’s proven to be a marketing genius ! Even if his rule has become autocratic and almost resembling that of a third world despot dictator. But that’s what the game needs but essentially Stern tends to go overboard in nature. I think if anything he’s become too enamored when he’s front of the camera . Every sound byte uttered, has to be one where he’s heard loud and clear. Were he not older than that pompous ass known as, Donald Trump. I’d swear that they’re kindred spirits. I doubt however, that they’re liable to meet and greet in the same social circle. But I may well be wrong. There are several things most definitely that the two have in common. One of which, is that there’s no camera in a room that they won’t make sure that they make every effort to be caught in-front of. And the other thing, is that, they’re both vastly overpaid for the jobs that they currently do. Trump , even more so, considering the financial state of several parts of his business empire. But then again, he’d have you believe different.

NBA Commissioner  David Stern  Absolute  Power  .........

Money and power corrupts ! Absolute power and money makes you … So what ought we to make of NBA commissioner, David Stern ? Is he the most powerful man in all of sports ?

Ask an NBA fan what they’d do with one billion dollars ? That’s the number one, with nine zeros for the uninitiated. And I’d dare say you’d be greeted with a wide variety of answers to that pertinent question. Ask David Stern what he and the NBA would do with a billion dollars ? And he’d no doubt reply that the money would be used to safeguard the franchises within professional basketball. Well, considering that over the last decade the NBA has been the recipient of $1,000,000,000 , at the behest of Stern,through the willingness of the banks on Wall St and beyond to loan the league money. I guess that several amongst you would be surprised by this revelation ? Or perhaps not ? I mean what other sports other than basketball, football, stock car racing can their governing bodies be afforded such largesse at the taxpayers' expense ? Meanwhile they can still facilitate their business operations while still opting for financing from the commercial and investment banking system ? Isn't life grand for the hierarchies of the NFL,MLB, NASCAR and the NBA ? And isn’t it somewhat asinine to hear people en masse complain about the very fact that they’re afraid their taxes will be raised that the government shouldn’t be interjecting itself in the business practices of companies ? What they seem to forget that many of the problems faced by those companies were self inflicted. And for the NBA it is no different !

Well David Stern and his members would have you believe that many of the league’s problems stem from the very acute economic climate. Truth to be told, the hierarchy wasn’t about to change its business template of spending extravagantly. Instead of stemming the tide of outlandish behavior in terms of their spending.
They just proceeded ahead, as if , all was well. Now we know that in excess of 40 % of the league’s franchises are experiencing some sort of financial difficulty of some sort. And that would include such franchises as the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sacramento Kings, Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic, New Jersey Nets , New Orleans Hornets and the Charlotte Bobcats, to name but of the few franchises in question.

Orlando  Magic owner  Rich  Devos  shakes  hands  with  the team's  All  Star  center  Dwight  Howard .   picture  appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/  R B  Hapgoode  .................

Orlando Magic owner, Rich DeVos, seen here shaking hands with the
team’s All Star center, Dwight Howard. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ R. B. Hapgoode …….

This last fiscal year , saw the league financed through a bank loan, to the tune of $250 million , to be shared amongst 14 NBA franchises. And with these being private business entities. Their books aren’t opened or called upon to be opened for public or financial scrutiny. But yet as is more often than not, many of these very same franchises look to the local communities by way of the local, county and state levels to make sure that they’re well taken care of. Much of this comes about with the so called discretionary broadening of the tax base. Wherein, taxes and service charges are raised in order to facilitate the building of new venues for the benefit of the owners of the various franchises. Meanwhile , much needed services within a community are either overlooked or placed on the backburner for a later date.

Orlando Mayor  Buddy  Dyer  looks  out  from his  office  in  downtown  Orlando

City of Orlando Mayor,Buddy Dyer, looks out from his office unto the horizon of the downtown Orlando area. Dyer was one of the main facilitators in getting a new arena built for the NBA franchise, the Orlando Magic. picture appears courtesy of orlandosentinel/ Jason Arnot ………

If you doubt my word, then consider the situation of the Orlando Magic and that of city of Orlando, itself , the county government of Orange County,Florida. And that of the very Sate of Florida , the backdoor maneuvering that took place, primarily at the behest of the city of Orlando Mayor, Buddy Dyer. And that of those, up in the higher echelons of the county and state governments. Their sole purpose has been the building of state of the art facility for the NBA franchise. While at the same time using the pretext that this will bring about much needed revenue at all levels and the creation of jobs within the city and the community at large.

Granted , the infrastructure of the downtown Orlando is due for much needed development. But one hardly thinks that an NBA venue is of the highest order for a county whose unemployment rate is in line with the national average. And where at the same time budget shortfalls, has meant the cutting or derailing of much needed services and the furlough of government employees- as well as seeing services within education , and community safety (police and fire department) being cut with certain employees being relieved of their positions. Somehow, one doesn’t equate as a benefit to the community. When at the same time you’re enabling the building of a sporting arena , that many of the residents will hardly be able to afford the price of admission for a Magic game . Much less any other event that’s liable to take place there.

And while the Orlando Magic (6-3) seeks to place itself amongst the elite of the NBA and in particular within the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference. Is it me , or is it my imagination ? But isn’t this the franchise owned by one of the richest men in the state and by last count the 91st wealthiest individual in the United States ? That indelible mark belongs to none other than Magic owner , Rich DeVos , co-founder of Amway Global Inc. DeVos, a multi-billionaire (estimated worth $3.4 billion) and benefactor to the central Florida area , has gone out of his way to make sure that political favors were called in – in order to facilitate the quick vote insuring that an arena would be built to house his basketball franchise. That being said, how can one explain this to the working man who struggles to make ends meet by keeping his family fed and a roof over their heads ? Especially, in light of what is allegedly going on between the franchise’s owner and that of the Mayor of Orlando. It creates the scenario, that as long as you have the money and the contacts, anything can be done for the right price.

A billion dollars to you or I , could go a long way in alleviating a community’s problems. In the NBA , it’s just mere pocket change when measured against their ceaseless revenues from various endless entrepreneurial schemes that they’re in command of- in conjunction with various partners across the globe. Somehow, when I listen to David Stern speak about the game and all of the pleasure he believes it brings to the fans of the NBA. Why do I get the impression that while he’s giving the speech, he’s also laughing all the way to the bank ?