Friday, March 30, 2012

LA Hoops Is Headed For Disaster

At the beginning of the season it looked like Los Angeles was the center of the NBA universe. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul created Lob City while Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum adjusted to life without the Zen master. The Staples Center was rocking with both of its tenants playing at a high level. With less than 20 games left in the regular season the fate of the Clippers and the Lakers is in question.

Earlier this week Vinny Del Negro got the dreaded "vote of confidence" from the Clippers front office. This is the same "vote of confidence" they gave his predecessor (Mike Dunleavy) before showing him the door. The team has struggled since losing Chauncey Billups and the league has figured out how to make the Clippers play a half court offense. At present they are 2 1/2 games away from missing the playoffs and their schedule isn't that favorable down the stretch. Look for Del Negro to get fired at season's end replaced by Nate McMillan.

As former President of Laker Nation it pains me to see the turmoil and chaos surrounding the purple and gold. Both Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum have had recent run-ins with coach Mike Brown and the situation doesn't seem to be getting any better. I wouldn't be surprised if coach Brown gets the Danny Ainge treatment soon (a towel thrown in his face by a disgusted player). To be fair, coach Brown is a nice guy and he knows his stuff, but his demeanor makes him an easy target and a push over. He always has a goofy look on his face and the players don't respect him. It's time for Byron Scott to come back and take the reins.

LA drama is good for the NBA and sports in general. If no one cared the fortunes of these teams wouldn't be an issue. As it stands everyone is on pins and needles waiting to see if these two franchises can turn things around or if they will be consumed by the weight of expectation and unfulfilled promise. The most probable scenario is the Clippers will barely make the playoffs and lose to OKC in the first round. The Lakers will suffer the same fate (losing to OKC) in the second round. It could have been beautiful, but the LA story will end in tragedy. Too bad Kobe and Blake. You deserve better.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Is Magic In Over His Head?

Magic Johnson calling you in free agency is cooler than the Kansas City Royals owner calling you. No offense to those guys.

Curt Schilling's comments on Dodgers new owner Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson is the most beloved athlete in the city of Los Angeles. He's what Derek Jeter is to New York, Michael Jordan is to Chicago, and Bret Favre is to Green Bay. He's the face of the city. Now he is the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, a proud franchise that has fallen on hard times. It will be his job to resurrect the enthusiasm and winning tradition among the Dodger faithful. Is he in over his head?

Magic has proven himself a successful businessman in many different endeavors including movie theaters, Starbucks, and the Los Angeles Lakers. No one can question his ability to make wise investments and capitalize on his name recognition and good standing in the community. On the surface it seems like a match made in heaven, but what does Magic really know about baseball? Can he tell a curve ball from a slider? Will he know when to be critical of players and coaches? Will he defer to his baseball brain trust on everything?

Whether or not Magic Johnson helps the Dodgers win a World Series he is an example of how to leverage your accomplishments and financial resources into great wealth and power. Young kids growing up (especially African American) should pay attention to his evolution. Going from prep star and national champion in East Lansing to a world champion in the NBA to the owner of a $2,000,000,000 entity is quite a story. Horatio Alger would be proud. I've been watching Magic Johnson since I was 7 years old and I am more impressed with his latest accomplishment than all of his championships and MVP trophies combined. You've come a long way Magic.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Why The Kingdome Had To Go

Yesterday marked the 12 year anniversary of the implosion of the Kingdome. The iconic Seattle structure was the host to many sporting events including the NBA and MLB all star games, the Final Four, the Seattle Supersonics in their championship year (1979) and the Seattle Mariners during their improbable playoff run of 1995. Although the dome more than served its purpose functionally and financially the city is much better off with Safeco and CenturyLink Field. If you ask anyone that has been to all three venues it's not even close.

I can remember planning to watch the implosion with my friends. For some reason we all had the silly notion that this was a fairly original idea and that less than 200 people would show up to watch the demolition. After a night of serious partying and a quick 6:00 am snack we made our way to the prime viewing location.

To our surprise this was not an original idea. Tens of thousands of people showed up and countless helicopters circled in the air to get a bird's eye view of history in the making. It took all of 25 seconds for the largest concrete structure in the world (when it was built) to be reduced to rubble. It was an awesome spectacle. I can still recall the enormous clouds of dust floating in our direction. I imagine this is what people experienced when Mount St. Helens erupted.

Fortunately for my man Chris Hansen there will be no need for these type of theatrics when he constructs his new multi faceted sports arena. I'm sure the arena will breathe new life into the city and create a buzz throughout the country. At least that's how I've drawn it up in my mind.

Although I saw several games, concerts, and shows at the Kingdome I can't say as I really miss it. The dome had outlived its usefulness and it was time for a change. Hopefully the Chris Hansen project will have the same effect the last two stadiums had. Do you think they'll have manicurists at the new facility to care for my delicate cuticles? I wouldn't be surprised if they did. Hurry up Chris! 206 sports fans can't wait!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekend Observations

The Final Four is set and my bracket stinks. I only have one of the Final Four teams left (Ohio St.) and I don't have them in the final game. To say the college kids let me down would be an understatement. At least the 206 is representing with Peyton Siva running the point for Louisville. I can't wait to see Rick Pitino vs. the Rick Pitino wanna be. John Calipari has the better team, but somehow he always seems to falter when it really counts. I guess Saturday will be his moment of truth. Here are some observations over the weekend.

Tiger Woods got back on track with a victory at Bay Hill. The momentum has shifted and now he looks like the favorite to win at The Masters. It's Deja vu all over again.

Kevin Love backed up his 51 point performance going for 30 and 21 against the Nuggets. The Blake Griffin argument is officially over.

In a preview of the NBA finals OKC manahndled the Miami Heat. The Thunder looked quicker, stronger, and longer. If they played a series right now my money would be on Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Somebody get me some pepto bismol.

YOUNG SAM ROTHSTEIN ALERT!!!!!!! The Utah Jazz just came off a 4 overtime game against the Atlanta Hawks and they play today at 4:30 in New Jersey. BET HEAVILY AGAINST THEM!!

Brittney Griner is the female version of Shaquille O'Neal. Any woman that can cram with two hands is far too dominant for her opponents. I'm not saying she's Cheryl Miller good, but she's climbing up the ladder very quickly.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Roger Goodell Went WAAAY Too Far

Have you ever smashed a bug so ruthlessly that you left it there so all the other bugs could see what happens to bugs when they get out of line? That's pretty much what Roger Goodell did to the New Orleans Saints for participating in a bounty program.

In the old days the saying around the NFL was "the quarterback must go down and he must go down hard." In 2012 the saying around the NFL is "If the quarterback goes down he better be able to get up and play next week." As the NFL has become more and more lucrative the emphasis on protecting its star players has been paramount. There have been rule changes, adjusted practices, and equipment modifications to ensure player safety. In other words no one is going to hurt the golden goose.

I used to think David Stern was the biggest tyrant in professional sports, but Roger Goodell has surpassed him by leaps and bounds. Roger Goodell went Kaiser Souza on the New Orleans Saints. He took their coach away for an entire season (along with his $7,500,000 salary), took their 2nd round draft pick for two years, fined the organization a half a mil, suspended the GM for half the season and told defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (the ring leader of the bounty program) he wasn't sure if he could ever come back to the NFL. All this and he still hasn't got around to disciplining the players for their participation in this whole thing. I'm surprised he still allows oxygen to flow freely through the team facility.

The commisioner would have you believe the New Orleans Saints were maliciously and intentionally trying to hurt other players and ruin their careers. The reality is coaches were just giving out little bonuses for big plays. Other teams had bounty programs, they were just more discreet about it. I can promise you this, that old school menality is gone forever. Roger Goddell made sure of that by coming down on the Saints with great vengeance and furious anger. Next rule change? Quarterbacks wear flags and receivers are down after being touched with two hands. That's where the league is headed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Darkside Of John Elway

I wasn't privy to the conversation between John Elway and Peyton Manning, but I'm pretty sure it went something like this.

John: Look P, you and I both know the Broncos can't win a Super Bowl with Tim Tebow at the helm. I mean I like the guy and all, but that hokey ass offense and that ridiculous delivery just won't get it done. I mean the guy couldn't hit water if he fell out of a fu*king boat. I know what you can do and money is no object. Son, I've watched you grow up over the years and I know you got a raw deal in Indy so come play in the Mile High city for your uncle John. I'll take care of you.

Peyton: What about the fans? Tebowmania is real serious in Denver.

John: Once we hold up that orange #18 jersey they'll forget all about that clown I promise you. Don't worry P, this will be your town.

Peyton: Alright John. I'm in.

John Elway never wanted to start Tim Tebow in the first place. He didn't draft him and as a Hall of Fame quarterback with two Super Bowl rings he knew the kid wasn't legit. The organization put Tebow in to appease their fan base and end the controversy once and for all. To every one's surprise Tebow did the impossible and led the Broncos to a playoff victory over the reigning AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Now they were stuck with him for better or worse.

Then along came Peyton Manning. When the 4 time NFL MVP put Denver on his short list of suitors John Elway went full speed ahead. Never mind the hurt feelings or the insincere commitment to Tebow John was all in. It was a decision based on conventional wisdom and a lack of confidence in an unorthodox offensive scheme.

The upgrade from Tim Tebow to Peyton Manning is like trading in a Hyundai Sonata for a Bentley. If the Broncos could win 8 games and get into the playoffs with the Holy Roller what could they do with the best quarterback in the game?

That still doesn't excuse the way John Elway handled the situation. He threw Tim Tebow out of Denver like a piece of old chewing gum. If karma is real his handling of Tim Tebow may come back to bite him in the ass. If not John and Peyton can swap Super Bowl stories overlooking the Rocky mountains with a nice cold Coors. In any event John Elway showed he can be as ruthless as Bob Kraft if he has to. Who knew?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I Never Liked Hines Ward

Over the last 14 years I can't think of a player I despised more than Hines Ward. The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver got on my nerves like you wouldn't believe. From the cheap shots on the field (he once broke Keith Rivers jaw blocking on an interception return) to the ridiculous name (what kind of name is Hines?) to the irritating smile that always covered his face Hines Ward could get under your skin. After watching his retirement press conference I must say I feel differently.

In an emotional ceremony Ward professed his love for the city of Pittsburgh, the terrible towel waving fans, and the Steelers organization he played his entire career for. Although he thought he still had some football left in him he couldn't see himself wearing another jersey and would rather retire a Steeler for life.

That type of loyalty and respect for a team is very rare. In a business as unforgiving as football where no player is untouchable (Favre, Manning, Smith, Rice) and trust is a four letter word Ward's position is astounding. It is evident his experience with the Steelers had a profound impact on his life.

I don't like Hines Ward the player, but I respect Hines Ward the man. To be fair he's probably had a Hall of Fame career. If you count the 2 Super Bowls, a Super Bowl MVP, 4 Pro Bowls, and the Steelers all time leader in catches, yards, and touchdowns it seems like a no brainer. 6 months ago I would have given my right pinkie toe to see Hines Ward carted off the field on a stretcher. Now I'd like to see the number 86 retired in Pittsburgh forever. What a difference a 10 minute press conference can make.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Weekend Observations

People always tell you anything can happen in the NCAA tournament, but no one really believes it. The 2012 version of March Madness has changed that forever with 2 #2 seeds losing in the first round. To say that Duke and Missouri losing crushed my bracket is like saying the Titanic was a small boating accident. I had them both in the final four and Duke in the final game. Missouri was in unfamiliar territory as a high seed so I can almost give them a pass. Duke however should be ashamed of themselves. Coach K should start a slush fund for all bettors that will end up with broken knee caps because of the Blue Devil debacle. Young Sam Rothstein tells me six of his friends have fled the country for Mexico or Canada after blowing their life savings on a Duke/Missouri moneyline. Who wouldn't have taken that bet a week ago? College kids are unpredictable, but not usually to this extent. Big props to go to Norfolk St. and Lehigh. Free white chocolate mocha's for anyone who can tell me where those two schools are located. Here are some observations over the weekend.

Peyton Manning did everyone a favor by picking the team least likely to go to the Super Bowl. The Denver Broncos may have been a better fit from a front office perspective, but the 49ers and the Titans would have been down right scary with Peyton at the helm. Manning and Chris Johnson? Manning to Moss or Vernon Davis? It's water under the bridge now and I for one am thankful. Tim Tebow's next stop? The Jacksonville jaguars.

Pete Carroll is back in my good graces. For a second there it looked like every team in the NFC was going to make a major splash except for the Seahawks. The Matt Flynn experiment is a gamble that's not too risky or expensive. He'll either turn out to be Matt Hasselbeck 2.0 or Kevin Kolb Jr. Whatever the case may be it's a upgrade over Tavaris Jackson.

Novak Djokovic has lost to a 2nd player this year (Michael Isner) and it's only March. The aura of invincibility is completely gone and tennis has regained its competitive balance. The men's tour is no longer a two horse race.

Derek Fisher and the Houston Rockets have agreed on a buyout that would make him a free agent. The media has been speculating his next destination will be the Miami Heat. Who would have thought Fish would get his 6th ring before Kobe Bryant? Wow.

If Kentucky plays the way they did against Iowa St. it's a wrap. No other team is as talented as the Wildcats and the draw is unbelievably weak after all the upsets. There is no excuse for John Calipari not winning a national championship this year. Somehow I think he'll find a way to blow it though. Maybe it's because I'm a Calipari hater or maybe it's because he's a natural born choke. Can't decide.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Legacy Of Derek Fisher

The Los Angeles Lakers have known for quite some time they needed an upgrade at the point guard position. They failed in their attempt to get Chris Paul earlier this year and the Phoenix Suns were unwilling to part with Steve Nash. At the trade deadline the Lakers finally addressed their glaring need by sending Derek Fisher to the Houston Rockets and acquiring Ramon Sessions from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Although the trade makes the Lakers younger and more athletic in the back court it's still painful to see Derek Fisher go.

For Laker Nation Derek Fisher is like family. I can remember when he took me and my friends under his wing following the 2000 NBA championship. At the infamous Shaq pool party Fish made it a point to keep the entourage stocked with drinks and pretty ladies. Considering he didn't know any of us from Adam his generosity and humility has always stuck with me.

Not only does Laker Nation consider him family he was the only player Kobe Bryant would listen to. Their time together spans 5 championships, a three peat, a bitter divorce (Shaq and Vanessa), a controversial trial, and two stints with the Zen master. There's no one Kobe trusts more and it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to a locker room without his number one confidant. Fish has been there from the start so there's no way to tell what kind of impact his absence will have.

On the court is a different story. Derek Fisher has definitely lost a step and in a conference with point guards like Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, and Ty Lawson his deficiencies were being exploited. From a business and competitive standpoint Derek Fisher was becoming a liability the Lakers couldn't afford. Although the trade is emotional for fans it was the right thing to do. Owners don't have the luxury of being sentimental when it comes to protecting their asset.

Derek Fisher will always be a Laker in my mind. All the clutch 3 pointers (especially San Antonio), battles with the Kings and the Spurs, and the way he handled the Shaq/Kobe feud can not be overlooked. Let us not forget the President of the players association did a phenomenal job negotiating against billionaires making it possible for fans to enjoy the NBA this season. I wish he could have retired a Laker, but it wasn't in the cards. That's not to say he won't re-join the Lakers in some capacity. I'm feeling the front office or coaching in his future. Thanks for everything Derek. Hurry back to LA.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Young Sam Rothstein's Tourney Picks

This is the time of year that made Young Sam Rothstein a household name. When the kids take center stage my pockets get fat like I had the mumps. I have to sign autographs, receive indecent proposals from strange women, and hire security to keep people from robbing me. The bracket opens up for me like Neo in the Matrix and I see things before they happen. It's not luck, merely decades of trial and error that have me prepared for this moment.

The tournament field has no favorites and no stand out player that can carry their team to the promised land. The one and done system makes it virtually impossible to maintain a cohesive program and subsequently Mid Majors and teams with experienced back courts have the opportunity to cause upsets. This also helps with the point spread and that's where we make our money. After we win big tomorrow it will be like shooting fish in a barrel. Here are the first round locks. Stay wealthy my friends!

Gonzaga -1 over West Virginia. This is not one of Gonzaga's stronger tournament teams, but West Virginia has a problem with teams that can shoot from the perimeter and keep the game close. A 2 point victory isn't too much to ask.

Connecticut -1 1/2 over Iowa St. The Huskies haven't performed up to expectation this season and the health of coach Calhoun is a major concern. That being said the Huskies are the defending national champions and unfortunately for Iowa St this isn't wrestling.

Murray St -4 over Colorado St. If you just looked at the name alone you probably wouldn't realize the Racers have only lost one game this year. 4 points is a bit of an insult and they will play accordingly.

Duke -12 over Lehigh. The Blue Devils aren't used to seeing a point spread in the teens this early in the tournament, but if the shoe fits go ahead and wear the hell out of it. Lehigh will soon understand why Mike Krzyzewski is the winningest coach in the history of college basketball.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Robert Griffin III: Hero or Scapegoat?

Before he ever takes a snap from center Robert Griffin III is in a no win situation. In order to obtain the draft rights for the Heisman Trophy winner the Washington Redskins gave up two first rounders and second round pick. That's a hefty price to pay and with that investment comes great expectation. If RGIII doesn't hit the ground running Cam Newton style the pressure will begin to mount.

Not only will the pressure begin to mount based on his performance there will be comparisons made to the consensus #1 pick Andrew Luck. Luck is considered the most NFL ready QB prospect since John Elway and the standard by which all other quarterbacks will be judged. Griffin will be asked to match if not surpass Luck's production because the Redskins basically mortgaged the future to acquire him. Not his fault, but his burden nonetheless.

Then there's Mike Shanahan. The Redskins head coach has a history of being overly stubborn and inflexible when it comes to his offensive philosophy. Several quarterbacks (most notably Jason Campbell and Donovan McNabb) have expressed frustration with Shanahan's approach to the position and his demeanor in the locker room. A free spirit and a born leader like Griffin will struggle to flourish in that environment.

The good news is Washington D.C. will embrace him like a prodigal son. they will stand behind him and give him every opportunity to succeed. the Redskins have never had a player that generated this much excitement and enthusiasm. The bad news is the fish bowl effect combined with over analysis will probably take its toll on him. When the President has you on speed dial and mentions you in his speeches you know there's little margin for error. If it works out for the best Robert Griffin III will be considered a hero and a prophet. If things don't go according to plan Griffin will be a scapegoat and a candidate for the all overrated team. Let's hope it's not the latter.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Weekend Observations

Seattle has officially made it to the top of the sports world's "pay me no mind" list. After two inexcusable losses to end the season the Washington Huskies didn't make the big dance. I guess all those awards and accolades meant absolutely nothing to the selection committee. National W.H.A.T.S. day (Washington Huskies Are The Sh*t day) is suspended until further notice. In other news Peyton Manning told billionaire Paul Allen his money was no good and he wouldn't even consider coming to the 206. I think he's making a big mistake, but what do I know. I'm just a rain worshiper from South Alaska trying to stay relevant. I hope Peyton goes to the Arizona Cardinals so he'll stay one Super Bowl win behind his brother Eli for the rest of his career. Serves him right for thinking he's too good for the town. Here are some observations over the weekend.

Ricky Rubio's torn ACL was a major blow to the Minnesota Timberwolves and the NBA as a whole. We're all praying for a speedy recovery and a return to form before the injury.

Once again the Big East is getting too much credit in the NCAA tournament. The conference got exposed for their mediocrity last year, but the lesson hasn't been learned. This year will be no different and the Big East teams will fall in rapid succession.

Tiger Woods had to pull out of the WGC with stiffness in his Achilles. Speaking from experience (I've ruptured my left and right Achilles tendons) this injury is nothing to play around with. Take it easy before something tragic happens.

Although the 206 had a rough weekend Peyton Siva still represented with a Big East title and tournament MVP honors. It's good to see the little Quaker doing it big on the national scene.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Emotion Of Sports

Yesterday I let my emotions get the best of me. It's still too early for me to comment on the specifics of the game, but let's just say my team didn't win. Not only did my team not win , they lost in dramatic fashion. It's not the loss I'm concerned about, it's how I let the loss affect me.

It ruined my entire day. I was in a somber mood all afternoon snapping at co-workers, fighting with family, and displaying an apathetic attitude in general. There wasn't enough rum or tequila in the house to change my demeanor. It took me an entire day to put things in perspective.

As a college educated adult it seems crazy to me that the actions of a few teenagers I don't know personally can determine whether I have a good or bad day. These kids don't pay my bills, tend to my grandmother, or have any control over my daily affairs so why do I take their successes and failures so seriously?

The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat are what makes sports so exciting, but for the die hard true sports fan it becomes more than that. The outcome can be all consuming and dare I say unhealthy for those that take sports to heart. And you wonder why athletes make so much money.

The sad truth is I can't help myself. Sports is in my DNA whether I like it or not. I make no apologies for my actions and if I'm being honest with myself this is not the last time this will happen. I guess you'll have to label me a sports junkie for better or worse. Oh and by the way, I'm not looking for the cure.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sports and Hip-Hop: The 2012 MC Bracket

ESPN analyst Scott Van Pelt gets some major cool points for creating the 2012 MC Bracket- a 64 artist, NCAA style, single elimination, voted based tournament to decide who his listeners consider the best in hip-hop history. The concept of blending my two favorite subjects in this context is pure genius. Nothing sparks debate, controversy, and true passion like sports and hip-hop. The combination goes together like chicken and waffles, ginger and lemon, or Hennessy and coke. I'm kicking myself for not thinking of the concept first, but kudos to Scott for embarking on the challenge. I encourage you all to participate in the online bracket and let your voice be heard.

Here are my observation regarding the first round match ups:

The #1 seeds are solid. Run DMC, PE, Biggie, and Tupac. Can't really go wrong with those picks.

KRS ONE is a #8 seed facing Kwame the #9 seed. This an insult to the Blastmaster.

The 5 vs 12 match up featuring Rick Ross against Ludacris is shaping up just the way I anticipated. Luda is getting in that ass. An upset in the making.

Toughest match up? The #7 seed Outkast vs the #10 seed Busta Rhymes.

The most questionable seedings? Del Tha Funky Homosapien and Jay-Z as #3 seeds and Lil Wayne and Snoop as #6 seeds. Wayne and Snoop deserve better while Jay and Del should never be mentioned in the same sentence.

Most glaring omissions? Keith Murray and Dj Quik.

Let me know your thoughts. Engage your hip-hop vibe within a sports like framework!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pac 12's Finest: The Washington Huskies

The Pac 12 men's basketball honors were announced yesterday and the Washington Huskies were showered with accolades. Tony Wroten Jr. won Freshmen of the Year, Terrence Ross was All Conference first team (along with Wroten Jr.), Aziz N'Diaye made first team all defense, and Lorenzo Romar won Coach of the Year. For some mysterious reason Ross nor Wroten Jr. won Pac 12 Player of the Year, but I won't make a scene about it. In the end the Huskies were well represented and acknowledged for finishing the season strong. What does this say about the program going forward?

To be fair the Pac 12 is experiencing a down year. The talent level is not what it's been in years past and the team's RPI reflects that. The Huskies were able to overcome a mediocre start to the season and win the Pac 12 regular season title with very young players. In terms of recruiting and sustaining a winning tradition it really depends on how far the Huskies advance in the NCAA tournament. Another Pac 12 tournament title would be nice, but in order for the program to advance to the next level a sweet 16 bid is important.

Coach Romar deserves a lot of credit. After being called out by Husky fans and alumni (myself included) Romar has been able to attract and retain top recruits while maintaining a high level of class and respectability. As you might recall I suggested Romar should become more "Calipari cut throat" in his approach, but he did it his way and the success speaks for itself.

There are two problems lurking on the horizon for the Husky program. Tony Wroten Jr and Terrence Ross will probably be lottery picks in the 2012 NBA draft leaving a huge void in points and assists. In addition, coach Romar will be mentioned for every major head coaching vacancy in America. If the Huskies can't replenish the talent or keep coach Romar happy the program could fall on hard times. For now let's enjoy the good times and let the future take care of itself. Go Dawgs!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Should Pregnant Women Be Allowed To Coach?

In the middle of channel surfing over the weekend I landed on the NCAA women's SEC championship game. The game between LSU and perennial powerhouse Tennessee had lots of subplots. Coach Pat Summit is battling the early stages of Dementia, LSU's coach Nikki Caldwell won championships at Tennessee as a player and a coach, and the Lady Vols were going for their 16th SEC title since 1980.

All of those subplots were compelling as the Lady Vols cruised to a 70-58 victory, but something else during the game struck me as kind of strange. Coach Caldwell is 8 months pregnant. She looked like her water could break at any moment. It's conceivable that LSU could make it to the final four at the same time she's giving birth.

I watch a lot of sports, but I've never come across this scenario. I understand that the world of women's sports is different and there are certain concessions that have to be made, but what is the protocol for this? Should coaches be expected to plan their pregnancy around the tournament? Are they considered irresponsible if they don't? Does it affect recruiting? Should their contracts have pregnancy clauses in them?

I have a strong following of female readers so I hope I don't come off as insensitive or insulting. From a woman's perspective maybe the pregnancy has a different impact. Perhaps it shows a sincere commitment and dedication to the program. Perhaps the players feel closer to one another as they share in this life altering experience with her. Perhaps young women look up to coach Caldwell as a role model for sticking by her team as long as she can.

Whatever the case may be it's not something you see everyday, but as a sports enthusiast I'm more than happy to tackle the subject the same way I would any other topic. What are your thoughts on the pregnancy scenario?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Why I'm Voting For Barack Obama

POTUS: So Chris was one of the guys who played and I did a crossover on him. He claims that he could have stolen the ball. Everybody knows that's not true. The second time he might have stolen the ball, but the first time he didn't know I had that move on me.

BS: So you surprised him with it?

POTUS: I did. Yes. My crossover is solid.

Barack Obama's comments about playing against Chris Paul.

It's hard to believe the President of the United States talks more trash than I do. When I first heard Barack Obama's podcast with Bill Simmons I couldn't tell if I was listening to the most powerful man in the world or a cross between Michael Irvin and Gary Payton. Even if I don't believe everything he says I must admit the President has a swagger that I can appreciate.

I'm not here to defend his policies on terrorism, the deficit, or free trade, I'm here to defend his confidence and presence. There have been past Presidents that were avid sports fans, but none of them had the audacity to claim their skills were on par with a professional athlete. Perhaps it's because he's younger. Perhaps it's because he played D-1 ball and still remains active. Perhaps it's because he's cocky and arrogant. Whatever the case may be that mindset is something I can relate to and rally around.

When the chips are down and things get difficult Barack Obama still believes he can get the job done. His over competitive nature combined with a will to win can help lead our country to a more prosperous future. I'm sure there are critics that don't find these attributes particularly appealing or signs of effective leadership, but for my money it's definitely a positive. The trash talking didn't seal my vote, but it did help a little.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Is Michael Jordan His Own Worst Enemy?

If Michael Jordan the player was playing for Michael Jordan the owner he'd be cussing himself out right about now. The Charlotte Bobcats are a pathetic 4-29 after losing 10 of their last 11 games. They are the lowest scoring team in the league and have a ridiculous .121 winning percentage. Who's to blame for this fiasco?

Michael Jordan. Although many consider his Airness to be the greatest player that ever lived his managerial skills have been more than a little questionable. In 2001 he drafted Kwame Brown when Zach Randolph, Tony Parker, and Pau Gasol were still available. In 2006 he selected Adam Morrison when Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, and Rajon Rondo were still on the board. In the past 4 years he's traded Tyson Chandler, Gerald Wallace, Ray Felton, and Stephen Jackson (all 4 players are integral parts of their respected teams). If anyone else other than Michael Jordan made these personnel decisions they would be out of a job.

The problem is Michael Jordan's presence. No one has the courage to tell him when he's wrong or suggest something contradictory to his beliefs. Just because you were a great player doesn't mean you can succeed in the front office. Wayne Gretzky, Bill Russell, and John Elway all had to learn this lesson the hard way. Maybe Michael should call them for advice.

The good news is Charlotte is headed towards the lottery and the odds are greatly in their favor of landing the #1 pick. The consensus selection would be Anthony Davis from Kentucky. The 6'10 can't miss prospect could turn the Bobcats around in a heartbeat. Even Jordan couldn't screw that up. Let's hope Charlotte doesn't end up with a pick between 2 and 5 though. Then things could get ugly. Here's wishing Michael some luck with the magic ping pong balls. Otherwise his judgement may ruin his legacy.