Thursday, November 19, 2009

Can we Talk About

Can we talk about...

Who is the best player in the NBA right now? Kobe? LBJ or D Wade?
I may have ruffled a few feathers when I proclaimed that D Wade was the best player in the league. As my cousin called me out...Yes, I did see that monstrosity of a dunk on Varaejouch and I lost my damn mind.

Who can blame me? I'm quick to hand out best titles, sometimes prematurely, but it's not my fault. I am from a generation of bests. All I know is bests. If you were born in the 70's or early 80's or slightly before, ya'll know what I'm saying. Best gangster rap, Best R&B, Best Macdonalds, till they took those daily meal deals away...

If there is a best in something, good chance my generation has seen it.
Let's just run down the best list real quick:

Bests Ever

King of Pop- Michael Jackson
Queen of Pop- Janet Jackson
Greatest basketball player of all time- Michael Jordan
Greatest hockey player of all time- The Great One
Greatest Golf player of all time- Woodsy
Greatest Tennis player of all time- Federer

( Derek Jeter is best in something..I won't say best yankee hitter al time because you can get killed in certain circles for that...But he is the alltime Yankee leader in hits and does have 5 rings..)

Greatest homerun hitter of all time- ***B*ar*ry B*o*nds*********************************

It gets a little dicey after Bonds. Want to talk NFL Quaterbacks? Whether you say Manning, Brady, Montana, Elway or Marino, still, we've seen them at their best.

So sorry if If I'm always on that best tip.

Can we talk about who the best rookie in the NBA is?
It's Brandon Jennings. The kid might be an allstar this year. So let's move on.

Can we talk about Chris Bosh?

It's safe to say that Shaq's comments about Bosh being the Rupaul of bigmen really were taken to heart by CB. Because this year, the man is on a mission and he's playing tough aggressive basketball and his numbers are off the charts.

But the Raptors... and I've said this before, I've never believed in Jose Calderon. I loved him as a back up PG, but not as the main guy. Just imagine that lineup with TJ running the point.
I actually hope Jose proves me wrong.

Can we talk about Gilbert Arenas turning the ball over 12 times!

Who is he trying to be? Me? Why the hell is he running the point anyway? Newsflash, he wants to shoot it!!!! Anyways, once he shakes off that rust, the Wizards have something going there. They just got Jamison back and he looks sharp, that team could be dangerous.

Can we talk about who is for real in the NBA right now?

Number one, I don't believe Phoenix is for real. I really don't. I love Nash and Amare and the way Phoenix is getting it done right now, but it's a long season, and they just aren't as deep as they need to be to be top of the class. I see them cooling off just like the Heat.

Even though D Wade is unstoppable, unless J.O has a 4 year flashback, they'll cool off too.
Where's the scoring really going to come from? Q Rich? Beasley? Chalmers? I'm not convinced.

You can't tell me the Bucks are for real either. Yes, they got some pieces, but unless Jennings is better than he looks right now, which is hard to believe, they are a 500 team at best. Even with Redd.

Can we talk about the last Sunday Night Football game?

I have heard intense arguements from both sides of this. On one hand, you got the pure coaching minds that argue:

"Your on your own damn 38 with a buck thirty and change on the clock, kick the damn football away and let your defense close this out. Play the percentages".

On the other hand, you have those who say,

" go for it on 4 and 3, get it and that's game. You got Tom Brady at QB, playmakers like Moss, Faulk, Welker and such, make it happen"!

I see that arguement. Keeping in mind Manning was on fire and did have a timeout left, he doesn't need much. I have to say, I was yelling go for it.

Bottom line is this: It was a bad call, one of the worst ever. Why? Because it didn't work and that's the only reason why and everyone knows it. It was pretty close, in New England that might be a first down but not in Nap town. But had they made that, it's just another great call by coach Cheater er, Belichick.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Can We Talk About...

Don't you hate it when shit happens in sports and you look over your shoulder and can't find anyone who wants to have a reasonable discussion on the matter? That said...

Can We Talk About

Can we talk about Brett Farve. The Man, The Legend. The purple warrior who stormed into Green Bay, the tundra, admist babies crying, women and children screaming, and straight took their heart. The funny thing about what Brett just did, in the end it has nothing to do with Green Bay or their fans. It has everything to do with Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is a heck of a quaterback, but he's not Farve. And yes, he may at times be comparable statistically to Favre, throw in the fact that he gets his bell rung everytime he drops back, and you can make the arguement that he's a great quaterback. But he still wouldn't be Brett Favre. And that's the problem. It's a problem for Rodgers because the expectations on him are unrealistic. You can expect greatness but not a legend. My hope is that this won't hurt Rodgers career, but it won't surprise me if it does. Rodgers gets hit more times than David Justice's wife. Unless they get an O line that can protect this guy, he won't be mobile very long. He's out there getting himself killed trying to live up to some expectations. And you can see it. He's a smart QB when he's on, yet we saw him holding on to the ball trying to make plays that just aren't there. I don't know, like I said, I just hope it doesn't hurt his career.

Can we talk about the NBA please?

First off, let me just say, I've called Boston.
Can we talk about how good Rondo fits on that team? A pass first point guard who rebounds, plays good D and will be content with a bucket and some dimes on the Celtics is just dirty.

Can we talk about O.J Mayo and how dirty he looks this year? Dropped 40 last night from everywhere. How is Iverson going to fit in on that team, isn't it Mayo's show. Oh wait I forgot, he can just take the shots from...let's see, Rudy Gay? No, how about Zack Randolph, because Big Zack doesn't like to shoot it. (cough) Blackhole. Connely Jr isnt passing up shot is he? There's enough mouths that need to be fed on that team, I can't wait to see it.

Can we talk about Brandon Roy?
Because Brandon Roy might be playing himself a spot on the next Redeem team or redream team or whatever they call it. He's that nice. So if he's invited to try out, the question is who do you take him over? Wade? Blasphemy. If he plays the point, is he in there over Paul or Dwill? Lately, can't call it. That's why these things need to be discussed.

Can we talk about the Raptors?
Are they going to be good this year?
I don't see how. I want to see, but I just don't see it.
Their defense in the front court is terrible and it's a function of their personel. Bosh and Barney aren't going to stop any of the premier big men in the league. Yes, they may score and score plenty on them, but they get outrebounded and out bodied consistently on the block. And that's fine, as long as you have a team that speeds the pace up, runs and guns. But I don't see the raptors doing that. It should start with your PG. Jose Calderon needs to be the Nash or Paul on that team and he needs to shoot more often and push the ball relentlessly. But it's not happening, because that hasn't been his style. He was always the knock down big open shot, take care of the ball, run the offense guy. So to me, there lies the disconnect, because the Raptors are built to run and they should have kept Ford, there never should have been a controversy. Not taking anything from Jose, because I think he's good, but what team would he start on? Would he start ahead of Chalmers? Harris? Felton? Mo Williams? J Nelson? Rondo? Bibby or Crawford? Duhon even? Probably Duhon. But seriously, they dropped the ball on Ford.
And on Sam Mitchell. And we know how that went and its a business so we all understand.
The reality is Sam Mitchell wouldn't and probably from his point of view, couldn't play Barney big minutes and still have a chance to win. He just couldn't. So what you have is a situation where your number one pick overall hasn't developed as expected and is basically looking like a bust. Who does that fall on? The man in the pinstripes that's who, Colangelo. Imagine the convo...
Col: Hey, you gotta play him.
Mitch: I did
Col: No, I mean more than that.
Mitch: He's not ready.
Col: How can he get ready if you dont play him?
Mitch: My job is to win games.
Col: My job is make number one picks that aren't busts and hire and fire coaches.
Mitch: You do yours and I'll do mine.
Col: I am. Your fired.

Someone had to go. Don't forget, Mitchell got axed when the team was 8-9. That's almost five hundred with injuries up the ass. And I've seen interviews, Mitchell knew the deal, it's a business.

Sports Talk

It's been a while, so let's get right into it.


As I talked about a couple of years ago, we are the lucky generation who has the rare opportunity of watching both the peaks and valleys of the NBA and its journey to a world reknown organization. We can say the prime of the league came with the Bird, Magic, Jordan, Stockton, Malone era and tons of the other 50 greatest ( The Dream, Drex, Admiral, Shaq, Pip, the list goes on)....And then it fell off for a little while when #23 left and we had to watch some nonsense. But it's back. New age restrictive rules are allowing young players to develop before coming into the league so, they're ready to produce once they get there ( Rose, Jennings). We are also starting to see teams stack up on stars again. The result right now is you have a few teams at the top and the others that can't hope to compete.

Let's look at the West.
Everyone wants to say Lakers Lakers Lakers. I'm not so certain. Actually, I think the west will be hotly contested. The Lakers picked up Artest, great. But who else? Let's look at their bench:

Walton, Vujicic, Adam Morrison, Jordan Far- from- more, and Powell? With exception of Shannon Brown, come on. The Lakers have the whitest bench in the league, not sure the last time when that was a recipe for success.
Kobe is going to have to be even better this year. Bynum remains a question mark to me unless I see him starting to beast cats. Some positives are that Odom has increased his range, I guess Kardashian digs the deep ball. Also, with Artest they are tougher and better defensively, and Kobe has really polished his post game ala Jordan, and if he's got it like that, it's over.

Couple things aside from the Lakers:

1. Dallas is alot better and deeper than people thought they would be. Even though Josh Howard smokes way too much weed and doesn't care about basketball, he's still a player and the nucleus of that team should put them at least in the top four in west.

2. My Nuggets- As biased as usual, I'm going to go ahead and say they win the west this year.
Realistically, it will be tough. However, Carmello Anthony was on that workout plan this past summer, he leaned up, worked on a bunch of areas of his game and improved his stamina ( probably while staring at a poster of Kobe Bryant). With him at his best ever, add my main man Ty Lawson who got slept on in the draft...Billups, Smith, Birdman, Nene, KMart, yeah they got a squad. I see them either first or second in the west.

3. San Antonio Spurs- Revamped, re-tooled and ready? The Spurs might be the scariest team in the league that no one really wants to talk about. So what else is new? Health is the only concern. All things equal, a healthy Duncan, Manu, Jefferson, Dice, and the french rapping Tony P can do serious damage. The scariest person on that team is Tony Parker. He got a taste of having to score last year and he proved he could fill it. If Pop lets this guys loose with Manu and Jefferson and has Tim play the utility role this team will fly. I got them at third in the West.

Portland should be in the mix with all the talent they have. Picking up Miller was huge, even though I think Blake does a great job running point. They are deep and exciting, but will they play D?

The East is crap shoot.
The Cavs don't look what they should and it's easy to see why. Number one, Mike Brown, isn't the best coach to show that team how to play with Shaq in the middle. Heck, all his diagrams look the same

( Okay, you stand here, you stand there, and you move out of the way, ok, then, give the ball to Lebron)
I still think they'll figure it out, once they realize Shaq and Illgaga can't be on the floor at the same time. And maybe go to an all shooter line up with Lebron and Shaq on the floor and run pick and roll to death. Or even play Shaq when your resting Lebron, you add some girth to that second unit and let the big man eat. Shaq has got to go to work for him to have any influence on the court, you can't have him running around setting screens and making it to half court on every fast break. They have a multimillion dollar reason why they need to figure it out with 2010 looming.

Celtics- 2010 NBA champs. That should be all I have to say.
But just for good measure, let me add that this is one of the deepest teams ever assembled in recent memory.
Paul Peirce, Allen, Sheed, KG, Rondo, Marquis Daniels, Sheldon Williams, Kendrick Perkins, Eddie House...that's just deep. Daniels himself is a proven scorer and an excellent defender. Rasheed, great defender and a dynamic inside/outside scorer, the Celtics have the best front court in the league, bench included. With all those weapons, all that means is that Paul Peirce will be for the most part completely unguardable this year with one on one matchups all day long. If he doesn't have it going, there are plenty of others on that team that can pick up the scoring slack. But it's Boston's D that will stand out this season when they win 65 plus games. Yeah, I said it.

Please don't sleep on this team. The bench is deep, the lineup is laden with dead eye shooters and they're rolling already without Vince and Rashard. Top 2 in the east for sure, but I still think this team needs time to learn how to win, same with their coach. Dwight has added a couple of wrinkles to his game around the basket, and despite the hate on Vince, put in the right environment, this guy is still Vinsanity.

Can't wrap up Nba talk without discussing some disturbing excerps I read from Tim Donaghy's book, sorry, scrapbook. If you've read it, you know what I'm talking about, if you haven't my suggestion is that you don't read it. To anyone who has watched the NBA for a long period of time, nothing he says in the scrapbook comes as a big surprise. I know people are all up in arms and questioning the validity of the game...blah blah blah. Bottom line to me is the NBA is a show. With actors as players and refs, coaches doing their jobs and a director (Stern) doing his job. Can we question at this point that Stern has done a poor job? Would we rather Gary Betman?
With all that is said, forcing game sevens, favortism calls...

Let me just say, I'm greatful for game sevens and stars need star calls. Calls don't make the star, the star makes the calls and that's what we love to see, stars do their thing, that's what people pay money to see, so the Show must go on.

Quick Notes:

The Wizards will be a force with Arenas back and Oklahoma City is dangerous because this is officially Kevin Durant's break out year along with Oj Mayo.

Favorite cats to watch right now:
Granger, Roy, Mello, and J. Nelson

Monday, May 18, 2009


This is long overdue but I been busy as a mug trying to make sure I never wake up from living the dream. Yeah right. I'm unemployed. And I'm not spell checking this joint so deal wit it.

Ok, where shall we begin? Let's start with the obvious choice and the team that everyone really wants to talk about. The Cot-damn Los Angeles Lakers. Holy shit, being a Laker fan is like the first time you tried to go two slot on a girl. It's frustrating and exhilerating all at the same time. Except afterwards you don't feel like a deviant...or do you Laker fan?

So what's with the Lakers? Just in case you haven't been following the playoffs, here's a recap of the Lakers...Steamrolled Utah...As they should seeing how Utah can't win on the road. After Utah, the Lakers were who we thought they were. And then they faced Houston. Correction, they faced a depleted Houston Rockets team. It took the Lakers seven games to dispose of a Houston Rockets team that was without T-Mac, and Yao Ming. A Houston Rocket team with Scola as their main inside threat, and Aaron Brooks as their go to guy.

I had a friend (P.Bains) so sure that the Lakers would advance he's willing to go 100 to 1 odds and pay 10G's. Im not an idiot or a betting man or I'd be out a G right now, but his sentiments echo the rest of the world, this was supposed to be an easy series...Or was it?
Why did it take the Lakers 7 games to take care of a team with lineup that probably wouldnt have even made the playoffs in the West?

Of course the Laker haters and doubters want to say it's because the Lakers aren't a championship caliber team. A true championship team would have taken care of business in game 4, instead of getting blown out, and a true championship team would have wrapped up this series in five games max.

I'm not on that tip. But the critizisms are warranted.
But I believe there's more to it than that.

Let's look at it closely. First off, Shane Battier and Ron Artest are the two best defensive guards,small forwards in the game. And Shane Battier might be the most intelligent player in the game right now. Next, excluding Brooks, the rest of the Rockets, Lowry, Landry, Scola and Hayes are some of the most tough and hardnosed players in the game. We're talking about guys that are in the NBA and have made their careers based on their toughness, their game is toughness. What am I getting at? Well, you put Pau Gasol in a fight against any of those guys and he get's one punched. I can say that about most of the Lakers up against those guys.
Point being, in the NBA Playoffs, in a seven game series, toughness is a factor.

Following along so far, because this is where I put it together...
You put Battier on Bryant, a guy who studies Kobe's tendancies and habits and might know Kobe's game better than Kobe does himself. All Battier does is make Kobe take the shots that percentage wise "don't go in as often". He doesn't try to stop Kobe, he uses Kobe's arrogance to his advantage. He knows Kobe feels every shot he takes is going in...the bottom line is that is just not true unless he's having one of those games.

Ok next, you just make sure you keep one of those tough guys all over Pau, because we all know he doesn't like the physical play. Next you put Artest on Odom...Odom has trouble getting into a the flow if he cant get his offense going, everyone knows that. Lamar needs to feed off something, that's why he plays so well at home, he feeds off the crowd, the lights and Laker girls.

The result is Lakers being out of sync. Battier did such a good job on Kobe that he made him a jump shooter for a large majority of the series. The result of that is no penetration, no double team, no open kickouts to shooters like Ariza and D-Fish...who by the way had his hands full with Brooks on D. And much like last year, the rest of the Lakers just don't always show up on the road. Why because, they don't all know their roles...It's tough to play in a hostile environment when you you don't have a set role, too many variables. A little more on that later...

Basically, the Rockets depleted or not, are inherently a really bad match up for the Lakers and for Phil Jackson. Check the history...Adleman's teams have always given Phil a little trouble, but Phil has always had the players to overcome it.

A bad matchup does many things, but what it really does it expose weaknesses. We learned that the Lakers have trouble matching a team's intensity on the road and we learned that physical play bothers the Lakers. The problem with knowing all of this is that it doesnt mean anything because the Lakers still advanced. Bottom line is that they faced adversity and found a way to overcome it. Despite their weaknesses, there is no guarantee that another team can exploit them. Ask yourself this, do any of the remaining teams have defenders like Ron Artest and Shane Battier who can guard Kobe WITHOUT FOULING HIM. That's the key...the Rockets didnt' foul the Lakers, they kept them off the line, that's clean, hard defense.

Next up is Denver, my team, and despite how their rolling, I think it's actually a better matchup for the Lakers.

I see other problems with the makeup of the Lakers though...Like their lack of true role players.
For instance....Vuijic, are you a shooter or what? Make some 3's already. And Bynum, why doesn't he play big all the time? Why is he in and out of the starting lineup if he's the missing piece of the puzzle? Farhmar, when are you going to show up and take ownership of a role? Are you the back up pg or is Shannon Brown? There's so much more, but I'll save it for next time, let's move out East.

Orlando and Cleveland. Damn, I almost forgot the Cavs were in the playoffs. They havent played anyone yet, but the result of their easy comp is that they are firing on all four...I don't think Orlando is going to slow them, not after how they struggled against a Boston team that had nothing left in the tank and had Scalabraine playing major minutes. Show me anyone who if they saw SCAL in a bar, with his front porch hanging out of his shirt would believe this guys played for the Celtics and was D'ing up Dwight Howard. You might even fight him for his blasphemy. But what we saw in Boston was just the heart of a champion fighting, they really didnt have a shot at beating that Orlando team with the scoring and depth they had.

The problem with Orlando is they just don't know who they are yet. Are they a team that works inside out or what? Everyone wants Howard to get more touches and while that makes appears to make sense, the bottom line is despite how much he's worked out with Patrick Ewing, he can't score like the Big E. He's not going off for forty, you'll be lucky if he ever gives you thirty. His game right now is cleanup and defense. They dont throw him nearly enough lobs and he's terrible at passing out of double teams. In fact, he doesn't even warrant a double team unless he's in the paint. I actually think Cleveland might take this one in 5, maybe six.

Both series will be great to watch, but the bottom line is this...The performance that Boston showed has told me one thing, whoever wins the championship this year is only winning it because KG was absent and Boston wasn't at full strength. I know that's a hard pill to swallow but it's true. You throw KG and Powe back on that team and Boston is probably the best team in the playoffs again. Bynum certainly hasnt made the Lakers unbeatable, if anything, they are the same team as last year, except D Fish is a little less spry, and Ariza is a wildcard.


1. The entire Boston and Chicago Series

2. Anything involving a Ron Artest interview on how he grew up on courts where guys were getting stabbed in the heart. Wow Ron.

3. The return of Mr Bigshot Chauncey Billups and the maturing of Carmelo Anthony's game.

4. Big Baby's game winner--best part was how he shoved the kid with the courtside seats out of the way during the celebration.

5. Kobe's rant in game 2 on how "HE CAN'T GUARD ME" Best part is when he yelled at Adleman--Get him off me, HE CANT GUARD ME. Go ahead Kobe.

6. Lebron's step back buzzer beating trey piece from two steps inside half. Prediction: Lebron is going to change the game. He'll start shooting threes from there consistenly and maybe beyond half. And he'll make them. You heard it here first.

I might have missed some stuff, but this is long enough. If you got some noise, put it down or comment.

That's my word. Im out.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hoops: Real Talk

Up in the studio getting blowed, to realest shhh I ever wrote....

Is the Nba softer than college? I'm throwing that out there. I see cats in the NCAA putting real Defense on guys. What's real defense you ask?

Real defense is not letting a guy cut where he wants to cut without feeling a forearm or a body on him. Real defense is getting so tight on your man with the ball that you are not just inside his jersey, but your knuckles are under his underarmour. Real defense is knocking a scorer to the hardwood for no other reason than ...just cause he's a scorer.

I watched a classic game today, game 3, Spurs vs Sonics in the 2005 NBA playoffs. The NBA sure has changed. I saw Danny Fortson knock a longhaired Manu Ginobili to the ground with a foul so hard I cringed a bit. Nowadays, that's a flagrant 2, and your tossed, back then, it's just a hard foul. Did Manu complain? Nope, he got up and knocked down two from the line. Why? Because it's a man's game! That's why. Basketball is a man's game. It's a full contact man's game.
And back in the day when men played, you earned everything you got. Look at Jordan's Bulls against the Knicks. I may be alone in this, but I want to see the NBA officials let a little more go.
I don't like the rule that you can't impede a player on his cut, how the hell are you supposed to play defense on these ridiculous scorers if you have to let them go wherever they want?

Back to college. All I see in the college game is guys putting up huge numbers. Guys dropping 40 plus regularly and guys averaging over 20 like it's nobodies business. How is this happening in two 20 minute halves? Well, they moved the three point line back just enough to extend defenses. It's still college, so that means the athletes just aren't quick or long enough to get out there in time to get a decent challenge. Which means defenses are little late, which means a field day for scorers. Couple that with NBA caliber players ineligible to enter the draft till their nineteen and you got a deeper talent pool in the college game. I'm on the tip that the age limit for the NBA should be 20. Let these guys spend two years in college, all that will happen is that college basketball will be even better and when these guys get to the league they will be more complete and better players.

Back to the NBA. Is anyone watching what my man D Wade is doing? Is there a better closer in the game right now? Im just asking cuz Flash just dropped 24 in the fourth quater against the Knicks in a dazzling performance that reminded everyone why this guy already has a ring and an NBA finals MVP on his resume.

While we are at it, who is rookie of the year? Derrik Rose? Michael Beasley? OJ Mayo? Who am I missing?

One more thing....Did anyone catch Shaq's performance against the Craptors? 20-25, for 45 in just 35 minutes. Sorry Dwight, but the original Superman, the true son of Jerrel hasn't done that since 2003. Shaq was wheeling and dealing, crossing guys, and dunking everrrrrrrrything!
Hey, all of us right now who grew up watching this guy should feel blessed. There will never be another Shaq, never be another footer that powerful that nimble and that entertaining. On the same tip, Colangelo should be fired. I know that's sacrilidge in the basketball community, but someone tell me how the Raptors have gotten better since he's been at the helm? He tried to create a run and gun style team with a bunch of Euro shooters but the game changed on him. The Raptors have no inside presence and no defense. You can't run and gun if you always have to take the ball out of the nylon. Free up all the cap space you want, but Bosh would be a fool to come back in 2010. Firing Sam Mitchell did nothing but piss me off. No offense to Jay, but that wasn't the problem.

Back to SHaq.....Did anyone see how he went into the stands!? He damned near took the head off a bombshell blond. Bet when she copped those courtside seats she didnt think she'd get a shoulder in the face from the Diesel. Ha! Classic.

Closing remarks:

Kobe is MVP. King James might be the greatest athlete ever, a shame he can't be like BO and play two sports, because he should be playing football too. D Wade is the best fourth quater performer and Chris Paul and Tony Parker are the best at the pg, with D williams a close third.

That's my word. Go nuggets!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

NBA: Younger, Faster, Stronger

"I have the technology. I can rebuild you... Make you younger... faster...stronger, better dressed.

Picture David Stern saying that to all of the owners in a private NBA meeting held 1000 ft below the Earth in an abandoned mine shaft...

After watching the 2009 Allstar Weekend in it's entireity one thing is for sure, David Stern is the best commissoner in professional sports. Prior to last weekend I would have given that honor to Roger Goodell, but Stern has taken the NBA to new heights, the man is a magician.

Let's just run through some of the things the sorcerer Stern has made disappear....

1. Jordan's alleged gambling problems leading to the death of his father---This story broke a long time ago but was squashed and dismissed promptly. (In my opinion..rightly so. Anyone who says anything inflammatory about MJ should be beaten with a twig, stripped naked and knee capped in public. )

2. The 98-99 Lockout---Somehow the NBA recovered to schedule at least 50 games and even have a Finals, which San Antonio won...And yes contrary to the biased beliefs of a certain UBC Thunderbird...There should be an asterix Casey.

3. Tim Donaghy---Most people don't even know who this guy is. Now that's amazing. How Stern was able to sweep this mess under the rug is simply astonishing, I mean who really knows how deep that thing went and how many officials were really involved? This single incident would have probably been enough to collapse the NHL! Stern damn near handled it on speaker phone.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, that just proves my point.

4. Shaq and Kobe feud---These two should have went down like Jordan and Pippen. Right now they look more like Zeke and Laimbeer...Okay a little harsh, but they wrecked a dynasty over egos. Or did they? Apparently it was all a show... Puhleeeeeze! The real show was at the allstar game when these two looked like they were childhood buddies back on the Showtime Lakers. Im sure it's all squashed now, Shaq's way too cool to hold grudges I'm sure. Co Mvp's...Nice touch Stern. The last memory anyone will have is Shaq and Kobe smiling together holding the Co MVP trophy... That and Shaq's Jabowakee dance. In one word. Amazing.

5. NBA's thug image---A dress code and age restriction later and now you got guys dressed to impress, classy, stylish and your superstar Le Bron James on the cover of GQ. Shit, even AI cut his locks!

The list goes on and on. Stern has the NBA looking like a non-profit philanthropists club with the amount of work and promotion that the NBA CARES does. But perhaps Stern's biggest accomplishment in moving the game forward is the NBA's global expansion. Just looking at the International representation in the allstar game this year compared to just a decade ago and the difference is huge. With plans to expand and market in India and other international venues the sport might just be hitting it's stride.

Of course Stern can't take all the credit. The players deserve alot. For one, the league is finally as talented as it's ever been since the Magic, Jordan, Bird and late Dr. J era. It's a younger league too, which allows rookies to make major contributions and become stars early if not right away.
There's are so many good young players, guys that the phrase "future Hall of Famer" is a sneeze away from being uttered. It's great, it's refreshing and it's good for the youth.

I've always said that I feel sorry for the youth that didn't get to watch Isaiah, MJ, Magic and Bird...I always felt like they missed a major piece of how the game was and is supposed to be played. Well, I honestly believe now, with guys like LBJ, Wade, Kobe, Chris Paul and others the game is once again in great hands...or should I say... in the hands of Greatness.

Now, if David Stern could only figure out how to get the NBA back on NBC... Just let me hear that music one more time!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ok. Kobe. Respeck.

The Cleveland Cavaliers took on the Los Angeles Lakers on MLK day and on the eve of the historical inaugoration of President - elect Barak Obama.

I too had a historical event take place for me as I watched the game. While my experience pales in magnitude to the swearing of the first Black American president, it was significant nonetheless.

I have talked to enough people and haters to know that there is a certain resentment among many basketball fans towards Kobe Bryant. Some people love him and others hate him. I myself was on the fence, with my feet dangling over hate side. Who am I kidding? I often jumped off the fence onto the hate side, the grass was always greener there. And I, like other Kobe doubters have my reasons.

Tonight, that all changed. Not because he had an excellent game, not because his team won and certainly not because I felt like he showed LeBron up. was something else. I'll come back to that.

The game itself didn't really live up to its billing. Both Lebron and Kobe had off nights, a few highlight reel moves here and there, but otherwise sloppy play by both teams. The Lakers ended up shelling the Cavs by about 18 en route to a relatively easy win.
It was clear that Kobe has a much deeper and talented supporting cast than Lebron and the Lakers certainly match up well against the Cavs, albeit, the Cavs, were without Delonte West and Ilgaga. Also, for a man that's leading the race in MVP voting, Lebron James gets the least amount of superstar calls than anyone else in the league. Even Sasha V gets more love from the officials and he's gay so what gives? Not that a man's sexuality should have any bearing on how many times he goes to the stripe...but I'm just saying, the man's getting hacked and he's the first black man to be on the cover of GQ....Give him some calls.

I did see a Laker team that played with alot more physicality than usual and an emerging star in Trevor Ariza who may just be the missing piece the Lakers championship puzzle.

Back to Kobe.

In the first few minutes of the game Kobe dislocated his ring finger on his shooting hand, popped it back in, and resumed play in significant amounts of pain. There was something about the way he played from that point on that brought about a change in my attitude towards Kobe.

For one thing he played the whole game. For another thing, he guarded Lebron for a majority of the game. I have to admit, the man impressed me. As I watched him battling with Lebron and doing everything to get his teamates involved I saw something else.... I saw a warrior. I saw a leader. I saw a mature, unselfish Kobe who just wanted to win. I saw the best player on the planet...


In Superman III, the one where Superman gets a piece of incomplete Kryptonite and it turns him into bad Superman...And he says to the blond chick on top of the statue of liberty " I hope you don't expect me to save you, cause I don't do that anymore" one of my favorite lines in the movie. Anyways, an epic battle takes place between the good Superman and the bad Superman
with the good Superman emerging victorious to save the world.

Something similar to that happened to me as I began to acknowledge Kobe's superiority.
The hater in me jumped out and started pointing at the TV.

" He hasn't changed"
"He's still the soft bastard that wouldn't drive to the hoop on the Celtics"
" He ran Shaq out of town and ruined the last dynasty in professional sports"
"He raped a chick"

Like superman, I grabbed my hater self by the neck and choked him out.
"Go to sleep."

Kobe deserves respect. My respect. And to all the Kobe haters out there, kill that hater inside you and open your eyes. You might just be able to catch and enjoy the rest of the career of one of the most talented and competitive basketball players ever to lace up a pair.

Kobe, much Respeck.

I'll do myself one better and add....I pray he wins it all this year.