No stigma attached here, it’s the NBA and how they continue to do things …

No stigma attached here, it’s the NBA and how they continue to do things …

The NBA finally has a new owner to join their ranks after the league hierarchy’s Board of Governors and owners approved the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft Chairman and billionaire , Steve Ballmer . Sold for the unprecedented sum of $2 billion , Ballmer now acquires a franchise in the need of an immediate makeover . If you thought the end of the league’s own problems concerning franchise stopped there concerning the Clippers and the ongoing litigation process being played out within the legal system. Adam Silver and the league hierarchy are now counter-suing Donald Sterling , former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers and the Sterling Family Trust for unspecified and punitive damages in causing irreparable damage and harm to the league’s image. Unless I am mistaken, the inaction of Silver’s predecessor , David Stern as the then commissioner and his continued failure in severely reprimanding Donald Sterling for his reprehensible behavior , has led the league to its present predicament.

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Donald Sterling’s own pending litigation against the NBA will set out to show the league stepped outside their boundaries, in seeking to expel him from the NBA ownership fraternity and show their own actions were against their own bye laws and mandates. In the midst of this all, Adam Silver, the league hierarchy and the union itself, have shown a great deal of hypocrisy, with their pontificating about the misdeeds of Donald Sterling, while excusing the equally reprehensible behavior of other owners and in a number of respects, players themselves. Now we come full circle and the league seeks to place itself above-board and beyond reproach. Unfortunately, the league’s handling of this whole spectacle has been an unmitigated disaster and a complete mess . Speaks so highly of this league being , one said to be image conscious and one capable of dealing with damage control. I think not!

Steve Ballmer, as the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers has promised to do everything possible within his power to provide the organization the means necessary to bring about success for the franchise . No doubt Clippers’ head coach and President of Basketball Operations Doc Rivers will welcome the comments attributed to the team owner. Also, Ballmer, as a way of paying the assistance provided by Rochelle Sterling in the sale of the franchise , has awarded the former owner’s estranged wife with two titles , one said to honorary and the other likely being done for publicity purposes. She will be officially be made the Clippers’ number one fan , as well as holding the position as an Executive Emeritus . Somehow in light of Rochelle Sterling’s lack of action with her husband’s actions from the outset and that he now stands to benefit financially from the sale of the team ,profiting to the tune of $1 billion in Ballmer’s purchase of the franchise. This all might be looked on with a great deal of cynicism, while the league itself still has to look at the fact some remnants of the Clippers’ ownership will still remain with Rochelle Sterling’s association with the franchise.

This upcoming season within the NBA apart of the off-season tumult where the biggest story was LeBron James’ departure from the Miami Heat to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers , sent a seismic shift within the Eastern Conference, as well as perhaps now creating the perception the Cavaliers are now the best team in the conference. Pending the acquisition of Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the Cavaliers’ number one draft pick Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett . There might well be some validity to the claims, but I do believe the Chicago Bulls have a great deal more depth than Cleveland and I sincerely doubt that you can still discount the Miami Heat out of the equation. The conference itself continues to remain a boon for the NBA, with the level of play having been on the decline for several years in spite of the talent level on display.

For the Los Angeles Clippers having to play in the shadows of their more famous neighbors and inhabitant at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , might now be a thing of the past, with the all too abrupt decline of the Los Angeles Lakers. The only saving grace for the Lakers might well be the fact Kobe Bryant remains a member of the team, but even that may not be enough to stave off what may well another horrific year for the franchise. Doc Rivers for his part, will look to further emphasize the Clippers’ resurgence and add to the Lakers’ misfortunes. With Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan providing the bulk of the Clippers’ offense this past season , the team for this upcoming season will be viewed as one of the better rosters within the Western Conference and competitive enough to be considered a likely contender within the conference.

The meetings between the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers this season should prove to be quite entertaining affairs, with the Pacific Division of the Western Conference being up for grabs , if the Lakers can find some semblance of competitiveness among their players . The first of their scheduled contests between the two teams will take place on the 31st October with the NBA having just entered the first week of its eighty-two game schedule . Kobe Bryant and new head coach Byron Scott along with a revamped roster , will undoubtedly be looking to place the franchise’s woes behind them. Scott having succeeded Mike D’Antoni will be under no illusion what is expected of he and his coaching staff this season. I believe if he can get the best out of his players they are quite capable of being just under a .500 team , winning at best, no more than thirty-five to forty games this season. A great deal of this will be predicated on the health and play of Kobe Bryant , but perhaps even more so when it comes to his teammates , even with a newly revamped roster to complement the All Star.

With all of the hoopla which surrounded LeBron James decision, it should be noted a great deal of the Miami Heat’s failure came from the fact , James was not ably assisted by his teammates during the NBA Finals in their thoroughly lopsided series’ loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Heat protagonists were so blinded by their own stupidity in not seeking to: look at the innumerable flaws on the team. Heat President Pat Riley and head coach Erik Spoelstra could not have seen the inevitable, but the signs were clearly there to be seen, by those who only had to look at the demeanor of LeBron James throughout much of the regular season but in particular during the series against the San Antonio Spurs. The Heat’s demise has led to questions being asked not only of the franchise and organization , but also of LeBron James and his intent. It is pretty much safe to suggest the very first meeting of the season between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat will be filled with drama and intrigue, as many will be seeking to make something out of the contest.

Dan Gilbert as the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers will seek to bury the past and start afresh in terms of his relationship with LeBron James. Certainly, he seems to be going about this in the right way, having brought in a new coaching staff led by David Blatt and the wheeling and dealing in the acquisition of seasoned veterans to complement the current roster , much to the satisfaction of James and teammate Kyrie Irving . Whether or not this will lead to a divisional title , deep postseason run and ultimately an NBA title in his first season as the returning Prodigal Son remains to be seen. The excitement has already began to build within the city of Cleveland, as expectations are indeed high for this franchise over the course of the season. The Cavaliers’ regular season will begin with a home game at the Quicken Loans Arena , in Cleveland, Ohio, against the New York Knicks led by Carmelo Anthony .

I will say this for Phil Jackson , in spite of his ego , he still remains one hell of a coach, albeit, along the way, a great deal of his success can be attributed to the fact he was not asked to assemble the teams in question, where he won his record eleven NBA titles as a head coach. Having the likes of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen already in place with the Chicago Bulls was a great deal of help while providing a certainty of success. Secondly, who can argue with the fact, while with the Los Angeles Lakers having Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal , perhaps among the top ten players in Lakers’ history was not once again further guarantee of multiple titles for the organization. Granted, the final pair of titles won by the Los Angeles Lakers, were won with a make shift team , lacking the renowned center. However, it should not in any way diminish his accomplishments as a head coach. Jackson’s return to the NBA as the Head of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks has more to do with James Dolan’s wish to no longer be seen as the NBA owner without a clue. The Knicks’ mediocre record of the past ten years , has more to do with Dolan’s lack of continuity within the front office of the organization and a penchant for acquiring head coaches simply lacking the acumen as a head coach. The proof has been there for all to see with the list of coaches to have held the position over the past decade.

Carmelo Anthony’s wish to remain with the New York Knicks and signing a record deal with the franchise secures his long-term financial future and provides the Knicks with sense of continuity. The hiring of Derek Fisher to succeed Mike Woodson brings in someone who is likely to have the respect the players on the team . Fisher’s coaching staff headed by Kurt Rambis . With hindsight, the moves made by the Knicks during the off-season might well seem perplexing, but their acquiring Jose Calderon, Quincy Acy and Samuel Dalembert should prove to be more of a competitive lineup, than the team which made the NBA Playoffs in 2013 . The Knicks’ foray in the postseason would come to an abrupt and decisive end , in their conference semi-finals’ loss to the Indiana Pacers.

This season the Knicks will have to prove they are more than simply an offensive minded team, often seen last season terms of their play. Defensively, they were mindlessly inept , as seen in their results and final divisional standings. It will be interesting to see how the Knicks acclimate themselves through their first fifteen to twenty games under their new head coach Derek Fisher. New York’s first game of the regular season will be a true test of the mettle of this Knicks’ team against the Chicago Bulls, then to be followed by their visit to the Cleveland Cavaliers , where LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony will get to test their wills . Strangely enough, the rumors were being circulated it was James’ wish to join up with Anthony as teammates, but alas, it was not to be. Cap issues , would certainly have burdened a team seeking to have the pairing lead their roster.

Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder was a deserving winner of the NBA League MVP Award and perhaps one of the most popular winners of the accolade of the past decade. However , with his Durant’s singular success , the fact his team was unable to make another deep run in the NBA Playoffs of this past season, is another reminder why the NBA now has to have teams, with at least a pair or trio of superstars to > lead their rosters. No disrespect to Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook , but his play has to be more consequential and productive all round , if the Thunder are to have any chance of prevailing in the playoffs .

Durant’s recent comments, that his future in Oklahoma is by no means a certainty. will likely be a wake-up call for team GM Sam Presti and the ownership group if it is their wish to keep the franchise’s best and most popular player. His departure would likely lead to decline in the Thunder’s ambitions and play, but these are now the issues a lot of teams face in the NBA, as they seek to keep their stars, particularly those teams thought to be in a small or medium size market. Kevin Durant will become a free agent in 2016 , where he is likely to be the marquee player of free agent class on the market at the time. It is either up the ante and resign the player or simply allow them to go elsewhere as they seek a desired contract and success. Hard to question a player’s desire in such an instance, but at the same time one has to question what one might believe to be loyalty to a franchise.

Scott Brooks as head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder knows this is likely to be the last of the few opportunities, he has left to bring home an NBA title to a fan-base , who believe they are deserving of such an award. Fans of the Thunder are among the most knowledgeable and raucous in the NBA , making the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, one of the most imposing environments in the NBA for an opposing team. If you doubt that fact, then simply look at the Thunder’s attendance record , home results (68-14) of the past two seasons to realize what an opponent has to face as an adversary of the Thunder.

Sam Presti’s off-season acquisitions and the NBA Draft should once again make this Oklahoma City Thunder team one of the prohibitive favorites within the Western Conference, but once again all roads are likely to lead through the San Antonio Spurs as they seek to make a successful defense of their NBA title. The intense rivalry between the two teams over the past four years, will be renewed, with the first of their series’ meetings taking place on Christmas Day at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas,. It may well be the case, where nation’s eyes are averted elsewhere, when the Miami Heat take on the Cleveland Cavaliers, as LeBron James will be making his first return to Miami since the decision was made to leave his former team. Will a warm welcome, await James or will it be sour grapes among the Miami Heat fans?

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Picture gallery .

During this NBA off-season which incident or storyline do you believe might well have had the most adverse effect on the league? Also, which team or player do you believe will be the most exciting to see over the course of the upcoming season?

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) Steve Ballmer , left, former Chairman of Microsoft is seen here with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver at a Los Angeles Clippers’ game played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Ballmer’s $2 billion bid was approved by the NBA Board of Governors , after intense legal wrangling within the California Justice System between Rochelle Sterling , estranged wife of former team owner Donald Sterling . Both will share equally in the sale price proceeds of the deal , which is the largest in NBA history . AP Photo / Chris Miller …

(2) Los Angeles Clippers’ head coach Doc Rivers is seen here with the team’s point guard Chris Paul . The pair hope to see the Clippers make a successful defense of their Pacific Division title as well as making a deep playoff run in the postseason. Rivers as the de-facto general manager and Head of Basketball Operations will be hoping the off-season acquisitions and draft class are good enough to make the team a real contender this season . Getty Images / Mary Carpenter …

(3) LeBron James seen here in Hong Kong on a promotional visit , will be hoping to become an immediate success with the Cleveland Cavaliers this upcoming season. Season tickets are being sold at a record-setting pace by the franchise and all signs are, the Cavaliers will be among the top supported teams in the NBA this upcoming season . Something which has not happened since the player’s last season with the franchise in 2009. AP Photo/ Ken Cheung …….

(4) New York Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher is seen here with Phil Jackson, a SVP & Head of Basketball Operations for the franchise. Fisher in what will be his first season as a head coach will be looking to emulate one his peers Jason Kidd who was able to lead the Brooklyn Nets to the NBA Playoffs in his first season as the head coach of the Brooklyn based NBA franchise. Kidd’s subsequent and untimely departure from the Nets , has led to his taking over as head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks . AP Photo / Hank Moss …

(5) Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder is seen here with the team’s head coach Scott Brooks . The pair are hoping to make even bigger inroads this upcoming season, where their eyes are on the prize , in the hope of winning the franchise’s first NBA title as the Thunder. Getty Images/ Amy Harper …

(6) Members of San Antonio Spurs celebrate at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas after their crushing game five and series’ deciding win over the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals , for the franchise’s fifth NBA title in the past eighteen years. Gregg Popovich has coached the Spurs to each of the titles in question, making him one of the most successful coaches in NBA history. AP Photo / Henry Cusack …. .

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Perky

Always revealing and then some .

Buyer beware, caveat being, we need our racists, idiots running and blemishing the reputation of sports

Buyer beware, caveat being, we need our racists, idiots running and blemishing the reputation of sports

Just when you might have thought that the ongoing within the NBA had died down , Los Angeles Clippers’ beleaguered and disgraced owner , Donald Sterling has opposed the deal that would allow his estranged wife to sell the team. Sterling , once a practicing lawyer in the area of corporate litigation, before making a name of himself, as one of the city of Los Angeles’ biggest residential and commercial landlords, is ready for a legal battle , while he pursues the NBA , its hierarchy and in particular , present NBA Commissioner Adam Silver . The owner’s lawsuit , which will be filed in the US Federal Court, could lead to a long protracted legal battle, that is likely to show the inner workings of the league hierarchy , with a number of the league’s more inappropriate actions , likely to lead to a great deal of embarrassment for Adam Silver and his predecessor David Stern.

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The NBA Postseason now down to the final two participants, with the defending champions the Miami Heat seeking to defeat the San Antonio Spurs and win their third consecutive NBA title and the franchise’s fourth overall. This chapter for the NBA has overshadowed the postseason as it began to unwind. It certainly did not help, with the league itself, showing very little solidarity from the outset. Mark Cuban inferred, while there are stereotype approaches within sports and the NBA in particular, there remains a lack of understanding of the outside world beyond the domain that they cannot control.

Steve Ballmer’s $2 billion bid is now likely to be placed on hold , because Sterling can and will seek to have an injunction seeking to negate the sale and any action that the league would seek to fully carry out Ballmer’s purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers. I firmly believe at the end of this all, Donald Sterling is simply seeking to further embarrass the NBA , while the players , NBPA (Players’ Union) and owners should be also looking at themselves , concerning their lack of action , when it was widely known of the inclinations of the Clippers’ owner and his stance on race. Public interviews and his now being embraced by idiots within the African-American community, such as the NAACP and a number of African-American churches, cannot hide the statements made by this now disgraced owner.

As the news first came to the attention of the media and public alike, it was rather idiotic to witness, not only the press’ own reporting of the story, but also the complete apathy of the fans, with some rather asinine comments being made by fans. Perhaps I may well have missed something , but at what point has the United States advanced in terms of race relations ? Is it, because the electorate voted for a President, who just happens to be biracial? Or as a feel-good moment, they can actually say “ well, I have friends who are African –American and I have never used the ‘N’ word “ . If blame is to be apportioned anywhere concerning what has now happened within the NBA, then it falls squarely on the shoulders of the players , union , league hierarchy , and coaches in their failure to discuss the matter. The NBA, like their counterparts within Major League Baseball (MLB) , the NHL and NFL , have failed miserably, in dealing with a social issue that is now becoming an epidemic. If players such as LeBron James , Dwyane Wade , Tim Duncan and Kevin Durant failed to let their voices be heard , while respected coaches such Gregg Popovich , Doc Rivers , Rick Carlisle , Erik Spoelstra and Tom Thibodeau ” goose-stepped ” .behind the idiocy of Adam Silver and his predecessor David Stern, then it simply shows how completely out of touch the league remains. As to the owners themselves , prominent individuals such as James Dolan , Mikhail Prokhorov , Peter Holt , Jim Buss and Michael Jordan have all remained silent , while the incompetency of the league simply mishandled this mess, never-mind an owner such as Rich DeVos remains untouched after his homophobic diatribe . It begs the question , the NBA tolerates some egregious and heinous actions, while seeking to make an example of others , merely to curry favor with their fans.

I don’t profess to having all the answers concerning the ongoing stupidity of the NBA , but this belief, the hierarchy as led by Adam Sterling, has any real idea about what they are now doing . If this particular league, can continue to show as much incompetency, as witnessed throughout this monumental farce. Why would anyone now believe , that the league hierarchy, now has the wherewithal to defeat an owner they simply enabled over the years to get away with some of the most heinous actions one would have thought possible , especially when you consider the makeup of the league’s players in terms of ethnicity ? As to the damn idiocy, that David Stern has acted in the best interests of the NBA . Well perhaps, it would be the case, if your are simply considering how the revenues of the league have risen during his tenure, as anything else, would have to be considered a miserable failure

After two games of the best of seven games NBA Finals’ series , it will be interesting to see this rematch between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs . Game one , was a lopsided contest, with Tim Duncan and his teammates prevailing in that victory. Sunday and the Miami Heat rebounded from that loss with a narrow two-point win in game two , with LeBron James leading the way for the defending champions. Miami are seen as the prohibitive favorites to repeat as champions and join a select group of franchises to have won three consecutive NBA championships. Gregg Popovich is likely to try and make that premise as difficult for the Eastern Conference champions as is humanly possible. From my own standpoint, I feel that this series is far from being cut and dried , with true test coming from the determination shown by the Spurs’ bench , if the team is to prevail in this series.

LeBron James and Tim Duncan between them, have won six NBA titles , six League MVP Awards , four Finals’ MVP trophies and made a slew of All Star appearances , as well as being named to the All NBA First Team repeatedly , throughout the large part of their respective careers. As Duncan , having now reached the pinnacle of his career , he can perhaps now look back and review his list of achievements . Undoubtedly, the greatest player in San Antonio Spurs’ history, there is little left by way of feats, left for him to achieve , but, there is still more to be written in the Duncan bio. LeBron James in his brief tenure with the Miami Heat beyond rewriting the history books , he has sealed himself and his legacy as being that franchise’s greatest player and that is with due respect to Dwyane Wade and Alonzo Mourning .

Game three at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida on Tuesday night should prove to be something of a precursor about what the fans could very well expect over the remainder of this series . With the 2-2-1-1-1 revised format added to create more of a suspenseful postseason finale , it is clear that Miami will want to take both home games before having to once again embark on the road to face the Spurs at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas,. While LeBron James is expected be dominant throughout the series , I believe that the pivotal players in these Finals are the bench players of both the Heat and Spurs. Kawhi Leonard , will have to raise the level of his play and it is likely that Erik Spoelstra will be aware of the fact .

Last season’s NBA Finals and the very fact the San Antonio Spurs had the series well within their grasp , only have it wrestled from their hands through their complacency and the determination shown by LeBron James. For the Miami Heat player in having won his second NBA title and second consecutive Finals’ MVP Award , it suggests that James’ will to win and to prove himself the greatest player of this era and certainly one of the best ever to play the game.

LeBron James’ intent on winning a third consecutive championship is likely to play a great deal concerning his impending future with the Miami organization. A likely target during the off-season, James is unlikely to opt out of his current contract , unless the team fails in their current attempt. A series’ win and Pat Riley will be looking to start negotiations with the player , signing him to a deal that will make undoubtedly one of the highest paid players in the NBA , in terms of a salary and contract . His teammates, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade will be in a similar position , but as I alluded to earlier, a third title , makes it but a foregone conclusion that the core of the current roster will remain intact. It seems improbable, James would seek to play elsewhere , with the Heat having achieved a great deal of success over the past four seasons. Speculation that the player could be lured to New York to play alongside his close confidante Carmelo Anthony does seem unimaginable and with Phil Jackson, yet to have found a coach to fill the vacancy left after the firing of Mike Woodson . It does seem even with the likelihood of Derek Fisher being hired to succeed Woodson , there still remains the matter of rebuilding the Knicks’ roster and making it a competitive team for the upcoming season.

Money , undoubtedly be of no object for the Knicks’ organization , yet , the question one might ask , is there any common sense to be found with this particular franchise ? If so, then please explain to me , what Phil Jackson hopes to gain by acquiring Lamar Odom and adding the veteran to the roster ?

The New York Knicks remain a franchise that has fallen upon hard times and much of it, comes from the ineptitude shown by the front office , while James Dolan has presided over this entire mess . Phil Jackson has come in and yet the idiocy still continues , with the once venerable head coach now carrying on where his predecessors have left off . Care to take an opposing view, on that particular issue , where the franchise has actually ran aground ?

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Picture gallery .

Where do you believe that the NBA has made a litany mistakes in their handling of the Donald Sterling affair ? Do you think that the league can in fact win a legal argument , in terms of their action against the plaintiff (Sterling) , with their not having seriously reprimanded him for prior bad acts ?

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(1) NBA Commissioner Adam Silver pictured left and Donald Sterling , beleaguered owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. . Sterling has filed a civil suit in US Federal Court seeking damages of $1 billion and a second suit has been filed by the real estate mogul to stop the sale of the franchise. If this legal action becomes a protracted affair , the NBA is likely to see its credibility further tarnished . AP Photo / Aidan Mitchell ….

(2) Former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer whose $2 billion bid for the Los Angeles Clippers is likely to be threatened by a legal suit, with Donald Sterling looking to negate the purchase of the team. Getty Images / Chris Moore …..

(3) LeBron James of the Miami Heat looks on prior to the start of Game Two of the 2014 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center on June 8, 2014 in San Antonio. . Getty Images/ Andy Lyons ….

(4) Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs shoots against Ray Allen (34) of the Miami Heat in Game Two of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center on June 5, 2014 in San Antonio. Getty Images North America/ Nathaniel S Butler ….

(5) The Miami Heat celebrate after defeating the San Antonio Spurs 98-96 in Game Two of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 8, 2014 in San Antonio. Getty Images / Chris Covatta …..

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I always knew that she preferred the crossover dribble to a slam dunk ! Yet , I get the impression she just wants to play with a pair of balls .

It takes a village to raise a child, but several idiots, have simply ruined the image of the NBA …..

It takes a village to raise a child, but several idiots, have simply ruined the image of the NBA …..

The NBA Postseason still remains overshadowed, by the fallout, from the ongoing Donald Sterling “affair” . Yet, it is not enough, that fans are now suggesting the self-serving actions of V Stiviano , makes this whole episode all the more sordid . The idiocy to my mind, remains the apathy among idiotic fans, who somehow remain fu#king delusional, when it comes to race relations in this country and merely view because the twice elected bi-racial Barack Obama as President of the United States , makes the environment and that of the issue of race a bygone issue.

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Stiviano, is not the person, who issued the words of bigotry, nor was she the person, whose repeated actions of racial intolerance , were repeatedly highlighted over the Los Angeles Clippers owner’s three decades of ownership of that particular franchise . Somehow, this has been overlooked by the press , fans , but most of all by former NBA Commissioner David Stern , who himself held that position as commissioner during a similar time-span. If the fans are simply not intelligent enough, to look at these facts and sense that there is indeed something wrong not only with Donald Sterling’s hideous actions , then what does it also suggest , their not questioning the inaction of the former NBA Commissioner, in seeking to reprimand the now suspended Clippers’ owner ? Where is the alleged intelligence and intellect that David Stern is said to have, beyond the ongoing hypocrisy that still remains within the league, among the league hierarchy , team owners and the executive committee of the NBPA (Players’ Union).

The first round of the postseason, gave us one or two surprises, but not really anything that one could point to as a major upset. The Chicago Bulls’ falling to the Washington Wizards in their opening series , may well be one of complacency, as much as it could be about the Hawks simply grabbing the opportunity to derail the hopes of Tom Thibodeau and his players during the NBA Playoffs. Chicago’s failure has pretty much left the Bulls’ front office in a state of apoplexy and dismay , but one cannot help but ask , did John Paxson and GM Gar Forman make a monumental mistake when they sent Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the now the departed and under-achieving Andrew Bynum ? I firmly believe, that had Deng remained with the Bulls the outcome of this series might well have been much different in its result .

Having made it to the Eastern Conference semifinals , the Washington Wizards now find themselves facing the brink of elimination, seeking to erase a 3-2 deficit against the Indiana Pacers . Tuesday night’s lopsided twenty-three point victory over the number one-seeded Pacers may well have given their fans some respite. Yet, I believe that Frank Vogel and his playing staff will be looking to stop the bleeding and close out the series when its resumption takes place on Wednesday night , with game six at the Verizon Center in Washington , DC,. If Randy Wittman can encourage his players to successfully defend on their home-court , then game seven could provide for a thrilling finality to a series where the heavily favored Pacers have been exposed as something of a fraud throughout much of these series of contests .

The Miami Heat as the two-time defending NBA champions are simply easing their way through the postseason . Never truly tested by the Charlotte Bobcats in their first round series’ match-up , their conference semi-finals’ contest against the Brooklyn Nets is proving to be equally un-challenging against a Nets’ team that in reality, has more going for it , in terms of their multi-million dollar payroll than they have, for their playoff performances this postseason. While many, might well be impressed with Jason Kidd’s rookie season as a head coach . Let us not forget , that the Nets are playing in the Eastern Conference and a division where the basketball being played can be best described as being redundant , if not downright embarrassing . Yet, this is the type of garbage , that David Stern has presided over the within this conference, for the past several years , where idiotic fans , would still suggest that the now retired NBA Commissioner, was in no way responsible for the level of play on display for the fans to witness.

Stern’s imprints have been all over the league than most would care to acknowledge and apathetic fans, simply have no idea as to the level of mediocrity that he has tried to suggest has been entertaining , while also assailing the public at large , with the fact the league’s revenues have been on the rise . I guess when you can cajole your broadcast partners into paying for an inferior product and still make money is another “ virtue” of American “capitalism” .

LeBron James and his Heat teammates , will be looking to close out their series and then await the winners of the Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards’ contest in the Conference Finals . A repeat of last season’s conference championship contest for the best part, might well be what the fans will yearn, as the Pacers seek avenge that significant series’ loss . When the Nets play host to the Miami Heat on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York , we are likely to see the Heat march on to their third consecutive appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals in the past five seasons. As for the Brooklyn Nets, their outlandish $ 102.3 million payroll and the idiocy of fans, who believe that money and style over substance can equate with success in the NBA. Ask yourselves the following , at what point, was there ever any chance of the Nets being even remotely seen as a likely favorite for the NBA title, much less being seen as a legitimate contender for the conference title ?

As Donald Sterling continues to make a complete ass of himself, seeking the public’s empathy and sympathy . The franchise that he has been force to relinquish control of still continues to march on this postseason . The Los Angeles Clippers in their match-up against the Oklahoma City Thunder , now find themselves on the brink of elimination in that series’ contest , down 3-2 and League MVP , Kevin Durant and his teammates now looking to book their place in the Western Conference Finals. The Clippers’ players cannot be viewed as the “villains of the piece ” , because of the idiocy of the franchise’s owner , but in reality , it would set a bad precedent were the Los Angeles Clippers to advance to the conference finals and even the NBA title contest , with this all being seen as something of a benevolent reward for Donald Sterling’s egregious conduct .

Sterling, in his first publicly televised national interview showed very little by way of an act of contrition but quickly tried to point out to his host and interviewer Anderson Cooper , he was not a racist , was misunderstood , with his statements being taken out of context and his philanthropic work within the greater Los Angeles area community in recent years, had been of benefit to minorities and their well-being. One could liken that to the gas chambers of Auschwitz and Belsen ” concentration camps” , being a great thing among the Jews during World War Two (WWII) and the only harm being done, was the smoke from the stacks that rose into the skies above and into the environment. One of the more pointed moments of the interview during this interview was Sterling’s criticism of NBA great Magic Johnson , with the disgraced owner questioning the altruism of Johnson and what he had for those within his own race . Perhaps, Donald Sterling was not aware has built up a portfolio of companies under this Magic Johnson Enterprises , which employs over 15,000 nationwide and through his charitable foundation assists at risk youth , placing them in educational programs as well as providing paid up college scholarships for minorities.

Magic Johnson Enterprises, also provides internships for college graduates in a variety of areas , as these businesses encompass the following areas of commerce , commercial real estate , residential real estate , insurance , finance , music , business entertainment , hospitality management and auto dealerships, within his corporation .

It should also be noted that the Magic Johnson Foundation the charitable arm of Magic Johnson Enterprises has raised tens of millions of dollars to aid in AIDS’ research , but yet , Sterling comes up with a dumb perception that Johnson has done little for his own race ? The pertinent question , one ought ask of Sterling at this point , are you that much of an ass as you appear on television, as you are in private ?

Donald Sterling remains a pompous moron and those who purport to remain fervently behind someone when those espousing such views , think nothing of it and then hide behind this “ idiocy of freedom of speech “ without taking into account human decency or common sense or respect of others . It has been this type of bigotry that remains common place within American society , while idiots try and hide behind this continued ” bull#hit” of ” political correctness” . If fans do not comprehend what the meaning of common courtesy and having respect actually means, without the now known incompetency and lack of action shown by David Stern and the NBA in general. Then the continued mistrust of the NBA will continue, among some fans , public, with the apathy of the media who cover the league remains on show.

While the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder, continue to contest their series, the conference semi-finals within the Western Conference pits last season’s NBA Finalists and conference champion, the San Antonio Spurs against the Portland Trailblazers . For Blazers’ team owner , billionaire Microsoft co-founder , Paul Allen , as he seeks to add a second professional team championship to his mantelpiece. As the owner of the Seattle Seahawks , Allen was privee’ to witnessing the franchise win their first Superbowl , with their demolition of the Denver Broncos in Superbowl XLVII (SB47) . Trailblazers’ owner , Paul Allen , knows it would take an incredible effort by his team to overcome the wily guile and experience of the formidable Gregg Popovich and his incredibly talented team , led by Tim Duncan , Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli . The aforementioned triO, have played an ever-present role in steering the Spurs to great deal of success over the past decade . This past year marked the sixteenth consecutive season the franchise has obtained a postseason berth in the NBA Playoffs, but yet , little is made of such an amazing achievement , either by the NBA hierarchy or that of the print media in general. Instead, they would rather continue to cover under-achieving teams such as the New York Knicks and the vastly overrated Brooklyn Nets. I guess, when these are the basic staples for the NBA beat writers and columnists in general , accomplishments and feats achieved by the Spurs on appearance seem trivial and where the journalists and analysts who cover the league for a living gloss over those feats.

All season long the Spurs were overlooked, as many felt the Western Conference would be the Oklahoma City Thunder’s by design and right . Thunder GM Sam Presti has assembled a very good team for head coach Scott Brooks to have under his tutelage, as the players made on another season onslaught to prove that they are among the best in the league . A second placed finish by way of their conference record , might well have been seen as something of a disappointment ,but the players had their share of inconsistent performances that led to that conference mark . In their divisional race , there was not much of a challenge for Kevin Durant and his teammates , as they ran away with that particular contest winning their division with ease. Durant , won the regular season League MVP award , dethroning LeBron James , a four-time winner of the award, along the way in with his acceptance speech showing a great deal of humility and reverence towards his Thunder teammates but paying a special tribute to his mother and younger sibling.

If there was said to be one significant off-court to this NBA calendar year , then it was provided by Kevin Durant and his acceptance speech and not the idiocy surrounding Donald Sterling or the self-congratulatory and some might even believe it narcissistic proselytizing in the stepping down of David Stern as the NBA Commissioner. It also seems somewhat asinine, to know the league hierarchy and owners have decided to give upon Stern, the honor of Commissioner Emeritus for his three decade tenure as the commissioner. In light of the recent events , I feel that it is an accolade not befitting an individual, who at every instance has sought to promote himself above the league, along with his autocratic style of leadership. As pointed as this remark may well be , one cannot overlook the issue where the former commissioner did not use due diligence in reprimanding Donald Sterling for his known prior bad acts and now one has to also question his motives in not having also dealing with Richard DeVos of the Orlando Magic and his repeated behavior , concerning his homophobic remarks .

The NBA, like its NFL counterpart, have inferred they are tolerant and socially aware, but the actions the owners of the NBA and NFL and respective unions simply belie that fact . Meanwhile, the apathy of the fans and media remains intact, with their ongoing stupidity and complete lack of understanding of recent events within both leagues.

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As the NBA Playoffs meanders towards its finale , it will be interesting to see how the league tries to placate the ongoing ire of the fans , as they seek to deal with Donald Sterling . The on-court contests have done little to silence the ongoing debates still taking place and the lack of real action having been taken by the league hierarchy under the leadership of newly installed commissioner , Adam Silver. As David Stern’s deputy for the last seven years , he too remained silent while the antics of Donald Sterling and Richard DeVos were well chronicled , but the ongoing idiocy remained with the league, as well as the downright apathy of the fans who sought to paint David Stern as the NBA’s savior . If nothing else, Stern ran with the ball up and down the court , simply painting a rosy picture of a league , that had underlying issues that he failed to deal with adequately and with any degree of real authority . That to my mind , shows the complete imbecilic incompetency of the NBA and the image that they have often sought to portray ! Your thoughts on this and more, simply chime in with a comment

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Picture and slideshow details below for your perusal .
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(1) Beleaguered NBA team owner Donald Sterling seen here in his first public interview on the CNN magazine program AC360 hosted by Anderson Cooper questioned the motives of his paramour V Stiviano , while also seeking to be critical of the NBA and former Los Angeles Lakers’ great Magic Johnson. Sterling remains somewhat delusional , believing his behavior was not racial intent and that he is misunderstood by the media and public alike . Yet for more telling were his comments about the former Lakers’ player and that of his being afflicted with the HIV AIDS’ virus and his contention that Magic Johnson has done little to aid the African-American community at large . Clearly , Sterling was unaware of Johnson’s philanthropic efforts over the last two decades and the fact that his companies employs over 25,000 individuals indirectly nationwide, many of whom are from minority backgrounds . Picture appears courtesy of CNN.com ……..

(2) Outgoing NBA Commissioner David Stern, left, is seen here with his successor Adam Silver , who became the league’s highest ranking executive at the beginning of this past season , during which Silver has been asked to deal with a number of ongoing issues beyond the yet to be resolved drama surrounding Donald Sterling . AP Photo/ Chris Robinson …..

(3) George Hill (3), Lance Stephenson (1) , Paul George (24) and Roy Hibbert (55) of the Indiana Pacers watch from the bench in the fourth quarter of the 102-79 loss to the Washington Wizards in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 13, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Getty Images North America / Andy Lyons …

(4) (L) LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat and (R) Mario Chalmers (15) of the Miami Heat react after the final whistle following their victory over the Brooklyn Nets in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 8, 2014 in Miami, Florida. The Heat would close out their series in Game five with an emphatic win over the Nets winning their conference semi-finals’ series 4-1 . Getty Images / Chris Trotman ….

(5) Tim Duncan , left of the San Antonio Spurs and LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trailblazers contest a rebound during a game in the Western Conference Semifinals between the two teams played at . San Antonio led the series 3-1 in the best of seven-game conference semi-finals series of games . The Spurs won conference semis decisively , beating the Trailblazers in game five and will now meet the victor of the series between the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder . Getty Images / Scott Palmer …………

(6) Kevin Durant (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder is fouled by Blake Griffin (32) of the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 13, 2014 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Getty Images North America / Ronald Martinez ……

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You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink , but you can make it take dump all over the place and still try come up smelling of roses …….

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink , but you can make it take dump all over the place and still try come up smelling of roses …….

Once you get beyond the hypocrisy of the biggest news’ story out now , one begins to realize how asinine not only the media tends to be but also, the fans in general. While, NBA Commissioner , Adam Silver is to be commended on his stance in the lifetime ban given to Los Angeles’ Clippers’ team owner , Donald Sterling . The question remains, if Silver can prove to be that decisive in making his decision , then why was David Stern during his tenure as the NBA Commissioner, that decisive , when prior bad acts by the now disgraced owner , were well chronicled and known to various media outlets as well as to the NBA hierarchy ? It has been this sort of hypocrisy, that has epitomized his tenure as the highest ranking executive and has become synonymous with a league , that no longer has any credibility.

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With that in mind, it should also be noted , that Silver himself, is not without blame , as he has served as Stern’s deputy for several years, before his elevation to his current position as the NBA Commissioner. As to the now public statements, forthcoming from the likes of Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban and Orlando Magic Chairman Dan DeVos , throwing their weight of support behind Silver’s position of the banishment of the besieged , beleaguered and now disgraced owner. Once has to ask, where were their voices of outrage and disapproval concerning Donald Sterling’s prior bad acts of racial bigotry, beyond his documented legal woes with the US Justice Department ?

With Donald Sterling’s lifetime banishment, what now becomes the bone of contention, is what will be the next step, that can be taken by the league hierarchy, if as suggested , the Board of Governors , made up of the league’s thirty-two team owners , are seeking Sterling to relinquish control of the franchise he has owned for the past thirty-two years. Having bout the team in 1981 ,for a mere $12 million , he has seen the Clippers’ value appreciate, where its estimated value is in excess of $500 to $650 million , based on current market value . It is likely hard to the hierarchy to force the issue of the team being sold , even if the league manages to garner twenty-five of thirty voted needed to force such a sale. In all likelihood, Donald Sterling may well seek to stymie the process by proceeding to challenge the legality of the league’s maneuver by seeking a legal recourse within the US Federal Court and the justice system . Other than that, Adam Silver’s alternatives are , for the NBA to take full control , purchasing the Los Angeles Clippers and with the league having full control in the day-to-day running of the Western Conference based franchise.

It is my belief, that Silver, will seek out and vet, what he deems, are suitable suitors interested in buying the now controversy ravaged Los Angeles Clippers. Currently , there are known to be two interested parties, movie and music mogul David Geffen of SKG , the movie studio headed up and owned by Steven Spielberg , Jeffrey Katzenberg and Geffen, himself. Another suitor, is said to be, Los Angeles’ based real estate tycoon and billionaire developer , Rick Caruso . Rumored interest from former NBA player Magic Johnson would run counter-culture, given Johnson’s, long-established relationship with the Los Angeles Lakers , where he played his entire career. Yet, in light of his recent criticism of the organization, its lack of direction and the very fact that, GM Mitch Kupchak and principal owner , Jim Buss , are seemingly now at a loss to explain the direction that the franchise is now said to be heading in. I do not believe that Johnson or his partners with the Los Angeles Dodgers , are likely to show any interest, in owning the Clippers !

The Washington Wizards’ clinical dissemination of the Chicago Bulls , in a rather lopsided 4-1 series’ defeat , has the Eastern Conference fifth seed , making their first appearance in the conference semi-finals. Leading the way for the Wizards, was their back-court headed up by Bradley Beal and John Wall , who a duo , simply played their way in the Wizards’ folklore, with their postseason displays for the team , throughout the series. Chicago’s 75-69 home-court loss at the United Center , in Chicago , Illinois, might well have been the most disappointing low-light of the Bulls’ regular and postseason foray. For head coach Tom Thibodeau , what might be deemed a gallant effort during the regular season , now represents absolutely nothing for the franchise, after so much promise was shown during the latter part of the season and the team’s improbable run to the postseason. Now the tough questions , will have to be asked of the Chicago Bulls’ front office . and the desired direction that Gar Forman and Head of Basketball Operations , John Paxson will take the franchise.

It is widely believed, that Paxson will make an all-out assault , in acquiring highly prized free agent Carmelo Anthony , who has yet to make a concrete decision concerning his own future and whether or not , it lies in remaining with the New York Knicks or pursuing his future elsewhere. Chicago will likely amnesty and relieve themselves of the contract of veteran power forward Carlos Boozer , to make that whole scenario a reality and therein signing Anthony to a long-term lucrative contract at a later date . All signs, seems to point to the fact that, the New York Knicks’ forward would be willing to take less money , to play for a legitimate title contender , which now , the Knicks are not , with their situation being a current mess , in which Phil Jackson , will now have to engineer through the debris created by the financial morass of the contracts assigned to under-performing players now on the New Knicks’ roster . Jackson, will have to use all of his persuasive abilities to convince Carmelo Anthony, that he is able to rebuild the Knicks’ roster around his now disgruntled superstar. I am of the opinion, that the New York Knicks are not only a mess , but the clear lack of due diligence by James Dolan , has led the franchise, into what has become an almost irretrievable situation. At best , this franchise, is at least, two or three years away, from being a legitimate title contender for the NBA championship .

If there is one thing to be said about this NBA postseason , it has been one that has been full of surprises beyond the drama provided by the idiotic antics of Donald Sterling and clear actions of the league hierarchy , as they have sought to absolves themselves any responsibility from reprehensible and absolutely downright boorish behavior of the disgraced NBA owner. Inasmuch , as there has been praised heaped upon the shoulders of Adam Silver , one has to wonder why there has been no real criticism of his predecessor , David Stern ? No one but Stern, is likely to answer that particular question , but considering the ego of that particular executive , I think in all likelihood , he would rather shy away from being broached on the matter !

We are now a month n the MLB regular season schedule and it would seem, that for the Houston Astros and Miami Marlins , theirs is a season , that already seems to be mired in complete mediocrity . Far be it for me to suggest, but with the Astros already firmly rooted at the bottom of the AL West, the likelihood of the team being able to lift themselves to challenge for the divisional title and to challenge the Oakland Athletics , would seem as likely as Bud Selig , now having a “second wind” and deciding, that now would be right time for the reinstatement of Pete Rose , with his made eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Rose is unlikely to be inducted at this juncture , unless the Veterans’ Committee decided to show some altruism and allow the , all-time hits’ leader entrance into that bastion of baseball greatness . As to the prevailing fortunes of the Houston Astros and Miami Marlins, all that one would need to understand , is that this season , Bo Porter and his team are seeking to avoid a fourth consecutive season of bearing one hundred losses .

In the case of the NL East based Marlins , team owner , Jeffrey Loria continues to pull the wool over the eyes of the city of Miami , the fans , while being allowed to do so by the MLB Commissioner , who has allowed the Marlins’ owner to continue his web of deceit and lies with reckless abandonment , without their being any questions being raised, in criticism of Loria’s actions or that of the league hierarchy’s office, itself

The Houston Astros, coming off a 4-3 loss to the Washington Nationals at Minute Maid Park in Houston , Texas, where on the mound , the losing pitcher for the home team was Josh Fields (0-3) , leads me to firmly believe that this organization will be in for a long and arduous season ! As gritty and determined, as the Astros might have appeared in this contest, it was clear that the Nationals simply had the upper hand , all along . The two teams will meet again at the same venue, where Jordan Zimmerman (1-1) will take the mound for the Nationals against Brett Oberholtzer (0-4) , in what should prove to be an intriguing contest on Wednesday afternoon , in a slew of games scheduled for the day.

Mike Redmond was thrown into the lions’ den, when he was asked to succeed Ozzie Guillen as the Marlins’ manager and then asked to get this team playing with a great deal of resolve. Guillen’s antics asides, it has been the lack of foresight shown by the front office , that has led to numerous problems for the South Florida based franchise, that has been barely supported as a baseball-club, since the opening of Marlins’ Ballpark in 2012 . Suffice to say, lack of support, woefully inept performances , with the exception being, the continued maturity being shown in the play of Giancarlo Stanton and 2013 Rookie of the Year, pitcher Jose Fernandez . It pretty much safe to suggest , that the team’s failure this season , will actually lead to the gutting of this roster by GM Michael Hill as another face saving exercise by this inept front office , while Jeffery Loria’s incompetency as an owner and his lack of business acumen continues to shine through. Miami’s 9-0 win over the Atlanta Braves , was the team’s best victory of what has been a somewhat desolate first month of the season for the team. Their record of 12-14 bears this out, as has their standing in the NL East and baseball overall. As I alluded to earlier, failure for the Miami Marlins and the rebuilding process starts all over again.

Wednesday afternoon , the Braves will meet the Miami Marlins, at Marlins’ Ballpark , with Aaron Harang taking the mound against Nathan Eovaldi of the Marlins , in what should be viewed as a great pitching contest. Harang, will be looking to prove that his start to the season for the Braves , is no flash in the pan , with the pitcher more than justifying his worth beyond his salary . There is no doubt, that if the Atlanta Braves are to be truly successful this season, then it will be must the offense led by siblings BJ Upton , his younger brother Justin Upton to be consistent over the course of the year, with Dan Uggla , Evan Gattis , Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman playing their part to go alongside a pitching roster that has greatly improved with the signing of right-handed pitcher Ervin Santana , with what he has brought to the table with his experience. It has been the Braves’ pitching along with an NL low team ERA that has the Braves’ weathering the storm, while leading the NL East with the division’s best record.

The introduction of Robinson Cano as the spark , that was seen to be able to ignite the long dormant Seattle Mariners , may well take some time before the fans come to appreciate the former New York Yankees’ star. Years of being on the outside looking in, still has not changed the rigors of not having made a postseason appearance in several years , last dating back to the 2001 postseason and the ALCS of that year. Since those heady days , it has simply been downhill all the way for the franchise and that is in spite of the years of Kenny Griffey Jr , Alex Rodriguez , Randy Johnson and Ichiro Suzuki , all likely Hall of Fame players at some point in the future, albeit , that there will be many who question the right of Rodriguez to included , let alone, his name being mentioned on the venerable list of Hall of Fame inductees .

Cano will be under a great deal of pressure this season to prove the financial commitment made to him by the Seattle Mariners. The player’s departure from the New York Yankees was not taken all that lightly with the fans of the venerable ball-club, when he sought to be overly critical of the organization , stating that he felt disrespected that they were not ready to offer him a long-term deal. Robinson Cano’s agent , rapper and entrepreneur , Jay-z of RocNation Sports , the fledgling sports and artist and entertainment conglomerate co-founded by the artist , was originally quick to suggest that his client deserved a contract that would make him among the highest paid players in baseball , along with deal, he felt was worthy of Cano’s stature. I am not so sure that either Brian Cashman or Hal Steinbrenner would have felt entirely comfortable with an eight or ten-year deal that would make a financial obligation of $300 million to the former Yankees’ player. Given the New York Yankees’ current commitment and the fact that several of their players are now among the highest paid in the game of baseball and Hal Steinbrenner’s wish to pare down team payroll to avoid paying the luxury tax. It has to be said, that the right decision was made by the front office to allow Cano to become free agent during the off-season. Ten years , $240 million and the long-term commitment by the Seattle Mariners now seems to have made both Robinson Cano and his agent extremely happy with the final outcome .

Seattle’s 6-3 victory over the New York Yankees on Tuesday, at Yankees Stadium , in New York City, New York, was Robinson Cano’s first visit back to New York to face his former team. It is pretty much safe to say, that he was not welcomed with open arms like a prodigal son by the Yankees’ fans. . A great deal of faith has been placed in Robinson Cano by the front office and specifically the Mariners’ Board of Directors , who believe that the player is the man needed, to take the team deep into postseason. I would hazard a guess, that a great deal more than Cano’s exploits will be needed, if the Mariners are to make their first postseason appearance since 2001.

With the month April , having seen the teams go through their schedule , from here-on in , through May and June , were are likely to see the ball-clubs find some type of consistency to their game . If anything, it will not be until late August, before we are likely to see, the real “pretenders” and likely contenders are said to be, as they seek to be viewed as contenders for the World Series. Is it possible that we could see a repeat champion this season ? Well dependent upon the mindset of the Boston Red Sox and John Farrell’s players, it could make for an interesting year within the game.

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Off the diamond , in light of the drama now unfolding within the NBA and the revelations about Donald Sterling of the Los Angeles Clippers and what appears to be the selective behavior of the league hierarchy concerning statements attributed to Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos , it will be interesting to see how Bud Selig and his office will seek to address any misgivings that he too , might have about a number of the team owners and their own behavior , as it relates their perceived beliefs and how they are addressed publicly. It is pretty much safe to say , with baseball having shot itself repeatedly in the foot over the past decade , another “black eye” because of an owner’s stupidity would be the last thing that the commissioner would like to deal with at this juncture , given his poor communicative skills and having to repeatedly try to clean up the game’s image , which given his pass record, has been an abysmal failure ! Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to this topic, as you see fit.

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(1) Donald Sterling , the now besieged and beleaguered owner of the Los Angeles Clippers has been banished by the NBA hierarchy from having any association with the franchise that he has owned since 1981. Beyond the lifetime ban , Sterling was fined $2.5 million , a small price to pay for the billionaire , with an estimated wealth of $2 billion. Asides, from his now well publicized racial taunts , the owner is facing a backlash from a number of his peers , the team’s corporate sponsors , as well as from some high profiled current and former NBA players . Somewhat hypocritical , when one considers the repeated utterances from a fellow franchise owner in , Rich DeVos of the Orlando Magic , whose homophobic statements, are now once again coming to light , and with nothing mentioned by Adam Silver or from his predecessor David Stern and their inaction concerning DeVos . AP Photo / Keith Thomas …..

(2) Former Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard talks with Magic owner Rich DeVos during the NBA All-Star Game at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, Sunday, February 26, 2012. DeVos has been recently cited as another NBA owner who should be targeted for disciplinary by the NBA for what is said to be some very unsavory comments made about the gay and lesbian community. Somehow , even after those statements came to light the league hierarchy saw fit to let the Orlando Magic owner’s comments go unchallenged or with any type of public statement coming from the NBA head office. In other words , David Stern , felt it only necessary to step into the fray , if tat the end of the day he could come be seen in some positive light , Devos’ comments clearly angered the gay and lesbian community but the former commissioner did not feel it was worth his time to address the matter or reprimand the owner in any way . Gary W. Green/Orlando Sentinel/MCT …..

(3) Chicago Bulls’ GM Gar Forman is seen here with the team’s Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson in discussion at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois ,. With the Bulls suffering a humiliating first round series’ loss to the Washington Wizards in the NBA Playoffs , the front office executives will face some tough decisions concerning the roster during this off-season . AP Photo / Matt Harper ……

(4) Film and music mogul David Geffen is rumored to be one of two interested parties wishing to buy the Los Angles Clippers. Geffen is a co-founding partner of SKG Dreamworks , alongside Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg . Joining the film executive in his bid will Larry Ellison , founder of software company Oracle and Oprah Winfrey, who originally issued a stern denial concerning her interest in owning a sports’ franchise , before being approached by her close personal friend David Geffen. If the sale of the Clippers were to take place , with it being approved by the NBA’s Board of Governors , then David Geffen would also be the first openly gay owner of an NBA franchise . REUTERS/ Ingrid Moore ….

(5) Jose Fernandez (16) of the Miami Marlins is seen here celebrating with teammate Giancarlo Stanton after the team’s 3-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies in a game played at Marlins Ballpark ,in Miami, Florida , on the 24th August , 2013. If the Marlins are to be a real threat within the NL East this season , then it will be incumbent upon both of these players to have a successful season for the team as a whole. Mike Redmond and his coaching staff are certainly hoping that will be the case. AP Photo/ Paul Forbes …..

(6) Atlanta Braves’ catcher Evan Gattis is seen here in a game played at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia,. Gattis is now the team’s full-time catcher with the departure of Brian McCann this past off-season to the New York Yankees as a free agent. GM Frank Wren was not willing to match the five-year $80 million deal offered to the veteran , giving Gattis to show his worth this season and meeting those as sought by the front office. The catcher has proven to be everything that the staff believed they were getting in drafting the player in 2010 . Getty Images North America / Jim Ross …

(7) Seattle Mariners’ GM Jack Zduriencik is seen here with Robinson Cano and manager Lloyd McClendon are seen here at Safeco Field in Seattle , Washington after Cano’s acquisition by the franchise, who signed him to lucrative long-term contract. Cano now has to prove his worth, as the Mariners seek to make their first postseason appearance since the 2001 ALCS. In the later years, Seattle’s record has discouraged and drawing the ire of the fans due to the lack of progress and ambition by the organization. AP Photo / Keith Pettit …..
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Nigger in the woodpile ? Donald Sterling doesn’t even have a plantation but he probably wished, he had one ……..

Nigger in the woodpile ? Donald Sterling doesn’t even have a plantation but he probably wished , he had one ……..

So as the NBA postseason meanders towards what the fans believe will be an inevitability , it is interesting to note, that the biggest story now surrounding the league , just happens to be the unfolding episode concerning the statements attributed to Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling that was first reported by entertainment news’ website TMZ .

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Sterling , is said to have made the comments to his girlfriend, that he would rather have her not associate herself , with “niggers” or have them attend the games of the team he owns , while they are playing at the Staples Arena in downtown Los Angeles , California . As to why anyone, would actually be surprised by these statements by Donald Sterling , when it has been a repeated pattern of behavior by one of the NBA’s most malignant owners . Furthermore , it should be noted, that the owner, has been ran afoul of the US government , by way of the US Justice Department ,with his having been successfully sued in US Federal Court in an action brought by the US Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) , for being a ” slum landlord “ , and in having many of his tenants live in squalor conditions in a number of the numerous residential properties that he owns , many of the tenants in question were minorities , of African-American , Asian-American and Hispanic ethnicity , living within the greater Los Angeles area. The fact, that the city of Los Angeles failed to act with any type of expediency when his actions first came to light with regard the ongoing negligent actions as a landlord , and one of the city’s most prominent residential owners , leads me to believe that beyond the city’s incompetency , was due the power able to be wielded by Sterling within the city and among the city council, itself.

Tantamount to this all, has been the sheer naiveté , apathy , downright stupidity and utter gullibility of fans and the NBA hierarchy , who have continually over the years overlooked Donald Sterling’s continued behavior. It has been an ongoing pattern of behavior by the owner, wherein, David Stern has turned a blind eye to the Clippers owner’s ongoing behavior not only as it relates to the racial overtones of his comments , his egregious sexist behavior but also , what is said to be mistreatment of Clippers’ employees within the organization . Stern, long seen as a bastion of presiding over a league, said to be image conscious, but yet during the time that this owner has carried on with boorish behavior , neither the former NBA Commissioner , nor his later successor , Adam Silver , has sought do a thing, to in some way suspend or fine the owner . Yet , the NBA remains a league where in the past , David Stern has seen fit to fine Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks , hundreds of thousands of dollars , when Cuban has been justified in his criticism of the league hierarchy and that of the officiating of regular and postseason games in the NBA. Need we be reminded also , that Stern has also seen fit to actually punish players with impunity for actions , he believes to be harmful to the game or conducting unbecoming ? Yet during his tenure , he has never seen fit to punish Donald Sterling , for previous allegations of having thrown out racial epithets.

I have to ask myself, what would David Stern or Adam Silver deem serious enough for them to take action against Donald Sterling, given his repeated gregarious behavior ? If that was not enough, how much of an apathetic idiot must one be , to try and suggest consider that the country has progressed beyond the racial divide , when in many cases , there still remains an economic and social chasm within this country, along its racial lines ? Also , with the recent incident , with the death of Alfred Wright in Jasper , Texas , which was also the scene of the dragging and lynching death of James Byrd IV . Can someone explain to me, why they are those, who of the opinion, that racism and dare one say “hate crimes “ are on the decrease ? Is it merely, because the US the Justice Department, would try to suggest that, as being a fact? Need we be reminded, who now heads that particular governmental agency and the continued incompetency that has been shown by Eric Holder , as the US Attorney General ?

Now beyond the racial statements attributed to Donald Sterling , his odious views on women and how sexist those tones are , does bear asking, what other views he may well have, that we have not come seen come the surface and his views on race and other numerous social issues ? Clearly, beyond this stupidity that this is now solely Adam Silver’s issue to deal with , we also need to now look at the actions of the other owners around the NBA , and why no response there about Sterling’s comments and why no formal statement from anyone within the NBPA hierarchy or from among those on the Clippers’ coaching or playing staff . This might be the one time I firmly believe that Doc Rivers or the team’s presumed leader in Chris Paul actually make a formal statement . Consider also , that the Clippers’ point guard is the current President of the Players’ Union (NBPA) . Begs the question, is there no end, to clear incompetency and apathy within the NBA and union , itself ?

As to the postseason , the reigning NBA champions the Miami Heat (3-0) are proving to be now as decisive as they have been at any point during their regular season schedule . LeBron James leads the team in scoring during the playoffs , as he seeks to add a third NBA title to his already impressive resume’ . Erik Spoelstra may well be relishing the fact that as the Heat strolls through the first three games of their first round series against the Charlotte Bobcats (0-3) , the Indiana Pacers (2-2) as the number one seeds in the Eastern Conference now find themselves in the midst of a dogfight against the Atlanta Hawks (2-2) in their quarter-final series , now tied at two games apiece (2-2), with game five scheduled for Monday night at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana , Indianapolis. Frank Vogel’s Pacers can ill-afford to lose game five and then place themselves in an almost irretrievable position, in having to win the final two games of the best of seven series . Considering, the seismic waves a first round series’ loss would create for the Indiana Pacers, can certainly be judged by the fact, that it would create an easier path for the Miami Heat, as they seek to make their way to a third consecutive NBA Finals.

In the run-up to the end of the regular season, the Chicago Bulls were very much one of the most impressive teams over the final ten games of the season. It seemed hardly likely that with the season long loss of Derrick Rose and the franchise’s decision to trade Luol Deng , that one would have guessed that the team would indeed make the NBA Playoffs as the fourth seed within the Eastern Conference . A first round series’ match-up, against the John Wall led Washington Wizards (3-1) , was if anything, expected to be a very competitive series. Instead, it has become an ongoing nightmare for Tom Thibodeau , his coaching staff and the Bulls’ players have squandered just about every advantage and opportunity , one might have thought that they might have had , in now finding themselves on the brink of elimination , now down three games to one (3-1) against the Wizards. Coming into the series , I felt that with the momentum gained by the team over their final twenty regular season games , I thought them to be perhaps, the most dangerous of the outside contenders, who might hinder the path of both the Indiana Pacers Miami Heat , and their presumed conference finals’ match-up !

Tuesday’s game , given the contest’s value , will very much be one of zeal and guise on the part of the Bulls , because , Washington Wizards’ head coach Randy Wittman, his coaching staff and players , will be seeking to close out a series , that few might have expected them to be victorious in . Turnovers and a complete lack of leadership, has simply been the tale of the Bulls’ woes throughout this series and that does come as a surprise , when one considers the level of play shown by Joakim Noah during the regular season and his winning of the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year , this past season .

A scrappy series, between the Toronto Raptors (2-2) and Brooklyn Nets (2-2) ha pretty much summed up what this season has simply been about within the Eastern Conference wherein , the level of the play has simply bordered on being insipid and downright puerile . , though the continued idiocy to sell the league and specifically the Eastern Conference as being competitive. Nothing could be further from the truth , and the very fact that we now have Adam Silver consulting with USAB Chairman Jerry Colangelo , on his thoughts, about how best to improve the branding and play within the NBA, points to the very fact that Silver, is simply out of his depth ,. as David Stern’s successor !

Now, far be it, for me to suggest, that Silver, is likely to be as successful, as the image conscious egotistical former NBA Commissioner , who many , try to espouse as being the consummate businessman. David Stern, rode on the coattails of Michael Jordan , and during the mid to late nineties used African-American teens , the genre of ” gangster rap ” and the appeal of gun violence to sell the NBA as a brand , but dumb ass idiot fans are all too ready and willing to overlook that very fact , and once again show why there is no fucking common sense among the North American sports’ fan in general , never-mind the fact, that , this was the very same commissioner , who tried to suggest that the NBA being bailed out to the tune of $550 million in 2009 and their teams having been loaned $2.5 billion over the past decade , decade , should not be viewed as a bailout, with ticket prices having increased on average in excess of 23% during years between 2009 and 2012 , all of this in the midst of an economic downturn , which has shown no real sign of dissipating.

David Stern, simply tried to suggest, that this was the cost of doing business, while his salary increased , while the league sought to hold down their expenses , when in fact team payrolls climbed , as did television revenues and that of the league’s revenues. The commissioner’s salary upon his exit , exceeded $25 million a year , on par , if not above the highest paid player in the NBA , where the largest NBA contract belongs to the Nets’ Joe Johnson , whose six-year $123.66 million contract , is as ridiculous as it sounds , but yet not one fan, can explain succinctly, what the former commissioner has achieved, in reining in the cost of teams’ expenditure , when in fact David Stern simply cannot point to one evidential, piece of success of that nature ! A ” soft salary cap” , still has not stopped teams , of seeking to be financially expedient and for the majority of fans without a degree in finance , much less economics , theirs’ continues to be the idiocy of letting the teams spend whatever , while they chase after that ever elusive success .

Current NBA Coach of the Year , Gregg Popovich , a four-time winning NBA Finals’ coach, has seen the San Antonio Spurs (1-2) squander their home-court advantage and now quite possibly a series’ lead during their instate postseason conference match-up against the Dallas Mavericks (2-1) . The conference and NBA leading sixty –two wins’ season (62-20) , might all be for nothing, should they lose their first round playoff series’ contest against the Mavericks . Over the course of the regular season , San Antonio proved to the best team in the league , as well as having the longest unbeaten winning streak during the year . Now down 2-1 in the series against Rick Carlisle’s players led by ageless wonder , Dirk Nowitzki, this contest has been busted wide open , with the likely series’ winner, being the team showing , that they can deal with whatever adversity is thrown within their midst . In two successive losses , the Spurs have shown themselves , not to be that team , as the Mavericks have simply outplayed their Western Conference rivals. Monday night’s game , when the series resumes at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas , Texas , should tell us a great deal about the mindset of both teams , with the San Antonio Spurs, seeking to erase that 2-1 deficit and squaring the series, at two games apiece (2-2).

If the San Antonio Spurs are now seen in an unenviable position against the Dallas Mavericks , then the series between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies could prove to be as equally daunting a task for the Thunder. Truth be known , in a seven game series , I would not bet against the Grizzlies to beat any of the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference , and yes that does include the less than imposing Miami Heat , who are physically and mentally soft against teams, b that are far more imposing . Were it not for the dexterity shown by LeBron James , the Heat would be no better than the third or fourth best team in the East and no better than the fifth best team in the West. All that glitters is not necessarily gold and the Miami Heat as assembled by Pat Riley this season , have proven to be at best , perhaps , “fool’s gold” with a little bit of pixie dust sprinkled in for good measure ! Likely , League MVP for this season , Kevin Durant has shown every bit of his skill-set in this playoff series against the Zach Randolph led Grizzlies and that particular match-up between Randolph and Durant has been very enticing to watch, as both players have excelled in various areas of their respective games .

When the two teams, resume their series in a pivotal game five , set for Tuesday night , with everything to play for . There is no doubt in my mind, that the winner of that contest should be in the driver’s seat for the remainder of the series ! A great deal is expected of the Scott Brooks’ coached Thunder and failure at this point of the postseason , would be seen, as not only traumatic for the organization , but pretty much summing up their season, as one of , failing to meet expectations of the front office led by Sam Presti and CEO & Chairman Clay Bennett .

Inasmuch as I hate to say this , but with these recent revelations about Donald Sterling, long known to me , having studied in-depth, a great deal about the owner and his ownership of the franchise , his treatment of current and former employees , including the lawsuit taken out against Sterling, by former front office executive Elgin Baylor . Nothing, would now give me greater pleasure, than to see the Los Angeles Clippers now bow out of the postseason, with the team being derailed by the Golden State Warriors ! As to the NBA hierarchy, taking action against the owner , there is about as much chance of that happening as an elephant devouring its own fecal matter ! Fuck it, if a self-absorbed asshole such as David Stern can overlook the boorish behavior of the Clippers’ owner , then why should I expect Adam Silver to be any different ? I mean , the current commissioner, has yet to issue a public statement on the matter , even after weekend news’ cycle within the league , was simply overshadowed by this story , but yet fans believe that the NBA is a league ran by intelligent individuals ? Fuck no , and it never has been , nor will it ever be , even with the mindless morons who still continue to drink out of the porcelain pot , that David Stern continues to piss and defecate, in ! Please seek out tangible evidence and do not buy into every piece of bullshit, ushered down by a league that is now simply devoid of intelligence, at just about every level from the league hierarchy on down to the owners , general managers , players, union and the officials themselves !

The NBA has become an all-out defective league , where sheer incompetency , masks the lack of real acumen , and where excuses are sought by the players , owners and the league’s executives , for their ongoing incompetency and where dumb ass fans , continue to buy into their never-ending bullshit !

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In light of this ongoing story within the NBA, which has now cast a giant shadow over the NBA postseason and the lack of action by the league hierarchy . Do you believe that Adam Silver can in all good conscience ignore these allegations and turn a blind eye to it all or do you believe that some form of action is called from the NBA Commissioner ? Also, which of the playoff series now in session , do you think will provide the biggest surprise in terms of a possible upset ? Simply, leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for your continued support of this site, as it is greatly appreciated !

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Picture gallery and slideshow details below .

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(1) In this photo taken on Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling , right, and girlfriend V. Stiviano , left, watch the Clippers play the Sacramento Kings during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles. The NBA is investigating a report of an audio recording in which a man purported to be Sterling makes racist remarks while speaking to Stiviano. NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement Saturday, April 26, 2014, that the league is in the process of authenticating the validity of the recording posted on TMZ’s website. Bass called the comments “disturbing and offensive” . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ……. @copyrighted material all rights reserved

(2) From left to right from the Los Angeles Clippers , Blake Griffin , Chris Paul and head coach Doc Rivers . Paul as Executive Director of the NBPA (Players Union) has yet to issue a public statement concerning the alleged racial epithets used by team owner Donal Sterling in an expletive racial taunt to his girlfriend V Stiviano. The Clippers’ front office , has yet to issue a statement from any high-ranking executive within the organization . Given the lack of action by the league hierarchy , who it is now said that they are conducting their own investigation into the matter , One has to ask , if this has been a pattern of behavior with Donald Sterling , going back several years , why is it only now , that Adam Silver’s office has sought to take action ? Repeatedly, during David Stern’s tenure as commissioner , Sterling’s behavior was known to be boorish with various comments attributed to him, often denigrating women and minorities . Yet, somehow this was all overlooked by Silver’s predecessor . AP Photo / Jason Moore ….

(3) NBA Commissioner Adam Silver , foreground , and his predecessor David Stern are seen here after the newly installed commissioner succeeded Stern and his thee decade long tenure as the league’s highest ranking executive during that time-frame. Silver , is now said to be conducting an investigation into the actions of Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling . A pattern of behavior by the franchise owner has been repeatedly ignored by the former league executive , but yet Stern , himself , has yet to answer those allegations , but somehow , anal retentive fans view the former commissioner as having been a great executive and ambassador for the league. LOL,LOL,LOL !! Getty Images / Rod Harper …..

(4) Charlotte Bobcats’ owner , Michael Jordan is seen here congratulating LeBron James of the Miami Heat . James and his teammates would go on to .defeat (109-98) the Bobcats in game four played at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte , North Carolina , sweeping their Eastern Conference rivals 4-0 in their first round series’ match-up . Getty Images / Tim Bevan …

(5) The Washington Wizards’ back-court of Bradley Beal (3) and John Wall (2) now have the team on the brink of eliminating the Chicago Bulls (1-3) , with the Wizards taking a 3-1 lead in their series . Game five takes place tonight at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois , when the Bulls play host to their conference rivals . AP Photo / Tom Murphy …..

(6) Boris Diaw (33) of the San Antonio Spurs, who alongside teammate Manu Ginobli , played a major contributory role , in the Spurs squaring their series against the Dallas Mavericks , defeating the hosts 93-89 in their game four contest played at the American Airlines Arena , in Dallas, Texas on Monday night , 28th April, 2014. Getty Images/ Rachel Adams …….

(7) Kevin Durant (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Zach Randolph (50) of the Memphis Grizzlies are the primary reasons why their respective teams have made the NBA Playoffs and the series’ contest between these uniquely gifted players has been one of the highlights of the postseason so far . Tied at two games (2-2) apiece, this series is now about to get even more suspenseful , when their pivotal game five takes place tonight at the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma , in front of what is sure to be packed venue for this contest . AP Photo / Mason Foster …..

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What the major newspapers are now saying about the Los Angeles Clippers and Donald Sterling . Click on the links shown below to view. And for the uninitiated lame @ss fans who still believe David Stern to have been of true benefit to the league then please explain succinctly did he seek to overlook the earlier bad acts of the Clippers’ owner ? Or will you continue to be and act as apathetic as former NBA Commissioner and his now newly elected successor Adam Silver ? If there has been a pattern of behavior with the Clippers’ owner , why the fu$k is everyone now acting so surprised by this latest revelation ? Are these NBA fans and journalists alike, that f##king stupid ?

USA Today :: Jeff Ziglittt :: How will NBA’s Adam Silver punish Donald Sterling?

Boston Globe :: Bob Ryan :: Donald Sterling profile not a pretty picture

Los Angles Times :: Bill Dwyre :: Donald Sterling scandal merits an over the top reaction

Washington Post :: Mark Berman :: Why the world finally noticed Donald Sterling’s appalling history

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tophatal ………. 04/28/204

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If at all interested , do take time to take part in the above poll .

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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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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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(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

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MLB probable pitchers 7th October , 2013

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This day in MLB history October 7th

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Jordan Carver shaking things up , so wonderfully .

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

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen …………..

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

By Tophatal

A patron of my site tried to suggest that a the presumed leader on a renowned NBA franchise was being disingenuous, in being critical of his teammates . From my own perspective, by appearance alone, when the player happens to be the best athlete and player on that team and he is expected to carry the burden of that organization upon his lone and competitive shoulders . Then he has every right to be “calling out his teammates” no matter what the circumstances , especially in the case where it would appear that the head coach takes a nonchalant and laissez-faire approach , merely seeking to make excuses for the team’s poor play and then drawing the ire and complete disdain from the fans . If you haven’t caught on by now , the team in question just happens to be the Los Angeles Lakers (25-28) and of course , the player , just happens to be , none other than Kobe Bryant .

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Slideshow .

Now while the talk of the NBA at present has been outstanding play of play of LeBron James and his six-game run of averaging 30.4 points, 6 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game . Meanwhile , James, and the Heat, hold a comfortable seven-game lead over their closest rivals within the Southeast Division , the Atlanta Hawks (29-22) . It would remiss to think that Miami Heat and their head coach , Erik Spoelstra have had this season all to themselves . At present, the team is being is pushed hard, within the Eastern Conference , by none other than the New York Knicks (32-18). Who themselves have it on their minds, if at all possible , to supplant the Heat for the best record in the Eastern Conference . With that in mind, it is clear that Mike Woodson and his players had hoped to make that a reality before the All Star Break. The Knicks’ head coach however, can feel pleased with the fact, that his team leads the Heat, in their regular season series’ meetings (2-0) , so far, as part of the duos’ regular season scheduled contests.

It has to be understood , that there are as such, for all sense and purpose only three teams that certainly matters in terms of piquing the fans’ and public’s interests when it comes to the NBA , namely those franchises are the Boston Celtics , the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat . And granted , a case can be made for the San Antonio Spurs , but for the fact that they’ve won four NBA titles since 1997 , one seriously would have thought that the Gregg Popovich coached, and Tim Duncan led franchise , would be seen as one of the NBA’s marquee franchises . And perhaps, over the last four years with the ascent of Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder , as a rising powerhouse not only within the Western Conference but the NBA as a whole .

While I am not against players showing their passion or zeal on the court for the game , away from it , I would like to think that they can hold themselves accountable for their actions. A great deal of criticism has been leveled at Kobe Bryant over the course of his career , much of if it valid , and other cases , most definitely . With Bryant’s recent criticism, of his teammates, for their lackluster efforts on the court , it could be seen that the player’s frustrations had boiled over into sheer anger and contempt. And much of that, I believe has been brought about from the mere fact Kobe Bryant no longer has any faith in the abilities of general manager , Mitch Kupchak and SVP Jim Buss , son of team owner, Dr. Jerry Buss. The duo of senior executives, have simply made a mess of the season, with some rather curious and dubious personnel decisions. And while, the pundits were singing the praises of the acquisitions of Dwight Howard , and Steve Nash and their insertion unto this team . It has to be said , that the experiment so far, has worked out about as successfully, as the 72 day ‘marriage’ of Kim Kardashian to Nets’ power forward , Kris Humpheries. All of the hoopla behind that sham of a marriage” could not hide the fact , that intellectually and emotionally, the pairing was contrived and orchestrated, simply to whet the appetite of the public’s fascination of a publicity hungry female and a moderately successful NBA player . I just hope, that you had at least one chance, to tap that ass Kris ? Just simply, tap that ass !

On a one game winning streak , but losers of seven of their last ten games , there is no denying that you would have to be simply naïve , not to understand Kobe Bryant’s frustration. The team’s head coach, Mike D’Antoni, seems to be completely devoid creativity and ideas ! And to this asinine theory , that D’Antoni would bring about a defensive resilience to this unit , that is tantamount to suggesting that Lindsay Lohan’s acting career, has been a resounding success, given all of her off-screen problems . In the case of D’Antoni , he simply, has not brought anything meaningful to the table , by way of his alleged coaching prowess. In terms of defense the Los Angeles Lakers rank sixth , in the Western Conference allowing an astonishing 100.5 points per game , while in the league as a whole they rank eighth in points allowed . And when one takes into account that Bryant has been the primary offensive weapon on a team that is devoid of leadership , beyond the player , himself , and the very fact that the Lakers are physically and mentally soft ! What would now give anyone the notion that this team is simply good enough to make a credible run deep into the playoffs , much less actually garner a playoff berth based on their current standing within the conference ? If there happens to be a loyal Lakers’ fan still pinning their hopes and beliefs that the team can somehow turn things around . Then I, for one, would appreciate a succinct explanation as to how this will come about , given the franchise’s present situation ! Anyone, surely, there is a Los Angeles Lakers’ fan with the gravitas to show their undying allegiance to this renowned franchise?

The Lakers’ next game pits them against their co-habitants of the Staples Center in Los Angeles , Los Angeles Clippers (38-17) , in what is sure to be a heated and highly contested match-up . Vinny Del Negro’s Clippers hold a 2-0 series’ lead in their head to head match-ups this season , with their last meeting ending in a five point , 107-102 victory for his team . Will the Lakers be up to the challenge or will Blake Griffin led Clippers be like marauding mercenaries laying waste to the Lakers’ slowly evaporating season ?

While the Lakers and Clippers are dueling it out , a repeat of last season’s NBA Finals will be on tap , as two of the game’s most prolific scorers and some arguably might say , the NBA’s two best players , LeBron James and Kevin Durant will face off against each other , when the Miami Heat are the guests of the Oklahoma City Thunder , at the Chesapeake Energy Center , in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma ,. It is likely that the fans in attendance and those watching the cable broadcast are likely to see a highly entertaining and offensive minded game. Two of the game’s, biggest scorers , and a pair of teams , with the players , who, are good enough , to keep the electronic scoreboard rattling along at a phenomenal pace .

I firmly believe that the NBA over the last eight years, has simply sold its very soul to the Devil ! And while it has a great brand on perception , if you simply delve beneath the surface and sift through the bull-crap , espoused by David Stern and so many of his subordinates , you will find that there is not a great deal of transparency or clearly defined demarcation points, in terms of the hierarchy’s leadership. Stern , simply eschews it all , and rules his fiefdom with a rod of iron , that the likes of Joseph Stalin and Muammar Gaddafi would have been proud of . Thankfully, the NBA does not, suborn the use of torture , life-long imprisonment, or execution by a firing squad , as a means of rendering punishment , or as a harsh deterrent for those who oppose his every whim. Be warned Mark Cuban , as I know at, $1.25 million in fines and counting , your adversarial foe (Stern) is simply looking for you to be critical of his very next idea of grandeur. As for the NBA commissioner , when will he get it into his thick skull that the wide latitude given to him , is not given in order that he belittles the fans , and the cities in which the NBA franchises are domiciled . If you think that last statement just happens to be off base , then consider David Stern’s distinct lack of aid , given to the city of Sacramento as the municipality and the fans of that franchise fought for the Sacramento Kings’ retention within the California state capitol . .

With the Kings having been sold for a reputedly exorbitant $ 525 million to a consortium led by hedge fund manager and venture capitalist billionaire , Chris Hansen, Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer , and a number of minority stake-holding partners , who now await the NBA Board of Governors’ approval , in relocating the beleaguered franchise to Seattle , Washington. And even with a last-ditch effort mounted by Californian billionaire , Ron Burkle , jointly with ex-President Bill Clinton with their last-ditch bid , which seems unlikely to be favored , even with the backing of Sacramento City Mayor Kevin Johnson , now leading the municipality’s efforts . This wouldn’t all be so comical and sad , when you realize that the basketball franchise is one of the NBA’s least supported teams , and in terms of competitive success , the Sacramento Kings’ last postseason appearance , came back in 2006 , that ended , with a first round series’ loss (4-2) to the San Antonio Spurs. Subsequently, things have been pretty sparse by way tangible success competitively , personnel wise and most definitely , from an economic standpoint , with the team eking out a mere $2.6 million in profits, on revenues of $96 million . A rather meager return , given the franchise’s locale and region , but yet one asinine Kings’ devotee , once suggested to me, that the franchise is a profitable concern compared to many of its peers. What this idiot failed to acknowledge because of his undoubted lack of business acumen, was that the franchise had distinct advantages over many of its rivals, but in reality, the ownership group and front office , clearly were , mismanaged the franchise and placing it on the brink of financial insolvency . All of which, he failed to acknowledge, when the evidence was placed in print for him to peruse. Well, if you can’t damn well balance a check book , then it’s clear that a financial balance sheet would be right above his intellectual being.

For the soon to be departing Sacramento Kings’ owners , Joe and Gavin Maloof , and their siblings . Well, let’s just say, that their sale of the franchise has come about at least, five years too late. During, their tenure, the Sacramento Kings have seen their fair share of highs and lows. In retrospect , I would definitely say more lows , than highs , but those are just my personal opinions ! I can only hope that with relocation and a far more resourceful ownership group , the Kings can hopefully see a return to better days ! The Maloof’s sheer indulgence and lack of forthrightness has to come into question , but so too must David Stern’s apparent willingness to let a franchise owner almost single-handed take the franchise to brink of extinction without ever once questioning the motives of Joe and Gavin Maloof. Well this should not at all come as a surprise to anyone , given the commissioner’s instincts and his own overall lack of honesty and integrity . One only has to follow the David Stern’s actions , and that of the present owners of the Oklahoma City Thunder, to fully comprehend the web of deceit and lies which took place during the sale of the Seattle Supersonics , and their subsequent relocation to their new locale , in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma .

The recent injury to the Kentucky Wildcats’ Nerlens Noel , a point has to be raised . In clearly what was a season ending injury , Noel , thought to be a consensus number one overall pick for the 2013 NBA Draft , will be sidelined for the rest of the team’ regular season schedule , with not even a remote chance of a return , for participation in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament . Wildcats’ basketball coach , John Calipari , in a somber mood , having spoken to the player after his injury , simply stated that he hoped to see the player back in a Kentucky Wildcats’ uniform next season . The chances of that happening , I e firmly believe just went up in smoke ! Should Nerlens Noel make a full recovery , and he is looked upon favorably by the draft experts , NBA coaching staffs , then it seems abundantly clear , that the player will declare his eligibility for the NBA Draft and seek to make his fortune in the professional ranks . A torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee , is the injury which has sidelined the young Wildcats’ star for what is not necessarily an indeterminate period .Surgery , and recuperation period of six to eight months is considered a bare minimum time for recovery . And this is the exact same injury that NFL running back Adrian Peterson was able to recover from in record time . Therefore, it all bodes well for Nerlens Noel, now, if placed under the appropriate medical staff for treatment. I would like to think, that the player seeks to make a return to the collegiate ranks , but everything would suggest that with the untold millions that awaits in the NBA , a young athlete of Noel’s potential would find it hard forgo the chance of that fortune .

Nerlen’s injury came in a game between the Wildcats and the Florida Gators . Billy Donovan’s , players came away with an exciting 69-52 victory , in which there were some thrilling plays from both teams . With Nerlens Noel scoring a game-low eight points in the Kentucky Wildcats’ loss. Their next scheduled game will be an interesting contest against the Tennessee (Volunteers) in Knoxville, Tennessee , this Saturday , the 16th February , 2013.

With the NBA hierarchy’s apparent intent to review eligibility status of college players , questions will arise of the intent of the league to review present rules governing the college athletes’ eligibility, of their entrance into the NBA Draft. Once again, the “one and done rule” becomes a subject of great conjecture, debate and speculation. Is it really the league’s duty impinge and deprive a potential employee a right to earn an income merely because the NBA sees it as a way controlling the apparent quality and branding of their product ? This essentially, is what this maneuver will all boil down to, should there be any anticipated changes. Fighting this, will be the agents, whose clients will be subject to this edict. NCAA President, Mark Emmert , will undoubtedly seek to offer his input with regard to this issue. This will either all come crashing down around the NBA’s ears or David Stern , will once again be able to use his power and cast aside any opposition to his authority. Your thoughts, on this all ?

Inasmuch as it pains me to say this , this an NBA season just seems to be mirroring many of their predecessors , in a great deal of the play we see being exhibited . Scoring seem to be on the increase ,meanwhile there are deficiencies on defense that fans seem to be overlooking , while they seek to gloss over these issues within the league (NBA) at present . A number of fans seem to be oblivious to this all , as they seek to make light of these obvious flaws within game , which is being ignored by David Stern , as his only thought seems to marketing a waning product to anyone willing to listen to his spiel . Suffice to say , with the NBA brand having saturated the North American market , the NBA’s need for growth , will come from the continents of Australia , Africa , Europe , and Asia .

The league’s biggest growth area will be in China , where its population of 1.6 billion people are now fans of the NBA. And with the Beijing Olympics , and the success of Team USA Men’s and Women’s basketball teams in bringing home Olympic gold, heightened the popularity of the game , even more so. Even, in light of retirement of former Houston Rockets’ , center, Yao Ming , a Chinese native , and the country’s most popular and prominent sporting export , until the recent ascent of WTA Tour player , Li Na . The female tennis professional is now idolized by young girls and women , in very much the same way , as Yao has been admired and appreciated by the country’s population. His popularity still remains high , as he now seeks to broaden the base and popularity of the sport of basketball across the country of China.

Na’s rise to prominence , has seen her become a three-time Grand Slam finalist and winner of the 2011 French Open title on the clay courts of the Roland Garros Stadium in Paris , France. Add in the fact , of her seventeen career singles’ titles , 16 doubles’ titles and over $10 .6 million in prize money , and one can fully appreciate why she’s held in such high esteem by the Chinese people and the People’s Republican Party of China. Li Na , is currently ranked fifth in the WTA rankings , with top spot held by Victoria Azarenka of Belarus . And with both sports , basketball and tennis reaching such a widespread audience globally , with each reputedly becoming multi-billion dollar enterprises , then clearly, any room for growth will be eagerly sought by the NBA , FIBA as the international governing body of the sport of basketball , and the WTA , as the custodians of the sport of women’s tennis.

Sunday, the 17th February , marks the fiftieth birthday of Michael Jeffrey Jordan, arguably , the greatest player in NBA history. Most certainly justified , as being one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players of All-time . The question now becomes, how will the NBA celebrate their most famous and universally recognized ambassador ? Jordan’s name is still revered globally , and that is in spite of the rise today’s era of stars , such as Kobe Bryant , LeBron James , Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony , Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose . Jordan’s legacy and his achievements will long be remembered after his passing and thankfully many of the accomplishments are either etched in our memories or held on film , where we can view them all for prosperity . Who can fail to remember his game winning shot over the outstretched arms of a then bewildered Craig Ehlo of the Cleveland Cavaliers , in the waning seconds , of what was a career defining play , of which he has repeated countless times over ? Yet this game winning shot, in Game 5 of the first round of the 1989 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs , meant a great deal more than just a victory , as it elevated Jordan to a God like, deity status. Michael Jordan remains one of the most recognizable athletes on the planet , and his universal acclaim might only be outshone at present, by retired boxer , Muhammad Ali and PGA Tour golfer, Tiger Woods . And no doubt , LeBron James , would like to see his fame take that ascent into the stratosphere , but first, it will take at least another three or four NBA titles , several league MVP’s , 6 or more Finals’ MVP awards , 8 more scoring titles , an additional ten more All Star Appearances, and shall we say, 20,000 more career points as an added bonus , before the comparisons can be made to Jordan , the icon , and the player who James , models himself after ?

Comparisons, will continually be made between NBA players of the past, and those of the present. Moreover, at times it may seem somewhat at disingenuous to gauge the greatness of these players , in thinking old versus new . In reality, there are no other means , nor is there an exact science to come up with a result that will meet everyone’s satisfaction , and that would deem to be fair . In my honest opinion to best way judge the players of the past against today’s crop of stars is to wait until an NBA of today makes his formal announcement to retire . And then we can start to deliver our verdicts , as to what we determine greatness to be !

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Picture gallery .

What do you believe may well be the NBA’s biggest failure as a sport’s brand ? In addition, do think that they can rectify those problems on long-term or the short-term ? By comparison , do you believe it to be justified in trying to suggest who is the better player of the two , in making a decision between Michael Jordan and Michael Jordan ? Do bear in mind that James is only now entering his tenth year in the NBA , having been drafted as the number one overall pick , from the 2003 NBA Draft. Your thoughts or comments on this and anything else you believe relevant to this article is greatly appreciated . So do take time, and chime on in .

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Picture and slideshow details below for your perusal .

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(1) “Faces of the NBA “ … the past and the present. Left, LeBron James holds the Bill O’Brien Trophy , signifying, his first NBA title (world championship). And right, Michael Jordan , long considered the NBA’s greatest player past or present . AP Photo / Chris Pearson …

(2) Los Angeles Lakers center , Dwight Howard , left, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan defends during the first half of their NBA basketball game , Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ….

(3) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) shoots as Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) defends during the first half of their NBA basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …

(4) Left , NBA Commissioner , David Stern and the Dallas Mavericks’ owner , Mark Cuban . The two individuals have had a contentious relationship , which is said to be built on ” mutual respect” . Yet, herein lies the dilemma , over the course of Cuban’s custodianship of the Maverick. He has reputedly, paid over $1.25 million in fines rendered by the league hierarchy led by David Stern . Cuban , a billionaire , tech entrepreneur will no doubt think of the fines as a mere pittance , when by comparison his net worth exceeds $2.35 billion . Getty Images/ Stuart Gough …

(5) Houston Rockets basketball center Yao Ming attended a press conference in Beijing, China to announce a partnership deal with the Brisbane company Monster Cable Products Inc. Yao and Monster has developed a broad range of co-branded “Yao Monster” consumer electronics and lifestyle products for distribution in China. Yao Monster products include headphones, bags, 3D glasses and home theater connectivity and power products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a portion of the proceeds will go to the Yao Ming Foundation, which builds schools for disadvantaged children in China. Courtesy of Pacific Coast News … @ copyrighted material all rights reserved ….

(6) Nerlens Noel , the Kentucky Wildcats’ guard is seen lying on court during a game between Florida and the Kentucky Wildcats . Noel tore his Anterior cruciate ligament in his right, knee and will be lost to the team for the rest of their schedule , missing in its entirety the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament . Florida would go on to defeat Kentucky 62-59 . While Noel hopes to make a quick return , it is highly unlikely that he will return for his sophomore season with the team . Nerlens Noel is considered to be a ” consensus top five pick overall “ , if not the number one pick for the 2013 NBA Draft. It seems almost a certainty that Nerlens Noel will forgo his sophomore season , declaring his eligibility for the draft , recuperating , while honing his game in the ranks of the NBA . A number of NBA coaches and scouts have seen Noel’s game and have been impressed with the player’s all-round skill-set . AP Photo / John Thorn …

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NBA teams’ salaries and with the league’s “soft” salary capof $58.044 million , one could attest to the fact that, the general managers , team owners and league hierarchy are simply ” kidding” themselves as to the NBA’s apparent frugality !

Highest paid NBA player , average salary and cap hit .

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Consequence , feat’g Kanye West …….. “ The Good The Bad & The Ugly “

It’s NCAA Or Bust ………….. Bull Dogs or U Conn Huskies ?

It’s NCAA Or Bust ………….. Bull Dogs or U Conn Huskies ?

Well tonight Brad Stevens and his Butler Bull Dogs will get a second consecutive bite of the cherry looking to be crowned the national champions in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament . In this matchup they will face off against the U Conn Huskies and perhaps the player of the tournament without a doubt in Kemba Walker ! The Huskies will have that wily veteran as coach , Jim Calhoun who’ll be looking to win his third national title overall and join a select number of coaches who’ve won multiple NCAA titles .

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Slide show for your perusal .

Reliant Stadium in Houston , Texas, will be rocking as throngs of fans in support of both teams will have this venue packed to the rafters and with there being primetime national television coverage coming courtesy of CBS the night is bound to be riveting and an exciting spectacle to watch or participate in. Both teams have proved their worth in making it this far as has been witnessed in the routes taken in them getting to the Finals . And as impressive as both teams have been , it goes without saying that there are no doubt a number of us who hadn’t expected U Conn much less Butler making it this far . I for one thought that Butler’s surprise run in last year’s tournament would be just a one off ! And given the fact that they’d lost their best player in Gordon Hayward to the NBA who’d have guessed that they’d make such a quick return to the Final Four much less the championship game , itself ?

Experience says that that the U Conn Huskies ought to prevail and given that they’ve a coaching staff led by Calhoun one could say that they have a distinct advantage . Never mind the depth and talent laden roster of this Huskies’ team . At the same it’d be naive to even dare to underestimate the resolve of this Bull Dogs’ team and the very fact that different players on the roster have repeatedly stepped up to the plate and have done what has been asked of them by Brad Stevens and his coaching staff , and that’s to win by playing stifling defense , be quick in transition as and when needed. This game I believe , the deference given to Walker as a player and whether or not Stevens will have a way of negating the player’s power and leadership qualities . As Walkers goes , then so do the U Conn Huskies as a team , albeit that he’s complemented by the play of Jeremy Lamb , Alex Oriahki and in particular Shabazz Napier .

Brad Stevens’ team are no slouches themselves given their surprise upset (71-70) of Jamie Dixon’s —– Pitt Panthers who if anything were thought to have the better team . But as they say first impressions aren’t necessarily to be taken for what they’re worth as has been witnessed by Butler’s improbable run throughout this tournament . It has been players such as Shelvin Mack , Matt Howard , Andrew Smith , Shawn Vanzant , Khyle Marshall and Ronald Nored who’ve made their presence felt during this tournament and throughout the Bull Dogs’ season .

To my mind this NCAA Tournament has been one of the more exciting ones in recent memory and even if there have been doubters as to the legitimacy of some of the participants , there’s no denying there’s more excitement to be had and witnessed here than watching the idiocy we’re told is the BCS System for determining a national champion in football ! Which to my mind is the biggest fu_king fraud going on within collegiate sports beyond the idiocy of the NCAA’s reluctance to punish certain programs who’ve knowingly transgressed their mandated rules . Who the hell actually now takes the NCAA seriously to begin with ? Only a damn idiot would still have the presence of mind to believe that they stand for what’s best in collegiate athletics !

There’s a great deal to be said about the tournament and the players we’ve had the pleasure of seeing in this NCAA Tournament. And while Kemba Walker has stood out , towering over this tournament with his play, leadership qualities and doubted skills . I wonder if those skills in particular will translate into success at the next level within the NBA ? There’s often talk that certain players are can’t miss opportunities players once they enter the NBA but to my mind that is predicated upon the environment and the team that a player finds themselves in ! I mean one merely has to look at the struggles of John Wall this season with the Washington Wizards to see what can happen . And though we’ve seen the outstanding season now being had by the Clippers’ Blake Griffin . One simply has to remember that he had a year off from the game having spent his initial rookie season sidelined by injury. Who’s to say we’d have seen that explosiveness now being witnessed had he played for the Clippers last season ? As they say ……”buyer beware ” !

I’m not about to suggest that the same fate that has befallen John Wall awaits Kember Walker should he be taken as to consensus number one pick in the 2011 NBA Draft but given what I’ve seen of teams such as the Cleveland Cavaliers , Minnesota Timberwolves , Sacramento Kings , Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets in the NBA Standings I’m liable to believe that Walker’s impact mightn’t be that immediate given those teams’ performances over the course of this season. God knows the gap between the elite teams and those who cling to the bottom rung is like a crevasse that’s a mile deep or wide ! .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As a fan of the tournament have you been excited by what you’ve seen or do you feel in some way that the tournament has been something of a disappointment ? And who amongst the two remaining teams would you be happy with seeing winning the national title ? Simply leave comment as to your thoughts on this piece and anything else you feel pertinent to the NCAA Tournament . And thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Hudson Pangan, 6, cheers while seated on the shoulders of his mother Catherine at a pep rally in support of the Butler University mens basketball team on the school’s campus in Indianapolis on Monday, April 4, 2011. Butler faces Connecticut in the NCAA Mens Final tonight in Houston. The Pangans live on the Butler campus in faculty housing and Catherine said she’s particularly excited because she is a professor of Butler Bulldog starting guard Ronald Nored. AP Photo/ Maxwell Barnes …….

(2) HOUSTON – April 3rd 2011 : Jimmer Fredette of BYU receives the 2011 Naismith Trophy Presented by AT&T from David Christopher of AT&T during the NABC Guardians of the Game Awards Program on April 3, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Joining them on stage are Eric Oberman (L) and Barry Goheen (R) of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images ……….

(3) Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun speaks during a news conference before a practice session for the men’s NCAA Final Four college basketball championship game Sunday, April 3, 2011, in Houston. Connecticut plays Butler in the championship game Monday night. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …………….

(4) Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun, left, talks to Butler head coach Brad Stevens prior to taping a television interview for the men’s NCAA Final Four college basketball championship game Sunday, April 3, 2011, in Houston. Butler plays UConn in the championship game Monday night. AP Photo/Eric Gay ………….

(5) Virginia Commonwealth’s Juvonte Reddic, left, shoots over Butler’s Matt Howard during the second half of a men’s NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball game Saturday, April 2, 2011, in Houston. AP Photo/Chris Steppig/NCAA Photos, Pool ……….

(6) Butler’s Shawn Vanzant and Virginia Commonwealth’s Darius Theus chase a loose ball during the second half of a men’s NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball game Saturday, April 2, 2011, in Houston. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ………….

(7) Butler players Shelvin Mack, left, and Chase Stigall react after beating Virginia Commonwealth 70-62 at a men’s NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball game Saturday, April 2, 2011, in Houston. AP Photo/David J. Phillip …………..

(8) Connecticut’s Kemba Walker speaks as his coach Jim Calhoun, left, looks on after being introduced as the winner of the Bob Cousy Award during the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class announcement, Monday, April 4, 2011, in Houston. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall …………….

(9) Connecticut’s Kemba Walker shoots as Kentucky’s DeAndre Liggins looks on during the first half of a men’s NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball game Saturday, April 2, 2011, in Houston. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ………..

(10) Kemba Walker (15) of the Connecticut Huskies dives to save a ball from going out of bounds against the Kentucky Wildcats during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas. U Conn would defeat Kentucky 56-55 Photo by Pool/Getty Images ……….

(11) Alex Oriakhi (34) of the Connecticut Huskies dunks the ball against Kentucky Wildcats during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Chris Steppig-Pool/Getty Images …………

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The Verve ………………… “Bitter Sweet Symphony ”

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Keri Hilson ………. feat’g ……… Lil’ Wayne ……….”You’re Turning Me On”

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Seven Years In Tibet Is An Eternity Watching The Cavaliers …… Well That’s Too Painful A Thought To Have To Endure ………………………

Seven Years In Tibet Is An Eternity Watching The Cavaliers …… Well That’s Too
Painful A Thought To Have To Endure ………………………

So the Cleveland Cavaliers do know how to win after all ? Finally after 26 attempts they were able to overcome the Los Angeles Clippers . I’m sorry to say this but when the Clippers are in town and they essentially lay down like a wounded dog having been kicked to the ground I can only surmise that Vinny Del Negro’s —- team have been watching the films of Michael Vick’s former pets . Act like a wounded dog and you’ll be treated no better than a wounding dog that no one actually cares for ! And such has been the thoughts by the fans in general about the Los Angeles Clippers over the years.

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Twenty six games and as they say legends are made as the fans had the ignominy of seeing the Cavaliers become the team that had the worse losing record in terms of consecutive losses in all of professional sports. Cavaliers’ coach Byron Scott had to have been happy with this outcome and at the same time GM Chris Grant and team owner Dan Gilbert can feel some respite after all of the losing . Clearly however this team is a long way off from where they need to be . They at present have the worse record in the NBA and sit at the bottom of the Central Division of the Eastern Conference .

The game played at the Quicken Loans Arena
was all that could be expected from two teams literally fighting for their survival within the league. J J Hickson and Antawn Jamison would lead the charge for the team as the eked out a narrow victory over their opponents from the Western Conference . I’m sorry but when you have two teams that essentially aren’t going anywhere within the NBA this season you have to wonder about the state of the game and the product that David Stern is trying to get fans around the globe to enjoy.

Now Cavaliers’ fans can take heart in knowing that their team finally showed some heart but at the same it has me wondering can this team avoid losing 60 games this season ? I don’t know that they can but I do believe that they will end up with the worse record in the league !

As to the fate of the Clippers with the ownership led by Donald Sterling has never been competitive in nature nor has he the desire to win. And it certainly hasn’t helped that the team has to share the same venue as the Los Angeles Lakers . And given the Lakers’ history and legacy the Clippers have been left in their wake and rear view mirror. This Clippers’ team has been way too inconsistent for their own good this season and it’s becoming clear that if they don’t start competing or winning on a consistent basis then by the time Blake Griffin’s rookie contract is up for renewal there’ll be an ever decreasing chance that he would choose to remain with this organization.

Inasmuch as Dan Gilbert had made that rather infantile statement that the Cavaliers would indeed win an NBA title before LeBron James and the Miami Heat would have the chance to do so. Even if the statement had been made in anger it clearly shows that the demeanor and persona of the owner as a person. And granted NBA Commissioner David Stern saw fit to fine the owner for his behavior and several outrageous statements made. It just goes to show how out of touch the owners can be when it comes to the role of a player as an employee within the league. The NBPA and the existing collective bargaining agreement gives the players their right to opt out of a their contracts dependent on length of service after their initial first three years in the NBA . If an owner such as Gilbert doesn’t understand that then the statement made that he comes across as a slave owner with a large plantation of indentured slaves isn’t that far off in terms of its veracity .

While James was a player with the team Gilbert saw its value increase at least threefold to the point that it was valued at in excess of $400 million . Now the team might not be even worth anymore than $250 million at best, as such was LeBron James’ value to the organization simply not just from a competitive standpoint but also from an economic one as well.

LeBron James’ departure may well have been an abrupt one but the owner did himself no favors in firing Mike Brown , Byron Scotts’ predecessor and then allowing former GM Danny Ferry to leave. The biggest faux-pas on the part of Gilbert however while this whole debacle unfolded was his wish not to consult James as to who he would be hiring as Brown’s successor. That may well have been the straw to break the camel’s back and led to James making the choice that he did to pursue his career elsewhere. And while the fans in Cleveland may well have felt betrayed by the player’s actions I do feel that they ought to have looked at the actions of the team’s owner ! Does anyone truly believe that Jerry Buss would have acted in such a way were this Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson had been fired by the Lakers ? Common sense never was that profound it’d appear within the Cleveland Cavaliers’ organization (front office) and it appears there still isn’t any at this juncture .

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Well now that the Cleveland Cavaliers have a win finally to start as a new streak they now have the privilege of hosting another moribund and woefully inept team this upcoming Sunday when they play the Washington Wizards . Care to guess what the outcome of that game might be ?

With the Cavaliers now halting that now infamous streak how do you see them performing throughout the rest of the season ? And what thoughts if any do you have with regard to the Los Angeles Clippers and their immediate future ?

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Washington Wizards’ John Wall (2) drives past Cleveland Cavaliers’ Ryan Hollins (5) in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011, in Cleveland. Washington snapped its 25-game road winless streak with a 115-100 win over the Cavaliers, who reverted to their losing ways one game after ending their record skid. AP Photo/Tony Dejak ……

(2) Cleveland Cavaliers’ Daniel Gibson , right passes the ball in front of Washington Wizards’ Nick Young during he second quarter of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011, in Cleveland. Washington snapped its 25-game road winless streak with a 115-100 win Sunday night over the Cavaliers, who reverted to their losing ways one game after ending their record skid. AP Photo/Tony Dejak …….

(3) Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott watches during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards on Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011, in Cleveland. Washington snapped its 25-game road winless streak with a 115-100 win Sunday night over the Cavaliers, who reverted to their losing ways one game after ending their record skid. AP Photo/Tony Dejak …..

(4) Los Angeles Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro reacts in overtime in an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Friday, Feb. 11, 2011, in Cleveland. Nearly two months after it started, the Cavaliers stopped their NBA-record losing streak at 26 games on Friday night with a 126-119 win in overtime against the Clippers. AP Photo/Tony Dejak ……

(5) Cleveland Cavaliers’ J.J. Hickson, left, blocks a shot by Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin in the fourth quarter in an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 11, 2011, in Cleveland. Nearly two months after it started, the Cavaliers stopped their NBA-record losing streak at 26 games on Friday night with a 126-119 win in overtime against the Clippers. AP Photo/Tony Dejak ……..

(6) Cleveland Cavaliers’ Mo Williams (2) reacts after assisting teammate Antawn Jamison (4) in overtime in an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Friday, Feb. 11, 2011, in Cleveland. Nearly two months after it started, the Cavaliers stopped their NBA-record losing streak at 26 games on Friday night with a 126-119 win in overtime against the Clippers. AP Photo/Tony Dejak ………..

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NB: NBA news ……..

The Cavaliers would lose to the Wizards 115-100 .
So once again they’re back to zero in terms of a win streak .

😛
Alan aka tophatal …………………………………

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Eye candy ……………….. Hidden assets Carrie’s

“Thong of the day “ …….. Melanie

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Gnarls Barkley ….feat’g….. Cee Lo Green & Dangermouse ……..“Crazy”

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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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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 ………………

NBA News …….

NBA Standings ………………. Divisional

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Tuesday’s schedule

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Denver Nuggets’ news

Denver Nuggets roster

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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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Chances Are ………. Things Could Get Worse Before They’ll Get A Great Deal Better

Chances Are ………. Things Could Get Worse Before They’ll Get A Great Deal Better

OK so the NFL and the NFLPA are about to have their set to and I’m thinking how is that a $ 9 billion a year industry cannot seem to deal within the parameters set by their template ? NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in his state of the NFL address to the convened press at Cowboys Stadium , Arlington , Texas has reiterated his wish to hammer out a deal with the union’s Executive Committee led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and union President Kevin Mawae .

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The league hierarchy and the owners opted out of the league’s collective bargaining agreement which was due to expire on March 3rd 2011. Both sides knew exactly the impasse that this would create and at the same time they’re now looking for the empathy of the NFL fans. Personally I do believe that the NFL and the players had completely underestimated the resolve and tenacity of the fans who in essence will abandon the NFL and their support of their teams . The players see the league as the villains of the piece whereas the league’s view of the union is that they’re self serving and unwilling to acquiesce and make the concessions being asked by Goodell and the owners . The league seeks a give back of $1 billion ($1,000,000,000) a year for the next seven years and on the face of it that might not seem a great deal but when you consider that the figure merely accounts just over 11% of the league’s annual revenues. But also what I’d like to ask of Goodell and the league is given that when the NFL’s next television broadcast agreement comes up for renewal what are they prepared to seek from the networks in question ? I’m sure that NBC , ABC/ESPN , Fox and CBS Sports are closely monitoring these negotiations very closely. As too no doubt are league’s corporate sponsors as they’ve a lot to lose should there be a labor stoppage and a prolonged lockout.

Courtesy of CBCSports.ca

Goodell says bargaining with players ‘beneficial’

Sunday session was first formal talk since November

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says this weekend’s bargaining session with the players’ union was “beneficial.”

In an interview with Fox News Sunday that aired the morning of the Super Bowl, Goodell called drug testing a key issue in labour talks.

Goodell said “a number of” individual players and owners participated in a two-hour meeting Saturday, the first formal bargaining session since November. The labour deal expires in March.

“It’s always a positive when both parties are talking,” he said.

Outlining major sticking points, Goodell talked about revenue division, rookie salaries and benefits for retired players, adding “We want to continue on with the integrity of the game, which is my No. 1 issue.”

He also spoke of “making sure we have the best drug program in sports.”

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As to the league’s showcase even this may well be the last chance the fans will get to see a Superbowl (SBXLV) for a while . Imagine there being no 2011-12 season and nothing but an uproar from the fans while the players themselves simply sit back and wait ? Blank television screens and stadiums across the league empty , never mind the economic impact the loss would create to the 32 league markets . These are the things that I believe that Goodell knows will hamper the league’s image and the brand itself. The last stoppage to affect the league was over decade and a half ago and the fans who witnessed this all left them aggrieved and angry at the NFL.

At this juncture I’m not so sure that this impasse will be quickly resolved as both sides are entrenched and don’t appear to want to budge from their current positions. Goodell in part and the owners are also looking to have an eighteen game schedule in place by either the 2011-12 or 2012-13 season . The NFLPA aren’t about accede to that request unless the league will make several concessions , one of which would be to decrease the number preseason games from four to two. Also as a bone of contention is that of the NFL rookies’ salary contract and the idiocy that simply goes on there. Agents such Drew Rosenhaus and Leigh Steinberg may not view this as acceptable but either way they should be thankful that their clients will still get paid.

I’ve read with interest that the Wilpon family will be looking to sell a minority stake in the New York Mets and this has come about because the family has a judgment against them seeking some $350 million that they were able to profit from in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme scandal which defrauded several thousand clients to the tune of an estimated $59 billion ($59 ,000,000,000). This was as such the largest fraud perpetrated and whereby the SEC in conjunction with FBI and Justice Department were able to catch the felon , in the case Madoff and his co-conspirators. Madoff is now serving a 125 year jail sentence in in a Federal penitentiary
The Wilpon family it has been said also lost heavily which resulted in what is said to be losses of anywhere between $250 million to $ 500 million if the estimates are to be believed.

Amongst the interested parties is a syndicate of which Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s son Martin Luther King III will be part of the group seeking to become a minority stake owner in the team. Given the history and legacy of the game of baseball I find it rather ironic that it’s only now that we’ve actually seen a genuine attempt for there to be an African American owner in the sport. There’s only one other prominent minority owner in the sport and that is Arte Moreno of the Los Angeles Angeles . Albeit that the league can boast several general managers of ethnic persuasion there simply hasn’t been that ardent fervor you’d have come to expect from Commissioner Bud Selig and the baseball hierarchy for there to be a prominent African American owner within the game.

Martin Luther King III should he and his syndicate group to be successful this would most definitely be a first in MLB. It would also send a clear indication to the ethnic community at large that there is a place for them at the owner’s table should they seek to ascend to those levels. It certainly hasn’t hurt the image of the NBA where Michael Jordan still the face of the NBA is now the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats . And the franchise’s history has been well chronicled in its present guise and it’s hoped that Jordan during his tenure can lead this team some semblance of success.
This much we do know about the Mets in its present guise with the upheaval felt within the front office after the firings of Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya does portend that incoming Head of Baseball Operations Sandy Alderson and VP and Head of Scouting J P Ricciardi are the new brooms brought in by COO Jeff Wilpon to clean house and discard of the unwanted pieces in this underachieving team .

Courtesy of USA Today


Madoff lawsuit: Mets owners owe victims $300 million

New York — The owners of the New York Mets, along with their relatives and other businesses, were “collectively one of the largest beneficiaries” of Bernard Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme, receiving approximately $300 million in phantom profits that financed the team and other ventures, a newly unsealed lawsuit charged Friday.

The business empire of Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz had 483 Madoff accounts — including 16 for the Mets, from which $90 million of burned investors’ money helped pay the National League baseball franchise’s “day-to-day operations” — according to the lawsuit filed by Irving Picard. Picard is the court-appointed trustee seeking Madoff assets to repay the fraud’s thousands of victims.

The action alleges Wilpon and Katz ignored “gathering clouds” of repeated warnings from financial experts and others that Madoff’s investment operation was in reality a scam, because the owners had come to rely on the uncannily steady profits to substantially support their Sterling Equities Associates empire for a quarter of a century.

PICARD vs Mets : Read the complaint

The owners realized they “were simply in too deep,” the lawsuit says.

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The Mets’ history has been a storied one of ups and downs more downs given their recent history as they’ve seen their crosstown rivals the New York Yankees have unprecedented success over the last decade and a half. And if the Mets are to succeed then it will have to come down the coaching staff , the prudency shown by the front office and the performances of the players. If they can’t get it done this upcoming season then the New York Mets might as well throw in the towel once and for all.

I’m sorry but given the horrid season the Minnesota Timberwolves are now having and perhaps the only reason to be joyful, as they’ve seen the team’s lone All Star —– Kevin Love have a truly astonishing season with his play. A constant threat now to throw up 20 and 10 with amazing regularity the player is now being viewed as a must see around the NBA .Both Love and the Los Angeles Clippers’ —- Blake Griffin are simply just letting it rip.And they’ve quite rightly both been rewarded with roster spots on Western Conference All Star team for 2011.

Now while on appearance the Timberwolves’ season has literally spun out of control the team , Kurt Rambis’ and his coaching staff have done their utmost to put on a good face as they’ve struggled to maintain some sense of consistency . And the situation hasn’t helped that O J Mayo has had to serve an NBA mandated 10 game suspension for abusing the game’s substance abuse policy. The player himself however contends that the reason for his positive test stems from the fact that he’s used a supplement which had DHEA . That particular substance is viewed as a PED (performance enhancing drug) by the league’s hierarchy .

Whatever the outcome of this season will be for the Minnesota Timberwolves it’s clear that as of now the organization can only hope for things to get a great deal better. If not then the continued malaise will have the fans deserting the organization and looking elsewhere for to heap noteworthy praise on a team .

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What thoughts if any do you have on the subjects raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment and I’ll do my utmost to respond expeditiously and clarity. Thanks as always for your continued support.

Picture and slide show details .

(1) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been front and center at the Super Bowl this week, dealing with questions about both this season and the possibly delayed one to come because of labor issues. David J. Phillip/Associated Press …..

(2) Center Kevin Mawae (68) of the Tennessee Titans and President of the NFL Player’s Association speaks to members of the media during the NFL Player’s Association Press Conference held at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center as part of media week for Super Bowl XLIV on February 4, 2010 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Inset also if NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith . Doug Benc / Getty Images North America Inc ……….

(3) DeMaurice Smith, NFL Player’s Association Executive Director, speaks to members of the media during the NFL Player’s Association Press Conference held at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center as part of media week for Super Bowl XLIV on February 4, 2010 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Getty Images / Doug Benc ……

(4) New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon (left) and team owner Fred Wilpon patriarch of the family. The front office of the Mets has been completely revamped and so too has the coaching staff . The organization now finds itself in an intensive lawsuit that could have some adverse effects on the team’s long term financial stability and viability as the family has been ordered to pay the victims of the Madoff Ponzi scheme an estimated $350 million . AFP/ Reuters / Michael Findley ……..

(5) Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love, left, and Denver Nuggets’ Chauncey Billups battle for a rebound in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011, in Minneapolis. The Nuggets won 113-100 . Billups scored 21 points and had 13 assists while Love scored 18 and had 19 rebounds for the Timberwolves. AP Photo/Jim Mone ……….

(6) Martin Luther King III (R) and his sister Bernice release a dove from the balcony where their father, Martin Luther King Jr., was shot to death at the conclusion of a vigil in King’s honor at the Lorraine Hotel April 4, 2008 in Memphis, Tennessee. King was killed by James Earl Ray 40 years ago today. Win McNamee / Getty Images ………

😛

Alan aka tophatal ……….

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C Black

Eye candy ……………………. Courtney Black

Courtney 2

Eight ball corner pocket, my balls and pen_s are feeling great ! Thanks Courtney !

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Ashanti ……….. ‘Rain On Me’

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You Want An NBA Storyline …………………… ?

You Want An NBA Storyline …. ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NB: NBA Conference Standings ..

Latest NBA news …..

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NBA Divisional Standings ….

NBA Statistics ….

NBA win streaks by conference and division

Alan aka tophatal ……………………….

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Faran W

Eye candy ……………. Faren Williams

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

Faren

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

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

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