Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Curse of the #1 Pick

Sometimes you end up with Peyton Manning, sometimes you end up with Jamarcus Russell. Sometimes you end up with John Elway, sometimes you end up with Ki-Jana Carter. Choosing the best player with the #1 pick in the draft is an in exact science. I feel somewhat sorry for the St. Louis Rams this year. They will probably end up taking Sam Bradford with the #1 pick because they need to fill seats and want to believe he is a franchise saving quarterback. The truth of the matter is the St. Louis Rams are a very bad team with a poor offensive line. They need more help than Sam Bradford can provide. Everybody wishes for a franchise quarterback, but the Rams should take the sure thing and pick Ndamukong Suh. They will regret it if they don't.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hip-Hop Game Changer: Big Daddy Kane

A taste of chocolate, the smooth operator, the prince of darkness. The Big Daddy Kane changed the landscape of hip-hop with his smooth lyrics and sophisticated style. At a time when most MC's were sporting hoodies, ball caps, shell toed Adidas, cut off khaki's, and house shoes BDK gave us 3 pice suits and Now N' Later Gators. He was Brooklyn's finest before Biggie or Jay-z and had just the right blend of dance and dope vocals. The high top fade and the four finger ring define an era when hip-hop was becoming more self conscious and less confrontational. Ain't no half steppin, The Wrath of Kane, and The Symphony (parts I and II) are classics that will never be forgotten. If the Big Daddy Kane's not in your top 20 all time you need to re-think your list.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

When Keeping it Real Goes Right

A bad decision in the sports world can change the fate of a franchise. A gutsy call can change the fate as well. These decisions are most commonly made because of genius, instinct, or dumb luck but whatever the reason the impact is never forgotten. I bring you the 5 gutsiest calls of the last 30 years.

5. Kobe over Shaq. It seemed like a no brainer to take the more mature, dominant player over the young, arrogant prima donna. Instead Jerry Buss stood by his Michael Jordan clone and the Lakers are better for it.

4. Firing Tom Landry for Jimmy Johnson. Jerry Jones makes both sides of the list. Having the audacity to fire a living legend in the state of Texas and replace him with a brash, cocky college coach was the gamble of a lifetime and paid huge dividends.

3. The drafting of Larry Bird. Pure genius on Red's part to take Larry bird before his senior season. What a visionary to see the skills so far in advance.

2. Dwight Howard over Emeka Okafor. Who would turn down the college player of the year and national champion for a high schooler? The Orlando Magic that's who. If they listened to the so called experts they'd be stuck with an injury prone has been.

1. Letting Bill Parcells go. If you're gonna ask me to cook the least you could do is let me buy the groceries. Instead of turning over the franchise to Bill Parcells Mr. Kraft stuck to his principles and eventually ended up with Bellichick. It took big kahunas to stand up to the Big Tuna.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong

A bad decision in the sports world can change the fate of a franchise forever. These decisions are most commonly made because of ego, money, or stupidity but wahtever the reason the impact is never forgotten. I bring you the 5 biggest blunders of the last 30 years.

5. The firing of Jimmy Johnson. Jerry Jones let his ego get in the way of winning championships when he removed the most integral part of the Cowboy's success in the middle of the success story. They've never been the same and Jerry is to blame. Ego + stubbornness = disaster most of the time.

4. The firing of Phil Jackson. Players don't win championships, organizations win championships. That was the attitude of the Chicago Bull's front office in the 90's. Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest player in basketball history, said he wouldn't play for Chicago unless Phil Jackson was the coach. When management called his bluff the dynasty was over. I guess they got tired of winning.

3. The Detroit Pistons 2003 draft. With the 2nd pick in the draft the Pistons select Darko Milicic. Joe Dumars owes the city of Detroit a written apology for passing on 3 hall of famers to draft someone that doesn't even average 6 points a game.

2. The Blazers times 2. As if it wasn't bad enough the city of Portland is a curse for big men, they have passed on the future of the NBA twice. Conventional wisdom says take the big man, but common sense says take Michael Jordan or Kevin Durant if they're available.

1. Trading John Smoltz for Doyle Alexander. In 1987 Doyle Alexander went 9-0 down the stretch and the Tigers beat the Blue Jays 7 straight times to win the division. That sounds great, but wouldn't you rather have a hall of fame pitcher for 22 years?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Time Has Come For Attica Inmates in the UFC

The UFC claims to have the best fighters in the world, but do they really? A part of me can't help but wonder if the toughest fights don't occur behind bars in prisons across the United States. Let us not forget the movie Undisputed was made after Mike Tyson got his ass whipped in an Indiana penitentiary by some random inmate. The fact of the matter is some prisoners are so dangerous prison guards won't even approach them with night sticks and mace. You gotta think someone that has to be caged up for the safety of mankind is more than capable of beating down the likes of Brock Lesner, Anderson Silva, and Chuck Liddell. Next season the Ultimate Fighter should have team Attica vs. Team San Quentin to determine who will be the next UFC star. The losers go back to their cells and the winner gets exploited for a few years. Viewership goes up, sponsorship goes up, and revenues go up. Dana White might actually entertain this idea if he wasn't afraid his fighters would get exposed like Kimbo Slice did. Ask yourself, would you rather fight the toughest guy in the UFC or the toughest guy in Sing Sing?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cornell over Kentucky

Any other year you'd dismiss this statement as ludicrous, but this year's tournament has shown us the blueprint for years to come. Down is up, seedings mean very little, and programs can't build around one and done superstars. NC, UCLA, CONN, and Arizona didn't even MAKE the big dance after losing all their talent to the NBA. There are no more Goliaths and power conference teams don't scare anybody anymore. In a one and done elimination tournament anything can happen. Remember what I said before about 3's and free throws? Cornell is about to show you how prophetic I really am. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ichiro and Chone

Ichiro and Chone Figgins are going to wreak havoc on the base paths for the Mariners this season. It is a rarity to have 2 dominant lead off men at the top of your order. This dynamic duo is going to put a lot of pressure on opposing pitchers and catchers. The Mariners will still be in the playoff hunt as they approach the trade deadline and the goal will be to acquire a home run hitting RBI machine. Ichiro and Chone cna't drive themselves in. It's too bad the previous regime traded Adam Jones for a lifeless pitcher. Adam Jones sounds real good in the middle of the line up right about now. No use crying over spilled milk though. Someone will be looking to cut payroll in late July and I trust Captain Jack will do the right thing. If the Mariners pick up a big bat a wild card spot looks very promising.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Will Dale Jr. Ever Win Another Race?

NASCAR is in trouble. The sport's biggest star, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is mired in a horrendous slump. After a close finish at Daytona Dale has yet to show that championship form. The public loves winners. They will forget all about you if you don't perform. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has become irrelevant in the sports world the same way the New York Knicks have become irrelevant. It's important for a sport's most marketable asset to have success. It's the catalyst that keeps the sport going. Until Dale gets back to his winning ways NASCAR will suffer.

Friday, March 19, 2010

3's and Free Throws

It's important to understand the best team doesn't always win in the tournament. In one game on a neutral site anything can happen. Too many times we've seen powerhouse teams undermined by cold shooting and a bad free throw percentage. The great equalizer is the 3 point arc and the charity stripe. If you can get it done there, you can hold your own against anyone. This formula is what makes the Mid Majors so dangerous. You don't have to be the biggest, the quickest, or the most athletic if you can handle your business behind the lines.

Jay Wright is a Sportsbook Bettors Nightmare

Jay Wright is a sportsbook bettors nightmare. What kind of coach gets into his own player's head the day before the tournament starts? The result of the coaches "toughlove" was a 2 for 15 shooting night from Villanova star Scottie Reynolds. I'm sure every casino in Vegas will send Jay a thank you card with a little manilla folder attached to it. This is not the way to prove a point. You don't bench your senior leader and ruin his confidence at a time when you need him the most. Jay's little stunt almost cost his team an opportunity to win the NCAA tournament. If you have senior leadership and tournament experience don't let your ego get in the way. You'll end up micro managing yourself all the way back home watching the games on TV like everybody else. I hope you've learned your lesson Jay!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The 5 Greatest Diss Songs of the Last 25 Years

Diss records do more harm than good. They hurt feelings, ruin careers, and start feuds that sometimes last for years. That being said, you can't help but love these songs for their sheer entertainment value. Instigating on wax never goes out of style. Here are the top 5 of the last 20 years:

Honorable Mention: The Warning - Eminem. Mariah, it ever occur to you that I still have pictures? Something tells me Marshall Mathers doesn't make veiled threats. If this was a warning I shudder to think what a full on onslaught would sound like. Listening to this song is like watching Roy Jones Jr. transform into the "RJ" against Montell Griffin. To see the best at their best is a rare privelige.

5. Dollaz and Sense - DJ Quik. E-I-H-T, now shall I continue? Yeah you left out the G cause the G aint in you. Whatever career Eight had left before this song came to an abrupt end. I'm not sure what provoked Quik into this tirade, but for 4 minutes he gave Eiht a verbal ass whipping.

4. I see the bitch in yoo - Common. I'm filling out your death certificate slanging bean pies and St. Ides in the same sentence. I'm gonna call self defense on this one. Cube and Mack 10 couldn't have possibly anticipated a retaliation of this magnitude when they provoked him. It was clear after this song Wes' Side Connection had bitten off a little more than they could chew.

3. Come Clean - Jeru tha Damaja. Bought a tool and didn't learn how to use it. Got lost in Brooklyn so you had to lose it. Just for frontin you got that ass waxed. Taking on a whole sub category of hip-hop was unprecedented at the time. Calling out the entire gangsta rap community was risky at best. Kudos to DJ Premier for giving him that water dripping, head nodding beat.

2. 300 Bars - The Game. You ain't 50 Cent, he went out like a gangsta. You went out with Vivica 3 months after Wangsta. From a content standpoint this is the number one diss song of the last 20 years. The Game clearly had an out of body experience on this one. No one has ever maintained that level of lyrical wizardry for that long. How can you even think of something to say about someone for 15 minutes straight?

1. No Vaseline - Icecube. God damn I'm glad ya'll set it off. Used to be hard, now you're just wet and soft. Already in his prime and sitting atop the hip-hop world, Icecube took out his frustration individually and collectively on NWA. Not only did the song validate Cube's departure from the world's most dangerous group, it was a prophetic look into the future. Dr. Dre would leave months later to start Death Row and the rest is history.

Tiger Woods can't win at the Masters

Tiger Woods can't win at the Masters. That's not to say he can't win the Masters, just that he can't win AT the Masters. On the one hand he is giving golf exactly what it needs, a Tiger boost. Advertisers, tour officials, and the media are salivating over the return of Eldrick. On the other hand it would be a slap in the face if he actually won the tournament. It's one thing to face public ridicule over past indiscretions but it's quite another to fly into Augusta, pick up a coat, and fly out. Doesn't he need practice? Doesn't he need time to get his game back in form? Is he really so much better than everyone that he can take 144 days off and still win a major? The thought of that is more than the public can bear. He's already broken their hearts by failing to live up to their expectations. It would be cruel to break their hearts by exceeding their expectations. They want him to do good, but not too good. If he has too much success too early there's really no penalty for tarnishing the golden boy image. The witch hunters would be furious and the players would be demoralized. The Tiger tour gets back into full swing April 8. No winning please.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Joe Johnson is a 2nd Fiddle

The verdict is in, Joe Johnson is not a franchise player. He doesn't have the personality or consistency to be considered an NBA elite. He certainly talked the talk when he left his cushy job in Phoenix to be the man in ATL. Everyone thought he was a player to build around. You can build around Joe so long as he is not the main piece of the puzzle. He can do without the pressure of bringing it every night. Just because you have the talent doesn't mean you want the responsibility of being a superstar. Unless you're a point guard a franchise player has to believe the team revolves around them. A franchise player has to believe they are the best player on the court. Joe Johnson is a superstar in the making, but he is reluctant to turn the corner. Atlanta would be wise to let him go in free agency so he can return to his natural role as a 2nd fiddle. If they keep him without getting an alpha dog they will regret it later.

Pacquiao the Pretender

Manny Pacquiao's win was unimpressive Saturday night. Beating up on inferior opponents is no way to prove you're the best pound for pound fighter on the planet. It's obvious Pacquiao is afraid to put his legacy on the line against the greatest fighter of this era Floyd Mayweather Jr. As the unofficial spokesman for Floyd I find it embarrassing that a simple blood test is standing in the way of history. Drawing blood takes what, 3 minutes? Would any of us let 3 minutes stand in the way of $40,000,000? Is that even a legitimate question? Fear is the only thing stopping us from watching these 2 champions square off in the ring. The fear that Pacquiao will be overwhelmed by the superior skills of Mayweather. Make no mistake about it these 2 opponents are not equals. Floyd is the bigger, stronger, faster fighter. Floyd's resume is more impressive. Floyd was more dominant in his signature fights. Floyd has no losses. Floyd has no flaws. There is no place for girlie men in the sport of boxing. If you say you're the best then fight the best. The fans want to see the peoples champ vs. the trash talking villain. Rocky Balboa vs. Clubber Lang. It will be hard to see the hero exposed and vulnerable, but that's the nature of the sport. True champions embrace the challenge and answer all questions in the ring. They duck no one. If this was a nice guy contest Pacquiao would win hands down. He's a humanitarian, a politician, and a gentleman. This is boxing however and Floyd's the better fighter. 2 signatures is all we need to prove this point. To all my Pinoy partners, my Filipino homies, and Pacquiao fans worldwide please find Manny some courage juice so we can resolve this thing once and for all. The anticipation is killing me.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Kick in the door waving the 206

The Pac 10 is down. Randle is the Pac 10 player of the year. No matter. With their backs against the wall in a must win game the Huskies showed their moxxy and earned their bid to the big dance. Halle Berry is waiting for you and she doesn't have a date. Impressive win Huskies!

The 5 greatest rivalries in sports today

5. UConn/Tennessee. A constant battle for women's college basketball supremacy. One or the other will win the championship every year.

4. Yankees/RedSox. Bad, dirty, nasty blood between these 2. You love it when teams genuinely dislike each other. Boston even thinks they are New York's equal. If you're scoring at home Yankees 27 RedSox 2.

3. Florida/Alabama. National championship implications (barring NCAA sanctions) everytime they take the field.

2. Lebron/Kobe. Lebron "King" James vs. Kobe "4 fingers" Bryant. This rivalry will go to the next level if Lebron ever wins a championship.

1. Ovechkin/Crosby. The 2 best players in hockey in their primes. They are firmly in each other's way. Sid's gold medal on home soil will motivate Alexander to do the same in 2014.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

5 reasons Seattle doesn't deserve a basketball team

1. Nobody misses KD. From what I've seen Seattle is completely indifferent about what Kevin Durant has accomplished this season. 30 points a game? 29 straight games with 25 points? The #6 seed in the west? Anybody care? Anybody mad they don't get to witness this?

2. Emerald green is too easily replaced with lime green. How can a team that's been in existence less than 3 years have more popularity than the only team to ever bring the city a championship? The MLS is not the NBA.

3. James Taylor, Billy Joel, and HHH. The city seems perfectly content to be entertained by singers in their 60's and roid raged wrestlers as opposed to Lebron, Kobe, D-Wade, and oh did I mention Kevin Durant?

4. 503=206. Seattleites have decided Portland is close enough to root for the Trailblazers and they are no longer Seattle's arch nemesis. Plus Uncle Paul owns them.

5. The wheels aren't in motion. Nobody's building a new arena, nobody's rennovating an old one, and nobody's looking for money to do either. Seattle doesn't miss basketball enough to come up with a plan on how to get it back.

Sade is the Queen and the Soldier

I was the one
I who could
Pull in all the stars above
Lay them on your feet
And I gave you my love
You are the one that got me started
You could have let me
Love anyone but I only wanted you
So why did you make me cry?
Why didn't you come get me one last time?
Sade -The Moon and the Sky
I was recently asked the question why do black men love Sade so much? As I pondered the question I had to reflect on the evolution of Sade. Our first glimpse was that of a sultry night club performer singing her heart out in some dark, smoky cabaret. At that point we began to see the conflict that would define her, the ongoing saga of love and pain. There was an apprehension to falling in love, a fear that her love would not be reciprocated. It would take her some time to find the strength and courage to take that risk.
She ultimately found and embraced the love she so desperately desired and that love transformed her into an angel, a princess, a goddess, and a songstress. The love gave her the power to move heaven and earth and the will to endure many trials and tribulations. The love also made her vulnerable exposing a heart completely unguarded. The journey has provided a backdrop for some of the greatest songs of a generation, but the love story isn't the reason black men love Sade so much.
It's the storyteller more than the story. Sade is no different that Biggie, Jay-Z, or Nas in her ability to paint a picture in our minds. Her words make us believe she is capable of the magical feats and feelings of despair depicted in her songs. It's the character more than the person. Sade has the look and aura of an African queen, a Cleopatraesque persona for modern times. If Helen of Troy had the face that could launch 1,000 ships Sade has the eloquent and regal beauty that could launch 3,000 down the Nile. It's the messenger more than the message. Her soothing voice is a perfect compliment to her subtle, soft features and unassuming mannerisms.
After 25 years of deep thought, provocative conversation, and debate the answer can be summed up in one sentence. Black men love Sade because her look goes with her sound, the songs seem real, and she's hella dope. Simple.

The new Tim Duncan?

I heard Kevin Durant tell Magic Johnson the other day that Oklahoma City is the perfect place for him and that he wouldn't want to play anywhere else. As if it wasn't bad enough rich oil men came to Seattle and stole the 3rd best player in the NBA at the ripe old age of 21, it appears we may have to watch the next Tim Duncan. We may have to watch a superstar excel in complete anonymity because of the city he plays in. No one cares about OKC outside of OKC which is why Kevin Durant is "quietly" averaging 30 points per game. I hope for his sake and for the sake of basketball fans everywhere he takes a good hard look at the Tim Duncan blueprint. Tim Duncan is a great player in San Antonio, but he would be a basketball god in New York, Chicago, LA, or Boston. We don't speak of him as highly as we should because his fanbase is so small. Kevin Durant will not reach his full potential personally, professionally, or financially if he stays in OKC. Jay-Z doesn't perform in nightclubs, Manny Pacquiao doesn't have his fights at the boys club, and American Idol doesn't come on the public access channel. Kevin Durant deserves a bigger stage than the middle of nowhere. Let's hope somebody talks some sense into him before it's too late.

Why Oregon is now a college football powerhouse

Congrats to Oregon on becoming a major college football program. You ended USC's reign atop the PAC 10 and participated in your first Rose Bowl in 15 years. Now you are experiencing the by-product of your success. You are experiencing the BADD as in burglaries, assaults, DUI's, and domestic violence. Every major program goes through this so don't feel bad. It is a rite of passage, a sign that you are getting top recruits and not scholarship athletes. Good guys finish last, just ask Ty Willingham. Bad guys finish first, look at Florida. They didn't start winning big until Miami decided to "clean up" their program. Sure, they have 2 national championships in the last 5 years but they had to take the BADD with the good. Florida has over 30 off the field incidents since 2008 that we know of. As you make the transition to powerhouse remember 3 things:

1. Get chummy with DA's and judges so you can prolong trial dates as long as possible to avoid suspension during the season.

2. Educate your fanbase. They need to know these problems won't go away as long as you are winning.

3. Befriend your alumni. There will be times when they have to call in HUGE favors to keep players eligible and out of trouble.

Win with the thugs or lose with the choir boys. Your choice.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

#23 is really #5

Lebron James recently submitted paperwork to change his uniform number from 23 to 6. It is his belief that the league should officially retire the number 23 to honor the the greatest player of all time. Lebron's gesture is genuine, but misguided. Michael is not the greatest player of all time. If you could start a franchise with anyone that ever played the game the list would go as follows:

1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar The sky hook is the most unstoppable shot the league has ever known.
2. Earvin "Magic" Johnson You'll wake me the next time we see a 6'9 true point guard.
3. Bill Russell The greatest winner in professional team sports.
4. Wilt Chamberlin The most dominant player in league history.
5. Michael Jordan The most competitive player with a will to win unsurpassed by any other.