And The Oscar For Best Drama , Best (Lead) Actor & Best Supporting Actor Goes To ……

And The Oscar For Best Drama, Best (Lead) Actor & Best Supporting Actor Goes To ……

By tophatal ……….

It’s beginning to get mightily disturbing in Lakers’ Nation with Kobe Bryant now voicing his disapproval about the lack of movement in terms of the personnel decisions now being made by Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss , son of team owner Dr Jerry Buss . Far be it for me to suggest but the rush to judgment in the hiring of Mike Brown doesn’t appear to have been a decision that sat well with Bryant and a number of his teammates . Then add in the fact that former Sixth Man of the Year Lamar Odom was traded to the Dallas Mavericks . And the deal itself was handled so haphazardly it now begs the question who the hell just happens to be now making the decisions within the front office of the organization ? I mean it’s not as if Kupchak is said to have sought the player’s input as to who should succeed Phil Jackson , after the famed coach formally announced his retirement from the Lakers and professional basketball altogether . Jackson rides off into the sunset with his legacy firmly set and without a doubt the most successful coach in North American professional sports’ history .

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Slide show for your perusal .

Mike Brown for his part knew that the job would mark a turning point in his career after his successful tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers . A part of this whole drama as it plays itself might just be down to the fact that the Los Angeles Clippers instead of the Los Angeles Lakers , are now are the “biggest show “ in La-La Land by far. And for the first time in recent history it would appear to be the Clippers , themselves , who are actually the biggest draw at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California , the venue shared by both franchises as their home-court arena . Also playing a part in the discontent amongst Bryant and the Lakers’ players , was the mere fact that with David Stern pulling the plug on what was meant to be a multi-player blockbuster trade that would have brought Chris Paul to the Lakers from the New Orleans Hornets . It simply placed the franchise in a predicament from which they simply were unable to extricate themselves from .

Courtesy of the LA Times

Who ultimately will win between Kobe Bryant and Mitch Kupchak?

Kobe Bryant lashed out at Lakers management after Sunday’s loss to Phoenix, saying that the constant trade rumors involving Pau Gasol since before the season started are taking their toll on the team.

Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss who will come out on top in this latest perceived battle between the Lakers star and General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Check back throughout the day for more responses and join the discussion with a comment of your own.

Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times

It’s no contest, really. Did Mitch Kupchak listen when Kobe Bryant wanted out of Los Angeles a few summers back? Did Kupchak hear that Bryant wanted Jason Kidd and subsequently ship out Andrew Bynum? Did Kupchak call the Dallas Mavericks and request that they send back Lamar Odom upon learning that Bryant was upset with the deal?

Bryant whines and Kupchak wins in the battle between superstar player and his GM. And that’s the way it should be, unless the Lakers want to give Bryant a dual role of making the baskets and calling the shots. He’s having enough trouble with the former task as it is.

Ultimately, Kupchak will decide whether he can improve the Lakers by dealing Pau Gasol before the March 15 trade deadline and Bryant will be left telling us how he feels about the move but powerless to do anything about it.

K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune

Forgive Mitch Kupchak if he yawns. Of course, yawning can cause one to close his or her eyes, and the Lakers’ general manager certainly isn’t going to blink during this latest installment of “Days of Our Kobe ” .

Look, Kobe and Kupchak are far more similar than different, wired to win at all costs. Kupchak may do so in a far more behind-the-scenes, and less expletive-filled, manner. But both bleed purple and gold and victories. So Kupchak, as usual, will win in this latest mini-personnel pull. Remember when Kobe demanded to be traded in the summer of 2007? That was how many NBA Finals appearances ago?

The Lakers no longer are among the NBA’s elite. But no matter what Kobe demands regarding resolution for Pau Gasol, expect Kupchak to make the best move to try to put the Lakers back in position to be elite again. That’s what Kupchak’s impressive track record has proven through the various chatter of Kobe, Shaq, even World Peace.

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With Paul now linking up with Blake Griffin and providing an offensive one-two punch that seems to be working for Vinny Del-Negro and his players . While the Clippers’ star is on the rise the Lakers’ seems to be on the decline with the inconsistent play coming from a number of players on this team . Never mind the fact that the point guard play from Steve Blake and Derek Fisher has been anything but productive .

Now as productive as Bryant has been he simply cannot do it all by himself and that is giving due credit to Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum when that particular duo sees fit to string together consecutive games where their productivity enhances the play of the team . So far it has been one of highs and lows for the center and power forward over the course of this season .

I can understand that the hierarchy within the Los Angeles Lakers wanted to move on in the aftermath of Phil Jackson’s retirement but to my mind Buss and Kupchak erred in having Mike Brown succeed Phil Jackson , as I felt that they had a ready-made replacement in Brian Shaw , who at the time was Jackson’s assistant on his coaching staff. Shaw , himself a former Lakers’ player had success with the franchise during his professional career before stepping down and becoming an assistant to his mentor.

Sunday , the Los Angeles Lakers were the guests of the Phoenix Suns in a game that has in many ways mirrored the inconsistency of the team this season. Suns’ coach Alvin Gentry had his players playing at a high level and with seasoned veterans such as Steve Nash and Grant Hill simply defying age as they made the younger players on the Lakers’ roster seem like novices . It’s crazy but not so long ago but I felt that the Suns were down and out and but a trade away from imploding altogether . Instead it would appear that Gentry has the players believing in themselves and the message that he is imploring them with may well be finally sinking in. And although of late their they’re on a losing streak a number of those games have hard-fought battles that could have gone either way .

In 2010 the claims were being made that the Lakers had the most well-balanced team in the league with its bench being the very best in the NBA . Well as we all know that was sheer bunkum , with that team simply being outplayed when it mattered most , during the postseason . This season it’s hard to see how a roster where the bench players are Luke Walton , Matt Barnes , Josh McRoberts , Troy Murphy , Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris . Not exactly the names that would tend to send shivers down an opponent’s spine , you’d think .

Monday night the Lakers play hosts to the Portland Trailblazers (17-15) in a game that will tell us a great deal about the directions that both teams are said to be heading in. The Northwest Division has the high-flying the Oklahoma City Thunder leading the division and conference and now are clearly bound to be the #1 seed for the Western Conference given the playoff picture at present.

Mike Brown needs to get his players focussed but more so, he needs to his players buying into a strategy that has them playing with a great deal of resolve . As for Mitch Kupchak , he now knows that something now has to be done in terms of bolstering the roster . A competent and productive point guard is needed if they are to have any chance of going deep into the NBA postseason . And while there are wild speculations that Boston Celtics’ GM Danny Ainge may well seek to shop Rajon Rondo given the fact that the Celtics’ …. season now appears to be spiraling out of control . Were such a trade to take place with the point guard joining the Lakers , perhaps in exchange for a starter and a bench player , then one would have to view Rondo’s addition as an added advantage . This is a dilemma that I for one don’t believe that the Celtics’ front office might have contemplated but senior managing partner Wyc Grousbeck now may well have to consider and do what’s best for the franchise . From my own standpoint , to trade Rondo would be a boon to the franchise , albeit that the front office may well feel that is in their best interests to do so. But with an aging core of Allen , Garnett and Pierce , I feel that Doc Rivers and Ainge should have set about rebuilding this roster with a view to the future at least two years ago !

As the 2012 All Star Weekend approaches there are bound to a number of transactions being worked out by the general managers , coaches and owners as they seek how best to bolster their standings with a view to gaining a playoff berth . The moves that are liable to be made may well give us a much clearer indication as to the ambitions of a number of teams around the league . We will most certainly see the contenders simply looking to separate themselves from the so-called “pretenders” within the NBA in terms of the overall play this season .

Coming into this season I felt that the Los Angeles Lakers would be challenging within the Eastern Conference but in reality I knew that this team had its frailties ! A new coach , brought in to succeed a legend creates a handicap right from the outset and the fact that the choice in terms of that coach’s successor wasn’t one that was welcomed by everyone with open arms would suggest that sooner or later a great deal of turmoil would erupt and come to the fore . That has clearly been the case with the extraordinary outburst from Kobe Bryant that was essentially an expletive filled volley aimed squarely at the Lakers’ management and coaching staff . If that wasn’t enough of performance given the player’s own exploits on the court this season . Then I for one don’t know what is ! Someone is going to be , and should be held accountable for the unyielding drama that is now taking place in LA and specifically within the inner sanctum of the Los Angeles Lakers ! Any ideas as to where the finger-pointing should begin and be directed towards ? Chime in with your thoughts . The Lakers’ cause also , hasn’t been helped by the Clippers’ success this season and the very fact that they’re now the talk of the town in ” Tinseltown” , where a court-side seat and night out at an NBA game usually meant watching the Los Angeles Lakers . Not so much now , but when you now have the Los Clippers holding away amongst the fans in the City of Angels , it begs the question who deserves the nod for the Best Drama , Best (Lead) Actor and Best Supporting Actor ? This is one particular weekend , wherein , the Oscars could well be upstaged by the drama now unfolding within the Los Angeles Lakers’ franchise .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Where do you believe that the fault may well ultimately lay with regard to the drama now unfolding concerning the Los Angeles Lakers ? And do you believe that the team in its present guise is capable of winning another NBA title ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on this and other topic you believe to be relevant as it regards the NBA . And as usual thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

;)……… 🙂

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Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 17: Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers is presented with the Western Conference Player of the Week award from General Manager Mitch Kupchak before a game against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center on February 17, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. NBAE Getty Images / Evan Gole ……

(2) Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum , right, is guarded by Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge during the second half on an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 103-92 . AP Photo/Bret Hartman ……..

(3) Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher, right, works his way around Portland Trail Blazers forward Gerald Wallace during the second half on an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 103-92 . AP Photo/Bret Hartman …….

(4) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant , left, and Lakers forward Pau Gasol share a laugh after defeating the Portland Trail Blazers during an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Bret Hartman ……

(5) Mike Brown of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to play against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on February 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 103-92 . Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …..

(6) LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 20: Wesley Matthews (2) of the Portland Trail Blazers has his shot blocked by Andrew Goudelock (0) of the Los Angeles Lakers forcing a jump ball during the second half at Staples Center on February 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 103-92. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ….

(7) Raymond Felton (5) of the Portland Trail Blazers loses the ball as he falls in front of Steve Blake (5) and Troy Murphy (14) of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center on February 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …..

(8) Jim Buss, son of owner Jerry Buss is seen here with his father at a Lakers game last season . The son , along with his sister Jeanie Buss are senior executives within Los Angeles Lakers organization . It was at the recommendation of Jim Buss in consultation with GM Mitch Kupchak that Mike Brown was hired to succeed Phil Jackson , with final approval coming from Jerry Buss . AP Photo/ Chris Dickson …..

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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 !

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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 .

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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 …….. 🙂 _ 😦 _ 🙂

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Candace-Cabrera

Eye candies courtesy of Smooth Magazine . Candace Cabrera

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Candace-2

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

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Genie of the Lamp

Genie of the Lamp

I am not the genie of the lamp nor will I be providing any outright prognostications but will however say this concerning the reminder of the baseball season. Many things are expected of the Tampa Bay Rays and their dispassionate fans will be hoping that the team can really make it to their second World Series in three years and perhaps win their first title.

This Joe Maddon managed team is playing some great baseball and though the fans haven’t turned out in droves to support the team there’s still a hardcore base there that comes out to see the home team when they play at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida. We can attest to the fact that this team is very good it cannot be hidden that the Rays are no longer team that is easily intimidated. What we do know however is , if the support isn’t forthcoming from the community at large then this may well be the last hoo-rah for baseball within the community and Tampa Bay area as a whole. The front office of the organization have tried as they might to make it a going concern within the area but it all now seems to be for nought. Furthermore , the political and economic uncertainty still doesn’t make it a foregone conclusion that a new ballpark will be built for the team at some time in the future. And most certainly no one at this juncture is prepared to state who will end up financing such an endeavor . All we’ve tended to hear have been the sound bytes and not much else.

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Courtesy of St Petersburg Times


New stadium talks will wait until after the season ends

By Micheal Van Sickler , Time Staff Writer

ST. Petersburg — The Tampa Bay Rays and St. Petersburg officials have scrapped negotiations for a new stadium until after the last pitch of the World Series, sometime in November.

From the way negotiations have unfolded so far, they don’t agree on much.

Mayor Bill Foster said Wednesday that his offer last week to permit the Rays to leave Tropicana Field for a stadium anywhere in St. Petersburg and the greater Gateway area “was my best and final.”

Yet on Tuesday, Rays president Matt Silverman rejected this offer and said the club needs to consider all sites in the region, including Hillsborough County — which Foster said is off-limits.

“We’re really in uncharted territory,” said Rick Eckstein, co-author of the 2003 book Public Dollars, Private Stadiums. “If there’s going to be a standoff, it would be unprecedented.”

When it comes to Major League Baseball, cities cave and let teams out of iron-clad leases all the time, Eckstein said.

“The politicians see teams as huge trophies,” said Eckstein, a Villanova University sociology professor. “They don’t want to be associated with losing one. So if (St. Petersburg) holds to this, it would be revolutionary.”

Foster and City Attorney John Wolfe are relying on the city’s contract with the Rays, signed in 1995, to settle the conflict. The contract keeps the Rays at Tropicana Field through the 2027 season . If the Rays leave early, the contract says the city would be compensated for the economic loss.

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Now as we come down to the trade deadline __ 31st Julythere’s no sign that the team will be involved in any trades and at the same time they’re financially constrained by a budget that is meager the to say the very least. So much of what the fans will expect will come about from the resilience shown by the team on the field of play. Here’s hoping the Tampa Bay Rays can attain some success in the postseason .

Perhaps we’re all under the impression that having both TO and Ochocinco on the same team is a bad idea ? Now pardon me for saying this but Marvin Lewis and Carson Palmer are either in need of psychiatric help or they my well be unto something , with the combination of the two productive but lugubrious wide receivers. My guess and question would be , will there be enough balls on the field for two of the most bombastic and self promoting characters in the NFL ? Question who’s balls are actually bigger ? TO’s or Chad Ochocinco ?

To say that the Cincinnati Bengals have underperformed over the last few seasons certainly wouldn’t be stretching the truth. More to the point would be ,how it that Lewis is still an NFL coach is simply beyond me ! Let’s just say his idea of success when measured against the failures of his peers has me wondering what indeed is wrong the Bengalis’ hierarchy (front office) to begin with ? I can only surmise that team President Mike Brown woke from the midst of a nightmare and thought to himself what else can we as an organization can do to bring fans back to Paul Brown Stadium ? Hell if signing Owens was “his first” and “only option” then I’ve got several thousand acres of prime real estate in the Middle East that I’d like to sell to him …….. Kabul , Afghanistan to be more precise.

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

T.O. misses flight to Bengals camp

By Joe Kay, AP Sports Writer

Georgetown, Ky. (AP)—Terrell Owens missed his flight but got his number.

When he finally makes it to town—a little late—he’ll be wearing his familiar 81.

The Cincinnati Bengals’ latest addition missed his overnight flight from the West Coast and had to take a later one on Thursday, delaying his debut at training camp.

The Bengals had planned on him arriving early in the day, taking his physical and signing his one-year contract while the rest of the team held its first workout. They scheduled an introductory news conference after the morning practice.

The news conference had to be rescheduled for after the evening session. Coach Marvin Lewis wasn’t sure whether the 36-year-old receiver would arrive in time to work out.

On his Twitter account, Owens posted a note Wednesday night saying he was headed to see a movie. He didn’t explain why he missed his flight on Thursday, but confirmed that his news conference had to be rescheduled.

“My Press conf about my “Decision” 2 take my talents 2 Cincy will b held 2nite after 7pm practice!!” he tweeted, playing off LeBron James’ one-hour television show announcing his decision to leave Cleveland.

Owens also misspelled Cincinnati in one of his tweets and was quickly corrected by a follower.

“Okayyyyyy I got it now, 2 n’s & 1 t! CINCINNATI!! LOL!” he tweeted.

He’ll have to make a donation to keep his favorite uniform number.

Receiver Antonio Bryant got No. 81 when the Bengals chose him over Owens in the offseason, giving him a four-year deal. Bryant said after the morning practice that he had already talked to Owens and agreed to give up his number.
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The upcoming season with regard to the Cincinnati Bengals should go a long way in telling us about the team and the mindset of its management. Failure at this juncture and both Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens’ days in the NFL could very well be numbered.

Having worked in the field of high finance within the city of London , the “Square Mile” often known as the financial heartbeat of the world, as there are more trades done there than any other financial center across the globe. Two trillion dollars ($2,000,000,000,000) a day wouldn’t be beyond the stretch of one’s imagination concerning the volumes of the trades being worked through each day. Specialists in those fields were highly sought after and their expertise was richly rewarded. There was a gentleman’s agreement that when seeking to hire from beyond one’s domain common courtesy was sought in approaching a perspective hire by first seeking the approval of that person’s employer for making an approach. The same such situation now applies to the NFL . But it’d appear that USC’s __ Lane Kiffin doesn’t believe that such rules apply to him when it comes to the hiring of his coaching staff .

Kiffin in hiring the Tennessee Titans former assistant running backs’ coach Kennedy Pola did so without first seeking the team’s permission with an approach to an initial interview . At the time of his hiring Pola was still in contract negotiations with the Titans. Now we could make a case for the argument that with Pola’s negotiations were not going to well with the organization and it led to his leaving the Tennessee Titans. But what might prove to be more unacceptable was that while Pola was still in negotiation with the Titans , he was talking through back channels with Kiffin and the Trojans. This doesn’t stretch the credibility of Kiffin’s stance that this was merely an unfortunate turn of events as it only muddy’s the waters in trying to ascertain the real truth as to what went on. And clearly at this juncture no one from within the Trojans’ athletic department is prepared to make a public statement on the matter. Most certainly Kiffin, himself, has now become somewhat docile in giving a taciturn response. Whereas, within the Titans’ front office and that of the team’s coach Jeff Fisher there is a great deal of anger and disgust by Lane Kiffin’s actions and that of Kennedy Pola. With there being no outright action that can be taken the NFL , the Titans have seen fit to seek their right of recourse through the legal system.

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

USC’s Kiffin irks Titans’ Fisher with Pola hire

By Greg Beacham , AP Sports Writer

Los Angeles (AP)—Add Titans coach Jeff Fisher to the list of people Lane Kiffin had ticked off in Tennessee.

Kiffin hired Titans assistant coach Kennedy Pola on Saturday to be his offensive coordinator and running backs coach at Southern California, irking Fisher by failing to follow the usual protocol in courting another team’s assistant.

Fisher voiced his displeasure with his alma mater’s new head coach to the Tennessean newspaper, saying Kiffin hadn’t made the customary contact to tell the NFL team he was interested in Pola, a former USC player and assistant coach who joined the Titans after last season ended.

The move also left the Titans without a running backs coach one week before training camp opens.

“I am very disappointed in Lane Kiffin’s approach to this,” Fisher told the newspaper. “Typically speaking when coaches are interested in hiring or discussing potential employment from coaches on respective staffs there is a courtesy call made from the head coach or athletic director indicating there is an interest in talking to the assistant.

“So I am very disappointed in the lack of professionalism on behalf of Lane, to call me and leave me a voice mail after Kennedy had informed me he had taken the job. It is just a lack of professionalism.”

Kiffin attempted to rectify the damage later Saturday, finally reaching Fisher and discussing the abrupt move. Kiffin then issued a statement that didn’t exactly deny he had breached protocol, saying he first spoke to Pola on Friday, and then called Fisher on Saturday after Pola called him back, apparently to accept the job.

“I have spoken with Coach Fisher and he now has an accurate understanding of the timeline of events,” Kiffin said. “We realize the timing of this isn’t perfect for all parties, but this is a great opportunity and promotion for Kennedy.”

The state of Tennessee hardly needs another reason to dislike Kiffin, who infamously bolted from the Volunteers last January after just 14 months to take his self-described dream job at USC, leaving an angry mob in Knoxville.

Kiffin’s brief head coaching stints with the Oakland Raiders and Tennessee have been filled with minor missteps and conflicts, including an ugly feud with Raiders owner Al Davis and twice being reprimanded by the Southeastern Conference while he was with the Volunteers.

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Click on the above link to read in full.
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Monetary compensation may well be the only satisfactory compensation that the Titans may well find from this all should there be an adjudication in their favor. As for Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans , given the unwarranted publicity garnered from the sanctions brought down by the NCAA upon their heads. One would’ve thought that this would be last type of adverse publicity that they would want at this juncture. And Kiffin , given his predilection for being less than forthright when it comes to his honesty. I can only surmise that USC’s newly appointed athletics’ director Patrick Haden along with University President-elect C. L. Max Nikias will be looking to sit down with Kiffin for a somewhat prolonged tete-a-tete with the coach. Given the recent upheaval within the athletics department the last thing the university now needs is more egg on its face. But given the maneuvers of Lane Kiffin since his hiring by USC what other conclusions can one draw from this all at this juncture ? It’s not as Kiffin has gone out of his way to do everything by the book to begin with. He’s become more of a one man wrecking crew with his asinine remarks and his gung-ho attitude. And supposedly this is the guy the school actually sought out to succeed Pete Carroll ? Let’s just hope that he only brings along only half the controversy created by his predecessor for the university’s sake . If not then they could be in for a bumpy and unpleasant ride once again.


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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the various subject matters raised within this piece ? By all means chime on in with a comment and I’ll look forward to responding in due course. Once again thanks as usual for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………………… 🙂

Skip Bayless Says He’ll Get A Life Once LeBron James Wins An NBA Title

I don’t know which is worse – on air tv personalities covering sports by way of being so called sports journalists, politicians , lawyers or perhaps your local unwashed pan handler on the streets ? To my mind it may well be far too close a call between the aforementioned pan handler and a sports journalist. Especially the type we tend to see pop up on television , merely because the program director of the station thinks that they might have something interesting to say. Well, that appears to be the case with noted writer and sport’s journalist Skip Bayless of ESPN .

Bayless and the Cincinnati Bengals’ Chad Ocho Cinco discuss the player’s talent within the NFL on the ESPN program ‘ 1st And 10’ . Certainly a conversation between self absorbed individuals who’d rather listen to their own voice ,rather than what the other has to say.

Now don’t get me wrong, ESPN are entirely able to do as they please , with regard to their on air talent and how they proceed to use them in subjecting the viewer to a specific sport’s format for a television program. I mean, after-all, isn’t that why we watch some of their programming ? To be informed and to be entertained ? However, there has to be a point where the hype and insults have to stop and we’re given something more informative. Rather than the constant barb we tend to get from talk radio and that of the political diatribe served up there. And that’s continually served up for the public’s daily consumption. How did it ever get this bad or god-damn awful to begin with ? It’s not as if they , themselves provide any real political insight to begin with ? And the same can be sometimes said for the squawk boxes at ESPN and also at Fox , with regard to their coverage of sports on an undue basis ! In reality though, all of the major broadcast networks are in the same proverbial boat with regard to this particular subject.

Jarret Jack  of the  Toronto  Raptors   goes  up for the  layup while under  the  defensive  presence  of the  Cavaliers'   Shaquille  O'Neal  in  a  game  played  at  the  Air Canada Arena  in  Toronto , Canada.    picture  appears  courtesy  of  nbae/getty images/   Ron  Turenne  ................

Jarret Jack (1) of the Toronto Raptors goes for the layup while under the defensive presence of the Cavaliers’ Shaquille O’Neal (33) in a game played at the Air Canada Arena in Toronto , Canada. The Raptors would go on to defeat the Cavaliers 101-91 , despite the fact of a triple double by LeBron James during the game. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Ron Turenne ……

Skip Bayless , he of the coiffed hair-do, seems to think that whatever he says tends to be gospel. Whether or not he’s just being conceited , I’ll leave that up for you to decide ! And he plays his part with a great deal of aplomb. Never let it be said he doesn’t know how to play up to the camera and always show his best side, as the case maybe. Of late Bayless to whine and wax on lyrically as to how over-rated LeBron James of the NBA really is. What Bayless tends to all too often forget is , ” …… one man doesn’t a team make ” ! I’m now beginning to wonder whether or not Bayless was ever a college athlete or merely just a geek ? But then again, I may well be wrong as he could have been neither. And his main focus of this, is because James has yet to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA title .

While Bayless is entitled to his opinions valid or invalid as the case maybe. His constant need to bring up this subject and whine on about LeBron James now borders on being ridiculous. James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are still growing as a team . And Bayless continues to make comparisons of James to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, makes the case that he’s becoming something of an idiot to begin with ! It took Jordan a number of years to assimilate into the league, hone his skills and then to become a complete and great player. Am I missing something here ? But it wasn’t until Jordan had Scottie Pippen at his side with a platoon of role players who knew their roles,that things began to click for Jordan and the Bulls.And the rest as they say is history. Something that it appears that Skip Bayless seems to be forgetting at this juncture How soon one forgets !

Bayless and his fellow co-conspirators on ‘1st And 10’ , discuss the episode about LeBron James, after he was dunked on by a college player in an indoor gymnasium , not under game condition. This was essentially much ado about nothing. But this was essentially , considered to be newsworthy ? What the hell ?

And while Bayless still continues to pay homage to Jordan , to this day. It casts doubt as to the veracity of the case that he’s trying to make . Bearing in mind that the talent that James had around when the Cavaliers first went to the NBA Finals was little more than average at best. And there wasn’t a ‘ Pippen type player’ there to begin with. Nevertheless, they made it there, even if it was at the expense of being swept by by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2006-07 NBA Finals (4-0). Where the NBA Finals’ MVP was Tony Parker , who had a stellar series en route to winning the championship.

Cavaliers'   point guard  Mo  Williams (2)  drives  the  lane  as  he  makes  his   way  to  the  basket  against the  Toronto  Raptors  .  Attempting  to  supply  the  defensive   presence  is the  Raptors'  Jarrett  Jack .    picture appears  courtesy of  nbae/getty  images/  Ron  Turenne  ..................

Cavaliers’ point guard Mo Williams (2) drives the lane as he makes his way to the basket against the Toronto Raptors. Attempting to apply the defensive presence and stop, is the Raptors’ Jarrett Jack . picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Ron Turenne ……….

Now with the 2009-10 season having just opened and with the recently acquired ,Shaquille O’Neal at his side, for what will be a very interesting season for James and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ fans. For the further progression of LeBron James as a player,it’ll no doubt be interesting to see what Bayless now has up his sleeves by way of a commentary as to this new situation within the Cavaliers’ organization. Certainly one doesn’t expect him to as such downplay his remarks or the sentiment. But I’d like to think that the ongoing analysis that he’ll provide will be fair. Rather than the bloviated and rather inane commentary that far too often he has been known for. It’s as if he bears LeBron James ill will and a grudge for some past misdeed. Or perhaps it’s because as a boy , he (Bayless ) was overlooked by others when they went about picking a team for a pickup game. He no doubt may well have been the last boy chosen to play on a team ? Whereas ,there was always someone there who may well have reminded him of James because of the talent shown. Hard not to view it that way, isn’t it ?

The  Cavaliers'   Shaquille O'Neal  (left) and  teammate  LeBron  James  oncourt   against the  Toronto  Raptors   in an   NBA  game  played   at  the  Air  Canada  Arena in  Toronto , Ontario,  Canada.      picture  appears  courtesy of  nbae /getty  images/  Ron Turenne  ...............

The Cavaliers’ Shaquille O’Neal (left) and teammate LeBron James (right) oncourt together against the Toronto Raptors in game played at the Air Canada Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Ron Turenne ….

Understandably, there are those who fully support the claims being made by Bayless , as is their right to do so. But I’d ask of them this question. Can they seriously think that LeBron James is that over-rated a player based on his career thus far ? His stats alone show that he’s far exceeded what was expected of this young phenom, when he first entered the league as a high school sensation and the first round draft pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers , chosen number one overall , in 2003 . Amongst the entrants in the draft of that year, were players such as Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, David West , Kirk Hinrich and Mickael Pietrus. All of whom, seem to have made a name for themselves within the NBA with regard to their careers, thus far. That 2003 NBA Draft, may well have been one of the most talent laden rich drafts in recent memory. And many of those players mentioned are still productive within the NBA today. Which is far less than can be said for the likes others who fell short of the plaudits that were first thrown at them. Think Sam Bowie, Kwame Brown and Michael Olowokandi . I’d certainly like to think that somewhere along the way the general managers who went out of the way to make the decision to take each of this particular triumvirate. Are somewhere , in a place where they’re not left to make a decision that could do irretrievable damage to an organization.

The eternal  triumvirate  of  the  Chicago  Bulls' dynasty . From  left to right   Scottie Pippen ,  Michael Jordan  and  the  team's  coach  Phil  Jackson.  Through  the  early to  mid  nineties  the  team  was  the  dominant  force in the  NBA  having  won  6  NBA championships  in an  eight year  span.   picture  appears courtesy of  Sports Illustratred  si.com/  Manny  Millan  ...............

The eternal triumvirate of the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty . From left to right , Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan and the team’s coach, Phil Jackson. Through the early to mid nineties, the team was the dominant force in the NBA ,having won 6 NBA championships in an 8 year span (1991-98). picture appears courtesy of Sports Illustrated si.com/ Manny Millan. ………………

And while Bayless will have his platform to make his rather incendiary statements. For James and the Cavaliers , this could very well be a make or break season for the organization and their fans. After the disappointment of last season, having lost to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals. The thought is that they’ll have to retrench and reassess where they went wrong, if they’re to improve upon last year. The loss and James’ unsportsman like conduct afterwards left a great deal to be desired. It created the impression that LeBron was immature and unable to deal with defeat in a sportsman like manner. It sent the wrong message across the NBA but more so, to his young adoring fans. Now he and his new teammate Shaquille O’Neal will look to make amends for last season. And for Cavaliers’ coach, Mike Brown, this will prove to be a severe test as to his capabilities as a coach. Failure now, and he’ll be questioned by not only the Cavaliers’ fans but also fans of the NBA in general , who’ll say that he can’t get it done – with two superstars on his team surrounded with a contingent of the customary role players in tow.

As for James , in my mind this is but a part of a well traveled journey that he’ll have to take. Success will inevitably find its way to him , if it is ultimately what he seeks. For moment however, it appears to be that the hype in essence has overshadowed in some ways his undoubted talents. But wasn’t it the same way too , for Michael Jordan ? And look at what he aspired to become .

Cleveland Cavaliers 2009-10 Roster:

Players:

NUM PLAYER POS HT WT DOB FROM YRS
1 Daniel Gibson G 6-2 200 02/27/1986 Texas 3
14 Daniel Green F 6-6 210 06/22/1987 North Carolina R
21 J.J. Hickson F 6-9 242 09/04/1988 North Carolina State 1
11 Zydrunas Ilgauskas C 7-3 260 06/05/1975 Kaunas, Lithuania 11
00 Darnell Jackson F 6-9 253 11/07/1985 Kansas 1
23 LeBron James F 6-8 250 12/30/1984 St. Vincent-St. Mary HS (OH) 6
5 Coby Karl G 6-5 215 03/06/1983 Boise State 1
15 Jamario Moon F 6-8 200 06/13/1980 Meridian CC (MS) 2
33 Shaquille O’Neal C 7-1 325 03/06/1972 Louisiana State 17
18 Anthony Parker G-F 6-6 215 06/19/1975 Bradley 6
44 Leon Powe F 6-8 240 01/22/1984 California 3
17 Anderson Varejao C-F 6-11 260 09/28/1982 Santa Teresa, Brazil 5
13 Delonte West G 6-3 180 07/26/1983 Saint Joseph’s 5
31 Jawad Williams F 6-9 218 02/19/1983 North Carolina 1
2 Mo Williams G 6-1 190 12/19/1982 Alabama 6

HEAD COACH
Mike Brown (College – San Diego)

ASSISTANT COACHES
Hank Egan (College – Navy)
Melvin Hunt (College – Baylor)
Chris Jent (College – Ohio State)
Michael Malone (College – Loyola (MD))

STRENGTH-AND-CONDITIONING COACH
Stan Kellers (College – Cleveland State)

ATHLETIC TRAINER
Max Benton (College – Colorado)

Divisional Standings: Central Division

Central W L PCT GB CONF DIV HOME ROAD L 10 STREAK
Chicago3 1 0 1.000 0.0 0-0 0-0 1-0 0-0 1-0 W 1
Detroit7 1 0 1.000 0.0 0-0 0-0 0-0 1-0 1-0 W 1
Indiana 0 1 0.000 1.0 0-1 0-0 0-0 0-1 0-1 L 1
Cleveland 0 2 0.000 1.5 0-2 0-0 0-1 0-1 0-2 L 2

In The Name Of The King , Long Live The King It’s Good To Be The King ……….!

 

 

So LeBron James  wants  to become a global marketing  icon ? I’m not at a loss to hear this as I’ve  always thought it  somewhat prophetic to hear many of  the NBA’s biggest  stars  liken themselves  as the next  big  thing  in their  own way.  

 

 

 

 

Lebron James  shoots  the  layup in a  game  played  against  the  Memphis  Grizzlies   ....................
LeBron James shoots the layup in a game played against the Memphis Grizzlies ....................

 

LeBron James   shoots  the layup  in  a game played  against the  Memphis Grizzlies. picture  appears  courtesy of  nbae/getty images/ Joe Murphy …………..

 

 

 

 

 

As it now stands James is  leading, as  only  he  can. He  has  the  fans there in Cleveland eating  out of  his hands.  And across  the  league  he’s  either liked or disliked  as the case  may  be.   Somehow  I’d  hazard a guess  that were  he  on  a team supported  by the naysayers   then  their  resolve  and  attitude might  be  somewhat different.. I’m  not  an apologist  for  James  as he’s  entitled  to  attain the  riches  that  the  game  and  the  NBA  has to offer.

 

 

 

 

 

So  in 2010  James  will  become a free  agent  and  franchises  across  the  league  will  be  scouring   to placate  James  and offer   him a  king’s  ransom.  But  for  now  the  player  has  some unfinished  business with the  Cleveland  Cavaliers.  As  for  the  franchise itself  they’ve  got to placate the  player  and  his  wants.    Now  as  we  all  know  there’s the  talk  that the New York  Knicks   covets  the  player. Much  like  Paris Hilton craves  a  new  BFF.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now  as the game  stands  and   the  desires of the  NBA  and  their  wish to  see  the  resurrection  of the  franchise.  It  begs  the  question will  James  succumb  to  the  temptations  and  the  allure  of  the  Knicks’ organization and  in particular  the  Big Apple.  Truth  they  say is  stranger than  fiction.  And  if  there’s  any  truth being  told  then is it coming  from  the  lips  of  the player or  from  those who  only  wish  to  create  the  rumors that’ll  further  drive the  story  ?

 

 

 

 

 

Kyle  Lowry  of the  Grizzlies  tries  to  drive  past Delonte  West  of  the  Cavaliers  during  the  game  ...................
Kyle Lowry of the Grizzlies tries to drive past the Cavaliers' Delonte West during the game .............................
 
Kyle  Lowry of  the Memphis Grizzlies   tries to  drive past  Delonte West of the  Cleveland  Cavaliers.  The  Cavaliers  would  go on to win  the  game  102-87.  picture appears  courtesy  of nbae/getty images/ Joe  Murphy ………………

  

 

 

 

James   has now  been  surrounded  with  the  requisite  players   whom the   hierarchy  of  the  Cleveland  Cavaliers  feel  will be  enough to supplant  the  Boston Celtics  this  year as  contenders  within the  Eastern  Conference.  But  for  the  moment  it is Boston  whom  the  rest  of  the  Eastern  Conference  are  chasing  in  terms  of  conference   supremacy.  The Orlando Magic  this season   under  the leadership  of  Dwight  Howard are making  some  noise within  the  conference.  And  their  record  speaks   for  itself  as  it’s  now  the  second  best  within  the  conference  percentage wise.

 

 

 

Continue reading “In The Name Of The King , Long Live The King It’s Good To Be The King ……….!”