Credibility ? You’re Not Going To Find It Within The NBA

Credibility ? You’re Not Going To Find It Within The NBA

By tophatal ….

As the farce of the league hierarchy induced labor stoppage continues unabated and NBA Commissioner David Stern’s image is now taking a beating . So much so , that his fiefdom now seems to be under siege . The “House That Stern” built in conjunction with NBA great Michael Jordan is now teetering on the brink of a calamity and collapse that for most fans they’re simply apathetic as to what is taking place in front of their very eyes. The union along with its executive committee are now intent , it appears on de-certifying and quite possibly challenging the league’s antitrust exemption status within US Federal Court . Stern , Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver along with Peter Holt and now joined by Charlotte Bocats’ owner Michael Jordan , are now looking at a peaceful accord whereby the NBA could quite possibly start their regular season , albeit that it would be a mere two and a half weeks behind schedule.

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It seems ridiculous that the two sides cannot reach an equitable agreement that would see both split their $4.5 billion in annual revenues on a 50/50 basis ! Even with the league apparently now stating they’re prepared make that ratio a favorable 51/49 in the players’ favor , the union’s executive committee led by Executive Director Billy Hunter and their president Derek Fisher have publicly stated that they are not prepared to acquiesce to any of the hierarchy’s demands. This whole saga now gets even more ridiculous when you now have NBA superstars such as LeBron James “tweeting ” messages suggesting that he and his fellow players are desperate for a quick resolution to the work stoppage. James by all accounts has gone on to suggest that the economic plight of the nation affects him just as much as it would the common citizen . From my own standpoint for a player , who is earning millions of dollars annually , his rather insidious statement smacks of the stupidity you would come to expect from an athlete who has been coddled throughout much of his career as a professional er from his high school days right up to his entry into the NBA , when he was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003 .

Courtesy of Associated Press in conjunction with Yahoo Sports

Stern: ‘Rational thing’ for union is to take deal

By Brian Mahoney , AP Basketball writer

NEW YORK (AP)—NBA players are facing a Wednesday afternoon deadline to accept the league’s current proposal or face a harsher one that calls for rolling back their salaries, and Commissioner David Stern said Monday “the only rational thing to do is for us to make that deal.”

“We think that there’s a great offer on the table and what we told the players is it’s getting late, the only rational thing to do is for us to make that deal because given what’s going on in our business and our industry, it’ll get worse from there,” Stern said during an interview on ESPN.

That proposal calls for players to receive anywhere between 49 and 51 percent of basketball-related income, though players argue it would be nearly impossible for them to get anywhere above 50.2. Stern said the next one will call for a 53-47 split in the owners’ favor, along with essentially a hard salary cap.

The second proposal also calls for “existing contracts rolled back in proportion to system changes in order to ensure sufficient market for free agents,” a person who has been briefed on its contents told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contents were supposed to remain private.

The rollbacks were previously reported by CBSSports.com and The New York Times, which obtained a copy of the letter Stern sent to union executive director Billy Hunter on Sunday along with both documents.

The league had sought to roll back existing contracts to conform to a new collective bargaining agreement during an earlier proposal, but had since taken it off the table.

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As we all know LeBron James’ departure from the Cavaliers and the tumultuous tete-a-tete` between he and the team’s owner Dan Gilbert left a very unsavory taste in just about everyone’s mouth. As to the idiocy shown by the Cleveland Cavaliers’ fans , it would be safe to suggest James was about as well liked as former Cleveland Browns’ owner Art Modell . And the Browns’ former owner who simply feigned poverty and fled from the city like a thief in the night , only to surface later with in Baltimore , Maryland with a new NFL franchise to be known as the Baltimore Ravens . Modell is now a minority stake owner of the franchise which is now majority owned by Steve Bisciotti . LeBron James might now be more despised than the aged NFL veteran owner but it would be safe to say that if either were to return to the city , neither would be welcomed .

During the stoppage a number of players have either chosen to play abroad in such countries as Russia , France , Lithuania , Spain , Greece and Italy . Others however , who’ve refrained from pursuing that opening have organized a number of charity games displaying their skills across the country for the fans to see. All well and good , no doubt being done with altruistic motives as they and their union seek the fans’ sympathy . While this is now going on, it would appears that there’s a fracturing in the solidarity of the team owners and their support of the league hierarchy , with Charlotte Bobcats’ owner Michael Jordan now openly voicing his support for the NBPA and the players . Do you get the feeling that David Stern would now like nothing better than putting his boot to Jordan’s ass ?

Courtesy of AP & Yahoo Sports

NBA union: No deal; no fear of ultimatum, either

By Brian Mahoney , AP Sports Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP)—NBA players made it clear Tuesday: No deal.

No fear of Commissioner David Stern’s ultimatum, either.

“The current offer on the table from the NBA is one that we cannot accept,” players’ association president Derek Fisher said.

Instead, the players said they will ask for another meeting with owners before Stern’s Wednesday afternoon deadline—and sound willing to agree to a 50-50 split of revenues under the right circumstances—in an attempt to end the lockout and save the season.

In an interview on NBA TV, Stern said that whether he agrees to meet “would be guided by the labor relations committee.”

NBA spokesman Mike Bass said the league has not yet heard from Hunter.

A month of the season has already been lost, and the NBA risks losing fans without an agreement soon. Some already appear to have forgotten Blake Griffin , last season’s rookie of the year, stood around in the lobby of a busy hotel off Broadway and was rarely approached by fans.

The league’s current proposal calls for players to receive between 49 percent and 51 percent of basketball-related income, though union officials argue it would be nearly impossible to get above 50.2 percent.

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If the union were to de-certify and become a trade association it certainly makes their position a great deal easier in challenging the NBA hierarchy within the federal court system . Stern , the league hierarchy and team owners are not willing to have their books opened up for public scrutiny . But at the same time the commissioner and owners simply plead poverty , while the owners and general managers each season through their sheer avarice choose not to rein costs. If only the owners would simply practice what they preach when it comes to being financially prudent. David Stern may well have been at the helm of the NBA structure while its ascent from a small niche operation and sport , to where it now has become a multi billion dollar business entity whose tentacles now stretch across the globe. And inasmuch as the league’s popularity is still high , there are now quiet rumblings abroad as to the inaction of the league hierarchy and the very fact that not is the commissioner’s image tarnished but that too , of the NPBA (union).

The NBA’s fastest growing market has been in the Far East and in particular within the nation of China and its populace of 1.6 billion . The game’s ascent in popularity grew exponentially with the rise in popularity of Yao Ming . And with the player since having retired due recurring knee and feet ailments , specifically plantar fasciitis , you can understand the reason why the NBA would simply feel aggrieved if now they are being criticized by the print and television media within China because of the ongoing labor impasse . If the Chinese journalists who cover the NBA within its own country can be so terse in their criticism but here there has been about as much intense scrutiny of the stoppage without there being little if any in depth of analysis of the events as they have unfolded. Instead we are simply fed mere snippets and sound bytes from the paeans within the league’s hierarchy structure as when they deem it reasonable to do so.

David Stern’s grip on the league has been like that of a third world despot whose tyrannical reign might well have been along the lines of Idi Amin . While the former Ugandan dictator over the course of his rule is known to have committed numerous atrocities against the civilian population , as well as allegation of cannibalism . It can be said at this juncture the only thing that the commissioner has yet to do is to actually consume the head of one of the executive committee members of the NBPA . The animus between the union and league shows no sign of abating , it is now becoming increasingly clear that the impasse between the two sides has reached a point where perhaps it would be better if the two parties’ interest could be best determined within a courtroom. Arbitration between the two sides with a mediator from the FMCS has thus far served no real purpose . The governmental agency presided over by its director George Cohen has simply heard one side simply deride each other , with little inroads being made by either side to show any form of progress. Truth be known , the longer this impasse goes on the less relevant the NBA becomes and the likelihood of one or quite possibly two NBA teams could quite possibly fold . It has already been hinted at by Billy Hunter and there are already grave doubts as to the financial viability of the Sacramento Kings , albeit that team owner Joe Maloof and Geoff Petrie .

The Sacramento Kings to my mind have held the city of Sacramento hostage with their demands and rather naively the city’s mayor Kevin Johnson has began to cave into the organization’s demands . The former NBA star and now city politician is now looking at ways into working in conjunction with local businesses in building a state of the art facility for the team. Johnson has not stated that this publicly but it is clear that public monies in part , will be used to finance any such endeavor with very little guarantee that the Kings’ organization will show any type of reciprocity on their part, in assisting with the financing of such a venue . And I get the feeling that David Stern will be front and center in expediting any deal that would allow an NBA franchise to be once again the benefactor of public funds while also at the same time garnering a number of beneficial tax write offs . All this and the mayor has an unemployment rate that is slightly above the national average within his city and a growing homeless rate but his biggest push is to see the building of a state of the art facility for a family whose estimated net worth is said to be approaching $2.5 billion . Somehow , the NBA , its owners and league hierarchy not only has more than a credibility problem but also one of integrity , honesty as well as a serious image problem ! Anyone who believes that to be to the contrary may well have their lips firmly pressed against David Stern’s sphincter waiting to suck on that act of flatulence .

With the announcement having been made that the league will postpone the first two weeks of the November regular season schedule and now it would appear the month will be completely abandoned altogether. With the preseason having been already lost and an estimated $350 million in preseason revenues , you can understand the urgency behind the NBA’s wish to have the season commence at some point . However , for the union, anything that they can continue to do that would in essence purloin that premise for the league only further exacerbates the fact that they have no real urgency to see the league up and running. Were that the case, then we would already have had a resolution with which both sides would find amenable . The league’s players and union are selling the fans a “bill of goods” that now is of no real value . The NBA brand is no longer what it once and the fact that many of its brightest stars have simply become a slew of preening Prima-donnas whose only wish is to simply be viewed as the victims , rather than the antagonists in this rather idiotic drama that is now being played out for the fans and public’s consumption .

From my own perspective , I have become sick and tired of a bunch mindless idiotic millionaire athletes and multi millionaire owners simply bitch and whine they themselves have been real cause for the malaise that they now find themselves in ! It has been the same occurrence within baseball , football and hockey — ________ in reality the four major professional sports and the hierarchies who govern those pastimes have simply become bastions of greed and corruption . Doubt my word ? Simply ask yourself this what has the NBA done that has really been of benefit for the consumer ? Philanthropic efforts asides , that is merely a gimmick by those hierarchies to begin with , because they benefit far more by the largesse given to them not only by state and municipal agencies but also from the federal government .

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this article ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit and as always thanks for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

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(1) Rudy Gay enters the arena for his charity basketball game at the Desoto Civic Center in Memphis Tennessee , on Tuesday Nov. 8, 2011. AP Photo/The Commercial Appeal, Nikki Boertman ….

(2) NPBA Executive Director Billy Hunter (left) and union president Derek Fisher address the convened press to discuss the ongoing impasse between the league and union concerning the equitable disbursement of BRI (basketball related income) . Neither side finds the others’ offer acceptable . The union now seems to be intent on taking the step to de-certify and perhaps challenge the NBA’s antitrust exemption within the US Federal Court as a way of forcing the league to in part acquiesce to their wishes. Something that NBA Commissioner David Stern would most definitely like to avoid . AP Photos/ Paul Matthews …..

(3) Miami Heat’s LeBron James shoots between the defense of Memphis Grizzlies’ Rudy Gay (22) and Corey Maggette (2) during Rudy Gay’s charity basketball game at the Desoto Civic Center Tuesday Nov. 8, 2011. AP Photo/The Commercial Appeal, Nikki Boertman …

(4) Billy Hunter, Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association, and Derek Fisher , President of the National Basketball Players Association speak at a press conference after the NBPA held a meeting to discuss the NBA lockout at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on November 8, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

(5) Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett (L) and Miami Heat owner Micky Arison (R) arrive for NBA labor negotiations at Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on November 5, 2011 in New York City. Players have been seeking 52.5 percent of revenues in their favor but owners want a deal at 53-47 along with a hard salary cap. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images ……

(6) Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan arrives for NBA labor negotiations at Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on November 5, 2011 in New York City. Players have been seeking 52.5 percent of revenues in their favor but owners want a deal at 53-47 along with a hard salary cap. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

(7) NBA Commissioner David Stern talks with reporters, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, in New York. Stern canceled the first two weeks of the season after players and owners were unable to reach a new labor deal to end the lockout. At left is Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver. Opening night was scheduled for Nov 1st 2011. AP Photo /David Karp …..

(8) In this photo taken Friday, May 13, 2011, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, right, discuss the Sacramento Kings basketball team with California state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg , D-Sacramento, as they walk into Steinberg’s Capitol office in Sacramento, Calif. Johnson, a former NBA all-star with the Phoenix Suns, has worked the last couple of months to keep the Kings in Sacramento . AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli …

(9) Sacramento City Mayor Kevin Johnson is seen here with Gavin Maloof ,co-owner of the Sacramento Kings, also in picture is ESPN journalist & reporter Heather Cox . AP/Photo/Daily Life / Christopher Mayhew …..
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Hot chic pic of the day Shay Laren . For more pictures Shay merely click on the link provided for your own personal edification .

When Push Comes To Shove …… Let ’em Eat Cake ………. !

When Push Comes To Shove …… Let ’em Eat Cake …… !

So the fallout has began in the aftermath of the Boston Red Sox’ s abrupt ending to their season . With that now has come the animus , finger pointing of course the blame game . From the front office on down there is plenty of blame to go around from the executives through to the coaching staff and the gluttony of high priced players on this roster .

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Team President Larry Lucchino and the now departed general manager Theo Epstein had tried to apportion blame solely on former manager Terry Francona rather than the under achieving players such as Josh Beckett , John Lackey , Johnathan Papelbon and David Ortiz . Hints that Francona was going through marital problems , that he’d lost control of the team and the thought that Epstein and Lucchino had to sink to such levels merely to deflect the obvious that plainly put this whole mess was simply caused by their ostentatious spending in acquiring players who simply failed to deliver .

Principal partner John Henry , Tom Werner and their partners now have to deal with general manager search for a successor to Theo Epstein who accepted the offer fill the position vacated by former Chicago Cubs’ GM Jim Henry after he was fired team owner Tom Ricketts . The beleaguered organization having not won a World Series since 1908 and they haven’t won an NL pennant since 1945. That sort of ineptitude and lack of success has sorely embittered the long suffering Chicago Cubs’ fans .

This season was once again one filled with sheer ineptitude on the part of the team and Mike Quade and his coaching staff offered very little by way of their managerial acumen in stemming the tide of mediocrity shown on the field of play. Players such as Alfonso Soriano , Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez simply showed that they had nothing to offer the team . Therein lies the actual absurdity of the organization during Hendry’s tenure as they simply overpaid for the acquired talent .

If Theo Epstein is to prove to be the wunderkind that Tom Ricketts believes him to be then the organization can look forward to some semblance of success though not immediate by any stretch of the imagination . This is a roster that needs to be assessed by the general manager and I would dare say that the coaching staff will be summarily judged by him also ! I certainly don’t believe that Mike Quade has the wherewithal to make this team a serious and perennial contender for an NL pennant or for that matter the World Series ! The team’s prospects and farm system has what we are told is an abundance of talent but in debating as to whether or not patience amongst the fans will be further endured as Theo Epstein seeks to turn things around .

Wrigley Field may well be buzzing with excitement during the offseason as the fans , beat writers and local sports analysts debate and prognosticate what they expect to see in the future from the Chicago Cubs. From my own perspective I say let them do whatever it takes for them to feel at ease , after-all what’s another half a decade of ineptitude worth to this organization to begin with ? I mean it’s not as anyone truly believes that this time next season the Cubs could be part of baseball’s postseason showcase to begin with !

So after what we are now being told the NCAA and their exhaustive investigation of Auburn and their football program have found nothing untoward concerning the school’s recruitment of their Heisman Trophy award winning player Cam Newton . Auburn coach Gene Chizik no doubt relieved by those findings and the fact this season the coach and his staff will be looking to get this team up and going as they embark upon their schedule within the SEC .

I am not about to suggest that the NCAA simply whitewashed this investigation but clearly there seems to be something awry with this all . There’s a saying ………” where there’s smoke there is fire ” . And in the case of the Auburn Tigers as it relates to Cam Newton and the continued allegations as to how the player was seemingly recruited by the school has brought into question how a number of programs go about recruiting student athletes. Allegations being what they are when it has been widely reported that Newton’s father Cecil Newton sought to sell ….. his son’s talents to the highest bidder . The elder Newton , pastor of a church , was reticent in explaining the allegations when first raised, as to his actions concerning Cam Newton being shopped around like an illicit weapon on the “black market”.

Auburn’s AD Jay Jacobs after the NCAA’s findings states that he’s completely happy with there were no major transgressions by the program. As crazy as this may seem , if the athletics director believes that minor transgressions are good for the school then what should that indicate about Auburn as a place of academic and sporting excellence ?

If the school moves on from this episode then what I would like to know is how the NCAA handles the next such incident concerning the recruitment of a visibly high profiled athlete. Mark Emmert as the NCAA president has repeatedly seen the body he presided over severely criticized for their lack of authority , real transparency and even the credence to actually be impartial . I will continue to maintain the the institution is archaic , bureaucratically top heavy and seemingly at time out of touch with reality . If the Infractions Committee of the NCAA a de-facto agency of the institution can come up with this finding given the supposed facts and their own apparent in depth investigation I would like to know how it is this very same unit can be so out of touch with the events that are taking place across the entire collegiate athletics landscape . At some point in the future I am wondering what their findings will be concerning the University of Miami and the school’s football program . University president Donna Shalala and school AD Shawn Eichorst have continued to deflect their actions and association with now incarcerated felon Nev Shapiro and the very that the former Canes’ booster had simply flouted his association with the players and paying them surreptitiously . At this juncture should we now expect anything else from the NCAA concerning another charade about to be perpetrated by them ?

Image is everything and then it can mean absolutely but that clearly now seems to be the case for NBA Commissioner David Stern . The league hierarchy is now locked into a really contentious battle of wills with the NBPA (Players’ Association [union]). Stern and his union counterpart Billy Hunter the executive director of the union are at logger-heads in trying to reach an accord that would be beneficial to both parties .

Derek Fisher the union’s president and vice president Roger Mason Jr have been adamant that their union is not about to acquiesce to any of the demands from the league hierarchy and team owners for an equitable share in the league’s revenues . If neither party can come to a compromise then in all probability both sides will have to present their case to federal mediator . If that is to be the case and a court appointed mediator presides over a hearing , which now seems to be a certainty , then any sort of binding agreement could very well be to the detriment of both sides .

If NBA and NBPA seek jointly to present their case to the the FMCS (Federal Mediation & Conciliation Services ) before a mediator where the judgment would doesn’t necessarily have to be arbitrarily binding rather than going through litigation within the US Federal Courts then things could very well be to both parties’ liking . I am not so sure that anything at this juncture by way of any compromise will be truly vested in by either side. David Stern’s intransigence and the very fact that a number of franchise owners have not been entirely happy with his handling of these deliberations gives further credence that it may well be time for him to step down . With almost two decades plus as the league’s commissioner he seen the NBA’s revenues grow exponentially from being a minor blip on the sport’s landscape to where it now ranks second in revenues ($4.5 billion annually) attained of the four major professional sports.

The NBA would like to see an equitable share in revenues rather than the existing ratio of 53/47 in favor of the union . From the outset a case could be made that the owners wanted this all to be dealt with expeditiously but with the teams now said to be on course to lose approximately $ 30 million a month for each month that the league is inactive. Dan Gilbert , Rich DeVos , . Mikhail Prokhorov , Jerry Buss , Gavin_Maloof , Peter Holt , Mickey Arison and James Dolan over the course of time may well feel that the current situation as it now stands cannot go on in its present format . Clearly not when the very viability of the league and a number of franchises are clearly at risk . Some semblance of common sense and sanity now has to come into play at some point during this whole facade if there is to be a regular to season within the NBA .

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Of the points raised within this topic which do you believe to be the most pertinent ? And what thoughts if any do you feel about the NCAA’s findings concerning Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ………

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(1) Former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona pauses as he speaks to the media during a press conference, Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, in Boston. The Red Sox announced they will not pick up the option on Francona’s contract in the wake of the team’s September collapse. AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesfaye ….

(2) General manager Theo Epstein of the Boston Red Sox sits in the dugout before game two of the ALCS against the Tampa Bay Rays during the at Tropicana Field on October 10, 2008 in St. Petersburg, Florida. According to reports October 12, 2011, Epstein, who has one-year left on his contract with the Red Sox, has agreed with the Chicago Cubs to a five-year $15 million contract to join their front office, but compensation for the deal has not been reached between the two teams. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images …..

(3) Theo Epstein is seen here alongside Terry Francona at Fenway Park , Boston , Massachusetts , home to the fabled ballclub . Getty Images / Matthew Sharpe …..

(4) Red Sox owners Tom Werner (left) and John Henry held up the 2007 World Series trophy for the fans who lined up outside Fenway Park . Boston Globe /Matthew J Lee ……

(5) Carlos Marmol (49) of the Chicago Cubs, right, is congratulated by Koyie Hill (55) after getting the final out during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on September 27, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Cubs won 6-2 . Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images ……

(6) First baseman Carlos Pena (22) of the Chicago Cubs catches the ball as Jeremy Hermida (47) of the San Diego Padres dives back to the base during the game against at Petco Park on September 26, 2011 in San Diego, California. Photo by Kent C. Horner/Getty Images …..

(7) Cubs’ GM Jim Hendry (left) is seen here with the team’s manager Mike Quade (center) and club owner Tom Ricketts. Hendry was relieved of his position as general manager by Ricketts in what as seen as an upheaval within team’s front office . Chicago Tribune/ Mark Salter ….

(8) Auburn coach Gene Chizik walks the sidelines during the first half of the NCAA college football game with Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011. Auburn would go on to lose the game to the Razorbacks 38-14 . AP Photo/Danny Johnston ……

(9) CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson (R) and head coach Gene Chizik look on as quarterback Cam Newton (2) of the Auburn Tigers accepts the MVP trophy after their 56-17 win over the South Carolina Gamecocks during the 2010 SEC Championship at Georgia Dome on December 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images /Kevin C . Cox ……

(10) Auburn head coach Gene Chizik is seen here the school’s athletics director Jay Jacobs at Chizik’s formal introduction as the new head coach of the football team. An outspoken opponent of Gene Chizik’s hiring at the time was none other than Auburn alum Charles Barkley . AP Photo / Jamie Martin …….

(11) Derek Fisher , president of the NBA players union, talks with reporters, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, in New York. NBA Commissioner David Stern canceled the first two weeks of the basketball season after players and owners were unable to reach a new labor deal to end the lockout. AP Photo/David Karp …….

(12) NBA Commissioner David Stern, right, and his Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver leave an NBA labor talk meeting, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, in New York. Stern canceled the first two weeks of the basketball season after players and owners were unable to reach a new labor deal to end the lockout. Opening night was scheduled for Nov. 1. AP Photo/David Karp ……

(13) Billy Hunter, executive director of the NBA players union, arrives for labor talks, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, in New York. Facing a Monday deadline to reach a deal or have regular-season games canceled, NBA owners and players have resumed talks toward ending the lockout. AP Photo/Louis Lanzano ……

(14) San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt arrives for labor talks, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, in New York. Facing a Monday deadline to reach a deal or have regular-season games canceled, NBA owners and players have resumed talks toward ending the lockout. AP Photo/Louis Lanzano …….

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If the rumors are to believed then whatever takes place over the ensuing days could very well determine the future of the Boston Red Sox . With manager Terry Francona’s future now seems in doubt , it is being speculated that the front office will not choose to exercise the option on his contract for 2012. Along with that there’s the growing belief that wunderkind GM Theo Epstein could very well be lured away from the organization by beleaguered Chicago Cubs’ owner Tom Ricketts who has said that he wishes to sign a high profiled front office executive and give them free rein to bolster the ball club’s personnel . Given the unbelievable meltdown by the Red Sox on the final day of the regular season and there being talk that the duo of collapses are reminiscent of those from a bygone age within the game .

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There’s no denying that with Terry Francona having succeeded Grady Little the turnaround in the ball-club’s wasn’t immediate but the very fact that the players began to buy into his management style was a sign that Theo Epstein and team President Larry Lucchino were astute in their hire. Guiding the organization to their first World Series in 2004 a second title would follow in 2007 but what was clearly self evident was the mere fact that the Red Sox were still free wheeling spenders . Keeping up with the Joneses may well be OK given the financial treasure chest at the organization’s disposal . But herein lies the caveat when you’re simply acquiring players simply because they are allegedly big named free agents it simply means nothing if you are not getting value for the money spent. As of now in all likelihood senior managing partner John Henry along with co-owners Tom Werner , Theodore ” Ted” Alfond , Thomas R DiBenedetto and the other senior partners will have to take a serious look at the organization and how it goes about in handling the baseball operations from top to bottom .

The acquisitions made by Boston Red Sox simply did not pay the dividend presumed with perhaps that of Adrian Gonzalez . Perhaps the organization’s most productive player offensively for the team . The team’s payroll for the 2011 season was in excess of $166.8 million and there are those who are beginning to question whether or not the organization got value for money in terms of that payroll and the acquisition of Carl Crawford and John Lackey but it was the apparent meltdown of the bullpen led by Daniel Bard and Johnathan Papelbon . It certainly hasn’t helped that pitching ace Josh Beckett and the team were woefully inept going 7-20 over the final month of the season . It is so insidious to think that this team could have performed so ineptly and still believe that they worthy of being the AL wildcard representative .

Now while flagship radio station WEEI and their variety of on air analysts will continue to harangue and lambast the Boston Red Sox organization there is no doubt in my mind they will also make some very pointed references at Terry Francona’s handling of the roster as well as many of the now apparent bankrupt personnel decisions of Lucchino and Espten , jointly. The Boston Red Sox’s own broadcast outlet NESN has not openly issued a formal statement about either Theo Epstein’s future and that of their now beleaguered manager. The chances are that Francona may well not be retained by the ball-club with an even more remote possibility that the general manager could choose to live to pursue other professional opportunities within the game. Given the clarity of Tom Ricketts’ wish and the un-growing certainty as to the future of Ned Colletti with the Los Angeles Dodgers almost anything is possible . I certainly don’t believe that Epstein would have the slightest interest in an organization that is still in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings and with the league hierarchy now trying to force team owner Frank McCourt out . With that situation now becoming so comical that it no longer bears talking about anything that now befalls the organization that forces to cease to exist would be for the best !

With the baseball season now over there’s no denying the fallout from teams simply failing to show their competitiveness over the course of the year . The Los Angeles Angeles under Mike Scioscia and his managerial staff never seemed able to get this team over the hump when it mattered most . Team owner Arte Moreno saw the Angels fall by the wayside as the Texas Rangers were able to make a successful defense of their AL West divisional title . With that apparent failure team GM Tony Reagins has resigned from the front office of the organization and thereby leading to another unhappy executive forced out by the lack of recent success .

A lackluster season where a team under-performs tends to lead to a number of things could seemingly have gone awry. And clearly with the Angels it was simply one where this team with the talent in place never lived up the presumed expectations of the owner , that of the front office and their loyal fans . Should there be any blamed apportioned upon Tony Reagins for the team’s lack of success ? Well it’s hard to say but he along with the coaching staff and scouting department put this roster together in order to make a run at the division and the postseason . Clearly the efforts put forth just weren’t good enough as can be adjudged by the team’s standing and the lack of productivity from the pitching and offense .

There is no denying that the public at large is now so tired with the members of Congress and the Senate that any talk of them doing something productive has to be treated with a sense of comedic value. Now comes word that the House Oversight & Reform Committee has called upon NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith to address them over the now contentious of issue of HGH testing . Both executives are set to meet with the members of the committee within the next five to six days dependent on the scheduling of the hearings . In what was said to be an agreed upon within the collective bargaining agreement for game day testing of players now seems to have caused something of impasse between the league and union. The idiocy of this situation is that the executive committee signed unto this and Smith exalting the fact that the two sides’ views on the issue were one. This is all bullshit when it has now become even more apparent that neither side was truly happy with the accord agreed under the auspices of Federal Judge Arthur Boylan .

Courtesy of USA Today

Lawmakers want NFL, players union to solve HGH testing issue

By Jarrett Bell , USA Today

Although the federal budget is the most significant hot-button issue currently on Capitol Hill, the standoff between the NFL and the league’s players union over the implementation of human growth hormone (HGH) testing is drawing increasing attention from lawmakers.

Commissioner Roger Goodell could meet soon with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

When the NFL and players ratified their new labor pact in August, they announced an agreement to test for HGH — with the aim to begin at the start of the regular season.

Yet details of the testing are unresolved.

In the letters, obtained by USA TODAY, Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Ranking Minority Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) wrote, “By making use of the latest technology, the NFL and its players appear poised to be leaders in the effort to ensure that competition is not tainted by banned substances.”

While short of calling for hearings as it did in 2005 to scrutinize Major League Baseball’s problems with steroids, the committee hopes the meetings are an impetus for a resolution. Issa and Cummings wrote that their concern for young athletes — and the message that can be sent that performance-enhancing drugs won’t be tolerated at the highest levels — fuels their action.

Travis Tygart, chief executive of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, was also invited to provide assistance and expertise. It is unknown when such a meeting will occur.

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If Congress now wants to be seen as being proactive and actually going about conducting the nation’s business then they stay hell out of how the NFL conducts its business . It is not as if they have been able to resolve the current budget and debt crisis that seems to be a never ending story . Perhaps it is just me but I would rather see the idiot owners their team executives and the league hierarchy continue to bicker like children . Because it would sure as hell beat anything that the House Oversight Committee would be able to offer up as advice or seemingly threaten the status of the NFL.

OK so it would appear that David Stern and the league hierarchy are no closer to resolving the NBA lockout . Billy Hunter , NBPA President Derek Fisher and VP Roger Mason Jr still remain steadfast in their resolve in not acquiescing to any of the demands from the league. Stern has offered very little by way of anything palpable for the union to even be merely amenable to accepting but it seems to be pissing contest between the two parties that continue to remain so far apart on the pertinent issues .

Guns don’t kill people it’s people who kill people , rather stupid people with guns who’ve actually nothing at at better to do . Detroit Pistons’ center Ben Wallace has become the latest NBA player to have fallen foul of the law . In what was a lawful traffic stop Wallace cited for DUI (driving under the influence) and unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon. If convicted the player faces up to five years in prison on a felony gun charge and three months for the DUI misdemeanor . The player stated the law enforcement officer at the time he did not have a concealed weapons’ permit but traveled with the gun in his backpack as a way of protecting himself and his vehicle . The incident took place in the Broomfield Township , a suburb of Michigan , Detroit . Wallace at the time was traveling up from Virginia to visit friends in the area ___ having also undergone a field sobriety test , later a blood alcohol and breath test , Wallace’s blood alcohol level was 0.14% , almost twice the legal limit of .08. The Pistons’ center now has a court hearing scheduled for next Monday and that hearing could very well determine the player’s immediate future. Now pardon for me saying this but how stupid are some of the players within the NBA ? Clearly Wallace and the other idiot members of the gun toting fraternity haven’t learned a fucking thing !

Gilbert Arenas the ” poster child “ for errant gun play may well have ,mended his ways but let’s just say he has offered very little to the Orlando Magic since he was acquired by the organization . GM Otis Smith may well now look to off-load the ” dead weight” on this roster and when one bears in mind that the players he acquired to make this team a legitimate contender for an NBA title offered little to that legitimacy . Bob Vanderweide and team owner Rich De Vos clearly have some decisions to make about this team , paring down the salary . The front office’s and Otis Smith’s biggest decision will be in persuading Dwight Howard to remain with the and that the Magic as an organization is where his future lies .

While not wanting to lambast the Magic organization I do feel that Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy were exceptionally naive to think that Dwight Howard solely by himself could lead this team to the NBA Finals . He had little if any real assistance from his teammates throughout much of the regular season and the for Smith to laden this organization with the absurd salaries of Arenas , Hedo Turkoglu , and Quentin Richarson simply show that there was not much thought placed into the acquisition of the players in question much less the fact as to what this would do the franchise financially . The Orlando Magic for the upcoming year has a financial salary commitment of approximately $74.8 million and for the 2012-2013 season that figure rises to $75.66 million . Bear in mind that figure exceeds the soft salary cap of $57 million that the league hierarchy feels all of their franchises could work with but clearly it has meant nothing at all to this particular franchise and those others who simply eschewed the idea and went over that figure. The salary commitment for the Magic for the 2010-2011 season was approximately $92 million . This sort of innate stupidity by the front office executives has been mirrored across the NBA for the past few years and I sincerely doubt that it is likely to change even if there should be some kind of an accord reached between the NBA hierarchy and the NBPA .

With the ongoing impasse of the lockout I do feel that the league and union have nowhere to go but to try and resolve this situation as quickly as possible . Without doing so it clearly casts doubt on a preseason or for that matter a regular 2011-2012 schedule. A number of high profiled players were in attendance at the latest meeting between the union and league hierarchy . Amongst those attending were LeBron James , Dywane Wade , Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant . All of whom expressed solidarity with the union’s executive committee and their handling of the situation.

What may be so befuddling for the fans to understand is that the NBA and players cannot agree how best to split the $4.5 billion in revenues …. derived by the league at present . The split is now a 53/47 % ratio in favor of the players but the league hierarchy seeks something that is more equitable in its disbursement and a hard salary cap . It should come as no surprise that the soft salary cap of $57 million is ignored by a number of the basketball teams within the NBA . And with the sheer stupidity shown by the general managers with their capricious spending it is easy to understand why owners such as Dan Gilbert , Gavin Maloof and Commissioner David Stern have pled poverty with regard to the fortunes of a number of franchises around the league . They have foisted figures of projected losses of $350 million to $450 million but there has been little evidence to show that those figures do in fact have any veracity to them. The hierarchy’s books have never been opened to public scrutiny and it is very clear that David Stern would prefer it that way. Much like his MLB counterpart Bud Selig the duo have a great deal in common and it is ….. that their business acumen are vastly overrated !

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What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? Do take time to leave a comment on this and anything else you believe to pertinent in that regard . Thanks as always for the continued support as it greatly appreciated . Have a great weekend and do stay safe over the period . That way we can resume or discussions over the coming week !

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

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Boston Red Sox owner Tom Werner, left, and general manager Theo Epstein leave the podium after addressing the media during a news conference on Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, in Boston. In a joint statement released on Friday, the Red Sox announced they will not pick up the option on manager Terry Francona’s contract in the wake of the team’s September collapse. AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesfaye ….

(2) Boston Red Sox owners Tom Werner, left, and Larry Lucchino, right, listen as general manager Theo Epstein, center, speaks during a news conference, Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, in Boston. In a joint statement released on Friday, the Red Sox announced they will not pick up the option on Terry Francona’s contract in the wake of the team’s September collapse. AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesfaye …..

(3) Former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona speaks during a news conference, Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, in Boston. In a joint statement released on Friday, the Red Sox announced they will not pick up the option on Francona’s contract for a ninth year in the wake of the team’s September collapse in which they blew a nine-game lead in the American League wild-card race. AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesfaye ……

(4) Four years ago when he took over as general manager, Tony Reagins, right, had the backing of Angels owner Arte Moreno. After consecutive seasons of missing the playoffs, the two had a parting of ways. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times ……

(5) National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell gestures during the Beyond Sport Summit Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. The summit brings together more than 80 domestic and international sports teams to address their role in triggering positive social change in the communities they serve. Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director are under request by ranking committee members of the House & Oversight Government Reform Committee Rep Darrell Issa (R-Ca,.) & Rep Elijah Cummings (D-Md,.) to explain why there now seems to be an impasse between the union and the league as to HGH testing within the NFL . AP Photo/Kathy Willens ….. ……..

(6) In this booking mugshot released by the Bloomfield Township, Mich., Police Department, Detroit Pistons basketball player Ben Wallace is shown Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011. Authorities in suburban Detroit say Wallace has been charged with drunken driving and unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon after a traffic stop. Bloomfield Township police said Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011 that the 37-year-old Wallace was arrested about 3 a.m. Saturday after officers observed a Cadillac Escalade being driven erratically. Police said they found an unloaded pistol in a backpack. AP Photo/Bloomfield Township Police Department ……..

(7) Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic reacts after a missed basket during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Magic would go on to lose the series to the Hawks . Getty Images/ Kevin Cox ……

(8) Gilbert Arenas of the Orlando Magic who had one of his least productive seasons in the NBA while donning the Magic uniform . Courtesy of TSN.ca …… ….

(9) Dwight Howard is seen here with Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith . The player is holding the Honda NBA Defensive Player of the Year Trophy . Howard is a three time winner of the prestigious award having won it for the past three consecutive seasons . Courtesy of AP/Photo / Kenneth Parker ……..
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Hungarian model and Playboy siren Victoria Metzker

Midnight In The Garden of Good And Evil ……….

Midnight In The Garden of Good And Evil …….

No angst here , considering that the NBA lockout now shows no signs of abating and the team owners still solidly behind David Stern in their support I’m wondering how this mess will all be sorted out ? NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter and the members of the executive committee remain steadfast in not acquiescing to the demands of the league hierarchy and owners .
The longer this impasse remains the more tarnished the image of the NBA certainly becomes .

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Players are now seeking to ply their trade elsewhere it now seems more likely that there won’t be an NBA season to be had which will be to the lament of the fans who simply love the game. Economic strife or not this morass was simply one of the NBA’s own making and David Stern , the owners and general managers are reluctant to admit that very fact. It appears somewhat idiotic that while the league pleads poverty the teams themselves simply haven’t the temerity to rein in their spending especially in terms of the salaries . A soft salary cap of $57 million in place but somehow this all seems lost on those very same teams as they seek the game’s highest prize , an NBA title.

At this juncture with neither side reaching any type of accord it would appear that the union will seek to de-certify and file a legal action against the NBA hierarchy in the US Federal Court system . Mediation is also an option for both parties with a federally appointed judge to oversee those hearing under the auspices of the Federal Mediation & Conciliary Service , a governmental agency within the Department of Labor . The judge’s arbitrary decision would be binding but I seriously doubt that this would be the path that either the league or union will follow.

David Stern like his NFL counterpart Roger Goodell may well have misjudged the tenacity of the union’s demands and the voracity of Billy Hunter’s wish to see his members prevail. The claims of the owners and league appear to be overstated but at the same one has to question how it its that the claims are being made those very same team owners have spent capriciously , merely showing little by way of anything tangible in return.

If there’s a lesson to be learned then it is that the NBA hierarchy can take a lead from the NFL and look to reach a quick accord with the NBPA . David Stern and the union can ill afford to have this dispute be prolonged to the point where the season is irretrievably lost or that there’s a shortened season . In doing so it simply it devalue the game and in particular any type of schedule agreed upon . At some point we could well see one if not three or four of the more prominent owners of the NBA seeking to force the commissioner to take a more conciliatory stance with the union . Certainly team owner Mark Cuban , James Dolan , Jerry Buss , Mikhail Prokhorov, Peter Holt and Glen Taylor would like nothing more than to see this episode ended , much to everyone’s satisfaction. Whether or not that will be the case remains to be seen at this juncture .

With the NFL preseason now upon us , we are about to embark on three of the schedule , we can see that a number of teams have spluttered out of the gates. If there’s one team that I will be watching closely, it will be the Buffalo Bills and the coaching staff of Chan Gailey . Given the problems of this team last season and the inconsistency shown this could very well be the last chance for the coach to really prove his worth .

The moves made by the front office led by EVP& GM Buddy Nix and the draft picks made it’s clear that the Bills are seeking to make themselves heard this season within the AFC East . For and the members of this Bills’ team this will be a test of wills as I firmly believe that many of the veterans on the roster are playing for their very livelihoods and long term security !

Certainly given last season’s results and the final divisional standing for the Buffalo Bills , the fans are expecting something better from the organization as a whole . A 4-12 record was indeed a reflection as to how bad this team actually was and the poor effort shown by the players all-round. Much of the malaise from the team came from the fact that the defense simply didn’t stack up whereby they were in the bottom half amongst the franchises of the NFL . And a more stark contrast in terms of a statistic were the points allowed per game (26.6 ppg) which placed the Buffalo Bills sixth in the entire league . A clear indicator as to the real problems on this team , apart from the ineffectiveness of the offense overall.

Buddy Nix and the coaching staff have certainly made sure that the off-season moves as well the players are drafted will offer a sign of things to come in terms of the all-round improvement sought. Marcell Dareus , Aaron Williams , Kelvin Sheppard , Da’Norris Searcy , Chris Hairston , Johnny White , Chris White , Justin Rogers and Michael Jasper are all looking to acquit themselves during the preseason , as a way of proving to this organization that their faith in them has been justified. The team’s first two preseason games have resulted in losses to the Chicago Bears 10-3 and Denver Broncos 24-10 .

For the Buffalo Bills as an organization , these are simply growing pains as the core of this roster is exceptionally young . The veteran leadership will have to come from the likes of Brian Moorman , Nick Barnett , Andra Davis , Drayton Florence , David Martin and Ryan Fitzpatrick . It may well be Fitzpatrick who holds the key to this all, as the starting quarterback on the team. His play has to improve and be of a consistently high level if the team is to have any real chance of mounting a serious challenge within the AFC East against the likes of the Miami Dolphins , New York Jets and the New England Patriots . If he fails to do so then the problems for the Buffalo Bills over the course of this season could very well insurmountable .

Ralph Wilson the owner of the Buffalo Bills and an enshrinee in the Hall of Fame is perhaps one of the most respected of his peers within the NFL . Long thought to be one of the most knowledgeable of the owners in the league and often viewed as a voice of reason this bespectacled patriarch has now become totally disillusioned with the game and in particular the mindset with the league hierarchy led by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell . Wilson , though not voicing his opposition to the latest collective bargaining agreement wasn’t at all happy with the concessions made to the NFLPA and their members . However, having voted to ratify the agreement , the owner felt that this was the best way forward and to have a peaceful accord within the league.

The Buffalo Bills are a proud franchise with a great deal of history which encapsulates Ralph Wilson’s involvement as the founder of the franchise . Apart from the Hall of Famers associated with the team over the years , perhaps their most celebrated achievement were the four consecutive Superbowl appearances under then coach Marve Levy . Unfortunately , for the franchise each of those appearances ended in defeat but it still remains a feat unmatched by another other NFL franchise . There’s a great deal to be said for the accolades that have been lauded upon this organization but the inescapable fact is that the one thing more than anything else the fans would like to see most happen with their team , would be for them to proudly hold aloft the Lombardi Trophy. In reality , it may well be a while before we are able to witness such an event as this team in my honest opinion is still a long way off from where they really need to be , in order to be taken seriously as a Superbowl contender.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Given the impasse between the NBA and union , do you foresee there being a season within the league ? Or are you of the opinion that the lockout will be a long and protracted event over the course of the NBA calendar year ? What thoughts if any do you have on the upcoming regular season for the Buffalo Bills and how do you view Ralph Wilson as the franchise’s owner ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the points raised within this piece .

Alan aka tophatal ……………

Contact ………. tophatal …………. via the following social media services

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Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Maurice Evans arrive at a mid town hotel for a meeting Thursday, June 30, 2011 in New York. The NBA is headed to deadline day, with perhaps one last chance to avoid a lockout. Negotiators for owners and players will meet Thursday, about 12 hours before the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement and seemingly nowhere close to a deal. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer ….

(2) Tristan Thompson from the University of Texas greets NBA Commissioner David Stern after he was drafted #4 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round during the 2011 NBA Draft at the Prudential Center on June 23, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. Getty Images North America / Mike Stobe ……

(3) Mikhail Prokhorov for the moment , a bystander as the NBA hierarchy deals with the now contentious impasse between the league and the players’ union. The Russian billionaire like many of associates are firmly behind the NBA Commissioner David Stern for the present but it remains to be seen how much longer the league is prepared to hold its stance. Getty Images / Jesse D Garrabant ………

(4) DENVER, CO – AUGUST 20: Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) of the Buffalo Bills throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 20, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images …..

(5) Running back Knowshon Moreno (27) of the Denver Broncos splits the defense of safety Jairus Byrd (31) , Alex Carrington (92 )and linebacker Nick Barnett (50) of the Buffalo Bills during the first quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 20, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images …..

(6) Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey argues with referee Jim Mello in the second quarter of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011, in Denver. AP Photo/Jack Dempsey ……

(7) Buffalo Bills first round draft pick Marcell Dareus, center, poses for a photo with Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr., left center, coach Chan Gailey, right, and general manager Buddy Nix, left, before an introductory NFL football news conference in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, April 29, 2011. AP Photo/David Duprey ……..
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Horses For Courses And A Great Deal More ……..

Horses For Courses And A Great Deal More ……..

I don’t know whether or not to laugh or simply groan now when I get sight of NBA Commissioner David Stern . It’s simply become so asinine to hear the game’s highest ranking official opine on what he believes to be the NBPA’s lack of good faith in the lockout deliberations . David Stern’s opposition to the union possibly de-certifying is the main reason for the league hierarchy filing suit in US Federal Court while at the same time seeking the intervention of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to act as intermediaries in a government mandated mediation with a judge presiding over the whole deliberation process and then having the right to deliver a binding agreement on both parties. This is something from which neither side can view as a victory should such a scenario arise . David Stern may well be a good poker player but the cards he’s now holding simply do not favor the league or the team owners .

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Should the league vote de-certify which is not against the law it simply lessens the leverage that the NBA feels that they have other union in the negotiation process. It’s something that I’m sure that Executive Director Billy Hunter and union President Derek Fisher saw worked out favorably for the NFLPA during their long drawn out lockout process . The commissioner’s bone of contention all along has been their stance that they now have to rein costs and above salary expenditure . Given the idiocy of that statement and the very fact that teams and the general managers have splurged ostentatiously in signing players to exorbitantly outrageous contracts . And pardon me for saying this but when you see Rashard Lewis as the second highest paid player in the NBA last season earning in excess of $22.5 million has me wondering in what god damn world is where you’re paid to not to get results and be productive ? Other than those mindless idiots within the House and Senate I can’t think of any perhaps more undeserving of that type of reward for the least amount of return ! Mind you as I say this , I should point out that much to my surprise I recently found out that the commissioner himself is handsomely rewarded in terms of his annual compensation package. If the rumors are to be believed then David Stern is earning in excess of $20 million not including incentives . That’s the sort of money one would expect to see a highly gifted athlete or a titan of corporate America to be compensated with. But somehow this portly sized former legal mind is now decrying the fact that the salaries of the players are now far too high . Am I missing something here ? And did hell suddenly freeze over ?

Though this NBA stoppage by comparison to the NFL’s 135 day holdout is meager in its length the closer this entrenchment remains unresolved the more discontent there’s bound to be between the two parties . Never mind the ever growing resentment of the brooding NBA fans. With the preseason team training camps due to commence at the beginning of September it remains to be seen who’s about acquiesce to the others’ will. With the prominent team owners such as Dr Jerry Buss , Mark Cuban , James Dolan , Peter Holt , Mikhail Prokhorov , Michael Jordan , Dan Gilbert and Wyc Grousbeck all for the moment standing firmly in support of David Stern , I fully expect that should the lockout be prolonged more than they envisage then the support could very well be
threatened .

Many of the most recent owners such as Dan Gilbert in making the purchase of the Cleveland Cavaliers was fully financed by way of multi faceted loan instruments. And one should consider that the issues facing the Cavaliers in particular after the departure of LeBron James meant less revenues at Quicken Loans Arena and meager attendances for the team’s home games .

I am not about to castigate the team owners or for that matter the league hierarchy of the NBA as well as the union . From my own perspective I do believe that all of the parties are equally to blame . Given that Derek Fisher , Billy Hunter and David Stern were all aware that their existing collective bargaining agreement was due to expire on the 30th June it’s somewhat asinine that the groups in question sought to start their deliberations once the agreement had expired. Clearly there seems to be little if any common sense being shown from the lead individuals concerned . Billy Hunter whose passion as a lawyer is encapsulated around his struggles during the civil rights’ era. But here it appears to not about what’s viewed as being right but simply a matter of greed and how best to split the revenues from a $4.5 billion piece of the pie . The revenue stream as it now stands favors the players on 53.5 % to 46.5% ratio that the league seeks to lessen that would be equitable in its disbursement . Something of which the union simply does not favor as they feel that the league hierarchy has been decidedly less than truthful in showing real transparency as to their finances.

It will be very interesting to see what transpires over the ensuing weeks as the two sides seek to reach some sort of a compromise . If anything I fully expect this lockout to go on for an extended period of time . Billy Hunter made that situation abundantly clear when he commented that he does not expect there to be fully scheduled season for 2011-12. If that’s not of an indication as to how steadfast the NBPA seeks to be then clearly David Stern has misjudged the resolve of the union and it members .

As the races now appear to be tightening up within NL West and NL Central I can’t help but wonder what might happen should both the St Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants fail to make the postseason. And for both Tony La Russa and Bruce Bochy this certainly test their managerial acumen as they seek to get their respective teams playing with a great deal of resolve over the final months of the season.

The respective divisional titles are up for grabs as it would appear that the wildcard berth will come from the NL East in the form of the Atlanta Braves possibly gaining that spot. If nothing else teams in the midst closely ran races with the Cardinals now duelling with the Milwaukee Brewers and the Giants now finding themselves in an allout brawl with the Arizona Diamondbacks . One wonders if it would come as a surprise were either the St Louis Cardinals or San Francisco Giants to come up short after this ardous season. Certainly the moves made by the Giants was indication of their resolve in looking to successfully defend merely not only their divisional crown but also their NL pennant as well as looking for a return to the World Series and duplicating last year’s feat . The San Francisco Giants over the Texas Rangers was indeed a long time coming and something the Giants’ fans simply yearned for.

That taste of success now has the Giants simply wanting more and it will be very interesting to see whether or not between now and the end of the regular season the reigning champions will still be on that path to repeating last season’s triumph. With the addition of Carlos Beltran to the San Francisco Giants roster . For Bruce Bochy and his assistants knowing that they’ve some added potency on the offense gives the organization something they felt that they needed. There’s no denying that the team’s biggest strengths have been their pitching led by two time NL Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum . But if anything the real surprise amongst the roster has been the play of seasoned journeyman Ryan Vogelsong . If nothing else this season has been an aspiring ascent into the big leagues for the pitcher .

The Arizona Diamondbacks for their part with the play of Justin Upton has this team playing with a great deal of resolve. Given the change of ownership the changes both on and off the field now seems to have been paying dividends not only for the organization but also for the fans in attendance at Chase Field in Phoenix , Arizona . There has been a gradual uptick in attendance and with the play > of the team has many thinking that the organization now in a resurgent mode could now be on the cusp of doing something special. GM Kevin Towers along with the managing partners now know with the resurgence of the organization they have something to build upon . It has been a long time coming for the Diamondbacks given that their greatest triumph came back in 2001 with their surprising defeat of the venerable New York Yankees .

If anything one also should commend the job being done by Kirk Gibson and his coaching staff in getting the Arizona Diamondbacks to play with such zeal. He could very well end up being the NL Manager of the Year when it’s all said and done .

Given the ordeals faced by the St Louis Cardinals over the past few days it’s hard to see how one can’t but have some empathy with the team. Granted with the five game suspension of Yadier Molina and the events surrounding Albert Pujols being hit by an errant pitch it has me wondering now whether or not we’ll see the best or worse of this team !

The Milwaukee Brewers for their part with a thriving Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun have many thinking that after last season’s surprising divisional triumph by the Cincinnati Reds there’s time for some fresh infusion of blood in terms of another NL Central divisional winner . If not the St Louis Cardinals then why not the Milwaukee Brewers under the leadership of their managing general partner Mark Attanasio ?

Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke , his assistants and GM Doug Melvin have assembled a roster that is intent on acquitting themselves with a great deal of vigor and bring the fans back to Miller Park , Wisconsin with a sense of purpose . This Milwaukee Brewers’ team is very much a credible one but it remains to be seen what sort of steely resolve they are prepared to show over the remainder of the season .

If the Brewers are to prevail then it will have to be a concerted all-round effort with both Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder leading the way . There’s a great deal that is at stake and it goes without saying that given the vagaries of this game where one misstep can be the difference between success and failure I can’t help but feel that the players on this team may well feel ………. that now is their time .

In light of what you are now seeing happening with the divisional races at present in baseball which teams do you feel have been the biggest surprise over the course of this season ? And from within the NL Central and NL West which of the teams do you see actually triumphing in the end in terms those races ? Simply chime in with a comment as you would deem fit .

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

Contact tophatal …………….. rapptu@gmail.com

http://twitter.com/tophatal

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) NBA commissioner David Stern speaks to reporters after a meeting with the players’ union, Thursday, June 30, 2011 in New York. Despite a three-hour meeting Thursday, the sides could not close the enormous gap that remained in their positions. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer …..

(2) NBA Players Association president Derek Fisher, right, NBA union chief Billy Hunter, left, and LA Lakers’ Theo Ratliff arrive at a midtown hotel for a meeting with the NBA, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011 in New York. One month after the lockout began, and three months before the season is scheduled to start, representatives for the NBA owners and locked-out players return to the bargaining table. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer …….

(3) Wyc Grousbeck the senior managing partner of the ownership group for the Boston Celtics . Courtesy of Getty Images / Olin James …

(4) SAN FRANCISCO, CA – AUGUST 4: Hunter Pence (3) of the Philadelphia Phillies gets an RBI single against the San Francisco Giants in the ninth inning during a MLB baseball game at AT&T Park August 4, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The Phillies won the game 3-0 . Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ……

(5) SAN FRANCISCO, CA – AUGUST 4: Jeff Keppinger (8) of the San Francisco Giants gets his throw off completing the double-play avoiding the slide of John Mayberry (15) of the Philadelphia Phillies in the seventh inning during an MLB baseball game at AT&T Park August 4, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The Phillies won the game 3-0. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ……..

(6) Jason Marquis (21) of the Arizona Diamondbacks is taken out of the game in the fifth inning by manager Kirk Gibson against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 3, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The D’backs would go on lose the game 8-1 against the San Francisco Giants . Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images ………

(7) Pablo Sandoval (48) of the San Francisco Giants slides in safe at home on a ball hit by Orlando Cabrera(notes) in the third inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park on August 3, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images …….

(8) St. Louis Cardinals players Rafael Furcal, right, and Albert Pujois celebrate after they defeated the Florida Marlins 7-4 in a baseball game in Miami, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011. AP Photo/J Pat Carter ….

(9) Matt Holliday(7) of the St. Louis Cardinals rounds third after hitting a three run home run off Clay Hensley(32) of the Florida Marlins during a game at Sun Life Stadium on August 4, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ………

(10) MILWAUKEE, WI – AUGUST 03: Casey McGehee (14) of the Milwaukee Brewers steps on home plate to score after hitting his second home run of the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park on August 3, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Brewers defeated the Cardinals 10-5 . Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images ……..

(11) MILWAUKEE, WI – AUGUST 03: Prince Fielder (28) of the Milwaukee Brewers has words with Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals at first base at Miller Park on August 3, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images ……

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Into Each Of Our Lives A Drop Of Rain Must Fall But Then Again You Can Always Rely On An Idiot Within The Sports Arena To Provide Us With Something Extra !

Into Each Of Our Lives A Drop Of Rain Must Fall But Then Again You Can Always Rely On An Idiot Within The Sports Arena To Provide Us With Something Extra !

Well it had to happen did it not ? A baseball team owner being openly critical of one of his peers . In no uncertain terms Oakland A’s owner Lew Wolff has been critical of Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt and his ex wife Jamie McCourt in their ownership of the organization. As we all know the Dodgers filed for bankruptcy protection, filing Chapter 11 proceedings in the US Federal Courts .

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Slide show gallery for your perusal .

Now unless I’m mistaken this is the very first time that we’ve had an owner issue a public statement on this matter . But what might be even more surprising is the very fact that Wolff a staunch supporter of Commissioner Bud Selig was one of the very owners who at the time of McCourt’s purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers was one of the main supporters of Frank McCourt buying the team. And the very fact that Wolff and Frank McCourt share the same business background in the development of commercial and residential real estate has me wondering whether or not the two had a business deal jointly between them that went south which has now brought about this animus !

Courtesy of USA Today

A’s owner Lew Wolff calls on Frank McCourt to sell Dodgers

By Jorge L, Ortiz , USA Today

Commissioner Bud Selig is not only one who wants Frank McCourt to just go away. One of the Los Angeles Dodgers owner’s brethren is now calling for him to leave.

Oakland Athletics co-owner Lew Wolff told the Los Angeles Times that McCourt’s attacks on Selig are misguided and called for him to sell the team. Wolff is the first owner to publicly speak out against McCourt.

“My hope is that the Dodgers will be sold to a party that will restart this great franchise, and that Frank and his family will benefit from a positive sale,” Wolff told the Times. “But to try and equate or compare what Bud Selig has done with the administration of the current Dodger franchise is unsupportable.”

McCourt’s lawyers have contested in divorce court Selig’s claim that McCourt has taken more than $100 million from the team for his personal use, and they argued that Selig has received more than that amount from MLB through his yearly salary of more than $18 million.

Wolff stood up for his former University of Wisconsin fraternity brother, saying his comments were not an attempt to gain favor with Selig as the A’s continue to wait for a report on their stadium options. Wolff also denied any interest in buying the Dodgers.

“For anyone to seek to diminish Bud’s accomplishments in order to rationalize their own actions is, in my opinion, ludicrous and hugely disingenuous,” Wolff said.

Selig rejected a proposed TV rights deal with Fox that McCourt said would be worth upwards of $3 billion, citing concern over McCourt’s handling of the Dodgers’ revenues. McCourt responded by filing for bankruptcy.

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Click on the above link to read this article in its entirety .

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Lew Wolff voicing his opinion on Frank McCourt and his misdeeds to my mind actually smacks of stupidity given the A’s owner’s own handling of his team . The Oakland Athletics’ problems this season have been well chronicled and the very fact that the organization has struggled to even maintain some semblance of consistency would suggest that they’re still a long way off from where they really need to be . My own belief is that Lew Wolff as an owner has done little to suggest that he and his partners are ambitious to win . Were it not also from the fact that in Frank McCourt’s first pursuant of trying to own an MLB ballclub then I would have simply waived off this criticism as justified but herein now lies the premise . Several years prior to Frank McCourt gaining control of the Los Angeles Dodgers he has also sought to purchase the Boston Red Sox .

In pursuant of the deal as is normally required in all such instances , Frank McCourt and his partners filed the necessary papers with the board of governors and MLB hierarchy . Much of that paperwork indicated that the bidders would be financing the deal through a menage of cash and borrowing from several major financial institutions. However , it had to be noted that McCourt was also involved in major litigation where he was the defendant in a legal matter that involved unfulfilled obligations concerning the development of a real estate deal . Somehow this was initially overlooked by the league until brought to their attention by their legal counsel and the deal was in the end nixed . If such as is the case, wherein the league had such an issue concerning a potential buyer of one of their franchises once before then how is it that the league hierarchy and owners saw fit to relent and then allow that very same individual the chance to own another of their franchises the second time around ? The pattern again followed the same principle minus the legal issues but once again even in light of Frank McCourt’s previous problems the signs obviously were not heeded . This time around the board of governors which includes the owners voted unanimously to approve the deal .

If Lew Wolff is now trying decry the antics of Frank McCourt then how is it that he did not do so when the Dodgers’ owner came to the table with his deal to buy the organization ? What really had changed other than perhaps the greed of the baseball hierarchy and that of the team owners ? To me this is all so asinine given the fact that the vast majority of owners in the game are about as acutely business minded as the ” idiots” in the House and Senate who claim they have the nation’s interests at heart but who simply bicker like infants when they cannot get their own damn way ! And it is very much the same with the owners and league hierarchy within baseball !

Billy Beane the Oakland Athletics’ general manager has done as much as he can on a shoe-string budget but in recent times it has given the fans of the team little hope if any. Granted, one could allude to the fact that they’re building towards the future with their prospects and players drafted over the past few years . But in reality fans want to see some semblance of success sooner , rather than later . Anyone who would suggest to the contrary is living a life of complete denial . It’s idiotic to suggest that a fan is prepared to sit around and wait anywhere between two or even five years to see their team strive for success. If anything they’re either prepared to show their discontent with the ownership group or simply begin to abandon their team altogether . Merely giving the impression that they are prepared to endure the pain and the bravado of repeatedly watching an organization fail is as such nothing short of sadomasochism . Self flagellation at its best and worst perhaps ?

NBA Commissioner David Stern is now of the belief that the NPBA (union ) representing the players are not acting in good faith . Am I missing something here ? Unless I am mistaken the commissioner along with the NBA hierarchy and team owners indeed sought this lockout initiating the stoppage upon the 30th June deadline and expiration of the then existing collective bargaining agreement . Stern , alongside San Antonio Spurs’ owner Peter Holt and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver in a joint public statement went so far as to suggest that the union represented by executive director Billy Hunter and union president Derek Fisher were being intransigent during the two sides’ deliberations in trying to reach a compromise .

Stern’s biggest gripe is that the union could now choose to de-certify and then pursue their own legal recourse not only against the league hierarchy directly but also against the team owners . And with the commissioner having practiced law he knows that the union is quite within their right to pursue their grievances legally . Plain and simple David Stern doesn’t want to be viewed as being outmaneuvered by the NBPA or anyone else that he feels is beneath him !

Anyone who has seen how David Stern conducts himself in public will know that if he’s not front and center alongside others ____ not the main attraction then you might as well be standing in the background. It has been this sort of autocratic leadership and at times bombastic attitude that has perhaps led to this impasse . Had the league hierarchy and union for that matter had the hindsight to even convene prior to the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement and try to lay some groundwork for their dealings then in some respects the ensuing action could have been avoided . But that would simply be asking way too much of two organizations where narcissism and being egotistical seems to be the norm !

And now with the game’s own international body FIBA granting the right of the NBA players should they choose to ____ pursue playing abroad during the entrenchment of the two sides during the lockout . It would appear that the power that the league and owners thought they had was in fact nothing more than an actual pipe dream. With perhaps the game’s biggest star in Kobe Bryant now said to be mulling over several lucrative offers of an to play in China or Turkey I don’t think that it will be all that long before several other marquee stars of the NBA may well choose to follow suit !

David Stern for his part may well feel that in pursuant of the owners’ interests that they appear to be in the right but were it not for the fact that transparency of the league hierarchy when it comes to their finances borders on the secrecy of Opus Dei and that particular order. The league owners plead poverty but somehow they choose not to rein in their expenses when it comes to the salaries of the players and at the same time the union itself paints the picture that they’re being held hostage by the demands of the league hierarchy and owners. Now in the midst of it all with the NBA on track to lose several hundred million dollars it is Stern’s intent to have us believe that this lockout is the only way possible to get the union to heed their original warnings of financial doom. Were it not for the fact that in the past two seasons that the teams around the league have been the beneficiaries of in excess of $ 500 million in loans guaranteed by the league and in the past decade itself the league has borrowed in excess of $1.65 billion from several major financial institution across the country I now have a hard time fathoming how it is that the NBA finds itself in such a mess ! Unless the CFO of the league hierarchy is someone who’s clearly not adroit with finance then something is clearly awry within the NBA . David Stern’s main argument has been that the league now needs to rein in costs and he points to the fact that the NBA is on target to lose in excess of $450 million for the fiscal year . Ho hum ! That figure though excessive makes me wonder when the commissioner himself is being compensated to the tune of $23.5 million a year (including incentives) and the likes of Rashard Lewis can earn in excess of $22.5 million on the back end of a rather exorbitant contract then I have to wonder where the madness is actually coming from within the NBA !

Neither side at present shows signs of relenting and with each passing moment it would appear that the league and union have further alienated the fans . With the lockout now only a mere five weeks into its length it appears that neither side is yet willing to acquiesce and reach any sort of a real compromise . Little tidbits are released for the public’s and media’s consumption but beyond that not much has really changed . This impasse may well reach a breaking point where one side will actually relent but it does not appear to be the case now, or anytime soon . I can only surmise that David Stern and the owners will try to play the role of the protagonist in this all , as they seek to paint the union as the antagonists and villains of the piece ! Somehow , I don’t think that the fans really care which is side is portraying which damn character as they are now sick and tired of hearing about millionaires and multi millionaires complain about their financial angst and woes ! These individuals simply cannot relate to the common man much less a fan of the game .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on Lew Wolff’s criticism of Frank McCourt and do you feel it justified ? Also in light of David Stern’s comments where do you stand on the NBA lockout and the impasse as it now meanders along ? Leave a comment as to your thoughts on the points raised within this piece .

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

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Oakland Athletics co-owner Lew Wolff smiles during a news conference in Oakland, Calif., Friday, April 1, 2005. The Oakland A’s owners struck a deal with Major League Soccer to bring a team back to the San Francisco Bay area after the San Jose Earthquakes left for Houston over a stadium squabble, officials said Wednesday, May 24, 2006. Lew Wolff and John Fisher , the A’s principal owners, will have three years to buy a team and develop a stadium solely for soccer. The location of the new stadium has not been determined but the new Earthquakes office will be located in downtown San Jose. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma ….

(2) Oakland Athletics’ Kurt Suzuki reacts to striking out in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, in Seattle. The Mariners beat the Athletics 4-2 . AP Photo/Ted S. Warren ……

(3) Eric Sogard (36) of the Oakland Athletics reacts after striking out with the bases loaded to end the eighth against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on August 2, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images ……

(4) Hideki Matsui (55) of the Oakland Athletics singles in the eighth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on August 2, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images ……

(5) Hideki Matsui (L) shakes hands with Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane (R) after trying on his new jersey during a press conference where he was introduced as the newest member of the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 14, 2010 in Oakland, California. The Oakland Athletics signed designated hitter Hideki Matsui to a one-year deal worth $4.25 million plus possible incentives for the 2011 season. Getty Images North America / Justin Sullivan …

(6) NBA Players Association president Derek Fisher, right, NBA union chief Billy Hunter, left, and LA Lakers’ Theo Ratliff arrive at a midtown hotel for a meeting with the NBA, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011 in New York. One month after the lockout began, and three months before the season is scheduled to start, representatives for the NBA owners and locked-out players return to the bargaining table. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer ……

(7) NBA commissioner David Stern, left, gestures as he holds press conference along with deputy commissioner Adam Silver , following a meeting between team owners and the NBA players union on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 in New York. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews ……..

San Antonio Spurs’ GM R C Buford is seen here alongside team owner Peter Holt during one the Spurs’ practice sessions . Holt a staunch supporter of the commissioner is one of the primary members of David Stern’s inner circle during the deliberations with the NBPA . Getty Images / Alex Small ……

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Oh The Tom Foolery ………..

Oh The Tom Foolery ……..

In the aftermath of the All Star Game and the shambles that we all witnessed was in essence a clear indication that the league hierarchy couldn’t sell donuts to a room filled with cops , much less have the fans wanting for more. Much of the idiocy stems from the mere fact that the team owners and hierarchy are bereft of creativity and ideas . Can we have a show of common sense from anyone within the game for merely a brief minute ? I was once told by a patron that my ideas as it relates to talking about sports economics were way off base. But herein lies the fact this individual’s idea is to opine about the young players and that the teams are building for the future and they will somehow garner success .. He simply works on supposition, rather than the realities in the midst of the game at present . It may well work within his own mind but in the real world that’s simply not the case .

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There have been a number of suggestions to try and make the game more appealing to the fans , many of which are plausible but on the whole they would not necessarily cure what ails the game . Realignment of the divisions is simply placing a Band Aid on an open festering wound which in the end will do more harm than good . Not that I am not partial to a great deal of blood but that scenario simply creates false hope when there is none ! The one issue that the league hierarchy and owners refuse to get themselves involved in is that of the financial imbalances as it relates to the teams and the mere fact that they are unwilling to adopt a hard salary cap . They would rather simply continue to shoot themselves in the foot until they either end up crippled or paralyzed . And as we can see this is now being borne out by the ever growing problems for the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets .

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New York Yankees’ Curtis Granderson (14) is helped to first base by manager Joe Girardi after being hit by a pitch form Tampa Bay Rays’ David Price ) during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, July 20, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Yankees won 4-0 . AP Photo / Joe Blanco …

New York Yankees’ out-fielder Curtis Granderson in a candid interview with the Ft Worth Star -Telegram stated that when he now looks up into the stands he finds it a rarity to see an African American face in attendance . The player then went on to suggest that with a dwindling of ethnic players from his own race leads him to believe that the league hierarchy is doing a poor job of luring the fans to the game . And that is in spite of baseball’s RBI (Reviving Baseball In The Inner Cities) initiative in the inner cities across the country . I wonder how that is actually working out , given the expense and working in conjunction with a number of organizations as well as various school systems ? According to the league hierarchy there are over 200,000 participants across the country involved in this (RBI) all but it is difficult to decipher what the findings have led to at the professional level. From my perspective this is simply another one of Bud Selig’s warped ideas that is akin to throwing up fecal matter against the wall and then going with what sticks ! The commissioner hasn’t had an insightful or succinct idea in two decades but if anything should their be an act of flatulence on his part you can’t be sure whether or not he’ll sneeze or his head might explode .

Courtesy of USA Today

Curtis Granderson: Where are all the black fans?

By Seth Livingstone USA Today

New York Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson isn’t telling Major League Baseball anything it doesn’t already know.

Baseball appears to lack appeal and access to some blacks , whether they are participants or fans. And Granderson wasn’t necessarily trying to stir the pot when he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: “Count the number of African-American fans.”

On a recent trip to Texas, Granderson said it was difficult to push the count to double digits.

“At first, it starts off as a joke (with teammates),” Granderson said. “As the game moves on, you’ll get to 10, or maybe 15. Depends on where you are, too. Places like Chicago or New York, other places it’s easy. (In Texas), it’s hard. So after a while it becomes, ‘Told you so.

As it was reported in April , the percentage of black players dropped to 8.5% on opening day this year, down from 10% at the start of last season and its lowest level since 2007, according to the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports. More than 80% of NBA players are African-American and the percentage of black players in the NFL is more than 60%.

Possible reasons appear myriad for baseball’s drop in black players. The Star-Telegram cites costs for equipment and league participation as possible reasons for baseball’s lack of appeal, to say nothing of admission prices.

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Click on link to read this article in its entirety

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I’ve long held the contention that Branch Rickey’s social experiment to integrate the game by bringing Jackie Robinson and making him the first minority to play in MLB was simply done for business reasons and little else . Integrating the game was one thing but given the fact that those attending the games were separated along racial lines while at the same time the US military itself still had yet to be fully integrated shows that not only had the game along way to go socially but also the country as well . Robinson as a player was not only open to a torrent of racial abuse but also threats upon his life by racially intolerant fans as well as many of his fellow players and from the owners within the game .

Now I would like to think that the game of baseball has made enormous strides and it has in a number of areas but the game has yet to have an African American owner in the modern era . Though it can claim that it has had a select number of managers and executives holding the position of general manager of a ball-club. The game has yet to have an African American owner and at the highest level of the game where ownership of a team would be a sign of a real break through this has yet to happen. Baseball has a number of acute issues that it needs to address , their RBI initiative being one of them but I certainly don’t believe that Bud Selig is the man to be leading that charge ! What he lacks in outright candor he more than makes up for that with his asinine edicts and complete lack of intelligence ! That asides the team owners simply love the fact that his lips are placed so firmly on their sphincters as and when needed . At the same time Michael Weiner who succeeded Donald Fehr as the executive director of the MLBPA has shown little to suggest that his tenure will be any different from that of his predecessor . Suffice to say that the game of baseball is now being ran by a group of individuals who are akin to headless chickens running around in a chicken coop waiting to die as they bleed to death profusely.

Did I miss something ? The NBA hierarchy has seen fit to publicly release the 2011-12 NBA schedule while they are involved in the midst of what they claim to be a labor dispute . Last I looked this was simply about money and who was actually garnering the bigger slice of a multi billion dollar piece of the pie ! The NBPA guided by executive director Billy Hunter and their President Derek Fisher have all but said that they are not prepared to concede to any request or requests from the league unless they are prepared to make concessions themselves . This dispute has all the making of being a bitter contentious battle from which no side will come out of it unscathed . The union’s executive committee have kept their members abreast of the ongoing deliberations much of it behind closed doors with the press and public not really being informed of the meetings . But as usual we can rely on ESPN to inform us of the latest by their usual group of insiders.

David Stern may well have bitten off more than he can chew in seeking to institute a stoppage and no doubt his ego has taken a beating . The team owners may well be sticking behind him at this juncture but sooner or later the likes of Mikhail Prokhorov , Jerry Buss , Peter Holt , Mark Cuban and James Dolan will decide to voice their opinions as to the impasse between the two sides .

The NBA hierarchy and owners have been a law unto themselves showing their gullibility , naivete but above all sheer idiocy in thinking that they could spend money at will while seeing their revenues decline . The soft salary cap instituted by the league of $ 57 million but several teams have exceeded that figure as they chased winning an NBA title . The two finalists from this past season’s Finals between them had a combined salary exceeding $125 million , hardly a figure that David Stern would actually care to discuss .

I find it somewhat ironic while the teams are pleading poverty they’re spending money as if there’s no tomorrow . Leading the charge are the idiot general managers of the game who’ll do just about anything including selling their first born if it guarantees success . Perhaps a clear indication of such inanity were the trades made by the Orlando Magic and their GM Otis Smith as they sought a championship. One only has to look at the team’s roster and their salary implications to see that Smith simply encumbered the organization with so much dead weight that it was laughable to watch the team play .

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Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard sits after the Magic’s 84-81 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference first-round playoff series, Thursday, April 28, 2011, in Atlanta. AP Photo/John Amis ….

For Bob Vanderweide the COO & President of the Orlando Magic and the other senior executives this will be a trying time for the club. Not only do they have to deal with the financial implications of the team commitment in salaries but there’s also the growing belief that Dwight Howard may well seek to opt out of the final year of his contract and seek to ply his trade elsewhere . There’s no denying that a player of Howard’s caliber would be the envy of the teams around the league willing to acquire the player. But what would the Magic be seeking in return for the player if a deal were to be made ? Given the stakes as they stand and what this could very well mean for the organization it is hard to see anything advantageous for the team coming out of such a transaction ! Dwight Howard may well now feel that the Orlando Magic are not capable of winning a championship and the best opportunity for him as a player lays with another team. That team could very well be the Los Angeles Lakers if the rumors circulating are to be believed .

There’s no doubt in my mind that Mitch Kupchak , Jim Buss and Jerry Buss would pull the trigger on such a deal to land Dwight Howard and then for all essence and purpose the Lakers would have their own equivalent of the Miami Heat’s “Big Three” of Chris Bosh , LeBron James and Dwyane Wade . The Lakers’ answer would be the teaming of Howard to play alongside Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant . And I’m sure for newly installed coach Mike Brown this would give him the added assurance that the teaming of the three along with the other players on the roster would be of benefit to the organization and fans . Whether or not such a scenario arises remains to be seen but there’s no denying that this would be an enticing situation for all of the parties involved should it start to foment within each of the front offices in question.

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NBA Commissioner David Stern, right, pictured with Deputy Commissioner and Chief Financial Officer Adam Silver , said in a news conference Thursday that the league is seeking to cut payroll and benefits for players by about a third. AP Photo/ Phil Reed …

As to David Stern’s own ego , it may well be plausible to make next season’s schedule public as a means of showing the fans the NBA ……. is still business as usual . But at present there is nothing at all to suggest that the league and the players are any closer to reaching a compromise much less the fact they are ready to actually get back to the courts . For a number of player who have sought to ply their trade overseas until the lockout ends they get the chance to hone their skills and take in some culture while pocketing a sizable amount in compensation. For others at the lower rungs of the food chain that are not so lucky there’s isn’t a great deal that they can do other than to sit , wait to be notified as to what is going on by their player representatives from the NBPA. Chances are that they too after a while will become fed up of the situation and voice their concerns but I’m guessing that’s a long way off if they now view the situation where they have both and Stern and the owners by the balls !

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

As to the points raised within this piece do you feel that Curtis Granderson’s claims are to an extent valid ? And what recommendations would you make in order to lure not just more minorities to take an interest in the game but also to make baseball more appealing for the fans ? And where do you see the NBA now going from here in terms of the ongoing dispute ? Please leave a comment as you would deem fit and thanks for the continued support !

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

Contact ……… rapptu@ gmail.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) A fan holds up a sign during the ninth inning of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 20, 2011 in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the Rangers 9-8 . Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images ….

(2) Ryan Braun (8) of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates with teammates in the dugout before umpires review instant reply on a possible home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the eighth inning of the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on July 20, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The ball was called foul and the home run was taken back. The Brewers defeated the Diamondbacks 5-2 in 10 innings . Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …

(3) New York Yankees’ Curtis Granderson (14) is helped to first base by manager Joe Girardi after being hit by a pitch form Tampa Bay Rays’ David Price ) during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, July 20, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Yankees won 4-0 . AP Photo / Joe Blanco …

(4) ST. PETERSBURG, FL – JULY 20: Outfielder Curtis Granderson (14) of the New York Yankees scores on a first-inning home run against the Tampa Bay Rays July 20, 2011 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ….

(5) Branch Rickey (left) seen here with Jackie Robinson holding the plaque denoting his official enshrinement into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York . Also pictured is Robinson’s wife Rachel . Courtesy of White Archives …

(6) Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard sits after the Magic’s 84-81 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference first-round playoff series, Thursday, April 28, 2011, in Atlanta. AP Photo/John Amis ….

(7) NBA Commissioner David Stern, right, pictured with Deputy Commissioner and Chief Financial Officer Adam Silver , said in a news conference Thursday that the league is seeking to cut payroll and benefits for players by about a third. AP Photo/ Phil Reed …

(8) From left to right Orlando Magic executives Alex Martins , Bob Vanderweide and Otis Grant take questions from the convened press at the team’s headquarters the Amway Center in downtown Orlando , Florida . Orlando Sentinel/ Michael Halloran ….

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Stupid Is , Can’t Be As Stupid Does , Can It …. ?

Stupid Is , Can’t Be As Stupid Does , Can It …. ?

So just when you thought that all that would appear just when we had seen it all concerning the rabid stupidity that exists within collegiate athletics. It would appear that Auburn Tigers’ football coach Gene Chizik is extremely unhappy that the NCAA is still continuing its investigation of the school. Chizik had an impromptu conversation with the NCAA’s vice president for enforcement Judie Loah Roach during which the officer informed the coach that the school and its recruitment of Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton was still under investigation. As we all know there said to be a number of improprieties concerning the player’s recruitment . The player’s father Cecil Newton is said to still be a person of interest in this ongoing investigation . It’s plain to see that there is a great deal at stake should the school be found to be in violation of any type of NCCA rules . The jury is out and the blow-back from this all could very well be another nail in the coffin of another very prestigious collegiate athletics’ program.

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So the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive player James Harrison is simply proving once again why players from the NFL are better to be seen on the field of play rather than being heard . The player fresh off last season’s numerous fines has become a bona-fide asshole of the highest order ! . In criticizing the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell calling him “a crook” , “a devil “ , “a tyrant” and an ” autocratic despot “ whose power simply knows no bounds . At the same time the player was also critical of his teammate Ben Roethlisberger and the very fact that the player at times was simply not playing to the best of his abilities and was being reliant on the defense to bail out the team far too often over the course of last season . Pardon me for saying this , but shouldn’t Harrison be the one to voice these opinions behind closed doors amongst his teammates and the coaching staff as it relates to the team’s play ? As to his criticism of the commissioner , once it’s out there it becomes too late to take it all back . And that is now what the player now seems to be doing by stating that his statements were completely taken out of context. I certainly believe that when it’s all said and done if it is not Mike Tomlin who ends up speaking to James Harrison about his comments then quite possibly look a senior official from the front office to hold a private conversation with the player .

The Pittsburgh Steelers has always been an organization that chooses to conduct their problems behind closed doors and to try and make sure that the players as such are of the highest order in terms of their character. It is easy to undersstand why the are considered one of the most respected teams within the NFL and the success achieved in large part has come down to the fact here has been very little volatility within the organization and turnover in terms of the coaching staff. Unfortunately , with the antics of Santonio Holmes , Plaxico Burress and in particular Roethlisberger , his infantile and rather asinine antics over the last few years has led the Rooney family to once again scrutinize the players on the roster. Recently we had the team’s veteran wide receiver Hines Ward busted for DUI and with the player initially stating that wasn’t intoxicated, only for the police to later inform us that Ward was indeed driving over the legal limit . He would later offer an apology to his teammates and the organization for his behavior .

Shit we know rolls downhill but boy , oh boy the NBA and in particular the league hierarchy now looks as if they will try and do anything to shovel it uphill. The hierarchy feels aggrieved that the NBPA (union ) will be allowed to retain the larger part of $160 million from an escrow account that they funded based on the terms that should their cumulative salary exceed 57% of the basketball related income . Now with the teams owners and hierarchy now under siege with their position now looking all the more perilous David Stern seeks into increase their profile and take the upper hand in the ongoing lockout . It would appear that management would seek to impune the integrity of the union. The league feels that the funds in question should be placed back into a general fund rather than be at the players’ disposal . Somehow you simply knew that the league could not be trusted to show any type of integrity at all.

The NBA is still at odds with the players and the fact that they are still asserting that they are losing money. But many of the league’s problems can be traced back to the fact that Stern allowed the teams and in particular the general managers run amok with in terms of the team salaries as they seek success with apparent abandonment . David Stern has long maintained that the teams are on track to lose hundreds of millions of dollars for the fiscal year. Last season’s losses were in excess $300 million and this year it is projected to be considerably higher . It seems rather ridiculous to think that the league having set a soft salary cap in place would then seek to allow those very same teams to far exceed the figure of $57 million and then expect there not to be any serious ramifications for the league’s excessive spending .

It seems rather strange that many of the league’s high profiled owners such as Mikhail Prokhorov , Jerry Buss , Michael Jordan , James Dolan , Peter Holt and Michael Heisley have all remained steadfast behind the commissioner . However , the longer this situation goes on there is the likelihood that we may well begin to see some dissent amongst the owners who may challenge the stance the league hierarchy is taking . From my own perspective , the lockout has become simply an issue of egos and which party feels that their stance appears to be the best option available. At some point this impasse has to be resolved because before we actually know it the preseason training schedule will be upon us. It’s pretty much safe to say that neither side wants to be in this for the long haul and now with a number of players envisioning that this dispute may well be for a prolonged period we are seeing a number of them considering the lucrative option of playing abroad. It certainly will be advantageous for New Jersey Nets’ point guard Deron Williams who has signed a one year $ 5 million contract with the Turkish side Beseitkas.

Unless I missed something which I am glad that I did but the MLB All Star Game had to be one of the most boring in recent memory. Never mind the 5-1 lopsided result and win for the National League but the game had one of the lowest ratings in almost a decade and this can’t have been what Fox actually wanted from the game’s midseason show case event. At the same time the question now being asked is how best the whole format of the All Star Game can be changed where it is more of an exhilarating event not only for the participants but also for the fans in attendance and those watching the broadcast. Given the actual idiocy of the whole damn format with the fans picking the actual players they want to see on the respective rosters makes this whole event all the more asinine to begin with.

Baseball is a sport that in large part looks to its past in terms of its legitimacy and legacy as the nation’s pass-time . But once Bud Selig assumed control as commissioner of the league his reign and the fact that the league hierarchy has essentially become clueless as the most acute needs of the game , it should not have surprised anyone at all as to the outcome of the spectacle. One listless team simply didn’t turn up at all but somehow they were assured of their respective team incentives. The NL simply dished out an ass whupping of the highest order leaving the AL with their tails hanging between their legs . At this point will there anyone at all interested in the fact that next season’s game will be held at the home of the Kansas City Royals ? Well , I guess not ! The league hierarchy much like the team owners have become totally bereft any ideas and creativity when it now comes to the marketing of the game , its brand in general and likewise as it relates to the All Star Game . Tuesday night was very much a clear indication of that and it was there for all to bear witness to !

Well at last someone had the foresight to hire Brian Shaw with the former Los Angeles Lakers’ assistant coach being overlooked for several of the offseason vacancies that came about . Indiana Pacers’ general manager Larry Bird having interviewed Shaw , hired the former player to be the assistant to Frank Vogel and his staff. Bird has made it clear the new assistant’s role will to teach the players on the Pacers’ roster how best to improve their all-round game . I’ve no doubt that Shaw will prove to be a valuable asset to the team and with being able to provide to a great deal of insight as to what it takes to be successful from a player’s standpoint . If anything this steadies a listless ship and all but assures the team of retaining their best player Danny Granger who could opt to become free agent after the upcoming season.

The Pacers’ organization is flushed with youthful talent but Vogel’s biggest problem has been to harness it all into one cohesive and effective unit. With the addition of Brian Shaw and the existing members of coaching staff we could very well see something of a resurgence from this team. Not since the days of Reggie Miller and Rik Smits have the Pacers been deemed worthy to be considered a legitimate force within the NBA . And granted over the years the organization has had its problems stemming from neglect and the fact that the team was seen as one of the back-water stop offs in players’ career when they’re said to be on the decline. If things are to change with the thought of a turnaround in mind then perhaps with Brian Shaw and Frank Vogel working in tandem there could very well be something beginning to foment within the organization.

On the outside looking in I am not so sure to make of the situation now encapsulating the furor of the US women’s soccer team having made it to the finals of the World Cup . As great an accomplishment as this has been and the fact that the country will be chasing its first Cup win since 1999 the game barely registers a blip on the consciousness of the masses domestically here at home . Granted , all of the patriotism comes to the foreground in the times of triumph but what one sees as a triumph then is simply eroded when you considers that attendances for games at the club level within the WPSL ( Womens Premier Soccer League) averages no more than 2,500 per game . Salaries for players at the club level where the median is approximately $25,000 per year offers the players little by way of comfort with many of them choosing to hold down a civilian position beyond playing or for many of the top stars , some choose to split their time playing overseas.

The 2011 World Cup has to be considered a success for FIFA and in particular for the entrants to this year’s competition. Some of the matches have been competitive while others have been what one might consider to be extremely boring. But the back-drop to this all has been the very fact that the US team has sought redemption and they now have a chance at that by defeating their upcoming opponent Japan in the final game of the tournament .

Both sides have reached this stage of the competition having defeated two teams in semi-finals thought to be their equal at the international level. Japan defeated Sweden in a thoroughly convincing fashion 3-1 and the US had their problems with Brazil having to overcome a deficit before defeating the team in a penalty shootout (5-3) after a 2-2 tie in regulation .

In the final itself , we should expect a highly competitive game between two evenly matched teams . Team USA brings along the experience and a more physical style of play but Japan has speed , exuberance and a technical aspect that one would not normally associate with a team from the Far East. But much of that may well come down to the fact that there are a number high quality European coaches at the club level within the country where fan support for the game reaches rabid proportions. Obviously something that the WPSL yearns for here in the US but it still lacks support of the fans in general and the willingness of the networks to give the game much or airtime than it is now obtaining . Coverage of the game has been primarily with ESPN where basically much of women’s sports now finds its support from a viewing standpoint not only at the professional level but also at the collegiate level. Somehow one can only imagine that Title IX (Title IX) was meant to create something of a level playing field but in reality the success attained by the enactment by this legislation has not really done enough to put women’s sport on the map in the true sense of the word.

Should the USA win Sunday’s final match then we may well see something of an advancement in the game here domestically but considering the missteps along the way previously in trying to create a professional league at the club level , I firmly believe that soccer at the women’s level here much like their male counterpart still has a long way to go before it gets any real level of respect that they feel they rightly deserve . The nation has yet to take the game into its heart , feel as if it is something it can truly appreciate and that is in spite of the fact that now the game is now being played by more children at the middle , high school level and by collegiate players than baseball and basketball combined . Something to think about don’t you think ? And while the game of soccer resonate around the globe with its throng of fans it remains a bewildering back-drop for most here simply because the NBA , NFL , MLB , NASCAR and NHL rule the roost when it comes fans wanting to see something a great deal more exhilarating than 22 players chasing a round ball up down a field .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the points raised within this piece what thoughts if any do you have ? Do leave a comment as to your thoughts and thanks as always for the continued support !

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

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Auburn coach Gene Chizik watches the first day of spring football practice for the national champion Auburn Tigers in Auburn, Ala., Wednesday, March 23, 2011. AP Photo / Garry Finkel …..

(2) FILE – In this Nov. 13, 2010 file photo, Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton (2) dunks coach Gene Chizik following a 49-31 win over Georgia in an NCAA college football game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. Chizik wants Auburn fans to remember Newton “as a great individual,” not just a Heisman Trophy-winning player. The Tigers coach defends the No. 1 NFL draft pick in the upcoming book “All In” but says it is “really a story about football, family and faith.” Chizik discussed the book Wednesday, June 29, 2011, ahead of its July 5 release that will have him hit the road for a promotional tour with nine stops in four states. AP Photo/Dave Martin ….

(3) FILE – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell listens to questions during a news conference at the NFL football owners meetings in Rosemont, Ill., in this June 21, 2011 file photo. Heavily fined Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison calls NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a “crook” and a “devil,” among other insults, in a magazine article in the August issue of Men’s Journal. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ….

(4) FILE – Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison (92) warms up before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Pittsburgh, in this Dec. 23, 2010 file photo. Heavily fined Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison calls NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a “crook” and a “devil,” among other insults, in a magazine article in the August issue of Men’s Journal. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar ……

(5) NBA union chief Billy Hunter speaks to reporters after a meeting with the NBA, Thursday, June 30, 2011 in New York. The NBA is headed to deadline day, with perhaps one last chance to avoid a lockout. Negotiators for owners and players will meet Thursday, about 12 hours before the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement and seemingly nowhere close to a deal. That meeting however would lead to the league mandated shutdown of the NBA . AP Photo/Mary Altaffer ……

(6) National League All-Star Prince Fielder (28) of the Milwaukee Brewers and his sons Jaden (R) and Haven pose with the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award after the National League defeated the American League 5-1 in the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Getty Images North America / Jeff Gross ……

(7) National League All-Star Lance Berkman (12) of the St. Louis Cardinals is tagged out at second base by American League All-Star Robinson Cano (24) of the New York Yankees in the bottom of the second inning of the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix,Az . Getty Images North America/ Jeff Gross ….

(8) Indiana Pacers new assistant head coach Brian Shaw responds to a question during a news conference in Indianapolis, .Wednesday, July 13, 2011. AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(9) Pia Sundhage (2nd L) coach of the U.S. laughs as she listens to striker Abby Wambach (2ndR) during a practice session for the upcoming final of the women’s soccer World Cup in Frankfurt July 15, 2011. The U.S. will play Japan in the World Cup final on Sunday in Frankfurt. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach ….

(10) USA’s goalkeeper Hope Solo is stretched during a training session on July 15, 2011 in Frankfurt/Main, two days before the final football match of the FIFA women’s football World Cup Japan vs USA at the FIFA Frauen-WM-Stadion in Frankfurt/Main, central Germany, on July 17, 2011. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE …..

(11) Members of Japan’s women’s soccer team pose with placards from Japanese children from Frankfurt’s International School prior to a practice session in Frankfurt July 15, 2011. Japan will play the U.S. in the World Cup final on Sunday, July 17, in Frankfurt. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach …….

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Hashish Is The Spice of Life …………

Hashish Is The Spice Of Life So Says Deron Williams

Let’s get one thing clear and stop with the utter stupidity that the statement in which New Jersery Nets’ point guard Deron Williams whose choice to pursue and offer his talents to top Turkish basketball side Beseitkas BC is all about money. The player who left the Utah Jazz in a trade transaction that was a multi player deal to make his home with the Nets . Multi billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov and the front office had to have given his blessing for this deal even with the advent of the NBA mandated lockout. The vested interest that the organization has in the player and the fact that GM Billy King knows that they would rather have a happy player rather than a discontented one .

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Williams simply doesn’t need the money as he’s the thirteenth highest paid player in the league and has sizable endorsement contracts that simply gives the player all the money he could simply ever wish for. What most patrons who’ve proffered up a commentary on this issue fail to understand is that the NBA players are not covered their teams’ insurance coverage during a labor stoppage so it makes prudent financial sense for a player to seek plying his trade elsewhere. The caveat being however , it does give an NBA team the right to void the player’s contract should they have a serious injury that could curtail their career during their sojourn. In the case of Deron Williams he will be financially rewarded with a $ 5 million one year contract , an assistant , the lease of a brand new car , a luxurious home for the player , his immediate family , round the clock security and all of his living expenses will be paid for by Beseitkas during the player’s stay in Turkey. The team itself is one of the top club sides in Europe alongside Maccabi Tel Aviv of Israel .

Nets’ team owner Mikhail Prokhorov is seen here with minority equity stake partner Jay-Z . The two will combine their resources in bringing the team to the Barclay Yard Development in Brooklyn , New York in two years . Courtesy of NESN.com copyrighted material @ all rights reserved ….

Now with Williams’ wish to play abroad it remains to be seen whether or not any of the league’s marquee stars will seek to ply their trade abroad . With all of the rumors currently circulating that Kobe Bryant is said to be interested in playing in Italy , I for one find that premise somewhat misleading with the mere fact with the player coming off surgery , it is highly unlikely that Bryant would seek to have a re-occurence of injury while playing abroad . If anything the player is more liable to rest and recuperate while awaiting an outcome of this work stoppage initiated by the league hierarchy at the insistence of the NBA team owners .

Courtesy of Foxsports

NBA stars going overseas a bad sign

By Dan Wolken

So Deron Williams wants to play in Turkey if the NBA season doesn’t start on time, which is certainly his right. In theory, it’s a decent way to spend a few months: Hang out in Europe, make money and play basketball while the NBA bickers its way through a lockout. It sounds so good, in fact, that within minutes of Williams’ agent confirming the agreement, superstars ranging from Carmelo Anthony to Kobe Bryant indicated an interest in joining him overseas.

But just by entertaining the idea of a European exodus, NBA stars are already showing the kind of selfishness and greed that will ultimately undermine the Players Association in what could be a long, ugly labor war.

A number of basketball people reacted the same way to the news Williams had agreed to play for Besiktas: They’ll believe it when they see it. But even if Williams never makes it to Turkey, the mere notion of it has already caused problems for players on the margins of the NBA.

With the possibility that legitimate NBA players and even some All-Stars could sign for the duration of the lockout, there are some early indications that players who typically go overseas may be squeezed out until European teams see who they can get.

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With that in mind this can’t sit well with the owners knowing that their players would seek to ply their trade elsewhere while the league itself is in the midst of a labor dispute . But so asinine has been the situation that it is hard to see how David Stern , Adam Silver as Deputy Commissioner can seek to resolve this situation when the league hierarchy and the NBPA are so far apart in renegotiating the collective bargaining agreement which expired on the 30th June.
The union’s Executive Director Billy Hunter along with union president Derek Fisher and its <a href=”http://npba.org/leadership”&gt; executive committee are insistent they have no wish to accede and make any concessions to the league unless the owners and hierarchy are prepared to acquiesce and reciprocate in kind. That at present doesn’t, appear to be an option but it remains to be seen over the ensuing days and weeks how things will work themselves out . This much is certain if the hierarchy and players aren’t on the same page by the time by the mini camp and preseason starts , we could well be seeing a prolonged stoppage with the possibility that the 2011-12 season not starting on time until either January of 2012 or perhaps the season being completely abandoned altogether .

The NBA’s teams at present are hemorrhaging money with more than half the teams in the league now said to be incurring multi million dollar losses . A patron of my site tried to allude to the fact that much of what is being stated concerning the teams’ losses is mere subterfuge on the part of the NBA and the fact that there are clear indications that the teams are in fact making millions . A recent article in noted financial publication Forbes Magazine states that much of the NBA hierarchy’s claims are a fallacy but herein lies the caveat with regard to those claims , it is merely that the contributor of that article merely remarked about the fact that much of the revenues derived by the teams are in fact from season and general admission ticket sales and that of concessions during regular season games . Not much was made with regard to revenues streams derived from the NBA’s own marketing and branding operations . Now inasmuch as I’ve a great affinity for Forbes Magazine and what it at times bring to the table I found the article on the NBA’s finances something of a faux pas on their part ! The article failed to touch on the very fact that in 2009 and 2010 respectively the league received cumulatively in excess of $550 million in loans which was shared amongst 22 teams around the NBA . If that is not indicative of a league that is said to be in dire straits then can someone please explain to me what is ? David Stern in his formal statement in 2009 concerning the first series of loans made the suggestive statement ….. ” that this should not be viewed as a financial bailout of the teams in question but merely a way of assisting them in their financial difficulties”. Over this last decade the league’s teams have borrowed in excess of $1.6 billion from major financial institutions across the nation. Clearly a situation that the league now needs to address as to the financial acumen of its teams and their general managers .

After a nine year career much of it filled with a great deal of disappointment Houston Rockets’ center Yao Ming we’re told will make a formal announcement stating that he will retire from the game. Recurring injuries and ill health throughout much of his career led to this decision where the 7′ center feels it necessary call it a day. Drafted in the 2002 NBA Draft first overall by the Rockets Yao Ming would make his home in Houston leading the team in a number offensive categories over much of his career .

The faith shown in Yao Ming by general manager Daryl Morey and owner Leslie Alexander has been implicit but it has been the growth of the game in Yao’s homeland of China that must first be appreciated . Granted , the population (1.6 billion and counting) may well have known about Michael Jordan through jersey , other sports apparel sales and the presence of Nike Inc which has several manufacturing plants dotted all over the country gave a heighten awareness to the game and NBA brand in the Far East.

With Yao’s apparent wish to step away from the game it has to be said that league hierarchy will see this as something of a sad loss . Commercially the player had the second highest jersey sales in his native land behind Kobe Bryant but without the Chinese native’s rise to the top of the game and the legions of fans within China that now follow the NBA , this has all been due to his presence within the professional ranks in North America.

Success though fleeting for the Rockets with Yao’s arrival and the awareness of the Sino American community within the state of Texas and in particular within the city of Houston laid the foundation for the organization and its selling of the player to the community at large . Yao Ming played his role in that task and it became clear that the Houston Rockets and NBA at large would profit greatly from this endeavor. And though it is questionable as to how Yao Ming’s career will be viewed by the fans and analysts at large . A great player in his own right on both ends of the court it has to be said there will be those who will debate overall whether or not he has actually been a success in the NBA . Debate it at will but there will be those who come out in favor of the player and those who will also question where he stands within the game. The preeminent centers within the game as Yao’s peers were Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard once he became a force in the league but it has to be said the thinning of the position with O’Neal now retiring leaves us with not much by way of the prototypical center within the NBA.

From my own perspective with the retirement of Yao from the game it now leaves a large gap of what I believe to be truly good centers within the NBA ! Certainly amongst the centers now playing the game Dwight Howard immediately comes to mind and that of Andrew Bynum with the latter yet to refine his game and live up to the perceived expectations as to how good he can really become. I think that comes more out of conceit on the part of Bynum , the fact he is self absorbed and believes himself privileged . And if the Los Angeles Lakers are to be resurgent once again then he will have to raise the level of his play.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In your opinion do you feel that the departure of Deron Williams to play in Europe will be sign that other marquee players will seek to ply their trade elsewhere ? Also with what is said to be the imminent retirement of Yao Ming what thoughts if any do you with regard to play of the centers that are now playing in the NBA ? Do you believe that it is on the decline or is it your opinion that this is merely a cyclical situation and we will once again see a dominant player at the position ? Simply chime with a comment as you deem fit .

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

Picture and slide show details below.

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(1) FILE – This Feb. 24, 2011, file photo shows New Jersey Nets’ Deron Williams posing in front of his poster at a news conference, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Turkish team Besiktas says it is close to reaching a deal with NBA All-Star guard Deron Williams. The New Jersey Nets say they can’t comment because of the lockout. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ……

(2) New Jersey Nets draft pick Jordan Williams speaks during an introductory NBA basketball news conference as Marshon Brooks looks on Monday, June 27, 2011, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ….

(3) New Jersey Nets general manager Billy King speaks during an introductory NBA basketball news conference as draft pick Bojan Bogdanovic , left, looks on Monday, June 27, 2011, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ……

(4) Nets’ team owner Mikhail Prokhorov is seen here with minority equity stake partner Jay-Z . The two will combine their resources in bringing the team to the Barclay Yard Development in Brooklyn , New York in two years . Courtesy of NESN.com copyrighted material @ all rights reserved ….

(5) This file photo taken on June 27th, 2011 shows NBA Houston Rockets’ Chinese basketball star Yao Ming listening to a question during a press conference in Taipei. Chinese media was rife with speculation on July 11, 2011 about what basketball icon Yao Ming might do next, after reports the country’s most famous sporting export is set to retire. AFP PHOTO /Getty Images / FILES / Sam YEH …..

(6) LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 26: Yao Ming (11) of the Houston Rockets looks on during their opening night game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on October 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images …..

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Pop Goes The Weasel ……………..

Pop Goes The Weasel …..

Well it is now being widely reported that the NFL in conjunction with the NFLPA have gotten an accord wherein an agreement has been reached between the two sides. From what I’ve been led to believe it will be that the union and Commissioner Roger Goodell on behalf the team owners have suddenly had their wits about them. It took the two sides just over 100 days to suddenly realize that neither side can do without the other . At the same time I do believe that Federal Court Judge Arthur Boylan simply made both sides an offer that neither could refuse ! Either they reached a compromise or Boylan would render a decision that would most certainly have some serious repercussions for both sides.

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If the teams now get back to full practice mode with them all returning to their training facilities then quite possibly a preseason and some form of a regular season will proceed as planned . From my own perspective I think it is more liable that we will see a preseason of 2 games with regular season of 16 games as planned, kicking off on time on the 8th September . As to what this says about the NFL and in particular for the players of the NFLPA , it may well all come down to wanting to save face rather than being forced into a situation where they may have to come off on the wrong side of a legal verdict .

DeMaurice Smith as the NFLPA Executive Director now knows that he and his members face something of an uphill battle in assuring the player representatives that this is now all in their best interest. Other the flip side of this coin , Goodell’s legacy may well appear to be in tact knowing that he dodged a bullet . And for the fans of the NFL well let’s just say that there are some amongst us who feel that it’s great that the league will be back in action . I simply hope that the news that is now coming down the pike concerning the NFL has some real veracity to it and that the new CBA is equitable and amenable to all of the parties concerned !

If the actions of the NFL doesn’t have a bearing on the NBA and their own situation then quite possibly we could very well see the two sides there reach some sort of a compromise. But herein lies the caveat , NBA Commissioner David Stern as the league’s highest ranking official has ruled the NBA as if it were his own personal fiefdom . Stern’s autocratic rule would make a third world despotic tyrant feel proud of their own accomplishments and achievements. In the case of David Stern he now appears to be fighting his toughest battle yet . The NBPA in all likelihood will most certainly be against making any concessions that has them appearing weak and at the same they are not prepared to lessen their grip on the league revenues which sees them receiving a 53/47 split of the $3.95 billion that comes into the league’s coffers each season .

One wonders how it is that repeatedly when such instances arise in the wake of a hierarchy induced stoppage how it is that no foresight is shown wherein a collective bargaining agreement that the two sides prior to that expiration the two sides don’t start negotiating in advance ? That was most certainly the case with the NFL and also once again here with the NBA ! It would appear reasonable to suggest that they ought to have done that in the first place ____ starting off in good faith rather than the intense , sometimes rather animated and infantile exchanges that are said to have taken place during these negotiations between the NFL , NFLPA and now between the NBA and NBPA. Kind of makes one wonder who actually is the child here and who if anything is the adult overseeing this all ? It may well be that things will indeed have to take a real turn for the worse before any semblance of common sense is actually shown. I’m sure that Stern or his union counterpart Billy Hunter surely are not willing to have the FMCS (Federal Mediation & Conciliation Services ) or the US Federal Court intervene in this matter because should that occur then no party comes out in the end looking like a winner under any circumstance.

Now there’s a great deal to be said about the utter stupidity that has shown by the team owners , league hierarchy and in particular the general managers of the teams in the NBA . And now with a number of players now seeking to ply their trade elsewhere knowing that while a lockout remains in force they know that they are not covered in terms of insurance coverage during a league enforced lockout. Salaries , well it’s obvious that those won’t be paid at all so for the players who choose to play in Europe or elsewhere so that they can then earn a sizable sum in the midst of the stoppage and at the same time remain relatively fit is of benefit to themselves and their financial well being .

I find it somewhat naive of the fans are of the opinion feel that the league isn’t losing money but then again it all boils down the league showing very little by the way of transparency . They certainly are averse to opening their books for public scrutiny and it certainly has made David Stern look the complete idiot , when he , himself has sold the golden goose as a brand that simply was all in good standing. In the last two years Stern has made sure that teams around the league have been the financial recipients of over $600 million in loans , all of which the commissioner stated wasn’t to be viewed as a bailout . Somehow in the midst of this all David Stern is now finding out that all that glitters simply isn’t gold . Admittedly the ratings for this past season’s NBA Finals were a bonanza for ABC but the attendance for scheduled regular season games around the league saw a marked decline . Much of which has led to part of the financial instability for a number of teams. Owners such as Mikhail Prokhorov , Dan Gilbert , Joe Lacob and Peter Guber vastly overpaid for the respective franchises purchased but herein lies the caveat as in the case of Gilbert he’s amongst a number of team owners who are now cash strapped in more ways than they would actually care to admit . Nowhere is this more self evident than in the case of the Sacramento Kings and the ownership group led by Joe and Gavin_Maloof as they’ve simply looked to seek financial aid courtesy of the league hierarchy and advantageous tax exemptions from the city of Sacramento .

The plight of the Kings is by no means clear albeit that they will remain in Sacramento for one more year . Do not be surprised were the Maloofs to take off like thieves into the night with their bags packed and the city of Sacramento is left without an NBA franchise . One simply has to remember what took place with the Seattle Supersonics and their move from that city to Oklahoma City and the lies that permeated through the decision to move all orchestrated by David Stern and the Thunder ownership group led by Clay Bennett . Money may well have exchanged hands to finally facilitate the move but the city (Seattle) remains without a franchise and that simple feeling that they had been duped all along by the NBA . That once again is liable to happen with the city of Sacramento and the Sacramento Kings when it’s all said and done .

Falling attendances in an economic downturn is one thing but when the teams choose not to rein in their expenses and Stern seems to be adverse to actually initiating a hard salary cap rather than insisting that a soft cap now works for the teams. This has proven to be misplaced and even more so given the fact the commissioner has admitted that teams are hemorrhaging red ink like a corpse exsanguinate blood after receiving a nasty abdomen wound from a shotgun. I personally believe that the league hierarchy , the general managers and owners around the NBA have simply lost touched with reality . And the union and its executive committee are not that far behind in this whole asinine charade as they each look to one up each other. The league hierarchy wants to hold on to what little power it still has whereas the union simply wants the status quo to remain as is or perhaps get an even slightly larger slice of that pie.

This stoppage may well be the wake up call that this image enriched league needs to bring it back to reality. And the case can be made that much of this was simply brought about by the ambition of David Stern as he viewed that the best way to market the league was through its stars rather than the marketing of the teams . This scenario worked well when the league was in need of real vibrancy and they found it in a marketing and basketball phenom in Michael Jordan . And the rest as we say is history as the league and Jordan had some rich and wonderful years that have benefited both financially beyond their wildest dreams. Since the six time championship winning player retired from the game it has to be said that the NBA hit some lean years from a fan and attendance standpoint. Competitively the NBA is has had its ups and downs but the teams we expect to see make the NBA playoffs usually do , with there being one or two surprises along the way.

As I have alluded to earlier the league hierarchy simply are averse to any real transparency as to the their business practices and how they actually conduct their operations . The asinine situation remains is the very fact that there are fans out there who simply believe that the league can’t hit upon hard times. If they believe that to be so then simply look at the problems we now see befalling such teams as the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets are not mere hiccups . If only these fans would care to look beyond what takes place on the field of play and look to what is actually going on in the boardrooms of the teams then they would actually understand what is happening. Many of the thought processes I’ve heard _____ “we have a horrible owner and he needs to sell the team then we’d be much better off “ .

Given the situation with the economy and the asinine belief of some fans that billionaires such as Mark Cuban , Larry Ellison , Carlos Slim Helu and Eli Broad would even be interested in overpaying for a franchise that simply has seen its profits decline and many of its streams begin to dry up with the seller seemingly seeking prices that are inflated and not based on being anywhere near being realistic . Buyers simply don’t buy a sports’ franchise on a whim, they look to make sure that the purchase will be of benefit to them and that there is most certainly a chance of success before they would even consider plowing their money into such a venture . But then again that may not have been the case with the purchase made by Frank McCourt of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the sheer ineptitude shown by the team owners and baseball hierarchy in approving the deal to begin with for the sale of the team. Most certainly due diligence can’t have been used by the league hierarchy and anyone who simply believes that to have been the case has to be an idiot to begin with ! This very same hierarchy and owners voted against McCourt when he originally sought to purchase the Boston Red Sox but a mere three years later they saw fit to vote him in amongst the team owners’ fraternity by approving his purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers . Somehow words escape me as to the mere ineptitude that has been shown by Bud Selig , the league hierarchy and in fact the team owners of Major League Baseball !

Dan Gilbert though a multi millionaire is now finding out the hard way having seen the marked decline in the value of the Cleveland Cavaliers but at the same time he’s having to pay down the principal and interest having purchased the team by way of a loan from a major financial institution. This could very well be one of the numerous reasons why we are now seeing a number of owners beginning to voice their disapproval with the way that Stern has handled the matter but somehow they remain steadfast in their support of the commissioner and league hierarchy for now. Long time owners having bought their teams relatively cheap simply haven’t that much to worry about in large part but there are those recently new team owners that have spent hundreds of millions in their purchase that have yet to see anything tangible from that purchase by way of success or in the form of a profitability standpoint.

So apparently as one door closes another is still left ajar as the NBA continues with its own form of infighting . It will be interesting to see what now permeates between the two sides and how each looks to make their presentation of their case for the public’s consumption. I doubt that the vast majority of the league’s fans actually favor one side or another but they would simply be rather content to see both sides reach an agreement rather than what could turn out to be a rather bitter dispute between the two parties . It’s bad enough that the public has to endure that same sort of stupidity with the members of the House and Senate up on Capitol Hill without it now having to be shown of all places within the domain of big time professional sports . But this simply has become a microcosm of our society and when greed rather than common sense gets in the way of a real issue then for all sense and purpose stupidity sets in and ‘pop goes the weasel ‘.

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If the related news is said to be true are you happy that the NFL will be back in full swing with a scheduled formatted season of games to be played ? And what are your own thoughts on the NBA’s self imposed lockout and how do you see that scenario ending ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and as always thanks for the continued support .

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

NB : At the time of writing this piece the news concerning an agreement having been reached between the NFL and NFLPA _ no formal statement had yet to be issued , so as of now things still remain as they are .

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(1) Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert talks with the media at a press availability at the Cleveland Clinic Courts in Independence, Ohio on Tuesday, June 8, 2010. AP Photo/Amy Sancetta …..

(2) Larry Ellison, chairman and CEO of Oracle Corp., talks about his company during an interview Monday, May 8, 2000, in Dallas. Ellison, who unveiled a $199 Internet machine before an audience of students at a performing arts high school, said Oracle will donate more than 1,100 of the machines to 23 Dallas schools. The machine, which lacks a hard drive, is targeted at the education and consumer markets. Ellison the founder of Oracle is an ardent basketball fan who lost out in trying to acquire the Golden State Warriors earlier this year. AP Photo/Tim Sharp ……

(3) Billionaire real estate mogul and philanthropist Eli Broad . Courtesy of Forbes Magazine / Joe Puglise @ all rights reserved copyrighted material …

(4) David Stern (left) and Oklahoma City Thunder principal managing partner Clay Bennett are seen here at an NBA game in Oklahoma City , OK. AP Photo / Gabriel Barnes …….

(5) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and National Football League Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith speak to reporters outside the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Sarasota, Fla., after speaking at the NFLPA’s rookie symposium, Wednesday, June 29, 2011. AP Photo/Brian Blanco ………

(6) (L-R) Brothers George Maloof, Gavin Maloof and Joe Maloof watch a preseason game between the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Thomas & Mack Center October 13, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Lakers won 98-95 . Getty Images North America /Ethan Miller ……

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NBA News

NBPA

NBPA Leadership

NPBPA Player representatives

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Have You Had Your Dose Of The NBA Today ?

Have You Had Your Dose Of The NBA Today ?

Well it’s back to the hum drum return of an NBA schedule that will play its part in now separating the contenders from the pretenders amongst the stalwarts of the league. And I’ve no doubt at present we’ll see one or two surprises as the season now enters its post midseason point. The San Antonio Spurs still remain the team with the best record in the league but they’re closely followed by what seems to be a resurgent Dallas Mavericks team led by their All Star —– Dirk Nowitzki .

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Slide show for your perusal .

Now while the talk has been about the multiple team , multiple player trade that sent both Carmelo Anthony , Chauncey Billups and several other players to the New York Knicks in exchange for Raymond Felton and what GM Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D’Antoni feels are players obsolete to the team’s needs in the opposite direction to the Denver Nuggets I can’t help but wonder what happens should the Knicks not go deep into the playoffs ? And as much as the Knicks’ fans are in awe of this deal , on the face of it , it merely adds some luster to a team and fanbase that has been in need of it for over a decade . I mean as heralded the legacy has been for Madison Square Gardens you’ve got the readily admit the place has resembled a graveyard in terms of recent success when it comes to the New York Knicks. The days with which the Knicks under Pat Riley were thought of as a constant omnipresent threat in the Eastern Conference seems an eternity ago.

Courtesy of NBA.com news

From West to East, the balance of NBA power starts to shift …..

Dallas-Tx,. Tyson Chandler wasn’t speaking on behalf of the just Dallas when asked about the balance of power relocating from the Western Conference to the East. He might as well have been a spokesman for anyone with designs of winning the West after Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups and Deron Williams split for Greater Gotham.

“I wish we could get Kobe and Duncan and Ginobili and all those guys over there, too,” he quipped, “but I guess then it wouldn’t be any fun.”

No doubt there has been a seismic shift in the makeup of the two conferences. The West, for the past decade, has been considered the superior collection of teams from top to bottom. Twice in the previous three years, all eight of the West playoff teams won at least 50 games.

Not gonna happen this season.

And while the East may struggle to field more than six playoff squads with winning records, the so-called Least only figures to get more Beast in the years to come. The days of Western dominance are over, according to a certain All-Star known to wear a cape.

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Don’t get me wrong I’ve no doubt that the Knicks will do well with their new revamped team but here’s the caveat , in acquiring Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups while they gain a great deal of offense the team now loses to an extent a great degree of defensive capability. But then again a Mike D’Antoni coached team has never been known for its defense and therein now lies the dilemma facing the Knicks over the remainder of the season . As good as this team now becomes unless Amar’e Stoudemire and Anthony are on the same page in conjunction with the coach then this costly experiment will all be for nought ! And this experiment is proving to be costly as the Knicks are now committed to a $65 million commitment for the next three seasons. For some of the Knicks’ most vociferous fans in terms personalities Spike Lee and ESPN radio sport’s show host Stephen A Smith this now becomes their personal Utopia and future aspirations as it relates to the Knicks.

The trade deadline itself wasn’t without other deals that took place but in reality the real talk was in essence WWCAD ……………..”what will Carmelo Anthony do” ? Well for the Denver Nuggets under coach George Karl their future may well seem bright and the coach himself feels that his team can make a run at a Western Conference playoff berth. It may well be that a sub .500 record or slightly above that may well garner the team a playoff spot. For Nuggets’ GM Masai Ujiri this maneuver may well the deal that breathes life into the Nuggets or casts a shadow organization for the immediate and long term future. It seems along way from a postseason where the team made the playoffs before succumbing to the Utah Jazz in a rather lopsided series .

Of the teams that I’ve followed within the NBA this season the Oklahoma City Thunder to my mind are a team to be feared and coach Scott Brooks does seem to have this team playing at a high level . Potential league MVP candidate Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook provide one of the “most potent one two punch ” in the NBA . And if things do pan out as I believe that they will concerning this team I do believe that they will be one of the teams to be feared come playoff time !

From the sublime to the ridiculous as the Cleveland Cavaliers continue their slide into an abyss of ineptitude . I’m not saying that coach Byron Scott has suddenly found himself in quicksand or in a riverbed filled with piranhas but given the state of things there in Cleveland at the Quicken Loans Arena I’d have said that either of those two scenarios might’ve been preferable . This team now seems to have found enumerable ways to lose —- games with ghastly consequences not only for the team but for the entire organization from a competitive and financial standpoint . Dan Gilbert may well be ruing the day that he sought to remain in control of this team rather than sell it outright to a Chinese investor .

Not to be outdone when it comes to showing ineptitude this season we have the continuing woes of the Washington Wizards , Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves proving to us that you can’t teach can’t teach an old dog new tricks . Losing with increasing regularity has become ingrained into these teams and when that happens the fans do tend to depart in droves from the those teams’ respective home venues. I’ve read where fans of some of these complaining that no one comes to watch them play . Well , would you be willing to shell out your hard earned cash to watch three teams who have a combined 36 wins and 130 losses between them ?

The reigning NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t dive into the trade market looking to bolster their roster but you can bet that Phil Jackson has bent the ears somewhat of the players whom he feels have been underachieving . It has been left as usual to the likes of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol to lead the charge offensively but there continues to be disappointment as to overall erratic and inconsistent play of the team. Arguably , Lamar Odom , Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum have played nowhere near their perceived potential when measured by their contributions to the team last season .

There’s now a growing belief that the Los Angeles are now ripe for the taking as it now seems that the team is now more susceptible than ever before in losing the grip on the defense of their NBA title. The two time defending champions are a pale comparison at present of the team that took control of last season’s finals when it looked as if the Boston Celtics to have the championship all sewn up. Instead we saw this Doc Rivers’ coached team flounder like a capsized vessel with the passengers on board being without the assist of a life jacket ! I do firmly believe that both of these teams will make the postseason and should they meet once again in the NBA Finals it will be fascinating to see whether or not this current Celtics’ embodiment of a team can usurp their Western Conference foe.

Now it goes without saying that while the season progresses our thoughts can’t be far away from the current situation evolving the ongoing collective bargaining negotiations between the league’s hierarchy and the NPBA (union). Union President Derek Fisher and Executive Director Billy Hunter have stressed the fact they wish to come to an amicable resolution during this process. And it has to be said that David Stern wants no part of the madness now taking place between the NFL and NLFPA (union) . That whole slew of cow dung now being mediated by a federally appointed mediator can only suggest that these two groups of mindless idiots are so out of touch with reality that it simply doesn’t bear thinking about. And I can only hope that their NBA counterparts show some insight and wisdom and actually do what’s right rather than thinking solely about greed and their pockets ! If not , then both of these sports could very well lose whatever goodwill is left to be had from the fans .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the most recent incidents that’ve have taken place within the NBA over the past few days ? And how as such do you see the remainder of the season panning out ? By all means leave a comment as to your take on it all and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated .

Picture and slide show details below as a guide .

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(1) Amar’e Stoudemire is joined by new teammates Carmelo Anthony (left) and Chauncey Billups (right) in an official picture to introduce the duo to the convened press at Madison Square Gardens , New York City, New York. The duo were part of a multi-player , mutli-team trade that brought them from the Denver Nuggets with several players from the Knicks heading in the opposite direction to the Western Conference team and elsewhere. Getty Images / Chris Trotman …………..

(2) Cleveland Cavaliers general ganager Chris Grant announces a trade which will send Cavaliers’ Mo Williams and Jamario Moon to the Los Angeles Clippers for Baron Davis and a first round draft pick in the 2011 NBA Draft , at a news conference at the Cavaliers training center in Independence, Ohio on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011. AP Photo/Amy Sancetta ……

(3) Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks drives against Carlos Delfino (10) of the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2011 in New York City. The Knicks defeated the Bucks 114-108 . Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ……….

(4) Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks shoots the ball over Andrew Bogut (6) of the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2011 in New York City. The Knicks defeated the Bucks 114-108. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images …….

(5) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, celebrates with teammate Ron Artest after Bryant scored two free throws to ice the game in overtime during their NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Feb.23, 2011. Bryant scored 37 points and Artest scored 24 as they beat the Blazers 106-101 . AP Photo/Don Ryan ……..

(6) Kevin Durant (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots against Tim Duncan (21) and Manu Ginobili (20) of the San Antonio Spurs on February 23, 2011 at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. The Spurs would end up defeating the Thunder 109-105 . Photos by D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images ………..

(7) In this Jan. 26, 2011, file photo shows Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams , center, attempting to score over Spurs guard Tony Parker of France, left, and Spurs forward DeJuan Blair , right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Salt Lake City. A person with knowledge of the trade says the New Jersey Nets have agreed to acquire All-Star point guard Deron Williams from the Jazz in a three-team deal. The Nets are sending rookie Derrick Favors and point guard Devin Harris to the Jazz as part of the package in a deal that also includes the Golden State Warriors . AP Photo/Colin E Braley ……..

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NB NBA News & views

NBA Schedule

NBA Trade transactions

Wednesday night schedule

Thursday night schedule

Friday night schedule

Saturday’s schedule

Sunday’s schedule

Milwaukee Bucks @ New York Knicks

😛

Alan aka tophatal ………………………

🙂

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

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Guy ……………………… “Let’s Chill”

“Groove Me”Feel Me”
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This Ain’t No Ordinary Rodeo …………

This Ain’t No Ordinary Rodeo …………

The San Antonio Spurs (42-8) are no doubt having a terrific season and they’re winning at an unprecedented rate although they’re viewed as being under the radar. All the hype has simply been about the Boston Celtics , Miami Heat and the defending NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers . Now for some reason the league saw fit to schedule 14 of the Spurs’ next nineteen games on the road as the team’s home venue is being used to host a rodeo.

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Slide show for your perusal.

On the face of it that hasn’t really stopped the Spurs as players such as Tony Parker , Manu Ginobli , Tiago Splitter , Richard Jefferson have stepped up to the plate. Aging veteran and four time —- NBA champion —– Tim Duncan still is capable of playing at a high level when called upon but being the cerebral player we’ve all known him to be for Duncan once the postseason comes around that’s when we’ll look to see him raise his game to the next level.

Coach Gregg Popovich and his coaching staff have to be greatly appreciative of what they’re now seeing from the team and in particular from the younger players on the roster. DeJuan Blair is proving that he’s got the game to be potent within the league and his defense has vastly improved. Certainly many around the league have woken up to the fact that these aren’t the same old Spurs who’d wilt when pressed and it’s to Popovich’s credit that he’s simply nurtured this team and then at the same time seen the veteran leadership of Duncan and Antonio McDyess come to the fore . Both of these solid veterans are deeply respected by their teammates have seen if the duo can rise to the occasion then they too can simply do the same.

Though as an avid fan of the team and with the season having reached its beyond its halfway point I like what I’m seeing from the San Antonio Spurs at present and hopefully it bodes well for the rest of their season .

The NBA All Star Game is now but a week away where the event will be staged at the Staples Center and hosted by the Los Angeles Lakers. NBA Commissioner David Stern no doubt will view this as a way of gauging the game’s intrinsic value at a time when the league hierarchy has a number of economic problems . The league’s teams are on track to lose in excess of $500 million this season if Stern’s projected figures are to be believed. And to top it all the league is still in the midst of ongoing labor talks with the NBPA . NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter and the union’s representatives led by NBPA President Derek Fisher have been reticent in the fact that they’re not prepared accede and make any concessions that they believe will be to their disadvantage. And with the union having de-certified as a way of taking that first step of challenging the league’s antitrust exemption in the Federal Court system should things fall apart during the negotiating process it gives you a clear picture as to how far apart both sides are in the process.

It’d be asinine to see the NBA have an enforced lockout and labor stoppage . The players say that they don’t want this scenario evolve into a major conflict between the two sides. And from a fan standpoint the image of the league in particular , this doesn’t bode well for what David Stern and the game’s corporate partners had envisaged for the game. Twenty five years in as the game’s highest ranked official and Stern has led the organization to untold riches but at the same time his autocratic rule has been bemoaned by many in and outside of the game. Albeit that team owners around the NBA have to appreciative for what Stern has done for the game from a financial standpoint. In the twenty five years of David Stern’s tenure as NBA Commissioner they’ve seen their franchises appreciate in value and to the point where their revenues have more than quadrupled over that period of time. The branding of the NBA product represents a $4.5 billion to $6 billion ($4,500,000,000-$6,000,000,000) a year industry for all parties concerned. And it’s easy to understand why the owners are thankful to Stern and the business acumen he’s shown over the years.

The NBA much like the NFL can’t afford to be viewed as the villain of the piece as both seek union and labor stability within their respective sports. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been saying all the right things but he’s nearer in avoiding an unwanted lockout . But he simply knows that with hour glass petering and the sand emptying as the March 3rd deadline inches ever closer he has to have an agreement in place with the NFLPA Executive Committee before the March deadline. If that’s not available to him then look for the NFL owners to lock the gates and all hell break loose.

From afar I’m wondering what both the NBA and NFL think that they can achieve from all of this ! I find it somewhat ridiculous that the executives within both organizations and the respective unions could have simply thought that the untold riches that they’ve been in receipt of wasn’t ever going to decline ! But here again lies the fact that much like the present administration , Congress and Senate their thinking has been short term rather than long term when it comes to a business and economic template. How else can you simply explain the economic mess that the country is now in apart from the rather asinine behavior also shown by idiots on Wall St and within the boardrooms of major corporations across the nation ? And not unlike those entities we’re now hearing and seeing the excuses come about as they now try to explain many of the problems they now have within their midst. The NBA , NFL and US government has become >one big joke as they seek to absolve themselves of the problems which in large part much of it they created with their rather irrational and irresponsible behavior !

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What thoughts if any do you have on the San Antonio Spurs’ season ? And also chime in with your own thoughts as the NBA and NFL’s ongoing labor dispute .

Picture and slide show details .

(1) Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans , second from left, tries to the protect the ball from San Antonio Spurs’ Manu Ginobili, of Argentina, left, Tim Duncan, third from left, and Tony Parker, right, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli ……….

(2) San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, of Argentina, right, gets treatment for a cut in his mouth from Spurs trainer Will Sevening , during the second half against the Sacramento Kings in a NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. The Spurs beat the Kings 113-100 . AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli ………..

(3) San Antonio Spurs head coach Greg Popovich was called for a technical foul for arguing with official Marat Kogut , unseen, during the second half against the Sacramento Kings in a NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. The Spurs beat the Kings 113-100. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli …..

(4) San Antonio Spurs forward DeJuan Blair, right, comes up with a loose ball against Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. The Spurs beat the Kings 113-100. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli …..

(5) San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker, right, of France, drives to the basket against Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans, left, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli ……..

(6) Head coach Phil Jackson (left) of the Los Angeles Lakers receives his championship ring from NBA Commissioner David Stern before the season opening game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on October 27, 2009 in Los Angeles. Getty Images/ Kevork Djansezjian …..

NBA News

NBA Standings Conference ……… Division

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Alan aka tophatal ……………………..

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San Antonio Spurs ….

Spurs’ roster

Team Stats …

San Antonio Spurs’ 2010-11 schedule

Coaching Staff ……. led by Gregg Popovich

Team owner Peter Holt

General Manager R C Buford

San Antonio Spurs’ history

San Antonio Spurs’ news


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Summer Walker

Eye candy ……………….. Summer Walker . Hell yeah !

Summer Walker 2

Isn’t she the most interesting season of the year ? Summer Walker !

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Mint Condition ………….. “Breakin’ My Heart” (Pretty Brown Eyes)

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I’m Going To Make Them An Offer They Can’t Refuse …………..

I’m Going To Make Them An Offer They Can’t Refuse

Perhaps it’s me but unless NBA Commissioner David Stern is trying to pull the wool over our eyes. We’re to believe that NBA and its teams are said to be losing tens of millions of dollars. For the fiscal year of 2010, Stern states …’ that the combined losses of the league will exceed $400 million dollars‘. Now when I last looked the NBA’s revenues exceeded $7 billion a year from all of its global operations. Somehow either there’s ‘financial mismanagement’ on the NBA’s behalf, courtesy of the owners. Or in fact there are indeed some serious inherent problems within the NBA that was overlooked by the game’s hierarchy from the very outset. Which is it to be ?

<strong>NBPA Executive  Director<em>   Billy  Hunter </em>  seated  left   alongside  NBA  Commissioner <em> David  Stern</strong></em>.   At  present the  two  men  are   in  a  very   contentious   negotiation   scenario  with  regard  to   the  league's   collective   bargaining  agreement.     photo  appears   courtesy  of <strong>  NBAE/Getty  Images/</strong>   Andrew  D  Bernstein  ..............
NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter seated left alongside NBA Commissioner David Stern. At present the two men are in a very contentious negotiation scenario with regard to the league's collective bargaining agreement. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Andrew D Bernstein ..............

Now unless the ‘ executive board’ of the NBA that currently exists mirrors that of the board members of both GM and Chrysler combined . And as we know the board members there, essentially ran both businesses to the brink of bankruptcy . Now we’re meant to believe that the NBA and its owners are actually that financially irresponsible , wherein, they’re now trying to stave off their own financial meltdown and irresponsibility ? If we’re to believe and take David Stern at his word , then each of the teams within the league are on average losing $13.34 million each. Somehow, I for one find that inconceivable but then again unless the NBA is willing to open up their books for financial and public scrutiny. I can only surmise, that the sole reason for Stern and the NBA’s hierarchy to pose this to the NBPA (Players Union) is to merely indicate that they’re in an acute financial dilemma .

Courtesy of New York Daily News

NBA Commissioner David Stern: Teams are in $400M hole

By Mitch Lawrence , Daily News Sports Writer

Dallas – NBA players need to face the harsh economic facts and prepare to take major pay cuts in the next collective bargaining agreement, commissioner David Stern said Saturday night.

During his annual state of the NBA speech at All-Star Weekend, Stern said the league will lose $400 million this season – roughly double its annual losses over the last four years – and has to come up with a new “sustainable” economic model.

“We’ve shown the players the facts,” Stern said. “Our current level of revenue devoted to player salary is too high. I can run from that, but I can’t hide from that. And I don’t think the players can hide, either. We need to make significant changes to deal with the very substantial losses that are in the hundred of millions of dollars.”

Owners presented a proposal Friday to the players that called for massive cutbacks in guaranteed salaries, and cutting the percentage given to players from basketball-related income, from its current level of 56%, to around 43%. In terms of salaries for superstar players, the days of those making in excess of $20 million in a season would be over, with those players likely making no more than $13 million. Maximum contracts would plummet from an average of $18 million per season to around $11 million per season.

The players’ executive director, Billy Hunter, rejected the owners’ proposal out of hand.

“You can denounce it, you can tear it up, you can burn it, you can jump up and down on it, as long as you understand that it reflects the financial realities of where we are,” Stern said, while refusing to detail the specifics of the proposal.

Although the two sides have plenty of time to reach a deal – the CBA runs through next season – Stern gave no indication that the owners’ demands will change over the next 18 months. League sources told the Daily News recently that about half the 30 teams are losing “tons of money.”

Despite the glum outlook for labor peace, Stern tried to leave on an upbeat note.

“There’s always a deal,” he said, forgetting to mention that in 1998-99, his owners shut down the league, for the first time, and reduced the season to 50 games. “We plan to make a deal this time, too.”

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Billy Hunter the Executive Director of the NBPA, his executive committee members and the NBA , are in the midst of a very contentious union deliberations as to their collective bargaining agreement . Stern for his part, wants there to be even more financial constraints placed upon the union as to their share of the league’s revenues and how its shared amongst the teams and its players. The present NBA salary cap is $71.2 million and the league and Stern are said to be looking for a 20 % cut across the board amongst the players in terms of the salaries to override the losses of the league. Now one can surmise that neither Hunter or his members would find this at all amenable . Nor are they prepared to cave in to the request of Stern at this juncture.

For all the guile that David Stern seems to possess , I do believe that he’s now trying to play the ‘capo de tutti capi’ in terms of his demands. In 2009 Stern made the asinine statement that the …. ‘ $250 million that was doled out to 16 franchises within the league was to be viewed not as a bailout but merely a way of helping them all financially to remain stable. The question I for one would like to pose to David Stern is how is it that the teams and the ownership aren’t able to show financial constraint but yet they are prepared to impose increases on the fans ? Somehow if even he and the owners aren’t prepared to be held accountable for their actions then how are we now to believe him when he states the financial problems that the league is now said to be facing ?

If the NBPA is acquiesce and overcome this impasse , then they may well have to climb down from off their lofty perch and at least meet David Stern and the owners at least half way. And by all accounts, Billy Hunter hasn’t ever been that trustful of anything emanating from the mouth of the commissioner. And who can blame him ? It’s not as if Stern has ever been known to be upfront and open as to the transparency of the league and its inner workings to begin with. The league’s hierarchy has been so secretive that they now make the conclave of Cardinals who oversee the papal order and its choice of the Pope seem open. But that would be to surmise that the Roman Catholic order was ever open to begin with. The NBA for its part has proven to be nothing more than a business that now has been mismanaged and through the greed of its hierarchy and that of the commissioner’s office has become a microcosm corporate America , and how much of a mess that it has now become. Instead of actually being to produce profits through the natural order of producing a brand and product that appeals to its customers. We now find the NBA conducting itself, like a business that’s now said to be completely devoid of ideas and innovation and seemingly having to massage the numbers through financial creativity in terms of its accounting practices . What more else that can be said can be best done after we are allowed to view the evidence that the NBA is willing to allow us to see.

Make them an offer they can’t refuse David Stern because in all probability the union will be unwilling to acquiesce to your demands. For far too long you and the owners have ran the NBA as if it were a slot machine wherein yourself and the hierarchy have been the sole profiteers of the business template and its rewards therein. C’mon make them an offer they can’t refuse .

Alan Parkins aka tophatal

The classic line as quoted by Vito Corleone in the movie ‘The Godfather’ ……’I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse’ . If Stern and league somehow uses that approach , I seriously doubt that he’ll get what he wants from the union. They’re no longer intimidated by him the league’s hierarchy or the owners, themselves.

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This could well be how Hunter and Stern will actually carry out their negotiations during the collective bargaining agreement deliberations. That bolt of lightning will definitely be striking someone within either side of the NBA hierarchies. Will it be the NBPA or the upper echelons of the NBA itself ?

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Actress <strong> Freda Pinto </strong> one of the  stars of the multiple  Oscar winning   hit  movie <strong><em>  'Slumdog  Millionaire' </strong></em>.  Worth   slumming over  because  Pinto just  needs is <em> some good  loving </em>  that's  all  !  What   do   you  think  ?
Actress Freda Pinto one of the stars of the multiple Oscar winning hit movie 'Slumdog Millionaire' . Worth slumming over because Pinto just needs is some good loving that's all ! What do you think ?