All Star ? Is This American Idol ?

All Star ? Is This American Idol ?

Well at the midway point of the NBA season teams are now jockeying for positions as the meat of the season now awaits after the game’s midseason showcase event the All Star game. Now what many view as one of the better professional staged midseason events amongst the four major sports it has to be said that beyond the MLB All Star game the NBA All Star event might just be the most popular of the four major sports.

======================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

======================================================================

Slide show for your perusal

From my own perspective the game itself is about as competitive as the NFL Pro Bowl is meant to be. There’s no real incentive and it is in essence really about the multi million dollar owners —- players of the league merely to have one great big party that in essence in the end comes at the expense of the all too willing public who are in attendance at the game and the surrounding events that take place over the All Star weekend. Now the voting itself for the event borders on the insanity that we see each quadrennial when the Presidential elections take place. Do you vote for who you favor because of their popularity or from the substance of their being ? There’s more acrimony over who’s been slighted but in the end there it’s also nothing more than a popularity contest as the fans participate in this alongside the coaches of the teams participating in the All Star event. And what’s portrayed isn’t far off the non-sense we see on the ratings juggernaut reality show American Idol . Only here there’s no three panel of arbitrators offering up their thoughts of the talent on view but at times you might feel that there ought to be . I mean Paula Abdul use to show about as much insight on the show than the idiocy we’ve seen being shown as to the nominees for some of the spots on the NBA All Star roster .

The Eastern Conference may well give us starters Dwight Howard , Kevin Garnett , Amare’ Stoudemire , LeBron James and Dwyane Wade . Coaching the Eastern Conference team will be Doc Rivers but that may well change given precedence that’s normally set . Reserves for the team will be firmly adjudged with the fans’ voting and that of the input of the coach himself.

The Western Conference will throw up the usual suspects Kobe Bryant former league MVP and the likes of Steve Nash , Carmelo Anthony , Dirk Nowitzki , Deron Williams , Yao Ming who’ll miss the event due to season sending surgery . Cases are now being made for the Los Angeles Clippers’ —– Blake Griffin , and the Minnesota Timberwolves Kevin Love after the outstanding seasons that they’ve had. There are some who may well feel that neither is deserving while others who feel that there’s a possibility that one of the duo will make it unto the Western team roster while the other will be a reserve for the game.

Now while I’ve never really been enamored with the event I do think that for Commissioner David Stern the league’s hierarchy and the owners this is more of getting the NBA global brand further out there. With countless billions of dollars in revenues each season and the mere fact that the game is perhaps more widely recognized across the globe than the NFL and MLB combined. Michael Jordan was and still is the pre-eminent face of the NBA albeit that he’s retired from the game . The mantel may well have been assumed by Kobe Bryant and LeBron James as they seek basketball fame and immortality but other than the regular season and the NBA postseason the regular schedule as such provides us with nothing more than seeing the stars and team we’ve come to support .

Reigning champions the Los Angeles Lakers have had their season of ups and downs but they’ve been able to maintain their status amongst the West’s elite as they seek a three-peat with coach Phil Jackson at the helm of this team . While I’ve no doubt that they’ll be a part of the postseason parade I must admit that they do need to get more solid contributions from players such as Ron Artest , Lamar Odom and in particular Andrew Bynum if they’re to prove to be the team to beat not just within the conference but as the presumptive favorites for the NBA title.

===============================================================

======================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal . By clicking on each frame you can view that picture in its orginal formatted size.

Well it does go without saying that glamor of the “Big Three” in Miami engineered in part by Pat Riley at the insistance of owner of Micky Arison that if they should fall short of the expected goals that many believe has been set within the organization even though no one has gone on record that winning the NBA title has been set as the target. It’s clearly evident that this is what is actually wanted by all associated with the team and organization. Should they fall short of that presumed target then questions will have been asked and answered and I’ve no doubt that James’ former employer and team owner Dan Gilbert of the Cleveland Cavaliers would be the happiest man in the world should LeBron James come up short with the Miami Heat.

At midpoint of the season there’s no denying that a number of teams have underachieved and there have been one or two pleasant surprises. The San Antonio Spurs have come flying out of the gate and have the best record in the league . Tony Parker , Manu Ginobli and Tim Duncan are still omnipresent on this team and with there being added contributions from the young players on the roster DeJuan Blair , George Hill , Tiago Splitter and seasoned veteran Antonio McDyess who are making Gregg Popovich quite possibly a shoo-in for the NBA Coach of the Year .

If there’s said to be an immense disappointment it may well be the seasons for the Sacramento Kings and that of the Minnesota Timberwolves . If nothing else both teams could be on the cards for the top pick in the NBA Draft . Jared Sullinger , Kemba Walker and Nolan Smith are thought to be the top three players liable to be the top picks in the draft. And given that triumvirates’ play this college season I’ve no doubt in my that they’d be able to contribute to the Kings and Timberwoves greatly !

At the midpoint of the season what are your impressions of the NBA and the upcoming All Star event itself as a spectacle ? And if anything are you entirely happy with how the players are voted unto the respective team rosters ? Fans’ contributions apart and that of the coaches do you believe that there’s justification as to how the votes are accorded for the NBA midseason showcase ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the topic and as always thanks for the continued support !

Picture and slide show details …………….

(1) In this file photo taken Jan. 17, 2011, Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant rests during a timeout in a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Los Angeles. Representatives for Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood announced Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011, that Bryant will have a ceremony setting his hands and feet in cement at the theater as part of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend festivities on Feb. 19, the day before the All-Star game in Los Angeles. Bryant will become the first athlete honored with the ceremony. AP Photo/Alex Gallardo …..

(2) Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, left, dunks over Portland Trail Blazers center Joel Przybilla during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011. AP Photo/Don Ryan …………

(3) LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Atlanta Hawks at American Airlines Arena on January 18, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ……

(4) San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan, left, congratulates DeJuan Blair during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 104-95 . AP Photo/Darren Abate ……

(5) Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, below, dunks as forward Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ………..

NB

The 2011 NBA All Star Game will be held at the Staples Center home to the Los Angeles Lakers

NBA News

NBA Scores & results …..

NBA schedule

NBA Standings ……….. Conference ………. Division ….

NBA Team Stats

NBA Player Stats

NBA All Star ballots

Alan aka tophatal …………………………………

====================================================================

Lenny Kravitz ………… “Come On Get It” NBA TNT theme song for the season

====================================================================

Karmen

Eye candy ………………….. Karmen Sutra and a continued montage of the beauty .

What’s not to like ?

Karmen  Sutra

Bootylicious !

As Kravitz says in his song ‘Come On Get It” …….’come get some of this’ !

====================================================================

The Boogie Man Came Out And There Wasn’t A Hooded Man In Sight

The Boogie Man Came Out And There Wasn’t A Hooded Man In Sight

Preseason in the NBA and already the controversy is raising its ugly head and if things surrounding the LeBron James’ saga hasn’t been weird enough . It now appears that James won’t let this episode die a natural death. LeBron James in a statement allays to the fact that one the reasons he left the Cavaliers is that ‘race’ became an issue in his departure from the franchise. And it certainly hadn’t helped that neither of the lead characters in this soap opera appears to have been able to show any sign of maturity. Instead Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert came off looking like an ass and the player wasn’t that far behind in his own behavior and that rather idiotic interview (entitled ‘The Decision’) he granted to ESPN with reporter Jim Gray, in tow. In all honesty this whole episode has been about as interesting as having an enema !

==============================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

==============================================================================

Slide show for your perusal.

One would’ve thought with the PR people surrounding the player that he’d be able not to court this at all but instead he issued a statement that now becomes cannon fodder for the press and those who’ll use this as evidence to make a inane statement about race in this country. This whole issue has nothing to do with race but more about ego and more about two individuals who are driven by greed and money . James states that he’s striving to win a title and granted he was ill equipped to win with an organization who literally didn’t know how to assemble the prerequisite staff to make the Cavaliers a competitive team. Danny Ferry who at the time was the general manger of the team couldn’t galvanize this roster to mesh and Mike Brown as coach, couldn’t communicate with the players on this team. But what might have been even more telling was that in the off-season with the firing of Brown , Gilbert sought not to seek any input from his star player as to who Brown’s successor should be. If that wasn’t enough of an indication to James that it was time to move on then I don’t know what is. And the rather idiotic fans there in Cleveland who sought to burn the player’s replica jersey in what they felt was an act of betrayal by LeBron James clearly have no concept of business or for that matter integrity or loyalty. Now all they have to show for the franchise there in Cleveland is an aggrieved owner in Dan Gilbert and unfortunately for Mike Brown’s successor Byron Scott, a team that’s liable to become a bottom feeder within the Eastern Conference of the NBA .

Now while this is all going on there has been sniping at the Heat organization and the fact that Pat Riley and team owner Micky Arison had the bravado to pull off such a coup in landing both James and Chris Bosh. Truth be known, the Heat needed to do this merely to stay a viable concern within the NBA from a financial standpoint. The franchise having posted a $45 million loss in 2009 had a declining attendance for the Heat games at the AA Arena (Miami) and it has to be said that without this orchestration to land the duo we might have been looking at the departure of Dywane Wade from the team. Now the pressure is on the triumvirate to prove that this all isn’t a ruse and that they’re intent on bringing another title to South Beach.

And while the Heat seem to have been anointed the preseason favorites to raise the Larry O’Brien Trophy next June , I’m of the opinion that it’ll take a great deal more than the showmanship and the greeting of the crowds before James and his buddies can simply think that the title has been won. The NBA season simply isn’t about creating hype and then not playing the games as can be seen in the pitiful experience and aftermath of the season had by the Los Angeles Lakers and their subsequent loss in the NBA Finals to the Detroit Pistons . That year all the praise being heaped upon this team which at the time had five predetermined Hall of Famers on the roster led by Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton , Karl Malone and their coach Phil Jackson . The Lakers were summarily dispatched by the Pistons in five games (4-1) with there being a great deal of dissent and bickering between the quartet of players.

Now while I don’t discount the fact that the Miami Heat will be viewed as the prohibitive favorites for the NBA title, to my mind absolutely nothing is set in stone. The Lakers as reigning champions are still the team to beat and until they’re knocked off their throne all things start and end with them . Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has the enviable task of coaching this triumvirate but at the same time he also has to get the best out of the role players on this team. And it will also be interesting to see who defers to whom and the roles to be played by LeBron James and Dywane Wade in this whole scenario. One ball and two rather egotistical showmen on the court at the same time each looking to showcase their talents and attain the praise of the fans . Can anything go wrong? Well, each of the three say that they simply want to win and that their goal is to bring another championship to Miami. The thinking is that should the team fail to make it to the Finals then the finger pointing begins and all eyes will be on James as to the reasons behind any failure.

From the social standpoint and the racial accusations by James I think he ought to step back and think long and hard about his statement ! If he really wants to talk race then he ought to take a look back at the pages of history and the plight of the “Little Rock Nine” and then see that his situation bears nothing at all about race , more to do with ego and the fact that he was slighted by an owner who simply didn’t want to defer power to him as it concerned the Cleveland Cavaliers. And though to my mind neither party is without blame at the fallout from his departure from Cleveland , I do now believe that James if anything is now showing further signs that he’s yet to mature as an individual. Winning they say “cures all” and that may well be the case as clearly James yearns to be seen as a winner _ an Olympic gold medal and two time league MVP pales into comparison when you can say “look at me I’m an NBA champion” ? And that is literally what is biting at LeBron James at this juncture as he’s seen his peers in Kobe Bryant having won twice since his entry into the NBA and that of elder statesman Kevin Garnett lead the Boston Celtics’ team to their most recent title win. James doesn’t want to be viewed as the player all the hype was created over and at the end of the day he simply has nothing to show for it after 5 years in the league. Impatient as he may well be , he’s simply got to learn that before you can earn respect you have to give respect to the game. And while undoubtedly he’s done a lot since his entrance into the NBA you get the feeling that the player feels that he’s entitled to have it all lavished upon him simply because of who he is ………. and the fact that he’s the self anointed ‘King James’ global icon and superstar.

Whatever the season now holds not only for the Miami Heat but also the remaining 29 teams around the NBA, one thing is certain the scrutiny that the Heat will be placed under will show warts and all the underside of everything that’s good and bad about the game. Commissioner David Stern and the league’s hierarchy may well welcome this all, as it takes all eyes off the game’s state of affairs as it relates to the league’s ongoing negotiations with the NBPA (players’ union) and trying to renegotiate the league’s collective bargaining agreement. Take that from under the microscope and have this, a season long running roadshow and that might just keep the fans at bay and extremely happy. One way or another it’ll make a number of teams in the Eastern Conference exceedingly happy knowing that the Heat is part of their schedule and the same can be said of their counterparts in the Western Conference as there’ll be a great deal of money to be made for all parties concerned.

One thing that does placate this whole situation somewhat is that once the controversy has been created the easiest way to negate that all is to simply have money awash the whole scene and it’s so easy to forget what brought this all to the fore. Chances are a month from now all this will have died down and we’ll be talking about the Heat , how many games can they win and whom they may well face in the NBA Finals ? Not so fast may well be those dissenting voices who feel that the Miami Heat roadshow isn’t the only game in town as they’ve won nothing as of yet in their present guise. But it will be fun watching to see whether or not this team does prevail or if they simply fall by the wayside as some may well expect them to do. From my own view point I look at this all as a jigsaw puzzle that’s yet unfinished as there are so many pieces yet to fit into place. Once that the puzzle is finished then we’ll see the whole picture clear and as it’s meant to be.

For LeBron James, he brought up the subject of ‘race’ and the ‘tabooed boogie man’ was nowhere to be seen ……… no hooded horseman ranting and shouting racial epithets . So it begs the question what was this all about in the first place ? Ego once again quite possibly ? Or is it James and his handlers wanting to court the press merely because he wants to be viewed as the face of the NBA ? Clearly he’s still not happy at his perceived treatment by Dan Gilbert and the remarks that were made by the owner after his departure. But as I alluded to earlier the evidence shows that neither party handled the situation well and in fact they both showed the petulant behavior of a rather infantile child . Common sense still hasn’t prevailed and it’s unlikely to at this juncture .

==============================================================================

==============================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal . By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original sized format.

James’ statement as you view it , do you feel that he makes a valid point ? In his making the claim the way he was treated by Gilbert had to do with his race was one of the reasons he left the franchise, do you truly believe that there’s any veracity behind his argument ? Chime in with a comment as to your thoughts on the matter and anything else that might be of interest to you with regard to the NBA and its ongoing story-lines.

NB James’ manager Maverick Carter reiterated in an interview conducted with a journalist from CNN that ‘race’ did play a part in the player’s decision to leave the team.

To read more about the Little Rock Nine simply click on the link provided . Little Rock Nine

Brown vs. Board of Education …

Alan aka tophatal …….. 🙂 _ 😦 _ 🙂

============================================

Candace-Cabrera

Eye candies courtesy of Smooth Magazine . Candace Cabrera

========================================

Candace-2

More ‘candy’ Candace for us all and that has got to be a good thing don’t you think ?

========================================

Winding Down Or Winding Up As The Case Maybe

Winding Down Or Winding Up As The Case Maybe

Like me I suppose for the rest of you the topic and I do mean topic of conversation in the sports world may well have rested on LeBron James’ announcement that he was leaving Cleveland to resume his NBA career in Miami with the Miami Heat . Glasses were raised on South Beach while the once loyal fans of James in Cleveland showed their “disdain” for the player by burning his jersey replicas and whatever else they had in their possession associated with player. Not to be outdone Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert had a scalding reprimand for the player and essentially called him a coward.

Now far be it for me to show no real concern over this but once ESPN and their reporter Jim Gray chose to bilk this story for far more than it was worth , I essentially became tired of the story and of James the self appointed ” King” without a kingdom . Now don’t get me wrong with James now joining the Heat along also the recently acquired Chris Bosh to play with Dwyane Wade . This has now in essence made the Heat the presumptive favorites in the Eastern Conference and a legitimate challenger to the Los Angeles Lakers and the defense of their NBA title .

===============================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

===============================================================================

Slide-show gallery for your perusal. Use arrow indicators for speed and direction in which you which to proceed while watching the display.

Now while all of this has come into play perhaps the two proudest and most certainly the happiest are Heat team President Pat Riley and the team’s multi-billionaire owner Micky Arison who also happens to be the owner of Carnival Cruise Lines . My concern now has to be for the Heat’s coach Erik Spoelstra , given the fact that Riley engineered this coup-d’etat with little or no input from his coach. And with that in mind I wonder if Spoelstra will go now the same way of his predecessor Stan Van Gundy ? We all know that Van Gundy was relieved of his position so that Riley could make a quick exit from his executive position to take charge of the team win an a title and then relinquish the coach’s position and make a quick return back to his executive duties. Could this once again happen given the fact that the Heat now has Bosh , James and Wade all on the same team and with the lure there for Riley to return to the fray of coaching ? If I were Spoelstra at this juncture I’d be deeply concerned and looking over my shoulder with each passing second to see if Riley were there and whether or not he had a dagger in his hand !

Now while this has been going on the African continent and the country of South Africa has been hosting the World Cup. Outside the Summer Olympics this might just be the most watched sporting event and spectacle on the planet. FIFA President Joseph (“Sepp”) Blatter says that he expects as many as 700 million viewers worldwide to tune in and watch the finals itself. It has now all come down to this with the 64th and final game of the competition between Spain and the Netherlands . And though Spain would prevail as the 1-0 victors from a goal scored by Andres Iniesta in overtime , the game itself was something of a monotonous bore. With each team failing to convert a number of chances during regulatory play. As to what this might suggest to the first time observer of the sport I’ll leave that up to you to decide !

The most recent edition of FHM an adult oriented male magazine dealing in a wide range of topics issued their list of the “100 Sexiest Women In The World” and specifically dealt with their final top ten . Nothing wrong in that by my way of thinking but then again not all heterosexual males might well feel happy with FHM’s findings and their end result. Much like Maxim Magazine has its own list of their Top 100 Most Desirable Females , I for one feel that it’s something of a trade off in order to create some hype and controversy between the two publications on their observations and then leaving it for their patrons to continue to argue over or discuss !

And amongst FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women (2010) they have Desire Siahaan , Freida Pinto , Megan Fox and slew of bodacious looking females that would be enough to make a guy salivate and drool like a newborn child . But then again what grown man doesn’t when looking at a voluptuous and beautiful female ? My own thoughts on the matter goes with the old saying ………..”beauty is in the eye of the beholder” .

========================================================================

========================================================================


Picture gallery for your perusal. Click on frame to see the picture in its original format.

Chime in with a comment if you so wish and your thoughts on the sporting weekend in general.

NB: Click on the link provided to view the list of FHM’s Sexiest Women In The World For 2010 . You will most certainly enjoy this pictorial . And that I can assure you will be the least of your concerns !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………….. 🙂

Black Sheep ………………………. “The Choice Is Yours”

And The Winners Are

And The Winners Are

Well now that we know that LeBron James will resume his professional NBA career elsewhere there are now bound to be winners and losers amongst this all. Obviously the biggest losers here are the Cleveland Cavaliers’ organization , the city of Cleveland and the team’s now once again emotionally stricken fans. The team hierarchy of Dan Gilbert gave it his best shot but it became abundantly clear that he and GM Chris Grant were out of their depth and faced an uphill battle to entice the player to remain with the team. They’d done nothing to assure the player that they were serious in acquiring the talent to make the team better! . And the hiring of Byron Scott was too little and much too late .

The fallout from this is now clear as James will be now viewed as a pariah by the fans who many of which will have felt that he betrayed them. Furthermore for the businesses in the city of Cleveland this will come a boon to them with the thought that James will no longer be there. Especially given the fact that at home games at Quicken Loans Arena ___ business was brisk for businesses there that catered to the fans. The ramifications now will be devastating for all within the sector.

===========================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

===========================================================================

Slide-show gallery for your perusal . Use the arrow indicator control the direction and speed of the slide frames .

With James having made his decision known in a public interview granted to ESPN last night. Let’s just say that once it became formal, a weight had been lifted off the shoulders of Art Modell , long felt and often thought of as the most reviled and despised person in the history of Cleveland area sports. In the space of thirty seconds last night, once LeBron had uttered the words “I’ll be leaving Cleveland to sign with the Miami Heat those words were like a dagger to the heart of the Cavaliers’ fans . Never mind the fact that another half a dozen teams around the league may have felt that they were in with a chance of signing the player.

Courtesy of USA Today

LeBron adds to history of Cleveland sports setbacks

By Nichole Auerbach , USA Today

Cleveland’s sports history took another hit Thursday when LeBron James announced he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat. Cleveland fans remember these events all too well:

PHOTO GALLERY: LeBron James in pictures
GAME ON! LeBron vs. Modell
NUMBERS: LeBron’s career stats

The Drive: The Cleveland Browns were less than six minutes from a 20-13 victory in the AFC Championship Game and the organization’s first trip to the Super Bowl, in January 1987. The Denver Broncos muffed the kickoff, and quarterback John Elway took over at the Broncos’ 2-yard line.

Six passes, three rushes and a couple of Elway scrambles later, Denver had tied the score with 37 seconds left. The Broncos won in overtime with a field goal.

The Fumble: A year after The Drive, the Broncos had a seven-point lead with four minutes to play in the AFC Championship Game vs. Cleveland in January 1988.

The Browns moved the ball to the Broncos’ 8-yard line with 1:12 left in the game. Running back Earnest Byner got the handoff, took off for the end zone but was stripped by Jeremiah Castille and fumbled at the 2-yard line.

Denver recovered, gave the Browns an intentional safety and won 38-33.

Cleveland is one of four NFL teams never to have reached the Super Bowl.

The Shot: In the fifth and deciding game of the first round of the 1989 NBA playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliers had a 100-99 lead against the Chicago Bulls with three seconds left.

Michael Jordan got the inbounds pass and shot over defender Craig Ehlo. The basket counted at the buzzer, leaving the Cleveland crowd stunned, the first of many such game-winning shots in Jordan’s playoff career.

The Move:Art Modell, who owned the Browns for 35 years, had promised he would never move the team from Cleveland. But after the 1995 season, he began secret discussions with the state of Maryland about placing a team in Baltimore, which had lost the Colts to Indianapolis in 1984.

When the move was announced, fan reaction was overwhelmingly negative. Cleveland sued for breach of the stadium lease. The Browns franchise was ultimately deactivated for three years. With the 1999 season, the NFL gave the city an expansion team, which took the Browns name and colors.

The Collapse: The Cavaliers were the top seed in the Eastern Conference this past season after 61 wins. Led by James’ 31.8 points a game, Cleveland cruised through the first round vs. the Bulls.

In the second round, the Cavs took a 1-0 series lead on the Boston Celtics. Boston won Game 2 on Cleveland’s court, but the Cavaliers buried the Celtics 124-95 in Game 3 in Boston. The series seemed all but over.

Inexplicably, the Cavs came out flat the next three games and couldn’t score more than 88 points in three consecutive losses. James, at times, looked uninterested. The conference’s top team was knocked out, leaving James still looking for his first championship and Cavaliers fans wondering if they had seen the last of him in a home uniform.

The Decision: Or, as Cleveland fans will see it, The Failed Decision.

ESPN’s one-hour special, The Decision, sent Cleveland fans into a frenzy before James revealed where he would next play. He not only angered them by abandoning his hometown team but also humiliated them in what they saw as an over-the-top, prime-time debacle.

======================================================================

For Pat Riley team President of the Miami Heat and their multi billionaire owner Micky Arison this must have felt like Christmas had come early and for the fans of the Heat and especially those in the luxurious enclave of South Beach , this just further adds to the visibility and vitality of the area. For Dwyane Wade , Chris Bosh to now have James as a teammate this now makes the Miami based team the presumptive favorites within the Eastern Conference for the upcoming season. Anyone of the belief that the addition of James doesn’t immediately impact the odds of that statement had better seek psychiatric help . And for the team’s instate rivals the Orlando Magic whose lone move in the free agency market has been to sign backup point guard Chris Duhon from the New York Knicks . In due deference they might as well have signed the female who does the Pine Sol ads on television for all the good that will do. Magic GM Otis Smith is either naïve or he clearly believes to remain as they are will still make the team a contender. Given the lack of tenacity shown by the likes of Rashard Lewis , Vince Carter and the rare glimpses of brilliance shown by Dwight Howard in the NBA playoffs one seriously doubts that the Stan Van Gundy coached team will genuinely have what it takes to take down a newly revamped Miami Heat team.

While the immediate fallout hasn’t been lost on the fans the hierarchy of the NBA must have been rubbing their hands in delight knowing that this subject will become the water cooler topic of discussion for months to come in the off season until the new season resumes.Think of it as the NBA’s own version of the ongoing Brett Favre saga , only it‘s not about “will he or won‘t he “ ? But in actuality it‘s how the hell did that happen and how did the Heat pull off this coup d’etat ? In actuality this outcome was in the making the moment that all there players, Bosh , James and Wade sat down and broke bread together discussing their immediate future. And all of the subterfuge created with their multiple meeting with different teams was merely to keep the writers on their toes and build up the suspense for James’ announcement last night.

The New York Knicks for their part under GM Donnie Walsh thought that they were in with a very good shot of signing LeBron but given the fact that the nucleus of the team they had about as much synergy as oil and water mixing. Mike D’Antoni while being an admirable coach just doesn’t seem to be a person that a character such as LeBron James can learn a lot from, much less have respect for. And for spirited Knicks’ fans, think of the experience as something that you can learn from. If it hasn’t been enough with the moronic belief that because you were in the biggest market you gave the player the best opportunity to win an NBA title. No, the only opportunity being offered was the lure of Madison Ave to the player. Common sense would tell you that from the beginning but then again are they are any enlightened Knicks’ fans about ?

The New Jersey Nets were never in with a really serious chance of landing James despite his close friendship with rapper Jay-Z . So unless LeBron is interested in the pursuit of a rap career at some point in his future , then that baby has just been laid to rest once and for all !

It was felt that other than the Cavaliers __ the Chicago Bulls were the best bet to land the player. And given the proactive moves made by team executives John Paxson and GM Gar Forman with the team were some $30 million under the NBA salary cap. Everything seem to have pointed to the fact that an aggressive pursuit would be underway to land the talented league MVP . But things don’t always go as planned and with a wily veteran such as Pat Riley waiting in the wings . Let’s just say it was like watching an anaconda survey its surroundings before devouring its prey while everyone else watched. Unfortunately the Bulls are now left with little more than their pride intact and not much else to show for their pursuit. Michael Jordan isn’t about to walk back into the United Center to suit up anytime soon as he’s got the Charlotte Bobcats now to deal with. Ergo Chicago , you’ve just been punk’d !

You have to hand to it Pat Riley , he’s not only a move and a shaker but the guy can make it rain. How else can you explain it wherein he signs the three of the biggest free agents on the market at reduced salaries with little more than a three to five year commitment ? Screw that, Barack Obama should hire him in some capacity within his administration and to hell with the likes Tim Geithner and Ken Salazar . That duo is led with the responsibility of one, trying to reverse the economic downturn and the other to deal with BP Gulf oil spill disaster. And I’d hazard a guess if push came to shove that Pat Riley could pull a rabbit out of his ass and it wouldn’t hurt in the slightest ! Which begs the question what’s happening in the Gulf and is there an end in sight ? Does anyone really know ?

==================================================================

==================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

OK so it now comes down to this, how long will it take for the Cavaliers’ fans to perhaps forgive and forget ? And if they do, will they be comfortable in the fact that while LeBron James was with the team they all enjoyed a glorious ride ?. Unfortunately, what the future now holds for the team doesn’t appear to be a pleasant one and it points to a situation where they could now go into free fall and become one of the more inept teams within the NBA. As a dispassionate observer on the outside looking in, my condolences go out to the Cavaliers’ fans but at the same I think that they were somewhat naïve to think that the player wasn’t going to come to the decision that he did. I mean , what were meant to be the pointers to suggest that he was about to remain with the team ? Does anyone care to evaluate and then offer up an answer ? Chime on in with a comment and thanks as always for the continued support as it has always been gratefully appreciated . Thanks once again !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………………

Rick Ross ………………………. “Push It”

Reality tv star Shay aka “Bucky”

Hey Pat You’re Going ’bout Things The Wrong Way ……… Dwyane Ain’t Comin’ Back If The Heat Are This Bad !

Hey Pat You’re Going ’bout Things The Wrong Way ……… Dwyane Ain’t Comin’ Back If The Heat Are This Bad !

If you thought that billionaire cruise line operator and NBA sport’s franchise owner , Micky Arison had problems, then you’d be absolutely right. The economic downturn being what it is, Arison and his company, Carnival Cruise Lines , has seen something of a drop-off in not only revenues but also in terms of passengers being able to afford cruises aboard his luxury vessels and cruise liners. A marketing push has been started by the company to lure passengers back to the fine art of cruising , traveling the seas and enjoying one’s self amongst the camaraderie on-board a cruise ship .

<strong>  Pat Riley (l), Erik Spoelstra , team  head coach (center) and  right  ,team owner , Micky  Arison </strong>.    Here  the  three are  seen  after  the   formal  announcement  had  been  made  that  Riley  would  return  to the front office  of  the   Miami  Heat  to  resume his  duties  as  President of  Basketball Operations   and  General Manager of the  team.   Spoelstra  would  assume  the  position  as  coach  of the  Miami   Heat.   photo  appears   courtesy of   Associated Press /  Mark   Thomas   ..............
Pat Riley (l), Erik Spoelstra , team head coach (center) and right ,team owner , Micky Arison . Here the three are seen after the formal announcement had been made that Riley would return to the front office of the Miami Heat to resume his duties as President of Basketball Operations and General Manager of the team. Spoelstra would assume the position as coach of the Miami Heat. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Mark Thomas ..............

Arison for all of his brilliance as a businessman has seen limited success with his sport’s endeavors , with regard to his ownership of the Miami Heat. Granted, the franchise has to its name , its lone NBA title won (2006) under the tutelage of NBA coaching great, Pat Riley. But since that win , with both Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal< at the helm to lead the charge to NBA championship glory. Things for the franchise have literally cooled off. Were it to get any colder , then the streets of Miami and South Beach would be littered with ice , several inches of snow , sledges, Eskimos and Alaskan huskies. That’s how bad things have now gotten for the team and their young head coach, Erik Spoelstra. The coach was Riley’s hand picked successor, having succeeded the NBA legend , after his return to the Heat’s front office as President of Basketball Operations and the team’s de-facto General Manager. Power they say ‘corrupts’ but for Pat Riley , it seems to be an elixir that even he simply can’t ever seem to get enough of . It was the same way when he was the head coach of the New York Knicks and it may well have been the thing that led to his abrupt departure from the franchise , after his contentious relationship with team owner, James Dolan.

<strong> Dwyane Wade (#3) </strong> of the Miami Heat lays one in against the Toronto Raptors during a game on January 27, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  photo  appears courtesy  of  <strong> NBAE/Getty Images/</strong> Ron  Turner  .................
Dwyane Wade (#3) of the Miami Heat lays one in against the Toronto Raptors during a game on January 27, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Ron Turner .................

The relationship between Riley , Arison and Spoelstra, on the face of it seems to be a pleasant one. With each individual doing what’s needed to make the organization productive and a well ran business concept and entity. However, on the field of play the Heat are having their problems and by all accounts underachieving. The standings being what they are at present continues to bear this out. Within the Eastern Conference the team has posted a 23-22 mark that puts it two games over .500. A challenge at best for a team that was expected to be amongst the elite within the conference this season. But we are talking about the Eastern Conference where a .500 record can garner you a playoff berth at the end of the regular season. And I’m to believe that’s meant to be competitive ?

<strong> Chris Bosh (#4)</strong> of the Toronto Raptors celebrates a basket late in the game against<strong> Jermaine O'Neal (#7) </strong>of the Miami Heat during a game on January 27, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The  Raptors  would  go  on  to defeat the  Heat  <strong>111-103 </strong> in  the  match-up  between  the   two   Eastern  Conference  foes.  photo  appears  courtesy  of  <strong> NBAE/Getty Images/</strong>  Ron Turner  ...............
Chris Bosh (#4) of the Toronto Raptors celebrates a basket late in the game against Jermaine O'Neal (#7) of the Miami Heat during a game on January 27, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Raptors would go on to defeat the Heat 111-103 in the match-up between the two Eastern Conference foes. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Ron Turner ...............

Based on that record the Heat as a team would garner the sixth seed in the conference , were the playoffs to start today. And within the Southeast Dvision the Heat now lies in third place behind the surprise division leading, Atlanta Hawks (29-14) , with in second place, last season’s Eastern Conference representatives in the NBA Finals, the Orlando Magic (29-16). And beneath the Miami Heat within the division are the Charlotte Hornets (22-22) followed by the last plaaced and woefully inept Washington Wizards(14-30). The standout teams within the division this season are Atlanta Hawks and the Orlando Magic. And it would appear that both will be contesting the divisional honors based on their present form. The same cannot be said of the Heat , as they have lacked consistency and Dywane Wade has been lacking in support from his teammates. And one well understand the frustrations behind the player and his lack to make a full commitment to the team, as it concerns his immediate future. At the end of the season Wade become an unrestricted free agent. And he, alongside LeBron James are thought to be the most prized assets of what likely will be ‘a blockbuster crop of talent laden stars’ on the open market.


Courtesy of Miami Herald

Miami Heat’s Jermaine O’Neal could be dealt for Amar’e Stoudemire

By M Wallace , Miami Herald

Toronto — The last time center Jermaine O’Neal was traded, he was involved in just about every step of the negotiation process in his move last February from the Raptors to the Miami Heat.

If the Heat has any plans to move O’Neal and his $23 million expiring contract before next month’s trade deadline, the 14-year veteran apparently is not aware of them.

O’Neal could be a major cog involved in a potential deal if the Heat is serious about acquiring Amare Stoudemire from Phoenix.

The Heat has been mentioned among a half-dozen teams that might pursue a trade for Stoudemire if the Suns make him available. Stoudemire has a $17 million contract option for the 2010-11 season, but could opt out after this season to join free-agent class highlighted by Cleveland’s LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

League and team sources confirmed Wednesday the Heat is in its “due diligence” process, something team president Pat Riley does when a big-name player surfaces who could help Miami.

Despite concerns at times over his role, O’Neal is not believed to have publicly or privately asked to be traded, and would like to make it work in Miami. The Heat seemed committed to O’Neal for the season and had not ruled out trying to resign him.

Riley’s plan has been to maintain enough salary-cap space this summer to re-sign Wade, add another maximum-level player and also convince a third star free agent to take less money on what would be a title contender.

If Miami is reluctant to package second-year forward Michael Beasley in a potential offer for Stoudemire, then O’Neal and a first-round pick might entice Phoenix.

Such a package could be constructed under salary-matching guidelines that would allow the Heat to swap O’Neal for Stoudemire and still get beneath the league’s $71.2 million luxury-tax threshold.

Riley has said Miami is about $2.5 million over the tax and is intent on getting under it.

=======================================
In order to read this article in its entirety just
click on the link provided herein
=======================================

Fearful of the fact that he could lose the player to free agency , Pat Riley has sought to do almost everything within his power to try and persuade the player to stay. Wade for his part, has said all of the right things but at the same time he’s been critical of the organization and none committal as to his immediate plans for the future and whether not the Miami Heat are part of those plans. Which leaves the Heat fans thinking that they could be once again facing those dark days wherein the team was merely used as a stop off point for South Beach by an opponent and at the same time as ‘cannon fodder’ in an NBA contest. Well that would appear to be the scenario were Dywane Wade not a part of this team in the future. And the Heat certainly hasn’t helped its cause with the understated play of Michael Beasley . Nor has it helped that aged veteran, Jermaine O’Neal appears to be at least five steps too slow from his prominent days where he was considered to be a top ten performer in the league. Such has been the falloff in his play that one wonders why he’s still on the Heat’s roster ? Beasley for his part, has had his moments but they’ve also been overshadowed by his private off the field issues.

<strong> Michael Beasley (#30)</strong> of the Miami Heat throws down the dunk ahead of <strong>Hedo Turkoglu (#26)</strong>  of the Toronto Raptors during a game on January 27, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  <strong>photo  appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/</strong>  Ron  Turner  ...............
Michael Beasley (#30) of the Miami Heat throws down the dunk ahead of Hedo Turkoglu (#26) of the Toronto Raptors during a game on January 27, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Ron Turner ...............

One can surmise that until Beasley’s mindset is completely on basketball , then he’ll continue to disappoint not only the Miami Heat fans but also those of Kansas State (Wildcats), where Beasley attended college. It’s too early yet to conclude that Beasley has been ‘a complete bust’ in the NBA. But given the fact that a player of the caliber of Kevin Durant is lighting up the NBA with his enormous presence and phenomenal play. Albeit, that he preceded Beasley by a year in the NBA Draft. Whilst Durant’s game has steadily progressed with each year ,for Beasley it has been just moments of rare glimpses of brilliance and little much else. So much so, that is was widely believed around the league that Riley might pursue a trade of the young player, feeling that a change of environment might to be better Beasley altogether. However, there ‘were no takers’ for the number 2 overall pick from the 2008 NBA Draft , where the overall pick was the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose. Far be it for me to suggest that in making the pick, Riley erred on the side of caution. But given the facts and the play of Rose during the NCAA tournament of that year. It would’ve proven to be fortuitous had he chosen Rose over Beasley by having initiated a change of picks with the Bulls on draft day. But as they say ‘……hindsight sight is 50/50’ ? For Pat Riley this wasn’t necessarily about hindsight but poor judgment by him and the entire Heat coaching staff on the day.

There’s no bone of contention however, that for the Miami Heat to retain Dywane Wade , then the play of note Beasley will have to improve but so too will the play of Jermaine Neal and the entire Heat roster for that matter ! They face enough of an uphill task as it is trying to hold unto the sixth seed within the Eastern Conference. The struggles of this Miami Heat team paints an ominous picture were they to miss the playoffs entirely. So acute now is their situation that Heat coach, Erik Spoelstra , has to be looking over his shoulders to see if Riley will step down from his palatial executive suite in the front office of the organization to return to coaching, relegating his young protoge’ back to the assistants’ bench. After-all he’d done it once before with Spoelstra’s predecessor, Stan Van Gundy, on his way to coaching the team to his fifth NBA titleas a coach and the team’s first and only championship in their entire existence. The latter scenario may not happen but given the present situation , anything is possible at this juncture.

For the Miami Heat fans this may not be something that they can envisage or stomach. And that’s a team without the best player in team history no longer being part of the organization or even the fabric of the local community. Dwyane Wade’s appearances and his philanthropic efforts in the community and beyond have been well documented. And Wade’s recent efforts in not only raising awareness of the Haitian crisis within the community but also putting on a fundraiser amongst fans and members of the team , speaks well as to how much as to how beloved he is within the community but also in the City of Miami. He has in effect become their ‘favorite son’ .

If the Heat are to fare well throughout the remainder of the season , then it will have to be through a collective effort by the team as well as the entire coaching staff. And with trade deadline just around the corner it will be very interesting to see whether or not Riley will be a player in the market , either by trading a player or acquiring one that’ll be of benefit to the team. But it has become very clear to see that the initial gamble made by Riley in the draft hasn’t paid off at all . But where success is now judged by the immediacy of the here and now and what have you done for me lately ? This might well prove to be the last chance for Pat Riley to show us all how good a personnel executive he really is . If he and Erik Spoelstra can’t turn things around then for all sense and purpose they might as well wave goodbye as Dwyane Wade departs from the city of Miami and away from Miami Heat, also. There’s a sense of inevitability that this is about to happen. But as alluded to earlier , Pat Riley will do his damn best to make sure that scenario doesn’t take place in the very near future.

What are your thoughts if any on the possible or imminent departure of Dwyane Wade from the Miami Heat ? Do you believe that it is likely to happen or not ?


Ever  wanted  to  know  what  a   female  JAG  lawyer  looks  like out  of   uniform  ?  Well  here's   your  chance.  It's  Catherine  Bell   from  the  CBS  hit  show  <strong> 'JAG'  </strong>  of  which   Bell  played  US Marine  Cpt  and  lawyer <strong> 'Sarah Mackenzie' </strong> .   A  role   which  she  played  for   six   years  on  the network.    The  spin-offs   from  the  show  has  been   NCIS   and   its   counterpart  NICS-Los  Angeles.  Both  shows are   <strong> bonafide hits  </strong for  the  network.    And   Bell  to  my  mind  is  a hit  in   or  out  of   uniform .

Catherine Bell, the former star of the CBS hit action-drama ‘JAG’. On the show Bell player US Marine lawyer and‘ Lt. Colonel , Sarah Mackenzie. Let’s just say in or out of uniform , Bell looks ‘damn fine’ !

And as an added treat , here’s a video covering Bell’s photo shoot for FHM . Can we praise Bell for showing us some skin ? Yes we can as it’s change that we can all believe in !

50 cent ‘drops it’ for Pat Riley as a reminder as to what’s needed. ‘Window Shopper’

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………. 🙂