Long Time Coming ….

Long Time Coming

In the aftermath of another gun tragedy , we have the President making a complete @ss of himself once again. One year removed from the Pulse Nightclub Shooting , Donald Trump and his minions were once again looking to place the blame at the doors of a terrorist cell in the responsibility for the Mandalay Bay Resort shooting in Las Vegas , Nevada , without their being any evidence to substantiate his thoughts. Bear in mind his recent criticism of the Mayor of San Juan Puerto Rico smacked of a petulant child , who doesn’t wish to told of their bad behavior. It seems that the President would rather make comments without first taking in all of the facts and it has led to justified criticism of not only himself but also members of his Cabinet and inner circle of advisers .

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Away from the daily bind of national news , the NFL is still in a state of discord as the impasse has been widened by Donald Trump’s comments about the players as well as his calling for players who fail to stand when the national anthem is being played, he states that they ought to be fired . Clearly , for a failed former owner of an AFL (American Football League) franchise , a league which is now defunct, there is a great deal that the President simply doesn’t understand about the NFL and how it conducts business. Perhaps he also needs to be reminded , the US Congress allows the league (NFL) to remain tax-exempt due to their antitrust status ? As for the NFL itself, perhaps due to indifference, lack of quality games or just the fact , fans are sick and tired of sports now being embroiled in politics, viewership is down for the games televised. Comparisons with regard to game attendance can be measured in a number of ways . If things carry on as they are , I believe the NFL will be able to weather the storm. In reality however, the attention and memory span of the fans remains exceedingly short in terms of history and acts of social activism when it comes to athletes.

We’re now four games into the NFL season and several teams have failed to meet expectations , including the reigning Superbowl champions the New England Patriots (2-2) . Sixteen and 0 (16-0) won’t be ion the cards for this season as I believe the team will be no better than 11-5 or 12-4 . Quarterback Tom Brady isn’t his customary self , but what might be more worrying is the fact the Patriots’ defense has become so complacent and lackluster. Bill Belichick and the team will be back on the field this weekend for their week-five contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night , 5th October, a game being played at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida.

Through one hundred and sixty-two games, we saw a great deal of inconsistency as well as mediocrity from baseball’s teams. Divisions were up for grabs and there were no real major surprises when it came to the divisional honors . Teams making the wildcard berths were something of a surprise , with the New York Yankees perhaps being the biggest surprise of them all. Personally, I didn’t feel the team was up to the task of challenging within the AL East , as I felt their pitching was so vulnerable. However, a glorious season from Aaron Judge who led the AL in home runs , as he was ably abetted by teammates Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorious .

Having made the MLB Postseason the New York Yankees will find themselves up against the Minnesota Twins in a single-game eliminator , with the winner moving on the Divisional Round of the postseason. The NL Wildcard game will see the Colorado Rockies taking on the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday 4th October .

There is no doubt in my mind the two favorites within the NL , the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers are on a collision course meeting in the NLCS , but first , both will have to get past their respective opponents in the divisional round of the postseason. They have been by far the two best teams within the NL and that is with due respect to the Washington Nationals , but at the end of the day , these two big-market teams seem destined to meet in this championship series.

A giant shadow has been cast over the entire Atlanta Braves’ organization with the abrupt resignation of GM John Coppolella . The ball-club was under investigation by baseball’s league hierarchy after it was revealed that Coppolella might well have been making illegal payments to procure players through the international market-place . If the league’s investigations substantiate these allegations , then there could very well be some serious ramifications for the Atlanta Braves. They could be severely punished for Coppolella’s actions, something which I find to be completely idiotic and asinine. Atlanta’s season was simply underwhelming , with the players rarely showing any competitiveness during 2017. Over their last ten games of the regular season the Atlanta Braves were a paltry 3-7 in those contests . Brian Snitker might well be shown the door as the Braves’ manager after such a disastrous season, where Sun Trust Park was sparsely attended in the ball-club’s first year of usage of the venue. While there seems to be a great deal of praise for the Braves’ farm system , considered to be one of the top-five farm systems in all of baseball. Even if John Coppolella was the principal architect of the system , it begs the question what has he done to acquire those players and others over the past three years ? This is something which baseball needs answers to and I don’t believe that Atlanta is the only organization operating under such a guise . They just happen to be the first ball club caught by the league.

Never let it be said that Derek Jeter will always seek to be a popular owner . In what will be his first role as one of the lead partners which purchased the Miami Marlins . Jeter is promising to make what will be the first of some very unpopular decisions . The former New York Yankees captain and star has let be known things are going to change , with the likelihood , several players on the current roster are likely to be traded. Atop of that list could very well be Giancarlo Stanton , the team’s highest paid , best and most popular player. Stanton still has ten years remaining on his current contract which pays him an average of $25 million a year. Details show that the slugger will be paid in excess of $28 million in 2018 if he remains on the team’s roster.

The Miami Marlins remain an unprofitable franchise, while also being among baseball’s least supported teams , when looking at the attendance figures for this and last season . From my own standpoint , I believe the $1.26 billion purchase price paid was far too much. Outgoing owner Jeffrey Loria will walk away with more than a pocket filled with cash., as he laughs all the way to the bank. Baseball fans are left scratching their heads, as another deceitful owner dupes the league hierarchy into stupidity. Rob Manfred remains as gullible and as out of touch as his predecessor , Bud Selig .

First and foremost Derek Jeter and his partners have an obligation to turn things around off the field as well as on the field. If it means stop the hemorrhaging of red ink by slashing payroll , then so be it , even if it means the for the sake of not being competitive for a couple of years.

Someone is going to be mighty upset this season within the world of basketball . The NBA off-season has been littered with trades sending players to new destinations . For some teams , they will be on the rise , while others will be at a standstill or simply regress. Take my word for it , neither the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks will be winning more than thirty games this season. Their respective rosters are lightweight and will become insignificant by mid-season, just as they were last season . LaVar Ball might be singing the praises of his son, Lonzo Ball who was drafted by the Lakers. In some circles the young rookie is seen as the second coming of Magic Johnson . Tall praise indeed , but the team is nowhere as good as some might believe them to be. This will be a learning experience for Lonzo Ball and his teammates over the course of the regular season and at the same time , I am not so sure how Luke Walton will acquit himself. It was all well and good , being on a championship winning team with the Golden State Warriors., but when you take a step backwards and down, simply because , the heralded name of the Los Angeles Lakers is meant to mean something. You just have to remember it has been almost a decade since the Lakers made their presence felt around the league. The team would defeat the Boston Celtics (4-3) during the 2009-10 NBA Finals .

Even if the Los Angeles Lakers are waiting for LeBron James to bring his considerable talents to the City of Angels, I for one don’t believe the four-time League MVP will be coming to a team that is sparse on talent in so many areas of its game. Beyond Lonzo Ball , there  isn”t one player who one might suggest is a real game-changer by any stretch of the imagination . Granted all of the hype concerning Ball has more do with one or two games in the Summer League than his appearances for the Lakers in the preseason to date . Front office executives Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka will be under a microscope this season. The Lakers have three more preseason games to find their groove before hitting the ground running, to begin their regular season schedule with a game against the Los Angeles Clippers in their home season opener .

Well, we had the hype , then the gripe and now the retirement. Floyd Mayweather (50-0) made light work of his opponent Conor McGregor (0-1) , with both fighters bringing home a six-figure payday from a fight which was short on excitement and thrills. The fact that UFC President Dana White chose to make refunds to fans who felt they had been misled and cheated with this alleged extravaganza . McGregor’s debut as a boxer was basically a sham , with the Mixed Martial Artist barely showing any boxing skills whatsoever. It was this type of incessant hype and bravado brought to the spectacle , which caused the fans to feel that they had been cheated. This fight was a frigging farce from start to finish and it should be seen as nothing more than that .

So let me get this straight , Adalaide Byrd , wife of a senior executive within the WBA was allowed to be a ringside judge at a world title fight between Gennady Golovkin and Saul ‘ Canelo’ Alvarez ? This bout was well on its way to being one of the fights of the year , but the official result was somehow concluded to be a draw. Golovkin  clearly won the fight , but Byrd’s scorecard suggested the fight in her eyes was a ‘draw’ . Pardon me for saying this , but what the fuck is going on in the world of boxing ? Overpaid and over-hyped fighters and now this , a fucking judge , who on her best day couldn’t differentiate a dog’s ass from a hole in the ground.

Saul Alvarez and his promoter Oscar De La Hoya are clamoring for a rematch and somehow while I think it is a possibility , I do hope that the proposed rematch is not staged in Las Vegas or anywhere in the state of Nevada ! The city and state may well be the Mecca of the boxing world , but it is also one of the most corrupt places on the planet , bar none. It’s not just the sport but just about everything the state represents along with the State Athletic Commission .

Andre Ward was a world champion in two weight divisions and he retired as an unbeaten champion. His decisive win over Sergei Kovalev for the World Light Heavyweight title was enough to seal his legacy . Ward was certainly one of the best boxers of his generation, but sadly, with his lacking the charisma and his bringing his religious faith with him into the ring. It did not provide for a great spectacle for the ordinary boxing fan. However, were we to only discuss his professional career, then we would have something to genuinely talk about. Andre Ward had a promising professional start in the world boxing , being a successful amateur and as well as a > former Olympic competitor. How Ward will be judged by boxing historians as well as the fans will be open to a great deal of debate and conjecture .

Jon Jones has twice climbed to the top of the Mixed Martial Arts’ world, having twice won the UFC Light Heavyweight Title , but as with his career, he is now open to the question . ‘ Are you a cheater Jon Jones ‘ ? Jones in his most recent bout challenged former champion Daniel Cormier , won the bout decisively with a technical knockout (TKO) , only to then to told, he tested positive for a banned substance. A second mandatory test nullified the first test result , but the USADA (US Anti Doping Agency) recommended to the UFC and California State Athletic Commission that the right result be stricken from the record and be shown as a no contest.

Jon Jones (right) is seen here prior to his second fight against Daniel Cormier for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title. Jones won the fight , only for it to be later revealed that he failed a drug test . This has been the second time the MMA fighter has failed a test under the UFC . A second test sample however came back negative but the damage had already been done to Jones’ reputation. He was stripped of his belt the bout was declared a no contest and he now faces a second suspension. Many of his contemporaries are calling for him to receive a lifetime ban by the UFC. If that were to happen the sport and in particular the UFC would lose one of its biggest attractions and stars

While Dana White has not recommended Jones be suspended , many of his contemporaries and former UFC stars are calling for a lifetime ban for the two-time former champion. Having won the belt in the octagon , Jon Jones has been stripped of the title and Daniel Cormier has regained the Light Heavyweight Title belt by default .

The UFC is now in a state of disarray , as two of its biggest stars at decisive points of their respective careers. Conor McGregor needs to remain in the UFC and away from the world of professional boxing, while Jon Jones has to rethink his whole professional mindset and whether or not he continues his professional career as an MMA fighter under the UFC banner.

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Which current or most recent sports’ story do you believe has been the most important, where there is substance to it all along the way ?

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With the NFL Draft merely around the corner , continued speculation is mounting , which player is likely to be taken number one overall. The Houston Texans have the privilege of taking that first pick, but with GM Rick Smith recently making the comment that he would be interested in giving up that first choice to trade down , to get a substantially more picks , because of more value lower down , within the first round. While the boldness of that statement is somewhat brash , you cannot deny that the Texans are taking an immense risk, in making such a decision of moving down in the draft, with the general consensus, being that there are several good players to be taken in the first round among the top-ten likely picks. If the 2012 NFL Draft, was anything to by , then Smith could very well be unto something.

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The fact of the matter was , in richness alone, the picks of Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson panned out a great deal more than anyone could have expected , with regard to those particular choices, and for their respective teams. I am not about to suggest that this year’s crop of players will not live up to the expectations, but if anything , there has been more hyperbole over the likes of Johnny Manziel , Jadeveon Clowney , Blake Bortles , Teddy Bridgewater , A J McCarron and Sammy Watkins without anyone being absolutely sure, that these players can take the next step necessary in becoming accomplished players in the NFL. This NFL Draft is likely to produce a number of surprises from the standpoint, that the general managers , while making a number bold announcement statements, simply have no real idea , how things are likely to pan out, until the first five or six picks are made , as part of this whole draft process.

The NFL preseason kicks off the 2014 schedule , but those first four weeks of exhibition games , will grant the fans, of seeing some old and new faces by way of the free agents who have found new homes and the rookies looking to make a name for themselves , while forcing their way onto unto their teams’ roster. The New York Giants and Buffalo Bills will have the privilege of unveiling the 2014 season with the Hall of Fame game, which will be played at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park , New York on the 3rd August , 2014 . The death of Bills’ owner Ralph Wilson has led to the speculation that the family will now seek to several all ties with the franchise that Wilson has owned since the franchise’s start. It should be noted, that up until his death, Ralph Wilson was one of the longest tenured owners in the NFL’s history , as well as being one of its most respected voices. Now with the realization, that he will no longer be there , fans and analysts alike , will be looking to a new face to represent this franchise. Among interested parties, now wishing to own the franchise, it has been reported that real estate billionaire and television personality Donald Trump has made it clear , that he is indeed serious about buying the franchise and is willing to pay a substantial sum for the privilege of owning an NFL team. Second time around for the billionaire , after his brief and well chronicled career as an owner in the USFL .

Trump almost single-handed brought about the all too quick demise of that fledgling organization, with his all too bold and ambitious ideas , at a time when the NFL , was struggling to stay afloat. But for his impudence, all too bloated ego and wanting to challenge the league head on , the billionaire brought about the self-destruction of the USFL , with it having to declare bankruptcy. In the aftermath of it all, Trump still believes himself and his fellow owners to be the victors in a battle, that they never really stood a chance of winning , simply because the NFL was better organized and more business-like in their operations, because , the USFL would rather put on a show , with the level of football being played, not being on par with their adversary of the day.

If Donald Trump is granted ownership of the Buffalo Bills, having made a successful purchase of the franchise , it will be interesting to see what changes if any, are likely to be made. He has always, been known to be his own man, making the decisions that are not always said to be in the best interests of the parties involved. Yet, a shakeup is certainly needed within a Bills’ organization, that has not a postseason appearance in the NFL since 1999. Hard to believe, that it has been over twelve years, since that the franchise last tasted a postseason victory, let alone an appearance. Such have been the lean times for this organization , with a turnover in the coaching staff , that would have you believe that there was a turnstile in the head coach’s office.

Current Bills’ head coach Doug Marrone and his coaching staff coming off a 6-10 season, that found the team at the bottom of the AFC East division and will face a daunting task in 2014, with first having to step through the minefield known as the NFL Draft and then having to acclimatize himself with what is likely to be a newly revamped roster of veterans , rookies and holdovers from last year. With that in mind, his first duty will be to get players from this draft, while seeking use the time available during the preseason to be better acquainted with all of his players and to assess their value overall. It is by no mean an enviable task for the head coach or GM Doug Whaley , as they undertake, to right, what has been a rudderless vessel, over the past ten years. The disappointment of last year obviously did not sit well with the Bills’ fans or the team in general , but there now seems to be a sense of urgency within the organization , knowing that for many, with the advent of a change in ownership , things could very well be radically shaken up. However, before one can speculate , we have to deal with the reality of the here and now and that is , the team in its current guise, will have to be far more competitive than it was last season, on all fronts .

If the Buffalo Bills were said to have issues last season , then it had more to do with the fact, the team never found a consistent rhythm, all season long. For quarterback EJ Manuel , one hopes to see bigger strides made over the course of the season and certainly a great deal more efficiency and a cut-down in the number of fumbles and interceptions. The offense itself will be led by C J Spiller and Fred Jackson , will be bolstered by the addition of a rookie wide receiver if the rumored reports are anything to go by in terms of Doug Whaley’s immediate draft needs for the team. It is my own belief that , Whaley , the front office and coaching staff will approach this NFL Draft prudently, taking the best player available at the positions needed to make the Bills a more all-round competitive unit .

While one should not, place any emphasis, on the preseason , for some coaches, it does act as something of a guide , to the preparedness of their team for an arduous sixteen-game regular season schedule. It will be no different for the Buffalo Bills and their regular season schedule , where their encounters against divisional rivals, the Miami Dolphins , New England Patriots and New York Jets , whom they will meet twice over the course of their season, will tell undoubtedly tell us a great deal concerning the makeup of the team , as well as their encounters within the conference and out of conference games. . Buffalo will open up their week one schedule playing the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in Chicago , Illinois , on the 7th September ,2014. That contest against Jay Cutler and his teammates should prove to be interesting , as Bears’ head coach Marc Trestman , looks to have his team ready to make an all-out assault on winning the NFC North . A task last achieved in 2010, when they won the division and went to the postseason that year , where their failure was truly exposed in exposed in the NFC championship game against the Green Bay Packers , a contest where we found out also , that Jay Cutler has no real taste for adversity or losing , never mind his complete lack of leadership skills , but he is the highest paid player in the NFL , by way of his contract .

While I believe Jay Cutler to be a moderate NFL quarterback , I do not consider him to be among the elite players within the league playing the position. Furthermore, in light of his postseason woes in 2010 , it simply showed a great deal more than anyone would have believed that quarterback was capable of , in terms of his lack of leadership and his unwillingness to accept that he played a major part in Bears’ loss to the Packers in that conference title game.

The Cleveland Browns and the Brandon Weeden ” era” with that franchise, quickly came to abrupt end , without the player or organization gaining anything tangible out the now ridiculous exercise. The fact of the matter was , Weeden was at the stage of his career, where his being drafted and then expecting to become a starting quarterback in the NFL , and still be treated as rookie, was as ridiculous a premise and that he was said to be a once promising player in the New York Yankees’ farm system . If he was unable to make it in baseball , it sure as hell, would not be as great a stretch to believe that the daunting task faced in the NFL would end up being a complete failure. Yet, there were those espousing the fact, as a starting quarterback in the league at the age of twenty-nine , would indeed find his niche and be an outright success . Weeden possessed, none of the traits, one would expect of a player coming into league at this late a stage , where bringing astute play ability would lead to success for the Cleveland Browns . Yet, somehow that was the belief of GM Tom Heckert and the team’s irascible owner Jimmy Haslam , who gambled and lost , when they drafted the quarterback in 2012. Weeden, now finds himself on the Dallas Cowboys’ roster , somewhere between a rock and a hard place in terms of determining his slot on the team’s depth chart for the position as a backup to staring incumbent , Tony Romo , whose playing days are almost certainly coming close to an end, given the recent events and his coming off a serious back surgery procedure. One more year of the rigors of the NFL schedule , is likely to curtail his career with the Cowboys, the only team he has ever played for the in the league.

With Brandon Weeden’s departure, the Cleveland Browns have somehow seen fit to give former Tennessee Titans starting quarterback Vince Young another chance to reignite his career in the NFL . Young , whose journey in the league, has been well chronicled made the preseason roster of the Green Bay Packers in 2013, only to be let go by GM Ted Thompson , who would then publicly apologize for what he now says was a major blunder on their part , in releasing Young after he showed a great deal of poise during the preseason . Some you win , some you lose and one might suggest, that given the Packers’ displays last season , the fact, that they failed so miserably . It would be easy to suggest, that Young could have perhaps brought a little more diversity to the team’s offense last year . Then again, if the Packers are said to be having little faith in Aaron Rodgers , hell must be freezing over or Rodgers , simply was not that good for much of the season for Green Bay. Care, to take a shot at answering that question, as it relates to the Superbowl winning quarterback ?

I believe that the Green Bay Packers will be one of the contending favorites within the NFC this season for the Superbowl , with the all likelihood of the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers being well-placed to now renew what has become one of the rivalries in the NFL of recent years .

For Vince Young, this may well be the last chance for the player to resurrect the last remnants of a career , that has failed to live up to the hype, after giving one of the most riveting performances ever seen in BCS national championship game. As a member of the Texas Longhorns’ team that beat the ” highly favored ” USC Trojans led by Pete Carroll and where Reggie Bush was simply seeking to add to what we would soon find out was a tarnished collegiate career , suborned by a great deal of deceit and lies , of which many believe that Carroll was not only a known participant , but may well have suborned much of the deceit, that took place on the campus , with then AD Mike Garrett , turning a blind eye to it all .

It is quite possible that Vince Young will see some playing time, during the preseason with the Cleveland Browns , to the likelihood of his making the team and the very fact, there still remains doubts concerning his maturity level at this stage of his career. The chances of the veteran being on board for the Browns’ opening regular season game against the Pittsburgh Steelers , could either prove to be a boon or a blessing for the still beleaguered quarterback. The financial outlay being made by the Browns, is not one that will join a great deal of dismay among fans of the NFL or analysts themselves, however , if Young , should prove to be an outright success , then you can bet that a number of the on air personalities will be looking to take some credit, by suggesting that they still believed that Vince Young still had the potential be a success in the NFL .

Quarterbacks are now deemed, the essential piece to any team, just like the centerpiece to a jigsaw puzzle is deemed to be the most important piece of a puzzle. Yet, without that vital cog, a team cannot do to the best of its ability or the puzzle will not be seen as a finished piece of work. In many ways, one could suggest that was the difference in some ways in the play of Russell Wilson and the elder veteran five-time League MVP quarterback Peyton Manning in last season’s Superbowl and the emphatic victory of the Seattle Seahawks over the now bewildered Denver Broncos. Any doubt, as to the clinical decisiveness of that win , can be determined by the result , 48-3 , in favor of the Seattle Seahawks. I would dare say, that if Peyton Manning had it to do all over again, that would not be the way that he would like to have seen another career-defining moment come to a crashing end against second-year quarterback, with barely any postseason experience outplay the more seasoned veterans and future Hall of Fame inductee in the NFL’s biggest showcase finale. In 2014 , may well be the last chance for Manning to make his way back to another playoff appearance and most certainly the chance for the Broncos to win their third Superbowl title , having made five postseason forays , with two title wins to the franchise’s, both when current team Head of Operations and its most famous player John Elway led the Denver Broncos to those memorable triumphs. Elway , himself , must be hoping that the present incumbent at the position can lead the franchise to another Superbowl appearance , but this time with a different outcome.

At this stage of his career, I truly believe that time might not now be on Peyton Manning’s side ! The chance to win was most certainly last season , when the team had the rest of the league at its mercy , unfortunately , for the Broncos the Hollywood script writers did not forward a copy of the script with the preordained ending, suggesting that the AFC West based franchise would be victorious. Instead, the Seattle Seahawks came in with their own rewrite and blew the dreams of the Broncos and their fans into smithereens u. The Broncos’ schedule affords them a chance of making the postseason , but I believe that even with the changes made to the team’s roster in comparison to last season , their chance of that repeat appearance does seem slim , but to discount Peyton Manning would be a dangerous thing to do, given the player’s eagerness to prove his detractors wrong. Something, that he has been able to do over the course of his famed career .

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What thoughts, if any, do you have concerning the points raised within this article and how do you see the events of the NFL Draft playing out given the needs of a number of teams around the league this upcoming season ? Comments on this topic are more than welcomed and thanks as always for your continued support of this site and the insightful comments therein.

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) Houston Texans’ owner Robert ‘Bob’ McNair ,left, is seen here alongside team general manager Rick Smith , as they walk the sidelines at Reliant Stadium in Houston , Texas , home to the AFC South domiciled NFL franchise . Smith suggests , that the franchise is amenable to trading down and forgoing the # 1 pick in this year’s NFL Draft . The speculation has begun and though it seems unlikely , the feeling remains , that the general manager , if the right offer is made , would actually trade down and give up the number one overall pick . AP Photo / Gary Hughes …

(2) From left to right , Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson . All three players were part of the 2012 NFL Draft , of which the trio led their respective teams into the postseason in their first try as well-being productive in their rookie season . The Seahawks’ quarterback is the first player of the 2012 quarterbacks class to have led his team to a Superbowl appearance , with Seattle’s 48-3 trouncing of the Denver Broncos being one of the biggest highlights of the NFL season in 2012 . Getty Images / Philip Raoux …..

(3) The late Ralph Wilson , former owner of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. Wilson’s family is now said to be willing to divest themselves of the ownership of the franchise , which has been in their tenure since the franchise’s start . Billionaire real estate tycoon and television personality Donald Trump is said to be showing a keen interest in buying the NFL franchise. No timetable has yet been set for the proposed sale , it is believed , Trump is willing to pay in excess of $1 billion for the privilege to own the NFL team. A far cry from his experiences in the defunct USFL , during which he was an owner of one of the franchises in that particular league . Getty Images North America / Steve Davis ……

(4) The often controversial and self publicizing billionaire Donald Trump , who is said to be keen to succeed the late Ralph Wilson as the new owner of the Buffalo Bills. There are said to be several interested partners willing to buy the team from Wilson’s family , with the obvious league hierarchy approval being the final obstacle to either deter or approve such a deal . AP Photo / Chris Howard …..

(5) Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) and Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden (3) great each other after their NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. The Cowboys won 23-20 in overtime. Formerly adversaries , the two will become teammates in 2014 , with Weeden being the backup to the Cowboys’ starting quarterback . AP Photo/Sharon Ellman ……

(6) Vince Young (10) of the Cleveland Browns is seen here during a mini-camp session , where the veteran will be seeking to impress the Browns’ coaching staff and head coach Mike Pettine with his understanding of the offense while seeking to be part of the team’s lineup for the upcoming NFL season . AP Photo / Matt Archer …..

(7) Denver Broncos’ owner , Pat Bowlen , Peyton Manning and the team’s Head of Football Operations John Elway , himself a former player and Superbowl winning quarterback with the franchise. This season the Broncos’ front office will be hoping that Manning can lead the team back to the postseason and make an attempt winning the Superbowl. Something not achieved by the franchise since the 1998 NFL season , where they won Superbowl XXXIII (SB33) defeating the Atlanta Falcons in a lopsided victory 34-19 . AP Photo / Mike Mitchell ………….

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What’s A Billion Dollars ($1,000,000,000) Amongst Friends …. ? In The NBA It’s Not A Lot ………….

My biggest problem isn’t what happens prior to the game, it’s everything that’s said to happen afterwards. The NBA and all of the proclivities that the league has with regard to its product and how its marketed. No don’t get me wrong, David Stern and the NBA hierarchy has a right to do with as it pleases, with anything within its parameters, concerning the game of professional basketball. This is is now a multi-billion dollar business enterprise ,with revenues across international borders. But herein lies the rub, with diminishing attendances at the games and the mere fact that with several of its franchises in severe financial problems. It begs the question what does the NBA aspire to be ?

$1,000,000,000    One billion  dollars


$1,000,000,000 – One billion dollars cash. Could this really be what it looks like ? Staggering to think that many of us are not liable to see an amount such as this, up close and personal. That’s unless you happen to be a close personal relative of either Warren Buffet or Bill Gates ?

LeBron James  of the  Cleveland Cavaliers  goes  up strong to the  boards for the  dunk  over the  Miami  Heat's  Jermaine  O'Neal .

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers goes up strong to the boards for the dunk over the Miami Heat’s Jermaine O’Neal.The Cavaliers would go on to defeat Miami 111-104 in a game played at the American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Isaac Baldizon ……

For all of the inherent problems that the NBA has, much of it being of its very own creation. I now see the NBA falling back into its same old ways and the needless wish to just continue to market its stars, rather than marketing its teams to the public.

Courtesy of The (New Orleans) Times Picayune

Commissioner David Stern says NBA holding up in tough economy

By John Reid, The Times Picayune

Despite a sluggish economy still causing concerns for many businesses, NBA Commissioner David Stern said his league is weathering the storm with only a slight decrease in season-ticket renewals from last season.

In his annual tip-off teleconference, Stern said renewals are down by less than three percent from last season’s 79 percent rate. He said a majority of teams have kept ticket prices the same or decreased them slightly.

The Hornets have not released their renewal rate or season-ticket total, but owner George Shinn said at last month’s media day their sponsorship sales are better from a year ago and their ticket sales are running about the same rate as last season when they totaled more than 10,000 season-ticket holders.

“Well, our sport is not in recession compared to the economy, but we’ve been working intensely with our teams, ” Stern said. “We’ve been working with them and their pre-sale of game tickets and their group (sales). We also have been working with them on sponsorships, and we’re seeing signs of renewed movement.

“We know that we’ll be challenged by the economy, as all businesses and sports are, and that our revenues may slightly decrease because many of our teams are reaching out to their communities and moderating their ticket prices. So although we expect a season of robust attendance, probably easily within our top five, our fans will be treated to competition that is really unique. We think, like everybody else, we’re going to have to fight our way through the season with respect to the economy.”

To meet their financial bottom line, Stern said their biggest task is making sure ratings continue to be steady. The league announced that 45 million homes subscribe to its NBA TV network on cable. In addition, Stern said the league is targeting its digital media to attract more fans.

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While I’m no David Stern apologist,with him holding the game’s highest official post,as its commissioner. I think from the outset he’s proven to be a marketing genius ! Even if his rule has become autocratic and almost resembling that of a third world despot dictator. But that’s what the game needs but essentially Stern tends to go overboard in nature. I think if anything he’s become too enamored when he’s front of the camera . Every sound byte uttered, has to be one where he’s heard loud and clear. Were he not older than that pompous ass known as, Donald Trump. I’d swear that they’re kindred spirits. I doubt however, that they’re liable to meet and greet in the same social circle. But I may well be wrong. There are several things most definitely that the two have in common. One of which, is that there’s no camera in a room that they won’t make sure that they make every effort to be caught in-front of. And the other thing, is that, they’re both vastly overpaid for the jobs that they currently do. Trump , even more so, considering the financial state of several parts of his business empire. But then again, he’d have you believe different.

NBA Commissioner  David Stern  Absolute  Power  .........

Money and power corrupts ! Absolute power and money makes you … So what ought we to make of NBA commissioner, David Stern ? Is he the most powerful man in all of sports ?

Ask an NBA fan what they’d do with one billion dollars ? That’s the number one, with nine zeros for the uninitiated. And I’d dare say you’d be greeted with a wide variety of answers to that pertinent question. Ask David Stern what he and the NBA would do with a billion dollars ? And he’d no doubt reply that the money would be used to safeguard the franchises within professional basketball. Well, considering that over the last decade the NBA has been the recipient of $1,000,000,000 , at the behest of Stern,through the willingness of the banks on Wall St and beyond to loan the league money. I guess that several amongst you would be surprised by this revelation ? Or perhaps not ? I mean what other sports other than basketball, football, stock car racing can their governing bodies be afforded such largesse at the taxpayers' expense ? Meanwhile they can still facilitate their business operations while still opting for financing from the commercial and investment banking system ? Isn't life grand for the hierarchies of the NFL,MLB, NASCAR and the NBA ? And isn’t it somewhat asinine to hear people en masse complain about the very fact that they’re afraid their taxes will be raised that the government shouldn’t be interjecting itself in the business practices of companies ? What they seem to forget that many of the problems faced by those companies were self inflicted. And for the NBA it is no different !

Well David Stern and his members would have you believe that many of the league’s problems stem from the very acute economic climate. Truth to be told, the hierarchy wasn’t about to change its business template of spending extravagantly. Instead of stemming the tide of outlandish behavior in terms of their spending.
They just proceeded ahead, as if , all was well. Now we know that in excess of 40 % of the league’s franchises are experiencing some sort of financial difficulty of some sort. And that would include such franchises as the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sacramento Kings, Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic, New Jersey Nets , New Orleans Hornets and the Charlotte Bobcats, to name but of the few franchises in question.

Orlando  Magic owner  Rich  Devos  shakes  hands  with  the team's  All  Star  center  Dwight  Howard .   picture  appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/  R B  Hapgoode  .................

Orlando Magic owner, Rich DeVos, seen here shaking hands with the
team’s All Star center, Dwight Howard. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ R. B. Hapgoode …….

This last fiscal year , saw the league financed through a bank loan, to the tune of $250 million , to be shared amongst 14 NBA franchises. And with these being private business entities. Their books aren’t opened or called upon to be opened for public or financial scrutiny. But yet as is more often than not, many of these very same franchises look to the local communities by way of the local, county and state levels to make sure that they’re well taken care of. Much of this comes about with the so called discretionary broadening of the tax base. Wherein, taxes and service charges are raised in order to facilitate the building of new venues for the benefit of the owners of the various franchises. Meanwhile , much needed services within a community are either overlooked or placed on the backburner for a later date.

Orlando Mayor  Buddy  Dyer  looks  out  from his  office  in  downtown  Orlando

City of Orlando Mayor,Buddy Dyer, looks out from his office unto the horizon of the downtown Orlando area. Dyer was one of the main facilitators in getting a new arena built for the NBA franchise, the Orlando Magic. picture appears courtesy of orlandosentinel/ Jason Arnot ………

If you doubt my word, then consider the situation of the Orlando Magic and that of city of Orlando, itself , the county government of Orange County,Florida. And that of the very Sate of Florida , the backdoor maneuvering that took place, primarily at the behest of the city of Orlando Mayor, Buddy Dyer. And that of those, up in the higher echelons of the county and state governments. Their sole purpose has been the building of state of the art facility for the NBA franchise. While at the same time using the pretext that this will bring about much needed revenue at all levels and the creation of jobs within the city and the community at large.

Granted , the infrastructure of the downtown Orlando is due for much needed development. But one hardly thinks that an NBA venue is of the highest order for a county whose unemployment rate is in line with the national average. And where at the same time budget shortfalls, has meant the cutting or derailing of much needed services and the furlough of government employees- as well as seeing services within education , and community safety (police and fire department) being cut with certain employees being relieved of their positions. Somehow, one doesn’t equate as a benefit to the community. When at the same time you’re enabling the building of a sporting arena , that many of the residents will hardly be able to afford the price of admission for a Magic game . Much less any other event that’s liable to take place there.

And while the Orlando Magic (6-3) seeks to place itself amongst the elite of the NBA and in particular within the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference. Is it me , or is it my imagination ? But isn’t this the franchise owned by one of the richest men in the state and by last count the 91st wealthiest individual in the United States ? That indelible mark belongs to none other than Magic owner , Rich DeVos , co-founder of Amway Global Inc. DeVos, a multi-billionaire (estimated worth $3.4 billion) and benefactor to the central Florida area , has gone out of his way to make sure that political favors were called in – in order to facilitate the quick vote insuring that an arena would be built to house his basketball franchise. That being said, how can one explain this to the working man who struggles to make ends meet by keeping his family fed and a roof over their heads ? Especially, in light of what is allegedly going on between the franchise’s owner and that of the Mayor of Orlando. It creates the scenario, that as long as you have the money and the contacts, anything can be done for the right price.

A billion dollars to you or I , could go a long way in alleviating a community’s problems. In the NBA , it’s just mere pocket change when measured against their ceaseless revenues from various endless entrepreneurial schemes that they’re in command of- in conjunction with various partners across the globe. Somehow, when I listen to David Stern speak about the game and all of the pleasure he believes it brings to the fans of the NBA. Why do I get the impression that while he’s giving the speech, he’s also laughing all the way to the bank ?