You don’t want to be the guy who replaces a legend , you want to be the guy comes in after the legend’s successor is said to have failed miserably

You don’t want to be the guy who replaces a legend , you want to be the guy comes in after the legend’s successor is said to have failed miserably

Over the past two decades within professional team sports , we have seen the departures great players from the game , either through retirement or their trade to another franchise. Though not thought to be earth shattering at the time , the feeling was that Peyton Manning’s departure from the Indianapolis Colts and the organization’s handling of the matter was haphazard , incompetent and somewhat disrespectful , given Manning’s contribution and resurgence of that particular franchise. The famed quarterback’s success along with Tony Dungy’s coaching acumen brought about that success , the added profitability of the Colts and to the overall wealth of the team’s owner Jim Irsay .

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With the Indianapolis Colts having traded Peyton Manning to the Denver Broncos , the team was lucky enough to have drafted Andrew Luck out of Stanford as the number one overall draft pick in the 2011 NFL Draft . Luck’s success as a rookie and subsequent play has simply been a revelation , having led the team into the postseason in 2012 , along with his peer Robert Griffin III , who was able to achieve a similar feat with the Washington Redskins .

This season , both the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins have followed different paths, with the defending NFC East champions are likely to miss the postseason , after an erratic season of missed opportunities and a great deal of finger-pointing around the organization , with the actual coaching acumen of Mike Shanahan and his coaching acumen now coming into question, along with that of his coaching staff . At the same time, Robert Griffin’s play this season has been far from scintillating , somewhat of a surprise to many, given his growth and maturity shown over the first two years of his NFL career. This season , much like the team’s, Griffin’s performances , along with the other quarterbacks within the NFC East , have been understated and amongst the most erratic in the entire NFL . Yet , if there is blame to be apportioned , then a great deal of that must be placed squarely on the shoulders of the Redskins’ secondary and the poor play exhibited over the course of the season . With the team now in preparation for their week twelve scheduled Monday night match-up against the high-flying San Francisco 49ers , in an NFC contest to be played at Fedex Field in Landover, Maryland . It will be interesting to see what steps will be taken by the Washington Redskins as they take on the NFC West divisional antagonists.

There is no denying that Andrew Luck’s success has been contagious and that it has affected the organization throughout , with the fans coming in droves to see a newly revamped team play at Lucas Oil Stadium , in Indiana , Indianapolis , all under the watchful eye of head coach Chuck Pagano and his coaching staff . Having replaced an icon and legend in Peyton Manning, it would appear that the young quarterback , Andrew Luck is prepared to lead the Colts’ into a new chapter of their history . That next phase, will begin on Sunday , when the Colts are guests of the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Tempe , Arizona, where former Colts’ assistant Bruce Arians is now the head coach of the host team . Arians and the Cardinals will be looking to see if they can secure a win , in order to leapfrog the second placed San Francisco 49ers within the NFC West , in a division that is now blossoming into a thoroughly enthralling contest between the top three teams , by way of its competitiveness .

Robert Griffin’s path of succession in following in a long line of shall we say lackluster Redskins’ quarterbacks over the past eight seasons , has been one of the numerous reasons why the franchise has failed so miserably . Reading off those list of names of nondescript individuals , would be akin to reading the recipe of ingredients from a can of soup , produced as a generic brand to be stocked on the shelves of your local supermarket. The list of Rex Grossman , a past his prime , Donovan McNabb , Jason Campbell , Mark Brunell , and Patrick Ramsey have all got something in common . They have played for a franchise, where the team owner , Dan Snyder , has spared no expense , in carrying on with the Redskins’ ineptitude, since he took the helm of the Washington Redskins in 1999, as its main proprietor .

At 3-7 within the NFC East , the record of the Washington Redskins has proven to be a monumental disappointment . In a division , where the only team above .500 in terms of a winning record are the Philadelphia Eagles (6-5) . It is a damning indictment, as to how bad the teams are said to be, in what has been repeatedly described as the “glamor division “ . of the NFL , with the brand and product having become so diluted . Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and there has been absolutely nothing glamorous about the quartet of teams much less their play over the course of this season . As I alluded to earlier , the quarterback play also has been something of an abomination and it is also, another clear indicator as to how bad things now appear to be, even in spite of a number of analysts now salivating over the play of Eagles’ quarterback Nick Foles , who may well be on the verge bringing about the abrupt end of Michael Vick’s career with the franchise . If former, Philly head coach, Andy Reid could not see it for himself, that Vick is now past his prime . Then surely Reid’s successor , Chip Kelly must now realize that fact for himself , given the rather innocuous performances from the veteran player player this season , in spite of his health issues .

One could perhaps attest to the fact that where would be something of a misnomer with regard to the title of this piece and how it relates to the NFL , may well have been the passing on of the baton from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers and Joe Montana to Steve Young . Though not necessarily controversial at the time, Favre’s unwillingness to take a back seat to a younger and most certainly a more receptive player in Rodgers, led to the veteran being looked upon as a rather petulant individual . Brett Favre’s departure from the Green Bay Packers had its supporters and detractors. Yet, it should be noted, the all-time career touchdowns’ passing as well as career passing yardage leader , never showed the form that made him such a treat to watch after his departure from the Packers. After a fifteen career in Green Bay , the subsequent stops in New York with the New York Jets ( one year) and two years with the Minnesota Vikings were as eventful , as they were somber. No doubt, upon meeting the eligibility requirements, Brett Favre will become a first year ballot Hall of Fame inductee.

Aaron Rodgers, has all but erased the memory of Brett Favre ever existing and playing at Lambeau Field for one the league’s most revered and venerable NFL franchises . Now considered to be amongst the elite of the NFL quarterbacks, now playing in the NFL , his career has been a personification of dedication to his craft , as well as having the respect of his peers and teammates alike. Other than, Tom Brady , Peyton Manning and Drew Brees , I seriously doubt that there is a more well-liked or respected quarterback in the entire NFL !

Five Superbowl victories for an NFL franchise, tends to tell you a great deal about an organization and what they have been able to achieve over the course of their existence . The transition from Joe Montana to Steve Young did a have a few bumps in the road , but who can deny the fact that these two quarterbacks along with Jerry Rice , Roger Craig , Ronnie Lott , Dwight Clark , Jesse Sapolu and the franchise’s legendary head coach Bill Walsh may well have done more to put the San Francisco 49ers on the map , beyond Walsh’s influence on the game , through his play-calling . Montana and Young between them, account for all five of those Superbowl triumphs, with their names being etched in postseason history in terms of their respective performances in the postseason and the “big game ” itself .

After a spectacular 2012 , during which we witnessed the San Francisco 49ers make their sixth Superbowl appearance. The team would not fare as well , as in their previous forays , as Colin Kaepernick and his teammates would fall to their AFC opponents the Baltimore Ravens 34-31 in a game blighted by the incompetence of not only the NFL hierarchy , utility’s company Entergy , but also the host site, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome , home to the New Orleans Saints , operated by SMG and a venue owned by the Louisiana Expo & Sports Authority . The explanations forthcoming, as to why a power outage interrupted the NFL’s biggest spectacle were as ludicrous, as Roger Goodell’s comments that the stoppage, did nothing to take away from the event , nor did it have an effect on the end result. One more reason, why the incumbent NFL commissioner cannot be taken seriously as the league’s highest ranking executive. His communicative and leadership skills , beyond being remarkably poor, are in fact a complete embarrassment to the NFL and the teams he presides over .

I have been reading with a great deal of interest , where Hakeem Olajuwon , a Hall of Fame inductee , whose playing career with the Houston Rockets was unprecedented , has now taken it upon himself along with fellow inductee and Rockets’ head coach Kevin McHale , to assist in improving and “polishing ” the game of Dwight Howard . These two great players from a bygone era of excellence within the NBA , may well be taking on a great deal than either would care or be willing to admit . Howard may well have been, a Defensive Player of the Year within the league on multiple occasions , but his offensive prowess , as well as leadership skills and lack of maturity, has repeatedly come into question . It was self-evident and there for all to see, as the player struggled to show any signs of leadership, much less being able, to impose his will on a game , while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers last season .

The fact that Dwight Howard was acquired by the Lakers’ franchise as a long-term investment and seen as heir-apparent to Kobe Bryant , as the vocal leader of the Los Angeles Lakers, came and went as swiftly , as Howard’s decision to bolt from the Lakers , taking less money , to sign with the Rockets . If that was not indicative of the fact, that the center simply could not handle any form of adversity , then his now constant moaning , as to why he has been criticized by many of the elder statesmen of the game , is clear evidence that Dwight Howard will never be viewed as one of the best players at the position to have ever played the game. The NBA in terms of the play of the centers now within the game, are a far cry from what many of the fans have witnessed during the heydays of David Robinson . , Hakeem Olajuwon , Shaquille O’Neal , Bill Russell , Kareem Abdul Jabbar , Nate Thurmond , Patrick Ewing , Willis Reed and Moses Malone . All of whom were known to be ferocious competitors . Can the same be even remotely said about Dwight Howard , even as many now regard him as the best center , currently now playing in the NBA ?

Dwight Howard’s acquisition by the Rockets, in some circles was seen as the missing piece for a franchise with a legitimate shot of making the NBA Playoffs this upcoming season. In bolstering a roster , led by the presence of James Harden , Jeremy Lin , Ronnie Brewer , Patrick Beverley , Chandler Parsons and Aaron Brooks . The team was seen as a solid enough of a competitor to challenge the presence of the San Antonio Spurs (10-1) within the Southwest Division of the Western Conference . Coming off a narrow three-point 123-120 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night , the Rockets will face the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Toyota Center in Houston , Texas on Saturday evening , in what is likely to be a very lively contest between these two Western Conference foes.

Rockets’ owner Leslie Alexander and GM Daryl Morey, made a bold move, that will either prove to be a success or simply backfire for the organization. While, I believe Dwight Howard will be of some benefit to the Houston Rockets, I just cannot see the player as the person who will now get the team “ over the hump” that will make them a legitimate threat to the more prominent teams within the conference , such as the San Antonio Spurs , Oklahoma City Thunder , Los Angeles Clippers and what now appears to be a very talented and well-coached Golden State Warriors’ roster. I may well be wrong, but at this juncture, my observations are based on what I have seen from Dwight Howard , and the fact that he’s now being asked to fill the shoes of predecessors before him on the Rockets, who made significant progress in making the franchise more widely recognized . Hakeem Olajuwon and to an extent , Yao Ming made you aware of the franchise in terms of what they brought to the Houston Rockets . Has Dwight Howard actually been able to do that any point of his career, beyond his goofy off the court antics and winning a meaningless Slam Dunk Contest ?

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Do you believe it easy, for a professional sport’s franchise to replace an iconic legend that has been associated with a team over a long period of time? Or as teams would always like to suggest “ it’s time to move on” , more often than not, because of monetary issues , rather than the athlete’s possible declining production ? Your comments are most certainly welcomed on this and anything else you believe to be of value to the premise stated this moderated piece.

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(1) Mar 7, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning speaks and Jim Irsay stands beside him to announce during a press conference at Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center that Peyton Manning will become a free agent. Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE ….

(2) Andrew Luck, left of the Indianapolis Colts is seen here with team owner Jim Irsay. . The quarterback, who was drafted out of Stanford as the number one pick in the 2012 NFL Draft , proved to be an immediate success with the franchise having taken the team into the postseason and the Colts now seem to be set , in terms of their long-term future with a quarterback who has proven to productive , with an immediate impact for the Indianapolis Colts from a competitive and financial standpoint. AP Photo / Garry Moss …

(3) Washington Redskins` starting quarterback Robert Griffin III is seen here with the team’s offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and backup quarterback Kirk Cousins . The team as defending champions within of the NFC East , now find themselves in almost untenable position of being at the bottom of the division and likely to miss the playoffs , having rode into the 2012 postseason riding on a sea of optimism and at the same time , projected long-term success. Instead, this season has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster , with a defense performing poorly , with alarming regularity and the same could be said of the offense . GM Bruce Allen and team owner Dan Snyder are likely to make a number of sweeping changes during the off-season concerning the player personnel and quite possibly amongst the coaching staff. Getty Images / Lance Jones …..

(4) Green Bay Packers’ teammates Brett Favre (4) and Aaron Rodgers (12) are seen here seated on the sidelines looking up at the scoreboard . The two players who have been described as not being extremely close , with Favre having been critical of the organization when Rodgers was drafted by team as a late first round draft pick in the 2005 NFL Draft . The backup would not become a regular season starter until 2008 . Brett Favre would later depart from the franchise under a cloud of controversy , with fans and detractors of the veteran , voicing their thoughts publicly , in print, via the airwaves and on television . Getty Images/ Mark Parsons …….

(5) Former 49ers Steve Young (L), Roger Craig (C) and Joe Montana (R) wait to go onto the field for a half time presentation during home opener as the San Francisco 49ers host the Seattle Seahawks at Candlestick Park September 20, 2009 in San Francisco, California. Getty Images North America / David Paul Morris ….

(6) Hall of Fame inductee Hakeem Olajuwon foreground , shows the Houston Rockets’ center Dwight Howard a few on-court drills and moves . Howard , since his arrival with the franchise has performed moderately , but the team now evolves around the play of point guard Jeremy Lin and James Harden . Olajuwon , GM Daryl Morey and head coach Kevin McHale see Howard as a vital part of the team’s offense , as they seek to make their presence felt within the Western Conference this season . AP Photo / Matt Shields ….

(7) Newly acquired center Dwight Howard , left foreground , is seen here with Houston Rockets’ great Hakeem Olajuwon and the team’s head coach Kevin McHale in the background at the team’s venue the Toyota Center in Houston Texas . Signed as a free agent in the off-season , the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year is seeking establish himself as the premiere center in the NBA , after a somewhat lackluster year in 2012 , with Howard being unable to assist the Los Angeles Lakers during the postseason in any great depth . AP Photo / Keith Miller ….

(8) Two legendary giants of the game and some might agree a pair of centers who at the height of their careers were the most dominant players of their generation as centers . Bill Russell , left , whose career with the Boston Celtics is littered with accolades too numerous to mention , shakes hands with Kareem Abdul Jabbar , whose own career with the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers are synonymous as Russell’s with the Boston Celtics . AP Photo / Roger Pettigrew …. …….

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Shut the fu#k up and let me finish !

Shut the fu#k up and let me finish !

It is something of a distressing time in the world of sports, as the legal ramifications of Aaron Hernandez’s legal menagerie along with his two accomplices, simply reaches all too low levels of what is now seen as a sordid and all too compulsive situation. The NFL has once again been punched in the eye and stomach , though the game is not yet down for the count . Unfortunately, the league hierarchy , team owners and union (NFLPA) simply have not learned a damn thing after this latest incident . So, it would be remiss not to say that there will be another event that will undoubtedly capture the fans and nation`s attention at some point in the future . It will be interesting to see what steps if any will be taken by Roger Goodell and the teams , as things begin to play out . The legal aspects of to this case , are not all that difficult to figure out as it relates to the defendants and how the attorneys for both sides will seek to portray the events leading up to the death of Odin Loyd .

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Certainly, the statements now being attributed to New England Patriots` owner Robert Kraft do seem rather petulant and infantile; when one considers that, the franchise drafted the now disgraced Hernandez in 2010 . The front office was simply drooling over the talented player, out of the University of Florida . Gators` head coach Urban Meyer, was said to be pleased with the player`s promotion to the NFL ranks . Yet, what it did, was to hide a deep underlying trait of deviant behavior, by several players on the Gators` roster from that season . It was also the willingness of Meyer`s staff and that of AD Jeremy Foley to completely turn a blind eye to the misdeeds of Aaron Hernandez and others over the course of Meyer`s reign , as the coach of the football program.

The fact that Robert Kraft is now seeking to suggest that e and the Patriots` organization were duped by Aaron Hernandez and the player`s agent , simply speaks to the inane stupidity of the NFL , the owners and the front office staffs around the league . At what point were the staff of Bill Belichick and GM Nick Caserio not aware of Aaron Hernandez`s prior entanglements with law enforcement and what sort of in-depth background checks were actually in place and used by this now once reputable franchise ?

As an avid New England Patriots` fan , now watching the inner most revelations , now coming to the fore and placing an even bigger blight on its image as well as that of the NFL. It was one thing to see the idiocy of the management in allowing the team`s most productive player over the past five seasons, when Wes Welker was allowed to leave. Yet, here was Robert Kraft, once again seeking to apportion blame elsewhere, because of the inane stupidity shown by Nick Caserio and the coaching staff.

Tom Brady , the franchise’s best player since 2001, took it upon himself to free up $9 million in cap space in order to allow the Patriots to retain the well-respected wide receiver. Alas, Welker sought to sign with the Denver Broncos and become an additional weapon for Peyton Manning . Now while a great deal was made of the Patriots acquiring Tim Tebow, which if anything, was more of a sign of desperation rather than an act of necessity . And this preposterous belief that Tebow , as a player given his resume` would be of benefit to a franchise such as the Jacksonville Jaguars , purely because of his popularity in the state of Florida, is simply asinine ! Tim Tebow, as a draw anywhere, is like to going to the circus simply out of curiosity . The novelty will soon wear off, as it will, concerning the under-achieving quarterback, even if he has Josh McDaniels as his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks` coach . In all honesty , Tebow could very well ending being one of the biggest busts in NFL history , and that is with due respect to the likes of Heath Shuler , Tim Couch , Vince Young , JaMarcus Russell , Akili Smith and Carson Palmer .

As to the upcoming season for the Patriots from their preseason schedule to their opening day regular season game , it will be interesting to see how this newly guise team will fare . At best , I cannot see the Patriots surpassing season`s 12-4 record/ and then the clarity of their play in the postseason , until what turned to be a disastrous showing against the Baltimore Ravens , where the opposing quarterback, Joe Flacco was simply at his very best . Flacco and his teammates , in that second-half display laid siege on a Patriots` defense that has been the franchise’s weakness over the past four seasons. If the team once again sows its fallibility, concerning its secondary is once again on display in spite of free agent acquisitions and their 2013 draft class could very well be a determining factor as to how things will play out for the New England Patriots.

If ever there was a moment for a college football coach to simply shut up and either tell the truth, rather than come across as a buffoon . Then clearly, Urban Meyer now seeking to distance himself from much of the trouble created during his tenure of the Florida Gators` football program . Meyer, suggested that a great many of the issues and incidents that took place, which saw numerous arrests , allegations of cheating , team rules` violations , and the criminal infractions , were all said to have taken place off campus, or as he denotes beyond the reach and scope of the campus authority . Perhaps, it is me , but Meyer is now taking liberties, in seeking to disparage his former employer . Having succeeded Jim Tressel at Ohio State , a program where Tressel was a conduit some of the most serious program and NCAA violations in recent collegiate athletics . The fact that Buckeyes AD Gene Smith and university President Dr. E Gordon Gee stood steadfastly by the then beleaguered and disgraced coach shows the type aloofness and malevolent corruption that is widespread and rampant across the landscape of college sports . Tressel repeatedly lied to the school’s trustees, as well as to Smith and Gee to the misdeeds of the players under his jurisdiction. .

E Gordon Gee, for his part, has been critical of anyone he deems beneath the Ohio State program . And it has been Gee`s ongoing itinerant and all too embarrassing tirades that could very well see him removed from his post as the school’s top administrator .

Does anyone now truly believe that the NCAA has the wherewithal to clean up almighty mess ? NCAA President Mark Emmert is seemingly powerless to actually do anything noteworthy as collegiate athletics top administrator, while seeking to strengthen the structure of his institution .

Well, the talk of the NBA world, has been the departure of Dwight Howard from the Los Angeles Lakers as an unrestricted free agent to sign with the Houston Rockets . Team owner, Leslie Alexander pulled out all of the stops along with head coach Kevin McHale , GM Daryl Morey and James Harden . The fact that the center made the decision to leave Los Angeles , is more than indication that Howard , did not fit on a team where he simply was not sure of his role under Mike DAntoni , head coach of the Los Angeles` franchise . To further emphasize , what even the most docile of Lakers` fans were simply unwilling to admit , has been the testy relationship between Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant . Anyone who failed to acknowledge that fact , clearly chose to ignore the dichotomy between the two players. Bryant has been often described, as an egotistical, selfish and narcissistic individual who simply cares about no one but himself . That may well be true, but how would you describe Dwight Howard and the perception that fans now view the player under ?

James Harden , will now be joined by Dwight Howard, on a team that this past season , was one of the most explosive offenses in the league . Harden, further emphasized his growth as a player, while it can only be suggested that the player was sorely missed on an Oklahoma City Thunder team that fell short of expectations during the postseason . Kevin Martin , considered a serviceable player, it was clear that his insertion unto the team showed how sorely missed James Harden was said to be. Martin was not able to emulate the scoring prowess shown by the player he replaced, and to my mind, Thunder GM Sam Presti , erred, . when the player was allowed to leave the franchise prior to the start of this past season .

The Houston Rockets are well placed this upcoming season to make a solid run and perhaps be seen as one top contenders within the Western Conference . As to the financial commitment made by the Rockets may to their newest acquisition , it could very well be seen as one of the more ostentatious deals made in the NBA during this off-season.

At this point of the season , baseball will soon be celebrating their mid-season showcase event. The 2013 MLB All Star Game will be held at Citi-Field in Flushing, New York, with a New York crowd looking to celebrate in a big way. The talk seems to be whether or not the Los Angeles Dodgers` …. Yasiel Puig should be on the NL roster . While having an outstanding season , it does seem somewhat ridiculous that fans are calling for Puig`s player`s inclusion after a mere thirty-three games. Impressive stats , being what they are , but when assessing a Dodgers` team that as of Monday night , at two games under .500 with a 43-45 mark , good enough for second place in the NL West . The real issue now facing the team is whether they can win the division and guarantee themselves a postseason berth . It is clear , that after last season`s disappointment , Don Mattingly and his managerial staff may well be on the clock , before a decision is made concerning his future. It will be now, or never , for Mattingly and this high-priced of stars , and how they seek to redeem themselves .

Two years ago, the Milwaukee Brewers` Ryan Braun celebrated winning baseball`s biggest regular season individual honor in winning the NL MVP . Braun , a multiple All Star, and the best player on a Brewers` roster , for a franchise, that views the player as a homegrown hero . Ryan Braun`s name was associated with the stain of steroids , and from what appears to be the utter stupidity shown by the testing facility , in not properly storing the player`s test samples. Braun was able to escape a suspension. An arbitration hearing upheld Ryan Braun`s appeal to have his fifty-game for a first time offense. All along, in pleading his innocence, Braun felt that his actions paved the way the hearing to go his way, and to show that baseball was simply on a witch-hunt, as well over-reaching with their powers . A mere two years later, Braun, Alex Rodriguez , Nelson Cruz and a slew of other players are the focus of another investigation of rampant steroid use within the game. Once again, Bud Selig and his office , comes across looking like bumbling buffoons .

The claims made by the MLB commissioner, that baseball , has the most stringent of testing policy, is proving to be a fallacy . And with the latest admission by Biogenesis proprietor and founder Antony Bosch , that has supplied as many as sixty players with steroids , as well several other performance enhancing substances , does beg the question , what is it that baseball itself , is not doing ? And why is it , that they have failed so miserably to stem the tide of steroid abuse not only at the Major League Level but also at the Minor League Level , where the use of PED`s is even more widespread ?

Braun in the accompaniment of his agent Nev Balelo and an attorney , met with the investigators from MLB to discuss whether or not he ad at any time been supplied steroids or any other prohibitive substances banned by the league hierarchy . The player was said to be uncooperative, refusing to answer the five questions he was initially subjected to . When a further question posed as to his known association with Tony Bosch , Braun was once again unresponsive , and subsequently left the MLB headquarters , again, with his name being under a cloud of suspicion . Of the thirteen players, said to have met with the league`s investigators , eleven , are said to have initially cooperated , in answering some of the questions posed . As to what this may well mean , once the ongoing investigation reaches a finality . One can only speculate as to the course of action that may well be considered and taken , should Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy members believe it appropriate to suspend these players for any length of time . The suspensions being considered are in the region of between fifty games to one hundred games , but it is rumored that the league would like to send a clear and strong message with a one hundred-game suspension , that would be the starting point for any punishment rendered . Any such penalties, are likely to wreak havoc upon the teams where many of these players are now assisting in their ball-clubs` title hopes . From my own standpoint , Bud Selig has simply dragged his feet with this process , albeit, that the US Justice Department is also investigating Bosch and his now defunct company . That being said , with the already haphazard handling of previous cases by the Justice Department in this specific arena , and that of baseball . My own misgivings, are that we are likely to see new levels of incompetency , beyond anything yet shown by Bud Selig and his minions .

New York Yankees` third baseman Alex Rodriguez is likely to meet with the league`s investigators prior to mid-season break for the All Star Game . Rodriguez undergoing rehab, has yet to make an appearance this season for the still struggling Yankees . The consensus seems to be , if the player is met with a 100 game suspension , then in all likelihood , his career with the franchise is likely to come to an abrupt end , with the front office , quite possibly seeking to void the remainder of the approximately $104 million still owed to Alex Rodriguez.

Given Rodriguez`s proclivity for being less than truthful. I truly believe that he too, will be uncooperative in this investigation , while still trying to proclaim his innocence in terms of any wrongdoing . As if we needed a reminder as to his first go-around concerning the use of PED`s . This now seems to be a dance that the fans have become accustomed to seeing , while we are not too sure what the outcome may well be . Bud Selig is now seeking to regain a great deal of power lost to the union . Yet my response would be , what the fuck does the MLBPA (union) care to begin with ? I mean, it is not as if they have at any time, sought to be at the forefront of ridding the game of illicit substances , in spite of ambiguous collective bargaining agreement .
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What thoughts if any, do you have concerning the salient points within this piece? Simply, leave a comment as you see fit , and thanks as always for the continued support of this site .

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(1) Mike Davies, right, of Norfolk, Mass., wears his New England Patriots Aaron Hernandez football jersey one last time while waiting in an exchange line outside Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, July 6, 2013. Fans may trade an Aaron Hernandez jersey with his name on it they purchased for one of another player on the NFL team. The team released Hernandez after he was arrested for allegedly orchestrating the death of Odin Lloyd. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer …..

(2) Fans wait in a checkout line inside the New England Patriots store at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., after exchanging their Aaron Hernandez football jerseys, Saturday, July 6, 2013. Fans may trade an Aaron Hernandez jersey they purchased for one of another player on the NFL team. The team released Hernandez after he was arrested for allegedly orchestrating the death of Odin Lloyd. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer …

(3) New England Patriots` owner Robert Kraft , left , is seen here with Aaron Hernandez at the team`s training facility in Foxborough , Massachusetts . The player was cut by the franchise after he was arraigned and indicted in the murder of Odin Lloyd. The owner in his first public statement , stated that he felt duped by Aaron Hernandez and was saddened for Lloyd`s family and their loss. Yet when pressed on the issue as why the player was drafted by franchise in 2010 , even after it was noted that the Hernandez had been plagued by off-the field issues concerning alleged criminal behavior. Kraft was not responsive in answering the questions posed . AP Photo / Chris Cameron ….

(4) Ohio State Buckeyes` football coach Urban Meyer is seen here addressing the convened press . Meyer seeking to deflect any negative chatter directed towards his being concerning and is handling of off the field issues of the players while at the University of Florida . The two-time winning national championship coach went as far as to suggest, that the players` behavior were not his responsibility and a great many of the incidents that took place were beyond the scope of the faculty and the athletics department . Getty Images / Paul Ross …

(5) Dwight Howard , left , is seen here with his new teammate James Harden . The two players will provide a formidable front-court for the franchise . Howard signed a four-year $88 million deal with the Houston Rockets . MMI Inc.

(6) Alex Rodriguez . left , and Ryan Braun are two of the central figures in the latest saga of steroids now seemingly raising its head once again within the world baseball . Braun met with the league`s investigators and the player was uncooperative with the investigators and the questions posed. Rodriguez is due to meet with the league officials on Friday , and it is not known how the third baseman is likely to respond . @ copyrighted material …. MLB.com MLB Properties .

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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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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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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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Make It So ………………

Make It So …………..

In the aftermath of the Orlando Magic’s postseason foray the organization now faces a difficult task in trying to retain their All Star center Dwight Howard . The three time NBA Defensive Player of the Year has categorically stated that he wishes to become a free agent at the end of the 2011-12 season . With that in mind , the GM Otis Smith and President /CEO Bob Vander Weide will have to do their utmost in assuring Howard that they will do their best to improve the roster . Inasmuch as the player has what seems to be a very good relationship with his coach Stan Van Gundy and the coach’s assistants I can’t help but feel that the relationship and the coach’s tenure has ran its course .

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Smith’s moves during the free agency period prove to be done more out of urgency rather than necessity . And in doing he saddled the organization with a number of burdensome contracts that were on the verge of expiring or that could well be bought out further leaving a somewhat financially strapped organization once again looking for a monetary handout from the NBA hierarchy . Encumbered with this mess , it is understandable why the player might well feel aggrieved knowing that while the team may well have finished with the fourth best record (52-30) in the Easter Conference it simply didn’t equate to much in the team’s postseason play and expectations. There was little to suggest that the acquisition of Jason Richardson , Quentin Richardson , Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu added much to the team . It was felt somehow that the Magic needed that offensive tenacity about them but in doing so they gave up something of a far more balanced team , for a team that in terms of defense was lacking and the overall cohesiveness was completely missing.

I’ve long felt that Stan Van Gundy while being a good regular season coach simply cannot get the best out of his players during the postseason. He becomes to animated , clearly can’t communicate with his players whereby he gets across his points succinctly . But what might be even more telling, is that as a coach I for one do not believe he truly knows how to assess talent at the college level and that’s even with the assistants at his disposal. If you’re trying to tell me that the likes of JJ Redick and Jameer Nelson are to be the future of this team along with Dwight Howard I would tell you this organization simply hasn’t a chance in hell of winning an NBA title !

The history of this franchise is well known and chronicled to such an extent that it’s great achievements are the two appearances made in the NBA Finals of of 1995 and 2009 . Both of which ended up being rather lopsided series’ losses for the Orlando Magic . And it would appear that if the organization is ambitious to make another appearance in the NBA’s showcase event then Otis Smith and Bob Vander Weide will seriously have to look at making a major overhaul of this roster. Unfortunately , through being too capricious and encumbering the team with a saddled beast in terms of salaried commitments totalling almost $75 million for the 2011-12 season it’s hard to see how the two executives will address this matter . Buyouts notwithstanding , the organization would still have to address the issues of trades and the NBA Draft . And if as to be expected Howard is unwilling to sign a two year contract extension then the organization will most certainly have to look to trade their All Star center.

And in the upcoming draft the situation for the Orlando Magic hasn’t been made any easier given the fact that the team does not have a pick in the first rounds . It is not until the second round and the 23rd pick (number 53 overall) that the Magic will have the benefit of making their first choice in the 2011 NBA Draft. And given that there isn’t a dearth of marquee talent in this draft beyond the first 10 to 15 picks that t I do believe that the organization will actually struggle to replenish the roster with the prerequisite requirements thought to be needed by the Orlando Magic .

With the Magic now housed in their new multi million state of the art venue the Amway Center housed in downtown Orlando at the taxpayers’ expense ___- to say that the organization isn’t now chasing after the proverbial pot of gold in terms of competitive success, contending for an NBA title is of the utmost desire for team owner Rich De Vos and his fellow executives . Coming off a 2010 —- season where success was short of expectations and once again where the team is expected post a loss for the fiscal year it has to be said the impending loss of Dwight Howard could be a forebearer of impending doom and gloom for the team and its fans. In 2009 the Orlando Magic and fifteen other NBA franchises were the recipients of $ 450 million by way of the league hierarchy secured in loans from various financial institutions. NBA Commissioner David Stern said at the time …… ” that these loans shouldn’t be viewed as a bailout of the teams in question but merely as a way of bolstering their financial security “. The very same edict and feat was repeated again this past season with a further $ 300 million again loaned to teams and it now begs the question if these franchises are said to have acute financial problems then what does that say about the league hierarchy itself ? Financial woes notwithstanding , I firmly believe that even with the ongoing issues at hand between the NBA and NBPA concerning the existing collective bargaining agreement (due to expire 30th June) it is quite obvious that the plight of the Orlando Magic will almost certainly be one where a prudent choice may well be the right decision that could end up being determining how the negotiations between the two parties are resolved and where Dwight Howard’s future will ultimately lay.

NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter and union President Derek Fisher know full well with the 53/47 split in terms of the league revenues totaling approximately $4.5 billion there has to be an accord reached between the league and the union. With the two sides meandering towards some type of agreement but no real sign that there’s a compromise it leaves the sports fan if we are about to see the same sort of stupidity shown by the NFL , NFLPA and the team owners . And at this moment in time that scenario looks as if it could also raise its head amongst the NBA team owners , league hierarchy and union .

The consequences of Dwight Howard possibly leaving the Magic from a competitive and financial standpoint would be a disaster in numerous ways . Having lost Shaquille O’Neal due to a lack of ambition on the part of the organization and quite possibly due to the fact that O’Neal felt that he was a minnow in a small pond . As we know the recently retired player went on to great success with the Los Angeles Lakers and thereon after. GM John Gabriel who has since left the organization and coach Brian Hill had a measured amount of success with the Magic but in the aftermath of it all that success has been fleeting with the organization . Upheavals within the front office and through the coaching carousel that tends to happen with such instances the turnaround started with the drafting of Dwight Howard and not long after the installation of Smith as general manager and acquiring at the time what the a group of players who would complement the player’s skill-set.

The decisions that are made within an organization can shape that entity either immediately or over the course of its future . This will be one decision that either way could have a long and lasting effect on what direction that this basketball franchise could very well be heading in . It remains to be seen what decision will be made by the Dwight Howard and whether or not he will be persuaded to stay with the team . The persuasiveness of Bob Vander Weide and Otis Smith has to be pronounced and with intent if they are to have any chance of proving to the player that they are capable of being prominent and perennial contenders within the NBA .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As an NBA fan do you feel that it would be in the best interest of Dwight Howard to remain with the Orlando Magic or simply leave the organization as a free agent or would it be in the Magic’s best interest to seek a sign and trade deal for the player ? Your comments if any as you deem fit .

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

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 28: 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. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox …….

(2) A message for and to Dwight ? A fan holds up a neon green sign with the words “Kryptonite” written on it during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs between the Atlanta Hawks and the Orlando Magic at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox …..

(3) Dwight Howard (12) of the Orlando Magic reacts after a turnover to the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox …..

(4) Gilbert Arenas (1) of the Orlando Magic drives to the basket against Josh Smith (5) and Al Horford (15) of the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images / Kevin C Cox …..

(5) Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy (C) yells at referees to play the game as forward Hedo Turkoglu (R) and CEO of the Magic Bob Vander Weide (L) look on as their team plays the Atlanta Hawks during second half of Game 2 of their NBA Eastern Conference first round playoff basket ball game in Orlando, Florida April 19, 2011.The Magic beat the Hawks 88 – 82 . REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski …..(UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

(6) Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith (right) received 3-year contract extensions from the NBA franchise. They are talking about it with the Orlando Media . courtesy of Orlando Sentinel ………

NBA commissioner David Stern, left, chats with Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos during the first half of Game 1 in a second-round of the NBA basketball playoff series between the Magic and the Atlanta Hawks in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, May 4, 2010. Stern announced earlier Tuesday that the 2012 All-Star Game will be held in Orlando. AP Photo/John Raoux ……..

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NB: NBA salary cap is $57.75 million for the 2010-11 season

Now What ?

Now What ?

Well the NFL Draft began and over the course of three days Radio City Music Hall , New York City well become the epicenter of the NFL world . Never mind the fact that although Judge Susan Richard Nelson has sided with the players over their challenge of the league’s mandated lockout the nation’s top collegiate players will be front and center as the teams and their front office executives and coaches will assuage and assess their merits .

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No real surprise as Cam Newton was taken number one overall by the Carolina Panthers having been the league’s worse team record wise last season. The draft itself as it continues and until its culmination on Saturday will provide the fans with a great many surprises and no doubt a great deal of disappointment as to the choices that’ll no doubt be made by the various teams. As a discerning fan I for one am not overly interested in the process , as from my own perspective until that first snap and first down is made on an NFL field during a regular season game we’re totally unsure what to expect from the rookies stepping up to the professional ranks . Suffice to say , that the likes of Newton , Von Miller , Marcell Dareus , A J Green , Patrick Peterson and Julio Jones are now set for life financially having been taken as the first six players in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft.

That being said I expect a number trades to take place too as some teams may well look to off-load a prospective free agent in order to move up in the draft order in order to obtain a player that meets their needs. Given the still unclear picture of the league landscape and the very fact that though a 2011 schedule has been made public the fans are still unclear as to what awaits them in terms of there actually be a regular NFL season. The owners have still vowed to fight on in spite of Nelson’s verdict and her denying them a right of appeal at the Appellate Division . So the only recourse for the league and owners would be to challenge that decision in the Supreme Court , with that challenge being heard by the Justices there . And the likelihood that Chief Justice John Roberts and his colleagues supersede or overturn that decision seems highly unlikely , unless the the league as the plaintiffs, can provide a clear and substantive proof that Nelson erred in rendering her original decision .

For now in terms of anything tangible all the NFL fan simply has at this moment in time is that draft and the parade of the players as chattel bound for a new owner. For the analysts and draft geeks I’m of no doubt that they’re well on their way to making prognostications as to who has done well in the first two rounds and who may well have made a profound miscalculation with their picks . Be that as it may , no one really knows for sure what is liable to happen with these players until that first whistle is blown and the season should there be one , gets underway. Then and only then , will we be able to gauge these players and how they’re likely to do.

I’m sorry, but now is not the time for excuses ,…………. especially when your team gets handed its own ass on the proverbial silver platter for all to see . Having watched in large part several of the games in the NBA playoff series between the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic , I have come to the conclusion that the Magic have and become the softest team in the Eastern Conference merely not only from a mental standpoint but also from a physical one as well ! At no time throughout this series has the Orlando Magic actually played well much less with any degree of consistency . If anything their play has been erratic and if anything the hype over these players and in particular the aspirations of Dwight Howard being a viable league MVP candidate was simply hyperbole and not much else . Big players step up and lead , here’s been a clear cut case wherein Howard has simply bitched and complained as things haven’t gone his way and where the team’s animated coach Stan Van Gundy has simply proven that when it really matters most , in the face of real adversity he simply cannot instill anything into this team. I’ve heard it said that a league MVP simply means being the best player on the team , I think it goes way beyond that , as it means also showing leadership qualities and actually getting those around you to raise the level of their play. If anyone can point to the fact where Howard has shown any semblance of the latter during this series where a teammate has stepped up and followed his lead then someone please intervene and show me such an instance ?

This series essentially was over once the Hawks took to taking the Magic and exposing all of their flaws bare for all to see . A one dimensional team that lacked creativity and imagination. The likes of Gilbert Arenas , Jason Richardson and Quentin Richardson have literally been stealing money from the Orlando Magic and undeniably it has been Van Gundy , the front office executives and GM Otis Smith who have been culpable in creating this unmitigated mess with the Orlando Magic in its present guise . There has been no cohesion on this roster as it has simply been assembled as a group of mismatched pieces . The trades that took place that gave berth to the roster must’ve been thought up as a quip at first because in terms of offensive presence what had been hoped simply didn’t materialize and in terms of defensive voracity it wasn’t on display by the Magic as Jamal Crawford , Josh Smith , Al Horford and the sighting of Joe Johnson made the Magic seem all the more irrelevant during the series . Hard to believe that Magic were actually the number four seeds in the Eastern Conference but that’s what one tends to get suckered into if you simply take a record at face value rather than looking over the entire body of work and what’s brought to the table in terms of anything tangible .

Game six and that result (84-81) was an emphatic statement as to which team was simply deserving of this series . Having lost the series (4-2) the Magic , the coaching staff and team will have to reassess where , why and how things all went so badly wrong . This much is certain the Orlando Magic in its present guise I firmly believe will be completely new entity for the start of the 2011-12 season . I certainly don’t believe that Smith , Van Gundy and in particular team owner Rich DeVos , President & CEO Bob Vander Weide and the other senior executives of the Magic can be entirely happy with the outcome of this seris from a competitive or financial standpoint. Especially in light of franchise’s ongoing difficulties , albeit, that they’re now esconced in their new facility the Amway Center in downtown Orlando . The NBA and in particular in order to remain viable not just from a competitive standpoint also have to remain a viable one from a financial standpoint also . And that if anything has cast a shadow over the organization over the past several years . With NBA Commissioner David Stern and the league hierarchy projecting a fiscal loss of anywhere between $400 to $500 million you can well understand why it was imperative for the team to have had some semblance this postseason . Instead they’re now back to the drawing board looking to start over again with a plan in face hopefully with something that will lead to that ultimate goal of securing the club its first NBA title .

Given that in 2009 , the Orlando Magic were one of 18 teams around the NBA who were in receipt of a $175 million bailout courtesy of the league hierarchy by way of several financial institutions which the league itself has guaranteed . In 2010 the same exercise was again the norm with a further $300 million and it begs the question what’s going on with the NBA and in particular with its own financial template ? Anyone care to take a guess ?

I don’t know about you but as more information is divulged about Jim Tressel’s actions and the fact that he knew full well of several players’ improprieties , in their actions of selling memorabilia for financial gain. The more I ask myself , how is it that he still has a job at Ohio State ? Pardon me for saying this but how the fuck can the university condone these actions with a mere slap on the wrist by simply doing nothing more than asking Tressel to make a public apology and handing down a rather menial suspension ? The players involved in this subterfuge as such still have their athletic careers in tact but this simply gives further credence as to how corrupt collegiate athletics has become and the mere fact that the universities and the NCAA are powerless to stop any form of malfeasance that takes place . If Tressel can be allowed to remain on campus without there being real consequence for his actions , lying to senior faculty members and the press alike then it simply tells about this coach’s complete lack of integrity and character. And to think there are idiots about who still think of him as some type of role model ? Only a friggin’ idiot would be of that mindset I believe !

Dr E Gordon Gee the university’s president and Athletic Director Gene Smith have stated that they hope that episode can be put behind them and the school can proceed forward with its integrity still in tact . Well my answer to both Gee and Smith ….. ” had you had the balls to do what is morally right then perhaps your statements could be treated with a degree of realism “ . But given the fact that both have shown that they’d rather keep Tressel within their midst and with a tainted reputation simply emphasizes that within collegiate athletics ….. money simply trumps everything . There’s no denying that the football program brings in countless millions for the school but what that says about the school’s own image and the mere fact that they’d believe that Tressel’s less contrite apology makes up for his misdeeds shows and indicate how naive they actually are .

NCAA President Mark Emmert has stated that he’d like see a situation where student athletes would be able to receive some form of stipend while their collegiate athletic career is ongoing . But that’s something that I for one believe that the purists and many of the various athletic conferences might not be willing to part-take in . Not if it’s going to diminish what they’re receiving in terms of filling their monetary coffers . Imagine you have SEC Commissioner Mike Slive who’s now more concerned whether not the actions of Mark Shurtleff as Attorney General of Utah is stepping outside of his legal parameters ? Merely because Shurtleff wants to challenge the BCS’s antitrust exemption status and where he also feels that the BCS is an illegal monopoly in terms of its existence and how it conducts itself as a business entity. One could well understand Slive’s concerns , as he simply doesn’t want to see that gravy train dry up in any way .whatsoever . Not with there being countless millions at stake and pouring into coming into the major BCS conference coffers each year through various sports and business formats .

At some point there has to be some semblance brought into the midst as to how the NCAA deals with the misdeeds of not only the student athletes but also of the coaches who have been allowed in large have gone untouched for their actions . Simply look at what has taken place with Jim Calhoun , Bruce Pearl and Lane Kiffin recently and you can understand how pointless it as times to expect any sense of integrity coming from within collegiate athletics ! Integrity and greed simply doesn’t mix , much like oil and water is said not to . And that’s why nothing will ever change within the collegiate athletics landscape because in retrospect no one there actually wants it to change , the status quo has to remain the same . Integrity and honor be damned because that’s the least of the concerns of the schools , much less the NCAA itself .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

Alan aka tophatal …………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1)Carolina Panthers first-round draft pick Cam Newton answers a question after being introduced during an NFL football news conference at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, April 29, 2011. AP Photo/Bob Leverone ………….

(2) Washington Redskins first-round draft pick Ryan Kerrigan addresses the media during an NFL football news conference at Redskins Park, Friday, April 29, 2011, in Ashburn, Va. AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez ……

(3) Cam Newton receives a hug from his mother Jackie on stage after he was selected #1 overall by the Carolina Panthers during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ….

(4) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Mark Ingram, #28 overall pick by the New Orleans Saints, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ………

(5) 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. Kevin Cox / Getty Images …..

(6) Dwight Howard(12) of the Orlando Magic reacts after a turnover to the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin Cox / Getty Images …….

(7) A fan hold up a neon green sign with the word “Kryptonite” written on it during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs between the Atlanta Hawks and the Orlando Magic at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox ……….

(8) Gilbert Arenas (1) of the Orlando Magic drives to the basket against Josh Smith (5) and Al Horford (15) of the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox ………

(9) NBA commissioner David Stern, left, chats with Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos during the first half of Game 1 in a second-round of the NBA basketball playoff series between the Magic and the Atlanta Hawks in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, May 4, 2010. Stern announced earlier Tuesday that the 2012 All-Star Game will be held in Orlando. Courtesy of Forbes Magazine & AP Photo /John Raoux ……

(10) E. Gordon Gee, left, Ohio State University president; football coach Jim Tressel, center; and athletic director Gene Smith take questions during a news conference Tuesday, March 8, 2011, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State suspendedTressel for two games and fined him $250,000 for violating NCAA rules by failing to notify the school about information he received involving two players and questionable activities involving Buckeye memorabilia. Tressel also will receive a public reprimand and must make a public apology. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam ………..

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NBA News

NBA Playoffs 2011

NBA Games schedule

Friday 29th April 2011

Conference Semi Finals match-ups

Eastern Conference

Home team designated on the left

Chicago Bulls vs Atlanta Hawks

Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics

Western Conference

Los Angeles Lakers vs Dallas Mavericks

San Antonio Spurs/ Memphis Grizzlies vs Oklahoma City Thunder TBA

The series between the Spurs has yet to be decided with game six to be played tonight at the Fedex Forum in Memphis , Tennessee . . The Grizzlies at present have 3-2 lead in the best of seven game series .

NFL News

2011 NFL Draft

Draft by rounds : Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

Round 5

Round 6


Round 7

NFL Draft 2010

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Wyclef Jean …….. feat’g ….. Mary J Blige ……………. “911”

I’m Not Buying ……….

I’m Not Buying ……….

It’s becoming rather idiotic to see what might be the meltdown of the Orlando Magic and the fact that All Star center Dwight Howard having received his eighteenth technical foul has to sit out a one game mandatory suspension without pay. All this coming from a player who’s meant to be the leader on this team ? Howard has shown his offensive and defensive capabilities but in terms of moral and real vocal leadership it just doesn’t seem to be there . And granted the Magic’s coach Stan Van Gundy has complained to the NBA —- hierarchy that the officials are gunning for Howard each times he steps unto the court . There may well be some veracity to that argument but Howard doesn’t do himself any justice with his candor and irrational behavior when he runs afoul of the officials and the officiating .

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Slide show for your perusal .

In terms of support from Dwight Howard’s teammates this team is so inconsistent that it’s hard to make an argument as to why they can be viewed with any justification as a favorite for the NBA title much less being viewed as conference favorite . They’ve fallen somewhat down the standings in terms of a playoff berth and now sit behind conference leading Chicago Bulls , Boston Celtics and Miami Heat . And with the Heat and Celtics due to meet this weekend in what will be viewed as a series decider and who will ultimately gain the number two seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Orlando Magic’s season if anything has been uneven and in large part that has been down to the fact their inconsistency and the fact that they simply don’t close out games that they need to win. Whether or not that is the fault of Stan Van Gundy and his coaching staff I’ll let you be the judge of that ! With what appears to be a potential playoff match-up against the Atlanta Hawks another team to my mind that continually underachieves and how it is that Joe Johnson is continually viewed as a marquee player within the NBA is simply beyond me ! If it’s OK to steal money from an organization by simply offering them nothing in return then Johnson may well be the poster child for such a sentiment . Given the value of his current contract with the Hawks I think you’ll understand where I’m coming from as it relates to this argument. The Hawks’ front office may well have impressed with something about Johnson prior to the trade deadline as he was being courted by several teams around the league while he was an unrestricted free agent. Joe Johnson can play but as a leader he’s simply not the player I’d view as a franchise player , if anything I see him as rather the number two scorer for a franchise that it is need of offense . Beyond that there isn’t really much to Joe Johnson’s game.

If the Orlando Magic are to have at least a remote chance of going deep into the playoffs then Dwight Howard will have to really corral his aggressiveness and show that he can undoubtedly lead this team with a great deal of authority . And given the trades made by GM Otis Smith as sought by Van Gundy , as goes Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson then so will the fate of the team as they seek to return to the NBA Finals . Gilbert Arenas in spite of his waywardness while with the Washington Wizards you knew that he had the potential to give you 20 , 30 if not anywhere up 40 plus points in a game when he sets his mind to it . Now with the Magic he’s simply become something of a non-factor and if anything he’s got to improve his productivity along with that of Quentin Richardson and Brandon Bass will be needed to make the Magic more of an all round team and a constant threat.

The Eastern Conference in spite of its ‘star power’ what still resonates with me is that you still have teams that qualify for the postseason with sub .500 records and I’m suppose to think that the quality of play has been heightened by the addition of LeBron James , Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams who are viewed as elite players within the NBA ? Granted , within the conference the play is in large part predicated upon defense . And undoubtedly it has played a factor for many of the teams but in essence I feel that a team has to be well balanced in the aspect of its play. And that is also one of the primary reasons why I cannot see the New York Knicks going deep into the playoffs. No team coached by Mike DAntoni has ever been known for their defensive prowess and the Knicks aren’t about to become the first.

The acquisition of Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire by the Knicks at the behest of team owner James Dolan and GM Donnie Walsh had more to do with the fact that Madison Square Garden was on the way to becoming an elephants graveyard in terms of attendance for Knicks’ home games than it was a place to be seen by the paparazzi . What might be even more troubling is the fact that the Knicks are a moribund 11-15 since the trade acquisition of Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets . And granted the player has come in and showed his offensive prowess for the team but beyond that the Knicks have little to show for it all by way of anything tangible . What that says about the Knicks as an organization clearly will be translated by the success achieved by the team this postseason.

The NBA’s most valuable franchise needed to make a big splash merely to remain relevant within the NBA as a whole . And if anything it had to have been a welcoming sight for NBA Commissioner David Stern to see the organization cap off the move of acquiring both Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire . What awaits the team this postseason remains to be seen but it has become clear for those with any knowledge of the game the New York Knicks had better be able to prove the naysayers wrong if they’re to have any real semblance of success rather than the perception that the trades alone instantly made them a great deal better and a major force and threat in the NBA this postseason and for the foreseeable future .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the overall chances of both the Orlando Magic and New York Knicks’ chances in the playoffs ? And what signs if any are you most looking forward once the postseason starts this postseason ? By all means leave a comment as to your thoughts on the matters raised here in these topics and as usual thanks for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

😛

Picture and slide show details below
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(1) Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, left, argues a call with referee Bennett Salvatore in the second half of the Magic’s 111-102 win in an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, April 6, 2011. AP Photo/Chuck Burton …………….

(2) Charlotte Bobcats’ Kwame Brown (54) reacts after being charged with a technical foul after an altercation in the second half of the Magic’s 111-102 win in an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, April 6, 2011. Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, center, and Magic’s Ryan Anderson , right, look on. AP Photo / Chuck Burton ………

(3) Toronto Raptors forward Reggie Evans, right, tries to defend as Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard shoots during first-half NBA basketball game action in Toronto on Sunday, April 3, 2011. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn ……………

(4) Orlando Magic’s Gilbert Arenas (1) shoots over Charlotte Bobcats’ D.J. Augustin (14) in the second half of the Magic’s 111-102 win in overtime in an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, April 6, 2011.

(5) Orlando Magic’s Jameer Nelson, left, passes the ball around Charlotte Bobcats’ Dante Cunningham, right, in the second half of the Magic’s 111-102 win in overtime in an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, April 6, 2011. AP Photo/Chuck Burton …….

(6) New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony pulls down a rebound during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game against the New Jersey Nets Friday, April 8, 2011 in Newark, N.J. The Knicks won 116-93 . AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ………….

(7) New York Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire wears a boot on his foot as he looks on during a timeout in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the New Jersey Nets Friday, April 8, 2011 in Newark, N.J. The Knicks won 116-93. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ……

(8) New York Knicks’ Bill Walker, left, puts up a shot over New Jersey Nets’ Stephen Graham during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Friday, April 8, 2011 in Newark, N.J. The Knicks won 116-93. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …………..

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NBA News

NBA Schedule Sunday 10th April , 2011

NBA Conference Standings by Conference …….. Standings by division

Playoff Picture scenario before today’s scheduled games .

Orlando Magic

Orlando Magic history

Orlando Magic front office ….. General Manager Otis Smith

Orlando Magic roster

Team stats

Magic team splits

Orlando Magic 2010-11 schedule

Head coach Stan Van Gundy

Orlando Magic news

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New York Knicks

New York Knicks News

New York Knicks front office

New York Knicks’ roster

Team Stats

Team Splits

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Chris Brown ………….. ‘ Look At Me Now ‘ ……….. feat’g …. Lil’ Wayne & … Busta Rhymes

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Take It To The Rim ……………..

Take It To The Rim ……………………

OK so here we are and the feeling is now known that the ‘NBA’ has some work to do with regard to its image . What with the idiocy shown Wizards’ guard Gilbert Arenas and the fact that the US Justice Department has in principle agreed to a plea agreement between Arenas and the DA’s office. With Arenas said to be facing a ‘minimum of 5 years jail time’. It is being reported that the player will serve ‘no jail time’, whatsoever . However, more likely than not, Arenas might well be placed on probation. That’ll be at the federal judge’s discretion in the end. And with the player having had a prior weapon’s charge against still to be dealt with , it can be argued that jail time just might be the best and only option possible. His indefinite suspension from the NBA is unlikely to be rescinded. Nor should it be ! The idiots out there , giving credence to the player’s actions ought to think long and hard about this all and the fact that the Washington D.C area has amongst the highest homicide rates as well as gun crime rates in the nation. Arenas, himself, has stated that he was unaware as to the strictness of the gun laws in the nation’s capitol. How much of a ‘fu_king as_hole’ is Gilbert Arenas to begin with ?

Orlando Magic forward Mickael Pietrus, front, of Guadeloupe, gets tangled up with Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin in the fourth quarter of the Nuggets' 115-97 victory in an NBA basketball game in Denver on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010.  picture appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/David Zalubowsk  .....
Orlando Magic forward Mickael Pietrus, front, of Guadeloupe, gets tangled up with Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin in the fourth quarter of the Nuggets' 115-97 victory in an NBA basketball game in Denver on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/David Zalubowsk .....

With all of that in motion, David Stern apart from the indefinite suspension of Arenas now has to deal the falling attendance for games and the financial ravage that’s now being brought about because of the ensuing economic crisis in the country. It should come as no surprise that a number of NBA franchises are now suffering financially and looking at a number of ways to keep the fans coming to the games. A number of inducements are now in place , from ‘2 for 1 alcoholic drinks’ at the games , reduce general admission prices on game day tickets and reduced parking. Whether or not, this will be enough of an inducement to keep the fans coming remains to be seen. One thing that’s not in denial however is the state of the game. It still has its ‘omnipresent stars’ , from LeBron James , Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade , Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony , Brandon Roy , Chris Paul , Deron Williams , Dwight Howard and Tim Duncan . All are seen as the faces of the NBA at present.

Orlando Magic assistant coach Brendan Malone, left, joins head coach Stan Van Gundy in looking on against the Denver Nuggets late in the fourth quarter of the Nuggets' 115-97 victory in an NBA basketball game in Denver on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010.  Were Van  Gundy  and   famed  porn  star  Ron  Jeremy  separated  at  birth ?    picture  appears   courtesy  of  ap/photo/  David  Zabulowski  ..................
Orlando Magic assistant coach Brendan Malone, left, joins head coach Stan Van Gundy in looking on against the Denver Nuggets late in the fourth quarter of the Nuggets' 115-97 victory in an NBA basketball game in Denver on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010. Were Van Gundy and famed porn star Ron Jeremy separated at birth ? picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ David Zabulowski ..................

Last year’s NBA Finals , if anything proved to me that all the hype over Dwight Howard, is that he’s merely just a very good center but nowhere as yet, ‘the best player at the position’ within the NBA. He can’t stamp his demeanor on the game the way that we’ve seen the likes of Hakeem Olajuwon , David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Patrick Ewing and even Shaquille O’Neal have done over the course of their illustrious careers. But yet I’m to believe that Howard is that player that the fans ought now to look to ? Beyond the idiotic hype of him wearing a cape in the ‘NBA Slam Dunk’ contest. Howard has yet to show that he has the ‘leadership skills’ demanded of a player who’s viewed as a ‘team leader’.

Orlando Magic guard J.J. Redick walks off the court after the Denver Nuggets' 115-97 victory over the Magic in an NBA basketball game in Denver on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010.  picture  appears courtesy  of  ap/photo/ David Zalubowski .....
Orlando Magic guard J.J. Redick walks off the court after the Denver Nuggets' 115-97 victory over the Magic in an NBA basketball game in Denver on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ David Zalubowski .....

The Orlando Magic for their part with coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith have done their best to surround Howard with a roster that should be ‘good enough’ for a return visit to the NBA Finals. But the team as a whole can’t be viewed as ‘the best’ in the Eastern Conference. Especially in light of the play of the LeBron James’ led Cleveland Cavaliers and the ever present Boston Celtics and their now quartet of veterans stars in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rasheed Wallace. But if anything perhaps the best player on that Celtics’ roster this season may well be that of team’s point guard , Rajon Rondo. It has been Rondo, who has shown that he can raise the level of his play and provide the impetus for this Celtics’ team. Do you think that the team’s coach Doc Rivers really has ‘anything to worry about’ at this juncture ?

The Magic’s Dwight Howard and the Denver Nuggets’ Kenyon Martin share a conversation during a game between their two teams played at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets would go on to defeat the Magic 115-97 in the game. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/ Garrett W Ellwood …………

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Magic need advanced chemistry for title test

By Marc J. Spears

As disappointingly as the NBA Finals ended for the Orlando Magic last season, the Magic also had reason to smile about the promise of the future. They were young, talented and hungry. Some change was expected, but Orlando seemingly had all the core pieces needed to contend for championships for years to come.

Orlando general manager Otis Smith, however, didn’t take an “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” approach. So, by the end of the summer, Hedo Turkoglu had left, Courtney Lee, Rafer Alston and Tony Battie had been traded and the Magic were left staring at five new faces: Vince Carter, Ryan Anderson, Jason Williams, Matt Barnes and Brandon Bass.

Today’s Magic are significantly different than the group that squared off with the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals. And nearly halfway into this season, the Magic are also still trying to figure out if all the change was for the best.

“Our objective is to win an NBA championship,” Smith said. “Anything short of that is failure. When you’re having some failures, you’re looking for ways to succeed. I think we moved the right pieces in the right places. Some pieces we would have rather not have lost. We got some pieces back that we didn’t expect to have, either.”

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Click on link to read Marc Spears’ article in its entirety
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Rashard Lewis (#9) of the Orlando Magic takes a shot over Kenyon Martin (#4) of the Denver Nuggets during NBA action at Pepsi Center on January 13, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Magic 115-97.   picture  appears  courtesy of  Getty Images/ Doug D  Pensinger  ...............
Rashard Lewis (#9) of the Orlando Magic takes a shot over Kenyon Martin (#4) of the Denver Nuggets during NBA action at Pepsi Center on January 13, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Magic 115-97. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Doug D Pensinger ...............

If Howard is really going to prove himself to be the successor in waiting as to the dominant center in the game as Shaquille O’Neal’s game begins to decline. Then now is the time to really prove it, not just to the fans of the NBA but also to the pundits and analysts who cover the NBA. It’s all well and good to have that personable smile and demeanor but in essence if you have nothing at all to back it up. Then you’ll essentially be viewed as nothing more than a good player while never fulfilling that perceived potential.

As I’ve allude to earlier , the Orlando Magic are viewed as one of the ‘elite teams’ in a somewhat pedantic and average Eastern Conference. The conference as a whole has four very good teams but beyond that quartet, everything else could be viewed as being no better than marginally average. As to what that’d indicate as to the health and state of play within the Eastern Conference. I’ll leave that up for you to decide !

Friday night, the Magic will face off against the Western Conference’s Portland Trail Blazers. And with the Blazers having now both lost Greg Oden and Joel Pryzbilla for the season. They are out to prove that they’re capable of playing without these two and still show that they are a team to be feared not only within conference but across the entire NBA. Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Alridge are the players who lead this team with authority and the play of guards Steve Blake and Rudy Fernandez should not be overlooked at all. This game should give us an indication as to where both teams are, as to the relevance of their season. Both teams have been playing at a high level and while their records couldn’t be more dissimilar. The one thing you can be sure of is that both teams will know that they have something to prove to each other, as well as the rest of the league.

Dwight Howard if anything, has to prove his worth as a leader and an offensive presence. Inconsistency can’t be the norm for the Magic center and he knows it if he’s to be judged as one the modern day greats of the game at the position. Legacies when it comes to players who aspire to be viewed as one of the greats of the game has to be not just about hearsay but also about proof on the courts. But Howard has yet to prove that he ought to be viewed as one of the modern day greats of the game at the center position.

Carmelo Anthony (#15) of the Denver Nuggets laughs with Dwight Howard (#12) of the Orlando Magic on January 13, 2010 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.   picture  appears  courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/ Garrett W  Ellwood  .........
Carmelo Anthony (#15) of the Denver Nuggets laughs with Dwight Howard (#12) of the Orlando Magic on January 13, 2010 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/ Garrett W Ellwood .........

Last year’s NBA Finals if anything proved to me that the Orlando Magic are a long way off from where Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy would want them to be. If the Magic are to prove themselves then it will be down to the likes of Howard and his teammates Vince Carter , Rashard Lewis and others to prove that they are more than capable of being viewed as a legitimate contender to the Los Angeles Lakers’ ‘dominance’ of the NBA at present. If they are unable to do that then there’s no way that I can see them even prying away the Lakers’ grip on the Larry O’Brien trophy , much less their dominance of the NBA.

Howard’s game isn’t as multi-faceted as it ought to be and even with the tutelage of NBA great Patrick Ewing tutoring his young protégé . I can only surmise that Dwight Howard somehow feels that he has nothing else to learn from the Ewing and that his showmanship and character will get him to where he needs to be. Somehow, Howard is a player who has still yet to fully understand what he needs to be doing, in order to prove to others that he’s a player to be feared and seen as a leader. If ‘he can’t take it to the rim then no else will be around to do it for him’ .

The  shot  heard  across the     state  of   Utah  as   the  Jazz's Sundiata  Gaines   sinks  a  three  pointer  with  less  0.2  seconds  left   in  the   game  to defeat  the  Cleveland  Cavaliers   in  an   NBA   game   played   last  night.      picture  appears   courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Rick  Karlsson  ......................
The shot heard across the state of Utah as the Jazz's Sundiata Gaines sinks a three pointer with less 0.2 seconds left in the game to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in an NBA game played last night. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Rick Karlsson ......................

On another note , for those of you who may have missed last night’s that thrilling finish to the game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Utah Jazz. The finish itself, was something that can be best described as being absolutely sensational to say the very least ! The Jazz would go on to defeat the Cavaliers 97-96 on a ‘last second 3 point buzzer beater’ from NBA D League player, Sundiata Gaines. And the rest as they say is history.

If I’m showing my age here guys , then you’ll know that I’m an extremely ol’ fart. The guys in this R&B group here , Loose Ends are personal friends of mine from ‘back in the day’. This one of their hits here state’s side. ‘Hangin’ On A String’ from 1985. As to my age ,well a gentleman never tells , as they say.

Denise Milani as   the   sportschump   will   tell  is  ever  so  pleasing to the  eye  !
Denise Milani as the sportschump will tell is ever so pleasing to the eye !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………………..

Lindsay Lohan Says Leave The Magic Alone They Were In Their Happy Place , People Just Don’t Seem To Understand Them Or Me …!

Lindsay Lohan  Says Leave   The  Magic  Alone  They  Were  In  Their  Happy Place  ,  People  Just  Seem To  Understand  Them  Or  Me …….

It  says much  as  to  the  capabilities  of  a   team   if they  can  continue to  overcome  adversity  ,  compete and   do  all of  the  prerequisite things that   it    takes to win.   Having  watched  the Orlando  Magicdefend  their   home-court    in the  first  game   of the  playoffs   against  the  Philadelphia   76ers.  I’m  not  so  sure  that  this   team  has  what  it  takes  to   challenge  the  likes  of    the  Cleveland  Cavaliers  in  the  Eastern  Conference  for   supremacy  there .    Much  less   having   the   presence  of mind  to   challenge    many  of the   teams   within  the  Western  Conference  altogether.

Rafer Alston  point   guard for  the  Magic  goes  up  for  the  layup  against  the 76ers.
Rafer Alston of the Orlando Magic goes for the layup against the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers would go on to defeat the Magic 100-98 at the Amway Arena in Orlando, Fl. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Fernando Medina ..............

<I’ve   heard  it being  said that  the  Magic    have  finally  arrived  and   that  they    ought  to be  considered   being  amongst  the  elite    teams  of the  NBA.   For  me    ,  I view  an  elite   team  within   a  league ,  a  team  that has  a  body  of  work behind  it  and   one   who’s   always  considered  a  perennial  contender.   The   Orlando   Magic  has yet  to  show me    that  they’re  either  of  the  above.    What  they  are   however is  a  very  good    regular   season    team.     But  whose  ambitions  of   being   considered   a  contender   is  somewhat   short  of the  bar  that  they’ve   set    for  themselves. 

Andre' Iguodala  of  the  76ers attemmpts the  jump  shot over the  outstretched  arms  of the  Magic's  Dwight  Howard.   Iguodala would  go  on to  score  20 pts  for  the  76ers  in their triumph  over the Orlando Magic.  They  now hold  1-0  in the best  of  seven  game series.
Andre' Iguodala of the 76ers attempts the jump shot over the outstretched arms of the Magic's Dwight Howard. The 76ers would go on to triumph over the Magic (100-98) to take 1-0 lead in the best of seven games in the first round of the playoffs. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Fernando Medina ...........

The  Orlando  Magic coming  off  a  59  game  win  season,  there  are   those   around   the league and   within   the  pundits’  broadcast   forum. Who   view  this   team  as  one  those  who  can  live   up  to  the  potential   of  being  a   serious challenger to the  likes  of  the  Cavaliers  and Boston  Celtics   for     dominance  and  supremacy within  the  Eastern Conference.  All   three  teams   have    distinctively    different   pedigrees.     The  Celtics  have   their   triumvirate  of  Kevin Garnett ,Allen   and  Pierce.  Though  it  can  be   said   that  with   the  loss  of   Garnett    their   chances  of     making  it to the   conference   finals   have   diminished   somewhat. 

Coach  Stan  Van Gundy of the  Magic   signals  to  his players   that  he'd  like to  see  more  effort  shown  oncourt   by  his players.
Coach Stan Van Gundy of the Magic signals to his players that he'd like see more effort oncourt from his players. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Fernando Medina .............

The Cavaliers   for their   part    have  LeBron   James who  at  this   present   time  may well   be   considered  to  be   the  most   gifted player in  the  league.  OK  I   know that  there are   naysayers   out   there  who  may  well   feel   that the    accolade  isn’t  befitting  a  player  who’s  yet  to   win  anything  of  merit  within  the  league.  But  at the  same  one   cannot   overlook   his  presence   on  a  team  that   has   garnered   66  wins  this   season   and   has  looked   unbeatable   on  their   home-court.   Take   LeBron  off  this   team  and  they   may   well   struggle  to   attain   25 to  30   wins  at   best.  But  it  cannot  and   should   not   detract   from  what  they’ve   achieved  as  a  team  this  season.

76ers' point   guard   Andre  Miller   celebrates  his  team's  victory  over  the  Orlando  Magic.  The 76ers  stole  a victory  on the  Magic's  homecourt at  the  Amway  Arena in  Orlando , Florida.
76ers' point guard Andre Miller celebrates the team's win over the Orlando Magic at Amway Arena ,Orlando , Fl. The win by the team was a resolute allround effort. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty imnages / Fernando Medina ..................

Rashard Lewis  of  the  Orlando  Magic   with the one  handed   dunk .
Rashard Lewis of the Orlando Magic with the one handed dunk during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Amway Arena in Orlando , Florida. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Fernando Medina ...............

Orlando    for  its   part   possesses   without   doubt   the   best   big  man   in the   game   in  the  guise  of     Dwight  Howard.  Who if anything  this  year   has  finally   arrived  and  ought  to be  considered  as   on the   bright   stars   of  the  league.  His presence  and   determination   on  the  team  if  anything   has   provided a   backbone  and  leadership  to it.   However  wherever   he   leads   it sometimes  appears  that   his   teammates  aren’t  always  too  willing   to    follow.    It may  well   come   down to  the  fact that  on   their    roster   there   doesn’t appear  to  be   that  many  players   with    playoff  experience    other   than   being   seasoned   veterans.    They’ve  a    young   staff  of    talented   players  with  the  likes  of   Mikael  Pietrus href=”http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/4139″&gt;J. J Redick ,   Marcin  Gortat  and  Courtney  Lee slowly   coming  to  the   fore.   But   that    in  ofitself   cannot   hide  the   fact   for  the  team’s   poor   showing   against  Philadelphia    this   past  Sunday.

Theo  Ratliff  of the 76ers makes  the   dunk  over the   defensive  presence  of the  Magic's  Hedo  Turkoglu  and  Tony Battie .
Theo Ratliff of the 76ers makes the dunk over the defensive presence of the Magic's Hedo Turkoglu and Tony Battie. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Fernando Medina ...............

How   else   can  one   explain  their    poor  play    down   the   closing   stretch  of  the  game   where  they   allowed  the  Sixers to  erase  an   eighteen  point   deficit   and  come   back  to  win  the  game altogether  ?  It’s  one   thing  to   state  that   they   didn’t  apply  themselves to  the  task  at hand.   But  when   they  make   a  player of  Andre  Iguodala   of  the  76ers  appear  to  the    reincarnation  as  to  the   second   coming  of  Michael  Jordan  .  One  has to    question  the   resolve  of  this   team.    Not only  did  Iguodala   have   a   tremendous    game   but  he  was  allowed  so  much   freedom   up and  down the  court.  That  one   had  to   wonder  if  the  Magic   themselves  were   just  there  to  make  up   the   numbers   as   far  as  their  presence  was  concerned.  

Defensively   this   team  was  about    resolute   in  its  execution  as  the    Treasury  Department  has  been  in their    doling   out   of   taxpayers   money  to  a   sundry   of  financial  and    industrial concerns.    A   lot  of  thought   may   well  have   gone   on   as to  the  premise   behind the   maneuvers.  But   in  terms   of  its   execution    ,  it  was   about   as  adept  as   having  a   baby   try  and   walk   for  the   first  time  without  any   support  being  given.   You  just  knew   that   something     bad    had  to  happen.    And so  it   did  as  many  of  who   viewed  this    debacle  on  television   can   only  wonder  what   it   was  the   Magic  was trying  to  achieve.   Needless  to  say   that  their   fans and  coach,  Stan  Van  Gundy   can’t   have been    pleased  with  what  they’d   witnessed. 

 

Iguodala makes  the  reverse  dunk  during  the  playoff  game against the  Orlando  Magic.
Iguodala makes the reverse dunk in the playoff game against the Orlando Magic. Iguodala would be the main offensive presence and instigator behind the team's victory over the Orlando Magic. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Fernando Medina ................

While   one    can    apportion    blame   on the  Magic’s   players  ,  a certain   amount  of  that  blame  also   ought  to  rest    squarely   on the  shoulders   of  Van  Gundy  and  his   coaching   staff.   Rarely   can  a  coach   and   his   staff   performed  so    badly.   And  for  someone   of  Van   Gundy’s  stature   who’s   often   thought   of  as  being  one  of  the  more  astute   coaching   minds   around  the  NBA.   It   has  to be   said  that he  was  completely    outcoached    by his   opposite  number   in  Tony DiLeo.  

 

  Continue reading “Lindsay Lohan Says Leave The Magic Alone They Were In Their Happy Place , People Just Don’t Seem To Understand Them Or Me …!”

He Stoops To Conquer ………..

 

He Stoops  To  Conquer    ………………

 

 

 

 

As  of  late   a  great   veracity   of  an  argument   can  be  made as   to  why  the  Miami  Heat’s   Dwyane  Wade   ought  to be  added  into  the  mix   of   MVP  candidates.  The   player  has   been   putting  up   monumentally  astounding   numbers   alone.  And   almost  single  handedly   he’s  defeated  the   Boston  Celtics  and  Chicago  Bulls  in successive   games.    

 

 

A  Miami  Heat  fan  makes  it  plainly  known  where  his  allegiances  lie in  expressing  his  sentiments  towards  his  favorite player  Dwyane Wade.
A Miami Heat fan makes it plainly known where his allegiances lie with regard to his favorite player Dwyane Wade . picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Victor Baldizon ..............

  

 

His   play   in  particular   against  the  Boston  Celtics   could   be  described as   being   spectacular .   And  it  can  be  borne   out   by   the   stats   accumulated  by  the  player  on the   night  in  his   team’s   success   in  defeating  the  Celtics   107-99  at  the  American Airlines Arena  in Miami, Florida. Wade  on the  night   would   score  32 pts to go  along  with  a  well  balanced   display   of  on  both   ends  of  the  court.

 

Dwyane Wade  signals  to the  bench   during  the game  played against the  Boston  Celtics.
Dwyane Wade signals to the bench during the game played against the Boston Celtics at the American Airlines Arena , Miami , Florida. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/Victor Baldizon ...............

 

 

 

 

One   might  suggest  that    we  can   overlook   Wade’s   feats    as    he’s   playing   on   a  team  that’s  not   necessarily    viewed   championship  caliber   material.  But   I’d   hasten   to  add    the  way  that   this   team  is  playing  and   given  the   confidence   being   shown  by  the  player.  They    might   well   be  a  danger   to  any  of the  top   contenders  within  the  Eastern   Conference   at  this  juncture.     And   though  the   talk   throughout  much  of the  season   has   been  the  play   of  LeBron   James ,  Kobe  Bryant and   Dwight  Howard.   I’d  say  personally    that   we   ought to  broaden   our   horizons   beyond  that   triumvirate.  To  ignore   Wade   at this   juncture   would  be   akin  to  stating  that   Jack  Nicholson’s   role  of  Randle Patrick  Murphy  in  “One  Flew  Over The Cuckoo’s  Nest”  wasn’t  an  Oscar  worthy portrayal.    But  then  again  the   adjudicators  of   this   award   have  been   known  to  make  mistakes.   And   at  this   juncture    I  think  that  we  can  leave  it at  that.   To   pursue  that  road   and  to  stake  a  claim  as   to   the  mistakes  that’ve  been  made    would   take   far too  long   to   discuss  the  merits   to  anyone’s  satisfaction.  Suffice to  say  it’s  a   subject   best  left  untouched.

 

Jermaine O'Neal of  the  Miami  Heat  blocks  the  shot  of  a  Celtics'  player  during  the  game.
Jermaine O'Neal of the Miami Heat blocks the shot of a Celtics' player during the game. The Heat would go on to defeat the Celtics 107-99. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Victor Baldizon ..............

 

 

 

 

As   to  Wade’s   own   play  this   season     one   can   say  that  we’ve  seen a   rebirth   of  the  player.  He’s   rejuvenated  and   coming   off  an   impressive   Olympic   display.   One  can   say  what  we’re  now  seeing   …..”  is  The  Flash  of  old “.    And   in  no  way   is  that  meant  to   demean  the   exploits  of   his   peers  at   this   juncture.  Each  of  them   in  their   own   right  are   having   outstanding   seasons.   But it’d  be  a  gross  injustice   if  Wade   were  not   to   be  considered  in  the   voting  process  at this   time.   And  I’m   sure   if  anything  that   the other    contenders   mentioned   have   their  own   supporters  and  arguments   are   being   made  why  their  choice   ought to  be  considered.   However  at the  end   of the  day    the  choice   won’t   be  made    by   you  or  I.  But   by     those   who  are   believed  to be   more   insightful   and  with   more   of  a  keen  sense   as  to what  is  being  sought    and    warrants   being  the  regular  season  league  MVP.  The   award   has  been   one   by   litany  of  the  league’s  best  players  over  the   years ,   some   more    warranted  than  others.

 

 

Erik Spoelstra coach of  the Miami  Heat   speaks  to  his players  before  the  game  against the  Boston Celtics played  at the American Airlines  Arena, Miami, Florida,.
Coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat speaks with his players before the game played against the Boston Celtics. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Victor Baldizon ................

 

 

As  to  Wade’s  own  standing  within   the  NBA .  It  has   to be   said   that   he  is   one  of  the  elite   players    within  the  league   whose    bravado   on  the  court   is  unquestioned.   Night  in  , night   out  his   game  is   of  a  consistently   high  level.  And   he  tends  to  lead   by   example.   One  can  only  surmise   how   good   the   Miami  Heat  might   be   were   he   complemented  with  a  group  of  players  who   possessed   his   passion   for   the   game.  And  who   also  are  willing   to    play  at    that   heightened    level.

 

Celtics' coach  Glenn 'Doc'  Rivers  speaks  with  his   point  guard  Stephon  Marbury    during the  game.
Glenn 'Doc' Rivers coach of the Boston Celtics speaks with his point guard Stephon Marbury during the game against the Miami Heat. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Victor Baldizon ............

 

 

 

 

 

 

The  Miami  Heat (35-29)  are  chasing   a  playoff  spot  under   first  year  coach  Erik  Spoelstra.  One  might  hasten  to  add that   President  and GM Pat Riley  is  waiting  in the  wings. But   I  sincerely   doubt  that  he’d  be  willing  to   rain   on Spoelstra’s   parade.  And  as  much  as   we   know  that  Riley   craves the   limelight . Even   he  wouldn’t   have  the   temerity  to  derail   his   young   protégé’s  ambitions.  Would  he  ?

 

 

The Miami  Heat's  Dwyane  Wade contests  a loose   ball  with the  Boston Celtics' Mikki  Moore  during  the  game.
The Maimi Heat's Dwyane Wade contests a loose ball with the Boston Celtics' Mikki Moore during the game. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Victor Baldizon ..................

  

 

And  with  the   standings   being  what  they  are  in  the  Eastern Conference.  The   Miami  Heat   it  can  be  said  are   sitting   pretty   in  the   fifth  spot.   A  favorable   matchup   against  the  Atlanta  Hawks   would  look   mighty   tempting  were  those   standings  to hold  up  at the  end  of  regular  season.  But   as such  the  games   aren’t  played  in the  minds  of  the   fans   but  on  the   court  and   are   played   out  to   the  end. If  nothing  else  we know   that   making   presumptions   are   not   in  anyone’s   best   interests.    And  the  case   can  also   be  made   when  it  comes  to   adjudicating   the   league  MVP  as  far  as   the  NBA  is  concerned.

 

 

 

  Continue reading “He Stoops To Conquer ………..”

In The Name Of The King , Long Live The King It’s Good To Be The King ……….!

 

 

So LeBron James  wants  to become a global marketing  icon ? I’m not at a loss to hear this as I’ve  always thought it  somewhat prophetic to hear many of  the NBA’s biggest  stars  liken themselves  as the next  big  thing  in their  own way.  

 

 

 

 

Lebron James  shoots  the  layup in a  game  played  against  the  Memphis  Grizzlies   ....................
LeBron James shoots the layup in a game played against the Memphis Grizzlies ....................

 

LeBron James   shoots  the layup  in  a game played  against the  Memphis Grizzlies. picture  appears  courtesy of  nbae/getty images/ Joe Murphy …………..

 

 

 

 

 

As it now stands James is  leading, as  only  he  can. He  has  the  fans there in Cleveland eating  out of  his hands.  And across  the  league  he’s  either liked or disliked  as the case  may  be.   Somehow  I’d  hazard a guess  that were  he  on  a team supported  by the naysayers   then  their  resolve  and  attitude might  be  somewhat different.. I’m  not  an apologist  for  James  as he’s  entitled  to  attain the  riches  that  the  game  and  the  NBA  has to offer.

 

 

 

 

 

So  in 2010  James  will  become a free  agent  and  franchises  across  the  league  will  be  scouring   to placate  James  and offer   him a  king’s  ransom.  But  for  now  the  player  has  some unfinished  business with the  Cleveland  Cavaliers.  As  for  the  franchise itself  they’ve  got to placate the  player  and  his  wants.    Now  as  we  all  know  there’s the  talk  that the New York  Knicks   covets  the  player. Much  like  Paris Hilton craves  a  new  BFF.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now  as the game  stands  and   the  desires of the  NBA  and  their  wish to  see  the  resurrection  of the  franchise.  It  begs  the  question will  James  succumb  to  the  temptations  and  the  allure  of  the  Knicks’ organization and  in particular  the  Big Apple.  Truth  they  say is  stranger than  fiction.  And  if  there’s  any  truth being  told  then is it coming  from  the  lips  of  the player or  from  those who  only  wish  to  create  the  rumors that’ll  further  drive the  story  ?

 

 

 

 

 

Kyle  Lowry  of the  Grizzlies  tries  to  drive  past Delonte  West  of  the  Cavaliers  during  the  game  ...................
Kyle Lowry of the Grizzlies tries to drive past the Cavaliers' Delonte West during the game .............................
 
Kyle  Lowry of  the Memphis Grizzlies   tries to  drive past  Delonte West of the  Cleveland  Cavaliers.  The  Cavaliers  would  go on to win  the  game  102-87.  picture appears  courtesy  of nbae/getty images/ Joe  Murphy ………………

  

 

 

 

James   has now  been  surrounded  with  the  requisite  players   whom the   hierarchy  of  the  Cleveland  Cavaliers  feel  will be  enough to supplant  the  Boston Celtics  this  year as  contenders  within the  Eastern  Conference.  But  for  the  moment  it is Boston  whom  the  rest  of  the  Eastern  Conference  are  chasing  in  terms  of  conference   supremacy.  The Orlando Magic  this season   under  the leadership  of  Dwight  Howard are making  some  noise within  the  conference.  And  their  record  speaks   for  itself  as  it’s  now  the  second  best  within  the  conference  percentage wise.

 

 

 

Continue reading “In The Name Of The King , Long Live The King It’s Good To Be The King ……….!”