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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of USA Today

Yao Ming nominated for Naismith Hall of Fame as contributor

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

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

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

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

PHOTOS: Yao Ming in pictures

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

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

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

Yao can certainly make a compelling argument.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

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

Contact tophatal at … rapptu@gmail.com or via

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(10) Houston Rockets new basketball head coach Kevin McHale, left, answers questions as team owner Leslie Alexander looks on during an introductory NBA basketball news conference, Friday, June 3, 2011, in Houston. AP Photo/Pat Sullivan ….
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What’s Happening In The World of Sports … ?

What’s Happening In The World of Sports … ?

Well now that the MLB season is slowly progressing towards its halfway point and with the league’s midseason showcase event due in July with the All Star Game being hosted by the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field , in Phoenix , Arizona. It well be interesting to see how the teams come into the break in terms of their overall form .

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The standings at present reflect that Philadelphia Phillies seem to be intent on running away with the NL East . They currently hold a 5 game lead over the Atlanta Braves within the division and though it’s way too early to suggest that they will be playing for the NLCS during the postseason but it would appear that the only thing that can derail the Phillies’ season would be their own complacency . Within the NL Central and NL West it would appear the races there are too close to call between the top two teams within each division . Tight races tend to add a great deal more excitement to the season and there’s no doubt in my mind that’s what the fans really yearn . And that is liable to be the case at present within both of the divisions in question .

Within the AL it’s business as usual within the AL East where the Boston Red Sox are now prepared to show that their recent form isn’t merely an aberration. On a two game winning streak and winners of nine of their last ten games the Red Sox now look as if they’re look distance themselves from the rest of the division. Their 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field was certainly a hard fought win but that’s simply the mindset of what now is the most competitive division within baseball. This division to my mind will most certainly provide the wildcard entrant for AL without a doubt unless there’s a monumental meltdown by the runner up to the winner of the AL East.

As was the premise with the NL Central and NL West well once again here too the races may well be too close to call within the AL Central and AL West . What we can be certain of within both divisions is that the teams won’t be giving up until the divisions are mathematically out of their reach in terms of winning or possibly attaining that lone wildcard berth .

Now as much as I know that Commissioner Bud Selig the league hierarchy in conjunction with the team owners have proposed expanding the playoffs’ format by adding two more teams within each league . I certainly believe that the hierarchy’s biggest issue is to deal with the financial problems now engulfing a number of teams within the league rather than adding to the playoffs and further elongating the season far more than it needs to be. I mean it’s not as if Selig has actually shown the propensity for being proactive on any issue unless he’s dragged kicking and screaming , then being forced to make a decision. Simply look at the morass created by Frank McCourt with the Los Angeles Dodgers ? If that’s not enough of an indication to show mind numbingly slow Selig was in acting , given the fact that it had been widely reported that the franchise was financially troubled . Then clearly Bud Selig along with the owners and league hierarchy were in fact so naive but perhaps even more so , too damn stupid for their own good .

I’m not about to try understand the fascination with Ricky Rubio and the fact that the player now says he’s ready to play in the NBA . Granted , having been drafted in 2009 by the Minnesota Timberwolves , the player sought to forgo joining the organization and play an additional two years in Europe where the financial inducement there was far greater than the front office could have offered with a rookie contract. Team owner Glen Taylor and GM David Kahn now feel that the player having made the decision to join the team can provide them with the form and maturity that simply belies his age.

In the aftermath of a horrendous season the Timberwolves now have to deal with the disatisfaction of their incumbent coach Kurt Rambis and the mere fact that neither Glen Taylor or David Kahn have assured their beleaguered coach that he’ll be asked to return next season. With there not being a plethora of viable candidates out there to succeed Rambis should he be relieved of his duties . I would have thought that the the general manager and team owner would want to reassure the coach that his job is safe. Furthermore , with the NBA Draft due to take place on 23rd June I certainly would have thought that a coaching upheaval would be the last things that this franchise now needs . But herein lies the idiocy of how the Timberwolves have simply acted , as if in a vacuum and perhaps one of the reasons why they’ve simply had little success over the last five years. Beset by rather asinine personnel decisions made not only by Kahn but also his predecessor Kevin McHale this organization has never gained any traction in terms of success .

With the Minnesota Timberwolves having the number # 2 overall pick in the upcoming draft it will be interesting to see the decision made by the organization. As such there isn’t a genuine consensus number one pick but the thought is that the two most desirable players could well be Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams . From there , it’s anyone’s guess as to what format will be then taken in terms of the players taken in this Draft .

As the NFL work stoppage has already entered its ninetieth day I can’t help but wonder what the optimism amongst the team owners , league hierarchy and players appears to be about ! Hell, both sides have already alienated the vast majority of fans to begin with . And no amount of public statements coming from both sides concerning the progress now being made can simply hide the fact that what we have are two groups of greedy fucking bastards ! The average salary of an NFL player is $1.9 million per year with the median salary $770,000 and the average career span being approximately three and a half years . I understand that the players are entitled the highest possible salary available to them given the inherent risks of the game . But herein lies my question do they try and identify themselves with the fan out there ? I’ve heard a number of players during this stoppage state their issues are no different from that of any employee in the work place . Personally, I seriously doubt that the working fan who attends an NFL game can actually identify with the likes of Tom Brady , Peyton Manning or even Reggie Bush for that matter when their salaries run into the millions each season . Whereas as the average salary nationwide is approximately $44,000 per year , one can well understand that fan can hardly identify with a player who’s compensation package , endorsements notwithstanding can easily exceed $15 million a year.

From a fan’s standpoint , at this moment in time I couldn’t really care if the NFL starts on schedule as planned on the 8th September 2011 . Once this dispute came into being with a stoppage the NFL simply lost me and many others as long term fans . I’m of no doubt that they will however do their utmost to lure us all back with some form of inducement that we might too unbelievable to turn down . It has already began with a number of teams around the NFL in many cases offering deep discounts on for the purchase of season tickets and game day tickets in a number of instances .

So the US Open golf tournament is underway and all of this without the game’s biggest draw in Tiger Woods . The stage is set at Congressional Golf Club in Bethseda , Maryland for any one of a number of players to step into Woods’ shoes and show the fans they can become the main draw for the event . From my own standpoint the moment made the announcement that he wouldn’t be participating in the second Major of the season I simply knew that the tournament could either become a monumental disaster from spectators yearning for excitement . As it now stands the leaderboard for the tournament midway through two rounds isn’t exactly awe inspiring . Rory McIlroy leads the event with an eight stroke lead at -11 (11 under par). And to think that a patron stated that the player’s meltdown in the year’s first Major The Masters was simply because he wasn’t good enough . I guess when your knowledge of the game borders on the level of Palin’s knowledge of jurisprudence and the number of members seated on the US Supreme Court I guess you simply have to take that for all it’s worth ? Sitting solely in second place is Y. E. Yang at -3 , in third place is Robert Garrigus at .-2.

There is still two more rounds to be played in this tournament but if McIlroy is able to keep his composure with the pressure bearing down on him then it is my belief that he can win this tournament and cement his credentials as one of the best young players on the PGA Tour . Having already established himself on the European Tour as well as a member of a winning European Ryder Cup team the future bodes well for the young Irishman . In an earlier article I had intimated that I firmly believe that the US Open could be won by a foreigner as I felt that the US born players have now simply become too disinterested in their national championship and in large , the Majors themselves . With there being vast sums at stake on the Tour schedule and total prize money in excess of $ 225 million it begs the question are they actually interested in winning or merely cashing a check for a top twenty finish ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

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

Picture and slide show for your perusal .

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(1) Philadelphia Phillies’ Ryan Howard (6) celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run against the Florida Marlins in the fifth inning of a baseball game on Thursday, June 16, 2011, in Philadelphia. The Phillies won 3-0 . AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr ….

(2) PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 16: PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 16: during the game against the at Citizens Bank Park on June 16, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 3-0. Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images ….

(3) Outfielder B.J. Upton (2) of the Tampa Bay Rays steals second base as shortstop Marco Scutaro (10) of the Boston Red Sox is late with the tag during the game at Tropicana Field on June 16, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(4) Pitching coach Jim Hickey (48) of the Tampa Bay Rays talks with pitcher David Price (14) during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on June 16, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Red Sox would go on to defeat the Rays 4-2 Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(5) Spanish basketball player Ricky Rubio gives a press conference on June 17, 2011, at the Nou Camp Stadium in Barcelona, to announce that he was leaving the Catalan team to make his debut in the NBA next season at Minnesota Timberwolves.
AFP PHOTO / JOSEP LAGO /Getty Images …

(6) Head coach Kurt Rambis of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts to a play against the Houston Rockets during a game on April 13, 2011 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images …

(7) T’wolves’ GM David Kahn (foreground) and the team’s owner Glen Taylor answer questions from the convened press at a team press conference. picture appears courtesy of espn.com/ ap/photo/ Martin Geshell ……………….

(8) Tom Brady and Peyton Manning shake hands after an NFL game . The two celebrated quarterbacks are amongst the highest paid players in the NFL . Getty Images/ Jim Rogash ……

(9) BETHESDA, MD – JUNE 17: The handwritten scores of Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in the press room during the second round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 17, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images ……

(10) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland swings from the bunker on the ninth hole during the second round of the 111th US Open at Congressional Country Club on June 17, 2011, in Bethesda, Maryland. TOPSHOTS/AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON ….

(11) Y. E. Yang, of South Korea, watches his drive from the fourth tee during the second round of the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament in Bethesda, Md., Friday, June 17, 2011. AP Photo/Eric Gay …..

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