Pride comes in various forms and it comes before a very great fall ….

Pride comes in various forms and it comes before a very great fall ….

So over the weekend , Pedro , a very good friend of mine , asked me to be the godfather to his two-year old son , Pedro Jesus Jr . Now, this will be something, that I will take a great deal of pride , in becoming this child’s godparent . Not being a parent myself , albeit, that I lived vicariously through the birth and growth of several nieces and nephews, my greatest joy has been to see the all of these children grow up to be productive citizens . My greatest hope , will be witness the same for my godchild’s future and if along the way, I can impart any wisdom upon him , to make him a better person , then it will be something that I will take a great deal of pride , alongside that of his proud parents .

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Slideshow .

Speaking of pride, the sporting weekend did not turn out at all well for two of the teams I support. In the NFL , the formerly unbeaten New England Patriots fell to the vastly improved Cincinnati Bengals , led by quarterback Andy Dalton . Inexplicably , the Patriots’ offense could only muster six points , to show for four quarters of a mediocre Sunday afternoon display , for which neither Tom Brady or head coach Bill Belichick could come up with what one would deem to be an acceptable explanation to explain the team’s first loss of the season . To only saving grace from the defeat , was that the Patriots’ closest rival within the AFC East , the Miami Dolphins also suffered a loss at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens in another AFC match-up.

The Patriots will now have to prepare themselves for what is likely to be a ferocious onslaught in week six , when Drew Brees and the unbeaten New Orleans Saints come calling at Gillette Stadium , in Foxborough, Massachusetts , this upcoming Sunday. A second successive defeat and there are likely to be questions asked of this Patriots’ team , specifically why they have become so anemic and sedentary ?

Two of the more enticing games that took place on Sunday afternoon , pitted the Denver Broncos , as the guests of the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks , in their visit to the Indianapolis Colts . In light of Roger Staubach’s ludicrous statement that Tony Romo was a championship caliber quarterback , capable of leading the Cowboys to the Superbowl , has me wondering what type of psychotropic medication the Hall of Fame great is currently using to make him more lucid, or less as the case might be . As exhilarating a contest this game said to be between the Broncos and Cowboys, it became abundantly clear that this match-up would become a test of attrition and will , between the two opposing quarterbacks . Tony Romo can be best described as a great regular season quarterback , but it is becoming abundantly clear that the player lacks leadership skills and appears to be someone who simply does not know how to handle real adversity , all that well. . The Cowboys came away with a narrow three-point loss in a 51-48 defeat at home from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas . Romo, may well have had a career day , with over 500 yards in passing , along with five passing touchdowns , but the loss now pushes this Jason Garrett coached team to a 2-3 record within the NFC East with the division itself in some dire need of real competitive play from all four of the occupants there .

Seattle’s contest with the Colts proved to be a match-up of two of the best quarterbacks from the crop of last season’s players taken in the 2012 NFL Draft . Andrew Luck , leading a relatively young roster , more than held their own against Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks , in what I believed to be the best game of the entire weekend ! Luck in his brief NFL career , has now led the Colts to nine come from behind wins during his tenure , and it now looks as if the player has more than won over franchise’s faithful , who may well have had doubts that he was the rightful heir apparent to his predecessor , Peyton Manning , who this season has been rewriting the record books .

Your record simply reflects what you are in the NFL and if you are 0-5 , then that suggests that apart from being win-less , you are amongst the worst teams in the NFL . It is pretty much safe to say , that for both the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5) and New York Giants (0-5) , their respective seasons are all but over . The Jaguars are playing in front of meager crowds at Ever Bank Stadium , while the Giants are simply hanging on for dear life , while seeking to further embarrass their two-time Superbowl head coach Tom Coughlin . Once, a stern disciplinarian, Coughlin still holds his players accountable for their actions . Yet, at present, it looks as if that the team is now lacking, not only leadership, but a great deal of confidence , as well as a lack of pride .

Well , as baseball’s postseason gets into full swing , several series within the wildcard rounds brought us little suspense , but now as the divisional series are in full swing . We are finally beginning to see the cream rise to the top , while the lesser lights have suddenly fallen flat and at the bottom of the cup . The Tampa Bay Rays are coming apart at the seams and it appears that Joe Maddon can no longer convince the fans are public alike that the franchise’s season was nothing more than aberration .

In the best of a five-game series, the Rays now find themselves down, 0-2 against a Boston Red Sox team, managed by John Farrell , that seems intent on winning their third World Series title in the past six seasons . I am not about to suggest that Tampa Bay has made it easy for the Red Sox to progress towards another AL pennant berth , but anyone who witnessed Saturday’s 7-4 loss and then its precursor of a horrendous 12-2 shellacking , will know that apart from the anemic offense shown , with the team’s defense has bordered on being downright insulting and even an affront to even the kids who play Little League Baseball .

Game four of this series will resume on Tuesday evening when the Tampa Bay will host the Boston Red Sox in a ” must-win game” , if they are to prolong their season . A loss and Tampa’s season will come to an abrupt end before it has even started .

While the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves won their divisions with considerable ease . It was felt that their NL divisional series would be considerably more competitive . With their first two games squared at one game apiece (1-1), Los Angeles then took a decisive role in annihilating the Atlanta 13-6 to take a 2-1 lead in the best of five game series . Braves’ manager Fredi Gonzalez , will now have to get his team mentally prepared for this decisive game , knowing full well that they cannot afford to lose. Game four , tonight , is in a must win or go home situation for Atlanta , wherein a great deal will be asked of Freddy Garcia , when he takes to the mound to oppose the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw .

As highly favored, as the St Louis Cardinals are meant to be in their series against the Pittsburgh Pirates . Who would have now thought that it would be the Cardinals on the brink of elimination , seeking to erase a 2-1 deficit ? Clint Hurdle and his staff , along with this team , have continued to defy all logic , as they continue to show a great deal of resilience, with Pittsburgh’s season being one of the major talking points of this baseball year . Pittsburgh will seek to close out the series in front of a home crowd of boisterous and raucous fans when the two teams meet at PNC Ballpark in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania , on Monday afternoon.

As a former military vet , having counseled as well as assisted US military veterans in gaining benefits wrongfully denied by the federal government . It has become alarming to see how many of them, have become drug dependent by choice , on either prescriptive medication or far more hardened narcotics . Delusional and manic-depressive, as many of them have become, through the counseling and then providing them with the means to turn their respective situations around. That side of my participation , has become one of the most rewarding aspects of the work that I have done in this specific area ! Those veterans , who tend to fall through the cracks are either individuals who were never provided the assistance sought from the outset , or in a number of cases , simply those who felt that they can best deal with their issues on their own. In light of this , I raise the point of now unrestricted free agent and NBA star Lamar Odom , whose personal and professional career now seems to be careening out of control , after the revelations of his chemical dependency and a recent DUI charge, that he refutes . Personally , I feel that once your life has become intertwined with a member of the Kardashian family , his marriage to Khloe Kardashian , then you might as well place gun to your head and simply pull the trigger . Hopefully, Kanye West and Jaden Smith can learn something from this all , before it is too damn late .

With the NBA preseason already in full swing , it is extremely difficult to see how a team would be willing to acquire Odom , and then place him on their roster , with all of the personal baggage that the player now carries and his unwillingness to seek any type counseling or rehab . In 2012 with the Los Angeles Clippers , Lamar Odom’s statistics with the team can be best described as anemic and whose versatility at the height his career saw him as one of the most effective duel threats on both ends of the floor . With those days long done, the power forward has become a shell of that player , offering ,little by way of productivity , guidance for younger teammates , and who if anything, has become a “cautionary tale” of what wealth , fame and the glare of the spotlight can do to an athlete , who simply cannot handle the pressure , never mind the fact that , he has now become associated with a family that craves the spotlight , just as much Odom is now said to crave the hits of his drugs of choice cocaine and marijuana .. Which begs the question , what type of drug testing is now in place by the NBA hierarchy and how is that Lamar Odom’s issues were said to have gone unnoticed by the Clippers and his former team , the Dallas Mavericks ? Clearly, there is something awry with the league’s testing protocols and that of the teams’ own complete lack of oversight . Yet somehow , neither David Stern , the Mavericks’ front office or the NBPA saw if fit to address the issue , as it continues to carefully continues to cultivate that family friendly image of the league and its brand . Claims were made as recently as 2010 , that as many as forty-percent of the league’s players were recreational users of marijuana . I would dare say, that figure might well be considerably higher , with a number the athletes within the game, quite possibly using other illicit substances , while being able to circumvent the testing protocols of the NBA .

Not only will it be a long-shot for Lamar Odom to land a roster spot on a team , but with the preseason already up and running , and with the player being unable to prove himself as being in the right mental or physical shape . Why would a franchise be prepared to undertake such a high risk ? It would be stupid and financially though not a major burden , it would be money better well-spent , but it would be , elsewhere , on a player who can contribute immediately to a team .

The welcomed return of Derrick Rose to the NBA after a seventeen-month layoff will be a breath of fresh air in the league and add to its vitality . That being said, the former number one draft pick from the 2008 NBA Draft , was sorely missed by his Chicago Bulls’ teammates in the 2012 and 2013 NBA Playoffs . His return will certainly add more versatility and depth to perhaps, one of the best rosters in the entire Eastern Conference , in terms of overall depth. NBA preseason and all that it is said to accomplish , will be nothing more than for the coaches to assess the talent on their rosters , most notably the young rookies from the most recent draft and how those players will seek to acclimatize themselves . Though not seen as a consensus number one overall pick , Anthony Bennett was taken specifically , by the Cleveland Cavaliers to fit a role on a very good young team . It remains to be seen what the Cavaliers will have to offer their fans this season at the Quicken Loans Arena , in Cleveland , Ohio. Returning head coach, Mike Brown has been given the chance by GM Chris Grant to reprise the form shown when during the reign of LeBron James , the franchise was one of the more desirable venues to see some great basketball .

. Cleveland will open its regular season schedule with a home game against the Brooklyn Nets , a team that will see the debuts of their off-season acquisitions Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry . It will be all or bust , for the franchise , that will be coached by the recently appointed rookie Jason Kidd . GM Billy King and team owner Mikhail Prokhorov will have a great deal riding on the season beyond their reputations and the coaching acumen of Kidd .

For Derrick Rose and the Bulls , this season will most certainly offer the young point guard the chance to remind us once again why his prodigious talent has him earmarked as one of the handful of elite players now within the NBA , whose performances are at a consistently high level , when he is on a basketball court .

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Picture gallery .

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Picture and slideshow details .

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(1) Wallace Gilberry (95) of the Cincinnati Bengals sacks Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots during their game at Paul Brown Stadium on October 6, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals would go on to defeat the Patriots 13-6 . Getty Images / John Grieshop ….

(2) Chris Crocker (32) of the Cincinnati Bengals sacks Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots during their game at Paul Brown Stadium on October 6, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals defeated the Patriots 13-6. Getty Images North America / John Grieshop ….

(3) Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys yells the call against the Denver Broncos in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium on October 6, 2013 in Arlington, Texas. The Broncos would defeat the Cowboys 51-48 , dropping the home team to 2-3 within the NFC East , a division that is now beginning to look very much like an elephants graveyard. Getty Images / Ronald Martinez ….

(4) Rays’ catcher Jose Lobaton rounds the bases , having hit a home run to win the game for the Tampa Bay Rays , in their 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida . With the victory , Tampa’s postseason hopes remain alive as they seek to even their ALDS at two games apiece . AP Photo / Mike Carlson …..

(5) Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers coming off three days rest pitched his team to a decisive game four victory over the Atlanta Braves , where they now await the winner of the Pittsburgh Pirates versus St Louis Cardinals’ series in the NLCS . The contests between those two teams is now tied at two games each (2-2). Game five will be played on Wednesday night at Busch Stadium in St Louis Missouri . AP Photo / Danny Moloshok …..

(6) Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe looks on as his two-run home run makes its way out of the ballpark as catcher Brian McCann of the Braves looks on . Uribe alongside Carl Crawford’s two home runs secured a 4-3 victory for the home team as they defeated the Atlanta Braves 3-1 in the NLDS to reach the NLCS for the first time since 2009 .

(7) Lamar Odom seen here having just signed with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2012 . The troubled star now , an unsigned free agent hopes to catch on with an NBA franchise this season , in spite of his now well chronicled drug issues over the past eighteen months . Odom is now estranged from his wife Khloe Kardashian-Odom , television reality star and a member of the Kardashian family , whose reality show ” Keeping Up with the Kardashians” is one of E Entertainment Television’s most popular “unscripted” series . AP Photo / Hal Marcum …..

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tophatal ………. 2013/10/07

NFL news and news from around the league

NFL results week five

NFL schedule week six

NFL team injuries

NFL team transactions

NFL standings

NFL stats players through week 5

NFL stats team

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MLB news

MLB postseason schedule

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MLB probable pitchers 7th October , 2013

This week in MLB history

This day in MLB history October 7th

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NBA news

NBA results 7th October

NBA games schedules 8th October

NBA transactions

NBA team salaries 2013-14

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Jordan Carver shaking things up , so wonderfully .

Wet-n-wild with Jordan Carver . Nice , really nice !

The Weekend In Sports And Other Select Observations …………

The Weekend In Sports ……… And Others Select Observations ………

Well the NBA season is all but over with merely two games left to played on the schedule for most teams . The Los Angeles Lakers are limping into the postseason as reigning champions having lost 5 straight and in reality this is a team that is in complete disarray . Anyone who believes different simply ought to look at the box-score in their lopsided ( 120-106 ) loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder .

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Slide show for your perusal .

If the Lakers are to fare well in the postseason then the team will have to be on the same page of their coach Phil Jackson and his coaching staff led by Jim Cleamons and Brian Shaw . I know that the team’s perennial All Star Kobe Bryant has come out openly and stated that he’d like to see Shaw succeed Jackson as coach of the team should he indeed retire at the culmination of the postseason. But I’m not so sure that that’d still be the case should the Lakers bow out early in the postseason , which given their performance against the Thunder is a distinct possibility . But then again it’s remiss to merely to take one game as a gauge for a team’s overall strengths and weakness. But as I mentioned earlier the Lakers have lost straight games and at no time were you under the impression that they were ever in with a chance of winning anyone of those games. But for the play of Kobe Bryant , Paul Gasol and Lamar Odom coming off the bench I’d say that one could describe the Lakers season as something of a failure when adjudged by their own lofty standards.

With that being said I’m not yet prepared to count the Los Angeles Lakers as being down and out , not while they’ve still Phil Jackson in their corner as coach ! Should he and the Lakers make a successful defense of their title then to my mind this would be his most impressive victory over the course of his storied career. I mean who else within the annals of the game has achieved his success while at the same having been denigrated by many because he was only able to coach superstars as we’ve so often been told ? These last two Finals triumphs are a testament that he can not only coach a team that plays a team but and are also willing to defer as and when needed . If the Lakers can regain their resolve then I would still favor them to come out of the Western Conference and that is with due respect to my beloved San Antonio Spurs the team with the best record in the conference and the NBA as a whole .

Sunday’s results if anything painted a clear picture as to where a number of teams now stand . Suffice to say teams seated on the bottom rung of the conference ladders , such as the Cleveland Cavaliers , Minnesota Timberwolves , Sacramento Kings , Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors can now begin to mull over their draft decision as to whether or not they ought to take Kemba Walker as the consensus overall number one pick in the upcoming NBA Draft . But oh wait we have to wait for Commissioner David Stern pick that little ball out of that revolving drum to assure us who’ll have the privilege of having that first pick.

I’ve got to admit I’ve read some idiocy in my time going around this medium but never have I read something without so much insight than a contributor’s claim that Rory McIlroy is a wasted talent merely because his final round in The Masters imploded . I suppose when you’re still young naive and have about insight on the world of golf and you do little research before writing a piece you’re entitled to come up with such absurd notions ? But then again I for one simply don’t succumb to such a notion because I feel if you’re going to make any sort of a claim then you ought to have the disposition to show both sides of the argument . If that’s the case then this particular observer has about knowledge of the game as Hall of Famer Johnny Miller whose own absurd notion that the Europeans simply aren’t capable of winning a Grand Slam title . Has Miller not simply noticed the most recent results in the Grand Slam Majors over the course of the last eighteen months , much less the fact that the US had its ass handed it by the Europeans in the Ryder Cup in 2010 ?

This tournament was as such merely heightened by the fact there was a Tiger Woods’ sighting and that he made a spirited attempt at winning the tournament which in the end would be in vain. However, the former world number one ranked golfer would end up tying for third in the first Major of the season . The eventual winner would Charl Schwartzel a staple on the European Tour and who after this win will rise up the world rankings from his present position of #11 to inside the top ten perhaps as high as number 5 . As to the contributor who should remain nameless I can only hope that he aspires to be productive in his chosen career because with regard to even have minuscule knowledge of the sport of golf even with the amount of information that there is to be gleaned this individual has merely shown that he’s completely out of his depth .

OK so what else can be said after the abrupt retirement of Manny Ramirez from the Tampa Rays’ organization ? Having tested positive for a second consecutive time for a banned substance and knowing that he’d have to face a mandatory 100 game suspension the slugger chose to retire instead. What to my mind is even more asinine is the very fact that a spokesman for the Rays’ front office states that they were completely taken aback by this and the fact that the player tested positive for a banned substance, albeit that this took place during the Rays’ Spring Training Schedule . Am I missing something here but is the coaching staff as well as the Rays’ ownership group led by senior managing partner Stuart Sternberg and GM Andrew Friedman that dumb , stupid and naive ? Never mind the fact that the league hierarchy had to have made the Rays’ front office fully aware of the test results prior to it being made public .

In the wake of this all Ramirez says he’s happy with his legacy . I’d say he’s happy alright because he’ll simply be looked at as a cheat , albeit , that his career as such would suggest otherwise having won two World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox . In the aftermath of this all the Tampa Bay Rays are left to pick up the pieces as one part of their experiment has come to a quick and unsatisfactory end . I’ve got to feel sorry for some of those Rays’ fans who’d hoped that the Rays would prove to be competitive and wherein Tropicana Field would be an enjoyable place to be. There’s now more of a chance to see a UFO sighting at the Rays’ home venue than this team seeking to be competitive at this juncture .

Unfortunately for the Rays their season started off inauspiciously having lost their first two series before eking out a much needed win (9-7) against the Chicago White Sox . The team however finds itself languishing at the bottom of the always ultra competitive AL East
and that 1-8 record simply doesn’t look at all look that enviable even if we’ve yet to exit the first month of the regular season . And the team’s efforts won’t at all be now helped with their best player Evan Longoria now being on the disabled list (DL) for what we’re told could be as long as three weeks with a strained right oblique muscle .

Can things now get much worse for the Rays ? Yes it can as they now have to face the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in a three game series where I fully expect the Red Sox’s offense will be looking to tee off on the Rays’ somewhat average pitching rotation . At the same time the Red Sox’s own pitching staff has been very susceptible this season . So it could be that the fans in attendance over the course of the next three days are liable to be thoroughly entertained .

So Football Spring Football has started and teams at the D1 level will be looking to get themselves ready for the upcoming season. From my own perspective given what took place over last season and the never ending controversy of teams , players and coaches contravening rules , I merely look at this upcoming season of one that’s about to be littered with controversy once again. I mean it’s not as if the NCAA in its sanctified much less than exalted position can do a damn thing to begin with ! I mean where have they been in the aftermath of the latest allegations concerning Auburn and the fact that several players on their teams from 2004-07 were recruited , induced through monetary gain, through having sex on campus with female co-eds as well as strippers ? And who can forget the debacle of Ohio State and in particular the actions of Buckeys’ football coach Jim Tressel ? Needless to say that Buckeye and Tigers’ fans will try and reassure us that this is merely regrettable and that they’re not the only ones doing this . And while I’m inclined to agree at the same time I’ll state this ………… it’s against the fu_king rules so why go down that route to begin with ?

In the SEC (Southeastern Conference) where they can boast national champions consecutively for the last six years . One can simply understand the reason why the SEC is deemed to be the powerhouse it is at the collegiate level in terms of BCS national title aspirations.

I read with a great deal of interest where South Carolina Gamecocks’ quarterback Stephen Garcia has one again ran afoul of his coaching staff as well as the school as a whole . To understand the problems of Garcia you simply have to know this , he simply attracts trouble like flies tend to hover around fecal matter because of the aroma and because they can feast off whatever there tends to be in the vicinity. With Garcia it’s no different !

The fact that he’s merely been suspended indefinitely , at first that wasn’t the case , though it has to be said at it still creates the impression that Steve Spurrier still believes that the player has something to offer the team . Whatever it is , I wouldn’t consider it to be his football talent or acumen in spite of how impressive his stats may well be. Why have a malcontent and disruptive influence on the team which usually in the long run leads to even more problems ? As has been the case here with Stephen Garcia , his never ending transgression of team rules and having ran afoul of the law enforcement on repeated occasions .

Courtesy of USA Today

Another suspension for South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia

By Erick Smith , USA Today

The future of South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia is in doubt after the rising senior was suspended from the team indefinitely.

It’s the fifth time in Garcia’s career he has been suspended and the second time this spring. The school did not specify the reason for the decision. The Gamecocks play their annual spring game on Saturday.

“We have expectations for our student-athletes and we make them aware that there are consequences for their actions,” athletic director Eric Hyman said in a statement released by the school. “Stephen has exhibited behavior that is unacceptable for one of our student-athletes.”

The loss of Garcia, who threw for 3,059 yards and 20 touchdowns in 14 starts, would be a blow to South Carolina, which won the SEC East for the first time in 2010. He was expected to lead an offense that also features running back Marcus Lattimore and wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey.

That responsibility would likely fall to rising sophomore Connor Shaw, who was Garcia’s backup last fall.

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And with regard to the Gamecocks competing this upcoming season within the SEC I’m liable to think that they’ll struggle but at the same time eke out the wins they’re expected over the course of their regular season schedule . In place of Garcia , Spurrier will have at his disposal qb’s Dylan Thompson , Andrew Clifford , Connor Shaw and Seth Strickland . I’ve no doubt that the coach and his coaching staff will assess the strengths and weaknesses of each of the likely candidates before coming to a decision as to who’ll be the like starter in the Gamecocks’ first game of the season against East Carolina on the 3rd September , 2011. Garcia on the other hand will now have time reassess his future and determine whether or not it lies within being a student athlete or simply a thug , because of now he’s simply been a disappointment to those around him who expected a great deal more of him as a player as well a leader and human being .

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Picture galley for your perusal .

What sporting events or news if any over the past weekend piqued your interest and what if anything are you hoping to see during the NBA playoffs and the month of April as it relates to the baseball season ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the matter .

Alan aka tophatal ……………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Andrew Bynum (17) of the Los Angeles Lakers defends James Harden (13)3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first half at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106 Getty Images / Jeff Gross …….

(2) Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks draws up a play for his team during a timeout in the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106 . Getty Images/ Jeff Gross ……

(3) Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers argues a foul call in the second half against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106. Jeff Gross / Getty Images …..

(4) Kevin Durant (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder rebounds a ball over Kobe Bryant(24) of the Los Angeles Lakers in the first half at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106. Jeff Gross / Getty Images ………

(5) Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeff Niemann , right, adjusts his cap as he listens to catcher Kelly Shoppach during the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Chicago, Sunday, April 10, 2011. AP Photo /Nam Y Yuh ……

(6) Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) tags out Chicago White Sox’s Juan Pierre during the second inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Sunday, April 10, 2011. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ……

(7) The Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon shakes hands with Manny Ramirez (24) of the Tampa Bay Rays as Johnny Damon (22) of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during a press conference at Tropicana Field on February 1, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Ramirez announced his retirement over the weekend rather than face a league mandated 100 game suspension having tested positive for a illicit banned substance for the second consecutive time over the course of his career. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……….

(8) Charl Schwartzel of South Africa celebrates his two-stroke victory with his wife Rosalind behind the 18th green during the final round of the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia. AFP Photo/Getty Images/ Robyn Beck …..

(9) Last year’s champion Phil Mickelson (left) puts the Green Jacket on Charl Schwartzel from South Africa after Schwartzel wins the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia.
AFP Photo/ Getty Images /Robyn Beck …….

(10) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks off the 18th hole green after finishing the final round with a final score of four under par at the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK

(11) South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw (14) looks for receivers during South Carolina’s Garnet and Black spring NCAA college football game Saturday, April 9, 2011, in Columbia, S.C. AP Photo/The State, Tracy Glantz ………..

(12) In this Dec. 29, 2010, file photo, South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia throws a pass during practice for the Chick-fil-A Bowl NCAA college football game against Florida State in Atlanta. Garcia has been indefinitely suspended from the football program. Athletic Director Eric Hyman announced the suspension Wednesday, (6th April) but did not give a reason. AP Photo/David Goldman …….

(13) Head coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks walks to congratulate quarterback Stephen Garcia (5) for his passing touchdown against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama. Getty Images North America / Kevin Cox …….

(14) Coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks lines up with players after play against the Alabama Crimson Tide October 9, 2010 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. Getty Images/ Al Messerschmidt …….

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R Kelly ………………… “Ignition”

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There’s No Fool Like An Old Fool ………. And There’s Now One Born Every Minute ……

There’s No Fool Like An Old Fool ………. And There’s Now One Born Every Minute ……

Well it now appears as the Los Angeles Lakers’ —- season has been somewhat derailed by their uneven play there’s rumblings in ‘ La-La Land’ that the Lakers are prepared to trigger a deal that would bring the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony to the Lakers in exchange for Andrew Bynum and either Lamar Odom or Ron Artest that would bring the prized All Star to the “City of Angels” . There are already preliminary talks that have taken place as was being reported by ESPN’s —- Chris Broussard the station’s widely respected NBA analyst.

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As we all know the New York Knicks and in particular GM Donnie Walsh , owner James Dolan and coach Mike DAntoni have expressed a desire to bring the Anthony to his native New York. The player himself has made it his desire to go to New York but herein lies the problem the Knicks aren’t any closer to being a contender in their present guise . And if anything the Knicks and the pieces that they would have on offer to the Nuggets would not be in any way as desirable as Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak would be able to offer the Denver Nuggets. Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri has to do what’s best for the organization and clearly he’s now caught between a rock and hard place.

Courtesy of ESPN Los Angeles

Andrew Bynum dismisses trade talk

By Dave McMenamin

All The Pros and Cons of Melo in LA ….

Boston — The basketball world might have been set aflame overnight considering a scenario where the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers would acquire four-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets for center Andrew Bynum, but you wouldn’t know it from looking in on Lakers practice Wednesday.

As the team made its way off the practice court at Emerson College, Bynum joked with Lamar Odom, and Kobe Bryant bristled when asked if he had to comfort Bynum.

“If he can’t deal with that, forget about a Game 7,” Bryant said of the trade talk that was first reported by ESPN the Magazine’s Chris Broussard on Tuesday. “I don’t need to talk to him about that. He’s a big boy, he can handle himself.”

Coach Phil Jackson barely batted an eyelash as he was approached by a throng of media that included reporters from national news outlets.

“I haven’t given it a second thought,” Jackson said. “I haven’t really entertained it.”

If Jackson hasn’t given it a second thought, then what was his first thought about the Lakers moving their 7-foot, 285-pound big man to pick up a wing player in Anthony?

“My first thought was, ‘Why are these people interrupting my life with these kind of rumors?’ ” Jackson said.

Bynum said his agent, David Lee , called him at 4 p.m. Tuesday to tell him about the report. It was a familiar refrain for Bynum, whose name has popped up in rumors linked to a laundry list of players — Jason Kidd , Jermaine O’Neal , Kevin Garnett , Chris Paul and Pau Gasol among them — in his six-year career.

“It’s just another rumor as far as I’m concerned,” a nonchalant Bynum said Wednesday. “I was caught up in [Chris] Bosh and Pau [trade speculation], so it’s nothing new to me. I’m just going to keep playing basketball.

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The NBA trade deadline is on the 24th February and there’s bound to be a flurry of trades around the league as a number of teams will look to bolster their rosters in order to make a playoff push. And it goes without saying that Carmelo Anthony is the most prized asset of the lucrative restricted and unrestricted free agents that are about to come on the market.

Los Angeles Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson clearly sees that there’s a flaw in his team and the way in which they’ve been playing recently . Statistically the load being carried on this team is being done predominantly as always by Kobe Bryant , who at times is being ably assisted by Pau Gasol when he’s completely free of injury. And it has been clear for all to see that this Lakers’ team has systematically limped along the way to their current position in the standings. The team’s 35-16 mark places places them third in the Western Conference Standings behind the conference leading San Antonio Spurs (42-8) and the Dallas Mavericks .

Now it’d be a surprise to many to see the Spurs be so dominant in the NBA this season but those who’d taken note of the Spurs’ team would have realized that this has been a collective effort , and not totally reliant on the team’s triumvirate of stars Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker . And one ought to take into account also that in Gregg Popovich the Spurs might possess the best coach in the NBA outside of the Lakers ‘ Phil Jackson .

Should the Lakers pull off this deal then clearly it would place them amongst the mainstay within the conference and even though they are the reigning NBA champions . This team was meant was built with the intent of making a successful defense and based upon the changes made by Jackson and Kupchak over the last season it’s very clear that the Lakers have fallen short of those desires . Ron Artest has been increasingly inconsistent and it’s clear that the likes of Odom , Bynum , Shannon Brown , Steve Blake and the Lakers’ bench haven’t met the expectations of the coaching staff or the fans in attendance at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. aren’t gense

Carmelo Anthony for his part gets to play on a team alongside a perennial All Star in Kobe Bryant and that can’t at all be bad for a player whose desire to win an NBA title at this stage of his career the desire is to win. The Nuggets aren’t any closer to doing that and their window of opportunity has already come to a close . They’re still a very good regular season team and that is in spite of last season’s playoff performances and the heroics by the team. Unfortunately with the illness of coach George Karl even with the experience shown by Adrian Dantley as he took over from Karl while he underwent chemotherapy and then the long drawn out process of recuperation . The problems for Nuggets stem from the fact that they contend in the always competitive and cuthroat atmosphere of the Western Conference .

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

A chance to see Carmel Anthony in the Lakers’ purple and gold could be the biggest thing to hit LA since the arrival of Shaquille O’Neal and from there the team’s unprecedented success of a trio of NBA titles under Phil Jackson . At this juncture when there’s more entertainment to be had from watching the Lakers’ co-resident at the Staples Center , the Los Angeles Clippers then you simply know that things aren’t all right with this Lakers’ team. It’s now gotten to the stage where Blake Griffin is now getting collectively more exposure on both ABC/ESPN and TNT than the reigning NBA champions. And when that happens then clearly one could surmise that all isn’t right in the basketball world and the fact that basketball gods are now said to be smiling.

The New York Knicks could well be on the outside looking in as the ones left out. The fans at Madison Square Gardens aren’t entirely happy that as of late that their team has suddenly been slipping and their recent displays can be best described as being erratic. With the excellent play of Amar’e Stoudemire , Landry Fields , Raymond Felton it has been the Knicks’ bench that has continued to let them down in the most untimely of situation when they’ve had games within their grasp. There’s no denying that the addition of Carmelo Anthony would be a tremendous boost to the organization from a number of standpoints not the least from a financial standpoint of the league’s most valuable NBA franchise. The most recent estimates have the Knicks valued at approximately $655 million with the league average being $370 million .

The cat and mouse games will now begin as quite possibly Donnie Walsh and James Dolan may well look to make a last ditch attempt to bring Carmelo to New York. You have the glamor of Hollywood being thrown up against the 24 hour none stop mayhem that we know to be the “The Big Apple” and it will all come down to which organization can use its wiles to lure the Nuggets’ player to be a part of their immediate and long term future. As of now either these two organizations could start to play a very interesting game of chicken with the loser quite possibly end up looking the fool. And as of now there’s no clear indicator as to who that might be.

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the potential trade of Carmelo Anthony to the Los Angeles Lakers rather than quite possibly ending up with the New York Knicks ? Chime on in with a comment as to your thoughts on this topic or any other as it relates to the NBA. Thanks as always for the continued support !

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(1) Denver , Co,. : Carmelo Anthony (15) of the Denver Nuggets looks on during a break in the action against the New York Knicks at the Pepsi Center on November 16, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. According to reports, the Denver Nuggets are in preliminary talks with the Los Angeles Lakers for a trade that would send Anthony to the Lakers for a package built around Andrew Bynum . Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images …….

(2) Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom goes to the hoop in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, against the Memphis Grizzlies in Memphis, Tenn. Odom scored 15 points and had 11 rebounds to lead the Lakers to a 93-84 win. AP Photo/Alan Spearman ……….

(3) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) handles the ball away from the Memphis Grizzlies defenders in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. AP Photo/Alan Spearman ……….

(4) Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) defends Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol, left, of Spain, in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. AP Photo/Alan Spearman …………………..

(5) Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl hangs his head during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, in Denver. AP Photo/Jack Dempsey ………

(6) New York Knicks owner James Dolan (right) listens as newly hired president of basketball operations Donnie Walsh speaks during a news conference in New York, April 2, 2008. The organization are still said to be pursuing all venues possible to bring Carmelo Anthony to Madison Square Gardens home to the New York Knicks. But with the now rising interest of the Los Angeles Lakers the team will be matched in a battle of wits with the West Coast rival. Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

(7) ESPN’s NBA analyst Chris Broussard who first broke the story of the Lakers’ interest and pursuit of the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony. The two teams have met privately to discuss a possible deal looking to finalize it before the NBA’s trade deadline of the 24th February . AP Photo / Steve Pearson ……….

(8) Nuggets’ GM Masai Ujiri formerly a mid-level executive with the Toronto Raptors . Ujiri who reports directly to owner Stanley Kroenke and his son Josh Kroenke the President & COO of the Nuggets organization . It will be on their say so whether or not the player will be traded to either the Los Angeles Lakers or New York Knicks . AP Photo / Richard Todd ………..

(9) Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson (left ) left is seen here with the team’s GM Mitch Kupchak on a private jet discussing team business . The two obviously not happy with the current state of affairs concerning the team are said to be eagerly in pursuit of the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony in a trade that might possibly have the team’s center Andrew Bynum heading out of Los Angeles to Denver. NBAE/ Getty Images/ Andrew D Bernstein ……..

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Alan aka tophatal ………………

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Sasha

Eye candy …………. Sasha Delvalle

Nadia Dawn
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Jay Z & Alicia Keys ……….”Empire State of Mind”

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Tony – Toni – Tone …………”It Never Rains” (In Southern California)
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You Know It’s Been A Bad Day At The Office When………… Insert Your Own Thoughts Here ……………..

You Know It’s Been A Bad Day At The Office When………… Insert Your Own Thoughts Here ……………..

As much as I love the world sports and everything as such of interest that happens within it. I can’t but see the fun side of it all when I either see that the past and present meet head on in terms of a brooding controversy. Or even when it’s amongst the peers of today within a certain sports arena .

Having seen the ballyhoo made over the Chicago Bears acquiring Jay Cutler from the Denver Broncos via a trade that sent Kyle Orton to the Broncos in the opposite direction. It was felt that the Bears would improve exponentially and become a serious threat to the apparent dominance of the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North . By the way has Brett Favre come to a decision as of yet ? I mean I’ve not heard from those loyal band of followers of his, from ESPN report on anything concerning on him as of late , including his bowel movements throughout the day and the mere fact that his wife Deanna has apparently been refusing Brett his conjugal requests . But that’s another story for another day.

Coming off another disappointing season within the division and posting a record of 7-9 , can we essentially say that the Bears have been a profound disappointment to their fans and their owners alike ? Much was made that Cutler a “Pro Bowl caliber” would provide this team with the thing it was said to be missing. Personally , to me the Pro Bowl means absolute s_it in the greater order of things when you consider the game itself is essentially a bus-man’s holiday. I mean when has it meant anything to a player other than the fact that he can become “fat” in his wallet by way of his meeting certain productive targets on the field of play as part of his contract ? It’s not as if “his peers” actually vote him in to be part of the event itself. It’s left to a bunch of NFL writers casting their ballots , who for all sense and purpose show about as much common sense and intelligence as some members of Congress . And as we all know common sense , intelligence and ” Congress” shouldn’t necessarily be mentioned in the same sentence.


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Slide show gallery for your perusal .

This upcoming season Bears’ coach Lovie Smith will be on the “hot seat” and if he and his coaching staff fail to deliver then he’s bound to be shown the door ! Bears’ GM Jerry Angelo and Director of Player Personnel Tim Ruskell the architects of this “team” know full well that the fans will not tolerate much more from this team and the organization itself cannot think that they will. That’d show their complete and utter stupidity if they were to allow things to carry on as they are.

Three years removed from a Superbowl __(SB XLI ) appearance and their subsequent 29-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts . The reverberations from that loss can still be felt to this day. It was the sense of embarrassment to the fact that they severely underperformed and it certainly did not help that the one player on this team often thought of as their vocal leader was nowhere to be seen. Brian Urlacher over the years can either be described as a great player or quite possibly one of the best defensive players of his generation. That being said over the last few years , his play and skills have diminished to the point where one can no longer look at him as a real threat. Whereas, the ever present Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens still strikes fear into opposing players . Need I say anymore on the matter ?

Courtesy of ESPN.com in conjunction with ESPN Chicago

Ditka backs Sayers vs. Urlacher

Mike Ditka joined the chorus of Chicago Bears Hall of Famers who have come to the support of Gale Sayers in his controversy with linebacker Brian Urlacher.

The war of words started May 4, when Sayers criticized quarterback Jay Cutler’s performance in 2009, questioned the future of coach Lovie Smith if the Bears struggle again this season, and wondered how well Urlacher will come back from season-ending wrist surgery.

Urlacher responded in a Chicago Tribune article Thursday by ripping Sayers for criticizing the Bears and questioning Sayers’ credentials because the Hall of Fame running back never won a championship, or even a playoff game.

“I like Brian Urlacher a lot, I think he’s one heck of a football player,” Ditka said Friday on “Mike & Mike In The Morning ” on ESPN Radio. “It’s unfortunate to have this in the Bears family. I don’t like it.

“I don’t think Gale was being that critical, honestly. I think somebody asked him a question. They asked him about the state of the Chicago Bears. He answered very honestly what he thought about Cutler. He answered very honestly what he thought about the coach. Brian’s coming off an injury. Brian’s a great football player, he has to stay healthy, there’s no question about that. Nobody can play when they’re hurt.

“So I don’t know where it was so inflammatory. I didn’t see that. And I understand, your feathers get ruffled here and there. When somebody sees something they think is wrong, I don’t think it’s wrong to say it. Sometimes criticism pointed in the right direction can help you.”

Sayers played from 1965 to 1971, exclusively with the Bears. Ditka played from 1961 to 1966 with Chicago, and he said criticism that Sayers never won a championship is misguided.

“[Dick] Butkus never won a Super Bowl,” said Ditka, who coached the Bears to the Super Bowl XX title. “Was there a better linebacker? I don’t know. I don’t think there’s a better linebacker.

“Super Bowls are won by great teams, not necessarily by great individual players.”

Butkus backed Sayers, and he said he’s also been frustrated by the Bears, who haven’t made the playoffs since losing to the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI.
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And there’s no denying that Cutler and the Bears failed to live up to expectations last season. From a results’ standpoint with each passing week it were as if we were witnessing the gradual regression of this team. Lovie Smith for his part seem to play this all down as if it were nothing more than a team having made one or two slip ups along the way. Clearly he’s overlooked the fact that the fans aren’t so patient with his or the players’ predicament. And now with Hall of Famers __ Dick Butkus , Gale Sayers and even the team’s former coach Mike Ditka now weighing on the team’s plight. The triumvirate in question at one point or another have contributed greatly to the history and legacy of the Bears. So anything that they ma well have to say on the matter cannot be overlooked or met with just another matter of an outsider looking in and just giving the press a proverbial sound byte. However, it appears that Urlacher takes umbrage with the fact that the team and Cutler in particular has come in for a great deal of criticism from Gale Sayers. And former Bears’ great has directed his criticisms squarely at the team’s quarterback. Some might say that the criticism is unjustified whereas others may well feel differently. One thing is clear however time is running short for the team , its coach and in particular for Urlacher. He has spent more time gaining headlines for his off the field sightings with socialites , catwalk models and actresses, rather than for his work ethic and play on the field. At the end of the day it has to be asked what profession does Urlacher , himself believe that he’s in ? Is he a professional athlete or a celebrity wannabe ? In doing so he becomes fodder for the press and paparazzi alike .


If Urlacher wants to prove the criticism to be without merit, then this season he and his teammates had better set out to prove those naysayers wrong. Otherwise he might as well shut the hell up and accept the fact that he and this team simply aren’t good enough to win a Superbowl or much else for that matter.

So after all of the denials and asinine excuses as how his tests came up positive for illicit banned substances. Now disgraced and former Tour de France winner Floyd Landis has admitted what many of us had known all along. The disgraced former Tour winner who has since had his Tour victory rescinded has admitted that he has been using anabolic steroids and “HGH” as part of his regimen for years . He’s also reiterated that the sport of cycling is profligate with the abuse of both substances. Be that as it may , here are the facts as we know it, Landis is a liar and a cheat ! And for all of the xenophobic supporters of Landis at the time. How’s it now feel to find that this bastard lied like the p_ssy that he now comes across being ? Not fully content with accepting and being held accountable for his own actions. Landis now takes aim at 7 time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong , claiming that the cyclist also has taken many of the substances in question. In making those claims also Landis states that he has no categoric proof that Armstrong took anything illicit other than mere rumors and conjecture . I guess when the sh_t rolls downhill and hits you right in the face the only thing you can do to fend off even more ridicule is to misdirect the public to look elsewhere.

Armstrong having overcome brain and testicular cancer was always bound to be the center of attention once he started to win cycling’s most prestigious event an unprecedented seven successive times. But the fact of the matter is , having been tested by WADA and by UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale _[sports international governing body]) there has never been any concrete proof that Armstrong has taken anything illicit , nor has he ever tested positive in or out of competition. So what if anything is Landis trying to prove ? He’s an even bigger ass than first thought ? Armstrong for his part has tried to stay above the fray concerning this. But given the fact that the sport of cycling has been rife with cheating for a number years and the fact that it was only until recently that the sport’s governing ( UCI ) body decided that they would be proactive and address the issue head on . We would still continue to look at and treat the sport with a great deal of disdain. The sad fact is , what we’re now seeing in the sport is no different than the multitude of sins that were being exhibited and perpetrated in the sport of baseball and the prolific use of both steroids and HGH by the players. And even now with the MLB ____ hierarchy and MLPA __(union) working in conjunction to have a strict , coherent and cohesive drug testing policy in place. We are still seeing a number of major league ballplayers testing positive for banned substances. Kind of makes one wonder what we now deem to be acceptable within the world of sports ?

As the NBA’s postseason unfold we could be on the verge of seeing both conference finals turn into uncomfortable blowouts. The Boston Celtics have a rather commanding 2-0 lead over the listless Orlando Magic . And in the Western Conference Finals the Los Angeles Lakers has kept its home-field advantage in tact by opening up also a 2-0 lead over the Phoenix Suns .

In the midst of this all the Suns’ Amar`e Stoudemire has seen fit act like a petulant child by stating that the Lakers’ Lamar Odom was simply lucky in playing the way he did in game one of the conference finals. Stoudemire fails to indicate that with Odom coming off the bench to ignite the Lakers with a double-double of 19 points, 19 rebounds , it has in essence all but doomed the Suns’ postseason ambitions. And we beg the question can the Suns save grace by at least trying to eke out one win in this series ?

It is becoming abundantly clear that the Suns’ coach Alvin Gentry is being outmatched and out-coached by his divisional counterpart Phil Jackson of the Lakers. And having shown some semblance of defense in the earlier rounds. Now for all sense and purpose the Phoenix Suns simply haven’t an answer for Kobe Bryant or anyone else on the Lakers’ roster who just happens to show their offensive capabilities during this series . To put it bluntly, this is like taking candy from a baby !

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Game two provided us with all the evidence we need to know that when the Lakers make the NBA Finals they will go into the series as an overwhelming favorite against the Easter Conference’s representative . The Lakers “dusted” the Suns in such a commanding way that it probably has most among us believing , are either the Celtics or Magic capable of stopping this Lakers’ juggernaut ? The Lakers’ 124-112 victory was about as emphatic as one would come to expect from such a dominant team.

Well those are just my thoughts as it concerns the subject matter in terms of the title ……..”You Know It’s Been A Bad Day At The Office When………… Insert Your Own Thoughts Here ……………..
. What specific sports issues that have caught your attention as of late has you thinking along these lines ? By all means chime on in with a comment and as usual I’ll look forward to responding in kind. Stay safe and have a great weekend !

Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals was won by the Lakers 128-107 .


Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………

Joe Budden ……………….“Pump It Up”

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50 cent feat’g Lloyd Banks …………………..“On Fire”

Yo Lakers’ Fans Boo All You Want ’cause Once Kobe’s Gone The Lights’ll Go Out At The Staples Center …………….

They try to makes themselves out to be sophisticated fans and knowledgeable about their team. And of course, courtside you’ll always find the likes of Dyan Cannon and Jack Nicholson showing their unbridled passion and support for the Los Angeles Lakers.Granted, court side at the Staples Center is the place to be seen, when your team is winning on a consistent basis. And especially when the game’s best player is now happy with his lot. Kobe Bryant is atop of his game and the basketball world and it can’t be taken away from him.Not unless, he has a mindset to relinquish those accolades festooned upon him ? And at this juncture , I think that’s unlikely to happen.

Head Coach Phil Jackson and Ron Artest  of the Los Angeles Lakers talk after the Lakers practice on November 16, 2009 at Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.    picture appears courtesy  of nbae/getty images/ Noah Graham ...............
Head Coach Phil Jackson and Ron Artest of the Los Angeles Lakers talk after the Lakers practice on November 16, 2009 at Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Noah Graham ...............

So undoubtedly, I’m as perplexed as the next person to find out that some itinerant Lakers’ fans saw fit to berate, disparage and boo the team after a recent loss on their homecourt. And as fickle as fans can sometimes be. I think that the Lakers’ fans in particular ought to be happy with their lot and appreciative of the talent that Bryant has been surrounded by. Hell, it could be a hell of a lot worse , you could be watching the Clippers ? OK , so I threw that in there to annoy you, the most discerning of Lakers’ fans ! But like I’ve said be appreciative of what you have in front of you. Not only in terms of Kobe Bryant , but also the team’s coach in , Phil Jackson and that of his coaching staff. Because without the likes of Frank Hamblen, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Brian Shaw,Craig Hodges and Jim Cleamons. One seriously doubts that the Lakers would’ve made it as far as they did last year. he old adage is that….’players wins games and defense wins championships’. But to my mind without the proper coaching they’re not able to achieve the goals that are set for them to begin with. And that’s most certainly where the abilities Phil Jackson and his coaching staff comes mightily handy.No one’s of the belief that this Lakers’ team could’ve rode single handedly on the shoulders of Bryant alone, on their way winning last season’s NBA title ?

 Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers controls the ball against Trevor Ariza  of the Houston Rockets on November 15, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  The Rockets won 101-91.    picture appears courtesy  of  getty  images/ Stephen  Dunn
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers controls the ball against Trevor Ariza of the Houston Rockets on November 15, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Rockets won 101-91. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Stephen Dunn

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and Associated Press

Lakers booed at home in 101-91 loss to Rockets

By Beth Harris , AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP)—Trevor Ariza(notes) got his NBA championship ring and his Houston Rockets got the win.

Aaron Brooks(notes) saw the ring dripping with diamonds and suddenly he was off on a career night. He took the Houston Rockets with him, scoring a career-high 33 points, including five 3-pointers, in a 101-91 victory over Los Angeles on Sunday night, sending the Lakers to a second consecutive loss.

“That’s my first time seeing an NBA ring,” Brooks said. “It moved us and we played inspired basketball.”

And the NBA champs? Well, they looked downright ordinary again.

The Lakers were coming off a 105-79 drubbing at Denver two nights earlier only to have another team they vanquished in last season’s title run show them up at home, where they got booed.

“Defensively, we need to step it up,” Andrew Bynum(notes) said. “That’s what we’re lacking right now. We got guards trying to box out bigs. Bigs trying to box out guards. We’re all over the place right now.”

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So forgive me for saying this, but we’re a mere eleven game into the season, with the Los Angeles Lakers (7-3) having the fourth best record tied with the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference. Whereupon, they only sit 1 1/2 games behind the division leading, Phoenix Suns (9-2) in the Pacific Divsion . And within the division you have the likes of the Sacramento Kings, L. A. Clippers and the Golden State Warriors. And while one might only view the Suns as their most serious threat within the division. That isn’t to say that Phil Jackson and his players are overlooking the Suns, or any other team within the Western Conference.

Winning, we know cures all that ails but the true test of a team is how they handle the adversity of losing. And whether or not the lessons that are learned from a loss makes them a better team in the future. Something it appears that the Lakers’ fans in attendance couldn’t care less about. But as I alluded to earlier they’d have you believe that many of them are the most knowledgeable NBA fans around. That may well be the case in some instances but I can only surmise that those who were showing their displeasure during and after the 101-91 loss to the Houston Rockets, were either inebriated or they’re just your normal belligerent oafish fans, you’d come to expect in attendance at a sporting event. And OK, so we know that this loss didn’t help, knowing that this came off an earlier loss to the Denver Nuggets,some nights earlier. The result there too was another blowout loss 105-79 and where the Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with an almost effortless 25 points,4 reb’s,3 steals, 2 assists and a thoroughly engaging display. But if anything,it was an allround team effort, with some stifling defense from the George Karl coached team.

Two consecutive losses and you’d have thought that the Lakers’ season is already over ? But nothing could be further from the truth and if anything the majority of Lakers’ fans ought to know this. But it would appear that far too many of them are about the here and now- what have you done for me lately ? That sort of thinking shows the crass side of the fans who are essentially unintelligent ! Yes, I said it ,unintelligent ! What are going to do, piss on me for telling the truth ?

The Lakers’ display,though woefully inept against the Nuggets. No one
could’ve imagined that it would carry over the game against the Rockets and result in the 101-91 loss. It may well have come out of over complacency, exhaustion. Or the mere fact that having just received their championship rings they were to in awe of the event and just thought that they’d ride their through part of the game and then turn it on at will, against the Rockets ? For Ron Artest formerly of the Rockets and now with the Lakers. This must’ve been a night that he’d rather forget. And for the Rockets, Trevor Ariza was facing his former team and no doubt hell bent on showing what they’d be missing out on , in not having re-signed him.

And while one can appreciate that the Los Angeles Lakers are the NBA champions. The hardest thing in the world to do , is to come back and successfully defend that championship. Albeit, that Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant have been recipients of such a feat. In the case of Jackson, he achieved his three-peat with the Chicago Bulls twice, with Michael Jordan being the tour-de-force on each of those occasions. And then came a third three-peat , this time around with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in tow with the Lakers. We know that if the Los Angeles Lakers are indeed to successfully defend their title. Then it’ll have to be an allout effort right across the board from the team .

Lamar Odom of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots against the Houston Rockets on November 15, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.   picture  appears courtesy of  getty images/ Stephen  Dunn   ..............
Lamar Odom of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots against the Houston Rockets on November 15, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Stephen Dunn ...................

A great deal is expected from the likes of Jordan Farmar, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom ,and in particular both Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum. Artest, in particular has to show that the organization’s faith in signing him was justified. And Bynum has to prove that he’s finally ready to take his game to the next level. For Bryant, all he has to do is just lead this with the resolve and maturity he’s shown. While undoubtedly showing that he’s still marquee player in the league , bar none ! People can opine about LeBron James and how he is the best player in the NBA. But until his legacy as a player, shows something tangible by way of a championship. In essence ,he’ll be viewed as nothing more than a protoge’ and an exceptional player.

As I alluded to earlier though Kobe Bryant has yet to bow from the NBA stage and ride off into the sunset. Chances are that if the behavior of those alleged Lakers’ fans continue. Then he may well choose to ride off into the sunset, not into retirement but to ply his trade elsewhere in the NBA. Stranger things have happened and will happen in this game we call basketball. But the strangest of them all, would be to see Kobe Bryant driven out of Los Angeles because of the bellicose fans who call themselves true Lakers’ fans. We expect fans to be critical of their teams when they’re not playing well. What one doesn’t expect, is for those fans to behave as if they’ve suddenly found the art of being an absolute moron. Appreciate Bryant while you can. Because I’d hate to see the lights go out at the Staples Center , should Kobe up and leave. Because if ‘The Mamba’ leaves, there won’t be much to entice the fans to the Staples Center. And then what would the likes Jack, Dyan, Will, Jada , Tom and Katie do for an evening out ? Go watch the L A Galaxy of the MLS ? I think not !

Los Angeles Lakers’ Team Roster 2009-10

NUM PLAYER POS HT WT DOB FROM YRS
37 Ron Artest F 6-7 260 11/13/1979 St. John’s 10
12 Shannon Brown G 6-4 210 11/29/1985 Michigan State 3
24 Kobe Bryant G 6-6 205 08/23/1978 Lower Merion HS (PA) 13
17 Andrew Bynum C 7-0 285 10/27/1987 St. Joseph HS (NJ) 4
1 Jordan Farmar G 6-2 180 11/30/1986 UCLA 3
2 Derek Fisher G 6-1 210 08/09/1974 Arkansas-Little Rock 13
16 Pau Gasol F-C 7-0 250 07/06/1980 Barcelona, Spain 8
28 Didier Ilunga-Mbenga C 7-0 255 12/30/1980 Kinshasa, DRC 5
6 Adam Morrison F 6-8 205 07/19/1984 Gonzaga 2
7 Lamar Odom F 6-10 230 11/06/1979 Rhode Island 10
21 Josh Powell F 6-9 240 01/25/1983 North Carolina State 4
18 Sasha Vujacic G 6-7 205 03/08/1984 Maribor, Slovenia 5
4 Luke Walton F 6-8 235 03/28/1980 Arizona 6

HEAD COACH
Phil Jackson (College – North Dakota)

ASSISTANT COACHES
Frank Hamblen (College – Syracuse)
Brian Shaw (College – UC-Santa Barbara)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (College – UCLA)
Craig Hodges (College – Long Beach State)
Jim Cleamons (College – Ohio State)

ATHLETIC TRAINER
Gary Vitti (College – Southern Connecticut State, Utah)

C – Captain
** – Unsigned Draft Pick
(FA) – Free Agent

Kobe You And Are I Going To Rule The World And We’ll Have the ‘Illest ‘ Rap Video Out There ! And Tell Kanye At The 2010 VMA’s We’d Appreciate His Support

As a child growing up in the West Indies, I can remember my grandmother telling me “…… what doesn’t hurt you , won’t kill you.” Imagine to my surprise then when I heard that the Los Angeles Lakers had signed the enfant-terrible’ Ron Artest . Now don’t get me wrong , as a player , I admire Artest for what he brings to the table. An unstoppable zest for the game and a zeal not too often seen from players with far more ability but even less heart. In many respects after the Kobe -Shaq era of unbridled success with the exception of the lopsided loss of an NBA championship series to the Detroit Pistons . The last thing one might have expected , was the for the Lakers to have made a full court press and to have acquired Artest as a free agent.

Kobe  Bryant  (left) and   newly  minted  teammate  Ron  Artest   picture  appears   courtesy  of  reuters /  Mike   Blake  ..............................
Kobe Bryant (left) and newly minted teammate Ron Artest picture appears courtesy of reuters / Mike Blake ..............................

And if one remembers at the time , that Lakers’ team had enough egos on it , that it would’ve made more sense to have five separate balls on the court . Rather than them all having to share one apiece. You had Kobe Bryant , Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton, Karl Malone and last but not least Derek Fisher.

From  left  to  right  Gary Payton,  Shaquille O'Neal,  Karl  Malone  ,  Kobe  Bryant   and   Rick  Fox.   All  have   a  forelorn   upon them as  they began  to    realize  that   the  improbable  and  the   inevitable was  about to  happen.   They  would   lose  the  NBA  Final   series  to  the  Eastern  Conference's  Detroit  Pistons.       picture  appears  courtesy  of   getty  images /    Mitchell   Russell  ........................
From left to right Gary Payton, Shaquille O'Neal, Karl Malone , Kobe Bryant and Rick Fox. All have a forelorn upon them as they began to realize that the improbable and the inevitable was about to happen. They would lose the NBA Final series to the Eastern Conference's Detroit Pistons. picture appears courtesy of getty images / Mitchell Russell ........................

There’s a saying that oil and water don’t mix . And in the case of adding Malone and Payton into the mix. Whilst on paper , it may well have all looked good. And the NBA pundits were saying that the Lakers at the time were “a sure thing thing to win to win it all “. The fact of the matter was the Lakers were too cock sure of themselves. And as the complacency set in , so too did the acrimony between the quartet of superstars on the team. What transpired in those NBA Finals was a lesson as why the old adage stills holds true. “Too many Chiefs not enough Indians .”

Lakers'  coach  Phil  Jackson  speaks  to  the   members  of  the  media   at  a  news  conference   at the   team's   training  facility  in  El  Segundo  ,  California.      The  team   now  embarks  on the  defense  of  their  2008-09   NBA  title.    picture  appears courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Nick  Ut  ..................
Lakers' coach Phil Jackson speaks to the members of the media at a news conference at the team's training facility in El Segundo , California. The team now embarks on the defense of their 2008-09 NBA title. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Nick Ut ..................

And the NBA Finals 2003-04 truly set the Lakers apart from other teams that’ve made the NBA Finals. Point blank favorites they would succumb to the Pistons in a rout unprecedented in its execution and precision. The Lakers’ players were made to look languid and very much like a group of aged geriatrics who knowingly looked out of place. And at the end of it all the Pistons would triumph with an emphatic 4-1 series win and with Chauncey Billups being named Finals’ Series MVP.

Kobe  Bryant  speaks to  members  of  the  media   at the  team's   media  day  at  the   opening  of  their  training   camp  at  the  Toyota  Center   ,  the  team's training   facililty  in  El  Segundo  ,  California.     The   Finals  MVP  of  last  year  is   relishing  the  challenge  of   opening   up  the   2009-10  season  as  the   defending   NBA  champions  and   is  looking  to   successfully   defend  that  title.       picture  appears  courtesy  of   nbae/getty  images/  Evan  Gole   ................
Kobe Bryant speaks to members of the media at the team's media day at the opening of their training camp at the Toyota Center , the team's training facililty in El Segundo , California. The Finals MVP of last year is relishing the challenge of opening up the 2009-10 season as the defending NBA champions and is looking to successfully defend that title. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Evan Gole ................

Courtesy of nbcsports.com and The Orange County Register

Kobe, Lakers must be even hungrier to repeat

‘Our focus is on getting better. It’s not really on replicating what we did’

By Kevin Ding Orange County Register

You might’ve forgotten, and Kobe Bryant almost has by now, but the Lakers broke through for a championship not too long ago … and had some trouble when they reconvened for the first time to defend it.

It was the 2000-01 season, and it was the first time Bryant’s feud with Shaquille O’Neal spread to the public consciousness.

O’Neal had a traditional plan that they could just replay the previous season; Bryant came back with new muscles to flex. Two-and-a-half months into the schedule, they were sniping through the media about Bryant overdoing his offense and O’Neal dogging it on defense.

The issue, as described back then by one Phil Jackson, was this about Bryant: “Some nights he’s in balance. Some nights it’s over the edge with trying to find how he can do a little bit better.”

In the end, Bryant hiked his scoring average from 22.5 points to 28.5 (more than he averaged in either of the past two seasons, by the way) and infused the Lakers with a fire they needed to become a far better team.

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In order to read Kevin Ding’s article in its entirety just click on the link provided
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Ron  Artest   of the  Los  Angeles  Lakers   poses   for  his  official  team  photograph  at  the  team's  training  facility   in  El  Segundo,  California.    Artest   brings along  a  great  deal  of  veteran   experience  and  it's   hoped   leadership   that'll   prove  invaluable  alongside  that   of    his  teammate  Kobe  Bryant.      picture  appears courtesy  of  nbae/getty  images/   Juan Ocampo    ......................
Ron Artest of the Los Angeles Lakers poses for his official team photograph at the team's training facility in El Segundo, California. Artest brings along a great deal of veteran experience and it's hoped leadership that'll prove invaluable alongside that of his teammate Kobe Bryant. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Juan Ocampo ......................

Now come full circle, after the Lakers’ overwhelming triumph over the outmaneuvered and overwhelmed Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals of the 2008-09 season. Whereby, the Lakers secured their fifteenth NBA title and their coach Phil Jackson , his tenth . All it’s said had to be right in “Lakerland”. However , the tremors were there for all to witness, as the negotiations started in earnest for the renewal of contracts for players who were part of the team’s triumph. Lamar Odom it was suggested , that he was no longer a valid part of the team. And for Trevor Ariza , he felt that he deserved not only more playing time but also more money. For the Lakers’ hierarchy, a decision had to be made . And that laid in the hands of not only the owner , Dr. Jerry Buss . But also that of Phil Jackson and the team’s GM, Mitch Kupchak.

Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak speaks about what he feels that Ron Artest can provide for the Lakers as a player. The GM also speaks about the loss of Trevor Ariza , who signed with the Houston Rockets as a free agent.

Much to everyone’s surprise Ariza was allowed to flee and he signed with the Houston Rockets . Odom was re-signed by the team. But low and behold , within their midst came Ron Artest , hoping to pursue his goal of winning an NBA championship. And that comes with baggage included no doubt ? The question might now have to ask, is whether or not Artest can acclimatize himself amongst his new-found teammates and not become a disruptive distraction. We all found it somewhat surprising that during the playoffs with the Rockets , that he alongside Aaron Brooks ,showed leadership and played with a great deal of aplomb and zeal. And though the team’s heroic effort came up short , it showed Ron Artest in a light not previously seen before. That was with a Rockets team that didn’t have the services of either Tracy McGrady or Yao Ming for the playoffs. Yao Ming was lost prior to start of those playoffs. And McGrady as we know , well he’s about as soft as they come and then some !

The Los Angeles Lakers are most certainly looking to repeat as NBA champions. And if anything, they will be looked upon as the presumptive favorites within the Western Conference of the NBA. Though it has to be said that the likes of the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks , New Orleans > Hornets, Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns would all like to think of themselves as noteworthy candidates to assume that mantel as favorites. But in all honesty, it is the Lakers who definitely have the most well rounded roster and the ability to win it all, of the favored representatives in the conference. That’s got to be the case with the addition of Ron Artest. He gives the team an additional offensive option beyond Bryant , Odom and Pau Gasol . And at the same time his defensive play cannot be questioned , as he’s amongst the very best in the game.

Lamar  Odom   of  the  Lakers   seen  here  at  the   team's   training   faclity    the  Toyota  Center   doing   some   pre-game   warmup  exercises.     The   player  was   re-signed   by  the  team    in  the   hopes  of   boosting  their  chances  of   repeating  as   NBA  champions.         picture  appears  courtesy  of   nbae/getty images/  Andrew   D.  Bernstein  .....................
Lamar Odom of the Lakers seen here at the team's training faclity the Toyota Center doing some pre-game warmup exercises. The player was re-signed by the team in the hopes of boosting their chances of repeating as NBA champions. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Andrew D. Bernstein .....................

And while there’s no doubt that in many people’s eyes the Los Angeles Lakers are the team to beat. In the Eastern Conference the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic would like to feel that they’ll be able to negate those thoughts. If nothing else they’ll do their utmost to prove that the supremacy of the NBA just doesn’t reside in the West but like a pendulum it tends to swing both ways.

As to what now lies ahead for Artest and his new teammates. The whole NBA world awaits as to what may well materialize. None more so than the fans of the Lakers , who now feel that even with the loss of Ariza . They are now in much better shape than before . As to what this’ll also mean for Kobe Bryant. One can surmise that the player is no doubt happy with outcome. Let’s just hope that two won’t at all be pursuing a joint recording and rap career . God knows we’ve had to suffer the indignity of listening to Bryant rap , much less the indecipherable mono-toned absurdities of Artest. It’ll be better for all of us , if they just let their ballin’ on the court speak for itself , wouldn’t you say ?