Conclusive …..

Conclusive …

In aftermath of the Golden State Warriors’ (3-4) loss in the NBA Finals and the way in which the defending champions relinquished their title, has the sports’ world talking as the newly crowned champions the Cleveland Cavaliers (4-3) hold sway of the NBA world. Finals’ MVP and now a three-time champion , LeBron James now feels vindicated after the franchise’s triumph and the promise of bringing a title to his home state. The Akron , Ohio native fulfilled the promise and now has fans who once taunted for his departure from the Cavaliers now calling him ‘ The King’ once again . For the Cleveland Cavaliers’ team owner Dan Gilbert and his partners have seen the franchise’s value rise over 60% in the last four years, with the biggest increase coming immediately after James rejoined the Cavaliers. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ franchise is now worth in excess of $1.1 billion , though their value places them mid-table among the league’s thirty teams .

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Two consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals and the belief appears to be , Cleveland can now dominate the league , but specifically in the Eastern Conference for years to come. As to how many years is actually dependent upon how long LeBron James will continue his career in the league. I firmly believe the twelve-year veteran is now seeking personal goals , winning at least three more titles, three League MVP’s to add to his tally of four . Yet James’ biggest personal achievement could come from his being biggest earning player in NBA history . Having accumulated an estimated $300 million fortune, James’ business tentacles now stretches across a wide variety of entrepreneurial endeavors. LeBron James will likely become a billionaire before his NBA career has ended , with the player now the highest earning athlete in the league and one of the most recognizable faces in the world of sports. Not since Michael Jordan’s reign over the NBA , has there been a player so enigmatic , as athletic and as dominant in this league. Fans may now be seeking a team and player rivalry which are reminiscent of the intense rivalries seen between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics . I do believe those years are long gone and in our rear view mirrors and they are unlikely to return to the NBA !

Golden State’s fall from the heights of the basketball world to the point where many might now be questioning the heart of this team might well be justified. I firmly believe the title was lost for the Warriors , when the referees interjected themselves in the series far more than fans have come to see in previous NBA Finals . In particular during games four , five and six, when there appeared to be anomaly of outrageous calls favoring the Cleveland Cavaliers when they were in the process of mounting their now historic comeback from a 3-1 deficit . Golden State crumbled, while Steph Curry’s play and leadership continued to falter along with his teammates following in tow. The loss of Draymond Green from game-six , was far more telling than anyone would career to admit, but the player went all out in game-seven , as he fought valiantly in seeking to retain the Warriors’ hold Los their title. Cleveland Cavaliers’ four point 93-89 victory sealed Golden State’s fate and brought a title to Cleveland. Green’s thirty-two points in the contest led all scorers in the game. The defeat now leaves the Golden State Warriors and their fans wondering what might have been and whether or not the chase of the single-season record for regular season wins was actually worth it. To a degree there was a great deal of complacency seen during the NBA Playoffs by the Warriors , but this loss to the Cavaliers came down to who wanted the series’ victory more , without apportioning blame squarely on the shoulders of the referees.

There has to be a great deal of disappointment among the coaching staff of the Golden State Warriors , especially with head coach Steve Kerr . Having been fined $25,000 by the NBA for his criticism of the officials and pointed accusations at LeBron James , the thick skin one might have felt was a shell of invincibility with the Warriors had indeed began to crack. This off-season , there are likely to be some changes among the team’s lineup and I firmly believe Andrew Bogut will no longer be a part of the franchise’s future. Bogut’s best years are now behind him and limited availability in the Playoffs was clearly of no advantage to the team. Yet the biggest decision facing Steve Kerr and Warriors’ GM Bob Myers , is whether not they will allow Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli to become free agents or seek to retain both players who were vital to the team’s success during the regular season. The NBA salary cap will increase significantly this upcoming season rising from the current level of $63 million to a proposed $78 million with the luxury tax set at $92 million . Teams will aggressively seek to sign marquee free agents this off-season , very much in a similar vain witnessed last season and the year previously.

Dustin Johnson claimed the first Grand Slam Major of his PGA career having won the US Open at the Oakmont Golf & Country Club , Oakmont , Pennsylvania by a four-stroke margin . The American saw his rankings move up in the world, while also move up the FedEx Cup standings . However, the controversy which resulted in round four stemmed from the officials of the United States Golf Association (USGA) seeking to penalize Johnson for what they believe was an attempted stroke when the player’s club never actually struck the ball while it was on the green. They were either seeking to add insult to injury or as usual , the USGA and PGA in particular are just showing how truly incompetent they remain. Jordan Spieth , Jason Day and Rory McIlroy never made an impression during the tournament and the final leader-board indicated nothing more than Johnson’s margin of victory and his taking the almost $1.8 million first prize . Golf is in need of a great deal of excitement and it is now being provided by the top three players in the world with Jason Day , Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy leading the way.

Phil Mickelson no longer competes to win , merely turning up for what appears to be a guaranteed paycheck , just as long as he finishes in the top twenty -five of a PGA sanctioned event. Tiger Woods remains missing in action and milk carton’s with the player’s image will soon be going on display . Granted , Woods is now too old to be thought of as a missing and exploited child , but I can’t help but wonder what is next for the former world number one golfer ? It has been over eight months since his last appearance in a PGA event and over eighteen months since his last victory world worldwide . It goes without saying if Woods isn’t competing or winning a Major Grand Slam tournament, then fans of the sport are not necessarily interested in the game.

With golf now being part of the upcoming Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro , Brazil , it will be interesting to see which of the top-ranked golfers will be competing in the events . The Zika Virus remains at the forefront of the news within Brazil , even with the assurances being given by the Brazilian government. Dilma Rousseff , the country’s President has been deposed , amid claims of corruption , mismanagement of the country’s economy as well a litany of claims not substantiated. Tens of billions of dollars have been spent in Brazil on the staging of the Summer Olympics and IOC President Thomas Bach has now began to assure the world the staging of the event will take place without their being any major setbacks. That is of little assurance to many who believe the country has not dealt with the epidemic appropriately or the possibility that the nation’s security forces are ill-prepared to deal with a possible terrorist attack . If the staging of the games are to be a success then it will be incumbent on the country , the IOC making sure all necessary precautions are taken in safeguarding not only the athletes competing but also the guests entering Brazil to attend the Olympic Games.

Maria Sharapova might well be the best known female athlete to have become embroiled in the use of a banned substance. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has proposed a two-year suspension of the Russian tennis star which seems to have the backing of the ITF as well as the WTA , but the Russian Olympic Federation as well as the country’s President Vladimir Putin have called into question the harshness of the suspension of Sharapova. The tennis star offered her apology to her fans and the WTA when the news first broke of her having tested positive for Meldonium , a prescriptive medication commonly used in the rehabilitation of muscle fatigue. The drug has been on the banned list of substances by the IOC for over two years and Maria Sharapova’s explanation concerning the matter remains ambivalent , making absolutely no sense at all. In the midst of this all the Russian Olympic Federation is now questioning the ban by the International Track & Field Association (IAAF) of the Russian track and field team . Several of the athletes who face a mandatory two-year ban are world-class track stars , several of them ranked among the top-ten in their events and thought of as medal contenders at the upcoming games in Rio de Janeiro , Brazil.

This ban instigated by the IAAF might seem draconian and harsh without flexibility as to the decision rendered. Yet it should be noted the Russian Olympic Federation itself , while admitting no responsibility of any wrongdoing have admitted there has been a breakdown in their testing protocols for many of their track stars and other athletes. From my own perspective , I believe the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have been correct in their stance in stamping down on offenders and the associations who have yet to fallen into line with the testing protocols now in place and mandated by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) ! Russia has been one of the biggest offenders in the blatant use of banned substances in the world of track and field athletics over the past three and a half decades. It remains at the epicenter of the rampant widespread use of banned substances along with several Eastern bloc countries . However, it should be noted a number of US born athletes in recent years have also tested positive for the use of a banned substance. Track stars Tyson Gay , Justin Gatlin , Tim Montgomery and Marion Jones are the most prominent names known the public but the most well-known of all remains former seven-time Tour de France Champion cyclist Lance Armstrong . Ambivalence and hypocrisy remains commonplace within the IOC , IAAF as well as within the numerous federations affiliated with the International Olympic Committee.

Maria Sharapova will likely seek an appeal of the ruling of her suspension by taking her case directly to the Council For The Arbitration on Sports (CAS) based in Lausanne , Switzerland which also happens to be the headquarters for the IOC. Many of Sharapova’s contemporaries have not voiced their opinions publicly , but there is the belief the tennis superstar knew all along her actions were contrary the rules of the WTA and that of the IOC. I certainly hope an appeal by Maria Sharapova will not be upheld, as it would certainly open the floodgates for other athletes seeking to overturn decisions concerning their suspensions which were certainly warranted.

With the NBA season now over and baseball now in full swing the Summer months will now take center-stage with Olympics being the focal point for what will be a billion-plus audience watching this two-week spectacle. While I have always been ardent sports’ fan , in light of the recent political events around the world , there will be more the expected anticipation of the events taking place in Rio de Janeiro , Brazil .

In the aftermath with the events of the NBA Finals , do you believe the end result with the Cleveland Cavaliers winning the title was a satisfying end to the season ? Also, with the heightened alerts now taking place around the world because of the recent terrorist attacks taking place , do you believe the Summer Olympics in Brazil can turn out to be a tremendous success ?

Tophatal …. 2016/06/21

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Fallout …..

Fallout …

Well , it all came crashing down around the necks of the Oklahoma City Thunder in their game-seven loss to the Golden State Warriors the defending NBA champions . Golden State advances to the Finals where they will meet the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second successive season. For the defeated Thunder, the ramifications are quite devastating with the speculation GM Sam Presti will be forced to break up the entire roster and start afresh. Fans and analysts alike continue to make their own comments known , with many moving from the sublime to the ridiculous, stating Russell Westbrook should be sent packing , because he’s too much of a ball-hog. Or it’s now time for Kevin Durant to move on and for Presti to try to get the best possible offer available with a sign and trade deal of Durant. Each of those options can be deemed valid, but from my own perspective, I believe with the lack of talent now available from the upcoming NBA Draft and the fact there are very few marquee free agents up for grabs this off-season. The only real alternative for front office is to seek to rebuild but keeping their two most prized assets in-tact with the franchise.

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Billy Donovan in his first season as the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder was seeking to guide the franchise to their second appearance in the NBA Finals, but the real issue for the team was its failure to close out the series when the opportunities arose in game’s five and six . That failure was borne out by the fact they allowed the Warriors back into the Western Conference Finals and the inevitable result seen with the series’ deciding game-seven at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California,.

The real issue for Oklahoma City during the regular season and NBA Playoffs was the mere fact beyond Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook was the continued issue there was never much of an offensive presence being provided beyond the duo. Furthermore, from a defensive standpoint , the Thunder failed miserably and were continuously being outperformed in several of the categories which mattered most defensively . These issues were never addressed by Billy Donovan and his coaching staff . The adjustments which were needed on-court to counter the presence of Draymond Green , Klay Thompson and the league’s two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry never ever materialized. So if there is to anyone who needs to be faulted , then all fingers should be pointed towards the coaching staff of Billy Donovan and his players . The idiocy of solely pointing the finger towards Russel Westbrook is simply asinine and without any merit at all !

A second consecutive NBA Finals’ meeting between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will begin and all signs will be pointing to see whether or not LeBron James can lead the Cavaliers to their first NBA title in the franchise’s history . This will be James’ sixth consecutive appearance in the NBA showcase event of the NBA Playoffs. For his many of his teammates , this will provide a chance to avenge last season’s defeat suffered at the hands of the Golden State Warriors. It was as clinical and embarrassing a series’ loss seen in the last ten years . The regular season meetings between these two teams could very well provide us with an indication of how the Finals could very well turn out. Each team’s lineups will also be paramount as to what the fans should expect and I believe game one of the NBA Finals will be a precursor as to what we can expect !

Opposing head coaches Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors and Tyronn Lue of the Cleveland Cavaliers are former NBA players with solid backgrounds and postseason experience. Their contrasting styles will also be a part of what the fans also expect from what could turn out to be a very fascinating series. Steph Curry and LeBron James will also give fans the opportunity to decide for themselves who they believe to be the best player in the NBA. Curry won the League MVP with a unanimous vote , much to the chagrin of James and his most ardent supporters. Less we forget , ESPN analyst Stephen A Smith who is an avowed James’ supporter and apologist for the NBA superstar , will be hoping he is vindicated by the four-time League MVP .

LeBron James’ career ever since his entrance in the league has been encapsulated by the highs and lows seen throughout. From 2003 until now it has been a fun-filled extravaganza during which time the player has amassed a considerable fortune and become the consummate businessman and entrepreneur. James does have a great deal to prove and should he and the Cleveland Cavaliers fail in this series against the Golden State Warriors for the second consecutive season. Then the ramifications for the player and the franchise will be considerable, beyond the likely economic cost . Team owner Dan Gilbert has a great deal invested in the team and specifically James , himself . For LeBron James and his twelve-year career in the NBA , failure here at this moment in time , will be seen as a major disaster. Granted , he won his two titles with the Miami Heat and there was the failure to secure a possible three-peat , when the team fell to the San Antonio Spurs and they were highly favored to succeed. Now he will be judged by this series as never before , and that includes last year’s debacle .

Whereas , the Cleveland Cavaliers have sought to build a team around LeBron James with GM David Griffin delving into free agency signing players to lucrative contracts . The path taken by the Golden State Warriors has been one of a steady course with the front office listening closely to the advice proffered by Jerry West which has been heeded by GM Bob Myers . The only major upheaval with the regard to the franchise once it was acquired jointly by Peter Guber and Joe Lacob was the firing of Mark Jackson . The former head coach’s dismissal was a necessity , given his wish to ignore the requests of team owners Guber and Lacob not to make his personal feelings known concerning homosexuality and the coming out of Jason Collins . Jackson would follow this up with homophobic slurs directed towards the LGBT demographic. Given the image problems faced by the league in recent years, it was something the NBA could do without. Steve Kerr’s arrival was a blessing for the long-suffering Warriors’ fans. The roster in place was one which was already established, but just needed to be tweaked to fit the style sought by Kerr and his coaching staff .

A record-breaking season in 2015 and the Golden State Warriors have affixed themselves firmly within the annals of NBA history. Winning a second successive title would be ‘ icing on the cake’ for the franchise. All that now awaits is the start of the series and then the fans can judge for themselves how great this team is said to be.

Someone will have to remind me why anyone should or would take an interest in the plight of either Los Angles Lakers or New York Knicks ? Over the last three seasons neither franchise has really sought to build for their long-term future . Now while both franchises are among the most profitable within the NBA , this might the only thing of relevance either team has going for it at present. Having made a big splash with Phil Jackson joining the Knicks’ front office as an executive. Jackson has shown why he can never be considered an executive with an eye for talent much, less assembling a competitive roster. This much is certain , failure with the upcoming NBA draft and acquiring a prominent free agent and he might as well head back off into a permanent retirement rather than a Sabbatical . There also appears to be cause for concern with his naming Jeff Hornacek to succeed Kurt Rambis’ tenure as the Knicks’ interim head coach. Hornacek’s coaching career has not been filled with anything remotely considered a success. All the more annoying when one considers there were far more suitable candidates available for the vacant head coach’s position. with the Knicks . Then again one simply has to look at the front office of the franchise , its owner James Dolan and then realize the reason why the New York Knicks remain a failure.

The Buss family continue to ruin the Los Angeles Lakers and in the aftermath of Kobe Bryant’s retirement , it is hard to envisage where the Lakers now go from here. Luke Walton has been hired as the new head coach of the team , after his success this season with the Golden State Warriors. During Steve Kerr’s absence , Walton in his capacity as the assistant head coach led the team an impressive run whereby they set a franchise record for wins in a month, as well as the longest unbeaten run in the Warriors’ history. The coaching acumen shown by Luke Walton was obviously something which caught the eye of Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak . With the Los Angeles Lakers not seeking to extend the coaching contract of Byron Scott , Walton being hired was welcomed within the Lakers’ circle of fans and former players who still have long-standing ties and loyalties to the franchise.

While I believe there is a modicum of talent on the Los Angeles Lakers’ current roster , it is going to take a great deal more than the players present to make this franchise competitive enough to compete and the highest level and be taken as a legitimate contender for a divisional title , conference championship , much less an NBA title . Need we be reminded also the Lakers still have to compete in a conference where there are likely to be no better than the tenth best team in the West. All of the optimism and pragmatism now being shown by their fans as well as by co-owners , Jeanie Buss , Jim Buss and Johnny Buss simply show how out of touch they will continue to be. Cap space availability and the lure of playing in Los Angeles will have to the desire to lure any potential big named free agent to sign with the Lakers.

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What have been your observations concerning the NBA Playoffs and which team do you believe will prevail in the NBA Finals ?

Tophatal ……… 2016/05/31 04:43 am

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‘i’ by Kendrick Lamar

 

The wind beneath whose wings ……..

The wind beneath whose wings …

The NBA season is now in full swing and in the lead-up to the always important Christmas Day schedule , teams will certainly be looking to play with a great deal more consistency than with the initial start to their season.

Defending NBA champions the Golden State Warriors are certainly proving why they are the best team in the league and also have the best starting lineup by far. There is no other team in the NBA with greater depth and certainly they have the best head coach currently coaching in the game.

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Steve Kerr has experienced it all as a player , head coach and brought a sense of stability and intellect needed to a Warriors’ franchise , which it lacked under Kerr’s predecessor Mark Jackson . Add in the fact among the franchise’s front office , you have Jerry West as a consultant and an astute general manager with the acumen of Bob Myers and you can see why the Warriors remain ahead of the curve both on and off the court.

The same cannot be said for a litany teams around the NBA and that is with due respect to the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers , New York Knicks , Sacramento Kings , Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers , all of whom are simply bringing the NBA to its knees , if not lying on its back , prostrate. Simply look at their respective records within their divisions , conference and the league overall as a reason why they are and remain so bad.

When Joe Lacob and Peter Guber made the decision to buy the Golden State Warriors from former owner Chris Cohan, they sought to fix the problems often ignored by their predecessor and the front office.

Cohan, for his part , was often seen as an owner who simply didn’t care about the fate of the team during his tenure, just as long as he was able to share in the profits reaped not only by the team, but also the league in general. One has to remember , first and foremost the NBA as a brand is a major money-making business , which is presided over a group of executives whose major and primary concern has been to exact a degree of control over its brand , which makes it impossible for anyone to compete against them on any level.

The tyrannical rule seen under David Stern as the league’s commissioner, was one of complete authority, even if along the way there were buffoon-like decisions made along with a slew of mistakes and his even using race and gangster rap, as a selling point to market the NBA brand. Yet , I have been told countless times by a number of individuals , Stern was very good for the NBA. In reality, the former commissioner made use of Michael Jordan as the “tool” needed to sell the brand globally around the world . Now we are in the era of LeBron James and this league remains as popular as ever, even though there has been a marked decline in the quality of the play on the basketball court. In part , that could be down to the coaching and also the lack of real in-depth talent advancing from the college level over the past few years.

Adam Silver has succeeded David Stern as the NBA Commissioner and Silver looks to further the league’s ambition to expand beyond the North American continent. From my own perspective, while basketball might be one of the most popular sports in the world , second only to soccer. The league will be in for a hard sell in such places as Latin America , Western Europe and certain regions of sub-Saharan Africa. To date, the NBA’s most successful advances have been made in Europe and on the Asian continent , where in particular , China has been the league’s big success. A billion-plus consumers to be embraced and you cannot go wrong and then add in the fact the country’s biggest sporting export Yao Ming still remains popular in China, even after his retirement and you can understand why the NBA seeks to have its tentacles firmly around the globe. Something , I firmly believe the hierarchies of the NFL, MLB and NHL have failed yet to grasp, when it comes to marketing their brands on the global market.

The Golden State Warriors on their march to seeking a second consecutive NBA title have been blowing past opponents and leaving them in their rear view mirror. Reigning NBA League MVP Steph Curry , is having another banner year and his teammates are following his lead. Defensively, as good as they are , the Warriors can still get better and the question now on everyone’s lips , which team can inflict Golden State’s first loss of the season. At 22-0 , the Warriors are just eleven games away from equaling the longest consecutive winning streak in NBA history, a mark held by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers. Another five-straight wins by Golden State would see them equal the second longest mark set by Miami Heat during the 2012-13 NBA season.

In their last game the Golden State Warriors in a contest , which pitted them against the Indiana Pacers . A home loss for the Pacers in a 131-123 defeat pushed Indiana’s record to 12-9 for the fifth best record in the Eastern Conference. The Warriors’ next game will see them on the road to face the Boston Celtics , where we are likely to see Golden State improve their road record as well as against another Eastern Conference opponent.

While the Golden State Warriors are being praised for their success this season , for the teams at the bottom end of the NBA and the continued ineptitude shown. I don’t know that a great deal more needs to be said about the play of the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers , Brooklyn Nets , New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings. Ineptitude this season , shall we say, is the new normal ?

Brett Brown , head coach of the 76ers, is a franchise, which is bereft of talent on the court , but even more among so the coaching staff and front office . Having recently won their first game of the season , the Sixers can rest assured no one is really concerned what they do over the remainder of their schedule, much less the idiocy of those who believe GM Sam Hinkie is building something which will be of benefit to the franchise and their long-term future. This is the sort of prevailing idiocy which is now prevalent around the NBA, with the fans and analysts alike. Once, the several of these younger players (rookies) have fulfilled their contractual obligations with Sixers , I believe a number of them will be getting as far away from Philadelphia as fast as they can, without taking a look in their rear view mirrors !

Rajon Rondo may well be resurrecting his career with the Sacramento Kings , but the team will not be going anywhere at all this season. George Karl, as experienced a coach as he is, has to be provided with a team willing to play, one which plays with a great deal of zeal. Clearly not the case with Sacramento at home or on the road this season. A six-point victory over the Utah Jazz by the Sacrament Kings may well have provided the Kings with some respite momentarily but they will be in for something of a test when they face the New York Knicks at home on Thursday evening. For the New York Knicks, this will give the Derek Fisher coached team a chance to improve their record against Western Conference opponents. While there might be a great deal which the Knicks’ fans feel they can rejoice about , at this point of the season, with a 10-12 record within the East and 2 ½ games behind the eighth placed , Orlando Magic (12-9) , is not necessarily a great place to be for a franchise , where their fans as well as the front office believe the team is capable of making the NBA Playoffs this season.

LeBron James might well be considered the best player in the NBA since his entrance as the number one pick during the 2003 NBA Draft . The ensuing years have provided the fans with just about everything they expected and a great deal more. As LeBron seeks to guide the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA title, the player seems to be making all the right commercial moves off the court , while still making a considerable salary on the court. James’ signing of a lifetime $500 million contract , further enhances his viability as the NBA’s highest-profile and commercially viable marketing asset, the league currently has. The deal with Nike Inc, will push the player’s lifetime earnings in excess of $1 billion. If the rumors are to be believed then the player could be joining his personal icons Michael Jordan and Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson of becoming not only major sports’ icons , but also billionaire status .

The Cleveland Cavaliers have not proven to be as dominant as some believed they would be this season and already the team has suffered some rather embarrassing losses against opponents, which many felt were beneath them. Over their last six games heading into Wednesday night the Cleveland Cavaliers have posted 3-3 record , hardly emblematic of a team seeking to be the best within their conference. Granted, the Cavaliers do have the best record , but they have been far from dominant within the Eastern Conference. In their last game Cleveland had to overcome pesky Portland Trailblazers , who they defeated 105-100. Prior to that game, they lost a lopsided decision to the Miami Heat , while they were without LeBron James for the contest. The next game for the Cavaliers will see them take on the Orlando Magic at the Amway Arena , Orlando, Florida on Thursday , 11th December ,2015.

It would be fair to suggest there are no more than a handful of teams in the Western Conference likely to be able to derail the chances of the Golden State Warriors making a successful defense of their NBA title. Among those , I would count the Oklahoma City Thunder , Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs to be among the teams in question ! Of the three franchises mentioned , the Spurs with their depth might be the team capable of making that a reality. The fact that Gregg Popovich and RC Buford were able to pull of such a coup in acquiring both LaMarcus Aldridge and David West only adds to the fabled accomplishments of both executives .

San Antonio currently has the second-best record in the league and the conference behind the undefeated Golden State Warriors. Certainly, when these two teams meet in the first of their regular season meetings , it is likely to be one the games of the season and most definitely the game of the night, when this contests takes place. These two teams will meet four times times over the course of this season as part of their schedule, with those games being contested on the following dates, 25th January, 19th March, 7th April and the final meeting between the two taking place on the 10th April . Last season both the Warriors and Spurs put on an exhilarating display in each of the three games held as they sought conference supremacy .

Tim Duncan and his San Antonio Spurs’ teammates will next take to the court when they are due to face Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant having announced this will be his his last season in the NBA, will not be going out with a splash, but more so, on a somber note as the Lakers’ season is already imperiled due to the poor play by the entire roster and poor coaching of Byron Scott .

The only way is up , from here-on in concerning the Los Angeles Lakers, but I believe it is too steep a mountain which this franchise is incapable of climbing . simply because of the lack of intelligence shown by the team’s owners Jim and Jeanie Buss, while GM Mitch Kupchak remains clueless in his assessment of talent and how to put a competitive together. Six years on from their last NBA title triumph , the Lakers have labored in a pool of acrid mediocrity .

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What have you found to be the most impressive statistic witnessed at this point of the NBA season and do you believe the Christmas schedule will play a large part in what we could very well see over the remainder of the NBA schedule ?

🙂

Tophatal …………..

🙂

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I Got Game , What You Got ?

I Got Game , What You Got ?

In the world of sports where athletes are times more often than rewarded for their mediocrity , it remains confounding when many of these stars, then seek to gain even more notoriety for the off-court of field antics than anything they have yet to have achieved during their active playing careers. It would appear to be the case now with the Memphis Grizzlies’ veteran Matt Barnes, who but at one time played for both Los Angeles’ based NBA franchises the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers.

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Now something of a journeyman within the NBA , Barnes has never been the meaningful or an integral part of any team where he has played. Now seeking to emblazon himself in the minds of the masses, Matt Barnes is on a quest to let the world know about his private life and the fact he has dated pop sensation Rihanna. Last I looked the singer had notched up her own fair share of male suitors which have included current San Diego Padres’ slugger Matt Kemp , rapper , Drake and his erstwhile nemesis Chris Brown . No mean feat by the singer , until you realize, she actually garners more press than the aforementioned names combined and has been more successful from a talent and commercial standpoint. Which begs the question, is Matt Barnes really that much of an asshole ? Yes indeed, he is that much of an asshole and a great deal more .

With the upcoming season of the NBA not due to begin until the opening regular season tip-off , opening night 27th October 2015, much of the off-season and heading into the preseason has been about what various teams have sought to do to bolster their rosters. The Golden State Warriors rode on the crest of an emotion alongside great coaching to win their first NBA title in four decades. Unfortunately , rather than seeking to praise the franchise for the achievement , the press and in particular anal retentive fans, have sought to make excuses for the defeated NBA Finalists the Cleveland Cavaliers and their superstar guard LeBron James. James for his part in spite of his heroics was never seriously in with a chance of winning his third straight NBA title. There was way too much pressure on the Cavaliers to succeed and clearly the inexperience of head coach David Blatt played a part in their downfall beyond the loss of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love during the NBA Playoffs.

LeBron James has been lucky enough to know the front office of the Cavaliers are willing to do just about anything to facilitate the player’s whims , including seeking to acquire just about anyone willing to play a secondary role to the LeBron James traveling circus. Cleveland is likely to be among one of the top draws on the road as well as at home during the upcoming regular season and it is also clear they will be a major ratings’ draw when it comes to a television audience. The Christmas Day scheduling of the rematch between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors at the Oracle Arena is a clear indication of how orchestrated and self-important the NBA now believes itself to be.

While I have no doubt the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will each have a role to play in this upcoming season , where both teams will likely be challenging for divisional honors within their respective conference. I do believe that the West will be the better of the two conferences on display , as has been the case over the last eight seasons.

With Marc Gasol choosing to remain with the Memphis Grizzlies , it will be interesting to see what this team has in store for their fans this upcoming season. Gasol will be the focus of the roster alongside Zach Randolph and Vince Carter , who after all of these years within the NBA still believes he has something to offer a team. There was a time when Carter was among the most explosive and dynamic players within the NBA , but over the last few years , his productivity has declined. Head coach David Joerger and his coaching staff will have a great deal to prove this season if they (Grizzlies) are to be considered among the top teams within the Western Conference throughout the year. Memphis will tip-off their regular season schedule with a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on the 28th October,2015 at the Fedex Forum , in Memphis , Tennessee,.

So much for the hype behind the return of Phil Jackson and what he might be able to offer the New York Knicks by way of his basketball acumen. This past season showed the Knicks to be as bad a team to be found in this league. Embarrassing and simply asinine, might not be enough to describe how bad the New York Knicks just happened to be. What might now be even more befuddling concerning the Knicks were the choices made by the front office during the most recent NBA Draft. Still trying to figure out who Kristaps Porzingis just happens to be? Try looking at his team bio with the Knicks and then ascertain why he was actually chosen as their number one pick in the first round . Someone needs to explain , how a front office led by Phil Jackson, general manager Steve Mills and the coaching staff of Derek Fisher believes Porzingis is a better choice . ahead of players such as Willie Cauley-Stein , Frank Kaminsky , Justice Winslow and several other players many believe to have greater talent than Kristaps Porzingis.

Consider the fact , Knicks’ fans in attendance of the NBA Draft immediately began to boo the choice of the Latvian star whose experience with the Spanish League giant Sevilla was said to one of the main reasons he was drafted by the Knicks. Given New York’s failure to draft anyone of note who has contributed to the franchise over the past five seasons, it easy to understand why the franchise remains such a mess. Phil Jackson’s legacy can solely be judged on his achievements as a head coach , but as a front office executive, he still has his training wheels firmly strapped to his feet . Very much the same can be said of Derek Fisher as a head coach along with his aimless staff of coaching assistants. There are jigsaw puzzles with over one thousand pieces, which could be better assembled than the mess put together by Phil Jackson. Knicks’ fans start kissing your own proverbial @sses , rather than coming up with the regurgitating excuses of Jackson having a plan of action.

Carmelo Anthony may well have chosen to remain in New York because of the money , but the past two years for the player have been wasted years in terms of his talent and the fact the front office has failed miserably in placing around him the talent necessary for the New York Knicks to win consistently , much less make their presence felt in the NBA Playoffs . I do not believe there is anything more which needs to be said about the New York Knicks , where we know their Achilles’ Heal will remain their lack of defense and the fact beyond Carmelo Anthony there remains little to this roster by way of the offense. The Knicks will begin their regular season sojourn with a game against the Milwaukee Bucks coached by their former point guard Jason Kidd when the two teams meet at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee , Wisconsin, on the 28th October, 2015.

Kobe Bryant will enter this season as the highest paid player in the league while on a Los Angeles Lakers’ team likely to be heading nowhere and not as competitive as their fans might believe them to be. Jim Buss and Jeanie Buss , as the senior owners of the franchise along with GM Mitch Kupchak have been culpable in presiding over what has been unmitigated disaster over the past four seasons for this once proud organization. The more Lakers’ fans tend to talk about past glories, rather than deal in the reality of here and now . It is more borne out by the fact , they have simply become delusional and unwilling point the finger at where the responsibilities lay for the Los Angeles Lakers’ fall from grace. Bryant is no longer the player who once reigned supreme over this league and flashes of momentary brilliance cannot hide the fact this aging veteran is now several years past his prime. Yet fans of the Los Angeles Lakers remain optimistic the player can win a sixth NBA title , matching that of his personal icon Michael Jordan .

After a horrendous season in 2014 , it is easy to understand why the Lakers’ fans and the team would like to place it in their rear-view mirror . The Los Angeles Lakers much like the New York Knicks have been feeble in their attempts in drafting players with a competitive zeal, clearly evident in 2014 , 2013 , 2012 and 2011. Granted, this year and their choices of D’Angelo Russell and Larry Nance Jr, in round one , to be followed by Anthony Brown have yet to bear fruit. The feeling however, appears to be , this will be a work in progress as Byron Scott and his coaching staff embark upon this regular season. I believe through their first twenty-five games of the season , will provide us with enough of a gauge to see how the Lakers are likely to fare during 2015.

Scott and the Lakers will open their regular season with a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Staples Center , in Los Angeles California on the 28th October.

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Tophatal ………

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I yield to no man !

I yield, to no man!

Over the weekend, the NFL opened up its postseason with the wild card round series of games . As usual, the summary surprises came with games that resulted with a number of unwanted endings . Suffice to say, in spite of the huge television ratings one comes to expect , it is by no means a guarantee that the contests themselves are necessarily outstanding.

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All the hype earlier in the season, concerning the coaching acumen and in-genius mind of Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles came to nothing , as the Eagles succumbed to the New Orleans Saints in a highly entertaining contest . From my own perspective, I simply could not buy into an Eagles’ team whose head coach has never been known for his propensity for his teams to play an iota of actual defense. That was the case with Kelly as coach of the Oregon Ducks at the Collegiate Level and it has most certainly been the case with the Philadelphia Eagles throughout much of this past regular season and then coming into this contest against the Saints .

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, now go on to a divisional round contest against the Seattle Seahawks , at Q West Field in Seattle , Washington, with the winner gaining a berth into the NFC championship game . . As to the other NFC contest, that pitted the San Francisco Forty Niners against the Green Bay Packers in a game played at Lambeau Field in Green Bay , Wisconsin. Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers were being asked to take on not only a Packers’ team , but also a raucous and vociferous home crowd in a game that lived up to all of the hype and a great deal more. . San Francisco came away with a well-deserved three-point 23-20 victory , and now move on to play the Carolina Panthers in what is likely be a real slug-fest between two of the more entertaining teams within the NFC over this past regular season.

The contests within the AFC , were no less riveting than their NFC counterparts , but all in all, the lesson to be learned , has been , all that glitters is not necessarily gold as and when it came to teams, who showed a great deal of dominance early in the regular season , but somehow over their last five games , they seemed to falter and showed no signs of being able to play themselves back into contention, with any type of consistency.

Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs made quite a splash early in the season , with the Chiefs actually challenging the Denver Broncos for divisional supremacy within the AFC West , as well as who ought to be looked upon as the best team in the AFC altogether. Unfortunately, for Reid and his team the script was flipped , as Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts summarily hoisted the Kansas City based franchise unto their own petard . In what turned out to be, a completely wayward performance, the Chiefs were found wanting in all areas of their game. . A twenty-one point lead, by the Kansas City Chiefs, was slowly erased, as Andrew Luck showed why he is one of the best young quarterbacks now playing in the entire NFL. As to the abrupt end to the Chiefs season , it all comes down to what might have been and the missed opportunities.

To say, I expected more from Marvin Lewis and the Cincinnati Bengals this postseason would be an understatement ! However, in light of that premise, I have to say in all honesty their contest against Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers ,was about as lopsided a postseason game that I have seen in some time. A 27-10 shellacking by the Chargers, not only indicated how bad the Bengals just happened to be, but quite possibly how overrated the AFC North may well have been over the course of this season. . I certainly felt that Andy Dalton and the presence he has shown since entering the NFL would be able to lead a Bengals’ team , that over the past two seasons under Marvin Lewis, has shown a great deal of progress, as Dalton’s own game itself, has shown a great deal of promise.

With Greg Schiano’s dismissal after two seasons of rather pedantic football by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . Nothing actually delighted me more, than also seeing Mark Dominik’s firing by the franchise’s owners led by Avram Glazer and the rest of the Glazer family . Truth be known, the family has shown all of the alleged business acumen in dealing with the franchise as of late , as the collective intelligence of the House Finance Committee and that of the Senate Banking Committee when dealing with the economy and the financial sector of the country. Suffice to say, this is a Buccaneers’ franchise that has lost complete direction , so much so, that their fans would be none the wiser , even in light of their apparent apathy and complete lack of understanding as to what they have witnessed over the past four seasons under Schiano and his predecessor , Raheem Morris . As to this idiocy, that , Dominik himself, was a great assessor of talent. One simply has to look at the fact that the Buccaneers’ play under both of these coaches , was simply lackluster , unimaginative and completely lacking in guile .

Greg Schiano’s successor , Lovie Smith , the former Chicago Bears’ head coach and a disciple of the Tony Dungy coaching philosophy may well be seen as the right candidate for the position , but unless the Buccaneers show the actual wherewithal to hire a knowledgeable front office executive. Then the franchise is likely to witness more of the same incompetency that has been witnessed in the last five years , without any major strides, having been made by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mike Glennon might be viewed as a more than apt successor to Josh Freeman in the quarterback position ,but in all honesty the franchise has not had a player of note in that particular position in well over a decade and that includes their Superbowl winning quarterback, Brad Johnson . You may well disagree with my summation in that context , but please do go ahead and proceed to change my mind on the matter !

The travails of the NBA season and there still remains the banality of a league , where a highlight reel of a slam dunk, simply, is now meant to dictate the actual prowess and the game now being witnessed in the league. Far be it for me to suggest, but if things get any worse in the Eastern Conference , then the division leaders , should be handed their divisional titles by default , because the fans should not have to bear witness to such ineptitude ! Hell, at times, I would rather watch paint dry , than having to witness a game in the NBA , when teams have wish to play defense and where the talent that is said to be on show, is the best that this league is said to have on offer . There remains but a handful of truly gifted and talented players currently in the NBA, and the rest are simply playing a game that no one actually wants to see and where the coaching has truly become downright awful.

The Golden State Warriors may well be the “hottest team” in the NBA ,while currently on an eight-game winning streak . Yet , don’t be fooled into thinking that as they now stand , they ought to be seen as a legitimate candidate for the NBA title . While, head coach, Mark Jackson and his coaching staff have begun to instill a great deal of resilience into a team led by Steph Curry, Klay Thompson , David Lee and Harrison Barnes leading the roster in scoring . Golden State’s sixteen-point destruction of the Washington Wizards , shows the team’s offensive prowess , and also the weakness of the Eastern Conference as a whole. The less I see of the conference , with the exception of the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers , the more comfortable I am likely to feel about the league in general , as it now stands !

In general, if someone is going to opine on a subject , it does pay to at least use some facts to bear out your case . Nothing can be more asinine at present than to merely suggest that the issues that currently encompass both the New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks , simply comes down to the fact that they would rather spend money on their teams. In reality, it comes down to a litany of issues, that both franchises have failed to address in recent years. Coaches that are simply not good enough , owners who have no damn idea what it actually takes to place a competitive product on the field of play and finally a front office made up of general managers , whose acumen, is simply minute and where their knowledge can be debunked. To top it all, you have the undoubted stupidity of the respective fans in question for both franchises , whose ideas can simply be summed up by stating that , apathy is now acceptable , when it comes to professional sports within the state of New York and the surrounding areas , where the majority of the fans are domiciled. Need we be reminded of by the ineptitude shown by the Buffalo Bills , New York Giants and New York Jets this past season without having to look at both the pitiful Knicks and Nets ?

The Warriors will be on the road on Tuesday evening, when they are the guests of the Milwaukee Bucks in Milwaukee Wisconsin , in a game that could push the team’s franchise’s record streak and further enhancing their reputation. While I believe the Golden State Warriors to be a competent team, there remains doubts as to whether or not they are good enough to take on the might of the San Antonio Spurs , Oklahoma City Thunder , Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trailblazers . All teams I believe to be better than the Warriors not just on merit , by way of their respective records , but also because of each of the teams in question are better balanced, with coaches who show a great deal more awareness as to the nuances changing tendencies with a game . Mark Jackson , has been able to instill confidence into his roster and given them the wherewithal to play the game with abandonment , but the Warriors’ reliance on three-point shooting is likely to be their Achilles’ Heel when adversity stares them in the face. . If the Golden State Warriors are to prove themselves as legitimate candidates within the Western Conference , then theirs will be a task, where they will have to prove themselves a competent unit defensively , when facing a far more experienced adversary within the conference.

Times are changing and with the recent move by the Orlando Magic to waive Hedo Turkoglu and move ahead with a young roster . Head coach Jacque Vaughn with his coaching staff are seeking to resurrect the fortunes of a franchise that has been languid and without direction for a number of years, even with the drama that surrounded the departure of Dwight Howard , from the franchise to then join the Los Angeles Lakers , where Howard’s stay was less than satisfactory to say the very least.

. Turkoglu , a long-time mainstay of the franchise and someone who was viewed as the elder statesman on the team and perhaps a leader for several of the younger players on the roster , has seen his minutes decline , as well as his productivity . GM Rob Hennigan and Jacque Vaughn came to the decision to waive the seasoned veteran , without their being a great deal of controversy arising out of the move . In all likelihood Turkoglu will find a place with another franchise within the league seeking a veteran presence or simply to add to the productivity of a team looking for a streaky player .

At 10-24 , the Orlando Magic are firmly rooted at the bottom of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference . They are 4 ½ games behind their divisional rivals the Charlotte Bobcats (15-20) and a distant sixteen games behind the division’s leaders , defending NBA champions the Miami Heat (26-8) . A four-game losing streak has pretty much summed up the Orlando Magic’s season , which has literally been filled with inconsistency , with the sole bright spot coming with the play of Victor Oladipo , the franchise’s rookie taken in the 2013 NBA Draft . . In that draft, Oladipo was joined by Romero Osby , who at some point in the season is likely to see some playing time should the front office believe it necessary to simply start now looking towards the franchise’s long-time future.

Orlando last night, as guests of the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California, were simply no match for their Western Conference opponents . To put this contest more succinctly , were the Magic spotted a twenty-point lead , they would have still found a way to lose the contest , while looking abysmal in every aspect of their game. Such have been the woes for Jacque Vaughn this season , that it is my belief that team President Alex Martins and Rob Hennigan are likely to consider a coaching change by the midpoint of the season , or allow the beleaguered head coach fulfill the year in terms of his contract. Vaughn’s hire, was nonsensical to begin with, his having very little coaching experience and merely a bystander, on a staff where he may well have been no better than a janitor. Yet, this has simply been the utter stupidity shown by the Magic hierarchy and that has been continually exhibited by owner Rich de Vos .

The Orlando Magic, is being ran by a bunch of simpletons, who have proven that alongside the political environment within the city, just about any type of stupidity can take place. Wherein, a political savant, such as Mayor Buddy Dyer thought it prudent to spend tens of millions of dollars on a needless venue the Amway Center , merely because he felt it was in that city’s best interests to have a new stadium built for the NBA franchise , when there were far more urgent needs within the city of Orlando . Though, the Orlando Magic are now domiciled in one of the NBA’s most expansive and expensive arenas , one should consider the fact that, the NBA franchise over this past season and now in 2013 , have rarely played in-front of a sold-out crowd.

As the NBA season meanders through its eighty-two game schedule , it will be interesting to see which teams rise to the challenge not only within the ,divisions, but also the Eastern and Western Conference , and how the determination of the playoff berths will be met , as the teams in question, make themselves ready for what is likely to be a grueling postseason.

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Picture gallery .

Please feel free to chime in with your thoughts on the points raised within this article and anything else you believe to be relevant to the topic in general .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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Nick Foles (9) celebrates as LeSean McCoy (25) of the Philadelphia Eagles scores a 1 yard touchdown in the third quarter against the New Orleans Saints during their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 4, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Getty Images /Al Bello …

(2) Nick Foles (9) of the Philadelphia Eagles talks with head coach Chip Kelly and teammate Michael Vick (7) on the sidelines against the New Orleans Saints during their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 4, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Getty Images / Elsa Martinez …

(3) Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball during the NFL Wild Card Playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 4, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Getty Images /Andy Lyons ….

(4) Quarterback Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts scores a touchdown in the fourth quarter after recovering a fumble against the Kansas City Chiefs during a Wild Card Playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 4, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Getty Images /Rob Carr ….

(5) Former Buccaneers’ head coach Greg Schiano and the team’s general manager Mark Dominik are seen here having a discussion . Both individuals t were relieved of their duties this off-season after a disastrous season within the NFL. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished with a 4-12 record within the NFC South , barely beating out the Atlanta Falcons for the worst record within the division as well as one of the worst in the NFC and the entire NFL . Former Chicago Bears’ head coach Lovie Smith has been hired to succeed Schiano , but a general manager has yet to be hired to replace Dominik , who bore a great deal of the responsibility for the franchise’s failures during his five-year tenure with some rather lackluster and uninspiring draft picks , especially during 2011, 2012 and 2013. AP Photo Marcus Hendricks ….

(6) Golden State Warriors’ head coach Mark Jackson is seen here with Steph Curry as they discus a play during a game this season . Curry , Jackson and the Warriors’ organization are seeking to make even greater strides this season , which saw the franchise make the postseason in 2012 , before bowing out to the San Antonio in the Western Conference semi-finals with a 4-2 series’ loss. Currently lying in second place in the Pacific Division a 1/2 game behind division leaders the Los Angeles Clippers (24-13) the Warriors are hoping overtake their instate rivals atop of the division and further enhance their position within the conference and a guarantee themselves a playoff berth. The team is on pace for a 53-29 record , if they are able to maintain their current pace and their next scheduled start will be a game against the Milwaukee Bucks in Milwaukee , Wisconsin, at the BMO Harris Bradley Center . AP Photo / Matthew Hall …..

(7) Steph Curry. left is seen here alongside teammate Klay Thompson, during a game . The duo, are the leading scorers on the Warriors’ roster this season and are also one of the top offensive combos in the Western Conference and one of the primary reasons why many believe them a legitimate contender within the West this season . AP Photo / Mark Clarke …..
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Chicken soup but not necessarily for the soul.

Rub a dub-dub , two breasts in a tub .

I’m sorry , but Dwyane Wade couldn’t get an erection., because Gabrielle Union (actress ,picturedabove) wasn’t desirable or had no desire to ” rock the mic” ? LOL,LOL,LOL, !!!

I say fi’ty, you say fifty , but who gives a damn ?

I say fi’ty, you say fifty , but who gives a damn ?

By Tophatal

Many of those who know me , through my offerings within this site , may well be a aware that at one time , one of my first loves in the sporting world , was the sport of boxing . My two favorite’s fighters in history are modern-day contemporaries , middleweights, “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler and Bernard Hopkins . Albeit , a special place remains in my heart, for the undisputed “ greatest fighter in history” , Muhammad Ali , a three-time heavyweight champion. With the recent revelation , that rapper and business entrepreneur, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson , has now been licensed in the states of Nevada, New York and California , as a boxing promoter . It begs the question, is this something that the sport now needs to be revitalized, and to remain relevant ? I liken the sport of boxing to the NHL (hockey) and the fact , that particular sport has been mismanaged , does not have a sound economic base , but yet, their half assed fans are still trying to sell the NHL and its teams as something relevant ! Four labor stoppages inside of two decades , doesn’t make you relevant , it makes you by appearance alone, goddamn stupid , and deservedly so !

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Jackson hopes to bring along his expertise, having built an estimated fortune of $250 million , from his clothing line, real estate , record and film production company, as well as from selling his stake , in supplement and bottled water product Vitamin Water, for a reputed $100 million , while still retaining a minority stake in the company. Who says, gangster rappers and “bangers”, don’t know, how to make that “government cheese “ (money)? Boxing remains a sport riddled with corruption , mismanaged by the five relevant boxing hierarchies , and wherein the three biggest fight promoters within this environment tend to collude when it supports their interests to deprive and cheat the consumer almost at will. Veteran promoters , Bob Arum , founder of Top Rank Inc , Don King of his self-styled and named Don King Promotions Inc , and the last entrant unto the scene, former multi-world title-holder , Oscar de La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions Inc , have simply made the boxing landscape seem like downtown , Kabul or Baghdad , after another terrorist atrocity , which has left a path of death , destruction and utter chaos. Does anyone, now realize that it has been almost a decade since the sport of boxing had an undisputed heavyweight champion? At present the division, is dominated by East Europeans that are truly lacking in talent. So, much so, that it has become so embarrassing to see those fighters on display inside of a boxing ring. The last fighter to hold the undisputed crown was the British fighter , Lennox Lewis , who retired from the sport in 2004. Since Lewis’ retirement, the heavyweight scene has been dominated by Ukrainian siblings, Vitali (45-2-0) and Vladimir Klitschko (59-3-0) . The two brothers, hold all five of the title belts that matter and with no wish to unify the division , the sport remains devoid of a truly recognizable champion for the heavyweight category .

Arum , King and de La Hoya , have all failed miserably, with their endeavors, in not only cleaning up the sport , but also, in creating a lasting interest , in this once revered spectacle of gladiatorial pugilism . Boxing , if anything , in spite of the presence of Floyd Mayeathter and Manny Pacquiao , has simply lost ground to the explosive arrival and the ascent of MMA under the banner of UFC . And for the idiot who once wrote within his domain, that the genre of Mixed Martial Arts was on the decline , because hockey has more of a fan-base and viewership . Please shut the hell up , take note of the NHL , where it currently stands , and the fact that NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman and the NHL hierarchy now pays NBC Sports to carry its lame ass brand ! Shouldn’t that be, the other way around? So this is how a $2.5 billion sporting enterprise is meant to be ran ? Well , actually , be ran right into the goddamn gutter ! Piss on that , if you like , as I know that I will !

As to the altruistic intentions of 50 Cent , well , you can either judge by his deeds, in terms of his already astonishing success as a recording artist and as an entrepreneur , or by the fact that he comes in as a novice within this realm, but having a sizable knowledge of the sport , and with what now appears to be a budding stable of young and up and coming talent signed to his G-Unit Boxing Promotions Inc . Of the most recognized names within that stable is the undefeated Cuban exile , junior lightweight title aspirant , Yuriorkis Gamboa (22-0-16 KO’s). In September of 2012, 50 Cent and his then budding friendship with Floyd Mayweather , saw the pairing of the two obviously ego-driven talents , forge a business relationship that was begin with the setting up of a fight promotion’s company TMS Promotions . However, with the rapper being openly critical of his partner , and his refusal to take on his young protégé’ Gamboa , in a proposed title fight . What should have been a mutually beneficial business arrangement between Mayweather and 50 Cent , turned into an acrimonious relationship of “name calling “ , with a slew of profanity laden rants, which were exchanged, between the two , virally , in print and on , more than one occasion, in public . The last such exchange, took place after , Manny Pacquiao’s most recent bout , his loss to Juan Manuel Marquez , in which Mayweather, described the Filipino fighter as a boxer past his prime, who deserved an ass whooping, in refusing to give the public what they desired , a super-fight between the two megastars . Jackson’s response , was swift in suggesting , and defending Pacquiao, by suggesting, if there was anyone deserving of an ass whooping , it was Mayweather , himself , and that his fighter, Yuriorkis ” Yuri” Gamboa , would be the fighter to hand out that “said ass whooping “ in grand style .

The vitriol between the two , has reached a new high, with the cacophony of verbiage and garbage being exchanged between 50 Cent and Floyd Mayweather , seem far more thrilling and interesting than any staged fight at the heavyweight level over the past eighteen months .

Did you see that ? Well for almost the second time in ten days, the once high and mighty New York Knicks were brought back down to earth , by an upstart with the NBA . The Knicks playing at the revered and venerable Madison Square Garden, in New York City , New York , were taken to task by Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors . Curry , would score a career high 54 points in the Warriors’ 109-105 loss to the Knicks. And with the Steph Curry leading all scorers on the night . The game although a victory for the Eastern Conference franchise , further emphasized how poor a defensive team the Knicks just happen to be , and will continue to remain.

Curry’s performance was a season high within the NBA this season . However, what might be even more inexplicable, was how the player was snubbed as an All Star representative for the Warriors this season . Steph Curry has been one of the most prolific scorers within the Western Conference , the NBA and by far the most productive player on the team’s roster . And much of that credit, should go to budding Coach of the Year candidate , Mark Jackson , who now has the franchise on the cusp of returning to the NBA Playoffs for the first time , since 2007 .

As much as Mike Woodson tries to get his players buy into a defensive mindset and strategy, it seems that there is no one cognizant or seemingly intelligent enough on the roster to fully comprehend what that might mean . Ergo , “ defense wins goddamn championships “ , points on freaking board during the season, only gets you regular season wins . Get it ? Good !

There is a lot that the New York Knicks have going for them at present , as Carmelo Anthony , is having one hell of a season . Beyond that , several of his teammates have stepped up , but unfortunately that hasn’t happened on a consistent enough basis . Mike Woodson may well be happy enough with the team’s showing within the their division , but the ball club has slipped off , in the conference standings . No real threat , as of yet , but if the team becomes any shakier , don’t panic , just simply acknowledge that , they are not as good , as first advertised . Knicks’ fans, while knowledgeable , tend to act , as if the goddamn world owes them something . If its respect that they are said to be looking for , then , before you can respect , you have to earn it . And the Knicks simply haven’t done enough to earn that respect , in spite of what their fans may well think . The New York Knicks , are not perennial contenders for the NBA title and haven’t been so , in a considerably long time . And their recent body of work over the past five years tends to bear this out .

With the Knicks having fallen down in the conference standings from that coveted #2 seed to where they now sit behind the surging Indiana Pacers coached by Frank Vogel . It has to be said that all of those wishes and ambitions held by the Knicks’ front office could be forlorn, should this franchise fail to make a successful and deep run in the NBA postseason. Team owner, James Dolan and GM Glen Grunwald have seen fit increase the team’s payroll to where they exceed the league’s soft salary cap of $58.044 million . That figure for the Knicks, is now set at $79,405,151 , which ranks the team’s payroll as the sixth highest in the NBA for the 2012-13 season. The vast resources at the organization’s disposal as part of The Madison Square Garden Company , the familial holdings for the sports’ ventures of the Dolan family. Take into account also, the very fact that the franchise remains the most valuable ($1.1 billion) in the NBA as well as the most profitable by the most sizable of margins besting their nearest rival , the Los Angeles Lakers by almost 50%.

With the NBA’s greatest player recently celebrating his fiftieth birthday ____ Michael Jordan. It was somewhat surprising to see the league not celebrating the event, even more so. The former league star, now the C owner the Charlotte Bobcats , has seen his team perform poorly , all season long. Jordan , alongside team GM Rich Cho , have not seen a great deal of success in recent years with draft pick , after draft pick , has been something of a monumental bust . Granted, this season the Bobcats have struggled primarily from having seen their best player , Kemba Walker beyond the missed games , has been his inconsistency to what was said to be a very good all-round game.

It is extremely sad and exacerbating to see Jordan’s fall from grace as a front office executive, be so extreme. Counting the biggest mistake on that resume` being his decision to take Kwame Brown straight out of high school as the number one draft pick in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards , as then owner, Abe Pollin , was countenanced by Michael Jordan, who was serving in his role as the Head of Basketball Operations , for the Washington , DC based franchise . And as we now know, Brown’s career has seen more misdirection and incompetence, as many believe the decision to acquire the untested high school “ phenom “ , was a mark of sheer indulgence and stupidity , only marked by the imbecilic explanation by the executive, that the player’s game could be honed , and making him a perennial All Star. Unless, I am mistaken, Brown has yet to aspire to those celebrated heights , heights or be a solid contributor to any team that he has ever played on ! And over the course of his ten-year career the player has earned in excess of $58.23 million dollars, with his most productive year being the 2001-02 season when he averaged 10.7 points per game with the Washington Wizards in what was then, his rookie season . Brown now with the Philadelphia 76ers , now languishes on the bench , which comes courtesy of head coach , Doug Collins . And the coach may well seek to use the player as, and when, he so pleases . . Which, given Brown’s average of 1.7 points per game for this season , in the twenty-two games , in which he has started , for which he has been a participant in half of those games, the returns have been a mere pittance for the Sixers , at this juncture . In this day and age, when the perception that the league hierarchy wishes to extol financial expediency , it seems hard to equate, how someone of Kwame Brown’s menial stature be rewarded with a two-year $5.5 million contract by the Sixers’ franchise , with the player becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2014 ? Any takers by then , do you think ?

Next up for the Sixers, will be a home game against the Golden State Warriors , in what is sure to be an entertaining match-up between these two aspiring franchises , seeking to makes themselves heard, amongst the cacophony of teams now seeking a playoff berth within their respective conferences, as the playoff picture begins to get a little clearer in some areas and more into focus . Doug Collins’ players find themselves six games out of the eighth spot , within the Eastern Conference , where the position in question, is currently held by the Milwaukee Bucks (28-28 [.0500]) .

50 Cents’ altruism and wish to make the sport of boxing once again relevant , while commendable, he alone, cannot orchestrate the changed needed , when the “major players” such as Bob Arum , Don King and not coincidentally, the four international governing bodies of the sport, seem so averse to change . The , IBF , WBA , WBC and the IBO have simply created , an all too corrupt landscape where the promoters dictate far too much of the branding , the major bouts that take place , and who in essence are the participants in those major fights , be they title or none title bouts.

The NBA for its part this season , has presented the fans with a monstrous brand of basketball , which if it continues along its present course , could very well lead to where the fans question their allegiance to a brand that has in recent years has been more concerned about its image , revenues and shown little if any thought for the most important aspect of its environment , the fans who pledge their allegiance to the teams , attend the games, with an even bigger television audience watching nationally , as well as internationally .

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Picture gallery .

What thoughts if any, do you have with regard to the salient points within this article? And do believe that over the remainder of the NBA season we are inclined to see a marked improvement in the play of the teams? Do you believe that rapper 50 Cents’ entrance into what is already a convoluted and corrupt sport will see any sort of difference within boxing at all? Chime in with your thoughts on this , and anything else you believe to pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) Bernard Hopkins (R) poses with former boxer Marvin Hagler after defeating Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright by unanimous decision after Hopkins and Wright’s light heavyweight fight at the Mandalay Bay Events Center July 21, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Getty Images North America / Ethan Miller ….

(2) Boxing promoters Don King , left , and Bob Arum , long time enemies now respected friends . The two most powerful men in the sport of boxing with over six decades of experience the two , have a stranglehold on the sport , which they have no wish to relinquish control. King, the founder & CEO of Don King Promotions Inc , based in Palm Beach , Florida, has promoted some of the most important heavyweight fights in boxing history as well as managing or promoting some of the most well-known fighters within the division over the past four decades. His contemporary Bob Arum , through Top Rank Inc , based in Las Vegas , Nevada in recent years has promoted some of the biggest fights staged in the city of Las Vegas and the state of Nevada . At present , Arum’s most famous client is former multi-world titlist Manny Pacquiao . Within his promotion’s company , he has a litany of rising and established stars, well-known to the fans of the sport . AP Photo/ Mark Walters …

(3) A towering figure over the sport of boxing and the heavyweight division’s first three-time champion , Muhammad Ali, whose career and legacy have been well established . The seventy-one year old fighter , now suffers from Parkinson’s disease , as well as the early onset of Alzheimer’s Disease, and he is now rarely seen in public , suffering a speech impediment and severe neurological disorders brought by the longevity of his boxing career and the injuries inflicted from that fight career. At his side constantly is his wife and companion of twenty-seven years , Yolanda Ali. Ali , a ” prized inductee “ into the International Boxing Hall of Fame now through his writings , promotes peace and humanitarian efforts that embraces the joint efforts between Muslims and Jews across the globe , in counteracting stereotypes about both religions , while seeking to spread tolerance between not just both religious sects but also across all ethnic divides. AP REUTERS / Ingemar Halstead ….

(4) Floyd Mayweather Jr. weighs in at the MGM Grand Garden Arena May 4, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Joining him , is rapper and entrepreneur 50 Cent , as the two bonded and formed a business relationship ,forming TMS Promotions Inc . Mayweather Jr. fought Oscar De La Hoya for the WBC super welterweight championship at the MGM on May 5, 2007 winning in a split decision . The two former associates and best friends , have now taken to the social platform, Twitter to be highly critical of each other . The falling out , between the two luminaries, centers around the rapper’s claims that he’s owed $2 million by the boxer , after the dissolution of their joint venture, and also Mayweather’s unwillingness to meet his fighter Yuriorkis Gamboa , whom he manages and promotes. Getty Images North America / Carlos Jiminez …..

(5) NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 27: Stephen Curry (30) of the Golden State Warriors advances the ball against Raymond Felton (2) of the New York Knicks on February 27, 2013 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Curry scored a career and season high 54 points in the Warriors 109-105 loss to the Knicks . AP Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images …..

(6) New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony (7) reacts after scoring during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, in New York. The Knicks won the game 109-105 . AP Photo/Frank Franklin II ….

(7) New York Knicks’ Tyson Chandler , left, and Iman Shumpert , right, defend against Golden State Warriors’ Jarrett Jack (2) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, in New York. Jack was called for traveling on the play, resulting in a turnover. The Knicks won 109-105. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II …

(8) LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 26: Blake Griffin (32) of the Los Angeles Clippers passes the ball against the Charlotte Bobcats at Staples Center on February 26, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. The Clippers won 106-84 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ……

(9) Charlotte Bobcats guard Ramon Sessions , right, tries to shoot over Los Angeles Clippers center Ronny Turiaf during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. The Clippers won 106-84. AP Photo/Chris Carlson …

(9) In the foreground at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte , North Carolina , are Charlotte Bobcats’ general manager Rich Cho seated , and joining are team owner , Michael Jordan , right and the team’s Snr Exec VP , Fred Whitfield . The Bobcats this season are once again under-achieving and it appears that the franchise looks as if they finish the season once again with a .500 record for the 2012-13 for the year , repeating what appears to be an ongoing cycle of ineptitude of this ball-club , since Jordan assumed control , having bought the team outright from former owner , Robert L Johnson , founder of BET (Black Entertainment Television) . Getty Images / Sarah Gilling …….

(10) Dallas Mavericks guard Darren Collison (4) shoots as Philadelphia 76ers guard Maalik Wayns (18) and center Kwame Brown (54) defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game , Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, in Dallas. Brown is having torrid time this season with the Sixers , producing career lows in a variety of categories , while proving to be one of the least productive centers in the entire NBA this year . AP Photo/John F. Rhodes …

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NBA : Related links to articles

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Boxing news

List of past and current world heavyweight in boxing history

List of boxing’s world heavyweight champions down the years with the emphasis placed on the recognized belts of the WBA, WBC, IBF and the WBO .

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NBA news and archived news’ features

NBA Standings by division and by conference

NBA schedule 28th February and results of the 27th February 2013

NBA schedule 1st March , 2nd March schedule and Sunday 3rd March

NBA statistics

NBA scoring leaders , Player efficiency , Points , rebounds and assists

NBA team statistics offense and team defense

NBA stats differentials

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NBA team payrolls , highest paid NBA players —– NBA team values , also detailing revenue streams and profits

NBA all-time #1 draft picks

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Kwame Brown’s bio , career stats , game by game stats and season splits

Kwame Brown’s career earnings , along with other statistics.

2001 NBA Draft and Draft Board

NBA Rookies’ stats for the 2001 season

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Guys, who among you , wouldn’t mind playing with Melissa Rauch’s ” puppies” ?

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50 Cent ” I Get Money ”

Glib And Clueless As Usual ……………….

Glib And Clueless As Usual ……………….

I no longer question the alleged journalistic integrity of ESPN . Because to my mind they no longer have an iota of intelligence there with regard to many of their employees who purport to be journalists. If these ‘glib idiots’ aren’t fawning over many of their guests or interviewees as if they’re somehow awe struck. Then they’re asking the most asinine of questions. At least with Jayson Blair , you simply knew where he was coming from, as with regard to his journalistic pedigree.

Tom Rinaldi’s interview with Tiger Woods at the Isleworth Golf Golf & CC this past weekend , offered nothing new or insightful. And the player himself, was somewhat monotone in his responses to Rinaldi’s questions, when responding. For ESPN and the head of sports programming Mike Soltys , they must’ve seen the interview as some type of scoop ? . Given the fact that this was the player’s first such public interface with the press since his well scripted press conference from the TPC Course , Sawgrass , Ponte Vedra Beach , Florida. Could that particular spectacle have been more asinine from the get-go ?

Woods’ return to the PGA Tour will take place at Augusta , home the season’s first major Grand Slam tournament , The Masters . And the player will be under a great deal of scrutiny from the world press , those in attendance and no doubt the millions who’ll be watching worldwide. And for ESPN this should prove to be a ratings’ bonanza as they will be televising the first two rounds of the tournament live.

Rinaldi though not wanting to press the player merely allowed Woods to be evasive in his answers. But at the same time Woods kept on making the claim that he’s truly apologetic for the mistrust that the fans and children now have in him. And he stated that the only way for him to regain that trust is to do so by his deeds. Isn’t it strange that when Woods simply cavorting around and straying from his marital obligations that it never struck him as odd that his actions would indeed hurt the ones , whom, he claims to love so deeply ? That asides , the interview did nothing but confirm to me that the player will be entitled as long as the likes of ESPN treat him with reverence , rather than seeing Woods for what he really is. And that’s someone who is merely using the network to further try and clean up his tarnished image. But then again one shouldn’t be surprised by any of this at all as it’s merely ESPN and Woods using each other in a common goal and that’s to further heighten each others’ profile and visibility. Journalistic integrity had nothing to with this interview at all.

Oakland ,CA,.Amare Stoudamire (1) of the Phoenix Suns shoots against Anthony Tolliver (44) of the Golden State Warriors on March 22, 2010 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. The  Suns would  go  on  to  defeat  the  Warriors  <strong><em> 133-131 </strong></em>  in  the  game.  photo  appears  courtesy  of  NBAE/Getty  Images/  Rocky  Widner ...............
Oakland ,CA,.Amare Stoudamire (1) of the Phoenix Suns shoots against Anthony Tolliver (44) of the Golden State Warriors on March 22, 2010 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. The Suns would go on to defeat the Warriors 133-131 in the game. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Rocky Widner ...............

What can only seem as a dream come true for Golden State Warriors’ fans , is that the hierarchy led majority stake holder Chris Cohan has decided to put the NBA franchise up for sale. What has been an organization that has been run like a cornershop establishment for the last fifteen years under Cohan’s ownership , has to be now a ringing approval to the fans , who see the possibility of an owner coming in and reversing the fortunes for the team and the organization as a whole.

Warriors' coach   Don  Nelson  seated   next  to   team  GM Larry Riley  at    Warriors  game played   at  Oracle  Arena  ,  Oakland ,  California .   photo appears  courtesy  of  Getty  Images/  Joe  Murphy  ...............
Warriors' coach Don Nelson seated next to team GM Larry Riley at Warriors game played at Oracle Arena , Oakland , California . photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Joe Murphy ...............


Cohan has sought out investment strategists and consultancy firm Galatioto Sports Partners LLC to handle all aspects of the proposed sale and finding a suitor to purchase the team. Rumored to be widely interested in purchasing the Warriors is avid sports enthusiast and Oracle’s billionaire founder Larry Ellison . If the self publicizing and power hungry Ellison is ambitious about the Warriors as he has been about his company. Then we may well see no stone left unturned as he chases NBA glory. And he might even give Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban a run for his money when it comes to being loud and obnoxious. And anyone who’s seen Cuban’s off court demeanor knows that’s no mean feat.

Golden  State  Warriors'   owner  Chris   Cohan  seated  alongside   Team  President    Robert  Rowell .   photo  appears   courtesy  of   Associated  Press  /  Drew   Maxwell .............
Golden State Warriors' owner Chris Cohan seated alongside Team President Robert Rowell . photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Drew Maxwell .............

For far too long Cohan and Warriors’ GM Larry Riley have simply eschewed the custodianship of running the franchise with due diligence. And it certainly hasn’t helped that the team’s coach Don Nelson is merely being allowed to coach , simply to surpass the all-time wins’ total amassed by Lenny Wilkens .If that is what the hierarchy feels is expedient for the team and organization. Is it any wonder that they’ve not had a playoff appearance in over a decade ? Stupidity and glibness runs within this organization from the executives on down to the coaching staff. I’d apportion some blame upon the shoulders of the players but they’ve got enough to deal with in the home crowd fans who attend the Warriors’ games at Oracle Arena , in Oakland , California. And by all accounts they’ve not been too forgiving of either Cohan , Riley Nelson or the team for that matter. I wonder why ?

Oracle  founder   Larry   Ellison   ,  a  possible   pursuer  and  prospective   buyer  of   the Warriors'   franchise.   Oracle  founded  by  Ellison  in  1977   is one  of the   largest   software   companies  in  the world.   And  its   global  reach   stretches   across   every   continent  on  the   earth.    photo  appears   courtesy  of   businessdaily.com    @  copyrighted  material   ................
Oracle founder Larry Ellison , a possible pursuer and prospective buyer of the Warriors' franchise. Oracle founded by Ellison in 1977 is one of the largest software companies in the world. And its global reach stretches across every continent on the earth. photo appears courtesy of businessdaily.com @ copyrighted material ................

My buddy chappy 81 of doin-work.com , who’s a very vocal supporter of the team suggests that the franchise could be sold for as much as $400 million . Personally , I think he’s being overly optimistic in that regard. If the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks are viewed as the most valuable franchises in the NBA . The Warriors aren’t even considered to be amongst the top ten most valuable franchises at all. Estimated value of the Lakers $607 million and the Knicks are $586 million . So the idea of Warriors being worth in excess of 20 times their earnings at best , would seem laughable when one considers that they’re barely profitable as a going concern . And for a person of Larry Ellison’s business acumen , he’s hardly the person who can be duped into overpaying for a commercial venture. Anyone who simply knows how Ellison and the how the board members of Oracle operates, will know that the company’s founder is an astoundingly shrewd businessman. And if anything he’ll be the one who may well end up dictating the terms to Cohan and his intermediaries at Galatiaoto Sports Partners (GSP).

So as of now, we’ll merely have to wait and see what transpires and if there’ll be any other potential bidders entering into the fray to purchase the Warriors. Obviously the winning bid then has to meet the NBA hierarchy’s approval in terms of acceptance of the new owner. And it’d appear to be a formality, given the expediency of Michael Jordan’s acquiring the Charlotte Bobcats , recently from Robert L. Johnson . And Jordan as the NBA’s newest owner and only the second African American to have such a distinction.

Ellison should he prove to be successful in his bid may well choose to retain the present front office and coaching staff. But I feel that will somehow be unlikely. He will more likely than not look for a more insightful general manager and someone not so archaic in their coaching philosophy as Don Nelson appears to be. And given Nelson’s track record as an NBA coach , merely mounting up stats in terms of wins and losses . He’s hardly developed a player of any caliber over the course of his NBA career. We’re simply left to be in awe of the stats as he pursues Lenny Wilkens’ record.

It’d appear that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is showing that he actually has some cojones , after-all. He’s simply taken his time to allow time to pass concerning the ‘Roethlisberger affair’. Pity he wasn’t that laissez-faire in his attitude when it came to such players as Tank Johnson , Kevin Williams and Pat Williams . Now Goodell would have us believe that he uses the premise of the league’s conduct policy judiciously when it comes to suspending a player. If that were the case then how is it that he uses arbitrarily to make something of a point in terms of a deterrent . But yet when it’s needed to be used appropriately he chooses to obfuscate his responsibilities as the game’s highest ranking official ?

Recording artist Clifford Harris a/k/a "T.I" and his Attorney's Steven H. Sadow, Donald F. Sameul, Dwight L. Thomas, Ed Garland and Janice A. Singer address the press after being sentenced at the Richard B. Russell Federal Building and United States Courthouse on March 27, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. Harris received a one year and one day prison sentence on federal firearms charges. Following Harris' prison sentence, he will have three years of supervised release, 365 days of home confinement and 1500 hours of community service, with credit for about 305 days of home confinement and 1030 hours of community service completed before sentencing

Recording artist Clifford Harris aka “T.I” and his Attorney’s Steven H. Sadow, Donald F. Sameul, Dwight L. Thomas, Ed Garland (Harris’ immediate left) and Janice A. Singer address the press after being sentenced at the Richard B. Russell Federal Building and United States Courthouse on March 27, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. Harris received a one year and one day prison sentence on federal firearms charges. Following Harris’ prison sentence, he will have three years of supervised release, 365 days of home confinement and 1500 hours of community service, with credit for about 305 days of home confinement and 1030 hours of community service completed before sentencing . Garland’s law firm Garland , Samuel & Loeb , LLC will be representing Roethlisberger in the sexual assault allegations that have been made against the player. photo appears courtesy of Getty North America / Rick Diamond …….

Goodell and the front office of the Pittsburgh Steelers have sat idly by as the Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has simply ran amok and make a mockery of the league and his team’s image. What has to be done before the commissioner or any one of the Rooney’s simply gets of their ass and reprimands the player ? Goodell would be quite within his rights to suspend the player as of now . Especially given the player’s prior acts and this isn’t merely about the allegations made against him Lake Tahoe. His motorcycle accident and the fact that he’d lied not only to his coach but also to the ownership, should be enough of an indication as to the player’s demeanor and lack of honesty. But yet he continues to be coddled by the league and the Steelers’ organization as a whole. And we’re now finding out that Roethlisberger’s lawyer Ed Garland has been less than cooperative with the Milledgeville Police Dept and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) as they continue to conduct their ongoing investigation into the alleged sexual assault of a 20 year old college student in the town. Roethlisberger is said to be the primary and only suspect in the alleged assault.

NFL  Commissioner  seen  here   addressing  members  of  the  press  at  the  NFL  owners'  meeting  held  in  Orlando  ,  Florida.    Goodell  met  with  the  Steelers'   quarterback  to  discuss  his  legal  off  field   problems.    photo  appears  courtesy  of  Associated Press/  Richard  Thompson  ....................
NFL Commissioner seen here addressing members of the press at the NFL owners' meeting held in Orlando , Florida. Goodell met with the Steelers' quarterback to discuss his legal off field problems. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Richard Thompson ....................

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports


Goodell plans to meet with Roethlisberger

By Barry Wilner , AP Football Writer

Orlando , Fla. (AP)—NFL commissioner Roger Goodell plans to meet with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger about the star’s off-field problems.

Goodell already has spoken with team owners about Roethlisberger, who is accused of assaulting a 20-year-old college student in a Georgia nightclub on March 5. Roethlisberger’s attorney says the quarterback committed no crime. Roethlisberger has yet to be interviewed by police in Milledgeville, Ga., and charges have not been filed.

“We take this issue very seriously,” Goodell said Monday at the NFL meetings. “I am concerned that Ben continues to put himself in this position.

“I spoke with the Steelers and (team president) Art Rooney about it and, at some point, I will be meeting with Ben at the appropriate time.”

Roethlisberger also is being sued by a woman who claims he raped her in 2008 at a Lake Tahoe hotel. He denies those allegations and has asked for counter-damages.

His latest alleged incident came during a 28th birthday party for Roethlisberger, who has a home about 30 miles from Milledgeville.

The two-time Super Bowl champ’s lawyer, Ed Garland, said he has hired his own investigative team.

Rooney has said the Steelers are “in a situation we’re going to let this investigation play out and then go from there.”

Roethlisberger skipped voluntary workouts with the team last week.

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Now it may well be prudent not to put too much store into this but it may well be that with the investigating officers now wishing to interview Andrea McNulty , the alleged victim of a sexual assault that took place in a Tahoe hotel room, wherein , Roethlisberger was the alleged assailant. Garland may well think it prudent in delaying the request of GBI and the Milledgville PD in questioning his client. But any delaying tactic on the part of Garland further exacerbates the situation and paints a not too rosy picture of his client. The player has since acquiesced and met with the authorities to answer their questions.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Pittsburgh. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell plans to meet with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger about the star's off-field problems. "We take this issue very seriously," Goodell said Monday, March 22, 2010, at the NFL meetings.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Pittsburgh. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell plans to meet with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger about the star’s off-field problems. “We take this issue very seriously,” Goodell said Monday, March 22, 2010, at the NFL meetings. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press /Keith Srakocic ……….

Goodell for his part now feels that it is the right time to speak with the Steelers’ quarterback . By my way of thinking this is very much like now trying to close the stable doors after the your prized colt has simply fled from the stables. What can now be gained from this action when you chose not to speak to the player after the two earlier incidents ? Either Roger Goodell is the complete ass that I’ve always taken him for or merely he’s now trying to save face in terms of the continued and growing criticism by his and the Steelers’ lack of action. Both Goodell and the Steelers’ hierarchy have been far too smug and glib while this has all taken place. Far too often we’ve had reports of NFL players either battering their spouses or being involved in some sort of domestic dispute and in a number of cases there’s been allegations of sexual assault. The league has a conduct policy as I alluded to earlier that Goodell only appears to use sparingly concerning certain types of players. And the fact that one of the league’s more visible players and ‘the apparent face of the Steelers’ franchise’ now finds himself inexplicably involved another allegation of sexual assault should have no bearing on Goodell doing what is right ! But apparently he’ll seek legal counsel from within the league’s own quarters on such a matter but yet he suspended both Kevin and Pat Williams at the drop of the hat knowing full well at the time neither player knowingly had done anything wrong at the time concerning the league’s allegation that they’d both taken a prohibitive and banned substance. Their explanation was very clear from the start but yet Goodell chose to ignore it.

It’s all well and good, Goodell proselytizing about the league’s conduct policy. But there have been times that he’s yet to show that ‘he’s got the balls to practice what he preaches. And this is in fact one of those times. Either ‘he’s man enough to step up to the plate or he isn’t’ !

Marcus Thornton (5) of the New Orleans Hornets shoots the ball over Dirk Nowitzki (41) of the Dallas Mavericks at the New Orleans Arena on March 22, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. photo  appears  courtesy  of Getty Images/  Chris  Graythern  ........
Marcus Thornton (5) of the New Orleans Hornets shoots the ball over Dirk Nowitzki (41) of the Dallas Mavericks at the New Orleans Arena on March 22, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Chris Graythern ........

People are still trying to suggest to me, that the Dallas Mavericks are a team to be reckoned with in the Western Conference . The Mavericks are no more a competitive team than the insight that was been shown by the Bush administration in dealing with the economy and other issues during the final days of George Bush’s reign as President. If that last night’s defeat 115-99 at the hands of New Orleans Hornets wasn’t enough to suggest how over-rated this Mavericks’ team is. Then I for one don’t know what else to suggest to those who are still on the bandwagon in supporting this team. They (Mavericks) lack guts and they show no leadership , even from veterans such as Dirk Nowitzki , Jason Kidd , Shawn Marion and Jason Terry . And what’s even becoming more apparent is that they’re being coached by a guy in Rick Carlisle , who has much stomach for a fight as a seasick stricken individual. And to think that the Mavericks’ front office chose to fire Avery Johnson , then to hire Carlisle ? The problem with the Mavericks wasn’t the coaching but the fact that their players just simply can’t play a lick of defense when it’s called for.

New Orleans, La,. Rodrigue Beaubois (3) of the Dallas Mavericks shoots the ball over James Posey (41) of the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena on March 22, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Hornets defeated the Mavericks 115-99.  photo appears courtesy  of  Getty Images/  Chris  Graythern  ..............
New Orleans, La,. Rodrigue Beaubois (3) of the Dallas Mavericks shoots the ball over James Posey (41) of the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena on March 22, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Hornets defeated the Mavericks 115-99. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Chris Graythern ..............

Owner, Mark Cuban and team GM Donn Nelson are proving to be the NFL’s answer to Jerry Jones and his son, Stephen Jones . The two have ran the Dallas Cowboys as a business entity that has yet to produce a successful on-field product or brand in terms of its competitiveness over the last decade. And given the fact that the level of acceptance for Jones is nothing short of a Superbowl appearance but a win. You can see how the comparisons can be made between not only the two sporting entities but also to the duo who run the respective franchises.

People may well try to suggest that this is nothing more than a hiccup as it concerns the Mavericks and that they’ll be ready , come playoff time. Well with a dozen games to go in the regular season. If they’re unable to find a rhythm of consistency prior to the playoffs. Why would anyone be of the opinion that they’ll be good enough to challenge the likes of the Denver Nuggets or the Los Angeles Lakers for that matter ? There’s that glibness and smugness that’s continually expressed by Mark Cuban and to a lesser extent by his players. Unfortunately for the Mavericks and their fans those traits aren’t the things that end up winning championships. Someone should actually tell that to their fans ,Cuban and the Mavericks’ ‘front office’ for that matter. Because clearly, they’re clueless as to what it takes to win an NBA title !


NB: Figures concerning the NBA values of the franchises came courtesy of Forbes Magazine .

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………….

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Wu Tang Clan ……….”Bring The Pain”

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Model & actress   Amber  Valetta  .   Well  worth  looking  at   don't   you  think  ?   Hell   yeah  !    Well   worth   nailn'  !
Model & actress Amber Valetta . Well worth looking at don't you think ? Hell yeah ! Well worth nailn' !

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Big Pimpin’ Dallas Mavericks’ Style ……….Bitches That They Are !

Big Pimpin’ Dallas Mavericks’ Style …….Bitches That They Are !

I don’t know of any other way to suggest this but in watching the Dallas Mavericks lose to the Golden State Warriors, who only had six physically healthy players suited up. Well, it suggests everything that I’ve come to think about the Dallas Mavericks. They’re an extremely soft team, not only physically but also mentally as well. And this is epitomized by the attitude of their owner, Mark Cuban . Egotistical , narcissistic but above all critical of others when they’re not all in agreement with his thought process.

Dallas-November 24th 2009: Monta Ellis (8) of the Golden State Warriors goes up and under against Dirk Nowitzki (41) of the Dallas Mavericks during a game at the American Airlines Center on November 24, 2009 in Dallas, Texas.  picture appears  courtesy of  NBAE/Getty Images/  Glenn James  .............
Dallas-November 24th 2009: Monta Ellis (8) of the Golden State Warriors goes up and under against Dirk Nowitzki (41) of the Dallas Mavericks during a game at the American Airlines Center on November 24, 2009 in Dallas, Texas. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Glenn James .............

This Mavericks’ team is resplendent with a plethora of stars but little in the way of leadership. And that is with seasoned veterans such as Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd , Jason Terry and Shawn Marion. To make matters worse, the the team is highly overpaid and has given little back in return by way of anything tangible in terms of success. This club has continually underachieved despite all of the lavish spending and the perception that it is one of the marquee teams in the NBA. The fact of the matter is, they’re a good regular season team but come the postseason they become doormat that many of the elite teams in the NBA choose to wipe their feet on.

Kris Humpheries of the Dallas Mavericks goes up for the dunk in the game against the Golden State Warriors. The Mavericks would go on to be defeated by the Warriors 111-103 in the game played at the American Airlines Center in Dallas ,Texas, on the 24th November,2009. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Glenn James …….

Last night’s game between these two Western Conference team saw the Golden State Warriors with eight players on the bench of the mandated twelve but only six ready to play. The Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks set out to play a game and let every ardent fan of the game see what the NBA will be proffering up to their patrons for the season. Well, the Warriors did little to disappoint as they completely overwhelmed the Mavericks with their resiliency and resolve as a team. Unfortunately,for the Mavericks they had no answer for the Warriors’ Monta Ellis, Anthony Morrow, Vladimir Radmanovic or their rookie sensation Steph Curry. As they went about decimating the Mavericks’ defense and made them look like very much like a D-league NBA representative
team.

Now pardon me for saying this, when your franchise is said to be worth
in excess of $ 400 million and on appearance it seems to be worth not more than a plug nickel . Then there’s a great deal to be said for the pomp and bloviated opinions of Mark Cuban and the persona of his franchise. They’ve become more accustomed to being beaten up on, more than a hooker is by her pimp ‘for not turning enough tricks’. And ‘tricks’, it appears to be something that the Mavericks haven’t been able to turn in quite some time. OK, so they made it to the postseason last year and they beat a San Antonio Spurs’ team that was missing several of its top players. But having done so, in the conference semi finals they melted like butter against a hot knife.

Stephen Curry (30) of the Golden State Warriors celebrates a win against the Dallas Mavericks during a game at the American Airlines Center on November 24, 2009 in Dallas, Texas. picture appears  courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/  Glenn James .......
Stephen Curry (30) of the Golden State Warriors celebrates a win against the Dallas Mavericks during a game at the American Airlines Center on November 24, 2009 in Dallas, Texas. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Glenn James .......

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports


Ellis, Morrow lead Warriors past Mavericks 111-103

DALLAS (AP)—Golden State was down to eight healthy players—and used only six. Warriors coach Don Nelson wasn’t with the team as he recovers from pneumonia. Still, Monta Ellis(notes) and Stephen Curry(notes) wouldn’t let injuries or sickness become an excuse.

Ellis scored 13 of his season-high 37 points in the fourth quarter, Curry added 11 of his 18 points in the final 4 minutes and the Warriors ended Dallas’ five-game winning streak with a 111-103 victory over the short-handed Mavericks on Tuesday night.

“Coming into this game, we had nothing to lose,” said assistant coach Keith Smart, who filled in for Nelson. “The worst case is they blow us out and we move on to (Wednesday night’s game in San Antonio). But our guys have a lot of character. They played hard together and made the right decisions.”

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Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41), of Germany, loses the ball to Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009, in Dallas. The Warriors won 111-103. picture appears courtesy of AP/Photo/ Sharon Ellman  ...........
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41), of Germany, loses the ball to Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009, in Dallas. The Warriors won 111-103. picture appears courtesy of AP/Photo/ Sharon Ellman ...........

This season, the Dallas Mavericks appear to have started off strong but their inconsistency is already beginning to set in. The Golden State Warriors for their part are looking to take the next step and place themselves amongst the elite teams within the Western Conference. And in doing so, it would further suggest to their fans that they’re ready to show them what they’ve been missing out on for such a long time. In place of Don Nelson as coach of the team last night , there on the sidelines was his assistant, Keith Smart. Nelson was unable to participate as he was sidelined with a bout of pneumonia. His return isn’t anticipated for another week or two. Smart, for his part showed that he may well be the coach in waiting, once Nelson is ready to step down from his position as coach of the team.

The Mavericks for their part, to my mind are no closer to winning an NBA title than the Democrats are about the direction that the party now seems to be heading in.The Dallas Mavericks as an organization give all the semblance of being an organized and efficiently ran organization. But in essence,they’re only playing at being that. They’re a complete mess but Mark Cuban would rather not have you see the warts and all mess,that there is inside of his franchise.

And for Mavericks’ coach, Rick Carlisle and his assistant coaching staff of Terry Stotts, Dwayne Casey and Tom Sterner. This was hardly the type of response they’d have expected from this team with the resultant 111-103 loss to the Golden State Warriors. But it seems to be something that’s emblematic of the team and their inconsistency. They either play down to the level of an opponent or at times they’re able to play with a high degree of efficiency.There does not appear to be a happy medium for the Mavericks. Is it any wonder that they’re viewed as one of the softer teams around the NBA ? And that’s not just from a physical standpoint but also when it comes to the mental aspect of their game. It’s now becoming a view that’s being widely shared across the NBA and amongst the fans, themselves.

And for the Golden State Warriors ,though on the face of it the win might not seem that much. But having been able to defeat a team with just six healthy players from its entire roster shows that they’re not at all prepared to bow down and become one of the lesser beings within the NBA fraternity. That’s left to the likes of the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets and the Charlotte Bobcats. For those particular franchises, mediocrity nowadays goes hand in hand, just as much turkey and Thanksgiving are part of a solemn festivity that we can all feel comfortable with.

What do you think of the Dallas Mavericks as an NBA franchise ? Good, bad, indifferent or just simply overrated just as their counterpart in the NFL – the Dallas Cowboys ?

NB Take time to participate in the poll below.

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‘Big Pimpin’ by Jay-z feat’g UGK .