Archive for the ‘Sports’ Tag

New England Patriots make history at Super Bowl IL; Alot of Super Bowl Babies gettin’ made!   Leave a comment

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…The Revenge Tour is complete: Almost 2 hours ago, NFL Commissioner Roger Gooddell handed Tom Brady his fourth MVP Trophy. Unlke Brady and Belicheck, Patriots owner Robert Kraft didn’t hold back in his comments on how sweet this Super Bowl Victory is. Non-Patriots fans be damned, the New England Patriots are America’s Football Team.

Damn those who had the audacity to compare the Patriots’ comeback victory to last year’s Presidential Election. The Falcons winning probably would have been best for business but in the long run, the Patriots ended up being the better team. There’s also this:
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As you know from my last post, the Celtics played Sunday afternoon in Boston. During last summers’ Kevin Durant Sweepstakes IT4 and TB12 met before they met with Kevin Durant. IT said in an interview in recent weeks he and TB have texted back and fourth since they met last summer. Isaiah Thomas is known as the King of the Fourth this season. He earned that title because he takes over the game in the fourth quarter. Brady was seen texting on the sidelines last night. I doubt either would make it public but I would not be surprised if the Brady took some advice from the King of the Fourth watching the game from Boston. As we all know, the Patriots won the game in the Fourth Quarter. It’s hard for me imagine the two didn’t exchange words before or during the game at some point ^_^

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…That brings me to this interesting statistic the NFL apparently started tracking two years ago (LOL!): There is a surge in births 9 months after a Super Bowl, most notably in cities and towns that are fans of the teams involved in the big game. In other words, some babies are gettin’ made!

All the more reason the day after the Super Bowl should be made a national holiday. LOL.

As Paul Pierce plays his final game in Boston, the future of the Celtics is bright   Leave a comment

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…Paul Pierce and Isaiah Thomas. One is sure to have his number added to the rafters after he retires. The other is primed to lead the Celtics to their 18th NBA Championship. This is the first time since the 1980s that the future of the Celtics isn’t in doubt.

Who could have imagined the Len Bias incident would have seen the Celtics drop out of the playoff picture for almost a decade? When Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish retired (1993, 1994 and 1996) and when Reggie Lewis died in 1995, there were serious questions as to weather or not the team could return to who they once were. The ill-fated Rick Pitino era–and then the now-imfamous “Larry Bird is not walking through that door” jab on his way out after failing to lead the Celtics back to the playoffs–made the possability of a 17th Championship feel more and more like a faraway dream.

Then the Celtics signed Paul Pierce in 1999. Three years later Danny Ainge hired Doc Rivers, who led the Celtics to the 2nd Round of the NBA Playoffs in his first year as Head Coach of the Celtics (2002). The untimely death of legendary Celtics coach Red Aurbach (8 Championships in 10 years) in 2006 reminded the team that although they were getting good, they weren’t good enough to contend with the then emerging superstar LeBron James or the favorite to return to the NBA Finals, the Detroit Pistons.

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So, during the summer of 2007 Danny Ainge pulled the trigger on a trade that brought Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Gerald Green (who is now back with the Celtics this year) and 3 other young players. A few weeks later, the Celtics signed Free Agent Ray Allen. Just like that, the Celtics were now contenders going into the 2007-08 NBA Season. 1 year later, the Celtics woyld raise Banner 17 to the rafters.

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As the last and most beloved member of what was then The New Big 3 prepares to retire, the Celtics firmly control their own destiny. Isaiah Thomas, who was drafted last in the 2nd round of the 2010 NBA Draft is 2nd in Points Per Game behind Russell Westbrook this year. He became the first Celtic since Paul Pierce back in 2006 to score 50+ points in a game in December. He has had SEVERAL 40+ games since mid-December including Friday’s win over the Lakers.

I haven’t even gotten to the supporting cast: You’ve got Al Horford (signed with Boston during the offseason), Avery Bradey (when he returns from injury), Terry Rozier and 1st Round Draft Pick Jaylen Brown (A workhorse with LeBron James’ basketball IQ). You also have Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, Jonas Jerebko and Kelly Olynik.

There’s also the Brooklyn Nets picks from the trade that sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett from Boston to Brooklyn. Looks like the Celtics are primed to hit it BIG in the next draft to boot: Last year’s draft was just about Ben Simmons (missed half the season with an injury) and Brandon Ingram but Jaylen Brown’s been having one hell of season. Don’t even get me started on the NBA Players who have come up in conversation for a possible trade to Boston before the deadline.

…Getting back to The Truth, he ended his final appearance in Boston with a streak that would remain unbroken: He has scored a basket in every game he’s ever played in The Garden. Fitting that Paul Pierce would score the final basket and his only basket of the game. It would not be enough as the Celtics would go on to win the game 107-102. The three-pointer was more of a token from the home team, who gave him the wide open shot. No doubt the “We want Paul Pierce!” chants during most of the fourth quarter will be a moment he will never forget. As many have said, you can be sure Celtics fans will see more of The Truth after he retires as a player.

 

Speaking of Basketball, let’s talk NBA All Star Weekend   Leave a comment

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It’s just two months away and is the second-biggest sporting event of the first quarter of the year behind the Super Bowl. All Star Weekend is both a celebration of the love of the game and the halfway point of the NBA season. It is also when the trade deadline expires. Although Charlotte was originally chosen to host All Star Weekend 2017, the event was moved to New Orleans in protest of North Carlolina’s controversial Anti-LGBT bill HB-02. Said bill will likely be repealed since the governor who signed it into law lost his job earlier this week. LOL.

Moving on.

Here are my picks for who I think will make Team East or should.

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Starters:

  1. C – Al Horford (Celtics)
  2. F – LeBron James (Cavs)
  3. F – Carmello Anthony (Knicks)
  4. G – Dwyane  Wade (Bulls)
  5.  G – DeMar DeRozan (Raptors)

Bench:

  1. F/G – Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks)
  2. F – Paul George (Pacers)
  3. C – Dwight Howard (Hawks)
  4. G – Isaiah Thomas (Celtics)
  5. G – Avery Bradley (Celtics)
  6. C/F – Andre Drummond (Pistons)
  7. F – Jimmy Butler (Bulls)
  8.  G – JR Smith (Cavs)*
  9.  F -Kevin Love (Cavs)
  10. G – Anthony Davis (Pelicans)

Alternates (due to injury, etc.):

  • G – Derrick Rose (Knicks)
  • F/C – Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks)
  • G – Rajon Rondo (Bulls)
  • C – Hassan Whiteside (Heat)
  • G – John Wall (Wizards)

* Out with an injury, may not be back in time for the All Star Game.

…Yes, I think 3 Celtics and 3 Cavs could make the East Squad this year. Horford or Drummond would start but Horford will likely start. The other four starters are pretty likely to happen exactly as shown. The Alternates are basically in the event someone gets injured. Both Wall and Davis are basically being held hostage by bad teams (LOL!). I just put them on the team out of pity.

Antetokounmpo is on the team in part to mess with the announcers and broadcasters who will have to learn to say his name (It’s pronounced “Ah-tee-toe-coon-po”). Seriously though he deserves a slot. IT4 will make the cut barring an injury. I also think Avery Bradley will make his All Star debut this year but could be replaced by D-Rose.

 

…Now, on to Team West.

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Starters:

  1. C – Karl-Anthony Towns (T-Wolves)
  2. F – Kevin Durant (Warriors)
  3. F – Kawhi Leonard (Spurs)
  4. G – Steph Curry (Warriors)
  5. G – Russell Westbrook (Thunder)

Bench:

  1. F – Draymond Green (Warriors)
  2. G – Klay Thompson (Warriors)
  3. G – James Harden (Rockets)
  4. F – Blake Griffin (Clippers)*
  5. G – Chris Paul (Clippers)
  6. F – Paul Pierce (Clippers)
  7. C – DeAndre Jordan (Clippers)
  8. G – Tony Parker (Spurs)
  9. C – DeMarcus Cousins (Kings)
  10. G – Zach LaVine (T-Wolves)

Alternates:

  • C – Andrew Bogut (Mavs)
  • C – Steven Adams (Thunder)
  • G – D’Angelo Russell (Lakers)
  • F- LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs)
  • G/F – Vince Carter (Grizzlies)

* Out with an injury, may not be back in time for the All Star Game.

 

…Not gonna lie, filling in the bench was much easier compared to the East. I threw in Paul Pierce since it’s his last season (according to him and Doc Rivers, anyway). Playing better than he has been so far would certainly help him get enough votes to make the team. The 5 starters felt pretty obvious to me but Jordan could start, too. I struggled a bit finding the Alternates though.

Overall, I would be very surprised if none of the listed players make the final cut. The starters are locked in for sure though. Green and Thompson are getting rubber stamped in of course. Same with Griffin and CP3.

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…Of course, I’m gonna end with my predictions for who will be in the Slam Dunk Contest this time around.

We already know Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon will be back. After the show they put on last year, expectations have been raised. Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown should be expected to make the cut as well: Brown has brought the dunking back to Boston and in a big way. Could this be the year we see LeBron James quit procrastinating and FINALLY enter the dunk contest? Or will we see former champions Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin or even Vince Carter return for another shot at the trophy? Let the speculation commence!

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Former NBA All-Star Ray Allen announces retirement   Leave a comment

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Then Free Agent Ray Allen’s surprise announcement caused a stir this past August when he announced he was returning after being away for two years. He last played in 2014 for the Cavs. Speculation ran rampant in terms of which team would be chomping at the bit to sign the two-time NBA Champion (won with the 2008 Celtics and the 2013 Heat).

…Turns out no one wanted the 41-year old despite his impressive resume. Upon hearing of his retirement, former Celtics teammate and Bulls Guard Rajon Rondo apparently said “I thought he already retired”. Allen, who owns several businesses in Miami never actually retired…until now. Clearly not the end he was looking for but it’s probably for the best.

Ray “The King of Threes” Allen is the ALL-Time Leader in 3-Pointers taken and made–2,973, Made out of 7,429 Attempts–a record Steph Curry would have to play AT LEAST another 10 years to threaten, let alone break (Curry’s record is currently 1,605). Allen was a member of the Celtics when he broke Reggie Miller’s record (2,560), which many thought would never be touched. As the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors proved last year, records are made to be broken. LOL.

Steph Curry is probably the only active NBA Player who as of right now could break Ray Allen’s record in about 10 years. Paul Pierce, who beat Ray Allen in the Three Point Contest when they were teammates (Celtics) is in third place.
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Speaking of The Truth. All three former members of the Celtics’ then New Big Three (Pierce, Allen and Garnett) will have retired come the end of the 2016-17 NBA Season. Pierce is retiring at the end of the Clippers’ Playoff run and will sign a 1-day contract with the Celtics so he can retire a Celtic. KG retired over the summer as well and seems to have already found work as a member of the NBA on TNT broadcast team. K.G. is a legend to both Celtics and T-Wolves fans for separate reasons (he is the best player the T-Wolves ever had and he won his only title with the Celitcs). Pierce will always be considered a Celtic despite ending his career with 3 other teams (The Nets, Wizzards and Clippers).

…It truly is the end of an era in Celtics history overall.

What I’m happy to say is unlike the 1980s with the disaster that was Len Bias (died from a drug overdose the night he was drafted), the Celtics have a bright future ahead of them. Like the experts have said, the Celtics could challenge the Cavs in the East. They are the 3rd-favorited team to reach the NBA Finals from the East behind Toronto and Cleveland.  Unlike the 90s where continuity was a problem after Bird, McHale and Parish retired (1993, 1994 and 1996) the Celtics are a piece or two away from dominating the East like they did from 2008 to 2012.

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Kevin Garnett announces his retirement from the NBA   Leave a comment

 

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The 21-year NBA Veteran and All Star announced his retirement a short time ago. Speculation towards KG calling it a career began yesterday when it was revealed the T-Wolves–the NBA Team his began and ended his career with–bought out the rest of his contract with the team. While KG will retire as a beloved member of the team he played his first 12 straight seasons with (1995-2007), he will always been remembered for his legendary performance as the heart and soul of the 2008 NBA Champion Boston Celtics. The Celtics came up short in their rematch against the LA Lakers the following year in the NBA Finals but even after he left Boston a few years later, Celtics fans will never forget all that he did for the team and the city to raise the franchise’s first championship banner in 22 years.

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…The timing is very interesting given Paul Pierce announced he would be retiring after the 2016-17 NBA season. Pierce, who played his first 15 seasons with the Celtics (1997-2012) has been the subject of speculation given LA Clippers President and Head Coach Doc Rivers–who himself led the Celtics to their 17th NBA Championship and is a former Celtics player himself–has expressed a desire for The Truth to retire as a member of the Boston Celtics. The obvious assumption is Pierce will sign a 1-day contract but Pierce being shipped back to Boston is a real possability.

The other former member of the New Big 3 Ray “The King of Threes” Allen (Holds all-time NBA record for 3-pointers made) announced over the summer he is looking to return to the NBA this coming season. The Free Agent, who last played for the Miami Heat (winning a ring with the Heat as well as the one he got with the Celtics) has been talking to the Bucks and Celtics–both teams he’s played for in the past. When asked why he is returning after being absent for a few years he replied “This is why I never retired”, which clearly means he has enough gas left in the tank to go at least one more season. The Celtics being the only team that has the money to sign him aside, whichever team takes him will be a contender in the playoffs: He rarely has bad days when he’s behind the line so…yeah.

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Since I’m talking about Basketball, I feel the need to comment on Miami Heat star Chris Bosh’s situation. As many NBA fans are aware, Bosh missed most of the last two seasons due to a serious medical issue. It was announced this morning he was not cleared by the team’s medical staff. This is a situation in which the team is legit trying to protect the player. The player is Chris Bosh, who is married and has 5 children. Former team mate and Chicago Bulls player Dwayne Wade released a statement via social media imploring his friend to keep his family in mind regardless of what he decides to do next.

Miami Heat All Star Alonzo Mourning’s career came to an end 14 years ago due to health-related issues. While it wasn’t career-ending, Mourning elected to retire rather than shorten his lifespam. Celtics fans may remember Reggie Lewis, who died suddenly in 1995 from an undiagnosed heart condition. Here we a situation where enough info is known about Bosh’s health to know NO TEAM would be willing to take the chance of allowing him to play for them. They wouldn’t want the responsability and have the support of the Players Association (the NBA Players’ Union), who will certainly advise Bosh to retire.

Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest inspires other athletes, angers those against it   Leave a comment

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Even if you’re not a football fan, you’ve likely at least heard of Colin Kaepernick.

In case you haven’t heard, NFL Player Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers has been the subject of controversy during the offseason because of his decision to not stand during the National Anthem before football games. He is refusing to do so in silent protest of the recent violence against African Americans at the hands of law enforcement. He is also protesting to bring attention to the fact all Americans are not treated equally not just by law enforcement but by their fellow Americans.

It’s controversial to those against his actions due to their poorly veiled racism. First he sat on the bench but has since modified it to taking a knee on the sidelines while the Star Spangled Banner plays. He doesn’t speak or bring attention to what he does before, during or afterward. What he is doing is TAME compared to what white student athletes did during Bush 43’s second term. At a basketball game, a white high school player turned her back on the flag during the national anthem, angering vets who were in attendance.

What Kaepernick and those who’ve chosen to follow his lead are doing is simply excercising their right to free speech just like the white athlete I just referenced. Many white athletes also started doing this in solidarity but since that isn’t “newsworthy”, Corporate Media is dancing around talking about them.

All eyes were on the Denver Broncos’ Brandon Marshall (who is also a friend of Kaepernick), who took a knee during the national anthem at the start of the NFL’s first game of the season vs. the Carolina Panthers. One pundit said it right earlier this week in response to the “outrage” over the “disrespect” of the silent protests during the national anthem. If we’re going to complain about the form, this is actually the most respectful way to do it for the venue. He could have held a sign or just refused to be on the sidelines during the anthem, both of which would have incurred fines. All of the professional sports leagues–NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL–have no rules against taking a knee during the national anthem. The NBA and the NFL have both said on the record players are protected by free speech if they choose to do this.

If we’re going to complain about the fact  that it is being done at all, the pundit gave some interesting food for thought: When you watch sports game on TV, do you stand with your hand over your heart during the national anthem? Chances are pretty good the answer is no. In such a case, why should it matter if ANYONE decides to kneel, sit or whatever when attending a live game? As long as they’re not trying to draw attention to themselves, it shouldn’t matter at all. When I attended a Red Sox home game in June, I stood for the national anthem but sat during the “Take me out ot the Ball Game” sing-a-long in the middle of the 7th inning. I just didn’t feel like standing, much to the annoyance of the family member I was at the home game with. I felt no pressure to stand either and I had no agenda or anything.

If we’re going to talk about showing Patriotism, these athletes are showing just that. Our nation’s military supposedly fought so they could have the freedom to just do that, yes? Athletes CAN’T do that in say, China or Iran for example. Those against these athletes excercising their right to free speech are the ones who don’t understand what patriotism is. Being a patriot means doing the unpopular thing when you are not happy with things as they currently are.

About 10 years ago, the idea of classes and schools reciting the pledge of alligiance was the subject of controversy. Those who objected to the traditional practice did so on political and religious grounds, which I agree with. I feel like if you recite the pledge of alligiance or the national anthem with the flag out of “tradition”, you’re just going through the motions. It only means something to you if it means something to you if that makes sense and THAT is the point of doing it. If it doesn’t mean the same to the guy next to you or the vet two rows behind you as it does for you, it’s none of your business.

Those worried about the National Anthem being phased out of nationally televised games can relax: As long as the Pentagon’s deal with all the sports leagues remains, that will always happen. In short, the U.S. Military gets free advertising at sporting events in exchange for being present during the pre-game ceremony. These demonstrations will do NOTHING to change that.

 

Rodman Apologizes to Bae’s Family, Trip viewed as Propeganda Opportunity For North Korea by players   Leave a comment

Perhaps unsurprisingly to critics of the unsanctioned trip to North Korea, Dennis Rodman issued a written apology to the family of Kenneth Bae for his comments during the now damning  interview he did on CNN last week. The apology had to happen since the media deliberately misonstrued his words to make it look like he said he doesn’t give a damn about the fact Mr. Bae is being held prisoner by the North Korean government. As for why he said what he said, Rodman said it was from stress (understandable) and that he was drunk when he did the interview.

As for the trip itself, former NBA star and humanitarian Charles Smith, who joined Rodman along with 5 other players defended the trip during the interview. It wasn’t until after they played against the North Korean national team that he and the other players realized they were being used for propeganda by the North Korean government. The vets lost the game but when you consider it hasn’t been that long since most of them played in the NBA (it’s been almost 19 years for Rodman) it quickly became clear the game was fixed to ensure they would lose. They parted ways with Rodman upon landing in Beijing where they presumably took a connecting flight back to the U.S.

Unlike most folks who take the rhetoric CNN, MSNBC and Fox News spews daily at face value, I’ve learned to look at stories like this using a far less pre-biased lens. The other article I wrote last week is one such example. Unlike most who refused to give Dennis Rodman the benefit of the doubt, I waited until all the facts were revealed before commenting on the trip and its intent.

For starters, what Rodman intended and what ended up happening were two different things. As everyone knows he is a personal friend of Kim Jong Un. This is a clearly established fact. As Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said in an interview on CNN (Speaking of which, I noticed he was being very careful with how he said what he said) yesterday, if you’re going to go to North Korea you need to have a clearly defined objective going in. Judging from the interviews with the players who went to the most secretive country on the planet when they landed in Beijing, it ended up being nothing more than a dog and pony show.

As possibly the only American who can openly say they are a close friend of The Supreme Leader of North Korea, his value to the rest of the west should not be overlooked just because he’s not a politician or a diplomat. I would not be opposed to him making return trips to North Korea either. I think it’s becoming more and more apparent there is a growing curiousity of the outside world by North Koreans. When Rodman said the door will one day open it was obvious he was being sincere. I also said in my previous blog the U.S. is in open talks with Iran. If the U.S. can open communications with Iran for the first time in over 35 years, why not North Korea?

The question deserves serious consideration. With a diplomat like John Kerry, anything’s possible.

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