Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NBA Rookies

The days of landing a franchise cornerstone player in the NBA draft lottery are long gone. With so many players leaving college before their game is completely developed NBA teams end up with a project more often than not. For every Derrick Rose and Blake "The Barbarian" Griffin there is an Adam Morrison and Hasheem Thabeet. The immediate impact simply isn't there. The system that is currently in place encourages players to audition for the NBA in college for a year and enter the draft based on a suspect body of work. The end result is generally an unfinished product that doesn't live up to potential or expectation. We are almost a quarter of the way through the season and aside from a few big names we see this trend repeating itself. Here is a list of the top 10 picks from the 2010 NBA draft and how they are doing so far.

1. John Wall. He's shown the flashes of brilliance that made him the #1 overall pick in 2010. The Washington Wizards aren't a very good team and Gilbert Arenas is the world's worst mentor, but he's averaging 18 points and 9 assists per game (when he's healthy) and fortunately for him no one is expecting a miracle.

2. Evan Turner. Playing with Andre Iguodala is difficult for anyone with a scorer's mentality, but it looks like AI is on the trading block which should free up some minutes and shots for Evan Almighty. So far 8 points and a .416 shooting percentage isn't blowing anybody away.

3. Derrick Favors. Perhaps being the subject of trade rumors since he arrived in New Jersey has hampered his development somewhat, but NBA basketball is a business and he has to find a way to regain his confidence. 7 points and 5 rebounds a game is not what the Nets had in mind when they took him with the 3rd overall pick.

4. Wesley Johnson. Kevin Love and Michael Beasley carry this team so there's not a lot of opportunity for Wesley to shine. He was considered the player most ready for the NBA coming out of college so we won't close the book on him just yet.

5. DeMarcus Cousins. DeMarcus Cousins has trouble staying on the floor because he's always in foul trouble. In addition his field goal percentage is below 40%. With the Maloofs leaking money and coach Paul Westphal on the hot seat this situation may get worse before it gets better.

6. Ekpe Udoh. Hasn't played this season due to a wrist injury suffered this summer.

7. Greg Monroe. Shooting 35% and averaging 3.7 points in 17 minutes on a last place team. The definition of a project.

8. Al Farouq Aminu. Holding his own on a miserable team in complete disarray. Until Baron Davis comes back from injury the jury is still out on this guy.

9. Gordon Hayward. 1 of only 2 players in the top 10 to play on a winning team. Coach Jerry Sloan typically doesn't play rookies and the Jazz are deep at small forward so I doubt if we'll hear too much out of Gordon this season.

10. Paul George. Playing behind all star Danny Granger, James Posey, and Mike Dunleavy Jr. is a good way to go unnoticed. He's only played in 8 games this season so far and I don't expect him to see the court too often.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Weekend Observations

There was some redemption this weekend on the fantasy football front. In my newly formed trash talking league I'm whooping up on the commish by 26 points. Unless Jay Feely kicks 7 field goals tonight I'm putting that one in the bank. Since it's the league commissioner I'm going to talk more smack than the law allows about my glorious victory. Harassing text messages at 4 in the morning isn't out of the question. In my second league I beat my opponent (if you can call him that) by ONE HUNDRED POINTS! Dwayne Bowe, Peyton Hillis, Jamaal Charles, and Sam Bradford put up video numbers for me. Such a lopsided affair warrants no further comments on the subject. In my trash talking league I'm getting trounced by 44 points, but I have the utmost confidence Troy Smith can make up the difference tonight (in my dreams). If I needed a reason for my team's poor performance all I have to do is look at the wide receiver match up. I lost that battle 40-2. Nate Washington and Brandon Tate couldn't start for TCU right about now. I'm not gonna rule myself out of the playoffs, but I'm on life support and the light is getting brighter. Here are some observations from the weekend.

College Football:

Steve Sarkisian has kahunas the size of watermelons! No other coach in college football would have gone for it on 4th and goal from the 1 yard line with his teams bowl chances hanging in the balance. That's the play that turns the Huskies program around.

Wisconsin is the 3rd best team in the country. To be honest with you I don't think Oregon or Auburn wants any part of that Badger offense.

The NFL:

The Saints no longer need Reggie Bush and Neither do I. That goofball cost my team a victory last week (he pulled out of the game at the last minute) and almost cost my team a victory this week (he only scored 1 point) They use Julius Jones and Chris Ivory more than him . That being said he'd look good in a Seahawks uniform next year.

Josh McDaniels will be fired at the end of the season. The Denver Broncos are self destructing once again and a coach can only survive one of those kind of seasons. It doesn't help that the organization traded away a pro bowl quarterback and a pro bowl receiver to appease him.


Roger Federer can hang with Rafael Nadal so long as they're playing the best 2 out of 3. Grand Slams are a different story.

The NHL:

If Alexander Ovechkin isn't careful he'll find himself no longer the poster child of the league. Steven Stamkos is playing so well the "Great One" is singing his praises.

The NBA:

I'll address this topic more in depth tomorrow, but did anyone get drafted after John Wall this year? If so, those other guys are MIA.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Shattered Glass Slipper

I usually don't like to tell be people I told you so, scratch that, I do like to tell people I told you so and I told you about Boise St. months ago. I don't want to rub salt in the wounds, but I've been fighting this battle all year. I even started asking myself, Am I being too hard on the Cowboys? Am I selling out to the establishment? Am I allowing myself to be brainwashed by corporate entities whose only purpose is to generate more revenue? After all until yesterday Boise St. hadn't lost a game in 3 seasons and had beaten some noteworthy opponents. They are fundamentally sound on both sides of the ball with playmakers at the skilled positions and a stingy defense. Kellen Moore has complete control of the offense and is considered one of the top quarterbacks in the country. This senior class at Boise St. has been doing the impossible for years now. The Boise St. supporters would ask me, don't they deserve to be in the conversation? Shouldn't they get their chance to play against the best in the country come bowl time?

The answer is no. Boise St. was a feel good story and nothing more. They were over achievers who managed to maximize their potential. The Ohio St. president last week said what most people in the country were already thinking. THEY DON'T PLAY ANYBODY! THEIR CONFERENCE IS WEAK! IF THEY PLAYED IN THE SEC, BIG 10, BIG 12, OR PAC 10 THEY WOULD HAVE MULTIPLE LOSSES! A ONE LOSS TEAM FROM A POWER CONFERENCE IS BETTER THAN AN UNDEFEATED BOISE ST. TEAM! Until last night the Cowboys were going to put some people in a very difficult position with regard to BCS voting. It's unfortunate their fate was sealed by a kicker missing 2 field goals of less than 30 yards. You hate to see your destiny taken away by a filthy, nasty kicker. In the end we learned a valuable lesson, Boise St. plays an exciting brand of football, but they're not a big time college football program. They tried to call winners on the big court and ended up getting passed over. Sorry little guy.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Cleavie The Greek Predicts Auburn Over Alabama

The gambler has let his heart and his feelings get in the way of his better judgement. Conventional wisdom says Alabama is at home and would like nothing more than to spoil Auburn's perfect season. With the national championship out of reach this game is bigger than any other bowl game for the Crimson Tide. They have the perfect offense to keep Cam Newton on the sidelines and the Alabama defense can force the quarterback sensation into an average day. That being said I think Cam Newton has something special in store for Iron Bowl 2010. Cam Newton knows he's not coming back to Auburn next year and he has 3 games left to audition for the NFL. It will look impressive to have a win over Alabama on his resume. If he has a break out game against a Nick Saban coached team consider Cam Newton a first round pick. If I had my Young Sam Rothstein cap on I'd take Alabama, but Cleavie the Greek is going with his hunch. This game will come down to a last second field goal make or miss. We'll see what fate has in store for Cam. Here are a few bonus picks from Cleavie the Greek:

USC over Notre Dame. In the battle of the fallen programs USC finally gets a game against the Fighting Irish at the Coliseum. Matt Barkley will redeem himself and USC will get a leg up on the national recruiting scene.

Penn St. over Michigan St. Joe Paterno is getting a little long in the tooth, but it's senior day at Happy Valley and Michigan St. has looked vulnerable on the road. Look for Penn St. to play inspired ball and pull the upset.

Atlanta over Green Bay. I'm not a big believer in either one of these teams, but I believe in the Falcons more than I believe in the Packers. The Packers have had some easy games recently and this will be a wake up call for them.

Baltimore over Tampa Bay. The Bucs have responded to adversity admirably this season, but they're not ready for the hostile environment and the cold weather awaiting them in Baltimore. Oh yeah, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed will be there also.

Philadelphia over Chicago. The Michael Vick factor.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Derrick Rose Is Better Than Rajon Rondo

Just got done watching the Suns vs. the Bulls and the argument is over. Derrick Rose is the 3rd best point guard in basketball behind Chris Paul and Deron Williams. He is physically more gifted than both of them and he's only 22 years old. When the playoffs start we'll re-visit this conversation. I think the results will be different.

Are The Yankees Finished?

When George Steinbrenner passed away this summer baseball lost an American icon. The "Boss" had a passion for winning and under his ownership the Yankees won 7 world series titles. Everyone assumed that in his absence the organization would be run in the same fashion with the same level of success. The Derek Jeter negotiations have shown us how wrong we were.

Hal Steinbrenner (George's son and CEO of the Yankees) has made it clear that his all star, gold glove, captain is just another player. The last name may be the same, but the philosophy of the new Yankees ownership is quite different. Hal vowed that emotions would not play a part in the offer set forth by the Yankees and the negotiations may get messy. True to his word Hal refused to offer Derek salary arbitration and GM Brian Cashman "encouraged" Derek to test the free agent market to see if he could find a better deal than the Yankees offered him (3yrs, 45 mil). The mere fact the Yankees are putting Derek Jeter in a take it or leave it scenario is astounding. No one player has been more symbolic of the Yankees success than Derek Jeter, AKA The King of New York, AKA Frank White. The "Boss 2.0" is sending a clear message. If he can do this to Jeter he can do it to anyone.

Hal doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve. If the "Boss" were still around this deal would be done already. The new regime is cold hearted and ruthless. They refuse to overpay for players or take into consideration past performances and dedication. Gone are the days of "money is no object" and "You're like a son to me if we win."

This is a dangerous game of chicken Hal Steinbrenner is playing. If Derek Jeter ends up leaving and signs with someone like the Boston Red Sox or the Tampa Bay Rays the city of New York will never forgive him. He will lose the support that gives him the power to sign all those free agents and create additional revenue streams. Hal is gambling that Derek will take less money and less years than he wants to remain the Yankees captain because there is no greater job in baseball. Hal may be right in his assumptions, but his approach is too abrasive and arrogant. Lets hope Derek sees the big picture and conforms to the way the new age Steinbrenners do business. If he walks it will be the start of their ending.

No blog tomorrow, just football and turkey! see you guys on Friday.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Peyton "Big Money" Manning

Peyton Manning will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and will undoubtedly break the bank. It goes without saying that Peyton will become the highest paid player in football, but exactly how much is a Peyton worth?

I was speaking to a good friend of mine and he threw out a number that I'm still trying to wrap my hands around. "Peyton Manning is going to get $100,000,000 in guaranteed money," he said. From a player's and agent's perspective the logic was sound.

1. Peyton Manning is the undisputed leader and face of the Indianapolis Colts franchise.
2. Peyton Manning is the face of the NFL.
3. Peyton Manning is durable, almost Brett Favre like.
4. Peyton Manning is the epitome of a role model when the concept really no longer exists.
5. Peyton Manning is marketable beyond belief.
6. Peyton Manning is a 4 time MVP, the best quarterback today, and arguably the best ever.
7. Sam Bradford and Tom Brady have already set the bar at $50,000,000 guaranteed.
8. Peyton Manning gives Indianapolis, Indiana a relevance it never had before Peyton's arrival and will never have again after his departure.

I heard what my friend was saying, but the number was mind boggling. From an owners perspective the logic was flawed.

1. No one player is worth $100,000,000 guaranteed in a sport where any play could be your last.
2. Peyton Manning is 30+ and his skills (if even slightly) will start to diminish in a few years.
3. Peyton Manning is 30+, susceptible to injury, and his bounce back time will be significantly slower.
4. 100,000,000 in guaranteed money restricts the team's flexibility in terms of free agency and the salary cap.
5. $100,000,000 sets a dangerous precedence.
6. Everything has to go perfect for this investment to pencil out.
7. The sport itself is too dangerous to guarantee that much money.

After weighing the pros and cons of the argument (and both sides were compelling) I wouldn't be surprised if Peyton Manning got $100,000,000 guaranteed, but I think the compromise will be a little less. Although Peyton Manning is an unrestricted free agent he has no intentions of ever leaving Indianapolis. The Colts are the only franchise he's ever known and he practically runs the organization. There is no doubt someone would give him the $100,000,000 but does he really want to start all over again in Detroit, Cincinnati, or Miami? The Colts have been loyal to him and his market value is somewhat predicated by what desperate teams would give to land a football god. In the end the hometown team gets a discount. My guess as to how much guaranteed money Peyton Manning gets? $70,000,000. My conscience won't allow the number to go any higher.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weekend Observations

It was a bounce back week in the world of fantasy football. After scoring only 59 points in one of my leagues last week I went off for 115 on Sunday. Unfortunately my opponent went off for 118 out of nowhere and I lost my match up. It's looking 50/50 for the playoffs. In my trash talking league I skated to victory because my opponent fell asleep at the wheel. He forgot to start a kicker and went with Oakland's defense. I wouldn't feel right if I gave myself too much credit for that one. In my newly formed trash talking league I lead my arch nemesis by 13 points going into tonight's game, but he's starting Moreno and the Denver kicker. This one will be a nail biter. It's all Reggie Bush's fault (once again) for false advertisement. I could've put someone else in his slot and cruised to victory. He's lucky I don't send Kim Kardashian over to his house in a santa's helper costume to mess with his head.

It was a C.R.E.A.M. weekend at the sportsbook. I was one shovel pass away from perfection. The Stanford pick was pure genius and poor Mr. St. Pierre in Carolina got to experience first hand what he had only seen on video games previously. Ed Reed came up with his 50th career interception and took it all the way back to the house. Vick stayed hot and Wisconsin took care of business. It's safe to say I have a limo, free champagne, and tickets to Celine Dion waiting for me the next time I head back to the desert. Congrats to Tom from Scottsdale on hitting the 3 team parlay. $500 turns to $3,000 real easy when you listen to Young Sam. Another shout out goes to Melissa in Mobile, AL who upgraded from a Hyundai to a Honda courtesy of 2 2 game parlays, a 3 game parlay, and 1 gutsy 4 team parlay. As I've said on numerous occasions you'll get a return on your investment if attention you pay. There are more testimonials available upon request. Here are some observations from the weekend.

Vince Young needs to see the same shrink as Ron Artest. With weapons like Randy Moss and Chris Johnson around him he still manages to melt down and finds himself in the doghouse again (this time permanently). Scratch that playoff talk.

Even with a loss yesterday Indy gets their playoff spot back (see previous comment).

Kansas City has the best running game in the NFL. The 1-2 punch of Thomas Jones and Jamal Charles has kept the Chief atop the AFC West.

If Jimmy Johnson had a cooler name that wasn't already taken by a hall of fame narcissistic coach we would probably give him more credit for winning 5 NASCAR championships in a row. It's an accomplishment that deserves more praise and attention than it's getting.

North Carolina is turning into the basketball equivalent of Notre Dame. The players think they can walk on the court with Jordan logo uniforms, point to Dean Smith, point to the rafters, and everyone will get scared and go home. It doesn't work that way. You have to actually play and win the game. Tough times ahead for UNC.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A King With No Kingdom

On Thursday Felix Hernandez established himself as the dominant pitcher in the American league with his selection as the 2010 Cy Young award winner. Unfortunately that distinction did not translate into wins and losses for the Seattle Mariners this season. Fortunately the sports writers were able to separate the brilliance of Felix from the brutal ineptness of the Mariners team. Felix captured the Cy Young award with fewer victories (13) than any pitcher who's ever pitched in an uninterrupted season.

The Mariners did the unthinkable in several ways last season. They fielded a team with 2 gold glove winners, a Cy Young winner, Cliff Lee for half the season, and the baseball god known as Ichiro yet they still managed to lose over 100 games. How is that possible? Seattle was also the worst hitting team since the inception of the designated hitter. Let me re-phrase that. The Seattle Mariners were the worst American league hitting team ever. In the case of Felix Hernandez sometimes your best just isn't good enough.

The Mariners are lucky they signed Felix to a long contract extension when they did. If he could become a free agent after this year (or next) there is no doubt he would be gone. Felix may still ask for a trade and who could blame him? Wasting his talents on a garbage team in his prime years isn't good for him and it isn't good for baseball. Felix is a king with no kingdom. If the Mariners don't rectify this situation soon the big boys (New York, Chicago, Boston, LA) will come calling and make them an offer the Mariners can't refuse. Like so many Seattle sports stars of the past Felix will be gone like the wind. The Mariners are on the clock. Let's see if they can keep King Felix. My prediction? 2011 will be his last as a Mariner. Sad.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Young Sam Rothstein Is In The House

Ladies and gentlemen, family, fans, friends, and followers it is the return of Young Sam Rothstein. I took a little hiatus to refine my razor sharp skills and get back to my zen like ways. After careful analysis and review of the football landscape my finger is squarely on the pulse of things once again. It's mid November now and the wild card factors are in full effect. I have to go beyond the X's and O's. I need to know if the quarterback's girlfriend is knocked up, I need to know the wind velocity so I can judge the field goals, I need to know if the players are wearing Nike cleats or Adidas cleats, I need to know what kind of team meals these guys are eating, I NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING! Now that I've gathered my facts I'll win enough money to make it rain like a Lil Wayne video. You're all welcome to join me of course as I share my knowledge free of charge for the betterment of those that support me. Thanks again for reading. Now let's make your lifestyle exciting! Follow my lead.

Wisconsin -4 over Michigan. Michigan's defense has no answer for Wisconsin's high powered offense and Denard Robinson is as fragile as Samuel L. Jackson in the movie Unbreakable. Michigan doesn't play well without the lead and Wisconsin will jump on them early.

Stanford -6 1/2 over Cal. I almost never take the road team in a rivalry game giving up points, but Young Sam has a hunch about this one. Look for Andrew Luck to have a big game. All bets are off though if if Shane Vereen is wearing the yellow cleats. He's superstitious and he thinks they give him special powers.

Baltimore -11 over Carolina. The game is on the road, but who cares? Carolina is starting Brian St. Pierre at quarterback and he's had insomnia problems all season. The medication he's on makes him sluggish and the Ravens defense will take advantage. Vegas has set the bar high at 11 points so this might be a trap game, but I still say bet against Brian St. Pierre. Who the hell is he?

St. Louis +3 over Atlanta. Sam Bradford is at home getting points and the Falcons are coming off a signature win against Baltimore. There will be an emotional let down plus Atlanta is not a great road team. As a side note Matt Ryan likes to drink peach flavored snapple before the games to calm his nerves and they don't sell that flavor in St. Louis. He may be a little edgy.

Philadelphia over New York. Follow the gamblers creed and ride the hot hand. Michael Vick's hand is hotter than that kid in the X-Men movies right about now. Don't expect a repeat of Monday night, but they can cover the 3.

See you at the cashiers cage!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tony Parker Is Not Cool

You know I'm not one to gossip and rarely do I pass judgement on someone unless the crime is severe, but friends, fans, family, and followers I must confess Tony Parker has disappointed the basketball community and sports world alike with his acts of infidelity. His actions were irresponsible and selfish and I for one am completely shocked by his behavior.

Am I shocked that Tony cheated on his wife Eva Longoria? Of course not. Although Eva is beautiful and famous she is only one woman. Professional athletes have an insatiable appetite and are rarely monogamous. Am I shocked that Tony cheated with a married woman? Of course not. The typical standards of right and wrong don't resonate with a man that just signed a $45,000,000 contract extension and was once voted one of People magazine's 50 most beautiful people. Am I shocked to hear Tony was having an affair with former teammate Brent Barry's wife? Beyond words. This is the 2nd time in less than a year we've heard of a basketball player crossing the imaginary line and breaking an unwritten rule. Do you really have to tell someone that your teammates wives are off limits for sexual escapades? The pretty boy superstar has no conscience.

It is even more astounding that Tony disrespected basketball royalty. The Barry name in basketball is like the Manning name in football or the Griffey name in baseball. The ramifications of disrespecting the son of Rick Barry will be significant. Don't be surprised to hear Jon Barry sucker punched Tony after a game or endorsements and public appearances for Tony being cancelled.

The biggest tragedy of this whole fiasco is the betrayal of teammate and friend Brent Barry. The two have gone to battle together. Brent's kids probably refer to Tony as "Uncle Tony." Brent probably confided in Tony about his marital problems not realizing he was speaking to the source of the problem. There is no doubt Brent was devastated to hear the news.

How does this affect the Spurs organization? Can anyone look at Tony with a straight face knowing that he might push up on their wife the minute they turn their back? Tony has broken a trust he can never get back and the Spurs may not recover from the fallout. Once a close knit bunch the Spurs will lose the continuity that gave them a competitive advantage.

If your going to do something wrong, at least have the decency to do it the right way. From here on out mothers, daughter, and wives are ALWAYS off limits, ex-wives need a 2 year cushion after divorce, and aunts and sisters need special permission. Common sense you would think, but obviously not. Hang in there Brent Barry.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Miami Heat Need A New Coach

It's time for Pat Riley to come down from the president's box suite and coach the Miami Heat. There was so much anticipation coming off the summer free agent acquisitions that a 6-4 start just won't cut it. Coach Eric Spoelstra is a good guy and a company man. He started with the Heat 16 years ago and understands the organization from top to bottom, but he's in way over his head. Dealing with multiple superstar egos that have expectations out of this world is more than he can handle.

Pat Riley is much more equipped for the task at hand. He's played or coached on 7 championship teams and knows what it takes to win. He is the architect of the Miami project and ultimately responsible for its success or failure. In his heart he always wanted to coach this team, but felt it was only right to give his protege the first crack at driving the ship. Eric Spoelstra has come up short however and now it's time for a change.

This is not an indictment on Eric Spoelstra's coaching ability. He knows the X's and O's as well as anybody. The problem is the superstar trio assembled in Miami hasn't responded to his leadership. Ordinarily the Miami Heat would show patience letting the team come together and gel, but there's no time for that. The target has been on their backs since Lebron announced he was taking his talents down to South Beach and the pressure to put a dominant team on the floor is mounting. A .500 record won't get it done.

The transition won't be pretty and some will argue Pat Riley is putting his own agenda in front of what's best for the team. In the end the main focus is to win championships and Pat Riley gives them the best chance to do so. Sorry Eric. It's nothing personal.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cam Newton Is Worth Every Penny

If the allegations surrounding Cam Newton and his acceptance of improper benefits from Auburn University turn out to be true Cam Newton was worth every penny. Once you get over the moral and ethical implications and realize that scholarship athletes getting paid is a common occurrence you'll come to the conclusion that the investment in Cam Newton was worth the risk.

At 6'5 250 pounds Cam Newton is a unique physical specimen that invokes fear in the hearts of tiny defensive backs that try to tackle him in the secondary. Most experts see him as the second coming of JaMarcus Russell with a better work ethic and appreciation for his god given ability. In a season where several major programs are having a down year (Florida, Texas, USC) and several non BCS teams are staking their claim to play in the national championship game (Boise St., TCU) Cam Newton has established himself as the best player in college football.

Heisman voters will be skeptical about checking the box next to his name when they cast their ballots however. That's understandable considering all the media backlash surrounding Reggie Bush over the last few months. The committee would be wise to err on the side of caution going forward. That's not to say the two situations are the same. Reggie Bush received money from an agent for three years while Cam (allegedly) received money from a booster to attend Auburn University. In the end improper benefits are improper benefits and the committee has to protect itself. The best player in college football probably won't win the Heisman.

Did Auburn do the right thing if they paid Cam Newton? The odds were heavily in their favor they wouldn't get caught and the potential results were too good to pass up. Auburn is more relevant than their fierce rivals The Alabama Crimson Tide, they are 11-0 for only the 3rd time in school history, and will more than likely play in the national championship game and earn close to $3,000,000 for the appearance. If you factor in ticket sales, jersey sales, and the overall economic impact on businesses serving Auburn University interests it sounds like a pretty good return on investment to me.

People have to realize the SEC handles things differently. Football is religion. Their priorities are football, football, football, spring football, and high school football. Any of those schools would do whatever it takes to win the SEC and have a shot at the national championship. Traditions run deep and losing is not acceptable. Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, and Les Miles make more money than some NFL coaches for a reason. The alumni at these schools expect results by any means necessary. It's not how you win, but if you win.

The most probable outcome to the whole situation is probation, loss of scholarships, and the forfeiture of a few games. It's never a good thing when the FBI gets involved and key members involved in the scandal have already professed their guilt. You can't un ring the bell and erase people's memories though. What's done is done. Cam Newton is putting together one of the greatest seasons in Auburn football history and if he continues on his current path the Auburn Tigers will beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl, beat South Carolina for the SEC championship, Cam Newton will win player of the year honors, and they will battle Oregon in the big game. What's a couple hundred thousand dollars if you get all that?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Weekend Observations

Cleavie Wonder's ego took a beating over the weekend in the world of fantasy football. This was by far my worst weekend of the season. In my trash talking league I lost by 57 points. and I am in jeopardy of missing the playoffs. My receiving corp is worse than the Carolina Panthers and me and Carson Palmer are no longer on speaking terms after his ridiculous performance. In my 2nd league I lost by 3 points despite a breakout 30 point day from Dwayne Bowe. Pro bowlers Reggie Wayne and Randy Moss combined for a total of 5 points. They're not on suspension, but I am monitoring their progress very closely. In my non-trash talking that I converted into a trash talking league I got beat by the last place team by 47 points. My hall of fame quarterback (Peyton Manning) and the best running back in football (Adrian Peterson) both scored less points than my kicker Olindo Mare. If the Bentley's aren't rolling my team is very mortal. After the shellacking I took this weekend it's time to channel my inner Gary Payton and my inner Michael Irvin. The trash talking won't stop. If I stop now they win by shutting me up. They will not turn off my voice! I will make the necessary adjustments and victory will be mine. If I didn't believe that then I shouldn't have opened my mouth in the first place. My motto is talk the talk and walk the walk till you can't walk it anymore. I'm still standing for now. Here are some observations from the weekend.

College Football:

There is a formula for beating Oregon. Play them when they're on the road, play then when their offense is a little flat, run it down their throats, and make clutch field goals. Cal came within 2 points of pulling it off. I doubt the stars will align like that again this season however.

All the allegations swirling around Cam Newton and improper benefits he may have taken doesn't make it any easier for defensive backs to tackle him in the secondary (more on him tomorrow). Oregon and Auburn will meet in the national championship game. Let's hope Cam is still eligible by then.

The NFL:

Jason Garrett has been holding back the offense in Dallas so that Wade Phillips would get fired and he could inherit the Cowboy's coaching job. There's no other explanation for the dramatic turnaround witnessed on Sunday. I had to check ESPN 4 times to make sure I was reading the score and the stats correctly. 3 touchdowns and 300 yards for Jon Kitna still sounds like a misprint.

It's time to factor in the intangibles when picking a winner. Watch out for warm weather teams going to cold weather climates. Watch out for turf teams playing on grass. Watch out for rookie quarterbacks. Watch out for road teams.

If Troy Smith began the season as the 49ers starting quarterback they would have made the playoffs.


Manny Pacquiao no longer needs Floyd Mayweather Jr. to solidify his place in history as one of the greatest fighters ever. After beating the snot piss out of Antonio Margarito breaking his orbital bone and swelling up his face like Christmas ham public opinion has swayed towards Manny. When the super fight happens Pacquiao will be the favorite. Floyd will still win though.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sports Nicknames

The world of sports can never have enough nicknames. The more colorful the better. I've made it my personal goal to give basketball players Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose new nicknames. From here on out Blake Griffin shall be referred to as Blake "The Barbarian" Griffin. I did extensive research on the subject and anyone who's seen the movie Conan the Barbarian will recognize the similarities between Blake and Conan the main character (Arnold Schwartzenegger's breakout role). Derrick Rose will now be referred to as Mr. Funky. If you've ever seen Derrick cross over on someone then explode for a 2 hand jam you'll know where I'm coming from. He also gets his own theme music, Funky Child by Lords of the Underground. It's a grass roots movement so I'll need the help of my fans, friends, family, and followers to get it going. Tell anybody who will listen. Me quest to rename these players got me thinking of my favorite nicknames of all time. Here's the list I came up with.


"The Manster" Randy White. Half man, half monster? One of the greatest Cowboys of all time Randy White wreaked havoc from the defensive end position in the 70's and 80's.

"The Nigerian Nightmare" Christian Okoye. At 6'1 260 pounds running a 4.4 Christian Okoye kept many a defensive back awake at night. Steve Atwater is the only man I ever saw stop him in his tracks.

"The Kansas Comet" Gayle Sayers. The original Reggie Bush, Gayle Sayers was as elusive and fast as his nickname would indicate.

Raghib "The Rocket" Ismail. A nickname so catchy they nicknamed his little brother "The Missile."

"The Playmaker" Michael Irvin. I'm not sure there's ever been a more fitting nickname in all of sports. When you need a completion, a first down, or a touchdown you turn to Big Mike.


Julius "Dr. J" Erving. Mr. Erving was bestowed his nickname by Rucker Park fans because he operated so well on the court. True story.

Earvin "Magic" Johnson. A nickname so synonymous with the person I bet half of the people reading this didn't even know his real name was Earvin.

Darrell Griffith AKA "Dr. Dunkenstein." I once had a poster with Darrell wearing a lab coat holding 2 half basketballs in his hand like a scientist. One of the greatest dunkers of all time.

Dominique Wilkins AKA "The Human Highlight Film." Dominique was a better dunker than Michael Jordan, there's no question about it. The way he got robbed in the 1988 slam dunk contest will forever live in infamy!

"The Skywalker" David Thompson. Before Luther Campbell or Mark Hamil there was David Thompson. The 44 inch vertical was no joke.


"The Terminator" Jeff Reardon. When you saw this guy coming out of the bullpen it was curtains for you.

"The Sandman" Mariano Rivera. Cue the Metalica. Mariano Rivera is as responsible for the Yankees dynasty as anyone.

"The Natural" Will Clark. I have a good friend that loves this guy so I'll give him a little plug. He also goes by the nickname of Will "The Thrill" Clark.

Pete Rose AKA "Charlie Hustle". Over the years this nickname has become more and more fitting hasn't it?

Reggie Jackson AKA "Mr. October." The perfect way to describe how clutch this guy was. Not too many people get a candy bar named after them.


Thomas "The Hit Man" Hearns. The name speaks for itself.

James "Bonecrusher" Smith. A big, mean, ugly man who might rip your spleen out.

Hector "Macho" Camacho. He talked the talk, but he walked the walk..

Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins. He might still be fighting when he's 50.

Roberto Duran AKA "Hands of Stone." I can imagine those punches really hurt.


Tito Ortiz AKA "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy." The name fits his personality and demeanor.

Jens Pulver AKA "Little Evil." The name conjures up images of Damien in the Omen or an exorcist child. Nice image for a UFC champion.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cleavie The Greek Predicts Utah Over Notre Dame

I usually don't like to beat a dead horse, but I have to admit I do derive a great deal of pleasure out of pointing out the flaws and ineffectiveness of the Notre Dame football program. Truth be told Notre Dame hasn't been a national powerhouse since Lou Holtz coached them a gazillion years ago. From Bob Davies to Ty Willingham to Charlie Weiss and now Brian Kelly Notre Dame has a long list of failed architects who have tried to resurrect the mystique Notre Dame once had. Turning out quarterbacks like Rick Mirer, Brady Quinn, and Jimmy Clausen doesn't give your program the elite status tag. Furthermore Notre Dame will not be bowl eligible for the umpteenth straight year and this week they face an embarrassed, angry Utah team. Utah got the snot piss kicked out of them last week by TCU and guess who they're going to take their frustrations out on? That's right, the gold helmet guys. Notre Dame will lose by 30 points. Ok, enough about the Irish. Here are some bonus picks from Cleavie The Greek.

Arizona over USC. I missed it by one point last week, but the avalanche following USC is still in motion. USC is hanging on with bubble gum and aluminum foil right now. Arizona will seize the time and possibly make their way to a BCS bowl.

South Carolina over Florida. South Carolina has been sub par since their signature win over Alabama, but Florida brought bad karma on themselves by leaking the story about Cam Newton. Yes I believe Urban Meyer had something to do with that.

Pittsburgh over New England. The battle for AFC supremacy will be a close one and the winner will have a leg up for the #1 playoff seed. The Steelers are starting to put it together while the Pats are re-inventing themselves after the loss of Randy Moss. It's still a work in progress.

Minnesota over Chicago. There is a mutiny taking place in Minnesota, but every game is a playoff game for the Vikes from here on out. They will find a way to beat an average Chicago team.

Tennessee over Miami. The Randy Moss show begins in Tennessee in fine fashion at the expense of the Dolphins. They picked the wrong week to start tinkering with the quarterback position.

Next week is the return of you know who. Get your notepads ready and adjust your checkbooks accordingly.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Halftime Report

As the NFL wraps up the first half of the season we know one thing for sure, there is no dominant team. Parody is the name of the game and just like the movie title suggests on any given Sunday any team can come away victorious. Some teams have exceeded expectations while others have come up miserably short. I will break down each division and tell you who will make the playoffs and who needs to find a nice sports bar to watch the games like you and me.

NFC East (2 teams make it)

6-2 New York Playoff bound and possible division winner
5-3 Philadelphia Playoff bound and possible division winner
4-4 Washington Too many injuries and issues with the offense (miss playoffs)
1-7 Dallas Maybe they win 4 games this year (miss playoffs)

NFC North (1 team makes it)

6-3 Green Bay Playoff bound division winner
5-3 Chicago They have a winning record at present, but I'm not a believer (miss playoffs)
3-5 Minnesota They have all the tools , they just can't seem to put it together (miss playoffs)
2-6 Detroit Much better than their record would indicate. Watch out 2011 (miss playoffs)

NFC South (2 teams get in)

6-2 Atlanta Playoff bound and possible division winner
6-3 New Orleans playoff bound and possible division winner
5-3 Tampa Bay Definite overachievers, but no enough to get over the hump (miss playoffs)
1-7 Carolina They will be lucky to win 3 games (miss playoffs)

NFC West (1 team gets in)

4-4 St. Louis Sam Bradford is the truth. They need to win one more road game (playoffs)
4-4 Seattle Definite overachievers, but too many injuries (miss playoffs)
3-5 Arizona McNabb will stabilize things next year, but this year is a wrap (miss playoffs)
2-6 San Francisco Lots of effort, but too little too late (miss playoffs)

AFC West (1 team gets in)

5-3 Kansas City Playing over their heads, but they persevere in the end (playoffs)
5-4 Oakland The split personality thing will catch up with them (miss playoffs)
4-5 San Diego Phillip River may be the MVP but he'll come up short (miss playoffs)
2-6 Denver Dare I say Josh Mcdaniels is worse than Mike Shanahan (miss playoffs)

AFC East (2 teams get in)

6-2 New York Playoff bound and possible division winner
6-2 New England Playoff bound and possible division winner
4-4 Miami A scrappy bunch, but they don't win at home (miss playoffs)
0-8 Buffalo I hope they win a game, but I don't think so (miss playoffs)

AFC North (2 teams get in)

6-2 Baltimore Playoff bound and possible division winner
6-2 Pittsburgh Playoff bound and possible division winner
3-5 Cleveland give them credit for continuing to fight (miss playoffs)
2-6 Cincinnati The biggest disappointment of the season behind Dallas (miss playoffs)

AFC South (1 team gets in)

5-3 Tennessee The addition of Randy Moss puts them over the hump (playoffs)
5-3 Indianapolis Injuries and strength of schedule finally catch up with them (miss playoffs)
4-4 Houston Made some noise early, but they're pretty quiet now. (miss playoffs)
4-4 Jacksonville You never know what to expect from these guys (miss playoffs)

To re-cap the teams that are playoff bound!


Philadelphia New England
New Orleans Tennessee
Atlanta Pittsburgh
Green Bay Kansas City
St. Louis Baltimore
New York New York

There it is in a nutshell. What do you think?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Blue Devils Will Repeat

As we approach the start of the college basketball season and ponder who will cut down the nets in April it's important to realize how the landscape of college basketball has changed. Remember last year the tournament was dominated by mid major schools. There were several upsets in the first and second rounds and a team from Butler ended up in the national championship game. The reason for this is simple, major college programs recruit talent that doesn't stay for more than 2 years. Those programs never get a chance to put together a cohesive team because the pieces are are constantly changing. The best players go pro after their freshmen or sophomore year. It's almost embarrassing for a player to come back to school for their junior or senior seasons. Smaller schools retain their players and they end up providing veteran leadership. They learn how to play together as a team. This is not an indictment on the elite programs like UConn, Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, and Syracuse, but rather an acknowledgement of how the game has changed. We will no longer see the most talented team win the national championship. Instead it will be the team that knows how to execute down the stretch. That comes with experience. Duke has the best of both worlds. The Blue Devils have good players (not great players) that know how to execute in coach K's system. They may not be lottery picks, but they're solid 1st rounders that take a little longer to mature. You go to Duke to become a better basketball player and not necessarily to go pro as soon as you can. That's the difference. In 2011 Duke beats Washington by 6 to win the national championship. It should be an exciting year.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bowling Is The Next Big Thing

This is the most difficult blog I've ever written. It's the most difficult because I feel like someone is going to take my incredible idea and make billions of dollars with it. I'm taking a leap of faith that I can trust you guys so here it goes. When I win the lotto or become a world famous novelist I am going to buy the PBA tour. Thats right, the Professional Bowlers Association tour. I'm going to make it bigger than anyone's ever imagined. The motivating factor behind this ingenious idea? The movie Kingpin. Everytime I watch Kingpin and see the classic showdown between Roy Munson and Big Earn McCracken I cant help but wonder why isn't bowling really like that? It's easy to relate to, everbody's done it, and you don't have to be super tall, strong, or fast to excel at it. Bowling is an untapped goldmine. Here's my plan for taking the sport to higher heights.

1. Add some trash talking. None of the bowlers currently dislike each other. I'd have to change that by making sure the winners gloated and the losers pouted and made up excuses. This naturally builds bad blood and rivalries develop. A little shoving and name calling or a good old fashioned cat fight before the matches wouldn't hurt either.

2. Add the fashion. Make sure the bowlers wore shirts sponsored by Funkesoul, Sean John, Roca Wear, Tommy Bahama, etc. Nike or Stacy Adams could handle the shoes and Prada could design a new short shorts for the ladies.

3. Add the stereotypes like wrestling. Wrestling has Ricky the Dragon Steamboat, The Soul Patrol, Spanish Red, and the British Bulldogs. A little something for everybody that brings it all together. I would have bowlers with different ethnic backgrounds so everyone would have someone to root for and I would capture all the markets (as a side note this is why Hockey and NASCAR aren't more popular in this country).

4. Add the money. Make the prize money outrageous. I'm talking Wimbledon type money. I'd set up 4 major tournaments and if someone won the grand slamthey would receive a $10,000,000 bonus. Roll a perfect game on TV and win $5,000,000.

5. Add the glamour and glitz. Get the celebrities out. Have Jay-Z and Jack Nicholson sitting in the front row. Have Taylor Swift sing the national anthem. Have one of the bowlers date Derek Jeter. Have one of the bowlers date Kim Kardashian. Have clear bowling balls with uncut diamonds and rubies in the middle. Have Oprah endorse bowling as her favorite sport.

If all these elements can come together I think we have America's new pastime. Wish me luck.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Weekend Observations

It was a very up and down weekend on the fantasy football front. My team in the trash talking league is either feast or famine. This week was famine. Once again Ryan Mathews did absolutely nothing (the divorce is final) and 4 of my players combined for a measly 7 points. I still have Carson Palmer going tonight but I'm down 22 points and my opponent is starting Hines Ward, Cedric Benson, and Pittsburgh's defense. Doesn't look good. I got called out in one of my leagues so luckily I have Adrian Peterson, Peyton Manning, and LeSean McCoy to take care of business. They made him eat his words. In my last league I lost by 2 points even though I had the star of the day Peyton Hillis on my team. I'm a little miffed about that defeat. I'm still in the playoff picture in all 3 leagues and that's all that counts. Here are some weekend observations.

The NFL:

Kickers are still trying to sabotage the outcome of the game. 2 contests were decided on missed extra points. By the way the extra point is the simplest play in football.

The New York Jets defense is overrated. Although the Jets are 6-2 and sit atop the AFC East, their vaunted defense is a little suspect. Maybe I'm just being bitter because they yield me no points in my fantasy league, but they don't play like the top 5 defense they were projected to be. This may cost them in the 2nd half of the season.

Wade Phillips (dead man walking) will not make it through the season. The Dallas Cowboys play with no heart, no passion, and no sense of urgency. This team had Super Bowl aspirations to start the season and now they will be lucky to win 4 games. Someone has to take the blame and clearly the team is not responding to the current leadership. So long Wade.

The NBA:

Nicolas Batum is the front runner for 6th man of the year. He's improved his outside shooting and ball handling skills over the summer. At 6'8 he's a great compliment to Brandon Roy in Portland and could ultimately end up as a free agency prize. Stay tuned.

Miami will demolish Boston this week. The Heat were embarrassed by the Celtics on opening night and are out for revenge. They have a few games under their belt now and have learned how to play together. They will make an example out of Boston.

Look out for Tito Horford in Atlanta. Armed with a new $60,000,000 contract Tito Horford is capable of going for 30 and 10 on any given night and is a big reason the Hawks have only one loss this season. He looks ready to make the leap from good player to perennial all star.


The Sounders are not who we thought they were. Seattle was overwhelmed in every facet of the game by the LA Galaxy in the opening playoff round. David Beckham and Edson Buddle made the Sounders look like amateurs. So much for riding the momentum of the regular season.

On a side note I saw 2 horse jockeys and 2 NASCAR drivers get into fights over the weekend. This goes to you show those guys may be small, but a competitor is a competitor. The fights were hilarious by the way. They looked like 7th graders fighting on the playground.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Randy Moss Effect

I wrote last Saturday about the possibility of Michael Vick joining the Minnesota Vikings next year to team up with Randy Moss and Adrian Peterson. Scratch that. Randy Moss has found a new home in Tennessee. I don't condone Randy cussing out the Vikings caterer or drooling over the Patriots organization in a press conference, but couldn't the Vikings have just talked to him about it? Is it ever a good idea to cut a hall of fame receiver you just traded a 3rd round pick for? Christmas has come early for the Titans and Chris Johnson. No more 8 man fronts stuffing the line to stop the run. Everyone knows Chris only needs a quarter of a step to break off a 60 yard run at any given time. Randy will help stretch the field and give the Titans big play capability they've never had. There are some concerns about Randy's attitude (The Titans are his 3rd team in 5 weeks) but I am confident Jeff Fisher can control the situation. Let's not forget Vince Young has a pretty strong arm and excels at the play action pass. You always have to respect Chris Johnson so Randy will definitely have some opportunities to do big things. The AFC playoff picture now looks like this:

1. New England Patriots
2. New York Jets
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Baltimore Ravens
5. Tennessee Titans
6. Kansas City Chiefs

The verdict is in, Randy Moss helps the Tennessee Titans get into the playoffs and re-shapes the landscape of the AFC knocking the Indianapolis Colts out of the playoffs. Could the Titans end up in Dallas in February? We shall see.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cleavie The Greek Predicts Oregon Over Washington (Badly!)

Any self respecting University of Washington alumnus is wishing this game didn't have to happen. If I had my way I'd have the Huskies sign a waiver saying they forfeit the game and accept the loss. No need to suit up and actually play the game when the outcome is a foregone conclusion. Vegas has the Oregon Ducks as a 35 1/2 point favorite and I think that's being kind. I'm not sure the Huskies can hold the number one team in the land under 70 points. If the rivalry wasn't so personal maybe the Ducks would put their 2nd stringers in after halftime, but considering the bad blood between the two schools that scenario is unlikely. The Huskies have treated the Oregon Ducks like 2nd class citizens in the past (before this decade) and I'm sure the Ducks haven't forgotten. There will be no mercy. This game will be the equivalent of Brock Lesner vs. Pee Wee Herman without a ref to stop the contest. I may not be able to watch past the 1st quarter. Here are some bonus picks from Cleavie The Greek:

Alabama over LSU. Alabama got healthy over the bye week and that's bad news for LSU. The game is in Death Valley so the Tigers may keep it close for a half, but Alabama wins by 2 touchdowns.

Arizona St. over USC. The empire will continue to crumble on Lane Kiffin's watch. Arizona St. is better than people think and they have no problem kicking the Trojans while they're down.

Raider over Chiefs. The Chiefs are a young and upcoming team that will most likely win the division. They struggle on the road however and Oakland is looking to ride the momentum of last week's victory over the Seahawks. It is the Raiders though so anything is possible.

Ravens over Dolphins. Ed Reed is back.

Bucs over Falcons. I'm going out on a limb here, but Tampa Bay is starting to believe in themselves. Atlanta will underestimate The Bucs and LeGarrette Blount will run angry. Tampa Bay in a surprise upset.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Weapons Of Mass Destruction (WWF Style)

After much deliberation I decided to include professional wrestling as a sport. Although the outcome of the contests are pre-determined there is still quite a bit of athleticism (and choreography) involved. Plus I was a big fan of Saturday night's main event when I was a kid. It goes without saying that wrestling has had its fair share of characters over the years. From Rick Flair to Shawn Michaels to The Junk Yard Dog each wrestler brings a unique quality into the ring. Unlike basketball, wrestling was and always will be about the signature move. With no further adieu here are the 7 deadliest moves in wrestling history.

The Spectacular 7:

7. The full nelson. Billy Jack Haynes and Hercules Hernandez were the masters of this move. The hold itself is not that debilitating, but when applied by the right person it can be quite effective.

6. The piledriver. This is a favorite move of The Undertaker. It takes a lot of power and strength to pull off the maneuver and the opponent needs to be on his last legs, but if the moment is right you will get a 3 count.

5. The flying elbow. I'm not sure anyone has ever wielded the flying elbow as successfully as The Macho Man Randy Savage. From the top rope he could get enough air to swing the elbow twice before contact. I saw him crush Ricky The Dragon Steamboat's larynx with this move.

4. The DDT. Jake The Snake Roberts was notorious for putting people to sleep with this move. You know your opponent is completely knocked out when you can let a 15 foot boa constrictor crawl all over them.

3. The Boston Crab. A favorite move of Sting's. The move has a high degree of difficulty, but if a wrestler has the skill and strength to sync it in there is no getting out of it.

2. The figure 4 leg lock. I was put in this hold one time and my knee hurt for 2 months straight. Greg The Hammer Valentine perfected this move and sent numerous wrestlers to the hospital. An easy move to apply with deadly force behind it.

1. The camel clutch. This move made The Iron Sheik a legend. A hard maneuver to apply, but impossible to get out of. Hulk Hogan is the only wrestler to ever buck out of the camel clutch.

As a side note here are the top 5 wrestlers of all time:

1. Hulk Hogan
2. Rick Flair
3. The Rock
4. Mach Man Randy Savage
5. Rowdy Roddy Piper

Cleavie Wonder's favorite wrestler: Macho Man Randy Savage. Elizabeth, down that aisle!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Weapons Of Mass Destruction

Over the years the NBA has seen its share of devastating moves and players who captivate us with their superior athletic ability. Some moves are perfected by exceptional players with unique physical skills while others mastered a specific technique. The signature move has gone the way of the franchise player. It is a concept that exists in the past. As a tribute to the legends of yester year here is a list of the NBA's 7 deadliest moves of all time.

The Devastating 7:

7. James Worthy baseline spin. During the Showtime era of the mid 80's the Worthy spin was unstoppable. It was so quick and precise defenders were often left standing still while James followed through with a tomahawk slam.

6. George Gervin finger roll. Probably the prettiest move on this list. At 6'8 George Gervin could finger roll on opponents at will. Whether it was from the free throw line or driving down the lane the finger roll resulted in instant scoring.

5. The Rick Barry underhand free throw. The ability to consistently average 90% from the free throw line can't be overstated. Sure, it looks a little girly, but if its that effective who cares? If Shaq or Dwight Howard perfected this move they would average 45 points a game ( Shaq in his prime of course).

4. The Tim Hardaway UTEP 2 step. Before Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant there was Tim Hardaway. Easily the most devastating crossover in the history of the NBA. Had it not been for a horrible knee injury in the early 90's there would be an hour long highlight reel dedicated to the ankle breaking exploits of Mr. Hardaway.

3. Tim Duncan off glass. No one has ever abused the backboard like Timmy D. It is such a fundamental and basaic move you wonder why everyone 6'9 and over isn't required to practice it for an hour everyday. The results speak for themselves don't they? I mean he only has like 4 championships right?

2. Hakeem Olajuwon dream shake. I got to sit on the baseline and watch Hakeem do his signature move in person. It's 10 times more impressive to watch it live than on TV. I don't fault big men for not trying to duplicate this one. Only one in 10,000 have the coordination to pull it off.

1. The Kareem sky hook. Is it any wonder Kareem Abdul Jabbar is the leading scorer in NBA history? It helps when you possess the most devastating shot the NBA has ever known. He's tried to pass his knowledge and expertise on to the next generation, but the dunk happy era hasn't responded. The sky hook is not very sportscenter friendly.

Tomorrow I will reveal the weapons of mass destruction WWF style!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Why Hockey Isn't More Popular In America

Can you name me 3 hockey players off the top of your head? Can you tell me who won the Stanley Cup last year? Have you watched an NHL all star game? If you're a Canadian that can't answer these questions the country will revoke your citizenship and send you to Greenland. Most Americans however don't have a clue. Hockey is a sport that is rich in tradition and entertaining to watch yet most Americans pay little attention.The sport had a mini renaissance in the mid 80's when Wayne Gretzky played for the Los Angeles Kings. Stadiums and arenas sold out all over the country for the hockey equivalent of Michael Jordan but the sport never experienced that kind of success before or after the Great One. Here are the reasons hockey is not more popular in the United States.

1. Hockey is a specialized sport. With the exception of cities in the Northeast and and cities that surround the great lakes there is no such thing as a pick up game of hockey. Kids don't play it in their backyard or at the playground.

2. The best players are Russian or Canadian. Although the USA gave a valiant effort in the Winter Olympics the best hockey players in the world aren't homegrown. It's difficult for fans to embrace stars that aren't born and raised in the United States.

3. There are few minorities in the NHL. Although the sport was invented by Afro Canadians there is little diversity in the sport as a whole. 1/3 of the country are people of color. Again, it is hard to identify with a sport if you don't see a reflection of yourself.

4. There is no replacement for Wayne Gretzky. Hockey doesn't have a marquee name to hang its hat on. Wayne Gretzky was one of the 5 greatest athletes of the 20th century. No one has followed in his footsteps and put the sport on their back.

Take the time to watch the puck every once in a while. I think you'll be surprised at what you see. At the very least catch the highlights on sportscenter.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Weekend Observations

My fantasy football genius was on display over the weekend. in what could be considered the greatest in season move in fantasy football history, I acquired and started Mike Sims-Walker against Dallas. Sheer brilliance. In my trash talking league the combo of Sims-Walker and Brandon Tate buried my opponent. Playoffs? I'm down 20 points in my 2nd league, but I have Peyton Manning and Kevin Walter going tonight. In my 3rd league Jamaal Charles did the heavy lifting while Jason Witten chipped in with an unexpected 18 points. Dare I say I'm about to sweep all three leagues. Dominance, I has it! Here are some observations from the weekend:

The NFL:

Donovan McNabb will be an Arizona Cardinal next season. Anytime you get benched in favor of Rex Grossman because the coach thinks he gives you a better chance to win you might as well put your house on the market. Grossman never gives you a better chance to win. Maybe Philadelphia knew more than they were letting on when they traded McNabb.

The Seahawks are homers. Even Mr. automatic Olindo Mare mailed it in on Sunday missing not one, but 2 field goals. The Raiders are a decent team, but certainly not good enough to record 8 sacks, hold the Seahawks offense to 162 total yards and 3 points. Only count the games at Qwest Field as wins if you're a Seahawk fan.

College Football:

Jake Locker is no longer a first round pick. Whenever announcers refer to a senior quarterback as raw and unseasoned there's a problem. Talk of winning the Heisman and being the #1 pick in the draft seems like decades ago.

The Big 10 is mediocre. Iowa, Wisconsin, and Ohio St. all have a chance to win the conference title, but none of them have a chance to win the national championship. Michigan St. blew their opportunity.

The NBA:

The new technical foul rule is extremely annoying. Don't be surprised when a player loses his composure and does something stupid. Arguing with the refs should be addressed, but the league has gone too far.

Miami will be just fine. After a blow out loss to Boston to start the season the Miami Heat are starting to figure it out. Once Mike Miller returns from injury they will have a legitimate 3 point shooter and he'll see a lot of wide open looks. The Heat will go 63-19.


Cliff Lee will shake off his poor performance in game one, but the Rangers bats are nowhere to be found. Lee will pitch 7 scoreless and the Rangers will lose 2-1. Congrats Giants fans!