Friday, June 28, 2013

Draft Day Observations

The 2013 NBA draft marked the end of the David Stern era and I for one am not sad to see him go.  As a 206 native and a huge fan of the game his narcissistic egalitarian regime will not be missed.  Maybe now Seattle can get a basketball team and decisions made between grown adults (franchise sales, trade proposals, compensation plans) can be made without the Stern stamp of approval.  Stern did a great job of taking the NBA global and creating economic stability for the league, but his legacy is that of a man with a Napoleon complex that ultimately lost the ability to communicate effectively with the modern day athlete.  We'll see what Adam Silver can do.

But enough about him, let's get to the draft.  Right off the bat the Cleveland Cavaliers pulled a fast one by passing on Nerlens Noel and taking Michael Bennett.  I can't say it was a bad move because the draft wasn't exactly laced with talent and Cleveland has struck gold with their previous two #1 picks. (Kyrie Irving, LeBron James).

New Orleans drafted Nerlens Noel to team up with fellow Wildcat alum Anthony Davis then traded him for all star point guard Jrue Holiday.  Conventional wisdom says go with the twin towers, but I guess the thought of having two big men that have difficulty scoring wasn't that appealing to them.  Kudos to the Pelicans for going against the grain.

There was talk leading up to the draft that Ben McLemore's work ethic was somewhat questionable and subsequently his stock fell dramatically.  The Sacramento Kings selected him with the 7th pick.  Is that a good environment for someone who's lazy already?

The newest member of the 206 NBA club is none other than Peyton Siva.  Siva was drafted in the 2nd round by the Detroit Pistons and I think he'll fit in great there.  All he needs now is a new pair of Now N' Later Gators and a matching derby to blend in with the locals.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wimbledon Madness

Typically you don't see major upsets at a grand slam tournament until the round of 16 or the quarterfinals, but the 2013 Wimbledon fortnight has thrown us a curve ball.  In the first two rounds 7 time champion Roger Federer (seeded 3 this year), 2 time champion Rafael Nadal (seed 5 this year), and former champion Maria Sharapova (seeded 3 this year) all went down in defeat.  What is the reason for the rash of upsets?

The experts will give you all kinds of plausible excuses and explanations, but the fact of the matter is no one really knows for sure.  At that level (with the exception of commentators John McEnroe and Chris Evert) most people are merely speculating as to the cause of their early exits.  It makes for interesting reading though so here's my two cents.

I think Rafael Nadal was worn down from his clay court dominance and had a hard time adjusting to the pace of the grass.  He was hoping he could cruise through the first couple rounds and get his legs back, but he ran into someone that played the match of their life.  Either that or he kicked it too hard after winning his 8th French Open.

  Roger Federer is beginning to feel his mortality and blowing people off the court takes more effort than it used to.  There was a time when all he had to do was show up and his opponent already mentally psyched out.  Those days are gone.

 Maria Sharapova simply let the off court distractions get to her and her concentration level wasn't where it should have been.  Once a player's private life is the main topic of conversation as opposed to their performance on the court it's difficult to focus on the task at hand.

This is what makes sports so exiting though.  Even when you think you know it all the results can make idiots out of all of us.  I guarantee if someone was willing to bet me 3 of the top 5 players in the world would lose at Wimbledon before the 3rd round I would have wagered my next 20 years salary against it.  Now with the draw so wide open it will be easy for Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic to add to their collection of flossy plates.  If they don't we have to call them chokes right?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Will Paul Pierce Retire As A Celtic?

One could argue that Paul Pierce is one of the greatest Boston Celtics of all time.  He has the most points scored in team history, a 14 year tenure, and in 2008 led the Celtics to their first championship in 22 years.  As a key figure of the NBA's most storied franchise you would think the Celtics organization would treat Pierce like royalty.  Instead the opposite is about to happen.  Paul Pierce is about to experience the cruel reality of sports economics and the modern day athlete.

Contrary to what his current teammate Kevin Garnett thinks there is no loyalty in sports.  His former teammate Ray Allen understood this and took control of his own destiny signing with Miami before Danny Ainge could ship him to Sacramento or Utah.  Pierce will have no such luxury as he is under contract for $15,000,000 next season at the ripe old 36. No matter what you've contributed to a franchise in the past there's nothing more unattractive to a team than an old superstar with a gigantic contract. 

This scenario is part of the reason Doc Rivers left town.  He didn't want to stick around for the rebuilding project that's about to take place in Boston and he didn't have the conscience to watch Pierce and Garnett get disrespected during his watch.  As a former player and someone that asked those guys to sacrifice for him night after night the thought of telling them they were too expensive and old didn't sit well with him.

As we speak the Celtics are already entertaining trade proposals for the future Hall of Famer.  It is rumored Cleveland is offering 2nd round picks and a conditional 1st round pick.  I don't know Paul Pierce personally, but I seriously doubt Cleveland is where he wants to spend his last days as an NBA player after playing his entire career in Boston.  It won't be his decision however and the way things look it won't be a pleasant situation.  Perhaps the Clippers (Doc Rivers new team) will bring him back home to LA, but more likely than not he will become a salary cap casualty that ends up on a team with no playoff aspirations.  Paul Pierce deserves better.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Weekend Observations

The police went to the home of Aaron Hernandez this weekend with canines and left with 15 bags of evidence.  If you're a Patriots fan that's not a good thing.  What started out as a routine general inquiry early last week has escalated way past a person of interest.  At this point Aaron Hernandez is the #1 suspect in the murder of Odin Lloyd at a time when the Patriots desperately need his services.  Pro bowler Rob Gronkowski had multiple surgeries in the off season and Tom Brady's security blanket Wes Welker is long gone.  For a team that can't run the ball or stop anyone on defense the two tight end set was the best thing they had going for them.  Now it appears their greatest strength has become a weakness.  Gronk can't stay healthy and Aaron Hernandez is a crazy, mad, gun toting, hooligan.  Bill Belichick is a great coach, but you can only do so much without talent.  The New England Patriots will struggle to make the playoffs.  Here are some observations over the weekend.

I imagine Grigor Dimitrov must be unbearable to be around these days.  This guy has two of the most beautiful and talented women in the world (Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams) fighting over him like a couple of adolescents. Wimbledon has become a side show with gossip and drama instead of forehands and volleys.  Safe to say he thinks pretty highly of himself.

Tahiti lost it's last two World Cup qualifying games 10-0 and 8-0.  Whoever invited them has some explaining to do.  Clearly soccer is not something they should be involved in at that level.

The Toronto Blue Jays are finally starting to see a return on their investment.  After basically buying the Miami Marlins in the off season Toronto has won 11 straight and trail the Boston Red Sox by only 5 games.  The AL East should get even more interesting after the all star break.

The Los Angeles Clippers have finally made a deal to acquire the services of head coach Doc Rivers.  This deal makes more sense because there are no current players involved in the transaction.  Still, expecting Doc to make a significant change in the Clippers is unrealistic.  They are who they are and the Western conference second round is as far as they can go with their current roster.


Friday, June 21, 2013

How The Miami Heat Ruined A Man's Dreams

As I have evolved into the Gary Payton of sports blogging I've notice that my audience is starting to follow suit.  Some friends, fans, and followers keep it civil and friendly with their opposing thoughts and comments while others get indignant and personal.  Some people are perfectly fine with taking an L from me while others would rather stab their own tongue with a rusty screw driver than lose to Cleavie Wonder.  I certainly enjoy all the levels of interaction and expression, but the level that really gets my juices going is the all or nothing zone.  That zone where the loser may want to leave town and change their name for a few weeks until everything blows over.  That zone where the loser is scared to pick up the phone or get on the computer.  That zone where the loser turns on his favorite players just because of the abuse they have to put up with.  I've been on both sides of the ledger, but after LeBron's 37 point performance last night I'm on the winning side of the NBA finals battle.

Everyone knows I've said Miami would win the championship since the beginning of the year.  I wasn't going out on a limb or anything, just thinking rationally and using logic.  If D Wade and LeBron are playing their best basketball I didn't think they could lose a 7 game series.  To my surprise not everyone shared my opinion.  As the season wore on more and more detractors revealed themselves.  By the time the NBA finals rolled around there was a solid group of people that thought the San Antonio Spurs could do the unthinkable.  One of the most vocal was long time Tim Duncan fan Aaron Braganza.

Me and Aaron go way back and I knew he would be an easy target.  He would let his love of Timmy cloud his judgement causing his mouth to write checks Timmy couldn't cash.  After San Antonio won game one Aaron started wearing his heart on his sleeve thinking the Spurs could shake up the world and with every win thereafter he was gaining a false sense of security.

On the other hand I was cooler than a Polar Bear's toe nails.  I found it a little odd the Heat were making things more difficult than they needed to be and turning Danny Green into a household name/multi millionaire, but the overall outcome was never in question.  Even during game 6 I never broke a sweat.  The Ray Allen jumper from the corner was exactly what he was brought in to do.  Just another footnote on his impressive resume.

The icing on the cake though was game 7.  It looked like the stars had aligned perfectly for Aaron.  Timmy was in a position to tie the game and possibly add to his legacy, but the basketball goods wouldn't allow him to upset the natural order of things.  It was meant to be that LeBron win back to back championships and Aaron would be heart broken.

When the Spurs conceded victory I knew I was in Aaron's head.  Instead of raking him over the coals I said nothing, but I knew he could imagine the trash talking without hearing a sound.  He'd picture me in a bar somewhere with an evil smirk and a sinister laugh making fun of him and his Spurs talking enough trash to fill a dumpster.  He wanted to rub my smug arrogance in my face, but unfortunately for Aaron I have dietary restrictions that don't allow me to eat crow and humble pie gives me a stomach ache.  I got the best of him and he should never question my wisdom again.

This tale is what sports is all about.  Pick a team, draw your line in the sand, and let the chips fall where they may.  Don't feel sorry for Aaron.  I sent him some flowers and had some of his co-workers hook him up with a bowl of chowder.  I hear that's a good remedy for nursing emotional hangovers.  Besides we'll be back on the same team in a few weeks once training camp opens.  The 12th man state of mind is important for getting the Seahawks to the Super Bowl and we all need to be on the same page.  We'll let bygones be bygones.  Aaron, if you're out there can I hear you say I was right and you were wrong one time bro?  It will make the transition easier I promise.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Game 7 B3TZ (The Spurs Are Going Down)

Miami vs. San Antonio

Without question the 2013 NBA finals has been one of the most dramatic finals in recent memory.  With less than 30 seconds left and down by 5 Miami found a way to pull out a game 6 victory that will propel them to another championship.  San Antonio had a chance to re-write history, but they let the Heat off the hook.  Now the inevitable is going to happen. LeBron James is going to have a monster game, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker will be unable to repeat their game 6 performances, Danny Green's shot will look very average, and the Heat will win in a blowout.  We might even see Rashard Lewis get into the game at garbage time.  It was a good effort Spurs fans, but it's time to turn out the lights.  The party is over. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Game 6 B3TZ

San Antonio vs. Miami

The NBA finals returns to the 305 and not a moment too soon for the defending champion Miami Heat.  The Heat only managed to get one win in San Antonio and now their backs are against the wall.  Fortunately they have LeBron James, D Wade, and Chris Bosh to bail them out of this mess.  As well as San Antonio has played in this series the cream rises to the top in the end.  The Miami Heat are too talented and physically gifted for the Spurs to win another game.  Danny Green has to wake up some time and Manu Ginobili won't flop his way to another title.  The Heat will turn up the intensity tonight and pull out a win.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Weekend Observations

It appears that my trash talking antics struck a nerve with the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.  Some anonymous Spurs fan sent the team a copy of my blog and they didn't take to kindly to my opinion of them.  Danny Green pulled out the New Jack City soundtrack and listened to Christopher Williams (I'm Dreamin) before the shoot around, Manu Ginobili put on the lucky socks he wore in the 2004 Gold Medal game, and Tony Parker had a late night sexting session with Erin Barry to get motivated.  The results speak for themselves as the Spurs came out with guns blazing to take a 3-2 lead in the series.  They have the heart of a champion, but they will have to win a game in the 305 to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy.  The Heat thrive in dramatic situations so I don't see it happening.  As you might expect my position hasn't changed and I still can't seem to find the panic button like everyone else.  When it's all said and done the Heat will be crowned back to back champs.  Here are some observations over the weekend.

Tiger Woods hasn't won a major in 5 years and Phil Michelson still has that acid reflux problem when it comes to winning the US Open.  I don't think the other golfers fear these guys nearly as much as they used to.  The intimidation factor is all but gone.

Tim Lincecum needs to grow his hair back.  He's not been the same pitcher since he started sporting the clean cut look.  There's no velocity on his pitches and hitters are starting to light him up like a Christmas tree.  He's a UW guy so I won't turn on him just yet, but he needs to pick it up before people start talking about him the way they talk about Barry Zito.

Doc Rivers is a good coach, but not a great coach.  All this talk of trading marquee players for his services is ludicrous.  Doc doesn't shoot jumpers, set picks, or possess a low post move.  In this day and age coaches are hired to manage personalities more than they are hired for their basketball expertise.  You don't give away players for that.

Believe it or not I'm starting to think about my fantasy football strategy already.  This usually happens after OTA's.  I can't decide if I'm being proactive or pathetic in my obsession with the impending draft.  TWO MONTHS FROM NOW!  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

MoHeato B3TZ

Miami vs. San Antonio

The Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs have alternated wins so far in this series, but with the momentum shifting towards Miami I don't think that trend will continue.  The Heat were finally able to put it all together in game 4 and the Big 3 showed why they predicted multiple championships when they joined forces 3 years ago.  Chris Bosh came through like a champ, D Wade looked like he was in 2006 form, and LeBron simply played like an MVP.  There's no reason to assume game 5 won't be more of the same.  The Spurs are tired and relying too much on fringe players (Danny Green, Gary Neal) to do the heavy lifting, Manu Ginobili isn't shooting consistently, and Tony Parker isn't healthy.  That's a recipe for disaster when you're facing the best team in the NBA.  The Spurs will give it all they have, but on their return trip to Miami they will be down 3-2.  Miami wins a close one.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Jason Kidd Isn't Ready To Be A Head Coach

For the record I'm a big fan of Jason Kidd.  I've watched him over the years display unbelievable court vision, leadership, and develop a consistent jump shot that prolonged his career.  Hell, I even took his side when he and Jimmy Jackson were fighting over Toni Braxton back in the Dallas days (first tour of duty).  Still and yet I don't know who told him becoming a head coach weeks after announcing his retirement from playing in the NBA was a good idea.

Jason Kidd has never coached at any level.  His basketball knowledge isn't in question, but I wonder how he will relate to players now that he is the disciplinarian.  Lots of people struggle with that transition and professional athletes have a tendency to hold grudges when they don't get what they want.  I think his ability to relate to players will be compromised once he starts telling them what to do and demands perfection on every play.

In addition, superstars typically don't make good NBA coaches.  With the exception of Larry Bird and Lenny Wilkens most Hall of Fame players (Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas, Clyde Drexler) find it difficult to coach players that don't have extraordinary gifts and a tireless work ethic.  They quickly realize their level of expectation is unrealistic. 

The good news is ownership is behind him 100% and he's coaching a team he has a history with.  The bad news is the Brooklyn Nets are not in a rebuilding mode and the fans want to see a winner.  They may not have the patience for Kidd to make a smooth transition.  No more parties, hanging out with the fellas, and signing autographs, just film study and ulcers await the future Hall of Famer.  If I had to handicap this one I'd say Jason will last half a season.  He'd be better off as an assistant for a year or two than jumping right into the fire as the head guy.  Can't wait to see how he reacts when Deron Williams quits on him or Joe Johnson starts to pout because he's not getting enough shots.  Your thoughts?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why The NFL IS Condoning Racism?

Sometimes money, power, and popularity makes you arrogant, clueless, and insensitive.  Such is the case with the NFL's stance on the Washington Redskins name change proposition.  In an attempt to bring political correctness to the subject and atone for years of blatant disrespect congress asked Washington's football team to change their name.

In a dismissive fashion only a Caucasian billionaire could pull off owner Dan Snyder told congress he will never change the teams nickname.  That response was unfortunate, but somewhat expected.  Billionaires are used to getting their own way and rarely do they consider the feelings of a minority demographic that has no ability to affect them financially.  The more disturbing part of the story is Commissioner Roger Goodell's misguided support of the Redskins owner.

In an open letter to congress Goodell went so far as to say the name Redskins has no negative connotation whatsoever and in fact was a source of strength courage, pride and respect.  Goodell followed up his ridiculous claim by saying "An associated Press survey conducted just two months ago found that only 11% of Americans felt the name should be changed."

Is the fact that a high percentage of the population is insensitive about the feelings of Native Americans justification to continue a racist tradition?  Isn't the fact Native Americans are offended by the name a good enough reason to take action?  Is there any other demographic that would have this much difficulty removing a racial slur from mainstream society?  You can't say midget or retarded without the whole country jumping down your throat but Redskin is ok?  Even when it's not ok with the people being called Redskin?

In 2013 it's hard to believe you have to convince people how offensive and disrespectful this subject really is.  I can't tell if it's a racial component or an egalitarian position that has the NFL so blinded to the truth.  If there were more minority owners I'm sure the NFL's position would be different.  I don't know any people of color that can't sympathize with the perspective of Native Americans on this subject.  I hope this gets resolved amicably but I predict things will get worse before they get better.  Stay tuned.

LeBron B3TZ

Miami vs San Antonio

LeBron James has gone on record saying he has to do whatever it takes for his team to win.  When the Miami Heat take on the San Antonio Spurs tonight it will be the perfect opportunity for LBJ to make good on his claim.  The Spurs took advantage of a hot shooting Danny Green and a lethargic Heat team in game 3 and now they are in the drivers seat.  Of course one win can change all that and I predict Miami will even the series.  Tony Parker is questionable and Danny Green has to wake up out of his dream at some point.  Although the Spurs execute better in the half court the Miami Heat have the better players.  Ultimately talent wins championships.  Miami has the best player on the planet and tonight he'll show you why.  The Heat will win a close one. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Is Chad Johnson A Victim Of Athlete Profiling?

Has anyone noticed authority figures have become increasingly sensitive these days?  Whether it's law enforcement, referees, or commissioners everyone has a point to prove.  The latest example is Kathleen McHugh, the judge that presided over Chad Johnson's appeal hearing.

When the judge asked Chad if he was satisfied with his lawyer Adam Swickle, Chad gave the attorney a light pat on the butt as football players routinely do to each other on the field.  The courtroom erupted in laughter, but Kathleen was not amused.  Instead of granting Johnson his plea deal the judge decided to throw his a$$ in jail for 30 days.  A harmless gesture turned into a prison sentence. 

Perhaps the judge was unpopular in high school.  Perhaps she was dissed in the past by a flamboyant athlete with no regard for her feelings.  Perhaps the judge just wanted to send a message to athletes all over the country that childish antics a court of law won't be tolerated.  Whatever the case may be it is clear the punishment doesn't fit the crime.  Chad Johnson isn't a choir boy, but he doesn't deserve jail time for his behavior either.  In my opinion the judge invoked her personal feelings when making this decision.

With so much trouble in the world it seems petty to take away a man's freedom because other people find him amusing.  It's not like Ocho Cinco was sticking his tongue out at her or anything.  Kathleen McHugh simply wanted to prove a point and in doing so unfairly used her position and power.  If it were up to me she would be suspended from her position and forced to take an administrative leave of absence.  Class clowns get sent to the Principal's office, not to San Quentin.  Your thoughts? 

San Antonio B3TZ

Miami vs. San Antonio

The San Antonio Spurs got the Miami Heat's attention in game 1 and Miami responded with a mamoth beat down in game 2.  Now the series shifts to Texas for a 3 game stretch giving the Spurs a chance to re-group.  Greg Popovich has made a living making adjustments in clutch moments, but the challenge of holding LeBron James in check is a difficult one.  Although the series is all tied up at one a piece LeBron has yet to have a break out game.  That will happen tonight as the Heat ride the wave of emotion from game 2.  I expect Manu Ginobili to have a big game at home and Tony Parker will probbably have a nice performance, but the Heat will regain command of the series and LeBron will get one stepo closer to starting on his three peat.  Miami in a close one.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Weekend Observations

It's not very often one play can change the complexity of a 7 game series, but LeBron's block on Tiago Splitter Saturday night is a definite exception.  For those of you that didn't see Game 2 of the NBA Finals (or the numerous replays on SportsCenter) LeBron James blocked a dunk attempt from Splitter at its highest point and at full force.  The play lead to a Miami basket, the crowd went nuts, and LeBron started beating on his chest like Denzel Washington in Training Day.  It's not the play itself that changed the entire series, but what the play represents.  From here on out the Heat realize they are physically superior to the Spurs and no matter how well San Antonio executes their offensive plays Miami has the ability to neutralize their success on key possessions.  The Spurs can argue it's not a big deal, but having your dunk blocked is embarrassing and demoralizing.  I have a tough time believing the Spurs will be able to get that image out of their heads any time soon.  The series is tied 1-1, but Miami has a distinct psychological advantage right now.  The Heat will win games 3, 5, and 6 to repeat as NBA champions.  Here are some observations over the weekend.

As predicted Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams were victorious at the French Open in historic fashion.  Serena became the first woman to win French Open titles 11 years apart and Nadal became the first men's player to win a Grand Slam title 8 times.  Grass is different than the clay, but I'm still picking these two to win Wimbledon in a few weeks.

The WNBA unveiled the ref cam during the Indiana/Phoenix game.  The technology looked rather unnecessary until the Diana Taurasi got up in the refs face and received a technical.  It was kind of cool to see the ref getting cussed out up close and personal.  Don't ask me how I know this.

The Chicago Blackhawks will meet the Boston Bruins for the Stanley Cup.  Chicago won the cup in 2010 and the Bruins won in Riotville, Canada in 2011.  I assume this series will be close.  There will be blood.  Chicago in 6.

After watching the Belmont Stakes on Saturday I think I want to check out the triple crown races in person.  Horse racing isn't as exciting as the NFL or the NBA, but given the right set of circumstances it looks rather intriguing.  Maybe I'm just getting old.

Friday, June 7, 2013

George Karl Is Not The Answer

I was on ESPN today and 81% of people think George Karl got a raw deal in Denver.  Those people clearly are not aware of George Karl's track record.  Although Karl wins a ton of games during the regular season and has a track record of taking teams to the playoffs his record in the playoffs is less than impressive.  He has only been to the championship one time and that was 17 years ago.  To say that George Karl is a great coach would be overstating the facts.

George Karl has no ability to make adjustments in a 7 game series and subsequently the teams he coaches end up underachieving.  He's had great teams in Seattle and Milwaukee, but only once has he advanced past the conference finals.  For some reason basketball executives still think of him as a top tier coach.

George Karl is not on par with Greg Poppovich, Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, or Doc Rivers yet he gets the same respect.  Now the Memphis Grizzlies are reportedly interested in his services.  It would be a mistake to replace Lionel Hollins at this stage in the team's development.

The George Karl system is effective for the first 3 years, but then players get tired of his style.  He wears out his welcome with superstars (Ray Allen, Carmelo Anthony) and relies an mediocre players to do things they are not fully capable of doing.  In the end George Karl has a tendency to come up just a bit short when it really counts.

I won't say that George Karl is a bad coach, but I won't say he's a great coach either.  For a team that has championship aspirations I would caution them to re-visit the facts before they make a rash decision.  Hall of Fame coach yes.  Legendary coach that can win the big one?  No.  Your thoughts?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Baseball Finally Has A Snitch

For the past few years baseball has suffered embarrassing defeats in their attempt to prove high profile players were using PED's.  They were unable to convict Barry Bonds.  They were unable to convict Roger Clemens.  Ryan Braun got off on a technicality.  Although the court of public opinion weighed in on their decision long ago MLB could never provide the smoking gun or the paper trail.  Until now.

Tony Bosch, the owner of a sports clinic in Miami has agreed to testify in a court of law and name names.  Bosch struck a deal that will give him immunity and witness protection if necessary.  Unlike Victor Conti and Greg Anderson Bosch promises to fully cooperate in the investigation and provide whatever documentation MLB needs to make their case.  In short, anyone who received PED's from this clinic is totally screwed.

The testimony of Bosch is a big win for MLB, but it also exposes the ugly truth.  There is no avoiding superstar athletes trying to gain an advantage on the competition.  The new rigorous drug testing methods were supposed to create a deterrent to cheating, but in reality it only created more of an obstacle.  Players still managed to circumvent the rules and expose the flaws in the system.  There is no way to clean up a sport if the participants are determined to have their way.

Hopefully we are past the point where we are surprised by these kind of stories and allegations of wrong doing.  We have seen too much in the past decade to believe anything that comes out of an athlete's mouth with regards to PED's  The drugs are there, they work, and there's always someone willing to use and distribute them.  So long as professional athletes have the potential to make hundreds of millions of dollars this problem isn't going away.


NBA Finals B3TZ

San Antonio vs. Miami

It's only fitting that the two best teams in basketball will meet in the NBA finals this season.  The San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat both had to deal with some adversity in the playoffs, but they managed to hold it together and keep their eyes on the prize.  On paper it looks like a no brainer.  Miami is the more talented team with the world's best player and home court advantage.  San Antonio has more championship experience however and an absolute mismatch at the point guard position with Tony Parker.  If the Heat win the first game I think they will cruise to victory in the series.  The first game will be tough though as both teams feel each other out and establish their presence of authority.  Look for Ray Allen and Shane Battier to have big games while Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green struggle to find themselves.  Miami in a close one.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How Grant Hill Changed My Life

Many of you know me as the self proclaimed expert on all things sports related and a sportsbook aficionado that can bring Vegas to its knees on any given weekend, but few of you know why I have that distinction and unparalleled powers of prognostication.  It's all because of Grant Hill.

In the spring of 94' my friends and I traveled to Vegas during March Madness.  Although my head was filled with sports knowledge (and Hennessy) I wasn't sure how to parlay that knowledge into financial success.  The big board at the MGM sportsbook looked like the NYSE.  A bunch of names, numbers, and spreads that all seemed foreign to me.  Through all the hieroglyphics the one name I could clearly make out was Duke.

I never liked Duke. They ended UNLV's undefeated season and knocked out the Fab 5 in the championship game, but business is business.  I saw the Blue Devils were underdogs by 4 points and I couldn't believe it.  I thought to myself, "Doesn't Duke still have Grant Hill?  Is that spread a misprint?"  I bucked up and put down $200 on Grant Hill and the Devils on a straight bet.  I watched my investment double in two hours and I've been hooked on the sportsbook ever since.

Grant Hill and the Blue Devils gave me the confidence to look the Vegas bookmakers in the face and say, "YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THE HELL YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT!  MY SPORTS KNOWLEDGE IS SUPERIOR TO YOURS!  I'LL TAKE YOUR MONEY WHENEVER I FEEL LIKE IT!"  The following years would prove to be extremely lucrative and my successes have earned me the nickname Young Sam Rothstein.

Oh, and as for Grant Hill?  He went on to win rookie of the year honors, lead the Detroit Pistons in 5 different categories (scoring, rebounding, assists, blocks, and steals), made Allan Houston a MULTI millionaire, played a playoff game on a broken ankle, re-habbed it for 2 1/2 years, re-invented himself as the consummate role player, and carved out an 18 year career.  Grant Hill is one of the classiest players the league has ever known and the person most responsible for my gambling addiction.  Thank you Grant Hill.  Your presence and attention to detail will be sorely missed.

As a side note after Grant Hill won me all that cheese during March Madness I felt compelled to rock the Grant Hill FILA's.  Subsequently 3 months later Method Man rocked the shoe in his All I need video with Mary J. Blige.  Grant Hill influenced me, I influenced Wu-Tang, and Wu-Tang influenced the world.  Pretty cool huh?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Weekend Observations

In my wildest dreams I never imagined the Eastern conference finals would go 7 games.  I don't know if I should be impressed with the Indiana Pacers or embarrassed for the Miami Heat.  If nothing else the Pacers have completely dismissed the notion that Miami has an aura of invincibility and the eventual 2013 NBA champion is still to be determined.  With regards to the Miami Heat there are several people ready to hit the panic button, but I'm not one of those guys.  I am still under the assumption a game 7 is too difficult for a lesser team to win on the road.  I am still under the impression the Miami Heat shooters (Ray Allen in particular) will catch fire when it really matters.  I am still under the impression LeBron James is the best player on the planet and will display his takeover ability when the situation calls for it.  That being said Miami will win game 7 and everyone will say what a great and challenging series it was.  Bring on the Spurs.  Here are some observations over the weekend.

Jason Kidd and Grant Hill announced their retirement.  Both of them had a lasting impact on the game and pop culture.  I believe both players are hall of fame worthy.  More on this tomorrow.

DeSean Jackson has fired his agent and is considering hiring Jay-Z.  For someone that's never negotiated a professional contract for an athlete his potential client list (Robinson Cano, Victor Cruz) is starting to get out of hand.  Nice move Hov.

Jason Bonderman returned to the mound for the first time since 2010.  That is a great accomplishment, but the results were less than desired.  I'm not sure he will get the opportunity to continue his pro career, but I respect the fact he stuck with it as long as he could.

Tiger Woods and Nike are negotiating a new contract.  Do you think Tiger will give them a hometown discount for sticking with him when all of his other partners went running for the hills?

Eastern Conference Championship B3TZ

Indiana vs. Miami

The Indiana Pacers have given the defending champion Miami Heat all they can handle in the Eastern conference finals.  Although their play has been somewhat inconsistent and they didn't have a superstar to lean on in close games the Pacers find themselves one game away from the 2013 NBA finals.  That being said the dream will not materialize.  Instead of shocking the world Indiana will become a footnote on the resume of King James.  Look for LeBron to have a monster game, the Heat shooters to catch fire from behind the arc, and Indiana to get overwhelmed by the moment.  Miami wins in a blowout and the Spurs will make reservations to be on South Beach come Wednesday.