Takes And Sporting Takes ……………..

Takes And Sporting Takes ……………..

There’s not much else that can be said about the life of John Wooden that hasn’t been said. His life is an open book and his achievements are legendary . But if anything what may well have been this coach’s greatest achievement was the fact that not did he turn out so many outstanding players but also so many outstanding human beings who turned out to be productive citizens . If that isn’t enough of an indictment as to Wooden’s stature and greatness then simply put I don’t know what is !

Well the NBA Finals have started and based on the evidence that we’ve all witnessed so far it looks as if the Boston Celtics may not be around all that long. The perception that this would be a very entertaining series doesn’t seem to be materializing at all. The defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers have all but made the Boston Celtics look like an aging quartet of geriatrics . And for Ray Allen , Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Rasheed Wallace this all seems to be coming to fruition. The more athletic Lakers have simply taken it to the Celtics and put them in their place. And it could well be that the Phil Jackson coached Lakers are looking to avenge their defeat at the hands of the Celtics from the 2008 NBA Finals .

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Should the Lakers prevail in the series then it would garner the team its sixteenth NBA title and gain Jackson his eleventh NBA title as a coach. In doing so it would place the illustrious coach in the same stratosphere as the “Wizard of Westwood”, John Wooden, as the two most successful coaches in team sports. Wooden won ten NCAA basketball titles as a coach and one as a player.

Now call me naïve but much has been made as to the travails of Tiger Woods as of late and his poor showing in The Players’ Championship (Ponte` Vedra Beach,Fl) was about as bad a performance as we’ve seen from Woods in years. With his private life awry it appears that Woods’ world is now upside down. And with Phil Mickelson’s win at The Masters , we now might have a rivalry worth following in the world of golf. But then again I may well be wrong. Woods for his own part hasn’t necessarily made things easier for himself as of late having parted ways with his swing instructor Hank Haney .

With the US Open (Pebble Beach Golf Club, Pebble Beach, California ) now but a few weeks away, it appears that Woods is at a crossroads in his career. And things are now spiraling out of control and it appears that Tiger Woods has no real answer as to his dilemma.

Whatever your take on the baseball season it has to be said that the surprises and disappointments have been profound for a number of teams . The Baltimore Orioles are mired in a mediocre season have fired their manager Dave Trembley and replaced him with Juan Samuel . And for all sense and purpose based on the team’s first display under their new manager , things aren’t likely to take a turn for the better. This is still a poorly performing team that is lacking confidence and whose owner might just be in a situation where he has all but given up hope of having anything approaching what one might deem a successful season. Owner Peter Angelos and GM Andy MacPhail have shown a preponderance of simply turning from one disaster to the next , as the Orioles continue not only to disappoint their long suffering fans. But the idiocy of the announcement being made by the executives that they’re about to turn the corner, shows about as much hope as trying to ascend Mount Everest with but a pocket knife and string. Things are continuing to get worse for the Orioles and there’s no sign that they’re about to get any better anytime soon.

With Ken Griffey Jr’s announcement that he has retired from the game that he’s graced for two decades, seems to have brought us to a moment where we are still in awe as to the player’s abilities. To my mind , Griffey was simply the greatest player” of his generation !. That’s with due respect to the now infamous steroid enhanced Alex Rodriguez. Multiple All Star and Golden Glove winner as well as the AL MVP in 1997 . Ken Griffey Jr has given us moments to savor. Watching Griffey’s swing of the bat was and still is one of the sweetest in the game and his prowess in the outfield was second to none. With Jr’s retirement, it now leaves us with perhaps only Albert Pujols , Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki as the three players from this past decade whom we might look at and say ……….”well they’re clean” . But then again in this day and age in the era where under Bud Selig’s custody the game of baseball has been a complete fraud in terms of many of the players’ performances. You simply can no longer look at a player’s achievements without questioning those accomplishments.

The biggest joke may well the less than honest observations on the game made by so called journalists covering the game. I personally have no respect for the likes of Buster Olney or Peter Gammons . They’re self serving lap dogs who’ve done the sport a great disservice but this is merely my opinion on the matter. As they’ve never shown the perspicacity to even cover the “steroid era” in depth and state their own thoughts with the readers or fans as to the shame and dishonor that certain players have brought to the game. But then again what would you expect from two individuals who are about as superfluous as they come . While Gammons and Olney come across as insightful and as authoritative a duo on the sport as one would hope to find. It appears that both of these writers would prefer not to bite the hand that feeds them in terms of the hierarchy of MLB . And when you observe signs such as this , then for all sense and purpose you can take it to the bank that their thoughts on the sport are about as worthwhile as a piece of fecal matter found on a sidewalk.

Well it appears that the NFL season though just months away. It appears that free agent wide receiver Terrell Owens has yet to find a home. And you can bet your bottom dollar that Owens’ agent Drew Rosenhaus will be doing his level best to find his high profiled client a home. And for Owens, whose best years are now behind him rather than ahead of him. It’s becoming increasingly clear that there might not be many takers for the now declining skills of Owens . But yet somehow the player still believes that he can contribute to a team given the right environment.

Now as you know the closer we get to the start of the NFL preseason the more ramped up the stories will become concerning ESPN’s fodder and staple over the entire preseason. If Brett Favre has a problem with flatulence , you can be sure that ESPN will be reporting it. OK , so I might be going a bit overboard concerning that the cable network might be reporting on Favre’s flatulence. But then again, when hasn’t the network known to sank to lowest common denominator ? The network’s lust for the former league MVP borders on being idolatry . But then again, what’s a bit of idolatry when at any given moment at your choosing you can afford to take down that deity should you choose to ? But that would be the last thing on ESPN’s mind at any juncture ?

Now don’t get me wrong Brett Favre in his glory years was a player of extraordinary gifts and a passion for the game. But Favre’s passion while unabated , his gifts have declined. Doubt my word , then simply look at his performance in the waning moments of last season’s NFC championship game against the eventual Superbowl champions the New Orleans Saints . And while it has to be said that Favre is clearly a better option than that of Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson of the Minnesota Vikings . One now gets the impression that if Favre can’t take the Vikings to the “promised land” this upcoming season , then more likely than not this will be the last time that we’ll see the player helming a team as its quarterback. That being said Favre’s preponderance for playing the fool and holding a team ransom as he ponders his future is about well intentioned as the Taliban’s wish to commit to a peace deal with the United States.

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Well these are but a few of my takes and sporting takes as it relates to the world of sports. Has there been anything of late that has you wondering what’s happening in the world of sports that quite possibly is for the betterment of the game as you see it ? By all means do chime on in with a comment as always thanks for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

NB: At the original time of my writing this piece the result of game two of the finals was not yet known. But in light of the Celtics attaining a 103-94 victory in game two the series is now leveled at 1-1 .

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………..

Santana ………………. “Samba pa ti”

The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword But In The End The Written Word Has To Have That Measure of Truth To It…………

The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword But In The End The Written Word Has To Have That Measure of Truth To It…………

A lot is now being written and speculated on concerning Tiger Woods’ return to the PGA Tour and his competing in The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club , Augusta, Georgia. Let’s put it this way with the ‘three ringed circus’ that’s about to be unfurled , does anyone really expect Woods to compete and win the tournament outright ? Oddsmakers in Vegas and in the UK with William Hill may well have him as the prohibitive favorite but it may well come down to the rest of the field and perhaps either an unknown or a top ten player winning one of golf’s most prestigious events and perhaps the most vaulted ‘major out side of The (British) Open .

Augusta ,Ga,. Tiger Woods is awarded the green jacket after winning the Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club on April 14 , 2002 in Augusta, Georgia. Woods announced March 16, 2010 that he plans to play in April at the Masters. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Andrew Reddington ..........
Augusta ,Ga,. Tiger Woods is awarded the green jacket after winning the Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club on April 14 , 2002 in Augusta, Georgia. Woods announced March 16, 2010 that he plans to play in April at the Masters. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Andrew Reddington ..........

Now with everything that we’ve been made aware of concerning Woods and ‘his sexual’ proclivities . It makes me wonder how much the spectators who’ll be there in attendance for the tournament, will be there to watch the golf or merely to view Woods for themselves up close and personal ? Granted , he members and board of Augusta National will make sure that Woods is protected not just merely from the press but also the rowdy fans who’ll be there. And as much as hierarchy there at Augusta like to view themselves as the paragons of virtue and the custodians of the game. Consider this , forty ive years ago would this much fuss have been made about a member of the PGA Tour caught up in such an intrigue ? Never mind the fact that the person at the center of this all just happens to be a minority . We seem to forget that it wasn’t until 1975 that a minority of African American descent had been allowed as an invitee to compete in the event . And that honor went to Lee Elder . And the greats of the game at the time such as Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer had been ominously silent on the issue of race when it came to that very subject on the PGA Tour . I wonder why ? I mean young African American males had fought and shed their blood fighting a war in Vietnam were they not – for this country ? But yet at the back end of the civil rights’ era an African American male couldn’t yet compete on one of the grandest stages in golf . Seems somewhat strange and undignified when you really think about it all .

One would like to think that the PGA Tour and the members of Augusta have come a long way since those days. To this day though Augusta is still a members only private club , in terms of its diversity and racial makeup it still falls behind a number of other private clubs across the nation. Don’t be fooled by the fact that PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem states that they (PGA Tour) in conjunction with the board members of Augusta are changing that perception. Nothing could be further from the truth ! This is still very much an old boys’ network being ran by aging Caucasians with an axe to grind.

Well the NBA is now down to the final leg of the season with the last dozen or so games to be played by a number of teams as it pertains to their respective schedules. In the Eastern Conference and its standing, seems almost pretty much set as to who the final eight teams will be that will make the playoffs. Though it has to be said that the Chicago Bulls (35-39) are doing their damndest to chase down and pass the Toronto Raptors (36-37) for that eighth and final spot. They’re merely 1 1/2 games behind the Raptors for the last remaining place with just 8 games to be played. I’d like to think that the Bulls’ front office isn’t regretting the loss of John Salmons by trading him to the Milwaukee Bucks , then seeing the resurgence of the team , since his arrival and the ever consistent play of both Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings ! But alas, that ship has now sailed and the Bulls will have to make do with what they now have at present with Vinny Del Negro leading the charge as the team’s coach.

 Ronald Murray (6) of the Chicago Bulls lays the ball up and over Louis Amundson (17) of the Phoenix Suns, as Jared Dudley #3 of the Suns watches from behind  during a NBA game on March 30, 2010 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.  photo appears courtesy  of  NBAE/Getty Images / Randy  Belice  ......
Ronald Murray (6) of the Chicago Bulls lays the ball up and over Louis Amundson (17) of the Phoenix Suns, as Jared Dudley #3 of the Suns watches from behind during a NBA game on March 30, 2010 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images / Randy Belice ......

Bulls’ Executive VP & Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson and General Manager Gar Forman are looking to bring back the halcyon days of the ‘Jordan years’ at the United Center. But it appears that there’s still a great deal of work to be done. And Bulls’ owner Jerry Reinsdorf has to be enthused by what he’s seen from the team but must still hope that the club makes the playoffs. Those glory days of Jordan and Scottie Pippen made the Bulls the ‘powerhouse’ of the NBA and drove the frenzy of fan worship of the team around the league and across the globe .

No pun intended here concerning fans of Michael Vick but the Western Conference is now turning into ‘one hell of a dogfight’ amongst the teams seeded two through eight . The Los Angeles Lakers (54-20) pretty much has the number one seed sewn up within the conference and they’ve already cemented winning the Pacific Division within the conference.


The teams two through six, as they now stand are separated by no more than 3 1/2 games and the overall differential between teams, six through eight , is a mere game. That eighth and final spot now rests with the San Antonio Spurs (44-29). The team is now lumbering into the postseason having lost Tony Parker for the remainder of the regular season and the entire playoffs. The point guard suffered a broken right hand and they now have an ailing Manu Ginobli (back spasms) to deal with on the roster . With that in mind unless the younger players on the roster step up their game then then there’s the likelihood that the team will be bumped out in the first round of the playoffs. Should they finish in that eighth spot then they’d have the dubious privilege of having to face the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. A daunting task for the Gregg Popovich coached team but as the say anything is possible when it comes to the NBA . We’ve seen a number of teams struggle of late within the conference and it appears that the bloodletting hasn’t yet finished. No team might be hotter at present within the conference than the Phoenix Suns , led their point guard Steve Nash and their duo of centers in Robin Lopez and Amar’e Stoudemire . The two players are proving to be a force to be reckoned with and with wily veteran Grant Hill still playing with his customary aplomb. There’s the belief that coach Alvin Gentry has this Suns’ team going in the right direction and believing in themselves. Having won eight of the last nine games , they’re certainly showing that they ought to be considered as legitimate contenders within the conference. But it’s not about the perception of thought when it comes to the game but the results achieved when the games are played. That’s how the teams are meant to be judged .

Los Angeles Angels' Torii Hunter(notes) hits a single against the Texas Rangers in the fourth inning during a MLB spring training game in Tempe, Arizona March 25, 2010. REUTERS/Rick Scuter
Los Angeles Angels' Torii Hunter(notes) hits a single against the Texas Rangers in the fourth inning during a MLB spring training game in Tempe, Arizona March 25, 2010. photo appears courtesy of Reuters/Rick Scuter ...............

I’ve begun to get sick and tired of hearing African American sports’ fans bitch and whine about the lack of respect or the none visibility of athletes of the high profiled minority athletes either in the NFL or Major League Baseball (MLB). By my way of thinking the athletes are there but more often than not the ones you’d as such expect to be at the forefront making their voices heard are either making complete asses of themselves or falling afoul of the law for one reason or another.

Now let me premise this by saying having been born in the United Kingdom , raised in the Caribbean (Jamaica) in the early formative years of my childhood before returning to the UK at the age of eight. I’d like to think that with that sort of upbringing ,then living a large part of my adult life in the UK and on the continent of Europe (France & Germany) , that there’s something to be said for being educated , having traveled and being well read. The constant whining about why black players aren’t recognized and acknowledged is completely asinine. If players such as Torii Hunter and his asinine notion that Latin players of African heritage aren’t black enough …or as he puts it “not one of us”. Is it any wonder that the fans in large part will either think of the player as being an ass or he clearly has little of worth listening to ? Furthermore , an athlete of Hunter’s visibility did little to let his voice be heard when the whole steroid debacle was in full flow. As a matter of fact, there were few ballplayers if any, who came out and decried what their fellow players were doing. Not even Derek Jeter , himself, who is bi-racial. The ominous silence from these noted players of ethnicity was docile and insulting to the fans as a whole ! And it shouldn’t surprise us at all by the lack of action that was forthcoming from the hierarchy of the game and its commissioner Bud Selig from the outset. Never mind the fact the MLBPA (union) were as believable in their alleged act of being contrition in wanting to clean up the game they sullied , stained and have done irreparable damage to .

Michael Vick, center, is along with seen Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid, left, and former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, right, during a news conference in Philadelphia, Friday, Aug. 14, 2009. Vick is back in the NFL, landing a job with the Philadelphia Eagles. Looking to add a new dimension to their offense, the Philadelphia Eagles gave Vick a one-year deal with an option for a second year. photo  appears  courtesy  of  Associated  Press/  Matt   Rourke  .........
Michael Vick, center, is along with seen Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid, left, and former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, right, during a news conference in Philadelphia, Friday, Aug. 14, 2009. Vick is back in the NFL, landing a job with the Philadelphia Eagles. Looking to add a new dimension to their offense, the Philadelphia Eagles gave Vick a one-year deal with an option for a second year. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Matt Rourke .........

We’ve seen what entitlement does to athletes when they get themselves caught in something of inappropriate situation as it either involves their personal or professional lives. Vick made that all too plain , with his lying to the NFL and the Atlanta Falcons’ owner Roster Arthur Blank and the entire organization . But yet you had many trying to show their support for Vick in some of the most inexcusable ways. ‘Oh he’s done nothing wrong in being involved in dog fighting or illegal gambling ‘. Some seem to forget the some of Vick’s most heinous acts were in torturing these canines merely for the fact that they didn’t perform up to par. I’d like to think that Vick could either withstand being drowned or quite possibly take to having an electrical cattle prod placed on his genitalia ! Perhaps then , he could then describe the unbearable pain suffered and that he inflicted upon those poor helpless animals ? These were some of the acts described in the affidavits and sworn testimony given by his co-conspirators at his trial. He not only broke the laws within the state of Georgia but several federal laws as it relates to gambling never mind the ‘heinous act of dog fighting’ of which he was a ring leader in .

And Vick with his visibility prior to him being caught, is someone that many had looked up to from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds. Personally, I’d judge today’s athletes by the way they conduct themselves on the field of play and how they conduct themselves away from their competitive environment. With their ever so carefully manicured images either by the press, agents, or even their respective leagues. One way or another, whenever they seem to fall afoul, either of the law or from their very own indiscretion, they always seem to apportion blame elsewhere, rather than wanting to be held accountable for their own actions. As Charles Barkley so aptly said “………..I’m no role model ” !

If African Americans sports’ fans are looking for the visibility of high profiled African American athletes to provide some legitimacy either to their lives or the well being of that respective sport. Then in reality they ought to be looking elsewhere. Yes, as fans we may well fawn over the athletes’ exploits but at the end of the day when they ,the athletes disappoint with their behavior . We’ve only ourselves to blame in thinking that they’re paragons of virtue. All that separates us in the end , is that person’s athletic prowess and the vast wealth that they’ve amassed along the way. We’ll be held accountable for our misdeeds. Whereas, an athlete is caught in the cross-hairs of public and media scrutiny tends to hide behind a wall of attorneys , agents and members of their entourage. Joe Public simply has nothing of that nature should he or she get caught up in such a dilemma. Not even our wits at times can stave off the glare of shame or embarrassment.

Lastly, as a final note this isn’t just something that is happening within this specific demographic . It is actually happening within the various ethnic backgrounds that makes up this nation. Some will acknowledge the fact while others tend not to be bothered at all by it. Which area befits you , as far as that’s concerned ?


Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………….

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Drake feat’g Trey Songz ………..”Successful”

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Adult  entertainment   actress   Tera  Patrick   .
Adult entertainment actress & porn star Tera Patrick .

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