Friday, April 30, 2010

UK Basketball Is Dangerous

I find it strange that no one seems alarmed the University of Kentucky had 5 players declare for the NBA draft this year. The UK program is in the process of taking the student out of the student athlete equation. John Calipari sees no reason to sugar coat the truth. If you're coming to Kentucky you're coming to play basketball and for no other reason. Not academics, not quality of life, and not the college experience. His recruiting pitch goes something like this, "If you can keep your eligibility for 1 semester I'll send you to the pros. Nobody's gonna ask you to stay or try to make you feel guilty for leaving. We all know the deal, 1 and done. That's what I can do for you. Here's the number for the guy that will take the exams for you. Be careful, if you get caught I don't know anything about it." We all know Kentucky will be on probation by the end of next season but is Calipari's approach really that off base? Is he the realist while we're the hypocrites? I agree he's doing what the players want and if the end result is an NBA career then everybody wins. The problem is most players won't play professional basketball very long (if at all) and will have no other skills to offer the world. The UK model leaves kids hollow, one dimensional, and under developed. Not everyone is going to be the next John Wall. Doesn't he owe those kids an apology?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Playoffs Will Expose You

The regular season is a time for players to audition for the playoffs. We see their skills and abilities and predict how they will perform when the bright lights come on. It appears this playoff season there are a few stars who are NOT what we thought they were. Here are the 5 biggest surprises and disappointments so far:

5. Tim Duncan. The reports of Timmy D's demise were greatly exaggerated. Tim is producing in the playoffs as if he's got fresh legs from 1999. The 4 time champ is stepping up big time.

4. Dirk Nowitzki. I said a few weeks ago it was now or never for Dirk to win a chip. Looks like he will join the list with Barkley, Malone, Stockton, and Ewing.

3. Carmelo Anthony. Coming off a masterful performance in the Olympics and playing a Jazz team without Andrei Kirilinko and Mehmet Okur was supposed to be a lock and now the Nuggets won't make it out of the first round. Carmelo loses his franchise player tag and I will no longer name my first born son after him.

2. Joe Johnson. Remember what I said about Joe on this blog a few weeks ago? He is NOT a superstar. Superstars don't foul out and lose to a team without their starting center and shooting guard at home. Free agency will not be as lucrative as he thought.

1. Alexander Ovechkin. The biggest disappointment by far. the NHL's best player couldn't get out of the first round and his legacy will certainly suffer. There is no excuse for not advancing in the post season and when Sid the Kid wins his 2nd consecutive Stanley Cup Alex will be out of the conversation for best player entirely. Is Lebron next?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I Wish I Could've Been There

If you watch sports from a historical context you can't help but wonder what it would have been like to attend certain events. The atmosphere, the performance, and the outcome all blending together to create a macical moment, a once in a lifetime moment. Watching these events on television gives you the impression that "being there" must have been life altering. It's an experience no one can take away. Those spectators will always be a part of history and the event they witnessed can never be topped in their minds. Here are the 5 sporting events I wish I could've seen live:

5. USC vs. Texas 2006 Rose Bowl. The Trojans were going for back to back national championships with Sports Illustrated's sportsmen of the year Matt Leinhart and Reggie Bush. The 2 Heisman Trophy winners seemed unstoppable and destined for immortality. Vince Young had the ball last however and put a blemish on USC's dreams of perfection. Pete Carroll's 4th and 1 call will forever be a mystery.

4. Portland vs. Lakers game 7 2000. The game that started the Shaq/Kobe Lake show dynasty There was no way they should have won. The greatest 4th quarter comeback in NBA history.

3. Magic vs. Bird 1979 NCAA Championship. The beginning of a rivalry that would define an era. The 2 best college players going at it giving us a glimpse of what the future would hold.

2. USA vs. Russia gold medal game 1980. Do you believe in miracles? The USA did the unthinkable in Lake Placid in front of the world. One of the biggest shockers in Olympic competition.

1. Ali vs. Frazier. The Frank Lucas seats please. The atmosphere was electric, the anticipation unbearable. The peoples champ vs. the establishment. The greatest fight in history.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hip-Hop Game Changer: Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

At a time when the rap game consisted of killers, gangsters, and drug dealers Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince gave us a rap alternative. For the first time clean cut kids from the suburbs got a chance to tell their story. It wasn't about poverty and crime but rather sneaking out in your parents car or enjoying a hot summer day. Will Smith parlayed his grammy winning music career into a 10 year television stint followed by a successful movie career. This segue opened the door for such rappers as LL Cool J, Icecube, and Queen Latifah. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince pushed the limits of conventional hip-hop and showed us there was a niche for everyone. This dynamic duo was instrumental in giving hip-hop a more universal mainstream audience. They found a way to be true to themselves and true to the art at the same time. The transition from hip-hop artist to actor is seamless and natural thanks to the accomplishments of Will Smith.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pete Carroll: The Next Jimmy Johnson?

I was watching the NFL Network yesterday and they showcased the top collegiate NFL factories. #2 was the Miami Hurricanes and #1 was USC. I couldn't help but notice the parallels between Jimmy Johnson's leap to the pros and that of Pete Carroll. Jimmy stocked the Dallas roster with blue chip Hurricanes and turned the Cowboys into a power house within 5 years. I see Pete doing the same thing. He's already added Lendale White and Mike Williams and promised to get more out of Daryl Jackson. This formula can work. No one knows collegiate personnel better than Carroll right now and his perspective on talent will give the Seahawks and advantage in free agency. Watch out, the Seattle Trojans will be a force to be reckoned with in 3 years time.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

If I Were A Pro Athlete Who Would I Be?

Certain positions in the world of sports fit my personality. I would excel at these positions given my mental make up and background. If I were a pro athlete here's who I'd be:

5. NBA 12th man. Great seats, summers off, and all the perks of being an NBA player without the wear and tear on my body.

4. NFL Back up QB. The real unsung leaders of a football team. A guy who knows all the plays and how to execute them. Has to be ready at a moments notice to step in and produce.

3. Professional golfer. Thursday through Sunday shift playing in the sunshine. I could potentially earn $50,000 a weekend.

2. MLB Closer. The terminator, the executioner, the undertaker, whatever you wanna call me is fine. When I enter the game it's the start of your ending. When I leave the game it's a quick interview, sign a couple autographs, and off to the limo.

1. Hockey goalie. The last line of defense. My cat quick reflexes and superior hand eye coordination would make me a hall of famer. Patrick Roy would be just another guy if I played.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Draft Day Observations

First off, I'm not a big fan of the new format. I don't see the benefit in dragging the draft out for 3 days. One 8 hour session is fine with me. The NBA can get away with a prime time draft because there's only 2 rounds and 5 minutes between picks. The NFL is an eternity. If it ain't broke don't fix it I always say. Here's the 5 most intriguing selections:

1. Seattle. The Hawks got 2 starters in offensive tackle Russell Okung and safety Earl Thomas. They avoided temptation when the Chiefs took Eric Berry with the 5th pick. All in all I can't see how they could have done any better.

2. Denver. Tim Tebow with the 25Th? There is no middle ground here. This was a feast or famine pick. The Broncos will begin experiencing hunger pains very soon. Tim Tebow is a great guy and a feel good story, but he is not a starting NFL quarterback.

3. Dallas. Way to go Jerry. After picking Dez Bryant you now have 3 prima donna receivers who all think they're the #1 go to guy. As The World Turns doesn't have this much drama.

Oakland. The surprise of the draft. Rolando McClain is a conservative solid pick which should pay dividends for years to come. Is Big Al feeling ok?

5. Detroit. They added Ndamukong Suh and Jahvid Best. Best first round of any team. Something tells me they won't be getting pushed around anymore. 8-8 next season. Playoffs?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

10 Questions For Benny The Buffoon

I can call Ben Roethlisberger a buffoon because I know there's nothing he can do about it. Sure he's 6'5 250 pounds and all, but the league's personal conduct policy prohibits him from retaliation. I feel perfectly safe. Thanks Rog. And now for the 10 questions I want to ask BRoth

1. When you put on your big shiny rings don't women willingly leave with you?
2. Is any woman worth $102,000,000?
3. Ever seen the show Entourage?
4. Do any of your friends have game?
5. Did you know women don't really like the raping kinda guys?
6. Did you know the Bunny Ranch delivers?
7. Does your fan base consist of only 45 year old men?
8. Have you been to Vegas before?
9. Do the Steelers cheerleaders not return your calls in the off season?
10. Does the word no have an alternate meaning in your language?

This would clear things up immensely wouldn't you agree?

There Is No Racism In The NFL

I may not like Roger Goodell, but I respect the hell out of him. I'm impressed the commish hasn't applied a double standard for quarterbacks and players not of color. If you mess up you get the book thrown at you no matter who you are. No one player is going to derail the money train that is the NFL. Enter Ben Roethlisberger. This 2 time Super Bowl champion armed with a $102,000,000 contract had the nerve to rape a girl while still under investigation for raping a different girl. Was he crazy? No, just confident the rules of entitlement for rich white quarterbacks applied to him and therefore he was untouchable. I would have agreed until yesterday. Instead Roger Goodell handed down a swift and ruthless punishment that has caused the downfall of one of the proudest franchises in professional sports. The Steelers will recover from a public relations standpoint, but they won't make the playoffs this year and possibly may trade their franchise quarterback to make a point. That's quite a price to pay for someones bad judgement. Notice has been served. Roger Goodell would suspend his mama if she acted up. Unless your name is Peyton or Eli you better watch yourself.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Answer Is In Our Hearts

I remember watching Allen Iverson at Georgetown and wondering why the hell John Thompson let him do whatever he wanted on the basketball court. He took horrible shots, he turned the ball over, and he played very undisciplined. After watch ESPN's 30 for 30 series The Trial of Alen Iverson it all made sense. As a young man Allen Iverson was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his alleged role in a fight at a bowling alley. Had it not been for the support of his community and divine intervention (a pardon from a sympathetic governor on his way out of office) there would be no basketball career to speak of. What John Thompson did was give him the freedom to find himself again. The 15 months her served behind bars stifled his growth and destroyed his confidence. He got that back at Georgetown and became the #1 pick in the NBA draft. After all he's been through it's easy to see why he doesn't trust people and why he's always true to himself. Nothing was given to him and everything was taken away in the blink of an eye. He lives everyday like it's his last and plays every game like it's his last. Over the year Allen Iverson has been labeled a problem child, a selfish player, and a coaches nightmare yet he's been voted to 11 allstar teams and one as recent as this season when he played virtually no games. Why do we love this little guy so much? Here's the 3 reasons we root for Allen Iverson:

1. Individual performances. Allen Iverson will take on ANYBODY! ABSOLUTELY ANYBODY! His heart is 2 times bigger than everyone else. We saw this in the 2001 NBA finals where he went for 47 and beat the unbeatable Lakers. And of course who could forget when he crossed over King Jordan then dropped the J on him. That was a career defining moment. It was almost as if he was saying, " Sorry Mike, even you can't hold me."

2. We see the potential. The reason his community fought so hard on his behalf is they knew what he could become. At his best Allen Iverson is the MVP of the league telling kids to stay out of trouble and winning scoring titles. At his worst he won't go to practice and doesn't talk to his coach. We cross our fingers hoping for The Answer and not the problem.

3. Memories last long. When you watch a player you admire you never want their career to end. With Allen you remember all the crossovers, all the battles, and all the excitement that comes with rooting for the underdog. He's simply done things he shouldn't have been able to do.

Allen Iverson is the uninvited guest that becomes the life of the party. Too bad it's 5:30 in the morning and probably time for Allen to go home. It was a great bash though.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Tribute To Gangstarr

I self Lord and Master shall bring disaster to evil factors, demonic chapters shall be captured by kings. Through the storms of days after, unto the earth from the sun through triple darkness to blast ya. If those lyrics are filed inside your mental rolodex to be retrieved and recited on a rainy day then your musical roots are embedded in the golden age of hip-hop. If the words are somewhat familiar or completely foreign don't feel bad. It is by design you don't know these lyrics by heart. These verses were formulated by a super group seldom heard on the radio. A group with dozens of classics, but no Grammys or BET awards. A group without a lot of critical acclaim, but a permanent place in the history of rap music and in the streets of Urban America. It is not often said to them or about them so I will say it for them. Gangstarr is one of the most influential and respected groups in rap music. They are a talent that isn't marketed to the masses. They may not sell out 25,000 seat arenas but anyone that comes to see them appreciates the fact they are listening to greatness. Their sound is on a higher plane intellectually and spiritually. Guru and Primo go together like peanut butter and jelly, fish and chips, rum and coke, Jordan and Pippen, or milk and cookies. They always seem better in collaboration. Premier, the catalyst of the group has made classic anthems with other artists. I once even argued that Jay-Z sounded better over a Premier beat than Guru. Although I liked the argument (the Jay-Z songs were more popular and Jay-Z is slightly superior lyrically) I didn't truly believe it. Guru, the anointed "king of monotone" has had success in the jazzmatazz genre. His voice blends nicely over the drums, base, and horns and gives him a broader audience to display his skills. He's a refreshing contrast in his jazzy mode, but he's a legend over Primo's melodic, street gutter gully beats. In short, these two are better together than they are apart. The underground is where Gangstarr feels most comfortable refusing to water down or taper their style for the general public. Their sound is an acquired taste for the trained ear. Consider Gangstarr the equivalent of graduate school listening. You can't get your masters without knowing what this group represents in the grand scheme of hip-hop. Guru breaks you down with his articulate, egalitarian demeanor. Instead of calling you a hater or a wankster or a punk he'd rather call you a "puny protozoa". Instead of telling you you're not in his league, he'll "scoop you up out of the muck you wallow in". When he's not in attack mode he's educating. He tells the youth to give up the savage ways and be effective soldiers. He tells them to imagine if each one was teaching one. He tells them to read, study lessons, and build your inner power. Primo has achieved SBM status (Superior Beat Maker) for his years of dedicated service. With classics like Come Clean, Mass Appeal, Check the Technique, A Million, Nas is Like, So Ghetto, Who's Gonna Take the Weight, Superstar, and DWYCK DJ Premier has supplanted himself at the top of hip-hop's Mt. Olympus and is truly an icon for the ages. There's always a moment of truth when the ownerz step in the arena for their daily operation and the respect the manifest is hard to earn.

R.I.P. Guru

Hip-hop innovator and pioneer of the jazzmatazz sound Keith "Guru" Elam passed away April 19th at the age of 43. As a fan of Gangstarr since their beginning I was surprised to find the details of his life are much more revealing in his death. For starters, I had no idea that Guru and Primo were not as close as their music would indicate. I always saw them as the equivalent of Snoop and Dre or Eric B and Rakim. They just seemed to go together. It's unfortunate that the lines between friendship and business often become blurred and tangled. It's a difficult task to maintain them both. I also had no idea that Guru was gay. I can imagine an environment as homophobic as the rap game must have been extremely difficult to endure. Some people will feel differently about him knowing he was gay, but I'm keeping my Gangstarr collection intact. It doesn't take away from the group's accomplishments in my mind. It's a sad day in the world of hip-hop but the king of monotone will live forever through his timeless classics, in our hearts and in our minds. Here's a few of my personal favorites about the group:

Favorite CD: Moment of Truth (although Step in the Arena is a close, close, close 2nd)

Favorite song: Check the Technique

Favorite song title: Soliloquy of Chaos

Favorite song lyric: You puny protozoa, you're so minute you didn't know the Gang has been watchin you but instead of just squashing you I'm scoopin you up out of the muck you wallow in like a chief chemist....

Seattle Sports 5 Most Heartbreaking Losses

Seattle has had its fair share of heartbreaking losses. It could be argued that the 206 has suffered on the same level as Cleveland, Boston, Utah, or Sacramento. The losses take a toll on the emotional psyche and are almost impossible to recover from. These are the 5 most heartbreaking losses in Seattle sports history:

5. Shadle Park over Mercer Island. I rarely take it down to the grass roots level, but this is an exception. The Islanders were so distraught over losing the state high school basketball championship that they took it to court to have the ruling overturned. They lost again.

4. UCLA over the Huskies 1990. I can still see Mark Brunell throwing that little out in the flat that got picked off after the Huskies battled back to tie the game. Had they won they would have been the #1 team in the country.

3. Rip over the Huskies in the NCAA tournament. This one is especially painful because they show it over and over again. I still think Fremerling played solid D on the play.

2. Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Nevermind the bogus calls, if Jerramy Stevens could catch the Hawks would have a Lombardi trophy right now. Damn you Jerramy!

1. Nuggets over the Sonics 94'. I don't think I will ever fully recover from this one. The Sonics had the best record in the league in the first Jordanless season. Up 2-0 the Sonics lost 3 straight games (2 in overtime) and became the first #1 seed in NBA history to lose to an 8 seed. How embarrassing is that?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hip-Hop Game Changer: Hard Knock Life

From standing on the corners boppin to driving some of the hottest cars New York has ever seen for dropping some of the hottest verses rap has ever heard... Hard Knock Life is the song that started Jay-Z on his ascent to power. It was the first time a street legend made it to the suburbs. Before the song Corporate America had been reluctant to embrace gangsters and admitted drug dealers for fear of the negative influence they would have on society. After the Annie chorus hit the airwaves the money making potential was evident and they changed their tune. They even went so far as to put the song Can I get a fu*k you on the radio by changing the words to Can I get a what what. Because the Run DMC/Aerosmith collaboration, The Beastie Boys, and Vanilla Ice made it cool for suburbans to listen to rap music it was easier for Jay-Z to tap into that demographic. J followed the blueprint to super stardom and the rest is history.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Game Time Grub

When you sit down to watch a game you want to snack on something easy, plentiful, and tasty. You don't need a full blown meal however and some variation of finger food is preferable. Game time food is not to be confused with tailgating food which is a discussion for another time. Ribs, steaks, and burgers are too filling. Game time food is simple, something you can eat and watch at the same time. Here are my 5 favorite game time foods.

5. BBQ Chips. Not too salty and no overwhelming flavor.

4. Hot Dogs. Tremendously versatile. Everybody loves hot dogs.

3. Nachos. Be sure you add plenty of cheese. There's nothing more annoying than chips with no toppings.

2. Pizza. Easy to share and they'll bring it to you.

1. Lumpia. The perfect game time food. Crunchy with a sweet sauce and well seasoned meat.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dirk Will Win The Chip This Year

If Dirk Nowitzki is truly over his meltdown in the 2006 NBA finals the Dallas Mavericks will win the championship this year. Here are the 5 reasons why:

1. Weapons. Dirk has never played on a team with this much talent before. Trading a disgruntled Josh Howard for a hungry Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood has really paid dividends. When you combine that with Terry and Kidd the Mavs have all the ingredients to bake a championship cake.

2. Timmy D is on borrowed time. Tim Duncan will never score on 10 straight possessions in a playoff game ever again. The 4 time champion is vulnerable and Big Shot Bob or The Admiral aren't walking through that door to save him.

3. Phoenix is not a playoff team. Phoenix can't play defense and has no idea what a half court offensive set looks like. The playoffs don't cater to Nash's strengths.

4. LA isn't healthy. If ever there was a time to steal one from the Lakers, it's now. Kobe's banged up, Bynum is hobbling, and they will most likely play Denver in the 2nd round. That series will will take a lot out of them.

5. No champs in the East. Boston is done. Lebron has never won a chip and we don't know how he will mesh with Shaq come winning time. Dwight Howard has no go to move in the post and after seeing his ex-girlfriend on Basketball Wives I question his ability to make good decisions in crunch time.

It's now or never for Dirk. If he doesn't win it this year he will end up on the list with Karl Malone, John Stockton, Chris Mullin, Patrick Ewing, and Charles Barkley. Good Luck.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

HTB statements

Every once in a while I'll hit you with a statement or fact that is hard to believe. Today I have two.

1. Every Western conference team in the 2010 NBA playoffs won at least 50 games during the regular season.

2. Half of the players on the 1992 Dream Team never won a championship. The other half have a combined total of 23.

Women Are Ruining Sports Part 2

As for Chili, I have to admit she was always my favorite of the TLC trio and I found it quite amusing to hear her checklist to perfection. Just to recap she needs a man who doesn't smoke, doesn't drink, doesn't eat pork, has a 6 pack washboard stomach, no more than 2 babies mamas, believes in god, and is well endowed. It's a list only a diva could come up with as a realistic expectation. Watching Chili set forth on the path to loneliness and heartbreak was all fun and games until she started messing with Floyd Mayweather Jr. At that point I realized she could potentially change the course of history. Floyd is 5 good fights away from stating his claim as the best ever. The last thing he needs is a neurotic headcase foiling the plan. I can just see Chili walking into Floyd's dressing room minutes before the Pacquiao fight dropping one of these bombs:

1. My cousin told me she saw you with Rihanna. It's over!
2. If you say you love me why don't we just get married right after the fight?
3. I slept with Usher last night. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you.

It is complete and total selfishness on Chili's part to jeopardize a man's lifelong dream. She should keep her insecurities and unrealistic standards to herself. I got 2 words for you Floyd, Robin Givens. Run away while there's still time.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Women Are Ruining Sports Part 1

Last night I watched the show Basketball Wives followed by What Chili Wants and let me tell you it was a disturbing hour of television. Basketball Wives chronicles the lives of fiance's, wives, and ex-wives of NBA players. What Chili Wants follows the former TLC star in her pursuit of the perfect man. I'm frustrated with both programs, but lets start with the wives. Here's the problem I have with these women, YOU KNEW THE DEAL WHEN YOU MARRIED THESE OVERGROWN, SUPER RICH, EGOMANIACS! You want the lifestyle, but not the baggage that comes with it. You're dealing with men who have had millions of dollars since their early 20's and groupies since they were 13. They travel 9 months out of the year and are rarely home for more than a week at a time. How can you not expect them to be unfaithful under these circumstances? You were once on the outside looking in and you know what gold digging, greedy women are capable of. They know what to do and how to do it. As you sit in your mansions barking out orders to your servants getting ready for the Ludacris pool party how can you portray yourselves as victims? You chose to be with these players knowing how they are and what they're about then pretend to be disappointed and hurt when the outcome is infidelity, deceit, and embarrassment. Isn't it your fault for believing the fairytale? You can't have everything. Exorbitant amounts of money comes with a price. And as for Chili........

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Roger Troutman 5

I watched a Bud Light commercial the other night featuring T-Pain and one question came to mind. Is Roger Troutman in the hip-hop hall of fame? Not only is his style emulated by the likes of Kanye, Diddy, and relentlessly by the aforementioned T-Pain, his songs are among the most sampled in the history of rap music. His mastery of the talk box and his influence on west coast hip-hop should not be overlooked. Here's my 5 favorite Roger Troutman samples.

5. Ditty - Paper Boy. I'll be honest, I really don't like this song, but Ditty hit #10 on the pop charts and the album went gold on the strength of using Roger in his hook. Impressive.

4. I had to gat ya - Brotha Lynch Hung. Don't feel bad if you don't know this one. It's an underground classic with an occult following. A very creative use of more bounce to the ounce.

3. How to survive in South Central - Icecube. This song anchors the Boyz in the Hood soundtrack and features Icecube in his prime. Nuff said.

2. You gots to chill - EPMD. Relax your mind, let your conscience be free and get down to the sounds of EPMD!

1. Ain't no future in yo' frontin - MC Breed & DFC. Not saying he was a one hit wonder, but this song defined his career from beginning to end. R.I.P. MC Breed.

Monday, April 12, 2010

More Money No Problems

The first week of the Major League Baseball season is over and I'm ready to make my prediction. The New York Yankees will win the World Series. You guys can have the field and I'll take the Yanks straight up. With a revamped outfield and the best infield in baseball I see no reason New York won't continue their dominance. This is a franchise that prides itself on winning at all costs. If money is no object, why would you ever play fair? If the The Yankees discover a weakness in their lineup they simply throw money at the problem. The rest of the league is essentially a farm system for the guys in pinstripes. If the Mariners struggle to keep pace with the Angels down the stretch don't be surprised to see Ichiro shipped off to the Bronx for some top prospects. Big Bank Hank is not about to let the wheels come off this train. Don't hate the players, hate the game. The Yankees can't be stopped.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Fishing Is Not A Sport

Don't get me wrong, I like Bassmasters. I marvel at the contestants ability to catch 100 pound fish and I realize there's a great deal of skill involved. I just don't want to see it on ESPN. Fishing is right up there with canine obstacle courses and the lumberjack olympics. I refer to those events as space fillers, something to pass the time until football season starts again. Fishing is something you do with your grandpa as a bonding experience or with your boys talking about past glory and hot chicks. It is not a sport. You don't even have to be in shape to fish. There is no advantage gained by running a 4.5 or bench pressing 400 pounds. If you want to label something a sport it needs to have an athletic component. With fishing all you have is nets, poles, lines, and lures. Fishermen don't use the cream or the clear. The solution is simple, move fishing to the food network and replace it with Nerf indoor basketball. The ratings would be off the hook.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Roy Jones Jr: A Legacy Tarnished

It's been sad and embarrassing to watch the last 6 fights of Roy jones Jr. 22 years ago I watched him get robbed of a gold medal in Seoul, Korea. 22 years later I watched him get robbed of his greatness after the bashing he took from Bernard Hopkins. No one will remember the middleweight crowned heavyweight champion of the world. No one will remember the boxer that played a basketball game before a fight just to make the fight more interesting. No one will remember he beat Bernard Hopkins in his prime. The superior skills Roy Jones possessed are no longer. The diminishing hand speed and the accumulation of punches have taken their toll. It happens to all champions. With the exception of Lennox Lewis, a champions last fight is a beating. The same qualities that make a champion great are the same qualities that force a champion to fight longer than they should. His record doesn't reflect it, but Roy Jones Jr. was the greatest fighter of his era. It's a shame people will forget that.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Hip-Hop Game Changer: KRS ONE Disses Nelly

It started out innocently enough, KRS ONE dissing Nelly on a song called Prophets vs. Profits. After all, KRS ONE was the unofficial spokesman and protector of all things hip-hop. Why wouldn't he call out a rapper with sup par lyrics and overzealous promotion. It was his job to govern the hip-hop universe and react to threats to its authenticity. He could not have possibly predicted the response. Instead of heeding the words of the Blastmaster a new, younger generation of fans sided with the imposter. They labeled KRS as a hater and jealous of the success Nelly was able to achieve. It was the first time we would see the evolution of hip-hop. No longer would the nicest MC come out of the projects with a ball cap and a starter jacket. The nicest MC would be the one making the most money. The movement from the street corners to Wall St. symbolized the transition into the bling era and KRS ONE was no longer the voice and conscience of hip-hop. Without a conscience, hip-hop went astray and fell into the hands of greedy, corporate marketing execs. Subsequently we ended up with the likes of the Ying Yang Twins, Mike Jones, and Gucci Mane. When the all mighty dollar is the barometer for what's good and what's bad, content and substance will suffer. With one song KRS ONE lost his influence. Hip-hop greatness is now measured in dollars and cents, not lyrics and beats. Pity.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cleavie Wonder's 5 Favorite Athletes

It's fair to say I gravitate towards the talented and the arrogant. I'm superstar oriented with a flair for the dramatic and I'm not particularly fond of the quiet role model types. I'd prefer you talk the talk if you can walk the walk. With no further adieu, here are my 5 favorite athletes of all time.

5. John McEnroe. Supremely talented and misunderstood. It's unfortunate his well documented anger management problem overshadows his accomplishments on the court. 77 singles title and 77 doubles titles separates him from the rest of the pack. His 82-3 record in 1984 is still the greatest season in tennis history. John may still be the most popular player in the sport today.

4. Eric Dickerson. Every running back in the league should donate 5% of their salary to #29. Before Dickerson it was ok for the coach to make more money than the record holder for yards in a season. If he stayed in Los Angeles he might have rushed for 20,000 yards. You'll wake me the next time someone rushes for 1,808 yards in their rookie season.

3. Dan Marino. I don't give a damn what you say, Dan Marino is the greatest quarterback of all time. 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns in a season sounds like video game numbers. I understand the absence of championship jewelry contradicts this statement but nonetheless I'm sticking with it. 2 minutes left to go down by 5 with 80 yards to go I wouldn't take Manning, Favre, Montana, or Brady. I'd take Golden Arm. We'll never see a release that quick and accurate again.

2. Barry Bonds. Barry Bonds has 7 MVP trophies and he should have 9. Terry Pendleton has 1 that doesn't belong to him and Jeff Kent has 1 for a season he hit behind Barry. He was the most feared hitter in the history of baseball, his glove was golden 10 times over, and he stole a ton of bases. Before the BALCO scandal there was no doubt he was a first ballot hall of famer. After the BALCO scandal there is no doubt he should be a first ballot hall of famer.

1. Michael Irvin. The Playmaker. The epitome of the Miami Hurricane mystique and the catalyst for the 3 time super bowl champion Dallas Cowboys. He played hard and he partied even harder. You will go your whole life and never see an athlete more intense, more driven, or more narcissistic. His passion for winning and his work ethic were unparalleled. A prima donna chiseled out of granite with a cocky swagger that makes you want to beat him to a pulp. If only you could.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Is It Wrong To Impersonate A Professional Athlete?

I have a friend that goes down to spring training every year and pretends to be a Seattle Mariner. He dresses up in Mariner's attire and tells everyone he's nursing a sore hamstring. Soon everyone is buying him drinks and hot dogs and young women in skimpy outfits are giving him their phone number. Another friend of mine waits until Seahawk training camp to pull off his shenanagins. He dresses up in Seahawks attire and claims to be a DB on injured reserve. By mid August he has at least 3 or 4 women texting him all day and he eats at various teriyaki spots for free. I've even had the privilege of wearing a friend's super bowl ring and let me tell you the indecent proposals roll in like a tidal wave. If my friends and I get this much attention as imposters, imagine what real players go through? Before you start criticizing the modern day athlete ask yourself 3 questions:

1. Can you check into a hotel using your real name?

2. Can you go grocery shopping?

3. Can you go to the mall?

If you answered yes to these questions you can't possibly relate to what these people are going through. The perks are endless and temptation is everywhere. Unlimited options can lead to chaos so don't be surprised the next time a high profile athete gets themselves in hot water. Before judging someone ask yourself what would you do if you could do whatever you wanted?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hip-Hop Needs To Be More Like Wrestling

As hip-hop has become more corporate and image driven I feel the time has come for artists to embrace the idea of playing the role as opposed to living the lie. If you listen to the lyrics of most hip-hop songs or watch the videos you know that rappers aren't trully living the lifestyle they are portraying. The problem is they still feel the need to perpetuate the lie, an act that is extremely insulting to the hip-hop audience. Industry rule #4,080 dictates that less than 1/2 of 1/2 of 1/2 of 1% of rappers can really afford their own plane, their own 200 foot yacht, their own villa on a private island, or $5,000,000 in jewelry. Hip-hop needs to take a page out of the WWE playbook. Remember when wrestling decided to stop pretending that the holds and punches were real? Wrestling took off because it no longer had to hide behind the facade of realism. It could simply be enjoyed as ENTERTAINMENT! It's ok to pretend to be a drug dealer, or a hitman, or a gangster, or that you have 13 cars in your driveway. It's ok to get into character. Mariah Carey has fake boobs and Bruce Willis doesn't do his own stunts yet we still love them all the same. Once hip-hop rids itself of the notion you have to do what you say on a record, the industry and the fans will be much better off.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Nabb in DC fits TOO Well

As I predicted on last week Donovan McNabb has ended up with the Washington Redskins. Although I thought it was a great fit for Donovan and a great option for Washington I am completely shocked Philly pulled the trigger. The NFC East is the toughest division in football and trading within the division all but guarantees they won't win it. Donovan knows the Eagles inside out and he didn't leave on the best of terms. He's going to try and stick it to them every chance he gets Brett Favre style. Mike Shanahan runs the purest form of the west coast offense and now he has a veteran quarterback to help make a seamless transition back into the NFL. Donovan will not get lost in translation and terminology. When you combine a coach and a franchise quarterback with Stonehenge size chips on their shoulders you have a very hungry football team with something to prove. The league should be nervous.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Bobby Cox: A decade of Winning

The Atlanta Braves won the NL East 10 years in a row and featured one of the best pitching staffs of all time under the management of Bobby Cox. Those are very impressive stats at first glance, but if you look deeper you uncover the true irony of the story. The Atlanta Braves were consistently good during Cox's tenure but never great. Despite all those division titles the Braves only won 1 world series in a strike shortened season. The Florida Marlins have won 2 in the same time frame. It's hard to fathom a team with 3 Cy Young pitchers unable to turn the corner and win more world series championships. Does that failure fall on the shoulders of the front office or Cox himself? In my opinion The Braves organization has always been willing to spend money to acquire the players they needed for the stretch run. If you have talent it is always the managers responsibility to get the best out of them. As Bobby Cox enters his final season as the Braves skipper we'll remember a lot of good times. It's just unfortunate they couldn't have won more titles under his watch to solidify his legacy. As it stands he's 1 ring shy of Cooperstown.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Can Brittney "The Grinder" Griner Turn Back UConn?

I know she turned back Tennessee and Duke with her 4,916 blocked shots, but she can't get with UConn. Still Brittney Griner gives me hope that fire and passion still exists in the hoop game. After watching Rafer Alston slap Eddie House upside the head (in a playoff game no less) with no retaliation I thought the passion was gone. Brittney punching Jordan Barncastle in the face a few weeks back let me know it was still alive. Athletes today are penalized for caring and living in the moment. Clearly a Drake/Kanye West mentality could not exist in the sports world. An athlete can no longer get caught up in the moment of athletic competition without having to apologize for a week or having to take anger management classes. For that reason it was refreshing to see someone lose their cool in the heat of battle.