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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Latina actress Nadine Velazquez

A Welcoming Face To The NBA Now Soon To Be Missed ……………..

A Welcoming Face To The NBA Now Soon To Be Missed ……………..

With the formal retirement of Yao Ming from the NBA and the Houston Rockets an organization that the player represented proudly . I have always felt that were it not for the recurring injuries suffered over the latter stages of his career the player would have put up prolific numbers . Alas it was not to be and I feel with his departure the fans were deprived of something truly special ! Drafted number one overall in the 2002 NBA Draft the player would become a multiple All Star during his time with the Houston Rockets .

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It was often felt that team owner Leslie Alexander and general manager Daryl Morey never truly sought to surround the player with the talent needed to be competitive at the highest echelons of the game . Certainly with the team failing to make the 2011 NBA playoffs this past season it was clear for everyone to see that the organization would be heading in a new direction. And with the mere fact that the Houston Rockets within the Southwest Division of the Western Conference looked so out of lock with the rest of the teams within the division and conference at large.

With there now being an initiative slowly being proposed to have a special dispensation that would allow Yao Ming to forgo the five year criteria after retirement that would allow the player immediate enshrinement into the Basketball Hall of Fame . The main proponents of this have been a group of Chinese reporters who cover the NBA not only in the country but across the Asian Pacific peninsular . There’s no denying that the player has served the game well as an ambassador and has contributed greatly to the popularity of the sport in his native China . In lieu of the Beijing Olympics when team USA with its litany of NBA stars won gold , it has to be said that beyond the marquee players on that roster perhaps no other player was more beloved and respected than Yao Ming.

Courtesy of USA Today

Yao Ming nominated for Naismith Hall of Fame as contributor

HOUSTON (AP) — Retired Houston Rockets center Yao Ming could enter the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as early as next year — not as a player, but as a contributor to the game.

John Doleva, the president and CEO of the Hall, said Tuesday that Yao has been nominated by a member of the Chinese media and his credentials will be considered by an international panel. As a contributor, Yao would bypass the usual five-year waiting period for retired players.

The 7-foot-6 Yao retired in July after leg and foot injuries ended his eight-year NBA career. The eight-time All-Star averaged 19 points and 9.2 rebounds in the NBA.

He’ll also be remembered for his global impact on the league, almost single-handedly expanded its reach throughout Asia.

PHOTOS: Yao Ming in pictures

Doleva said a panel of seven “experts on the international game” will consider Yao’s credentials, and six of the seven will have to approve Yao’s election. The panel is only allowed to select one individual, and Doleva said Yao will be facing about 12-15 other candidates for induction next year.

The deadline for nominations is Nov. 1. Doleva says a member of the Chinese media contacted him to ask about the categories available for individuals, and submitted a formal application this week on Yao’s behalf.

“It has to go through the process,” Doleva said. “There is no guarantee when someone is nominated that they will be elected in their first year. That’s kind of what makes the process work. The committee takes a look at the pros and cons.”

Yao can certainly make a compelling argument.

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Now there’s bound to be some controversy brought about with the possible enshrinement Yao Ming to the Basketball Hall of Fame but it has to be said that you cannot ignore the contributions of the player not only as a player but also in terms of humanitarian and philanthropic efforts and he should be commended for that all . Should this proposal be accepted by the committee and board members of Naismith Hall of Fame then I do believe that it will be something that the fans of the NBA will be appreciative of !

As the immediate future of the Houston Rockets it is extremely difficult to see where the organization goes from here . The team’s best player Kevin Martin has been the leader that they need but beyond the team’s leading scorer but beyond Luis Scola and Kyle Lowrie there’s little to suggest this team is capable of mounting a serious challenge to be thought of as a legitimate contender for an NBA title .

With the NBA lockout still in place and a number of players still opting for the idea of playing abroad . A great deal has been made as to how this will affect the teams should there not be a regular season for the upcoming year. For the Houston Rockets there biggest concern will what they are or will be able to do in the aftermath of losing Yao Ming. There seems to be discontent amongst the fans and great concern as to whether or not they will be able to retain Kevin Martin should the season resume as scheduled . Daryl Morey even with the moves made by the organization did not build anything amounting to what one would perceive to be a championship caliber team . Instead he has sought to build through the draft adding pieces he believes alongside the integral piece of Kevin Martin and an assortment of veterans as the Rockets apparently look to the future .

The long held feeling amongst the fans is that as the lockout remains enforced with neither side seemingly clear as to reaching an amicable accord the fans will be left in bewilderment as to the lack of traction in the deliberations between the league hierarchy and the NBPA (union). Certainly with there being no communique between the coaches and players as to their off-season regimen there is not much that can be added to the current spectacle on display.

And though there’s a young nucleus to the roster of the Houston Rockets , without that major veteran presence the team will sruggle . With the hiring of NBA great Kevin McHale as the team’s coach and an assistant staff led by Darryl Eto and Jason Biles we could see some semblance of commitment and competitiveness from this team should there be an upcoming season.

What cannot be denied as the Houston Rockets look to the future is that the organization has been fortuitous with the personnel decisions made by Daryl Morey in terms of the draft choices made . Some of which have panned out , while others have not . The pressing need for the team will be how best to recover from the loss of Yao Ming not only from a competitive standpoint but also what he brought to the organization from a commercial and economically as well. Some teams can withstand the loss of a major presence but I doubt that few can actually match what the loss this player will actually mean to the Houston Rockets and the NBA in particular . His popularity wasn’t simply amongst the NBA fans itself but on a global scale his was the face that gave the game a real presence around the world . And in a country where the population of 1.3 billion , Yao Ming’s face was recognizable to all and it has never waned .

It will now be up to the likes of Kevin Martin , Luis Scola , Kyle Lowry , Chase Budinger , Jonny Flynn , Goran Dragic and Courtney Lee to prove that they are capable of taking this organization to new heights in the future . And we may well see what Kevin McHale is actually capable of achieving as a coach as he looks to impart his knowledge to this team. Hopefully , it will be of great benefit to the players as they move forward looking to acquit themselves favorably in the eyes of the Houston Rockets’ fans .

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With the retirement of Yao Ming from the NBA do you believe that he’s a worthy candidate for enshrinement into the Basketball Hall of Fame ? Or do you believe that his inclusion as such will make something of a mockery as to what one might consider appropriate in terms of the permitted criteria for his inclusion ? Do bear in mind however that the Hall is not simply about the contribution merely on the court but what is achieved by the the inductee in popularizing the game away from the court . Feel free to leave a comment as to your thoughts on the subject matter in question .

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(1) In this photo from August 2010 , Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, right, of China talks with a reporter after a basketball workout in Houston. Yao underwent a medical evaluation Monday which revealed a hairline fracture in his right foot . AP Photo/ David J. Phillip …..

(2) FILE – In this Oct. 30, 2010 file photo, Houston Rockets’ Yao Ming, left, of China shoots the ball over Denver Nuggets’ Nene (31) of Brazil, during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Houston. John Doleva, the president and CEO of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame , said Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011, that Yao has been nominated by a member of the Chinese media as a contributor to the game and his credentials will be considered by an international panel. As a contributor, Yao would bypass the usual five-year waiting period for retired players. AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File ……….

(3) Basket-CHN-Yao,FEATURE, by D’Arcy Doran ____ Chinese basketball player and NBA superstar Yao Ming speaks during a press conference in Shanghai on July 20, 2011. The search is on to fill Yao Ming’s size-18 sneakers after China’s biggest sports luminary announced his retirement, and Chinese scouts are combing city courts and pre-schools for a future star. AFP PHOTO /Getty Images / PHILIPPE LOPEZ ….

(4) Chinese basketball player and NBA superstar Yao Ming (R) and his wife Ye Li hold their daughter Amy during a press conference in Shanghai on July 20, 2011. The 2.29-metre (7ft 6in) Yao, the first Asian superstar of the National Basketball Association, announced his retirement after a trail-blazing career that made him China’s best-known athlete abroad and helped spur the game’s global growth. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE LOPEZ /Getty Images …..

(5) US basketball star Kobe Bryant (R) is challenged by a college student during a friendly game in Manila on July 13, 2011. Bryant, who was in Manila for promotional work while meeting with poor local children and players, hailed fellow NBA superstar Yao Ming for the Chinese giant's contribution to basketball amid reports the Houston Rockets centre would soon retire. AFP PHOTO / JAY DIRECTO/Getty Images …..

(6) NEWARK, NJ – JUNE 23: Marcus Morris from the Kansas Jayhawks greets NBA Commissioner David Stern after he was selected 14 overall by the Houston Rockets during the 2011 NBA Draft at the Prudential Center on June 23, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. Getty Images/ Mike Stobe …….. @ copyrighted material all rights reserved .

(7) Kevin Martin (12) of the Houston Rockets reaches to control the ball in front of Eric Gordon (10) of the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on December 22, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images North America / Stephen Dunn ….

(8) Luis Scola (4) of the Houston Rockets celebrates after making a basket late in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on December 22, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Rockets won 97-92 . Getty Images/ Stephen Dunn ……

(9) Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey is seen here alongside Luis Scola . Getty Images / Rob Hughes …..

(10) Houston Rockets new basketball head coach Kevin McHale, left, answers questions as team owner Leslie Alexander looks on during an introductory NBA basketball news conference, Friday, June 3, 2011, in Houston. AP Photo/Pat Sullivan ….
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Hashish Is The Spice of Life …………

Hashish Is The Spice Of Life So Says Deron Williams

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of Foxsports

NBA stars going overseas a bad sign

By Dan Wolken

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

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

Picture and slide show details below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NBA Salaries

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Do The Right Thing ……………….

Do The Right Thing ……………..

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

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Slide show for your perusal .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

Alan aka tophatal …………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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

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

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

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

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From The Sublime To The Ridiculous And Beyond …….

From The Sublime To The Ridiculous And Beyond …………

Well it goes without saying that the coming week will bring us a great deal of news . First off the upcoming NFL Draft will begin this Thursday the 28th April being staged at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City , New York . The it factor as they say is that quarterbacks are at a premium and the furor over Cam Newton , Andy Dalton , Blaine Gabbert and anyo other collegiate player playing the position , they’re considered to be prime pieces of real estate in a burgeoning market. Well friends , given the fact that commercial real estate and the whole real estate economy is now in the doldrums , when it comes to the quarterbacks that are on display here . I’m not so sure that any team opting to take a qb in the first dozen picks of the first round would be considered a prudent one .

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Slide show for your perusal .

I’d say this the idiocy of not only carrying on with the draft but at the same there’s a league instigated lockout and is there a thought that the league hierarchy and owners are looking like more the buffoons we now believe them to be right from the outset ? Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith have become the NFL’s answer to that legendary comedic duo Laurel and Hardy with the intransigence that has been shown by between both , as presiding Judge Susan Nelson has mediated over this process . The two sides will not meet again publicly until early May , as Nelson has adjourned this process while she now assesses the presentations from both sides before rendering a binding arbitrary decision . I somehow get the feeling that verdict n will only be met cordially with any form of approval from the side that the verdict is rendered against .

The NFLPA having decertified itself to become a trade association in order to challenge the NFL’s antitrust status took a bold attempt with their decision and maneuver to go down this route . Goodell and the owners saw fit to try and paint the players and their union in a poor light and that effort seems to have failed in the eyes of the public . As to the decision rendered I hope that the two sides will have learned something from this all and that it prove fruitful in any further dealings between the two sides !

I understand that for MLB Commissioner Bud Selig finds that the postseason within baseball is the most exciting time of the calendar year within the game . But if the rumors are to be believed that the league hierarchy and owners are thinking about tinkering with the postseaon schedule by adding to wildcard system . Then I would have to say that the idea is something of an asinine one ! If adding teams to the system is what Selig seeks , then he will most certainly have to seek an agreement from MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner and the union . At the same time I would have thought that Selig , the league hierarchy , owners and the union have far more pressing issues such as , the financial stability and viability of a number of teams around the league . Is it not enough that Bud Selig has had to personally intervene by sending in an independent official to take over the day to day operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers whose self absorbed owner Frank McCourt was well on the way to bankrupting the organization with his less than open business deals ?

If McCourt is of the opinion that borrowing some $30 million from the local Fox tv affiliate in order to meet the team’s budgetary expenses for the month of April when the season is barely one month old ___ alludes to the fact that the Dodgers isn’t an organization that is in serious financial trouble then it would suggest that he’s not the businessman he obviously thinks that he is . What I for one would like to know , is when Frank McCourt proposed buying the team from News Corp subsidiary Fox Inc in 2003 what sort of investigation had been conducted by the league hierarchy before agreeing to let the purchase go ahead ? Because had their investigations been absolutely thorough then the hierarchy would have found that McCourt had some serious concerns in light of certain business deals that had fallen through , and wherein certain business entities he’d been dealing with had sought legal recourse within the Federal Courts lodging several suits against the real estate tycoon . But I guess the color of money tends to cloud the judgment even of the most principled of people !

If the changes as proposed does come into being I can only assume that it’s being done in order to foster further interest from the fans of the teams who in large part were never really in with a chance of making the postseason to begin with . This maneuver merely creates an incentive and the illusion that somehow those teams are actually in with a chance. As to the proposal which haven’t yet been made public I would certainly like to know what major changes are about to take place , how and when should the approval be given ___ when will we sit it all come into being ?

Well the silly season has began as the NBA Playoffs creates the excitement we’ve all come to expect . Nonetheless it’s behind the scenes where I for one now find amusing ! . The Houston Rockets and their GM Daryl Morey have seen fit not to seek the return of coach Rick Adelman . But if anything the Rockets’ problems have been fomenting over the past two seasons . Having lost All Star center Yao Ming this past season to a recurring injury and the less than productive tenure of Tracy McGrady as part of the organization you can’t but question the mindset of Morey and that of team owner Leslie Alexander . At what point had it occurred to them that things simply hadn’t been working out with Adelman ?

Surely based on the play of the team not only this season but last season as well , the loss of Yao would play a significant part in how one would view the chances of the team succeeding . You simply can’t think that there’s an easy solution to replace Yao’s productivity and what he brings to a team as merely an aberration . But somehow I get the impression that Morey simply hadn’t planned for such a situation and neither had he taken the opportunity of bolstering the team’s roster in each of the last two seasons when the center was having his injury problems .

If the problems of Miami Dolphins’ wide receiver Brandon Marshall hasn’t been well chronicled enough as it has been already . This latest incident wherein his wife Michi Nogami-Marshall had been arrested and charged with attempted second degree assault in the stabbing of her husband in the abdomen . Though the injury isn’t said to be critical or life threatening , the player had to held overnight in a South Florida hospital . If that hasn’t been enough, given Marshall’s history both on and off the field as it relates to his temperament, that it has now come to this ? A question now has to be asked as to how the Dolphins’ management will view this situation. GM Jeff Ireland and team coach Tony Sparano will no doubt await the results of the police investigation before making any public statement but you can’t help but wonder what they might now be thinking given the team’s poor play and having underachieved last season . Another headache concerning a player whose candor and temperament that in no way represents the undoubted talents that the wide receiver is said to have . So what’s next for the Dolphins and Brandon Marshall at this juncture ?

Any form of violence resulting from any type of domestic abuse cannot be overlooked and here it appears that is the case between the two feuding individuals . Marshall’s wife states that she was protecting herself from an attack by her husband . The way that this now plays out with the law being what it is in within the state of Florida any incident stemming from domestic abuse wherein there’s an act of violence __ one , if not both parties can be placed under arrest dependent upon the circumstances surrounding the actual incident. Character issues come into play once again with the wide receiver but here one simply cannot view this as simply another isolated incident given the fact that while as a Broncos player the player had repeated run ins with local law enforcement there concerning accusations of domestic violence against a previous girlfriend . I view a situation such as this as an issue that the league hierarchy has failed to address concerning the players . Even more so the players’ own union the NFLPA hasn’t a policy in place , relating to giving assistance to their members concerning anger management issues . I understand that the nature of the game demands violence and a great deal of aggression but herein lies the caveat, away from the football these players at times are not able to curtail their aggression and temperament. So in the case of what at times may well be nothing more than innocuous argument can turn into something far more unsavory , as has been the case here between Marshal and his wife.

I’ve always been of the opinion the NFL and its fraternity as a whole would rather have that machismo image on display and anything that tends to blacken its image placed firmly in the background. We’ve had the idiocy of Ben Roethlisberger’s impromptu behavior and the player denying that he’d done nothing wrong in the alleged sexual assault of two women . The player having been given a league mandated initial four game suspension had to undergo treatment for sexual addiction and anger management issues. Having seen his character come under assault the player quietly revamped his image and led his team the Pittsburgh Steelers to a berth in the Superbowl where they end up losing to the Green Bay Packers . They say …….‘time heals all wounds’ but I’m not so sure this is a wound that can be healed as it relates to this incident as it relates to Brandon Marshall and his wife.

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Picture gallery .

In light of the topics raised within this piece what thoughts if any do you have on these very same issues ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts .

Alan aka tophatal …………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Quarterback Blaine Gabbert (11) of the Missouri Tigers throws a pass during the Insight Bowl against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Sun Devil Stadium on December 28, 2010 in Tempe, Arizona. The Hawkeyes defeated the Tigers 27-24.
Christian Petersen /Getty Images North America …..

(2) Blaine Gabbert looks on during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Getty Images /Joe Robbins ……..

(3) Former Major League Baseball player Eddie Robinson (L) and Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig (R) shakes hands while Major League Baseball Players Association Executive director Michael Weiner looks on prior to a news conference in New York, April 21, 2011. Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced an agreement Thursday to make annual payments to players who retired before 1980 but did not have enough service time to qualify for a pension benefit via the MLB Players Benefit Plan. Reuters / Brendan McDermid ………….

(4)Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey . AP Photo/ Carl Breslin ….

(5) Rockets’ CEO & President Leslie Alexander . Both Alexander and GM Daryl Morey made the decision not to retain the services of Rick Adelman as coach of the team for next season . Getty Images / Mike Newell ….

(6) Brandon Marhsall seen here with his wife Michi Nogami-Marshall in a post wedding photograph from September 2010 . Courtesy of South Florida Sun Sentinel …….

(7) Rocky (L), the mascot of the Denver Nuggets interacts with Brandon Marshall (R), wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins and his then fiance Michi Nogami as they sit courtside as the Nuggets face the Dallas Mavericks during NBA action at the Pepsi Center on February 10, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Mavericks 121-120. Doug Pensinger /Getty Images ……

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NB: Although Judge Nelson has sided with the players rendering a verdict the NFL hierarchy and team owners have filed an appeal in the US Appellate Court requesting a stay of the verdict .

You Want An NBA Storyline …………………… ?

You Want An NBA Storyline …. ?

It’s been something of an anticlimax to the say the least as the NBA season has got off to a rather inauspicious start. The Miami Heat of late has been the storyline that everyone wants to follow as the ‘Big Three’ have become the talk of the town . LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade have made the Heat relevant once again. That being said to my mind the story that has me wondering how asking what else can befall a team has been that of the Houston Rockets . It’s hard to comprehend the misfortune that has beset this team as having lost All Star center Yao Ming for the season to a recurring injury . While much of this has been happening the one constant to this all has been the play of Kevin Martin and the fact that without him the Rockets would simply just another byline to the NBA season.

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The troubling here there though has been the fact Yao hasn’t played a meaningful game in over a year and the danger is that his career now seems to be on the verge of being at end. Barring a miracle I seriously doubt that we’ll see this player back on a basketball court in a competitive NBA game. Say what you will but Yao Ming had his admirers as well as his detractors . At his peak, he was certainly one of the most admired but also one of the best centers in the game but herein lies the caveat to this all once injiries started to befall the player , you simply knew that it was only a matter of time before things would go south for both he and the organization . What now happens for the Rockets is now merely dependent upon the players and their desire play the remainder of the season with the zeal one would come to expect of a team looking for some type of redemption. If nothing else they owe it to themselves and their fans.

The NBA Western Conference has now become awash of the unexpected and as the plot thickens the idiocy surrounds the sudden lull in the play of the Los Angeles Lakers . Don’t be fooled by anything you’ve heard or read at this point of the season teams will have their ups and downs and it’s how they respond that will define them. The Lakers have rebounded back and Kobe Bryant and his teammates seem to now back in the driver’s seat and their resolve will be to play the games as they come and then in the postseason show the NBA world why it is they’re the reigning NBA champions . If nothing else you simply have to respect that pedigree and until they’re toppled off the pile then due respect has to be given .

The Lakers’ neighbors within the Staples Center the Los Angeles Clippers and their sudden recognition around the league. No one person is more responsible for this other than Blake Griffin and his play through much of the season so far . In the same way that Dominique Wilkins came to be known as the “Human Highlight Reel” , Griffin has single handedly made that nom-de-plume his very own this season with his spectacular dunks. Unfortunately for the Clippers and their fans this hasn’t resulted in that many wins and at the same the Clippers still remain the same old Clippers. I’ve often maintained that when an organization simply lacks the will and ambition to win then whatever befalls that team is simply one of its own making. Is there now a more despised owner in professional sports than the Clippers’ Donald Sterling ? OK, so we could add the Redskins’ Daniel Snyder , Pittsburgh Pirates Bob Nutting and last but not least Jerry Jones of the Cowboys.

I understand that the business of sports is primarily about making money and any bye product sought is to win championships but what can be said as to morass that continually extends and surrounds the Los Angeles Clippers ? Someone needs to explain to me at what point will their fans simply say enough is enough ………? It’s apparent that NBA Commissioner David Stern and the league hierarchy isn’t overly concerned as to the mediocre plight of the Clippers under the tenure of Donald Sterling. But then again simply but as long as the league is reaping the vast rewards of the billions of dollars that unyieldingly comes into its coffers he’s not going to be concerned. For Stern the storyline here is that of the attention gained by the likes of the Heat , Boston Celtics and Lakers . If they’re being repeatedly on by the press then Sterling’s concerns aren’t that great but then again this is the same individual who last season issued the statement that the $250 million paid to a number of teams should not be viewed as a bailout because of those teams’ financial plight due to the economic climate. Kind of makes you wonder what perception the commissioner is trying to create with that rather asinine statement ?

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Clueless in Phoenix as that appears to be the situation with the Phoenix Suns at present under Alvin Gentry as the Suns’ coach. Ever since their most recent trades with the team acquiring Vince Carter and a number of other players which in turn sent Jason Richardson to the Orlando Magic . This team can’t find a win much less play a lick of defense and statistically they rank in the bottom half of the league with that rather dubious distinction. And now with rumors circling that the franchise may well be willing to offload Steve Nash with a view as building for the future , the question being asked is where they go from here ?

With the competitiveness of the Western Conference where week in week out it’s something of a dog fight one could say that last season’s Western Conference finalist’s this season appears to be something of a regression back to the ways of old. In all likelihood if Gentry is unable to have the Suns playing with any semblance of a will to win then team owner Robert Sarver will look to bring in a coach who can take the team back to the heights and expectations that he feels befits the organization .

There’s reason at present for noted film director Spike Lee and avowed basketball fan to be happy as his New York Knicks are once again relevant . Coach Mike D’Antoni and his coaching staff has the team playing with a great deal of resolve within the NBA. Amar’e Stoudemire , Raymond Felton , Landry Fields and Wilson Chandler have been playing at a pace that not many may well have expected. And those in attendance at Madison Square Gardens for the Knicks’ home games have to be more than pleasantly surprised but also extremely excited.

With what we’re now seeing within the Eastern Conference there’s no reason to believe that the Knicks cannot play themselves into contention within the conference and garner their first playoff berth in almost a decade. At their current pace the Knicks are on target to win 47 games, albeit that a sub .500 record or slightly above can garner a playoff spot within the conference. If that’s not enough of an indictment as to how bad the conference can be, then simply look over the past seasons and the records of the teams that have prevailed within the conference in garnering a postseason berth ? It hasn’t been uncommon for the teams ranked four through eight to have a record barely above .500 (41-41). It remains to be seen if this season we can see a vast improvement of the teams in the lower half of the seedings within the conference and how they may well fare. If nothing else the remainder of this season will be proof of that and what we ought to expect from some of those teams within the conference.

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

Should the Knicks make the playoffs there’s a distinct possibility that Mike D’Antoni could very well be in with a chance of winning the NBA’s Coach of The Year Award . Given what he’s been able to achieve in assessing and building this team with the help of President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh this has been a season of redemption for the Knicks and their long suffering fans . One can only hope that barring injuries they can remain on course of achieving their goals .

Chime in with your comments as to your thoughts on the NBA season and any of the topics raised within this piece .

NB: NBA Conference Standings ..

Latest NBA news …..

>

NBA Divisional Standings ….

NBA Statistics ….

NBA win streaks by conference and division

Alan aka tophatal ……………………….

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Faran W

Eye candy ……………. Faren Williams

More of Faren….. as you know doubt like it ?

Faren

That’s a body worth watching from any view ! Faren’s that is !

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Lupe Fiasco feat’g …… Matthew Santos …….. ” Superstar”

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You’re Sick ? Go To Your GP ….. You Want Funny ? Go See A Comedy Show ……….. You Want Sanity In Sports ………. Well , That’s Something Else ……….. I Ain’t Got No Answer For That ………….

You’re Sick ? Go To Your GP ….. You Want Funny ? Go See A Comedy Show ……….. You Want Sanity In Sports ………. Well , That’s Something Else ……….. I Ain’t Got No Answer For That ………….

Just when I thought there was sanity within the world of sports . Something ludicrous happens to upset the apple-cart once again. First of all MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is back on his pedestal preaching that the AL East‘s Tampa Bays is in urgent need of a new baseball facility, to house the team and to be also in with a chance of staging MLB’s mid-season showcase, the MLB All Star Game. There’s absolutely nothing like an idiotic commissioner who’s completely oblivious to the dire economic situation facing the vast majority of the teams across the league. You get the impression that either Selig’s head has been buried in the sand , much like an ostrich . Or from the mere fact that he’s been away from the game was just suddenly inserted into the position of commissioner and asked by his members to just do the job without seemingly rocking the boat. Proving to me once again that the game’s hierarchy (MLB) much like the very owners themselves, ‘are a bunch’ of blithering idiots !

Allan ‘Bud’ Selig , Commissioner of Major League Baseball, seated alongside President & Chief Operating Officer  Bob DuPuy . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Roger Scott ……………..
Allan ‘Bud’ Selig , Commissioner of Major League Baseball, seated alongside President & Chief Operating Officer Bob DuPuy . photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Roger Scott ……………..

Given the fact that the Rays have one of the lowest payrolls in the entire league, as well as having a fan-base that is ‘below the league average’. It would appear that none of this seems to matter at all to Bud Selig. He’s entrenched himself with the notion that bigger is better and that money should be of no object to the teams with baseball. Well , Mr Selig , the owners of the Tampa Bay Rays while being wealthy, they haven’t the advantages or the vast financial resources ‘bestowed upon teams’ such as the Boston Red Sox , New York Mets , New York Yankees , Los Angeles Angels or the Los Angeles Dodgers for that matter. Rays’ principal owner Stuart Sternberg has done his leveled best to provide the fans within the community a brand and product that they can support wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, that’s not being reciprocated by those who turn up in attendance for the games at Tropicana Field. In large part, the only time that the Rays plays in-front of a packed sold-out crowd , is either when the Yankees or Red Sox are in town, as part of their regularly season scheduled games. Or when the Rays’ front office decides that a pre-game free admission concert is apt, in luring some additional fans for a game. If that’s not an indication as to how dire the situation is for the organization. Then obviously, as commissioner, Bud Selig doesn’t know what the hell is going on within the game !

Stuart Sternberg (3rd from l) With Partners Timothy Mullen, Randy Frankel, Andrew Cader, Gary Goldring and Stephen Levick
Stuart Sternberg (3rd from left) with Partners Timothy Mullen, Randy Frankel, Andrew Cader, Gary Goldring and Stephen Levick. photo appears courtesy of Sports Business Daily / Jennifer Santieri ............


Suddenly from his podium , Bud Selig believes he can dictate the city of Tampa , the state and to the Rays what’s needed in order for them to be deemed a contender, as a future recipient of being bestowed the staging of an All Star Game. The fact of the matter is , the cash strapped city and the state of Florida with a burgeoning deficit have no place to go but to place the burden of building a new facility for the team upon its residents. And given the fact that statewide the unemployment level is close to the national average of 9.8% . I hardly think that it’s appropriate for this burden to be placed upon the residents of the community as well as the entire state. But an idiot such Bud Selig wouldn’t know this ! He and his moronic minions seem to have no sense of duty or morals when it comes to exacting their form of extortion upon the fans and the general public. One wonders what might happen were Congress and the Senate to rescind MLB’s ‘anti-trust exemption status’ ? That would obviously put the cat amongst the pigeons and have the league’s hierarchy, as well as the owners running for the hills. But alas, both legislative houses appear to be in bed with the league when it comes to this very issue. MLB’s lobbyists on K Street in Washington D.C. would make sure that event would never take place within either legislative body.

Kings' GM Geoff Petrie   seated  alongside team  coach Paul  Westphal  and  the  team's  owners  Gavin  &  Joe  Maloof.   photo  appears  courtesy  of  Associated  Press/   Ryan Murphy  ............
Kings' GM Geoff Petrie seated alongside team coach Paul Westphal and the team's owners Gavin & Joe Maloof. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Ryan Murphy ............

So it has now come to this, wherein the Sacramento Kings has essentially given up on the NBA season ? The Western Conference team within the Pacific Division has raised the ‘white flag of surrender’ , having traded away their best player in , Kevin Martin and three others to the Houston Rockets in order to obtain Tracy McGrady and his rather ‘outlandish ‘ and ‘exorbitant’ $23 million contract. Salary dump on the part of the Rockets and their GM Daryl Morey. McGrady ,himself, had become something of a diversion and malignant cancer within the Rockets’ locker room. As to what this might suggest to the Kings’ fans is open to a matter of conjecture and a great deal of debate. Suffice to say, it wouldn’t at all surprise me if the fans were to begin hanging effigies of the Sacramento Kings’ ownership and that of their front office in the rafters and outside ARCO Arena , in Sacramento.

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

Reports: Rockets trade McGrady to Kings

Houston (AP)—Published reports say the Houston Rockets have traded Tracy McGrady and his massive expiring contract to the Sacramento Kings for guards Kevin Martin and Sergio Rodriguez , center Hilton Armstrong and forward Kenny Thomas.

The Kings also reportedly will get forward Carl Landry, Houston’s most productive bench player this season, and seldom-used forward Joey Dorsey.

The deal was first reported by KRIV-TV and the Houston Chronicle early Thursday morning. ESPN.com reported that the New York Knicks will work with the Kings and Rockets on Thursday morning to acquire McGrady in a three-team swap.

The seven-time All-Star is making an NBA-high $23 million this season, the last year of his contract.

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Westphal   (right)  seen here   with  Mayor   of Sacramento ,  Kevin  Johnson.    photo  appears  courtesy  of   Getty  Images/  Ivan  Bressloff  ............
Westphal (right) seen here with Mayor of Sacramento , Kevin Johnson. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Ivan Bressloff ............

And though the Kings were recipients of not just McGrady but also the Rockets’ productive bench player Carl Landry and as well as seldom used forward, Joey Dorsey. As to the opportunities that this opens up for Kings’ coach, Paul Westphal remains to be seen. But it’s clear with the acquisition of McGrady , which isn’t being viewed as a long term solution to the team’s problems. But it should gives him enough time to assess the roster and that of the commitment shown by the players. For team owners Joe and Gavin Maloof and that of GM Geoff Petrie , these have been exacerbating times. And that’s just not from competitive standpoint but also from financial one as well. The organization has struggled with declining attendance and at the same they’re still at an impasse with the city of Sacramento and the inadequacies of their facility- ARCO Arena. And that is in spite of speaking directly with the city’s Mayor Kevin Johnson on this very issue. Johnson ,himself, was once a player in the NBA and he had quite a distinguished career playing for the Phoenix Suns for the majority of his professional career. The parlance between the two sides with them being unable to come to some sort of amicable agreement , puts the city at odds with the NBA franchise.
And it adds to the possibility that once the Kings’ lease at the ARCO Arena has expired , the Maloofs may well look to relocate the franchise either win another part of the state or move across the country altogether. No doubt city of Las Vegas mayor, Oscar B Goodman , would like nothing more than to welcome the Maloofs and their NBA franchise to the city, as its newest professional sports franchise. With the Maloofs already having ties to the city and the state through their hotel , casino ties as well as several other business interests. The synergistic fit would be of benefit to both parties. But for the moment that doesn’t appear to be on the horizon , as of yet.

<strong> Tracy McGrady (#1)</strong> of the Houston Rockets drives the ball around Tyson Chandler (#6) of the New Orleans Hornets on December 26, 2008 at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. According to reports on February 18, 2010, McGrady was traded to the New York Knicks in a three team trade between the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Knigs, and Knicks.  photo appears courtesy  of  Getty  Images/  Chris  Graythern .................
Tracy McGrady (#1) of the Houston Rockets drives the ball around Tyson Chandler (#6) of the New Orleans Hornets on December 26, 2008 at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. According to reports on February 18, 2010, McGrady was traded to the New York Knicks in a three team trade between the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Knigs, and Knicks. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Chris Graythern .................


As I alluded to earlier , it’s my belief that the Sacramento Kings have given up on the season and the thought of being competitive throughout its remainder. I could well prove to be wrong in my assumption but in all likelihood it’s safe to say that the organization is looking forward to the future and to build the team around their ‘sensational’ rookie Tyreke Evans . It is clear to those with any knowledge of the team and the thought process of both Westphal and Petrie, that this is now best way forward for the franchise. It is sad however, that a player of Kevin Martin’s caliber is lost to the team. As to whether or not a player of McGrady’s clearly declining abilities can reasonably contribute anything to this team , remains to be seen .

Well it appears what semblance of sanity one thought there was within the Knicks’ has left the building, just like ‘Elvis’. Apparently not wanting to be left of back pages of the venerable New York City newspapers and their wonderful sport’s sections. New York Knicks‘ President of Basketball Operations and GM, Donnie Walsh entered into the fray and took Tracy McGrady of the Kings’ hands. And for that the Maloofs and Geoff Petrie will be eternally grateful. As to what this says about the Knicks as an organization, can be best summed up by saying …..’fu_k why did they get rid of Zeke’ ? If he can f_ck up the Knicks, the way that he did , then why the hell did they hire Donnie Walsh to begin with ? I hear can hear Spike Lee now saying, ……… ‘we’re legitimate contenders for the championship . T-Mac’ll ‘take us’ to the promise land’.

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

AP source: McGrady to Knicks in three-way trade

By Chris Duncan, AP Sports Writer

Houston (AP)—The New York Knicks have acquired disgruntled guard Tracy McGrady and his massive expiring contract in a three-team swap with the Houston Rockets and the Sacramento Kings, a person with knowledge of the negotiations tells The Associated Press.

The person spoke Thursday and requested anonymity because the deal has not been officially announced.

The Knicks will also get Sergio Rodriguez from the Kings, though the lure of the deal was McGrady and his expiring $23 million contract.

The Rockets will get guard Kevin Martin and forward Hilton Armstrong from Sacramento and forward Jordan Hill , Jared Jeffries and draft considerations in 2011 and 2012 from New York. They’re also relieved to have finally found a taker for McGrady, the troublesome seven-time All-Star they’ve been trying to trade for almost two months.

The Kings will get New York guard Larry Hughes and Houston forwards Carl Landry and Joey Dorsey.

The Knicks have been courting McGrady—or at least the financial benefits of his contract—almost since the moment in late December when the Rockets granted him an indefinite leave and announced they were trying to trade him.

While interested in seeing McGrady play for the last two months of a lost season, New York is more interested in dropping their payroll and becoming a major player in this summer’s free-agent sweepstakes.

Jeffries and Hill will make almost $10 million together next year so by including them in the deal, the Knicks will open enough salary cap space to offer nearly two maximum contracts to the free agents available after the season, starting with LeBron James .

The Knicks and Rockets had reportedly been working on a deal for a while, but couldn’t finish it without involving another team.

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Click on the link shown to read Chris Duncan’s article in
its entirety.
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God knows what Mike D’Antoni must be thinking at this moment in time ? I mean he couldn’t get the team’s current roster of players to play as a cohesive unit,under his tutelage as their coach. Who in the hell thinks that the addition of McGrady will actually improve this team one iota ? ‘Not I’, said the fly ! And I hear that both Condoleeza Rice and Jessica Simpson feel the same way ? Now that’s the sort of assurance that’s welcoming to the ears of the devoted Knicks’ fans.

With McGrady’s contract now in its final year , it’s quite obvious that the Knicks feel that they’ll be in play to be part of the LeBron James sweepstakes and when he comes up for free agency. But much of that’ll now also be predicated upon the ongoing collective bargaining negotiations taking placce between the NBA hierarchy and the NBPA under the auspices of NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter . The tension between Hunter and NBA Commissioner David Stern seems to be at ‘fever’s pitch’ and but a moment away from reaching ‘boiling point’. And it would appear that the union is unlikely to fall into line and acquiesce to the league’s demands of a ‘20% pay cut across the board that’d be retro-active’ . And this would also take into account maxed out contracts for players with tenure in the league. Call me naive but does anyone really believe the union will allow that to happen concerning its members ? Never mind the fact that Stern keeps on reiterating that the league is on course to lose in excess of $400 million for the fiscal year of 2010 ? Somewhere along the lines the NBA executives and GM’s seem to have forgotten about budgetary restraint for some reason ? They went on spending sprees the way that former Filipino ‘First Lady ‘ Imelda Marcos spent money on her vast array ‘haute-couture’ fashion accessories and shoes. That asides, until Stern allows the NBA’s books to be publicly scrutinized there’s little reason to be believe what he’s saying is true. Much like our Federal legislators and senior government officials, there’s very little to believe what they now say, that actually passes the ‘litmus test’ , when it comes what’s truthful and what is essentially ‘a white lie’ !

Scott Boras   with  client  Johnny   Damon   and    Damon's  wife  Michelle
Scott Boras (left) with client Johnny Damon and Damon's wife Michelle. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images / Russell Shaw .................

I’ve always maintained that the three most despised people in the world of baseball, are Barry Bonds , Mark McGwire and sports agent Scott Boras . If you need any proof of the latter ? Then consider this, Boras as agent for Johnny Damon , has been unable to land his client with a ‘team’ in MLB. And the reason you may ask ? Well it is this, Boras is under the impression that his client is still worth at least $8-$10 million a year for a player who’s up there in years and declining in talent. But somehow, he and Damon are of the opinion that his client is worth that sort of money in today’s economy and free agency market. One begs the question then what would either Albert Pujols or Joe Mauer be worth ? $15million , $20 million or $25 million a year ?


The asinine attitude of both Damon and Boras doesn’t bear explaining , except to say that they overvalue their self worth through their sheer stupidity and perception of grandeur ! As to whether or not Damon is signed by a team prior to the opening of Spring Training , remains to be seen.

These are but a few of my own observations as to the perceived sanity or lack of it thereof in the world of sports. Is there anything that you’ve observed that has made you wonder what the hell is going on within this particular environment ? Chime on with a comment that you , I and others may discuss within this forum. I look forward to reading your responses in due course.

NB Both the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are the respective owners of their own cable sports programming outlets, namely NESN (Red Sox) and the YES Network (New York Yankees). Each of these entities provides both organizations with a vast mountain of cash to facilitate their financial well being and also to replenish their respective rosters as they would deem fit.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………

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Drake feat’g Timbaland ….. ‘Say Something’

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One  man's  wish  but every  man's   dream  and  that's  to  have  <strong>  Esther   Baxter  </strong>  .  And <strong><em> who  wouldn't  want  to  ? </strong> </em>  I   know   I  would  !
One man's wish but every man's dream and that's to have Esther Baxter . And who wouldn't want to ? I know I would !

All Good Things Must Come To An End ……I Repeat All Good Things Must Come To An End !

It has to be extremely embarrassing for a player of Allen Iverson’s stature to hear a sound byte from New York Knicks’ general manager,Donnie Walsh state….’he’s not in our plans for the future because we’re comfortable with where we’re at.’ That either has to be a damning indictment of the player. Or merely that things for the (2-9) Knicks just aren’t going to get much better, even with Iverson in tow.

Iverson seen here playing  for the Memphis Grizzlies  in  an  NBA game   against the Los Angeles Lakers.  The player  asked to be  released   from  his contract with the  team  and  has   now  become  an unrestricted  free agent.  He had  hoped  to  sign  with the New York  Knicks.  But Knicks' general manager  , Donnie Walsh , didn't  see Iverson  as a  comfortable  fit  for the   team.  Much  to  the dismay of  the  Knicks' fans  who've  had very little  to cheer  about this season   from  a 2-9   team.   picture appears  courtesy  of   ap/phot/ Lori  Shepler  ...............
Iverson seen here playing for the Memphis Grizzlies in an NBA game against the Los Angeles Lakers. The player asked to be released from his contract with the team and has now become an unrestricted free agent. He had hoped to sign with the New York Knicks. But Knicks' general manager , Donnie Walsh , didn't see Iverson as a comfortable fit for the team. Much to the dismay of the Knicks' fans who've had very little to cheer about this season from a 2-9 team. picture appears courtesy of ap/phot/ Lori Shepler ...............

With Iverson, having sought and finally obtaining his release from the Memphis Grizzlies. The player felt that his next step would be to ascertain the interest of the New York Knicks. One has to bear in mind that with the present form of the team. Any addition by subtraction, would probably be in their best interest. And no doubt the intuitive Donnie Walsh , while admiring the player’s gifts and qualities, knew that bringing in Iverson,would only add to the woes of an already beleaguered team.Never mind the fact that the team’s coach, Mike D’Antoni is still struggling to find his best quintet of players to place on the court,for any given period of time. And one thought that their struggles with the hapless Isiah Thomas as their previous coach, was pitiful ? Watch the Knicks now, and tell me if you actually think that they’ve improved one iota, under D’Antoni’s tutelage ?

Courtesy of New York Daily News


Fans cry foul as New York Knicks pass on Allen Iverson

By Matt Gagne Daily New Sports Writer

No one in in his wildest dreams thought Allen Iverson could have transformed the Knicks into a championship-caliber team, but fans were dealt another blow Friday when the struggling franchise passed on the free agent and former MVP.

“What do the Knicks have, two wins?” said Jose Valentine, 24, of Manhattan. “Iverson can win more games than that by himself. He has the heart to play, he loves the game.”

“It’s a bad move,” added Tim Coffey, 25, of Brooklyn. “They could have at least put people in the seats.”

The Knicks take a 2-9 record into Saturday’s basement-dwelling showdown with the Nets, who are a league-worst 0-12 and the only team trailing the Knicks in the Atlantic Division.

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In order to read Matt Gagne’s article in its entirety just click unto the
text link shown above
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And for Allen Iverson, this must be something of a come down to think that a player of his stature is longer wanted by an NBA franchise. Now all he can but do, is to sit on the sidelines and wait patiently to hear the phone ring from a potential team. He joins the likes of former Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks‘ swing-man Jerry Stackhouse on the sidelines,in seeking gainful employment in the NBA.It’s not so much that the NBA is bereft of talent. But it’s essentially that players, such as Iverson and Stackhouse are no longer viewed as players, who can still play meaningful minutes and still be productive for a team. And for both of these former NBA All Stars, time is most definitely not on their side, given their respective ages and recent health issues.

The big problem now for Allen Iverson , is that given his ego and temperament- will he now, not see that it is in some ways futile and somewhat embarrassing for him, to be seen to be begging for a roster spot on an NBA team. Here we have one of the NBA’s ‘best little men’ to have ever played the game, with multiple All Star appearances and scoring titles to his name, as well as a regular season, MVP award. And now he’s seen to begging like a homeless bum on the streets merely for the chance to play the game that he no doubt still loves.The unfortunate scenario here for Iverson, is that the love is no longer being reciprocated …. as the game ‘no longer loves him’. If it did,then he’d still be playing. But essentially, Iverson’s own actions and his wish to be seen as a starter got in the way of common sense. He’s no longer the player, he once was. And he’s under the mistaken impression that he still is that same player , with a ferocious heart and an unending will to win.

Now if you thought the dilemma that Allen Iverson now finds himself in,
is somewhat complex. Then consider the situation that the Houston Rockets find themselves in, concerning their guard, Tracy McGrady ? Here’s a player who’s essentially been missing in action for the better part of a season, and who chided and berated the team’s executives as well as management,while was injured. Never mind the fact that, having made the postseason without him, he still continued his tirade against the organization. He pointed to the fact that they couldn’t win without him, nor would they stand a chance of winning the NBA title. Way to go, McGrady, there’s nothing like showing not support for your teammates, when you’re taking pot-shots at the management and ownership.

Houston Rockets forward Tracy McGrady, right, speaks with Rockets forward Brian Cook on the bench as they play the Atlanta Hawks during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game at Philips Arena, Friday, Nov. 20, 2009, in Atlanta. The Hawks went on to win 105-103. The Rockets believe McGrady needs more time and would risk hurting his knee again if he comes back too soon.    picture appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/ Gregory  Smith  ..................
Houston Rockets forward Tracy McGrady, right, speaks with Rockets forward Brian Cook on the bench as they play the Atlanta Hawks during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game at Philips Arena, Friday, Nov. 20, 2009, in Atlanta. The Hawks went on to win 105-103. The Rockets believe McGrady needs more time and would risk hurting his knee again if he comes back too soon. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Gregory Smith ..................

McGrady, may well have felt aggrieved that this team was able to make the playoffs without. And the fact that they’d been able to do so, while also sustaining the loss of their All Star center, Yao Ming, shows you how successful this team actually were , in garnering a berth in the postseason without their two super-stars. Furthermore , it couldn’t have escaped McGrady, the fact that the Rockets’ fans had found a new fan favorite in Ron Artest, as well as rising star, Aaron Brooks.And not only that the Rockets were actually playing as a cohesive unit. Something of which wasn’t always the case when McGrady was on the court without the help of Yao Ming. To an extent, he’d matured as a player but there was still that selfish streak about him.Stats seem to matter more,than being a teammate.

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

McGrady wants to play, Rockets say no

By Paul Newberry, AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA (AP)—Tracy McGrady(notes) is eager to play. The Houston Rockets say he’ll have to wait.

The seven-time All-Star had microfracture surgery on his left knee in February, but insisted that he’s fully recovered before Friday night’s game against the streaking Atlanta Hawks.

“Right now, I could play,” he said.

Not so fast. The Rockets believe McGrady needs more time and would risk hurting his knee again if he comes back too soon. The next step is an MRI on Monday.

“We have a difference of opinion,” coach Rick Adelman said. “He wants to play. He’s not ready to play. It’s as simple as that.”

Both sides denied a Yahoo! Sports report that the situation degenerated into a heated argument before the Rockets’ previous game at Minnesota. The report quoted a person close to McGrady who was not identified.

Yahoo! Sports stands by the story.

“I don’t know where that came from,” McGrady said. “We talked but it was nothing that was reported like that. I mean, screaming and all.”

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Click on the above text link to read article in its entirety
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Over the course of his career there’s no denying that McGrady has been a gifted player. But what he lacked was really playing as part of a team, and the fact that he always felt it best that others deferred to him. He may well have been the best player , while was on the rosters of both the Toronto Raptors and the Orlando Magic.Though it’d be debatable in that regard, considering the Raptors’ roster at the time. But what Tracy McGrady seems to have forgotten is that….one man doesn’t make a team. That’s unless your name happens to be Michael ‘Jeffrey’ Jordan? And last I looked, Tracy McGrady is no Michael Jordan,not by the longest stretch of the imagination. In fact he’s not even good enough to sniff Jordan’s jockstrap ! Less we forget also, that while McGrady was on that Raptors’ roster,he was also playing alongside his cousin and teammate,Vince Carter.Now if memory serves me correctly, I seem to remember ‘Vince Sanity’ being the star on that team ? Do you remember that as well ?

Rockets coach, Rick Adelman, having met with McGrady and the teams’ general manager,Daryl Morey, over the last couple of days. He could not provide the player with any of the assurances that he sought, as to whether or not he was still a member of the organization. And it would be prudent to acknowledge the fact that McGrady is the highest paid player on the Rockets’ roster. He’s due in excess of $23 million for the 2009-10 NBA season. And on the face of it , it would be the financially prudent thing to do concerning the player, in letting him go, once the season is over.He’s become a mild but ever increasing irritant over the last couple of season, while at the same time he’s become susceptible to repeated and prolonged bouts of injuries, which’ve made him less and less a productive factor in the Rockets’ striving to be counted amongst the elite teams in the Western Conference and the rest of the NBA.

It’s counter-productive to keep a player on a roster when you’re not getting anything tangible from them in return. And this has been clearly the case with Tracy McGrady and the Houston Rockets. He may well feel that he has something to contribute to a team,any team. But at this stage of the game, unless he’s prepared to defer to others and also act like a teammate. Then, there won’t be any room for him at all, there in Houston !

Whether or not he’s prepared to accept something of a lesser role, remains to be seen. But clearly it appears that the player and the organization are at an impasse.

I’d certainly like to think that both Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady still have something left in the tank. And also that they can still play the game at an optimum level. But given both of these players’ demeanor and their predilection to self destruct and blame others for their malaise or mea-culpas. It may well now be time for them both to call it quits and step away from the game that they once graced, somewhat effortlessly. No one wants to remember a super-star behaving like a spoiled brat. But that’s essentially what we’re now seeing from Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady. Merely, because they can’t get their way and play the game of basketball. They seem to forget that there’s no I, in the word ‘team’ team and also that there’s no I, in the word ‘we’.

To my mind as they say ‘ all good things must come to an end’. It’s always best to walk away,quit while you’re ahead,with your head held high and your self esteem intact. Rather than being thrown out like an old unwanted pair of worn out shoes. Is that how they both want to be remembered at this juncture ? What do you think ?