Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hip-Hop Game Changer: Shaq

Ever since Shaq started jumping around with the Fu-Schnickens and turning out platinum records athletes have decided to try their hand at hip-hop. Kobe Bryant, Tony Parker, Ron Artest, and Allen Iverson have all made a song or two. Reebok and Nike both had ad campaigns with hoopers featuring star rappers such as Snoop Dogg and Jadakiss. It's a natural collaboration. Athletes and rappers share alot of commonalities. Young, rich, and famous coming from an adverse urban background seems to be a common theme within both industries. I'll be the first to tell you that athletes should stay on the court and stay away from the mic. The reality is there's too much money and exposure to keep them away. The target market for athletes and rappers is virtually the same. It's a good thing athletes have something to fall back on because most of their material is awful. Still the trend remains viable and profitable so we'll hear more of this nonsense. The two worlds don't collide, they coexist and because of the mutual respect between the two the world of hip-hop will forever be influenced by star athletes trying to be the next Jay-Z. Cover your ears.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Bust And The Brat: It's All About Attitude

Two names you are unlikely to hear during this summer's NFL training camps are Jamarcus Russell and Terrell Owens. Although both players are considered extremely talented no NFL team is willing to take a chance on either of them. The reason for this is very simple, money will not change their attitudes. There is a common misconception in this country that a person's behavior can be modified through monetary compensation. That is not always the case. Take Jamarcus for example. You would think a $61,000,000 contract with $32,000,000 of it guaranteed would be enough motivation for ANYONE to perform at a high level. The problem is that Jamarcus never had to try before the pros. He was always bigger and stronger than his competition and those physical attributes were enough for him to get by on. He was always lazy. He never developed a great work ethic, only a super sonic rocket arm. He thought that would be enough to get him to the pros and it was. It just wasn't enough to keep him there. Getting to the pros and making alot of money was as far as he thought it through. Once Jamarcus found out how much work was involved the situation overwhelmed him. All the pressure and expectation to perform was more than he could handle. The money didn't change him. Don't blame Jamarcus for being himself, blame the Raiders for not doing their homework. There's still time for Jamarcus. He's only 24 and maybe this experience will motivate him to work harder. I'm pulling for him, but I doubt we'll see him again. I'll break down Terrell on Thursday.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The NBA Draft Went Green

The 2010 NBA draft was uneventful, boring, and tame. It was void of personality and impact players. Because players leave so early these days the picks are made more on future potential than their present talent level. In addition this draft was rather thin to begin with and no one player (with the exception of John Wall) looks like they can turn a franchise around. The anticipation is clearly focused on free agency where alot of stars have a chance to make a real impact on the future landscape of the NBA. That being said lets review the top 5 picks.

1. John Wall. A nice fit in Washington. Lets hope Gilbert Arenas doesn't break his spirit in his comeback season. He wants to prove all the critics wrong. Eventually the franchise will belong to John.

2. Evan Turner. Pretty good fit in Philly. I wonder if he has the temperament to handle the Philly fans. They're brutal and unrelenting. He has to show alot of game early.

3. Derrick Favors. He'll go nicely with Brooke Lopez in Jersey. Don't look for him to go 20 and 10 but 15 and 7 is possible.

4. Wesley Johnson. The most polished player in the draft. Definitely fills a need in Minnesota and he's just goofy enough to blend in well in Minneapolis. He may quietly take over the team.

5. DeMarcus Cousins. A headcase going to a small town with eccentric owners. This has disaster written all over it. Cousins is Zach Randolph 2.0. So talented you'll have to put up with his nonsense until he tears your team apart.

Here's a little helpful advice for the new guys:


Good luck gentlemen.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Where Is Landonmania?

Landonmania should be upon us by now. Everywhere I go I should see Donovan Jerseys. In every restaurant and bar he should be the topic of conversation. Landon Donovan has come through repeatedly on the worlds biggest stage but he is far from a household name in America. As the US continues to advance at the World Cup perhaps his status will change. Maybe Nike, Gatorade, and Haynes will demand that Landon endorse their product. Maybe kids on soccer fields across the country will emulate the moves they see Landon perform in South Africa. Maybe he'll be linked to one of the Kardashian girls. My prediction is that Landon Donovan's name will have a buzz so long as the US keeps winning, but it will never generate the following it deserves. As soon as the World Cup is over (assuming the US doesn't win the whole thing) he'll go back to playing 2nd fiddle in the MLS to David Beckham in front of modest soccer crowds. If this were anywhere else Landon Donovan would be a national hero already. The fact that most people don't even know his name is further evidence that soccer is not that big here in the states. Hopefully the success the United States has experienced in this World Cup will lay the foundation for the future. In the present time however what a waste of a golden opportunity. Forgive our apathy Landon. It's not your fault.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Protect Ya Neck

It's all fun and games until somebody sprains an ankle, ruptures a tendon, or breaks a bone. The life of a professional athlete is a precarious one. On the one hand athletes would like to lead a normal life and have fun like everyone else. Conversely athletes are a walking breathing commodity and they have to protect themselves at all times. Steve Smith broke his arm in a freak accident playing flag football and will miss training camp. The NFL doesn't have LNI so who's gonna pay for this fiasco? The incident is reminiscent of Robert Edwards a few years back who tore ligaments in both knees playing touch football in the sand. A career lost playing around in an exhibition. Steve Smith will be ready for the regular season but the accident is a friendly reminder to all athletes that you have to be mindful of your body and your livelihood. Chances are there's nothing else you can do with the earning potential of playing your respective sport. Stay isolated in the house if you have to, but don't let recreational activities ruin your chance at success. There's a small window of opportunity to achieve as much fame and wealth as you can. Stick to poker, video games, and dominoes. The world will understand.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The NBA Similac Draft

The NBA draft is today and I find myself asking the question is it a good idea to put a franchise in the hands of a 19 year old? I don't mean draft a player and develop them into a star, I mean draft a player with the idea they will be your team's best player and lead an organization to the playoffs. The concept has only worked a handful of times which is why high schoolers are no longer eligible for the draft. I was having this debate with a friend a few days back and the numbers don't support the youngsters. They're better off going to college for at least a year. I've compiled a list of the best and the worst high school players ever drafted. The asterisk denotes a championship.

All High School Team:

Kevin Garnett*
Moses Malone*
Kobe Bryant*****
Lebron James
Jermaine O'Neal

Honorable Mention:

Tracy McGrady
Rashard Lewis
Al Jefferson
Dwight Howard
Andrew Bynum**

All Disappointment Team:

Kwame Brown
Robert Swift
Shaun Livingston
Darius Miles
Jonathan Bender

More draft analysis on Monday.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hip-Hop Game Changer: 1995 Source Awards

It was the event that started the war. The tension between East coast and West coast rappers had been mounting for years. The perception was that East coast power brokers didn't respect West coast rappers and were unwilling to acknowledge that West coast hip-hop was more popular than East coast hip-hop around the nation. In other words, New York was reluctant to give up its position as the focal point of rap. It all came to a head in 1995 at the Source Awards. Suge Knight called out P Diddy and told the hip-hop world to come over to Death Row if they were tired of watching CEO's dancing around in videos. What started out as a feud between Bad Boy and Death Row records quickly escalated into a battle between The East coast and the West coast. The media had a field day with the conflict instigating bad blood and animosity between the two rivals. It was big business to keep the feud going as long as they could. Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. were the generals of this war, the two biggest rappers on the planet at that time. Their influence on the culture can not be overlooked. It had a profound impact on the overall outcome. They were the face of their respected armies and paid the ultimate price. Had it not been for their tragic deaths the war may have never ended. A pyrrhic victory of sorts I guess. The lessons to be learned here are simple, respect one another and don't let outside forces manipulate your feelings. Let's hope history doesn't repeat itself.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Top 5 Most Corrupt NCAA Programs

Alot has been made about the sanctions imposed against USC and the lack of institutional control under the watchful eye of Pete Carroll and Tim Floyd. Although the allegations are severe USC is far from the worst offender in college athletics over the last 20 years. With no further adieu here is my list of the top 5 most corrupt NCAA programs of the last 2 decades.

5. UNLV. Anytime you have players hanging out in a hot tub drinking beer with someone convicted of fixing sporting events and your star recruit gets arrested for selling crack there's a problem. The Las Vegas environment is not conducive to staying out of trouble.

4. USC. The Reggie Bush family lives in a mini mansion rent free for 3 years and OJ Mayo gets little manila envelopes slipped into his inside pocket? Is it any wonder there's no more open practices at Southern Cal?

3. Michigan. I always wondered how the Fab 5 came together. As it turns out they were paid for play. Boosters shelled out almost $750,000 for Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, and Chris Webber. For that kind of money the least they could've done is win a national championship (like everyone else on this list).

2. Oklahoma. I'm not sure these guys even went to school. Brian Bosworth had a Jeep and a Corvette while playing for the Sooners if that tells you anything. Their athletic dormitory was filled with guns, drugs, and sexually assaulted women. The Dallas Cowboys would be proud.

1. Miami. From Pell Grant fraud to assaults to burglaries you name it, the Miami Hurricanes did it. There are at least 42 extra pages in the NCAA rule book because of violations Miami committed. When Luke Skywalker is your #1 booster bad things are bound to happen. The most talented and lawless program ever.

Monday, June 21, 2010

HTB Statements

It's time for the latest installment of HTB Statements. For those of you not familiar with what HTB means HTB refers to statements that are hard to believe. Here's a few for your viewing pleasure:

1. At the age of 50 former Redskins star Darrell Green still runs a 4.5 40.

2. Pete Carroll knew "nothing" about the wrongdoings at USC.

3. The Colorado Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez is 13-1 with a 1.15 ERA this season.

4. Los Angeles still doesn't have an NFL franchise.

5. Boise St. was too scared to join the Pac-10.

6. Usain Bolt ran 9.58 in the 100 meters.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The New Muppet Show

After the last 2 years of disappointment and failure it appears the puppet showdown between Lebron and Kobe was a little premature. Lebron hasn't accomplished enough to be considered a worthy adversary of Kobe's regardless of how hard Nike and the NBA try to push a rivalry. The true adversary is Jordan, Michael Jordan. After Kobe wrapped up his 5th title it sent a clear message to Jordan, objects in your rear view mirror are closer than they appear. For years it has been a foregone conclusion that no one would catch up to Michael and his 6 championships. Now that Kobe has 5 he is knocking on the door. He is in the conversation of best ever. He's 2 titles away and he has 3 dominating years left in those legs. Jordan and Kobe should be next years puppet showdown. With so much on the line from a historical perspective it seems only right. There are some that would argue Jordan is the greatest ever regardless of Kobe's accomplishments. I say rings don't lie and Kobe is the only legitimate heir to the thrown. If he gets 2 more he's #1 in my book. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Little Something For Laker Haters Worldwide

After games 2,4, and 5 of the NBA finals my phone rang off the hook. Countless people chimed in to give me their opinion on the downfall of the "Fakers". I didn't take the phone calls personal. I understand there is a legion of fans that hope, wish, and pray for the Lakers to lose. It's hard for them to wrap their hands around the concept of destiny and prophecy. I patiently listened to the fans and their harsh criticism with a sympathetic ear. After game 7 the silence was deafening. Suddenly no one had 2 kind words to say to me. All the smack talkers disappeared. It was as if the inevitable victory broke the spirit of Laker haters like Bo Jackson breaking a bat over his knee. To be fair the championship was never in question. The demise of Laker Nation was GREATLY exaggerated. The Celtics are a storied franchise with multiple championships in the past (only 2 in the last 25 years) but the leprechauns are old and they don't have Kobe Bean Bryant. When you have the best player on the planet good things will happen. The lord of basketball simply imposed his will on Boston and in typical fashion they wilted. The outcome was never in doubt. Take nothing from the Celtics, they played their hearts out and made the series much closer than it ever should have been. Give them credit for that, just give the Lakers more for being all they could be. I feel sorry for for Celtic fans because they want something they simply can't have, Kobe's legacy and championship. I am in the process of doing some research to see if there are some therapy groups out there to help with the depression. The first step to recovery is admitting the truth. I can help with this. Laker haters say it with me out loud, THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS. One more time with feeling, THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS. The first step is always the hardest but I know you can do it. Feel free to call me, I'm here all week.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Raiders Are Ruining The NFL

It started with Jamarcus Russell holding out through training camp. The other teams with top 5 picks couldn't determine how much to pay their draft choice which led to massive holdouts. It continued last year with the selection of Darrius Heyward-Bey. The receiver was taken too soon and paid too much money thus creating a problem for teams trying to sign their first round pick and led to the holdout of Michael Crabtree. Then there was the signing of Nnamdi Asomugha. His $16,000,000 per year contract has a direct impact on the negotiations for Darrelle Revis, the best cover corner in football. The Raiders monopoly money approach to draft choices and contract extensions has made it difficult for other teams to negotiate with their star players. The Raiders have created an unrealistic atmosphere that has led to unrealistic expectations for many. It's easy to understand why the Raiders are doing this. They hit the panic button. They realized their once proud and storied franchise has become irrelevant in the new millennium and they will do whatever it takes to get that mystique back. Subsequently major decisions become nothing more than a knee jerk reaction to rumors and hype. The Raiders need new blood and quickly otherwise the league will continue to suffer because of their erratic behavior and mistakes. Is there an Al Davis Jr. waiting in the wings?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hip-Hop Game Changer: MC Hammer

MC Hammer dominated the music scene in the early 90's with his innovative dance moves, fashion statements, and elaborate videos. His crossover appeal made him the first rapper to successfully bridge the gap with corporate America. Hammer endorsed tennis shoes, fried chicken, and even had his own cartoon. Not everyone saw this as a good thing. The hip-hop community took a stance against Hammer not only for dissing the godfathers of rap(RUN DMC) but also for giving our music away to the mainstream. Various artist such as Icecube, Q-Tip, LL Cool J, Too Short, and 3rd Base made Hammer the subject of discouraging lyrics. It was clear back then that hip-hop wasn't willing to water down its authenticity and sellout for the all mighty dollar. 20 years later you could view Hammer's career and business plan as a blueprint for success. No longer does hip-hop have the conscience or the vocal leaders to protect the integrity of the product. Hammertime is in full effect. Whatever sells records is a good song. Period. Whatever gets the kids to watch videos is a good image. Period. The bottom line is money and everything else is secondary. Should we apologize to Hammer for the unfair criticism? Should we thank him for having the vision to take the craft to higher heights? Should we change our opinion of what Hammer represents? I'll let you decide.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Blame The Fans Too

The world of sports is predicated on money and greed. Salaries are sky high, stadium referendums are everywhere, and ownership wants its share of the TV revenue dollar. Who is responsible for this difficult economic climate? The fans of course. Although most fans don't care to admit it the time has come for us to take responsibility for the way things are. Fans don't support teams unconditionally anymore. The difference in attendance between a 12-4 team and a 4-12 team is dramatic. Consequently some owners will do whatever it takes to field a winner and salaries get out of control. Fans don't come to the ballpark and stadiums anymore unless it transforms and talks to you like Optimus Prime. If it doesn't have all the bells and whistles, retractable roofs, and hot tubs no one is interested. Since those ballparks and stadiums are expensive to build and the salaries are high, ticket prices and concession items increase, and your average fan stays home and watches games on TV (if the team is winning). Fans are just as responsible as anyone for this vicious cycle. We only support winners and are easily distracted if our home team doesn't produce. We criticize, hypothesize, and run coaches and players out of town if the don't yield the desired results. Until fans stand up and cheer for teams that give it their best effort just as hard as teams that win championships we will see this trend continue. It's not always about the coaches and players, it's about you too.

Monday, June 14, 2010

England's Most Wanted

Futbol fans in England are up in arms right about now. The reaction to the "soft" goal allowed by Robert Green over the weekend is a perfect example of how important soccer is to the world. With one play a goaltender went from hero to goat and became England's most wanted. It's unfortunate the United States doesn't take soccer more seriously. Although I understand why soccer is not more popular in this country (check out my blog from May 17) I find myself wishing it were. The World Cup brings out passion, nationalism, and pride from other nations the US doesn't experience. That goal will live in infamy in England for years to come yet most people in this country don't even know it happened. It has less significance than who will join the PAC 10 next year. It seems almost disrespectful that the United States cares so little about a sport that means so much to so many people. I don't see this mindset changing anytime soon and for the time being America will have to get used to the fact we are not the focal point of the world's most popular sport. Not to worry, footbal season is around the corner and we can become self absorbed once again.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The 5 Greatest Sports Venues In America

The sporting world is filled with fantastic venues to watch a sporting event. Every stadium built seems to set a new standard for excellence almost making the older stadiums obsolete. These colossal structures take forever to build and cost an arm and a leg but once their completed everybody forgets about it in a year or so. It's not always about the amenities, but most of the time it is. There are very few stadiums these days where the game is the main attraction(sad but true). For your viewing pleasure I give you my list of the 5 greatest sporting venues in America.

5. Husky Stadium. Not just because I'm biased, but because of the landscape. The lake, the view of the mountains, and the unique design make it special. Hands down the best stadium in college football. Where else can you pull up to the game on your yacht?

4. Toronto Sky dome. It's not the greatest, but it's my favorite. The amenities in this place are off the charts. Where else can you watch a world series game from your hotel room if you chose?

3. Wrigley Field. The last of the authentics. Not a cost effective model, but rich in tradition. Eventually they will have to tear it down (box suite revenue is king in sports) and re-create it as best they can. For now soak up the atmosphere.

2. Yankee Stadium. For a team who's motto is you get what you pay for and you pay for what you want Yankee Stadium exceeds all expectations of what a stadium should be. For an extra $5,000 you can get a personal assistant to wipe the hot dog relish from the corners of your mouth.

1. Cowboys Stadium. This is the kind of stadium King Tut, Caesar, or Zeus would have built. No expense was spared. This thing is light years ahead of anything and everything. Moet flows from the water fountains and waiters come around at halftime to pass out chocolate covered strawberries.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Duck Hunting Season

You can show someone the path to success, but you can't make them take the journey. Such is the case with Jeremiah Masoli. Once a Heisman hopeful with aspirations of winning a national championship the former Oregon Quarterback has taken a hard fall from grace. After being suspended for pleading guilty to burglary charges 5 months ago Jeremiah recently had another run in with the law. He was charged with driving with a suspended license and possessing a small amount of marijuana. All that was missing was the firearm and stripper. It seems crazy to think that a star athlete would throw away his career and a chance to make millions by making irresponsible decisions. It is unlikely that his next profession will have the earning potential of an NFL quarterback. The lesson to be learned here is that money and opportunity doesn't always change a person. There is more to being a star athlete than athletic ability. Not everyone is willing to make that sacrifice. I believe in 2nd chances, but a 3rd chance is pushing it. There are too many other people waiting in the wings willing to make the sacrifice to waste time and energy on a headcase. No need to feel sorry for Jeremiah. just recognize his true colors and move on. In the long standing argument of nature vs. nurture nature wins this battle. Jeremiah was living in the friendly community of Eugene and extended every luxury and perk yet these benefits were not enough for him to change his ways. Instead of asking why just say oh well.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Pac 16 Is A joke

It's no surprise that in an era where universities operate more like corporate entities rather than institutions of higher learning the Pac 10 is morphing into some mega powerhouse super conference. The new "deathstar" of college football will dominate television revenue and change the landscape of the BCS. It is plain to see that greed is the ultimate motivation behind the expansion and the integrity of the game will suffer. No longer will geographic rivalries take center stage in determining what games are important. Tradition is out the window. The red river, the apple cup, and the civil war won't mean a thing. Hundreds of years of bad blood and historic compelling outcomes will give way to TV friendly clashes. It is unfair to ask fans of the Pac 10 or the Big 12 to embrace this concept. The old guard will say keep things the way they are while others will preach the idea of having an open mind to new things. It is my belief that the Pac 10 and the Big 12 will lose their identity with this merger. Texas at Arizona or Oklahoma St. at Washington just doesn't do anything for me. In addition, the students will lose out on the experience of traveling to road games in support of their school. There is no road trip to Texas and Oklahoma from the west coast. in the end it's all about capitalizing on TV viewers. Your attention is whats important not the excitement and enthusiasm of rivalries that have been passed down from generation to generation. We'll have to see how the whole thing unfolds, but I got a bad feeling about this one.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hip-Hop Game Changer: Motion Pictures

Ice T's role as a vigilante cop in New Jack City paved the way for rappers to make the transition from music to motion pictures. It wasn't a brilliant performance, but it was good enough to show Hollywood the hip-hop culture was a viable and lucrative niche. Icecube's portrayal of Doughboy in Boyz in the Hood further validated hip-hop's ability to produce entertaining characters. Ironically hip-hop to movies is not that big of a stretch. Rappers are often acting out an alter ego or persona on wax to sell records. They speak about situations and scenarios that are fictitious and grandiose. Rick Ross doesn't really have a shot with Stacy Dash and Ja Rule's not really a murderer, but the convey the image very well. If you didn't know better you'd almost believe they were actually capable of these feats. 20 years later the hip-hop springboard is still in effect with such rappers as 50 Cent, TI, The Game, and Outkast. I'm sure this trend will continue for years to come.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Flyers In 7

The momentum of the puck has switched to the home team in each of the first 5 games of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Conventional wisdom would suggest the Chicago Blackhawks will win the series in 7 games. This is what Vegas refers to as a sucker bet. When everything points in one direction inevitably the opposite will happen. Chicago is the better team but hasn't capitalized on their advantage in Philadelphia. Meanwhile the Flyers have relied on the energy from the crowd and a never say die attitude to keep them going. Anything can happen in a game 7, injury, food poisoning, migraines, anything. Emotions will run high and the players get tense. Look for Chris Pronger and Jeff Carter to do something unexpected in game 7 and win the Stanley Cup. (after they win game 6 of course). The overwhelming favorite has a tendency to succumb to the pressure. Sorry Chicago.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Has Baseball Learned It's Lesson?

It's almost laughable that in this day and age with all the technology at our disposal baseball has no instant replay policy. With millions of dollars on the line the sport still relies on the imperfections of the naked eye. Every other major sport is resigned to the fact that human error can be detected and overturned with the benefit of slow motion replay. There is too much at stake and the process is too easy to continue with this nonsense. How many calls have to get blown before baseball changes its ways? We've already seen the results of a world series and a perfect game compromised by the bad judgment of umpires. It's unfair to put those men in the position of defending themselves against angry mobs that have the benefit of seeing the play unfold frame by frame. It is not a question of if umpires make mistakes but when. To protect the integrity of the game baseball must change its ways or risk the possibility of an all out revolt from their fan base. It's one thing to watch your team lose on the field fair and square, it's something totally different to watch them lose because of bad officiating. Do the right thin Bud Selig.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Are Big Schools Better Than Small Schools?

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine the other day about why great players form small schools get drafted lower than good players from big name schools. He summed it up with one word, politics. "Teams would rather draft a guy from Michigan that runs a 4.5 over a guy from Murray St. that runs a 4.3. They figure the Michigan guy has to be better because of where he went to school, not because of what he did on the field." At first I agreed with his statement, but after further thought I had to change my mind. It's not politics, it's the system. It has to work that way. The best players go to the best schools and play against the best talent. There is no denying this. That's not to say some players who attend small schools couldn't play at a major college program, but there's a reason they didn't end up at the big school to begin with. Grades, off the field incidents, and attitude often keep talented athletes from gaining attention and exposure during the recruiting process. The system isn't built for those variables. The system's purpose is to evaluate the cream, not nurture and cultivate. Of course some talent will fall through the cracks but you can't blame the system for that. instead give the athlete credit for becoming a great player in a less than perfect environment. All things being equal take the guy from the big school over the guy from the little school. It's not a perfect system, but what system is?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Goodbye Griffey

Wednesday Seattle closed the chapter on the greatest athlete the city has ever known, Ken Griffey Jr. It goes without saying the Mariners will miss the "Kid" that put them on the map. In the early 90's Ken dominated baseball and earned a spot on the all century team. The love affair was fantastic until it abruptly ended in 2000. Griffey had grown tired of the fishbowl effect and decided the grass would be greener in Cincinnati, the town he was raised in and his dad became famous. The relationship got off to a rocky start when Ken asked to wear #24 even though it had been retired by the Reds. It was further strained when Griffey's skills began to decline due to injury. It was a perfect example of unfulfilled expectation. Cincinnati wanted their franchise player to put up "Griffey" like numbers and Ken wanted them to love him unconditionally as if it were Seattle. Thanks to inter league play Jr. got a chance to come back in 2007. The city gushed over him with ovations, video tributes, and an outpouring of fan support. It was then he realized how much he missed Seattle and how much Seattle missed him. In 2009 the two were reunited. As I pointed out in my May 4th blog the city knew Ken's skills were diminished but would rather have him around with diminished skills than no Ken at all. The production went from bad to worse in 2010 however and the once loyal fans began to whisper about the end. There is nothing more difficult in sports than dealing with an aging superstar. Your fond memories will betray you into thinking there's still something left in the tank and facing the reality of the moment will make you look callous and cold. Ken did the right thing by pulling the plug before the whispers turned into roars. Thank you Ken for saving everyone from that uncomfortable ugly scene. We wish you the best. You'll always be "The Kid" to us.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lakers In 5 (Kobe Gets His 5th)

To all my Celtic fans out there it's not you, it's the Lakers. Better yet, it's not you it's Kobe Bryant. Everybody knows about the winning Celtic tradition and how the Boston 3 party has carried on that legacy in recent years. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen showed the heart of a champion in their dismantling of Cleveland and Orlando and there is no doubt Rajon Rondo will have his way with Derek Fisher, Jordan Farmar, and Shannon Brown. The problem is they're a little too old and Kobe smells blood in the water. After the Shaq divorce it didn't look very likely that he would ever catch up to his airness in the rings department. 5 years later he is in search of his 5th title ( 1 shy of Jordan's mark) and the 2nd installment of the 2nd three-peat of his career. If you look into his eyes you know he wants a statue of himself erected in front of the Staples Center just like #23 has in Chicago. He's not going to let Andrew Bynum knee, Ron Artest's poor judgement, or the leprechauns stand in his way of acheiving immortality. I'm calling the Lakers in 5 but to be fair the Celtics may win 2 games. The best shooter in the world (Ray Allen) gives you that chance and a 3-1 scenario (very likely) going into a game 5 would test the Celtic's manhood. They might have one last hay maker left in them at that point. Rest assured though, the Lakers will win the 2010 NBA Championship.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Top 5 Greatest All Time Teams

Here's an added bonus for you guys, a list of the top 5 all time greatest teams.

5. Chicago Bulls
C Artis Gilmore
PF Dennis Rodman
SF Scottie Pippen
SG Michael Jordan
PG Derrick Rose

4. San Antonio Spurs
C David Robinson
PF Tim Duncan
SF Sean Elliot
SG George Gervin
PG Tony Parker

3. Boston Celtics
C Bill Russell
PF Kevin McHale
SF Larry Bird
SG Ray Allen
PG Bob Cousy

2. Philadelphia 76ers
C Wilt Chamberlin
PF Moses Malone
SF Julius Erving
SG Allen Iverson
PG Maurice Cheeks

1. Los Angeles Lakers
C Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
PF Shaquille O'Neal
SF James Worthy
SG Kobe Bryant
PG Earvin "Magic" Johnson

Hip-Hop Game Changer: De La Soul

Back when most rappers were wearing sweatsuits, gold chains, 4 fingered rings, and shell toed sneakers De La Soul emerged on the scene with a unique sound and a unique style. The eclectic clothing and the peace and love lyrics introduced the D.A.I.S.Y. age (da inner sound y'all). Along with A Tribe Called Quest, Jungle Brothers, Queen Latifah, Monie Love, and Black Sheep De La Soul was an active member of the Native Tongue Posse. De La Soul gave rap music an alternative to the violence, poverty, and drug dealing so many other artists were portraying. Their influence came at a time when rap music need to "lighten up" a little and explore its kinder, gentler side. They paved the way for such artists as PM Dawn, Digable Planets, Mos Def, and Black Eyed Peas. Although the group has evolved from it's flower power beginnings the trio continues to have success applying their mark on the hip-hop landscape. These hip-hop trailblazers were honorees at the 2008 VH-1 Hip-Hop honors and will always be remembered for timeless classics like Me, Myself, and I, Stakes is High, and Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey).

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

HTB Statements

Every once in a while I'll hit you with some statements or facts that are hard to believe. Here is my list for the day.

1. Kobe Bryant has more playoff wins than anyone in Lakers History.

2. Peyton Manning has just as many super bowl wins as Doug Williams, Jim McMahon, and Brad Johnson.

3. The Pittsburgh Pirates haven't had a winning season since Barry Bonds left 18 years ago.

4. Warren Moon won 5 consecutive Grey Cups in the CFL.

5. Larry Brown is the only coach to win an NCAA national championship and an NBA championship.

6. Dave Winfield was drafted in all 3 major sports out of college.

7. Mario Andretti won the Indy 500, the Daytona 500, and the formula 1 world championship.