The Reimaging of LeBron James ………

The Reimaging of LeBron James ………..

tophatal ………..

Now don’t get me wrong , I believe that LeBron James , in light of the Miami Heat’s win of the 2012 NBA title , he now has the basketball world at his feet . The player exemplified what is necessary to be seen as a champion by leading the Heat all the way to the “ Promised Land” . And the way that he held the Larry O’Brien Trophy , indicated that the sweet smell of success and the elixir that comes along with it can be intoxicating . Now comes the encore for the nine-year veteran and his teammates , and that is to solidify themselves as a dynasty by winning multiple titles .

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Now for many of us who bore witness to LeBron James’ interview with ESPN journalist Jim Gray . As we can all attest to , the player used that forum to announce that he would be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to ply his trade on South Beach , home to the Miami Heat . That lone interview was ” ridiculed ” as nothing more than a self-serving act of narcissism , and showed that James as a player , lacked a great deal of maturity . The fact that there have been pompous idiots who jumped to the player’s defense by suggesting that his age has been the primary factor in his behavior should be considered asinine .

Since his entry into the NBA in 2003 , where he was drafted as the number one pick overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers . His peers, NBA analysts, and fans alike have lauded LeBron James and that if anything has played into his psyche . To my mind when you have the fact that the player being coddled as a high school “ basketball phenomenon” , with his games being televised nationally . It poses the question , as to what is most definitely wrong with the NBA and Collegiate Basketball . Now even in light , with the NBA hierarchy now working in conjunction with the NCAA and the eligibility status of players seeking to enter the professional ranks . It is still one and done ___– for a number of players at the collegiate level who seek to make the jump to the professional ranks.

James made the leap from St Mary’s High School in Akron , Ohio . Drafted by his hometown franchise , made the player one of the more welcomed athletes in the state . Team owner Dan Gilbert of the Cavaliers saw the value of the organization rise exponentially , almost overnight . The arrival of LeBron James was a boost to the local community and the economy , bringing in tens of millions annually for the franchise . The player’s seven years with the Cavaliers served notice as to how prolific the player would be . However , what held James back was the mere fact that Gilbert and former GM Danny Ferry , who assembled a rather untalented bunch of players to complement the skill-set of James .

In the aftermath of the 2009 season and the player becoming a free agent , it became abundantly clear that it was James’ intent to leave the franchise . Granted, James and the Cavaliers made an appearance in the 2007 NBA Finals , where they met the San Antonio Spurs and were swept in a 4-0 series’ defeat . The ignominy of that defeat did not sit well with the player or then head coach Mike Brown , which in essence created a deepening rift between James and Dan Gilbert . Now we can all bear witness to the events that took place in the aftermath of Lebron James’ formal announcement that he would be leaving the franchise . The repercussions and the animus shown by the fans towards James after the announcement , was somewhat reminiscent of Art Modell fleeing like a thief in the night , with NFL franchise the Cleveland Browns . Both James and Modell are still considered persona-non-grata within the state of Ohio . And though LeBron James still returns to the city where he first made his name for numerous philanthropic efforts that benefits children in the area , it has to be said, that the fans are not all forgiving of what they see was a gross betrayal by the once beloved player .

In his new guise, LeBron James may well have found peace , having won an NBA title as well as the Finals’ MVP in that series’ victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder . As the reigning League MVP , James joins a select band of players to have won the NBA’s highest individual players’ awards in the same season . In a recent interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols which was conducted after the Heat’s victory , LeBron James states that his epiphany this season came after the realization that he no longer saw himself as a villain . That specifically came about from the Miami Heat’s loss the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals . You may think of this as some sort of conspiracy but ESPN appears to be humanizing LeBron James , while looking to soften his image and make him more amenable to the NBA fans . I get the impression that David Stern loves every minute that James is seen front and center there for the fans to see .

LeBron James has become a compelling story in the NBA , and he has his detractors as well as his supporters . The league for its part needs , someone to assume the mantle of Kobe Bryant , who has been the best all-round player amongst his peers for the best part of a decade and a half . The Lakers’ great is now on the downside of an illustrious career and it would appear that the Los Angeles Lakers themselves , are at a crossroads , after a rather disappointing …. season . That however , is another story for some other day as the team’s woes , have been analyzed , chronicled, and discussed passionately over the course of the year. An uncompetitive Los Angeles Lakers’ franchise certainly , is not good for the NBA , and likewise a floundering Boston Celtics’ organization. The NBA’s two most illustrious and successful ball clubs are needed to have an omnipresent fixture in the NBA postseason . The 2012 NBA Finals may well have been amongst the highest-rated Finals’ since 2002 but that much of that was built around the budding rivalry between LeBron James and Kevin Durant . This rivalry as many purists were trying to suggest had to be seen as comparable as to those epic battles between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson at the height of their playing careers. That type of hyperbole is not yet fitting or appropriate based on such a premise . There may well come a point in the future where such an adversarial battle will be seen as being just as thrilling but both Durant and James may well have provided us with something to savor in the future .

With Lebron James’ fame and notoriety has been the fact that he is now amongst the highest paid players in the NBA but among the top earning athletes in North America , and already an already established advertisers’ dream for Fortune 500 Companies . The world has now beckons for James , as he looks to fully survey his kingdom and the subjects therein . Chances are , the player will solidify his legacy and build upon it .

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There are a number of ardent NBA fans who are happy with the landscape of the NBA , with a new order said to reigning over the kingdom and with it comes LeBron James . How he is now perceived by the public will have a lot to do with how the player chooses to carry himself both on and off the court after this triumph . Winning as they say tends to change everything and there are times when it does not . What thoughts if any do you have with regard to LeBron James’ new image ? Do you also feel that he and his teammates will aspire to win multiple titles in the near future ? Your thoughts on the subject matter and anything else you believe to be pertinent by way of a comment is appreciated .

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Rachel Nichols of ESPN is seen here interviewing 2012 NBA Finals’ MVP LeBron James in a series of interviews that will be seen on the cable network over the next few days as a further expose` on the player . Just one more for the player to further raise his profile among the NBA fans and major Fortune 500 Companies who will undoubtedly seek out the player as a spokesperson . Courtesy of ABC/ESPN …

(2) Finals MVP LeBron James is seen here in an interview with Rachel Nichols in a series that will be shown by the cable sports outlet provider . @ Copyright material all rights reserved ….

(3) From left to right Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert , the team’s former GM Danny Ferry , head coach , Mike Brown and LeBron James . At the culmination of the 2009-10 season James would announce his departure from the franchise as a free agent to join the Miami Heat . Courtesy of Cleveland Plain Dealer …..

(4) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 17: (L-R) Kevin Durant (35) and (LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat look on in the second half of Game Three of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 17, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ….

(5) At the culmination of Game 5 seen here are Dwyane Wade (left), LeBron James , center , holding the Finals MVP trophy and far right , Chris Bosh , as the three celebrate the Miami Heat’s triumph over the Oklahoma City Thunder for their second NBA title in six years . AP Photo / Ken Yamashita …..

(6) Miami Heat team President Pat Riley , team head coach , Erik Spoelstra , LeBron James , Dwyane Wade , Chris Bosh and team owner , Micky Arison . The scene at the AA Arena was to publicly introduce Bosh and James to the public prior to the 2010-11 season as members of the Miami Heat . Miami Herald / Jorge Cardosa …

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Hot chic pic of the day Vanessa Beasley .

Let ESPN Report To You A Story And I Can Smell The Bullshit Coming From A Mile !

Let ESPN Report To You A Story And I Can Smell The Bullshit Coming From A Mile !

So it’s now much ado about nothing but it would seem that not only is ESPN intent on reporting the news if at all possible they would rather create the news. Amongst the channel’s litany of analysts you have cabal of analysts that purport to provide the viewer with some semblance of analysis on the NFL game . It would appear that Merrill Hoge rather than providing some insight on the events would rather elicit the sort of response often observed from the ignorance and bigotry shown on the political news channels one can view.

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Hoge’s somewhat taciturn dislike of the Denver Broncos’ young quarterback Tim Tebow seems to have taken on an almost venal tone . Rather than scrutinize the apparent flaws what he believes to be the player’s game it’s as if Merrill Hoge is out to lambast the player and if anything place a noose around the kid’s neck . Granted, there have always been questions about Tim Tebow’s game stemming from his years at Florida . But what one simply cannot deny is that the former Gator had a stellar career and his resume’ speaks for itself. Hoge for his part much like his peers at the Bristol , Connecticut based sports’ programmer has become more akin to making themselves the story rather than actually reporting the story . Or I could suggest that they’d rather create some controversy and bilk that event for all that it’s worth !

In the midst of this fomenting story we have the incumbent quarterback Kyle Orton who it would appear that the Denver Broncos had sought to trade in the off-season. With there being no takers for the player the front office led by the Head of Football Operations John Elway will now see how both Orton and Tebow acquit themselves during the preseason training camp and no doubt during the team’s preseason games . There’s no doubt that John Fox and his coaching staff will also be looking to assess the roster in terms of the rookie players . The team’s biggest offensive threat Brandon Lloyd knows that in order for this team to improve on last year’s disappointing season they will have to play at a much higher level . And it is here that John Fox will look to impart his experience and knowledge unto the team.

The fans in Denver are yearning to see Tim Tebow take the helm of this team as they’ve simply been accustomed to mediocrity during the ensuing seasons after retirement of John Elway and the subsequent departure of Mike Shanahan . The former coach’s successor was Josh McDaniels whose tenure with the Broncos was an unmitigated disaster . There’s not much that can be said about a former protege’ of Bill Belichick who in essence brought about as much experience to the Denver Broncos as a young virgin about to give up her virginity for the very first time. McDaniel’s biggest strength was said to be his ability to communicate and steadily improve the talents of a quarterback under his tutelage . And his biggest success to date would have to be Tom Brady . That being said when one assess the quarterbacks on this Broncos’ team you can clearly see that there’s not a player there in the mold or caliber of Brady. Much of the indifference and malaise behind the failures of the Denver Broncos simply has been the poor play and inconsistency of the team that has been their biggest downfall.

In the AFC West where the Denver Broncos reside they will find themselves up against the likes of the San Diego Chargers , Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs . The division itself is not viewed as one of the mainstays or powerhouses of the NFL but if anything it’s simply known as one of those divisions where if anything you have to be perplexed by the overall lack of real consistency and play of the teams residing there.

In what should be a very interesting season for Tim Tebow we should be able to assess the talents of the player. What Merrill Hoge has failed to disseminate in his criticism of the player was the very fact that the NFL lockout will have hindered the player’s progress. And as determined as Tebow is said to be there’s no denying that this lockout has been more of a setback than some will care to willingly admit. Instead of being productive in his assessment of the player he was simply has harangued him, set about a maelstrom of intrigue that in essence is unwarranted . It has been this sort of stupidity that we now tend see more frequently from former NFL players turned analysts who simply choose to spew whatever diatribe they believe will actually create the biggest sound byte possible . Much of the time I simply mute the sound when a number of these so called analysts that are front and center on the television screen. It is unfortunate that a broadcaster of ESPN’s undoubted pedigree would now choose to sink to such a low but then again their biggest strength has now become also its greatest weakness. The sports’ broadcast outlet now lacks credibility , journalist integrity and if one could imagine tabloid reporting at the level we’ve become accustomed to then ESPN would simply be representative of that ! The outlet now has become a three ringed circus of epic proportions in terms of its reporting and alleged journalism that they feel is meant to be informative.

Away from the idiocy now raging within Bristol , Connecticut , what beckons now for the NFL is a preseason that will somehow give us something of an indication as how the franchises are liable to perform with the rookies looking to make an impression on their respective teams . And for teams such as the Carolina Panthers last season’s cellar dweller within the league having posted a 2-14 record . And it will be interesting to see how the Panthers perform with Ron Rivera the organization’s newly installed coach and his respective coaching staff . For the NFL’s number one overall draft pick of this past season Cam Newton will be under the microscope as he looks to prove his doubters wrong in showing that his game can translate favorably to the professional ranks. If Newton can lead this Carolina Panthers’ team to any semblance of success in terms of a winning record then it would matriculate well with the fans. Given the failings of the team this past season I think that they will either sink or swim with the talent of Cam Newton .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Do you feel that Merrill Hoge has been justified in his open criticism of Tim Tebow ? And what any if anything do you feel will be the bright signs for the Denver Broncos this upcoming season ? Any thoughts you may well have with regard to the points raised within this piece simply chime in with a comment .

Alan aka tophatal ……………….

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Picture and slide details below .
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ESPN on air NFL analyst Merrill Hoge seen here in studio . The former NFL player often outspoken seems to have taken his verbiage to a new level in his criticism of Broncos’ quarterback Tim Tebow. Bearing in mind that he’s failed to explain succinctly why it is he feels that Broncos’ starter Kyle Orton to his mind really gives the team a better opportunity to win . Courtesy of telepresenceoptics.com ……

(2) Hoge sartorially dressed serves up his vitriolic fecal matter for the fans’ consumption, as to whether or not it’s to their delight I’ll leave it for you all be the judge of that ! AP Photo /Rich Perry …. ……..

(3) Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow laughs as he signs autographs for fans after a scrimmage at Invesco Field in Denver during NFL football training camp on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011. AP Photo/Ed Andrieski …..

(4) Denver Broncos head coach John Fox watches as his team works out at a scrimmage at Invesco Field in Denver during NFL football training camp on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011. AP Photo/Ed Andrieski …………

(5) Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton (8) throws a pass as quarterback Tim Tebow (15) and rookie quarterback Adam Weber , right, watch at Invesco Field in Denver during NFL football training camp on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011. AP Photo/Ed Andrieski ……

(6) Head coach John Fox of the Denver Broncos and Brian Xanders , General Manager, watch the team during training camp at the Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Centre at Dove Valley on July 28, 2011 in Englewood, Colorado. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ….

(7) Denver Broncos vice president of football operations John Elway (L), owner Pat Bowlen and new head coach John Fox share a laugh before Fox addressed the media at Dove Valley on January 14, 2011 in Englewood, Colorado. Fox was named the 14th head coach in Broncos history yesterday after spending the last nine seasons as head coach of the Carolina Panthers. Getty Images North America / Justin Edmonds ……….
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Truth , Fact or Fiction …… ?

Truth , Fact or Fiction …… ?

The wonders of the modern media , its journalists and reporters never ceases to amazet at all. It’d appear that rather reporting a story a reporter would prefer to make themselves the story and in large part interject themselves in whatever way possible even when there isn’t a reason for doing so. We’ve all seen it countless of times and more often than not it does proves to be annoying. ESPN’s —- Jim Gray has repeatedly proven the point that he’s no more a sports reporter or journalist than one could consider Snooki from MTV’s reality show “Jersey Shore” to be a doctoral candidate for Harvard University or any other prestigious educational establishment . But somehow individuals such as these two repeatedly crop on our tv screens and continue to make completes asses of themselves !

Gray’s mea-culpa was to call US Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin a liar concerning a conversation he had with the PGA Tour professional with regard to his captain’s pick of the US team to play Europe in the upcoming event. Gray insinuated that Pavin had categorically stated that Tiger Woods would be definitely included on the team to play the Europeans . Pavin’s take on the issue was that he would consider the player only on the basis of his form and whether or not he felt that the player would be an asset to the team . Based on Woods’ present form I for one am not too sure the world’s number one golfer would prove to be an asset at all ! Given his most recent finish in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational Akron , Ohio where he finished in 78 th place in a field of eighty golfers. It does beg the question are Woods’ off the field problems still proving to be a hindrance to his form on the Tour ? An impending divorce and the fact that the custody of his children have become an over-riding issue may well have played a great deal in the player’s particular fall from atop the leaderboards on the PGA Tour.

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Now with the final major of the season now starting as of today all eyes will once again be upon Woods as he chases Jack Nicklaus’ total of 18 Grand Slam major tour wins . The PGA Championship from Whistling Straits Golf Course in Kohler , Wisconsin is the lone major left on the PGA schedule . Apart from the fact that the US teamm will picked with top ten points’ holder getting an automatic berth the captain ( Pavin) is entitled to have his two picks that will be the final makeup of the twelve man field. As it now stands Phil Mickelson is atop of those standings with the next nine players set in place. The event itself will be held in Europe at The Celtic Manor Resort Golf & CC in Newport , Wales. And the European fans will be attending en masse to support their hometown heroes led by their captain Scottish European Tour player Colin Montgomerie . The event will take place between the 1st – 3rd October , 2010 and is expected to be a soldout event with countless of millions more watching worldwide.

Gray’s credibility and his stance at this juncture can’t all be taken seriously especially in light of the fact that his rather tedious and boring interview with NBA player LeBron James was such a complete waste of time and added about as much to journalistic integrity as Jayson Blair’s career has been viewed as being one of prestige in the field of news reporting. What we do know is that ESPN paid $250,000 to James’ representatives for the exclusive rights to the interview in which the player let the whole world know that he would indeed be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to make his new found home and NBA future with the Miami Heat . Credibility comes to those who earn it by carrying out their duties judiciously and who’ve earned the respect of the fans and their peers alike. One sincerely doubts that can be said of Jim Gray amongst the fans of the sports world but on the other hand within the world of the glad handing and backslapping amongst his own. Where the mere morsel of controversy is seen as something worthwhile and of journalistic integrity. One certainly has to wonder how it is that anyone can continue to take Jim Gray and his work seriously ?

As a New England Patriots’ fan I always admired the play of Tedy Bruschi as part of the team’s Superbowl success in winning three Superbowl titles. As an analyst with the four letter network his choices and prognostications while sound at times. He tends to make the most asinine of assertions from time to time and perhaps no more than his most recent statement that the now retired former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive player Derrick Brooks is not to his mind a bona-fide first ballot Hall of Famer . Now to each his own but given the fact that Brooks has been a Superbowl winning player and a perennial Pro Bowl caliber player for much of his entire career. I’ve got to ask myself what hallucinogens has Bruschi been on and also was ESPN aware that when they hired the former Patriots’ player he would prove to be such as idiot to begin with ? Now all kidding asides when you’re going to put such statement out there you’d better have the balls to back it up ! In Bruschi’s case then there was none whatsoever and unfortunately his co-hosts and panelists on the show didn’t question his thoughts on the matter . Once again showing another reason why the sports outlet now has become nothing more than an entertainment medium rather than a source of information and good sports reporting. Has broadcast journalism and in particular within the field of sports really sank that low ? More to the point where are the really salient sports stories that the fans would expect to see being reported ? Instead now we’ve got a bunch of clowns who espouse the idea that they are indeed analysts or journalists as the case maybe and that they’re the best that the network has to offer.

As the NFL season beckons some of the stories that’ll be reported upon will no doubt be bound in very little fact but even more fiction. And that now tends to be the case the vast majority of the time with ESPN ! Be on the lookout for the next Brett Favre story as we’re now liable to hear from the likes of Chris Mortensen and John Clayton that Favre’s hemorrhoids have been playing up and that his surgically repaired ankle is now the least of his problems as it regards his impending future with the Minnesota Vikings . Somehow until Favre is actually suited up in a Vikings’ uniform this will be pretty much the staple as what to expect from the sports broadcast outlet.

When you’re said to be $40 million apart on a contract negotiation I can only surmise that youre agent and the team’s GM are either too drunk to carry out what they’re doing with great effect or that the lines of communication are indeed crossed. Such may well be the case with the ongoing negotiations concerning Jets’ cornerback Darrelle Revis and the team’s GM Mike Tannenbaum . The New York Jets are said to be offering the player a ten year $120 million contract with what is said to be as much as anywhere between $75 to $85 million plus in guaranteed money . The player and his agent are said to be looking for a 10 year $160 million contract with at least $90 million in guaranteed money and incentives. Now don’t get me wrong but when the NFL salaries are now escalating in line where we’re now seeing the type of salaries being offered to major league ballplayers I’ve got to begin to question the sanity of the teams around the NFL and their respective heirarchies. Never mind what the NFLPA might well have to say about this all because as we all know for them it has and always will be about the money and not much else !

With the Jets’ first preseason game just a few days away there’s talk that Revis is prepared to sit out the entire pre and regular season in order to get what he feels he deserves and that’s to be the highest player at his position and therefore putting him to be paid along the lines of Peyton Manning in terms of a compensatory package. Nnamdi Asomugha of the Oakland Raiders at present is the highest paid cornerback in the league herein lies the caveat the player has a proven track record whereas , Revis after one productive year expects to be paid as one of the elite at his position. Perception is everything but it can also mean absolutely nothing whatsoever ! Whether or not Rex Ryan his coaching staff and the team can do without Revis over the prolonged season remains to be seen. But this much is certain all of Ryan’s brevitas at this juncture now seems to have lost a great deal of its luster if as thought they could be without their much hyped cornerback . Never mind the fact that coach has his team winning the AFC East as well as the Superbowl this upcoming season.

Now that Tracy McGrady has signed with the Detroit Pistons I do believe that this might well be the player’s last hurrah . Once thought of as young phenom, the years and age have caught up to a player whose best years it can honestly be said are behind him. Somehow however he and Pistons’ GM Joe Dumars still feel that the player has something to offer and that he can contribute to the team . From where I sit McGrady should have hung up his spurs long ago. His dwindling ability cannot hide the fact that he’s now playing like a geriatric with only at times rarely showing glimpses of brilliance. Long having been “the lions” of the Eastern Conference the Pistons have seen other pass them by and they’re now having to look at a roster that’s lacking in leadership and real star power. Never mind the fact that in terms of sheer ability they may not have what it takes to usurp many of the now more resilient teams within their conference.

Now with the Davidson family looking to sell the team in order to curtail the estate taxes and Bill Davidson’s wife Karen since her late husband’s death is no longer keen to be a part of what he had established . The Pistons are now said to be looking for a new owner and the NBA hierarchy are now keen to make that happen expeditiously. The only real person to have shown an intense interest in purchasing the team is Detroit Tigers and Red Wings’ owner Michael Ilitch . His main reasons are the fact that he’d like to see the organization remain within Michigan and particularly at the Palace of Auburn Hills where they’re very much , still a fan favorite. He does believe that if the team were bought by an outsider then it may well be relocated and that may well be something that most Pistons’ fans would certainly feel disgruntled with. As to how that would also go down with NBA Commissioner David Stern would also be of concern . But then again Stern and the Thunder ownership certainly made light work of misleading the city of Seattle when the Sonics were moved out of town to Oklahoma City. So at this juncture nothing is written in stone and with a complete certainty concerning the storied franchise .

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The truth can be viewed in a number of ways …….. your’s , mine and somewhere in between. As to what the real truth is in any given story what we do know is that for the vast majority of the time most news gathering sources really do go out of their way to make sure that what we’re being told is the truth and that it has some rationale behind it. In the case of the likes of ESPN much of it is merely created to ramp up the interests of the viewers and that’s now become their overall claim to fame. So next time be weary of what it is that they’re reporting but even more so take a keen look at the source of the story and how it is being reported. Much of the time you get a clue as to what’s fact and what is indeed work of fiction. Chime in with a comment as to this and any other sporting topic that as of late has been of a real interest to you. We can then dissect it and perhaps in some way get to the real truth of what’s said to be happening ? Thanks as always for the continued support as it has always been appreciated !

🙂

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………. 🙂

Ravelle’s ………………..“Bolero” as conducted by Andre’ Rieu with his orchestra .

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Freida Pinto

Actress Freida Pinto .

A Life Lost Too Soon Is God’s Way of Using It As An Example For Others To Learn Something From It All …………


This beautifully filmed documentary told the story of rise and tragic death of college basketball star, Len Bias. And for those of you who don’t know about the player , I assure you that seeing him play at the height of his collegiate career was in essence ‘watching of a future superstar in the making’ . He was that damn good and then some ! At the time the luminescent light was shining on another phenom of that era, who would go on to become ‘the face’ of the NBA. That person was none other than Michael Jordan , who at the time was a member of the University of North Carolina ‘Tar Heels’.

I know that you’re all aware that on occasion I’ve berated the cable sports broadcast outlet ESPN numerous times. Essentially, because of the pomposity of their analysts and seemingly idiotic and sometimes condescending attitudes. I’d grown tired of the drivel derived of the likes Lou Holtz” , Mark Schlereth, Chris Mortensen , Kirk Herbstreit , Lee Corso , Stuart Scott , Ron Jaworski , and Chris Berman. They introduce themselves as supposed reporters ,pundits or journalists, as the case maybe. But they just come across a posse of bumbling buffoons performing for a mediocre circus act.

Maryland Terrapins’ basketball star , Len Bias

In light of the above , last night whilst the Citi BCS national championship game between Alabama and Texas, was on. I decided to stream the ESPN program ’30 For 30′ series of documentary stories. These essentially have been a commissioned set of films or documentaries to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the cable outlet. Thirty years and they still haven’t got the programming down pat. But that’s what ESPN now does. They’ll find the product , package it and try and gift wrap it to you as an essential piece of viewing. As to whether or not, you as the patron enjoys the content , I seriously doubt that they care ! Either way they’re going to get paid , as they’re now in the homes of some ’77 million’ cable subscribers. Do you think they’re intent on ‘ world domination’ ?

Bias’ college dorm-mate and workout partner, Brian Tribble.

Now as I alluded to earlier , my sole reason for the streaming ESPN’s ’30 For 30′ series of documentaries. But one lone episode of the series for me , has stood out. Granted , there have been other great episodes in this evolving series of film documentaries and commentaries. But last night’s episode was a re-showing on the life of former Maryland Terrapins’ standout college basketball player, Len Bias. The episode was entitled ‘Without Bias’ . This beautifully filmed documentary told the story of rise and tragic death of college basketball star, Len Bias. And for those of you who don’t know about the player , I assure you that seeing him play at the height of his collegiate career was in essence ‘watching of a future superstar in the making’ . He was that damn good and then some ! At the time the luminescent light was shining on another phenom of that era, who would go on to become ‘the face’ of the NBA. That person was none other than Michael Jordan , who at the time was a member of the University of North Carolina ‘Tar Heels’. The Tar Heels were coached by the legendary Dean Smith and the Maryland Terrapins were coached by Charles ‘Lefty’ Driesell .

Alabama  coach  Nick  Saban raises aloft  Cit  BCS national  championship  trophy.   Alabama  would  defeat  Texas   37-21  in  a game   played at   the  Rose Bowl in  Pasadena ,  California.    picture  appears  courtesy  of ap/photo/  Brian Montgomery .....................
Alabama coach Nick Saban raises aloft Cit BCS national championship trophy. Alabama would defeat Texas 37-21 in a game played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena , California. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Brian Montgomery .....................

Bias was a young and prodigiously talented high school basketball player who’d caught the eye of numerous college programs up and down the country during the eighties. Coming from a well rounded familial environment , of which he was one four children born to James and Dr. Lonise Bias. Brought up to have respect for his elders and peers, Bias was a well rounded individual at home and a thoughtful if not overly impressive academic student in school. Either way , his high school years at Northwestern High School in Hyattesville, Maryland, were ones filled with great memories. And his basketball coach was visibly impressed with Len’s talent as a young player. Rough around the edges but nothing that couldn’t be taught through the discipline of a well meaning coach willing to tutor a player who eagerly willing to learn the nuances of the game.

Len Bias was a star at Maryland under Terrapins coach Lefty Driesell. The Boston Celtics drafted Bias in the first round of the 1986 NBA Draft. Two days later, Bias died of cocaine intoxication.
Len Bias was a star at Maryland under Terrapins coach Lefty Driesell. The Boston Celtics drafted Bias in the first round of the 1986 NBA Draft. Two days later, Bias died of cocaine intoxication. picture appears courtesy of USA Today / Porter Binks ....................

Having graduated from high school at Northwestern , Len Bias would accept a scholarship to the University of Maryland ( Terrapins) to play for coach, Lefty Driesell. There, Bias would blossom into an All American and enrich the Terrapins’ program with his play. So much so, that his star was on the rise not just within the collegiate arena but he was also catching the eye of the NBA world and in particular that of Red Auerbach of the Boston Celtics. Bias’ play and perceptiveness on the court and around the basket made him a unique talent. And if anything he’d be viewed as a top five pick in the NBA Draft at anytime that he’d chosen to forgo a year. Michael Jordan may well have been the pre-eminent college player at the time but Bias wasn’t that far behind in standings. If anything there was little to choose between these two uniquely gifted players.

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Brian  Tribble  (left)  and   documentary  film  maker and  director  of  'Waiting  For  Bias '  Kirk  Fraiser .  The two  were   part of  ensemble  get together  remembering  the  life  , times  and  death   of former   college star  , Len  Bias.         picture  appears  courtesy  of  espn/archives/  Matthew  Paul ................
Brian Tribble (left) and documentary film maker and director of 'Waiting For Bias ' Kirk Fraiser . The two were part of ensemble get together remembering the life , times and death of former college star , Len Bias. picture appears courtesy of espn/archives/ Matthew Paul ................

Courtesy of Washington Post


Bias Death Still Ripples Through Athletes’ Lives

By Amy Goldstein and Susan Kinzie

Monday 19th June, 2006

The frantic 911 call from a University of Maryland dormitory came in at 6:32 a.m. June 19, 1986. A 22-year-old campus hero — the finest basketball player in the Terrapins’ history, just two days earlier the second player chosen in the NBA draft — was sprawled on the floor between two narrow beds, unconscious, without a pulse.

“It’s Len Bias. . . . He’s not breathing right,” one of his closest friends, a Maryland dropout named Brian Tribble, told the dispatcher in a shaky voice. “You’ve got to bring him back to life.”

Bias was rushed to a hospital less than two miles away in Riverdale. Inside, doctors used five medicines and a pacemaker to try to restart his heart. Outside, his teammates, coach and mother gathered, stunned and praying. Across town, his agent phoned a senator’s office, searching for a military helicopter that could deliver a world-class cardiologist to save him.

At 8:50 that Thursday morning, Len Bias was pronounced dead.

He had been killed, it would turn out, by an overdose of cocaine, a nearly pure form he and friends had been snorting from a pile on the living room table. It turned out, too, that he had gotten F’s in three classes and dropped two others in his last semester, leaving him — like most of his teammates — unable to graduate.

At the University of Maryland at College Park and across the country, the scandal exposed the twin corruptions of drugs and academic failure in high-pressure, big-money college sports.

In a nation that had not yet lived through the excesses of the O.J. Simpson trial, had not yet experienced the killings at Columbine High School, his death riveted public attention.

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But behind every story that has some semblance of joy or rationale to it , more often than not there lies a ‘ deep dark secret’ . And in the case of Len Bias , it was the fact that he was a cocaine addict. Unbeknown to some of his teammates, coaches but most of all unknown to his immediate family. Only but a few people knew of Bias’ habit as a ‘coke fiend’. During the eighties, besides marijuana, cocaine ‘was the drug of choice’ . And it was prevalent on college campuses up down the country. But some would have you believe otherwise. If it was there then it could found , you only had to know where to look and the actual suppliers were. It was just as easy as that ! Bias had his close circle of friends and it was with them he’d participate in his new found passtime. Whether , or not his use of the substance affected his game, no one really had a way of knowing. But this much we know when he was on a basketball court that was he was his most comfortable. And it showed in his game and the way that he carried himself on the court as a player and also as a teammate. He had the respect of his coach , Lefty Driesell and that of his teammates. And when that type of adulation tends to happen , you then believe that you’re invincible. And that may well have led to untimely and shocking demise of Len Bias. There are secrets that one can keep and then there are the secrets that in the end have a way of catching up to you. And for Len Bias this would all come crashing down around him in such a way that it would lead to far reaching repercussions on a national level that are still felt to this very day.

The reverence to which Bias is held can be easily comprehended in this Michael Wilbon article for the Washington Post of June 19th 2006 , the twentieth anniversary of Len Bias’ death.

The Story of Bias’ Death Should Always Have Life

They don’t know the story of Len Bias anymore, basketball players 30 years old and younger. Len Bias, to them, is a video clip, maybe a throwback jersey or a locker room story from one of the old guys, maybe an assistant coach who played against Bias back in the day. He’s a concept, something from the ’80s, more a slogan than someone who once pursued the dream they are realizing now, here in the NBA Finals. They have an image in mind but don’t know the details, the hope of draft day or the crushing tragedy of the morning after.

Marquis Daniels of the Dallas Mavericks was 5 years old when Bias died, 20 years ago, of a cocaine overdose. Daniels knows more about Bias than most people his age because Daniels plays professional basketball.

But even Daniels wondered aloud if there is a movie about Bias’s life that he might be confusing with reality.

“When I hear Len Bias’s name,” Daniels said, “I think of a great player who didn’t get a chance to live out his dream. I have one of his throwback jerseys. I’ve seen a couple of clips of him on ESPN Classic. Sometimes people start talking about great talents and somebody will bring up his name. The way he died, we kind of stay away from that.”

Old guys such as Mavericks guard Darrell Armstrong, 38 years old this week, and Miami’s 36-year-old Alonzo Mourning remember exactly what they were doing when they heard Bias had died the morning of June 19, 1986. They wince at the memory of it and wonder if his death taught us anything about drug use, about the flawed notion that youth and strength equal invincibility.

To the young guys such as Miami’s James Posey, who was 9 years old, the Bias tragedy is a basketball story.

“I’ve heard older guys speak of him as being incredible,” Posey said. “The television will be on [ESPN Classic], and they’ll point to him and say, ‘That guy had everything.’ They compare him with [Michael] Jordan and say he could have been a dominant player. We don’t roll our eyes. No. We just take their word for it. I wish I could have seen him play, or maybe see more tape of him in action and try to compare him to what we see now. We can hear the respect they had for him. Nobody talks much how he died. It’s pretty much confined to what he did on the court.”

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Friends and family carry Len Bias' casket out of a college chapel on the day of his funeral.
Friends and family carry Len Bias' casket out of a college chapel on the day of his funeral. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Bill Smith ...................

Byas having evolved into an All American and with the undoubted success of the Terrapins program had within the ACC with it being raised to national prominence. The next stage was for Bias to take his game unto the NBA. He was being openly courted by the Boston Celtics and not only was Auerbach impressed with the player but so too was the Celtics’ Larry Bird. The two had met several times prior to the NBA Draft of the 1986. And Bird had publicly stated that he’d be in camp the moment that Byas stepped unto the Celtics’ practice facility. As Auerbach was heard to say at the time ……’Larry are you OK’ ?

Len Bias  and (left) teammate   Derrick  Lewis of the  Maryland  Terrapins  have  something  to smile  about  during  a  college  basketball   game.      picture  appears   courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Russell  Hodges  ................
Len Bias and (left) teammate Derrick Lewis of the Maryland Terrapins have something to smile about during a college basketball game. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Russell Hodges ................

Fate would set about an unfortunate chain of events not only for Bias but also for the world of collegiate basketball and upon the national stage. The mindset would be changed as to the use of illegal substances and a change in legislation concerning mandatory sentencing for having in your possession substances such as heroin and crack-cocaine. At the time, both substances were primarily being used by predominantly African Americans, in particular young males. Never mind the fact that use of the substances was also on the rise within the ‘White community ‘ at large. But yet many felt that with the nation being in the midst of this rampant epidemic , young black males were being unfairly targeted and incarcerated while others most notably Caucasian defendants were essentially being let off with nothing more than a menial slap on the wrist.

The events leading up to the NBA Draft of 1986 was a momentous and joyous one for the entire Bias family. James and Jolene’s son was about to fulfill his wish of entering and playing in the NBA. And the NBA Commissioner , David Stern was more than happy to welcome a fresh of crop of new faces to the league. Amongst them would be Len Bias , John Salley , Brad Daugherty, Roy Tarpley, Ron Harper , Johnny Dawkins and Chuck Person to name but a few. Brad Daugerty was taken by the Cleveland Cavaliers , number one overall in the draft , with Bias being taken at number two by the Boston Celtics in the first round. The celebrations from thereon in were essentially thereafter, just one big party after another , for the player , family and friends.

Having done the perfunctory interviews for the print and tv media alike , Bias would return home to Landover , Maryland , to be with family and friends to celebrate a new chapter in his life. Having visited with family , he would then meet up with several of his acquaintances and one or two of his teammates on the campus of the university. In the dorm room of Brian Tribble where they and others in their company would share and part-take of a great deal of alcohol and cocaine. Tribble known drug user at the time , stated that they would regularly take cocaine for recreational purposes. What he failed to indicate, was that Bias often abused the substance. Exactly 48 hours after his named had been called as the second overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft , Len Bias was dead from a lethal cocaine overdose . He would die in the midst of doctors trying to save his life at Leland Memorial Hospital , Riverdale , Maryland. The cause of death was cardiac arrythmia due to the lethal overdose of cocaine. Bias was just twenty two years old at the time of his tragic and untimely death. The reverberation felt through collegiate sports and in NBA would be long lasting. And it became a wake up call for Members of Congress to take a hard and fast stance against proliferate hard drug use.

Joined by her husband James, right, and son Jay, in green shirt, Lonise Bias holds up a jersey presented by Red Auerbach on June 24, 1986.
Joined by her husband James, right, and son Jay, in green shirt, Lonise Bias holds up a jersey presented by Red Auerbach on June 24, 1986. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Bill Smith ...........

As the news spread of Bias’ death , the question everyone was simply asking …..’how could this all have happened ? And how is that so many people were unaware of Bias’ fascination with the use of drugs and in particular and the lethal mix of cocaine and alcohol ‘ ? Answers have yet to be found for the questions raised but at the same time the trend of drug use amongst not just the college athlete but also the professional athletes, still persists to this day. We may not here about it but we do know it’s there and it is still happening. Drug tests and not just education is a key but overall it comes down to the ‘will ‘ of the person who entertains the idea , who thinks that the use of drugs be it for recreational purposes or as a quick form of rehabilitating from an injury is ‘cool’. One way or another it has its dangers and none more so than with the evidence of Len Bias’ death. A life taken from the world , all too soon but still not enough to deter the epidemic that continues to this day. But if you’d have thought that this was the end of the story,well it’s not. Len Bias’ younger brother, Jay Bias was shot to death in a Maryland shopping mall in a needless act of gun violence five years later. Jay, like his brother Len, was a rising star in the world of basketball. Make of this what you will but there’s a lesson to be learned here but it’s not being heeded.

Len and Jay Bias, brothers who died less than five years apart, are literally now resting side by side.
Len and Jay Bias, brothers who died less than five years apart, are literally now resting side by side. picture appears courtesy of espn.com/ Rob Tringali .................

After having read this piece by all means leave a comment as to your thoughts on Len Bias. I look forward to reading them all and responding to them in kind.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal – 🙂

NB: For a biography of Len Bias’ life click here.

ESPN Acronym Entertainment Sports Programming Network …………………

ESPN Acronym Entertainment Sports Programming Network

The title says it all…ESPN. It’s no longer a sports broadcast network. It’s merely a network that happens just to broadcast sports. It’s main shtick is to get an assortment of former jocks coaches and journalists whose best days are behind them to give us their insight on a number of sports events.

Now to say that they actually provide us with any insight, is to say that you’d be able to understand any one of the numerous legislative documents that’s passed as a bill in the US Senate. As we all know there’s more legalese in those precise documents than anyone would care to acknowledge.

To listen to the likes of Chris Berman, Mark Schlereth,Desmond Howard, Lee Corso, Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit, Mark May, Lou Holtz, Jesse Palmer and others within what is meant to be a professional programming establishment. Well, it’s reminiscent of listening to a bunch of drunken old farts talk about the days when they were actually very good jocks in high school. Of late, ESPN has become as controversial as some of the athletes that it covers. What of the reports of sexual harassment by certain analysts against female employees ? And one can well understand why it is that they’re saying that ESPN has become similar to that of a male oriented adult club. And the network itself, has been less than forthright when it has come to light when one of ‘their esteemed’ on air personalities gets caught in a plot of sexual intrigue. And now the idiocy of listening to Lou Holtz opine of the merits of Notre Dame as an esteemed football colossus. Well, it now borders on being asinine, given the fact that the Irish’s football program is about as relevant as a piece of dog excrement that’s stuck to the sole of your shoe.

Once again the asinine and incessant rants of Lou Holtz. And his justification in stating that Notre Dame is still a relevant collegiate football program.

My biggest gripe however, is listening to the paeans within ESPN try and legitimize the BCS system as being fair. One man, one vote is fair ! The BCS system most definitely , is not fair !And what does it say about the system wherein, it denies the right of lesser programs to be part of the national championship process ? But yet for certain members of the BCS conferences, a chance to play in a Bowl Game game if they meet the criteria of winning 7 games as a benchmark. To me, that’s preposterous and lessens what the BCS ought to be about. But considering that the six major conferences that essentially makes up the system is rife with graft. And the fact the only incentive for which the BCS stands -that’s essentially to make money for those conferences and it major partners. None more so than the networks that carry the games. They, if anything have more to gain, if the current system stays the way that it is and for the scenario to play itself out.The deck is stacked right from the start, as too is the veracity of what it is that ESPN purports to portray to us in terms of their coverage of college football and a wide variety of other sports that they broadcast.

What is now becoming even more telling, is that the network doesn’t try to be impartial as to the way it provides its analysis for the viewer to consume. One can appreciate that the viewer wants to hear the insights of the analysts. But they also want to be informed and be informed with insightful information. And not essentially anecdotes from their playing or coaching days. If that was what the fans desired, then they would be clamoring for it. That doesn’t appear to be the case at present for the viewer when ESPN’s analysts decide to regale us with their alleged insight and anecdotes.

Jesse Palmer discusses his career in the NFL , or lack of one as the case maybe

Thankfully, as the regular season of college football comes to a close. I for one just hope that the championship games that we’ll be privileged to see by way the respective conferences are a great deal better than that of the major Bowl games, themselves. God knows, more often than not, they‘ve either tended to be competitive or just downright abysmal, in terms of the quality of the play between the two teams.

Corso gives it to you straight from the horse’s ass – in other words, his mouth.

ESPN and the BCS system , two peas in a pod. Essentially flawed from the outset and it’ll continue be flawed until radical changes are made , in order for there to be some perception of fairness. It’d be a great deal better than what we’re being offered at present. But then again one doubts that either set about to be perfect or fair to begin with. It’s been essentially about the chance of making money and not much else beyond that. Both the BCS system and ESPN , whatever it all entails are merely there to entertain us, nothing more nothing less. What both ESPN and BCS conferences have been failing to realize , is that they’ve failed to deliver on both counts. And it’s not as if they were concerned to begin with. Had they done so , then perhaps there wouldn’t be the outrage we’re now seeing ?

Week 12 College Football Results

(6) Boise State 52-21 Utah State


Colorado 28-31 (12) Oklahoma State


(9) Ohio St 21-10 Michigan


(1) Florida 62-3 Florida Int’l


California 34-28 (14)Stanford


Too see the complete Week 11 College Football results in their entirety click here ………………

The Sad Things Is The Chicago Bears Are What I Thought They’d Be Just Another Average Team Behind The Arm of A Much Overhyped QB ‘nough Said !

There comes a time when you’ve got to call a spade , a spade and a shovel , a shovel. And as the old adage goes “……….if it walks like a duck and quacks like duck . Then it has to be a duck. It can’t be anything else now, can it ” ?

So what are we to make of the much hyped Chicago Bears (4-4) and their equally over-hyped and their said to be talented star quarterback , Jay Cutler ? Much has been made as to what the Pro Bowl caliber quarterback would bring to the table for this Lovie Smith coached team. And the truth of the matter is, not one of those much heralded claims has yet to pan out for the Bears this season. If anything, Cutler and the Bears have been average at best. And for the likes of the talking dunder-heads and paeans within Bristol, Connecticut at ESPN , who hyped up the Bears after the acquisition was made for Cutler in exchange for Kyle Orton being shipped to the Denver Broncos (6-2). My question would be , who’s eating crow now ?

Arizona Cardinals' running back Chris Beanie Wells breaks away  from  the  Chicago  Bears'   Danieal  Manning  in  an  NFL  game played  at Soldier  Field , Chicago , Illinois,.  The Cardinals  would  romp to a   41-21 rout  of  the   Chicago Bears .   picture appears courtesy of  getty images/  Johnathan Daniel ...........

Arizona Cardinals’ running back Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells breaks away from the Chicago Bears’ Danieal Manning in an NFL game played at Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois,. The Cardinals would romp to a 41-21 rout of the Chicago Bears. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Johnathan Daniel ……….

And when looks down the roster of the Chicago Bears , one can’t help but ask. Why is a team, said to be laden with so much alleged talent continue to struggle the way that it does ? It’s not as if Smith and his coaching staff are mediocre. Clearly the problem with the Chicago Bears, lies in the fact that this team has yet to find its rhythm and play with consistency. Furthermore , there appears to be an apparent lack of leadership on the field of play. And if Cutler, as has been often pointed out wants to be seen as an elite quarterback in the NFL. Then it doesn’t mean just being able to toss the ball like a gunslinger in a shootout. It also demands that he leads a team with presence and authority. And that’s something that he’s yet to do, despite his time spent in the league.

Bears' coach  Lovie Smith  watches as  his  defensive players  leave the  field late in the  game  against  the  Arizona  Cardinals.   picture appears courtesy  of getty images/ Johnathan Daniel .............

Bears’ coach Lovie Smith watches as his defensive players leave the field late in the game against the Arizona Cardinals. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Johnathan Daniel ……..

It is tough enough that the Bears have to go up against a rejuvenated Minnesota Vikings’ team led by that ageless wonder Brett Favre , with the league’s best running back Adrian Peterson in tow. And what with the lackluster performances by the Green Bay Packers and the underwhelming Detroit Lions. It was thought that the Bears would pose some sort of threat to the Vikings within the division. Well, that hasn’t been the case , nor is it likely to be ! The Chicago Bears have been so diabolically atrocious, that if the situation continues to get any worse, then Lovie Smith’s own future might be in danger. And this coming from a franchise ,barely three years removed from its appearance in SBXLI. Where the team would go on to lose to the Peyton Manning led Indianapolis Colts (29-17). Manning would go on to named the game’s MVP. And the Colts’ coach Tony Dungy would become the first African American to coach an NFL team to victory in the Super Bowl. From that historical high where the two coaches in Super Bowl XLI happened to be of African American ethnicity. We’ve seen the fate of the Bears , seemingly take a nose dive into the abyss of mediocrity.

And while the fates of Cutler and Kyle Orton seem to have gone in opposite directions. One can’t help but notice how the Bears’ fans must now be feeling. As much as they may well have derided their former player. To seem him go on to play for the Broncos in the way that he has. Well, it has to have led those very same fans to question who got the better end of the deal ? Broncos’ coach, Josh McDaniels has to be happy with the play of Orton and the fact that he commands the respect of his teammates, there in Denver. Can the same thing be said of Cutler at this present moment in time ?

Jay  Cutler of  the  Chicago Bears   as  he  scrambles in the  backfield  while  looking  for  a Bears'   receiver to  make a  pass  to.   In  the  game  played at Soldier  Field ,  the   Bears   would  suffer their  worse  loss  of the  season   being  completely  outplayed  and  annihilated    41-21 by the  Arizona  Cardinals .   picture  appears courtesy of getty images/  Johnathan  Daniel ..........

Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears as he scrambles in the backfield while looking for a Bears’ receiver to make a pass to. In the game played at Soldier Field , the Bears would suffer their worse loss of the season being completely outplayed and annihilated 41-21 by the Arizona Cardinals. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Johnathan Daniel ………

Statistically the Chicago Bears aren’t where they need to be as a team. On offense they rank 16th in (22.5pts-ppg),18th in total offense (332.4 yds-per game),11th in passing yds (241.9 per game), 28th in rushing (90.5 yds per game). On the defensive side of the ball things don’t actually get much better in the relevant categories either. They’re merely seem to be average at best ,with them allowing 23.9 pts per game(rank 22nd), 326 yds of total defense (rank 15th), passing yds allowed 206.5 yds per game (rank 12th), rushing yds allowed 119.5 per game (rank 21st). And overall as a team they barely register a blip on the charts as a mainstay in the pertinent categories.

One might question the coaching of Lovie Smith and that of his coaching staff . Wherein, he’s assisted by Defensive Coordinator, Bob Babich and on offense by Ron Turner , who oversees the offensive duties as the team’s Offensive Coordinator. There appears to be no real unison between the contingents on either side of the ball and how they apply themselves to the task at hand. And this may well be one of the inherent problems for the team, as a whole. As to how they’ll go about remedying the factors that have arisen. Well, that’s down Smith and his staff.

 Kurt Warner of  the  Arizona  Cardinals  makes  his way out of the  pocket as he's  pursued  by the   Bears  Anthony  Adams .  Also  assisting  on  the  play  for   the  Cardinals  is   Reggie  Wells  seen to the  left  of  Adams.   picture  appears  courtesy  of  getty  images/  Johnathan  Daniel  .............

Kurt Warner (13) of the Arizona Cardinals makes his way out of the pocket as he’s pursued by the Bears Anthony Adams (95). Also assisting on the play for the Cardinals is Reggie Wells, seen to the left of Adams. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Johnathan Daniel
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Courtesy of Associated Press and NFL.com

Bears’ Harris apologizes for punching defenseless player

Associated Press

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Saying he was embarrassed and that he has to control himself, Chicago Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris apologized Monday for throwing a punch at Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Deuce Lutui.

Harris was ejected on the fourth play from scrimmage of Sunday’s game after he and Lutui wound up on the ground on a run play. Harris apologized to teammates, Bears fans and to Lutui.

“I was embarrassed, especially for my actions,” Harris said. “I apologized to him yesterday, called Larry (Fitzgerald) and had a chance to apologize to him. I just wanted to apologize to my fans first off, and the little kids out there that saw that action. I shouldn’t have behaved in that manner, and I apologized to my teammates, and I’ll make up for it.”

The Bears’ defense has big problems following a 41-21 blowout loss to the Cardinals and they start with Harris. The three-time Pro Bowl player could be suspended by the league.

“No excuse,” coach Lovie Smith said. “Whenever you do something to get kicked out of a football game, a tough game like that where you need everyone, it’s never a good thing. Tommie realizes he screwed up.”

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The loss of middle linebacker, Brian Urlacher , who’s viewed as the heart and soul of the team. It has meant that the Chicago Bears have had to make use of players such as Hunter Hillenmeyer and Nick Roach to fill that immense gap, that Urlacher proceeded to fill on the Bears’ defense. And with the ten year veteran being lost to the team for the season. Well, filling that gap has proven to be something of an immense problem. It was felt that they might have pursued Derrick Brooks, formerly of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a stop gap , for the position. But it would appear that it wasn’t necessarily a direction that they wanted to pursue. A tell-tale sign, if ever there was one. Replacing an often injured veteran with another it’s known is on the downside of his career. It never seems to work out and that was the primary thinking behind not pursuing Brooks.

Ron Turner as the team’s offensive coordinator , has at his disposal, the talents of Devin Hester, Matt Forte , Garrett Wolfe , Earl Bennett and Greg Olsen. But either through the accompanying injuries or the mere fact , that there seems to be nothing going right for the Chicago Bears. As they labor under the pressure of having live up to expectations of the Bears’ fans and the community at large. These are some very trying times for the franchise,the fans and no doubt for Lovie Smith ! The team’s offense is anemic and Jay Cutler hasn’t shown anywhere near the perceived form that many believe that he has. And in Cutler’s case, when much of that hype, comes from the mere fact that you felt you were in the same class as former Broncos’ great, John Elway. You can well understand why it is now, that some are of the belief that the Bears have been sold down the river, in acquiring the player.

Much has been made, that Jay Cutler is a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback. And while that may be true , what in essence is the Pro Bowl anyway ? I mean, there’s nothing at all tangible in making an appearance there. The game itself is meaningless and the accolade, though thought to meaningful , isn’t really acknowledgment by one’s peers. It’s merely the NFL’s idea of throwing a party , once the regular season has ended and also rewarding the players . As if they’re not already well rewarded financially,to begin with ? Cutler , to my mind is everything that personifies what’s wrong with a player who believes that he’s capable of leading a team. But in essence, he has yet to show the qualities that are needed in achieving that success. Time and time again, he’s mentioned as being amongst the elite quarterbacks within the NFL. To my mind, that’s akin in trying to ascertain that Rosie O’Donnell shares the same beauty traits of Halle’ Berry or Megan Fox for that matter ! It just ain’t gonna happen ! And Jay Cutler is not amongst the elite quarterbacks within the NFL ! ‘nough said !

NFC North Divisional Standings :

NFC North Team W L T Pct PF PA Net Pts TD Home Road Div Pct Conf Pct Non-Conf Streak Last 5
Minnesota Vikings 7 1 0 .875 244 174 70 29 3-0 4-1 3-0 1.000 5-0 1.000 2-1 1W 4-1
Green Bay Packers 4 4 0 .500 215 172 43 25 2-2 2-2 2-2 .500 3-3 .500 1-1 2L 2-3
Chicago Bears 4 4 0 .500 180 191 -11 21 3-1 1-3 1-1 .500 2-3 .400 2-1 1L 2-3
Detroit Lions 1 7 0 .125 133 237 -104 14 1-3 0-4 0-3 .000 1-6 .143 0-1 5L 0-5

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Megan Fox

Megan Fox of ‘Transformers’ fame.

And given the choice between Megan Fox , Halle’ Berry and Rosie O’Donnell. I think it’s pretty safe to say that the majority of guys’ll go with Halle and Megan over Rosie !

The delightful  Halle' Berry

The delightful Halle’ Berry !

I’m Bewildered , I’m Beguiled But Is This Really A Sport …..?

How many of you would claim to know what the alleged richest individualistic prize in sport is ? We’re talking in terms of financial value , rather than its prestige. Certainly no longer is it the once prized possession of the world heavyweight title in boxing. Well , quite honestly the sport and in particular the heavyweight division has become a complete farce and an absolute diabolical joke ! Don King are you listening ? The same can be said for Bob Arum and fellow promoter Oscar De La Hoya . You’ve all now done the sport a great disservice ! And not only that but you continue to insult the most vocal fans of the sport. The sport itself has lost all integrity. Not that it might have had any at all to begin with.

ESPN each year gives us The National Spelling Bee . Where a copious assortment of youngsters gather together , in order to decide which amongst them are the brightest and the best in spelling a word, that many of them will probably never use in a conversation in a social setting , much less in their soon to be professional lives. Now for those of you out there , who actually watch and try and compete against many of these youngsters only to embarrass yourself. Because you’re astounded to find out that you couldn’t spell the word assigned to one of the competitors. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed as many of us were probably in the same boat to begin with. It’s not as if we’re all able to memorize a Roget’s Thesaurus or Webster’s Dictionary ,then spell that word succinctly without a mistake. Given the added pressure, that this has to be done within the specific time frame allowed.

Well , have any of you guessed it as of yet as to what the so called richest prize in sport actually is ? Well no it’s not the prize money doled out to the winner of the Fedex Cup on the PGA Tour. Hey Tiger , can you spare a brother a couple of bucks ’til my next pay check ? I know you’ve won the Fedex Cup twice and the accumulated $20 million (prize money- $10 million for finishing atop of the PGA Tour’s year end standings) winning year ending Fedex Cup series of that’ll come your way by way of an annuity won’t exactly strain you. Considering that it has been alleged that you’ve earned in excess of $1 billion over the course of your career thus far. And not only that , in terms of where you are now and where you’ll be ten years from now. I’d dare say that you’ll be on your way to earning your second billion ?

The  amazing  Phil Ivey  seen  here  competing  in  the  World  Series of  Poker  (WSOP)   2009  .   picture  appears  courtesy of    Lyle  Troughton  ..........

The amazing Phil Ivey seen here competing in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Tournament 2009. picture appears courtesy of Lyle Troughton …….

If you’ve not guessed as of yet , well the answer is , wait for it , wait for it ! The answer is, the approximately $ 8.52 million for winning the World Series of Poker (WSOP) tournament held each year at the Rio Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada. A site which in essence is perfect for the sport’s greatest showcase of professional talent. And yes I did say sport …such as in ‘a competitive endeavor ‘ Poker you may not think of it being, a sport . But in many ways it very much is a sport. So there may not be any athletic prowess needed but cerebrally , in every way the game of poker is very much a sport . Where a competitor has to out think an opponent , whilst at the same time not giving them the advantage of knowing what they might at the time be thinking.

Being very much a sport’s enthusiast , the first time I saw a televised showing of poker on ESPN. I thought that the powers that be there at the ESPN Headquarters ,in Bristol , Connecticut , had lost their damn minds ! Who the hell was going to watch this I thought to myself ? Little did I know that once te shoe dropped the programming would become a ratings’ bonanza for the network. And when a poker audience for a televised event outshines the network’s coverage of Professional Bull Riding, NHL and in some even their coverage of a NASCAR Sprint Cup series scheduled event. Well , that most certainly tells you that ESPN is definitely on to something. And as unlikely as that scenario might sound. They are now running for the hills with another ‘ cash cow’ televised event.

Production wise it costs the outlet very little if anything to televise the event. As their hosts in this case the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas are more than willing to facilitate the network and its slew of employees once the event commences and the broadcast begins to take shape. It’s a win , win , situation for every one concerned in the endeavor. Never mind that the contestants essentially become household names overnight. That’s if they’re not already ? The likes of Phil Ivey, Annie Duke, T. J. Cloutier , <a href="http://pokerpages.com/players/profiles/608/chris-ferguson.htm/ Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson , Joe Hachem, Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth have become stars , overnight sensations. And in a number of cases , extremely wealthy individuals. Not only by way of prize money alone but also with lucrative marketing of their images as a brand and being invited to participate in a number of high stakes table events catered for the public and fans worlwide.

And this has now become the high stakes world of poker as a professional sport. It also has its legions of fans across the globe . Just like any other sport that’s catered to the fan on an up close and personal basis. And the players, themselves seem to very much enjoy the adulation that’s thrown their way by those very fans. They’re as vociferous as any other sport’s fans out. And most certainly in many instances they’re just as knowledgeable about the game and what their hero might do while at the poker table.

As to the event itself, as it proceeds to reach its culmination. The fan interest in the event and the final Main Table has become more heightened than ever before. As there’s the belief that the world’s number one player in Phil Ivey will finally get his due and just reward , by taking the event. It’s one event missing from his list of achievements throughout his professional career, so far. A win and it would most certain cement his legacy as one of the very best to ever play the game.

The  November  9    as  in  those of   having  the  privilege  of being  the  final   nine   entrants   at the Main  Table   for  the   World  Series  of  Poker  .   The   winner   is essentially   viewed as  the World  Champion.   Along with the   $ 8.5 million first  prize goes  the   official   WSOP  main title  bracelet .    picture   appears   courtesy  of   espn.go.com/poker

Ivey seen center alongside his fellow eight contestants who’ll be fighting it out for the $8.5 million first prize and the unofficial title of being viewed as the World Champion having won the main event at the Final Table of the World Series of Poker(WSOP) There are however, still eighteen full fledged participants still scouring to be part of the ‘Final 9’ to be left at the Main Table which’ll ultimately decide the champion and the winner of the WSOP bracelet. picture appears courtesy of espn.com/ Chris Gustaffson …………

Courtesy of About.com poker:

2009 WSOP November Nine

Final 9 Poker Players at 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event

By Toby Bochan about.com

Learn about the final table players at the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event, also known as the “November Nine” as they must wait months to play for the over $8.5 million first prize money in November, 2009.

The November Nine, in order of chips:

Darvin Moon is the chip leader of the final table. A 45-year-old logger from Oakland, Maryland, Moon learned to play poker with his friends. He has never been at the World Series of Poker before, and won his way in through a satellite. Read more about Darvin Moon

Eric Buchman is second in chips, and is a 28-year-old poker player from Valley Stream, New York. He’s cashed in the WSOP nine times and even made another final table at this year’s WSOP, finishing 6th in Event 25, a Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Low-8 or better event. To date, his highest WSOP finish was in 2006 when he placed second in a Limit Hold’em event, winning nearly $175,000. Read more about Eric Buchman

Steven Begleiter is 47 years old and lives in Chappaqua, New York. He played in the 2008 WSOP Main Event but was unable “to dance between the raindrops” to make it deep into the tournament. He’s married and has three children, and when he isn’t playing poker, he spends his time watching and coaching his kids’ sports teams. Read more about Steven Begleiter

Jeff Shulman is the editor of the famous Card Player magazine, and is the son of Barry Shulman, CEO of the magazine. Jeff is the only player at the table to have made a WSOP Main Event final table before: In 2000, Shulman finished 7th, winning $146,700. The 34-year-old lives in Las Vegas and has more than $1 million in career winnings. Read more about Jeff Shulman

Joseph Cada is from Michigan and is the youngest player at the final table at 21. Despite his youth, he’s already played in some 16 WSOP events and boasts nearly $500,000 in poker winnings. His hobbies include playing sports and spending time on the water. Read more about Joseph Cada

Kevin Schaffel is a 51-year-old from Coral Springs, Florida who has been playing poker since he was 11. He considers himself “semi-retired” after closing a printing company that he owned and operated for 30 years. Schaffel plans “to play a lot of golf” in the coming days and weeks. Read more about Kevin Schaffel

Phil Ivey may be 7th in chips but this 33-year-old is still a favorite to take down the title. In 2003 he almost made the final table of the WSOP main event but busted out 10th. Ivey is considered by many to be the world’s greatest poker player and has seven WSOP bracelets, two from 2009. Read more about Phil Ivey

Antoine Saout is a 25-year-old from France and won his seat into the tournament through an online satellite. Read more about Antoine Saout

James Akenhead is a 26-year-old from London, England. He’s a former railroad conductor and current poker pro. He finished second in an event at the 2008 WSOP, winning $520,000. Read more about James Akenhead

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In order to view in its entirety just click on the prescribed link shown
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What some professionals are now saying about the event and who they see winning it outright.

Courtesy of WSOP.com:

Who Will Win ……..

WSOP.com recently caught up with a few of this year’s World Series of Poker Bracelet winners as well as a few well-known personalities in the poker community to ask them for their November Nine predictions. This is what some of them had to say.

“I find it hard to pick against the chip leader Darvin Moon. Although very inexperienced, in a relatively short amount of playing time I think the big money will win. Plus, he’s a really nice guy.”

– TJ Cloutier

“I hereby predict that Jeff Shulman will win the 2009 Main Event. I feel that he is the only player that has two ways to win this thing: Either outplay his opponents or lucksack his way to victory. Godspeed.”

– Bryan Micon

“I think Phil Ivey will win. The other players will stay out of confrontations until Phil has enough chips to push them around.”

– Barry Greenstein

“I am coaching Jeff Shulman, and the way Jeff plays may well shock the world!! So I am predicting that Jeff Shulman will win it all! If Ivey gets to 25 million in chips he will be tough!”

– Phil Hellmuth

“Moon has a big chip lead. Ivey has a big skill lead, but trails in chips by 6 to 1. Ivey will go all out to win, so I predict he will either be first or second or, unfortunately more likely, first or second to be eliminated. Still, I have to pick Moon to win. He will be followed by 2 of the next 3 chip counts, therefore I also think second and third will go to Buchman, Begleiter or Schulman in any order.”

– Steve Zolotow

“I am selecting Eric Buchman. He is in a solid 2nd place in chips. In his interviews he seems to have a very professional attitude and the proper disregard for money in order to gamble correctly at the final table. As a fellow 7-Stud player, I think Eric has acquired the ability to adjust to different situations at the Stud tables.”

– David Bach
$50,000 H.O.R.S.E. World Champion

“I predict my local boy, Joseph Cada, will take this down. He’s in the middle of the pack right now. He has the stamina, the willpower and the confidence to win this tournament. He is the youngest player at the table, but in experience he ranks in with the top guys. I think it’s our team’s time to shine. We had a great WSOP, all of us combined and look forward to continuing our streak.”

– Anthony Harb
Event #11 $2,000 No Limit Hold’em Bracelet Winner

“I think Joe Cada will be the Main Event champion. I think the youngest winner record will fall for the second straight year. The young guys have pretty good knowledge and stamina to go all the way.”

– Travis Johnson
Event #7 $2,000 No Limit Hold’em Bracelet Winner

“I see no reason why Phil Ivey wouldn’t win the WSOP Main Event because he is simply the best there is.”

– Lisa Hamilton
2009 Ladies No Limit Hold’em World Champion

“I think it is anybody’s ballgame. Phil Ivey has a long way to climb. I predict it will be one of the three in the middle of the field. Congratulations to all nine for their unbelievable accomplishment.”

– Mike Davis
2009 Seniors No Limit Hold’em World Champion

“Even though he has a tremendous chip disadvantage, Ivey is the best player in the world and he’s destined to win the Main Event to cement the legacy and mystique that is Phil Ivey. This year is as good as any for him to do it.”

– Jordan Smith
Event #36 $2,000 No Limit Hold’em Bracelet Winner

“I think Phil Ivey is the favorite to win at 3.8 to 1, but not the favorite to last longer than anyone. In fact, I’ve already bet a substantial amount on Ivey in a must win bet against chip leader Darvin Moon.”

– Daniel Negreanu

“Picking Phil Ivey as the winner… or hopefully he gets in the top 3… I have a side bet going that he will finish in the top 3.”

– Brian Lemke
Event #15 $5,000 No Limit Hold’em Bracelet Winner

“Eric [Buchman] will win.”

– Jorg Peisert
Event #55 $3,000 Triple Chance No Limit Hold’em Bracelet Winner

“I think Ivey’s experience will ultimately prevail, and he will take home the bracelet and the cash.”

– Ray Foley
Event #15 winner $5,000 No Limit Hold’em Bracelet Winner

“I think Phil Ivey has the best chance of winning this year’s WSOP. He is one of, if not the best player in the world right now, has tremendous experience and composure, and is due the recognition for his abilities. I hope the poker gods are with him!”

– Mary Jones

“Well, I guess most are going to say Phil Ivey and I would love to see that myself, but if I had to pick a winner, I guess I would say Jeff Shulman because he has lots of experience watching and playing poker. He is a student of the game and was playing good cards and catching good cards. I would bet on him to win… Although I hope he doesn’t throw away the bracelet.”

– Mike Eise
Event #28 $1,500 No Limit Hold’em Bracelet Winner

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Skip Bayless Says He’ll Get A Life Once LeBron James Wins An NBA Title

I don’t know which is worse – on air tv personalities covering sports by way of being so called sports journalists, politicians , lawyers or perhaps your local unwashed pan handler on the streets ? To my mind it may well be far too close a call between the aforementioned pan handler and a sports journalist. Especially the type we tend to see pop up on television , merely because the program director of the station thinks that they might have something interesting to say. Well, that appears to be the case with noted writer and sport’s journalist Skip Bayless of ESPN .

Bayless and the Cincinnati Bengals’ Chad Ocho Cinco discuss the player’s talent within the NFL on the ESPN program ‘ 1st And 10’ . Certainly a conversation between self absorbed individuals who’d rather listen to their own voice ,rather than what the other has to say.

Now don’t get me wrong, ESPN are entirely able to do as they please , with regard to their on air talent and how they proceed to use them in subjecting the viewer to a specific sport’s format for a television program. I mean, after-all, isn’t that why we watch some of their programming ? To be informed and to be entertained ? However, there has to be a point where the hype and insults have to stop and we’re given something more informative. Rather than the constant barb we tend to get from talk radio and that of the political diatribe served up there. And that’s continually served up for the public’s daily consumption. How did it ever get this bad or god-damn awful to begin with ? It’s not as if they , themselves provide any real political insight to begin with ? And the same can be sometimes said for the squawk boxes at ESPN and also at Fox , with regard to their coverage of sports on an undue basis ! In reality though, all of the major broadcast networks are in the same proverbial boat with regard to this particular subject.

Jarret Jack  of the  Toronto  Raptors   goes  up for the  layup while under  the  defensive  presence  of the  Cavaliers'   Shaquille  O'Neal  in  a  game  played  at  the  Air Canada Arena  in  Toronto , Canada.    picture  appears  courtesy  of  nbae/getty images/   Ron  Turenne  ................

Jarret Jack (1) of the Toronto Raptors goes for the layup while under the defensive presence of the Cavaliers’ Shaquille O’Neal (33) in a game played at the Air Canada Arena in Toronto , Canada. The Raptors would go on to defeat the Cavaliers 101-91 , despite the fact of a triple double by LeBron James during the game. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Ron Turenne ……

Skip Bayless , he of the coiffed hair-do, seems to think that whatever he says tends to be gospel. Whether or not he’s just being conceited , I’ll leave that up for you to decide ! And he plays his part with a great deal of aplomb. Never let it be said he doesn’t know how to play up to the camera and always show his best side, as the case maybe. Of late Bayless to whine and wax on lyrically as to how over-rated LeBron James of the NBA really is. What Bayless tends to all too often forget is , ” …… one man doesn’t a team make ” ! I’m now beginning to wonder whether or not Bayless was ever a college athlete or merely just a geek ? But then again, I may well be wrong as he could have been neither. And his main focus of this, is because James has yet to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA title .

While Bayless is entitled to his opinions valid or invalid as the case maybe. His constant need to bring up this subject and whine on about LeBron James now borders on being ridiculous. James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are still growing as a team . And Bayless continues to make comparisons of James to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, makes the case that he’s becoming something of an idiot to begin with ! It took Jordan a number of years to assimilate into the league, hone his skills and then to become a complete and great player. Am I missing something here ? But it wasn’t until Jordan had Scottie Pippen at his side with a platoon of role players who knew their roles,that things began to click for Jordan and the Bulls.And the rest as they say is history. Something that it appears that Skip Bayless seems to be forgetting at this juncture How soon one forgets !

Bayless and his fellow co-conspirators on ‘1st And 10’ , discuss the episode about LeBron James, after he was dunked on by a college player in an indoor gymnasium , not under game condition. This was essentially much ado about nothing. But this was essentially , considered to be newsworthy ? What the hell ?

And while Bayless still continues to pay homage to Jordan , to this day. It casts doubt as to the veracity of the case that he’s trying to make . Bearing in mind that the talent that James had around when the Cavaliers first went to the NBA Finals was little more than average at best. And there wasn’t a ‘ Pippen type player’ there to begin with. Nevertheless, they made it there, even if it was at the expense of being swept by by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2006-07 NBA Finals (4-0). Where the NBA Finals’ MVP was Tony Parker , who had a stellar series en route to winning the championship.

Cavaliers'   point guard  Mo  Williams (2)  drives  the  lane  as  he  makes  his   way  to  the  basket  against the  Toronto  Raptors  .  Attempting  to  supply  the  defensive   presence  is the  Raptors'  Jarrett  Jack .    picture appears  courtesy of  nbae/getty  images/  Ron  Turenne  ..................

Cavaliers’ point guard Mo Williams (2) drives the lane as he makes his way to the basket against the Toronto Raptors. Attempting to apply the defensive presence and stop, is the Raptors’ Jarrett Jack . picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Ron Turenne ……….

Now with the 2009-10 season having just opened and with the recently acquired ,Shaquille O’Neal at his side, for what will be a very interesting season for James and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ fans. For the further progression of LeBron James as a player,it’ll no doubt be interesting to see what Bayless now has up his sleeves by way of a commentary as to this new situation within the Cavaliers’ organization. Certainly one doesn’t expect him to as such downplay his remarks or the sentiment. But I’d like to think that the ongoing analysis that he’ll provide will be fair. Rather than the bloviated and rather inane commentary that far too often he has been known for. It’s as if he bears LeBron James ill will and a grudge for some past misdeed. Or perhaps it’s because as a boy , he (Bayless ) was overlooked by others when they went about picking a team for a pickup game. He no doubt may well have been the last boy chosen to play on a team ? Whereas ,there was always someone there who may well have reminded him of James because of the talent shown. Hard not to view it that way, isn’t it ?

The  Cavaliers'   Shaquille O'Neal  (left) and  teammate  LeBron  James  oncourt   against the  Toronto  Raptors   in an   NBA  game  played   at  the  Air  Canada  Arena in  Toronto , Ontario,  Canada.      picture  appears  courtesy of  nbae /getty  images/  Ron Turenne  ...............

The Cavaliers’ Shaquille O’Neal (left) and teammate LeBron James (right) oncourt together against the Toronto Raptors in game played at the Air Canada Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Ron Turenne ….

Understandably, there are those who fully support the claims being made by Bayless , as is their right to do so. But I’d ask of them this question. Can they seriously think that LeBron James is that over-rated a player based on his career thus far ? His stats alone show that he’s far exceeded what was expected of this young phenom, when he first entered the league as a high school sensation and the first round draft pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers , chosen number one overall , in 2003 . Amongst the entrants in the draft of that year, were players such as Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, David West , Kirk Hinrich and Mickael Pietrus. All of whom, seem to have made a name for themselves within the NBA with regard to their careers, thus far. That 2003 NBA Draft, may well have been one of the most talent laden rich drafts in recent memory. And many of those players mentioned are still productive within the NBA today. Which is far less than can be said for the likes others who fell short of the plaudits that were first thrown at them. Think Sam Bowie, Kwame Brown and Michael Olowokandi . I’d certainly like to think that somewhere along the way the general managers who went out of the way to make the decision to take each of this particular triumvirate. Are somewhere , in a place where they’re not left to make a decision that could do irretrievable damage to an organization.

The eternal  triumvirate  of  the  Chicago  Bulls' dynasty . From  left to right   Scottie Pippen ,  Michael Jordan  and  the  team's  coach  Phil  Jackson.  Through  the  early to  mid  nineties  the  team  was  the  dominant  force in the  NBA  having  won  6  NBA championships  in an  eight year  span.   picture  appears courtesy of  Sports Illustratred  si.com/  Manny  Millan  ...............

The eternal triumvirate of the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty . From left to right , Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan and the team’s coach, Phil Jackson. Through the early to mid nineties, the team was the dominant force in the NBA ,having won 6 NBA championships in an 8 year span (1991-98). picture appears courtesy of Sports Illustrated si.com/ Manny Millan. ………………

And while Bayless will have his platform to make his rather incendiary statements. For James and the Cavaliers , this could very well be a make or break season for the organization and their fans. After the disappointment of last season, having lost to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals. The thought is that they’ll have to retrench and reassess where they went wrong, if they’re to improve upon last year. The loss and James’ unsportsman like conduct afterwards left a great deal to be desired. It created the impression that LeBron was immature and unable to deal with defeat in a sportsman like manner. It sent the wrong message across the NBA but more so, to his young adoring fans. Now he and his new teammate Shaquille O’Neal will look to make amends for last season. And for Cavaliers’ coach, Mike Brown, this will prove to be a severe test as to his capabilities as a coach. Failure now, and he’ll be questioned by not only the Cavaliers’ fans but also fans of the NBA in general , who’ll say that he can’t get it done – with two superstars on his team surrounded with a contingent of the customary role players in tow.

As for James , in my mind this is but a part of a well traveled journey that he’ll have to take. Success will inevitably find its way to him , if it is ultimately what he seeks. For moment however, it appears to be that the hype in essence has overshadowed in some ways his undoubted talents. But wasn’t it the same way too , for Michael Jordan ? And look at what he aspired to become .

Cleveland Cavaliers 2009-10 Roster:

Players:

NUM PLAYER POS HT WT DOB FROM YRS
1 Daniel Gibson G 6-2 200 02/27/1986 Texas 3
14 Daniel Green F 6-6 210 06/22/1987 North Carolina R
21 J.J. Hickson F 6-9 242 09/04/1988 North Carolina State 1
11 Zydrunas Ilgauskas C 7-3 260 06/05/1975 Kaunas, Lithuania 11
00 Darnell Jackson F 6-9 253 11/07/1985 Kansas 1
23 LeBron James F 6-8 250 12/30/1984 St. Vincent-St. Mary HS (OH) 6
5 Coby Karl G 6-5 215 03/06/1983 Boise State 1
15 Jamario Moon F 6-8 200 06/13/1980 Meridian CC (MS) 2
33 Shaquille O’Neal C 7-1 325 03/06/1972 Louisiana State 17
18 Anthony Parker G-F 6-6 215 06/19/1975 Bradley 6
44 Leon Powe F 6-8 240 01/22/1984 California 3
17 Anderson Varejao C-F 6-11 260 09/28/1982 Santa Teresa, Brazil 5
13 Delonte West G 6-3 180 07/26/1983 Saint Joseph’s 5
31 Jawad Williams F 6-9 218 02/19/1983 North Carolina 1
2 Mo Williams G 6-1 190 12/19/1982 Alabama 6

HEAD COACH
Mike Brown (College – San Diego)

ASSISTANT COACHES
Hank Egan (College – Navy)
Melvin Hunt (College – Baylor)
Chris Jent (College – Ohio State)
Michael Malone (College – Loyola (MD))

STRENGTH-AND-CONDITIONING COACH
Stan Kellers (College – Cleveland State)

ATHLETIC TRAINER
Max Benton (College – Colorado)

Divisional Standings: Central Division

Central W L PCT GB CONF DIV HOME ROAD L 10 STREAK
Chicago3 1 0 1.000 0.0 0-0 0-0 1-0 0-0 1-0 W 1
Detroit7 1 0 1.000 0.0 0-0 0-0 0-0 1-0 1-0 W 1
Indiana 0 1 0.000 1.0 0-1 0-0 0-0 0-1 0-1 L 1
Cleveland 0 2 0.000 1.5 0-2 0-0 0-1 0-1 0-2 L 2

They Say There’s No Sex In The Champagne Room But What’s Been Happening In Bristol , Connecticut ?

They Say There’s No Sex In The Champagne Room But What’s Been Happening In Bristol Connecticut ?

So I wouldn’t be mistaken in making the assumption that all is awry at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol Connecticut ? Whatever’s said to have taken place between former New York Mets’ GM, Steve Phillips ,46, and a young female production assistant, who’s an employee at the broadcast network. Phillips has admitted to an affair Brooke Hundley and has that the relationship was consensual between the two. However, it would now appear that the ESPN baseball analyst has been less than forthright with the truth. He failed to make his wife aware as to what had been going on. And furthermore, when confronted by his paramour at his home, he denied all knowledge that anything had taken place between he and the young 22 year old, Brooke Hundley .

Brooke  Hundley, 22,    ESPN  production  assistant  at the  center  of  attention   in  the  Steve  Phillips   sex  scandal and  affair.    Hundley  and  the  46  year  old   Phillips  it  has been  alleged   carried   on  a  sordid   affair   over   a  prolonged   period  of    time.    Hundley  seen  here  is   leaving   her   appartment   complex  in  Bristol   Connecticut.       picture   appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo .....................
Brooke Hundley, 22, ESPN production assistant at the center of attention in the Steve Phillips sex scandal and affair. Hundley and the 46 year old Phillips it has been alleged carried on a sordid affair over a prolonged period of time. Hundley seen here is leaving her appartment complex in Bristol Connecticut. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo .....................

Courtesy of New York Daily News;

Steve Phillips ‘girlfriend’ photo: Tight-lipped jilted mistress Brooke Hundley blows by reporters

By Staff News Writers

Brooke Hundley, the mistress whose fling with ESPN analyst Steve Phillips ended the former Mets GM’s marriage and may have permanently damaged his career, surfaced outside her Connecticut home for the first time since the sex scandal broke.

A photographer for the New York Daily News captured 22-year-old Hundley leaving her house Friday as she breezed by reporters without comment.

After being spurned by Phillips following their three-week affair, Hundley left a taunting letter for Phillips’ wife about their tryst. Hundley wrote that she was “not just some random girl he had sex with in parking lots.”

Phillips’ wife, Marni, called police Aug. 19 when she came home to find Hundley in her driveway.

Hundley, in turn, claims Phillips tried to ruin her career and threatened to get her fired if she told his wife about their affair.

Phillips, 46, has acknowledged the affair and took a leave of absence from the network. In 1998, he admitted having sex with a Mets employee, who sued for sexual harassment. That case was settled out of court.

Phillips ,46,  seen  here  in  a  picture   with ESPN  production  assistant  ,  22  year  old ,   Brooke Hundley.     picture   appears   courtesy  of  the producers/weei.com/sports/boston/ dennis    ...................
Phillips ,46, seen here in a picture with ESPN production assistant , 22 year old , Brooke Hundley. picture appears courtesy of the producers/weei.com/sports/boston/ dennis ...................

Phillips’ wife , Marni , who made a rather fraught 911 call to the police – when the female confronted her indirectly at her home. . Phillips’ mistress was said to have left a note at his home stating that she no longer wanted to be the ‘other woman’ in this ménage au trios‘ . Phillips has since been given a leave of absence from the network. And for the network, this further provides evidence that the presumed camaraderie that’s said to be there within those esteemed halls at Bristol isn’t all it is said to be. With the “Erin Andrews’ saga” still fresh in our memories . And now Phillips places the network in all too further embarrassing situation. Never mind the fact that Phillips was said to be viewed as one of the nicest guys to work with , within the fraternity of males at the network. Well on the surface , nothing is ever as it is meant to be .

Courtesy of NY Daily News:

A love mistress of Steve Phillips, Rosa Rodriguez who slept with then-Mets GM in 1998, resurfaces ……

By Kavita Mokha and Corkie Sieszamasko

The brunette who turned Steve Phillips’ head – and wound up in his bed – when he was the Mets’ general manager surfaced on Thursday with a knowing smile on her face.

Rosa Rodriguez said nothing about the seamy sex scandal that has knocked Phillips off his perch at ESPN and appears to have torpedoed his marriage, but she wasn’t shy about getting her picture taken.

“Just make sure the photos are good,” she said before driving off from her Long Island home.

Phillips was laying low after it was revealed that he had fling with a “delusional” 22-year-old named Brooke Hundley. He claims she cyberstalked his teenage son and bombarded his wife with phone calls and taunting texts.

Phillips would lecture his female workers about the importance of maintaining a wholesome image while he cultivated a family man facade in six years with the Mets.

But in 1998, Phillips suddenly took a paid leave after learning that a former Mets employee who worked at the team’s Florida offices was planning to sue him and the team for sexual harassment.

When Phillips returned to work, he admitted to having a “brief, consensual relationship” with the woman and having “consensual sexual relationships” with other women during his marriage.

One of them was Rodriguez.

Former Mets manager Bobby Valentine ripped Phillips for his off-the-field dalliances before Phillips left the Mets in 2003.

In a strange twist, Valentine will be doing some of the baseball analysis for Phillips, who took a leave of absence to deal with his latest domestic crisis.

Phillips’ wife, Marni Phillips, filed for divorce after coming home and finding Hundley on her doorstep and a letter detailing her affair with her husband.

In a police report, Steve Phillips said he feared Hundley, a low-level ESPN worker, might harm his family. He said she “clearly displayed erratic behavior and delusional tendencies.” He also admitted to “three sexual encounters” with her.

Rosa  Rodriguez   with   whom  Phillips  had  an  affair,  whilst   was the  general  manager  of   the  New  York  Mets.    The   affair  also  led  to  a   sexual    harasssment   grievance  being    filed  against  Phillips   which  was  later   settled   out  of   court.              picture  appears   courtesy  of    nydailynews.com/photo/archicves  .....................
Rosa Rodriguez with whom Phillips had an affair, whilst was the general manager of the New York Mets. The affair also led to a sexual harrasssment grievance being filed against Phillips which was later settled out of court. picture appears courtesy of nydailynews.com/photo/archicves .....................

Now for all sense and purpose, the denizen we‘ve come to know as ESPN is no different from any other working environment, where hedonism to be precise and sexual promiscuity isn’t at all frowned upon. A normal work environment brings about rules wherein employees are asked to restrict the relationships between employees to be purely on work only basis within their place of business. However , once outside the place of employment as they say ‘……….it‘s anything goes’. Just as long as it‘s done beyond the view of prying eyes. In the case of Phillips and the fact that he‘s an individual in the public eye. This whole episode paints a dark picture wherein he felt that he could conduct himself one in front of the public and an all to different way away from the public‘s prying eyes . Phillips‘ immediate future is somewhat uncertain as he now faces the paparazzi and tabloid press as they seek further expose‘ on his all too private and some might sordid affair , with a young female co-worker.

One has to also remember that this isn’t the first such situation that has happened within ESPN. Former ballplayer , Harold Reynolds was is said to have been sexually inappropriate with a number of female employees at the cable network. And though there were denials from the player, as to the accusations. He left the network under a cloud of suspicion. Only to resurface elsewhere as analyst. So , it can be said that the ramifications for Phillips may not be that bad after all. The only thing now he may well have to do is to face his wife and family and seek their forgiveness.

Once Phillips returns behind the mic as an analyst for the network,covering the game of baseball. I’m not so sure how I’ll now view him. This from the guy ,whose sole claim to fame is the fact that he was once the New York Mets’ GM and that he brought shortstop,David Wright ,up from the minors. As to the veracity of that particular argument. Warranted or not, it’s not as if the Mets have achieved a great deal over the ensuing years, since Wright’s introduction to the ‘Big Leagues’. So as of now what lies down the road for Phillips is anyone’s guess at this moment in time.

As for ESPN ‘…………it’s party over here and a little sexual promiscuity over there and here’. But somehow they would have you believe that the environment there is a paragon of virtue. And that the programming and journalism there are of the highest standards possible. Little did we know that they have more in common with hedonistic virtues of Sodom and Gomorrah . But that asides what else should we come to expect from a bunch self indulgent , narcissistic fools ? Journalistic integrity and ESPN no longer it appears has anything in common. Except for the fact that they like to portray themselves as being knowledgeable journalists or analysts , as the case maybe ! The hard part is trying not to laugh when incidents such as this come to the fore . And the usual set of excuses are brought out in front of the public for them to consume in the form of an apology. They (ESPN) are always the first in line when it is an athlete either runs afoul of the law or has some sort of sexual impropriety . When it’s one of their own then all of a sudden everything seemingly becomes a matter of privacy and not worthy of news on their part. How crass , by ESPN as an organization !