Cap it with what ?

Cap it, with what ?

With the pending approval, in the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer. The NBA hierarchy, will now be in a rough ride, with the beleaguered Donald Sterling seeking to sue the league for a reputed $1 billion ($1,000,000,000) . Any protracted litigation in the US Federal Court will be damaging to the NBA, its owners , the union (NBPA) and to the brand itself . Adam Silver, in banishing Sterling for life, from the NBA, while welcomed, was too little, too late. The commissioner’s predecessor, David Stern , is just as culpable, with his lack of action , in not dealing with this particular owner’s abhorrent actions, and it is a prime example of why his tenure was often filled with as many pratfalls, as the ongoing ridiculous claims, that he was indeed good for the NBA.

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This sale, is likely to ignite an NBPA leadership , that will have the bit between their teeth, in dealing with future labor negotiations between themselves and the NBA hierarchy. Claims of poverty, can no longer be made by the team owners or anyone from within the league hierarchy. A record $2 billion, inflated price tag , for a franchise that in reality, is not worth sixteen times its gross revenues is not only staggering , but simply endemic of all the things that the league has tried suggest that they were finally dealing with the economic plight of their brand. Five years on, from David Stern’s bailout of twenty franchises, something that seems to have escaped some of the apathy of the fans , whose knowledge of the economy sports ranks up alongside Sarah Palin’s knowledge of domestic and the foreign policy of the United States. Far be it for me to suggest , that Palin, has any clear idea on any particular subject that she is likely to be debated on , but , when you have a political lightweight such as this Tea Party Grand Dame of Stupidity. I really, do believe , it is symbolic of the growing lack of intelligence among the sports’ fan in general, as well as the electorate in this country .

I once had a patron allude to me, that the woes of the NBA were not created by David Stern. Anyone, with an ounce of fucking common sense, would realize that many of the changes made within the league during his tenure, had his imprint and were his creation, which, he then duplicitous , sold to the union , under the pretense, it would be to their benefit. . The NBPA remains in tatters, having no Executive Director and where the last person to hold the position , has now filed wrongful dismissal lawsuit in the US Federal Court against the union . Billy Hunter, a former corporate litigator is seeking unspecified damages , while seeking punitive damages in adjoining suit for libel slander filed jointly against former union President Derek Fisher and the NBPA. If that were not enough , the union itself , while in a state of disarray , now has contend with the fact, that they have to deal with a number of financial irregularities , that were never fully addressed , prior to their vote to dismiss Hunter, from his position, as that union’s top executive. Yes , this is what the NBA has now become , a brand that is now engulfed with racial bigotry hypocrisy , homophobia, misogyny and there are fans who remain apathetic and clueless, concerning the ongoing malaise within this league.

This NBA Postseason has become something of ” an us against the world mentality” , as the Indiana Pacers seek to overcome the Miami Heat in their Eastern Conference Finals’ Series . LeBron James and his Heat teammates enter a game six contest where the prize for Miami, will be a third consecutive berth in the NBA Finals . Currently leading Indiana 3-2 , tonight’s (Friday) game being played at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida , will likely lead to closing out the series and the likelihood, that Larry Bird as Head of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Pacers, will break up this roster and rebuild the team. One casualty , may well be Pacers’ center Roy Hibbert , whose inconsistent play in this series and throughout much of the postseason , has many questioning the player’s maturity, as well as skill-set under pressure. Hibbert’s teammate, Lance Stephenson having ran afoul of the officials in game five and then given a $25,000 fine for flopping, was also reprimanded by Bird , subsequent to the contest for his conduct . What this now means for Stephenson, is simply a further indictment of how far the Pacers have fallen from grace this season. This team lacks leadership, maturity and the premature belief that Paul George had finally arrived and could be looked upon as top-ten player in the NBA , when the now growing evidence that George has failed to meet those lofty expectations. In the midst of this all, there is now mounting speculation , that head coach Frank Vogel’s position could very well be in danger. His dismissal , were it to take place, might well be the most asinine decision that the Pacers’ front office could actually make . Yet, here we are, now debating, whether or not; Frank Vogel should be relieved of his duties. Bird, as a former head coach of this very same franchise, knows the pratfalls a coach has to go through , having relinquished that role for health reasons.

Steve Kerr’s rebuff of Phil Jackson’s overtures to become the next head coach of the New York Knicks , is another reminder why this particular franchise remains a complete laughing-stock around the NBA, while their idiotic fans continue to make excuses for that team’s continued malaise . Dysfunctional from top to bottom, the thought that Jackson’s insertion into the front office and his reputation would bring about a glow to the Knicks’ downtrodden reputation would be akin to spraying rose petal essence into a bucket of fecal matter and then telling an unsuspecting passer-by, that it was indeed a new fragrance created by a cosmetic company. Perhaps if the New York Knicks continuance in stinking up the joint as an NBA Eastern Conference franchise would not be so bad, if there were modicum of talent on this roster beyond Carmelo Anthony. That player’s indecision concerning his long-term future, can only be of deep concern for Phil Jackson and for the fans of this franchise. The longer the player chooses to delay his decision, the less likely it seems that he will return to the franchise , where he has become their best player ever since the trade that saw his departure from the Denver Nuggets in late 2010.

New York’s malaise is to the detriment of the NBA and specifically to the conference in which the franchise plays . With the Indiana Pacers, simply being the pale shadow of what in reality , is an average team and no real rivalry in the contests between themselves and the Miami Heat . One can only aspire to see the renewed rivalry that once epitomized regular and postseason match-ups, between the Knicks and Heat. Granted, those days, may well be viewed as long gone, but one can live in hope, that the intensity can be reopened on some level. Senior Miami Heat Executive and part owner , Pat Riley , whose association with both franchises are well-known to the fans and media analysts alike who cover the NBA, have a vested interest in seeing that rivalry resurface. From a financial standpoint , it would provide a major boost to the NBA , albeit , the Knicks remain one of the most valuable teams in the league . James Dolan’s ownership of the franchise, has seen the one constant , and that has been the appreciation in the value of the New York Knicks over the last decade , to the point where its value is in excess of $1 billion , with only the Los Angeles Lakers on the same plateau, in terms of value .

The era of Patrick Ewing leading the New York Knicks in a contest against the Miami Heat was looked upon as a contest or series of contests that were bound to bring out the best and the worst in both teams. Beyond the heated rivalry , there was a distinct dislike between the two teams , often seen through the eyes of Ewing’s teammates , John Starks and Larry Johnson and Charles Oakley . On the opposing team , Heat center Alonzo Mourning possessed a great deal of disdain for his foe at the time and though upon his retirement he reflected on those contests as being some of the most memorable of his career . It has to be said that the NBA , in its present guise there is no current rivalry in the NBA that is on par with those classic match-ups between the Miami Heat and New York Knicks . Certainly, there are competitive player rivalries , but team rivalries, those days are clearly are of a bygone age within the NBA.

LeBron James, perhaps the best player in the game today, has simply raised the bar to unexpected heights since his entry into the NBA in 2003. And while some claim, that his rivalry with Kevin Durant will provide the league with a player and team rivalry that the league longs for . The fact of the matter has been, the Oklahoma City Thunder have not fared well in their postseason contests against the reigning NBA champions. At present Durant and his teammates are on the brink of elimination looking to stave off their 3-2 deficit against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals . A pivotal game six , will be played on Saturday night at the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma, . in-front of, what is sure to be a raucous sold-out arena, filled with passionate Thunder fans, who are likely to outnumber their opponent’s fan in size.

In all honesty , the NBA is a monster, of its own making. As it has marketed with professionalism and a great deal of guile ,but , where it has fallen flat , has been , that it has not noticed , the issue of the declining state of play , with the level of coaching having dropped precipitously low , with their being only a handful of very good coaches in the league at present. Furthermore , the league itself has also become arrogant , pompous and brazen and nowhere has this been more expressed than during the tenure of David Stern , with his overbearing and autocratic rule of what he believed was his own personal fiefdom. Like the Pied Piper of Hamlin , some dumb ass fans , simply nestled their lips firmly against his sphincter , willing to lick any morsels of excreta that he would be let loose from his bowels. Simple apathy , has indeed become the norm of the fans, with them having very little knowledge or being able to actually think for themselves .

If the New York Knicks are said to have an indifferent season , then the travails of the Los Angeles Lakers and their staggering decline should come as something of a major shock . Hard to believe, that the Lakers fell so far, where they barely challenged within their division for supremacy, and if that were not enough, they saw their fellow inhabitant of the Staples Center , the Los Angeles Clippers make the postseason as the Western Conference’s number three seed . Steph Curry and his teammates’ postseason foray would be short-lived, with them falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the conference semi-finals 4-2 .

Mike DAntoni’s tenure as the head coach of the Lakers was simply uncompromising as he and his staff simply had no idea in how to get the team to play with any sense of unity . Defensively , the Lakers’ players were simply poor all season long and their situation was made all the more untenable with the loss of Kobe Bryant, whose presence was sorely missed . Los Angeles Lakers’ executives , GM Mitch Kupchak and team owner Jim Buss , will now have to conduct an in-depth search for a successor to the now departed D’Antoni . The former coach’s decision, to offer his resignation, was indicative of the ongoing mess within this organization and Kupchak’s failure, with that of Buss to deal with the franchise’s ongoing problems. With criticism coming from various circles, most notably from former Lakers’ players Magic Johnson , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy and their impassioned pleas, for both front office executives to be proactive in acquiring the players needed the franchise to be competitive. Yet , the biggest call, might well have been Johnson’s calls for the Los Angeles Lakers to rehire Phil Jackson in a front office capacity, at the time of his being available. Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss had other ideas and simply did not wish to revert to the past. Therein lies, one of the many reasons why I believe the Los Angeles Lakers are unlikely to regain the stature within the NBA in terms of their most recent success ! Bryant, at the end of a well-chronicled career , with no heir apparent and I get the feeling that Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss are now without a clue, as to the next steps that needs to be taken !

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Picture gallery

The NBA Finals for this season has two known occupants with a rematch of last season’s contest , where the defending champions the Miami Heat likely to be viewed as a consensus favorite against the San Antonio Spurs. I firmly hope, that the series will live up the drama and competitive play witnessed during the 2013 NBA Finals . As to the outcome , well that is now down to the two combatants, as the series gets ready to unfold on Thursday 5th June with the Spurs hosting game one at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas .

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Picture and slideshow gallery .

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(1) Former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer whose $2 billion bid for the Los Angeles Clippers, pending the approval by the NBA Board of Governors , which requires a majority decision or as mandated by the league hierarchy and twenty-five of the NBA’s thirty teams . AP Photo / Mark Edwards …

(2) Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban whose recent comments concerning the NBA and its issue of not being able to deal adequately with the issue of race , albeit that over seventy per-cent of the playing roster is made of minorities , primarily African-American players. The owner would also delve publicly into his own perception of racial profiling , and also the league’s lack of candor, as to its economic template . Getty Images North America / Paul Brown …

(3) Former NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter , having sought legal recourse with a filing of a civil suit against his former employer as well as that union’s former President Derek Fisher . The case will be based on his wrongful dismissal , and the actions of libel and slander as engineered by Fisher and the NBPA leadership. A trial date has yet to be set concerning this legal action . UPI / Elizabeth Parker …..

(4) Indiana Pacers’ head coach Frank Vogel , left, is seen here with the team’s Head of Basketball Operations Larry Bird . With the Pacers falling to the Miami Heat in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals, the franchise faces an off-season of indifference and some major decisions concerning the makeup of the roster and the resounding disappointment of not making this season’s NBA Finals , a privilege that now goes to the Heat as the conference’s representative in the league’s postseason finale . AP Photo/ Amy West …….

(5) Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks who has yet to make a decision concerning his long-term future with the franchise. Phil Jackson has spoken intensely with the Knicks’ star , seeking to persuade the player of that it is his intent to improve the supporting cast around Anthony. N Y Time / Anthony DeMarco ….

(6) Patrick Ewing ,right and Alonzo Mourning , left , contest the possession of the ball during a game played between the Miami Heat and New York Knicks . During the duo’s playing careers their fierce competitiveness was always represented by the intensity seen during the contests between these two teams . In the regular , postseason and games overall , these contests were very hostile and enthralling for both sets of fans . AP Photo/ Matt Harper …

(7) Between the pairing of Kevin Durant (35) and LeBron James , they share five League MVP crowns , of which Durant was this season’s League MVP. Unfortunately, for the Oklahoma City Thunder player , his quest to make this season’s NBA Finals were dashed when they fell to the San Antonio Spurs in six games during the Western Conference Finals . This now sets up a rematch of the 2013 NBA postseason finale where the Miami Heat prevailed over the Spurs in seven games . Getty Images / Harry Howe ….

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You can talk a good game, but can you play one?

You can talk a good game, but can you play one?

There are some troubling times ahead for the NBA , even if the outgoing commissioner would not like to admit that fact. Three decades in charge of the league and it could be said that David Stern turned a pondering sport and its brand into a multi-billion dollar global phenomenon . With global revenues now exceeding $5 billion annually, one has to be thankful Stern, as the league’s highest ranking executive, was as successful as he was. That being said, it was not without controversy, with the league and the owners seeking to apportion blame elsewhere for many of the problems, they themselves created. With something of an imbalance and with the NBA seeking to have a soft “salary cap” , it still leaves the league in somewhat of a perilous situation. Nonetheless, the league hierarchy has sought to proceed ahead under its current guise, neither seeking to truly solve that particular issue and several others that they currently face.

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David Stern’s successor , Adam Silver , brings in a new era of leadership and likely some change, with their being something of a smooth transition with his predecessor’s departure and his ascent to the current position as the NBA Commissioner. What Silver has witnessed this season in the league, as there has been for several of the past seasons , has been steadying decline of the play within the Eastern Conference of the NBA. If things were to get considerably worse , the league’s Board of Governors might have to consider either realignment of several of the divisions or quite possibly delve into the contraction of under-performing franchises , with the league taking over those teams , compensating the owners and then seeking to re-assign the players there , unto the rosters of the remaining franchises. That might sound a bit drastic, but consider the alternatives, as they might currently stand? The play continues to deteriorate and the consumers known as the fans, are still asked to endure such mediocrity , while the league itself continues to profit financially from it all and that hardly seems fair, at all.

While the Indiana Pacers (45-15) are running away with the Eastern Conference lead and well on the way to being the NBA’s first fifty-game winner of the season. It begs the question, in spite of the dour play within the conference , can Frank Vogel’s players knock off the reigning champions in what is likely to be a repeat of last season’s conference finals ? While both the Pacers and the Miami Heat have both suffered losses this season , these two teams are by far in a way the best two franchises within the conference and amongst the upper echelons of the league’s best teams this season.

LeBron James continues to be the player we have seen , since he entered the league in 2003 , during which he has redefined his game as well coming into his own as the NBA’s best player. Already, a four-time league MVP and two-time Finals’ MVP, James, has all but answered, just about every question of by doubters , as to the proficiency of his play , with a punctuation mark, suggesting there is still a great deal more to come from the ten-year veteran. This season, what appears to be a captivating battle has begun to unfold, concerning LeBron James and the player, many believe to be his closest rival as a nemesis and what could likely be a budding rivalry for individualistic and team honors in the coming years. Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder lead the Western Conference and the player is now considered to be the leading contender for the league MVP this season . Durant and LeBron James during their tenures in the league, have provided the NBA with some classic contests, with both individuals showing why they are considered the best two players in the NBA.

Frank Vogel and the Pacers could very well now be in the driver’s seat, after what I believe to be a coup-de-gras by the front office , in acquiring Evan Turner to bolster what should already be considered a very good Indiana Pacers’ roster in terms of its depth and talent . The fact that Pat Riley of the Miami Heat , did little in terms of adding to the Heat’s roster at the trade deadline could very well come back to haunt the front office executive and the Heat’s coaching staff led by Erik Spoesltra . Coming off a narrow three-point victory over the hapless Utah Jazz , Indiana’s next opponent will be the high-powered offense of the Golden State Warriors, led by Steph Curry , whose match-up against Paul George of the Pacers should prove to be very intriguing.

9-1 in their last ten games the Miami Heat could be considered the hottest team in the NBA over that time-frame and clearly the reason why many believe them to the odds-on favorite to repeat as a three-time NBA champion . As LeBron James goes , then so does this team, albeit, with at times , some threadbare support from his teammates. Yet, it has been in the postseason, where James has excelled , as he has repeatedly led the team in their most recent postseason triumphs . Saturday’s lopsided victory over instate rivals the Orlando Magic , further emphasizes why the Miami Heat will continue to make light of their regular season schedule , as Erik Spoelstra gauges the performances of his players in the lead-up to the NBA Playoffs.

The impact that Dwight Howard was meant to have , after being acquired as a free agent by the Houston Rockets , has not been as dominant many thought it might have been. Granted, the Rockets currently have the fifth best record , in the Western Conference with a mark of 40-15 ,as of the 2nd March . Yet, many believed, that this team would be contending at least for a top-three berth within the conference. Though I do not consider it to be a major disappointment , I do believe that with Dwight Howard , what you see is what you get , in terms of a player who at times , does not fulfill the talent that he is said to have. As good a center, as is he said to be , I do not believe him to be the most dominant player at the position , currently playing in the NBA ! If anything, I believe the player tends to simply take his foot off the gas pedal and go through the motions, while allowing others around him to lead . A clear case can be made, that Dwight Howard would never have fit in with any type of team he would have been surrounded by, had he remained in Los Angeles playing for the Los Angeles Lakers . A failed experiment from the start and failed experiment in the very end !

Kevin McHale has proven himself to be an astute head coach, along with his coaching staff , in getting this Rockets’ team to play some up-tempo basketball, while gaining themselves a credible spot in the conference rankings. The team however, is fortified by the talents of James Harden , while being ably supported by Chandler Parsons , Dwight Howard, Jeremy Lin , Patrick Beverley and Jordan Hamilton . A true test of the team’s ambitions will be on view , when they play host to the Miami Heat, at the Toyota Center, in Houston , Texas on Tuesday night . That contest should tell us a great deal about McHale’s players their mindset as they head down the final stretch of their regular season schedule. Certainly, a chance to see two of the NBA’s most productive scorers , with James Harden facing off against LeBron James , should prove to be very interesting.

To my mind one of the more surprising twists of this season, has been the fact that Kevin Love still remains a player with the Minnesota Timberwolves ! They may well have an outside chance of garnering a playoff berth in the Western Conference , but at this stage of the season , I believe that it might well beyond the reach of the team ! Five and a half games out of the final playoff spot, that is currently held by the Dallas Mavericks (35-25) , the Timberwolves would have to jump ahead of the ninth placed Memphis Grizzlies (33-25) , while hoping that both the Mavericks and Grizzlies make monumental . slip-ups in their next couple of games . A highly unlikely scenario at this point of the season, when teams are not likely to be overly complacent , but then again, who could have really foreseen that the Eastern Conference would prove to be such an embarrassment as an advertising model for the NBA ? Well, the end of the season is barely a month away, with most teams having no more than twenty-five games remaining on their regular schedule. Those with intestinal fortitude, are likely to rise to the occasion, while others are likely to falter at the very last hurdle.

Kevin Love has proven to be one of the few bright spots on a Timberwolves’ team that struggled has throughout of the season, while Rick Adelman and his coaching staff have simply been outmaneuvered and out-coached at every point of the season that has mattered most to the organization. From my own perspective, I now believe that it is time for Flip Saunders , Head of Basketball Operations and GM Milt Newton to seek a trade and obtain the best possible value for their Timberwolves’ All Star power-forward , Kevin Love ! It simply serves absolutely no purpose to have the player struggle, night in and night out , all to no avail , while wasting his talents with a franchise that seems to show no signs of life or actual ambition ! These are the very same issues, that led to the growing discontent with Kevin Garnett while , a player with the Timberwolves . His subsequent departure, still did not manifest itself, by way of anything positive for the franchise.

Outwardly, Love has remained loyal to the Minnesota Timberwolves, not wanting to say anything, that might be taken out of context, as a way of showing his discontent, but if the rumors are to be believed , then this off-season a confrontation is likely to be in the offing, when the player is likely to meet with the front office to discuss his immediate and long-term future . I believe that he is likely to opt out of the final year of his contract and test the free agency market , rather than remaining in Minnesota, because I do not believe that owner , Glen Taylor or any of the front office executives possess the acumen needed to build the Timberwolves into a legitimate NBA title contender !

Monday night, places the Minnesota Timberwolves back into action, as they face the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center , in Denver, Colorado, A third consecutive win for the Timberwolves, would provide the team with a great deal of confidence, but they first have to make that a reality , rather supposition.

Not for the first time, this season, have the Sacramento Kings suspended player, DeMarcus Cousins for conduct detrimental to the team . Each and every time, he has run afoul of the organization, the front office has seemingly , given him what on the face of it seems a slight reprimand. A one game suspension for physically assaulting an opposing player , is simple idiocy ! Yet , these are the times that we are living in , where athlete misconduct on or off the court , is no longer frowned upon and the lame ass apathy of some of the dumbest mother fucking fans, is to simply excuse that type of behavior altogether or come with the rather inane statements such as “ locker room behavior “ , or ” boys being boys” . Last I looked, these were grown individuals and not middle or high school players , making complete asses of themselves ! The league hierarchy under David Stern was weak and remains weak , because the NBPA remains in an extreme position of power, not necessarily unlike their counterparts within the MLBPA , NFLPA and the NHLPA ! Anyone who believes that to be the contrary , I would now like them to plead their the case , for the opposite view !

DeMarcus Cousins as a player in college , had real “character issues” , that were never addressed by the coaching staff ,led by John Calipari , a coach known shall we say , “let things slip by him “ ? I have never really thought, highly of Calipari, in terms of his character or the litany of issues that have followed him continuously over the course of his coaching career ! Allegations of recruitment violations, players with failing academic standards, still being allowed to play on his teams, as well as possibly monetary inducements for players in terms of their of productivity. Like it or not, there had to have been a multitude of reasons, why a number of programs where John Calipari has coached , have felt the wrath of the NCAA , though not to the point where there has been an outright accusation leveled at the head coach. While Calipari’s outward image appears pristine, something ” rotten smells ” this side of Denmark , as it relates to this particular head coach !

The Sacramento Kings’ own fortunes in recent years, can be best summed up with these words “the Maloof Family , with reckless abandonment , all but ruined the franchise and in the aftermath of it all , were on the precipice of duping the idiotic members of the city’s council to bail the franchise out of their financial plight ” . All of this under the watchful eye of David Stern , who in some circles, has been viewed as the savior of the NBA. The former NBA Commissioner , simply, takes on the battles, he knows he can win outright , while apportioning blame elsewhere, for his incompetency or web of deceit , when caught in an actual lie.

With the worst record in the Western Conference , a mark of 20-39 , is a true reflection of what the Sacramento Kings have been about all season long. Long gone, are the glory days , when the high-flying Kings were a dominant force within the conference led by All Star Chris Webber and the team was seen as a perennial contender for year-end honors. Feast or famine, can best now sum up the franchise, but in reality, there has been a great deal more hunger, as the fans of the organization, yearn for years past. There’s not enough food on the table and there certainly is not enough talent on this roster , to even deem them worthy of being thought of as even a moderately average team , if that !

The Kings’ remaining regular season schedule , is not necessarily daunting, and victory over the New Orleans Pelicans may well be sign that the team is determined to go out with a great deal of determination . DeMarcus Cousins remains the best player on the Kings’ roster , but herein lies the issue, he is a troubled individual who remains immature and unable to handle the real pressure of being assumed the leader of the franchise . Other than Rudy Gay , there is absolutely no real reason to believe that GM Pete D’Alessandro can continue to believe that Cousins is a valuable asset to this team and the organization as a whole , not with the continued problems that he provides. Sacramento, may well to decide to cut their losses and seek a trade of the troubled player.

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Vivek Ranadive having recently purchased the franchise may well now be having regrets , because I personally believe he was “ sold a bill goods” , that were in no way shape or form is what he was told it would be ! Thankfully , Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer and his business partner , billionaire venture capitalist Chris Hansen dodged a bullet , when they failed in their bid to purchase the team , having bid a great deal more than the reputed $575 million paid by Ranadive’s consortium . With the league’s hierarchy’s, reluctance to relocate the franchise to Seattle, Washington, as was previously discussed between Stern and the potential purchasers. I can only assume , with David Stern reneging on that deal, having given Ballmer firm assurances that there would not be a problem , it simply shows that the former commissioner is really a less than honorable individual .

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The second half of the NBA season is already underway, what do you hope to see in the latter stages of the schedule ? Also, which player or group of players, have provided you with the greatest surprise over the course this NBA season ? Of the teams in contention, for a divisional or playoff berth, which do you believe , are likely to triumph and to fail ?

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(1) David Stern is seen here handing the Larry O’Brien Trophy to Miami Heat team President Pat Riley after the team’s triumph in winning the NBA title in 2013 , having won in a tough seven-game series against the San Antonio Spurs in a thrilling NBA Finals’ series , 4-3 . Stern formally stepped down as the NBA Commissioner after thirty years as the league’s highest ranking executive . He is succeeded by Adam Silver , who hopes to make a smooth transition into his new role . AP Photo / Chris Hughes ………..

(2) Nicola Vucevic of the Orlando Magic is seen here challenging the New York Knicks’ Tyson Chandler during a game played at the Amway Center in Orlando , Florida on the 23rd December , 2013 . The Magic would go on to lose the contest 103-98 with both teams under-achieving this season within their respective divisions as well as the Eastern Conference , there is likely to be major shakeups within the rosters of both franchises during the off-season . NBAE/ Getty Images / Max Miller ….

(3) February 27, 2014 The Milwaukee Bucks gave the Pacers a formidable test on Thursday night, but Indiana made enough plays down the stretch to come away with a 101-96 win in a game played in Milwaukee , Wisconsin,. Roy Hibbert recorded a double-double (24 points, 12 rebounds), while Paul George added 18 points , eight boards, and six assists . NBAE Getty Images / Frank McGrath ….

(4) LeBron James of the Miami Heat goes up for the dunk as he rises above Kemba Walker and Cody Zeller of the Charlotte Bobcats in a game played at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida on Monday night . James would go on to score a career-high 61 points during the contest , which the Heat won convincingly. This has been the second time this season , that the Bobcats have given up more than sixty points to a player during their schedule with the first such incident , coming when they played the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden , where Carmelo Anthony torched the team a career-high , also, of sixty-two points . AP Photo / Emile Toussaint …..

(5) Kevin Durant (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder is seen here alongside the Miami Heat’s LeBron James (6) . Both players are the leading candidates for this season’s League MVP . Their rivalry may well be the best to be seen in the NBA in several years , but not yet on the level of the classic match-ups between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson , which many purists believes set the bar for individualistic rivalries within the NBA and from a team standpoint , especially in many of their postseason contests . Durant and James have met once in a postseason series with the Miami Heat prevailing in their 2012 NBA Finals’ , with a rather lopsided series’ victory. AP Photo / Mike Patton ….

(6) Houston Rockets’ center Dwight Howard (12) looks to make the play against Miles Plumlee of the Phoenix Suns in a game played between the two Western Conference teams on the 23rd February , 2014 . The Rockets would defeat the Suns 115-112 . NBAE /Getty Images / Ross Hart ……

(7) Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love, left, drives as Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin defends in the second half of an NBA basketball game , Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, in Minneapolis. The Clippers won 102-98 . These two young players are two of the brightest young stars to have entered the NBA in the past seven seasons . AP Photo/Jim Mone ….

(8) Kentucky coach John Calipari thinks 6-11 center DeMarcus Cousins should go top 3 in this year’s NBA Draft. But GMs fear the player’s immaturity , which has been justified since his entry into the NBA as a first round draft pick in 2010 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings . US PRESSWIRE/ Mark Zereof ……

(9) Sacramento Kings’ center DeMarcus Cousins is seen here with the team’s head coach Michael Malone on court sidelines during a game at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento , California . After a recent on-court physical altercation with an opposing player where Cousins is said to have punched his opponent in the lower abdomen and then having been ejected for his conduct , he then verbally assaulted the referee , using several profane expletives , heard within earshot of the crowd . DeMarcus Cousins was fined $20,000 and suspended for one game, forfeiting his $ 44,000 game check . . Vivek Ranadive , the Kings’ owner , will meet with GM Pete D’Alessandro and Michael Malone to discuss the troubled center’s ongoing behavioral problems . All signs seem to be pointing to the fact that the franchise may well seek to trade the player this off-season rather than retain his services . This recent suspension has been the third of DeMarcus Cousins’ three-year career in the NBA and poses the question as to his lack of maturity while in college at the University of Kentucky and since his entering the NBA in 2010. AP Photo/ Chris Affeldt ……

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Stick to what you know and not what you’re told is the truth …

Stick to what you know and not what you’re told is the truth …

Having surpassed the midpoint of the NBA season and with its mid-season festivities , now a mere memory (All Star Game) with the event itself little more than a repartee the participants from both conferences in what was a totally meaningless , uninteresting and uncompetitive game . What now becomes something of a dash to the end of the regular season, will have teams jostling and jockeying for positions within their divisions , within the Eastern and Western Conference . To suggest that the play , in particular, within the East has been bad , would definitely be an understatement . How anyone can now believe that the NBA is now in better place from a competitive standpoint , than it was a decade or even fifteen years ago , would have to be seen as complete idiocy ! Currently , there are no budding team rivalries that have captivated the television audience much less the fans in the seats at the venues around the league , yet somehow there are those with less than a modicum of actual intelligence trying to suggest otherwise.

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Coming into this season, it was felt that the Chicago Bulls would be one of the teams meeting the challenge of being considered amongst the prohibitive favorites within the Eastern Conference, to challenge the might of conference frontrunners, the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat . With the loss of Derrick Rose , to a prolonged injury for the second time inside of two years , the team’s chances were deemed lost. However, with what was at first thought to be an abandoning of a spirited fight for a playoff berth and a divisional title , with GM Gar Forman making the decision to trade the team’s best player , with the exception of Rose , with the jettisoning of Luol Deng , which now on the face of it, now seems to be something of an ingenious move . At 29-25 as of Saturday 22nd February , the Bulls possess the fourth best record within the Eastern Conference while seated in second place , some twelve games behind the Indiana Pacers, who remain at the top of the Central Division , as they have done for the majority of this season .

Tom Thibodeau and his coaching staff seem to be working a minor miracle, with the current players on the roster, now buying to into his goals and standards . One shudders to think, how good this team might have been, had Rose not gone down to a second knee injury and Deng were still playing alongside the point guard . The leg injury , which many thought may well threaten his long-term career, because, it was deemed something of a re-occurrence of the ailment, suffered before . The talk within the organization, is that the player will return for the 2014-15 season, having fully recuperated and ready to play with his usual exuberance which has been display ever since he was drafted by the Bulls in the 2008 NBA Draft as the number one overall pick . In each of the subsequent years , Rose’s game has blossomed, to the point where he had become one the league’s best point guards as well having won a League MVP. An astonishing achievement , considering the length of his fledgling NBA career at the time.

Coming off a well-deserved victory over the Denver Nuggets , the Bulls can now feel that there remains a great deal to play for over the remainder of their season’s schedule. Obviously the divisional race is beyond their reach, but chasing down that third place within the conference, where the surprisingly resilient Toronto Raptors (30-25) now hold a mere half game lead over the Tom Thibodeau coached team.

Next up for the Bulls, will be a game where they will surely get to test their new-found resolve when they are the guests of the Miami Heat at the AA Arena on Sunday afternoon, one of eight games scheduled to be played on the day . The season series between the two Eastern Conference teams, is tied at one game apiece(1-1) , with the Bulls winning the last contest in Chicago at the United Center , in Chicago, Illinois , 107-87. Their fourth and final meeting of the season of the series will take place again in Chicago on the 9th March. As things now stand, were the season to end as of today, with the Chicago Bulls still holding down their current position within the conference , their projected first round meeting as the number four seed , would seem them face the Washington Wizards over whom they hold a 2-0 series’ lead in their meetings over the course this season’s NBA schedule. A first round win, would lead then lead to a conference semifinals’ match-up against the number one-seeded Indiana Pacers , and from there the sky would be the limit , were they to pull off such a victory over what has been very good Pacers’ team throughout this season.

As great a player as Michael Jordan was said to be , his years as NBA executive have not been all that kind to perhaps the NBA’s greatest player over the last twenty-five years. OK, so we place Jordan on the Mt Rushmore of all-time greats , placing him above the stature of players such as Wilt Chamberlain , Magic Johnson , Julius Irving , Bill Russell , Bob Cousy , John Havlicek , Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson . As subjective as the topic will always be trying adjudge players from different eras , when the game has changed considerably , has never been an easy thing to do , no matter what arguments one tries to use placate or make a point . The idiocy of many suggesting Babe Ruth to be the greatest player in baseball history holds about as much weight , as the Titanic , after it struck an iceberg , sank in the middle of the Atlantic , thereby leaving the world to acknowledge at the time , one of the greatest maritime disasters to take place in oceanic passenger maritime history. As good as Ruth was said to be , does anyone truly believe that he could have competed against players at their peak , such as Willie Mays , Hank Aaron , Ken Griffey Jr , Barry Bonds (pre-steroids, whenever that might have been ) , much less have dealt with pitchers, such as Sandy Koufax , Greg Maddux , Pedro Martinez , Tom Seaver Randy Johnson , Nolan Ryan and lamentably without really wanting to sink such low depths Roger Clemens ? Horses for different courses , but at the end of the day , what we ought to be truly acknowledging about many of these athletes , has to be either their longevity or consistency , if not both , as the case maybe . Baseball and basketball historians can be left to argue amongst themselves , because in essence, the fans don’t necessarily care about their opinions on the matter , knowing full well , that they cannot always be trusted to show any type impartiality , much less be subjective .

I believe the writing was on the wall with regard to Michael Jordan being lured into the front office executive and the business side of the NBA , simply because David Stern , did not want to lose the game’s biggest asset in the aftermath of his retirement finally from the game in 2003 ! Backdoor wheeling and dealing , led to Jordan being named the . Head of Basketball Operations with the Washington Wizards. Once there, having bought a minority stake in the franchise , his relationship with owner Abe Pollin , was said to be tepid at best . He may well have brought some pizzazz back to the still dormant franchise , but in name only , because nothing concerning their play during the years he was a de-facto general manager suggested he knew what he was doing. Still regarded to this day, as one of the biggest blunders in NBA Draft history was the Wizards’ drafting of Kwame Brown as the number one overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft .

Michael Jordan believed Brown to be the best , of the crop of centers available in the Draft that season amongst college and high school players , who at the time were eligible (eighteen years old as NBA requirement , having graduated). The fact should you choose to peruse down that list for yourself , one could have found a litany of far more talented players than Brown at the position sought by Jordan . In the aftermath of this astounding pick , the fortunes of the Wizards simply went downhill and along with it , the former NBA great and his relationship with Abe Pollin , that would take a turn for the worst. Jordan sold his stake in the team and went off to pursue other business interests , while still presiding over a multimillion dollar business empire and his growing fortune.

All you need to know about Kwame Brown’s rookie season , was the fact he averaged 6.6 points per game and was never a factor in any game played by the Wizards that season , much less over the ensuing years did his game ever take shape, or the fact that Jordan may well have taught him nothing by way of the expectations of being a professional basketball player in the NBA .

A second opportunity would arise for Michael Jordan return to the NBA in another executive capacity , as this time billionaire media magnate Robert L Johnson invited the North Carolina native join him on the board and ownership group of the Charlotte Bobcats (who were then known as the Hornets). Johnson would relinquish controlling interest in the franchise selling his stake for a reputed $ 400 million at the time .

At 26-30 and holding down the seventh seed within the Eastern Conference the Charlotte Bobcats may well be on the cusp of doing something extraordinary during the ownership tenure of Michael Jordan. If they are able to maintain their current pace and lock down that seeding by the end of the season , then the franchise would be on the cusp of making its first playoff appearance , with Jordan as their owner. Consider the fact that the last time the Bobcats made the NBA Playoffs , came in 2010 . Being swept 4-0 , by the Orlando Magic , left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Bobcats’ players in that first round series’ loss , which was simply so lopsided !

Coached by Steve Clifford and ably assisted by lead assistant and assistant head coach , Patrick Ewing . It now looks, as if this Bobcats’ team in its current guise has some resilience about it. With a mixture of seasoned veterans and young players drafted and developed with the deft coaching of Clifford , Ewing and the rest of the coaching staff . I am not about to suggest that the Bobcats could send a few shock-waves around the NBA this postseason , but given the right set of circumstances, they might just be able to shake a first round opponent into some kind of complacency . Where it could be taken from there, would be dependent upon the mindset shown by players such as Ben Gordon , Kemba Walker , Cody Zeller , Gerald Henderson , Al Jefferson , Josh McRoberts and Gary Neal . Add in the fact that the Bobcats might have a possible Rookie of the Year Candidate in, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist , playing very well and quite possibly , there could very well be an upset in the making . Michael Jordan needs the Bobcats to be a competitive success as well as a commercial success , if the franchise is to remain viable in North Carolina , where College Basketball is the ” real magnet “ within the state, that draws some of the most knowledgeable and passionate fans in the game to see programs such as Duke (Blue Devils) , UNC (Tar Heels) and others that have made a name for themselves as being amongst the very best of what the NCAA has to offer at the Collegiate Level .

As if to emphasize that the Bobcats mean business, the team was able to push even closer towards that goal of a postseason berth, by taking down the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday afternoon , with a hard-fought 92-89 victory .

I think that it would be safe to suggest , that over the past six seasons the Detroit Pistons have been a conundrum and a puzzle all wrapped up into one. In that time, GM Joe Dumars , has literally sought to ruin the franchise rather than seek its improvement . Billionaire entrepreneur , Tom Gores , having bought this storied NBA franchise , has seen the team this season be mired in mediocrity, having posted a 23-33 record within the Eastern Conference. The firing of Maurice Cheeks , as the head coach of the team, speaks volumes as how out of depth , touch and with reality the Pistons now appear to be.

From my own standpoint, Gores has been ill-served in his retention of Dumars as the general manager of the Detroit Pistons. Gone are those years of consistency , when you knew that they would be a prominent and perennial contender for the NBA Playoffs and their surprising and lopsided Finals’ win over what was seen as a formidable Los Angeles Lakers’ team that fielded several future Hall of Fame candidates , only indicates how astonishing that series’ victory was at the time . The Pistons in their current guise , are a pale shadow of the team that won the 2004 NBA Finals over what was highly favored Lakers’ lineup coached by Phil Jackson , whose opposite number was another legendary coach in , Larry Brown . With their last postseason, coming in 2009 , it is extremely difficult to see what Joe Dumars and Tom Gores will seek to gain out of this season . Had Dumars decided to make the announcement at the beginning of the year , that it would be the franchise’s intent to rebuild around the talents of Brandon Jennings , Andre Drummond , Josh Smith and Greg Monroe , then perhaps it might have sat well with the Pistons’ fans. . Instead, the fans in attendance at the Palace of Auburn Hills , have willingly voiced their disapproval of the team, but voiced the majority of their indignation towards Joe Dumars , and quite rightly so , as he has failed to acknowledge that he is as much to blame for the team’s woes , as was Maurice Cheeks, in some small part. .

Kobe Bryant can now be seen, as an elder statesman within the NBA. No longer the best player in the league , which he undoubtedly was , for several seasons , before the rise to prominence of LeBron James . With his and the Los Angeles Lakers’ window of opportunity now dwindling for him to add personally, a sixth NBA title to his career resumes’ and for the franchise to add to another , which they last won in 2010 . Of late, Bryant has once again began to show his ongoing immaturity and his disdain for the Lakers’ ownership , when he faces on-court adversity . Granted, this season he has been limited to a mere handful of games , before injury wreaked havoc on his aging body . Let us begin to see things in perspective, Bryant , an aging Steve Nash , Jodie Meeks , Pau Gasol , Xavier Henry , Chris Kaman and Nick Young , were never really seen as a legitimate contender for a conference title , much less the NBA championship itself, this season . Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak undoubtedly , already with an eye on next season’s list of marquee free agents, has now begun to dismantle the remnants of this season’s roster. While Bryant, remains the biggest asset and factor that the organization has , it does seem now ill-served that they re-signed him that ridiculous two-year $48.5 million contract . Kupchak’s first order of business , was to send Steve Blake to the Golden State Warriors at the trade deadline .

Bryant felt that without being consulted by either Mitch Kupchak or team owner Jim Buss , as to the trade of Steve Blake, it was simply a mark of disrespect on their part. Last I looked, it was not Bryant’s signature signing the paychecks of the employees of the Lakers’ organization and though in recent years he has played a large part in the franchise’s recent success . The Los Angeles Lakers’ franchise is owned by Jim Buss and it is his, to do with, as he so pleases, in conjunction, in working with Mitch Kupchak, as it relates to player personnel decisions.

To understand the plight of the Lakers’ season and the continued idiocy of their fans , the lack coaching acumen shown by Mike D’Antoni , his coaching staff , but more so the complacency shown by Mitch Kupchak in seeking to rebuild the roster through the draft and developing talent from within , will always continue to be the boon for this franchise. Now while they can point to the their multiple titles won and Hall of Fame players that are part of the Lakers’ legacy . Can we now readily admit that upon Bryant’s retirement , it could very well be a number of years before the franchise is back to the unprecedented heights of success that it has seen in the past . The failed experiment in acquiring Dwight Howard last season , resulted in Howard’s lack of leadership skills , being unable to give any memorable performances , much less being seen as a likely successor to take over the reins from Kobe Bryant , at what would be deemed his actual time of departure . Howard parlayed that one season of misfortune in Los Angeles into a sizable contract with the Houston Rockets , where he is now playing “second fiddle “ to James Harden , Chandler Parsons , Jeremy Lin and the sortie of players that now make up the Rockets’ roster . The fact , that Houston, seen at the preseason as a conference titlist at the start of the season , are domiciled in a non-major market , may well have played a great in the decision of Dwight Howard to seek his fortune elsewhere . As good a center as he is said to be , he is simply not capable enough of carrying a team on his shoulders to any semblance of real success and by that I mean an NBA title ! Idiot fans who point to his years in Orlando with the Orlando Magic are simply showing their complete lack of intelligence and knowledge of the NBA overall !

With three teams firmly rooted at the bottom of the Western Conference, with shared records of 19-36 as of 22nd February , seeing the Lakers, Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz , all sharing that same mark , really does put into perspective how dire the season has become for a number of franchises around the NBA. Of the teams with a a lower mark in the league as a whole , one only has to view the bottom of the Eastern Conference to see why the play there has been harangued all season long , in spite of the idiocy of some who suggest that the outgoing commissioner has nothing to do with the present mess. The changes brought within the NBA over the past decade alone , have David Stern’s imprints all over them , along with that of the NBPA Executive Committee (Players’ Union) , owners and the NCAA . Failure in acknowledging that lone fact once again points to the lack of intelligence of those who come up with the most ridiculous of assumptions as it comes to the lack of competitiveness within the NBA at present. No team rivalries that truly capture the fans’ imagination and only wishful thinking on the part of some who now suggest that a Heat vs Pacers’ rivalry will bring the league some much sort after relevance , will only need to look at that particular record over the past two years to realize that it simply has no weight to it as an argument if adjudged against classic NBA team rivalries of the past.

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The second half the NBA season is now underway and what if anything do you hope to see materialize as the season meanders towards its inevitability of the regular season schedule ? In light of the troubles now facing the Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Lakers , which organization do you believe is the best equipped to turn around their misfortunes in the least amount of time ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site !

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(1) Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers , who was the recipient of this season’s All Star Game MVP Award . Irving and the Cavaliers will be looking to a far more positive start to the second half of the team’s season . Former GM Chris Grant was fired by owner Dan Gilbert , with the owner offering his compliments to Grant for his stewardship as the lead front office executive during his four-year tenure . NBAE/ Getty Images / Stan Howe …

(2) Chicago Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose (1) is seen here with teammate Luol Deng (9). With Gar Forman thinking ahead and perhaps looking to slash the team’s payroll, the decision was made to trade Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers . With Rose sidelined for the entire Bulls’ regular season schedule , it was thought that the team would likely flounder within the Eastern Conference , but they have proven to be surprisingly resilient , while currently holding down the fourth best record in the East. Tom Thibodeau has his players playing in unison , as a team and they could pose a serious threat to the two contenders in the conference at whatever stage were they to meet. AP Photo / Alex Marsh ….

(3) Kwame Brown , is seen here being congratulated by NBA Commissioner David Stern , with the player being drafted as the number one overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards . Brown was taken by Michael Jordan , who at the time was Head of Basketball Operations for the franchise where he also happened to be a minority stakeholder in the Wizards. Kwame Brown’s career with the Wizards would prove to be non-eventful , as has been the rest of his career since entering the NBA straight out of high school . Along the way his career earnings from the NBA have surpassed $ 60 million , without the player ever positing double-digit figures in assists or points per game over the course of his NBA career except for one season in 2003 . AP Photo/ Chris Martin …

(4) Michael Jordan, center, smiles as he shakes hands with Washington Wizards minority owner , Ted Leonsis , left, and Wizards majority owner , Abe Pollin , Thursday, Jan. 19, 2000 at the MCI center in Washington, D.C. Jordan’s relationship with the Washington Wizards has deteriorated to the point that he and the franchise might part ways, The New York Times reported Sunday, May 4, 2003 With Jordan’s departure and the subsequent death of Abe Pollin , Leonsis would assume control of the franchise , buying the stake then held by the Pollin family estate. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais ..

(5) Michael Jordan is seen here with Kemba Walker at the Charlotte Bobcats’ home venue the Time Warner Cable Arena , in Charlotte , North Carolina . Walker a first round draft pick by the Bobcats is looking to lead the team this into the postseason for the first time since 2010 . Jordan as the Chairman , CEO and majority stakeholder in the franchise has long wished to have the Bobcats make the postseason during his tenure as the team’s primary owner , given his postseason heroics as a player with the Chicago Bulls as well as during the regular season where he also won six NBA titles with the revered franchise , this could very well be the year that it happens for the Charlotte Bobcats . A great of that will however be predicated upon the play of Kemba Walker and that of his teammates . AP Photo / Dave Moss ….

(6) Kobe Bryant (24) is seen here alongside teammate and close confidante Steve Blake , a point guard with the Lakers . In the aftermath of Blake’s trade to the Golden State Warriors , with Bryant voicing his displeasure , as to the decision made by GM Mitch Kupchak , but countenanced by team owner , Jim Buss . Having signed a two-year $48.5 million contract with the franchise , one seriously doubts that Kobe Bryant would once again seem himself at odds with the Lakers’ two lead front office executives concerning a player personnel decision made . Yet, this has not been the first time that the All Star guard has voiced displeasure over such a decision, made . Getty Images / Paul Dominguez …..

(7) AUBURN HILLS, MI – JUNE 23: (L-R) Joe Dumars , President of the Detroit Pistons and Tom Gores , Owner of the Detroit Pistons ‘fist bump’ to show their excitement during the Detroit Pistons Draft Night Party at the Palace of Auburn Hills on June 23, 2011 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The Pistons’ picks were not overly impressive in light of Dumars’ decisions made as to the franchise’s needs . Three years later and it would appear that the fortunes of the Pistons were no better then , than they are now , in terms of the team’s competitiveness . NBAE Photo by Allen Einstein / NBAE via Getty Images ….

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I’m wondering where they have hidden the bar of soap ?

She’s got no one to play with , but herself . So sad , too bad !

Let’s go by the numbers ……

Let’s go by the numbers …………

As the NFL enters week ten of its sixteen week regular season schedule , with the plethora of stories that have made up the season thus far. Perhaps no one story, than the one currently fomenting will have a lasting effect on the league as we know it to be at present . No matter how anyone now tries to spin what appears to have been an unsavory incident between Miami Dolphins’ teammates Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin , there is absolutely no way that one can justify the stance that racial intolerance or abuse should be part of anyone’s work environment . As to this downright idiocy , that a code of conduct amongst a brotherhood was broken by Martin, after he made it public, as to an incident that took place between he and Incognito, speaks to the damn stupidity of former NFL player Damien Woody , that with Jonathan Martin having broken that code , it now makes him “ a marked man “ who is likely . to distrusted by a teammate .

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Personally , I believe Woody to be entirely wrong, due to what appears to be ignorance and the fact , that as an African-American , I seriously doubt that he would have chosen to simply walk away, were a racial epithet directed at him or a member of his family , as appears to be the case with the online evidence of the “tweets” that were directed at Jonathan Martin and his mother in derogatory racial terms . As to those who simply want feel-good stories in a world where we have corrupt politicians , businessmen and violent crimes being perpetrated against women and children , simply add this episode, in another chapter in country spinning out of control , where common decency and respect no longer prevails .

With no formal statement from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on the matter, from an incident, that is now almost a week old. It begs the question, is the commissioner simply an executive, who cherry picks the issues where he feels it is simply another area where he can be seen in a positive image , albeit that the NFL brand is now once again coming under fire for all of the wrong reasons and a great deal more ? In appointing an attorney Ted Wells , to conduct an in-depth investigation , that will seek input from both of the players involved in this matter , as well as head coach Joe Philbin and the Dolphins’ general manager Jeff Ireland . It now remains to be seen, if there will be parameters set, as to whether or not this matter will be given greater latitude by way of an even greater investigation not just solely of the Miami Dolphins’ organization , but also of all of the thirty-one other teams that make up the NFL . Philbin, originally tried to suggest that this was an isolated incident , but clearly the head coach is now at a loss to explain how an environment of racial intolerance was acceptable within the Dolphins’ locker room , with a makeup of players of different ethnic backgrounds . Clearly, the matter was taken seriously enough by Jeff Ireland to suspend Richie Incognito indefinitely , without pay , while the organization now conducts its own in-house inquiry .

NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has summoned both Richie Incognito , his agent and that of Jonathan Martin and his own legal counsel to meet at the Players’ Union headquarters to meet and deal with and discuss d this matter in some clarity . To my mind, this is simply the union trying to line up all of its ducks in a row, in order to abate any possible public outrage over the matter that has blown up over the past forty-eight hours ! The NFLPA , has done little to monitor or dissuade the often criminal or outrageous behavior of its members who have often deemed themselves above the law. Need we also be reminded, this is the very same union that has continued to hide behind the matter of it being a privacy issue , as to why they have yet comply with the league’s request with the commencement of in and out of season testing for anabolic steroids as well as human growth hormones , even after a vote ratifying testing to begin . All this in accordance with a promise made to a US Congressional Committee in 2010 , for which this policy has yet to be instituted three years later . Such hypocrisy , not only from the executive committee of the union, but also the entire NFL hierarchy , led by Roger Goodell.

For a league, where the player personnel makeup extends beyond 65% of players, who are of African-American descent, and other ethnic backgrounds. One has to ask , if the so-called family friendly and all-inclusive atmosphere created and marketed towards its consumers by the NFL , has simply glossed over the at times and often overlooked behavior of the players . Player misconduct is one thing, but where racial bigotry has now become part of the environment , not where a fan has been directing racially insensitive remarks at a player , but that of a player directing those remarks at a fellow teammate and directly at a family member . Should we really be now asking , what else has the NFL chosen to tolerate within its own insular world of the male testosterone driven bastion of the league’s locker rooms and practice field environment ?

This season in the NFL, there have been several terrible games that the fans have been subjected to , on not only on Monday Night Football , but also on Thursday night . Tonight, should prove to be no different , with the Washington Redskins (3-5) as the guests of the Minnesota Vikings (1-7) , in what could prove to be a ” make ” or ” break game ” for both teams, with their respective seasons said to be on the line. In what has turned out to be a monstrously bad season within the NFC East , only the Dallas Cowboys (5-4) currently possess a record above .500 . As to what this actually indicates about the division as a whole , can be best summed up by how one views each of the four teams and their respective records and play over the course of this season . Suffice to say , the New York Giants (2-6) , the Washington Redskins , Philadelphia Eagles (4-5) and the divisional leaders , the Dallas Cowboys have given us a perspective as to what truly bad football is said to be about , at this point of the season. It would be terrible to think or witness the fact that a team with a sub .500 record is likely to win the division and a guaranteed berth in the postseason. Yet , this is what the fans could be facing over the remainder of this season , as I simply cannot foresee either of these four teams showing the type of consistency needed to end up with a winning record by week sixteen !

Greg Schiano , head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-8) , came in with a blaze of glory , having been hired by general manager Mark Dominik to resurrect the fortunes of the franchise after a dismal 2011 foray , which in the end led to the firing of Schiano’s predecessor Raheem Morris . Now win-less, with an 0-8 record , which they jointly share with the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-8) for the worst in the NFL . The countdown is now on to see whether or not the Buccaneers can gain their first victory of the season , as things continue to spiral out of control for Greg Schiano , his coaching staff and the entire team . And I use the word “team ” loosely , as there seems to be no desire from anyone on the roster to show any passion , much less leadership or to be held accountable for what is now turning out to be a truly miserable season by any stretch of the imagination.

The Buccaneers will play host to instate neighbors the Miami Dolphins in a game that will have a bearing on both of their seasons and quite possibly determine the fates of both Joe Philbin and Greg Schiano , and their long-term futures as NFL head coaches in the league .

Early season in the NBA and it would appear, as the Indiana Pacers (5-0) remain the lone unbeaten team in the NBA , sitting atop of the Central Division in the Eastern Conference . On Wednesday night the Pacers played host to the Chicago Bulls in one of ten games that was on NBA schedule for the day. Frank Vogel has this team playing at a high level with Paul George giving the sort of performances that was most notably seen in last season’s highly contested and competitive Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat . While I have no doubt that the Pacers are good enough to make return the postseason this year , beyond their being joined by the defending champions . It is difficult to state, which six teams within the Eastern Conference will join that duo and what that determining order is likely to be !

On Friday evening, Indiana will seek to stretch opening season run to six straight unbeaten games , when they play host to the Toronto Raptors (2-3) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana , Indianapolis,. With the Pacers having the upper hand in the regular season meetings between the two, twee this game is likely to prove to be somewhat uncompetitive . Frank Vogel’s players , but it would be rather impudent to simply think that , because the opponent just happens to be a team with a two-game winning streak , they should be taken lightly , because they have never been part of a competitive season , much less a part of the NBA’s postseason soirees . Chances are, this contest is likely to be close, based on the current disposition of both teams and the mindset of the Indiana Pacers’ players and how they will actually approach the game .

New ownership , same old story , as the Sacramento Kings continue to under-achieve , while their fans remain forever optimistic. From my own perspective, the loss of the Maloof family from the ranks of the NBA owners , should not be seen as that great a loss ! Consider the fact, that they continued to mismanage the franchise and almost brought them to the verge of bankruptcy , speaks volumes as to the lack of oversight that continues to be shown by the NBA hierarchy led by David Stern and his continued abstinence in insisting that the teams are and will remain financially solvent . Either, the NBA commissioner lives in the world of make belief , or he is of the opinion that creative accounting continues to be the best way to inflate the value of the franchises and their profitability .

Sacramento is off to a 1-3 start placing them at the bottom of the standings within the Pacific Division of the Western Conference . For rookie head coach , Michael Malone , beyond having to deal with a completely new hierarchy led by owner Vivek Ranadive , general manager Pete D’Alessandro , special consultant Chris Mullin and Shareef Abdur-Rahim as Director of Player Personnel . It is difficult to see how Malone will seek to navigate the waters of the NBA along with an untested coaching staff and a team led by the talented , but always temperamental DeMarcus Cousins . Already , the mercurial center and his coach are off to rocky start with the two seen clearly angrily gesticulating with one another after Malone sought to substitute the player during a game against the Golden State Warriors that ended in a 87-98 loss to their conference rivals . As to what this say as a precursor for the rest of the Kings’ season , will clearly be determined by the mindset of Cousins and how he views his head coach . Things are obviously not that great in terms of the long-term relationship between the two and it now defies logic as to any reason behind the franchise’s decision to re-sign the player to a four-year $62 million deal . Yet, it was felt by Chris Mullin , Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Pete D’Alessandro to retain the player and make him the centerpiece of any future development of the franchise and its long-term future. Unless DeMarcus Cousins can show signs of maturity as a player , rather than the petulant individual seen in college and repeatedly shown in the NBA when adversity looks him squarely in the eye , then in all likelihood his days in the NBA could very well be numbered as a starter in this league .

It would be fair to suggest that four years into his NBA career , in spite of the hype surrounding a collegiate career with the Kentucky Wildcats that brought about numerous highs and lows . It has to be said that with his being drafted as the fifth overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings . It would be fair and enough to suggest that the Kings’ center has simply failed to live up to the perceived expectations and that John Calipari believed that DeMarcus Cousins would prove to be an immediate success in the NBA because of his undoubted skill-set .

In spite of being overwhelmed in the NLCS by the St Louis Cardinals , it now looks as if the Los Angeles Dodgers are prepared to reward manager Don Mattingly with a new contract, extending the current deal , which the manager intends to honor , as he enters into its final year. If the rumors are to be believed Mattingly and his agent Ray Shulte have met with Dodgers’ general manager Ned Colletti and team President Stan Kasten to hammer out the finite details of a deal , that is likely to make the former New Yankees’ player one of the highest paid managers in Major League Baseball . Kasten’s wish to have Mattingly sign a five-year deal, with the option of an additional year on top of that, shows the intense belief of this front office in their manager and his abilities . In what turned out to be an astonishing year for one of baseball’s more venerable organizations, although the heightened expectations were there , with the expectations that it would be the Dodgers facing off against the Boston Red Sox in the World Series . The team’s failure to cool down the Cardinals’ pitching in the NLCS pennant series , was a clear indicator that there were and remained flaws that were often overlooked , because the Dodgers were a team capable of showing momentary flashes of brilliance. Instead , what was really needed , was in fact a great deal more consistency from the entire team , rather than those momentary showings of brilliance .

With the certainty that Don Mattingly will be retained, along with his managerial staff intact for 2014. The front office, will now look to assess the entire roster and review what they believe their most urgent needs are said to be. The pitching staff was amongst the best in the NL during the regular season , with their starting ace Clayton Kershaw having one of the best years in franchise history as well as in the game’s history , posting figures that were simply astonishing .

With a team payroll that already exceeds $200 million , with only the New York Yankees this past season having a larger salary obligation . This upcoming season could very well be the year where we could witness baseball’s first team with a payroll commitment close to $235 million annually . Certainly , with the ambition of team owners Magic Johnson , Peter Guber , Todd S Boehly , senior managing partner Mark Walter and the financial backing of Guggenheim Baseball Properties LLC and that of holding company Guggenheim Partners Inc , as well the $ 8 billion twenty-year television deal with Time Warner Inc . It begs the question , if the Dodgers simply want the best free agents available , will they simply outbid their opponents at the drop of a hat ?

With Clayton Kershaw as the team’s most urgent priority in terms of re-signing the player to a long-term multi-year deal , rather than losing him to free agency in 2014 . The question remains whether or not Ned Colletti will now make the player the highest paid starting pitcher in the game, with a deal thought to be in excess of $275 million over ten years . The Los Angeles Dodgers currently have some of the highest paid players in the baseball , me with notables such as Zack Greinke and his compensation package in the upper echelons of the starting pitchers in the game . Kershaw and his agent J D Smart will likely seek a deal commensurate with what is being earned by the top pitchers in the game ,albeit that salary arbitration in 2014 , will not prove to be that great a hurdle with Stan Kasten Ned Colletti eager to sign the pitcher to a long-term deal . And if Magic Johnson’s statement are to be believed “ that money will be of no object “ as the Los Angeles Dodgers seek to bring the franchise its first World Series’ title since 1988 . A quarter of a century has passed since that achievement came into being , so next season ought to portend to something special for the franchise , as they seek to make winning baseball’s biggest team prize a reality for this upcoming year . Is this team capable of doing that , given the makeup of their present roster , without seeking to delve amongst many of their prospects within their farm system to bolster that lineup ?

We have yet to know the fate of Alex Rodriguez , as he awaits the date to be set for his arbitration hearing in front special arbitration adjudicator Fred Horowitz . Rodriguez , denies any wrongdoing on his part in what he feels are scurrilous accusations and claims being brought by the MLB hierarchy that he was a customer of the defunct supplements’ company Biogenesis Inc, whose founder Anthony ‘ Tony’ Bosch claims that the Yankees’ third basemen purchased anabolic steroids from the company for his own personal use. The company founder, will be baseball’s chief witness in the proceedings against the player along with what is said to be detailed factual evidence now in the league’s possession . As to the veracity of MLB’s case against Rodriguez , without any evidence for the public to view , this all remains speculative in nature. Yet , to my mind, Alex Rodriguez when questioned on the matter , has sought defer the questions claiming that under advice of counsel (his lawyers). he cannot answer any questions pending a legal matter. Clearly , with the hiring of two noted criminal attorneys , Alex Rodriguez is now seeking another avenue to refute the charges being leveled against him and what better way to do that , than by legal means , in seeking to bring about a civil suit against Major League Baseball as well as the New York Yankees’ chief medical physician . Muddy the waters of the case against you, and then also seek legal recourse with attorneys David Cornwell and Joseph Tacopina as the conduits in pressing ahead with your civil suit in the New York City , US District Federal Court .

Should the arbitration not go in Alex Rodriguez’s favor , one of the more likely premises to arise out of this all, will be that the New York Yankees , will have Rodriguez’s future salary obligations taken off their books , allowing them instant relief and wiping away in one fail swoop the approximately $43 million owed to the player , which would cover the two hundred and fourteen game suspension that the baseball hierarchy leveled as a verdict for Rodriguez’s alleged wrongdoing . With that financial burden taken off the books of the Yankees , it would allow them to pursue their likely target amongst the free agents sought , none other than Carlos Beltran of the St Louis Cardinals, whose postseason productivity has been consistent , as well as his regular season performances , during his career with the Cardinals. A number of front office executives around the league as well as a number of owners are simply dumbfounded that once again the New York Yankees are in a favorable situation , in spite of what appears to the misdeeds of a player known to be disingenuous and most certainly deceitful , given his actions of March of 2010 , when Rodriguez gave his less than contrite public apology for lying about his not having been a user of performance enhancing drugs (PED’S) . Less than two years after that apology, the player’s name was again linked to another establishment and producer of anabolic steroids and other prohibited substances banned under the league’s policy, but no investigation was called for by Bud Selig , even in light of federal prison sentence handed down to now disgraced Orlando , Florida medical doctor Anthony Galea . Which once again begs the question and strains the ongoing credibility and claims now constantly being made by Bud Selig that baseball has the most stringent testing procedures in all of professional team sports . My question for the commissioner , if the claims you are making has any veracity to it all , then where is the evidence and what about the investigative side of the league’s actions ?

The Biogenesis scandal was not uncovered by any work done by league investigators and the league hierarchy itself , who we now know to have purchased a great deal of the evidence said to be in its possession from Biogenesis for use as evidential proof against twelve of the thirteen players suspended this past season . Once again, the bumbling incompetency baseball’s hierarchy and the now less than credible and soon to be outgoing MLB Commissioner, have taken a monumental hit from an image and intelligence standpoint . As if we needed any further proof, that baseball is being ran by a bunch of supercilious buffoons, whose intelligence and credibility have repeatedly come into question over the past decade and a half, without anyone ever being held accountable for the stupidity that has been on display ! Pretty much sums up not only MLB at present , but also the NFL , if those with any discerning interest would care to look at the tenure of Roger Goodell.

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In light of the topics raised in this article , what if anything do you believe to be or find anything disturbing as to the veracity of the content ? Also , are you of the opinion that the NFL can deal with this unwanted story concerning Richie Incognito of the Miami Dolphins appropriately without their being further damage done to the image the league ? With the New York Yankees quite possibly being in an advantageous position should the suspension of Alex Rodriguez be upheld , with the ball-club not having to pay any luxury tax, are you of the opinion that this situation has become too advantageous for the organization ? By all means do leave a comment on this and anything else you believe to be relevant the subject matter at hand.

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(1) Richie Incognito (68) and Jonathan Martin (71) of the Miami Dolphins . A furor over racially insensitive comments posted by Incognito has created a firestorm within the NFL , that has led for an in-depth investigation to be called for by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell ,which will be headed by noted corporate litigator Ted Wells . Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland thought the matter serious enough to suspend Incognito indefinitely without pay , pending the team’s own in-house investigation . Meanwhile , NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has summoned both players to the union’s headquarters to discuss the alleged incident that took place between the two players . AP Photo / Ricardo Gutierrez ….

(2) Damien Woody , formerly a player with the New York Jets , now an ESPN NFL analyst went on record in suggesting that Dolphins’ defensive lineman Jonathan Martin was wrong in making his incident with Richie Incognito public and bringing to attention what apparently goes on inside of NFL team locker room . It is clear that Woody simply does not get it , if he feels that “racism ” and racial bigotry somehow belongs within the environment of the NFL, which he duly failed to acknowledge concerning the actions of Richie Incognito . The former Jets’ player has yet to respond to comments calling for an explanation as to what he meant in stating that Martin was wrong to address the media . However, when pressed on the issue of Richie Incognito’s now viral “tweet” and the player’s depiction of Jonathan Martin and his mother , Woody was non responsive . @ copyrighted material courtesy of ESPN …

(3) From left to right , NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , center former union president Kevin Mawae and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell are seen outside of the NFL headquarters in New York City , New York . The two lead executives are now caught up in a firestorm , which further casts the image of the NFL as an entity that appears to have a code of conduct wherein reprehensible behavior is tolerated and kept out of the media and public’s view. Both Goodell and Smith have failed miserably in dealing with repeated player misconduct and the fact that the league’s athletes now run afoul of the law with alarming regularity on annual basis . The incident now widely being reported in various media formats centers around the behavior of the Miami Dolphins’ Richie Incognito and his racially insensitive remarks about his teammate (Jonathan Martin) and that player’s mother , both of whom were depicted in racially derogatory terms . Getty Images North America / Paul Mason …..

(4) Native Americans protest before the Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins game on November 7, 2013 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Many of those protestors were not only protesting the use of the word ” Redskins ” and that of its use by NFC East franchise the Washington Redskins , but also the incident now being widely reported in the national media that took place within the Miami Dolphins’ organization . Getty Images North America / Adam Bettcher …..

(5) Robert Griffin III (10) of the Washington Redskins, Adrian Peterson (28) of the Minnesota Vikings and Trent Williams (71) of the Washington Redskins pose for a photo on November 7, 2013 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Getty Images / Adam Bettcher ….

(6) Washington Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) looks to gain some yards as he evades the Minnesota Vikings’ defensive lineman Jared Allen . Minnesota gain a well-deserved victory in erasing a double-digit deficit to beat the Redskins 34-27 . AP Photo / Ann Heisenfeldt …

(7) From left to right , Tampa bay Buccaneers’ general manager Mark Dominik , team wide receiver , Mike Williams and head coach Greg Schiano . The Buccaneers are off to a miserable start this season , win-less and bearing an 0-8 record , placing them firmly at the bottom of the NFC East division. The team will play host to instate rivals the Miami Dolphins this Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , Florida , as they seek to earn their first victory of the season . There are now growing calls for the firing of Schiano as well as the removal of Mark Dominik in his current role with the organization . The Tampa Tribune / AP Photo / Keith Morris …..

(8) ) Indiana Pacers’ Paul George, right, talks with head coach Frank Vogel speaks during a news conference Tuesday, April 23, 2013, in Indianapolis. George has been honored as the NBA’s Most Improved Player . This season the Pacers are off to an excellent start and presently the NBA’s only unbeaten team . They will put that five game start and unbeaten run to the test when they face the Toronto Raptors on Friday night in a match-up of these two East Conference teams . AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(9) Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, left, is walked off the court by head coach Michael Malone after he was called for a technical foul during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. The Clippers won 110-101 . AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli …

(10) Alex Rodriguez ,right , is seen leaving a limousine alongside his lawyer Joseph Tacopina as he arrives at the MLB headquarters for a preliminary meeting with league investigators to answer questions concerning his suspected use of performance enhancing drugs (PED’s) . The player denied any wrongdoing or the accusations that he has once again begun to use any type of illicit substance prohibited by Major League Baseball . Not a far cry from Rodriguez’s original claims in both 2006 and 2008 , before finally admitting publicly in 2010 , that he had indeed used anabolic steroids supplied to him by a family relative , his cousin , Yuri Sucart . NY Daily News / Mark Hall ……………

(11) Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, left, checks on starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw, center, during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies Tuesday, July 2, 2013 in Denver. The Dodgers won 8-0 . Mattingly is likely to be rewarded with a lucrative contract extension , a five-year deal , with the option for a sixth , that is likely to make him one of the highest paid managers in Major League Baseball. Likewise , Clayton Kershaw , who is in an arbitration year with the franchise in 2014 , is seeking a long-term deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers , having met informally with team President Stan Kasten , GM Ned Colletti , along with his agent J D Smart to begin the initial talks, concerning a new deal that is likely to make the pitcher the highest paid player in the game in his current role . The Dodgers’ ace also highly favored to win NL Cy Young Award and is also seen an outside favorite to perhaps pull off the ” double ” of also taking home the NL MVP Award to adorn his own personal trophy cabinet , after a tremendous season in 2013 . AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez …

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tophatal …………………. 11/07/2013

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Jordan Carver and a montage below of Carver, again.

Nice , real nice !

The boy who cried wolf …..

The boy who cried wolf

Now inasmuch as I love the game of golf and like the majority of the fans , I believe the sole reason to watch the sport, is primarily the ongoing ‘dominance’ of Tiger Woods , as he chases down with a view to surpassing Jack Nicklaus’ all-time Grand Slams’ tournament wins of eighteen Majors . Woods , the winner of fourteen Grand Slam titles , is already a four-time winner on the PGA Tour for this season , as well as leading the PGA Fedex Cup standings . Not so long ago, I read a rather asinine , yet innocuous and inane piece by a fellow blogger, who suggested Woods’ career was on the decline . Clearly , the piece was written by an individual with very little knowledge of the sport and someone who I believe, had done little research if any , into Woods’ career , let alone that of Jack Nicklaus and many of the all-time greats within the sport . It is all too easy to come out with a rationale , yet to make a statement and not have anything to back it up with , is simply asinine and completely lacking in intelligence . Leave that sort of bullshit to those who espouse it best , the lame ass politicians in Congress !

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In The Players Championship , held this past weekend at the TPC Sawgrass Course in Ponte Vedra , Florida . This tournament often considered to be a “fifth Major” by PGA Tour professionals , had a great deal of thrills and excitement over the four days of competition . Nonetheless , the tournament itself , will now become more known for what has taken place off the course , rather than for any of the exceptional play that was said to have taken place throughout the four days competitive play. Long considered , two of the best players of this era , Tiger Woods and Spaniard , Sergio Garcia , have long held some might say a great deal of animus towards one another . Whereas , Woods has had a considerable amount of success worldwide as well on the PGA Tour . Garcia’s success , if anything , have been fleeting , with no one lingering moment that would indeed make you sit up and take note .

The final round of The Players Tournament would turn out to be a round full of errant play, several players in contention for the lead , with most notably both Woods and Garcia vying for the top spot on the leader-board. As the final holes of this event played themselves out , it was clear for all to see that Garcia was the player under pressure and someone who is not known to handle adversity all that well . Consider the fact that Woods, when in contention for the lead of a tournament from the third round onward , the player is a staggering 52-4 . Pressure ? I’d say that Sergio Garcia might well have been pissing and defecating in his pants , for all of the good it would do ! The Spaniard would suffer a meltdown in the final round of play , twice placing his ball in the water on the fifteenth green as well as double-bogeying that the sixteenth hole , leading to his falling out of contention for a victory . Woods would end up with the victory , his second Players Tournament Championship win and the seventy-eighth of his professional career on the PGA Tour . A mark that now leaves him four behind the all-time leading total of eighty-two wins , held by the legendary and late Sam Snead .

In the aftermath of it all , Garcia would claim that Woods’ conduct was unsportsmanlike , very much unrepresentative of the etiquette of golf . Pardon me for saying this , but since when was there anything remotely resembling the etiquette of golf , much less sportsmanship of the PGA Tour ? Consider the fact, that fairness and sportsmanship is seemingly judged by the interpretation of the rules, as seen fit by Tour Chairman Tim Finchem and members of the PGA Tour Executive Board . And if that wasn’t enough , players are now of a differing opinion , on whether or not belly-putters should be allowed to be used on the Tour by their fellow professionals . One should also not that Tour professional Vijay Singh is now seeking to sue the PGA Tour for loss of reputation and seeking punitive damages for what he says are unfounded allegations that he used a banned substance . With the R&A (Royal & Ancient Golf Club) , international governing body for golf , along with the PGA Tour are now sensitive to the issue of steroids within their sport , as well as now seeking to have te sport reintroduce to the Summer Olympics , first as an exhibition event , in 2016 , and ten formally in 2010 . One could attest to the fact that these are now sensitive times for the sport , as they seek international recognition beyond their already large international fan-base . With WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) and and the USOC (US Olympic Committee) and USADA (US Anti Doping Agency) already tackling the issue of illicit use of banned substances within the sport of cycling and the recent behavior of former seven-time Tour De France champion , Lance Armstrong , does anyone truly believe that Tim Finchem now wants to see golf , its image and the PGA Tour dragged through the mud , with its image sullied any further ? Your thoughts on this all ?

Courtesy of ESPN

Vijay Singh sues PGA Tour

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Vijay Singh sued the PGA Tour on Wednesday for exposing him to “public humiliation and ridicule” during a 12-week investigation into his use of deer-antler spray that ended last week when the tour dropped its case against him.

The lawsuit was a surprise, and so was the timing — the day before The Players Championship, the flagship event on the PGA Tour held on its home course where Singh, who has three major championships among his 34 PGA Tour victories, has honed his game for the past two decades.

More from ESPN.com

Vijay Singh’s decision to sue the PGA Tour is misguided and says a lot about the man himself, writes ESPN.com’s Bob Harig. Story

“I am proud of my achievement, my work ethic and the way I live my life,” Singh said in a statement. “The PGA Tour not only treated me unfairly, but displayed a lack of professionalism that should concern every professional golfer and fan of the game.”

Singh filed the lawsuit in New York, where he has a home and the tour has an office. He is in the field at The Players Championship and will start with Robert Garrigus and J.J. Henry at 2 p.m. ET Thursday.

The 50-year-old Fijian, inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2006, said in a Sports Illustrated article in January that he used deer-antler spray and he was “looking forward to some change in my body.” The spray was said to include an insulin-like growth factor that was on the tour’s list of banned substances. The tour sent a sample from Singh to be tested, and it returned small amounts of IGF-1.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem announced April 30 that the tour was dropping its case because of new information from the World Anti-Doping Agency, which said deer-antler spray no longer was considered prohibited because it contained just minimal amounts of the growth factor.

The lawsuit claims the PGA Tour relied on WADA’s list of banned substances and methods without doing any of its own research, including whether such substances even provide any performance-enhancing benefits. Singh’s lawyers said the tour “rushed to judgment and accused one of the world’s hardest working and most dedicated golfers of violating the rules of the game.”

“We have not seen the lawsuit, just the statement,” PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said. “We have no comment.”

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Singh’s character to my mind, still remains in question in spite of his worldwide career , and as an inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame . When first questioned, on this matter , the Fijian golfer was reluctant to answer any questions on the matter . Vijay Singh is reluctant to discuss the matter in public , without the presence of a legal adviser . As to what that might suggest , I will let you be the judge of that ! Consider also, the PGA’s own rules on banned substances are ambiguous at best , and with the substance in question known to be used by Vijay Singh , commonly known as Deer Antler juice , known to have slight traces of anabolic steroids . It does beg the question how will the PGA Tour and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club address the issue on the Tour as well as on a global basis ? The spirit of the game be damned , if the ambiguity continues , then to hell with this bullshit of fairness and sportsmanship ! It is now time for Finchem and his cohorts to stop blowing smoke up everyone’s ass, in trying to suggest that golf remains the last true bastion of sportsmanship and professional course etiquette , as nothing could be further from the truth .

Well , with a number of series now about to reach a crescendo in the semifinal stages of the NBA postseason . It is now time to take stock of the teams and how they are said to be faring . If you consider yourself to be a loyal and devout New York Knicks’ fan, do you bury your head in shame by the team’s embarrassment in their continually woefully inept displays against the Indiana Pacers ? Or do you simply decry the fact that this is nothing more than an aberration that the team is now facing a pivotal game four while quite possibly being on the cusp of elimination . All season long , Knicks’ fans and many of their players , were seemingly under the impression that it would be preordained that the team would be on their way to the Eastern Conference Finals , and a potential match-up against the Miami Heat . Well as now , things are not looking so good for Mike Woodson’s players , as they seek to erase a 2-1 deficit against Frank Vogel’s all too competitive Pacers’ team .

Tonight’s game will be a true test of the intestinal fortitude of Knicks’ forward , Carmelo Anthony and his teammates when they face the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana , Indianapolis . Grit and determination has been ever present, but it has been the defensive mindset of the Indiana Pacers throughout much of the playoffs . For all of the talk of the Knicks and playoffs their perceived prowess , other than their first round series victory , there has been very little to suggest in this series they are capable of erasing this deficit (2-1).

Should the Pacers prevail , tonight , then it would certainly cast a giant shadow over the Knicks’ organization . Most notably for team owner , James Dolan , GM Glen Grunwald this would be seen as a truly disappointing season , in light of franchise’s own lofty expectations . Of the remaining participants now in the now postseason , only the Miami Heat have a larger payroll than their Eastern Conference counterparts , the New York Knicks. A commitment that is just under $80 million , with the biggest outlay going to Amar`e Stoudemire , a player who has yet to make a solid contribution of any kind to the Knicks during the regular or postseason for the organization. That being said, if Carmelo Anthony is able to lead this team in erasing this deficit , then it leads to a best of three game series’ finale , in what so far has been a highly entertaining and scintillating series .

In world of theater , the saying “ it is not over until the fat lady sings “ , might just be ringing true as it relates to the Oklahoma City Thunder . The number one seed in the Western Conference , now find themselves in a horrendous hole , after last night’s inexplicable six point loss to the Memphis Grizzlies . Needless to say , that the fat lady off stage near right is simply clearing her throat she gets set to regale us will with an aria . On the other hand , it could very well be that Kevin Durant and his teammates are trying to lull us all into a false sense of security . At this juncture , my money is now definitely on the fat chic ! . Who would have thought that the Thunder would be facing a 3-1 deficit , and that Zack Randolph and Marc Gasol would have been amongst the most explosive offensive duos during the postseason ? Not I said the fly ! Likewise , even with the loss of Russell Westbrook to a season ending injury , I still felt that that Scott Brooks’ players had enough to simply withstand an all-out assault from Lionel Hollins’ players . Now all that awaits this Grizzlies’ team and a path to the conference finals , will be for them to close out their series with a rousing game five victory at the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma on Wednesday night when the two teams meet to resume their conference semifinal series . And the chances are , that will be the likely outcome given the rather inconsistent play from the Thunder over the past two games .

The series as they are now placing themselves out within the Western Conference now seems to be taking on a life of their very own . And nowhere is that now self-evident tan the series between San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors . The head coach of the Warriors Mark Jackson has simply made believers out of is doubters who were dubious of his abilities as a coach in the NBA .From my own perspective I firmly believe that Jackson was greatly overlooked in the NBA Coach of The Year balloting , but this is merely my belief , objective as it appears to be.

For the Spurs` Big Three of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker , this might well be the trios` last hoorah . In their time together, the triumvirate have garnered several of the game`s highest individual and team awards . That in of-itself will not be enough to satisfy the most ardent of fans of the San Antonio Spurs , who simply wish to see another title brought to the franchise , whose last postseason triumph, the fourth in their history came in 2007 .

With the series now tied at two games apiece (2-2) , it now leaves Gregg Popovich in something of a dilemma , and how he makes the adjustments needed to secure a series` victory . It is clear that from a defensive standpoint , the Spurs are struggling and have struggled to negate the effectiveness of Steph Curry throughout this series . As Curry goes in this contest , then so might the Warriors` postseason foray and the franchise`s aspirations .

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In light of the points raised within this article what thoughts if any do you have concerning this article ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site !

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(1) Tiger Woods of the USA plays a shot from the 11th tee during round two of The Players Championship at The Players Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 10, 2013 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Richard Heathcote/Getty Images North America … (2) Sergio Garcia of Spain plays a shot from the 11th tee during round two of The Players Championship at The Players Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 10, 2013 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Richard Heathcote/Getty Images North America ….

(3) Sergio Garcia (left) and Tiger Woods shake hands on the first tee prior to the start of the third round of The Players Championship from the TPC Sawgrass Course at Pontre Vedra Beac , Pontre Vedrea , Florida , AP Poto / Micael Fletcer ….

(4) Vijay Singh (L) of Fiji talks to Robert Allenby of Australia during a practice round for THE PLAYERS Championship at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 8, 2013 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Singh has field a federal civil suit in US Courts claiming defamation of character , libel and slander in a suit filed against the PGA Tour and Commissioner Tim Finchem . Vijay Singh is claiming that suit derives from the fact that the PGA Tour knowingly leaked details concerning an ongoing investigation of his knowingly taken a banned substance . Singh maintains is innocence stating that he only takes a medical supplement known as Deer Antler juice , which does contain small amounts of anabolic steroids . The player is seeking punitive monetary damages . Many of Singh`s peers believe tat is actions will do irreparable damage and harm to the PGA`s reputation and they have called for him to halt his legal action . AP Photo /Keith Meachem ………

(5) New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony wipes his face as he leaves the court following the first half of Game 4 of an Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series against the Indiana Pacers, on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, in Indianapolis. The Knicks would lose game four 92-83 , and now face a pivotal game five on Thursday night , as they are now down 3-1 in the best of seven-game semifinals` conference series . AP Photo/Darron Cummings …..

(6) New York Knicks’ Jason Kidd (5) shoots past Indiana Pacers’ George Hill during the first half of Game 4 of an Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, in Indianapolis. AP Photo/Darron Cummings …..

(7) San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan (21) is fouled by Golden State Warriors’ Harrison Barnes , left, and Golden State Warriors’ Festus Ezeli also defends during the first half in Game 5 of a Western Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series , Tuesday, May 14, 2013, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Eric Gay ….

(8) Steph Curry (left) is seen ere looking to defend the lane against the Spurs` Tony Parker during game three of the Western Conference semifinals played at the Oracle Arena in Oakland California on the 10th May , 2013 . AP Poto / Keith McCarron ……

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NB : As of 14th May 9:32 pm EST no results were known concerning NBA games being played .

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A Quiet But Unassuming Look At One NBA Franchise No One Sees As A Threat …….

A Quiet But Unassuming Look At One NBA Franchise No One Sees As A Threat …….

By tophatal … Thursday, 12 April, 2012 9:46pm

Unassuming and overlooked throughout much of the regular season the Indiana Pacers (36-22) have quietly played themselves into contention amongst the Eastern Conference standings . Currently the Pacers have the third best record within the conference as they sit behind the Miami Heat (40-16) and the conference leading Chicago Bulls (44-14) . And while other teams have simply been inconsistent it has been the Pacers in their often unassuming approach who have put together quite an impressive run over their last ten games posting a 7-3 record , the second best behind (8-2) the Boston Celtics (34-24) .

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The Pacers’ head coach Frank Vogel has assembled a team that on the face of it wouldn’t be seen as one of the more glamorous NBA franchises . But most certainly , given the history and pedigree of the organization it would be remiss to simply write them off as being just another team that will be seen as “cannon fodder” for the likes of the Chicago Bulls and to my mind what is now becoming more apparent an overrated Miami Heat team ! The Indiana Pacers led by their best player Danny Granger who in essence had to play “second fiddle” for a number of years while Jermaine O’Neal , who became something of a “pariah” and infantile in his approach before departing to take his career elsewhere . Granger alongside Roy Hibbert , David West , Paul George , Darren Collison and George Hill have given the Pacers’ fans something finally to believe in.

Now while Magic Johnson has been center stage as the new owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers . The former NBA great whose career in the league was something to behold , with his greatest adversary during his epic playing years being none other Boston Celtics’ great Larry Bird . Their classic encounters propelled the NBA into the ” big time “ and made the brand a staple for the fans long before Michael Jordan would then become the “icon” and face of the NBA . And while Jordan has become an owner of the now failing …. Charlotte Bobcats and where his failures as front office executive have far exceeded his successes. It has been Bird who has excelled in that capacity as the general manager of the Pacers under the ownership of Herb Simon and his family . Larry Bird as general manager has simply done things in his own way , looking to bring back the years of acclaim when Reggie Miller and Mark Jackson made the franchise prominent and slayed the ” dragon “ who at the time just happened to be the New York Knicks .

Bird would like nothing better than to emulate his former teammate Danny Ainge who as the current general manager of the Boston Celtics’ franchise guided the organization to their most recent success as champions of the NBA in 2008 when they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers (4-2) . The Celtics under the reaffirmed presence of Kevin Garnett and the best point guard …. playing in the NBA at present , Rajon Rondo , the ” heart “ and soul “ of the team at present . If anyone doubts that claim concerning Rondo then consider the fact of productive output this season and the fact he accounts for more than half of the “triple doubles ” notched up in the NBA during this season and has garnered himself several “double doubles” over the course of the of the Celtics’ schedule .

Now while the Indiana Pacers sit some eight games behind the Chicago Bulls within the Central Division , with records being what they the Pacers’ schedule now becomes somewhat tenuous as it now winds down with 8 games to be played before the culmination of the regular season on the 26th April 2012 . The Indiana Pacers most certainly would like nothing better than to sweep through that schedule and add to their tally of season wins . Coming off a 104-98 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Quicken Loans Arena in , Cleveland , Ohio , the Pacers now have a return engagement with Byron Scotts’ …. team at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana , Indianapolis this Friday which just happens to be the 13th April 2012 . And hopefully it will not cast any omens of bad luck upon the teams playing at their home venues on this date .

Now while I have always been impressed with the play of Danny Granger I always felt that he was being stifled by the sheer contempt of his former teammate Jermaine O’Neal and the very fact that the talents of Granger upon his entry into the NBA in 2005 where he was drafted 17th overall in the first round of the draft that year. To my mind it also had a lot to do with the fact that the coaches Rick Carlisle and his successor Jim O’Brien who at the time who oversaw his career never truly appreciated or understood what they had within their midst . Granted, early in his career Granger had his problems but much of that had to do with the fact that the coaching staff may not have had enough faith in the young player. It took the hiring of Frank Vogel to fully appreciate the talents of Granger and with the obvious judicious drafting of players by Larry Bird seems to have the Indiana Pacers now heading in the right direction .

Roy Hibbert for his part has impressed many with his play and growing signs of maturity . So much so , the young center who was drafted by the Toronto Raptors in the 2008 NBA Draft , seventeenth overall in the first .round but somehow he didn’t seem to fit in within the Raptors’ organization . But he was then traded by the Toronto Raptors in exchange for the troubled Jermaine O’Neal , who has in essence become a nomad during the latter part of his NBA career . Frank Vogel and his coaching staff have certainly not been given the credit they truly deserve . They have this team playing with a great deal of resolve averaging offensively 96.81 ppg (5th in the Eastern Conference) and with a point differential of +2.72 with the team being indeed very proficient when scoring 100 points or more during a game . And from a defensive standpoint the Indiana Pacers are second only to the Chicago Bulls within the Eastern Conference and within the NBA overall they are amongst the more efficient teams overall in allowing 94.1ppg . .

With the postseason approaching and due to commence on the 28th April it will be interesting to see what those potential first round match-ups will be based upon the current standings and the projected year-end results . The Indiana Pacers would play hosts to the Orlando Magic (34-24) , team that in recent weeks has been plagued by a great deal of uncertainty , with the infantile behavior of both Dwight Howard and head coach Stan Van Gundy . And though the Magic do hold a 3-1 season series lead over their conference rivals. I would suggest that for the Magic , given their recent displays and lack of real cohesive consistency that match-up could end up being their own undoing . I have long-held the contention that while Stan Van Gundy is a good regular season coach but come the postseason he tends to be like a deer caught in headlights . As for Dwight Howard , at this juncture and stage of his career , I am not so sure that the commitment is there for him to give it his all in the support of the Orlando Magic franchise ! And though in their last meeting at the Amway Center , in Orlando , Florida was something of a lopsided thirteen point loss (107-94) for the Indiana Pacers , with Dwight Howard leading all scorers with 30 pts and 13 rebounds . Paul George led the Pacers in scoring 22 points and eight assists for the game . .

While I am in no doubt that this potential first round will be a highly competitive one , it is my belief that the Magic though highly favored can’t truly be considered the favorites , albeit that it just happens to be the Indiana Pacers who has the better conference and divisional record of the two teams in question . The Pacers’ playoff history though littered with some memorable moments have been few and in between . But with their last postseason appearance being 2010-2011 playoffs where a first round series’ loss (4-1) to the Chicago Bulls ended their foray in the postseason. The Indiana Pacers in the 2010-11 season posted a 37-45 .. record good enough for the eighth seed within the conference . It has been the resolve shown by Vogel to get his team playing with the determination that would see a gradual progress that has been exhibited this season .

As to the fans of the Indiana Pacers with a team has created a great deal of excitement within the state and being a surprise draw within the league this season , beyond that of the Indiana Hoosiers’ basketball program and the last decade of unprecedented success of the state’s NFL franchise the Indianapolis Colts , whom over that period of time was led by the four-time league MVP Peyton Manning . With the player having departed as a free agent to join the Denver Broncos . It has to be said that the excitement one would come to expect may well have ceased . And even with the anticipated belief that the front office will make the decision to take Andrew Luck as the consensus number one overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft (2012) . It has to be stated that the Colts are now a work in progress as they build for the future having shed players superfluous to their needs .

Tom Crean has the Hoosiers’ program heading in the right direction and that was certainly on display during the season and reflected in the play of the team . Indiana may well be about basketball and its legacy has been well chronicled that of the Hoosiers and the accomplishments of Bobby Knight . It is hoped that the fans of the game within the state can now show some real enthusiasm towards the NBA franchise .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What if anything has surprised you concerning the NBA season from its starting on Christmas Day 2011 and the results of that day to what you have seen up until now ? Also are you of the opinion that the Indiana Pacers can be viewed as a serious threat during the postseason ? Simply chime in with a comment on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter herein . Thanks as always for your continued support of this site throughout the years , as it has been greatly appreciated !

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott talks to guard Lester Hudson in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, April 11, 2012, in Cleveland. Hudson scored 19 points in Cleveland’s 104-98 overtime loss to Indiana. AP Photo/Mark Duncan

(2) Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel complains about a call to referee Greg Willard in overtime during an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, April 11, 2012, in Cleveland. The Pacers won 104-98. AP Photo/Mark Duncan …

(3) Cleveland Cavaliers’ Samardo Samuels and Indiana Pacers’ Danny Granger , right, scramble for a loose ball in overtime during an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 11, 2012, in Cleveland. The Pacers won 104-98 . AP Photo/Mark Duncan ……

(4) (4) Indiana Pacers’ Roy Hibbert , left, blocks a shot by Cleveland Cavaliers’ Alonzo Gee in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 11, 2012, in Cleveland. AP Photo/Mark Duncan …

(5) (L-R) Larry Bird and Earvin “Magic” Johnson answer questions during a news conference to relive their 1979 NCAA Championship Game between Indiana State (Sycamores) and Michigan State before the 2009 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship game at Ford Field on April 6, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan. Getty Images North America / Gregory Shamus …. (6) Magic Johnson and Larry Bird are seen here prior to a game between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers . Johnson and his teammates would go on to defeat the Celtics …. 104-87 . AFP/Reuters archives .

(7) ATLANTA, GA – MARCH 23: Will Sheehey (10) of the Indiana Hoosiers reacts after fouling out against the Kentucky Wildcats in the second half during the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball South Regional Semifinal game at the Georgia Dome on March 23, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images …

(8) Head coach Tom Crean of the Indiana Hoosiers talks to Victor Oladipo (4) in the second half against the Kentucky Wildcats during the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball South Regional Semifinal game at the Georgia Dome on March 23, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Brief But Not Breaking Sports Stories …………..

Brief But Not Breaking Sports Stories …………..

Well I’m not about to bore you all with my thoughts on the ongoing NFL labor dispute because I think for the most part the majority of us are fed up with the lack of any form of compromise having not been met or agreed upon as of yet. Inasmuch as with each passing second ESPN and Foxsports tries to keep us all abreast of the latest developments as if it’s going to be breaking news , merely the mention of either Roger Goodell or DeMaurice Smith’s name in essence simply makes me want to puke ! Suffice to say , even with the NFL coming out with a 2011-12 schedule and wherein they’ve essentially leaked the fact that they’ve a contingency plan in place that would have the season start at Week 3 and all teams playing that week would then have a bye-week later on in the calendar of the season’s schedule . Of what comfort that will be to the fans in question I can’t at present tell you . My bone of contention is that the NFL in spite of itself , in terms of PR, they continue to make the situation worse knowing full well each snippet information leaked won’t in fact undo the damage that has already been done. At the same all of the hoopla that one would come to expect has been created with the hyperbole surrounding the upcoming NFL Draft . What, the fact that a season as the fans had hoped for but yet the NFL wants to lure us all into that false sense of security with three days of the dumb diatribe and where the likes of John Clayton , Mel Kiper and Chris Mortensen will induce us all into wanting to throw something at our tv sets because of their self absorbed overblown analysis ! Simply inform the viewer that’s all we want , nothing more nothing less , it’s as simple as that .

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Slide show for your perusal .

Three weeks into the MLB season and it seems the fans are abuzz with the play of the teams and the very fact that the divisions are playing themselves out rather nicely . And while the talk of now seems to be the fact that the MLB hierarchy has seen fit to take over the day to day running of the Los Angeles Dodgers , wherein team owner Frank McCourt has been forced to relinquish control of his debt laden organization. I can’t help but wonder why it has taken Bud Selig so long to come to making this decision . I can only surmise that he sought counsel not only from the league’s legal representative but also in large part many of the most prominent team owners within the game . I surely cannot believe that they would have agreed to this action unless they felt that it was imperative that something needed to be done. With the facts being laid bare that McCourt had sought a loan from the local Fox tv affiliate of some $30 million merely to pay primarily the players’ salaries and meet other budgetary expenses for the month of April . I can’t see how Frank McCourt can still believe that the organization isn’t in dire financial straits . Good God almighty we’re barely a month into the Dodgers’ season and the Dodgers couldn’t afford to pay the salaries of its employees ? If you don’t think that’s strange then tell me what is ?

The further we delve into this sordid mess the more murky it becomes because it’s becoming abundantly clear that many of the Dodgers’ front office executives were either simply powerless to stop McCourt in his tracks or they completely suborned his actions without taking into account what could go wrong should things begin to fall apart . Certainly GM Ned Colletti now seems perplexed because in giving a public statement when asked if he was in control of the organization as its senior most executive outside of the owner , Frank McCourt , his reply was ‘ …… I’m not so sure what I can really tell you at the moment ‘ . If you’re an ardent Los Angeles Dodgers’ fan how must you feel at the moment ?

The Dodgers’ as a team hasn’t really let the off the field problems get in the way of their on field efforts . And in their game against the Atlanta Braves we saw them give a heroic effort defeating the Braves 5-3 at Dodgers’ Stadium with walk off 2 run home run from Matt Kemp in extra innings . If that didn’t lift the spirits of the players and the fans in attendance then nothing else may well have done , other than knowing that McCourt is no longer in charge of the team for the time being. Frank McCourt has however said that he is quite prepared to challenge the league’s authority by legal means , in filing a restraining order in the US Federal Court in Los Angeles , California . That legal recourse could either be swift or it could well be a battle of wills between the embattled owner and that of the league hierarchy. Either way, no one actually wins because the damage has already been done to the game’s credibility and that of the Dodgers themselves .

With that in mind I can’t help but wonder if Bud Selig will now challenge the authority of New York Mets’ ownership group and their financial situation as it now stands . One can’t but help notice that Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz as lead managing partner and team president are carefully trying to portray themselves as victims of the Bernard Madoff ‘Ponzi’ scheme and scandal. Suffice to say, with the duo and their company Sterling Equities as well as the Mets’ organization being named as defendants in a civil lawsuit claiming that they profited greatly from the scheme which defrauded clients of an alleged $59 billion ($59,000,000,000 ) . The plaintiffs represented by lawyer Irving Picard are seeking the return of a sum believed to be anywhere between $450 – $750 million that the duo is said to have received over the years by the defendants and their business entities, while Madoff’s scheme was said to be ongoing . What that says about the claims of both Katz and Wilpon that they unaware that the monies received was in fact due to fraud , has to be questioned , given the exorbitant rates of return at the time on their own then alleged investment in the scheme . Both as co-founders of Sterling Equities either had to be completely naive and ignorant or they in fact weren’t duped into believing that their gains were legal _____ they knew all along that something was awry and just simply didn’t care how they derived of this monetary gain.

Personally , I’m of the opinion that Katz and Wilpon knew exactly what was going on but thought that they were never in any danger of being seen as crooked should the scenario play itself out for the press’ and public’s consumption. The fact of the matter may well have been they viewed themselves as bastions of ownership hierarchy within baseball , where as such , the owners there are viewed as captains of industry or self made multi millionaires and not white collar criminals . My feeling is , if you’re involved within the inner workings of Wall St you’re a crook because who else but high ranking executives have profited so greatly from this economic blight wrought upon the nation ?

As the NBA postseason plays itself out we’re beginning to see a number of players come into their own during the playoffs . Dwight Howard has been playing at a high caliber and if anything has been the primary force on the Orlando Magic as they’ve leveled their series (1-1) against the Atlanta Hawks . That being said watching the Altanta Hawks waste a golden opportunity in this series only further emphasizes what I’ve always thought about this team , they’re gunshy and literally scared of their own shadow . If Larry Drew and his coaching staff can’t get this team to play any better than they’re now said to be doing then this series will be closed out on its return to the Amway Center in Orlando , Florida . This much I am certain off , teams cannot afford to waste opportunities when given to them in the playoffs because there’s no looking back and saying ……’ what might have happened if only we’d done that ‘ ?

If the Hawks are to stand any chance of actually winning this series then Joe Johnson will have to step up to the plate and show that he’s indeed the leader of this team rather than an overpaid and less than compelling athlete . How he was able persuade the Hawks’ front office into offering him a 6 year $96 million contract for his less than stellar figures is way beyond anything that I for one can imagine ! I can only surmise that because there weren’t any serious takers for his talents during the trade deadline he saw fit to dupe the Hawks’ management into thinking he as their primary role player on this team would be their best chance of success and a shot at the NBA title .

As the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference the Hawks are a vastly different team from last season if anything they’ve tailed off somewhat but then again this in essence is the same team that was so convincingly swept in the first round by the Orlando Magic last season in the of the NBA Playoffs . That 4-0 series drubbing had to have left a bitter taste in the mouths of the players and the Hawks’ fans . Are we about to see history repeat itself once again this series with only a slight change somewhat in the outcome ? It remains to be seen whether or not the Atlanta Hawks can acquit themselves and redeem some honor as the rest of this series unfolds .

Is a team as good as the coach they’re playing under or does it happen to be , the players or a marquee player that in essence makes the coach’s name ? Could one as such affix that moniker to the likes of Phil Jackson , Gregg Popovich or Red Auerbach for that matter in terms of their unprecedented success ? The reason I say this is because there are those who believe that the Chicago Bulls aren’t genuinely a legitimate contender because of their youth , inexperience and the fact that they’ve a first time coach in Tom Thibodeau . But there has to be a reason why this team was so successful this season and easily ran away with their division and in becoming the number one seed in the Eastern Conference . It solely wasn’t down to the heroics of Derrick Rose and his sensational season because he was ably assisted by his teammates who all bought into Thibodeau’s coaching philosophy , strategies and the lessons of his coaching staff .

The Bulls in the first round have had their struggles against the Frank Vogel coached Indiana Pacers . But in essence if the Bulls are being viewed as inexperienced then how should one judge the Pacers as a team overall …………… over achievers having made it into the playoffs with a 41-41 record ? Last night’s victory by the Bulls in game three essentially sowed up the series with a hard fought victory and all but insurmountable 3-0 series lead . The Pacers’ best player Danny Granger had a chance of winning the game in the dying moments but his three point attempt was a belated and off target effort . TNT studio analyst Charles Barkley was succinct as ever in describing the effort as ‘ garbage’. But if anything Granger wasn’t at all to blame because on close inspection were it not for the harassing defensive play and effort by the Bulls’ Luol Deng the shot may well have been a game ending winner for the Pacers. Instead they now face a series saving game four on Saturday against their conference rivals . Staving off defeat, elimination and living to fight another day is what both Vogel and his team are looking to achieve. But given the effort that has been put forth by this team and the fact that they seem to be their own undoing at the most inopportune of moments I for one can’t see them having the wherewithal or temerity to pull off the win and then trying to win the series outright ! They simply haven’t played consistently enough to convince me that they’re anywhere near the equal of the Chicago Bulls as a team.

As to the chances of Tom Thibodeau as a first year coach taking his team to the NBA Finals , well those chances seem to have improved greatly based upon his team’s efforts so far. One more win and the Bulls make the Eastern Conference Semi Finals where they would meet the winners of the series between the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks . And that series at the moment favors the Celtics with Doc Rivers’ team now up 2-0 in the best of seven series . Game two at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston , Massachusetts , saw the Celtics eke out a hard fought 96-93 victory over the Knicks . But for the heroic efforts of Carmelo Anthony and his 40 plus points in the game the Knicks would surely now be looking even demoralized . But instead they may well be even more galvanized knowing that the the next three games of the series are to be played at their home venue of Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York.

Though Tom Thibodeau may well be viewed as a first year coach, his coaching background and pedigree has proven to be invaluable. If anything the experience of having been assistant to both Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers gives him something of an advantage over the other coaches left in the Eastern Conference playoffs other than Rivers and the Magic’s Stan Van Gundy. His presence having been an assistant to a duo of coaches (Rivers and Popovich) who have won 5 NBA titles between has to be an asset rather than a disadvantage but yet I hear the naysayers out there stating that the Bulls simply aren’t good enough. If they’ve been good enough to essentially stroll their way to the conference’s best record with a series of notable team highs in terms of season success then why are they not good enough to win it all ? If their record isn’t an indictment of how good they are and that of their coach and his resume’ then what is ? It may well be the one thing that could stop the Bulls is simply that they don’t believe that they’re capable of winning it all which would be a given but would you really be willing to bet against a team who’ve proven to be hard to beat on their homecourt at the United Center and are just as difficult to beat away from home as their season schedule has undoubtedly shown us ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the topics raised within this piece and as such as the NBA Playoffs unfold what if anything so far has been of great interest you ? Simply chime in with your own comments and anything else that you may well feel pertinent to this piece .

Alan aka tophatal …………………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Indianapolis Colts Vice President and General Manager Chris Polian responds to a question during a news conference in Indianapolis, Friday, April 22, 2011. Polian talked about the 2011 NFL Draft that will be held next week in New York. AP Photo Darron Cummings ……

(2) NFL lawyer Jeff Pash speaks to members of the media after leaving court ordered mediation presided over by Judge Arthur Boylan at the U.S. Courthouse on April 20, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mediation was order after a hearing on an antitrust lawsuit filed by NFL players against the NFL owners after labor talks between the two broke down last month. Photo by Hannah Foslien /Getty Images ……

(3) NFL lawyer Bob Batterman and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell leave court ordered mediation at the U.S. Courthouse on April 20, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mediation was order after a hearing on an antitrust lawsuit filed by NFL players against the NFL owners after labor talks between the two broke down last month. Photo by Hannah Foslien /Getty Images …….

(4) Catcher Brian McCann(16) of the Atlanta Braves drops the ball as Jamey Carroll(14) of the Los Angeles Dodgers slides safely into home to tie the game in the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium on April 21, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers defeated the Braves 5-3 in twelve innings. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images ……..

(5) Matt Kemp(27) of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a game winning two-run home run in the 12th inning against the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium on April 21, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers defeated the Braves 5-3 in twelve innings. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images …….

(6) Matt Kemp, center , (27) of the Los Angeles Dodgers is mobbed by his teammates after hitting a two-run home run to win the game in the 12th inning against the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium on April 21, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images …….

(7) Dwight Howard(12) of the Orlando Magic shoots over Zaza Pachulia(27) of the Atlanta Hawks during game two Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2011 at the Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …..

(8) Joe Johnson(2) of the Atlanta Hawks rebounds against the Orlando Magic during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2011 at the Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida. The Magic would defeat the Hawks 88-82 to level the series at one game (1-1) apiece . Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(9) Derrick Rose(1) of the Chicago Bulls shoots the ball while defended by Jeff Foster (50) of the Indiana Pacers in Game three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 21, 2011 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Bulls won 88-84 to take a 3-0 lead in their best of seven series . Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images ……

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MLB News

MLB Scoreboard

MLB Results 20 th April 2011

NFL News

NBA News

NBA Playoffs 2011

NBA Results from 21st April 2011

NBA Games scheduled for 22nd April 2011

Boston Celtics vs New York Knicks

Orlando Magic vs Atlanta Hawks

Los Angeles Lakers vs New Orleans Hornets

NBA scheduled games Saturday 23rd April

NBA scheduled games Sunday 24th April

No Big Surprise There What Do You Think ?

It never ceases to amaze me as to the stupidity of today’s athletes !They’re placed upon a pedestal by the press and to a lesser extent by the fans alike. And OK, so the press are only all too willing to tear them down , once they’re found to be all too human. Or for the mere fact that they’ve overstepped the boundaries of what’s deemed to be morally decent.

And no, this isn’t ‘bash Tiger Woods time’, as I’ll leave that to his wife, Elin Nordegren to handle that. By all accounts, she possesses a far better backswing than even Tiger could ever have imagined. LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

As to Tiger’s faux-pas , let’s just hope that he’s indeed learned a valuable lesson from this all ? As to what that might , need you ask ?

Well, low and behold, Lakers’ player , Ron Artest has admitted that while as a player for the Chicago Bulls, he sought the solace of a bottle , ne’ alcohol – to solve many of his problems while the Bulls were said to be losing game with alarming regularity. Why the curiosity you might ask ? Well, from what we’re led to believe by Artest , his consumption of alcohol took place while he was playing regularly during games. And no, I’m not talking down time, when he’s said to be in a hotel room alongside teammates or perhaps in the company of a female. But actually, on the court or court-side during the game. I guess those water bottles that we now see the players drinking from, aren’t filled with 50’s Vitamin water ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

Ron Artest said he would walk to the liquor store  near the United Center  to get his favorite  drink.   picture appears  courtesy  of   AP /Phot/  Dwight  Mitchell .....................
Ron Artest said he would walk to the liquor store near the United Center to get his favorite drink. picture appears courtesy of AP /Phot/ Dwight Mitchell .....................

But I digress , Artest’s admission doesn’t as such set a precedent but it may well explain in large part what appears to be his split personality. Could it be that the infamous Palace of Auburn Hills’ fracas, that involved Artest, his teammates on the Indiana Pacers against the Detroit Pistons and the fans in attendance. Would it be out of the realms of possibility to suggest that ‘Ron-Ron’ might have been a little intoxicated at the time ?

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports


Lakers’ Artest spoke about drinking to help others

By Greg Beacham , AP Sports Writer

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP)—Ron Artest(notes) says he spoke out about drinking during games with the Chicago Bulls because he hopes to help youths with similar problems.

After practice Thursday at the Lakers’ training complex, Artest discussed the provocative admissions he made to the Sporting News. Artest acknowledged drinking cognac during halftimes in Chicago, where he spent his first 2 1/2 NBA seasons.

Artest says his drinking was a result of getting too much responsibility and adversity too soon in his life after leaving St. John’s. He plans to begin a youth program in Los Angeles in which he’ll teach others about the dangers of young adulthood and its temptations.

He also says he has grown up considerably after his stints with Chicago and Indiana.

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An initial scene  from what then  lead  on to the ensuing melee'  that took  place  at an  NBA game  between  the  Detroit Pistons and  the Indiana Pacers  as the Palace of  Auburn  Hills,  Auburn  Hills, Mi,.   The  fights  between  the players  and  then  with the  Pacers'  Artest  rushing  into  the stands  to  punch  a  fan led to  one  worst  scenes  of  violence  at  a  North American  sporting  event  in  recent  history.   picture  appears courtesy  of  NBAE / Getty Images/ Allen Einstein ........................
An initial scene from what then lead on to the ensuing melee' that took place at an NBA game between the Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers as the Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Mi,. The fights between the players and then with the Pacers' Artest rushing into the stands to punch a fan led to one worst scenes of violence at a North American sporting event in recent history. picture appears courtesy of NBAE / Getty Images/ Allen Einstein ........................

Now pardon me for saying this but I’d have thought that this would be the last thing that either the Los Angeles Lakers’ hierarchy or for that matter Commissioner,David Stern would want to hear coming from the lips of Ron Artest, at this juncture. Given the fact the the NBA would like to create the perception their games being held in a family friendly environment. Well , if ever the events of the Palace of Auburn Hills could provide evidence of what can happen. Then that was most definitely it. Albeit, that alcohol consumption isn’t prohibited at the games for the fans during and prior to the games. The thought that the very players, themselves, could enter the court inebriated, is cause for great concern. No formal statement on the matter has been forthcoming from either Stern at the Lakers at this juncture. But one doubts that Stern or Stu Jackson , Stern’s enforcer will leave the issue fully unresolved to their satisfaction. It may well have been something that happened in the player’s past. But who’s to say that he might not think to do the same thing again, given his behavioral patterns ?

Ron Artest may well have matured somewhat , after that infamous incident. But given his proclivity for making outlandish statements and his unwillingness at times not to abide by the rules. I wouldn’t put it past him to ‘resumption of the bottle’. I mean who’s to know ? It’s not as if the officials or the clubs knew of his behavior in this context to begin with. And now even after the admission, will they now be more observant of the player and this particular proclivity ?

Courtesy of Chicago Sun Times

Ron Artest:’I use to drink Hennessy at halftime’

By John Jackson jjackson@suntimes.com

Except for about a four-year period just after the championship era, I’ve covered the Bulls for the Sun-Times since 1994. Fortunately for me, the Ron Artest era came during my hiatus.

Still, I heard all the stories, and I have to admit I still get a chuckle from the one about him applying for a job at an electronics chain so he could get the employee discount.

If you think that’s a myth, Artest confirmed it during an interview with a local radio station earlier this year.

Speaking of interviews, Artest’s sit-down with the Sporting News caused quite a stir Wednesday, when excerpts of the article were released.

The most salacious quote was the 6-7 forward saying that he drank alcohol — cognac to be specific — during halftime of games at the United Center when he was with the Bulls.

”I used to drink Hennessy at halftime,” Artest was quoted in the Sporting News. ”I [kept it] in my locker. I’d just walk to the liquor store [near the UC] and get it.”

That’s not exactly what they meant when he was told not to pass up shots.

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Click on link provided to read John Jackson’s article in its entirety
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But then again, which would be more preferable in your opinion on the court from Ron Artest ? Him being slightly intoxicated and quite possibly being provoked into an altercation ? Or him actually starting to ‘rap’ ? One has to remember that beneath the surface of Artest, are the budding embers of a rap star in the making ? Having released two poorly reviewed rap CD’s and his entrepreneurship as a music mogul , somewhat taking a backseat as to his vocational endeavor as a player in the NBA.

Artest (91) seeks retribution  against  a  fan   whom  he  believes  thew an   open container of  alcohol  at  him  from  up in the  stand  unto the   floor   during  the  game   played  between  the  Pacers  and  Pistons  played at  the Palace  of Auburn Hills .   copyrighted  material   @  All  rights  reserved  .............................
Artest (91) seeks retribution against a fan, whom he believes thew an open container of alcohol at him from up in the stand unto the floor during the game played between the Pacers and Pistons played at the Palace of Auburn Hills . copyrighted material @ All rights reserved .............................

One might feel quite aggrieved were he (Artest) to burst into song in an NBA arena, for the fans in attendance to hear. I mean I’m not suggesting that he’s as bad as teammate, Kobe Bryant. But neither has the talent to even approach what it takes to conquer that particular genre to begin with ! In Kobe’s case, rapping about his ardor for all things Versace’ might lead one to question his ‘manhood’ somewhat, don’t you think ? As to Artest , his budding ‘thug image’ and would be rap star persona, might be as threatening as, Rosie O’Donnell now threatening to ‘switch sides’ with regard to her sexual assignations.

Artest now seems to be backtracking from his original statement , now saying that he really said this all as a means of awakening others as to alcohol abuse. An act of redeeming himself ? Bearing in mind that the game’s hierarchy might not have looked favorably on his original statement to begin with. This was either a rather good self publicity stunt or a complete asinine statement once again coming from the lips of one Ron Artest. You’ve got to give him credit where it’s due. As he certainly knows how to play up to the cameras and either make a complete ass of himself or have the public simply empathizing with him because of his demeanor and at times his behavior, for want of a better word. But what you now see with Ron Artest is what you’re now liable get with Ron Artest, one way or another. There are simply no in betweens as far as he goes. You’ve either got to ‘love him’ or ‘hate him’ ?

How do you as a person ,feel about the player ?