Whining gets you nowhere when you want to feel good about your team, especially when you realize they’re on the decline

Whining gets you nowhere when you want to feel good about your team, especially when you realize they’re on the decline

As the NBA season has yet to get into full swing there are now a number of situations beginning to unwind concerning the frailities of a number of teams. In something of a debate, but though a little contentious , a patron on a site suggested that the Dallas Mavericks, a perennial contender was perhaps one of the best franchises in the NBA. All true, as the Mavericks have indeed won an NBA Final where Dirk Nowitzki won the Finals’ MVP in leading the team in a surprising victory over what was then an overrated Miami Heat team led by LeBron James.

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Mark Cuban , the always none too shy, self publicity seeking owner of the Dallas Mavericks, as ever opinionated makes the statement he would like to see the Oklahoma City Thunder “tank” their season . With two of their most senior and best players sidelined by injuries , Oklahoma has made do without both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. I get the feeling, Cuban sees this as the best opportunity for the Mavericks to gain a postseason berth because his team has very little chance of winning what has always been a very competitive Southwest Division within the Western Conference.

Off to a 4-3 start to the season Rick Carlisle and his coaching staff will certainly know this will almost certainly be Dirk Nowitzki’s last season in a Mavericks’ uniform. The center’s career with the franchise has indeed made him the face of the Mavericks during his tenure and a likely Hall of Fame inductee having met the eligibility requirements. Nowitzki leads the team in many of the relevant statistical categories which matter the most .

Coming off a 105-96 loss to the Miami Heat where Monta Ellis led the scoring drive for the Mavericks in this contest. Nowitzki had a solid all-round game but not one where you could state he made a difference with the result. The flaws on the Mavericks are there to be seen, with their being very little resilience from this team with regard to theirdefensive capabilities. Dallas may well be able to outscore their opponents, but clearly defensively , the team cannot defend when a game is on the line and it will continue to be the ‘Achilles’ Heel’ for the Dallas Mavericks.

Next up for Dallas will be the opportunity for the team to gauge themselves against DeMarcus Cousins and a good Sacramento Kings’ team looking to make a clear statement they are ready to compete with the very best the conference and NBA has to offer this season.

DeMarcus Cousins is now growing into his own as a player , albeit, his stature is not where it should be for a player with a great deal of talent and who has repeatedly failed to show the maturity sought by the Kings’ coaching staff and front office and team owner Vivek Ranadive .

You certainly don’t need to be a rocket scientist to realize the New York Knicks are struggling in the NBA this season. Head of Basketball Operations & SVP Phil Jackson was induced to return to the franchise where he made a name for himself as a player and won an NBA title with the franchise . This season the Knicks have been anything but consistent as the team led by Carmelo Anthony seeks to get over their early struggles. A six-point loss , 91-85 to the Atlanta Hawks was the Knicks’ third consecutive defeat suffered by team as they fall to 2-6 within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.

New York cajoled and plead with Carmelo Anthony to remain with the Knicks, on the premise they would build a competitive lineup to complement his talents as a player and the New York Knicks’ leading scorer this season. It is pretty much safe to say the Knicks are failing miserably and thought their year is somewhat of a microcosm of what was witnessed last year doesn’t provide the fans with a great deal of confidence. While attendance at Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York remains healthy , you have to wonder at what point these fans are likely voice their displeasure with the team and the coaching staff of Derek Fisher.

The Knicks if they are to succeed, in spite of the belief of their fans that this season could be the year where they are primed to make a deep playoff run in pursuit of their first NBA title in over four decades. Derek Fisher in his first season as a rookie head coach must be wondering if his mentor Phil Jackson ever had these type of struggles at any point during his career. Other than Carmelo Anthony there is not a bona-fide superstar on the Knicks’ roster. Amare’ Stoudemire is on the downside of a rather disappointing career , along with a thirty-seven year old Argentinian guard Pablo Prigioni , JR Smith, Andrea Bargnani and Samuel Dalembert are seen as the mainstays of this Knicks’ team. Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher know there are teething problems concerning the New York Knicks and their next five games will tell us a great deal about the franchise and the inner workings of the organization owned by James Dolan .

With a net worth of over $1.2 billion the New York Knicks remain the most valuable NBA franchise in spite of the exorbitant price of $2 billion paid by Steve Ballmer in his purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers . While Ballmer strives to make the Clippers a more recognized brand around the league, the Knicks have no such worries , with the franchise perhaps one of the most recognizable names in the NBA and one of the most revered sports’ franchises in North America . The Orlando Magic will be the guests of the New York Knicks on Wednesday when the two teams meet in the first of the scheduled meetings this season. Ballmer has seen the Clippers get off to an indifferent start with a 4-3 mark , seated fourth within the Pacific Division of the Western Conference 1 1/2 games behind division leaders the Golden State Warriors (5-1).

In their most recent game the Los Angeles Clippers’ fall to the San Antonio Spurs, where the reigning champions witnessed the trio of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker combine for their five hundredth victory together as teammates. A singular feat , likely to go down in history but not necessarily lauded by the print and television media where even the NBA Network have been slow to laud the feat , but the network’s constant obeisance and ass kissing of the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks have become bile inducing beyond anyone’s scope and comprehension. Doc Rivers has his own trio of stars with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan laying swath to their opponents this season, but the real issue, has to be , can the coach get his team playing defense with a great deal more resilience ?

In the aftermath of the Donald Sterling fiasco the Los Angeles Clippers have shown they are ready to move on and put that lamentable chapter behind them . Unfortunately, were it not for the incompetency of the hierarchy’s handling of the issue , this matter might not have been so prolonged and a complete embarrassment to the league. As the Clippers’ ascent continues the fast spiraling descent of the Los Angeles Lakers continues abound.To date , Kobe Bryant has yet to show his anger or direct his angst towards his teammates or front office executives Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak who in recent years have blundered with their acquisition of free agents and through a number of their recent draft classes .

Bryant as a multi- time time All Star has seen the Los Angeles Lakers’ season flounder with the loss of Steve Nash and rookie Julius Randle. Add in the fact head coach Byron Scott and the coaching staff are struggling to find their best lineup much get something from the roster in terms of depth . The Lakers got their first victory of the season with a 102-97 win over the Charlotte Hornets in game where Kobe Bryant and Jeremy Lin led all scorers for the Lakers in the contest and for the Hornets , Michael Kidd-Gilchrist leading the way for the for the visiting team. I am not so sure Bryant will be able to pull the Lakers out of their current abyss, not with a team that seems to lack a competitive edge and nature . Nonetheless , it will be interesting how they fare over remainder of the month and then throughout December as the NBA season gets into the heart of its schedule.

As the youngest League MVP in NBA history the Chicago Bulls’ (6-2) point guard Derrick Rose has seen his career take a meteoric trajectory . Rose at his very best happens to be one of the most electrifying players in the league and almost certainly among the top-five point guards playing the game today. The issue however, remains keeping Rose healthy where he can play an entire season for this team . Without him the Bulls tend to struggle as does provide the bulk of the team’s offense . Head coach Tom Thibodeau knows Rose remains the one asset , his team can do without and though over the past two postseasons the Bulls had admirable runs , those failures can point to the fact they were without their best player.

Chicago’s 6-2 mark is one of the best in the Eastern Conference and one of the best in the entire league . GM John Paxson was heavily criticized last season with the trading of Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers , but Deng now finds himself as the centerpiece of a revamped Miami Heat roster in the aftermath of the departure of LeBron James. The Bulls do not seemed to have missed a beat and their play this season has been scintillating at times , leading me to believe they might provide the biggest threat to the Cavaliers and James’ quest to bring an NBA title to Cleveland this season , which would be to the delight of team owner Dan Gilbert . James will be looking to add to his legacy and that of the Cleveland Cavaliers .

If there is one sport where the players feel theirs is a right to entitlement, the world of professional basketball would be it. Where else can the players be rewarded so highly , while leaving their peers within the NFL , and hockey its wake ? The demented lunacy that continues to exist within Major League Baseball (MLB) and the imbalances to be seen from a financial aspect , has me wondering how soon before that particular ” House of Cards” begins to fall ?

The NBA hides behind the idiocy of a “soft ” salary cap ($63.1 million) , while David Stern and his successor Adam Silver have repeatedly failed to rein in the expenses of the teams in terms of their payroll . Adam Silver as the NBA Commissioner , is not unlike Bud Selig , in his failing to address and admit his sport, has a major economic problem , even in spite of the countless, millions of dollars in annual revenues . Yes, while the burgeoning television contracts and team revenues continue to escalate , the NBA finds itself within its own personal Utopia . There still remains the question of trying to address declining viewership and in some cases the fall in attendance for teams around the league.

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Mikhail Prokorov and Paul Allen as the owners of the Brooklyn Nets and Portland Trailblazers had their teams entering this season with the highest payrolls in the NBA . Money is obviously of no issue for two of the wealthiest individuals in all of professional sports, with Prokhorov and Allen having a combined net worth exceeding $30 billion . Their teams are likely to become intertwined over the course of this season as both the Nets and Trailblazers seek to make their mark on the year. The first of their regular season meetings come on the 15th November when the Portland Trailblazers will play host to the Brooklyn Nets at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon,.

Portland will be looking to their combo of LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard to lead the way as they take on Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez of the Nets. Garnett the wily veteran of this Brooklyn team has long felt he can still be productive during the latter stages of his career. He has been as good as his word , giving given this roster some stability where it is needed and the coaching staff of Lionel Hollins have benefited from Kevin Garnett’s experience and leadership. Among active players, Garnett’s statstics weigh up favorably and it has been one of the defining points of his career with his durability and willingness to lead.

There is no denying , playing in a weak Eastern Conference does create the illusion great basketball is alive and well within the conference. In reality , nothing could be further from the truth with their being little to suggest the Eastern Conference is at all competitive . The hyperbole which surrounded the Miami Heat quickly brought a number of analysts and fans back down to earth, because they bought into the idiocy that LeBron James could carry the Heat though the postseason without really being assisted his supporting cast. When you consider the cast in question barely showed up during the NBA Finals , you have to wonder how anyone in their right mind favored the Heat , never mind the fact , they completely underestimated the San Antonio Spurs and their coach Gregg Popovich .

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Picture gallery .

With the NBA season still in its infancy , has there been an event or game which you feel is reflection of why the league remains pedantic ? Also which teams by your estimation are already in danger of seeing their season being flushed down the tubes ? Just leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site, as it is gratefully appreciated !

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Picture and slideshow gallery below .

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(1) From left to right , 2011 Finals’ MVP Dirk Bowitzki is seen alongside teammates, Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion after the Dallas Mavericks’ triumph over the Miami Heat in the series to win their first championship in the franchise’s history.. Team owner Mark Cuban has not been afraid to spend money capriciously , but with Nowitzki likely to retire from the game, it will be interesting to see the lengths GM Donnie Nelson will go to , in rebuilding the team. AP Photo / Mike Carpenter …

(2) Mark Cuban left , owner of the Dallas Mavericks is seen here with the team’s head coach Rick Carlisle . The two will have a great deal of pondering to do at the end of this season , should the Dirk Nowitzki make the decision to retire from the game and the franchise where he has spent his entire NBA career . Getty Images North America / Moses Carter ..

(3) Reigning League MVP Kevin Durant shows a great deal of humility and humbleness, as he accepts his MVP Award. Durant is currently missing from the Oklahoma City Thunder lineup due to an injury that will keep him sidelined for at least two months, hampering the team’s chances of making a successful defense of their divisional crown . Head coach Scott Brooks hopes to see Durant back in a Thunder uniform by late December or early January , Also missing from the starting lineup is point guard Russell Westbrook . The duo are two of the league’s most potent offensive players accounting for over 63% of the team’s offense this past season . AP Photo/ Larry Mason …

(4) Phil Jackson now a senior executive within the New York Knicks’ front office has been entrusted with the decision making process for all personnel moves for the franchise. The former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach hired Derek Fisher to coach the team . Off to an inauspicious start Fisher and his coaching staff will have to make good on the wishes of their fans to make the postseason for the first time in three years . At their present rate the projected wins’ total for the Knicks seems to be no more than twenty-eight games . A record , unlikely get them a berth for the NBA Playoffs based on the last two years . AP Photo / Matt Turner …

(5) Former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer is seen here with Los Angeles point guard Chris Paul , (right) at a Los Angeles Kings’ game . Ballmer purchased the Clippers for a record $2 billion , and with that an appreciation in the value of the NBA’s other twenty-nine teams is likely to take place . Getty Images North America …

(6) From left to right , Manu Ginobli, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are seen here on the bench during a game. The combo were part of the team’s lineup during which they won their five-hundredth game together as a trio. Duncan has been part of all five team triumphs in the NBA Finals with his two teammates each winning four titles . The Spurs hope to make it a sixth this upcoming season and they are off to mild start to their schedule . Head coach Gregg Popovich seeks his six title as coach and third NBA Coach of the Year Award during his illustrious career . Peter Holt and GM RC Buford have presided over the franchise’s success over the past eighteen years. AP Photo / Paul Holland ..

(7) Four-time League MVP LeBron James whose return to the Cleveland Cavaliers have seen an increase in the Cavaliers’ attendance at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland , Ohio . James for his part leads the team in the most pertinent offensive categories this season . Cleveland is seen as the leading contender for the Eastern Conference title this season and James hopes to make that a reality for the franchise. Team owner Dan Gilbert was ecstatic at the return of the player who was drafted by team and as a rookie started his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers . AP Photo / Manny Velazquez …

(8) Brooklyn Nets owner , Mikhail Prokhorov is seen here with the team’s point guard Deron Williams . Beyond his ownership of the franchise , Prokhorov owns the a majority (85%) stake, which encompasses the Nets’ venue the Barclays Center , in Brooklyn , New York and real estate enterprise surrounding the arena. AP Photo / Barry Marshall …

(9) Chicago Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose is seen on the sidelines discussing a play with head coach Tom Thibodeau during a game. The player has missed a significant number of games over thelast two seasons due to injury and already this early into Bulls’ 2014 season, Rose has once again been sidelined due to injury . AP Photo / Anglela Hart …

(10) Luol Deng (9) of the Miami Heat , who in a recent outing for the team scored a season high thirty points against the Dallas Mavericks , which the Heat won with ease against a Mavericks’ team, who showed poor defensive qualities . Deng signed with Heat after being part of a mid-season trade in during the 2013 season which saw him being dealt by the Chicago Bulls to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Signed as a free agent this off-season by the Heat , Deng has become a solid member and performer for the team this season , leading the Miami Heat to one of the best records in the Eastern Conference. Getty Images/ Matt Jones …

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Squawkers and gawkers …..

Squawkers and gawkers

Just when we all thought to be a great sports’ weekend, across the panacea of that landscape , one or two oddities , idiocies and great moments are witnessed. In the NFL , week twelve provided us with some scintillating play from the players and one or two moments of dubious firsts . Chris Long and his brother Kyle Long appear to get into what was said to be a shoving match on-field , in a game played between the Chicago Bears and St Louis Rams . Brotherly love in the NFL, may well have a new face to it, beyond the typical loves-fest between perhaps the league’s two most active and famous siblings , Peyton Manning and Eli Manning . That asides , Peyton and the Denver Broncos may well have provided us with the best game played on Sunday afternoon , as the team surrendered a twenty point lead to the New England Patriots , as Tom Brady led the Patriots in a rousing come from behind win in overtime .

A minor incident this past weekend in the NFL between Chris and Kyle Long , that in some cases set the NFL world abuzz .

With losses now suffered by the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs , the AFC has now become a wide open race with four games left to the regular season and the top two berths in the conference still up for grabs . It certainly sets the stage, for an interesting race to finish line over the four remaining games of the regular season schedule.

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Somehow, both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, are now having something of an astonishing turnaround to their respective seasons. Both teams have now sauntered to a one and three-win streak respectively, suddenly lifting themselves both, out of a position of mediocrity within their respective divisions . As to what this might suggest about the quality of the opponents faced on Sunday has to be also tempered by the quality of lack thereof now being witnessed in the NFL . No amount of enthusiasm a by a group of former NFL players , now on air analysts , singing the praises of the league’s teams , can now excuse the fact that the league has now become a rather bland product !

The Buccaneers’ 24-21 victory over a very overrated Detroit Lions’ team, says as much about the two combatants and the very fact that this Greg Schiano coached team along with their three-game win streak have now become the focus of attention , with their being a great deal of speculation as to whether or not the beleaguered head coach would in fact survive the season . As Matt Stafford continues to put up impressive annual stats , one has to now question the fact, that Jim Schwartz seems to have forgotten that defense is also very much a prerequisite in today’s NFL game.

Speaking of teams, who appear to show no desire to actually play with a model of consistency , beyond now losing with alarming regularity . Are there any remaining fantasy geeks out there, still willing to put their trust in Matt Ryan , much less the Atlanta Falcons as a team? The Falcons in their divisional contest with the New Orleans Saints , sank to a new level of mediocrity , with their fifth successive loss of the season , dropping the team to league low 2-9 record and at the bottom of the NFC South and the NFC , respectively . Who would have thought that at the beginning of the season for a team coming off a league-high 13-3 record in 2012 , along with a divisional title and having made it into the postseason ? Injuries asides , beyond the loss of Julio Jones , the Falcons are now indicating why this suggestion of their being ” parity in the NFL ” is simply nothing more than an urban legend . It comes down to coaching , but above all , talent on the field of play . Yet the hyperbole created and the notion of parity , it begs the question is this merely a matter of creating a ” water cooler topic ” to discuss all season long ? I will leave you, to be the judge of all that !

Last season’s NFC champions the San Francisco 49ers , are proving to be human after-all. Colin Kaepernick in particular , no longer impervious, has shown himself susceptible to being inconsistent in terms of his play , and what was said to be one of the league’s most stymieing secondary’s are also proving hype doesn’t necessarily allude to greatness .

. A two-game losing streak has placed the Niners in somewhat of a precarious position as the league enters the final quarter of the regular season schedule . Tonight’s , Monday night contest at Fedex Field against the Washington Redskins could to prove to be a very interesting game between these NFC rivals . A victory, is a necessity, for both teams, as each seeks to add their legitimacy as a playoff contender . To think that the Redskins, with their record of 4-7 , are not completely out of their divisional race , does seem to be mind-boggling . Yet consider the fact, that NFC East joint divisional leaders the Dallas Cowboys (6-5) and Philadelphia Eagles (6-5) are barely above.500 adds even more credibility behind the rationale , that not only has the play this season been abysmal , but the quartet of teams within this particular division are just not that good .

The return of Derrick Rose , this season to the NBA and the Chicago Bulls , was seen as a tremendous positive not only for the franchise , but also for the league itself. Barely a month , into the NBA season and the fans have witnessed the loss of the point guard to what first appeared to have been an innocuous injury. News’ updates, have suggested that Rose has a torn the meniscus cruciate ligament (MCL) in his right knee and is now likely out, for the remainder of the season. Having not appeared at all, in any games during the 2012 season , Derrick Rose , now being sidelined , is as big a blow to the Chicago Bulls as it will be for the rest of the NBA , without fans being able to witness one of the best point guards in the game , as well as one of the best players overall in the entire league. The team’s chances of making the postseason, will have diminished, but not to the extent where they are likely to be written off as a non-contender as an Eastern Conference titlist .

Rose’s loss for the season , came in the team’s lopsided defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers . While fans and analysts alike, continue to gauge that loss , it is the points guard’s injury and the possible long-term effect on his blossoming career that now comes into question . The Bulls as an organization has a large monetary investment in the player and how they now deal with that issue will be now be predicated upon the decisions that are likely to be made jointly by Tom Thibodeau , owner Jerry Reinsdorf and GM Gar Forman . The team will now have to refocus their efforts and rally behind the play of Luol Deng , Carlos Boozer , Kirk Hinrich , Jimmy Butler , Gibson and Joakim Noah . If the players can exhibit the type of effort and resilience shown during the 2011 postseason , then any doubts that some observers are likely to have , could be overlooked .

Chicago will get their first opportunity to perform without their All Star point guard , when they face the Utah Jazz , as these two teams meet on Monday night in an infra-conference match-up. How the Bulls perform in that contest might not be enough of a guide to indicate how they are likely to fare over the remainder of their season , but might clue us in, as to the temperament of the team as a whole , as they seek to go on without Derrick Rose .

The Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban , self-styled narcissist and publicity seeking hound , the majority of the time, can also be a pompous ass ! Granted , with the Mavericks having won their lone NBA title in 2011 , he may well feel that gives him the luxury of pointing out the woes of NBA Commissioner David Stern as well as criticizing that executive , as to what he still believes to be wrong with the game . Certainly , I cannot question Cuban’s wealth , but the so-called business acumen that many seem to be under the impression that he currently possesses , should be tempered by the fact he recently ran afoul of the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) and US Justice Department for ‘ insider trading’. Cuban’s premise, that he was a victim of a political witch-hunt , was about as asinine as his latest comments , attributed to the Mavericks’ owner ” that performance enhancing drugs (PED’s) should now be allowed in the NBA” , with its use being strictly monitored by the league hierarchy . Educated or not , Mark Cuban’s continued stupidity and outlandish persona, is simply another reason why a great deal of the time why he has never been taken seriously by a number of his peers in and outside of the game. As to this latest statement by Cuban , it begs the question, since when was it appropriate to counteract and violate league rules in order to make a diluted product , even less attractive than it already happens to be ? Cuban may well have been acquitted of the charges , and once again , the incompetency of the prosecution (US Attorney’s Office) in the presentation of the government’s case allowed the defendant to walk .

Mark Cuban’s belief that by using performance enhancing drugs to strictly aid with a player’s recovery from an injury , would be of benefit to the league . Perhaps, the Mavericks’ owner has yet to view the pandemic created by the misuse of PED’S in baseball, and the very fact that the MLBPA (union) , much like the NBPA (Players’ Union) , have both been completely disingenuous in dealing with the issue. Cuban’s concerns, if anything, should be about the long-term future of the Dallas Mavericks and where they are likely to be, upon the retirement of Dirk Nowitzki , the franchise’s leading scorer in their history . It is not as if this team , is now likely to get any better , as Nowiztki’s career has now plateaued , and where he is no longer a force to be reckoned with, as he was during his prime.

Currently at 9-5 , fourteen games into the season the Dallas Mavericks sit in second place behind instate rivals the San Antonio Spurs (12-1) within the Southwest Division of the Western Conference . That mark is good enough for fifth place within the conference overall and sixth place within for the NBA as a whole . The Mavericks led by aging veterans , Nowitzki and Shawn Marion , could very well struggle during the latter part of their season , when health and attrition will play a great deal in what this team is likely to achieve . Coming off a two-point loss to the Denver Nuggets , the two teams will meet again on Monday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver , Colorado.

Now losers of five straight and eight of their last ten games , it is becoming extremely difficult to justify the hire of Jason Kidd , to coach the Brooklyn Nets . Furthermore, Kidd now at his worst by way of his coaching record, appears to be is no better than when Avery Johnson coached this franchise, but was summarily dismissed because of a player revolt. Nets’ GM Billy King and team owner, Mikhail Prokhorov , I believe will soon see the error of their ways , with this asinine and ridiculous hire. Take into account the team’s payroll and the rather asinine belief by anal retentive fans, that the Nets can spend their way out of trouble will actually make them a credible force within the NBA, this season . The Nets as a team, have no defensive presence and the contributory efforts of Paul Pierce , Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry , has bordered on being anemic to say he very least.

As if to further emphasize how bad the Brooklyn Nets just happens to be , only the lamentable Milwaukee Bucks (2-10) have a worst record in the entire Eastern Conference . Sunday’s twelve point home loss by Brooklyn to the Detroit Pistons , should be seen as a reverberating wake-up call for entire Nets’ front office , but with the recent announcement that both Billy King and Mikhail Prokhorov will continue to back their embattled head coach to the hilt . I guess, it will be only a matter of time , before we will either see Kidd fall on his sword and summarily re-sign or at the behest of the fans, King makes the decision to relieve the coach of his duties . No use , dressing up a pig and trying to suggest that it is a sow , because that in essence , is what the fans were asked to believe when Jason Kidd was hired to coach this team . His playing credentials were never in question , but his lack of coaching acumen has been on full show , a lack of discipline , and his not being able to communicate with his players, effectively shows this to have been an extremely poor hiring choice to begin with .

This baseball off- season, has been, one of a great deal of speculation and some rather surprising moves. The ongoing “dramedy ” of the Alex Rodriguez hearings , have taken on a life of their own and as a fan of the game , I do believe that this whole process, will not change a damn thing , as it pertains to the landscape within baseball ! The league hierarchy remains incompetent , the union simply overpowering , the owners greedy , and the vast majority of the players are simply disingenuous and under the impression that they still uphold a wonderful tradition , and nothing could be further from the truth .

In one of the more surprising moves , the Detroit Tigers sent Prince Fielder and the remainder of his gargantuan contract off to the Texas Rangers , in exchange for Ian Kinsler . Two under-achieving AL teams simply swapping juju beans, while Jack is still climbing to the top of the Beanstalk. From my own perspective, the Tigers have now reached their zenith, and their recent postseason forays under former manager Jim Leyland , suggests that this team, has nothing left to offer beyond, being very good during the regular season. While this move can be simply seen, as GM Dave Dombrowski seeking to get Fielder’s contract off the books , in order for the team’s pursuance of pitcher Max Scherzer and a contract extension , now seems one that might not be that costly , but it is still likely to leave Detroit with one of the highest team payrolls in all of baseball .

With no one being able to explain the financial mindset within the game of baseball, I believe that during this off-season , we are likely to see the game’s first $300 million player by way of long-term contract ! Some might deem this to be ludicrous, but consider the following, Alex Rodriguez is still on track to have career earnings from the game of $ 500 million , having signed two contracts exceeding $250 million apiece . No one has yet faulted the rationale behind any of the deals in question , but now with Robinson Cano and Clayton Kershaw being the two off-season marquee free agents , although the pitcher’s situation comes by way of his arbitration status . It would appear, that the Los Angeles Dodgers are eager to res-sign the pitcher and have all but promised to make him the highest paid pitcher in the game.

For Robinson Cano and his ubiquitous agent, Jay-z , it is his desire to be seen, as a legitimate conduit, able to “seal a deal” for his client. The New York Yankees can ill-afford to lose a player of Cano’s caliber, but at the same time with Hal Steinbrenner seeking to reduce the team’s payroll below his desired $200 million threshold , it will be a daunting task for GM Brian Cashman to re-sign the slugger and not actually “ break the bank “ .

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Picture gallery.

From the outside looking in , this past sporting weekend has been an interesting but strange paradigm as a number of events have played themselves out on a very public scale for the sports’ fans in general . I cannot help but wonder, what now waits at the very next turn! What observations have you witnessed or would hope to see in the coming weeks within the world of sports ?

Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Quarterback Tom Brady (12) hands off to running back Stevan Ridley (22) of the New England Patriots against the Denver Broncos during a game at Gillette Stadium on November 24, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Brady would engineer a fourth quarter comeback for the Patriots , with the team defeating the Broncos 34-31 to win the game in overtime . Getty Images North America / Jared Wickerham ….

(2) Running back Montee Ball (28) of the Denver Broncos fumbles the ball in the third quarter against the New England Patriots during a game at Gillette Stadium on November 24, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Getty Images / Jared Wickerham …..

(3) Quarterback Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints is pressured by outside linebacker Paul Worrilow (55) of the Atlanta Falcons during a game at the Georgia Dome on November 21, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images / Kevin C Cox ….

(4) Chicago Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose , who for the second time in three years has seen his NBA career curtailed by an injury . The player will be lost to the team for the entire season having torn an MCL in his right knee . The diagnosis , as we now know it to be , will be his having to receive arthroscopic surgery and then a long recuperation and rehabilitation process of possibly between twelve to fourteen months . AP Photo / Kerry Anderson ….

(5) Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban seen here on the set of the ABC reality show ” Shark Tank” . Cuban in a recent statement believes that the NBA should allow the use of performance enhancing drugs within the game, to aid a player in the recuperative process after having suffered an injury . Failing to acknowledge the ongoing issues now facing baseball (MLB) , the gregarious owner still stands by his statement. courtesy of ABC/Disney Television …..

(6) Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Clayton Kershaw seen here in the team’s dugout from a game earlier this season will be seeking a healthy pay increase . All signs are pointing to the fact that the player who is in an arbitration year will see his salary increase considerably , with the front office also offering the player a long-term deal , likely to make him the highest paid player on the team’s roster . AP Photo / Mark Todd …………

(7) Brooklyn Nets’ GM Billy King (left) is seen here alongside the team’s head coach Jason Kidd. With the team off to a horrendous start to the season , the front office has issued a public statement backing the beleaguered rookie head coach. NY Daily News / AP Photo/ Jose Figueroa ……
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Pride comes in various forms and it comes before a very great fall ….

Pride comes in various forms and it comes before a very great fall ….

So over the weekend , Pedro , a very good friend of mine , asked me to be the godfather to his two-year old son , Pedro Jesus Jr . Now, this will be something, that I will take a great deal of pride , in becoming this child’s godparent . Not being a parent myself , albeit, that I lived vicariously through the birth and growth of several nieces and nephews, my greatest joy has been to see the all of these children grow up to be productive citizens . My greatest hope , will be witness the same for my godchild’s future and if along the way, I can impart any wisdom upon him , to make him a better person , then it will be something that I will take a great deal of pride , alongside that of his proud parents .

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Slideshow .

Speaking of pride, the sporting weekend did not turn out at all well for two of the teams I support. In the NFL , the formerly unbeaten New England Patriots fell to the vastly improved Cincinnati Bengals , led by quarterback Andy Dalton . Inexplicably , the Patriots’ offense could only muster six points , to show for four quarters of a mediocre Sunday afternoon display , for which neither Tom Brady or head coach Bill Belichick could come up with what one would deem to be an acceptable explanation to explain the team’s first loss of the season . To only saving grace from the defeat , was that the Patriots’ closest rival within the AFC East , the Miami Dolphins also suffered a loss at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens in another AFC match-up.

The Patriots will now have to prepare themselves for what is likely to be a ferocious onslaught in week six , when Drew Brees and the unbeaten New Orleans Saints come calling at Gillette Stadium , in Foxborough, Massachusetts , this upcoming Sunday. A second successive defeat and there are likely to be questions asked of this Patriots’ team , specifically why they have become so anemic and sedentary ?

Two of the more enticing games that took place on Sunday afternoon , pitted the Denver Broncos , as the guests of the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks , in their visit to the Indianapolis Colts . In light of Roger Staubach’s ludicrous statement that Tony Romo was a championship caliber quarterback , capable of leading the Cowboys to the Superbowl , has me wondering what type of psychotropic medication the Hall of Fame great is currently using to make him more lucid, or less as the case might be . As exhilarating a contest this game said to be between the Broncos and Cowboys, it became abundantly clear that this match-up would become a test of attrition and will , between the two opposing quarterbacks . Tony Romo can be best described as a great regular season quarterback , but it is becoming abundantly clear that the player lacks leadership skills and appears to be someone who simply does not know how to handle real adversity , all that well. . The Cowboys came away with a narrow three-point loss in a 51-48 defeat at home from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas . Romo, may well have had a career day , with over 500 yards in passing , along with five passing touchdowns , but the loss now pushes this Jason Garrett coached team to a 2-3 record within the NFC East with the division itself in some dire need of real competitive play from all four of the occupants there .

Seattle’s contest with the Colts proved to be a match-up of two of the best quarterbacks from the crop of last season’s players taken in the 2012 NFL Draft . Andrew Luck , leading a relatively young roster , more than held their own against Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks , in what I believed to be the best game of the entire weekend ! Luck in his brief NFL career , has now led the Colts to nine come from behind wins during his tenure , and it now looks as if the player has more than won over franchise’s faithful , who may well have had doubts that he was the rightful heir apparent to his predecessor , Peyton Manning , who this season has been rewriting the record books .

Your record simply reflects what you are in the NFL and if you are 0-5 , then that suggests that apart from being win-less , you are amongst the worst teams in the NFL . It is pretty much safe to say , that for both the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5) and New York Giants (0-5) , their respective seasons are all but over . The Jaguars are playing in front of meager crowds at Ever Bank Stadium , while the Giants are simply hanging on for dear life , while seeking to further embarrass their two-time Superbowl head coach Tom Coughlin . Once, a stern disciplinarian, Coughlin still holds his players accountable for their actions . Yet, at present, it looks as if that the team is now lacking, not only leadership, but a great deal of confidence , as well as a lack of pride .

Well , as baseball’s postseason gets into full swing , several series within the wildcard rounds brought us little suspense , but now as the divisional series are in full swing . We are finally beginning to see the cream rise to the top , while the lesser lights have suddenly fallen flat and at the bottom of the cup . The Tampa Bay Rays are coming apart at the seams and it appears that Joe Maddon can no longer convince the fans are public alike that the franchise’s season was nothing more than aberration .

In the best of a five-game series, the Rays now find themselves down, 0-2 against a Boston Red Sox team, managed by John Farrell , that seems intent on winning their third World Series title in the past six seasons . I am not about to suggest that Tampa Bay has made it easy for the Red Sox to progress towards another AL pennant berth , but anyone who witnessed Saturday’s 7-4 loss and then its precursor of a horrendous 12-2 shellacking , will know that apart from the anemic offense shown , with the team’s defense has bordered on being downright insulting and even an affront to even the kids who play Little League Baseball .

Game four of this series will resume on Tuesday evening when the Tampa Bay will host the Boston Red Sox in a ” must-win game” , if they are to prolong their season . A loss and Tampa’s season will come to an abrupt end before it has even started .

While the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves won their divisions with considerable ease . It was felt that their NL divisional series would be considerably more competitive . With their first two games squared at one game apiece (1-1), Los Angeles then took a decisive role in annihilating the Atlanta 13-6 to take a 2-1 lead in the best of five game series . Braves’ manager Fredi Gonzalez , will now have to get his team mentally prepared for this decisive game , knowing full well that they cannot afford to lose. Game four , tonight , is in a must win or go home situation for Atlanta , wherein a great deal will be asked of Freddy Garcia , when he takes to the mound to oppose the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw .

As highly favored, as the St Louis Cardinals are meant to be in their series against the Pittsburgh Pirates . Who would have now thought that it would be the Cardinals on the brink of elimination , seeking to erase a 2-1 deficit ? Clint Hurdle and his staff , along with this team , have continued to defy all logic , as they continue to show a great deal of resilience, with Pittsburgh’s season being one of the major talking points of this baseball year . Pittsburgh will seek to close out the series in front of a home crowd of boisterous and raucous fans when the two teams meet at PNC Ballpark in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania , on Monday afternoon.

As a former military vet , having counseled as well as assisted US military veterans in gaining benefits wrongfully denied by the federal government . It has become alarming to see how many of them, have become drug dependent by choice , on either prescriptive medication or far more hardened narcotics . Delusional and manic-depressive, as many of them have become, through the counseling and then providing them with the means to turn their respective situations around. That side of my participation , has become one of the most rewarding aspects of the work that I have done in this specific area ! Those veterans , who tend to fall through the cracks are either individuals who were never provided the assistance sought from the outset , or in a number of cases , simply those who felt that they can best deal with their issues on their own. In light of this , I raise the point of now unrestricted free agent and NBA star Lamar Odom , whose personal and professional career now seems to be careening out of control , after the revelations of his chemical dependency and a recent DUI charge, that he refutes . Personally , I feel that once your life has become intertwined with a member of the Kardashian family , his marriage to Khloe Kardashian , then you might as well place gun to your head and simply pull the trigger . Hopefully, Kanye West and Jaden Smith can learn something from this all , before it is too damn late .

With the NBA preseason already in full swing , it is extremely difficult to see how a team would be willing to acquire Odom , and then place him on their roster , with all of the personal baggage that the player now carries and his unwillingness to seek any type counseling or rehab . In 2012 with the Los Angeles Clippers , Lamar Odom’s statistics with the team can be best described as anemic and whose versatility at the height his career saw him as one of the most effective duel threats on both ends of the floor . With those days long done, the power forward has become a shell of that player , offering ,little by way of productivity , guidance for younger teammates , and who if anything, has become a “cautionary tale” of what wealth , fame and the glare of the spotlight can do to an athlete , who simply cannot handle the pressure , never mind the fact that , he has now become associated with a family that craves the spotlight , just as much Odom is now said to crave the hits of his drugs of choice cocaine and marijuana .. Which begs the question , what type of drug testing is now in place by the NBA hierarchy and how is that Lamar Odom’s issues were said to have gone unnoticed by the Clippers and his former team , the Dallas Mavericks ? Clearly, there is something awry with the league’s testing protocols and that of the teams’ own complete lack of oversight . Yet somehow , neither David Stern , the Mavericks’ front office or the NBPA saw if fit to address the issue , as it continues to carefully continues to cultivate that family friendly image of the league and its brand . Claims were made as recently as 2010 , that as many as forty-percent of the league’s players were recreational users of marijuana . I would dare say, that figure might well be considerably higher , with a number the athletes within the game, quite possibly using other illicit substances , while being able to circumvent the testing protocols of the NBA .

Not only will it be a long-shot for Lamar Odom to land a roster spot on a team , but with the preseason already up and running , and with the player being unable to prove himself as being in the right mental or physical shape . Why would a franchise be prepared to undertake such a high risk ? It would be stupid and financially though not a major burden , it would be money better well-spent , but it would be , elsewhere , on a player who can contribute immediately to a team .

The welcomed return of Derrick Rose to the NBA after a seventeen-month layoff will be a breath of fresh air in the league and add to its vitality . That being said, the former number one draft pick from the 2008 NBA Draft , was sorely missed by his Chicago Bulls’ teammates in the 2012 and 2013 NBA Playoffs . His return will certainly add more versatility and depth to perhaps, one of the best rosters in the entire Eastern Conference , in terms of overall depth. NBA preseason and all that it is said to accomplish , will be nothing more than for the coaches to assess the talent on their rosters , most notably the young rookies from the most recent draft and how those players will seek to acclimatize themselves . Though not seen as a consensus number one overall pick , Anthony Bennett was taken specifically , by the Cleveland Cavaliers to fit a role on a very good young team . It remains to be seen what the Cavaliers will have to offer their fans this season at the Quicken Loans Arena , in Cleveland , Ohio. Returning head coach, Mike Brown has been given the chance by GM Chris Grant to reprise the form shown when during the reign of LeBron James , the franchise was one of the more desirable venues to see some great basketball .

. Cleveland will open its regular season schedule with a home game against the Brooklyn Nets , a team that will see the debuts of their off-season acquisitions Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry . It will be all or bust , for the franchise , that will be coached by the recently appointed rookie Jason Kidd . GM Billy King and team owner Mikhail Prokhorov will have a great deal riding on the season beyond their reputations and the coaching acumen of Kidd .

For Derrick Rose and the Bulls , this season will most certainly offer the young point guard the chance to remind us once again why his prodigious talent has him earmarked as one of the handful of elite players now within the NBA , whose performances are at a consistently high level , when he is on a basketball court .

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Picture gallery .

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Picture and slideshow details .

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(1) Wallace Gilberry (95) of the Cincinnati Bengals sacks Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots during their game at Paul Brown Stadium on October 6, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals would go on to defeat the Patriots 13-6 . Getty Images / John Grieshop ….

(2) Chris Crocker (32) of the Cincinnati Bengals sacks Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots during their game at Paul Brown Stadium on October 6, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals defeated the Patriots 13-6. Getty Images North America / John Grieshop ….

(3) Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys yells the call against the Denver Broncos in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium on October 6, 2013 in Arlington, Texas. The Broncos would defeat the Cowboys 51-48 , dropping the home team to 2-3 within the NFC East , a division that is now beginning to look very much like an elephants graveyard. Getty Images / Ronald Martinez ….

(4) Rays’ catcher Jose Lobaton rounds the bases , having hit a home run to win the game for the Tampa Bay Rays , in their 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida . With the victory , Tampa’s postseason hopes remain alive as they seek to even their ALDS at two games apiece . AP Photo / Mike Carlson …..

(5) Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers coming off three days rest pitched his team to a decisive game four victory over the Atlanta Braves , where they now await the winner of the Pittsburgh Pirates versus St Louis Cardinals’ series in the NLCS . The contests between those two teams is now tied at two games each (2-2). Game five will be played on Wednesday night at Busch Stadium in St Louis Missouri . AP Photo / Danny Moloshok …..

(6) Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe looks on as his two-run home run makes its way out of the ballpark as catcher Brian McCann of the Braves looks on . Uribe alongside Carl Crawford’s two home runs secured a 4-3 victory for the home team as they defeated the Atlanta Braves 3-1 in the NLDS to reach the NLCS for the first time since 2009 .

(7) Lamar Odom seen here having just signed with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2012 . The troubled star now , an unsigned free agent hopes to catch on with an NBA franchise this season , in spite of his now well chronicled drug issues over the past eighteen months . Odom is now estranged from his wife Khloe Kardashian-Odom , television reality star and a member of the Kardashian family , whose reality show ” Keeping Up with the Kardashians” is one of E Entertainment Television’s most popular “unscripted” series . AP Photo / Hal Marcum …..

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tophatal ………. 2013/10/07

NFL news and news from around the league

NFL results week five

NFL schedule week six

NFL team injuries

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Jordan Carver shaking things up , so wonderfully .

Wet-n-wild with Jordan Carver . Nice , really nice !

Going for broke ……..

Going for broke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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tophatal ……….
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NBA news and archived stories

List of NBA champions ……. Champions 2010-11 , 2011-12 and 2012-13

NBA team payrolls and salary cap $58.044 million

Dallas Mavericks news

Miami Heat news

NBA team owners and general managers

This month in NBA history (July) and August .

Had Your Dose Of Sports Over The Weekend ?

Had Your Dose Of Sports Over The Weekend ?

Well for myself the sporting weekend transitioned itself around Rory McIlroy simply decimating a world class field at the US Open at Congressional Golf Club in Bethesda , Maryland . The margin of victory not withstanding a resounding 8 stroke victory by McIlroy over his closest rival Jason Day . Now the whole world will want to know what awaits McIlroy and how would he have fared had Tiger Woods been in the field ? From my own perspective given Woods’ recent run of form I doubt that the result would have been any different ! Suffice to say while Woods remains the yardstick against which the current contemporaries are to be adjudged , in reality the Tiger of old isn’t currently around .

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Slide show for your perusal .

Things are now beginning to look rather bleak for the Florida Marlins . In the month of June this team has won only one of their last eighteen games and the fact that manager Edwin Rodriguez simply walked away from the organization and team having tendered his resignation simply indicates how dire things had become for the NL East franchise . Now with eighty year old Jack McKeon being asked by GM Larry Beinfest to assume control of this beleaguered team I am not so sure that things can be drastically turned around .

Former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress soon have his freedom having been incarcerated at the taxpayers’ expense . And for the player who now looks to resurrect his NFL career it will be interesting to see what teams if any take an open interest in the former Pro Bowl wideout . Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has made it his desire to have Burress become a teammate of his with the Eagles . But I doubt that either team coach Andy Reid or GM Joe Banner are seeking to make another reclamation project out of another troubled NFL player . Vick in spite of his successes last season still has a long way to go to prove to everyone that he’s actually back to his very best as a player but even more so as a leader .

There’s no doubt in my mind that Burress still has something to offer to a team but given the player’s predilection to self implode , if I were a general manager much less an NFL team owner his joining my organization would have to be based upon his demeanor and actual acknowledgement that he has now changed for the better as a human being . Beyond that not much else would really matter other than him being productive on the field of play .

There’s no doubt in my mind that the rules of the NFL are there for a reason especially where it involves the players concerning gambling. It is now being widely reported that as many twenty five NFL players are known to be investors in a gaming concern in Alabama . The owner of the casino Country Crossing —- Ron Gilley is under indictment by the Justice Department along with two lobbyists for offering state legislator millions of dollars in bribes in order to facilitate the approval and building of the casino in Dothan , Alabama .

The NFL’s rules are very clear on this matter wherein it states that current NFL players are barred from being involved in any type of gaming concern from a business standpoint . In doing so it creates the perception that in some way that there could be a conflict of interest and any type of impropriety that a player or players whilst on the field of play could effect the outcome of game . Well given the fact that the league as such welcomes to the actions of gamblers betting on their games I can’t see how they feel that an NFL player hasn’t been wagering on the games where they are already participants ! It would be naïve to think otherwise , albeit that no one has been caught but I think it is pretty safe to say that the players around the NFL have their own proclivities when it comes to games of chance . Tens of millions of dollars are wagered each year on the Superbowl and I am quite sure that there have been a number of players around the NFL that have profited directly or indirectly from placing a bet on the game . The NFL hierarchy if they do decide to conduct an investigation into this matter than the ramifications could well be very serious for the players involved at the center of this drama .

I’ve never been one to get completely enamored over the glare of the limelight or the very fact that some athletes tend to think of themselves as being bigger than the game. But in light of the recent meltdown of the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals and the mere fact that the team’s All Star LeBron James has began to chastise the fans for his and his team’s own shortcoming has me now believing more so than ever before that this is the monster that David Stern has created ! Instead of the NBA being a team sport it has now become a heartless ego driven endeavor where upon it is the stars/ marquee players that we are meant to be enthralled by rather than the teams themselves .

If James’ behavior and that of his teammate Dwyane Wade wasn’t enough of an indicator of that then I for one don’t know what is ! ! Self aggrandizement and the mocking of an opponent who at the time was said to be ill shows the lack of class in the two aforementioned players . But yet team President Pat Riley continued to bitch and whine when any criticism was being leveled at the team or his famous duo of stars . In the end nothing could have been much sweeter than seeing the Miami Heat juggernaut being derailed by the Dallas Mavericks and Finals’ MVP Dirk Nowitzki . When all said and done the better and far more deserving team proved to be victorious and laying to rest the myth that having a trio of superstars elicits a win of a title . Teams win titles , where the endeavor is meant to about showing cohesiveness and a genuine will to win and nothing resembling that was ever on display by the Miami Heat throughout the NBA Finals and their series loss to the Dallas Mavericks !

I was never enamored with the NHL and I don’t think I ever will be ! In light of the Boston Bruins having won the Stanley Cup in defeating the Vancouver Canucks . The display by Canucks’ fans in the aftermath of the team’s game seven loss was enough of an indicator that it simply doesn’t matter where the fans are from their baser instincts are always the same ! Act like a Neanderthal and you’ll viewed as such ! The fans went on a postgame riot , looting , burning cars and damaging businesses in the city of Vancouver that in the could run into several million dollars worth of damages . But what might be even more ludicrous may well have been the public statement issued by the city’s police chief , Jim Chu in stating that the incidents and acts of violence resulting in over 100 arrests and 150 people injured were merely the acts of the criminal element with nothing better to do . I wonder if Chu’s mindset would still have been the same had there been far more serious injuries resulting with someone’s death ? Isn’t it bad enough that his city was shown in a thoroughly bad light after these riots , never mind the fact that the game’s image has been tarnished by the events that took place ?

Granted, no sport is ever without its bad elements but the mere fact that Chu chooses to write this off as a criminal element choosing to take advantage of a sporting events smacks of sheer stupidity on his part . If anything it furthermore paints a poor picture of his city and the fact that those involved are nothing more than a marauding bunch of hooligans . That asides , if the hockey fan out there becomes this disgruntled because their team loses in the game’s showcase event then it simply shows another reason why the game continues to flounder in more ways than one from a commercial and professional endeavor .

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By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size .

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Picture gallery for your perusal . By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as your thoughts .

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

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) U.S. Open golf championship winner Rory McIlroy, or Northern Ireland, right, is handed his U.S. Open trophy by Francois-Henry Bennahmias, left, president and CEO of Audemars Piguet (North America) Inc., during an event at the Willowbend Country Club in Mashpee, Mass., Monday, June 20, 2011. AP Photo/The Cape Cod Times, Merrily Cassidy …

(2) Bethseda, Maryland: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and his father Gerry McIlroy pose with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images …

(3) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland speaks with the media after his eight-stroke during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images …

(4) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks onto the eightenth green before winning the 111th US Open by eight strokes over Jason Day with a record 268 at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011, in Bethesda, Maryland. AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON …..

(5) Florida Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest, left, talks to reporters as interim manager Jack McKeon looks on during a news conference in Miami, Monday, June 20, 2011. Beinfest announced McKeon’s second term as manager of the Marlins. AP Photo/Alan Diaz ……

(6) Tampa Bay Rays pitcher James Shields , right, is congratulated by catcher Kelly Shoppach after throwing a four-hitter in the Rays’ 2-1 victory over the Florida Marlins in a baseball game in St. Petersburg, Fla., Sunday, June 19, 2011.

(7) Former New York Giants wide receiver, Plaxico Burress is seen holding onto a cup of coffee and wearing a Philadelphia Phillies hat while out in New York City. On June 6th, Burress was released from prison after nearly spending two years behind bars on gun charges. Courtesy of Pacific coast news.com ….

(8) Former NFL wide receiver Plaxico Burress attends a press conference at National Urban League on June 13, 2011 in New York City. Getty Images North America / Joe Corrigan ……

(9) Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles takes the field before playing against the Green Bay Packers in the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Getty Images /Al Bello ….

(10) Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles walks of the field after losing to the Green Bay Packers during the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles would lose to the Packers 21-16 Getty Images / Al Bello ….

(11) FILE – This June 1, 2011 file photo shows Miami Heat President Pat Riley talking to reporters in Miami. Riley says he will not return to coaching, and says the team has a strong leader in Erik Spoelstra . Riley spoke Tuesday, June 21, 2011, at his annual end-of-season wrap-up and touched on several topics including the disappointment of Miami’s loss in the NBA finals to the Dallas Mavericks. AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File …

(12) Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki, of Germany, fights back tears as fans cheer following his introduction during a celebration following the team’s victory parade, Thursday, June 16, 2011, in Dallas. The Mavericks earned their first NBA basketball championship by defeating the Miami Heat. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ……

(13) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 12: LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat walks into the interview room to answer questions after the Heat were defeated 105-95 by the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida.

(14) Riot police walk in the street on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver broke out in riots after their hockey team the Vancouver Canucks lost in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images …..

(15) Boston Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron carries the Stanley Cup aloft as he walks through a crowd of onlookers from Tia’s Restaurant in Boston on Thursday, June 16, 2011, one day after the Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in Game 7 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals. AP Photo/Elise Amendola ….

(16) Police on horseback move down a street during a riot following the Vancouver Canucks being defeated by the Boston Bruins in the NHL Stanley Cup Final in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday, June 15, 2011. Angry, drunken revelers ran wild Wednesday night after the Vancouver Canucks’ 4-0 loss to Boston in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, setting cars and garbage cans ablaze, smashing windows, showering giant TV screens with beer bottles and dancing atop overturned vehicles. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz ….

(17) Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu seen here speaking with the convened press . copyrighted material @ All rights reserved Post Media News / Ethan Baron ……

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It’s The Results That Matter …………………

It’s The Results That Matter

Well the baseball season is slowly unfolding and as it to be expected the highs and low of the season are to be expected . The Minnesota Twins it appears is on its way to becoming synonymous with mediocrity within baseball for this season . It will be interesting to see if the team does indeed end up with the worst record in baseball at season’s end. And for Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire this can’t have been what he expected for his team and the very fact that their All Star catcher Joe Mauer was lost to the Twins for a prolonged period. The Minnesota Twins for their part have made Target Field in Minnesota something of an elephant’s graveyard with the mediocre play and lack of the real cohesion as a team .

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It would appear having got back to winning ways of sort in defeating the Texas Rangers —- 8-1 one would have thought that victory would enough to provide the Twins’ fans with some form of relief but nothing could be further from the truth. The Minnesota Twins are languishing at the bottom of the NL Central with a 25-39 record , some 10 games behind the division leading Cleveland Indians (34-28). Having won 8 of their last ten games the Twins continue to struggle and one would be hard pressed to believe that over the remainder of the season they could prove to be serious challengers not just for the division but also for a wildcard berth within the AL .

The month of June will tell us a great deal as to the directions that a number of teams will be taking . From a personal standpoint although I just can’t see the Twins making any sort of change that would have me believing that they can actually turn things around . This team appears to be lacking in confidence and I doubt that Gardenhire and his coaching staff can now coax this team to play with any level of consistency in spite of their last ten games. This has been a season thus far that I believe that the Twins’ fans and players would rather forget as they simply move systematically back and forth in terms of an uneven season .

The CONCACAF Gold Cup has started and no doubt Team USA under the management of coach Bob Bradley was hoping to see the team show some improvement as a sign that they are heading in the right direction in lieu of the FIFA —- World Cup (2014) in Brazil in 2012 . The team is off to an inauspicious start in Group C having played three games , winning one , a draw and a rather embarrassing 2-1 loss to Panama . If anything this result shows that Bradley faces a stiff challenging a team that will have the right traits not only to qualify for the World Cup but also have some semblance in winning the Gold Cup.

Viewed as a pre tournament contender and favorite alongside Mexico the team still stands a good chance of making out of the group qualifying rounds before the format of the tournament then becomes a knockout competition . Starved of an out and out attacker with formidable goal scoring talent this has simply been the Bradley’s biggest lament . In the tournament the team’s joint top scorers are Clint Dempsey are Clarence Goodson with one goal apiece . I have always maintained that the real problem with the game of soccer resonating amongst the large majority of the fans here comes from the very fact that it is merely viewed as a recreational pass-time . And even though MLS a divisional endeavor is up and running the league itself still struggles to create any form of a seismic rumble amongst fans . Granted with the number of international stars acquired to add some glamor to the league it really hasn’t helped given the fact that the likes of Thierry Henry , David Beckham and Maicon Santos are either players who were unable to establish themselves domestically in their respective countries or in the cases of Henry and Beckham their best is simply now a thing of the past.

This Gold Cup was obviously viewed as a precursor for the upcoming World Cup and with Bradley obviously wanting gain some semblance of consistency instead he now has a team that is bereft of creativity and ideas in light of this rather humiliating 2-1 loss to Panama a team that seven times out of ten they should beat handily .

The team now faces a stern test in their next game to be played with Group C against Guadeloupe on the 14 th June . A win is a necessity if they’re to not only qualify from the group but also gain a favorable match-up in the knockout phase of the competition . It remains to be seen whether or not Bradley will be able to regroup his players and have them ready in time for the match .

At the start of the NBA season it seemed that in large part the vast majority of fans were already prepared to anoint the Miami Heat as NBA champions even before the season had started . With the acquisitions of Chris Bosh and LeBron James to add alongside Dwyane Wade it appeared that all the Heat had to do was to simply waltz their way through their schedule and lay waste to the opposition during the postseason . Well as stories go this was a script that was still being written for the drama that would be played out in the NBA Finals .

The Dallas Mavericks may well be viewed as the underdogs coming into this series but if anything only a fool would actually have felt that way and there’s a reason why Vegas simply lured the suckers in with the odds favoring the Heat . Up 3-2 in the best of seven game series and with the final two games being on the Heat’s home-court of AAA Arena , Miami , Florida in order to close out the series . The Heat players in particular James and Wade knew exactly what was on the line for them not only in terms of the team players but the franchise as a whole . Team President Pat Riley and team owner Micky Arison’s master plan had been put into effect. An assortment of role players to surround their trio of superstars and all that had to be completed would be the defeat of the Mavericks to justify the whole experiment and season as a whole .
If only the Heat players and in particular James , Wade and Bosh had left their enormous egos at the door ! Instead we saw how complacent all three had become and the classness of their demeanor throughout much of the series . And for Erik Spoelstra one has to wonder whether or not some of the blame will be layed at his door beyond that of the players and in particular the triumvirate of superstars ?

Contempt and ignorance when it manifests itself in a team , then more often than not it tends to lead to disaster and it became a reality for the Miami Heat as their hold on what they believe to be rightfully theirs was taken right out of their presumed grasp by a Mavericks’ team that simply hungered for the title even more so than their opponent . Dirk Nowitzki along with Jason Terry and JJ Barea simply showed why at times it’s great to see the good guys actually win ! The trio led the team by example and outplayed the Heat when it mattered most and by securing the deciding game six victory 105-95 the Dallas Mavericks would secure the organization’s first NBA title . And for the victorious team owner Mark Cuban this had to be the most relishing moment in his tenure as the owner of the basketball club .
Perhaps the most heart warming moment after the Finals had ended was in knowing that seasoned veterans Jason Terry , Nowitzki and Jason Kidd could finally acknowledge that they can indeed now be looked upon as being champions .

Dirk Nowitzki justifiably so , was named Finals MVP with his stellar play throughout the postseason and the Finals itself . On the flip side of the case that will now be made ……….. was the hyperbole over the Heat simply worth it considering how lackluster this team’s performances were ? We had James and Wade mocking Nowitzki’s illness prior to game 6 and even if it were meant in jest it showed how lacking in class the duo were ! Pretty much sums up how best to describe a bunch of self absorbed athletes who simply believe that the entitlement mentality and adoration makes them the persons that they are ! From my own perspective I am thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle of seeing the Heat being hoisted on their own petards in front of their home crowd . It makes that defeat all the more embarrassing not just for the fans but the whole organization as a whole . Perhaps after this James and Wade will have at least learned some civility rather than the odious behavior that they’d shown throughout much of the regular and postseason. The results matter but so too does the demeanor under which a team carries themselves during a sporting event and that simply wasn’t shown here with the Miami Heat. Decorum was never within their sphere as they simply strolled around without any deference to anyone at all !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JUNE 11: Arthur Rhodes (53) of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Minnesota Twins during the eighth inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …..

(2) Delmon Young (21) of the Minnesota Twins singles against the Texas Rangers during the first inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …….

(3) Ben Revere (11) of the Minnesota Twins steals second base as shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) of the Texas Rangers catches the ball during the fourth inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ………..

(4) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JUNE 11: Alexi Casilla (12) of the Minnesota Twins hits an RBI single while Mike Napoli (25) of the Texas Rangers defends home plate during the fourth inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ….

(5) Clarence Goodson (21) of Team United States celebrates his goal against Team Panama during the CONCACAF Gold Cup Match at Raymond James Stadium on June 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Getty Images / J Meric ……..

(6) Jozy Altidore (17) of Team United States advances the ball against Team Panama during the CONCACAF Gold Cup Match at Raymond James Stadium on June 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. J Meric / Getty Images North America ….

(7) Team Panama celebrates their victory over Team United States during the CONCACAF Gold Cup Match at Raymond James Stadium on June 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images North America ……

(8) Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban carries the NBA Championship basketball trophy as he leads the team off the jet after their arrival at Love Field in Dallas, Monday, June 13, 2011. The Mavericks beat the Heat to win the championship. AP Photo/LM Otero ….

(9) “I am not a pussy . ” LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat looks on dejected against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …..

(10) Tyson Chandler (right) of the Dallas Mavericks attempts a shot against Miami Heat in the Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. AFP PHOTO / POOL / David J. Phillip ……

(11) TOPSHOTS : Dirk Nowitzki(notes) (R) of the Dallas Mavericks shoots before Chris Bosh(notes) (L) of the Miami Heat during Game 6 of the NBA Finals on June 12, 2011 at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida. AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT ….

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MLB news

MLB Standings

MLB wildcard standings

MLB Schedule 3 days at a glance

MLB Probable starters

MLB scoreboard & results 12th June 2011

CONCACAF News

Gold Cup Schedule & results

Gold Cup Group Standings

CONCACAF Gold Cup Teams

NBA Finals

NBA News

Dallas Mavericks news

Miami Heat news

Some Things Are Best Left Unsaid …………. But F#k It I’m Going To Say It !

Some Things Are Best Left Unsaid …………. But F#k It I’m Going To Say It !

Ah the latest tidbit in the sports world that seems to be norm at present PGA Tour professional Tiger Woods made the formal announcement that he will not be playing in the US Open at Congressional Country Club , Bethseda , Maryland . And once again the bell seem to be tolling as most prognosticate whether or not Woods’ reign at the top is about to implode . The player is now ranked outside the top ten (ranked 15th in the latest rankings) of the World Rankings for the first time in over a decade . From my own standpoint the player apart from recurring injuries, Woods is now gunshy and is completely lacking in confidence . Now sliding down the rankings faster than a cheetah at full speed , it is becoming abundantly clear that we’re now seeing a player whose determination to win is still there but the physical attributes that made him a once dominant player no longer remains . His peers on the PGA Tour no longer seem to be intimidated by their once great nemesis . And this being the national championship I’m not sure that the second major of the season will be won by a US born player , it could well be won by a foreign player and therein lies the situation with regard to the PGA Tour. US talent is now merely about the players here winning the mundane events on the PGA Tour rather than the Majors (The Masters, US Open , British Open and PGA Championship) .

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I have got to admit I will be pleasantly surprised if the winner of the US Open is an American because simply put the inconsistency of Phil Mickelson , Hunter Mahan , Steve Stricker simply doesn’t cut it amongst the real fans of the PGA Tour . It is Woods who drives the meters and the gossip on the Tour while lesser lights are simply the topic of the moment .

Can someone remind me why it is that I simply ought to be interested in the career of Floyd Mayweather as a boxer ? Undoubtedly talented , Mayweather is now more widely known more for his outside the ring run ins with the law , rather than for anything that he has achieved within the ring . A multiple weight divisional champion , the fighter now hopes to challenge Victor Ortiz for his WBC welterweight title this September (venue yet to be arranged) , as Maywether will be making a return to the ring for the first time in almost 18 months since he last fought and defeated Shane Mosley in a bout that was about as entertaining as the viewing of a head on collision between two high speed locomotives.

Ortiz , twelve years Mayweather’s junior knows that this will be a step up in class and at the same time he knows that should he pull off the impossible and defeat the former titlist , then the world becomes his oyster with limitless opportunies to establish himself amongst the top fighters in the world . The sport of boxing has become mundane and the mere fact that the desired fight between Manny Pacquiao no longer seems to be a priority amongst either fighter or the respective promoters. All the talk and hype in the world won’t change the fact that the proposed bout was never on the cards to begin with . They say money talks bullshit walks , well walk it did , as there was such a stench created by Bob Arum , Mayweather’s own camp and co promoter Oscar de La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions Inc.

When this bout actually takes place between Floyd Mayweather and Ortiz there may well be some passing interest there but I for one simply don’t believe that Mayweather is the draw that he once was ! His own failings as a father , a man and as an example to his children leaves a lot to be desired . And with the allegations of spousal abuse , verbal abuse of his children and the threatening of a witness with physical violence simply indicates that from a mental standpoint Mayweather’s faculties might not be all there . If Floyd Mayweather were to step away from boxing today he may well be sorely missed but from my own perspective the sooner he walks away the better off the sport will be !

Well the MLB Draft for 2011 (held in Seacaucus New Jersey) this past Monday , and before we knew it , it was over. Truth be known, it was something of a non-event given the fact that the highlights weren’t shown on either network television or on ABC/ESPN , Fox Sports or for that matter TBS . Instead the whole event was televised live by the MLB Network . There’s a reason why the MLB hierarchy cooperates with their broadcast partners but somehow this wasn’t a time they felt it necessary . Now don’t get me wrong but a from business standpoint I’m not so sure that the league itself much less its teams are on a sure footing financially. The ongoing saga with the Los Angeles Dodgers has become cannon fodder for the sports pages across the nation . And less we forget, the woefully inept the New York Mets in spite of the $200 million investment in the organization by hedge fund manager David Einhorn has me believing that the league has to intervene sooner rather than later.

The Pittsburgh Pirates were the beneficiaries of having the number one overall pick with the organization taking the UCLA Bruins’ Gerrit Cole as their choice. One can understand the reason why the MLB Draft plays second fiddle to the NBA , NFL in terms of their respective drafts and the mere fact of the visibility raised when the events are televised . Granted , there’s more of an interest in the NFL’s Draft and the mere fact that the draft geeks are front and center in assessing the merits of the decisions made by the respective general managers around the league. Inasmuch , as Bud Selig would like to sell us on the merits of the event I don’t really believe that the commissioner himself believes that other than the consumed fan who’s so into the draft there is a heightened interest in the decisions being made.

Well the madness has to stop , it is now or never but fu#k it , sanity has to enter the domain at this juncture. In the sports world where it’s about the immediacy of the here and now , in terms of what have you done for me lately ? In the NBA it appears that the vast majority of fans were already prepared to anoint the Miami Heat as the 2011 NBA champions. Having seen the San Antonio Spurs bow out in the first round of the postseason and as a fan that result was a profound disappointment to me ! The Dallas Mavericks simply made their way through the playoffs with consummate ease and then in the Western Conference Finals they simply manhandled the Los Angeles Lakers , the two time defending NBA champions .

The Finals’ match-up that many had been had desired didn’t materialize as we now have the workman like Mavericks teeing up against the star laden Miami Heat led by LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade . With the series now tied at two games apiece and the knives are out after a diabolical display on Tuesday night by James __ eight points though from a defensive standpoint the player stood his ground but offensively he was more of a detriment to his team . The knives will be out and directly aimed LeBron James. And this being the player who actually anointed himself ‘King James’ and then simply ran with it ? The two time league MVP had one of those games where nothing seem to have gone right but at the same time he rode into town announcing that this team would be good enough to win multiple titles __verbatim “not one , not two but three , four , five and why not six titles ” ? Hey LeBron let’s not get completely ahead of ourselves, you’ve already become an ingrate and are about as welcomed in the Cleveland area multiple doses of the ebola virus . Now you’re bringing your undoubted talents to South Beach but an ego that is large as the Grand Canyon will not make you all the more likeable at this juncture. I just hope for your sake at this moment in time should this team fail …….. you don’t choose to apportion blame elsewhere ?

The three point loss (83-86) told me a great deal about the Miami Heat and in particular about the ‘ Big Three’ on this team ! When placed under a great deal of adversity they are inclined to wilt under pressure and nowhere was this more self evident than last night . James was guilty of failing to deliver the goods and now the excuses will be made as to the reasons why and whether or not LeBron bears a great deal of that blame . While the protagonists out there were trying to make a case that James is now ready to wear the crown worn by Michael Jordan as the best player in the NBA . Here is simply another reason why those very same protagonists should simply shut the hell up and let history take its course , rather thrust upon LeBron James something that he has yet to deserve. It does a great disservice not only to the game but also to its image and Jordan’s legacy.

Lebron James may well yet become a truly great player and have a long and successful career in the league but as of now he’s yet to lead a team to a title and when last I looked , a runner up finish simply meant nothing to even the most ardent of fans !

On the flip side of the script Dirk Nowitzki simply showed why without him the Dallas Mavericks would simply be viewed as an also ran within the league . Now as they look to claim their first NBA title it will be interesting to see whether or not his teammates finally are beginning to believe that they are indeed capable of defeating the Miami Heat . It’s all well and good Jason Terry emblazoning a tattoo on his right bicep as an omen . But given the fact that Terry’s own displays during this series and the playoffs overall have been intermittent I’d say it’s time for him to get with the damn program !

There’s a great deal at stake for both teams in particular for the Miami Heat and their financial viability. Repeated losses over the last few years can’t hide the desperation of team President Pat Riley and Heat owner Micky Arison . The acquisition of Bosh and James wasn’t about merely a last ditch attempt to retain Dwyane Wade but also to shore up the financial coffers of the Miami Heat. Had they not been able to lure the two All Stars then in all likelihood Wade would have been playing elsewhere this season and with that the growing losses of the organization would be like a dead weight around the neck of the organization . Riley knows that a compelling series victory will bode well for the future of the Miami Heat and from a financial standpoint it would be greatly beneficial. As of now this series is far from over and the worrisome situation is that for LeBron James, his struggles continue in an NBA Final. Swept aside by the San Antonio Spurs in 2007 in the Finals of that year when James was a player for the Cleveland Cavaliers . That sole appearance until this year has been something of a nightmare for the player that many have stated has become the new “King of the NBA “ . Doesn’t a King wear a crown and just to add mere substance to those claims shouldn’t he have at least won something that actually resonates with the fans as a whole ? Style over substance means fu#k all but there are those who actually believe otherwise . How naive !

Game five is scheduled for tonight hosted by the Dallas Mavericks in what will be no doubt a sold-out American Airlines Center in Dallas , Texas . Vociferous Mavericks’ fans are sure to get behind Rick Carlisle and his team , with those very same fans being of the belief if they can eke out a victory then they are but a win away from winning their first NBA title . Can you imagine what the fallout may well be should the Miami Heat fail to win what many believe had been preordained ? I for one believe nothing is merely given to you without you actually deserving it ! And nothing that the Miami Heat has achieved so far would suggest that they deserving of winning the NBA title , merely because they are now in the Finals . It has been this sort of complacency that has been clearly visible with many of the players on this Hear roster , including James , himself .

Should Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks triumph this may well be right way for him to bow out of the game with his legacy firmly entrenched within the annals of the game and perhaps the best European player to have played in the NBA ?

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Simply chime in with a comment on the topics raised within this piece as you see fit and as always thanks for the continued support as it is gratefully appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) This December 3, 2010 file photo shows Tiger Woods of USA as he puts his hat back on as he walks off the 18th green after finishing the second round, at the 2010 Chevron World Challenge at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California. Woods, a 14-time major champion chasing the all-time record of 18 won by Jack Nicklaus, said June 7, 2011 that he will not play in next week’s US Open golf tournament. Left knee and tendon pain has bothered Woods for the past month. “Not playing in US Open. Very disappointed. Short-term frustration for long-term gain,” Woods posted on his Twitter microblogging website. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK /GETTY IMAGES ……

(2) In this June 25, 2008 photo, golfer Michael Whitehead, who is currently a senior at Rice, poses for a photograph in Houston. Whitehead, who was first alternate from the Dallas qualifier, will replace Tiger Woods in the U.S. Open after Woods withdrew due to lingering issues with his left leg. AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Karen Warren ….

(3) PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL – MAY 12: Tiger Woods addresses the media after withdrawing on the ninth hole during the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship held at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 12, 2011 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Woods announced June 7, 2011 that he will not play in the U.S. Open because of an injury to his left leg. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images …..

(4) Phil Mickelson hits his tee shot on the par 4 10th hole during the third round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 4, 2011 in Dublin, Ohio. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

(5) FILE – In this April 30, 2010 file photo, Floyd Mayweather Jr. steps on the scale at a weigh-in ceremony before a WBA welterweight boxing title fight against Shane Mosley in Las Vegas. Mayweather, the undefeated six-time world champion, says on his Twitter feed Tuesday, June 7, 2011, he will end a 16-month hiatus from boxing when he faces WBC welterweight champion Victor Ortiz on September 17. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File ……

(6) Victor Ortiz (left) the challenger makes sure that Andre Berto’s (left) defense of his WBC welterweight title will be a brief one . Ortiz would defeat the former title holder in a unanimous decision in the bout held at the Foxwoods Resort , Mashantucket ,Connecticut ,. Getty Images / Chris Borbon ……

(7) Miami Heat managing general partner Micky Arison, right, talks to president Pat Riley during a basketball practice for the NBA finals, Wednesday, June 8, 2011, in Dallas. The Heat will face the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 of the best-of-seven series that is tied 2-2, Thursday, June 9, 2011. Do they now have something to be extremely worried about ? AP Photo/David J. Phillip ………

(8) DALLAS, TX – JUNE 08: LeBron James of the Miami Heat attends NBA Finals Media Availability on June 8, 2011 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images ………

(9) Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle applauds while Dirk Nowitzki (L) walks off the court during game 4 of the NBA Finals on June 7, 2011 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat 86-83. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK /GETTY IMAGES …………

(10) LeBron James (C) of the Miami Heat is guarded by Jason Kidd (L) and Tyson Chandler of the Dallas Mavericks during game 4 of the NBA Finals on June 7, 2011 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat 86-83. AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK / GETTY IMAGES ……..
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Ship Ahoy ………. Look Out For Another Mystery That’s About To Take On A Life Of Its Own

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alan aka tophatal ………………….

Picture and slide show details below .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The More You Know ……….. In Reality It’s The Less You Know

The More You Know ……….. In Reality It’s The Less You Know

As the NFL lockout looks as if it’s running its prolonged course I find it all the laughable when I hear fans stipulate that there’s nothing that’ll be lost for some of the teams from a financial and economic standpoint. Well as things now progress we’re now learning that a number of teams are gravely struggling to even sell preseason game tickets much less season tickets for the upcoming season . Amongst the teams looking to stave off the problems now besetting them are the Oakland Raiders . In light of the fact that during the 2010 season the Raiders in terms of their attendance for their home games were amongst the lowest in the NFL . Team owner Al Davis as an added incentive to his staff at all levels within the organization has requested that they each try sell no less than 10% of their salary in terms of ticket sales . This is something that he’s not only asking of the sales staff but all employees within the Raiders’ organization. If the front office is on board in terms of this then it can only benefit the Raiders’ organization as a whole .

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There’s a feeling that as the lockout shows no signs of an accord being met between the parties concerned in terms of the damage done to the NFL’s image is now beyond irreparable . NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell along with the team owners now find themselves trying to how best spin this situation wherein in order the premise of the situation is in their favor.
The fans however don’t actually see it that way and if anything they do feel alienated by this whole situation. The NFLPA for its part along with its members are looking to challenge the NFL’s antitrust exemption status within the Federal Court System . Signees to this civil suit are some of the most prominent players in the NFL , each are Superbowl winning quarterbacks Tom Brady , Drew Brees and Peyton Manning . The trial itself is still ongoing and it looks as if it will be a while before the judge renders a verdict in this particular case.

We all can look back on the fact that the 2010 season was quite an enthralling one with the Superbowl itself turning out to be quite an exciting spectacle with the Geen Bay Packers finally hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in their defeat of the Pittsburgh Steelers . Superbowl MVP Aaron Rodgers stood tall in the saddle and has pretty much eradicated the memory of Brett Favre amongst the Packers’ fans at Lambeau Field . And given Favre’s antics in the past few years with the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings I feel that it’s a great thing that the player has since walked away from the game under his own steam !

In light of Favre’s retirement I must say that in the latter years of his storied career I found the player to be self serving and an ingrate ! If nothing else I have to admit the longer Brett Favre stayed in the game thinking that he could in fact bring a championship to any franchise willing to meet his asking price like a mercenary for hire simply showed what a narcissistic asshole …… Brett Favre had become ! What might be even more comical was the mere fact that the idiot analysts covering the game within ESPN and Fox Sports clung unto Favre’s every word as if he were a deity rendering his thoughts on the NFL and his own aspirations. Statistics asides it’s almost certain that Favre will become a first ballot Hall of Famer having met the criteria for his induction .

I’m not so sure that the Western Conference Finals of the NBA postseason is all that enticing . Granted , we have two offensively minded teams in the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder . Defense seems to have gone out the window as both teams are intent in merely showing us their offensive prowess . In this series we also have two of the most prominent scorers in the game with Kevin Durant and Dirk Nowitzki .

With the series tied at 1-1 , game three’s resumption of this series in Oklahoma City with the Mavericks looking to take the upper hand in the series by taking a 2-1 lead in this best of seven playoff match-up. For Scott Brooks as the coach of the Thunder can ill afford to go down to 2-1 at home in this series knowing full well that they will have dug themselves int a hole. Brooks will have to emphasize to his players that they need to step up their game and be fully aware as to the dangers that this series brings if they continue to remain complacent. Durant in conjunction with Russell Westbrook will have to be weary of what their contributions must be throughout this series . Anything short of their regular season performances and this series will end up being beyond the Thunder’s retrieval .

Mavericks’ coach Rick Carlisle has in large part instilled a workman like commitment from his players in doing what’s best for the team from a collective standpoint and we’ve seen that in the contributions from a number of players on this roster . Asides from Nowitzki we’ve seen aging veterans Jason Kidd , Jason Terry show their guile . But if anything it has been the play of the bench players such as J J Barea , Tyson Chandler , Shawn Marion and Brendan Haywood that have played their part in the Mavericks’ success this season and in the playoffs. Now that the success is now being replicated in this series it augurs well for the Mavericks and their ambition to win their first NBA title .

Mark Cuban as owner of this franchise has long sought to bring success to the organization. Now it may well be finally be within his grasp . The fact that in the organization’s sole appearance in the NBA Finals they came up short to an enlivened Miami Heat team that simply outplayed them in every facet of that particular series . A humbling 4-2 series loss was enough to send the Mavericks packing their bags home and back to the Lone Star State.

I’d like to think that the Dallas Mavericks in their endeavor to make it to the NBA’s showcase event can actually redeem themselves. In the aftermath of that NBA Finals series’ loss I felt that the window of opportunity may well have closed on this organization. But now I know that to be oh so false as the Mavericks have shown me that they finally possess some grit and determination . As this series plays itself out it will be interesting to see how both teams will acquit themselves knowing that there’s a great deal on the line for both of these organizations.

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In terms of the NFL’s continued lockout what remedies do you feel would best bring the two sides together in reaching an amicable accord ? And as you observe the NBA Playoff series has there been anything that has come a complete surprise to you as it’s about to reach its latter stages ? Simply chime in with your own thoughts on the points raised within this piece and as always thanks for the continued support .

Alan aka tophatal …….

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) New Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson (L) looks on as Raiders owner Al Davis (R) speaks to reporters after introducing Jackson as the new head coach of the Oakland Raiders on January 18, 2011 in Alameda, California. Hue Jackson was introduced as the new coach of the Oakland Raiders, replacing the fired Tom Cable. Getty Images North America / Justin Sullivan …..

(2) Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrates winning Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 with his family at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. Kevin Terrell/NFL) ….

(3) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre leaves the field after warmups at Ford Field before their their NFL football game against the New York Giants in Detroit, Monday, Dec. 13, 2010. Favre is inactive for the game with the New York Giants, ending his record consecutive starts streak at 297, dating back to 1992. The Giants would defeat the Vikings 24-3 AP Photo/Paul Sancya …..

(4) James Harden (13) of the Oklahoma City Thunder goes up for a shot against Jason Kidd(2) of the Dallas Mavericks in the second half in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Oklahoma City Arena on May 21, 2011 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Mavericks would go on to defeat the Thunder 93-87 to take 2-1 lead in the best of seven Western Conference Finals . Getty Images / Ronald Martinez ……

(5) OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – MAY 21: (L-R) Jason Terry(31) , Peja Stojakovic (16) , Brendan Haywood(33), Dirk Nowitzki(41) and Jose Juan Barea (11) of the Dallas Mavericks celebrate on the court in the second quarter while taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Oklahoma City Arena on May 21, 2011 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Getty Images / Ronald Martinez ………

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Questions I’ve No Wish To Be Answered But Yet They Remain Within The Public Domain So Does Anyone Have An Answer ?

Questions I’ve No Wish To Be Answered But Yet They Remain Within The Public Domain So Does Anyone Have An Answer ?

Well inter-league play is now front and center within MLB and though the purists may well be dead set against the idea here it now is. Personally from my own standpoint I see it as a chance for teams within the AL and NL a chance to play each other and for many of the fans to see their heroes up close and personal. Though I’m not an overly admirer of this format until the World Series as I alluded to , it does give the fans a chance to see their favorite players .

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As the season progresses I know that we’re bound to see the teams at their very best and at their worst. But you can be sure that won’t last long as the season heats up and reaches its halfway point by late July . By then a number of the divisions should be taking shape albeit that there still will be a great deal to play for . I’m not about to make any quick announcements as to what I think will happen other than to suggest that the teams playing the best baseball should actually be stepping up to the plate and making their present felt and their class known .

Well over the weekend several of the top NFL’s rookies gathered on the campus of UCLA Berkley for a charity event . Amongst those attending were Cam Newton , Von Miller , Blaine Gabbert and Andy Dalton to name but a few . Many of the players in question suggested that in spite of the league lockout they were happy to be part of the fraternity but their biggest disappointment was not being able to participate in any drills amongst their new teams or at their respective training facilities. In the midst of this all the NFL hierarchy , team owners and the NFLPA , there still remains a chasm as to their differences . Meanwhile the lockout still remains in place after being upheld by the 8th District Appellate Court . The New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees in an interview granted to ESPN’s Ed Werder during which he stated that the reason why he was a willing participant in a civil suit against the NFL wherein he , Tom Brady and Peyton Manning had all signed on to challenge the league’s antitrust status . One of the points that Brees brought up during this interview was the very fact the players are doing this mainly to represent the veteran players that have retired and the very fact that they have been inadequately assisted by the NFL . If anything this might well have been one of the most pertinent points raised in this whole unsavory episode . Because to my mind it certainly hasn’t been only the NFL that has failed the retired players but also the very union who say that they represent those players’ interests. Certainly neither Gene Upshaw or his successor DeMaurice Smith of the NFLPA have spoken publicly of their wish in obtaining better benefits for their members, in particular the retired veterans . But such has been the idiocy of this lockout and the very fact that the two sides seem to so far apart in trying to reach an accord as it firmly remains about money and how best to split a $9 billion piece of pie .

Well the daggers are now out for seven time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong as the Justice Department seeks testimony and evidence that would indict the former champion of using performance enhancing drugs (PED’s). Such has been the absurdity of this whole spectacle where we have seen former champion Alberto Contador have his own suspension lifted after positive test which he asserts was due to having ate tainted meat at a restaurant . In light of this all I find it rather asinine that the Tour organizers L’Equipe and the sport’s governing body UCI have yet to reach an accord where there is in fact a really comprehensive drug testing policy. The IOC which oversees the Olympic Games has a part to play in this all but they appear to be taking a hands off approach as WADA and UCI try to make the best of a bad situation by trying to get the appropriate testing protocols in place that is universally recognized.

Much of Armstrong’s problems will now manifest itself even more so with the allegations now being made by former teammates of Lance Armstrong as Tyler Hamilton has stated that he repeatedly saw the former champion inject himself with steroids and other illicit PED’S . In an interview conducted by CBS’s Scott Pelley for their magazine news program ’60 Minutes’ , Hamilton emphasizes that Lance Armstrong was a frequent user of PED’s throughout much of his career , especially during the run-up to the Tour de France. Now it’d be naive to even suggest that Armstrong might not be guilty of anything but at the same time one certainly would have doubts . The other teammate of Armstrong who also has also given testimony to the Justice Department is George Hincapie . OK , so Lance Armstrong has never tested positive while in competition or during the cycling off season but yet the allegations appear and reappear with even more frequency as time goes by . Now while Hamilton has given his sworn testimony to the Justice Department the question I would ask is what does he actually gain from all of this ? He would be an idiot to perjure himself at this juncture knowing full well that lying would mean a jail sentence in a Federal penitentiary . But at this juncture until an indictment is handed down all one can do is merely speculate on the matter . 60 Minutes who tried to get in contact with Armstrong and his legal representatives seeking a statement from the beleaguered cyclist were not met with a response of any kind. However , Armstrong has always maintained his innocence in any wrong doing on his part. For someone who was so beloved after his heroics and the fact that he overcame testicular cancer it would appear that his days now seem to be numbered as he looks keep his legacy and integrity in tact.

The vultures are now hovering and it appears that they are looking gorge themselves on the carcass of Lance Armstrong . Witch hunt or not , this might be one of the most unsavory moments in recent l history as it relates to the sport of cycling, especially as to its relevance here in North America , where Armstrong is still very much seen as the face of the sport.

As the NBA postseason takes shape with the conference finals I can’t help but wonder how the fans now view things as they begin to play themselves out ? The Eastrn Conference Finals have worked out well as the top two seeds meet for the right to represent to the conference in the NBA Finals . The Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat so far , have given us an exhilarating two games wherein the series is now tied at 1-1 . And for both coaches Tom Thibodeau and Erik Spoelstra are on the cusp of leading their respective teams to what will their first appearance in the league’s showcase event as coaches. It is extremely hard to believe that other than Phil Jackson , Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers there are no other active coaches in the league that have won an NBA title . But such has been the dominance of that triumvirate as coaches within the NBA that it easy to understand the reasons why they have had the success that they have attained. They are the consummate individuals within their fraternity and have the respect of their peers and their players no less.

The stars on both teams have shone as this series has progressed and it may well take one of those stars to raise their game to another level if their team is to succeed. For league MVP —- Derrick Rose this has been an outstanding season as he has vindicated himself to many by showing why he has been so successful as a player and a leader of this Bulls’ team . With the series now resuming this upcoming Sunday at the AA Arena in Miami , one should expect an explosive and raucous atmosphere in that arena as the Heat’s Dwyane Wade , LeBron James , Chris Bosh and the rest of this roster showcase their skills as they seek to take a lead in the series.

All evidence would point to the fact that should the Heat take game three then they would be viewed as being in the driver’s seat and expected to perhaps look to close out this series . At this juncture I would say that nothing is off the table because this season’s playoffs while exciting , have also been full of a number of surprises as we’ve seen both the San Antonio Spurs and the reigning two time defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers being summarily embarrassed by their respective opponents in the earlier rounds .

In the Western Conference Finals the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder look to up the ante in their series as they each look to regain the upper hand in their series . Dirk Nowitzki after his dominant performance in game one with an emphatic 48 point offensive output in the Mavericks’ 121-112 defeat of the Thunder . This series has see-sawed up and down because of the over powering offensive display of both teams . At the same time I look at the situation where it would appear that defense appears to the last thing on the mind of either team. For both Scott Brooks and Rick Carlisle this is something that has to be remedied if either team is to prevail in the series outright .

Game three resumes in Oklahoma City this Saturday with the series tied at one game apiece . In tying the series the Thunder knew that taking a game at American Airlines Center in Dallas this series is now up for grabs . Much of the post-game scenario played around the benching of Russell Westbrook by Scott Brooks for the entire fourth quarter of the game. Inconsistency or not Westbrook is uniquely aware that he’s not the leader of this Thunder team as that right belongs to the two time league scoring champion Kevin Durant . Westbrook must know that if the Oklahoma City Thunder is to be successful then he will have to defer to Durant as and when necessary . Any other alternative will ultimately lead to the team’s demise and a chance of making their first appearance in the NBA Finals as the NBA’s youngest franchise .

As this NBA postseason unfolds it will be interesting what drama now awaits the participants left the respective series .

After what appeared to be an enthralling bout a rematch was made between former light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins and the reigning champion Jean Pascal of Canada. In their first dramatic fight that ended in a highly contested draw , the animosity between the two antagonists actually grew. What is now undeniable is the that Hopkins seeks to further cement his legacy in becoming the oldest world champion in boxing history. The former champion is 46 years old and some eighteen years the senior of his opponent. Their title bout will take place in Montreal this upcoming Saturday (10:00 pm EST) and will be televised by HBO .

Though the state of boxing has now become mundane and pedantic , Hopkins and Manny Pacquiao remain perhaps the two biggest draw in the sport. Unfortunately however , once these two legends of the sport retire boxing will become bereft of real talent and characters that the fans can actually identify with. Pascal for his part knows that if he actually beats Hopkins his ascent up the ranks will only gain him more exposure and greater financial reward. It seems strange at the age of five Pascal he probably wouldn’t have been aware that his opponent would be making his professional debut in the sport. That being said when these two meet again at the Bell Centre , Montreal , it won’t be about Pascal showing any deference to his more experienced foe and it will certainly be vice- versa with Bernard Hopkins. The former champion felt he was cheated out of the decision on the champion’s home turf in their first outing and for that, he expects to right a wrong . And as impressive as Pascal’s 26-1-1 (16KO’s) record might appear to be the quality of opponents he has met over the course of his career pales into comparison when adjudged against that of Hopkins’ and multi-divisional championship record (51-5-1 [32 KO’s])would and resume’ would indicate.

This rematch has the makings of being an instant classic given what is on the line for both fighters. And I think that there is a distinct possibility that the challenger may well walk away with the title belt as he feels that he has something to prove . Certainly Pascal being the much younger fighter knows that he can ill afford to take Hopkins lightly as he had done in their first meeting. And if anything he was extremely lucky to have retained his title with that favorable decision of a draw by the judges . This time around there may well not be a need for the judges to actually give a verdict as this bout may well be decided by knockout . Either way this could be a fight that will dictate the careers of both fighters and the directions that they may well be heading in .

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What opinions might you have as to the topics raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts as you deem fit and anything else you may well feel pertinent .

Alan aka tophatal ………………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Atlanta Braves’ Joe Mather celebrates his one run double in the twelfth inning of an interleague baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Saturday, May 21, 2011, in Anaheim, Calif. The Braves won 5-4 . AP Photo/Gus Ruelas …..

(2) Alex Gonzalez (2) #2 of the Atlanta Braves scores a run in front of Hank Conger (16) Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to take a 5-4 lead during the 12th inning at Angel Stadium on May 21, 2011 in Anaheim, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …..

(3) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – MAY 17: Former NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith (second from left), NFL retired players’ lawyer Michael Hausfeld and NFL players’ lawyer Jeffrey Kessler arrive for court ordered mediation at the U.S. Courthouse on May 17, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As the NFL lockout remains in place mediation was ordered after a hearing on an antitrust lawsuit filed by NFL players against the NFL owners after labor talks between the two broke down in March. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ……

(4) Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (8) of the Seattle Seahawks converses with quarterback Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints after the Saints 34-19 win at Louisiana Superdome on November 21, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. ….

(5) Cyclist Lance Armstrong holds a press conference during Day 1 of the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting on September 24, 2008 in New York City. Armstrong was speaking on his return to competitive cycling and the work of the Lance Armstrong Foundation in conjunction with the Clinton Global Initiative to fight cancer.2008 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting – Day 1New York, NY United StatesSeptember 24, 2008 . Photo by Jemal Countess/WireImage.com @ copyrighted material all rights reserved ……

(6) Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden (13) goes up for a shot attempt as Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki of Germany, right, and DeShawn Stevenson, bottom left, defend in the second half of Game 3 of the NBA Western Conference finals basketball series Saturday, May 21, 2011, in Oklahoma City. The Mavericks won 93-87 . AP Photo/Larry W. Smith ….

(7) Dirk Nowitzki (41) of the Dallas Mavericks reacts in the fourth quarter while taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Oklahoma City Arena on May 21, 2011 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Getty Images / Christian Petersen …….

(8) Bernard Hopkins of US shows his tongue after a hit by Jean Pascal of Canada during their light heavyweight championship fight for the WBC light heavyweight championship, on May 21, 2011, at Bell Centre, Montreal in Quebec, Canada. Ring veteran Bernard Hopkins beat Jean Pascal by decision in a World Boxing Council light heavyweight bout to become the oldest major world champion in boxing history at 46 years old. Hopkins came on strong in the middle rounds and hung on in the 12th against the hard-hitting Canadian Pascal to get the decision in front of a crowd of 17,750 at the Bell Centre arena May 21, 2011. Hopkins won a unanimous decision against Pascal in an entertaining rematch of their December 18 draw in Quebec City, Canada. TOPSHOTS AFP PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES/ ROGERIO BARBOSA …….

(9) Bernard Hopkins misses a punch on Jean Pascal during the WBC Light-Heavyweight Championship fight between Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal at the Bell Centre on May 22, 2011 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images …….

(10) MONTREAL, CANADA – MAY 21: Bernard Hopkins punches Jean Pascal during the WBC Light-Heavyweight Championship fight between Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal at the Bell Centre on May 22, 2011 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images ….

(11) Both Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal raise their hands in victory after twelve rounds of action during the WBC Light-Heavyweight Championship fight between Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal at the Bell Centre on May 22, 2011 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The challenger would defeat his younger adversary in obtaining a unanimous verdict from all there judges . In winning the light heavyweight title Bernard Hopkins became the oldest world title holder in boxing history at the age of 46. Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images ….

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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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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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David Stern Proves Why He’s An Ass !

David Stern Proves Why He’s An Ass !

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

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

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

Courtesy of Washington Post

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

By Michael Lee , Washington Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of NY Daily News

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

By Mitch Lawrence , NY Daily News

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

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

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

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

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

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………………

TI ………………..”Rubber Band Man”

Glib And Clueless As Usual ……………….

Glib And Clueless As Usual ……………….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports


Goodell plans to meet with Roethlisberger

By Barry Wilner , AP Football Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roethlisberger skipped voluntary workouts with the team last week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………….

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Wu Tang Clan ……….”Bring The Pain”

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

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Hey Your Mavs Aren’t All They’re Cracked Up To Be

Hey Your Mavs Aren’t All They’re Cracked Up To Be

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again the Dallas Mavericks ‘are never going to win an NBA title’ much less win anything else ! I’d dare say that they’d even have trouble trying to beat Geno Auriemma’s U Conn women’s Huskies. The Mavericks are soft , Charmin’ soft. ! As a matter of fact I’d go as far to say that they’re softer than a new born baby’s a_s !

 Al Harrington (7) of the New York Knicks shoots a jumper against Eduardo Najera (14) of the Dallas Mavericks during a game at the American Airlines Center on March 13, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.  photo  appears  courtesy  of NBAE/ Getty Images/  Danny   Bollinger  ............
Al Harrington (7) of the New York Knicks shoots a jumper against Eduardo Najera (14) of the Dallas Mavericks during a game at the American Airlines Center on March 13, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/ Danny Bollinger ............

Having crushed the Knicks in an earlier season meeting by ’50 points’, it was expected that the fans would witness a repeat performance. Hold it, no so fast , as the New York Knicks actually came to play . The Mavericks had strung together 12 successive wins and were looking move closer to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ season high 16 successive wins. Instead the Mavericks would fold like a cheaply made suit. Is that a reflection of Mavericks’ coach Rick Carlisle and the roster ? Never mind the fact that Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban has never been known to shy away from a television camera if he wasn’t going to get ‘face time’. Instead he had to witness his team humiliated by a Knicks’ team that may well be amongst the worse in all of the NBA . And people believe the Mavericks are viable contenders for the Western Conference title or an NBA championship ? Not on this display , having been blown out by the Knicks by 34 points 128 -94 . And don’t try to negate this , by saying that this was merely a one off loss by the team and can be seen as a slip up. Because if anything this merely suggests why it is that the Mavericks are nowhere near as good as advertised.

Dirk Nowitzki (41) of the Dallas Mavericks goes in for the lay up against Wilson Chandler (21) of the New York Knicks during a game at the American Airlines Center on March 13, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.   photo  appears  courtesy of  NBAE/Getty  Images/  Glenn  James  ...........
Dirk Nowitzki (41) of the Dallas Mavericks goes in for the lay up against Wilson Chandler (21) of the New York Knicks during a game at the American Airlines Center on March 13, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Glenn James ...........

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

Knicks end Mavericks’ 13-game win streak, 128-94

Dallas (AP)—The Dallas Mavericks had the most lopsided victory in franchise history when they beat the New York Knicks by 50 points in the teams’ last meeting nearly two months ago.

This time, it was the Knicks’ turn for a rout.

Bill Walker scored a career-high 23 points, Wilson Chandler added 22 and New York snapped the Mavericks’ 13-game winning streak with a 128-94 victory on Saturday night.

“Revenge is sweet sometimes. That’s a really good team over there but we caught them at the right time. They were ripe for the picking,” said New York reserve Al Harrington(notes), who had 20 points. “When you’re rolling along and the Knicks are coming in, you figure you can score 150 points on ‘em in your sleep. But that Knick team didn’t show up today. We caught ‘em by surprise.”

Rookie Toney Douglas had 21 points, and David Lee contributed 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Knicks, who’d lost 14 of their previous 17 and nine straight in Dallas.

“We felt they’d take us lightly,” said Douglas, making his first start since Nov. 18. “A lot of teams look at the schedule and say, ‘Oh, that’s the Knicks. That’s a win.’ But we’ve got to come out and compete every night.”

The Knicks celebrated a rare highlight in an otherwise forgettable season, shooting 56 percent from the floor (50 for 89) and 16 of 30 from 3-point range. Dallas hadn’t been beaten by the Knicks at home since Dec. 16, 1999.

Dirk Nowitzki had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Jason Kidd added 15 points for Dallas, which won 128-78 at New York on Jan. 24 and hadn’t lost since Feb. 16.

Slow starts had become a habit for the Mavericks during their streak, and the Knicks carried a 30-25 edge into the second quarter.

Early on, several Knicks told the Mavericks that Dallas would be in for a tough night.

“They remembered (the blowout in New York),” said Dallas’ Shawn Marion,, who scored 14 points. “They even said something to me about it before the game. They said they were going to give us a spanking.”

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Bill Walker (5) of the New York Knicks drives against Rodrigue Beaubois (3) of the Dallas Mavericks during a game at the American Airlines Center.  The  Knicks   would  go  on  to  defeat  the  Mavericks  in  a  totally   lopsided victory <strong><em> 128-94 </strong></em> at  the   American  Airlines   Center  in   Dallas ,  Texas  in  front  of  a  sellout  crowd.   photo  appears  courtesy of   NBAE/ Getty  Images/  Glenn  James  ....................
Bill Walker (5) of the New York Knicks drives against Rodrigue Beaubois (3) of the Dallas Mavericks during a game at the American Airlines Center. The Knicks would go on to defeat the Mavericks in a totally lopsided victory 128-94 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas , Texas in front of a sellout crowd. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/ Glenn James ....................

But then again it’s easy to see why someone would get hyped up over a team that has never done anything within the NBA , much less has a body of work that exhibits success. When you simply place ‘style over substance’ it merely shows that whatever you state as an opinion isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. There’s a contributor within the forum who made the asinine notion that the Mavericks are ‘the second best team’ in the Western Conference. Based on that notion , I wonder what he would make of the Warriors or Clippers ? Because as a unit, they are far more cohesive than anything shown by the Mavericks. And need I remind you that other than Dirk Nowitzki , who on this team can actually play consistently at a high level ? Much less can anyone on this damn team actually play on4 lick of defense ? And Brendan Haywood is meant to be a good post up player ? By whose damn notion ? He was made to look like a baby learning to take his first steps ,as he stumbled all over the American Airlines Arena , Dallas, Texas, in front of a sellout home crowd.

Somewhere there are Mavericks’ fans now looking at this team wondering whether or not they’re good enough to win anything beyond their division. But because if anything this team will crumble under the pressure in the playoffs. This team reflects the softness of their coach Rick Carlisle. And if you think that’s poor take on Carlisle ? Then consider this, since his days Indiana, what has Carlisle achieved over the course of his career as a coach ? He may well be great as a regular season tutor but come the postseason , he’s essentially a chicken running around the chicken coop with its head having been removed.

For the Knicks and their coach Mike D’Antoni . He now knows that in David Lee , has at least one player on this roster worth keeping. As to the others assembled on the roster by Donnie Walsh and his predecessor. Well let’s just say that the members of the group TLC had it just right they stated in their song ….’Scrubs’ .. I Don’t Want No Scrub’. But now for the fans of the Knicks they now must be hoping and praying that LeBron James may well view the Gardens as the next port of call in his professional career. In truth, this may well be wishful thinking on the part of Knicks’ fans and in particular their most vocal supporter Spike Lee .

In all honesty the window of opportunity for the Dallas Mavericks is slowly closing and the core of its roster is an aging one and the likes of Jason Terry , Nowitzki, Haywood , Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion aren’t liable to be around for much longer . Never mind playing together , in the hope of winning an NBA title. There are other teams within the conference progressing and improving while the Mavericks have simply reached a plateau and are now beginning to taper off and show signs of regression. Doubt my word ? Then simply watch the highlights of the 34 point loss to the Knicks and you’ll see a clear explanation why.

As of now , if you were a Mavericks’ fans would you be entirely happy with the direction that they’re said to be heading in at present ? If so , then give me the reasons why and whether or not you feel that this team is capable of winning the Western Conference championship , much less the NBA title.

He may well be all about the theatrics but in all honesty Mark Cuban will never live to witness his NBA franchise win a championship ! Not when he’s being laid out by wrestlers from the WWE . Make belief or not . Don’t you think it was a welcomed sight to see him laid out like that ?

NB: Click here to view Rick Carlisle’s postgame interview. And other video highlights of the game.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………….

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Eminem performs ‘Lose Yourself’ from the movie ‘8 Mile’.

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Stacey  Dash
Stacey Dash , actress , designer and entrepreneur .

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Not Quite The Silly Season In Sports But It’s Still Early Days As Of Yet ……………..

We all know how that at the end of the regular season on the PGA Tour , the sport has its anomaly of post-season events . Wherein, the players can supplement their on Tour earnings with even more astronomical sums in terms of unofficial prize money. Never mind the fact that Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has extended the calendar on The Tour , whereby a number of events were move beyond the end of the official regular season but the winnings attained there wouldn’t count on a player’s official prize money earnings. This part of the season is known as the ‘silly season’ . The same is true of for all of the four major sports.

Not Quite The Silly Season In Sports But It’s Still Early Days As Of Yet ……………..

We all know how that at the end of the regular season on the PGA Tour , the sport has its anomaly of post-season events . Wherein, the players can supplement their on Tour earnings with even more astronomical sums in terms of unofficial prize money. Never mind the fact that Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has extended the calendar on The Tour , whereby a number of events were move beyond the end of the official regular season but the winnings attained there wouldn’t count on a player’s official prize money earnings. This part of the season is known as the ‘silly season’ . The same is true of for all of the four major sports.

Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig’s steroids proposal, made to the union last month, calls for a 50-game ban for first offenders, a 100-game penalty for second offenders and a lifetime ban for a third positive test.
Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig’s steroids proposal, made to the union last month, calls for a 50-game ban for first offenders, a 100-game penalty for second offenders and a lifetime ban for a third positive test. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Adam Roundtree .......

Well low and behold , despite the pontificating by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , his asinine and inane attempts to suggest that there were no tried , tested and reliable methods in testing for HGH (human growth hormone) . Somehow , it has come about whereby there is irrefutable evidence that there is a test that is 100 % full-proof. So much for the blithering idiot and the MLB hierarchy that had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty first century when it came to adopting an internationally recognized drug testing policy. Is the hierarchy of major league baseball that archaic ? Or is it being ran by a bunch of simpletons ?

Courtesy of The New York Daily News

British professional rugby player Terry Newton tests positive for HGH as MLB on deck for testing

By Michael O’Keeffe and Christian Red , Daily News Sports Writers

The argument by Major League Baseball that no reliable test for human growth hormone exists took a major hit Monday.

Both the United Kingdom Anti-Doping agency (UKAD) and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) trumpeted the positive HGH test of British professional rugby player Terry Newton as “proof positive” that the drug can be detected in blood tests. Newton, who was tested in November, did not contest the result and yesterday was banned from the sport for two years by UKAD. Newton’s rugby club, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, also canceled his contract. Newton is believed to be the first case of a professional athlete testing positive for HGH using a blood sample.

Baseball has banned growth hormone since 2005, but there is still no HGH testing. Travis Tygart, USADA’s chief executive, Monday blasted baseball’s argument that an effective HGH test is unavailable.

“All of us who have helped develop a test wouldn’t put it in place if it wasn’t forensically sound and reliable.” Tygart told the Daily News. “Particularly in (Newton’s) case, it’s proof positive the test works.”

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With the ‘positive test’ of British rugby league player , Terry Newton , further proves how far and out of touch major league baseball really is with regard to the ongoing medical advances that there are in the meticulous testing of athletes for prohibitive substances. Not that it would really matter to baseball under Selig’s tenure as commissioner. He still believes to this day, that the sport has the most rigorous and meticulous testing policy in all of professional sports. As well as meting out the stiffest penalties available. If I hadn’t realize that he was being serious, I wouldn’t continue to ridicule this oaf ! His mendacity would suggest that he hasn’t the faintest idea as to what the hell he’s talking about. If anything , the ‘Mitchell Report’ and its finding further clarifies that ! God knows, the game itself , still has its problems but Selig’s handling of the issue and the undue intransigence of the MLBPA (union) has only further exacerbated and compounded an already grave situation.

Well what do you know ? A number of teams around the NFL have begun to either place the ‘franchise tag’ on their unrestricted free agents or in some cases, they’ve actually ‘cut’ players whom they feel are no longer of much use to their organizations. It’s business and the ‘nature of the beast’. Nothing in the game of football is guaranteed , other than a signing bonus and the ancillary incentives reached by a player once they attain those objectives. Could some please remind Jeff Garcia why it was that he and former Buccaneers’ coach Jon Gruden had a parting of the ways ? Honesty seems to be something that Gruden was short on , during his professional career as an NFL coach. But that asides , he got the job done.

Carolina Panthers' Julius Peppers saluting fans as he walks off the field after the Panthers' <strong> 23-10 </strong>win over the New Orleans Saints in an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers have decided the price is too steep to keep their all-time sacks leader. It means five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers is about to become one of the top prizes in free agency.  Agent Carl Carey says the Panthers have told him they won't place the restrictive franchise tag on Peppers for a second consecutive year at a cost of more than $20 million.  The move Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010,  comes two days before the tag deadline.  photo appears courtesy  of Associated  Press/ Rick Havner  ......
Carolina Panthers' Julius Peppers saluting fans as he walks off the field after the Panthers' 23-10 win over the New Orleans Saints in an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers have decided the price is too steep to keep their all-time sacks leader. It means five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers is about to become one of the top prizes in free agency. Agent Carl Carey says the Panthers have told him they won't place the restrictive franchise tag on Peppers for a second consecutive year at a cost of more than $20 million. The move Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010, comes two days before the tag deadline. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Rick Havner ......

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

Eagles release RB Westbrook after 8 seasons

By Dan Gelston , AP Sports Writer

Philadelphia (AP)—Brian Westbrook(notes) could break open a game from almost anywhere on the field.

Lined up in the slot, he could run a slant, beat a linebacker and take off with no one able to catch No. 36. His defining moment with the Philadelphia Eagles came on an 84-yard punt return that stunned the New York Giants in 2003.

Out of the backfield, he was a 1,000-yard rusher who always kept defenses guessing—and flailing.

But in his later years, it was injuries that defined Westbrook more than his dynamic offensive skills. His age, salary and lengthy list of beaten body parts led the Eagles to release him Tuesday and save the team $7.5 million due next year.

“I think we all know that Brian is one of the all-time great Philadelphia Eagles,” coach Andy Reid said. “For what we’ve done here over the years, Brian has been just a huge part of building this program to the level that we’re at now. My heart will always be a Brian Westbrook fan as we go forward here.”

A former All-Pro, the 5-foot-10 Westbrook led the league in yards from scrimmage in 2007 with 2,104. He rushed for 1,333 yards and accounted 12 touchdowns that season.

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Chargers’ GM A. J. Smith made the decision to cut their Pro Bowl running back, LaDainian Tomlinson . The same maneuver has since been followed with Philadelphia Eagles’ running back Brian Westbrook being cut by the team’s GM Joe Banner. Do you seen an emerging pattern here ? Once you’re deemed ‘over the hill’, then that’s it ……’you’re out’.

It’s been often said , that once the San Francisco 49ers saw fit to release their ‘storied quarterback’, Joe Montana , the ‘game’ had essentially ‘lost its soul’. Whether or not that it is indeed true, I’ll leave that up to you, to decide ! And though it’s no longer all that disturbing , there’s still something of a tinge of sadness when this all happens to a much beloved and well respected player.

The NFC South’s Carolina Panthers now face a daunting task , as to whether or not it is still prudent to re-sign Julius Peppers. The Pro Bowl defensive end , last season was a franchise tagged player, who was the league’s highest paid player with a salary of $16.9 million for 2009. Coach Jon Fox would no doubt like to retain the player but at what cost to their bottom line ? Never mind the fact that the needs on this Panthers’ roster goes way beyond trying to persuade Peppers to remain with the team but at a lower salary. Somehow , neither Peppers or his agent are liable to acquiesce and listen to such a request from the Panthers' front office and their general manager , Marty Hurney . There’ll no doubt be a number of teams that are liable to show an interest in the player and who will be quite prepared to meet or surpass his asking price.

Courtesy of NFL.com

Sweet home Chicago for Peppers, Kampman? DEs coveted by Bears

By Jason La Canafora of NFL.com

The Chicago Bears are gearing up for a major run at Julius Peppers, a league source said Tuesday, and Aaron Kampman also is an option for a team that’s intent on landing a pass-rushing defensive end this offseason.

Peppers, who will not receive the Carolina Panthers’ franchise tag, is the Bears’ prime target. However, Peppers will not come cheap — he was seeking around $40 million guaranteed from the Panthers. The Bears traditionally are a frugal team, but in this limited free-agent market, they are prepared to jump into the sweepstakes for Peppers, who had 81 sacks in eight seasons with the Panthers.

Kampman, who struggled to switch from end to linebacker in the Green Bay Packers’ new 3-4 defense, also is someone the Bears are high on, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. The Bears know Kampman well from their intense NFC North rivalry games against the Packers.

Chicago’s defense ranked 17th in the NFL last season, and coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jerry Angelo need improvement to ease questions about their job security. After mulling whether or not to part with higher-priced defensive veterans such as linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs and tackle Tommie Harris, Bears management has decided to keep that core together and try to add playmakers through free agency.

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Well a number of my blogging buddies , namely, chappy 81 and sportschump , have been telling me, ne’ persuading me , that the likes of the Dallas Mavericks and Orlando Magic are still legitimate contenders for the NBA title. The veracity of a case can still be made for the Magic , as they’re still the reigning Eastern Conference champions within the NBA. With regard to the Mavericks and their stellar play this season under the guidance of coach, Rick Carlisle . For chappy , I mention these words ‘…..does the meaning swoon in June resonate with you at all ? Because for all sense and purpose that is it what we’ve become use to seeing from the Mavericks over the past few seasons. This team led by Dirk Nowitzki is very, very good, during the regular season . But far too often , once the postseason season comes around they become something of a tease. They’ll lure you in with the belief that this is to be their year , whereby they will fully acquit themselves. But it as I’ve suggested all too often , comes that swoon. And then that obligatory tailspin comes into being. Being a passenger on the Titanic might prove to be much more fortuitous than being a fan of the Mavericks.

Mike Dunleavy (#17) of the Indiana Pacers goes up for the lay up against Brendan Haywood (#33) of the Dallas Mavericks during a game at the American Airlines Center on February 22, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. photo  appears  courtesy  of  NBAE/ Getty  Images/  Glenn  James  ...................
Mike Dunleavy (#17) of the Indiana Pacers goes up for the lay up against Brendan Haywood (#33) of the Dallas Mavericks during a game at the American Airlines Center on February 22, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/ Glenn James ...................

And needless to say, the acquisitions of both Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood does make them better. But are they as good as their erstwhile rivals in the Western Conference in the guise of the Los Angeles Lakers or Denver Nuggets ? State the case , wherein the Mavericks are as good as either team ? Because nothing they’ve done thus far in the season that bears this out. One can surmise that Mavericks’ GM Donnie Walsh sought to bolster the roster in order to make it more resilient with the additions of both Butler and Haywood. But neither player can be considered clutch performers when it matters most and yet there those who trying to tell me that Haywood can be that and a great deal more ? If he wasn’t that much of presence with the Wizards to begin with . Then why all of a sudden will things suddenly take a turn for the better from his standpoint ? He’s a serviceable player , if that’s what the Mavericks are in fact looking for. And the case for Butler that can be made , is that on certain nights he’ll be able to make a contribution for the team. So lets not pretend that overnight , the Mavericks are about to set the NBA world alight and make Mark Cuban a very happy man. You’d better off making the case that Sarah Palin would be a wiser choice as the Republican nominee for President of the United States. And even though that scenario can’t be anymore less stupid than the one being placed that the Mavericks will be able to challenge usurp the supremacy of both the Lakers and Nuggets. But alas, this is now the world that we live in , where anything can be said without much logic being stated as the basis for an argument.

College Football is replete with good and bad coaches. As a matter of fact that broad based statement runs the gamut of collegiate athletics. The troubling fact now within the game is that there are a number of coaches who choose to eschew the rules, in order to seek an advantage for their program. And little do they care as to the consequences of their actions. That has to be the case for both programs of the USC Trojans and the University of Michigan (Wolverines). Both programs are under new head coaches but in the case of all three current and past coaches there’s a case to be made where each has violated the rules of the NCAA . Pete Carroll and now current coach Lane Kiffin has essentially carried on where his predecessor left off , with the Trojans’ program. The athletics’ program at USC has become so ‘tainted’ that it’s hard to make a case why it shouldn’t be suspended altogether, for a period of not less than year to act as a deterrent to others . Both the men’s football and basketball programs have been complicit in some serious transgressions violations of NCAA rules. And one wonders why it has taken so long even with the ongoing investigations that’ve been conducted by the NCAA. But here’s the kicker to it all, the football program is not only a ‘cash cow’ for the NCAA but also for the BCS system. And one wouldn’t want to be seen as biting the hand that feeds it now, would one ?

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, left, and head football coach <strong>Rich Rodriguez</strong>, right, are shown at a news conference in Ann Arbor, Mich., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010. The NCAA has found that Michigan's storied football program was out of compliance with practice time rules under coach Rodriguez. Incoming athletic director David Brandon disclosed the finding Tuesday. He says there were no surprises in the NCAA findings. He also says Rodriguez remains the coach. Michigan has 90 days to respond and will appear at an NCAA hearing on infractions in August. photo appears courtesy of  Associated Press/ Paul Sancya  ......
University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, left, and head football coach Rich Rodriguez, right, are shown at a news conference in Ann Arbor, Mich., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010. The NCAA has found that Michigan's storied football program was out of compliance with practice time rules under coach Rodriguez. Incoming athletic director David Brandon disclosed the finding Tuesday. He says there were no surprises in the NCAA findings. He also says Rodriguez remains the coach. Michigan has 90 days to respond and will appear at an NCAA hearing on infractions in August. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Paul Sancya ......

In the case of the Wolverines and their coach, Rich Rodriguez . He has knowingly flouted the rules concerning the amount of time allowable for his players in terms of their preparational training for a game, contravening the strict rules that all programs have to abide by. Rodriguez categorically denies any wrongdoing on his part , even with the statements from current and past players of the football program detailing otherwise. The situation has become so ridiculous, that both the AD David Brandon and University President Mary Sue Coleman have come out in full support of the beleaguered and embattled coach. And one would’ve thought that in both cases the AD’s of both establishments would be looking to enforce the rules and make a formal statement giving the NCAA assurances that they not condone such actions. But in the case of both Brandon and his counterpart Mike Garrett at USC , this most definitely has not been the case !

Los Angeles -January 13th 2010. New head coach of the USC Trojans Lane Kiffin shakes a hand as he makes his way to his press conference at Heritage Hall  in Los Angeles, California.  photo appears  courtesy of  Getty Images/  Harry How .................
Los Angeles -January 13th 2010. New head coach of the USC Trojans Lane Kiffin shakes a hand as he makes his way to his press conference at Heritage Hall in Los Angeles, California. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Harry How .................

Now there’s no chance of either program coming forward and admitting any impropriety on their part. But consider this , when it was first announced that an investigation was about to get underway into the USC athletics’ program. The school’s AD approached the NCAA about imposing their own sanctions on both the basketball and football programs. And we now wonder why Pete Carroll fled USC under the subterfuge that he sought a new challenge in the NFL ranks , to be a coach with the Seattle Seahawks ? For those in the know , wouldn’t that be considered a step down for Pete Carroll ? LOL,LOL, LOL !!! In large part most people view the Trojans’ program as LA’s only true professional football franchise ? And that’s with all due respect to California Redwoods of the UFL (United Football League). Who see themselves as the transitional answer to Los Angeles’ need for a professional football franchise. Redwoods’ owner Paul Pelosi , husband of House Majority Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca), has all but stated that as a fact. As he ultimately foresees the franchise as the ultimate answer for the city’s quest and yearning for a professional football franchise. Whether not that as well as the UFL comes to full fruition remains to be seen. Albeit, that the Redwoods are based in San Jose, some three hundred miles away from the city of Los Angeles. Nothing like ambition to spread bold , asinine statements and ideas to begin with ! Could it be, that both Pelosi’s are intent on ruling their domains, as they view it from the lofty perches of their ivory towers ? Needless to say there’s some love and hatred there for both.

Duke's Jon Scheyer collides with Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney, left, during the first half. Scheyer scored 25 points and collected 10 rebounds in the win.
Duke's Jon Scheyer collides with Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney, left, during the first half. Scheyer scored 25 points and collected 10 rebounds in the win. The Blue Devils defeated Virginia Tech (Hokies) 67-55 in the game . photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Sara Davis .................

Would it be remiss for me to suggest that the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) of men’s basketball ‘stinks to high heaven’ ? Now don’t get me wrong there are still some marginal teams but what the hell has gone wrong there ? Other than Duke , there isn’t another team from the conference in the ‘top 25’ of the national rankings . And even with the Blue Devils ranked at number 5 in the rankings, Mike Krzyzewski’s team hasn’t been exactly setting the world on fire with their play. But one could surmise that they’re waiting to shine in the NCAA national championships ? Roll on ‘March Madness’ , as that’s when the ‘men will be separated from the boys’ .

This’ll be the one time of the year that I’d have to be dragged kicking and screaming away from in-front of the television set when the NCAA men’s national championships are on. To my mind it’s the best of the collegiate championships that takes place during the course of the sporting calendar. And in terms of sheer excitement , it ranks up there alongside the Superbowl , itself ! And the real thrilling part of it all , other than showing support for one’s team. It will be to see the future prospective stars of the NBA. And those may well be the names such of such current stars , as John Wall and his Wildcats’ teammate DeMarcus Cousins . Others who also come to mind are Sherron Collins of the Kansas Jayhawks, Ricky Jackson of the Syracuse Orangemen and a slew other players , far too numerous to mention. But over the course of the NCAA tournament , I guarantee that you’ll get to know who those players are. And you’ll definitely be showing your support for them , if not their teams.

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts speaks to the media Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010 at the Chicago Cubs spring training facility in Mesa, Ariz. photo appears  Assoc. Press/ Matt  York  ....
Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts speaks to the media Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010 at the Chicago Cubs spring training facility in Mesa, Ariz. photo appears Assoc. Press/ Matt York ....

A century plus of continued futility and there’s now said to be a breath of fresh air in the environment, as the new Chicago Cubs’, owner, billionaire, Tom Ricketts , addresses the team as well as the rest of the organization . How much this will resonate with the Cubs’ long suffering fans and those devoted faithful who throng to Wrigley Field religiously to watch the team play, remains to be seen. But rest assured Ricketts’ anecdotes about his fond memories of the Cubs and some of their former halcyon days can only provide a respite for what we may well envisage once again this season.

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

New Cubs owner Ricketts addresses team

By Rick Gano , AP Sports Writer

Mesa, Ariz. (AP)—Tom Ricketts once sat in the bleachers at Wrigley Field, cheering for the Chicago Cubs. On Tuesday, with the players gathered around him in the spring training weight room, he addressed the team that his family now owns.

His message was simple: He and his family will be around and do everything possible to help the Cubs win.

“If there is anything we can do better, let us know,” Ricketts said he told the players.

For his part, Ricketts is already taking steps.

There are new upgrades at Wrigley Field, including an improved clubhouse and weight rooms, a new players’ lounge, a new club in the outfield and better restrooms for fans. The Ricketts also raised ticket prices on some seats at the storied stadium.

“Obviously Wrigley needs a lot of love and a lot of help over the next few years,” Ricketts said. “That will be very challenging. Other than that, we feel the pressure to produce on some winning teams and that will be something that is always with us.”

The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908.

Ricketts said if the Cubs are in contention around the trade deadline, it’s possible they would spend the money to bring in a player needed to make a playoff push.

Manager Lou Piniella sounded confident that would happen.

“The fact they are going to involved and visible and the fact they want to win and are very competitive, and I’m sure if we get in position during the course of the summer and we need something, there’s a darn good chance they’ll step forward,” Piniella said.

“The Ricketts are going to be good for Chicago and for the Chicago Cubs,” added Piniella, who is in the last year of his contract. “This is not just a one-year or two-year thing. They want to keep this team in their family for a long, long time.”

The $845 million sale of the Cubs, Wrigley Field and other assets from the Tribune Co. to the family of billionaire Joe Ricketts was completed in October, more than 2 1/2 years after the baseball franchise went on the market.

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Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella, right, along with coaches Matt Sinatro, middle, and Lester Strode watch pitchers warm up during spring training baseball camp practice Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010, in Mesa, Ariz. photo appears courtesy  of  Assoc. Press/  Ross D. Franklin  ...........
Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella, right, along with coaches Matt Sinatro, middle, and Lester Strode watch pitchers warm up during spring training baseball camp practice Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010, in Mesa, Ariz. photo appears courtesy of Assoc. Press/ Ross D. Franklin ...........

If it wasn’t enough that the Lou Piniella coached Cubs has to contend with the St Louis Cardinals , Milwaukee Brewers , Houston Astros , Cincinnati Reds and less we forget the woefully inept Pittsburgh Pirates >. The NL Central alongside the NL East might just be the two most competitive divisions in the National League. But it’d be enough to suggest that Ricketts is now of the belief that the beleaguered organization is about to turn the corner as its impending fortunes are about to change. Haven’t we all seen this before ? A new owner rides in on his white steed in the hope of regaling the fans and the community at large with the view that they can contend and bring a championship to the city. If only that were the case with the Chicago Cubs . They’ve become more of a tease than a voluptuous scantly clad blond female at a party. She and you both are there but with one thing on both of your mind. But in the end, you’re the one who ends up being disappointed.
It just turns out the blond in question is literally that, nothing more than a damn tease . As are the Chicago Cubs, year in and year out ! Can someone now please slaughter that damn goat and put the Cubs and their long suffering fans out of their misery ? And while you’re at it , call Steve Bartman and tell him , he’s still ‘persona-non-grata’ in the city of Chicago ?

The now infamous ‘Bartman Incident ‘ that happened at Wrigley Field during the NLCS game between the Cubs and Marlins. And the rest say they say ‘……… is history’.

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Bartman had to be escorted out of Wrigley Field , as the Cubs’ hierarchy at the time feared for his safety. On the night was there a more despised person in the city of Chicago ? Or perhaps the state of Illinois ?

The ‘silly season’ in sports will soon be upon us and we’re liable to laugh as much as get upset for one reason or another, as to the stories start to unfold. Personally, I’d rather just laugh my way throughout the season , rather than letting my emotions get the better of me because of another stupid episode during the sporting calendar year. What are your thoughts on the whole thing ?


Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………..

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From the land of my parental birth, Jamaica. Here’s Buju Banton with ‘Champion’ .

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Canadian adult burlesque performer Bianca Beauchamp . Here she is in her wondrous form and self. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the subject and content matter ? To view each picture within the gallery in full, just click unto the individual picture in question.

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