It takes a village to raise a child, but several idiots, have simply ruined the image of the NBA …..

It takes a village to raise a child, but several idiots, have simply ruined the image of the NBA …..

The NBA Postseason still remains overshadowed, by the fallout, from the ongoing Donald Sterling “affair” . Yet, it is not enough, that fans are now suggesting the self-serving actions of V Stiviano , makes this whole episode all the more sordid . The idiocy to my mind, remains the apathy among idiotic fans, who somehow remain fu#king delusional, when it comes to race relations in this country and merely view because the twice elected bi-racial Barack Obama as President of the United States , makes the environment and that of the issue of race a bygone issue.

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Stiviano, is not the person, who issued the words of bigotry, nor was she the person, whose repeated actions of racial intolerance , were repeatedly highlighted over the Los Angeles Clippers owner’s three decades of ownership of that particular franchise . Somehow, this has been overlooked by the press , fans , but most of all by former NBA Commissioner David Stern , who himself held that position as commissioner during a similar time-span. If the fans are simply not intelligent enough, to look at these facts and sense that there is indeed something wrong not only with Donald Sterling’s hideous actions , then what does it also suggest , their not questioning the inaction of the former NBA Commissioner, in seeking to reprimand the now suspended Clippers’ owner ? Where is the alleged intelligence and intellect that David Stern is said to have, beyond the ongoing hypocrisy that still remains within the league, among the league hierarchy , team owners and the executive committee of the NBPA (Players’ Union).

The first round of the postseason, gave us one or two surprises, but not really anything that one could point to as a major upset. The Chicago Bulls’ falling to the Washington Wizards in their opening series , may well be one of complacency, as much as it could be about the Hawks simply grabbing the opportunity to derail the hopes of Tom Thibodeau and his players during the NBA Playoffs. Chicago’s failure has pretty much left the Bulls’ front office in a state of apoplexy and dismay , but one cannot help but ask , did John Paxson and GM Gar Forman make a monumental mistake when they sent Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the now the departed and under-achieving Andrew Bynum ? I firmly believe, that had Deng remained with the Bulls the outcome of this series might well have been much different in its result .

Having made it to the Eastern Conference semifinals , the Washington Wizards now find themselves facing the brink of elimination, seeking to erase a 3-2 deficit against the Indiana Pacers . Tuesday night’s lopsided twenty-three point victory over the number one-seeded Pacers may well have given their fans some respite. Yet, I believe that Frank Vogel and his playing staff will be looking to stop the bleeding and close out the series when its resumption takes place on Wednesday night , with game six at the Verizon Center in Washington , DC,. If Randy Wittman can encourage his players to successfully defend on their home-court , then game seven could provide for a thrilling finality to a series where the heavily favored Pacers have been exposed as something of a fraud throughout much of these series of contests .

The Miami Heat as the two-time defending NBA champions are simply easing their way through the postseason . Never truly tested by the Charlotte Bobcats in their first round series’ match-up , their conference semi-finals’ contest against the Brooklyn Nets is proving to be equally un-challenging against a Nets’ team that in reality, has more going for it , in terms of their multi-million dollar payroll than they have, for their playoff performances this postseason. While many, might well be impressed with Jason Kidd’s rookie season as a head coach . Let us not forget , that the Nets are playing in the Eastern Conference and a division where the basketball being played can be best described as being redundant , if not downright embarrassing . Yet, this is the type of garbage , that David Stern has presided over the within this conference, for the past several years , where idiotic fans , would still suggest that the now retired NBA Commissioner, was in no way responsible for the level of play on display for the fans to witness.

Stern’s imprints have been all over the league than most would care to acknowledge and apathetic fans, simply have no idea as to the level of mediocrity that he has tried to suggest has been entertaining , while also assailing the public at large , with the fact the league’s revenues have been on the rise . I guess when you can cajole your broadcast partners into paying for an inferior product and still make money is another “ virtue” of American “capitalism” .

LeBron James and his Heat teammates , will be looking to close out their series and then await the winners of the Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards’ contest in the Conference Finals . A repeat of last season’s conference championship contest for the best part, might well be what the fans will yearn, as the Pacers seek avenge that significant series’ loss . When the Nets play host to the Miami Heat on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York , we are likely to see the Heat march on to their third consecutive appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals in the past five seasons. As for the Brooklyn Nets, their outlandish $ 102.3 million payroll and the idiocy of fans, who believe that money and style over substance can equate with success in the NBA. Ask yourselves the following , at what point, was there ever any chance of the Nets being even remotely seen as a likely favorite for the NBA title, much less being seen as a legitimate contender for the conference title ?

As Donald Sterling continues to make a complete ass of himself, seeking the public’s empathy and sympathy . The franchise that he has been force to relinquish control of still continues to march on this postseason . The Los Angeles Clippers in their match-up against the Oklahoma City Thunder , now find themselves on the brink of elimination in that series’ contest , down 3-2 and League MVP , Kevin Durant and his teammates now looking to book their place in the Western Conference Finals. The Clippers’ players cannot be viewed as the “villains of the piece ” , because of the idiocy of the franchise’s owner , but in reality , it would set a bad precedent were the Los Angeles Clippers to advance to the conference finals and even the NBA title contest , with this all being seen as something of a benevolent reward for Donald Sterling’s egregious conduct .

Sterling, in his first publicly televised national interview showed very little by way of an act of contrition but quickly tried to point out to his host and interviewer Anderson Cooper , he was not a racist , was misunderstood , with his statements being taken out of context and his philanthropic work within the greater Los Angeles area community in recent years, had been of benefit to minorities and their well-being. One could liken that to the gas chambers of Auschwitz and Belsen ” concentration camps” , being a great thing among the Jews during World War Two (WWII) and the only harm being done, was the smoke from the stacks that rose into the skies above and into the environment. One of the more pointed moments of the interview during this interview was Sterling’s criticism of NBA great Magic Johnson , with the disgraced owner questioning the altruism of Johnson and what he had for those within his own race . Perhaps, Donald Sterling was not aware has built up a portfolio of companies under this Magic Johnson Enterprises , which employs over 15,000 nationwide and through his charitable foundation assists at risk youth , placing them in educational programs as well as providing paid up college scholarships for minorities.

Magic Johnson Enterprises, also provides internships for college graduates in a variety of areas , as these businesses encompass the following areas of commerce , commercial real estate , residential real estate , insurance , finance , music , business entertainment , hospitality management and auto dealerships, within his corporation .

It should also be noted that the Magic Johnson Foundation the charitable arm of Magic Johnson Enterprises has raised tens of millions of dollars to aid in AIDS’ research , but yet , Sterling comes up with a dumb perception that Johnson has done little for his own race ? The pertinent question , one ought ask of Sterling at this point , are you that much of an ass as you appear on television, as you are in private ?

Donald Sterling remains a pompous moron and those who purport to remain fervently behind someone when those espousing such views , think nothing of it and then hide behind this “ idiocy of freedom of speech “ without taking into account human decency or common sense or respect of others . It has been this type of bigotry that remains common place within American society , while idiots try and hide behind this continued ” bull#hit” of ” political correctness” . If fans do not comprehend what the meaning of common courtesy and having respect actually means, without the now known incompetency and lack of action shown by David Stern and the NBA in general. Then the continued mistrust of the NBA will continue, among some fans , public, with the apathy of the media who cover the league remains on show.

While the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder, continue to contest their series, the conference semi-finals within the Western Conference pits last season’s NBA Finalists and conference champion, the San Antonio Spurs against the Portland Trailblazers . For Blazers’ team owner , billionaire Microsoft co-founder , Paul Allen , as he seeks to add a second professional team championship to his mantelpiece. As the owner of the Seattle Seahawks , Allen was privee’ to witnessing the franchise win their first Superbowl , with their demolition of the Denver Broncos in Superbowl XLVII (SB47) . Trailblazers’ owner , Paul Allen , knows it would take an incredible effort by his team to overcome the wily guile and experience of the formidable Gregg Popovich and his incredibly talented team , led by Tim Duncan , Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli . The aforementioned triO, have played an ever-present role in steering the Spurs to great deal of success over the past decade . This past year marked the sixteenth consecutive season the franchise has obtained a postseason berth in the NBA Playoffs, but yet , little is made of such an amazing achievement , either by the NBA hierarchy or that of the print media in general. Instead, they would rather continue to cover under-achieving teams such as the New York Knicks and the vastly overrated Brooklyn Nets. I guess, when these are the basic staples for the NBA beat writers and columnists in general , accomplishments and feats achieved by the Spurs on appearance seem trivial and where the journalists and analysts who cover the league for a living gloss over those feats.

All season long the Spurs were overlooked, as many felt the Western Conference would be the Oklahoma City Thunder’s by design and right . Thunder GM Sam Presti has assembled a very good team for head coach Scott Brooks to have under his tutelage, as the players made on another season onslaught to prove that they are among the best in the league . A second placed finish by way of their conference record , might well have been seen as something of a disappointment ,but the players had their share of inconsistent performances that led to that conference mark . In their divisional race , there was not much of a challenge for Kevin Durant and his teammates , as they ran away with that particular contest winning their division with ease. Durant , won the regular season League MVP award , dethroning LeBron James , a four-time winner of the award, along the way in with his acceptance speech showing a great deal of humility and reverence towards his Thunder teammates but paying a special tribute to his mother and younger sibling.

If there was said to be one significant off-court to this NBA calendar year , then it was provided by Kevin Durant and his acceptance speech and not the idiocy surrounding Donald Sterling or the self-congratulatory and some might even believe it narcissistic proselytizing in the stepping down of David Stern as the NBA Commissioner. It also seems somewhat asinine, to know the league hierarchy and owners have decided to give upon Stern, the honor of Commissioner Emeritus for his three decade tenure as the commissioner. In light of the recent events , I feel that it is an accolade not befitting an individual, who at every instance has sought to promote himself above the league, along with his autocratic style of leadership. As pointed as this remark may well be , one cannot overlook the issue where the former commissioner did not use due diligence in reprimanding Donald Sterling for his known prior bad acts and now one has to also question his motives in not having also dealing with Richard DeVos of the Orlando Magic and his repeated behavior , concerning his homophobic remarks .

The NBA, like its NFL counterpart, have inferred they are tolerant and socially aware, but the actions the owners of the NBA and NFL and respective unions simply belie that fact . Meanwhile, the apathy of the fans and media remains intact, with their ongoing stupidity and complete lack of understanding of recent events within both leagues.

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As the NBA Playoffs meanders towards its finale , it will be interesting to see how the league tries to placate the ongoing ire of the fans , as they seek to deal with Donald Sterling . The on-court contests have done little to silence the ongoing debates still taking place and the lack of real action having been taken by the league hierarchy under the leadership of newly installed commissioner , Adam Silver. As David Stern’s deputy for the last seven years , he too remained silent while the antics of Donald Sterling and Richard DeVos were well chronicled , but the ongoing idiocy remained with the league, as well as the downright apathy of the fans who sought to paint David Stern as the NBA’s savior . If nothing else, Stern ran with the ball up and down the court , simply painting a rosy picture of a league , that had underlying issues that he failed to deal with adequately and with any degree of real authority . That to my mind , shows the complete imbecilic incompetency of the NBA and the image that they have often sought to portray ! Your thoughts on this and more, simply chime in with a comment

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Picture and slideshow details below for your perusal .
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(1) Beleaguered NBA team owner Donald Sterling seen here in his first public interview on the CNN magazine program AC360 hosted by Anderson Cooper questioned the motives of his paramour V Stiviano , while also seeking to be critical of the NBA and former Los Angeles Lakers’ great Magic Johnson. Sterling remains somewhat delusional , believing his behavior was not racial intent and that he is misunderstood by the media and public alike . Yet for more telling were his comments about the former Lakers’ player and that of his being afflicted with the HIV AIDS’ virus and his contention that Magic Johnson has done little to aid the African-American community at large . Clearly , Sterling was unaware of Johnson’s philanthropic efforts over the last two decades and the fact that his companies employs over 25,000 individuals indirectly nationwide, many of whom are from minority backgrounds . Picture appears courtesy of CNN.com ……..

(2) Outgoing NBA Commissioner David Stern, left, is seen here with his successor Adam Silver , who became the league’s highest ranking executive at the beginning of this past season , during which Silver has been asked to deal with a number of ongoing issues beyond the yet to be resolved drama surrounding Donald Sterling . AP Photo/ Chris Robinson …..

(3) George Hill (3), Lance Stephenson (1) , Paul George (24) and Roy Hibbert (55) of the Indiana Pacers watch from the bench in the fourth quarter of the 102-79 loss to the Washington Wizards in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 13, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Getty Images North America / Andy Lyons …

(4) (L) LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat and (R) Mario Chalmers (15) of the Miami Heat react after the final whistle following their victory over the Brooklyn Nets in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 8, 2014 in Miami, Florida. The Heat would close out their series in Game five with an emphatic win over the Nets winning their conference semi-finals’ series 4-1 . Getty Images / Chris Trotman ….

(5) Tim Duncan , left of the San Antonio Spurs and LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trailblazers contest a rebound during a game in the Western Conference Semifinals between the two teams played at . San Antonio led the series 3-1 in the best of seven-game conference semi-finals series of games . The Spurs won conference semis decisively , beating the Trailblazers in game five and will now meet the victor of the series between the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder . Getty Images / Scott Palmer …………

(6) Kevin Durant (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder is fouled by Blake Griffin (32) of the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 13, 2014 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Getty Images North America / Ronald Martinez ……

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Nigger in the woodpile ? Donald Sterling doesn’t even have a plantation but he probably wished, he had one ……..

Nigger in the woodpile ? Donald Sterling doesn’t even have a plantation but he probably wished , he had one ……..

So as the NBA postseason meanders towards what the fans believe will be an inevitability , it is interesting to note, that the biggest story now surrounding the league , just happens to be the unfolding episode concerning the statements attributed to Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling that was first reported by entertainment news’ website TMZ .

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Sterling , is said to have made the comments to his girlfriend, that he would rather have her not associate herself , with “niggers” or have them attend the games of the team he owns , while they are playing at the Staples Arena in downtown Los Angeles , California . As to why anyone, would actually be surprised by these statements by Donald Sterling , when it has been a repeated pattern of behavior by one of the NBA’s most malignant owners . Furthermore , it should be noted, that the owner, has been ran afoul of the US government , by way of the US Justice Department ,with his having been successfully sued in US Federal Court in an action brought by the US Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) , for being a ” slum landlord “ , and in having many of his tenants live in squalor conditions in a number of the numerous residential properties that he owns , many of the tenants in question were minorities , of African-American , Asian-American and Hispanic ethnicity , living within the greater Los Angeles area. The fact, that the city of Los Angeles failed to act with any type of expediency when his actions first came to light with regard the ongoing negligent actions as a landlord , and one of the city’s most prominent residential owners , leads me to believe that beyond the city’s incompetency , was due the power able to be wielded by Sterling within the city and among the city council, itself.

Tantamount to this all, has been the sheer naiveté , apathy , downright stupidity and utter gullibility of fans and the NBA hierarchy , who have continually over the years overlooked Donald Sterling’s continued behavior. It has been an ongoing pattern of behavior by the owner, wherein, David Stern has turned a blind eye to the Clippers owner’s ongoing behavior not only as it relates to the racial overtones of his comments , his egregious sexist behavior but also , what is said to be mistreatment of Clippers’ employees within the organization . Stern, long seen as a bastion of presiding over a league, said to be image conscious, but yet during the time that this owner has carried on with boorish behavior , neither the former NBA Commissioner , nor his later successor , Adam Silver , has sought do a thing, to in some way suspend or fine the owner . Yet , the NBA remains a league where in the past , David Stern has seen fit to fine Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks , hundreds of thousands of dollars , when Cuban has been justified in his criticism of the league hierarchy and that of the officiating of regular and postseason games in the NBA. Need we be reminded also , that Stern has also seen fit to actually punish players with impunity for actions , he believes to be harmful to the game or conducting unbecoming ? Yet during his tenure , he has never seen fit to punish Donald Sterling , for previous allegations of having thrown out racial epithets.

I have to ask myself, what would David Stern or Adam Silver deem serious enough for them to take action against Donald Sterling, given his repeated gregarious behavior ? If that was not enough, how much of an apathetic idiot must one be , to try and suggest consider that the country has progressed beyond the racial divide , when in many cases , there still remains an economic and social chasm within this country, along its racial lines ? Also , with the recent incident , with the death of Alfred Wright in Jasper , Texas , which was also the scene of the dragging and lynching death of James Byrd IV . Can someone explain to me, why they are those, who of the opinion, that racism and dare one say “hate crimes “ are on the decrease ? Is it merely, because the US the Justice Department, would try to suggest that, as being a fact? Need we be reminded, who now heads that particular governmental agency and the continued incompetency that has been shown by Eric Holder , as the US Attorney General ?

Now beyond the racial statements attributed to Donald Sterling , his odious views on women and how sexist those tones are , does bear asking, what other views he may well have, that we have not come seen come the surface and his views on race and other numerous social issues ? Clearly, beyond this stupidity that this is now solely Adam Silver’s issue to deal with , we also need to now look at the actions of the other owners around the NBA , and why no response there about Sterling’s comments and why no formal statement from anyone within the NBPA hierarchy or from among those on the Clippers’ coaching or playing staff . This might be the one time I firmly believe that Doc Rivers or the team’s presumed leader in Chris Paul actually make a formal statement . Consider also , that the Clippers’ point guard is the current President of the Players’ Union (NBPA) . Begs the question, is there no end, to clear incompetency and apathy within the NBA and union , itself ?

As to the postseason , the reigning NBA champions the Miami Heat (3-0) are proving to be now as decisive as they have been at any point during their regular season schedule . LeBron James leads the team in scoring during the playoffs , as he seeks to add a third NBA title to his already impressive resume’ . Erik Spoelstra may well be relishing the fact that as the Heat strolls through the first three games of their first round series against the Charlotte Bobcats (0-3) , the Indiana Pacers (2-2) as the number one seeds in the Eastern Conference now find themselves in the midst of a dogfight against the Atlanta Hawks (2-2) in their quarter-final series , now tied at two games apiece (2-2), with game five scheduled for Monday night at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana , Indianapolis. Frank Vogel’s Pacers can ill-afford to lose game five and then place themselves in an almost irretrievable position, in having to win the final two games of the best of seven series . Considering, the seismic waves a first round series’ loss would create for the Indiana Pacers, can certainly be judged by the fact, that it would create an easier path for the Miami Heat, as they seek to make their way to a third consecutive NBA Finals.

In the run-up to the end of the regular season, the Chicago Bulls were very much one of the most impressive teams over the final ten games of the season. It seemed hardly likely that with the season long loss of Derrick Rose and the franchise’s decision to trade Luol Deng , that one would have guessed that the team would indeed make the NBA Playoffs as the fourth seed within the Eastern Conference . A first round series’ match-up, against the John Wall led Washington Wizards (3-1) , was if anything, expected to be a very competitive series. Instead, it has become an ongoing nightmare for Tom Thibodeau , his coaching staff and the Bulls’ players have squandered just about every advantage and opportunity , one might have thought that they might have had , in now finding themselves on the brink of elimination , now down three games to one (3-1) against the Wizards. Coming into the series , I felt that with the momentum gained by the team over their final twenty regular season games , I thought them to be perhaps, the most dangerous of the outside contenders, who might hinder the path of both the Indiana Pacers Miami Heat , and their presumed conference finals’ match-up !

Tuesday’s game , given the contest’s value , will very much be one of zeal and guise on the part of the Bulls , because , Washington Wizards’ head coach Randy Wittman, his coaching staff and players , will be seeking to close out a series , that few might have expected them to be victorious in . Turnovers and a complete lack of leadership, has simply been the tale of the Bulls’ woes throughout this series and that does come as a surprise , when one considers the level of play shown by Joakim Noah during the regular season and his winning of the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year , this past season .

A scrappy series, between the Toronto Raptors (2-2) and Brooklyn Nets (2-2) ha pretty much summed up what this season has simply been about within the Eastern Conference wherein , the level of the play has simply bordered on being insipid and downright puerile . , though the continued idiocy to sell the league and specifically the Eastern Conference as being competitive. Nothing could be further from the truth , and the very fact that we now have Adam Silver consulting with USAB Chairman Jerry Colangelo , on his thoughts, about how best to improve the branding and play within the NBA, points to the very fact that Silver, is simply out of his depth ,. as David Stern’s successor !

Now, far be it, for me to suggest, that Silver, is likely to be as successful, as the image conscious egotistical former NBA Commissioner , who many , try to espouse as being the consummate businessman. David Stern, rode on the coattails of Michael Jordan , and during the mid to late nineties used African-American teens , the genre of ” gangster rap ” and the appeal of gun violence to sell the NBA as a brand , but dumb ass idiot fans are all too ready and willing to overlook that very fact , and once again show why there is no fucking common sense among the North American sports’ fan in general , never-mind the fact, that , this was the very same commissioner , who tried to suggest that the NBA being bailed out to the tune of $550 million in 2009 and their teams having been loaned $2.5 billion over the past decade , decade , should not be viewed as a bailout, with ticket prices having increased on average in excess of 23% during years between 2009 and 2012 , all of this in the midst of an economic downturn , which has shown no real sign of dissipating.

David Stern, simply tried to suggest, that this was the cost of doing business, while his salary increased , while the league sought to hold down their expenses , when in fact team payrolls climbed , as did television revenues and that of the league’s revenues. The commissioner’s salary upon his exit , exceeded $25 million a year , on par , if not above the highest paid player in the NBA , where the largest NBA contract belongs to the Nets’ Joe Johnson , whose six-year $123.66 million contract , is as ridiculous as it sounds , but yet not one fan, can explain succinctly, what the former commissioner has achieved, in reining in the cost of teams’ expenditure , when in fact David Stern simply cannot point to one evidential, piece of success of that nature ! A ” soft salary cap” , still has not stopped teams , of seeking to be financially expedient and for the majority of fans without a degree in finance , much less economics , theirs’ continues to be the idiocy of letting the teams spend whatever , while they chase after that ever elusive success .

Current NBA Coach of the Year , Gregg Popovich , a four-time winning NBA Finals’ coach, has seen the San Antonio Spurs (1-2) squander their home-court advantage and now quite possibly a series’ lead during their instate postseason conference match-up against the Dallas Mavericks (2-1) . The conference and NBA leading sixty –two wins’ season (62-20) , might all be for nothing, should they lose their first round playoff series’ contest against the Mavericks . Over the course of the regular season , San Antonio proved to the best team in the league , as well as having the longest unbeaten winning streak during the year . Now down 2-1 in the series against Rick Carlisle’s players led by ageless wonder , Dirk Nowitzki, this contest has been busted wide open , with the likely series’ winner, being the team showing , that they can deal with whatever adversity is thrown within their midst . In two successive losses , the Spurs have shown themselves , not to be that team , as the Mavericks have simply outplayed their Western Conference rivals. Monday night’s game , when the series resumes at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas , Texas , should tell us a great deal about the mindset of both teams , with the San Antonio Spurs, seeking to erase that 2-1 deficit and squaring the series, at two games apiece (2-2).

If the San Antonio Spurs are now seen in an unenviable position against the Dallas Mavericks , then the series between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies could prove to be as equally daunting a task for the Thunder. Truth be known , in a seven game series , I would not bet against the Grizzlies to beat any of the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference , and yes that does include the less than imposing Miami Heat , who are physically and mentally soft against teams, b that are far more imposing . Were it not for the dexterity shown by LeBron James , the Heat would be no better than the third or fourth best team in the East and no better than the fifth best team in the West. All that glitters is not necessarily gold and the Miami Heat as assembled by Pat Riley this season , have proven to be at best , perhaps , “fool’s gold” with a little bit of pixie dust sprinkled in for good measure ! Likely , League MVP for this season , Kevin Durant has shown every bit of his skill-set in this playoff series against the Zach Randolph led Grizzlies and that particular match-up between Randolph and Durant has been very enticing to watch, as both players have excelled in various areas of their respective games .

When the two teams, resume their series in a pivotal game five , set for Tuesday night , with everything to play for . There is no doubt in my mind, that the winner of that contest should be in the driver’s seat for the remainder of the series ! A great deal is expected of the Scott Brooks’ coached Thunder and failure at this point of the postseason , would be seen, as not only traumatic for the organization , but pretty much summing up their season, as one of , failing to meet expectations of the front office led by Sam Presti and CEO & Chairman Clay Bennett .

Inasmuch as I hate to say this , but with these recent revelations about Donald Sterling, long known to me , having studied in-depth, a great deal about the owner and his ownership of the franchise , his treatment of current and former employees , including the lawsuit taken out against Sterling, by former front office executive Elgin Baylor . Nothing, would now give me greater pleasure, than to see the Los Angeles Clippers now bow out of the postseason, with the team being derailed by the Golden State Warriors ! As to the NBA hierarchy, taking action against the owner , there is about as much chance of that happening as an elephant devouring its own fecal matter ! Fuck it, if a self-absorbed asshole such as David Stern can overlook the boorish behavior of the Clippers’ owner , then why should I expect Adam Silver to be any different ? I mean , the current commissioner, has yet to issue a public statement on the matter , even after weekend news’ cycle within the league , was simply overshadowed by this story , but yet fans believe that the NBA is a league ran by intelligent individuals ? Fuck no , and it never has been , nor will it ever be , even with the mindless morons who still continue to drink out of the porcelain pot , that David Stern continues to piss and defecate, in ! Please seek out tangible evidence and do not buy into every piece of bullshit, ushered down by a league that is now simply devoid of intelligence, at just about every level from the league hierarchy on down to the owners , general managers , players, union and the officials themselves !

The NBA has become an all-out defective league , where sheer incompetency , masks the lack of real acumen , and where excuses are sought by the players , owners and the league’s executives , for their ongoing incompetency and where dumb ass fans , continue to buy into their never-ending bullshit !

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Picture gallery .

In light of this ongoing story within the NBA, which has now cast a giant shadow over the NBA postseason and the lack of action by the league hierarchy . Do you believe that Adam Silver can in all good conscience ignore these allegations and turn a blind eye to it all or do you believe that some form of action is called from the NBA Commissioner ? Also, which of the playoff series now in session , do you think will provide the biggest surprise in terms of a possible upset ? Simply, leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for your continued support of this site, as it is greatly appreciated !

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Picture gallery and slideshow details below .

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(1) In this photo taken on Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling , right, and girlfriend V. Stiviano , left, watch the Clippers play the Sacramento Kings during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles. The NBA is investigating a report of an audio recording in which a man purported to be Sterling makes racist remarks while speaking to Stiviano. NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement Saturday, April 26, 2014, that the league is in the process of authenticating the validity of the recording posted on TMZ’s website. Bass called the comments “disturbing and offensive” . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ……. @copyrighted material all rights reserved

(2) From left to right from the Los Angeles Clippers , Blake Griffin , Chris Paul and head coach Doc Rivers . Paul as Executive Director of the NBPA (Players Union) has yet to issue a public statement concerning the alleged racial epithets used by team owner Donal Sterling in an expletive racial taunt to his girlfriend V Stiviano. The Clippers’ front office , has yet to issue a statement from any high-ranking executive within the organization . Given the lack of action by the league hierarchy , who it is now said that they are conducting their own investigation into the matter , One has to ask , if this has been a pattern of behavior with Donald Sterling , going back several years , why is it only now , that Adam Silver’s office has sought to take action ? Repeatedly, during David Stern’s tenure as commissioner , Sterling’s behavior was known to be boorish with various comments attributed to him, often denigrating women and minorities . Yet, somehow this was all overlooked by Silver’s predecessor . AP Photo / Jason Moore ….

(3) NBA Commissioner Adam Silver , foreground , and his predecessor David Stern are seen here after the newly installed commissioner succeeded Stern and his thee decade long tenure as the league’s highest ranking executive during that time-frame. Silver , is now said to be conducting an investigation into the actions of Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling . A pattern of behavior by the franchise owner has been repeatedly ignored by the former league executive , but yet Stern , himself , has yet to answer those allegations , but somehow , anal retentive fans view the former commissioner as having been a great executive and ambassador for the league. LOL,LOL,LOL !! Getty Images / Rod Harper …..

(4) Charlotte Bobcats’ owner , Michael Jordan is seen here congratulating LeBron James of the Miami Heat . James and his teammates would go on to .defeat (109-98) the Bobcats in game four played at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte , North Carolina , sweeping their Eastern Conference rivals 4-0 in their first round series’ match-up . Getty Images / Tim Bevan …

(5) The Washington Wizards’ back-court of Bradley Beal (3) and John Wall (2) now have the team on the brink of eliminating the Chicago Bulls (1-3) , with the Wizards taking a 3-1 lead in their series . Game five takes place tonight at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois , when the Bulls play host to their conference rivals . AP Photo / Tom Murphy …..

(6) Boris Diaw (33) of the San Antonio Spurs, who alongside teammate Manu Ginobli , played a major contributory role , in the Spurs squaring their series against the Dallas Mavericks , defeating the hosts 93-89 in their game four contest played at the American Airlines Arena , in Dallas, Texas on Monday night , 28th April, 2014. Getty Images/ Rachel Adams …….

(7) Kevin Durant (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Zach Randolph (50) of the Memphis Grizzlies are the primary reasons why their respective teams have made the NBA Playoffs and the series’ contest between these uniquely gifted players has been one of the highlights of the postseason so far . Tied at two games (2-2) apiece, this series is now about to get even more suspenseful , when their pivotal game five takes place tonight at the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma , in front of what is sure to be packed venue for this contest . AP Photo / Mason Foster …..

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What the major newspapers are now saying about the Los Angeles Clippers and Donald Sterling . Click on the links shown below to view. And for the uninitiated lame @ss fans who still believe David Stern to have been of true benefit to the league then please explain succinctly did he seek to overlook the earlier bad acts of the Clippers’ owner ? Or will you continue to be and act as apathetic as former NBA Commissioner and his now newly elected successor Adam Silver ? If there has been a pattern of behavior with the Clippers’ owner , why the fu$k is everyone now acting so surprised by this latest revelation ? Are these NBA fans and journalists alike, that f##king stupid ?

USA Today :: Jeff Ziglittt :: How will NBA’s Adam Silver punish Donald Sterling?

Boston Globe :: Bob Ryan :: Donald Sterling profile not a pretty picture

Los Angles Times :: Bill Dwyre :: Donald Sterling scandal merits an over the top reaction

Washington Post :: Mark Berman :: Why the world finally noticed Donald Sterling’s appalling history

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tophatal ………. 04/28/204

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An ode to the NBA , get real or simply get the hell out of the damn way !

An ode to the NBA , get real or simply get the hell out of the damn way !…..

With most teams now in the NBA winding their seasons and the schedule due to culminate on the 16th April with a slew of games to close the calendar. We can perhaps, look back on the year and discuss the biggest stories and the major disappointments. For those choosing not to question the antics and ills, that have now engulfed the Philadelphia 76ers and then seek to view it as part and parcel of business in the NBA, without apportioning blame, either on the Sixers’ owners or the league hierarchy . Ask yourself this question , when making a purchase of an item , are you not expecting the vendor to make a sale to you of a product, that you believe worthy ? Then why should the fans of an NBA franchise, be treated any different, when purchasing a ticket to view their team, at their home venue? It is this type of idiocy and apathy that has now become the fabric of the majority of fans at present, who seek with their ongoing stupidity , to simply accept mediocrity and any excuse offered as being acceptable .

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One would hope that with the retirement of David Stern , we are likely to see some real vestiges of leadership from his successor Adam Silver , as he seeks to make the brand more amenable to the fans , rather than the ongoing puerility seen in recent years, and then this incessant idiocy, that Stern has been in no way to blame for the league’s malaise. The former commissioner ‘s one and only concern, during the latter years of his tenure, was simply increasing revenues , while seeking his own salary increase from a mere $ 2.5 million a year, to in excess of $20 million , on par with some of the highest salaried players in the league , but somehow this was overlooked by fans as being nothing out of the ordinary. Again, apathy among a fan-base, that in actuality, has the intelligence of a toad. They are not ready to question , , why a league executive who is paid such an exorbitant salary , but at the same time , that very same person sought to impede the right of the players and their union (NBPA) , themselves who sought a greater share of the league’s ever-growing revenue pie. What’s wrong with that picture, but most of all, how damn stupid are the fans in general with their ongoing gullibility?

If there was ever any doubt, as to the ability of Kevin Durant and the spectacular season he , has been, having, for the majority of the season , as he leads the Oklahoma City Thunder . Then consider the player’s most recent feat, in scoring twenty-five points or more for his fortieth consecutive game this season, but yet , some are still questioning whether, or not, the season achieved thus far, makes him a noteworthy League MVP candidate and in turn trying to suggest that the award should merely go to the best player in the NBA. LeBron James , as a four-time winner of the award , might be just that , but by comparison his season , has been nowhere as spectacular as his Western Conference counterpart. Also, need we be reminded that James and the Miami Heat take part and play n the less competitive conference , known as the East ? Suffice to say , the competition there , night in and night out, has the bearings of chess match, between a Grand Master and that of a novice, new to the game.

With both the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder as well as the San Antonio Spurs having already garnered playoff berths and in the case of the Heat , Spurs and Thunder having won their divisions , it now remains to be seen, how the rest of the regular season will now pan out , by way of the other divisional races and that of the final conference seeds. . The league’s individual title may well now come down to the to the final few games of the season, but it all looks assured to return to Kevin Durant , after it was claimed last season by Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks . With Durant now averaging 32.07 per game, that statistic will be the highest scoring average among active players since Kobe Bryant averaged 35.06 per game during the 2005-06 NBA regular season .

The New York Knicks for their part, ever since the formal introduction of Phil Jackson as the newest executive within the organization , where he immediately becomes the Head of Basketball Operations , with GM Steve Mills reporting directly to Jackson with regard to all player personnel decisions to be made. At this juncture, there seems to be no sense of certainty, that head coach Mike Woodson will be returning to his position, in the same capacity next season. Albeit, that as of late, the team seems to be responding to his calls for more resilience, as they seek to chase down the Atlanta Hawks for that final playoff berth , the eighth and final spot within the Eastern Conference.

Coming off a narrow one-point loss to the Washington Wizards , the New York Knicks will have to completely refocus their efforts, if it is their intent to get that final playoff berth, but it could appear that those efforts will be in vain, having left it far too late in the season to show their fans what they are actually made of . For much of the season, the team has been inconsistent and solely reliant on the efforts of Carmelo Anthony to pull them through. Just about everyone else on the team, has contributed very little, by way of a wholehearted, effort, with the goal of actually winning . Next up for the Knicks, will be a prime-time Sunday afternoon game , against a nemesis and conference rival in the Miami Heat, where LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony , will be looking to match wits and display their scoring prowess , as the two teams meet, as part of their regular season series .

DeMar Rozan , Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross have proven to be the main reasons , why the Toronto Raptors have been one of the big surprises of this NBA season , with quite possibly , head coach Dwane Casey being viewed as a possible candidate for NBA Coach of The Year. Casey , alongside the Chicago Bulls’ head coach Tom Thibodeau , Frank Vogel , Erik Spoelstra , Scott Brooks , Doc Rivers , Rick Adelman and Mark Jackson are likely seen as the other viable candidates. Noticeably missing from my list is the name of Gregg Popovich , but that may well come down to the fact that for the last sixteen seasons, of his real brilliance , he has been often overlooked for the award , having only won it twice during the time-frame mentioned.

For Casey and the Raptors, if they make the postseason , it will be the first playoff berth for the franchise in almost six years , with their last appearance coming during the 2008 season . A first round loss to the Orlando Magic , brought about the Toronto Raptors’ foray in the NBA Playoffs for the season, with something of a lopsided 4-1 series’ defeat to their conference rivals that postseason. . Chris Bosh , Jason Kapono , Jose Calderon and T J Ford led the way for the Raptors in that series’ loss, , with Sam Mitchell coaching the team that season . The Toronto Raptors are now vying with the Chicago Bulls for the third seed within the Eastern Conference , where holding unto that position would give grant them something of a favorable match-up in the first round of this postseason, against the Washington Wizards ,who as the sixth seed , the Raptors do lead 3-1 in the regular season series of meetings . Though I do not believe, an upset is on the cards, in such a potential contest, there is always the possibility, of the impossible suddenly happening.

While Tom Thibodeau and his staff continue to work miracles with the under-manned Chicago Bulls , given the fact, that they lost pointy guard Derrick Rose for the season and then sought to trade Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers for cap reasons . It is simply amazing to see the resilience of the team and the very fact that they have played themselves into contention for a playoff berth ahead such teams as the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks , thought to be better teams on paper, but obviously lacking the coaching acumen of Thibodeau , when one looks at the resumes of both Jason Kidd and Mike Woodson . Therein, lies the issue , about both New York based teams, high on talent , but lacking a real coach, with depth of knowledge , in knowing how to deal with real adversity . Multi-million dollar team payrolls and overrated players , simply cannot make up for applying one’s self on a basketball court, when grit and determination , are actually called for. What we have witnessed from the Bulls for much of this season, has been a great deal of both, in far more abundance than witnessed from the Knicks and Nets , jointly .

Joakim Noah seems to have added depth, to his game , while assuming the role of leader, in the absence of Rose and the departure of Luol Deng. That bodes well, for the short and long-term future of the Bulls , if the front office seeks to keep the veteran forward around, whose compensation in comparison to many of his peers at the position of center or power forward , comes extremely cheap, by way of a contract or salary . Chicago’s next scheduled contest, will be a Saturday evening meeting with the Washington Wizards, in a game that will be played at the Verizon Center in Washington , DC .

If there has been one thing, that continues to be true, concerning the NBA season over the past decade. It has been that the Western Conference will remain the true test of what competitive basketball is all about , in terms of the competitiveness of the teams and the coaching within the conference in general. Teams such as the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat , being the only two franchises to register fifty wins apiece within the East , would be hard pressed to register that very figure , were they playing in the West , and meeting such teams as the Los Angeles Clippers , San Antonio Spurs , Houston Rockets , Oklahoma City Thunder , Portland Trailblazers or the Golden State Warriors . Yet, be that as it may, we are , still being sold a “bill of goods” by the league hierarchy , owners and union, about a diluted brand, where the level of play all-round , has actually been on the decline , rather than the fans, actually seeing a genuine upswing . I mean, if a highlight reel of a dunk is all that concerns you , then the brand of basketball on view , will be for you , because in the true sense of the word, there are very few , real teams in the NBA actually, playing as a team, and as part, of a cohesive unit.

I have to admit, that this season , the more I have seen of the Golden State Warriors , the more I am impressed with the team and in particular with the coaching acumen of Mark Jackson . I would be the first to admit , that initially , I had my doubts about Jackson , as a head coach, but I have been very impressed with the acumen shown by the former veteran point guard and that of his coaching staff . The play of the team has been very impressive , with the obvious standout , being , Steph Curry and his continued maturity into one of the best young players and someone whom I now consider to be one of the top-ten players now playing in the league !

For Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , as the owners of the Golden State Warriors, having purchased the team for a considerable sum. They now get to see the fruits of their labor and that of the organization finally having some real tangible value to it all . The front office led by GM Bob Myers and where the calming influence of Jerry West , is often called upon, to provide the expertise and advice , beyond being an Executive Board Member . It now seems somewhat to redundant to see how far the Lakers have fallen from grace, since West was ousted from that particular organization , after the larger than life ego of Phil Jackson , whose success with the franchise would not have taken place , were it not for West to begin with, while the Hall of Fame great was an executive with the franchise . How quickly, some forget, when placing so much of that recent success, jointly , in the hands of Mitch Kupchak and Jackson, alone .

As the sixth seed in the Western Conference , a first round match-up against their instate rivals the Los Angeles Clippers , might just be the most enticing potential contest within the conference , with a conference semi-finals’ berth at stake for the winner. The season series between the two teams have been very much what any fan would have anticipated and that has been a high level of basketball, being played at times, at a frenetic pace . With their series , now tied at two games apiece, both franchises will undoubtedly to like to round out their seasons on a high with a flourish, of consecutive year-ending victories. Pivotal to that first round series will be the likely duel between Chris Paul and Steph Curry, while Blake Griffin will meet his match in seeing a somewhat younger version of himself , while looking across at Klay Thompson , whose year , has been sensational and a great deal more .

Coming off the thirty-three point demolition , of what appears to be, a hopeless Sacramento Kings’ team and organization in general . . The Warriors will meet the equally abysmal the Utah Jazz, at the Oracle Arena , in Oakland , California , on Sunday afternoon , before closing their season with games against the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers , Portland Trailblazers, Minnesota Timberwolves and finally, the Nuggets , once again . A fifty-win season might not be beyond the Warriors , if they can gain the three wins needed to reach that mark , which would be the franchise’s best win feat, in several seasons, while standing at 47-29 within the conference and in second place , 6.5 games behind division leaders the Los Angeles Clippers of the Pacific Division . All in all, it has been a great regular season for the Warriors, but now the question becomes , can they answer many of their critics by showing them , that they are capable of making a deep postseason run in the playoffs? For many , the team are seen as a “ fashionable pick” , because of the odds laid in Las Vegas , but do not be fooled for one minute , that it can be justified . The odds-makers, make those wagers , simply to lure in, the most passionate of gamblers , but also as a way to lure in the first time novices with little or no idea , what they are actually doing .

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As a fan of the NBA, in reality , it has reached the point, where my loyalties are now being severely tested, by the ineptitude continually being shown by the league hierarchy and the never-ending excuses being made, by apathetic fans, who actually believe that the league has been as good, as it has ever been . Clearly, delusional and apathy, now seems to be going, hand in hand , with their stupidity, as well ! As I alluded to earlier, if a highlight reel dunk wets your appetite , then this is the league you want , but if you are actually looking for an abundance of technically proficient players , then you will not be seeing an abundance of that , if at all ! Three or four great players , does not a league make , with the rest being marginally above average , but at the same time the coaching and constant tinkering with the rules and the explosion in the players’ salaries have now made the NBA what it now has become , along with college players making the leap to the professional , ranks , where within five years more than forty percent of those athletes will have departed from the league because of their poor skill-set. Your thoughts on the points raised within this article and what if anything , are you hoping to see this postseason during the NBA Playoffs ?

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Picture and slideshow gallery below .
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(1) Former NBA Commissioner , David Stern , who , having stepped down in February of this year , after an almost three-decade career as the league’s highest ranking executive , stepped down from his role. He was succeeded by his immediate deputy , Adam Silver , who now takes over the reins of a label and brand, that has become recognizable through the efforts of Stern , but more so , with the advent of prime-time television broadcasts and the exploits of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls , during the nineties . Perhaps , the “richest vein ” in the sport’s history . Getty Images / Anthony Price ….

(2) Head Coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat watches his team against the Oklahoma City Thunder at American Airlines Arena on January 29, 2014 in Miami, Florida. The Thunder defeated the Heat 112-95 . This postseason , Spoelstra and the Miami Heat will be looking to win a third consecutive NBA title and the franchise’s fourth overall. Getty Images / Marc Serota ….

(3) Forward Kevin Durant (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder is defended by Forward LeBron James (6) and Chris Bosh (1) of the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on January 29 , 2014 in Miami, Florida. The Thunder defeated the Heat 112-95 . Getty Images / Marc Serota ….

(4) DeMar Derozan (10) seen in a game played against the Oklahoma City Thunder, at the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma , earlier this season . DeRozan is seen as pivotal to the franchise’s future , with the front office likely to offer the player a hefty contract when it expires in 2017 , but with rumblings around the league that the player is unhappy at the opportunity of not playing for a perennial contender it seems unlikely that they would relent and trade the star at this juncture . AP Photo/ Marcus Holt …..

(5) Dwane Casey , head coach of the Toronto Raptors, is seen here speaking to his players on the court sidelines, during a game . Casey has the Raptors on the cusp of making their first playoff appearance since 2008 , where a first round loss to the Orlando Magic ended their season that year. AP Photo / Rashida Williams …

(6) Steph Curry ,left is seen here with teammate , Klay Thompson are seen here congratulating each other after Warriors’ victory this season . The two young stars, are one of the primary reason why the team is being viewed as one of the most dangerous within the conference in the run-up to the NBA Playoffs , where they are currently ranked as the sixth seed and a first round match-up against the Los Angeles Clippers awaits and that of a conference semi-finals’ berth for the victor. Getty Images / Harry How ….

(7) From left to right , Mark Jackson , head coach of the Golden State Warriors , Executive Board Member , Jerry West , co-owners , Peter Guber and Joe Lacob . The two billionaire entrepreneurs , are now entering their third year of owning the franchise , during which the encouraging results under Jackson has led to a rise in attendance as well as in the profitability and value of the Warriors overall. Guber and Lacob are now seeking to have a new venue built for the team , that will rank among the best arenas within the NBA . Getty Images / Keith Matthews …….

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Lordes ………….. ” Team ”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen …………..

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

By Tophatal

A patron of my site tried to suggest that a the presumed leader on a renowned NBA franchise was being disingenuous, in being critical of his teammates . From my own perspective, by appearance alone, when the player happens to be the best athlete and player on that team and he is expected to carry the burden of that organization upon his lone and competitive shoulders . Then he has every right to be “calling out his teammates” no matter what the circumstances , especially in the case where it would appear that the head coach takes a nonchalant and laissez-faire approach , merely seeking to make excuses for the team’s poor play and then drawing the ire and complete disdain from the fans . If you haven’t caught on by now , the team in question just happens to be the Los Angeles Lakers (25-28) and of course , the player , just happens to be , none other than Kobe Bryant .

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Now while the talk of the NBA at present has been outstanding play of play of LeBron James and his six-game run of averaging 30.4 points, 6 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game . Meanwhile , James, and the Heat, hold a comfortable seven-game lead over their closest rivals within the Southeast Division , the Atlanta Hawks (29-22) . It would remiss to think that Miami Heat and their head coach , Erik Spoelstra have had this season all to themselves . At present, the team is being is pushed hard, within the Eastern Conference , by none other than the New York Knicks (32-18). Who themselves have it on their minds, if at all possible , to supplant the Heat for the best record in the Eastern Conference . With that in mind, it is clear that Mike Woodson and his players had hoped to make that a reality before the All Star Break. The Knicks’ head coach however, can feel pleased with the fact, that his team leads the Heat, in their regular season series’ meetings (2-0) , so far, as part of the duos’ regular season scheduled contests.

It has to be understood , that there are as such, for all sense and purpose only three teams that certainly matters in terms of piquing the fans’ and public’s interests when it comes to the NBA , namely those franchises are the Boston Celtics , the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat . And granted , a case can be made for the San Antonio Spurs , but for the fact that they’ve won four NBA titles since 1997 , one seriously would have thought that the Gregg Popovich coached, and Tim Duncan led franchise , would be seen as one of the NBA’s marquee franchises . And perhaps, over the last four years with the ascent of Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder , as a rising powerhouse not only within the Western Conference but the NBA as a whole .

While I am not against players showing their passion or zeal on the court for the game , away from it , I would like to think that they can hold themselves accountable for their actions. A great deal of criticism has been leveled at Kobe Bryant over the course of his career , much of if it valid , and other cases , most definitely . With Bryant’s recent criticism, of his teammates, for their lackluster efforts on the court , it could be seen that the player’s frustrations had boiled over into sheer anger and contempt. And much of that, I believe has been brought about from the mere fact Kobe Bryant no longer has any faith in the abilities of general manager , Mitch Kupchak and SVP Jim Buss , son of team owner, Dr. Jerry Buss. The duo of senior executives, have simply made a mess of the season, with some rather curious and dubious personnel decisions. And while, the pundits were singing the praises of the acquisitions of Dwight Howard , and Steve Nash and their insertion unto this team . It has to be said , that the experiment so far, has worked out about as successfully, as the 72 day ‘marriage’ of Kim Kardashian to Nets’ power forward , Kris Humpheries. All of the hoopla behind that sham of a marriage” could not hide the fact , that intellectually and emotionally, the pairing was contrived and orchestrated, simply to whet the appetite of the public’s fascination of a publicity hungry female and a moderately successful NBA player . I just hope, that you had at least one chance, to tap that ass Kris ? Just simply, tap that ass !

On a one game winning streak , but losers of seven of their last ten games , there is no denying that you would have to be simply naïve , not to understand Kobe Bryant’s frustration. The team’s head coach, Mike D’Antoni, seems to be completely devoid creativity and ideas ! And to this asinine theory , that D’Antoni would bring about a defensive resilience to this unit , that is tantamount to suggesting that Lindsay Lohan’s acting career, has been a resounding success, given all of her off-screen problems . In the case of D’Antoni , he simply, has not brought anything meaningful to the table , by way of his alleged coaching prowess. In terms of defense the Los Angeles Lakers rank sixth , in the Western Conference allowing an astonishing 100.5 points per game , while in the league as a whole they rank eighth in points allowed . And when one takes into account that Bryant has been the primary offensive weapon on a team that is devoid of leadership , beyond the player , himself , and the very fact that the Lakers are physically and mentally soft ! What would now give anyone the notion that this team is simply good enough to make a credible run deep into the playoffs , much less actually garner a playoff berth based on their current standing within the conference ? If there happens to be a loyal Lakers’ fan still pinning their hopes and beliefs that the team can somehow turn things around . Then I, for one, would appreciate a succinct explanation as to how this will come about , given the franchise’s present situation ! Anyone, surely, there is a Los Angeles Lakers’ fan with the gravitas to show their undying allegiance to this renowned franchise?

The Lakers’ next game pits them against their co-habitants of the Staples Center in Los Angeles , Los Angeles Clippers (38-17) , in what is sure to be a heated and highly contested match-up . Vinny Del Negro’s Clippers hold a 2-0 series’ lead in their head to head match-ups this season , with their last meeting ending in a five point , 107-102 victory for his team . Will the Lakers be up to the challenge or will Blake Griffin led Clippers be like marauding mercenaries laying waste to the Lakers’ slowly evaporating season ?

While the Lakers and Clippers are dueling it out , a repeat of last season’s NBA Finals will be on tap , as two of the game’s most prolific scorers and some arguably might say , the NBA’s two best players , LeBron James and Kevin Durant will face off against each other , when the Miami Heat are the guests of the Oklahoma City Thunder , at the Chesapeake Energy Center , in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma ,. It is likely that the fans in attendance and those watching the cable broadcast are likely to see a highly entertaining and offensive minded game. Two of the game’s, biggest scorers , and a pair of teams , with the players , who, are good enough , to keep the electronic scoreboard rattling along at a phenomenal pace .

I firmly believe that the NBA over the last eight years, has simply sold its very soul to the Devil ! And while it has a great brand on perception , if you simply delve beneath the surface and sift through the bull-crap , espoused by David Stern and so many of his subordinates , you will find that there is not a great deal of transparency or clearly defined demarcation points, in terms of the hierarchy’s leadership. Stern , simply eschews it all , and rules his fiefdom with a rod of iron , that the likes of Joseph Stalin and Muammar Gaddafi would have been proud of . Thankfully, the NBA does not, suborn the use of torture , life-long imprisonment, or execution by a firing squad , as a means of rendering punishment , or as a harsh deterrent for those who oppose his every whim. Be warned Mark Cuban , as I know at, $1.25 million in fines and counting , your adversarial foe (Stern) is simply looking for you to be critical of his very next idea of grandeur. As for the NBA commissioner , when will he get it into his thick skull that the wide latitude given to him , is not given in order that he belittles the fans , and the cities in which the NBA franchises are domiciled . If you think that last statement just happens to be off base , then consider David Stern’s distinct lack of aid , given to the city of Sacramento as the municipality and the fans of that franchise fought for the Sacramento Kings’ retention within the California state capitol . .

With the Kings having been sold for a reputedly exorbitant $ 525 million to a consortium led by hedge fund manager and venture capitalist billionaire , Chris Hansen, Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer , and a number of minority stake-holding partners , who now await the NBA Board of Governors’ approval , in relocating the beleaguered franchise to Seattle , Washington. And even with a last-ditch effort mounted by Californian billionaire , Ron Burkle , jointly with ex-President Bill Clinton with their last-ditch bid , which seems unlikely to be favored , even with the backing of Sacramento City Mayor Kevin Johnson , now leading the municipality’s efforts . This wouldn’t all be so comical and sad , when you realize that the basketball franchise is one of the NBA’s least supported teams , and in terms of competitive success , the Sacramento Kings’ last postseason appearance , came back in 2006 , that ended , with a first round series’ loss (4-2) to the San Antonio Spurs. Subsequently, things have been pretty sparse by way tangible success competitively , personnel wise and most definitely , from an economic standpoint , with the team eking out a mere $2.6 million in profits, on revenues of $96 million . A rather meager return , given the franchise’s locale and region , but yet one asinine Kings’ devotee , once suggested to me, that the franchise is a profitable concern compared to many of its peers. What this idiot failed to acknowledge because of his undoubted lack of business acumen, was that the franchise had distinct advantages over many of its rivals, but in reality, the ownership group and front office , clearly were , mismanaged the franchise and placing it on the brink of financial insolvency . All of which, he failed to acknowledge, when the evidence was placed in print for him to peruse. Well, if you can’t damn well balance a check book , then it’s clear that a financial balance sheet would be right above his intellectual being.

For the soon to be departing Sacramento Kings’ owners , Joe and Gavin Maloof , and their siblings . Well, let’s just say, that their sale of the franchise has come about at least, five years too late. During, their tenure, the Sacramento Kings have seen their fair share of highs and lows. In retrospect , I would definitely say more lows , than highs , but those are just my personal opinions ! I can only hope that with relocation and a far more resourceful ownership group , the Kings can hopefully see a return to better days ! The Maloof’s sheer indulgence and lack of forthrightness has to come into question , but so too must David Stern’s apparent willingness to let a franchise owner almost single-handed take the franchise to brink of extinction without ever once questioning the motives of Joe and Gavin Maloof. Well this should not at all come as a surprise to anyone , given the commissioner’s instincts and his own overall lack of honesty and integrity . One only has to follow the David Stern’s actions , and that of the present owners of the Oklahoma City Thunder, to fully comprehend the web of deceit and lies which took place during the sale of the Seattle Supersonics , and their subsequent relocation to their new locale , in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma .

The recent injury to the Kentucky Wildcats’ Nerlens Noel , a point has to be raised . In clearly what was a season ending injury , Noel , thought to be a consensus number one overall pick for the 2013 NBA Draft , will be sidelined for the rest of the team’ regular season schedule , with not even a remote chance of a return , for participation in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament . Wildcats’ basketball coach , John Calipari , in a somber mood , having spoken to the player after his injury , simply stated that he hoped to see the player back in a Kentucky Wildcats’ uniform next season . The chances of that happening , I e firmly believe just went up in smoke ! Should Nerlens Noel make a full recovery , and he is looked upon favorably by the draft experts , NBA coaching staffs , then it seems abundantly clear , that the player will declare his eligibility for the NBA Draft and seek to make his fortune in the professional ranks . A torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee , is the injury which has sidelined the young Wildcats’ star for what is not necessarily an indeterminate period .Surgery , and recuperation period of six to eight months is considered a bare minimum time for recovery . And this is the exact same injury that NFL running back Adrian Peterson was able to recover from in record time . Therefore, it all bodes well for Nerlens Noel, now, if placed under the appropriate medical staff for treatment. I would like to think, that the player seeks to make a return to the collegiate ranks , but everything would suggest that with the untold millions that awaits in the NBA , a young athlete of Noel’s potential would find it hard forgo the chance of that fortune .

Nerlen’s injury came in a game between the Wildcats and the Florida Gators . Billy Donovan’s , players came away with an exciting 69-52 victory , in which there were some thrilling plays from both teams . With Nerlens Noel scoring a game-low eight points in the Kentucky Wildcats’ loss. Their next scheduled game will be an interesting contest against the Tennessee (Volunteers) in Knoxville, Tennessee , this Saturday , the 16th February , 2013.

With the NBA hierarchy’s apparent intent to review eligibility status of college players , questions will arise of the intent of the league to review present rules governing the college athletes’ eligibility, of their entrance into the NBA Draft. Once again, the “one and done rule” becomes a subject of great conjecture, debate and speculation. Is it really the league’s duty impinge and deprive a potential employee a right to earn an income merely because the NBA sees it as a way controlling the apparent quality and branding of their product ? This essentially, is what this maneuver will all boil down to, should there be any anticipated changes. Fighting this, will be the agents, whose clients will be subject to this edict. NCAA President, Mark Emmert , will undoubtedly seek to offer his input with regard to this issue. This will either all come crashing down around the NBA’s ears or David Stern , will once again be able to use his power and cast aside any opposition to his authority. Your thoughts, on this all ?

Inasmuch as it pains me to say this , this an NBA season just seems to be mirroring many of their predecessors , in a great deal of the play we see being exhibited . Scoring seem to be on the increase ,meanwhile there are deficiencies on defense that fans seem to be overlooking , while they seek to gloss over these issues within the league (NBA) at present . A number of fans seem to be oblivious to this all , as they seek to make light of these obvious flaws within game , which is being ignored by David Stern , as his only thought seems to marketing a waning product to anyone willing to listen to his spiel . Suffice to say , with the NBA brand having saturated the North American market , the NBA’s need for growth , will come from the continents of Australia , Africa , Europe , and Asia .

The league’s biggest growth area will be in China , where its population of 1.6 billion people are now fans of the NBA. And with the Beijing Olympics , and the success of Team USA Men’s and Women’s basketball teams in bringing home Olympic gold, heightened the popularity of the game , even more so. Even, in light of retirement of former Houston Rockets’ , center, Yao Ming , a Chinese native , and the country’s most popular and prominent sporting export , until the recent ascent of WTA Tour player , Li Na . The female tennis professional is now idolized by young girls and women , in very much the same way , as Yao has been admired and appreciated by the country’s population. His popularity still remains high , as he now seeks to broaden the base and popularity of the sport of basketball across the country of China.

Na’s rise to prominence , has seen her become a three-time Grand Slam finalist and winner of the 2011 French Open title on the clay courts of the Roland Garros Stadium in Paris , France. Add in the fact , of her seventeen career singles’ titles , 16 doubles’ titles and over $10 .6 million in prize money , and one can fully appreciate why she’s held in such high esteem by the Chinese people and the People’s Republican Party of China. Li Na , is currently ranked fifth in the WTA rankings , with top spot held by Victoria Azarenka of Belarus . And with both sports , basketball and tennis reaching such a widespread audience globally , with each reputedly becoming multi-billion dollar enterprises , then clearly, any room for growth will be eagerly sought by the NBA , FIBA as the international governing body of the sport of basketball , and the WTA , as the custodians of the sport of women’s tennis.

Sunday, the 17th February , marks the fiftieth birthday of Michael Jeffrey Jordan, arguably , the greatest player in NBA history. Most certainly justified , as being one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players of All-time . The question now becomes, how will the NBA celebrate their most famous and universally recognized ambassador ? Jordan’s name is still revered globally , and that is in spite of the rise today’s era of stars , such as Kobe Bryant , LeBron James , Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony , Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose . Jordan’s legacy and his achievements will long be remembered after his passing and thankfully many of the accomplishments are either etched in our memories or held on film , where we can view them all for prosperity . Who can fail to remember his game winning shot over the outstretched arms of a then bewildered Craig Ehlo of the Cleveland Cavaliers , in the waning seconds , of what was a career defining play , of which he has repeated countless times over ? Yet this game winning shot, in Game 5 of the first round of the 1989 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs , meant a great deal more than just a victory , as it elevated Jordan to a God like, deity status. Michael Jordan remains one of the most recognizable athletes on the planet , and his universal acclaim might only be outshone at present, by retired boxer , Muhammad Ali and PGA Tour golfer, Tiger Woods . And no doubt , LeBron James , would like to see his fame take that ascent into the stratosphere , but first, it will take at least another three or four NBA titles , several league MVP’s , 6 or more Finals’ MVP awards , 8 more scoring titles , an additional ten more All Star Appearances, and shall we say, 20,000 more career points as an added bonus , before the comparisons can be made to Jordan , the icon , and the player who James , models himself after ?

Comparisons, will continually be made between NBA players of the past, and those of the present. Moreover, at times it may seem somewhat at disingenuous to gauge the greatness of these players , in thinking old versus new . In reality, there are no other means , nor is there an exact science to come up with a result that will meet everyone’s satisfaction , and that would deem to be fair . In my honest opinion to best way judge the players of the past against today’s crop of stars is to wait until an NBA of today makes his formal announcement to retire . And then we can start to deliver our verdicts , as to what we determine greatness to be !

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What do you believe may well be the NBA’s biggest failure as a sport’s brand ? In addition, do think that they can rectify those problems on long-term or the short-term ? By comparison , do you believe it to be justified in trying to suggest who is the better player of the two , in making a decision between Michael Jordan and Michael Jordan ? Do bear in mind that James is only now entering his tenth year in the NBA , having been drafted as the number one overall pick , from the 2003 NBA Draft. Your thoughts or comments on this and anything else you believe relevant to this article is greatly appreciated . So do take time, and chime on in .

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(1) “Faces of the NBA “ … the past and the present. Left, LeBron James holds the Bill O’Brien Trophy , signifying, his first NBA title (world championship). And right, Michael Jordan , long considered the NBA’s greatest player past or present . AP Photo / Chris Pearson …

(2) Los Angeles Lakers center , Dwight Howard , left, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan defends during the first half of their NBA basketball game , Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ….

(3) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) shoots as Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) defends during the first half of their NBA basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …

(4) Left , NBA Commissioner , David Stern and the Dallas Mavericks’ owner , Mark Cuban . The two individuals have had a contentious relationship , which is said to be built on ” mutual respect” . Yet, herein lies the dilemma , over the course of Cuban’s custodianship of the Maverick. He has reputedly, paid over $1.25 million in fines rendered by the league hierarchy led by David Stern . Cuban , a billionaire , tech entrepreneur will no doubt think of the fines as a mere pittance , when by comparison his net worth exceeds $2.35 billion . Getty Images/ Stuart Gough …

(5) Houston Rockets basketball center Yao Ming attended a press conference in Beijing, China to announce a partnership deal with the Brisbane company Monster Cable Products Inc. Yao and Monster has developed a broad range of co-branded “Yao Monster” consumer electronics and lifestyle products for distribution in China. Yao Monster products include headphones, bags, 3D glasses and home theater connectivity and power products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a portion of the proceeds will go to the Yao Ming Foundation, which builds schools for disadvantaged children in China. Courtesy of Pacific Coast News … @ copyrighted material all rights reserved ….

(6) Nerlens Noel , the Kentucky Wildcats’ guard is seen lying on court during a game between Florida and the Kentucky Wildcats . Noel tore his Anterior cruciate ligament in his right, knee and will be lost to the team for the rest of their schedule , missing in its entirety the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament . Florida would go on to defeat Kentucky 62-59 . While Noel hopes to make a quick return , it is highly unlikely that he will return for his sophomore season with the team . Nerlens Noel is considered to be a ” consensus top five pick overall “ , if not the number one pick for the 2013 NBA Draft. It seems almost a certainty that Nerlens Noel will forgo his sophomore season , declaring his eligibility for the draft , recuperating , while honing his game in the ranks of the NBA . A number of NBA coaches and scouts have seen Noel’s game and have been impressed with the player’s all-round skill-set . AP Photo / John Thorn …

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Consequence , feat’g Kanye West …….. “ The Good The Bad & The Ugly “

When Push Comes To Shove …… Let ’em Eat Cake ………. !

When Push Comes To Shove …… Let ’em Eat Cake …… !

So the fallout has began in the aftermath of the Boston Red Sox’ s abrupt ending to their season . With that now has come the animus , finger pointing of course the blame game . From the front office on down there is plenty of blame to go around from the executives through to the coaching staff and the gluttony of high priced players on this roster .

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Team President Larry Lucchino and the now departed general manager Theo Epstein had tried to apportion blame solely on former manager Terry Francona rather than the under achieving players such as Josh Beckett , John Lackey , Johnathan Papelbon and David Ortiz . Hints that Francona was going through marital problems , that he’d lost control of the team and the thought that Epstein and Lucchino had to sink to such levels merely to deflect the obvious that plainly put this whole mess was simply caused by their ostentatious spending in acquiring players who simply failed to deliver .

Principal partner John Henry , Tom Werner and their partners now have to deal with general manager search for a successor to Theo Epstein who accepted the offer fill the position vacated by former Chicago Cubs’ GM Jim Henry after he was fired team owner Tom Ricketts . The beleaguered organization having not won a World Series since 1908 and they haven’t won an NL pennant since 1945. That sort of ineptitude and lack of success has sorely embittered the long suffering Chicago Cubs’ fans .

This season was once again one filled with sheer ineptitude on the part of the team and Mike Quade and his coaching staff offered very little by way of their managerial acumen in stemming the tide of mediocrity shown on the field of play. Players such as Alfonso Soriano , Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez simply showed that they had nothing to offer the team . Therein lies the actual absurdity of the organization during Hendry’s tenure as they simply overpaid for the acquired talent .

If Theo Epstein is to prove to be the wunderkind that Tom Ricketts believes him to be then the organization can look forward to some semblance of success though not immediate by any stretch of the imagination . This is a roster that needs to be assessed by the general manager and I would dare say that the coaching staff will be summarily judged by him also ! I certainly don’t believe that Mike Quade has the wherewithal to make this team a serious and perennial contender for an NL pennant or for that matter the World Series ! The team’s prospects and farm system has what we are told is an abundance of talent but in debating as to whether or not patience amongst the fans will be further endured as Theo Epstein seeks to turn things around .

Wrigley Field may well be buzzing with excitement during the offseason as the fans , beat writers and local sports analysts debate and prognosticate what they expect to see in the future from the Chicago Cubs. From my own perspective I say let them do whatever it takes for them to feel at ease , after-all what’s another half a decade of ineptitude worth to this organization to begin with ? I mean it’s not as anyone truly believes that this time next season the Cubs could be part of baseball’s postseason showcase to begin with !

So after what we are now being told the NCAA and their exhaustive investigation of Auburn and their football program have found nothing untoward concerning the school’s recruitment of their Heisman Trophy award winning player Cam Newton . Auburn coach Gene Chizik no doubt relieved by those findings and the fact this season the coach and his staff will be looking to get this team up and going as they embark upon their schedule within the SEC .

I am not about to suggest that the NCAA simply whitewashed this investigation but clearly there seems to be something awry with this all . There’s a saying ………” where there’s smoke there is fire ” . And in the case of the Auburn Tigers as it relates to Cam Newton and the continued allegations as to how the player was seemingly recruited by the school has brought into question how a number of programs go about recruiting student athletes. Allegations being what they are when it has been widely reported that Newton’s father Cecil Newton sought to sell ….. his son’s talents to the highest bidder . The elder Newton , pastor of a church , was reticent in explaining the allegations when first raised, as to his actions concerning Cam Newton being shopped around like an illicit weapon on the “black market”.

Auburn’s AD Jay Jacobs after the NCAA’s findings states that he’s completely happy with there were no major transgressions by the program. As crazy as this may seem , if the athletics director believes that minor transgressions are good for the school then what should that indicate about Auburn as a place of academic and sporting excellence ?

If the school moves on from this episode then what I would like to know is how the NCAA handles the next such incident concerning the recruitment of a visibly high profiled athlete. Mark Emmert as the NCAA president has repeatedly seen the body he presided over severely criticized for their lack of authority , real transparency and even the credence to actually be impartial . I will continue to maintain the the institution is archaic , bureaucratically top heavy and seemingly at time out of touch with reality . If the Infractions Committee of the NCAA a de-facto agency of the institution can come up with this finding given the supposed facts and their own apparent in depth investigation I would like to know how it is this very same unit can be so out of touch with the events that are taking place across the entire collegiate athletics landscape . At some point in the future I am wondering what their findings will be concerning the University of Miami and the school’s football program . University president Donna Shalala and school AD Shawn Eichorst have continued to deflect their actions and association with now incarcerated felon Nev Shapiro and the very that the former Canes’ booster had simply flouted his association with the players and paying them surreptitiously . At this juncture should we now expect anything else from the NCAA concerning another charade about to be perpetrated by them ?

Image is everything and then it can mean absolutely but that clearly now seems to be the case for NBA Commissioner David Stern . The league hierarchy is now locked into a really contentious battle of wills with the NBPA (Players’ Association [union]). Stern and his union counterpart Billy Hunter the executive director of the union are at logger-heads in trying to reach an accord that would be beneficial to both parties .

Derek Fisher the union’s president and vice president Roger Mason Jr have been adamant that their union is not about to acquiesce to any of the demands from the league hierarchy and team owners for an equitable share in the league’s revenues . If neither party can come to a compromise then in all probability both sides will have to present their case to federal mediator . If that is to be the case and a court appointed mediator presides over a hearing , which now seems to be a certainty , then any sort of binding agreement could very well be to the detriment of both sides .

If NBA and NBPA seek jointly to present their case to the the FMCS (Federal Mediation & Conciliation Services ) before a mediator where the judgment would doesn’t necessarily have to be arbitrarily binding rather than going through litigation within the US Federal Courts then things could very well be to both parties’ liking . I am not so sure that anything at this juncture by way of any compromise will be truly vested in by either side. David Stern’s intransigence and the very fact that a number of franchise owners have not been entirely happy with his handling of these deliberations gives further credence that it may well be time for him to step down . With almost two decades plus as the league’s commissioner he seen the NBA’s revenues grow exponentially from being a minor blip on the sport’s landscape to where it now ranks second in revenues ($4.5 billion annually) attained of the four major professional sports.

The NBA would like to see an equitable share in revenues rather than the existing ratio of 53/47 in favor of the union . From the outset a case could be made that the owners wanted this all to be dealt with expeditiously but with the teams now said to be on course to lose approximately $ 30 million a month for each month that the league is inactive. Dan Gilbert , Rich DeVos , . Mikhail Prokhorov , Jerry Buss , Gavin_Maloof , Peter Holt , Mickey Arison and James Dolan over the course of time may well feel that the current situation as it now stands cannot go on in its present format . Clearly not when the very viability of the league and a number of franchises are clearly at risk . Some semblance of common sense and sanity now has to come into play at some point during this whole facade if there is to be a regular to season within the NBA .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Of the points raised within this topic which do you believe to be the most pertinent ? And what thoughts if any do you feel about the NCAA’s findings concerning Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ………

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(1) Former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona pauses as he speaks to the media during a press conference, Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, in Boston. The Red Sox announced they will not pick up the option on Francona’s contract in the wake of the team’s September collapse. AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesfaye ….

(2) General manager Theo Epstein of the Boston Red Sox sits in the dugout before game two of the ALCS against the Tampa Bay Rays during the at Tropicana Field on October 10, 2008 in St. Petersburg, Florida. According to reports October 12, 2011, Epstein, who has one-year left on his contract with the Red Sox, has agreed with the Chicago Cubs to a five-year $15 million contract to join their front office, but compensation for the deal has not been reached between the two teams. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images …..

(3) Theo Epstein is seen here alongside Terry Francona at Fenway Park , Boston , Massachusetts , home to the fabled ballclub . Getty Images / Matthew Sharpe …..

(4) Red Sox owners Tom Werner (left) and John Henry held up the 2007 World Series trophy for the fans who lined up outside Fenway Park . Boston Globe /Matthew J Lee ……

(5) Carlos Marmol (49) of the Chicago Cubs, right, is congratulated by Koyie Hill (55) after getting the final out during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on September 27, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Cubs won 6-2 . Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images ……

(6) First baseman Carlos Pena (22) of the Chicago Cubs catches the ball as Jeremy Hermida (47) of the San Diego Padres dives back to the base during the game against at Petco Park on September 26, 2011 in San Diego, California. Photo by Kent C. Horner/Getty Images …..

(7) Cubs’ GM Jim Hendry (left) is seen here with the team’s manager Mike Quade (center) and club owner Tom Ricketts. Hendry was relieved of his position as general manager by Ricketts in what as seen as an upheaval within team’s front office . Chicago Tribune/ Mark Salter ….

(8) Auburn coach Gene Chizik walks the sidelines during the first half of the NCAA college football game with Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011. Auburn would go on to lose the game to the Razorbacks 38-14 . AP Photo/Danny Johnston ……

(9) CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson (R) and head coach Gene Chizik look on as quarterback Cam Newton (2) of the Auburn Tigers accepts the MVP trophy after their 56-17 win over the South Carolina Gamecocks during the 2010 SEC Championship at Georgia Dome on December 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images /Kevin C . Cox ……

(10) Auburn head coach Gene Chizik is seen here the school’s athletics director Jay Jacobs at Chizik’s formal introduction as the new head coach of the football team. An outspoken opponent of Gene Chizik’s hiring at the time was none other than Auburn alum Charles Barkley . AP Photo / Jamie Martin …….

(11) Derek Fisher , president of the NBA players union, talks with reporters, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, in New York. NBA Commissioner David Stern canceled the first two weeks of the basketball season after players and owners were unable to reach a new labor deal to end the lockout. AP Photo/David Karp …….

(12) NBA Commissioner David Stern, right, and his Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver leave an NBA labor talk meeting, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, in New York. Stern canceled the first two weeks of the basketball season after players and owners were unable to reach a new labor deal to end the lockout. Opening night was scheduled for Nov. 1. AP Photo/David Karp ……

(13) Billy Hunter, executive director of the NBA players union, arrives for labor talks, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, in New York. Facing a Monday deadline to reach a deal or have regular-season games canceled, NBA owners and players have resumed talks toward ending the lockout. AP Photo/Louis Lanzano ……

(14) San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt arrives for labor talks, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, in New York. Facing a Monday deadline to reach a deal or have regular-season games canceled, NBA owners and players have resumed talks toward ending the lockout. AP Photo/Louis Lanzano …….

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Scheduled game 14th October 2011

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Zach Greinke —– & —– Jaime Garcia

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News , Views & Other Tidbits …..

News , Views & Other Tidbits …..

If the rumors are to believed then whatever takes place over the ensuing days could very well determine the future of the Boston Red Sox . With manager Terry Francona’s future now seems in doubt , it is being speculated that the front office will not choose to exercise the option on his contract for 2012. Along with that there’s the growing belief that wunderkind GM Theo Epstein could very well be lured away from the organization by beleaguered Chicago Cubs’ owner Tom Ricketts who has said that he wishes to sign a high profiled front office executive and give them free rein to bolster the ball club’s personnel . Given the unbelievable meltdown by the Red Sox on the final day of the regular season and there being talk that the duo of collapses are reminiscent of those from a bygone age within the game .

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There’s no denying that with Terry Francona having succeeded Grady Little the turnaround in the ball-club’s wasn’t immediate but the very fact that the players began to buy into his management style was a sign that Theo Epstein and team President Larry Lucchino were astute in their hire. Guiding the organization to their first World Series in 2004 a second title would follow in 2007 but what was clearly self evident was the mere fact that the Red Sox were still free wheeling spenders . Keeping up with the Joneses may well be OK given the financial treasure chest at the organization’s disposal . But herein lies the caveat when you’re simply acquiring players simply because they are allegedly big named free agents it simply means nothing if you are not getting value for the money spent. As of now in all likelihood senior managing partner John Henry along with co-owners Tom Werner , Theodore ” Ted” Alfond , Thomas R DiBenedetto and the other senior partners will have to take a serious look at the organization and how it goes about in handling the baseball operations from top to bottom .

The acquisitions made by Boston Red Sox simply did not pay the dividend presumed with perhaps that of Adrian Gonzalez . Perhaps the organization’s most productive player offensively for the team . The team’s payroll for the 2011 season was in excess of $166.8 million and there are those who are beginning to question whether or not the organization got value for money in terms of that payroll and the acquisition of Carl Crawford and John Lackey but it was the apparent meltdown of the bullpen led by Daniel Bard and Johnathan Papelbon . It certainly hasn’t helped that pitching ace Josh Beckett and the team were woefully inept going 7-20 over the final month of the season . It is so insidious to think that this team could have performed so ineptly and still believe that they worthy of being the AL wildcard representative .

Now while flagship radio station WEEI and their variety of on air analysts will continue to harangue and lambast the Boston Red Sox organization there is no doubt in my mind they will also make some very pointed references at Terry Francona’s handling of the roster as well as many of the now apparent bankrupt personnel decisions of Lucchino and Espten , jointly. The Boston Red Sox’s own broadcast outlet NESN has not openly issued a formal statement about either Theo Epstein’s future and that of their now beleaguered manager. The chances are that Francona may well not be retained by the ball-club with an even more remote possibility that the general manager could choose to live to pursue other professional opportunities within the game. Given the clarity of Tom Ricketts’ wish and the un-growing certainty as to the future of Ned Colletti with the Los Angeles Dodgers almost anything is possible . I certainly don’t believe that Epstein would have the slightest interest in an organization that is still in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings and with the league hierarchy now trying to force team owner Frank McCourt out . With that situation now becoming so comical that it no longer bears talking about anything that now befalls the organization that forces to cease to exist would be for the best !

With the baseball season now over there’s no denying the fallout from teams simply failing to show their competitiveness over the course of the year . The Los Angeles Angeles under Mike Scioscia and his managerial staff never seemed able to get this team over the hump when it mattered most . Team owner Arte Moreno saw the Angels fall by the wayside as the Texas Rangers were able to make a successful defense of their AL West divisional title . With that apparent failure team GM Tony Reagins has resigned from the front office of the organization and thereby leading to another unhappy executive forced out by the lack of recent success .

A lackluster season where a team under-performs tends to lead to a number of things could seemingly have gone awry. And clearly with the Angels it was simply one where this team with the talent in place never lived up the presumed expectations of the owner , that of the front office and their loyal fans . Should there be any blamed apportioned upon Tony Reagins for the team’s lack of success ? Well it’s hard to say but he along with the coaching staff and scouting department put this roster together in order to make a run at the division and the postseason . Clearly the efforts put forth just weren’t good enough as can be adjudged by the team’s standing and the lack of productivity from the pitching and offense .

There is no denying that the public at large is now so tired with the members of Congress and the Senate that any talk of them doing something productive has to be treated with a sense of comedic value. Now comes word that the House Oversight & Reform Committee has called upon NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith to address them over the now contentious of issue of HGH testing . Both executives are set to meet with the members of the committee within the next five to six days dependent on the scheduling of the hearings . In what was said to be an agreed upon within the collective bargaining agreement for game day testing of players now seems to have caused something of impasse between the league and union. The idiocy of this situation is that the executive committee signed unto this and Smith exalting the fact that the two sides’ views on the issue were one. This is all bullshit when it has now become even more apparent that neither side was truly happy with the accord agreed under the auspices of Federal Judge Arthur Boylan .

Courtesy of USA Today

Lawmakers want NFL, players union to solve HGH testing issue

By Jarrett Bell , USA Today

Although the federal budget is the most significant hot-button issue currently on Capitol Hill, the standoff between the NFL and the league’s players union over the implementation of human growth hormone (HGH) testing is drawing increasing attention from lawmakers.

Commissioner Roger Goodell could meet soon with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

When the NFL and players ratified their new labor pact in August, they announced an agreement to test for HGH — with the aim to begin at the start of the regular season.

Yet details of the testing are unresolved.

In the letters, obtained by USA TODAY, Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Ranking Minority Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) wrote, “By making use of the latest technology, the NFL and its players appear poised to be leaders in the effort to ensure that competition is not tainted by banned substances.”

While short of calling for hearings as it did in 2005 to scrutinize Major League Baseball’s problems with steroids, the committee hopes the meetings are an impetus for a resolution. Issa and Cummings wrote that their concern for young athletes — and the message that can be sent that performance-enhancing drugs won’t be tolerated at the highest levels — fuels their action.

Travis Tygart, chief executive of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, was also invited to provide assistance and expertise. It is unknown when such a meeting will occur.

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If Congress now wants to be seen as being proactive and actually going about conducting the nation’s business then they stay hell out of how the NFL conducts its business . It is not as if they have been able to resolve the current budget and debt crisis that seems to be a never ending story . Perhaps it is just me but I would rather see the idiot owners their team executives and the league hierarchy continue to bicker like children . Because it would sure as hell beat anything that the House Oversight Committee would be able to offer up as advice or seemingly threaten the status of the NFL.

OK so it would appear that David Stern and the league hierarchy are no closer to resolving the NBA lockout . Billy Hunter , NBPA President Derek Fisher and VP Roger Mason Jr still remain steadfast in their resolve in not acquiescing to any of the demands from the league. Stern has offered very little by way of anything palpable for the union to even be merely amenable to accepting but it seems to be pissing contest between the two parties that continue to remain so far apart on the pertinent issues .

Guns don’t kill people it’s people who kill people , rather stupid people with guns who’ve actually nothing at at better to do . Detroit Pistons’ center Ben Wallace has become the latest NBA player to have fallen foul of the law . In what was a lawful traffic stop Wallace cited for DUI (driving under the influence) and unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon. If convicted the player faces up to five years in prison on a felony gun charge and three months for the DUI misdemeanor . The player stated the law enforcement officer at the time he did not have a concealed weapons’ permit but traveled with the gun in his backpack as a way of protecting himself and his vehicle . The incident took place in the Broomfield Township , a suburb of Michigan , Detroit . Wallace at the time was traveling up from Virginia to visit friends in the area ___ having also undergone a field sobriety test , later a blood alcohol and breath test , Wallace’s blood alcohol level was 0.14% , almost twice the legal limit of .08. The Pistons’ center now has a court hearing scheduled for next Monday and that hearing could very well determine the player’s immediate future. Now pardon for me saying this but how stupid are some of the players within the NBA ? Clearly Wallace and the other idiot members of the gun toting fraternity haven’t learned a fucking thing !

Gilbert Arenas the ” poster child “ for errant gun play may well have ,mended his ways but let’s just say he has offered very little to the Orlando Magic since he was acquired by the organization . GM Otis Smith may well now look to off-load the ” dead weight” on this roster and when one bears in mind that the players he acquired to make this team a legitimate contender for an NBA title offered little to that legitimacy . Bob Vanderweide and team owner Rich De Vos clearly have some decisions to make about this team , paring down the salary . The front office’s and Otis Smith’s biggest decision will be in persuading Dwight Howard to remain with the and that the Magic as an organization is where his future lies .

While not wanting to lambast the Magic organization I do feel that Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy were exceptionally naive to think that Dwight Howard solely by himself could lead this team to the NBA Finals . He had little if any real assistance from his teammates throughout much of the regular season and the for Smith to laden this organization with the absurd salaries of Arenas , Hedo Turkoglu , and Quentin Richarson simply show that there was not much thought placed into the acquisition of the players in question much less the fact as to what this would do the franchise financially . The Orlando Magic for the upcoming year has a financial salary commitment of approximately $74.8 million and for the 2012-2013 season that figure rises to $75.66 million . Bear in mind that figure exceeds the soft salary cap of $57 million that the league hierarchy feels all of their franchises could work with but clearly it has meant nothing at all to this particular franchise and those others who simply eschewed the idea and went over that figure. The salary commitment for the Magic for the 2010-2011 season was approximately $92 million . This sort of innate stupidity by the front office executives has been mirrored across the NBA for the past few years and I sincerely doubt that it is likely to change even if there should be some kind of an accord reached between the NBA hierarchy and the NBPA .

With the ongoing impasse of the lockout I do feel that the league and union have nowhere to go but to try and resolve this situation as quickly as possible . Without doing so it clearly casts doubt on a preseason or for that matter a regular 2011-2012 schedule. A number of high profiled players were in attendance at the latest meeting between the union and league hierarchy . Amongst those attending were LeBron James , Dywane Wade , Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant . All of whom expressed solidarity with the union’s executive committee and their handling of the situation.

What may be so befuddling for the fans to understand is that the NBA and players cannot agree how best to split the $4.5 billion in revenues …. derived by the league at present . The split is now a 53/47 % ratio in favor of the players but the league hierarchy seeks something that is more equitable in its disbursement and a hard salary cap . It should come as no surprise that the soft salary cap of $57 million is ignored by a number of the basketball teams within the NBA . And with the sheer stupidity shown by the general managers with their capricious spending it is easy to understand why owners such as Dan Gilbert , Gavin Maloof and Commissioner David Stern have pled poverty with regard to the fortunes of a number of franchises around the league . They have foisted figures of projected losses of $350 million to $450 million but there has been little evidence to show that those figures do in fact have any veracity to them. The hierarchy’s books have never been opened to public scrutiny and it is very clear that David Stern would prefer it that way. Much like his MLB counterpart Bud Selig the duo have a great deal in common and it is ….. that their business acumen are vastly overrated !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? Do take time to leave a comment on this and anything else you believe to pertinent in that regard . Thanks as always for the continued support as it greatly appreciated . Have a great weekend and do stay safe over the period . That way we can resume or discussions over the coming week !

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

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Boston Red Sox owner Tom Werner, left, and general manager Theo Epstein leave the podium after addressing the media during a news conference on Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, in Boston. In a joint statement released on Friday, the Red Sox announced they will not pick up the option on manager Terry Francona’s contract in the wake of the team’s September collapse. AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesfaye ….

(2) Boston Red Sox owners Tom Werner, left, and Larry Lucchino, right, listen as general manager Theo Epstein, center, speaks during a news conference, Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, in Boston. In a joint statement released on Friday, the Red Sox announced they will not pick up the option on Terry Francona’s contract in the wake of the team’s September collapse. AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesfaye …..

(3) Former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona speaks during a news conference, Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, in Boston. In a joint statement released on Friday, the Red Sox announced they will not pick up the option on Francona’s contract for a ninth year in the wake of the team’s September collapse in which they blew a nine-game lead in the American League wild-card race. AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesfaye ……

(4) Four years ago when he took over as general manager, Tony Reagins, right, had the backing of Angels owner Arte Moreno. After consecutive seasons of missing the playoffs, the two had a parting of ways. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times ……

(5) National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell gestures during the Beyond Sport Summit Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. The summit brings together more than 80 domestic and international sports teams to address their role in triggering positive social change in the communities they serve. Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director are under request by ranking committee members of the House & Oversight Government Reform Committee Rep Darrell Issa (R-Ca,.) & Rep Elijah Cummings (D-Md,.) to explain why there now seems to be an impasse between the union and the league as to HGH testing within the NFL . AP Photo/Kathy Willens ….. ……..

(6) In this booking mugshot released by the Bloomfield Township, Mich., Police Department, Detroit Pistons basketball player Ben Wallace is shown Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011. Authorities in suburban Detroit say Wallace has been charged with drunken driving and unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon after a traffic stop. Bloomfield Township police said Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011 that the 37-year-old Wallace was arrested about 3 a.m. Saturday after officers observed a Cadillac Escalade being driven erratically. Police said they found an unloaded pistol in a backpack. AP Photo/Bloomfield Township Police Department ……..

(7) Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic reacts after a missed basket during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Magic would go on to lose the series to the Hawks . Getty Images/ Kevin Cox ……

(8) Gilbert Arenas of the Orlando Magic who had one of his least productive seasons in the NBA while donning the Magic uniform . Courtesy of TSN.ca …… ….

(9) Dwight Howard is seen here with Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith . The player is holding the Honda NBA Defensive Player of the Year Trophy . Howard is a three time winner of the prestigious award having won it for the past three consecutive seasons . Courtesy of AP/Photo / Kenneth Parker ……..
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Hungarian model and Playboy siren Victoria Metzker

Midnight In The Garden of Good And Evil ……….

Midnight In The Garden of Good And Evil …….

No angst here , considering that the NBA lockout now shows no signs of abating and the team owners still solidly behind David Stern in their support I’m wondering how this mess will all be sorted out ? NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter and the members of the executive committee remain steadfast in not acquiescing to the demands of the league hierarchy and owners .
The longer this impasse remains the more tarnished the image of the NBA certainly becomes .

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Players are now seeking to ply their trade elsewhere it now seems more likely that there won’t be an NBA season to be had which will be to the lament of the fans who simply love the game. Economic strife or not this morass was simply one of the NBA’s own making and David Stern , the owners and general managers are reluctant to admit that very fact. It appears somewhat idiotic that while the league pleads poverty the teams themselves simply haven’t the temerity to rein in their spending especially in terms of the salaries . A soft salary cap of $57 million in place but somehow this all seems lost on those very same teams as they seek the game’s highest prize , an NBA title.

At this juncture with neither side reaching any type of accord it would appear that the union will seek to de-certify and file a legal action against the NBA hierarchy in the US Federal Court system . Mediation is also an option for both parties with a federally appointed judge to oversee those hearing under the auspices of the Federal Mediation & Conciliary Service , a governmental agency within the Department of Labor . The judge’s arbitrary decision would be binding but I seriously doubt that this would be the path that either the league or union will follow.

David Stern like his NFL counterpart Roger Goodell may well have misjudged the tenacity of the union’s demands and the voracity of Billy Hunter’s wish to see his members prevail. The claims of the owners and league appear to be overstated but at the same one has to question how it its that the claims are being made those very same team owners have spent capriciously , merely showing little by way of anything tangible in return.

If there’s a lesson to be learned then it is that the NBA hierarchy can take a lead from the NFL and look to reach a quick accord with the NBPA . David Stern and the union can ill afford to have this dispute be prolonged to the point where the season is irretrievably lost or that there’s a shortened season . In doing so it simply it devalue the game and in particular any type of schedule agreed upon . At some point we could well see one if not three or four of the more prominent owners of the NBA seeking to force the commissioner to take a more conciliatory stance with the union . Certainly team owner Mark Cuban , James Dolan , Jerry Buss , Mikhail Prokhorov, Peter Holt and Glen Taylor would like nothing more than to see this episode ended , much to everyone’s satisfaction. Whether or not that will be the case remains to be seen at this juncture .

With the NFL preseason now upon us , we are about to embark on three of the schedule , we can see that a number of teams have spluttered out of the gates. If there’s one team that I will be watching closely, it will be the Buffalo Bills and the coaching staff of Chan Gailey . Given the problems of this team last season and the inconsistency shown this could very well be the last chance for the coach to really prove his worth .

The moves made by the front office led by EVP& GM Buddy Nix and the draft picks made it’s clear that the Bills are seeking to make themselves heard this season within the AFC East . For and the members of this Bills’ team this will be a test of wills as I firmly believe that many of the veterans on the roster are playing for their very livelihoods and long term security !

Certainly given last season’s results and the final divisional standing for the Buffalo Bills , the fans are expecting something better from the organization as a whole . A 4-12 record was indeed a reflection as to how bad this team actually was and the poor effort shown by the players all-round. Much of the malaise from the team came from the fact that the defense simply didn’t stack up whereby they were in the bottom half amongst the franchises of the NFL . And a more stark contrast in terms of a statistic were the points allowed per game (26.6 ppg) which placed the Buffalo Bills sixth in the entire league . A clear indicator as to the real problems on this team , apart from the ineffectiveness of the offense overall.

Buddy Nix and the coaching staff have certainly made sure that the off-season moves as well the players are drafted will offer a sign of things to come in terms of the all-round improvement sought. Marcell Dareus , Aaron Williams , Kelvin Sheppard , Da’Norris Searcy , Chris Hairston , Johnny White , Chris White , Justin Rogers and Michael Jasper are all looking to acquit themselves during the preseason , as a way of proving to this organization that their faith in them has been justified. The team’s first two preseason games have resulted in losses to the Chicago Bears 10-3 and Denver Broncos 24-10 .

For the Buffalo Bills as an organization , these are simply growing pains as the core of this roster is exceptionally young . The veteran leadership will have to come from the likes of Brian Moorman , Nick Barnett , Andra Davis , Drayton Florence , David Martin and Ryan Fitzpatrick . It may well be Fitzpatrick who holds the key to this all, as the starting quarterback on the team. His play has to improve and be of a consistently high level if the team is to have any real chance of mounting a serious challenge within the AFC East against the likes of the Miami Dolphins , New York Jets and the New England Patriots . If he fails to do so then the problems for the Buffalo Bills over the course of this season could very well insurmountable .

Ralph Wilson the owner of the Buffalo Bills and an enshrinee in the Hall of Fame is perhaps one of the most respected of his peers within the NFL . Long thought to be one of the most knowledgeable of the owners in the league and often viewed as a voice of reason this bespectacled patriarch has now become totally disillusioned with the game and in particular the mindset with the league hierarchy led by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell . Wilson , though not voicing his opposition to the latest collective bargaining agreement wasn’t at all happy with the concessions made to the NFLPA and their members . However, having voted to ratify the agreement , the owner felt that this was the best way forward and to have a peaceful accord within the league.

The Buffalo Bills are a proud franchise with a great deal of history which encapsulates Ralph Wilson’s involvement as the founder of the franchise . Apart from the Hall of Famers associated with the team over the years , perhaps their most celebrated achievement were the four consecutive Superbowl appearances under then coach Marve Levy . Unfortunately , for the franchise each of those appearances ended in defeat but it still remains a feat unmatched by another other NFL franchise . There’s a great deal to be said for the accolades that have been lauded upon this organization but the inescapable fact is that the one thing more than anything else the fans would like to see most happen with their team , would be for them to proudly hold aloft the Lombardi Trophy. In reality , it may well be a while before we are able to witness such an event as this team in my honest opinion is still a long way off from where they really need to be , in order to be taken seriously as a Superbowl contender.

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Given the impasse between the NBA and union , do you foresee there being a season within the league ? Or are you of the opinion that the lockout will be a long and protracted event over the course of the NBA calendar year ? What thoughts if any do you have on the upcoming regular season for the Buffalo Bills and how do you view Ralph Wilson as the franchise’s owner ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the points raised within this piece .

Alan aka tophatal ……………

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(1) Maurice Evans arrive at a mid town hotel for a meeting Thursday, June 30, 2011 in New York. The NBA is headed to deadline day, with perhaps one last chance to avoid a lockout. Negotiators for owners and players will meet Thursday, about 12 hours before the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement and seemingly nowhere close to a deal. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer ….

(2) Tristan Thompson from the University of Texas greets NBA Commissioner David Stern after he was drafted #4 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round during the 2011 NBA Draft at the Prudential Center on June 23, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. Getty Images North America / Mike Stobe ……

(3) Mikhail Prokhorov for the moment , a bystander as the NBA hierarchy deals with the now contentious impasse between the league and the players’ union. The Russian billionaire like many of associates are firmly behind the NBA Commissioner David Stern for the present but it remains to be seen how much longer the league is prepared to hold its stance. Getty Images / Jesse D Garrabant ………

(4) DENVER, CO – AUGUST 20: Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) of the Buffalo Bills throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 20, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images …..

(5) Running back Knowshon Moreno (27) of the Denver Broncos splits the defense of safety Jairus Byrd (31) , Alex Carrington (92 )and linebacker Nick Barnett (50) of the Buffalo Bills during the first quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 20, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images …..

(6) Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey argues with referee Jim Mello in the second quarter of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011, in Denver. AP Photo/Jack Dempsey ……

(7) Buffalo Bills first round draft pick Marcell Dareus, center, poses for a photo with Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr., left center, coach Chan Gailey, right, and general manager Buddy Nix, left, before an introductory NFL football news conference in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, April 29, 2011. AP Photo/David Duprey ……..
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Horses For Courses And A Great Deal More ……..

Horses For Courses And A Great Deal More ……..

I don’t know whether or not to laugh or simply groan now when I get sight of NBA Commissioner David Stern . It’s simply become so asinine to hear the game’s highest ranking official opine on what he believes to be the NBPA’s lack of good faith in the lockout deliberations . David Stern’s opposition to the union possibly de-certifying is the main reason for the league hierarchy filing suit in US Federal Court while at the same time seeking the intervention of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to act as intermediaries in a government mandated mediation with a judge presiding over the whole deliberation process and then having the right to deliver a binding agreement on both parties. This is something from which neither side can view as a victory should such a scenario arise . David Stern may well be a good poker player but the cards he’s now holding simply do not favor the league or the team owners .

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Should the league vote de-certify which is not against the law it simply lessens the leverage that the NBA feels that they have other union in the negotiation process. It’s something that I’m sure that Executive Director Billy Hunter and union President Derek Fisher saw worked out favorably for the NFLPA during their long drawn out lockout process . The commissioner’s bone of contention all along has been their stance that they now have to rein costs and above salary expenditure . Given the idiocy of that statement and the very fact that teams and the general managers have splurged ostentatiously in signing players to exorbitantly outrageous contracts . And pardon me for saying this but when you see Rashard Lewis as the second highest paid player in the NBA last season earning in excess of $22.5 million has me wondering in what god damn world is where you’re paid to not to get results and be productive ? Other than those mindless idiots within the House and Senate I can’t think of any perhaps more undeserving of that type of reward for the least amount of return ! Mind you as I say this , I should point out that much to my surprise I recently found out that the commissioner himself is handsomely rewarded in terms of his annual compensation package. If the rumors are to be believed then David Stern is earning in excess of $20 million not including incentives . That’s the sort of money one would expect to see a highly gifted athlete or a titan of corporate America to be compensated with. But somehow this portly sized former legal mind is now decrying the fact that the salaries of the players are now far too high . Am I missing something here ? And did hell suddenly freeze over ?

Though this NBA stoppage by comparison to the NFL’s 135 day holdout is meager in its length the closer this entrenchment remains unresolved the more discontent there’s bound to be between the two parties . Never mind the ever growing resentment of the brooding NBA fans. With the preseason team training camps due to commence at the beginning of September it remains to be seen who’s about acquiesce to the others’ will. With the prominent team owners such as Dr Jerry Buss , Mark Cuban , James Dolan , Peter Holt , Mikhail Prokhorov , Michael Jordan , Dan Gilbert and Wyc Grousbeck all for the moment standing firmly in support of David Stern , I fully expect that should the lockout be prolonged more than they envisage then the support could very well be
threatened .

Many of the most recent owners such as Dan Gilbert in making the purchase of the Cleveland Cavaliers was fully financed by way of multi faceted loan instruments. And one should consider that the issues facing the Cavaliers in particular after the departure of LeBron James meant less revenues at Quicken Loans Arena and meager attendances for the team’s home games .

I am not about to castigate the team owners or for that matter the league hierarchy of the NBA as well as the union . From my own perspective I do believe that all of the parties are equally to blame . Given that Derek Fisher , Billy Hunter and David Stern were all aware that their existing collective bargaining agreement was due to expire on the 30th June it’s somewhat asinine that the groups in question sought to start their deliberations once the agreement had expired. Clearly there seems to be little if any common sense being shown from the lead individuals concerned . Billy Hunter whose passion as a lawyer is encapsulated around his struggles during the civil rights’ era. But here it appears to not about what’s viewed as being right but simply a matter of greed and how best to split the revenues from a $4.5 billion piece of the pie . The revenue stream as it now stands favors the players on 53.5 % to 46.5% ratio that the league seeks to lessen that would be equitable in its disbursement . Something of which the union simply does not favor as they feel that the league hierarchy has been decidedly less than truthful in showing real transparency as to their finances.

It will be very interesting to see what transpires over the ensuing weeks as the two sides seek to reach some sort of a compromise . If anything I fully expect this lockout to go on for an extended period of time . Billy Hunter made that situation abundantly clear when he commented that he does not expect there to be fully scheduled season for 2011-12. If that’s not of an indication as to how steadfast the NBPA seeks to be then clearly David Stern has misjudged the resolve of the union and it members .

As the races now appear to be tightening up within NL West and NL Central I can’t help but wonder what might happen should both the St Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants fail to make the postseason. And for both Tony La Russa and Bruce Bochy this certainly test their managerial acumen as they seek to get their respective teams playing with a great deal of resolve over the final months of the season.

The respective divisional titles are up for grabs as it would appear that the wildcard berth will come from the NL East in the form of the Atlanta Braves possibly gaining that spot. If nothing else teams in the midst closely ran races with the Cardinals now duelling with the Milwaukee Brewers and the Giants now finding themselves in an allout brawl with the Arizona Diamondbacks . One wonders if it would come as a surprise were either the St Louis Cardinals or San Francisco Giants to come up short after this ardous season. Certainly the moves made by the Giants was indication of their resolve in looking to successfully defend merely not only their divisional crown but also their NL pennant as well as looking for a return to the World Series and duplicating last year’s feat . The San Francisco Giants over the Texas Rangers was indeed a long time coming and something the Giants’ fans simply yearned for.

That taste of success now has the Giants simply wanting more and it will be very interesting to see whether or not between now and the end of the regular season the reigning champions will still be on that path to repeating last season’s triumph. With the addition of Carlos Beltran to the San Francisco Giants roster . For Bruce Bochy and his assistants knowing that they’ve some added potency on the offense gives the organization something they felt that they needed. There’s no denying that the team’s biggest strengths have been their pitching led by two time NL Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum . But if anything the real surprise amongst the roster has been the play of seasoned journeyman Ryan Vogelsong . If nothing else this season has been an aspiring ascent into the big leagues for the pitcher .

The Arizona Diamondbacks for their part with the play of Justin Upton has this team playing with a great deal of resolve. Given the change of ownership the changes both on and off the field now seems to have been paying dividends not only for the organization but also for the fans in attendance at Chase Field in Phoenix , Arizona . There has been a gradual uptick in attendance and with the play > of the team has many thinking that the organization now in a resurgent mode could now be on the cusp of doing something special. GM Kevin Towers along with the managing partners now know with the resurgence of the organization they have something to build upon . It has been a long time coming for the Diamondbacks given that their greatest triumph came back in 2001 with their surprising defeat of the venerable New York Yankees .

If anything one also should commend the job being done by Kirk Gibson and his coaching staff in getting the Arizona Diamondbacks to play with such zeal. He could very well end up being the NL Manager of the Year when it’s all said and done .

Given the ordeals faced by the St Louis Cardinals over the past few days it’s hard to see how one can’t but have some empathy with the team. Granted with the five game suspension of Yadier Molina and the events surrounding Albert Pujols being hit by an errant pitch it has me wondering now whether or not we’ll see the best or worse of this team !

The Milwaukee Brewers for their part with a thriving Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun have many thinking that after last season’s surprising divisional triumph by the Cincinnati Reds there’s time for some fresh infusion of blood in terms of another NL Central divisional winner . If not the St Louis Cardinals then why not the Milwaukee Brewers under the leadership of their managing general partner Mark Attanasio ?

Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke , his assistants and GM Doug Melvin have assembled a roster that is intent on acquitting themselves with a great deal of vigor and bring the fans back to Miller Park , Wisconsin with a sense of purpose . This Milwaukee Brewers’ team is very much a credible one but it remains to be seen what sort of steely resolve they are prepared to show over the remainder of the season .

If the Brewers are to prevail then it will have to be a concerted all-round effort with both Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder leading the way . There’s a great deal that is at stake and it goes without saying that given the vagaries of this game where one misstep can be the difference between success and failure I can’t help but feel that the players on this team may well feel ………. that now is their time .

In light of what you are now seeing happening with the divisional races at present in baseball which teams do you feel have been the biggest surprise over the course of this season ? And from within the NL Central and NL West which of the teams do you see actually triumphing in the end in terms those races ? Simply chime in with a comment as you would deem fit .

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

Contact tophatal …………….. rapptu@gmail.com

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(1) NBA commissioner David Stern speaks to reporters after a meeting with the players’ union, Thursday, June 30, 2011 in New York. Despite a three-hour meeting Thursday, the sides could not close the enormous gap that remained in their positions. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer …..

(2) NBA Players Association president Derek Fisher, right, NBA union chief Billy Hunter, left, and LA Lakers’ Theo Ratliff arrive at a midtown hotel for a meeting with the NBA, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011 in New York. One month after the lockout began, and three months before the season is scheduled to start, representatives for the NBA owners and locked-out players return to the bargaining table. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer …….

(3) Wyc Grousbeck the senior managing partner of the ownership group for the Boston Celtics . Courtesy of Getty Images / Olin James …

(4) SAN FRANCISCO, CA – AUGUST 4: Hunter Pence (3) of the Philadelphia Phillies gets an RBI single against the San Francisco Giants in the ninth inning during a MLB baseball game at AT&T Park August 4, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The Phillies won the game 3-0 . Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ……

(5) SAN FRANCISCO, CA – AUGUST 4: Jeff Keppinger (8) of the San Francisco Giants gets his throw off completing the double-play avoiding the slide of John Mayberry (15) of the Philadelphia Phillies in the seventh inning during an MLB baseball game at AT&T Park August 4, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The Phillies won the game 3-0. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ……..

(6) Jason Marquis (21) of the Arizona Diamondbacks is taken out of the game in the fifth inning by manager Kirk Gibson against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 3, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The D’backs would go on lose the game 8-1 against the San Francisco Giants . Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images ………

(7) Pablo Sandoval (48) of the San Francisco Giants slides in safe at home on a ball hit by Orlando Cabrera(notes) in the third inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park on August 3, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images …….

(8) St. Louis Cardinals players Rafael Furcal, right, and Albert Pujois celebrate after they defeated the Florida Marlins 7-4 in a baseball game in Miami, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011. AP Photo/J Pat Carter ….

(9) Matt Holliday(7) of the St. Louis Cardinals rounds third after hitting a three run home run off Clay Hensley(32) of the Florida Marlins during a game at Sun Life Stadium on August 4, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ………

(10) MILWAUKEE, WI – AUGUST 03: Casey McGehee (14) of the Milwaukee Brewers steps on home plate to score after hitting his second home run of the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park on August 3, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Brewers defeated the Cardinals 10-5 . Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images ……..

(11) MILWAUKEE, WI – AUGUST 03: Prince Fielder (28) of the Milwaukee Brewers has words with Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals at first base at Miller Park on August 3, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images ……

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Into Each Of Our Lives A Drop Of Rain Must Fall But Then Again You Can Always Rely On An Idiot Within The Sports Arena To Provide Us With Something Extra !

Into Each Of Our Lives A Drop Of Rain Must Fall But Then Again You Can Always Rely On An Idiot Within The Sports Arena To Provide Us With Something Extra !

Well it had to happen did it not ? A baseball team owner being openly critical of one of his peers . In no uncertain terms Oakland A’s owner Lew Wolff has been critical of Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt and his ex wife Jamie McCourt in their ownership of the organization. As we all know the Dodgers filed for bankruptcy protection, filing Chapter 11 proceedings in the US Federal Courts .

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Now unless I’m mistaken this is the very first time that we’ve had an owner issue a public statement on this matter . But what might be even more surprising is the very fact that Wolff a staunch supporter of Commissioner Bud Selig was one of the very owners who at the time of McCourt’s purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers was one of the main supporters of Frank McCourt buying the team. And the very fact that Wolff and Frank McCourt share the same business background in the development of commercial and residential real estate has me wondering whether or not the two had a business deal jointly between them that went south which has now brought about this animus !

Courtesy of USA Today

A’s owner Lew Wolff calls on Frank McCourt to sell Dodgers

By Jorge L, Ortiz , USA Today

Commissioner Bud Selig is not only one who wants Frank McCourt to just go away. One of the Los Angeles Dodgers owner’s brethren is now calling for him to leave.

Oakland Athletics co-owner Lew Wolff told the Los Angeles Times that McCourt’s attacks on Selig are misguided and called for him to sell the team. Wolff is the first owner to publicly speak out against McCourt.

“My hope is that the Dodgers will be sold to a party that will restart this great franchise, and that Frank and his family will benefit from a positive sale,” Wolff told the Times. “But to try and equate or compare what Bud Selig has done with the administration of the current Dodger franchise is unsupportable.”

McCourt’s lawyers have contested in divorce court Selig’s claim that McCourt has taken more than $100 million from the team for his personal use, and they argued that Selig has received more than that amount from MLB through his yearly salary of more than $18 million.

Wolff stood up for his former University of Wisconsin fraternity brother, saying his comments were not an attempt to gain favor with Selig as the A’s continue to wait for a report on their stadium options. Wolff also denied any interest in buying the Dodgers.

“For anyone to seek to diminish Bud’s accomplishments in order to rationalize their own actions is, in my opinion, ludicrous and hugely disingenuous,” Wolff said.

Selig rejected a proposed TV rights deal with Fox that McCourt said would be worth upwards of $3 billion, citing concern over McCourt’s handling of the Dodgers’ revenues. McCourt responded by filing for bankruptcy.

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Lew Wolff voicing his opinion on Frank McCourt and his misdeeds to my mind actually smacks of stupidity given the A’s owner’s own handling of his team . The Oakland Athletics’ problems this season have been well chronicled and the very fact that the organization has struggled to even maintain some semblance of consistency would suggest that they’re still a long way off from where they really need to be . My own belief is that Lew Wolff as an owner has done little to suggest that he and his partners are ambitious to win . Were it not also from the fact that in Frank McCourt’s first pursuant of trying to own an MLB ballclub then I would have simply waived off this criticism as justified but herein now lies the premise . Several years prior to Frank McCourt gaining control of the Los Angeles Dodgers he has also sought to purchase the Boston Red Sox .

In pursuant of the deal as is normally required in all such instances , Frank McCourt and his partners filed the necessary papers with the board of governors and MLB hierarchy . Much of that paperwork indicated that the bidders would be financing the deal through a menage of cash and borrowing from several major financial institutions. However , it had to be noted that McCourt was also involved in major litigation where he was the defendant in a legal matter that involved unfulfilled obligations concerning the development of a real estate deal . Somehow this was initially overlooked by the league until brought to their attention by their legal counsel and the deal was in the end nixed . If such as is the case, wherein the league had such an issue concerning a potential buyer of one of their franchises once before then how is it that the league hierarchy and owners saw fit to relent and then allow that very same individual the chance to own another of their franchises the second time around ? The pattern again followed the same principle minus the legal issues but once again even in light of Frank McCourt’s previous problems the signs obviously were not heeded . This time around the board of governors which includes the owners voted unanimously to approve the deal .

If Lew Wolff is now trying decry the antics of Frank McCourt then how is it that he did not do so when the Dodgers’ owner came to the table with his deal to buy the organization ? What really had changed other than perhaps the greed of the baseball hierarchy and that of the team owners ? To me this is all so asinine given the fact that the vast majority of owners in the game are about as acutely business minded as the ” idiots” in the House and Senate who claim they have the nation’s interests at heart but who simply bicker like infants when they cannot get their own damn way ! And it is very much the same with the owners and league hierarchy within baseball !

Billy Beane the Oakland Athletics’ general manager has done as much as he can on a shoe-string budget but in recent times it has given the fans of the team little hope if any. Granted, one could allude to the fact that they’re building towards the future with their prospects and players drafted over the past few years . But in reality fans want to see some semblance of success sooner , rather than later . Anyone who would suggest to the contrary is living a life of complete denial . It’s idiotic to suggest that a fan is prepared to sit around and wait anywhere between two or even five years to see their team strive for success. If anything they’re either prepared to show their discontent with the ownership group or simply begin to abandon their team altogether . Merely giving the impression that they are prepared to endure the pain and the bravado of repeatedly watching an organization fail is as such nothing short of sadomasochism . Self flagellation at its best and worst perhaps ?

NBA Commissioner David Stern is now of the belief that the NPBA (union ) representing the players are not acting in good faith . Am I missing something here ? Unless I am mistaken the commissioner along with the NBA hierarchy and team owners indeed sought this lockout initiating the stoppage upon the 30th June deadline and expiration of the then existing collective bargaining agreement . Stern , alongside San Antonio Spurs’ owner Peter Holt and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver in a joint public statement went so far as to suggest that the union represented by executive director Billy Hunter and union president Derek Fisher were being intransigent during the two sides’ deliberations in trying to reach a compromise .

Stern’s biggest gripe is that the union could now choose to de-certify and then pursue their own legal recourse not only against the league hierarchy directly but also against the team owners . And with the commissioner having practiced law he knows that the union is quite within their right to pursue their grievances legally . Plain and simple David Stern doesn’t want to be viewed as being outmaneuvered by the NBPA or anyone else that he feels is beneath him !

Anyone who has seen how David Stern conducts himself in public will know that if he’s not front and center alongside others ____ not the main attraction then you might as well be standing in the background. It has been this sort of autocratic leadership and at times bombastic attitude that has perhaps led to this impasse . Had the league hierarchy and union for that matter had the hindsight to even convene prior to the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement and try to lay some groundwork for their dealings then in some respects the ensuing action could have been avoided . But that would simply be asking way too much of two organizations where narcissism and being egotistical seems to be the norm !

And now with the game’s own international body FIBA granting the right of the NBA players should they choose to ____ pursue playing abroad during the entrenchment of the two sides during the lockout . It would appear that the power that the league and owners thought they had was in fact nothing more than an actual pipe dream. With perhaps the game’s biggest star in Kobe Bryant now said to be mulling over several lucrative offers of an to play in China or Turkey I don’t think that it will be all that long before several other marquee stars of the NBA may well choose to follow suit !

David Stern for his part may well feel that in pursuant of the owners’ interests that they appear to be in the right but were it not for the fact that transparency of the league hierarchy when it comes to their finances borders on the secrecy of Opus Dei and that particular order. The league owners plead poverty but somehow they choose not to rein in their expenses when it comes to the salaries of the players and at the same time the union itself paints the picture that they’re being held hostage by the demands of the league hierarchy and owners. Now in the midst of it all with the NBA on track to lose several hundred million dollars it is Stern’s intent to have us believe that this lockout is the only way possible to get the union to heed their original warnings of financial doom. Were it not for the fact that in the past two seasons that the teams around the league have been the beneficiaries of in excess of $ 500 million in loans guaranteed by the league and in the past decade itself the league has borrowed in excess of $1.65 billion from several major financial institution across the country I now have a hard time fathoming how it is that the NBA finds itself in such a mess ! Unless the CFO of the league hierarchy is someone who’s clearly not adroit with finance then something is clearly awry within the NBA . David Stern’s main argument has been that the league now needs to rein in costs and he points to the fact that the NBA is on target to lose in excess of $450 million for the fiscal year . Ho hum ! That figure though excessive makes me wonder when the commissioner himself is being compensated to the tune of $23.5 million a year (including incentives) and the likes of Rashard Lewis can earn in excess of $22.5 million on the back end of a rather exorbitant contract then I have to wonder where the madness is actually coming from within the NBA !

Neither side at present shows signs of relenting and with each passing moment it would appear that the league and union have further alienated the fans . With the lockout now only a mere five weeks into its length it appears that neither side is yet willing to acquiesce and reach any sort of a real compromise . Little tidbits are released for the public’s and media’s consumption but beyond that not much has really changed . This impasse may well reach a breaking point where one side will actually relent but it does not appear to be the case now, or anytime soon . I can only surmise that David Stern and the owners will try to play the role of the protagonist in this all , as they seek to paint the union as the antagonists and villains of the piece ! Somehow , I don’t think that the fans really care which is side is portraying which damn character as they are now sick and tired of hearing about millionaires and multi millionaires complain about their financial angst and woes ! These individuals simply cannot relate to the common man much less a fan of the game .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on Lew Wolff’s criticism of Frank McCourt and do you feel it justified ? Also in light of David Stern’s comments where do you stand on the NBA lockout and the impasse as it now meanders along ? Leave a comment as to your thoughts on the points raised within this piece .

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

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Oakland Athletics co-owner Lew Wolff smiles during a news conference in Oakland, Calif., Friday, April 1, 2005. The Oakland A’s owners struck a deal with Major League Soccer to bring a team back to the San Francisco Bay area after the San Jose Earthquakes left for Houston over a stadium squabble, officials said Wednesday, May 24, 2006. Lew Wolff and John Fisher , the A’s principal owners, will have three years to buy a team and develop a stadium solely for soccer. The location of the new stadium has not been determined but the new Earthquakes office will be located in downtown San Jose. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma ….

(2) Oakland Athletics’ Kurt Suzuki reacts to striking out in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, in Seattle. The Mariners beat the Athletics 4-2 . AP Photo/Ted S. Warren ……

(3) Eric Sogard (36) of the Oakland Athletics reacts after striking out with the bases loaded to end the eighth against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on August 2, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images ……

(4) Hideki Matsui (55) of the Oakland Athletics singles in the eighth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on August 2, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images ……

(5) Hideki Matsui (L) shakes hands with Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane (R) after trying on his new jersey during a press conference where he was introduced as the newest member of the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 14, 2010 in Oakland, California. The Oakland Athletics signed designated hitter Hideki Matsui to a one-year deal worth $4.25 million plus possible incentives for the 2011 season. Getty Images North America / Justin Sullivan …

(6) NBA Players Association president Derek Fisher, right, NBA union chief Billy Hunter, left, and LA Lakers’ Theo Ratliff arrive at a midtown hotel for a meeting with the NBA, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011 in New York. One month after the lockout began, and three months before the season is scheduled to start, representatives for the NBA owners and locked-out players return to the bargaining table. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer ……

(7) NBA commissioner David Stern, left, gestures as he holds press conference along with deputy commissioner Adam Silver , following a meeting between team owners and the NBA players union on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 in New York. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews ……..

San Antonio Spurs’ GM R C Buford is seen here alongside team owner Peter Holt during one the Spurs’ practice sessions . Holt a staunch supporter of the commissioner is one of the primary members of David Stern’s inner circle during the deliberations with the NBPA . Getty Images / Alex Small ……

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MLB news

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MLB results Tuesday 2nd August 2011

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Hitting :

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NBA News

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Do take time to participate in the above polls .

Oh The Tom Foolery ………..

Oh The Tom Foolery ……..

In the aftermath of the All Star Game and the shambles that we all witnessed was in essence a clear indication that the league hierarchy couldn’t sell donuts to a room filled with cops , much less have the fans wanting for more. Much of the idiocy stems from the mere fact that the team owners and hierarchy are bereft of creativity and ideas . Can we have a show of common sense from anyone within the game for merely a brief minute ? I was once told by a patron that my ideas as it relates to talking about sports economics were way off base. But herein lies the fact this individual’s idea is to opine about the young players and that the teams are building for the future and they will somehow garner success .. He simply works on supposition, rather than the realities in the midst of the game at present . It may well work within his own mind but in the real world that’s simply not the case .

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Slide show for your perusal .

There have been a number of suggestions to try and make the game more appealing to the fans , many of which are plausible but on the whole they would not necessarily cure what ails the game . Realignment of the divisions is simply placing a Band Aid on an open festering wound which in the end will do more harm than good . Not that I am not partial to a great deal of blood but that scenario simply creates false hope when there is none ! The one issue that the league hierarchy and owners refuse to get themselves involved in is that of the financial imbalances as it relates to the teams and the mere fact that they are unwilling to adopt a hard salary cap . They would rather simply continue to shoot themselves in the foot until they either end up crippled or paralyzed . And as we can see this is now being borne out by the ever growing problems for the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets .

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New York Yankees’ Curtis Granderson (14) is helped to first base by manager Joe Girardi after being hit by a pitch form Tampa Bay Rays’ David Price ) during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, July 20, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Yankees won 4-0 . AP Photo / Joe Blanco …

New York Yankees’ out-fielder Curtis Granderson in a candid interview with the Ft Worth Star -Telegram stated that when he now looks up into the stands he finds it a rarity to see an African American face in attendance . The player then went on to suggest that with a dwindling of ethnic players from his own race leads him to believe that the league hierarchy is doing a poor job of luring the fans to the game . And that is in spite of baseball’s RBI (Reviving Baseball In The Inner Cities) initiative in the inner cities across the country . I wonder how that is actually working out , given the expense and working in conjunction with a number of organizations as well as various school systems ? According to the league hierarchy there are over 200,000 participants across the country involved in this (RBI) all but it is difficult to decipher what the findings have led to at the professional level. From my perspective this is simply another one of Bud Selig’s warped ideas that is akin to throwing up fecal matter against the wall and then going with what sticks ! The commissioner hasn’t had an insightful or succinct idea in two decades but if anything should their be an act of flatulence on his part you can’t be sure whether or not he’ll sneeze or his head might explode .

Courtesy of USA Today

Curtis Granderson: Where are all the black fans?

By Seth Livingstone USA Today

New York Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson isn’t telling Major League Baseball anything it doesn’t already know.

Baseball appears to lack appeal and access to some blacks , whether they are participants or fans. And Granderson wasn’t necessarily trying to stir the pot when he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: “Count the number of African-American fans.”

On a recent trip to Texas, Granderson said it was difficult to push the count to double digits.

“At first, it starts off as a joke (with teammates),” Granderson said. “As the game moves on, you’ll get to 10, or maybe 15. Depends on where you are, too. Places like Chicago or New York, other places it’s easy. (In Texas), it’s hard. So after a while it becomes, ‘Told you so.

As it was reported in April , the percentage of black players dropped to 8.5% on opening day this year, down from 10% at the start of last season and its lowest level since 2007, according to the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports. More than 80% of NBA players are African-American and the percentage of black players in the NFL is more than 60%.

Possible reasons appear myriad for baseball’s drop in black players. The Star-Telegram cites costs for equipment and league participation as possible reasons for baseball’s lack of appeal, to say nothing of admission prices.

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Click on link to read this article in its entirety

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I’ve long held the contention that Branch Rickey’s social experiment to integrate the game by bringing Jackie Robinson and making him the first minority to play in MLB was simply done for business reasons and little else . Integrating the game was one thing but given the fact that those attending the games were separated along racial lines while at the same time the US military itself still had yet to be fully integrated shows that not only had the game along way to go socially but also the country as well . Robinson as a player was not only open to a torrent of racial abuse but also threats upon his life by racially intolerant fans as well as many of his fellow players and from the owners within the game .

Now I would like to think that the game of baseball has made enormous strides and it has in a number of areas but the game has yet to have an African American owner in the modern era . Though it can claim that it has had a select number of managers and executives holding the position of general manager of a ball-club. The game has yet to have an African American owner and at the highest level of the game where ownership of a team would be a sign of a real break through this has yet to happen. Baseball has a number of acute issues that it needs to address , their RBI initiative being one of them but I certainly don’t believe that Bud Selig is the man to be leading that charge ! What he lacks in outright candor he more than makes up for that with his asinine edicts and complete lack of intelligence ! That asides the team owners simply love the fact that his lips are placed so firmly on their sphincters as and when needed . At the same time Michael Weiner who succeeded Donald Fehr as the executive director of the MLBPA has shown little to suggest that his tenure will be any different from that of his predecessor . Suffice to say that the game of baseball is now being ran by a group of individuals who are akin to headless chickens running around in a chicken coop waiting to die as they bleed to death profusely.

Did I miss something ? The NBA hierarchy has seen fit to publicly release the 2011-12 NBA schedule while they are involved in the midst of what they claim to be a labor dispute . Last I looked this was simply about money and who was actually garnering the bigger slice of a multi billion dollar piece of the pie ! The NBPA guided by executive director Billy Hunter and their President Derek Fisher have all but said that they are not prepared to concede to any request or requests from the league unless they are prepared to make concessions themselves . This dispute has all the making of being a bitter contentious battle from which no side will come out of it unscathed . The union’s executive committee have kept their members abreast of the ongoing deliberations much of it behind closed doors with the press and public not really being informed of the meetings . But as usual we can rely on ESPN to inform us of the latest by their usual group of insiders.

David Stern may well have bitten off more than he can chew in seeking to institute a stoppage and no doubt his ego has taken a beating . The team owners may well be sticking behind him at this juncture but sooner or later the likes of Mikhail Prokhorov , Jerry Buss , Peter Holt , Mark Cuban and James Dolan will decide to voice their opinions as to the impasse between the two sides .

The NBA hierarchy and owners have been a law unto themselves showing their gullibility , naivete but above all sheer idiocy in thinking that they could spend money at will while seeing their revenues decline . The soft salary cap instituted by the league of $ 57 million but several teams have exceeded that figure as they chased winning an NBA title . The two finalists from this past season’s Finals between them had a combined salary exceeding $125 million , hardly a figure that David Stern would actually care to discuss .

I find it somewhat ironic while the teams are pleading poverty they’re spending money as if there’s no tomorrow . Leading the charge are the idiot general managers of the game who’ll do just about anything including selling their first born if it guarantees success . Perhaps a clear indication of such inanity were the trades made by the Orlando Magic and their GM Otis Smith as they sought a championship. One only has to look at the team’s roster and their salary implications to see that Smith simply encumbered the organization with so much dead weight that it was laughable to watch the team play .

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Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard sits after the Magic’s 84-81 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference first-round playoff series, Thursday, April 28, 2011, in Atlanta. AP Photo/John Amis ….

For Bob Vanderweide the COO & President of the Orlando Magic and the other senior executives this will be a trying time for the club. Not only do they have to deal with the financial implications of the team commitment in salaries but there’s also the growing belief that Dwight Howard may well seek to opt out of the final year of his contract and seek to ply his trade elsewhere . There’s no denying that a player of Howard’s caliber would be the envy of the teams around the league willing to acquire the player. But what would the Magic be seeking in return for the player if a deal were to be made ? Given the stakes as they stand and what this could very well mean for the organization it is hard to see anything advantageous for the team coming out of such a transaction ! Dwight Howard may well now feel that the Orlando Magic are not capable of winning a championship and the best opportunity for him as a player lays with another team. That team could very well be the Los Angeles Lakers if the rumors circulating are to be believed .

There’s no doubt in my mind that Mitch Kupchak , Jim Buss and Jerry Buss would pull the trigger on such a deal to land Dwight Howard and then for all essence and purpose the Lakers would have their own equivalent of the Miami Heat’s “Big Three” of Chris Bosh , LeBron James and Dwyane Wade . The Lakers’ answer would be the teaming of Howard to play alongside Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant . And I’m sure for newly installed coach Mike Brown this would give him the added assurance that the teaming of the three along with the other players on the roster would be of benefit to the organization and fans . Whether or not such a scenario arises remains to be seen but there’s no denying that this would be an enticing situation for all of the parties involved should it start to foment within each of the front offices in question.

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NBA Commissioner David Stern, right, pictured with Deputy Commissioner and Chief Financial Officer Adam Silver , said in a news conference Thursday that the league is seeking to cut payroll and benefits for players by about a third. AP Photo/ Phil Reed …

As to David Stern’s own ego , it may well be plausible to make next season’s schedule public as a means of showing the fans the NBA ……. is still business as usual . But at present there is nothing at all to suggest that the league and the players are any closer to reaching a compromise much less the fact they are ready to actually get back to the courts . For a number of player who have sought to ply their trade overseas until the lockout ends they get the chance to hone their skills and take in some culture while pocketing a sizable amount in compensation. For others at the lower rungs of the food chain that are not so lucky there’s isn’t a great deal that they can do other than to sit , wait to be notified as to what is going on by their player representatives from the NBPA. Chances are that they too after a while will become fed up of the situation and voice their concerns but I’m guessing that’s a long way off if they now view the situation where they have both and Stern and the owners by the balls !

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

As to the points raised within this piece do you feel that Curtis Granderson’s claims are to an extent valid ? And what recommendations would you make in order to lure not just more minorities to take an interest in the game but also to make baseball more appealing for the fans ? And where do you see the NBA now going from here in terms of the ongoing dispute ? Please leave a comment as you would deem fit and thanks for the continued support !

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

Contact ……… rapptu@ gmail.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) A fan holds up a sign during the ninth inning of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 20, 2011 in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the Rangers 9-8 . Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images ….

(2) Ryan Braun (8) of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates with teammates in the dugout before umpires review instant reply on a possible home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the eighth inning of the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on July 20, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The ball was called foul and the home run was taken back. The Brewers defeated the Diamondbacks 5-2 in 10 innings . Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …

(3) New York Yankees’ Curtis Granderson (14) is helped to first base by manager Joe Girardi after being hit by a pitch form Tampa Bay Rays’ David Price ) during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, July 20, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Yankees won 4-0 . AP Photo / Joe Blanco …

(4) ST. PETERSBURG, FL – JULY 20: Outfielder Curtis Granderson (14) of the New York Yankees scores on a first-inning home run against the Tampa Bay Rays July 20, 2011 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ….

(5) Branch Rickey (left) seen here with Jackie Robinson holding the plaque denoting his official enshrinement into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York . Also pictured is Robinson’s wife Rachel . Courtesy of White Archives …

(6) Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard sits after the Magic’s 84-81 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference first-round playoff series, Thursday, April 28, 2011, in Atlanta. AP Photo/John Amis ….

(7) NBA Commissioner David Stern, right, pictured with Deputy Commissioner and Chief Financial Officer Adam Silver , said in a news conference Thursday that the league is seeking to cut payroll and benefits for players by about a third. AP Photo/ Phil Reed …

(8) From left to right Orlando Magic executives Alex Martins , Bob Vanderweide and Otis Grant take questions from the convened press at the team’s headquarters the Amway Center in downtown Orlando , Florida . Orlando Sentinel/ Michael Halloran ….

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MLB News

MLB transactions

MLB Standings

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MLB Schedule 3 days at a glance

MLB results 20th July 2011

MLB probable starters 21st July 2011

NBA news

Los Angeles Lakers news

Orlando Magic news

NBA team salaries

Stupid Is , Can’t Be As Stupid Does , Can It …. ?

Stupid Is , Can’t Be As Stupid Does , Can It …. ?

So just when you thought that all that would appear just when we had seen it all concerning the rabid stupidity that exists within collegiate athletics. It would appear that Auburn Tigers’ football coach Gene Chizik is extremely unhappy that the NCAA is still continuing its investigation of the school. Chizik had an impromptu conversation with the NCAA’s vice president for enforcement Judie Loah Roach during which the officer informed the coach that the school and its recruitment of Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton was still under investigation. As we all know there said to be a number of improprieties concerning the player’s recruitment . The player’s father Cecil Newton is said to still be a person of interest in this ongoing investigation . It’s plain to see that there is a great deal at stake should the school be found to be in violation of any type of NCCA rules . The jury is out and the blow-back from this all could very well be another nail in the coffin of another very prestigious collegiate athletics’ program.

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So the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive player James Harrison is simply proving once again why players from the NFL are better to be seen on the field of play rather than being heard . The player fresh off last season’s numerous fines has become a bona-fide asshole of the highest order ! . In criticizing the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell calling him “a crook” , “a devil “ , “a tyrant” and an ” autocratic despot “ whose power simply knows no bounds . At the same time the player was also critical of his teammate Ben Roethlisberger and the very fact that the player at times was simply not playing to the best of his abilities and was being reliant on the defense to bail out the team far too often over the course of last season . Pardon me for saying this , but shouldn’t Harrison be the one to voice these opinions behind closed doors amongst his teammates and the coaching staff as it relates to the team’s play ? As to his criticism of the commissioner , once it’s out there it becomes too late to take it all back . And that is now what the player now seems to be doing by stating that his statements were completely taken out of context. I certainly believe that when it’s all said and done if it is not Mike Tomlin who ends up speaking to James Harrison about his comments then quite possibly look a senior official from the front office to hold a private conversation with the player .

The Pittsburgh Steelers has always been an organization that chooses to conduct their problems behind closed doors and to try and make sure that the players as such are of the highest order in terms of their character. It is easy to undersstand why the are considered one of the most respected teams within the NFL and the success achieved in large part has come down to the fact here has been very little volatility within the organization and turnover in terms of the coaching staff. Unfortunately , with the antics of Santonio Holmes , Plaxico Burress and in particular Roethlisberger , his infantile and rather asinine antics over the last few years has led the Rooney family to once again scrutinize the players on the roster. Recently we had the team’s veteran wide receiver Hines Ward busted for DUI and with the player initially stating that wasn’t intoxicated, only for the police to later inform us that Ward was indeed driving over the legal limit . He would later offer an apology to his teammates and the organization for his behavior .

Shit we know rolls downhill but boy , oh boy the NBA and in particular the league hierarchy now looks as if they will try and do anything to shovel it uphill. The hierarchy feels aggrieved that the NBPA (union ) will be allowed to retain the larger part of $160 million from an escrow account that they funded based on the terms that should their cumulative salary exceed 57% of the basketball related income . Now with the teams owners and hierarchy now under siege with their position now looking all the more perilous David Stern seeks into increase their profile and take the upper hand in the ongoing lockout . It would appear that management would seek to impune the integrity of the union. The league feels that the funds in question should be placed back into a general fund rather than be at the players’ disposal . Somehow you simply knew that the league could not be trusted to show any type of integrity at all.

The NBA is still at odds with the players and the fact that they are still asserting that they are losing money. But many of the league’s problems can be traced back to the fact that Stern allowed the teams and in particular the general managers run amok with in terms of the team salaries as they seek success with apparent abandonment . David Stern has long maintained that the teams are on track to lose hundreds of millions of dollars for the fiscal year. Last season’s losses were in excess $300 million and this year it is projected to be considerably higher . It seems rather ridiculous to think that the league having set a soft salary cap in place would then seek to allow those very same teams to far exceed the figure of $57 million and then expect there not to be any serious ramifications for the league’s excessive spending .

It seems rather strange that many of the league’s high profiled owners such as Mikhail Prokhorov , Jerry Buss , Michael Jordan , James Dolan , Peter Holt and Michael Heisley have all remained steadfast behind the commissioner . However , the longer this situation goes on there is the likelihood that we may well begin to see some dissent amongst the owners who may challenge the stance the league hierarchy is taking . From my own perspective , the lockout has become simply an issue of egos and which party feels that their stance appears to be the best option available. At some point this impasse has to be resolved because before we actually know it the preseason training schedule will be upon us. It’s pretty much safe to say that neither side wants to be in this for the long haul and now with a number of players envisioning that this dispute may well be for a prolonged period we are seeing a number of them considering the lucrative option of playing abroad. It certainly will be advantageous for New Jersey Nets’ point guard Deron Williams who has signed a one year $ 5 million contract with the Turkish side Beseitkas.

Unless I missed something which I am glad that I did but the MLB All Star Game had to be one of the most boring in recent memory. Never mind the 5-1 lopsided result and win for the National League but the game had one of the lowest ratings in almost a decade and this can’t have been what Fox actually wanted from the game’s midseason show case event. At the same time the question now being asked is how best the whole format of the All Star Game can be changed where it is more of an exhilarating event not only for the participants but also for the fans in attendance and those watching the broadcast. Given the actual idiocy of the whole damn format with the fans picking the actual players they want to see on the respective rosters makes this whole event all the more asinine to begin with.

Baseball is a sport that in large part looks to its past in terms of its legitimacy and legacy as the nation’s pass-time . But once Bud Selig assumed control as commissioner of the league his reign and the fact that the league hierarchy has essentially become clueless as the most acute needs of the game , it should not have surprised anyone at all as to the outcome of the spectacle. One listless team simply didn’t turn up at all but somehow they were assured of their respective team incentives. The NL simply dished out an ass whupping of the highest order leaving the AL with their tails hanging between their legs . At this point will there anyone at all interested in the fact that next season’s game will be held at the home of the Kansas City Royals ? Well , I guess not ! The league hierarchy much like the team owners have become totally bereft any ideas and creativity when it now comes to the marketing of the game , its brand in general and likewise as it relates to the All Star Game . Tuesday night was very much a clear indication of that and it was there for all to bear witness to !

Well at last someone had the foresight to hire Brian Shaw with the former Los Angeles Lakers’ assistant coach being overlooked for several of the offseason vacancies that came about . Indiana Pacers’ general manager Larry Bird having interviewed Shaw , hired the former player to be the assistant to Frank Vogel and his staff. Bird has made it clear the new assistant’s role will to teach the players on the Pacers’ roster how best to improve their all-round game . I’ve no doubt that Shaw will prove to be a valuable asset to the team and with being able to provide to a great deal of insight as to what it takes to be successful from a player’s standpoint . If anything this steadies a listless ship and all but assures the team of retaining their best player Danny Granger who could opt to become free agent after the upcoming season.

The Pacers’ organization is flushed with youthful talent but Vogel’s biggest problem has been to harness it all into one cohesive and effective unit. With the addition of Brian Shaw and the existing members of coaching staff we could very well see something of a resurgence from this team. Not since the days of Reggie Miller and Rik Smits have the Pacers been deemed worthy to be considered a legitimate force within the NBA . And granted over the years the organization has had its problems stemming from neglect and the fact that the team was seen as one of the back-water stop offs in players’ career when they’re said to be on the decline. If things are to change with the thought of a turnaround in mind then perhaps with Brian Shaw and Frank Vogel working in tandem there could very well be something beginning to foment within the organization.

On the outside looking in I am not so sure to make of the situation now encapsulating the furor of the US women’s soccer team having made it to the finals of the World Cup . As great an accomplishment as this has been and the fact that the country will be chasing its first Cup win since 1999 the game barely registers a blip on the consciousness of the masses domestically here at home . Granted , all of the patriotism comes to the foreground in the times of triumph but what one sees as a triumph then is simply eroded when you considers that attendances for games at the club level within the WPSL ( Womens Premier Soccer League) averages no more than 2,500 per game . Salaries for players at the club level where the median is approximately $25,000 per year offers the players little by way of comfort with many of them choosing to hold down a civilian position beyond playing or for many of the top stars , some choose to split their time playing overseas.

The 2011 World Cup has to be considered a success for FIFA and in particular for the entrants to this year’s competition. Some of the matches have been competitive while others have been what one might consider to be extremely boring. But the back-drop to this all has been the very fact that the US team has sought redemption and they now have a chance at that by defeating their upcoming opponent Japan in the final game of the tournament .

Both sides have reached this stage of the competition having defeated two teams in semi-finals thought to be their equal at the international level. Japan defeated Sweden in a thoroughly convincing fashion 3-1 and the US had their problems with Brazil having to overcome a deficit before defeating the team in a penalty shootout (5-3) after a 2-2 tie in regulation .

In the final itself , we should expect a highly competitive game between two evenly matched teams . Team USA brings along the experience and a more physical style of play but Japan has speed , exuberance and a technical aspect that one would not normally associate with a team from the Far East. But much of that may well come down to the fact that there are a number high quality European coaches at the club level within the country where fan support for the game reaches rabid proportions. Obviously something that the WPSL yearns for here in the US but it still lacks support of the fans in general and the willingness of the networks to give the game much or airtime than it is now obtaining . Coverage of the game has been primarily with ESPN where basically much of women’s sports now finds its support from a viewing standpoint not only at the professional level but also at the collegiate level. Somehow one can only imagine that Title IX (Title IX) was meant to create something of a level playing field but in reality the success attained by the enactment by this legislation has not really done enough to put women’s sport on the map in the true sense of the word.

Should the USA win Sunday’s final match then we may well see something of an advancement in the game here domestically but considering the missteps along the way previously in trying to create a professional league at the club level , I firmly believe that soccer at the women’s level here much like their male counterpart still has a long way to go before it gets any real level of respect that they feel they rightly deserve . The nation has yet to take the game into its heart , feel as if it is something it can truly appreciate and that is in spite of the fact that now the game is now being played by more children at the middle , high school level and by collegiate players than baseball and basketball combined . Something to think about don’t you think ? And while the game of soccer resonate around the globe with its throng of fans it remains a bewildering back-drop for most here simply because the NBA , NFL , MLB , NASCAR and NHL rule the roost when it comes fans wanting to see something a great deal more exhilarating than 22 players chasing a round ball up down a field .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the points raised within this piece what thoughts if any do you have ? Do leave a comment as to your thoughts and thanks as always for the continued support !

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

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Auburn coach Gene Chizik watches the first day of spring football practice for the national champion Auburn Tigers in Auburn, Ala., Wednesday, March 23, 2011. AP Photo / Garry Finkel …..

(2) FILE – In this Nov. 13, 2010 file photo, Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton (2) dunks coach Gene Chizik following a 49-31 win over Georgia in an NCAA college football game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. Chizik wants Auburn fans to remember Newton “as a great individual,” not just a Heisman Trophy-winning player. The Tigers coach defends the No. 1 NFL draft pick in the upcoming book “All In” but says it is “really a story about football, family and faith.” Chizik discussed the book Wednesday, June 29, 2011, ahead of its July 5 release that will have him hit the road for a promotional tour with nine stops in four states. AP Photo/Dave Martin ….

(3) FILE – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell listens to questions during a news conference at the NFL football owners meetings in Rosemont, Ill., in this June 21, 2011 file photo. Heavily fined Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison calls NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a “crook” and a “devil,” among other insults, in a magazine article in the August issue of Men’s Journal. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ….

(4) FILE – Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison (92) warms up before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Pittsburgh, in this Dec. 23, 2010 file photo. Heavily fined Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison calls NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a “crook” and a “devil,” among other insults, in a magazine article in the August issue of Men’s Journal. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar ……

(5) NBA union chief Billy Hunter speaks to reporters after a meeting with the NBA, Thursday, June 30, 2011 in New York. The NBA is headed to deadline day, with perhaps one last chance to avoid a lockout. Negotiators for owners and players will meet Thursday, about 12 hours before the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement and seemingly nowhere close to a deal. That meeting however would lead to the league mandated shutdown of the NBA . AP Photo/Mary Altaffer ……

(6) National League All-Star Prince Fielder (28) of the Milwaukee Brewers and his sons Jaden (R) and Haven pose with the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award after the National League defeated the American League 5-1 in the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Getty Images North America / Jeff Gross ……

(7) National League All-Star Lance Berkman (12) of the St. Louis Cardinals is tagged out at second base by American League All-Star Robinson Cano (24) of the New York Yankees in the bottom of the second inning of the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix,Az . Getty Images North America/ Jeff Gross ….

(8) Indiana Pacers new assistant head coach Brian Shaw responds to a question during a news conference in Indianapolis, .Wednesday, July 13, 2011. AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(9) Pia Sundhage (2nd L) coach of the U.S. laughs as she listens to striker Abby Wambach (2ndR) during a practice session for the upcoming final of the women’s soccer World Cup in Frankfurt July 15, 2011. The U.S. will play Japan in the World Cup final on Sunday in Frankfurt. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach ….

(10) USA’s goalkeeper Hope Solo is stretched during a training session on July 15, 2011 in Frankfurt/Main, two days before the final football match of the FIFA women’s football World Cup Japan vs USA at the FIFA Frauen-WM-Stadion in Frankfurt/Main, central Germany, on July 17, 2011. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE …..

(11) Members of Japan’s women’s soccer team pose with placards from Japanese children from Frankfurt’s International School prior to a practice session in Frankfurt July 15, 2011. Japan will play the U.S. in the World Cup final on Sunday, July 17, in Frankfurt. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach …….

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Hashish Is The Spice of Life …………

Hashish Is The Spice Of Life So Says Deron Williams

Let’s get one thing clear and stop with the utter stupidity that the statement in which New Jersery Nets’ point guard Deron Williams whose choice to pursue and offer his talents to top Turkish basketball side Beseitkas BC is all about money. The player who left the Utah Jazz in a trade transaction that was a multi player deal to make his home with the Nets . Multi billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov and the front office had to have given his blessing for this deal even with the advent of the NBA mandated lockout. The vested interest that the organization has in the player and the fact that GM Billy King knows that they would rather have a happy player rather than a discontented one .

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Williams simply doesn’t need the money as he’s the thirteenth highest paid player in the league and has sizable endorsement contracts that simply gives the player all the money he could simply ever wish for. What most patrons who’ve proffered up a commentary on this issue fail to understand is that the NBA players are not covered their teams’ insurance coverage during a labor stoppage so it makes prudent financial sense for a player to seek plying his trade elsewhere. The caveat being however , it does give an NBA team the right to void the player’s contract should they have a serious injury that could curtail their career during their sojourn. In the case of Deron Williams he will be financially rewarded with a $ 5 million one year contract , an assistant , the lease of a brand new car , a luxurious home for the player , his immediate family , round the clock security and all of his living expenses will be paid for by Beseitkas during the player’s stay in Turkey. The team itself is one of the top club sides in Europe alongside Maccabi Tel Aviv of Israel .

Nets’ team owner Mikhail Prokhorov is seen here with minority equity stake partner Jay-Z . The two will combine their resources in bringing the team to the Barclay Yard Development in Brooklyn , New York in two years . Courtesy of NESN.com copyrighted material @ all rights reserved ….

Now with Williams’ wish to play abroad it remains to be seen whether or not any of the league’s marquee stars will seek to ply their trade abroad . With all of the rumors currently circulating that Kobe Bryant is said to be interested in playing in Italy , I for one find that premise somewhat misleading with the mere fact with the player coming off surgery , it is highly unlikely that Bryant would seek to have a re-occurence of injury while playing abroad . If anything the player is more liable to rest and recuperate while awaiting an outcome of this work stoppage initiated by the league hierarchy at the insistence of the NBA team owners .

Courtesy of Foxsports

NBA stars going overseas a bad sign

By Dan Wolken

So Deron Williams wants to play in Turkey if the NBA season doesn’t start on time, which is certainly his right. In theory, it’s a decent way to spend a few months: Hang out in Europe, make money and play basketball while the NBA bickers its way through a lockout. It sounds so good, in fact, that within minutes of Williams’ agent confirming the agreement, superstars ranging from Carmelo Anthony to Kobe Bryant indicated an interest in joining him overseas.

But just by entertaining the idea of a European exodus, NBA stars are already showing the kind of selfishness and greed that will ultimately undermine the Players Association in what could be a long, ugly labor war.

A number of basketball people reacted the same way to the news Williams had agreed to play for Besiktas: They’ll believe it when they see it. But even if Williams never makes it to Turkey, the mere notion of it has already caused problems for players on the margins of the NBA.

With the possibility that legitimate NBA players and even some All-Stars could sign for the duration of the lockout, there are some early indications that players who typically go overseas may be squeezed out until European teams see who they can get.

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With that in mind this can’t sit well with the owners knowing that their players would seek to ply their trade elsewhere while the league itself is in the midst of a labor dispute . But so asinine has been the situation that it is hard to see how David Stern , Adam Silver as Deputy Commissioner can seek to resolve this situation when the league hierarchy and the NBPA are so far apart in renegotiating the collective bargaining agreement which expired on the 30th June.
The union’s Executive Director Billy Hunter along with union president Derek Fisher and its <a href=”http://npba.org/leadership”&gt; executive committee are insistent they have no wish to accede and make any concessions to the league unless the owners and hierarchy are prepared to acquiesce and reciprocate in kind. That at present doesn’t, appear to be an option but it remains to be seen over the ensuing days and weeks how things will work themselves out . This much is certain if the hierarchy and players aren’t on the same page by the time by the mini camp and preseason starts , we could well be seeing a prolonged stoppage with the possibility that the 2011-12 season not starting on time until either January of 2012 or perhaps the season being completely abandoned altogether .

The NBA’s teams at present are hemorrhaging money with more than half the teams in the league now said to be incurring multi million dollar losses . A patron of my site tried to allude to the fact that much of what is being stated concerning the teams’ losses is mere subterfuge on the part of the NBA and the fact that there are clear indications that the teams are in fact making millions . A recent article in noted financial publication Forbes Magazine states that much of the NBA hierarchy’s claims are a fallacy but herein lies the caveat with regard to those claims , it is merely that the contributor of that article merely remarked about the fact that much of the revenues derived by the teams are in fact from season and general admission ticket sales and that of concessions during regular season games . Not much was made with regard to revenues streams derived from the NBA’s own marketing and branding operations . Now inasmuch as I’ve a great affinity for Forbes Magazine and what it at times bring to the table I found the article on the NBA’s finances something of a faux pas on their part ! The article failed to touch on the very fact that in 2009 and 2010 respectively the league received cumulatively in excess of $550 million in loans which was shared amongst 22 teams around the NBA . If that is not indicative of a league that is said to be in dire straits then can someone please explain to me what is ? David Stern in his formal statement in 2009 concerning the first series of loans made the suggestive statement ….. ” that this should not be viewed as a financial bailout of the teams in question but merely a way of assisting them in their financial difficulties”. Over this last decade the league’s teams have borrowed in excess of $1.6 billion from major financial institutions across the nation. Clearly a situation that the league now needs to address as to the financial acumen of its teams and their general managers .

After a nine year career much of it filled with a great deal of disappointment Houston Rockets’ center Yao Ming we’re told will make a formal announcement stating that he will retire from the game. Recurring injuries and ill health throughout much of his career led to this decision where the 7′ center feels it necessary call it a day. Drafted in the 2002 NBA Draft first overall by the Rockets Yao Ming would make his home in Houston leading the team in a number offensive categories over much of his career .

The faith shown in Yao Ming by general manager Daryl Morey and owner Leslie Alexander has been implicit but it has been the growth of the game in Yao’s homeland of China that must first be appreciated . Granted , the population (1.6 billion and counting) may well have known about Michael Jordan through jersey , other sports apparel sales and the presence of Nike Inc which has several manufacturing plants dotted all over the country gave a heighten awareness to the game and NBA brand in the Far East.

With Yao’s apparent wish to step away from the game it has to be said that league hierarchy will see this as something of a sad loss . Commercially the player had the second highest jersey sales in his native land behind Kobe Bryant but without the Chinese native’s rise to the top of the game and the legions of fans within China that now follow the NBA , this has all been due to his presence within the professional ranks in North America.

Success though fleeting for the Rockets with Yao’s arrival and the awareness of the Sino American community within the state of Texas and in particular within the city of Houston laid the foundation for the organization and its selling of the player to the community at large . Yao Ming played his role in that task and it became clear that the Houston Rockets and NBA at large would profit greatly from this endeavor. And though it is questionable as to how Yao Ming’s career will be viewed by the fans and analysts at large . A great player in his own right on both ends of the court it has to be said there will be those who will debate overall whether or not he has actually been a success in the NBA . Debate it at will but there will be those who come out in favor of the player and those who will also question where he stands within the game. The preeminent centers within the game as Yao’s peers were Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard once he became a force in the league but it has to be said the thinning of the position with O’Neal now retiring leaves us with not much by way of the prototypical center within the NBA.

From my own perspective with the retirement of Yao from the game it now leaves a large gap of what I believe to be truly good centers within the NBA ! Certainly amongst the centers now playing the game Dwight Howard immediately comes to mind and that of Andrew Bynum with the latter yet to refine his game and live up to the perceived expectations as to how good he can really become. I think that comes more out of conceit on the part of Bynum , the fact he is self absorbed and believes himself privileged . And if the Los Angeles Lakers are to be resurgent once again then he will have to raise the level of his play.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In your opinion do you feel that the departure of Deron Williams to play in Europe will be sign that other marquee players will seek to ply their trade elsewhere ? Also with what is said to be the imminent retirement of Yao Ming what thoughts if any do you with regard to play of the centers that are now playing in the NBA ? Do you believe that it is on the decline or is it your opinion that this is merely a cyclical situation and we will once again see a dominant player at the position ? Simply chime with a comment as you deem fit .

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

Picture and slide show details below.

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(1) FILE – This Feb. 24, 2011, file photo shows New Jersey Nets’ Deron Williams posing in front of his poster at a news conference, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Turkish team Besiktas says it is close to reaching a deal with NBA All-Star guard Deron Williams. The New Jersey Nets say they can’t comment because of the lockout. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ……

(2) New Jersey Nets draft pick Jordan Williams speaks during an introductory NBA basketball news conference as Marshon Brooks looks on Monday, June 27, 2011, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ….

(3) New Jersey Nets general manager Billy King speaks during an introductory NBA basketball news conference as draft pick Bojan Bogdanovic , left, looks on Monday, June 27, 2011, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ……

(4) Nets’ team owner Mikhail Prokhorov is seen here with minority equity stake partner Jay-Z . The two will combine their resources in bringing the team to the Barclay Yard Development in Brooklyn , New York in two years . Courtesy of NESN.com copyrighted material @ all rights reserved ….

(5) This file photo taken on June 27th, 2011 shows NBA Houston Rockets’ Chinese basketball star Yao Ming listening to a question during a press conference in Taipei. Chinese media was rife with speculation on July 11, 2011 about what basketball icon Yao Ming might do next, after reports the country’s most famous sporting export is set to retire. AFP PHOTO /Getty Images / FILES / Sam YEH …..

(6) LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 26: Yao Ming (11) of the Houston Rockets looks on during their opening night game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on October 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images …..

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Pop Goes The Weasel ……………..

Pop Goes The Weasel …..

Well it is now being widely reported that the NFL in conjunction with the NFLPA have gotten an accord wherein an agreement has been reached between the two sides. From what I’ve been led to believe it will be that the union and Commissioner Roger Goodell on behalf the team owners have suddenly had their wits about them. It took the two sides just over 100 days to suddenly realize that neither side can do without the other . At the same time I do believe that Federal Court Judge Arthur Boylan simply made both sides an offer that neither could refuse ! Either they reached a compromise or Boylan would render a decision that would most certainly have some serious repercussions for both sides.

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If the teams now get back to full practice mode with them all returning to their training facilities then quite possibly a preseason and some form of a regular season will proceed as planned . From my own perspective I think it is more liable that we will see a preseason of 2 games with regular season of 16 games as planned, kicking off on time on the 8th September . As to what this says about the NFL and in particular for the players of the NFLPA , it may well all come down to wanting to save face rather than being forced into a situation where they may have to come off on the wrong side of a legal verdict .

DeMaurice Smith as the NFLPA Executive Director now knows that he and his members face something of an uphill battle in assuring the player representatives that this is now all in their best interest. Other the flip side of this coin , Goodell’s legacy may well appear to be in tact knowing that he dodged a bullet . And for the fans of the NFL well let’s just say that there are some amongst us who feel that it’s great that the league will be back in action . I simply hope that the news that is now coming down the pike concerning the NFL has some real veracity to it and that the new CBA is equitable and amenable to all of the parties concerned !

If the actions of the NFL doesn’t have a bearing on the NBA and their own situation then quite possibly we could very well see the two sides there reach some sort of a compromise. But herein lies the caveat , NBA Commissioner David Stern as the league’s highest ranking official has ruled the NBA as if it were his own personal fiefdom . Stern’s autocratic rule would make a third world despotic tyrant feel proud of their own accomplishments and achievements. In the case of David Stern he now appears to be fighting his toughest battle yet . The NBPA in all likelihood will most certainly be against making any concessions that has them appearing weak and at the same they are not prepared to lessen their grip on the league revenues which sees them receiving a 53/47 split of the $3.95 billion that comes into the league’s coffers each season .

One wonders how it is that repeatedly when such instances arise in the wake of a hierarchy induced stoppage how it is that no foresight is shown wherein a collective bargaining agreement that the two sides prior to that expiration the two sides don’t start negotiating in advance ? That was most certainly the case with the NFL and also once again here with the NBA ! It would appear reasonable to suggest that they ought to have done that in the first place ____ starting off in good faith rather than the intense , sometimes rather animated and infantile exchanges that are said to have taken place during these negotiations between the NFL , NFLPA and now between the NBA and NBPA. Kind of makes one wonder who actually is the child here and who if anything is the adult overseeing this all ? It may well be that things will indeed have to take a real turn for the worse before any semblance of common sense is actually shown. I’m sure that Stern or his union counterpart Billy Hunter surely are not willing to have the FMCS (Federal Mediation & Conciliation Services ) or the US Federal Court intervene in this matter because should that occur then no party comes out in the end looking like a winner under any circumstance.

Now there’s a great deal to be said about the utter stupidity that has shown by the team owners , league hierarchy and in particular the general managers of the teams in the NBA . And now with a number of players now seeking to ply their trade elsewhere knowing that while a lockout remains in force they know that they are not covered in terms of insurance coverage during a league enforced lockout. Salaries , well it’s obvious that those won’t be paid at all so for the players who choose to play in Europe or elsewhere so that they can then earn a sizable sum in the midst of the stoppage and at the same time remain relatively fit is of benefit to themselves and their financial well being .

I find it somewhat naive of the fans are of the opinion feel that the league isn’t losing money but then again it all boils down the league showing very little by the way of transparency . They certainly are averse to opening their books for public scrutiny and it certainly has made David Stern look the complete idiot , when he , himself has sold the golden goose as a brand that simply was all in good standing. In the last two years Stern has made sure that teams around the league have been the financial recipients of over $600 million in loans , all of which the commissioner stated wasn’t to be viewed as a bailout . Somehow in the midst of this all David Stern is now finding out that all that glitters simply isn’t gold . Admittedly the ratings for this past season’s NBA Finals were a bonanza for ABC but the attendance for scheduled regular season games around the league saw a marked decline . Much of which has led to part of the financial instability for a number of teams. Owners such as Mikhail Prokhorov , Dan Gilbert , Joe Lacob and Peter Guber vastly overpaid for the respective franchises purchased but herein lies the caveat as in the case of Gilbert he’s amongst a number of team owners who are now cash strapped in more ways than they would actually care to admit . Nowhere is this more self evident than in the case of the Sacramento Kings and the ownership group led by Joe and Gavin_Maloof as they’ve simply looked to seek financial aid courtesy of the league hierarchy and advantageous tax exemptions from the city of Sacramento .

The plight of the Kings is by no means clear albeit that they will remain in Sacramento for one more year . Do not be surprised were the Maloofs to take off like thieves into the night with their bags packed and the city of Sacramento is left without an NBA franchise . One simply has to remember what took place with the Seattle Supersonics and their move from that city to Oklahoma City and the lies that permeated through the decision to move all orchestrated by David Stern and the Thunder ownership group led by Clay Bennett . Money may well have exchanged hands to finally facilitate the move but the city (Seattle) remains without a franchise and that simple feeling that they had been duped all along by the NBA . That once again is liable to happen with the city of Sacramento and the Sacramento Kings when it’s all said and done .

Falling attendances in an economic downturn is one thing but when the teams choose not to rein in their expenses and Stern seems to be adverse to actually initiating a hard salary cap rather than insisting that a soft cap now works for the teams. This has proven to be misplaced and even more so given the fact the commissioner has admitted that teams are hemorrhaging red ink like a corpse exsanguinate blood after receiving a nasty abdomen wound from a shotgun. I personally believe that the league hierarchy , the general managers and owners around the NBA have simply lost touched with reality . And the union and its executive committee are not that far behind in this whole asinine charade as they each look to one up each other. The league hierarchy wants to hold on to what little power it still has whereas the union simply wants the status quo to remain as is or perhaps get an even slightly larger slice of that pie.

This stoppage may well be the wake up call that this image enriched league needs to bring it back to reality. And the case can be made that much of this was simply brought about by the ambition of David Stern as he viewed that the best way to market the league was through its stars rather than the marketing of the teams . This scenario worked well when the league was in need of real vibrancy and they found it in a marketing and basketball phenom in Michael Jordan . And the rest as we say is history as the league and Jordan had some rich and wonderful years that have benefited both financially beyond their wildest dreams. Since the six time championship winning player retired from the game it has to be said that the NBA hit some lean years from a fan and attendance standpoint. Competitively the NBA is has had its ups and downs but the teams we expect to see make the NBA playoffs usually do , with there being one or two surprises along the way.

As I have alluded to earlier the league hierarchy simply are averse to any real transparency as to the their business practices and how they actually conduct their operations . The asinine situation remains is the very fact that there are fans out there who simply believe that the league can’t hit upon hard times. If they believe that to be so then simply look at the problems we now see befalling such teams as the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets are not mere hiccups . If only these fans would care to look beyond what takes place on the field of play and look to what is actually going on in the boardrooms of the teams then they would actually understand what is happening. Many of the thought processes I’ve heard _____ “we have a horrible owner and he needs to sell the team then we’d be much better off “ .

Given the situation with the economy and the asinine belief of some fans that billionaires such as Mark Cuban , Larry Ellison , Carlos Slim Helu and Eli Broad would even be interested in overpaying for a franchise that simply has seen its profits decline and many of its streams begin to dry up with the seller seemingly seeking prices that are inflated and not based on being anywhere near being realistic . Buyers simply don’t buy a sports’ franchise on a whim, they look to make sure that the purchase will be of benefit to them and that there is most certainly a chance of success before they would even consider plowing their money into such a venture . But then again that may not have been the case with the purchase made by Frank McCourt of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the sheer ineptitude shown by the team owners and baseball hierarchy in approving the deal to begin with for the sale of the team. Most certainly due diligence can’t have been used by the league hierarchy and anyone who simply believes that to have been the case has to be an idiot to begin with ! This very same hierarchy and owners voted against McCourt when he originally sought to purchase the Boston Red Sox but a mere three years later they saw fit to vote him in amongst the team owners’ fraternity by approving his purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers . Somehow words escape me as to the mere ineptitude that has been shown by Bud Selig , the league hierarchy and in fact the team owners of Major League Baseball !

Dan Gilbert though a multi millionaire is now finding out the hard way having seen the marked decline in the value of the Cleveland Cavaliers but at the same time he’s having to pay down the principal and interest having purchased the team by way of a loan from a major financial institution. This could very well be one of the numerous reasons why we are now seeing a number of owners beginning to voice their disapproval with the way that Stern has handled the matter but somehow they remain steadfast in their support of the commissioner and league hierarchy for now. Long time owners having bought their teams relatively cheap simply haven’t that much to worry about in large part but there are those recently new team owners that have spent hundreds of millions in their purchase that have yet to see anything tangible from that purchase by way of success or in the form of a profitability standpoint.

So apparently as one door closes another is still left ajar as the NBA continues with its own form of infighting . It will be interesting to see what now permeates between the two sides and how each looks to make their presentation of their case for the public’s consumption. I doubt that the vast majority of the league’s fans actually favor one side or another but they would simply be rather content to see both sides reach an agreement rather than what could turn out to be a rather bitter dispute between the two parties . It’s bad enough that the public has to endure that same sort of stupidity with the members of the House and Senate up on Capitol Hill without it now having to be shown of all places within the domain of big time professional sports . But this simply has become a microcosm of our society and when greed rather than common sense gets in the way of a real issue then for all sense and purpose stupidity sets in and ‘pop goes the weasel ‘.

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If the related news is said to be true are you happy that the NFL will be back in full swing with a scheduled formatted season of games to be played ? And what are your own thoughts on the NBA’s self imposed lockout and how do you see that scenario ending ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and as always thanks for the continued support .

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

NB : At the time of writing this piece the news concerning an agreement having been reached between the NFL and NFLPA _ no formal statement had yet to be issued , so as of now things still remain as they are .

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(1) Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert talks with the media at a press availability at the Cleveland Clinic Courts in Independence, Ohio on Tuesday, June 8, 2010. AP Photo/Amy Sancetta …..

(2) Larry Ellison, chairman and CEO of Oracle Corp., talks about his company during an interview Monday, May 8, 2000, in Dallas. Ellison, who unveiled a $199 Internet machine before an audience of students at a performing arts high school, said Oracle will donate more than 1,100 of the machines to 23 Dallas schools. The machine, which lacks a hard drive, is targeted at the education and consumer markets. Ellison the founder of Oracle is an ardent basketball fan who lost out in trying to acquire the Golden State Warriors earlier this year. AP Photo/Tim Sharp ……

(3) Billionaire real estate mogul and philanthropist Eli Broad . Courtesy of Forbes Magazine / Joe Puglise @ all rights reserved copyrighted material …

(4) David Stern (left) and Oklahoma City Thunder principal managing partner Clay Bennett are seen here at an NBA game in Oklahoma City , OK. AP Photo / Gabriel Barnes …….

(5) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and National Football League Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith speak to reporters outside the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Sarasota, Fla., after speaking at the NFLPA’s rookie symposium, Wednesday, June 29, 2011. AP Photo/Brian Blanco ………

(6) (L-R) Brothers George Maloof, Gavin Maloof and Joe Maloof watch a preseason game between the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Thomas & Mack Center October 13, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Lakers won 98-95 . Getty Images North America /Ethan Miller ……

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Please Don’t Make Me Laugh The NBA And NFL Continue To Show Some Sense As In Nonsense !

Please Don’t Make Me Laugh The NBA And NFL Continue To Show Some Sense As In Nonsense !

If there’s something troubling to me at present it has been the NFL lockout and what we’re now seeing is the very same prescribed idiocy from the NBA hierarchy and owners , general managers and the NBPA . I’ve said all along that I felt that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wasn’t the wisest of individuals in terms of being the leading official of a governing professional sport’s body . Whereas , his NBA counterpart David Stern rules with a rod of iron and an autocratic rule that would make a third world despotic tyrant feel proud . It has been this asinine notion of that both hierarchies that they can simply plead poverty without showing any signs of clear transparency when it comes to conducting their business practices . If there’s one thing that I believe that the fans need to learn is that neither party in the case of the NFL owners and the NBA owners can’t be trusted to tell the truth !

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Slide show for your perusal .

The NFL stoppage is now well into its third month and the two sides appear to be no closer in reaching an accord and that is in spite of the joint statement forthcoming from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith . The charade has simply become a complete pissing contest as each side looks to outdo each other rather than simply showing some common sense . And the same thing now appears to be happening as the NBA and union are on a path of actual self destruction . Billy Hunter the union executive director and Derek Fisher the NBPA president and the executive committee have stood steadfast in the belief that the league have been less than truthful as to the league’s financial problems . David Stern has stated that the league is on course to lose in excess of $450 million for the fiscal year 2010. And while I do not dispute that figure what I do dispute is the mere fact that the owners felt that they could simply get by on being gregarious in their spending as they chased after success. The league has a soft salary cap of $57 million but here lies the sheer stupidity of the teams’ actions and that of the general managers as they sought to simply go way beyond that limit (2010-11 team salaries ) . [( 2009-10 NBA team salaries ) ]

Now as the drama plays itself out for all to see I seriously doubt that the fans really can really align themselves with either party in the ongoing negotiations with the NBA , NFL and the respective unions that they are currently dealing with.

This upcoming NFL season should there be one , will prove to be very interesting with Jim Harbaugh and John Fox now taking over the helm of the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos . Both teams had their highs and lows in terms of last season and their respective records within the AFC West and NFC West left a great deal to be desired by their fans. So much so that if anything their schedules and play may well be met with some optimism as well as a sense pragmatism. Inconsistency and an overall lack of accountability and leadership led to both teams’ failings and misfires throughout much of their respective seasons .

Josh McDaniels as Fox’s predecessor simply couldn’t get the Broncos play with any passion and much of that had to do with the incompetency shown by the team over the coach’s tenure. And it should not come as a surprise that the McDaniels was abruptly fired by team owner Pat Bowlen , with the owner having to endure the coach’s lies and his complicity in an episode that simply dragged the Broncos’ season into further despair. Needless to say that the fans were happy with the coach’s firing and John Elway now coming on board as a consultant with the organization as the team’s de-facto general manager . The team with Tim Tebow now on board as its quarterback will certainly have a great deal to live up as they seek to make their presence felt within the league .

In light of the problems had by the Broncos over last season one now has to ask what John Fox can simply do to make this team better ? Certainly with the team’s draft choices from this NFL Draft and that of past seasons one can see that Fox has a stern task ahead of him . If nothing else if Tebow is now viewed as the starting quarterback then his leadership skills and play will most certainly have to come to the fore if the Denver Broncos are to have any chance of having a successful season at all this year.

I am not about to suggest that the Broncos are capable of winning the AFC West but I do certainly feel that they are good enough perhaps make some noise within a division where consistency has always been a problem for the teams there. The Oakland Raiders with new coach Hu Jackson in tow will always be looking over his shoulder as the front office and team owner Al Davis will continue to scrutinize his every move and decision made . This team has become a conundrum and enigma all rolled into one as you never simply know what to expect from this team from one moment to the next . With the talent on show with the Raiders you simply have to believe that there has to be a turnaround sooner or later . The revolving door mentality that seems to have been in place for the Raiders hasn’t bared fruit for the organization . Since the departure of Jon Gruden you have only but to look at the problems that seem to have manifested themselves for the Oakland Raiders . One would have to be in complete denial to think otherwise , as the organization has simply struggled to make their presence felt . I am sure that the fans believe that with Hu Jackson having succeeded Tom Cable they can only make great strides this upcoming season . I am of the opinion that the team will finally begin to show the signs that we saw throughout much of last season as the team at times showed their offensive capabilities . From a defensive standpoint the struggles were there for all to see .

If there’s one team in the AFC that I continue to be beguiled by then it has to be the Baltimore Ravens ! When this team is at its very best I do believe that they’re capable of being and competing amongst the very best in the NFL . In Joe Flacco they have a quarterback who is amongst the very best amongst at the position in the league and a player whose confidence continues to grow each season . But to solely think it has been Flacco that has been the main reason for the turnaround and consistency shown by the Ravens then one ought to look at the coaching qualities of John Harbaugh , his coaching staff and in particular the play of ageless wonders Ray Lewis and Ed Reed .

The Ravens this past postseason wilted when it mattered most but that seemingly came down to the fact that they were complacent . The loss if anything indicated that while they appear to be on the right path the Ravens are still one or two players away from being a truly perennial contender for the Superbowl . The draft and the continued prowess shown in making the prudent choices that have been of benefit to the organization surely will make them quite possibly a presumptive favorite the upcoming Superbowl to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium , Indiana , Indianapolis . I know that amongst some circles teams such as the New England Patriots , New York Jets , Indianapolis Colts , San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers have to be considered the preeminent contenders within the AFC .

This upcoming season may well tell us a great deal about the direction that this team could very well be heading should there be a schedule to be played. One hundred and six days in and with neither side actually inching towards seeking a quick resolution to this ongoing debacle I for one have become completely resolved to the fact that the season could very well be a shortened one , with there being the usual postseason schedule remaining in tact. The fans are annoyed with the usual statements coming from the respective hierarchies with little evidence to be shown that either side is actually prepared to reach an accord . Simply put , whether or not there is any football to be had then in large part the fans will no longer care either way , as they’ve lost complete faith with the NFL hierarchy and the union.

In the runup to this season’s All Star Game I am beginning to think the teams in with their divisional titles are now focusing on positioning themselves that final onslaught over the ensuing months . Certainly once the events of the All Star Weekend are over and done with , we will see those division leaders simply look to separate themselves from their rivals and those to be in with a chance of attaining a wildcard berth .

I certainly don’t believe that speculating beyond the statements made thus far it’s worthwhile trying to disseminate the information that is now out there to be surveyed . We know the teams are giving it their all with players all seeking to place themselves in a position for the game’s individual awards . As to the postseason itself there’s still a great deal of baseball to be played and it will be interesting to see how things play out over the regular season we before we can begin to think about baseball’s showcase event.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What points raised within this piece have been of interest to you ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts .

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

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(1) Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban walks out of the NBA owners meeting without commenting to waiting media, in Dallas on Tuesday, June 28, 2011. AP Photo/LM Otero ….

(2) NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter is seen here alongside Commissioner David Stern . AP Photo/ Rafael Montalvez ….

(3) In this undated photo released by the United States District Court , U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur J. Boylan poses for a photograph. Critical thinking and an ability to relate to others plays a big role in the courtroom for Boylan, who is no doubt having those skills tested as he tries to diffuse the tension in the NFL lockout, no more than 100 days long. AP Photo/United States District Court ……

(4) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and National Football League Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith speak to reporters outside the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Sarasota, Fla., after speaking at the NFLPA’s rookie symposium, Wednesday, June 29, 2011. AP Photo/Brian Blanco …….

(5) ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 20: NFL player Tim Tebow speaks onstage at the 42nd Annual GMA Dove Awards at The Fox Theatre on April 20, 2011 in Atlanta City. The show airs on GMC on Sunday April 24th 2011. Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for GMA ……

(6) Joe Flacco (5) of the Baltimore Ravens passes against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens lead the Bengals 6-0 at the half. Larry French / Getty Images N