Pressed to report a story even when it has no merit , sports’ journalism is getting from bad to worse …

Pressed to report a story even when it has no merit , sports’ journalism is getting from bad to worse …

Well the big story in the NFL as the teams were mandated to cut their rosters by 4.00 PM Saturday afternoon, was the decision by the St Louis Rams to cut their much heralded seventh round draft pick defensive lineman Michael Sam . As the league’s first openly gay player, a great deal was made of the fact, leading to a rather unsavory story reported by cable sports’ broadcast and programming outlet ESPN as to Sam’s showering habits and his not being allowed to shower alongside his now former teammates . What this has to do with NFL football can only be addressed by what the outlet believes to be relevant to the game , but in reality , it simply points to the fact ESPN would rather create a furor, rather than reporting on stories that actually has their viewers enthralled. Simply call it, “gutter journalism” at its lowest , as espoused by the broadcast outlet. The fact of the matter is , ESPN remains unchallenged in an arena , which it has dominated for years and will continue to reign over , because their competitors are not much better and that includes the print media.

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With Sam being waived by the NFC West based franchise , it seems unlikely the player will be picked up by another franchise before the regular season begins. Teams in need of an offensive lineman will likely take a look at Michael Sam even if his productivity with the Rams during the preseason was said to be no more than adequate. A great deal may well have been made of the player being the first openly active gay player seeking to make his debut in a regular season game , but the constant microscopic view the lineman was placed under , may well have proved to be too much for the former Missouri player to bear.

One of the more surprising deals that took place prior to the roster cuts was the New England Patriots’ decision to trade Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , a team definitely in need of defensive line help. As unpalatable as this was said to be for Patriots’ fans , the excuses now being proffered up by Bill Belichick and GM Nick Caserio seem ridiculous and insulting to the fans and to the player who was caught off-guard by the trade. Tom Brady , quarterback for the team was said to be angered by this deal, but has not voiced a public statement on the matter. Bear in mind, Brady in 2012 made $12 million available to the Patriots for them to keep the services of wide receiver Wes Welker , only for Welker to then sign with the Denver Broncos , after the incompetency shown by the front office.

New England will be seeking to make a successful defense of their AFC East title, while also seeking to make another return to the postseason. For Brady , his old and teammates , this will prove to be a tough task , as undoubtedly they will be seen as a target with a bulls’ eye on their back. A great of that will come from their divisional rivals where the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets are viewed as to two teams likely to prove to be New England’s biggest challengers during the season and their regular season meetings. The first of New England’s regular season tests will come in week one when they face the Miami Dolphins to open their schedule at Sun Life Stadium in Miami ,Florida,.

Logan Mankins will begin his career anew with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and for Lovie Smith and the Buccaneers’ acquisition of the player can only be of benefit to the younger defensive players on the team’s roster . Mankins can provide the type of leadership so lacking on a franchise for several players , something I believe Buccaners’ fans have not always been intuitive enough to acknowledge, because of their real lack of understanding what the NFL is actually about , beyond their belief if it simply being about the best or highest paid player on the roster.

Lovie Smith in his first season as coach of the Buccaneers, will himself, face as a stern test as he leads his team into the season and a NFC South division where the Carolina Panthers , New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons will be looking to prove themselves the best in the division. Tampa’s first game of the regular season will see them face Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , Florida,. Ron Rivera and Newton will try to prove the Panther’s season in 2013 was no mere fluke , with the quarterback having his best season in the NFL since being drafted by the franchise in the 2011 NFL Draft . I believe the Panthers can prove to be a success this season within the NFL , but a great deal of that will be predicated on their play, but even more so upon the growing maturity level shown by Cam Newton , as he has become the visible and vocal leader of the team.

OK, so we know the NFL to be a league bereft of any real intelligence among the players, union (NFLPA) under the leadership of DeMaurice Smith , the NFLPA’s Executive Committee , Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy in particular . With the league now taking what they believe to be a tougher stance on the issue of domestic violence involving the players. It begs the question, why has it taken so long for the NFL to act with such action without the statement forthcoming from Smith , stating due process has to be followed concerning players charged with domestic abuse and violence? Perhaps, I am mistaken but the Players’ Union has done little to discuss the issue over the years or since DeMaurice Smith succeeded the late Gene Upshaw to become the union’s highest ranked executive. As to Roger Goodell’s own mindset concerning this matter , it would be fair to suggest the commissioner’s own lack of communicative skills , beyond making himself look an imbecile , anything he now says concerning the issue , would seem to too little and far too late in spite of the league’s actions in dealing with Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice . The NFL remains homophobic, misogynistic ,racist in many respects, but with it most definitely being clouded in secrecy , something the league would strongly deny.

With the news now coming of the arrest of San Francisco 49ers’ player Ray McDonald , who was arrested at his home and has now been charged with domestic abuse and violence . The Niners as a franchise this off-season have faced several issues concerning the behavior of several players on their roster , of which the ongoing issues of Aldon Smith seem to be something which simply will not go away and which has been poorly handled by Jed Yorke , team CEO and GM Trent Baalke .

Smith will be lost to the 49ers for the first nine games of the regular season, after the punishment meted out by the NFL , but it remains to be seen how they will now treat the issue of Ray McDonald , pending the legal process being played out within the Californian Legal System.. The NFL has the right to suspend a player for conduct harmful to the league , something agreed to by the Players’ Union in their last collective bargaining agreement , but it would seem to be an issue the executive committee and the players’ representatives believe allows the commissioner far too much latitude , in dealing with punishing their members , concerning misconduct . It is my belief the players in the NFL, are simply looking to weaken a rule , while ignoring the misconduct of their members !

LeBron James made his surprise return to the Cleveland Cavaliers , leaving the Miami Heat in sheer turmoil , with a much weakened roster and Heat President Pat Riley in sheer apoplexy concerning the upcoming season . The Monster Riley created was never going to be a dynasty even with four appearances in the NBA Finals , eking out just two series’ victories . Poor price to pay for teams upon which, fans and analysts were heaping far too much praise without looking at the rosters of both teams at the times of their triumphs and defeats.

Away from the happenings of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the latest NBA star said to be dissatisfied with his current situation is the Boston Celtics’ point guard Rajon Rondo , who is said to have demanded a trade, formerly lodging a request with Celtics’ GM Danny Ainge . The general manager and lead managing partner , Wyc Grousbeck will have to look at and take Rondo’s demands seriously. A disgruntled player on a young roster seeking leadership is likely to prove disastrous for Brad Stevens and his coaching staff , if there said to be no sense of leadership coming from a seasoned veteran, without Stevens’ inexperience coming into question..

In a season of sheer mayhem , the Boston Celtics were simply abysmal on all fronts with Rajon Rondo having a poor season alongside his teammates , as they endured defeat after defeat, with their being rarely a series’ win for the young team. Stevens proved he is still learning on the job , while Danny Ainge has done little in seeking to bolster the roster this off-season , last season or even by way of this past NBA Draft .

The real signs of the Celtics’ struggles were long seen, prior to Doc Rivers’ departure , with neither Ainge or the head coach seeking to build for the future after the team’s last triumph in the NBA Finals. Instead, there was this idiotic belief the team then built around a core of Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce , Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo. They may well have won the highly contested finals , against a Kobe Bryant led Los Angeles Lakers’ team but , in reality , the series was over before it started, because Rivers out-coached his opposite number, Phil Jackson, was something of an uneventful chess match.

It will be tough season for the Boston Celtics with or without Rajon Rondo, because the team has no real depth or a proven scorer , with the team’s top scorer last season being , Jeff Green , while Rondo was sidelined for much of the year seeking to recover from an injury . Green’s 16.9 per game average would be meager when adjudged against the top scorers within the Eastern Conference let alone the rest of the NBA and from an offensive standpoint the Celtics’ productivity was menial to say the very least. To state how dire the Boston Celtics have been , you simply have to look at how the team performed defensively and their season record (25-57) which was simply a reflection of the team.

If Danny Ainge does agree to Rajon Rondo’s request , then there are likely to be a bevy of suitors for one of the league’s best point guards, of which the player is of a proven pedigree in terms of his productivity. Among the top of the list among the teams seeking to acquire the Celtic’ point guard would be the Houston Rockets as they seek to replace the recently departed Jeremy Lin . Not to be counted out of this scenario are the Sacramento Kings , Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers , Charlotte Bobcats , Memphis Grizzlies , Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks , Denver Nuggets . Dallas Mavericks and the Milwaukee Bucks . Rondo has made it known to the front office , were he traded to the Sacramento Kings , he would not sign or be part of any part of a sign and trade deal with the franchise, limiting the Celtics’ wishes on that front. Rondo is not due to become a free agent until 2015 , and his $12.9 million salary for this season does not seem to be that much of an impediment for any of the teams pursuing the point guard. Boston will begin its their schedule against the Brooklyn Nets when the two teams meet at the TD Banknorth Gardens Pavilion in Boston , Massachusetts, on the 29th October , 2014.

I will say this repeatedly , if you write a story and give it the teeth in terms of context , then you will have the world believing the article . Nowhere is this more representative than with regard to the coverage afforded to politics and the stories that emanate from the White House , House and the Senate. Before you know it , the nation buys into the bull#hit and the idiots who call themselves Conservatives and Liberals try to dissect and disseminate the fecal matter emanating from the government without the on air political hacks trying to make sense of it all. The same can be said of how MLB and the NCAA seeks to ingratiate themselves with the fans and media alike, with the stories from both sporting edifices . Baseball with their informing the fans and press alike that Rob Manfred in succeeding Bud Selig will bring about a new era within the game , is somewhat like suggesting we have seen bipartisanship within the Congress during the Presidential terms of Barack Obama . Baseball remains distrustful of the MLBPA , while its ongoing incompetency in dealing with a number of issues shows no signs of improving.

Meanwhile, the NCAA and the FBS programs within college football is seeking to persuade the public and fans they have finally got it right in terms of their proposed format for a playoff system to decide a national champion in football. The truth of the matter remains , unless the money is shared evenly among the college conferences rather than the majority of it going into the coffers of the major college conferences and institutions , then the fans of the game will continue to be defrauded with a system , that is simply a joke . As to this idiocy of an empaneled committee being the best arbiters of determining how a system can be used to decide a national champion. Perhaps, I might suggest those behind that folly simply watch an episode of American Idol or any one of the other litany of inane talent shows now deemed to be a reality show finding their way onto the nation’s broadcast outlets

Mark Emmert and the educational institutions presided over by the NCAA need to be doing more , concerning not only the widespread allegations of academic fraud on campus, but also the criminal and felonious behavior concerning the sexual misconduct and sexual assaults that take place on college campuses across the nation , on a daily basis , Somehow, this all gets overlooked because the only thing deemed important is whether or not the defending national champions Florida State (Seminoles) can possibly make a successful defense of their national title . One ought to bear in mind their Heisman winning quarterback from last season Jameis Winston still remains a person of interest in a sexual assault, while the school itself is under investigation by the Department of Education and by US Justice Department and how they deal with their in-house investigation of such crimes. Dr Garnett S Stokes Ph.D, President of Florida State has not issued a public statement on the investigation by either of the federal agencies in question and it begs the question if he is unable do so , then why has there not been any type of statement by the school’s athletics department much less from the AD Stan Wilcox ? Yet sources close to the school have speculated on the fact , they will be taking some form of action against Jameis Winston and his not having upheld a code of conduct, as expected of student athlete of Florida State. So let me get this straight ,

Winston and his legal representatives , whose stories have changed far more often than a newborn baby’s diapers, concerning the alleged sexual assault , but somehow the athletics department , institution can see nothing wrong at all concerning the player’s conduct ? Never mind the fact of the incompetency shown by the Tallahassee Police Department in their original investigation of the incident and where there are said to have been allegations of collusion between the athletics department and the law enforcement agency . Something, which has been clear from the days when Bobby Bowden coached the football program and where many of the players under his tutelage ran afoul of the law, but were left untouched . Coincidence, in such an instance, where it concerns the police and the committal of a crime by a Seminoles’ athlete ? I think not !

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The stories remain for all to see and to bear witness to, but how many of us are really interested in getting at the truth or does it come down to the fact the attention span of most sports’ fans comes down what is the next big event to take place and the likely result ? Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe worthy to discuss concerning the article.

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(1) Michael Sam , a seventh round draft pick of the St Louis Rams . Sam was cut by the organization and can be resigned by the team as a member of their practice squad , but there has been no statement by head coach Jeff Fisher addressing the matter. AP Photo/ Rick Farrell …

(2) St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, left, and general manager Les Snead hold a pre-draft news conference at the team’s practice facility, Tuesday, May 6, 2014, in St. Louis. The Rams are scheduled to have two picks in the first-round of the NFL football draft on Thursday. Snead and Fisher made the decision jointly with the coaching staff to release their seventh round draft pick Michael Sam in the lead-up to the regular season . AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …

(3) Logan Mankins of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers watches from the sidelines as the Buccaneers take on the Washington Redskins during a preseason game this exhibition season . Mankins was traded by the New England Patriots in a surprise move in August . Getty Images/ Paul Fowler …

(4) DeMaurice Smith , often an outspoken critic of the NFL and in particular of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , who he believes acts outside the limits of his jurisdiction, in meting out punishment to players who contravene the league’s rules . Smith insists that the league’s new mandate concerning players involved in allegations of spousal abuse and domestic violence should be dealt with judiciously within the legal system . However in light of the growing issue , Smith and his members have done very little to discuss the matter head on . AP Photo / Hannah Mitchell …

(5) Boston Celtics’ general manager Danny Ainge ,left, is seen here with the team’s point guard Rajon Rondo . A member of the team which won the 2008 NBA title , Rondo has requested a trade from away from the Celtics and it remains to be seen how the matter will be dealt with by the franchise’s front office in granting the player’s request. AP Photo/ Michael Howard ..

(6) Aldon Smith (99) and Ray McDonald (91) of the San Francisco 49ers are two players on the team to have fallen afoul of the law in recent months . Smith has been suspended for the first nine games of the regular season for repeated violations of the league’s conduct policy . McDonald was arrested at his home on charges of domestic abuse and violence against his pregnant fiance’ . Neither the NFL or anyone within the Niners’ front office has issued a statement concerning Ray McDonald’s arrest. Team CEO Jed Yorke and GM Trent Baalke are being kept abreast of the legal ramifications through the team’s Chief Legal Counsel, Hannah Gordon and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department . Getty Images / Paul Hughes …

(7) NCAA President Mark Emmert who presides of collegiate athletics’ governing body seems to be more focused on increasing the NCAA’s revenues estimated to be in excess of $1.65 billion annually from licensing and marketing agreements which does not include television rights fees for the broadcast for the sports which fall under their umbrella. Emmert only recently has begun to discuss the issue of on campus sexual assaults of which 50 schools are now under investigation jointly by the Education Department and the US Justice Department concerning the lax investigating rules of many of the academic institutions. AP Photo / Hazel Groves …

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J Dilla , one of hiphop’s greatest producers and lyricists .

Full steam ahead ……

Full steam ahead …..

The NBA has entered a new chapter with the stepping down of David Stern as commissioner of the league, to be succeeded by his long-time deputy Adam Silver . As Deputy Commissioner, Silver will officially take the reins as the league’s commissioner immediately after 2014 NBA All Star game festivities, with the incumbent likely to return to the private sector either to practice law or in all likelihood, to be hired by a high-profiled Fortune 500 company. Stern’s three-decade long rein has been filled with highs and lows , some might say more highs, bearing in mind the NBA’s visibility on a global basis , as well the rising values of the thirty teams that now currently exist .

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In a recent discussion with a patron , he tried to suggest that the league still remains a team oriented endeavor. In reality, however, nothing, could be further from the truth, as the NBA has now become personality driven, by way of the visibility of the league’s most high-profiled players. Individual feats, are now more admired than the actual team endeavor by way of a victory . This has become glaringly true and can be seen with how the games are now reported not only on the league’s official site , but also across the wide gamut of media outlets . With stars such four-time league MVP LeBron James , Kevin Durant , Carmelo Anthony , Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki , not only being amongst the best players now in the league , these athletes are now among the most highly paid and said to be “ face “ of their respective franchises. A great deal of the financial largess of the teams has come with the fact that the league hierarchy has not sought to rein in expenses by way of the teams’ payroll . Though there is said to be a “soft salary cap” ($58.759 million) in place , few teams actually fall in line and choose to seek to remain within the cap figure.

The departure of David Stern , though expected , what has been a cause for concern over the past several years, has been the decline of the play within the NBA. Scoring , may well be up and down in a number of cases , but the repeated point , has now become the weakness of the Eastern Conference in comparison to their Western Conference counterparts. One could attest to the fact that there are some bad teams within the East , lack of depth in talent , as well as the inexperience of the coaches and their respective staffs. Stern has always been quick to point to what he believes are positives within with game, while seeking to blur the lines with regard to the negatives, the fans and media can readily point to. His autocratic rule, a tendency to place himself in the middle any high-profiled matter concerning the NBA, paints a somewhat cozy image and picture of the commissioner . Whether or not, this trait is followed by Adam Silver, once he officially assumes the reins as the league’s highest ranking executive remains to be seen.

Stern’s tenure can be best summed up , by saying that were it not for Michael Jordan and his unprecedented success and accolades with the Chicago Bulls . Then, the NBA would have remained somewhat of a pedantic pastime with fans, by way of being entertained . Jordan was the “goose “ that laid the golden egg for the league’s massive appeal nationally , . as well as on the global stage .

The Indiana Pacers (38-10) continue to keep apace , ahead of the rest of their conference and divisional rivals within the East. Head coach Frank Vogel , has his team playing some high up-tempo basketball , while having the best ten-game winning streak within the East , having been victorious in seven of their last ten games . Not to be outdone, the defending NBA champions, the Miami Heat have also put together a similar mark of going 7-3 over their last ten contests. . Being the top two teams, within the Eastern Conference, these two franchises may well be on a repeat course for another conference finals’ clash during the upcoming postseason , if both currently maintain their existing pace.

Everything about this NBA season, points to a divide within the East concerning the top two, teams, while the others simply jockey for position , for the seeding’s numbers three through eight . From my own perspective , the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat simply have to play .550 basketball or better over the remainder of the regular season schedule to assure themselves of the top two spots within the Eastern Conference. Miami Heat and LeBron James this season to my mind, are not the team I witnessed at times during last season , simply exerting their dominance over an opponent . If anything , during their travails of their current schedule they have been complacent , and not showing a great deal of consistency as and when needed . Obviously, the change in the makeup of the roster from last season , has a great deal to what the fans have seen, and to my mind the additions of Greg Oden and Michael Beasley , has not borne the fruit desired in terms their combined productivity. Then you also have , an ailing Dwyane Wade , being in and out of the lineup , throughout much of this season. A Wednesday night contest against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California, should prove to be an exciting match-up between the two teams coached by Erik Spoelstra of the Heat and Doc Rivers , for the Clippers. .

The Pacers having come off a narrow four-point victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night , will have a scheduled meeting with the Portland Trailblazers on Friday night in their home venue at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana, Indianapolis.

There is no doubt that the success of the NBA came down to first , those legendary regular and postseason contests between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. Certainly., the collegiate furor built up around Larry Bird and Magic Johnson became even more pertinent once they entered the league to begin their now legendary careers. While, there seems to be a belief that there remains a team rivalry that dominates within the NBA. There is no longer anything or any semblance of a contest that one could point to and categorically state , the league does have a rivalry of note. Both the Celtics and Lakers are currently having indifferent seasons , with the case of Boston a being newly revamped roster , head coach and coaching staff . Their season , will be one of Brad Stevens simply learning the nuances of the game at the professional, while his young team acquits itself within the league. The Los Angeles Lakers, with Mike DAntoni in his second season as the team’s head coach , the labors of the franchise have been well chronicled over the course their schedule . Kobe Bryant remains sidelined , and there seems to be no immediate timeline set for his return to the starting lineup . Los Angeles has a meaningful game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that now seems to be disillusioned , has its best player in Kyrie Irving questioning the direction of the franchise , while team owner , Dan Gilbert , now said angered by the player’s discontent.The Boston Celtics will seek to even their season series with the Philadelphia 76ers , when the two teams meet in Philadelphia Pennsylvania , on Wednesday evening at the Wells Fargo Center .

Courtesy of Forbes.com

Kobe, LeBron Lead NBA’s Highest-Paid Players 2014

This story appears in the February 10, 2014 issue of Forbes.

By Kurt Badenhausen , Forbes contributing columnist & writer

The NBA is a star driven league . David Stern has spent his 30 years as commissioner marketing the game’s best players—Magic, Bird, Jordan, Shaq, Kobe, LeBron—and creating global icons. It has been a mutually beneficial relationship for both owners and players. While league revenue and franchise values soared 40-fold, the NBA’s top salaries jumped from $1 million to $30 million.

The payouts off the court have been even more lucrative for elite players thanks to shoe companies like Nike, Adidas and Reebok, who turned players into bigger than life celebrities. Michael Jordan’s first Nike shoe contract was worth $500,000 a year in 1984 when the Swoosh was a $920 million-in-sales company. LeBron James will bank an estimated total of $42 million this year from endorsements with his biggest benefactor, Nike, now a $26 billion company.

look at the NBA’s top earners on and off the court puts Bryant on top with combined earnings of $64.5 million from salary and endorsements. Bryant is in the final season of the three-year, $83.5 million contract extension he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in April 2010, including the NBA’s highest salary this season at $30.5 million. He is the first player since Jordan in the 1997-98 season to top $30 million with his playing salary. Bryant signed a two-year, $48.5 million contract extension in November that will keep his on-court salary tops in the NBA with payouts of $23.5 million and $25 million the next two seasons.

While Bryant is reaching the sunset of his playing career, his endorsements are at an all-time high thanks to his extended run atop the league and five titles with the Lakers. His deals with the likes of Turkish Air, Lenovo, Hublot, Nike and Panini for merchandise are worth more than $30 million annually. Bryant is the most popular NBA figure in China and cultivates his relationship with the Chinese people through eight straight years of extended offseason visits for Nike. Even after 18 years in the league, Bryant’s jersey is still the NBA’s second best-seller this season, behind only James.

Full Coverage: The Business of Basketball

Basketball is the only one of the four major U.S. team sports that puts a cap on individual player salaries, but don’t fret for NBA players who have the highest average salary in sports at nearly $5 million a year. Bryant benefits from a provision in the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement where players can sign deals at 105% of their previous salary even if it exceeds the cap. The cap this year is $58.7 million with individual players limited to 35%, but Bryant has signed a series of max deals while still performing at a high level over his nearly two decades in the league. The result is a playing salary that is $7 million higher than any other NBA player this year.

The NBA’s 10 highest-paid players will collectively bank $358 million this year, including $149 million from sponsors. Nine of the top 10 make at least $4 million annually from endorsements. James is the leader off the court at $42 million and ranks second overall with earnings of $61.1 million. Two straight NBA titles have sent James’ popularity and fortunes soaring. The NBA’s top pitchman counts Nike, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola , Samsung, Audemar

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There is no denying, that Kevin Durant is a prolific scorer, as borne out by the fact that he has already been a three-time NBA scoring titlist and quite possibly is on his way to securing his fourth , in his extraordinary six-year career in the NBA . What has made Durant’s season all the more astonishing, is the very fact that for a number of games he has played without the aid of Oklahoma City Thunder point guard and teammate , Russell Westbrook . While, there seems to a great deal false bravado, in celebrating a game , where Carmelo Anthony scored sixty-two points in a contest against the Charlotte Bobcats. Let us not us forget , those defensive statistics concerning the Bobcats belie the very fact, that the team is struggling to maintain its grip on the eighth seed within the Eastern Conference.

As the Oklahoma City Thunder seek to make a return to the NBA postseason , the challenge for Sam Presti , Scott Brooks and the coaching staff , will be , at what time will they seek to rest some of their prime starters not necessarily for a prolonged stretch as the second half of the season meanders. It is hard to believe that beyond the eighty-two game regular season foray , the players are then asked to subject themselves to as many as another thirty plus games during the league’s postseason schedule of contests. Too much basketball, or simply the avarice and greed of the NBA as a branded sporting and commercial enterprise ? It is clear that even in light of the Thunder’s effortless victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves , Scott Brooks will have to address the issue of fatigue and unforeseen injuries taking place to some of the more prominent players on the roster. Russell Westbrook’s return cannot come around soon enough, to take the bulk of the scoring burden and distribution off Kevin Druant’s shoulders , even if the player is amenable to assuming that role, as well as being the leader of what it is undoubtedly an extremely talent team.

As fan of the San Antonio Spurs and a long-time admirer of the talents of both Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich . I can say that the disappointment of last postseason still leaves a bitter taste within my mouth ! The NBA Finals’ series loss to the Miami Heat , notwithstanding where in games’ six and seven , the team had the series within their grasp , only to fail miserably. I have written very little about the Spurs as the 2013-14 NBA has taken shape, choosing instead to view the rest of the NBA as I currently see the state play both on and off the court.

At 36-13 as of the February the San Antonio Spurs currently have the second best record within the Western Conference trailing the Oklahoma City Thunder’s (40-11) mark of 40-11 , good enough for the best record in the entire NBA . While I do believe that the Spurs will make the NBA Playoffs once again, I believe that Gregg Popovich will have some major issues with the team in terms of its current guise . There is not enough offensive productivity from the players by way of a third and fourth alternate scorer behind the team’s leading offensive weapon , Tony Parker (18.1 ppg) . Defensively, the Spurs do remain resolute , but the results do not belie the fact that against the top teams the Spurs have been somewhat inconsistent , while losing games to lesser opponents .

For a number of years Popovich has been able to rely on his ” Big Three ” of Tim Duncan , Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli to supply the team with the preponderance of the team’s scoring and much of the success equated with the franchise over last decade. It is now time, for the younger players on the staff to step up to the plate and assume an even greater responsibility in that role. While I am sure that the head coach and his staff have emphasized that point , I am not so sure as to whether or not Tiago Splitter , Kawhi Leonard , Danny Green , Corey Joseph , Aron Baynes and Nando De Colo are yet ready to assume that role. Yet, if the Spurs are to have any semblance of success particular in the run-up before the postseason begins , where teams will have to hit a rich vein of form , the expectations will be of the highest of these players . Peter Holt , as the owner of the San Antonio Spurs, has always been reliant upon acumen shown by GM RC Buford along with that off the coaching staff led by Gregg Popovich. It is hard to envisage the franchise not attaining the success achieved over the past seventeen years, without individuals in question.

Coming off a 125-118 victory over the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center in Washington , DC , the Spurs’ next scheduled game will be against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn , New York , where the Spurs lead the season series 1-0 .

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Less than a week away from the NBA’s All Star Break , the league is likely to commemorate David Stern’s tenure , with the likelihood , that he will be bestowed with some sort of plaque ,with the players current and past , owners and a number of general managers lauding the now departed executive for his services to the league . Adam Silver has a tough act to follow, while seeking to take the brand into a new arena , in terms of a growing fan-base globally . How he goes about seeking to achieve this will be based upon how the game itself is viewed by the consumers he and the NBA seeks to court as well as the major corporations in the regions where the league now seeks to grow. Your thoughts on what you have witnessed within the NBA this season and how do you David Stern’s tenure as the commissioner ?

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(1) David Stern the outgoing NBA Commissioner has stepped down from his position and will be succeeded by his Deputy , Adam Silver. A three-decade tenure and Stern has presided over a numerous changes as well as the league expand to its current makeup of thirty teams and revenues exceeding $ 5.7 billion annually. Getty Images / Paul Matthews ….

(2) Adam Silver, the incoming NBA Commissioner who will be succeeding David Stern after his three-decade long tenure as the league’s highest ranking executive. Favored by the general managers and owners , it remains to be seen how Silver will seek to stamp his own style of custodianship on the NBA. Getty Images / Paul Robinson …

(3) Dallas Mavericks player Dirk Nowitzki a native of Germany celebrates a basket against the Denver Nuggets in the second half of game 4 of second round of playoff game at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas USA, 11 May 2009. Dallas won 119-117. Nowitzki a NBA Finals’ MVP is amongst the highest paid players in the NBA and has been the leading scorer on the Mavericks’ team this season . EPA/LARRY W. SMITH **CORBIS OUT** ……

(4) NBA legends Magic Johnson left , is seen here with David Stern center and Larry Bird . Bird and Johnson contested several memorable NBA Finals as well as regular season contests . Each player has been a regular season MVP and Finals’ MVP award winner. @ Corbis Images ….

(5) Michael Jordan (23) is seen here alongside teammates Scottie Pippen (33) and Dennis Rodman of the Chicago Bulls . The three players are members of the Hall of Fame and three of the most celebrated members of the team that was so dominant during the 1995-96 season that won the NBA title as well posting a season’s and league best record of 72-10 . NBA archives …. @ copyrighted material all rights reserved ………

(6) Tim Duncan, left , is seen here meeting center-court with Kevin Durant before a game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs . Duncan seen as an elder statesman of the league has won just about every individual honor available for a player as a professional in the NBA. Getty Images / Tim Woods ……

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News, views and other tidbits, from around the world of sports …

With the biggest event of the North American sports’ world, taking place on Sunday afternoon , when the Denver Broncos play host to the Seattle Seahawks in Superbowl (XLVIII) . The last-minute builds up and news, has now reached fever pitch . With journalists from around the globe reporting on the event , it will be interesting to see how these individuals report the contest, the images and their take on it all. Now while, much of the NFL related news has been about rants and ravings of the Seahawks’ corner back Richard Sherman and his thoughts. From my own perspective , Sherman has simply been trying to “cash in” on the newfound notoriety , while hoping to be part of a victorious Seattle Seahawks’ team . For the NFC West based franchise, this will their second appearance in the NFL’s , biggest postseason event.

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For opposing quarterbacks, Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks , their respective careers are now at their nascent , in one case and in the other , it has reached a plateau , that is likely to see Manning add to an astonishing NFL career , in terms of the accomplishments and accolades received during his fifteen-year tenure in the NFL.

Wilson will be seeking to win his first Superbowl title, after a little less than three seasons in the league . All the more astonishing, when you consider the draft class in which the young quarterback entered the NFL . . In what will be only his fifth postseason career start ,the Seahawks’ passer will be facing Peyton Manning , who will be making his twenty-third postseason start and third Superbowl appearance , having already won a title with his former team the Indianapolis Colts and also walking away with the Superbowl MVP, for good measure after that victory . This contest, even if it is likely to be played under inclement weather conditions , with the likely weather forecast suggesting game-time conditions will be contested with freezing temperatures. I would like to believe, that this match-up will be competitive and highly entertaining! ! Yet, with that in mind , I would proffer this question to Roger Goodell , did he really have to capitulate to the owners of the New York Giants and New York Jets in acquiescing to their demands in staging the Superbowl at Met Life Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey, which houses both franchises, knowing that the match-up was likely to be played during icy temperatures during Winter ?

The NFL Commissioner, is proving to be an individual with even less intelligence than first thought. A case of the dog wagging its tail or someone else wagging the dog’s tail on their behalf?

Say what you will about this NBA season , but it is becoming abundantly clear , with it being formally the last month of David Stern’s three-decade long tenure as the NBA Commissioner and the league’s highest ranking executive . He leaves the league , in somewhat of a dire situation. His successor was already being groomed as heir-apparent and Adam Silver will succeed Stern as of Monday morning. The league itself is going through not growing pains, but a lack of competitiveness within the Eastern Conference and what appears to be not only dour coaching . but also the lack of a truly engaging team rivalry within the NBA, itself . Gone are the days, where a regular season showdown between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics actually meant something . As of today, both of these heralded franchises are going through pains of their own , borne out by the respective conference and divisional records this season. Lackluster results and some truly unbearable performances and it is easy to understand why both teams are currently struggling.

For the Boston Celtics and their off-season upheavals, that led to the departures of Doc Rivers to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers , a triumvirate of players , Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry being traded to the Brooklyn Nets , and what now appears to be a resurgent Nets’ team . The travails of rookie head coach Brad Stevens and this young Celtics’ team looks as if it is likely to be an arduous first season for the former Butler head coach.

For GM Danny Ainge and managing general partner , Wyc Grousbeck to now start afresh , when it might have been best to have contemplated these moves last season , when it was widely known that Rivers was not satisfied with the direction of the franchise. An influx of young talent by way of the NBA Draft over the past two seasons , and still the signs are that this will be something of a long hard slog for a coach still finding his legs in the NBA.

As losers of nine straight of their last ten contests , it would be safe to suggest that beyond non-availability of Rajon Rondo , suggestions that Danny Ainge might also seek to trade the point guard does seem somewhat speculatory in nature, as well as suicidal , in that concluding that the franchise should simply give up on the season. Granted, the fans are already disappointed with a team bearing a 15-33 record languishing at the bottom of the Atlantic Division , 10 ½ games behind divisional leaders the Toronto Raptors (24-21) . Growing pains abide , but all that is really needed , is for this group of players to find some sort of consistency , with Stevens and his coaching staff getting the best possible contribution out of his starting lineup and bench players .

A narrow one-point loss by the Boston Celtics at home to the Philadelphia 76ers , and then they face another conference rival on the 2nd February , against the Orlando Magic whom they host , before a return engagement with the 76ers at their home venue , the Wells Fargo Center , in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania , on Wednesday evening .

A the leading candidate, in the MVP race , Kevin Durant has been laying siege to the NBA this season. On a tear, that has seen the player score thirty or more points for twelve straight games , along with near double-digit assists or rebounds in several of those contests , in leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to the best record in the NBA. That feat of Durant’s, puts him in the rarefied air of Hall of Fame great Oscar Robertson , who himself , was also prolific scorer and player. An NBA title has so far do eluded Kevin Durant , his teammates and the team must now be seen as the prohibitive favorites to come out of the Western Conference as a likely contender for this season’s title .

If to further emphasize the growth in Kevin Durant’s game , he and his teammates were recently the guests of reigning NBA champions, the Miami Heat . That contest in some circles , may well be seen as a precursor to the title match-up this upcoming postseason , albeit , that the Indiana Pacers are no pushovers and are likely to give the Heat their biggest test of the postseason , if the two teams are indeed to revisit their budding rivalry within the Eastern Conference . The Thunder’s lopsided seventeen-point victory over Miami, led many to believe that not only has Kevin Durant been out playing LeBron James this season , but in all likelihood with his performance in that contest he has to be seen as the current frontrunner in the League MVP race. As good as Kevin Durant’s play might have been against the Miami Heat , I believe his leading the Thunder in a come from behind victory over the Atlanta Hawks was just as scintillating and quite possibly the best individual scoring feat of this NBA season and that is with due respect to the “overrated “ sixty-two point outburst recently by Carmelo Anthony , against what I deem to be a totally inept Charlotte Bobcats’ team . A team that I might add, whose defensive stature at present belies the fact that they have one playoff appearance in their current guise , but yet, there seems to be idiotic hyperbole as to the magnitude of what Anthony was able to achieve against the Bobcats. Mediocrity, can come in many forms and currently , there are no two better representatives of that, than the Charlotte Bobcats and New York Knicks within the Eastern Conference.

I will say this for Dan Gilbert and Chris Grant as the owner and general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers , both laid the groundwork in running LeBron James right out-of-town , when the player declared his free agency options ! Neither thought it appropriate, to consult with the star prior to firing Mike Brown . As the head coach of the franchise , he led the franchise to their only NBA Finals’ appearance , a series that they would subsequently lose to the San Antonio Spurs in a lopsided 4-0 loss , during which Tony Parker was named the Finals MVP . In the subsequent years after that series’ loss, things have simply spiraled out of control for the franchise , with Byron Scott’s tenure being a tumultuous one as the head coach . Brown’s firing, led to his being hired by the Los Angeles Lakers , only for his stay there to be undermined, by the simple idiocy of Mitch Kupchak and owner, Jim Buss . Brown’s successor, Mike DAntoni is currently feeling the heat , if not necessarily the wrath of the Lakers’ fans , as that franchise’s season sinks into oblivion . Mike Brown has since been rehired by the Cavaliers , but it now looks as if history might be on the brink of it repeating itself, as the franchise’s biggest asset and best player , Kyrie Irving is now said to be dissatisfied and unhappy with the current “state of affairs” Cleveland. Any idiotic hope, that there was said to be, of LeBron James returning to the Cavaliers, can be rightfully shot down. Are there still individuals who now believe that James would be willing to opt out of his contract to return to Cleveland , when he is guaranteed a max-contract simply by remaining in Miami that is likely to net him upwards of $140 million gross over six years (averaging $23 million plus a year) ?

Kyrie Irving if nothing else , is simply unhappy with the fact that the team as it is currently built does not complement his skill-set , nor does it make the Cavaliers a competitive franchise within their division or the . Eastern Conference. His reasons for shying away and not actually placating those fans who now fear the worst, seem so contrary to what has been said in private, now becomes a matter of conjecture and a great deal of speculation, while making the media simply ravenous for more concerning Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers . Though, he cannot become a free agent until 2015 , it seems highly unlikely that Chris Grant would seek a trade of Kyrie Irving, a player whose rookie scale contract is still in effect .

Coming off a thirty-one point drubbing at the hands of the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden , in New York City , New York . The Cavaliers’ next game is unlikely to do them any favors , when they face the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center in Houston Texas on Saturday evening . How Mike Brown gets his players to acquit themselves in that contest , may well play a big part in possibly determining the short and long-term future of Kyrie Irving and the likelihood of his remaining with the franchise.

The NBA 2014 All Star balloting votes , have been accounted for and we now know the conference starters , as well as the reserves for the East and Western Conferences. Suffice to say, if you did not vote , then your voice was not heard . Shall we now “Rock The Vote” for next season’s event, because of the number of snubs of players, who were simply overlooked purely through favoritism in favor of those less deserving ? I’m sorry Deandre Jordan , but mine is not to reason why, as the league’s best field goal percentage shooter , you were overlooked , even if you are playing alongside Chris Paul and Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers .The teams, will be coached by Frank Vogel for the Eastern All Stars and Scott Brooks for the Western counterparts. Fan friendly, with the league’s stars making themselves accessible in the weekend’s revelry from the 14th to the 16th February , makes this break, just past the midpoint of the season , a fun time for all of the NBA’s most discerning fans alongside all of the events being staged at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans , Louisiana , and home to the New Orleans Pelicans .

All the chips seem to be falling into place , as it relates to baseball’s marquee free agents , with many of them having signed lucrative contracts , either to remain with their current teams or to move on elsewhere . Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson , formerly of the New York Yankees , have each found themselves a new home . As the drama in New York continues, with a great deal of it, now surrounding how much of an effect will the acquisition of Masahiro Tanaka have on the Yankees and their pitching lineup . Tanaka’s deal by no means the biggest signed by pitcher this off-season was enough to have even the most fiscally prudent of individuals wondering when will baseball start to take heed and reign in their obligatory team payroll commitments . In 2013 , the combined financial outlay for the starting day payrolls of the league’s thirty teams exceeded 3 billion ($3,000,000,000) for the first time in MLB history . While, Bud Selig , continues to sing his melodic refrain as to the financial expediency being shown by the teams. I can’t help but wonder, when was the last time an in-depth audit held for each of the baseball franchises !

Projected figures, for this season’s Opening Day lineups in terms of payroll obligations are likely to come close to surpassing last season’s figure of $3 billion , with once again the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees likely to share top billing at number one and two of the league’s thirty teams.

Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , the present owners of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors have shown an interest in purchasing the Oakland Athletics (A’s) , where majority stakeholder Lew Wolff and GM Billy Beane have rebuffed what is believed to be an offer topping $675 million for the ball-club . In recent years, the A’s have been successful , having made the postseason in successive years and as two-time AL West divisional champions . Unfortunately,their progress in both postseason appearances was somewhat short-lived . Manager Bob Melvin and his managerial staff have assembled a young and experienced team , which has been a revelation recent seasons. In 2014 , the A’s are likely to be seen as the preseason favorites to retain their divisional title. Given that fact, that the Houston Rangers , Los Angeles Angels , Seattle Mariners , Texas Rangers have proven to be less than adequate adversaries over the past two seasons . It begs the question, which of those teams this season will be best equipped to truly challenge Bob Melvin’s group of players ?

In recent years , Lew Wolff has struggled in his dealings with the MLB hierarchy, in seeking their assistance in obtaining a new venue . Not surprising , when you consider that Bud Selig went out of his way to aid New York Mets , New Yankees and the Miami Marlins in the furtherance of their efforts for new stadiums , which were built at an estimated of . over $2.455 billion , much of it, being the use of public funds. The A’s are now left in an unenviable position of being a competitive franchise, but playing in a now aging and archaic venue, the O Coliseum in Oakland , California ,. Stuart Sternberg as the owner of the Tampa Bay Rays should heed the problems of the A’s in their endeavors and stop trying to appease Bud Selig and his coterie of buffoons, who make up the league’s hierarchy.

The reluctance of Lew Wolff to sell the ball-club is understandable, as he now has a winning on-field product , albeit that the A’s still struggle somewhat , in terms of attendance , which remains amongst the lowest in all of Major League Baseball . Yet, I cannot help but wonder , if a new owner with greater financial resources purchased the A’s , would it not be better for the organization overall and perhaps, further aid the A’s pursuance of a new ballpark ! Both Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , have the financial resources , with their respective backgrounds. Were they make another unsolicited bid, that would prove to be successful , then Guber would have to relinquish his interest , which he currently owns in the Los Angeles Dodgers , having been one of the several partners brought in by Mark Walter and Magic Johnson , to make that now record $2.16 billion purchase of that particular ball-club .

Commissioner Bud Selig, like his NBA counterpart David Stern,will be relinquishing their respective roles before the end the 2014 calendar year. Stern will be succeeded by his immediate deputy , Adam Silver , and it remains to be seen what changes if any , are made to how the NBA is operated , and the type of product that is displayed for the fans’ consumption. The MLB hierarchy, have yet to formally announce a successor to the incumbent commissioner, but it is widely believed that Rob Manfred will succeed Bud Selig at the time of his stepping down . Joe Torre , seen as a fan favorite , perhaps isn’t seen in a friendlier light by some who are part of the MLB hierarchical structure, that also includes the owners with their voting clout.

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Picture gallery .

What other sports’ story or stories over the past week or month, have piqued your interest and what do you feel might be the outcome , given the facts as you know them to be ? By all means do leave a comment on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos will face opposing quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday’s Superbowl , to be played at MetLife Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey . With a national television audience expected to 90 million viewers and a global audience of 1 billion. This is likely to be one of most eagerly anticipated watched Superbowl’s in recent NFL history . Carter Evans / AP Photo ….

(2) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is seen here holding the Lombardi Trophy which will be contested by the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks in Superbowl XLVIII (SB48) on Sunday afternoon , when the two teams meet at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. AP Photo / Neil Sharpe …

(3) Dec 30, 2012, Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks corner-back Richard Sherman (25) celebrates on the field following a 20-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field . Sherman has been one of the most visible players during the lead-up to the Superbowl , giving countless interviews to members of the press and fans alike . The thought being , why not “cash in” when you get the chance ? Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports …..

(4) NBA Commissioner David Stern is seen here with Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls after the team’s triumph in the 1996 NBA Finals over the Seattle Supersonics in a 4-2 series’ win . In each of the Bulls’ six appearances in the Finals , Jordan would be named Finals’ MVP. Michael Jordan’s entrance into the NBA as a first round draft pick during the 1984 NBA Draft , draft pick in that now moment in which Hakeem Olajuwon was taken number one overall , only to be followed by Sam Bowie drafted out of Kentucky and taken by the Portland Trailblazers. Jordan was seen as the likely number two choice , but dropped to number three and taken by the Chicago Bulls. His relationship with David Stern and his meteoric career are seen as the organic reasons why the NBA exploded unto the scene and then to become a global phenomenon. The NBA as a commercial entity , has grown from $400 million in revenues in 1986 to become a commercial behemoth with annual revenues exceeding $ 4.8 billion . This growth has been presided over by David Stern , but the greatest contributing factor has been Michael Jordan , his iconic appeal and ability to be seen as a commercial spokesperson for numerous Fortune 500 companies . Down the years, that mantle has been passed on from Jordan to Shaquille O’Neal , to Kobe Bryant and now LeBron James of the Miami Heat . Michael Jordan today. still ranks as one of the highest paid athletes in the world , even after having retired for the final time in 2003 , playing out that final season with the Washington Wizards , a franchise , where he was a part owner at the time along with then majority stakeholder , Abe Pollin . UPI / Getty Images / Christopher Marshall …..

(5) Boston Celtics’ head coach Brad Stevens is seen here with the team’s point guard Rajon Rondo . In a season of transition after the departures of Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry . GM Danny Ainge has seen fit to revamp the roster by way of the draft and trades . The team has got distinctively younger , but also showing a great deal of inexperience . With Rondo also having missed several games on the team’s schedule , their on-court issues have been magnified a great deal , shown by way the Boston Celtics’ record this season . Their next scheduled game will be against the Orlando Magic at the TD North Garden Center in Boston , Massachusetts on Sunday , 2nd February , 2014. AP Photo / Sara Glover …..

(6) Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers is seen here court-side at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland , Ohio , along with head coach Mike Brown as the two discuss a team play that was not executed to the coach’s satisfaction. With growing locker room dissension and Irving having stated that Brown has lost control of the team and the locker room morale. It would appear, r that there is likely to be some major upheaval within the roster prior to or at the trade deadline . AP Photo / Marcus Spears ….

(7) Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are the co-owners of the Golden State Warriors . The pairing in late 2013 made unsolicited bid to buy the Oakland Athletics from managing partner Lew Wolff and the syndicated group of managing partners . Guber and Lacob’s bid of $675 million was rebuffed by the front office of the A’s , who may well have felt that the billionaires’ offer , was far too low a price. For the moment , it would appear that intended buyers, are likely to regroup , rethink their strategy and perhaps come up with a revised offer for the AL team . AP Photo/ Andrew Garcia ……

(8) Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff, left, and General Manager Billy Beane watch their team warm up before the start of Game 1 of their American League Division Series game against the Detroit Tigers , Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Mich. The A’s are at present having to fend off an unsolicited bid from a prospective purchaser and it is likely that both Wolff and Beane will seek to strike a deal with Oakland Alameda County government concerning a new ballpark , something that this pairing have been working on for several years without much assistance being provided by Bud Selig or from anyone within the league’s upper hierarchy . D. Ross Cameron/Staff …….

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Strange as it now seems, the NBA finds itself in a quandary with the departure both the Los Angeles Lakers and now the Boston Celtics from postseason play. This now leaves the league without the two most prestigious teams in NBA history and quite possibly, what is likely to lead to a decline in viewership, for postseason play . The fact that both teams were unceremoniously dumped in the first round was not astonishing but it does lead us to question however , what is it and where will both franchises be heading , in terms of their immediate and long-term future ?

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For head coaches Mike D’Antoni and Doc Rivers , it now leaves both , questioning whether or not they can proceed along into next season , with aging rosters , and in some case , players who are essentially , either past their prime or who have simply underperformed . From my own perspective I believe it to be both and the very fact that a false sense of security led both to believe that their teams were simply good enough to make a deep playoff run during this postseason . Now we know, that has not been the case , and both teams in their current guises, are likely to be revamped by their respective front office staffs.

While many of the results of the postseason might not have come as a great surprise to a number of fans and analysts alike . It must be said , that the fashion in which a number of teams were dispatched from the playoffs did come as a surprise . Perhaps none more so than the Brooklyn Nets whose payroll is was amongst the highest in the league . The team’s three main stars , Deron Williams , Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace accounted for more than 54% of the ….. team’s $83.9 million payroll .

With Nets’ fall from grace against a short-handed Chicago Bulls’ team , where the ramifications were great and the judgment from the front office , was swift and “cold-blooded “ . GM Billy King , in conjunction with team owner , Mikhail Prokhorov have summarily dismissed interim head coach PJ Carlisimo , issuing a public statement, announcing that the coach would not be returning for next season. . Carlisimo was able to get this team playing with a great deal of resolve during the regular season , but somehow , the their postseason play was lackluster and uninspiring . As to the continued idiocy that Deron Williams is one of the premiere and “ elite “ point guards in the NBA . I would like to know what it is , that Williams is said to have done to warrant such plaudits from analysts and fans alike ? More style over substance than anything else , with the idiotic hyperbole surrounding a player who has failed to reach anywhere near his alleged potential. Williams cannot be seen as a leader , and he simply does not possess that trait , in spite of comments being made to the contrary about the player .

Pushed to a game seven , which was played at the Barclays Center , in Brooklyn , New York . The Brooklyn Nets simply did not have an answer for Joakim Noah , whose play during the game was simply outstanding . Never mind that from a defensive standpoint , this PJ Carlisimo coached team seemed to be as slow, as a group of aging geriatrics in search of a bedpan , as they sought to discharge themselves of a bodily function . Suffice to say , the stench now emanating the NBA’s newest venue had more to do with the odor of fecal matter and urine which may well have emanated from the bodies of the Nets’ players , who were ran off their home-court by Tom Thibodeau’s players .

Where this now leaves the Brooklyn Nets and the decisions that will undoubtedly have to be made as it relates to this roster , and that of the hiring of a high-profiled head coach. A great deal of that will now boil down to the mindset of the team’s billionaire owner , Mikhail Prokhorocv and the price he might well be willing to pay , to get the right man for the now , open vacancy. We already know that his desired choice , eleven-time NBA title winning coach , Phil Jackson is not available for the position . Jackson has accepted in principle , an executive position with the Detroit Pistons , having met privately with the team’s owner , Tom Gores . That now creates a dilemma and a great deal of speculation as to whether or not , the Pistons’ general manager , Joe Dumars will remain a part of the organization , in essence , becoming a subordinate of Phil Jackson , whose role within the organization will be a great deal similar to the role held by Jerry West , within the Golden State Warriors’ front office under co-owners , Joe Lacob and Peter Guber .

It is my own belief , that Dumars is likely to relinquish his role within the Pistons’ front office, having guided the franchise to their most recent win of an NBA title in 2004 , when the team coached by Larry Brown won with surprising ease , , shoving aside a star laden Los Angeles Lakers’ roster of All Stars . In the subsequent years , fate has not been too kind to a franchise that has simply labored , while making numerous mistakes in terms of , off and mid-season trades , mishandling of the rather archaic and asinine salary cap ($58.044 million) and draft classes .

Unless I am mistaken, the New York Knicks and their fans either believe that this postseason , they are meant to be a team of destiny , and supposedly the likely combatants to meet the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals . Anyone who has witnessed team’s play in their first round match-up against the Boston Celtics , will know that they were extremely luck to come through unscathed , ultimately with a series’ victory (4-2) . Yet this team was far from convincing under Mike Woodson’s tutelage . If nothing else , the Knicks’ players showed their complacency but above all , they clearly misjudged the mental approach that the Celtics brought in this series .

Now when it matter most , the Knicks are back to the ways of old , proving that they simply do not have the mental or physical toughness to play with any real grit or determination . In the opening game of their Easter Conference semifinals series against the Indiana Pacers . This Carmelo Anthony led team , was exposed , and all of their flaws were on display, for everyone to witness . Defensively incapable of stopping a much younger team at its core , the New York Knicks are said to be ” showing their age “ . Granted , with age comes experience , and along with that there should be dexterity in one’s play . Yet , somehow , Anthony and his teammates were simply unable to do that , in seeking to defend their home-court advantage in game one of this series .

Frank Vogel , his coaching staff and players have to be delighted with the fact that they fired the opening salvo , with a 102-95 victory at Madison Square Garden in front of a sold out crowd , with millions more , watching via a national television broadcast network . Now the question becomes , can the Knicks avoid going down 2-0 in a series , that will undoubtedly be defined by their presence of mind , and whether or they can defend their home-court with any sort of distinction ? Your thoughts on the matter ? The two teams will resume the series on Tuesday evening during prime-time , where Mike Woodson and his players will surely be looking to avenge that game one defeat .

It’s still early days yet in the NBA postseason , but overall , are you completely satisfied with the turn of events that have taken place ? Also , which teams do you believe are now in need of a good enough head coach to lead that franchise where they need to be ? Chime on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter at hand

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Slideshow details below .
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(1) CHICAGO, IL – MAY 02: Brooklyn Nets Head Coach, P.J. Carlesimo, addresses the media during a press conference following Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Chicago Bulls during the 2013 NBA Playoffs on May 2, 2013 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The much traveled and well-respected head coach will not be returning to the Nets next season , a decision said to have been jointly made by GM Billy King in conjunction with team owner Mikhail Prokhorov . Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(2) Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau reacts to a call during Game 6 of their first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets in Chicago, Thursday, May 2, 2013. The Nets won 95-92. AP Photo/Daily Herald, Joe Lewnard …

(3) Pistons’ general manager Joe Dumars (left) is seen here with the team’s owner Tom Gores . The franchise has brought in famed former head coach Phil Jackson in a consultancy and executive role to provide Dumars with insight on personnel decisions . However , it is being widely speculated that apart from Dumars’ role being diminished , it could very well lead to his abrupt departure from a a franchise where he has spent his entire professional career as a player and front office executive . AP Photo / Michael Ross ….

(4) Boston Celtics’ head coach Doc Rivers is seen here with the team’s general manager Danny Ainge . This off-season Ainge and senior managing partner , Wyc Grousbeck will face several tough questions , as to whether or not the roster will need to be revamped for the upcoming 2013-14 season . Veterans Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are nearing the end of distinguished careers , but their productivity was very much lacking when it was needed the most during the postseason . AP Photo/ Kirk English ….

(5) Indiana Pacers forward David West (21) drives past New York Knicks forward Kenyon Martin (3) in the second quarter of Game 1 of their second-round NBA basketball series at Madison Square Garden in New York, Sunday, May 5, 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(6) From left to right , Avery Johnson ,former head coach of the Brooklyn Nets is seen here with team owner Mikhail Prokhorov, center , and the team’s general manager , Billy King . With a bloated payroll and simply no one on the roster capable of playing any defense , much less their being team defense exhibited by team . It became increasingly clear why the Nets were unceremoniously dumped out in the first round of the NBA Playoffs , by an injury plagued Chicago Bulls team. AP Photo /Richard Carter ….

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Tophatal 05/06/2013 ……… https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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NBA results 5th May

NBA schedule 6th May

NBA free agents 2013 and for 2014 and future payrolls based cap-hits

NBA team salaries (cap figure of $58.044 million for the 2012-13 season)

Highest paid NBA players (overall)

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Hot chic pic of the day Kate Upton

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Mixed signals , smoke signals and all other type of idiotic signals … name it and you will genuinely find it in the world of sports

Mixed signals , smoke signals and all other type of idiotic signals … name it and you will genuinely find it in the world of sports

Tophatal

With just the Superbowl itself remaining to culminate the schedule , it has to be said that the NFL season could not have been more underscored , than with the utter failure of the league hierarchy to get done a piece of legislation that the NFL itself, stated would be in place . Roger Goodell has been , and remains the laughing-stock of the sport’s world with his lack of intelligence , intransigence and complete lack in fully understanding, the rule of law . What might be more apparent ,is his unwillingness to admit failure or to own up when he has purposefully sought to mislead the fans of the NFL .

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Slideshow .

Having agreed in principle to mandatory testing for HGH (human growth hormone) , both the league hierarchy and union , have placed this issue once again on the back-burner . In doing so , this simply suggests that the NFL does not care one iota about the widespread use of human growth hormones within football. Goodell tends to and for the vast majority of the time , he will indeed speak out of both sides of his mouth , and if his ass could speak , he would also have that orifice uttering words . I have never been , a great admirer of the NFL Commissioner ! Three year, s in the making and now countless promises broken , not that the dumb assholes who reside on the congressional Oversight & Government Reform Committee . And those morons have in essence become a sounding block for any half assed idea that has been placed within their midst .

One of the more annoying things about the NFL postseason , has been this constant belief that the NFL Pro Bowl game , has any merit to be on the schedule, in whatever form it might take . The games, are no longer noteworthy or competitive for that matter . And the fact that players merely see this as a chance of a paid excursion without having to really work at their craft , albeit that they will be financially rewarded for a meaningless event , only adds insult to injury for the fans , simply stupid enough to attend the event in Honolulu , Hawaii . Sunday’s event once again, was an absolute eyesore for those in attendance , and for the “ countless millions” watching the televised event at home . Suffice to say , what once was a privilege for the players has now become an unadulterated sham , perpetrated on the hard-working devotees of the NFL !

Far be it for me to suggest , but if the intent by the NFL hierarchy , was for Gregg Williams to be banished from football , after he and Saints’ head coach Sean Payton devised the now “ infamous” New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal . Then how is it, that the disgraced former defensive coordinator is now on the verge of making a tumultuous return. to the league , as the head coach’s assistant to Tennessee Titans’ head coach , Mike Munchak ? And Munchak for his part along with GM Ruston Webster, seem intent to bring in the defensive coordinator to bolster a defensive corps , that was amongst the worst performing units in the AFC as well as the entire NFL , as a whole .

The Titans’ woes this season , were well chronicled , and I seriously doubt that Williams’ acquisition alongside any decision made by the front office will have an advantageous effect on the morale of this staff ! The NFL has become a “paper tiger” during Roger Goodell’s tenure , wherein the league’s bark has to viewed as far more comedic as than its presumed bite . I am not about to suggest that Gregg Williams would seek to bring the Titans’ franchise into disrepute , but to my mind , what was meant to be a banishment from the NFL , has turned out to be nothing “ more than a slap on the wrist” for an individual who willfully sought to endanger an opponent for financial and competitive gain, while not eschewing sportsmanship .

Things , I feel could not get any worse for the Boston Celtics after the departure of Ray Allen to join the reigning world champions , the Miami Heat. Allen’s abrupt move , was seen as an act of betrayal by Celtics’ captain , Kevin Garnett , with the animus between the two future Hall of Famers , having now reached a boiling point . In a highly entertaining game played at the TD Banknorth Gardens , in Boston Massachusetts , Garnett , and his teammates came away with an impressive two-point victory over the star laden , and now some might say inconsistent Heat , who were led by their “Big Three” of LeBron James , Dywane Wade , Chris Bosh , and a coterie of bench-warmers and seasoned veterans .

The Boston Celtics have announced that their All Star , point guard , Rajon Rondo has been lost to the franchise for the remainder of the season. Rondo is amongst the most productive point guards in the league , and has been so over the past three seasons . Now one could roll off the names of players such as Chris Paul , Tony Parker, Deron Williams and Steve Nash , but to my mind none of the aforementioned players have been as productive , or who can simply change the momentum of a game , in the way that we have seen exhibited by the Celtics’ point guard. The player suffered a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) , an injury not too dissimilar , to the knee injury suffered by Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson. And as we know , the Peterson was able to make a successful return, after an eight month layoff , leading all rushers in the NFL in 2012, falling short by a mere eight yards , of breaking the single season rushing record held by Eric Dickerson .

It is imperative that GM Danny Ainge , having been in consultation with head coach Doc Rivers and team owner , managing partner Wyc Grousbeck , come to a swift decision , as to whether or not they seek to obtain a free agent point guard , who can best meet the team’s needs . The options for the Rivers are somewhat thin , as beyond seasoned veteran, Jason Terry , there is just Leandro Barbosa , Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee, albeit that Kevin Garnett , could be used as a stop-gap mainstay , but that could prove to be counter-productive for the team.

Doc Rivers for the moment will now have to go with a point guard by commission , until a decision is made by Ainge , as to whether or not the trigger will be made on a potential trade . At 21-23 , the Boston Celtics currently sit in third place within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference . Yet is the team’s standing within the conference , that would very well predicate, how their season is determined . Lying in the eighth and final spot , they find themselves 2 ½ games ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers (18-25) and 3 ½ games behind the Milwaukee Bucks (23-19) who currently sit in the seventh position within the Eastern Conference. Next up for the team , will be a game against the laboring Sacramento Kings on Wednesday , 30th January , 2013. The Kings currently lead the season series 1-0, having won the first game of their season series’ meetings 118-96 , when the two teams met in late December , 2012 . In the franchises’ head to head meetings , the Celtics lead the Kings 175-113 in regular season match-ups, with the two teams having only met seventeen times during the playoffs , again with the Boston Celtics holding a slight 11-6 lead over their Western Conference rivals . So for the moment , we can only wait to see what will now materialize for Doc Rivers’ players , as they seek to make some sense of their season .

I don’t know that there is much more else that needs to be said at this juncture as it relates to the news that Alex Rodriguez , could quite possibly be lost to the New York Yankees , for the entire 2013 regular season . Certainly, we know that with the player having to undergo , some much-needed surgery to his right hip, he will miss the team’s entire Spring Training schedule . Recuperation and rehabilitation , from such a medical procedure , normally takes anywhere between eight to fourteen months from the outset , dependent upon the level of the surgical procedure to be undertaken . That being said , who amongst you is at all surprised that Rodriguez’s body is now breaking down on him , after all these years of wanton use of steroids ? The veracity of the player’s claims cannot be entirely believed , when one bears in mind , his statement , that he only used PED’s ( performance enhancing drugs) as nothing more than a minor experiment , for a period of eighteen months , prior to and after joining the Yankees , that saw him being traded from the Texas Rangers to the Bronx Bombers in February of 2004 .

Alex Rodriguez’s subsequent admission of guilt in a thoroughly orchestrated mess engineered by the Yankees’ organization , has clearly indicated that baseball’s hierarchy and team owners do not yet have a handle on the widespread use of illicit substances , that were and are still being used by the game’s big league players , as well as the near widespread use in the minors (MILB). Rodriguez’s web of deceit and deceit , essentially started off with his spiel to former CBS news’ anchor Katie Couric , in an interview that had as much dramatic depth and journalistic integrity to it , than an interview being conducted between Pinocchio and Torquemada of the Spanish Inquisition . Gut wrenching and completely unbelievable , as the player, was far from convincing with his web of deceit and lies, which were further enhanced by many of the rather idiotic questions asked by Katie Couric , herself . And there were idiots who sought to suggest that Lance Armstrong showed contrition with his admission of guilt on a staged environment sought to elicit emotions ? Are these fools, that naïve ? I guess that they are ! Ah , well , it’s in-bred apathy ! It should be noted that in light of Rodriguez’s admission , his name would once again come up in the subsequent indictment and trial of now incarcerated Orlando medical professional , Dr Anthony Galea . Now in another turn of events the player’s name has once again been linked to another BALCO like “scandal” , that could have some serious reverberations around the league as well as damaging the Yankees’ alleged ” pristine image ” .

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Alex Rodriguez the biggest name in a new PED report that could grow into BALCO-like scandal

By Jeff Passan , Yahoo Sports

A man in south Florida supplied performance-enhancing drugs to more than half a dozen major league players, including Alex Rodriguez, according to a Miami New Times report that officials at Major League Baseball believe will grow into a doping scandal that could rival the BALCO case that tarnished Barry Bonds.

Alex Rodriguez is once again at the center of a possible PED scandal. The newspaper reported Tuesday morning that Anthony Bosch, a self-styled biochemist seen frequently in Latin American baseball circles, distributed large amounts of human growth hormone, synthetic testosterone and other cocktails of PEDs to players who previously had not been linked, such as Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz.

Some of the players could be subject to a 50-game suspension for a violation of the league’s PED policy, a league official told Yahoo! Sports. Three of Bosch’s alleged clients – outfielder Melky Cabrera, pitcher Bartolo Colon and catcher Yasmani Grandal – already have been caught and suspended by the league.

Following a relatively quiet period, PED busts spiked in baseball last season. From Ryan Braun’s positive test for testosterone – which got overturned because of alleged mishandling of evidence – to the suspensions of Cabrera, Colon, Grandal, Freddy Galvis, Marlon Byrd, Guillermo Mota and Carlos Ruiz, baseball is facing a renaissance of use, one it believes centered in south Florida.

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Rodriguez’s production in 2012 was somewhat anemic for the third baseman , and his postseason foray spoke volumes as to why the team failed so miserably in the MLB playoffs . Anemic play all round and very fact that, Joe Girardi and his staff were simply out-managed , spelled doom and gloom for the New York Yankees. The franchise’s problems in the postseason did not simply start and finish with the team’s woefully inept offense but team’s pitching during the regular and postseason left a great deal to be desired .

The Yankees have sought to bolster their roster and the during off-season , as they made some moves , seeking to prepare themselves for the upcoming season . I firmly believe that first two months of the New York Yankees’ schedule will tell us a great deal about this team and how they might possibly fare ! Undoubtedly, Derek Jeter will seek to lead by example , as he has often done throughout the course of his illustrious career.

Well the College Basketball season has started off with a bang and it has only gotten better over the ensuing weeks , and it has certainly live up to the hyperbole . The rankings have been turned upside down and on its ear , with a new number one ranked team , with Michigan (Wolverines) 19-1 , now succeeding Duke (Blue Devils) 17-2 atop of the polls, with the Blue Devils now dropping to number five in the polls. As an avid Duke Blue Devils’ fan to see the team go through two rather indifferent losses , both of which came at the hands of ACC rivals , North Carolina State and the Miami Hurricanes . Mike Krzyzewski , may not be overly concerned with his team’s plight at present , but I am sure his most pressing issue will be to get his players ready for the 2012-13 NCAA Tournament . Now while many may well seek the answers to numerous questions , as the reasons behind these two defeats to lesser opponents within the ACC . A succinct answer would be “ better to be subject of those losses , at this point of the season , rather than losing the games at a later date , as teams prepare themselves for March Madness” .

Duke’s next game will be against Wake Forest this Wednesday when the two teams meet . Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry are the two leading scorers on the Blue Devils’ roster. And it will be incumbent upon the duo to lead by example over the remainder of the team’s schedule.

As if to further solidify, how goddamn damn out of touch Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy tends to be , on all things as it relates to the economy of baseball . Having successfully come out of bankruptcy proceedings , the Los Angeles Dodgers under the new ownership group led by Mark Walter , Todd S Boehly , NBA great , Magic Johnson and Hollywood mogul , Peter Guber . Under the astute financial leadership of Mark Walter and Boehly , whose company Guggenheim Partners LLC , a world-renowned venture capital firm , with over $125 billion , in assets and a further $700 million under management. The financial aptitude that will be brought to the franchise , will no longer make it a bastion of ridicule and self-indulgence that it had become under the stewardship of former owner Frank McCourt , while the hierarchy and baseball team owners around baseball simply stood back , and literally allowed McCourt bring the ball-club to financial ruin. And yet fans , and these lame assed MLB tv pundits feel that the game is safe hands , while Selig and idiots such as Fred Wilpon , Saul Katz , Bob Nutting and David Glass remains within its midst. Either these idiots are self-medicating or they’re completely happy , in smelling the bullshit that baseball continues to sell the fans by way of Bud Selig’s edicts .

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports & Associated Press

Dodgers secure $7B TV rights deal with TW Cable

By RYAN NAKASHIMA and RONALD BLUM (Associated Press)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers formally announced a deal with Time Warner Cable on Monday to create a new TV channel that people familiar with the situation say assures the team more than $7 billion over 25 years. That is double what Major League Baseball thought the local TV rights were worth when the team was sold out of bankruptcy just last year.

The gap will be the subject of discussions going forward as the league attempts to haggle over how much of that extra money will go into a revenue-sharing pool to help out baseball’s lower-revenue franchises.

MLB calculates that 34 percent of a team’s local revenue, after subtracting costs, is available for redistribution throughout the league. When the Dodgers were mired in bankruptcy last year, the league agreed to value the potential TV rights of any future deal at $84 million the first year, rising 4 percent every year thereafter. Over 25 years, that estimated TV rights revenue of $3.5 billion.

The actual TV rights contract represents a huge mark-up from that initial forecast. It could be a boon to the league, depending on how much of that revenue its internal rules committee says is subject to sharing. The contract is also a big win for the owners, including Guggenheim Partners and Magic Johnson, who bought the team out of bankruptcy last year for $2 billion from Frank McCourt.

The broad strokes of the deal terms were confirmed by three people who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about them publicly.

MLB spokesman Pat Courtney wouldn’t comment on the deal, but said the league would need to approve it. ”We are still awaiting further information,” he said.

If approved, fans in the Los Angeles area and Hawaii would have to switch from watching Dodgers games on Fox Sports’ regional sports channel Prime Ticket after the 2013 season.

The high price tag also means monthly TV bills are likely headed upward – in the Los Angeles market and elsewhere.

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Walter , Boehly and team President Stan Kasten have been able to negotiate what is now a record broadcast rights’ deal between a professional sports’ franchise and a broadcast outlet. In what was believed to be at the time, a television deal , that was initially worth $4 billion has now ballooned to a reputed $7 billion deal over two decades , that will net the Dodgers $350 million annually , more than enough, to meet their now ballooning payroll , with a surplus no doubt , that will allow GM Ned Colletti to pursue desired players , almost at will. However, after the league hierarchy partakes of disbursing monies to the other teams within the league , the Dodgers as the recipients of the deal have allowed the rights to their regular season games and postseason schedule in part to Time Warner Cable Incorporated , parent company of cable broadcast outlets TBS and TNT . And though the deal will need league approval , there is no denying who the greatest beneficiary of this all will be the Los Angeles Dodgers, who win out in such a magnanimous way , but small market teams will be merely offered breadcrumbs by way of this deal as it relates to the tax sharing revenue scheme .

While I do not begrudge the Dodgers their new-found wealth , what I do find somewhat asinine is the continued excuses being made by fans and team owners alike, who state they can ill afford to go out and spend money . First off , how about having a business plan, that sees a franchise with set goals ? It has been these sort of excuses that have been continually used by the likes of the Pittsburgh Pirates , whose mismanagement continues to this day under present owner , Bob Nutting . Likewise , this remains true of David Glass of the Kansas City Royals , and here within the Tampa Bay area , with lead managing partner , Stuart Sternberg and the Tampa Bay Rays . Sternberg, for his part has seen limited success in recent years with the franchise . And with the paring down of the team’s salary from last season ($64 million) to an approximate figure of $55 million for 2013 . In the midst of this all , has been the ownership group’s wish for a new venue , rather than continuing to play in what has become an archaic , and now broken down structure , known as Tropicana Field , in St Petersburg , Florida .

Bud Selig , for his part, has provided the Rays with about as much assistance in their endeavors for a new venue , as one could imagine a religious Islamic zealot offering the hand of friendship to a Jew . It would not be repulsive to suggest, that the commissioner would rather piss on the dying embers of the Rays , rather than witness the franchise continue to be an embarrassment within the game from his own opinion. Somehow , during Selig’s tenure, we have seen his and the hierarchy’s continued incompetence be ongoing and showing no signs of abatement . The contempt that he bears for the Rays’ organization and that of the local and state politicians in Florida , is in fact limitless . Yet somehow he has presided over the construction of three multimillion dollar facilities (Citi-Field, Yankees Stadium & Marlins’ Ballpark) in the last five years , two of which barely has an attendance level worth mentioning . Simply put , why spend tens of millions to build an edifice , when you can find a gullible politician willing to oblige, while they’re getting nothing of any real intrinsic value in return ?

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Picture gallery .

What signals, do you believe that have sent out within sports of as of late , are to your mind , either misleading or simply asinine ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit, on this , and anything else you think pertinent to the subject matter .

🙂

Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman (53) speaks during media day for the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game , Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, in New Orleans. AP Photo/Pat Semansky ….

(2) Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice , left, stands with offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell during NFL football practice at the team’s training facility in Owings Mills, Md., Friday, Jan. 25, 2013. The Ravens are scheduled to face the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on Sunday, Feb. 3. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …

(3) In a Sunday Sept. 26, 2010 photo Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams stands on the sidelines during an NFL football game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, La. The Titans have talked with suspended defensive coordinator Williams and are interested in hiring him, said a person familiar with the situation Sunday Jan. 27, 2013. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert …

(4) Seen here , are Titans’ general manager Ruston Webster , seated left, alongside the team’s head coach Mike Munchak at the 2012 NFL Draft . The organization’s draft was not an outright success as mirrored in their standings this past NFL season. It is now being widely reported that Webster has agreed in principle to hire Gregg Williams , former defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints. Williams , after his acknowledged involvement and initiating the Saints’ bounty scandal. The former coordinator , had been suspended indefinitely by the NFL hierarchy , but would now appear that with his imminent reinstatement , he will be allowed to make a return to the NFL and continue in his duties as a coach within the league . If his interview is proved to be a success , which appears to be a formality at this juncture , Gregg Williams would become the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach , for a franchise that struggled greatly in terms of their defensive prowess in 2012. AP Photo/ Mark Walsh …

(5) Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) knocks Chicago Bulls guard Nate Robinson , left, out-of-the-way as he drives to the basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Boston on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013. AP Photo/Charles Krupa …

(6) FILE – In this Oct. 18, 2012 file photo, New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez prepares to hit in the sixth inning during Game 4 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park , in Detroit. Major League Baseball says it is “extremely disappointed” about a new report that says records from an anti-aging clinic in the Miami area link Rodriguez and other players to the purchase of performance-enhancing drugs. AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(7) Duke’s Seth Curry (30) drives to the basket against Maryland’s Shaquille Cleare (44) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013. AP Photo/Gerry Mahoney …

(8) Robert L. Patton, Jr ., Stan Kasten, Mark Walter, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Peter Guber and Todd Boehly (l-r) make up The Guggenheim Baseball Management Team who now own the Dodgers. The group held a press conference Wednesday at Dodger Stadium . Andy Holzman/Daily News Staff Photographer ….

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Contact : tophatalsblog@gmail.com

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Kendrick Lamarr ” Drank” (Swimming Pools)
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Alexis Amore`

Do The Right Thing ……………….

Do The Right Thing ……………..

There’s a great deal to be said about the legacy of baseball , its history and the fact that Jackie Robinson played a part in integrating team sports, being the first African American to play a professional sport where its embodiment was integrated . And granted, were it not for Branch Rickey willing to take a chance on a social experiment that would have lasting ramifications that would reverberate across the landscape of the country , I seriously doubt that we’d have seen the integration of the game at the time we did. Consider this, at the time that Robinson suited up for the Brooklyn Dodgers the US military still hadn’t been fully integrated wherein African American soldiers could be part of the same platoon and serve alongside their Caucasian counterparts but yet this myth continues here within this country that it’d rather gloss over this whole episode concerning African Americans within the US military. The US military wouldn’t be fully integrated until 1953 , some eight years after World War II had ended .

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Slide show for your perusal .

In light of the above evidence a patron (chappy81) of my site and I mulled over the situation with regard to the image of the NFL and that of MLB and the fact that both sports are so image conscious . He remarked about the fact baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day and that baseball also has its Civil Rights —– games played this weekend . But that in of-itself I find to be a real misnomer as it simply means nothing in the greater landscape of things , given the fact that now we’re seeing an attack to repeal many of the advances made under the Civil Rights Act . And whereas Jackie Robinson’s number has been retired by the league I do find it somewhat asinine that the league especially now under the tenure of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has somehow refused to retire Roberto Clemente’s number in honor of the player and his accomplishments but specifically as a human rights activist and philanthropist . If Selig and the league hierarchy simply can’t view Clemente’s accomplishments other than to institute an award in his name , I think it somewhat inane that they simply believe that honor only ought to be bestowed upon Jackie Robinson , merely because he was simply the first person of an ethnic minority to have the game as part of an integrated team at the professional level ! Baseball while steeped in its traditions has become archaic and fully out of touch with the realities of the world .

Given the current problems within the league , financial instability of teams around baseball , team owners who’ve simply put greed above common sense and a hierarchy who for the most part simply show the naivete of an immature child that it’s hard to imagine that the game has made the advancement that it has over the years. Character issue asides of the players past and present I do feel that it is now time for Bud Selig do the right thing and actually retire Roberto Clemente’s number , not just simply as an act of benevolence but also to acknowledge his achievements as a philanthropist .

Now one might suggest that in allowing Clemente’s number to retired it would diminish what Jackie Robinson’s entry at the major league level meant to the game . But I say …no ………. because if anything these are two great players who by their own deeds and willingness to beat the odds has done a great deal to establish the game of baseball across a broad demographic and therein making it relevant socially as well being viewed as America’s pastime .

Well now that the conference finals appear to be set with regard to the NBA Playoffs . The Eastern Conference Finals sets up an intriguing match-up between the top two seeds within the confrence . The Chicago Bulls will host the Miami Heat at the United Center in Chicago on Sunday 15th May in a game one of this best of seven game series . For LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade they see this as a form of vindication having defeated the Boston Celtics in their conference quarter semi final series 4-1 .

So clinical was the defeat of the Celtics that it had many wondering whether or not this might the last charge of the Boston Celtics’ ‘Big Three’ of Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Ray Allen . To my mind I do feel that this Celtics’ roster labored because of the fact that is in large part an aging one . And whereas Doc Rivers was able to lead the Celtics to an emphatic triumph in the 2008 NBA Finals . This might very well be a time for a changing of the guard in some part . GM Danny Ainge and senior general partner Wyc Grousbeck may very well have to overhaul this roster if the Celtics are to have any serious chance of challenging for an NBA title next season .

And while it is being widely reported that Rivers is now in the process of accepting a renewed five year $35 million deal to remain with the organization . It may well pretty much put into effect that the Big Three will likely also remain with the Celtics . Beyond that it remains to be seen what now becomes the next saga of the Boston Celtics’ history.

In going back to address this conference finals’ matchup between the Bulls and Heat it will most certainly be an intriguing one. The Bulls swept the season series between the two teams with some ease but that was in large part before the Heat had found any real consistency in their play . If the Bulls are to prove that those results during the regular season were no fluke then they will have to play with a fluidity and resolve that they’ve shown throughout the large part of the postseason . League MVP —- Derrick Rose and his teammates have to be mindful as to the knowledge that will be imparted to them by their coach Tom Thibodeau and his coaching staff if they’re to have any chance of beating the Heat in this series . And for the Heat who’ll no doubt be looked at as the presumptive favorites for coach Erik Spoelstra , he knows that it is now or never for this team which has been looked at to win it all ever since team President & Head of Basketball Operations Pat Riley engineered the moves that brought Bosh and James to the Miami Heat during the offseason.

Not since the Michael Jordan era led Bulls of the 1995-96 season has there been this much fervor over this organization for which the expectations are now extraordinarily high. Should the Bulls prevail in this series then it could be viewed as one of the biggest shocks in recent NBA history , in terms of postseason upsets .

Amazingly enough while the Dallas Mavericks awaits the winners of the series between the Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder . I’ve now got to ask myself after this monumental disastrous display by the Thunder in their fourteen point loss to the Grizzlies on Friday night how is it that Scott Brooks can feel that his team can now close out this series ? On a night when league scoring champion Kevin Durant had an abysmal night shooting , that this was a game that I believe that the Thunder would rather forget ! Once again it was left the heroics of Zach Randolph as he led the team in scoring and in taking the lead as its vocal leader in erasing a 3-2 deficit to even this series with everything to play for as game seven brings the two teams back Oklahoma City to bring this conference semi finals to a fitting culmination. As to what that might be , we now all wait to see what unfolds in this exhausting and thrilling series .

If the rumors are to believed as it is now being reported that the Los Angeles Lakers have allowed Phil Jackson’s assistant Brian Shaw to speak with both the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets as to both vacant coaching positions. Strange as this may seem , unless the Lakers are extremely confident that Jackson will be returning to the organization then I feel it somewhat less than prudent of them to allow Shaw to seek out an initial interview with either organization . Shaw if anything has to be the favorite for the position as he has the respect of a number of players on the team. But it may well be that GM Mitch Kupchak and team owner Dr Jerry Buss may well feel that it is indeed better bring someone anew to be Jackson’s successor. From my own perspective although I’ve heard the name of Rick Adelman being bandied about as a likely successor I do feel that it’d be step backwards for the Lakers should they hire this well respected coach. A retread is very much the last thing that this organization needs in light of their rather embarrassing 4-0 series loss to the Dallas Mavericks . The one candidate I feel who fits the bill as the successor to Jackson would be Tom Izzo of Michigan State and his given his coaching pedigree I think he’d certainly be the appropriate choice ! However , that decision is now in the hands of the general manager and owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and it may well be some time before they come to a final decision .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment and thank as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal …………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) From left to right Branch Rickey , Jackie Robinson and his wife Rachel seen are as the former player receives his plaque after his enshrinement into the Baseball Hall of Fame . AFP Archives ………

(2) Pirates’ outfielder Roberto Clemente whose tragic death is still mourned to this day . Baseball archives ….

(3) LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat gets emotional after closing out the series against the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 11, 2011 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(4) Omer Asik (3) reacts with Luol Deng (9) of the Chicago Bulls after Asik drew a foul from the Atlanta Hawks in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Phillips Arena on May 12, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin C Cox / Getty Images …….

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MLB News

MLB Standings

MLB Scoreboard

MLB Results & scores 14th May 2011

Probable starting pitchers 15th May 2011

Probable starting pitchers 16th May 2011

MLB Schedule 3 days at a glance

NBA News

NBA results 15th May 2011

NBA Playoffs 2011

The Real Funny Side Of Sports You’d Think ………….

The Real Funny Side Of Sports You’d Think …………

The longer this facade goes on the more asinine I know that baseball has become in terms of the game’s hierarchy , the team owners and the mere fact that they’ve never been known to show any common sense . The sharks are now circling the Los Angeles Dodgers as they smell blood and the idiocy of the team’s owner Frank McCourt only further adds to the illusion that when the league hierarchy saw fit to grant him the right to purchase the team from Fox and its parent company NewsCorp when they simply hadn’t used due diligence .

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The organization is now mired in so much financial mismanagement that it’s hard to understand how McCourt and the rest of the executives within the Dodgers’ front office could have been so financially irresponsible . But herein lies the caveat the league hierarchy rarely looks into the finances of its teams unless they believe there to be something inherently wrong. What might be even more surprising is that even in spite of there being clear cut evidence that something was awry with the Dodgers from a financial standpoint Bud Selig chose not to intervene until things had got to a point where one now has to question whether or not the Dodgers can now survive in its present format. If McCourt and his now ex-wife Jamie McCourt were using this organization as their very own personal ATM then questions have to now be answered with a great deal of veracity by not only Frank McCourt by the entire hierarchy of the Los Angeles Dodgers. This so called $3 billion tv contract that awaits the league’s approval has been the sole basis for McCourt to suggest that the organization has no financial worries as it also asks for $ 300 million upfront as an advance from the local Los Angeles Fox tv affiliate . What gave McCourt the impression that $ 300 million would be the cure to what ails the Los Angeles Dodgers when it is clear that he and his subordinates have contravened many of the league’s very own rules ? Now it’s becoming transparent that McCourt and those very same subordinates have been less than truthful as it relates to the organization’s financial stability.

Now the ante may well be upped in lieu of the fact that neither McCourt and Selig have met publicly to discuss the team’s issues . And with it now being reported that the Dodgers simply doesn’t have the cash available to meet its budgetary expenses for the months of May and Junes ____ you simply have to ask how much longer this idiocy can be allowed to carry on , in allowing to have McCourt even be associated with this team in any form whatsoever ? Gross negligence on his part , much of it no doubt suborned by the front office as they may well have been powerless but at the same time they also have a responsibility to the league hierarchy to report any serious malfeasance within their organization . Either Ned Colletti and CFO Peter Wilhelm are that stupid or they simply went along with the insipid moves and his then wife Jamie Court in raiding the organization’s coffers for their own malevolent needs . Frank and Jamie McCourt it is suggested were loaned $108 million between 2004-09 to fund their lavish lifestyle . If this is indeed true then I can only surmise that Frank McCourt’s estimated wealth of $1.2 billion had to have diminished immensely for him to be taking money from the coffers of the organization while they struggled to actually be competitive within NL West.

Granted this season we’ve witnessed some competitiveness from the team but as of late things have tailed off somewhat for organization as the off the field troubles has simply become a major news sports story within the game of baseball this season . The NL West as competitive as some may well believe it to be in large part has been a division that has been viewed as where the baseball being played there between those teams can be best described as being marginal . The division is now led by San Francisco Giants with a 21-16 mark followed by the Colorado Rockies (19-16) and Dodgers some 3.5 games behind with an 18-20 mark. That being said with all of the off the field controversy and mayhem taking place within the Dodgers’ organization the events taking place on the field have been forced to take a back seat as this idiocy simply plays itself out as a spectacle within the public’s domain.

It’s sad that one of baseball’s great organizations has been allowed to sink such depths but in reality this merely shows the complete ineptitude that is now on display at all levels of the game from the league hierarchy on down to the very players themselves .

If Chad Ochocinco can’t have the glare of the limelight placed upon him this NFL player simply becomes bereft of all common sense . Not content with having tried out for a roster spot with MLS soccer’s Sporting Kansas City the player is now said to be interested in riding a bull on the PBR (Professional Bull Riding) circuit . Well given the amount of bull served up last season by Ocho and the Cincinnati Bengals I just hope that the bull he’s given to ride simply stomps his ass into several hundred pieces ! The more he’s around in the NFL , the more you simply know that any team that he’s a part of is almost certainly doomed for failure . Granted, coming off a 2009 season where the Bengals were the AFC North champions 2010 was merely an afterthought as the Bengals simply slipped into a season sheer ineptitude posting a 6-10 record for the year . If that wasn’t bad enough you then had the team’s Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Palmer demanding a trade rather than remaining with the Bengals . That situation seems close to resolving itself as the team took Andy Dalton as their second pick 35th overall in this season’s NFL Draft .

From my own perspective the problems of the Cincinnati Bengals are many , from a defense that’s simply become non-existent to an offense that on its best days would simply have problems making a first down, much less putting up points on the board as and when needed . It simply wasn’t merely about Palmer’s problems both on and off the field but the mere fact that Marvin Lewis lost control of these players and little of what he or his coaching staff imparted on those players actually manifested itself on the field of play last season. This season the Bengals could very well be at odds with itself as well as the incumbents within the AFC North. This much is certain if the Bengals are to have any chance being legitimately viewed as contender within the AFC much less the rest of the NFL then Ochocinco and this team will very much have to prove themselves worthy adversaries of their opponents this season . A great deal is being asked of Andy Dalton if he’s chosen to be the team’s quarterback but in lieu of that fact his being thrown in at the deep end may not be the wisest of choices but it may well be the only one that can be made by Marvin Lewis and his staff.

Well now that the Boston Celtics have been unceremoniously dumped out of this season’s NBA Playoffs in their series loss to the Miami Heat . The orbituaries are now being written as to the demise of several players on this team . It appears that negotiations are underway to retain the services of Doc Rivers as the team’s coach . But if anything GM Danny Ainge , senior managing partner Wyc Grousbeck and the other managing partners can’t have been entirely happy in the way that this teams was summarily dispatched by this Heat team .

This 4-1 series loss by the Boston Celtics to the Miami Heat in essence explained a lot about the two diverging paths that these two heave have taken over the course of the regular season. Having won their regular season meetings 3-1 the Celtics may well have felt that they had the upper hand were they to meet again in the postseason. But if anything it was the Heat who took heart from those meetings knowing that they had to up their game and play with a great deal more resolve. Erik Spoelstra having got this team play much more cohesively, began to see the fruits of his labor . At the same time team President Pat Riley and team owner Micky Arison now know that all of the maneuvering and the subsequent work done by Dwyane Wade in persuading both Chris Bosh and LeBron James to sign with the team was not only in the players’ best interests as it offered them the best chance of winning an NBA title but it also benefited the Heat organization from a competitive and financial standpoint as well.

For the Boston Celtics Ainge alongside Rivers and the coaching staff must now look at how best rebuild this team and what if any major roster changes need to be made if they’re return back the playoffs as a formidable postseason opponent. We surely have seen the last of both Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal as players within the NBA . Collectively the duo offered little if anything to the team during much of the postseason. However my greatest gripe concerning the fall from grace by the Celtics was the absurd notion by Danny Ainge that his trade deadline moves of trading both Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson actually made the Celtics better , when he got little , tangible in return from those deals . He may well have done that to pare down the Celtics’ payroll but that all seems redundant when you consider that jointly Jermaine and Shaquille O’Neal were earning more than Perkins and Robinson combined this season. Contract lenght asides who in their right mind would want two aging veterans who between them offered nothing to this team throughout much of the regular season other than being a complete waste of space on the bench ?

It remains to be seen the steps to be taken by Ainge and his staff but this much is certain for the large part this current roster will most certainly change in its current format and for the large part we will be seeing a number of new faces on this team be it via free agency or through the upcoming NBA Draft.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

Alan aka tophatal ………………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Tom Schieffer , the man charged by Major League Baseball with sorting through the finances of the Los Angeles Dodgers, is interviewed in New York, Thursday, May 12, 2011. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews …..

(2) Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno, right, watches his throw to first after forcing out Los Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier during the second inning of a baseball <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2011_05_12_lanmlb_pitmlbgame in Pittsburgh on Thursday, May 12, 2011. Juan Uribe was out at first. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar ….

(3) Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig listens to a question during a news conference on Thursday, May 12, 2011 in New York. Selig gave Frank McCourt the face-to-face meeting the Los Angeles Dodgers owner wanted, but provided no timetable on approving a proposed $3 billion television deal with Fox that would keep the club from running out of cash at the end of the month. Selig and McCourt met Wednesday when owners began a two-day quarterly meeting at Major League Baseball’s office. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews …..

(4) Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti (left) and the team’s owner Frank McCourt . This was Colletti’s formal introduction to the public as the team’s new GM in November 2005. Icon SMI/ Larry Goren ……. .

(5) A.J. Green(4) overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals, poses for a photo on stage with family members during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ….

(6) Cincinnati Bengals second round draft pick Andy Dalton(notes), left, a quarterback from TCU, and third round draft pick Dontay Moch, a linebacker from Nevada, right, pose with their jerseys during an NFL football news conference, Saturday, April 30, 2011, in Cincinnati. AP Photo/ David Kohl ……..

(7) Cincinnati Bengals first round draft pick A.J. Green, right, speaks at a news conference with head coach Marvin Lewis, Friday, April 29, 2011 in Cincinnati. Green, a wide receiver from Georgia, will wear number 18 for the NFL football team. AP Photo/Al Behrman ……….

(8) Chad Ochocinco begins tryout with Sporting Kansas City on March 23, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. The player having gained a roster spot with the team is now said to be interested in riding a bull within the PBR circuit . Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images ……

(9) Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge talks with reporters during a news conference at the team’s NBA basketball training facility in Waltham, Mass., Friday, May 13, 2011. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer …….

(10) MIAMI, FL – MAY 11: LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat gets emotional after closing out the series against the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 11, 2011 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images …..

(11) Mario Chalmers (15) of the Miami Heat is congratulated by Ray Allen (20) of the Boston Celtics after Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 11, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Getty Images /Mike Ehrmann ………

(12) Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers reacts on the sideline during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on May 11, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NBAE/Getty Images/ Mike Ehrmann ……….

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MLB News

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Probable starting pitchers 13th May 2011

Probable starters 14th May 2011

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MLB results & scores 12th May 2011

NFL News

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NBA Playoffs

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NBA Conference Finals

Eastern Conference

Chicago Bulls ……. vs ……. Miami Heat

Western Conference

Dallas Mavericks …… TBD …….. winners of the series between Memphis Grizzlies …… & ….. Oklahoma City Thunder

Playoffs ? What Playoffs ? The NBA Playoffs Dummy Get With The Program

Playoffs ? What Playoffs ? The NBA Playoffs Dummy Get With The Program

Well this much is certain the NBA Playoffs have began to set about a number of surprises and then there have been the teams that you simply know have underachieved during the first round of the playoffs . The New York Knicks were summarily swept out of the first round with consummate ease by the Boston Celtics . And for those out there saying that the Knicks are a work in progress …….. here’s my retort for you the gestation period for a female pachyderm is a work in progress the New York Knicks are unadulterated friggin’ mess ! How this team was assembled by Mike D’Antoni and GM Donnie Walsh gives me every reason to believe that this organization now, is no better off than when former team President and GM Isiah Thomas was running the show the whole god-damn show ! And God knows, we all know how fu_cking bad that team was under Thomas’ tenure .

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Slide show for your perusal .

Throughout this series not once had this team chosen to even play a modicum of defense but yet somehow there were idiots out there joyous that the Knicks had actually made the playoffs because in their eyes it made the club relevant once again . I’m sorry but the Knicks were about as relevant within the NBA as I’d consider Muammar Ghadaffi to be a beacon of light to democracy within the Middle East and on the African continent ! Unfortunately for all of the talk of Amar’e Stoudemire being paired together with Carmelo Anthony had the makings of a dynamic duo . Let’s say had Batman and Robin been homosexual crime fighters they’d still be far more intimidating than this duo have been throughout this series . Contributions asides when a team built primarily around offense and not a lick of defense is being played, how the hell is anyone of the belief that the Knicks were actually in with a chance of even winning this series ? At no time was I even convinced that the Knicks could win the series , much less make it a competitive one. Much of the team’s malaise can laid squarely on the shoulders of D’Antoni and Walsh. I hazard a guess that with Chauncey Billups having a series he’d rather forget , I can only surmise that his career is now in its twilight years . From a Finals MVP to a non-descript passenger on a derailed passenger train is very much how I’d assess the Knicks’ foray in this postseason along with the lackluster performances of Billups .

Speaking of a team that could very well be on the cusp of being humiliated in the playoffs are the Orlando Magic . Stan Van Gundy for all of animated demeanor and being so vocal is completely adrift with a team that is simply overwhelmed by its surroundings. The moves made by the Magic at the trade deadline were meant to improve the offensive productivity and creativity of this team . Who would’ve thought that the Atlanta Hawks would have the upper hand in this series with the Hawks not only taking a decisive a 3-1 lead but also Jamal Crawford and Joe Johnson are actually outplaying the entire Magic front court by showing so much creativity and the tenacity to get the job done . The only player on the Magic roster who appears to be showing any proclivity in wanting to play with any aggression, happens to be the team’s All Star center Dwight Howard . Other than Howard there has been little contribution if any from anyone on this team.

Unfortunately the Magic are now on the hook financially for the contracts of Jason Richardson , Hedo Turkoglu , Gilbert Arenas and Quentin Richardson who collectively are owed a cumulative sum of $63 million over the next three years. I somehow get the feeling that GM Otis Smith and the front office executives within the Magic organization gambled heavily and that bet hasn’t worked ! In fact this whole maneuver has been an unmitigated disaster . If anyone was of the belief that this Magic team was remotely in with a chance of winning this series much less being taken as a serious contender for this season’s NBA title clearly hasn’t been watching this team play. Inconsistency has been their mantra and the very fact that they’ve been unable able to close out a game with any effectiveness during the regular season and then expect them to do the same in the postseason would suggest that they were in with a remote chance of actually winning this series . And clearly that hasn’t been the case as they’ve been continually outplayed and outcoached throughout the entirety of the series .

However what might be even more surprising is the mere fact that during last season’s playoffs the Orlando Magic actually swept the Hawks in a 4-0 series drubbing that is considered to be the most lopsided series’ victory that has been seen in the NBA in quite a while . Unfortunately game five to be played at the Amway Center in Orlando this Tuesday can be viewed as a series decider as the Magic are fighting for their very survival . A loss for the Magic and Larry Drew’s team makes their way into the Eastern Conference semi finals where they’ll meet the Chicago Bulls the number one seed in the Eastern Conference . That should be a which could very well prove to be thoroughly entertaining and at the same time somewhat suspenseful.

Another series which seems to be heading towards an unlikely outcome should things remain as they are . The San Antonio Spurs face a daunting task in trying to erase a 2-1 deficit against the Memphis Grizzlies . Coming into the series as the number one seed in the Western Conference . And the Spurs’ performances during this series if anything cannot be described as that of the best team in the conference or NBA record wise . It has been the Grizzlies led by Zach Randolph who have been playing like a team that on appearance has been playing like a number one seed . The Spurs have been playing below par and if anything they’ve been complacent in taking the Grizzlies far too lightly . Game four to be played tonight in Memphis will certainly let us know whether or not the Spurs are capable of erasing this deficit or whether or not the Memphis Grizzlies can push the number one seeds to the brink of elimination by winning what could very well be a very scintillating game .

San Antonio Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich and his coaching staff will most certainly have to prove that these series’ results are no mere fluke . But if anything credit has to be given to the Grizzlies who in essence have shown us that they’re quite capable of knocking off a top seed . It has been pretty incredible to see this Spurs’ team labor throughout this series . Tony Parker has been inconsistent and while Manu Ginobli has struggled with injuries the Spurs’ bench has contributed little if anything to this series overall. The veteran presence of Tim Duncan and Antonio McDyess has made little difference as the Grizzlies have simply outran , out-thought and completely outplayed the San Antonio Spurs . Should they bow out of this series at this juncture it would be the earliest exit by the team in over five years.

As an ardent fan of the Spurs I must admit that I’ve been surprised by the lackluster effort that put forth by the team . If anything I expected a competitive series between the two teams . Excuses are the last thing I’m about to make for the Spurs should their be a monumental collapse because I do believe that teams that encounter adversity can learn something from it . And should it prove to be the case for the Spurs then hopefully Popovich and his coaching staff and in particular the Spurs’ players can learn something from this all.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

These series so far have been intriguing so far but there’s still a great deal to come . So if anything go ahead and enjoy what is left of the NBA postseason , so make of it what you will .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 24: (L-R) Amar’e Stoudemire(1) , Carmelo Anthony(7) and Shawne Williams (3) of the New York Knicks celebrate a play against the Boston Celtics in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Celtics won 101-89 . Nick Laham / Getty Images …..

(2) Carmelo Anthony(notes) #7 of the New York Knicks gets set to receive an inbounds pass as director Spike Lee yells at referee Derrick Collins #11 against the Boston Celtics in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Nick Laham / Getty Images ……

(3) Paul Pierce(34) of the Boston Celtics looks to go up for a shot against Amar’e Stoudemire(1), Ronny Turiaf(14) and Landry Fields (6) of the New York Knicks in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City . Getty Images/ Nick Laham …..

(4) New York Knicks owner (C) Jim Dolan , General Manager Donnie Walsh and Head Coach Mike D’Antoni introduce new players Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups at a press conference at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2011 in New York City. Chris Trotman / Getty Images North America ……

(5) Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen, left, defends San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green during the second half of Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Monday, April 25, 2011, in Memphis , Tenn. The Grizzlies won 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. AP Photo/Lance Murphey …….

(6) Not looking good at all . San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan, left, and guard Tony Parker, right, of France, watch the final minutes of Game 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies in a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Monday, April 25, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. The Grizzlies won 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. AP Photo/Lance Murphey ….

(7) Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic converses with his offense in the final minutes against the Atlanta Hawks during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 24, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images …….

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. NB Game four was won decisively by the Memphis Grizzlies 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the best of seven game series with a semi finals’ conference berth awaiting the winner .

When The Rubber Hits The Road It’s Time To Step Up ……

When The Rubber Hits The Road It’s Time To Step Up ……

When the rubber meets the road it’s time to step up and it appears that the San Antonio Spurs have hit the road with a flat tire. The Memphis Grizzlies have given the Spurs all they can handle a great deal more. A 91-88 victory by the Grizzlies with Zach Randolph leading the charge in his team’s victory . When it’s all said and done a question needs to be asked ….. have Gregg Popovich’s  —- players become complacent or are the Grizzlies simply too good ? ===========================================================================

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Slide show for your perusal .

A 2-1 series lead and it appears with their next victory this series could be the Grizzlies for the taking . At this point Popovich has to get these players playing with a great deal more zeal as the Memphis Grizzlies simply have the Spurs on their heels. It’s seems strange to see the number one seed within the Western Conference simply being outplayed not only on their home court but also in large throughout much of this series as it has unfolded . Throughout much of the season this Spurs’ team played at a high caliber  with players such as Manu Ginobli , Gary Neal , Dejuan Blair , Tony Parker and Matt Bonner stepping up to the plate. However the zeal with which we saw during the regular season has been missing as this series has taken on a life of its own as it seems to be now slipping away from the grasp of the San Antonio Spurs. . If the Spurs are to be in with a chance of reasserting themselves and regaining some sort of momentum in this series then we’re going to have to see more from the likes of Ginobli , Parker and their seasoned veteran Tim Duncan . Granted , Duncan has seen limited time throughout much of the regular season .

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Clearly at this point of the playoffs the contenders ………….. ‘ the real contenders’ step up and separate themselves the pretenders’ . As an ardent Spurs’ fan I get the feeling that the Spurs rather than looking like a contender they’re now beginning to look and play like a pretender ! The four time  NBA champions are no nearer to adding a fifth title than there’s a chance of Donald Trump winning the 2012 Presidential elections based on their play in this series and in particular game three which saw them being completely outplayed by their Western Conference opponents . The credit where it’s due belongs to the Memphis Grizzlies and their belief that they’d nothing to fear in taking the game to the Spurs and forcing them to change their whole way of playing and the fact it has been this Grizzlies’ team in the driver’s seat. At some point we have to acknowledge that the league is now changing and that the so called  teams we believe to be dominant are no longer really that.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers  , Miami Heat and Boston Celtics will have their work cut out for them during these playoffs . Albeit that the Heat and Celtics have series leads as the playoffs progress these teams will face a much sterner test in the second round (conference semi finals) of the NBA Playoffs . As the playoffs unfold we’ll get to see what these teams are actually made of and how each faces adversity when stares at them from across the court . The Spurs are now in a position where they can ill afford to go down 3-1 in this series knowing full well that even on their home court they will be hard pressed to put the Memphis Grizzlies back on their heels. If anything it has been the Grizzles who have placed the Spurs back on their heels looking to stave off a series defeat and if anything what would be the shock of this season’s playoffs series so far. Zach Randolph has put this team on his back and played like a man possessed with something to prove to the doubters and naysayers who felt he’d nothing to offer . And as troubled as his career is said to have been Randolph now seems to have found a home where his talents have flourished and where the Grizzlies’ fans have no doubt shown their appreciation for all that they have witnessed from the player’s contributions on the court and within the local community . If it’s a given that the Spurs bow out of this series then I am willing to admit that I underestimated the Grizzlies but even more so I know that the the Spurs this while while their regular season was impressive if anything it created an illusion and an air of complacency that the lulled and lured their fans into thinking that this team was once again ready to contend and perhaps actually playing with a sense of purpose in marching towards the goal of winning another title .

A series loss would raise a great many questions as to this team and the direction that it is heading in. The triumvirate of Ginobli , Parker and Duncan is an aging one but the thought was that with a young nucleus of players looking to make their mark , instead it looks as if they have regressed lost in situation that in some respect is one of their own making. I certainly do believe that Gregg Popovich and GM R C Buford will have to reassess the qualities they seek in terms of the Spurs’ roster and how best to address the deficiencies that we now know that the San Antonio Spurs have. Now as the postseason plays itself out it will be very interesting to see what happens with each of the series in question . In the case of the Spurs and where a number one seed has previously faced a situation where they could be down 3-1 in the first round of a playoff series, that seed has gone on to win that fourth series game and to win that series four out of the six occasions since the playoff format came into being and where it changed from a best of five series to a best of seven game series . That if anything should be an added incentive to the team . But in reality the Spurs simply don’t need that as an incentive , what they actually need to do is to come out and play a meaningful game and series as if their very lives depended on it .

The 2011 NBA Playoffs have brought us a great deal of thrills and spills , and I must say that while I’d expected some controversy in terms of the officiating it has to be said the surprises if any, have come from the fact that certain teams we’re thought to have favored haven’t played anywhere near their true potential . And that has either been due to them either playing inconsistently or more to the fact that the lesser seeded teams in these playoffs have played well above their potential . It now remains to be seen how things will actually pan out for the teams and their loyal fans who have become engrossed in the NBA’s showcase event _ the playoffs as a precursor to the NBA Finals itself .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What series if anything in the first round of the playoffs has been of interest to you ? And how do you see the series between Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs ultimately ending ? Simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts on this piece and the NBA postseason as you now see it.

* NB Is there an NBA team in the state of Texas that actually has a backbone ? The Spurs are in turmoil in their series . The Dallas Mavericks in allowing the Portland Trailblazers to erase a twenty three  point deficit in game four of their series shows us why this Mavericks’ team is simply softer than a roll of Charmin tissue paper ! Mark Cuban you’ve been Punk’d bitch !

As for the heroics of Brandon Roy , it was truly exemplary ! The Houston Rockets having chosen not to seek the return of Rick Adelman  next season are now without an NBA coach . As to who Adelman’s successor will be it remains to be seen but team GM Daryl Morey will be seeking a quality oriented coach who knows how to get the best out of a young team and its players .

Alan aka tophatal ………………….. Picture and slide show details below . ——————————————————————————————————

(1) MEMPHIS, TN – APRIL 23: Zach Randolph (50) of the Memphis Grizzlies celebrates with a little dance after defeating the San Antonio Spurs in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 23, 2011 at FedExForum  in Memphis, Tennessee. Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE /Getty Images …..

(2) Darrell Arthur of the Memphis Grizzlies against the San Antonio Spurs in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 25, 2011 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. The Grizzlies defeated the Spurs 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the best of seven series . Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images………

(3) Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) drives against San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9), of France, during the second half of Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball series on Monday, April 25, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. Conley led the Grizzlies with 15 points and Parker led the Spurs with 23 points. The Grizzlies won 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. AP Photo/Lance Murphey  …………

(4) Memphis Grizzlies forward Leon Powe  (7) grabs a rebound in front of San Antonio Spurs forward DeJuan Blair (45) and Daniel Green (4) during the second half of Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball series on Monday, April 25, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. The Grizzlies won 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. Behind Powe are San Antonio Spurs forward Steve Novak (23) and Memphis Grizzlies center Hamed Haddadi (15), of Iran. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …..

(5) Trying to instill confidence ? Maybe . San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan, center, talks with his teammates during the second half of Game 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies in a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Monday, April 25, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. The Grizzlies won 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …….

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NBA News

Sunday’s playoff schedule

Monday’s playoff schedule

San Antonio Spurs news

Memphis Grizzlies news

NBA Playoffs 2011 .

All the series latest news and results NBA Postseason Stats at a glance NBA Stats Year 2010-11

(a) NBA Standings (Conference) (b) NBA Standings ( Division) NBA Statistics

Offense —— Defense

Player stats …… Regular season Scoring

Double doubles

Assists

Rebounds

Free Throws

Dumb , Dumber And Dumbest …………

Dumb , Dumber And Dumbest …………

Broke, devoid of creativity and ideas , I guess that could best describe the Congress , Senate and Barack Obama’s first two years in office and the performance of his Cabinet overall ! But no this piece isn’t about but that but the continued mediocrity of the Minnesota Vikings and in part that of the New York Knicks . But before I delve further into the sporting topic of the day I’d like to continue on the path of idiocy of the nation’s politics at present . Is anyone of the opinion that both the FAA ( Federal Aviation Administration) and Department of Transportation can be trusted to allay the fears of the public as it concerns air traffic safety when we’re being informed of air traffic controllers falling asleep in the control towers when there are flight departing arriving from the nation’s regional and major international departure airports ? Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says … ‘ the situation can no longer can be tolerated and that there will be much stricter enforcement as well as an adoption of new rules as it relates to working hours of the air traffic controllers on all shifts’ . Am I missing something here ? But in light of the volume of travellers that take to the air each year , that figure is approximately 500 million passengers flown domestically and internationally within US air space I find LaHood’s words of little comfort !

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As many of you may well have been aware several incidents have come to light in the past few weeks where there have been multiple mistakes due to fatigue and human error by air traffic controllers . Consider this also in a recent domestic travel of First Lady Michelle Obama’s flight into Andrews Air Force Base had a near miss with a military cargo transport plane as both were in close proximity of each other . The C 137 was less than three miles from that of the flight carrying the first lady which had to be delayed in its landing while allowing the military cargo transporter to land . Aviation rules call for planes of such size to be no more than no less than 5 miles apart when in flight and close proximity of each other during pre landing rules. This error concerning this incident wasn’t down to the military air traffic controllers but again due to the lax attitude shown by several controllers at a regional airport in Maryland who’d mistakenly allowed both planes into the same air traffic lane and space . Needless to say though there wasn’t a serious mishap the situation could have been much graver . Consider this also what might have been the domestic and international political fallout had the President been on board and Air Force One collided with that military transport plane ? Suffice to say that the country would be in turmoil and we’d be talking about this tragedy and questioning why it happened .

Given the season that the Minnesota Vikings had in 2010 and the ineptitude shown by the team with Brett Favre under the helm is it any wonder why that the team’s season flamed out the way that it did ? Having posted a mediocre 6-10 record within the NFC North any hopes that Brad Childress’ had of making the postseason before his abrupt firing went the way of Favre with a whimper . Childress was succeeded by Leslie Frazier but the team’s improvement as such can be best described as being marginal . With Favre being forced to sit out several games down the latter part of the season it was left to his backup Joe Webb to provide the team with any impetus that there was to be had .

In light of what Leslie Frazier and his coaching staff now has to work with in terms of the quarterbacks available to him on the Vikings’ roster , names such as Webb , Rhett Bomar , Tarvaris Jackson and Patrick Ramsey can either be viewed as journeymen or essentially players that can be relied upon to be good during practice but you simply wouldn’t want on an NFL field during a regular season game unless it was under dire circumstances . That being said if as is being rumored the Vikings front office led by Director of Player George Paton assisted by Rick Spielman are said to be seriously interested in seeing whether or not seasoned NFL veteran Donovan McNabb would indeed be a good fit for this team . Pardon me for saying this but McNabb’s best years are indeed behind him and even when he showed faint glimmers of his skillset at its best , it wasn’t as productive as one would have thought. OK, so he was playing on a Washington Redskins’ team that on a good day couldn’t sniff a out win in the NFL if they were handed a three touchdown lead with less than five minutes left in a game as they’d somehow find a way of fu_king things up , completely ! The fact that the team was coached by Mike Shanahan with his son Kyle as the Redskins’ offensive coordinator may well have a had a great deal to do with it . But in some respects much of the blame had to be laid at the feet of McNabb as well !

From my own perspective I think that Vikings’ owner Zygi Wilf is caught between a rock and a hard place knowing that this team greatly underachieved over the past two seasons , each time when the team was considered amongst the favorites for the Superbowl . Wilf’s will to win is only exceeded by the dire need for the Vikings’ organization to try and lure Minnesota State Legislature to pass a legislative proposal to pay for a new stadium for the organization replacing what Wilf and his co-executives feels is an archaic and out of date facility in the Metrodome (Mall of America Field) in Minneapolis , Minnesota. At an estimated cost of between $600- $800 million the proposed new venue for the team would be paid for largely in part through a bond issue and state funds at the state residents’ expense . Needless to say with the state now facing a budget deficit any such proposal within the legislature is now being placed on the backburner . Albeit that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy could assist the Vikings in their endeavor by loaning them part of the costs to aid in the building of such a facility . But as of now the NFL lockout very much takes precedence over any such problems that the Vikings are said to facing on or off the field.

I can’t possibly see what advantage that there would in the Vikings acquiring McNabb as a free agent when they already have four quarterbacks on the team’s depth chart . But it either shows us that the Vikings are in such dire straits and the fact that Leslie Frazier has no implicit faith any of the quartertabcks on the roster. That being said Joe Webb was able to show that under the right set of circumstances that he’s quite capable of <l leading this team. But herein lies the caveat as it relates to the Vikings , as potent an offense as they’re said to have their defense had become porous and indeed an aging one that had showed signs of deterioration throughout much of last season . If the team is show signs of improvement this upcoming season should there be one then there choices will have to reflect bolstering their defensive line and looking via free agency to add any other pieces that they deem suitable to their needs . I certainly don’t believe that adding McNabb to this roster would make them any better given what I’ve seen from this team over the last two seasons !

The upcoming NFL Draft set to take commence on the 28th April , 2011 , being staged at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City , New York . And with the Vikings having the twelfth pick in the first round , eleventh pick in the second round (43rd overall) there’s bound to be an abundances of choices and picks that can be made I feel that can be envisaged being made by the Vikings organization ! I certainly don’t believe it prudent either for the team to take a quarterback in the first round no matter how good they’re presumed to be when it’s clear to see that the team’s immediate needs have more to do with its defense than anything else ! But whatever the choices that are to be made by the organization one can only presumed that it will be done in order to bolster their competitive needs and requirements .

So the New York Knicks are said to be relevant once again having made the postseason . And having to face the third seeded Boston Celtics , their task hasn’t now been made any easier with the fact that they now have to overcome a 2-0 deficit against the Celtics . That being said Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire have stepped up to the plate in leading the team into the postseason . But as good as this team is no doubt perceived to be , there remains flaws that coach Mike DAntoni has failed to address or quite possibly he and his coaching staff are actually too ignorant and unwilling to address . And that is the very fact that the Knicks simply cannot play any form of resolute defense . It has been one of the many flaws on this Knicks’ team that has and will ultimately need to their downfall should they not come to the conclusion that this situation needs to be addressed !

Throughout much of the regular season the New York Knicks struggled to make their presence felt . And even having made the playoffs as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference you simply knew that they’d have their work cut out for them no matter which of the top four teams that they would have to face in the playoffs. If anything their 42-40 record reflected greatly where they sat in the pecking order of the Eastern Conference. Albeit that their fans undoubtedly feels that their record doesn’t justify their actually competitiveness as a team within the NBA . I do believe that most Knicks’ fans under the misapprehension that this team is far better than their regular season record reflects .

At this juncture when the series resumes at Madison Square Garden the Knicks will be hard pressed to not only try and derail Doc Rivers’ team but I believe that they would very well bow out of the first round of the playoffs in the most decisive of ways and that’s quite possibly being swept by the Boston Celtics . Game two saw the Celtics eke out a three point victory (96-93 ) even with the advent of with a 42 point offensive output coming from Carmelo Anthony who was ably assisted by Toney Douglas . But as I’ve alluded to earlier in this piece if you’re coach and his staff aren’t prepared to ingrain it into the players that they’ve got to play defense then you’re bound and will be doomed for failure !
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Game three and it’s all to play for and with that raucous home crowd to be found at MSG showing their support for the home team . One would expect for the Knicks to rise to the occasion with the fervent support of their fans . But I do know this , if they continue to allow the Celtics to dictate the pace and rhythm of this game and series then they will end up losing it all too decisively . They have to play defense and negate the perimeter shooting of Ray Allen and Paul Pierce in particular . And needless to say it’d also help if they were able to put a damn body on Rajon Rondo , rather than allowing him to continue to run wild being the architecture of much of the Celtics’ play and offense . I kind of get the impression that these minute details seems to have escaped not only the Knicks’ players but also their dumb and lame assed coaching staff ! .
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Picture gallery for your perusal .

To your mind do you believe that the Minnesota Vikings would be making an immense mistake in acquiring Donovan McNabb as a free agent at this point of his career ? Or do you believe that he can still offer the team something by way of his veteran leadership and in some form still be productive ? Moreover which of the quarterbacks on the Vikings squad is best equipped to lead this team should they not sign McNabb ? And what thoughts if any do you have on the outcome of the playoff series between the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks ? Simply leave a comments as to your thoughts on each of the topics raised within this piece .

Alan aka tophatal ……..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House regarding support for infrastructure development October 11, 2010 in Washington, DC. Obama was joined by members of his administration and members of local governments around the nation including (L-R) former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (far right). Getty Images / Win McNamee ……….

(2) Obama Departs White House For Columbus Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (L) talks with U.S. President Barack Obama as they walk across the South Lawn before departing the White House aboard Marine One June 18, 2010 in Washington, DC. Obama is traveling to Columbus, Ohio, to mark the 10,000 road construction project paid for by the Recovery Act getting underway in downtown Columbus. Chip Smodevilla / Getty Images North America …….

(3) Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) is tackled by Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90), linebacker Bobby Carpenter (59) and defensive tackle Corey Williams (99) during the first quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. The Lions would go on to defeat the Vikings 20-3 AP Photo/Carlos Osorio …….

(4) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre (4) comes out of the tunnel before an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday , Jan. 2, 2011. AP Photo/Rick Osentoski ………

(5) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joe Webb (14) looks downfield during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) ……

(6) Donovan McNabb (5) of the Washington Redskins greets DeSean Jackson (10) of the Philadelphia Eagles prior to their game on October 3, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jim McIsaac / Getty Images ……..

(7) Head Coach Mike Shanahan (R) of the Washington Redskins talks with his son Kyle Shanahan (L) offensive coordinator for the team during Redskins training camp on August 6, 2010 in Ashburn, Virginia. …

(8) In this photo taken Tuesdauy, April 19, 2011, Boston Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal , far left, whistles from the bench during the first quarter against the New York Knicks in Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Boston. Celtics head coach Doc Rivers announced Wednesday, April 20, that O’Neal will miss his third straight playoff game with a right calf injury when they meet the Knicks on Friday night in Game 3. AP Photo/Elise Amendola ……….

(9) BOSTON, MA – APRIL 19: Ray Allen(20) of the Boston Celtics shoots a three point basket against the New York Knicks in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 96-93 Getty Images /Elsa Martinez ……..

(10) Carmelo Anthony(7) of the New York Knicks tries to shoot over Jermaine O’Neal (7) of the Boston Celtics in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 96-93. Getty Images/ Elsa Martinez ……

(11) Toney Douglas (23) of the New York Knicks tries to pass as Rajon Rondo(9) of the Boston Celtics defends in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 96-93. Elsa Martinez/ Getty Images ………

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NFL News

Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings front office

Minnesota Vikings roster

Minnesota Vikings’ coaching staff

Minnesota Vikings’ 2011 Draft order

Minnesota Vikings 2011 schedule

NBA News

NBA Playoffs 2011

NBA Playoff Picture team draws

Boston Celtics — vs New York Knicks’ playoff series

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of NBA.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

Alan aka tophatal …………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NBA News

NBA Officials …… (Referees)

NBA Hierarchy

NBA Team Statistics (Team by Team Stats)

NBA Standings Season Finale (Conference)

Standings by Division

NBA Team Statistics Defense

NBA Team Statistics Offense

NBA Playoff Matchups

Eastern Conference

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

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

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

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

Western Conference

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

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

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

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

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Have You Had Your Dose Of The NBA Today ?

Have You Had Your Dose Of The NBA Today ?

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

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

Courtesy of NBA.com news

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

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

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

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

Not gonna happen this season.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

Picture and slide show details below as a guide .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NB NBA News & views

NBA Schedule

NBA Trade transactions

Wednesday night schedule

Thursday night schedule

Friday night schedule

Saturday’s schedule

Sunday’s schedule

Milwaukee Bucks @ New York Knicks

😛

Alan aka tophatal ………………………

🙂

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

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Guy ……………………… “Let’s Chill”

“Groove Me”Feel Me”
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If at all interested take time to participate in the poll ?

All Star ? Is This American Idol ?

All Star ? Is This American Idol ?

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

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Slide show for your perusal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture and slide show details …………….

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

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

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

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

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

NB

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

NBA News

NBA Scores & results …..

NBA schedule

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

NBA Team Stats

NBA Player Stats

NBA All Star ballots

Alan aka tophatal …………………………………

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

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Karmen

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

What’s not to like ?

Karmen  Sutra

Bootylicious !

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

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It’s Now Phil’s World And The Rest of The NBA Are Simply Just Living In It ….

It’s Now Phil’s World And The Rest of The NBA Are Simply Just Living In It ….

Well the NBA __ season is just around the corner and the Los Angeles Lakers/” will soon begin its quest to win its seventeenth NBA title. In doing so it’d equal the tally attained by the Lakers most heated rivals the Boston Celtics. In saying that also should Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson win what will be his twelfth title as a coach . And having surpassed Red Auerbach’s total of ten titles as a coach. That being said Jackson’s legacy as a coach and across the panoramic landscape of sports has been set. And if he’s not one of the most beloved coaches in all sports it says a great deal that finally Jackson is now attaining the respect that he so rightfully deserves. Before the criticism was that Jackson has only coached and won with superstars. Well this time around Jackson in his last two triumphs has won with merely Kobe Bryant and a complimentary supporting cast .

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Slide show for your perusal.

While on paper that Lakers’ team may not look all that impressive other than Bryant’s name being already circled in . You do get the impression that players such as Bryant, Derek Fisher , Pau Gasol , Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum have simply loved the experience of being part of this most revered coach’s legacy. Phil Jackson’s contemporaries such as Pat Riley and Gregg Popovich may well be viewed as charismatic and deferential . But now at the end of it all no one can deny the achievements this triumvirate. Over the course of their tenured careers within the NBA these three have won 19 NBA titles between them.

My own feeling this upcoming season is that the Los Angeles Lakers are most definitely the team to beat _____like it or not. OK so “Hollywood” has come to “South Beach” with the much heralded move of LeBron James and Chris Bosh to the Miami Heat where they’ve joined Dwyane Wade and Pat Riley as team President , as the club looks to win its second NBA title . And with the thinking that the Heat will be the presumptive favorites within the Eastern Conference and an odds on certainty to win the title outright. I certainly do believe that while there might be some justification in that there’s no reason to think that the Heat will have this season all to themselves. As good as that triumvirate will no doubt be the supporting cast most definitely have to contribute greatly if the Heat are indeed to succeed. The challenges for the Heat within the Eastern Conference will come from the likes of the Orlando Magic , Boston Celtics , Chicago Bulls and quite possibly the Atlanta Hawks if they can actually believe in themselves.

Stan Van Gundy and the Orlando Magic to my mind in terms of their window of opportunity I truly believe it is quickly closing . Dwight Howard , Vince Carter and the supporting cast (team) continually disappoint. For a team that was built to win the past two seasons Howard if anything has been an utter disappointment and the coaching prowess of Stan Van Gundy has come into question. If Van Gundy can’t guide this team back to another run deep into the NBA playoffs then my view is that GM Otis Smith may well have to rethink his view that the team is built for an NBA championship run and title. If the team simply isn’t good enough and the idiocy of the local writers within the market who cover the team simply have no idea as to what is they’re watching as they continually try and sell the fans a ‘bill of worthless goods’. Power forward Rashard Lewis rarely can put together a series of competitive minded games and the physical aspects of his game is so limited. It’s almost as if he’s gun-shy and scared to attack the low post and rim but yet Van Gundy continues to stand by a player who’s somewhat lazy and often at times lethargic in his play. In Carter you now have an aging veteran whose best days are behind him and if nothing else the explosiveness which once signified his game is no longer there.

All Star center Dwight Howard either wants to be an NBA caliber center or the “class clown”. I’ll best leave it for you all to decide as my own opinion of Howard is that he’s a player who still has a great deal to learn about this game and what it takes to apply one’s self to that specific task.

The Celtics and Bulls could prove to be problematic for the Heat and I do believe that although the Celtics have added both Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal to their roster that already has Ray Allen , Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce . I think that the Doc Rivers’ coached team will face an uphill task in making to at least the Eastern Conference semi-finals. And while this team can only go as far as Garnett can take them much of the team’s play I do think will be predicated upon the performances of Rajon Rondo throughout the season and beyond. The Bulls given their performances of last season we saw the maturity of Derrick Rose , Joakim Noah and with the addition of Carlos Boozer from the Utah Jazz via free agency. If the Bulls can get off to a great start and continue show improvement on the form they showed last year then I do believe that they could prove to be a team contend with , within the conference.

The Hawks are an enigma wrapped up within a conundrum and as a team I just can’t understand how it is that they ended up as the number three seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs last season . While the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic were deemed to be the immovable force within the playoffs. The Hawks made their way to the postseason and then had the proverbial meltdown in the playoffs and never got beyond the second round . And while I believe that a team can simply learn from their experiences in order to make themselves better I’m not so sure that the Atlanta Hawks have actually learned enough wherein they can actually make it beyond the first round of this season’s playoffs , should they even get there.

Now as I alluded to earlier within this the Western Conference it will be all about the Los Angeles Lakers and whomever amongst the teams there who visibly have the will to take them down. Teams such as the Oklahoma City Thunder , Phoenix Suns , Denver Nuggets , San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks would all like to think that they’re in with a chance of usurping the Lakers. The added advantage however is in the fact that the Lakers possess Phil Jackson as their coach and with his postseason experience which is unmatched by any of his contemporaries so how can you simply bet against him ? Percentage of postseason victories and victories themselves are amongs the highest in NBA history and let’s not forger also those eleven NBA titles as a coach.

The Thunder could well be a team given their maturity and the play of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook __ this is a team that seems intent on making their presence known this season . And given the year long growth for this team last season their fans fully expect them to make improvements on last year. It would not surprise me at all to see this team fully make the playoffs as one of the top four teams claiming a playoff spot this upcoming season. I fully expect this team to upset the applecart amongst the top tiered teams within the Western Conference.

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Picture gallery for your perusal. By clicking a frame you can view that frame in its original formatted size.

What thoughts if any do you have on the career of Phil Jackson ? And what if any are your hopes as to the upcoming season within the NBA ?

NB: Below are news and views as well as the NBA itinerary for the season.

Miami Heat roster ….

Los Angeles Lakers’ roster …

Click here for NBA news

NBA schedule

😦

Alan aka tophatal ………………. 🙂

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Miss-Issa

Eye candy vocalist Miss Issa courtesy of Lowridermagazine.com

Sex Shouldn’t Be Less Important Than Sports …………. Confessions of A Sports Junkie And Couch Potato


Sex Shouldn’t Be Less Important Than Sports …………. Confessions of A Sports Junkie And Couch Potato


Well the NBA Finals for this season has reached its last hurdle and at the end of tonight’s game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. We will either be crowning a new NBA champion or the the Los Angeles Lakers will have successfully defended their title in defeating Boston Celtics . Momentum is with the Lakers and in all likelihood should they prevail then Kobe Bryant will have won his second successive finals’ MVP award . This much we do know however, as good as these finals have been in terms of the Nielsens’ ratings . The series itself, can’t exactly be described as having been exciting and especially not in the mould of the old Celtics , Lakers finals’ series of old that you watching Bird and Magic go at each other with it all on the line .

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Slide show for your perusal .

The series is now tied at (3-3) three games apiece and both coaches Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers will be looking to add to their own legacies as well as that of their respective teams . And the feeling now being purveyed around the league is that this just might be the last hurrah for Jackson after an astonishing coaching career. Rivers has widely expressed the fact that he’d like to take a year’s Sabbatical away from the game to be with his family , given the undue pressures of the game . And in many respects that is more than understandable.



What we do know concerning both of these coaches each different in so many ways . It is that they both have a healthy respect for the game and that their players have a healthy respect and an unbounded loyalty to both Jackson and Rivers. Both men are also respected by their peers around the league and no doubt by the vast majority of NBA fans.


At this juncture I’m sure that it’s safe to say that there’s bound to be a bi-coastal bias as well as that “East Coast” “West Coast” supremacy thing in terms of who we’d like to see win this series. Well thankfully , this isn’t wrapped around the inane stupidity shown between the rival coasts when it comes to rap music. But then again I’m sure that there are a few Celtics and Lakers’ fans who’d like to bust “a cap” in each others’ ass ! And given the degree of animosity that there’s said to be between the two sets of fans. I’m wondering why it is that we’ve never seen any violence between the two groups ?


If tonight’s game is expected to go as I deem it might , then I do feel that the Celtics will come gunning right out of the gates expecting to take the Lakers off-guard ! If they are able to do that solidly throughout four thoroughly competitive quarters. Then I would expect the Celtics to prevail ! If not then look for Kobe Bryant to put on an offensive display like only he can in the game today. Don’t get me wrong I do feel that Bryant is the best all-round player in the game today ! And though LeBron James has been anointed by the NBA writers as the league’s MVP . It’s not even close between the two when it comes to showing leadership qualities and that zeal to win. LeBron plays to his public whereas, Bryant is a cold blooded assassin ! His mantra is , fu_k you get out of my way or I’ll run your ass over. LeBron hasn’t even learned how to spell those words as of yet. Plus he’s still probably psychologically damaged from knowing that his mother has been having sex with one of his teammates.


At the culmination of tonight’s series a lot questions will be answered about both of these teams and the ultimate directions that they’re said to be going in. A triumph for the Lakers and another storied chapter will have been written concerning one of the teams most beloved franchises. A triumph for the Celtics and in all probability comparisons will have begun to be made about Kevin Garnett , Ray Allen and Paul Pierce to Bird , McHale and Parish . The latter triumvirate who had unparalleled in winning multiple championships for the Boston Celtics.


It’s the height of summer and thankfully the chatter concerning Brett Favre continues to be light. However, the NSA in conjunction ESPN have been monitoring the player’s every move. If he so much as takes a sh_t outside his abode then you can expect the cable outlet to report it. What would the life of Mark Schlereth and Chris Mortensen be like without them regaling us with the latest snippet there is on the player , bowel movements included ? Chris Mortensen reports that Brett Favre was seen leaving an I-Hop where he was seen having the lunch special before leaving for the men’s room and then returning to finish his meal. Upon inspection of the cubicle used Mortensen was able to ascertain that his fecal matter stank and that his urine was indeed yellow. These things and more will be brought to you courtesy of ESPN and Mortensen. They go after these type of stories with a real zeal and fervor. After all that is what good journalism is meant to be about isn’t it ? Well in the eyes of ESPN this is purportedly good journalism. Only marginally better than that of the other noted news gathering agencies CNN and Fox News . But that’s a story for another day .


And that same zeal is now being used to report Tiger Woods’ every move this week, as he embarks upon trying to win his fourth US Open (17th_20th June) which this week is being held at Pebble Golf & CC in Pebble Beach , California. Woods’ sternest and staunchest test will come in the guise of his closest competitor in the world rankings ,__ Phil Mickelson . And having won The Masters at Augusta National , Mickelson will be looking to win his second major of the season . In doing so he’d edge closer if not supplant Woods at the top of the world rankings. And given Woods’ poor play this season there’s every reason to believe that the player will struggle to recapture the form that vaulted him the top of world golf rankings. Woods’ off the course problems have provided more news for the sports pages and news in general than anything that he’s strived to achieve on a golf course this season. And when you know that something like that is happening to a player Woods’ stature then you can be sure that there is indeed something seriously wrong.



As to whether Woods can pull himself out of this rut, wherein not only are the fans now questioning his abilities as to his return to form. But some are even wondering whether or not we’ll ever see him win another major tournament not only for this year but also as a way to ease the stress and burden which he now finds himself. Many of you are already aware as to what brought about Tiger Woods’ amazing fall from grace. Now the player is trying to reinvent himself and repair that tattered image. One way of actually getting many of the fans back on his side would be to have a very good showing at Pebble Beach and quite possibly winning the tournament. But his struggles mirror that of his unwillingness to be held accountable for his actions and speak openly as to his underlying issues. And until he’s that open then his struggles will continue manifest itself with continually poor play on the course and in the tournaments entered. Sunday’s culmination of the event shoul be enough to tell us a great deal about what’s now still happening with Tiger Woods.


As an expat Brit now residing here in Central Florida , I’ve got to admit that I’ve looked forward to and relished the start of the World Cup in South Africa. As an avid fan of the sport and a staunch supporter of England . I was expecting a great deal more than I’ve now witnessed from the team in their opening game in Group C against the USA . Suffice to say that this may well be the poorest team ever sent to represent the nation at the World Cup. Coach Fabio Capello looks as if he’d assembled the team by using a pin and merely sticking the said instrument down a list of names offered to him by a blind man !


About the only thing that one can say about the team’s performance in eking out a 1-1 tie against the USA , was that the performance was about an inept a showing as one would expect from a team that played without any pride or passion. A loss or another poor showing and this team might as well pack their bags and take the first flight home back to the UK. And it certainly hasn’t helped their situation in knowing that Slovenia the sole winners within the group were able to defeat Algeria in their first opening match 1-0 . Goals, a victory , productivity and team cohesion are certainly things that the England team is finding it hard to come by. And most certainly a lack of leadership from an authoritative figure on the team.


And where we to ask Capello who in fact is meant to be the leader on this team I seriously doubt that he could point to one player and unequivocally say that this player was in fact the the leader on the team. One would be hard pressed to believe him and anything he’d be saying. He knows that the press and fans alike are extremely unhappy with the team’s play. And it hasn’t helped that he’s stuck steadfastly by the poor performance of goalkeeper Robert Green after his inexplicable “gaffe” in the game against the USA. What’s even more asinine is to read the explanation of bloggers who are supporters of England writing within this forum , explain this all away as an unfortunate mistake by the keeper in letting Clint Dempsey’s shot completely evade him. Let’s put it this way, the velocity of the shot from Dempsey was so innocuous that a child on a tricycle could’ve sped past it !


Now with the impending Group C games set to resume as of the 18th June with England meeting Algeria and the USA meeting Slovenia . The outcome of both games could have a bearing as to which of the two teams could quite possibly face elimination in the first round of the World Cup. So high have the stakes now become for both England and the USA that it simply doesn’t bear thinking about should either team be eliminated at such an an early juncture when so much more had been expected.

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Picture gallery for your perusal.


Well these were the mere scribblings of an avid sport’s fan who loves his sports passionately but most certainly loves sex a great deal more. Couch potato or not when duty call this one hombre` who drops the remote and answers the call of the carnal pleasures most avidly and passionately. So what’s your excuse then ? Chime on in with a comment as usual . And as of now I’m chiming out . Boom shack-a-lacka homies !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………………………..


Dre Dre ….. feat’g Snoop Dogg …………….Ain’t Nuthin’ But G Thang