Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Accompanying Picture for My Top 10

I wouldn’t mind KG’s

Every red-blooded American sports fan has played the “Who Would You Rather Be?” game. It’s always fun because in sports there really are no absolutes. There are a million different reasons and a million different factors that affect who a person chooses. I guarantee that any guy who would say “Wilt Chamberlain” is probably more interested in his…“off-court” success than his two rings and 100-point game.

Now for me, if we were to play this game, instead calling it “Whose Legacy Would You Rather Have,” it would be easy to say Michael Jordan, because I see him as the greatest player of all time.

So that wouldn’t be an article. That would be boom—Michael Jordan. Done. Blog over.

So in looking for #2…I went through a few different names.

Karl Malone…#2 greatest scorer of all time. The people’s elbow….Deadbeat father. Scratch.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. 5 rings. Sky hook. But overshadowed in his own era…by his own teammates, even. Scratch.

Larry Bird...They call him "Basketball Jesus!" Buuut I am a black man, and he played in Boston. Scratch.

Scottie Pippen…Portland and Houston jacked him up...and he will always receive less respect than he deserves, because Michael Jordan is already legendary and he hasn’t even been out of the league long enough for there to be a legend! We saw him play 5 years ago! Over time he will continue to receive more and more of the credit for what his teams accomplished. By 2028, will we even remember the other 11 guys with Jordan? Poor Scottie…

(Note: Wow, MJ even dominated Scottie's PARAGRAPH!! That is tough...)

Shaquille O’Neil…I think the person that would most rather be Shaq…is Shaq. He loves himself…so we don’t have to.

Penny Hardaway…HA HA HAA kidding!

Dirk Nowitzki…[fuming]…why did I just do that to myself?

(let’s stop there…[still fuming])

So after thinking relatively un-hard about this…I realized that the legacy that has to be worth the most…is the legacy of Kevin Garnett.

Think about this for me…

He is a pioneer, having paved the way for Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwight Howard to even BE in the NBA.

He made himself so valuable that the league went into the ’98 lockout partly as a result of his contract.

He stayed in the favor of the media and fans despite having NEVER won anything

He stepped into many people’s discussion as a hall of famer after only winning ONE ring!

He had crappy teammates his entire career but was supremely successful in the two years he had good ones – 2004 with Cassell in Minny, and winning a ring this year with Paul & Ray in Boston.

He is a media darling, always entertaining, allowed to say anything he wanted to say, to the point that his uncontrolled reaction after winning the championship was shown by ABC at the end of the game.

He endeared himself so much in Minnesota that people actually WANTED to see him win a ring in another city—and placed their anger on management for not building a better team there!

He will probably be regarded as one of the most intense players to ever play the game, but somehow also one of the most unselfish—a combination we rarely ever see. Here is a guy who trusts his teammates, but still pushes himself to the limit.

He has always stayed out of trouble, and he has always been close to the media, but somehow he possesses a higher level of relevance and the clich├ęd “street credibility” than players who have won more, scored more, and played longer.

He was the only guy who seemed to realize just how DISGUSTING what had just happened to Frederick Weis’ face really was. He knew instantly.

He helped a nation bridge the gap…as Shawn Kemp slowly grew fatter and fatter. We needed an intense, high flying power forward, and KG was there for us. Still, we miss you, Shawn.

He quietly became one of the top-3 rebounders in the league, and he was much more prolific at that than scoring or defense, but his personality helped to maintain his star status.

In all, no player has ridden the storm of losing games, losing playoff games, losing teammates, losing sanity and losing sleep better, while somehow never losing respect, losing credibility, or losing the fire to play the game.
An entire nation celebrated with Kevin Garnett a month ago, fighting to hold back tears as we pumped our fists at the TV set, because he’s a guy that you can’t help but get emotionally invested in.

And THAT, to me, is a legacy worth something.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Don't even call him Rick Ross anymore...just call him Officer William Leonard Roberts!

I knew half of these rappers were actors who embellished/ flat out lied about their crimes/ background but COME ON. William (because I'm not calling you Rick Ross anymore), you are/were supposed to be the biggest drug King pin in Miami if people are to believe what you rap about. How are you the don in Miami if you were a well to do citizen with a clean background record working in the Miami Prison system? You can deny all you want, but after looking at all of the leaked records , man you are just a fronter. A wanna be. Which is great! Because in my opinion, its not a bad thing for someone to be an upstanding citizen and have a good job, like you previously did. What I have a problem with is giving these kids something to look up to as a "criminal" and a "drug dealer." Why couldn't you be rapping about living your life right? And then when the truth comes out, you deny it? I guess it makes sense, because sadly, it was easier to make 10 times (or are you lying about that too?) what you made as a legit prison guard rapping about the imaginary birds and kilos you were moving in and out of Dade county. Get out of here with that foolishness....I hope your "career" is DONE. And I hope we look at why this has happened in our society. Why a seemingly good man with a good job would feel it necessary to lie and make a completely criminal persona to get rich and famous and then actually succeed?! Why do we reward people like this?

Sincerely yours,

A fan of good hip hop and TRUTH (of which you have none.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

USA Olympic Basketball TV Schedule

Just so you know....
(from espn.com)

Monday, JULY 21
USA Basketball All-Access Show: "Road To Redemption" 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Friday, JULY 25
USA vs. Canada
***WIN: 120-65***
8 p.m. ET, ESPNHD, ESPN360.com
USA vs. Turkey 8 a.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN360.com
USA Basketball All-Access Show: "Road To Redemption" 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
USA vs. Turkey, Re-Air 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2
USA vs. Turkey, Re-Air 6:30 a.m. ET, ESPNU
USA vs. Lithuania 8 a.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN360.com
USA vs. Turkey, Re-Air 8 p.m. ET, ESPNU
USA vs. Lithuania, Re-Air 3 a.m. ET, ESPN2
USA vs. Russia 3 a.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN360.com
USA vs. Lithuania, Re-Air 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU
USA vs. Russia, Re-Air 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
USA vs. Russia, Re-Air 10 p.m. ET, ESPNU
USA vs. Russia, Re-Air 6 a.m. ET, ESPNU
USA vs. Australia 8 a.m. ET, ESPN2. ESPN360.com
USA Basketball All-Access Show: "Road To Redemption" 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
USA Basketball All-Access Show: "Road To Redemption" 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
USA vs. Australia, Re-Air 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Monday, July 14, 2008

5 Genius GMs

My favorite rebuilding GMs—sneakily driving their teams to the top with good to brilliant moves

(Yes, I do realize that this list does leave out a few heavy hitters—of course Philadelphia would be considered by most people to be included, as well as a few other teams. But Philly wasn’t considered to be rising this summer until a single move—the Brand acquisition. And if Brand had stayed in Clipperland, the same notion would have worked—they just picked up Baron Davis. Really, this article isn’t about the GMs who have made their teams good or better this year. It’s about the GMs who are building their teams on a concept, and the concept is working…to me.)

5. Spurs – Greg Popovich

Methodology: Keep no one long, pay no one much, find someone better

If you hate everything else about the Spurs, you have to respect and even love Greg Popovich. He is the only current coach who moonlights as a GM (this is unresearched, but Isiah and Larry’s Brown and Bird were the last, I believe) and he is really the only one who has been highly successful on both ends in the last decade.

What do I love about his GM moves? Well for starters, he keeps the guys he likes, and he rids himself of the guys he doesn’t. The big three (Duncan, Ginobili, Parker) are locked up for the next 2-4 years (and at relative bargains too), and there isn’t a single Spurs player with more than 2 years left on their contract. Popovich has made a habit of this in the last few years. This means they can reload whenever they want…with no consequences. Steve Kerr got old? Bring in Brent Barry. Is Bowen looking old? They went and got Udoka (again, all for huuuuge bargains). They also know when and how to stick it to their opponents, like when they let the Mavericks pay Michael Finley $20 million a year while they paid him $2 million or so and won a ring.

Beyond his abilities on the sidelines, Popovich is a master in the front office. He gets what he wants. He’s got his big three for the next decade and he’s in position to get some younger, more athletic help around them to keep the Spurs on top.

4. Detroit – Joe Dumars

Methodology: Underdogs…gotta find underdogs! Tough underdogs. Undersized underdogs. Undrafted underdogs. But NEVER European underdogs.

Yes, I do realize that this is the second 50-win team in this list, and that the whole idea is about rebuilding. The thing is, that is the difference between horrific, good, and GENIUS GMs—you can see them reloading before their team heads for the bottom.

Detroit has had an impressive decade, winning 50+ games every year since 2001, an obvious testament to great management. In 2004, everything came together and the Pistons won the NBA Championship. Now that same cast (with the exception of Ben Wallace, who is an idiot) is a veteran bunch capable of winning 55+ games each season. Of course, entering their mid-30s, Joe realizes that the party could be over any time, so he has quietly made moves in the draft that have paid dividends for his veteran team.

The Pistons, to me, are the #1 team in the league at implementing a plan. They want tough, hard-nosed players who have no problem playing 5 minutes but will work hard for 40. Even though they’ve been drafting in the late 20’s for nearly a decade, they’ve managed to acquire GREAT role player talent. Now with Amir Johnson, Jason Maxiel, Aaron Afflalo and Rodney Stuckey, they have a second team that is in its early twenties but has deep playoff experience. You can’t ask for a better job than that.

I think the Pistons have lost a few rings they should’ve won in the last 4 years just off of lack of desire. But I think that once these younger guys that Joe has brought in start taking over, you will see a stronger, more versatile Pistons team than the current group. Dumars has made brilliant move after brilliant move. And yes, you can fault him for taking Darko Milicic, or for letting Mehmet Okur get away. But really, think about it—if he had drafted someone else who was starting for their team, would he have ever gone for the Rasheed Wallace trade? And if that never happens…would there even be a ring?

3. Boston – Danny Ainge

Methodology: Take advantage of great chemistry to develop great talent.

OK OK I KNOW!!! They won the Championship! That can’t possibly count as rebuilding!!!

Again, I totally, ABSOLUTELY disagree!

I’m not here to even talk about the job Danny Ainge did in the past year. It’s been nothing short of genius—every move he made was outstanding. But I think that the moves he is making NOW, while risky, may be just as important.

The Celtics went out and drafted two of the most talented players in this draft. The thing is, they are also two of the biggest question marks in this draft. J.R. Giddens of New Mexico and Bill Walker of Kansas State are two guys who were projected to be top-10 draft choices in their freshmen years of college. Each was derailed along the way –Giddens by immaturity, Walker by an ACL tear. Most teams had given up on them as great prospects.

So the Celtics took the gamble. They figure that Drill Sergeant Garnett and the disciplined Ray Allen can light a fire in Giddens as they did with Rajon Rondo, whose rookie season didn’t leave much indication that he’d be a championship point guard a year later. Then they hope that Bill Walker, an uber-athletic wing when healthy, can learn a little something about durability from the Finals MVP, who played his way through an MCL sprain in Game 1 to somehow dominate in the 6 biggest games of his life.

I love the idea. I truly believe that if a team has great chemistry, they can afford to take a few risks for talent. There’s nothing either of these guys can do to erode what Boston is doing—not as long as Kevin Garnett is around, that’s for sure. Instead they can come along slowly, learn from three guys who got to the top by working hard and playing unselfishly. And who knows—maybe Rondo, Giddens, Walker, Big Baby, and Perkins is the Celtics team of the future. It’s already got three NBA champions and two potentially great rookies. We’ll see.

2. New Jersey – Rod Thorn

Methodology: We’re gonna stay young and play fast. And if you don’t want to be here, watch out for the doorknob on the way out.

So you’ve got an old point guard. Trade him in for a young point guard. Check.

(Oh and can you throw in two first round picks too? Great. Check.)

You’ve got a 22 point scoring wing player in his late 20’s on a rebuilding team that isn’t making money. You trade him for the 2nd best Chinese player in the world—who happens to be in his early twenties. You’re now rebuilding and making money. Check.

If the New Jersey Nets get rid of Vince Carter as easily as they disposed of Kidd and Jefferson, Rod Thorn becomes my darkhorse candidate for GM of the Year, whether they win 50 games or 5. Sure, he may have prematurely disposed of Kenyon Martin and slowly caused his own team’s demise, but what exactly is the purpose of keeping together a core that gets SWEPT two times in a row in the NBA Finals?

This team steps out above the others to me simply because building a team through trades is a hard thing to do. Most rebuilding teams climb the ladder through drafting and free agent signings. The way the Nets have handled this rebuilding project has been patient, yet somehow quite risky. Thorn is making moves that many GMs would not make, but he is likely setting his team up for greater success than most of those GMs will achieve.

I just love the acquisition of Devin Harris for the Nets. He never really got to do what he does best in Dallas, and what he does best seems to be what the Nets want him to do: get to the hole. Not only that, but the Nets are quietly assembling one of the deepest teams in the league. They’ve got Krstic, Sean Williams and rookie Brooke Lopez patrolling the paint, and they’ve got Vince Carter, Yi Jianlian, Chris Douglas-Roberts, and Ryan Anderson who all can play inside-out. That doesn’t even mention that they have Harris and Marcus Williams playing point. Both are more than capable at performing point guard duties.

And on top of all of this…they might get LeBron in two years! They’ve trimmed the cap enough to possibly set up the biggest coup in NBA history that didn’t involve a friend of David Stern or the city of Seattle. The Nets could potentially head into Brooklyn with the best player in the NBA…on top of all of the talent they currently have.

Overall, it’s just a great job. It’s a marvelous job. It’s a stupendous job. And if they end up with LeBron? With this roster?!! It becomes the ‘Rod Thorn Dynastic Creator Award.’ That’s just it.

1A. “Sonics” – Sam Presti
1B. Blazers – Kevin Pritchard

I retardedly, STEWPIDLY left one of these teams off. But then I realized how fitting and appropriate it is that they be presented together.

The “Sonics” and Blazers have had years of history in the great northwest…which is about to come crashing to an end thanks to Clay Bennett.

But the 2007 NBA draft will be what links these two franchises for the next two decades. Portland drafted Greg Oden over Kevin Durant, and from that moment the two franchises have had their success compared, and will for many years.

Because of these acquisitions, both teams are considered to be on the rise, despite even the season-ending injury to Oden. And both teams have taken great strides towards becoming NBA dynasties.

The funny and ironic part is how drastically different their strategies have been thus far.

Portland’s Methodology: Be aggressive. Get character guys. Get your hands on as many players as you possibly can.

The Blazers have been more active in the draft than any team we’ve seen since Mark Cuban got an NBA phone in the late ‘90s. They’ve made close to 15 acquisitions, more than 4 trades, and gone from the bottom of the league to a near playoff team in only 2 seasons. Oden didn’t even have to play a single game last year for them to still split even at 41-41. This year they’ll bring in quite possibly the second most talented point guard prospect in the draft. All it took was the 13th pick and some cash.

Pritchard has really been aggressive in Europe as well. They are bringing in the MVP of the Spanish league, Rudy Fernandez, as well. There is so much talent on this team, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to expect 50+ wins out of them—even though their average age is a remarkable 23.4. Now THAT is a great rebuilding job.

But—partially, I admit—my favorite has to be Sam Presti with the “Sonics.”

Presti’s Methodology is quite simple: Take your time. Build a TEAM. Make the pieces complement. Don’t go for the home run, just get difference-makers on your team.

That means instead of drafting Yi Jianlian, they went for a consummate teammate, pass first hustle player, Jeff Green.

That means that instead of Kevin Love, or maybe Anthony Randolph, they took a defensive stopper like Russell Westbrook (who apparently can score too!).

They also traded many of their talented players and ended up with SIX first round picks in the next 3 years. For a young, rebuilding team, draft picks are gold.

It may seem like things are going a little…TOO slow. But the reason I love what they are doing is, they know what they’ve got. Kevin Durant is a superior talent, and he will be top 3 in the NBA some time very soon. But instead of doing the rush job that Cleveland did around LeBron, leaving him as a 24-year-old superstar on a team of aging role players, the Sonics are not wasting their time trying to win championships with a wiry 20-year-old kid. They are letting the young “Sonics” be young, and make mistakes. And lose games. And get HUNGRY. All of the losing and the struggles will only make this core group of “Sonics” better in the long run. The fact is, the west is loaded right now—but it has about 5 or 6 teams that will be out of their prime in the next 3 years. It is THEN that the “Sonics” are posturing for, and it will be interesting to see how much better they are then, when Durant is 24, then the impatient Cavs are now.

Presti is taking the best of what he learned from Greg Popovich and molding it into his own formula. Except ‘Keep no one long, pay no one much, find someone better’ evolved into a much more patient way of doing things—a way that is definitely going to set his “Sonics” up to seize the throne of the 4-time champions when Duncan and Popovich head out the door.

Good job, gentlemen.

(PS: Mr. Cuban wanted me to tell you all that Dirk is up on the block…just had to pass the message…)

When funny just isn't.....funny

First the fist bump is a terrorist communication gesture, and now this? Politics at it's finest; while I understand the premise that this image is an amalgumation of all the fantastic lies and half-truths told about the obamas by the right wing and everyone else, was this cover still necessary? There are people in this country (many in fact) who still consider him a closet Muslim and a terrorist! Give me a break...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Great youtube comment about Michael Jordan

Originally posted by youtube user "theAIRJORDANblitz"

Kobe Bryant never has clocked his 40 yard dash because it's probably in the 4.6's. There's nothing wrong with that. I would estimate that LeBron is a 4.5 athlete. There is documentation that has LeBron between 4.5 and 4..7. For instance Cedric Benson was a high high draft pick, #4 overall and he ran a 4.6. Running a 4.6 is still pretty fast and Kobe is pretty fast.

Michael Jordan is on record for running a 4.3 with Deion Sanders. Jordan had a 48" vertical

Ill even go one further, this is the only guy in pro sports who reminds me of the way Jordan ran. McFadden and Jordan have similar strides. Funny that there are accounts of Jordan running a 4.2 and McFadden just ran in the high 4.2's. This guy reminds me of MJ with the way he runs:
this is what Jordan's 40 yard dash looked like:

No doubt in my mind that if Jordan was in his prime he would destroy this no-contact NBA.

Michael Jordan is by far the most accomplished basketball player in history.

No one approaches Jordan's number of Finals MVPs.

The legend that Jordan was so dominant that he lost MVP awards because of it is true. The league voters tired of giving the award to the same player every year. Seeing that Jordan was the future of the NBA and Magic Johnson had only received one MVP in his career, they voted Johnson in 1989 and 1990, not to diminsh Magic's accomplishments. Jordan is #1 all-time in total MVP voting, #1 all-time in MVP award shares, and has by far the most total MVPs (Finals, season, All-Star) with 14.

Michael Jordan is the only Defensive Player of the Year in history to lead the league in scoring.

Only Karl Malone has more All-NBA First Team honors (with one more).

Jordan has the most All-Defensive First Team honors in NBA history.

Rookie Michael Jordan led his team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals, making him the only NBA player in history to do that.

Jordan was an All-Star every year in which he was eligible, and is #2 all-time in selections behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Jordan recorded the only triple double in All-Star Game history in 1997, but did not receive the MVP.

Jordan has more scoring titles than any NBA franchise's entire history. He is the only player aside from Wilt Chamberlain to score 3000 points in a season.

Jordan was the first player in NBA history to lead the league in both scoring and steals. He did it three times.

Jordan led his team to the best regular season and combined regular and postseason records in NBA history.
It's great that people love LeBron James and people love guys like Kobe Bryant.... don't ever forget, Michael Jordan did everything they did at a more consistent and dominating level. Enjoy what you have now, because they will get old and retire. Don't ever forget to take the extra time to learn about the career of one Michael Jordan. He is the greatest of all time after all.

Normally on this blog I try to stay as moderate and politically neutral as possible regardless of my personal beliefs, but I must say I am very impressed with a candidate I have been seeing lately by the name of Harvey Dent. He is running for District Attorney (Democrat District 5) in New York City (affectionately called Gotham) and is really an exciting guy. I have been hearing a lot of good things about him, and I think I am going to support Dent in the upcoming election...from all of his public appearances and interviews I have seen on tv and on youtube the last thing he is (unlike other politicians) is wishy-washy or two-faced...he calls it how he sees it. Check out his website at IbelieveinHarveyDent.com and make a contribution to his campaign if you are so inclined.
UPDATE: Apparently some lunatic has gotten ahold of his campaign site! I'm very sad and a bit angry that such a fine politician would be the target of such a idiot clown. They need to bring whoever did this to justice!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

How Next Gen Madden got it's groove back (or at least me back)

I don't know how many readers are big fans of Madden but I have been one since '95 on the Sega Genesis, I even had a 4-play (lol) adapter so me and 3 buddies could be the Dallas Cowboys and completely pillage the Redskins. I got a 360 2 years ago and promptly made Madden 06 one of my first purchases. I was so excited that I could get a next gen Madden game with great graphics and gameplay and couldn't wait to play my friends until...."wait a minute...you can see the play I pick?!"
Alas, it seems that the geniuses at EA sports changed the play call system so that you highlighted the play you wanted to run even with your competitor sitting right there on the couch next to you! My little 5 year old cousin would laugh and say "you are about to run the ball!" and then promptly move his line over to that side. This was crazy. This was stupid, and I have boycotted Madden since that time until EA decides to fix the issue, and I have walked angrily past Madden 07 and 08 when they came out. Even though they addressed it with this whole "bluffing" system, it still isn't as good a playcalling system as it was on the ps2 where icons were assigned to each play. Thats why that picture I have up there makes me so happy and excited, its an image grab of the playcalling menu on Madden 2009. They fixed it! And promptly just took 60 bucks from me, lol (already reserved at my local gamestop). Because as iron willed as I was in boycotting them and playing halo, ninja gaiden, Tiger Woods, NBA 2K and other favorites, it just wasn't the same without my old pigskin friend. See you online August 12, my Xbox Live gamertag is Steven42lh.