Archive for Sports

Shaq needs Kobe Now!

Posted in NBA, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2009 by Rick

Let me just state for the record that I am a Lakers fan, I am a Kobe fan and self-appointed apologist. I am a Shaq fan and apologist but less so since he abandoned the tantalizing-tinge of Tinsel Town for the sun-soaked sands of South Beach in unceremonious fashion. Much of the NBA Finals build up will include numerous thoughts and theories on Kobe’s need to exorcise the demon of LA hitching their proverbial wagon to him instead of the former most dominant player in the league. There will, no doubt, be pontification over Kobe’s need to match O’Neal title-for-title and prove that he can win it all without the Diesel Daddy. What will be swept under the rug, is the fact that Shaq’s legacy hangs in the balance in a series he can do nothing more than stand helplessly by and  hope that Kobe & Co. bail him out…AGAIN (2002 playoffs: Kobe (vs. SAN) and Horry (vs. SAC)) . This may be blasphemy to some, but consider these facts.

howardshaq

Shaquille O’Neal is no fan of Dwight Howard and Stan Van Gundy. He has publicly acknowledged as much. Stan, O’Neal’s former Miami Heat head coach, has found new life in the NBA elite, coaching one of the best young rosters in recent history which boasts the games most powerful and entertaining athlete in Dwight Howard. Freshen up on the Van Gundy O’Neal story here. The sports world has been enamored with a tall, hulking, fleet-of-foot big-man with a toothy grin and playful spirit for nearly 18 years. They are even used to seeing that guy play on the NBA’s finest stage wearing Magic Kingdom blue, white and silver. He used to wear number 32, now it’s a sleeker number 12 and, man, does he make it look good!?

'93 Dream Teamer stepping out of a London phone booth.

'93 Dream Teamer stepping out of a London phone booth.

Shaq dreams about being this chistled.

Shaq dreams about being this chiseled.

Dwight Howard didn’t enter the NBA with the same brash bravado that O’Neal did in 1992 but his last three years in the league have seen him steadily emerge as a lost post headache offensively and, most prominently, a defensive nightmare. Howard’s rise has coincided with the setting of Shaquille’s 12-year reign of dominance (he’s played 17 seasons and “dominated” for about 12 of them). To add insult to injury, Dwight’s antics during the 2008 Sprite Slam Dunk competition earned him the nickname Superman, a moniker O’Neal wielded without challenge to that point. Howard stole more than a name from O’Neal with that performance, he also swiped the affections of NBA fans everywhere. Fan-voters were so entertained by Dwight’s flying feats that he received the highest number of All-Star votes of any individual player…ever (3.1 million)! Shaq has refused to acknowledge Dwight’s dominance and even his presence at times, but that was when his trademark smile and “Shaq-attack” dunk were the only things at stake. Now, Howard threatens the very legacy O’Neal worked so hard to build and that sends chills up the very long spine of the giant formerly known as Superman.

How does Dwight threaten Shaq’s legacy and what, if anything, does this have to do with Kobe saving Shaq? It’s coming! Shaq has won four championship titles now age and attrition indicate he may not win another ring. If Dwight wins this year…

-Dwight gives Orlando the ring that Shaq couldn’t deliver. Shaq took Orlando to the Finals in 1995 to get swept by Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets.

-Dwight wins a title without another future Hall of Famer playing a significant role. Shaq’s rings included major contributions from Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade. and Robert Horry, all likely Hall of Fame candidates.

-Dwight wins his first title at age 23, 5 years earlier than Shaq. Shaq won 4 rings in a 7 year span.

Dwight is a fitness freak! Barring injury, it’s likely that he will play for another 15 seasons or more and win more rings. Plenty of time to eclipse Shaq’s four rings. O’Neal’s conditioning and commitment to staying in top condition has always haunted him and likely cost him a ring or two.

With these things in mind, Shaq has tweeted “thats right i am saying it today and today only, i want kobe bryant to get number 4, spread da word” I believe Shaq needs Kobe to beat this young upstart so his legacy’s only contemporary will remain Tim Duncan with his 4 titles and nothing more. At this point, O’Neal and Duncan are arguably tied as the most decorated NBA post players behind George Mikan (5), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6), and Bill Russell (11). It’s early, but if Howard secures this one, he inaugurates a journey to be listted among the leagues greatest. The question is will he finish his career looking up at O’Neal or down?

Can Kobe borrow Nate Robinson’s green Krypto-nikes?

"Kobe! You might need deez!"

"Kobe! You might need deez!"

A Great Memory of Wayman Tisdale!

Posted in Early Death, Life, Music, NBA, people, Sports, Tragedy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2009 by Rick

Another great memory of former NBAer and musician Wayman Tisdale, shared by his friend, saxophonist, Kirk Whalum. This is one of Wayman’s  first public messages after having most of his leg removed due to cancer. Inspiring!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “A Great Memory of Wayman Tisdale!“, posted with vodpod

Chinese Basketball…They Don’t Play!!! the follow up.

Posted in ESPN, NBA, Sports with tags , , , , , , , on January 16, 2009 by Rick

After posting a a brief story about, what I thought, was a fluke in the Chinese Basketball Association, ESPN reports this story about escalating violence in the CBA and how fines are being levied to discourage on and off the court skirmishes.

A commenter thought the publicity of the far East physicality was overdone. I wonder if he still stands by these words?

guest Says: in response to my original post
December 8, 2008 at 12:23 pm e

“Actually this is very rare in China, they play a lot less physical and fight a lot less than in the US and other places. Actually the basketball is normally very passive and not at all physical. It’s hard to say why this happened, what led up to it…”

Brett Fav-rah?

Posted in Comedy, ESPN, ESPN Radio, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2008 by Rick

Favre

So it’s done? Brett Favre has bretted his last favre. Brett will favre down in history as the brettiest who ever favred.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reflects:  ‘Brett is the every-bretts’ favre. Only favre will tell if the game ever bretts another Favre as brettiful as the one we all brett and favre.’

Mike Golic of ESPN’s ‘Mike and Mike in the Morning’ gushes:  ‘In all my bretts in the National Brettball Favre, I have never favred a more favreable opponent.’

*Bretting News!!!*

Brett Favre is favreing a brett conference to brettfavre his brettfavreiment…

ENOUGH!!! He was a good player, fun to watch and he’s done! Next story please!

Goodbye or Good Riddance? Sean Taylor

Posted in Football, Sean Taylor, Sports, Tragedy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2007 by Rick

I’d like to state for the record that I titled this piece in a way to grasp attention. As you read further you will hopefully understand that I am reasonably grieved over this tragic occurrence. But the media’s poor handling of this story and casual attitude towards the loss of a human being is much more troubling to me.

I am an avid sports fan. It can get to sinful levels when it comes to NBA basketball and NFL football but I’m sure I’m not on an island in that department (don’t mean to excuse transgression). I was not shocked to hear that Washington Redskins safety, Sean Taylor had passed away after hearing a description of his injuries. I was hoping for the absolute best, but a gunshot wound near the femoral artery is not a good situation to recover from without immediate medical attention. I instantly thought of his family and the child he was leaving behind and I nearly cried. I felt for his friends and teammates who would be left to wonder what happened to their brother. As the reports came in it was difficult to hear accounts of the incident without the disclaimer of his ‘questionable past’. The footprint of his criminal history seemed strategically woven through each head and tag line. Once the pundits finished reporting Taylor’s history of indiscretion outweighed the sorrow of his death. A previous break-in, alleged threats, past DUI’s and a spotty up-bringing all trumped the travesty of a senseless death. What police are deeming a random burglary gone horribly wrong, is being heavily scrutinized and doubted by many of sports’ talking heads and it is raking my soul.

Colin Cowherd, Stephen A. Smith, Michael Wilbon, Jason Whitlock and Doug Gottlieb are just a few names of sports columnists and commentators who have brought light to the fact that this crime was more likely provoked by Taylor rubbing an old associate the wrong way. It bothers me so because the truth of this story is only beneficial to the Taylor family, Miami-Dade Police and residents. Why dig into this story unless the intent is to assist police in bringing the assailant to justice? I don’t get the feeling that Colin Cowherd is solving Miami murders from a radio studio in Bristol, CT. So why all the talk?

I believe many of these writers, much like there tabloid contemporaries, rush to identify the Sean Taylors (I am not condemning him) of the world as bad elements so they can sit back and say ‘See? When you do wrong, bad things happen to you’. This is the credo that helps them all to sleep at night. They also confide in the converse of that statement ‘If you work hard and do right by others good things will happen for you’ and at the very least no horrible things will happen to you. The truth is much more difficult to digest, especially when you don’t believe in an all knowing, all powerful God. Here’s what Solomon of the Bible says to that:

Ecclesiastes 7:15 In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these:
a righteous man perishing in his righteousness,
and a wicked man living long in his wickedness.

Solomon was not God but God allowed him to write this and include it in His holy book. Solomon notices that sometimes good people meet calamity and an early end though they are blameless. He’s also seen evil people live long, seemingly worry-free existences. Thankfully, God has promised that he will not forsake the righteous nor will he ignore the wicked. He promised it would happen but always on this this side of the sun.

Back to Sean’s judges. Random deaths and adversity don’t add up in the ‘get-what-you-deserve’ context. The safe theory is that if you stay out of certain neighborhoods, distance yourself from ‘thugs and gangstas’, mind your business, pay your taxes and take care of you then things will be fine. That’s the kind of thinking that leave many shaking there fists in anger and confusion when the formula falls short of expectation. The assurance of authentic Christian living is that God does not deal in the random. God allows and often causes things to happen, both benefit and calamity. You can rest assured that even when an event seems fortuitous God has a purpose.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything (good and bad),
and a season for every activity under heaven:

No smart person would be arrogant enough to claim to know God’s intention for allowing an act to take place. It can be comforting to think that a perfect God is in control when it feels as though no one is. Sean Taylor’s death, untimely as it may seem, was allowed to happen for some reason. It’s not up to ESPN, Fox Sports radio or anyone else to speculate. The media can, however, help by reporting the facts and speaking well of an imperfect life that still made lasting positive impacts in the lives of family, friends, sports fans and teammates.

Sidenote:

As I complete this entry Miami-Dade police have arrested four youth in conjunction with Taylor’s murder. Confessions have been made and a gun was recovered. It appears at this point that this was indeed a robbery attempt that took an unintended fatal turn. I hope this changes the tone of media coverage.