Six games into this season and the Cleveland Cavaliers are win-less , with the worst record in the league. Granted , the departure of LeBron James , with his joining the Los Angeles Lakers would definitely leave a gigantic chasm within the organization. Yet at the end of the day, poor decisions made by the front office has led to this debacle. It remains to be seen how the Cavaliers will seek to dig themselves out of this hole , especially as the team enters the Christmas schedule, the play tends to dictate what we would should expect over the remainder of the season.
With all of the bally-hoo that surrounded LeBron James’ arrival in Los Angeles, with his joining the Los Angeles Lakers. You would have thought that the whole world was about to fall off its axis. Lakers’ fans were replete with their new jerseys bearing James’ name and number. The thinking was , with James’ signing with the franchise , a slew of free agents would be willing to join him as well. It didn’t happen and if you think that Rajon Rondo is going to provide the Lakers with the offense they need, then think again. Rondo’s best years are behind him rather than ahead of him. Coached by Luke Walton , the Los Angeles Lakers have stumbled out of the gate , performing like a team lacking in direction. I understand that it will take time for LeBron James to acclimatize himself to his new surroundings , but his teammates have hardly made their presence felt at all this season.
Next up for the Los Angeles Lakers will be a game against the Dallas Mavericks at the Staples Center , in Los Angeles , California on Wednesday , 31st October. There have been rumblings with the Lakers having begun the season so languidly , calls for the firing of Luke Walton as the Head Coach have been on the rise. I seriously doubt that Magic Johnson , Head of Basketball Operations or GM Rob Pelinka would consider Walton’s dismissal at this juncture.
I have no doubt in my mind the Golden State Warriors are by far the best team in the NBA and their only chance of not making a successful defense of their title will come through their own complacency !
With a record of 2-5-1 , at least the Cleveland Browns are assured of bettering last season’s mark within the NFL. Next up for the Browns in week nine , they will face the Kansas City Chiefs (7-1) in a game that should prove to be very entertaining. Victory for the Chiefs assures them of clinching their division as well as a postseason berth within the AFC .
It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility to suggest that Eli Manning is now treading water as it relates to his career ? Two Superbowl victories are > accommodating when padding out his career achievements, but over the last four seasons , Manning has been nothing more than a moderate quarterback at best. His and that of the New York Giants’ record for this season (1-7) is truly reflective of a really bad team on its very last legs. Odell Beckham has proven to be just a player known for spectacular one-handed catches , but when it comes showing leadership and maturity, he is nowhere to be seen . Giants’ Head Coach Pat Shurmur is on the ‘ hot seat’ and it seems unlikely he will be returning next season , given the lack of success seen this season. The New York Giants are in need of an upgrade across their entire roster.
I’ve always maintained that with the death of Al Davis , the Oakland Raiders would never be the franchise where there would be a constant interest in . That has rang true with his son Mark Davis taking over the reins of the franchise with Reggie McKenzie still in charge as the General Manager. Unfortunately their luring Jon Gruden out of retirement hasn’t worked wonders for the Raiders this season . Bear in mind Gruden was offered a ten-year $100 million deal , making him the highest coach in the NFL . A 1-6 record at this point of the season , with the Raiders having one of the worst defenses in the league and you can well understand why there might be clamoring for something drastic to take place among the team’s lineup .
If Jon Gruden is building for the future then , it doesn’t bode well for the Oakland Raiders then his track-record should be seen as a warning sign. During his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as well as his earlier stint with the Raiders, he has never drafted or developed a player of real note. All the optimism in the world among the franchise’s fans cannot hide the fact that this was an erroneous in the hiring of Jon Gruden. The coach will now have to muster the masses as he seeks to get the Oakland Raiders’ second win of the season when this team takes on the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night .
It might well have been the most lopsided World Series in the last decade, with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1-4) falling to the Boston Red Sox (4-1) with the utmost of ease. All of the money spent by the franchise on players since 2012 , has been well in excess of $1.6 billion and then you factor in the $2.2 billion paid by the ownership group to purchase the franchise. You simply get the feeling that there’s been more waste expended by the club than was needed. The lone factor of hope out of this all might well be that the Dodgers’ front office might have solved a glaring need when they obtained Manny Machado in a trade from the Baltimore Orioles. Machado and Walker Buehler were the only bright spots for the Dodgers through much of the postseason.
With Clayton Kershaw now said to be considering opting out of his contract , which still has two years left on one of the most expensive deals in baseball history . It would be foolish if the Los Angeles Dodgers were to allow Kershaw to leave , but at the same I can truly understand the player’s frustration with their continued lack of success during the postseason. They’re unable to play as a team and there sure as hell isn’t any leadership to be found anywhere among the players let alone among the managerial staff of Dave Roberts .
What if anything do you believe has been the most riveting piece of sports’ news of the past two weeks and please state your reasons why ?
For some reason fans were made to believe this weekend with the divisional round of the NFL postseason under way, the fans would be provided with several great games. Instead what they were able to witness was a cacophony of noise , errant plays and teams who essentially provided a truly mediocre spectacle. I sorry , but this NFL season has been one to truly lament all-round. From my own standpoint, I am not so sure things are likely to get any better once the postseason resumes with the divisional rounds. Then the top-two seeds within each conference will enter the fray against their respective opponents .
We all knew that it was bound to happen at some point during the NBA season and quicker than you could swat fly, LaVar Ball has begun to set fire to any type of relationship he might have had with the Los Angeles Lakers’ organization. Not content his back and forth sniping with another dumb-ass , Donald Trump . Ball has now taken aim at both Rob Pelinka , general manager of the Lakers as well as Magic Johnson , Head of Basketball Operations and last but not least Luke Walton the team’s head coach.
You’ve had your fun and now you’re on the verge of picking up the pieces. The Los Angeles Dodgers have become the whipping post for any team they tend to face during the postseason. That much has been particularly true since 2012, when the ball-club was purchased by Guggenheim Baseball Properties for over $2 billion . At some point, you have to wonder if the partners of the syndicate group might not spent that sum more wisely by purchasing perhaps an EPL (Premiership) soccer club or even an NFL franchise , were one up for grabs at the time? As profitable as the Dodgers are , their performances on the field during the postseason remain lackluster. The franchise’s last win of the World Series came in 1988 and their actual appearances since then have only provided them with once chance and as we know it all came to an abrupt end when they fell in stunning fashion to the Houston Astros .
Dave Roberts and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ managerial staff are so far behind the ‘eight ball’ , I am not so sure the manager still can provide the acumen needed to take the ball-club and the players over the hump. If the Dodgers are unable to compete this season, then all bets are off and the payroll will have to be reduced significantly, along along with the shedding of some under-performing players.
With the Los Angeles Dodgers having been so disappointing this past season , the upheaval within the New York Yankees’ organization was not totally unexpected. Joe Girardi was sent packing by the front office as the team’s manager and I was somewhat surprised that Brian Cashman wasn’t also sent on his way. Granted, he’s still thought of as an astute general manager, but it has been almost a decade since a team built on his acumen has been triumphant in the Fall Classic (World Series). Former Yankees’ favorite Aaron Boone has been brought in to succeed Joe Girardi and it will be interesting to see what Boone brings to the table by way of his own managerial acumen. This will be his first managerial position in the Majors and I seriously doubt there will be a great deal of patience by the fans should this team begin to struggle at any point during the season.
No longer the free-wheeling big spenders in recent years the New York Yankees have tapered off in terms of payroll, but having acquired Giancarlo Stanton , it could be said things are now back to the ways of old. Stanton has a substantial sum still remaining on his existing contract, which in part will be honored by the Miami Marlins as well as the obligations which will have to be fulfilled by the Yankees.
As competitive as we know the AL East to be, the New York Yankees’ toughest battles will be against their divisional rivals , most notably their perennial stalwarts the Boston Red Sox . Both teams will be vying for divisional supremacy as well as looking to dominate the other. Their regular and postseason battles have become synonymous with some of the greatest moments history between the two powerhouses of baseball. There’s a reason why they are among the most successful as well as valuable teams in all of baseball. The New York Yankees will begin their regular season with a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre in Toronto , Ontario , while the Boston Red Sox begins its regular season schedule taking on the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida on the same day, 29th March, 2018 . The Yankees are scheduled to meet the Red Sox nineteen times over the course of this season at home and on the road . Let’s up they can provide the type of excitement their fans have come to expect from such meetings.
Picture gallery. By clicking on an individual frame you can view that image in a reformatted size along with the accompanying narrative.
What do you believe were the most fascinating match-ups taking place within team sports during 2017? Do you believe that 2018 will be able to provide with the type of excitement seen last year ?
Revenge is a dish, best served cold … Dominance, on the other hand, can take shape in different forms and guises, dependent upon one’s view …
Well the NFL season is now over and the fallout from an unbelievable end to the Superbowl (SBLVIX) still has not subsided five days after the event. Seattle Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll has staunchly defended offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and has suggested the decision in many respects, was Bevell’s alone and that he agreed with the coordinator’s take and final call. My question remains, if Marshawn Lynch throughout much of the game gave the New England Patriots a great deal more than they could handle, why would the Seahawks seek to change course at such a pivotal moment in the game ? Lynch, during this contest, scored a touchdown on a short yardage gain after a reception, yet this actually escaped both Carroll’s and Bevell’s notice ? Call me naive, but the head coach’s post-game explanation given during his interview, smacks of sheer stupidity and utter nonsense !
New England ascends back to the top of the NFL world, and simply cementing their dominance of this league, as a ” true dynasty, one of the most discussed, if not one of the most alienating also, in the world of professional team sports across the North American landscape over the past twenty-five years.
As the first half of this NBA season comes to a close, which team or teams have been the biggest surprise in your opinion ? During the second half of the schedule which franchise and players will play a decisive role of making a playoff push within each conference ? Also, of the teams in the league (NBA) over the past two decades, which do you believe is the most deserving to be thought of as a dynasty ? Simply leave a comment or comments as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site, as it has always been appreciated ! Thank you !
Picture and slideshow details below.
(2) Marshawn Lynch(24) of the Seattle Seahawks runs with the ball against the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. Getty Images North America / Jamie Squire
(3) John Wall of the Washington Wizards handles the ball against the Brooklyn Nets during the game on February 7, 2015 at Verizon Center in Washington, DC. NBAE/Getty Images/ Ned Dishman
(4) David Lee of the Golden State Warriors goes to the basket against Travis Wear(6) of the New York Knicks on February 7, 2015 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Getty Images / Nathaniel S Butler
(5) Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls handles the ball against the New Orleans Pelicans on February 7, 2015 at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Getty Images / Mike Hamilton
(6) Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks drives against Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors on February 6, 2015 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images / Scott Cunningham
(7) Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs shoots against the Miami Heat on February 6, 2015 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. Getty Images North America / D. Clarke Evans
(8) Becky Hammon , left , is seen here with San Antonio Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich . Hammon is the first full-time lead assistant head coach with any franchise in the NBA . The NBA might just be the most progressive of any of the four main professional team sports , with Michele Roberts also recently being named the Executive Director of the NBPA (Players’ Union) . Popovich believes Hammon due to her vast experience as a former WNBA player and now an assistant coach , could become the first female head coach in the NBA . AP Photo /Gary Ross
Chicken soup for the soul isn’t always good for the masses ….
The print and television media within the sports’ world tends to stoop lower than their counterparts within mainstream media , especially when it comes to the role of domestic politics. In recent days ESPN , the self-righteous and eponymous cable broadcast outlet continues to create the stories which they purport to be newsworthy. Nothing more can be putrid , than their prognostication of this season’s NBA standings and what can only be called a salacious diatribe of an interview between Los Angeles Lakers’ SVP Jeanie Buss and her views on the league’s recent free agents not choosing to sign with her team. In truth , the interview Colin Cowherd was simply looking to create another tidbit for his low-rated show on the ESPN’s radio network and cable outlet.
If nothing else can be said about ESPN , it is while they represent what the network believes to be sports’ related content, their main being, is to simply push the envelope as far as possible on news’ content while cow-towing to their paymasters , the , MLB , NBA , NCAA , NFL and NHL . With billions of dollars in revenues , the sports’ broadcast outlet remains a cash cow and perhaps one of the most profitable units of the Walt Disney Company .
The broadcast outlets own reputation in recent years has come in for a great deal of criticism, with the behavior of many of their analysts, allegations of sexual harassment, in a number of cases proven to be true , leading to the firing or demotion of known personalities , yet the show must go on with ESPN.
James’ departure from the Miami Heat might well have the biggest surprise , but in reality , the Heat’s lack of competitiveness shown in the NBA Finals proved to be the final straw for the four-time League MVP , who was inadequately aided by his teammates in those now well chronicled Finals . Those favoring the Miami Heat clearly had no faith in the San Antonio Spurs simply based on the NBA Finals of 2013, with many of the Spurs’ critics coming from the less than reputable analysts of ESPN . I believe much of that , comes from their sipping from the cup LeBron James chooses to defecate and urinate in. With the less than knowledgeable NBA fans not too far behind with their at times idiotic , prognostication of the most recent finals.
Jeanie Buss’ gripe, comes from the very fact she is unwilling to point an accusing finger at her brother Jim Buss , lead managing partner , co-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, GM Mitch Kupchak and the poor job done by the duo over the past two seasons and the Lakers’ poor play during the time-frame in question . The coaching tenures of Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni were clearly coaches who simply did not fit in with the Lakers’ way of doing things. Buss’ criticisms of players while idiotic, was tepid in terms of the criticisms of Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak by former Lakers’ players Magic Johnson , James Worthy and Kareem Abdul Jabbar , players who have known considerable success with the franchise. If that wasn’t a clear sign of the missteps taken by the front office executives , then clearly the ownership group and their anal retentive and apathetically delusional fans have no real knowledge of how far the franchise’s descent has been . The failure of Dwight Howard to acclimatize himself as a player with the Lakers much less show any real signs of leadership was a clear pointer as to how self absorbed the franchise had become , without delving into the idiotic coaching process and strategies being shown by Mike D’Antoni.
The Lakers’ recent draft class though not overly impressive the team in its current guise will clearly have to follow in tow under the guidance of Kobe Bryant , the player whom Jeanie Buss seems to be placating, rather than seeking to be constructive in assessing the real issues within the franchise where she is a senior executive and co-owner. Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers will begin their schedule against the Houston Rockets at the Staples Center in Los Angeles California. Last season’s series between these two franchises proved to be quite entertaining. Jeremy Lin , formerly with the Rockets in now a point guard with the Lakers and likely to be the team’s starting point guard for much of the season , with the now year-long departure of Steve Nash, who will have to undergo back surgery for a recurring and long-suffering malady.
If the Los Angeles Lakers are to fare well this season , then the likes of Nick Young , Julius Randle , Carlos Boozer , Jeremy Lin , Robert Sacre and Kobe Bryant will have to be at their very best and show a great deal more consistency than seen during last season’s schedule . Granted , Bryant was unable to contribute with his being sidelined due to an injury . For the fans and the NBA in general Kobe Bryant being the on the court is a great deal better than his being away from the spectacle of the game , even with the ever present criticism which has been associated with the player throughout much of his career.
In the era of the long ball, it is great to see two teams willing to play “small ball” , so creatively and efficiently as evidenced in last night’s game four thriller at AT&T Park in San Francisco , California , in front of a raucous and sold-out venue of rabid fans. With the series now even at two games apiece (2-2), with the Giants coming back with an emphatic game four win in defeating the Royals 11-4 , with sixteen hits in comparison to their opponent’s twelve hits with only one error committed in this game . This contest pointed to the stoutness and ability shown by these two teams and the managerial acumen of Bruce Bochy and Ned Yost . Hero of the night might well have been the Giants’ Pablo Sandoval who was the World Series’ MVP in the San Francisco Giants’ last triumph in the Fall Classic which took place in 2012.
The talk seems to be in a number of circles , will the New York Yankees make a huge splash in the off-season by signing a major free agent or make a trade for a pitcher , big league bat or stand pat with their current lineup ? With Brian Cashman now said to be in discussion with Alex Rodriguez and his return in 2015 and the role he is likely to play for the team, leads me to believe the organization remains bereft of creativity, let alone their being a belief that a number of players waiting in the wings will be able to contribute for the ball-club this upcoming season . Alex Rodriguez , I do not believe is a player capable of leading a team and certainly no longer good enough to produce at a high level without their being doubts as to the legitimacy of his achievements . These are the things the New York Yankees are likely to encounter over the course of 2015 as the franchise enters a year of hope , while looking to make themselves be viewed as a contender for the World Series .
Where the New York Jets now go from here will be determined by what the front office feels, is now in the best interests of the franchise. Replacing Geno Smith with Michael Vick simply adds more fuel to the fire , given Vick’s lack of productivity first with the Philadelphia Eagles and now with the lowly Jets . It’s pretty much safe to suggest the New York Jets’ wounds this season have been self inflicted and one which is proving to be a complete embarrassment for the NFL franchise.
What if anything, do you find the most annoying with the regard to the sports’ media market by way of the television broadcast or those within print media ? If the NBA is to have a great season which teams do you think will have to perform at their very best to make this season a great one ? As week eight in the NFL comes slowly to a close it would appear the league is no better off this season than it was at the same point last year . Finally , are you of the opinion this postseason in baseball has exceeded your own expectations and specifically the current World Series’ contests ? Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else believe pertinent to this article and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it is greatly appreciated !
(1) Jeanie Buss is seen here alongside her brother Jim Buss who along with a younger sibling are the co-owners of the Los Angeles Lakers . As a senior executive with the franchise Jeanie Buss has been extremely critical of the free agents during the off-season who chose not to sign with the Lakers , referring to them as ” losers ” . . Unfortunately , she failed to indicate the fact last season the Los Angeles failed miserably to make the NBA Playoffs. AP Photo / Michael Archer …
(2) Dwight Howard (12) is seen here with teammate James Harden (13) during an NBA game this past season. Both will be seeking to guide the Houston Rockets to a divisional title as well as a playoff berth within the Western Conference. Howard’s tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers was less than stellar . AP Photo / Matthew Charles …
(3) San Francisco Giants’ Hunter Pence scores during the sixth inning of Game 4 of baseball’s World Series against the Kansas City Royals Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, in San Francisco. AP Photo/David J. Phillip …
(4) From left, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman , Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner , Senior Vice President and Assistant General Manager Jean Afterman , and executive vice president Felix Lopez, listen as pitcher Mariano Rivera , who holds baseball’s all-time saves’ record , announces his plans to retire at the end of the 2013 season during a news conference at Steinbrenner Field Saturday , March 9, 2013 in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …
(5) Preston Brown (52) of the Buffalo Bills celebrates with teammate Marcell Dareus (99 ) after making an interception in the first quarter against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on October 26, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Getty Images North America / Alex Goodlett …
(6) Quarterback Michael Vick (1) of the New York Jets looks to pass against Kyle Williams (95) of the Buffalo Bills in the first half of the game at MetLife Stadium on October 26, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Getty Images /Al Bello …
You don’t want to be the guy who replaces a legend , you want to be the guy comes in after the legend’s successor is said to have failed miserably
Over the past two decades within professional team sports , we have seen the departures great players from the game , either through retirement or their trade to another franchise. Though not thought to be earth shattering at the time , the feeling was that Peyton Manning’s departure from the Indianapolis Colts and the organization’s handling of the matter was haphazard , incompetent and somewhat disrespectful , given Manning’s contribution and resurgence of that particular franchise. The famed quarterback’s success along with Tony Dungy’s coaching acumen brought about that success , the added profitability of the Colts and to the overall wealth of the team’s owner Jim Irsay .
Robert Griffin’s path of succession in following in a long line of shall we say lackluster Redskins’ quarterbacks over the past eight seasons , has been one of the numerous reasons why the franchise has failed so miserably . Reading off those list of names of nondescript individuals , would be akin to reading the recipe of ingredients from a can of soup , produced as a generic brand to be stocked on the shelves of your local supermarket. The list of Rex Grossman , a past his prime , Donovan McNabb , Jason Campbell , Mark Brunell , and Patrick Ramsey have all got something in common . They have played for a franchise, where the team owner , Dan Snyder , has spared no expense , in carrying on with the Redskins’ ineptitude, since he took the helm of the Washington Redskins in 1999, as its main proprietor .
At 3-7 within the NFC East , the record of the Washington Redskins has proven to be a monumental disappointment . In a division , where the only team above .500 in terms of a winning record are the Philadelphia Eagles (6-5) . It is a damning indictment, as to how bad the teams are said to be, in what has been repeatedly described as the “glamor division “ . of the NFL , with the brand and product having become so diluted . Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and there has been absolutely nothing glamorous about the quartet of teams much less their play over the course of this season . As I alluded to earlier , the quarterback play also has been something of an abomination and it is also, another clear indicator as to how bad things now appear to be, even in spite of a number of analysts now salivating over the play of Eagles’ quarterback Nick Foles , who may well be on the verge bringing about the abrupt end of Michael Vick’s career with the franchise . If former, Philly head coach, Andy Reid could not see it for himself, that Vick is now past his prime . Then surely Reid’s successor , Chip Kelly must now realize that fact for himself , given the rather innocuous performances from the veteran player player this season , in spite of his health issues .
One could perhaps attest to the fact that where would be something of a misnomer with regard to the title of this piece and how it relates to the NFL , may well have been the passing on of the baton from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers and Joe Montana to Steve Young . Though not necessarily controversial at the time, Favre’s unwillingness to take a back seat to a younger and most certainly a more receptive player in Rodgers, led to the veteran being looked upon as a rather petulant individual . Brett Favre’s departure from the Green Bay Packers had its supporters and detractors. Yet, it should be noted, the all-time career touchdowns’ passing as well as career passing yardage leader , never showed the form that made him such a treat to watch after his departure from the Packers. After a fifteen career in Green Bay , the subsequent stops in New York with the New York Jets ( one year) and two years with the Minnesota Vikings were as eventful , as they were somber. No doubt, upon meeting the eligibility requirements, Brett Favre will become a first year ballot Hall of Fame inductee.
Aaron Rodgers, has all but erased the memory of Brett Favre ever existing and playing at Lambeau Field for one the league’s most revered and venerable NFL franchises . Now considered to be amongst the elite of the NFL quarterbacks, now playing in the NFL , his career has been a personification of dedication to his craft , as well as having the respect of his peers and teammates alike. Other than, Tom Brady , Peyton Manning and Drew Brees , I seriously doubt that there is a more well-liked or respected quarterback in the entire NFL !
After a spectacular 2012 , during which we witnessed the San Francisco 49ers make their sixth Superbowl appearance. The team would not fare as well , as in their previous forays , as Colin Kaepernick and his teammates would fall to their AFC opponents the Baltimore Ravens … 34-31 in a game blighted by the incompetence of not only the NFL hierarchy , utility’s company Entergy , but also the host site, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome , home to the New Orleans Saints , operated by SMG and a venue owned by the Louisiana Expo & Sports Authority . The explanations forthcoming, as to why a power outage interrupted the NFL’s biggest spectacle were as ludicrous, as Roger Goodell’s comments that the stoppage, did nothing to take away from the event , nor did it have an effect on the end result. One more reason, why the incumbent NFL commissioner cannot be taken seriously as the league’s highest ranking executive. His communicative and leadership skills , beyond being remarkably poor, are in fact a complete embarrassment to the NFL and the teams he presides over .
The fact that Dwight Howard was acquired by the Lakers’ franchise as a long-term investment and seen as heir-apparent to Kobe Bryant , as the vocal leader of the Los Angeles Lakers, came and went as swiftly , as Howard’s decision to bolt from the Lakers , taking less money , to sign with the Rockets . If that was not indicative of the fact, that the center simply could not handle any form of adversity , then his now constant moaning , as to why he has been criticized by many of the elder statesmen of the game , is clear evidence that Dwight Howard will never be viewed as one of the best players at the position to have ever played the game. The NBA in terms of the play of the centers now within the game, are a far cry from what many of the fans have witnessed during the heydays of David Robinson . , Hakeem Olajuwon , Shaquille O’Neal , Bill Russell , Kareem Abdul Jabbar , Nate Thurmond , Patrick Ewing , Willis Reed and Moses Malone . All of whom were known to be ferocious competitors . Can the same be even remotely said about Dwight Howard , even as many now regard him as the best center , currently now playing in the NBA ?
Rockets’ owner Leslie Alexander and GM Daryl Morey, made a bold move, that will either prove to be a success or simply backfire for the organization. While, I believe Dwight Howard will be of some benefit to the Houston Rockets, I just cannot see the player as the person who will now get the team “ over the hump” that will make them a legitimate threat to the more prominent teams within the conference , such as the San Antonio Spurs , Oklahoma City Thunder , Los Angeles Clippers and what now appears to be a very talented and well-coached Golden State Warriors’ roster. I may well be wrong, but at this juncture, my observations are based on what I have seen from Dwight Howard , and the fact that he’s now being asked to fill the shoes of predecessors before him on the Rockets, who made significant progress in making the franchise more widely recognized . Hakeem Olajuwon and to an extent , Yao Ming made you aware of the franchise in terms of what they brought to the Houston Rockets . Has Dwight Howard actually been able to do that any point of his career, beyond his goofy off the court antics and winning a meaningless Slam Dunk Contest ?
Do you believe it easy, for a professional sport’s franchise to replace an iconic legend that has been associated with a team over a long period of time? Or as teams would always like to suggest “ it’s time to move on” , more often than not, because of monetary issues , rather than the athlete’s possible declining production ? Your comments are most certainly welcomed on this and anything else you believe to be of value to the premise stated this moderated piece.
(1) Mar 7, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning speaks and Jim Irsay stands beside him to announce during a press conference at Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center that Peyton Manning will become a free agent. Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE ….
(2) Andrew Luck, left of the Indianapolis Colts is seen here with team owner Jim Irsay. . The quarterback, who was drafted out of Stanford as the number one pick in the 2012 NFL Draft , proved to be an immediate success with the franchise having taken the team into the postseason and the Colts now seem to be set , in terms of their long-term future with a quarterback who has proven to productive , with an immediate impact for the Indianapolis Colts from a competitive and financial standpoint. AP Photo / Garry Moss …
(3) Washington Redskins` starting quarterback Robert Griffin III is seen here with the team’s offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and backup quarterback Kirk Cousins . The team as defending champions within of the NFC East , now find themselves in almost untenable position of being at the bottom of the division and likely to miss the playoffs , having rode into the 2012 postseason riding on a sea of optimism and at the same time , projected long-term success. Instead, this season has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster , with a defense performing poorly , with alarming regularity and the same could be said of the offense . GM Bruce Allen and team owner Dan Snyder are likely to make a number of sweeping changes during the off-season concerning the player personnel and quite possibly amongst the coaching staff. Getty Images / Lance Jones …..
(4) Green Bay Packers’ teammates Brett Favre (4) and Aaron Rodgers (12) are seen here seated on the sidelines looking up at the scoreboard . The two players who have been described as not being extremely close , with Favre having been critical of the organization when Rodgers was drafted by team as a late first round draft pick in the 2005 NFL Draft . The backup would not become a regular season starter until 2008 . Brett Favre would later depart from the franchise under a cloud of controversy , with fans and detractors of the veteran , voicing their thoughts publicly , in print, via the airwaves and on television . Getty Images/ Mark Parsons …….
(5) Former 49ers Steve Young (L), Roger Craig (C) and Joe Montana (R) wait to go onto the field for a half time presentation during home opener as the San Francisco 49ers host the Seattle Seahawks at Candlestick Park September 20, 2009 in San Francisco, California. Getty Images North America / David Paul Morris ….
(6) Hall of Fame inductee Hakeem Olajuwon foreground , shows the Houston Rockets’ center Dwight Howard a few on-court drills and moves . Howard , since his arrival with the franchise has performed moderately , but the team now evolves around the play of point guard Jeremy Lin and James Harden . Olajuwon , GM Daryl Morey and head coach Kevin McHale see Howard as a vital part of the team’s offense , as they seek to make their presence felt within the Western Conference this season . AP Photo / Matt Shields ….
(7) Newly acquired center Dwight Howard , left foreground , is seen here with Houston Rockets’ great Hakeem Olajuwon and the team’s head coach Kevin McHale in the background at the team’s venue the Toyota Center in Houston Texas . Signed as a free agent in the off-season , the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year is seeking establish himself as the premiere center in the NBA , after a somewhat lackluster year in 2012 , with Howard being unable to assist the Los Angeles Lakers during the postseason in any great depth . AP Photo / Keith Miller ….
The Miami Heat for their part , will now seek cement their lead (ten games ) within the Eastern Conference over the second placed New York Knicks (51-26) and within their division . Currently, that lead within the conference is now at a staggering 10.5 games , with five games left in the regular season , it will be interesting to see how things pan out for the teams seeking to be part of the NBA’s postseason foray .
Wednesday will offer the fans ten games on the day’s schedule with the marquee match-up being the game between the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets . The match-up could add more intrigue in the pecking order of the conference makeup , with both teams vying for the second third places within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference . The Nets are currently the fourth ranked team within the conference , with the Celtics seated as the seventh ranked team , above the eighth ranked Milwaukee Bucks (37-40) . Both teams have had their struggles this season , and this game should go a long way in determining how both teams maintain their composure going into the postseason.
I may well have missed something but for some unknown reason Sacramento city mayor Kevin Johnson , believes it prudent to still chase after pipe-dreams , as he seeks to retain the Sacramento Kings within the state capitol. As you may well be aware, the Kings’ Maloof family have agreed in principle to the sale of the franchise to a consortium led by Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer and venture capital billionaire , Chris Hansen . The duo seek to relocate the team to the city of Seattle and it would appear that the duos bid of $575 million , with Joe and Gavin Maloof still retaining a minority stake in the team. Pending the NBA’s hierarchy and its Board of Governors’ approval , it does appear that the Kings will be relocated .
A last-ditch attempt is being made by Kevin Johnson to have the remain in Sacramento , but his hopes now look to be dashed , as it will be derailed , after Californian real estate mogul , Ron Burkle dropped out of a rival bidding consortium , of which Johnson ,himself, is a member . However, with the departure of Burkle, the most visible and high-profiled member of this syndicate, after some internal frustrations, an d fractured relationships , which the billionaire entrepreneur refuses to address. One might still question why, Johnson would seek to retain a barely profitable enterprise , that remains one of the NBA’s least supported franchises over the last eight seasons. I was once told by a Sacramento native and patron of this site , that the Kings remain a viable franchise , but herein lies the idiocy of that individual’s statement. Yet here are the facts , the Kings remain an uncompetitive , mismanaged franchise, without any leadership on , or off the court . From a financial standpoint, there is little to be desired or to suggest that under GM Geoff Petrie . or the Maloof family, that they would have been able to turn things around , much less where the meager fans in attendance, could hold out any sort of hope that this team could be resurgent once again.
On the surface, it seems like a major blow for Sacramento in its fight to keep the Kings. With 10 days to go before the NBA Board of Governors decides the future of the franchise, billionaire investor Ron Burkle is pulling out.
Why? Because of a conflict of interest. Via the Sacramento Bee:
Facing questions over a conflict of interest, Burkle instead will focus on redeveloping other portions of Downtown Plaza. “He’s so committed to Sacramento,” the mayor said, adding that he spoke with Burkle on Monday. “There’s a host of ancillary development opportunities that Ron will participate in.”
Burkle was going to take the lead in developing the proposed $448 million arena and would have held a small ownership stake in the team. Sacramento officials had said his presence was a huge asset in part because he successfully developed a new arena three years ago for his hockey team, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Burkle is part-owner of Relativity Sports, which manages some NBA players’ careers.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson insists Burkle’s departure won’t hurt the city’s chances to keep the team, instead claiming other investors were going step in and fill the hole.
“I don’t look at this as a slow-up or a hiccup,” Johnson said, via the Bee. “We won’t miss a beat.”
With Burkle taking a step back, Vivek Ranadive and Mark Mastrov are going to be “lead investors” of the group. The report also says the Jacobs family of San Diego, who founded Qualcomm telecommunications, would take on a more significant ownership role.
The Jacobses didn’t join the Kings effort until late March and have kept a low profile. One of the family’s members, Jeff Jacobs, issued a statement Monday saying “we are thrilled to join Vivek and Mark in their efforts to keep the Kings in California and revitalize Sacramento.”
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has announced a new investor to help fill the role vacated by billionaire Ron Burkle in the city’s bid to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle.
Johnson also said Tuesday that Sacramento developer Mark Friedman has joined the group. Friedman will help build the planned arena downtown.
Burkle still plans on having a part in solidifying the future of the Kings in Sacramento, though, as he plans to work on developing the downtown area around the new arena.
Burkle was the original investor to step up in an effort to match the Seattle group’s bid for the Kings after the Maloofs reportedly sold the team for $525 million. He also stepped up in 2011 while the Maloofs angled for a move to Anaheim and helped shut down that.
“The Maloofs do not like Burkle,” sports-law expert Michael McCann told the Bee. “By removing him from the story … it could end up helping Sacramento.”
The Sacramento Kings, is a franchise in name only , and the sole purpose, has to be placing a public face to this issue , for the residents to witness how inept and incompetent they have been . It simply makes no sense to retain a franchise within a city that itself has its own budgetary crunch , with the mayor now seeking an assist from private enterprise , as well as using public funds in seeking to retain a beleaguered NBA franchise . Yet somehow , this, has been the rallying call of Kevin Johnson . I simply wonder if the residents in the state capitol are fully cognizant of that fact ?
This season for the Lakers , after the initial managerial upheaval , there were still frailties concerning this team , in spite of the additions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash . Head coach, Mike D’Antoni has been entrusted to run this ship , while executives Jim Buss , son of the late owner , Dr. Jerry Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak have presided over the drama and subplots , that have made up the Lakers’ soap opera season . Often critical of his teammates , Bryant has had to temper his angst , in order to produce as only he can , on a roster that really does lack cohesion , in spite of what their recent record might suggest. He remains the leading scorer and the second leading provider of opportunities in terms of assists per game for the team . If the Lakers are to prevail in the postseason , in the aftermath of Bryant’s prediction and guarantee of a playoff berth , then in all honesty every player on this roster will have to raise the level of their play over the remainder of the regular season and into the playoffs , itself. Anything short of that , and it will be all for nothing .
Having injured during the 2012 NBA playoffs , the Chicago Bulls’ , Derrick Rose , it was felt would take enough time to recuperate from what was thought at the time to be a serious injury , but not a career threatening catastrophe . Now at almost at the culmination of the Bulls’ regular season schedule , and the point guard and 2011 League MVP , has yet to suit up in a Bulls’ uniform for a game this season . With the player sidelined and unable to give a definitive time or any expectation , as to his return , head coach Tom Thibodeau is now left with the unenviable task of having to choose whether not to include Rose as part of the Bulls’ postseason roster. Rose has stated that his practices have been almost “near perfect” , with his body back to almost being in game shape. However, Derrick Rose’s issues now , might not be physical , but more psychological , as there seems to be a fear of re-injury , as it relates to his torn ACL and MCL. It would be something of a shock , were the young point guard’s career come to an abrupt end , having never fully reached the undoubted that many believe Rose has. From my own perspective , if the player is unable to play , then the coaching staff and front office need not take the risk of having him be a part of the roster as they enter into to the postseason ! That may sound somewhat cynical , but I feel given the investment made in Derrick Rose , he is seen as the heir apparent to Michael Jordan and the face of the franchise’s future . It is prudent if the player returns under his own time-frame , even if the fans and public alike , would like to see his quick return.
Kevin Love has been sidelined with a fractured right hand which has prolonged his stay on the sidelines this season for the Timberwolves . With his being on the bench , although he has suited up for a mere eighteen games , it has been left to Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko , to lead this team from an offensive and defensive standpoint . With Timberwolves’ head coach Rick Adelman and his staff being entrusted to guide this team , it will be interesting to see how the franchise manages to steer their way through the remainder of the season , while looking forward to next season and the presumed imminent return of Kevin Love. Adelman recently became the eighth coach in NBA history to have won 1,000 games over the course his coaching career . The all-time NBA leader is Don Nelson with the figure of 1,335 wins over the course of thirty-three year coaching career in the league . With that in mind consider the fact that amongst active coaches of which Adelman is now the current active wins’ leader . The next coach expected to pass that milestone will be the San Antonio Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich (904 wins). That feat is likely to be accomplished with the franchise at some point during the during the 2014-15 NBA season .
The San Antonio Spurs may not be viewed as one of the glamor teams within the NBA , and while all of the hullabaloo tends to be about the Heat and the Knicks . Consider the fact, that , this will be the fourteenth consecutive season that the franchise has made it to the postseason , while averaging .. 50 wins per season . And yet the hype has been about the New York Knicks and their recent unbeaten run . Let’s get real for once , until this Knicks’ team has achieved something of relevance , simply don’t go overboard , because in reality the franchise has languished for four decades hoping for the “winds of change “ . And no amount regaling by the fans about past and current feats , can hide the years of inconsistency and gross mismanagement . The fans and prognosticators alike , tend to show their apathy , rather addressing both the positives and negatives concerning the Knicks’ franchise .
While the Eastern Conference has been granted with the presence, privilege and confidence of knowing that they have the reigning NBA champions within their midst . It must be said that this season, the occupants within the rival conference , the West , will try to do their damnedest to make sure that their Finals’ representative will be the best that the Western Conference has to offer . With the conference now locked with a two-way tie atop with the Oklahoma City Thunder (57-21) and San Antonio Spurs now sharing the best record in the conference, as well as within the NBA as a whole . It certainly will be interesting, to see how things play out, over the four games remaining over the course of the NBA schedule. Though the brackets have yet to be locked into place, as to who the first round match-ups will be , the prevailing thought appears to be, the way things are situated at present , will be as such, be representative of the first round series we are likely to see . With the Thunder holding the tie-break in their series this season against the Spurs , the chance for San Antonio to end up with the best record within the conference will mean the team having close out their schedule with at least three wins , with the hope that Kevin Durant and the Thunder drop at least one of their four remaining games on their schedule .
By clicking on an individual frame you can that picture in a newly formatted size .
As the regular season winds down what if anything to your mind has been the most memorable moment or team this season by way of expected or unexpected success ? And to your mind which player or players have impressed you the most , with regard to their attitude, and overall play ? Chime in, with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter .
Picture and slideshow details below .
(1) Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade , left, sits on the bench with forward LeBron James during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Tuesday, April 9, 2013 in Miami. Wade was ruled out of Tuesday’s home game against the Bucks, the fifth straight contest that the All-Star guard will miss while tending to a sprained ankle and bruised knee. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …
(2) WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 10: Shane Battier (31) of the Miami Heat and Ray Allen (34) of the Miami Heat celebrate a victory over the Washington Wizards on April 10, 2013 at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images …
(3) Boston Celtics power forward Brandon Bass (30) dunks over Brooklyn Nets’ center Brook Lopez (11) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, April 10, 2013. AP Photo/Elise Amendola …
(4) BOSTON, MA – APRIL 3: Rajon Rondo (9) of the Boston Celtics practices shooting prior to a game against the Detroit Pistons on April 3, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Rondo, who is out for the remainder of the season, underwent ACL surgery in February. The point out with a torn ACL , now looks to recuperate during the off-season , with the hope of making a comeback for the 2013-14 season . Back up point guard , Jason Terry will be asked assume the role successfully filled by Rondo for much of his career with the Celtics . However , also on the roster , Celtics’ head coach Doc Rivers does also have the privilege of the use of using Avery Bradley , Jordan Crawford , Courtney Lee and Terrence Williams . Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images …..
(5) City of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson , center , is seen here speaking to the convened , press after a hastily arranged meeting, to explain the last-minute withdrawal of billionaire real estate mogul , Ron Burkle . The billionaire investor, an avid sports’ fan is happens to be the nemesis of the Maloof Family , owners of the Sacramento Kings, the franchise which Johnson hopes to retain within the California state capitol. However, it is also being rumored that Ron Burkle also has a conflict of interest in such a proposal , as he is also involved in a consortium seeking to develop the downtown Los Angeles city area , with a view to building $3.5 billion commercial and retail project that will also house a football stadium , with a view to either luring a relocated and existing NFL franchise or with the hope adding a new Los Angelean NFL team to the NFL’s thirty existing teams . AP Photo / Keith Marshall ………….
(6) Famed real estate mogul , entrepreneur and political Democratic power broker Ron Burkle . The businessman for what are said to be , personal and professional reasons, has dropped out of a consortium that sought to lodge a rival bid , in pursuant of the proposed bid made by rival suitors Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer , who as a duo have agreed in principle to buy and relocate the Sacramento Kings and move that franchise to Seattle , Washington , state . In what will undoubtedly be seen as a last-ditch effort by the Sacramento city mayor , Hansen and Ballmer’s bid , now only seeks the NBA hierarchy and Board of Governors’ final seal of approval. NBA Commissioner , David Stern has not commented publicly on the efforts of Kevin Johnson and his attempt to retain the Kings’ franchise in Sacramento . AP Photo / Tim Marshall …
(7) Timberwolves’ head coach Rick Adelman , is seen on the sidelines talking to his star center and forward, Kevin Love . The two have a very respectful relationship , that has seen Love’s career blossom over the past few seasons . However , with the player being lost to the team for much of this season , the Minnesota Timberwolves have labored after a promising start to the year . It is hoped that Love will make a fully recovery from his wrist injury to be a part of the franchise’s off-season workouts . Getty Images North America / Christian Hernandez ……….
(8) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant , left, drives on Portland Trail Blazers guard Will Barton during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, April 10, 2013. Bryant scored a season high 47 points , leading all scorers in the game against the Trailblazers . AP Photo/Don Ryan ….
Fast forward , four decades later , and the Miami Heat , coached by Erik Spoelstra , under the watchful eye of the Heat President , Pat Riley , now seem to be intent , on rewriting the annals of NBA history. This Heat team hasn’t so much been cobbled together , more of an exercise of building around , not one but four superstars . Well of course , at first it was the “ Big Three” , but this offseason with the acquisition of Ray Allen , they essentially became , the “ Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” . However , this season , it has literally been about the combined play of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade . And granted , Chris Bosh and Ray Allen have contributed greatly in the Heat’s fifty two game win total. And at this juncture about the only thing that can make serious make dent in the hopes , are the team’s own complacency. I certainly don’t believe that Heat owner , Micky Arison , Pat Riley and the executives are likely to have that scenario visit the organization!
Now for all of these pious holier than thou fans of the New York Knicks, selling that franchise , as if it were a “ hot stock tip”, without ever being able to show any evidence , that this team was simply good enough to be even in with a remote chance of somehow derailing the Heat’s postseason overtures . I would like to ask you all , what the hell happened concerning the New York Knicks , a team of underachievers ? And please don’t lament, and plead the fact, of injuries have caused this latest malaise concerning this franchise . Last I looked , several of the Heat’s victories over this current run , they have played at times, without Bosh , Allen and Wade . You now, seemed to have all crawled off into a darkened room, ceasing to even have the gravitas to be intelligent enough, to answer a question, as to what went wrong. So typical of the New York fan, when it comes to their professional sports’ franchise , forever obnoxious and simply clueless! How quickly, one forgets and then seeks to make excuses . Docile and stupid!
The Los Angeles Lakers (36-33) are at present in something of a dogfight , with their position within the Western Conference , by no means secure or even a guarantee . As the incumbent seated in the eighth and final playoff position within the conference , the team finds itself a mere combined 3 ½ games ahead of the ninth and tenth placed Utah Jazz (34-34) and Dallas Mavericks (32-36). And with both of those teams in question having a far more favorable remaining schedule than the Lakers . It simply shows us that the for all of the prognosis made by Kobe Bryant as to the team making the postseason . The All Star guard must know and better be sure , that his teammates are prepared “to have his back” , rather than his claims , simply coming across as sheer naïveté’ . As to whether or not the Los Angeles Lakers can overcome their immediate rivals within the conference for that eighth and final conference playoff berth remains to be seen .
As to what the immediate future now holds for two of the NBA’s brightest and most accomplished superstars , now becomes a matter conjecture and speculation. Clearly , the likes of present day pairings Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant , Chris Paul and Blake Griffin , and the litany of other aspirants of this season would like nothing better than to make that premise James and Wade being the best pairing in the NBA , seem nothing more than an aberration . The question that has to be asked , is can any of the other duos in question, become the equal of the Heat’s pairing ? Your thoughts on this , and anything else you believe pertinent to subject matter ? Chime in with a comment, as you see fit .
Picture and slideshow details below .
(1)Dylan Karlovic, 11, holds up a sign before the Cleveland Cavaliers play the Miami Heat in an NBA basketball game , Wednesday, March 20, 2013, in Cleveland. Miami won 98-95 . AP Photo/Tony Dejak …
(2) Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) celebrates with guard Dwyane Wade after scoring against the Chicago Bulls during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013. The Heat won 86-67 . AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh …
(3) ” The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ” , from left to right Dwyane Wade , Chris Bosh LeBron James and Ray Allen . The quartet account for an astonishing 73 % of the Heat’s offensive output , with James and Wade being the team’s leading scorer this season and also during 2011 . It should come as no surprise also that the duo led the team in scoring in their postseason triumph of winning the franchise’s second NBA title in 2012. AP Photo/ Marc Hall …
(4) Kareem Abdul Jabbar , left and Magic Johnson , amongst one the celebrated and famed duos to have played for the Los Angeles Lakers . At the height of their prowess the pairing might well be adjudged to be “perhaps the greatest ” in NBA history ” . Then again, beauty as they say ….. ” is in the eye of the beholder ” . AP/REUTERS/Thomas Carter …
(5) Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen , two of the most celebrated and beloved players in the Chicago Bulls’ rich history . Multiple titles , and accolades have been bestowed upon this historic pairing . AP Photo / Nicholas Hastings ….
(6) Bill Sharman receives a handshake from Gail Goodrich in front of Jerry West and Pat Riley as the 1972 NBA Championship team is honored at halftime during the game between the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images North America / Harry How ….
(7) Bill Russell and Bob Cousy , one of the great pairings in Celtics’ History , that was in many ways viewed as the precursor to the Bird McHale partnership . AP/ REUTERS/ Atlantic Associates / Miles Middlecomb ….
A patron of my site tried to suggest that a the presumed leader on a renowned NBA franchise was being disingenuous, in being critical of his teammates . From my own perspective, by appearance alone, when the player happens to be the best athlete and player on that team and he is expected to carry the burden of that organization upon his lone and competitive shoulders . Then he has every right to be “calling out his teammates” no matter what the circumstances , especially in the case where it would appear that the head coach takes a nonchalant and laissez-faire approach , merely seeking to make excuses for the team’s poor play and then drawing the ire and complete disdain from the fans . If you haven’t caught on by now , the team in question just happens to be the Los Angeles Lakers (25-28) and of course , the player , just happens to be , none other than Kobe Bryant .
While I am not against players showing their passion or zeal on the court for the game , away from it , I would like to think that they can hold themselves accountable for their actions. A great deal of criticism has been leveled at Kobe Bryant over the course of his career , much of if it valid , and other cases , most definitely . With Bryant’s recent criticism, of his teammates, for their lackluster efforts on the court , it could be seen that the player’s frustrations had boiled over into sheer anger and contempt. And much of that, I believe has been brought about from the mere fact Kobe Bryant no longer has any faith in the abilities of general manager , Mitch Kupchak and SVP Jim Buss , son of team owner, Dr. Jerry Buss. The duo of senior executives, have simply made a mess of the season, with some rather curious and dubious personnel decisions. And while, the pundits were singing the praises of the acquisitions of Dwight Howard , and Steve Nash and their insertion unto this team . It has to be said , that the experiment so far, has worked out about as successfully, as the 72 day ‘marriage’ of Kim Kardashian to Nets’ power forward , Kris Humpheries. All of the hoopla behind that ” sham of a marriage” could not hide the fact , that intellectually and emotionally, the pairing was contrived and orchestrated, simply to whet the appetite of the public’s fascination of a publicity hungry female and a moderately successful NBA player . I just hope, that you had at least one chance, to tap that ass Kris ? Just simply, tap that ass !
On a one game winning streak , but losers of seven of their last ten games , there is no denying that you would have to be simply naïve , not to understand Kobe Bryant’s frustration. The team’s head coach, Mike D’Antoni, seems to be completely devoid creativity and ideas ! And to this asinine theory , that D’Antoni would bring about a defensive resilience to this unit , that is tantamount to suggesting that Lindsay Lohan’s acting career, has been a resounding success, given all of her off-screen problems . In the case of D’Antoni , he simply, has not brought anything meaningful to the table , by way of his alleged coaching prowess. In terms of defense the Los Angeles Lakers rank sixth , in the Western Conference allowing an astonishing 100.5 points per game , while in the league as a whole they rank eighth in points allowed . And when one takes into account that Bryant has been the primary offensive weapon on a team that is devoid of leadership , beyond the player , himself , and the very fact that the Lakers are physically and mentally soft ! What would now give anyone the notion that this team is simply good enough to make a credible run deep into the playoffs , much less actually garner a playoff berth based on their current standing within the conference ? If there happens to be a loyal Lakers’ fan still pinning their hopes and beliefs that the team can somehow turn things around . Then I, for one, would appreciate a succinct explanation as to how this will come about , given the franchise’s present situation ! Anyone, surely, there is a Los Angeles Lakers’ fan with the gravitas to show their undying allegiance to this renowned franchise?
I firmly believe that the NBA over the last eight years, has simply sold its very soul to the Devil ! And while it has a great brand on perception , if you simply delve beneath the surface and sift through the bull-crap , espoused by David Stern and so many of his subordinates , you will find that there is not a great deal of transparency or clearly defined demarcation points, in terms of the hierarchy’s leadership. Stern , simply eschews it all , and rules his fiefdom with a rod of iron , that the likes of Joseph Stalin and Muammar Gaddafi would have been proud of . Thankfully, the NBA does not, suborn the use of torture , life-long imprisonment, or execution by a firing squad , as a means of rendering punishment , or as a harsh deterrent for those who oppose his every whim. Be warned Mark Cuban , as I know at, $1.25 million in fines and counting , your adversarial foe (Stern) is simply looking for you to be critical of his very next idea of grandeur. As for the NBA commissioner , when will he get it into his thick skull that the wide latitude given to him , is not given in order that he belittles the fans , and the cities in which the NBA franchises are domiciled . If you think that last statement just happens to be off base , then consider David Stern’s distinct lack of aid , given to the city of Sacramento as the municipality and the fans of that franchise fought for the Sacramento Kings’ retention within the California state capitol . .
With the Kings having been sold for a reputedly exorbitant $ 525 million to a consortium led by hedge fund manager and venture capitalist billionaire , Chris Hansen, Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer , and a number of minority stake-holding partners , who now await the NBA Board of Governors’ approval , in relocating the beleaguered franchise to Seattle , Washington. And even with a last-ditch effort mounted by Californian billionaire , Ron Burkle , jointly with ex-President Bill Clinton with their last-ditch bid , which seems unlikely to be favored , even with the backing of Sacramento City Mayor Kevin Johnson , now leading the municipality’s efforts . This wouldn’t all be so comical and sad , when you realize that the basketball franchise is one of the NBA’s least supported teams , and in terms of competitive success , the Sacramento Kings’ last postseason appearance , came back in 2006 , that ended , with a first round series’ loss (4-2) to the San Antonio Spurs. Subsequently, things have been pretty sparse by way tangible success competitively , personnel wise and most definitely , from an economic standpoint , with the team eking out a mere $2.6 million in profits, on revenues of $96 million . A rather meager return , given the franchise’s locale and region , but yet one asinine Kings’ devotee , once suggested to me, that the franchise is a profitable concern compared to many of its peers. What this idiot failed to acknowledge because of his undoubted lack of business acumen, was that the franchise had distinct advantages over many of its rivals, but in reality, the ownership group and front office , clearly were , mismanaged the franchise and placing it on the brink of financial insolvency . All of which, he failed to acknowledge, when the evidence was placed in print for him to peruse. Well, if you can’t damn well balance a check book , then it’s clear that a financial balance sheet would be right above his intellectual being.
For the soon to be departing Sacramento Kings’ owners , Joe and Gavin Maloof , and their siblings . Well, let’s just say, that their sale of the franchise has come about at least, five years too late. During, their tenure, the Sacramento Kings have seen their fair share of highs and lows. In retrospect , I would definitely say more lows , than highs , but those are just my personal opinions ! I can only hope that with relocation and a far more resourceful ownership group , the Kings can hopefully see a return to better days ! The Maloof’s sheer indulgence and lack of forthrightness has to come into question , but so too must David Stern’s apparent willingness to let a franchise owner almost single-handed take the franchise to brink of extinction without ever once questioning the motives of Joe and Gavin Maloof. Well this should not at all come as a surprise to anyone , given the commissioner’s instincts and his own overall lack of honesty and integrity . One only has to follow the David Stern’s actions , and that of the present owners of the Oklahoma City Thunder, to fully comprehend the web of deceit and lies which took place during the sale of the Seattle Supersonics , and their subsequent relocation to their new locale , in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma .
The recent injury to the Kentucky Wildcats’ Nerlens Noel , a point has to be raised . In clearly what was a season ending injury , Noel , thought to be a consensus number one overall pick for the 2013 NBA Draft , will be sidelined for the rest of the team’ regular season schedule , with not even a remote chance of a return , for participation in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament . Wildcats’ basketball coach , John Calipari , in a somber mood , having spoken to the player after his injury , simply stated that he hoped to see the player back in a Kentucky Wildcats’ uniform next season . The chances of that happening , I e firmly believe just went up in smoke ! Should Nerlens Noel make a full recovery , and he is looked upon favorably by the draft experts , NBA coaching staffs , then it seems abundantly clear , that the player will declare his eligibility for the NBA Draft and seek to make his fortune in the professional ranks . A torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee , is the injury which has sidelined the young Wildcats’ star for what is not necessarily an indeterminate period .Surgery , and recuperation period of six to eight months is considered a bare minimum time for recovery . And this is the exact same injury that NFL running back Adrian Peterson was able to recover from in record time . Therefore, it all bodes well for Nerlens Noel, now, if placed under the appropriate medical staff for treatment. I would like to think, that the player seeks to make a return to the collegiate ranks , but everything would suggest that with the untold millions that awaits in the NBA , a young athlete of Noel’s potential would find it hard forgo the chance of that fortune .
With the NBA hierarchy’s apparent intent to review eligibility status of college players , questions will arise of the intent of the league to review present rules governing the college athletes’ eligibility, of their entrance into the NBA Draft. Once again, the “one and done rule” becomes a subject of great conjecture, debate and speculation. Is it really the league’s duty impinge and deprive a potential employee a right to earn an income merely because the NBA sees it as a way controlling the apparent quality and branding of their product ? This essentially, is what this maneuver will all boil down to, should there be any anticipated changes. Fighting this, will be the agents, whose clients will be subject to this edict. NCAA President, Mark Emmert , will undoubtedly seek to offer his input with regard to this issue. This will either all come crashing down around the NBA’s ears or David Stern , will once again be able to use his power and cast aside any opposition to his authority. Your thoughts, on this all ?
Inasmuch as it pains me to say this , this an NBA season just seems to be mirroring many of their predecessors , in a great deal of the play we see being exhibited . Scoring seem to be on the increase ,meanwhile there are deficiencies on defense that fans seem to be overlooking , while they seek to gloss over these issues within the league (NBA) at present . A number of fans seem to be oblivious to this all , as they seek to make light of these obvious flaws within game , which is being ignored by David Stern , as his only thought seems to marketing a waning product to anyone willing to listen to his spiel . Suffice to say , with the NBA brand having saturated the North American market , the NBA’s need for growth , will come from the continents of Australia , Africa , Europe , and Asia .
The league’s biggest growth area will be in China , where its population of 1.6 billion people are now fans of the NBA. And with the Beijing Olympics , and the success of Team USA Men’s and Women’s basketball teams in bringing home Olympic gold, heightened the popularity of the game , even more so. Even, in light of retirement of former Houston Rockets’ , center, Yao Ming , a Chinese native , and the country’s most popular and prominent sporting export , until the recent ascent of WTA Tour player , Li Na . The female tennis professional is now idolized by young girls and women , in very much the same way , as Yao has been admired and appreciated by the country’s population. His popularity still remains high , as he now seeks to broaden the base and popularity of the sport of basketball across the country of China.
Na’s rise to prominence , has seen her become a three-time Grand Slam finalist and winner of the 2011 French Open title on the clay courts of the Roland Garros Stadium in Paris , France. Add in the fact , of her seventeen career singles’ titles , 16 doubles’ titles and over $10 .6 million in prize money , and one can fully appreciate why she’s held in such high esteem by the Chinese people and the People’s Republican Party of China. Li Na , is currently ranked fifth in the WTA rankings , with top spot held by Victoria Azarenka of Belarus . And with both sports , basketball and tennis reaching such a widespread audience globally , with each reputedly becoming multi-billion dollar enterprises , then clearly, any room for growth will be eagerly sought by the NBA , FIBA as the international governing body of the sport of basketball , and the WTA , as the custodians of the sport of women’s tennis.
Sunday, the 17th February , marks the fiftieth birthday of Michael Jeffrey Jordan, arguably , the greatest player in NBA history. Most certainly justified , as being one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players of All-time . The question now becomes, how will the NBA celebrate their most famous and universally recognized ambassador ? Jordan’s name is still revered globally , and that is in spite of the rise today’s era of stars , such as Kobe Bryant , LeBron James , Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony , Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose . Jordan’s legacy and his achievements will long be remembered after his passing and thankfully many of the accomplishments are either etched in our memories or held on film , where we can view them all for prosperity . Who can fail to remember his game winning shot over the outstretched arms of a then bewildered Craig Ehlo of the Cleveland Cavaliers , in the waning seconds , of what was a career defining play , of which he has repeated countless times over ? Yet this game winning shot, in Game 5 of the first round of the 1989 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs , meant a great deal more than just a victory , as it elevated Jordan to a God like, deity status. Michael Jordan remains one of the most recognizable athletes on the planet , and his universal acclaim might only be outshone at present, by retired boxer , Muhammad Ali and PGA Tour golfer, Tiger Woods . And no doubt , LeBron James , would like to see his fame take that ascent into the stratosphere , but first, it will take at least another three or four NBA titles , several league MVP’s , 6 or more Finals’ MVP awards , 8 more scoring titles , an additional ten more All Star Appearances, and shall we say, 20,000 more career points as an added bonus , before the comparisons can be made to Jordan , the icon , and the player who James , models himself after ?
Comparisons, will continually be made between NBA players of the past, and those of the present. Moreover, at times it may seem somewhat at disingenuous to gauge the greatness of these players , in thinking old versus new . In reality, there are no other means , nor is there an exact science to come up with a result that will meet everyone’s satisfaction , and that would deem to be fair . In my honest opinion to best way judge the players of the past against today’s crop of stars is to wait until an NBA of today makes his formal announcement to retire . And then we can start to deliver our verdicts , as to what we determine greatness to be !
What do you believe may well be the NBA’s biggest failure as a sport’s brand ? In addition, do think that they can rectify those problems on long-term or the short-term ? By comparison , do you believe it to be justified in trying to suggest who is the better player of the two , in making a decision between Michael Jordan and Michael Jordan ? Do bear in mind that James is only now entering his tenth year in the NBA , having been drafted as the number one overall pick , from the 2003 NBA Draft. Your thoughts or comments on this and anything else you believe relevant to this article is greatly appreciated . So do take time, and chime on in .
Picture and slideshow details below for your perusal .
(1) “Faces of the NBA “ … the past and the present. Left, LeBron James holds the Bill O’Brien Trophy , signifying, his first NBA title (world championship). And right, Michael Jordan , long considered the NBA’s greatest player past or present . AP Photo / Chris Pearson …
(2) Los Angeles Lakers center , Dwight Howard , left, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan defends during the first half of their NBA basketball game , Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ….
(3) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) shoots as Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) defends during the first half of their NBA basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …
(4) Left , NBA Commissioner , David Stern and the Dallas Mavericks’ owner , Mark Cuban . The two individuals have had a contentious relationship , which is said to be built on ” mutual respect” . Yet, herein lies the dilemma , over the course of Cuban’s custodianship of the Maverick. He has reputedly, paid over $1.25 million in fines rendered by the league hierarchy led by David Stern . Cuban , a billionaire , tech entrepreneur will no doubt think of the fines as a mere pittance , when by comparison his net worth exceeds $2.35 billion . Getty Images/ Stuart Gough …
(5) Houston Rockets basketball center Yao Ming attended a press conference in Beijing, China to announce a partnership deal with the Brisbane company Monster Cable Products Inc. Yao and Monster has developed a broad range of co-branded “Yao Monster” consumer electronics and lifestyle products for distribution in China. Yao Monster products include headphones, bags, 3D glasses and home theater connectivity and power products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a portion of the proceeds will go to the Yao Ming Foundation, which builds schools for disadvantaged children in China. Courtesy of Pacific Coast News … @ copyrighted material all rights reserved ….
(6) Nerlens Noel , the Kentucky Wildcats’ guard is seen lying on court during a game between Florida and the Kentucky Wildcats . Noel tore his Anterior cruciate ligament in his right, knee and will be lost to the team for the rest of their schedule , missing in its entirety the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament . Florida would go on to defeat Kentucky 62-59 . While Noel hopes to make a quick return , it is highly unlikely that he will return for his sophomore season with the team . Nerlens Noel is considered to be a ” consensus top five pick overall “ , if not the number one pick for the 2013 NBA Draft. It seems almost a certainty that Nerlens Noel will forgo his sophomore season , declaring his eligibility for the draft , recuperating , while honing his game in the ranks of the NBA . A number of NBA coaches and scouts have seen Noel’s game and have been impressed with the player’s all-round skill-set . AP Photo / John Thorn …
When one bears in mind, that the league hierarchy , this past season , were simply asking for two-fold concessions across the board, from the NBPA (union) , while there has been “ little “ real resolve shown by the teams, to scale back on their exorbitant spending in terms of team and players’ salaries , and simply making it, somewhat asinine of a notion, that there is a “soft salary cap” of $58.044 million and a luxury tax for teams whose payrolls are above the aforementioned figure . It is at times like this , I have to question the alleged business acumen of David Stern , albeit , that he has led the NBA , for the past quarter of a century, to unprecedented success from an economic standpoint, but upon a downturn in the economy , he and his subordinates , as well as the owners ,and front office executives have not seen fit to rein in their expenses , while simply gouging the fans in terms of ticket prices , for what has essentially now become, something of a watered down and thoroughly diluted on-court product.
I don’t think that at this point of the season , I can remember so many teams within the NBA playing sub. 500 basketball and wherein , the fans feel as if they are being short-changed by the on-field product . >. Yet , this is what the league hierarchy feel that they can bestow upon the consumer , fans and their corporate sponsors , while the league’s revenues increase exponentially primarily through the renegotiation of the NBA’s television contracts with their broadcast partners , such as ABC/ESPN , TNT Tv , WGN , none affiliated broadcast outlets nationally, and global network broadcast partners. The NBA has now become an annual $4.5 billion industry , and with teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks seeing their value , rise above the rate of inflation , with a number of the franchises also eking out fairly substantial profits in a down economy . It should be noted also, a number of teams are the recipients of an outmoded and archaic formula , wherein they are the benefactors of a luxury tax sharing scheme . Teams with payrolls in excess of the league’s “ soft salary cap” of $58.044 million are penalized as much as $1-00 for every dollar they are over that soft salary cap figure . The monies, derived from that scheme, are then disbursed amongst the so-called small market teams within the NBA. It does appear that even with the luxury tax in place , the teams do not appear to be showing the financial restraint one would have come to expect , albeit , that this latest CBA (collective bargaining agreement) , agreed to , between the league hierarchy , led by David Stern and the NPBA (union) remains littered with potholes and numerous dangers , that they clearly do not wish to address publicly .
The core of the Spurs’ roster , revolves around the team’s “ Big Three” , players, Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker , each of whom , has won an NBA title ring with the franchise . With four titles to the Spurs’ trophy cabinet , there would be nothing better for the organization , than for this team to add a fifth NBA championship to their treasure trove . As Duncan , Ginobli and Parker go , then so does the rest of this team , with the role players and certain youngsters coming off the bench to add to the team’s productivity . Hopefully , we can see that same sort of being shown by the players during the course of the postseason . Hopefully , we can see that same sort of being shown by the players during the course of the postseason . With the team playing host to the Washington Wizards on Saturday , at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas , it will be interesting to see how the Spurs fare against a team , that as of late , has become less inspiring and more of an embarrassment to themselves as well as to the NBA . The Wizards’ organization, just seems to be crumbling under the continued weight of mediocrity .
I could well be wrong in my assumption , but I have always maintained , if a business entity cannot hold its own executives accountable for their actions , then whatever befalls them as a concern , no sympathy can be shown for that entity. In the case of the NBPA (union), and the ongoing saga , and revelations of the misappropriation of monies ($80,000) from within the organization , by family members employed by the union’s Executive Director Billy Hunter . It leads me to believe that either Hunter was simply naïve and completely unaware of these actions , or somehow he chose to turn a blind eye to the fraudulent acts committed by Alexis Hunter , daughter of the union executive , when there is a clear case of a conflict of interest , when his daughter also just happens to be an employee in a struggling bank , where the executive sought to use the union’s funds for investment purposes , but in reality those funds were being used as a precursor , to shore up that bank’s capital base . What might be even more exacerbating in this whole saga , is the very fact that Billy Hunter , may well have countenanced this maneuver without first seeking the approval of the union’s executive committee .
On the weekend of the 2009 All-Star game in Phoenix, Pat Garrity, the treasurer of the National Basketball Players Association, walked into a conference room inside the Sheraton Phoenix determined to make one final stand in his decade of service to the union. Garrity had warned peers and NBPA executive director Billy Hunter prior to the ’09 executive committee meeting that he planned to challenge Hunter on business practices, and several players purposely steered clear of the confrontational scene.
In the aftermath of the U.S. banking crisis in 2008, Garrity had grown increasingly suspicious of an investment bank project that Hunter had been pitching to the executive committee and player representatives. For Garrity and some peers in the NBPA, the investment made no sense.
Hunter had sought a $7 million to $9 million investment from the union into Interstate Net Bank of Cherry Hill, N.J., a financial institution that federal and state banking regulators had slapped with debilitating “cease-and-desist” orders, sources said.
Garrity discovered information online that left him feeling obligated to confront Billy Hunter: Hunter’s son, Todd, had a seat on the board of directors of Interstate Net Bank.
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Billy Hunter , has now sought a leave of absence , as he now seeks to defend himself from what could very well turn out to be serious legal action , if it is proven that he knowingly sought to countenance and misappropriate funds from the union which he presides over . For union President , Derek Fisher , this has to be a complete embarrassment , as he has always maintained what appeared to be close personal relationship with the union’s executive director. There is no evidence to suggest that Fisher , himself , may well have known what might have been going on , but clearly with a number of the union’s player representatives voicing their concerns, as to how , and why , $7 million of union funds , were being used as an investment vehicle , when no communication or a vote took place between Hunter and the executive committee, to approve such a move , has to be seen , as a real cause for concern.
With the NBA All Star Break , a little under two weeks away (15th – 17th February) , what do you hope to see , when the second half of the season half of the season gets underway ? And what thoughts , if any , do you have , concerning what now appears to be some serious allegations that are being leveled at Billy Hunter of the NBPA ? Chime in , on this , and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter .
Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
(1)MINNEAPOLIS, MN – FEBRUARY 1: Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers pushes the ball up the floor against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the game on February 1, 2013 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images ….
(2) Minnesota Timberwolves’ Ricky Rubio , left, of Spain, goes high to defend but Los Angeles Lakers’ Steve Nash gets off a pass in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, in Minneapolis. AP Photo/Jim Mone ….
(3) Miami Heat’s LeBron James (6) reacts to a call alongside Indiana Pacers’ Paul George (24) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 1, 2013. The Heat would go on to lose the game 102-89 against the Indian Pacers . AP Photo/Doug McSchooler …
(4) BOSTON, MA – FEBRUARY 1: Paul Pierce (34) of the Boston Celtics drives to the basket against the Orlando Magic on February 1, 2013 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Magic 97-84 . Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images …
(5) Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) drives to the basket as Kevin Garnett blocks out New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, right, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013. AP Photo/Charles Krupa …
(6) SAN ANTONIO, TX – JANUARY 30:Tony Parker (9) of the San Antonio Spurs looks to pass the ball in game — played against Kemba Walker (15) of the Charlotte Bobcats on January 30, 2013 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas . Getty Images /Greg Carmody ….
(7) San Antonio Spurs’ owner , Peter Holt , right , is seen here with the team’s head coach Gregg Popovich . The two individuals have a close and trusted relationship , which has been to the mutual benefit of the Spurs’ franchise . AP Photo / Ian Turner ….
If five games into the season (1-4) , the is way, in which the NBA’s front office executives can attest to judging the playing form of their teams , then quietly possible several other of Mike Brown’s peers should have met the same fate , even if those might well have had a slightly superior record at the time . Yeah , but look , this is the Los Angeles Lakers we are discussing and anything remotely concerning common sense being shown , was thrown out the window , after the retirement of Phil Jackson , with both Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak , seeking to not offer the then vacant head coaching position to Jackson’s most trusted of his subordinates, Brian Shaw . This was even done, at the behest of Kobe Bryant, who voiced his wish both privately and publicly , for Brian Shaw to succeed Phil Jackson. Somehow , this all fell on deaf ears , as it relates to the aforementioned front office executives of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Entering into Tuesday, 22nd January , the Lakers bore a record of 17-24, within the Pacific Division of the Western Conference , wherein the team sits third place within their division , 14 ½ games behind the division leading Los Angeles Clippers (32-10) and 8 ½ games behind the second placed , and some might say the now surprisingly resilient , Golden State Warriors (25-15) , who are coached by former NBA point guard, Mark Jackson . Upon reflection , it was only a matter of time before the Lakers’ season simply resembled a train wreck , with the debris simply spread all over the place , with players simply out of gas , or feigning injury or as we are now being led to believe a number of the team’s acquisitions came into camp out of shape or with slight niggling injuries . The idiocy of this all, was that the print and television media were prepared to anoint this team as the best in the conference even before the season had tipped off . The Lakers are 2-8 in their last ten games albeit, that they are currently on three game losing streak , which does not augur well , for the franchise’s hope for a postseason berth , as they currently reside in twelfth place of the Western Conference’s fifteen teams .
The acquisitions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash , were meant to bolster the front court of this Lakers’ offense , complementing the skill-set of Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant . Gasol is now lost to the team for what is said to be an indeterminate period , and the play of Howard has been remarkably inconsistent , since starting for the Los Angeles Lakers . Another of the more troubling features of the team has been the lack defensive prowess from the players on the team , and it remains all the more asinine with claims of Mike DAntoni , that there is room for growth and toughness from his players . He and his coaching staff have “ clearly missed the boat” , as to how poor this team has been playing , and the sheer lack of determination from this entire roster . D’Antoni coached teams, have never been known for their proficiency as a defensive stalwart , and this asinine notion from the likes of current NBA analysts, Skip Bay less and Jon Barry , that the team can turn things around , as the season has now reached it’s midway point has become a cause for ridicule . I guess that both, Jon Barry and Skip Bayless are like to remain apologists for the Lakers , even when omnipresent signs of disaster are within their midst ?
Coming off a twelve-point loss to the Chicago Bulls at the United Center , in Chicago , Illinois ,. It has to be said , that seeing the team go down in an 95-83 defeat , where the effort from the Lakers’ players , was simply odious and thought-provoking. There is an increasing awareness and concern that if Mike DAntoni is not able to get this team with some semblance of cohesion and authority , then the now beleaguered coach could become the third coaching the fourth coaching casualty of the season , following Avery Johnson’s firing by the Brooklyn Nets , Mike Brown , with the Lakers , and Alvin Gentry with the Phoenix Suns . It is becoming all too clear that the hiring of the Lakers’ incumbent head coach could very well be joining his contemporaries on the tracks. Would it be too much to ask for either Jim Buss and Mitch Kolchak to now come forward and simply admit to the fact they erred in their decision to hire Mike DAntoni.
Though, it is a growing trend amongst many of the big market franchises in all realms of professional sports , teams are beginning to exact their financial muscle , either by starting their own regional sports’ programming outlet or have a commercial tie-in with a major broadcast or cable outlet. The Los Angeles Lakers are not averse to seeking out a partner, who would be in a position to aid the franchise to maximize their exposure beyond the locale and beyond the nation , but towards a global market. Jim Buss and his sister , EVP, Jeanie Buss in conjunction with their father , team owner, Jerry Buss, have negotiated such a deal that will see the Lakers’ net an estimated $ 4 billion ($4,000,000,000) over the next two decades in a regional broadcast deal that is so financially beneficial for the organization, that , it leaves all other deals within the NBA , seemingly , trailing in the wind . Not even the mighty New York Knicks with the financial backing of parent company MSG Inc. , or team owner, James Dolan’s , patriarchy of familial holdings in Cablevision Inc could ever seek to usurp a deal of this magnitude . It now begs the question , will this be the way that the small market teams around the NBA not only seek to raise their profile but also their profitability ?
In a continuation of the massive growth of sports programming options, the Southern California area will see the launch of not one, but two new regional sports networks through Time Warner Cable beginning today. Time Warner Cable will launch Time Warner Cable SportsNet, as well as the first-ever all Spanish language RSN, Time Warner Cable Deportes. The networks will be the new exclusive local homes of the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Galaxy and Los Angeles Sparks, as well as cover Mountain West football and basketball, in addition to soccer and boxing programming on Time Warner Cable Deportes.
The launch of the two RSNs highlights the explosion in media rights for sports over the last several years. The reported 20-year, $4 billion deal is wide-ranging and covers the rights to distribute all locally available pre-season, regular season, and post-season Lakers games, beginning with the 2012-2013 season. All Lakers games will be produced in high-definition in English & Spanish.
On-air talent for the TWC SportsNet includes former Laker great and Hall of Famer James Worthy, Chris McGee who was the Lakers’ sideline reporter at FOX SportsNet, as well as Dave Miller and Mike Trudell. That team joins Stu Lantz and Bill Macdonald who will call all Lakers games on Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Andy Adler, who joined the network in May, will serve as a studio anchor. On TWC Deportes, on-air personalities will include Ricardo Celis, Martin “El Pulpo” Zúñiga, Elmur Souza, Enrique Gutierrez and Hipolito Gamboa. Time Warner Cable Deportes will broadcast all local Lakers and Galaxy games entirely in Spanish.
Outside of basketball, TWC SportsNet will are 12 live Mountain West Conference football games and more than 24 Mountain West basketball games, making Time Warner Cable SportsNet the exclusive regional home for Aztecs, Rebels and Bulldogs.
The launch of the two regional sports networks sits against the backdrop of either new RSNs in the Southern California area cropping up, or lucrative rights extensions for the sports teams that are inking them. In mid-August, Time Warner Cable added the PAC-12 Network to their channel listing. According to the SportsBusiness Journal, PAC-12 Network has been seeking 80-cents per subscriber, which ranks higher than CNN, USA and FX. And, TWC could be positioning to land the Los Angeles Dodgers to a new deal, as well that could hit between $4-$5 billion over 20-years. Already, TWC prime competitor FOX Sports has reached a $3 billion, 20-year agreement with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
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Over the ensuing months leading up up to the NBA playoffs, which begin on the 20th April ,2013, there is no doubt that Kobe Bryant and his teammates will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed . However, I am of the opinion that Mitch Kupchak will seek to shake things up in terms of the makeup of the team’s roster , if things for the franchise are still in a quandary. The trade deadline this season falls on 21st February , which is barely a month away, so it is now incumbent upon the head coach , Mike D’Antoni and the general manager to have some intent, as to the direction that the franchise , is said to be heading . In terms of trade bait , the only viable options on the roster are, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace. Beyond that, there are no enticing pieces on the team , beyond its three preeminent stars , Bryant , Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.
In light of the ongoing issues with the Los Angeles Lakers , do you believe that the team can muster up enough wins , enabling the franchise to make the postseason ? If they fail to guarantees themselves a playoff berth , are you of the opinion that Mike D’Antoni well be retained by the front office for next season ? Chime in on this , and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter and the NBA as a whole .
Picture and slide show details below .
(1)FILE – In this April 26, 2012 file photo, the Maloof brothers, Phil, left, George, center and Gavin , co-owners of the Sacramento Kings, watch their team against the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif. The only thing stopping the Kings from a sale and move to Seattle is approval by NBA owners.The Maloof family has agreed to sell the Kings to a Seattle group led by investor Chris Hansen and Microsoft, Chairman , Steve Ballmer , the league confirmed in a statement Monday morning, Jan. 21, 2013.. The deal is still pending a vote by the NBA Board of Governors. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli …
(2) Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich (12) pressures Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Chicago. The Bulls won 95-83 . AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …
(3) Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant walks off the court during a break in the action during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Chicago. The Bulls won 95-83 . AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …
(4) Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni looks up at the scoreboard during a break in the action in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Chicago. The Bulls won 95-83. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …
(5) From left to right , Lakers GM , Mitch Kupchak, SVP, Jim Buss , and team owner Dr Jerry Buss . With the team have reached a crisis point in their season having eight of their last ten games , it would appear that changes are in the offing for franchise amongst the player personnel , and if the rumors are to be believed , then head coach Mike DAntoni will be assessed on the team’s success between now and until the end of the season, which will be incumbent upon the Los Angeles Lakers making the playoffs. Currently laying as the twelfth seed in the Western Conference , the team is currently 3 1/2 games out of the eighth spot , held by the Houston Rockets (22-21) and are 15 1/2 games behind the conference leading Oklahoma City Thunder (33-9) . AP Photo /Martin Hill …
(6) Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) reaches for the ball held by Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. Golden State won 106-99 . Curry would go on to score 28 points in the Warriors’ surprisingly easy victory over their divisional rivals . AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez …
(7) Golden State Warriors’ David Lee , center, tries to keep a loose ball from Los Angeles Clippers’ <u> Lamar Odom </u> , left, and <u> Eric Bledsoe</u> during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez .. ….
(8) Head Coach Mark Jackson of the Golden State Warriors speaks as (L-R) David Stern , Rick Welts , Peter Guber , Joe Lacob , Mayor Edwin M. Lee , Ahmad Rashad , Jerry West , and Lieutenant Governor of California Gavin Newsom looks on at a press conference with the Golden State Warriors announcing plans to build a new sport and entertainment arena on the waterfront in San Francisco in time for the 2017-18 NBA Season on May 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Getty Images North America / Thearon W Henderson …..
Metta World Peace …. Gutless Is Thy Name , Bear The Shame And Speak No More As To Your Greatness …..
By tophatal ……. 04/26/12 …. 2:31:30 AM
The Los Angeles Lakers are a ” classless” organization and as to the less than contrite apology for what he says was simply an emotive action , it begs to the psychological disorder of Metta World Peace and his flagrant foul on the Oklahoma City Thunder’s … James Harden . Mitch Kupchak is a gutless asshole , who by any stretch of the imagination will never be able to fill Jerry West’s boots as a front office executive . As for World Peace , he should consider himself lucky that David Stern showed the cojones` not often seen by this publicity craving league executive . Seven games and part of the postseason is a mere pittance in terms of a suspension , when one considers the premeditated intent and Peace’s pattern of behavior over the course of his career . Need one be reminded of the Palace of Auburn Hills’ ” fiasco ” and the melee` that embroiled Ron Artest as he was then known as an Indiana Pacers’ player , in a game played against the Detroit Pistons . Artest’s incendiary actions , in attacking a spectator and then the opposing players of the Pistons speaks volumes as to the his psychological disorder and the fact that we would later be made aware that he suffers from bi-polar disorder . But that certainly is no excuse and should not excuse his heinous act against James Harden .
If there is one thing that has become abundantly clear and it is that beyond Pau Gasol , Andrew Bynum and Kobe Bryant , the Lakers are starved of meaningful offense . And it certainly hasn’t helped that in terms the point guard play for the team it has been less than admirable . Steve Blake and Ramon Sessions simply have been nowhere as creative or productive enough provide the Lakers with the support needed in this specific category . And it simply doesn’t bode well for the Los Angeles Lakers and their aspirations for the postseason . If Kobe Bryant is to equal the tally in terms of his hero Michael Jordan , in terms NBA titles and championship rings (6) then we have to agree that Bryant will be the primary focal point for this roster as to the competitiveness of the team’s overall play. Anything short of that and the Lakers will succumb and inevitably fail during the NBA playoffs.
Mike Brown has been lucky enough to have fallen into his current position in having succeeded Phil Jackson as the head coach of the NBA’s most storied .. franchises . . The Los Angeles Lakers’ dynasty that has brought us Worthy , Earvin ” Magic” Johnson , Chamberlain , Shaquille O’Neal and Jerry West , enters a new phase as the Kobe Bryant ” era “ slowly begins to wind down . From my own perspective I have felt away felt that their was a rush to judgment when it came to the hiring of Mike Brown ! A quick fix , rather than simply getting the best available candidate. . The Lakers had one in Brian Shaw who was Jackson’s most trusted assistant . But somehow he was simply overlooked by Mitch Kupchak , and team owner Jerry Buss’ son , Stephen Buss . And while the Lakers may well be viewed as one of the most revered organizations in the NBA . My own feeling because of the lack of foresight and a proactive move by Kupchak to take charge and mete out an internal form of punishment by organization. It simply leads me to believe that Mitch Kupchak believed that the player would somehow be either be treated with “kid gloves” by the NBA hierarchy . Kupchak showed a lack of insight and acumen and by his lack of action in some ways condoned Metta’s sheer stupidity.
Last season’s playoffs if anything indicated to us that one should take nothing for granted as we witnessed the demise of the San Antonio Spurs being derailed in their first round series’ loss to the Memphis Grizzlies . The Spurs at the time were the number one seed in the Western Conference and it paved the way for the Grizzlies’ improbable run during 2010 postseason. I am not about to suggest that the Los Angeles Lakers will go down without a fight but certainly without the possibility of Metta World Peace being in their starting lineup it does not make their task any easier in trying to get by the Nuggets. And while I believe him to be a player whose talent is undeniable it has been his mental psyche as to his makeup that I simply detest about the player as an individual . God knows, the NBA has enough to worry about this season without ticking time-bomb being on the rampage . But it has become abundantly clear that the NBA brand or game doesn’t need the gross-out antics of a player whose lack of contrition was deplorable and inescapable , much less the fact that no one from within the Lakers’ hierarchy chose to take the player to task for his reprehensible behavior. Mike Brown with his rather asinine statement saying that the player would be dearly missed because he’s needed in their time of need simply showed that his concerns were not for the well-being of the injured James Harden , never mind the fact that not one of the Lakers’ player showed any type of remorse over their teammate’s outlandish act ! The Lakers are no longer an organization that warrants the fans; respect but somehow this will be glossed over , merely because of David Stern’s rather innocuous seven game suspension of Metta World Peace . As I alluded to earlier , were that Blake Griffin or Kevin Durant on the receiving end of that elbow , I wonder what the outcry would be from the fans and public alike ? Your thoughts on the matter ?
Do you feel that David Stern’s 7 game suspension of the Lakers’ Metta World Peace is adequate ? If yes or no , simply state your reasons as what you feel may or not be appropriate in terms of the NBA commissioner’s actions ? And what if anything , are you most looking forward to in terms of the potential first round match-ups during this postseason ? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit .
Picture and slide show gallery for your perusal .
(1) LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 22: Metta World Peace (15) of the Los Angeles Lakers leaves the court after being ejected for hitting James Harden (13) of the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center on April 22, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 114-106 in double overtime . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images …
(2) FILE – In this Sunday, April 22, 2012, file photo , Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace gives an elbow to Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden, rear, earning him a double flagrant foul and ejection during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles. It was announced Tuesday, April 24, that Lakers’ World Peace has been suspended 7 games for elbowing Thunder’s Harden in Sunday’s game. AP Photo/Reed Saxon …
(3) James Harden (13) of the Oklahoma City Thunder lies on the floor after being elbowed by Metta World Peace ( 15 ) of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 22, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images …….
(4) Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center on April 22, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images ….
(5) Mitch Kupchak ,left is seen here with the newly installed head coach Mike Brown . He succeeds the eleven-time NBA titlist Phil Jackson who won 5 titles with the Lakers and 6 with the Chicago Bulls during the “Jordan Pippen era” . Many felt that Lakers’ assistant Brian Shaw was the “heir-apparent” to Jackson . But he was overlooked by Kupchak and Stephen Buss , son of team owner Dr Jerry Buss . Los Angeles Time / Enrique Calderon …
If there was an unsung hero during this game for the Mavericks then it had to be jointly Jason Terry , Peja Stojakovic and that wily veteran Jason Kidd who belied their years in the league. Now pardon me for saying this but each time I hear TNT or ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy I simply want to throw up ! Is there no time wherein this guy can simply be observant report on what he observes rather than coming up with asinine comments and analysis. Now down 0-3 this series is now beyond the reach of the Lakers as no team in playoff history has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit to come back and win that series .
This was simply a collective effort from this Mavericks’ team and it was a thoroughly convincing result and this series now seems to the Dallas Mavericks’ for the taking . If you’ve any doubt about that then simply look at the box-score and the stats for the Mavericks ? Game four of this series resumes on Sunday and we’re liable to see the Lakers be swept out of this series as the Dallas Mavericks make their way to the Western Conference Finals . Personally I can see the Lakers quite possibly taking game four but beyond that this team is liable to lose one if not two of the next three to be played at the Staples Center after the series’ departure from Dallas .
By midway through the fourth quarter this game was simply beyond the Atlanta Hawks’ reach and their two All Stars on this team in Joe Johnson and Al Horford simply couldn’t do anything to bring the Hawks back into this game. On this series resumption with game four we could well see the Chicago Bulls take a 3-1 lead in this series .
Andre Ethier’s amazing season continues as he embarks on rewriting the Los Angeles Dodgers’ record book. Ethier is on the cusp of becoming the Dodgers’ consecutive single season record in terms of a consecutive games hit streak . Now at thirty games and counting Ethier looks to surpass the Dodgers’ record of Willie Davis’ streak of 31 and hopes to top the mark of forty before he can think about even coming within range of Joe Di Maggio’s 56 game hit streak which is the all time record within MLB . It’s now becoming redundant to continue talking about the Dodgers’ off the field problems as nothing can now simply change that particular landscape as it now stands. The idiocy of it all is that the team’s owner Frank McCourt continues to wallow in the fact that he’s now become a victim in the aftermath of the league hierarchy taking over the day to day running of the organization. Suffice to say that the league , its team owners enabled McCourt and his executive subordinates to enact this madness . And for those opining that the Dodgers and their $3 billion tv contract signed with Fox and its parent company NewsCorp let’s just say if you’re unable to pay the staff salaries for your employees for the months of April and now May please don’t come up with the bullshit about this organization being in a viable financial position. Simply let it be , and get a dose of reality as to how business is conducted in the real world .
Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams effectively announced his retirement as coach of the Terrapins’ basketball team . Having assumed tenure of the Terrapins as its coach in 1989 while the team was under NCAA probation Williams single handedly resurrected this program and put it back on the map. In doing so he won the 2002 NCAA Basketball Tournament . That title has been Maryland’s sole NCAA Men’s title but it has been the programs consistency over the years that has made Gary Williams stand apart as a collegiate basketball coach . He leaves an indelible record having won over 630 games and a run of eleven straight NCAA appearances as well as the Sweet 16 on multiple occasions . Thirty three years as a coach of, which 22 were spent as the coach of Maryland and I’d like to think that makes Gary Williams something of a special talent within the world of collegiate basketball !
Well it appears now apart from Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff looking to challenge the BCS’ antitrust exemption status and its stand as a monopoly within collegiate football. It now seems that the US Justice Department and its antitrust division will now serve notice that they intend to send letters to NCAA President Mark Emmert and the BCS seeking their reasons as to why there isn’t a playoff format in place for the national championship at the D1 level. If that’s not enough to peak your interest assistant US attorney general Christine Varney within the antitrust division of the Justice Department says that she is quite prepared subpoena records from both the NCAA and BCS to seek out how they conduct their business practices as it relates collegiate football . Considering the NCAA is already facing a civil suit challenge by several former NCAA athletes as to the use of their likeness for business purposes within the Federal Court System this couldn’t have come at a worse time for both the NCAA and BCS.
If it hasn’t been enough that we’ve seen the idiocy of the NCAA and the belief that the BCS and its subordinates feel that they’re above reproach . We now have to see them having to defend themselves from what we already know to be a grossly corrupt system that is in place and that’s being defended by an idiot in Ohio State university President Dr E Gordon Gee . How in God’s name that buffoon believes that the system is above reproach tells you all you need to know when you simply survey the 2010-11 and 2011 schedule of the Buckeyes to see how they affix their schedules , wherein they’re literally playing a bunch of no name programs to pad out their stats. In the midst of this all, Gee has the temerity to suggest that mid major conferences ought not to be allowed to have the privilege of attaining a BCS Bowl game berth because they’re simply not good enough. If anything, Gee ought to be more concerned over the image of his school and the fact that its football coach Jim Tressel has no moral character or integrity and the very fact that he’s self consumed a liar and a cheat . Those ought to be Gee’s biggest concerns rather than his asinine notion that the BCS system is above reproach.
I’ve longed felt that were it not for Severiano Ballesteros the European Tour and the PGA Tour wouldn’t be what is today . Having won five grand slam majors and over 68 tournaments worldwide Ballesteros’ legacy has been well chronicled . Long before Tiger Woods held the world as a captive audience on the golf course it was the spectacle of seeing Ballesteros simply play with a fluidity not often seen on any major tour today. His shot making was uncanny and anyone who knows anything about the sport of golf will know how special Seve’ Ballasteros was . Unfortunately , the Spanish star and a successful Ryder Cup captain is suffering from cancer of the brain , having gone through repeated bouts of chemotherapy and undergone several neuro surgeries over the past eight years ever since it was discovered that he had malignant tumors on his brain. Having removed several of the tumors it was felt that Severiano Ballesteros’ would be able to make a slow and successful recovery from his illness .
Ballesteros died at age 54 in the early hours of Saturday morning, in the arms of his family, a national treasure within the country of Spain and a worldwide celebrity . A wealthy individual in his own right , from his professional earnings and as a businessman from his the off the field business ventures , he married Caroline Boutin , whose family founded one of Spain’s largest financial institutions Banco de Santander . He will be sorely missed by the golf word but it was his larger than life character , respect for and of the game as well as his fellow competitors that made Ballasteros stand apart. His dominance of the game goes without saying and for those who’ve never witnessed Ballesteros at his very best , simply imagine the shot playing of Tiger Woods at his best with the power of Jack Nicklaus and you can imagine how special Ballesteros was at the height of his game.. Thanks Seve’ for all the grace you brought to the game and in particular the world of sport , you’ll be sorely missed !
What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts and thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) DALLAS, TX – MAY 6: Dirk Nowitzki (41) of the Dallas Mavericks reacts after hitting a three against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 6, 2011 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Danny Bollinger/NBAE via Getty Images …….
(2) The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant looks at his bench as Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki , left, Peja Stojakovic , center and Jason Kidd , right react during the final minutes of Game 3 of a second-round NBA playoff basketball series, Friday, May 6, 2011, in Dallas. The Mavericks won 98-92. NBAE/Getty Images / Danny Bollinger ….
(3) Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol shoots over Dallas Mavericks’ Jason Kidd, left, and Peja Stojakovic during the first half of Game 4 of a second-round NBA playoff basketball series, Sunday, May 8, 2011, in Dallas. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …….
(4) ATLANTA, GA – MAY 06: Derrick Rose (1) of the Chicago Bulls drives against Joe Johnson (2) and Al Horford (15) of the Atlanta Hawks in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Phillips Arena on May 6, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images / Kevin C Cox …..
(5) Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Derek Lowe(notes) delivers to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, May 6, 2011, in Philadelphia. AP Photo / Barbara Johnston ….
(6) Atlanta Braves’ Jason Heyward (22) steals to second base as Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Michael Martinez (19) is late with the tag during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Friday, May 6, 2011, in Philadelphia. The Braves won 5-0. AP Photo/Barbara Johnston ….
(7) Los Angeles Dodgers’ Jamey Carroll(14) greets teammate Andre Ethier (16) at the plate after Ethier’s seventh-inning two-run home run as New York Mets catcher Ronny Paulino , center, looks on during a baseball game at Citi Field in New York, Sunday, May 8, 2011. AP Photo/ Kathy Willens ……
(8) University of Maryland basketball coach Gary WIlliams (L) hugs his wife Dana WIlliams after announcing his retirement on May 6, 2011 at the Comcast Center in College Park, Maryland. Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images ……..
(9) University of Maryland basketball coach Gary WIlliams speaks while announcing his retirement on May 6, 2011 at the Comcast Center in College Park, Maryland. Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images ……..
(10) Seve Ballesteros (C) of Spain poses with Per Ericsson (R) and German Lopez of Volvo Event Management during the press conference of the Volvo World Match Play Championship 2009 presentation at Intercontinental Hotel on October 14, 2009 in Madrid, Spain. Ballesteros, who is recovering from cancer which has left him partially blind in his left eye, is hopeful that he’ll be able to take part in the upcoming Volvo World Match Play. October 13, 2009 – Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images Europe ……..
(11) Ballesteros seen here in receipt of the Green Jacket having won the 1983 Masters Tournament at Augusta National G&C Augusta , Georgia ,. Photo archives / Reuters/ Peter McKinnon ……
(12) Christine Varney (left) head of the Antitrust Divsion of the US Dept of Justice . Her department has been asked by the AG Eric Holder to look into possible grounds to see if the BCS can be considered a monopoly in terms of its business practices as it relates to D1 collegiate football . NY Times Susan Etheridge ……
And So It Begins ……….. The NBA Playoffs Are Here …….
The NBA — postseason is almost upon us and the first round of games beginning this upcoming Saturday the 16th April . But on a side note it cannot have escaped the latest incident whereby NBA Commissioner David Stern had to impose a severe $100,000 fine on the Los Angeles Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant for using a derogatory homophobic term towards a referee during the Lakers’ game against the San Antonio Spurs . I’ve always felt that far too many of today’s athletes are nothing more than a bunch of entitled primadona self absorbed idiots who think themselves above the law and above the rules that govern their game ! Bryant seems to be no different and his less than contrite apology speaks volumes as to the player’s immaturity at this juncture .
The Lakers’ season has now become all the more tenuous when it was announced that their center Andrew Bynum has a recurring knee injury that could very well sideline him for initial part of the first round of these playoffs. A match-up against the New Orleand Hornets has all the semblance of a potential upset if the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t fully prepared for their task against the Chris Paul and David West led Hornets . This will be a match-up of styles and though many feel that the Lakers are the more athletic of the two teams I personally believe that the Lakers’ Achilles’ heel is that their bench lacks real depth ! The likes of Joe Smith and Theo Ratliff on paper may well look impressive but in actuality , do they actually strike fear into anyone much less you as a fan ? Admittedly , the Lakers may well this season’s potential Sixth Man of the Year in Lamar Odom but beyond that the roster in terms of its bench has nothing . The team’s greatest strength is that of their duo Pau Gasol and Bryant himself who leads the team in scoring .
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The NBA fined Kobe Bryant $100,000 on Wednesday for using a derogatory gay term in frustration over a referee’s call.
NBA Commissioner David Stern issued a swift disciplinary ruling after the Los Angeles Lakers’ five-time NBA champion guard cursed and used the homophobic slur when referee Bennie Adams called a technical foul on him Tuesday night in the third quarter of a victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
“Kobe Bryant’s comment during last night’s game was offensive and inexcusable,” Stern said. “While I’m fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated. … Kobe and everyone associated with the NBA know that insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society.”
Stern’s action drew praise from gay-rights organizations that had demanded a fuller apology from Bryant and condemnation of his words by the Lakers. Bryant, the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history, issued a statement earlier Wednesday saying his words came strictly out of anger and shouldn’t be taken literally.
“We applaud Commissioner Stern and the NBA for not only fining Bryant but for recognizing that slurs and derogatory comments have no place on the basketball court or in society at large,” Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said. “We hope such swift and decisive action will send a strong and universal message that this kind of hateful outburst is simply inexcusable no matter what the context.”
Bryant’s words and actions were captured by TNT’s cameras during the network’s national broadcast of the Lakers’ regular-season home finale.
A patron (JW aka Dubs) of my site had posed the question to me who amongst the teams in the Western Conference would simply be good enough to derail the hopes of the Lakers in the off-season ? My response to him ___ was , that should the Lakers and Spurs meet in the conference finals it would not be beyond the realms of possibility to see the Lakers succumb to Gregg Popovich coached Spurs . The equalizing factor may well be the two head coaches in Phil Jackson and Popovich who between them have won nine of the last fifteen NBA titles since 1996 . If that’s not accounting for the dominance of these two coaches and their respective teams , someone needs to explain to me what is.
The Eastern Conference played itself out with the Chicago Bulls taking the number one overall seed much to the surprise of many who may well have felt that Tom Thibodeau’s young team led by MVP candidate Derrick Rose weren’t yet ready to be viewed amongst the elite teams within the conference. Instead we had the inconsistency shown by the Celtics , Heat and Magic all thought to be potential leading candidates for the conference’s number one seed. But the inconsistency shown by those trio of teams over the course of the season opened the door for the Chicago Bulls their successful regular season.
Rose for his part ably abetted by Luol Deng , Joakim Noah , Taj Gibson and Carlos Boozer have all played their part — resurrecting the fortunes of the ball-club from those lofty days when Phil Jackson was the coach and Michael Jordan was leading the organization to their numerous triumphs . The question now being asked by the faithful Bulls’ fans who’ve attended the home games at the United Center is whether or not this team is actually capable of winning this season’s NBA title. This postseason may well go a long way in answering those questions and a great deal more not only about the Chicago Bulls also as to the aspirations of several other teams within the Eastern Conference. Undoubtedly the coaching acumen of Tom Thibodeau as coach of the Bulls has to be admired and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him being rewarded with the NBA’s Coach of the Year Award as he’d be thoroughly deserving of the award !
It goes without saying that while the Miami Heat were obviously viewed as the prohibitive favorites within the Eastern Conference merely because of the Pat Riley off-season engineered moves amongst the free agents on the market _____ many felt that the Heat would walk away with the conference. You even had the asinine notion being raised by none other than former coach Jeff Van Gundy and former Knicks’ point guard Mark Jackson that this incarnation of the Miami Heat would be able to challenge the Bulls’ single season record of 72 wins . In essence both Jackson and Van Gundy were enamored with style over substance rather than what was tangible and in front of their very eyes. And hence ,it’s one of the primary reasons why I tend not to take anything that they have to say about the NBA with any sense of intelligence. Because it’s as if duo had a man crush on LeBron James and this team rather than looking at their body of work over the course of the season . Gullible and unintelligent would simply sum up their knowledge and the asinine prognostications that they’ve made about this team and what they thought was actually possible.
Now while I believe that the Heat stands as good a chance as any of the deemed favorites within the Eastern Conference , I firmly believe that if they’re to prevail then the play of their main trio of James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade will have to be at a heightened level with the role players on this roster also stepping up their game . If they’re able to do that then it’s my belief that they can prevail within the conference but given the relative postseason inexperience of the team’s coach Erik Spoelstra it could well be that in part that they will struggle along the way as the team’s postseason efforts evolve. My firm opinion is that the top four seeds within the Eastern Conference will be the conference semi finalists and that the match-ups there will go along way in suggesting who we are likely to see in the conference finals .
If there is to be a surprise to be had in the first round of this season’s playoffs I do believe that it could come at the hands if the New York Knicks pushing the Boston Celtics for all their worth. And though this Knicks’ team leaves a great deal to be desired in terms of their defensive efforts there’s no denying that offensively they can stand toe to toe with just about any high scoring team left in these playoffs. GM Donnie Walsh in acquring Amar’e Stoudemire , Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups made sure that the team was at least capable of competing but there’s little to suggest that there’s now that consistency sought to actually make that one big push in the postseason. But herein lies the caveat once the postseason comes around everything indeed appears to be on a level playing home field advantage or not , and I do believe that both Anthony and Stoudemire wish to prove the team’s doubters wrong.
The Boston Celtics with a mix of some youth and veteran experience seem to relish the postseason and in Doc Rivers they have a coach who knows how to coax the best out of his players. But as I’ve repeatedly said to a number of patrons who’ve proffered an opinion on the team , it’s my belief that GM Danny Ainge made a profound mistake trading both Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson and getting very little in return. The duo of Perkins and Robinson were two of the unsung heroes on this roster . Unfortunately, they have an aging pair of seemingly unproductive players in Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal whom I believe will offer very little beyond their experience in the league. I know Shaq has five rings to his name but in reality after his decade and a half in the NBA, he’s no longer the once potent offsensive player he once was. And to my mind Jermaine O’Neal is literally robbing the Celtics blind while offering little in return !
Now while I’m really looking forward to the postseason it goes without saying that what I truly do hope to see are some very competitive series that are adjudicated by the officials with a great deal of impartiality and sound judgment rather than the usual quantity of blown calls and rather insidious wish of theirs to place themselves in the midst of a series, as if they’re indeed part of an ensemble cast. I’ve always felt that a great game is one where you see very little of the officials and more of the players exhibiting their skills and athleticism ! More often than not once the NBA postseason comes around you tend to see little of the latter and more of the referees interjecting themselves into a game or series for all of the wrong reasons that in the end tends to create more controversy than there really needs to be.
What thoughts if any do you have on this upcoming postseason and what if any are you really looking forward to seeing in terms of the teams playing ? Simply chime in with a comment on your thoughts on the NBA postseason . As a bye note are you also in agreement with the fine imposed on Kobe Bryant after his display , pointed and heated comments at a referee during the Lakers’ game against the Spurs ? Once again do leave a comment concerning that incident also.
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) Sacramento Kings fan Ralph Miller IV, 9, holds a sign conveying his sentiments during the Sacramento Kings NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, April 13, 2011. The Maloof family, majority owners of the Kings, are expected to go to New York later this week to ask the NBA permission to move the team to Anaheim. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli ………………
(2) (L-R) Tiago Splitter(22), George Hill (3) , Chris Quinn (11) , Steve Novak(23) , and Gary Neal(14) of the San Antonio Spurs look on against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California . NBAE/Getty Images/ Andrew D Bernstein ….
(3) Andrew Bynum (17) of the Los Angeles Lakers grimaces after an injury against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on April 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images / Harry How ……….
(4) 12: Kobe Bryant(24) of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots as he is defended by Tiago Splitter(22) and Richard Jefferson(24) of the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on April 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California . Getty Images/ Harry How …….
(5) CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 13: of the Chicago Bulls of the New Jersey Nets at the United Center on April 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Nets 97-92 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……
(6) Carlos Boozer(5) of the Chicago Bulls is called for charging as he hits Dan Gadzuric(50) of the New Jersey Nets at the United Center on April 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois . Getty Images/ Johnathan Daniels ……..
(7) ‘The Three Stooges’ Jeff Van Gundy, right, appears comfortable with his broadcast partners Mark Jackson, left, and Mike Breen. Breen says of Van Gundy, “He’s even smiling sometimes.” . I’m not so sure that the trio mightn’t be the worse on air analysts covering the NBA either on broadcast or cable network today ! What they believe they provide in , insight , is simply dulled by their ineptitude and stupidity with the belief that they’re also funny ! Courtesy of ESPN / Scott Clarke …….
If the Lakers are to fare well in the postseason then the team will have to be on the same page of their coach Phil Jackson and his coaching staff led by Jim Cleamons and Brian Shaw . I know that the team’s perennial All Star — Kobe Bryant has come out openly and stated that he’d like to see Shaw succeed Jackson as coach of the team should he indeed retire at the culmination of the postseason. But I’m not so sure that that’d still be the case should the Lakers bow out early in the postseason , which given their performance against the Thunder is a distinct possibility . But then again it’s remiss to merely to take one game as a gauge for a team’s overall strengths and weakness. But as I mentioned earlier the Lakers have lost straight games and at no time were you under the impression that they were ever in with a chance of winning anyone of those games. But for the play of Kobe Bryant , Paul Gasol and Lamar Odom coming off the bench I’d say that one could describe the Lakers season as something of a failure when adjudged by their own lofty standards.
With that being said I’m not yet prepared to count the Los Angeles Lakers as being down and out , not while they’ve still Phil Jackson in their corner as coach ! Should he and the Lakers make a successful defense of their title then to my mind this would be his most impressive victory over the course of his storied career. I mean who else within the annals of the game has achieved his success while at the same having been denigrated by many because he was only able to coach superstars as we’ve so often been told ? These last two Finals triumphs are a testament that he can not only coach a team that plays a team but and are also willing to defer as and when needed . If the Lakers can regain their resolve then I would still favor them to come out of the Western Conference and that is with due respect to my beloved San Antonio Spurs the team with the best record in the conference and the NBA as a whole .
I’ve got to admit I’ve read some idiocy in my time going around this medium but never have I read something without so much insight than a contributor’s claim that Rory McIlroy is a wasted talent merely because his final round in The Masters imploded . I suppose when you’re still young naive and have about insight on the world of golf and you do little research before writing a piece you’re entitled to come up with such absurd notions ? But then again I for one simply don’t succumb to such a notion because I feel if you’re going to make any sort of a claim then you ought to have the disposition to show both sides of the argument . If that’s the case then this particular observer has about knowledge of the game as Hall of Famer Johnny Miller whose own absurd notion that the Europeans simply aren’t capable of winning a Grand Slam title . Has Miller not simply noticed the most recent results in the Grand Slam Majors over the course of the last eighteen months , much less the fact that the US had its ass handed it by the Europeans in the Ryder Cup in 2010 ?
This tournament was as such merely heightened by the fact there was a Tiger Woods’ sighting and that he made a spirited attempt at winning the tournament which in the end would be in vain. However, the former world number one ranked golfer would end up tying for third in the first Major of the season . The eventual winner would Charl Schwartzel a staple on the European Tour and who after this win will rise up the world rankings from his present position of #11 to inside the top ten perhaps as high as number 5 . As to the contributor who should remain nameless I can only hope that he aspires to be productive in his chosen career because with regard to even have minuscule knowledge of the sport of golf even with the amount of information that there is to be gleaned this individual has merely shown that he’s completely out of his depth .
OK so what else can be said after the abrupt retirement of Manny Ramirez from the Tampa Rays’ organization ? Having tested positive for a second consecutive time for a banned substance and knowing that he’d have to face a mandatory 100 game suspension the slugger chose to retire instead. What to my mind is even more asinine is the very fact that a spokesman for the Rays’ front office states that they were completely taken aback by this and the fact that the player tested positive for a banned substance, albeit that this took place during the Rays’ Spring Training Schedule . Am I missing something here but is the coaching staff as well as the Rays’ ownership group led by senior managing partner Stuart Sternberg and GM Andrew Friedman that dumb , stupid and naive ? Never mind the fact that the league hierarchy had to have made the Rays’ front office fully aware of the test results prior to it being made public .
In the wake of this all Ramirez says he’s happy with his legacy . I’d say he’s happy alright because he’ll simply be looked at as a cheat , albeit , that his career as such would suggest otherwise having won two World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox . In the aftermath of this all the Tampa Bay Rays are left to pick up the pieces as one part of their experiment has come to a quick and unsatisfactory end . I’ve got to feel sorry for some of those Rays’ fans who’d hoped that the Rays would prove to be competitive and wherein Tropicana Field would be an enjoyable place to be. There’s now more of a chance to see a UFO sighting at the Rays’ home venue than this team seeking to be competitive at this juncture .
Unfortunately for the Rays their season started off inauspiciously having lost their first two series before eking out a much needed win (9-7) against the Chicago White Sox . The team however finds itself languishing at the bottom of the always ultra competitive AL East
and that 1-8 record simply doesn’t look at all look that enviable even if we’ve yet to exit the first month of the regular season . And the team’s efforts won’t at all be now helped with their best player Evan Longoria now being on the disabled list (DL) for what we’re told could be as long as three weeks with a strained right oblique muscle .
So Football Spring Football has started and teams at the D1 level will be looking to get themselves ready for the upcoming season. From my own perspective given what took place over last season and the never ending controversy of teams , players and coaches contravening rules , I merely look at this upcoming season of one that’s about to be littered with controversy once again. I mean it’s not as if the NCAA in its sanctified much less than exalted position can do a damn thing to begin with ! I mean where have they been in the aftermath of the latest allegations concerning Auburn and the fact that several players on their teams from 2004-07 were recruited , induced through monetary gain, through having sex on campus with female co-eds as well as strippers ? And who can forget the debacle of Ohio State and in particular the actions of Buckeys’ football coach Jim Tressel ? Needless to say that Buckeye and Tigers’ fans will try and reassure us that this is merely regrettable and that they’re not the only ones doing this . And while I’m inclined to agree at the same time I’ll state this ………… it’s against the fu_king rules so why go down that route to begin with ?
In the SEC (Southeastern Conference) where they can boast national champions consecutively for the last six years . One can simply understand the reason why the SEC is deemed to be the powerhouse it is at the collegiate level in terms of BCS national title aspirations.
I read with a great deal of interest where South Carolina Gamecocks’ quarterback Stephen Garcia has one again ran afoul of his coaching staff as well as the school as a whole . To understand the problems of Garcia you simply have to know this , he simply attracts trouble like flies tend to hover around fecal matter because of the aroma and because they can feast off whatever there tends to be in the vicinity. With Garcia it’s no different !
The fact that he’s merely been suspended indefinitely , at first that wasn’t the case , though it has to be said at it still creates the impression that Steve Spurrier still believes that the player has something to offer the team . Whatever it is , I wouldn’t consider it to be his football talent or acumen in spite of how impressive his stats may well be. Why have a malcontent and disruptive influence on the team which usually in the long run leads to even more problems ? As has been the case here with Stephen Garcia , his never ending transgression of team rules and having ran afoul of the law enforcement on repeated occasions .
The future of South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia is in doubt after the rising senior was suspended from the team indefinitely.
It’s the fifth time in Garcia’s career he has been suspended and the second time this spring. The school did not specify the reason for the decision. The Gamecocks play their annual spring game on Saturday.
“We have expectations for our student-athletes and we make them aware that there are consequences for their actions,” athletic director Eric Hyman said in a statement released by the school. “Stephen has exhibited behavior that is unacceptable for one of our student-athletes.”
The loss of Garcia, who threw for 3,059 yards and 20 touchdowns in 14 starts, would be a blow to South Carolina, which won the SEC East for the first time in 2010. He was expected to lead an offense that also features running back Marcus Lattimore and wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey.
That responsibility would likely fall to rising sophomore Connor Shaw, who was Garcia’s backup last fall.
And with regard to the Gamecocks competing this upcoming season within the SEC I’m liable to think that they’ll struggle but at the same time eke out the wins they’re expected over the course of their regular season schedule . In place of Garcia , Spurrier will have at his disposal qb’s Dylan Thompson , Andrew Clifford , Connor Shaw and Seth Strickland . I’ve no doubt that the coach and his coaching staff will assess the strengths and weaknesses of each of the likely candidates before coming to a decision as to who’ll be the like starter in the Gamecocks’ first game of the season against East Carolina on the 3rd September , 2011. Garcia on the other hand will now have time reassess his future and determine whether or not it lies within being a student athlete or simply a thug , because of now he’s simply been a disappointment to those around him who expected a great deal more of him as a player as well a leader and human being .