Posts Tagged With: sports

Rajon Rondo’s Return to Boston

Boston is familiar to Rajon Rondo, but playing there Friday night won’t quite be the same. He won’t be rocking the same green and white uniform he’s worn since he was traded to the Celtics in 2006 shortly after being drafted by the Phoenix Suns. This time, he’ll be the opponent from Dallas wearing blue and white. Rondo admitted that the return will be somewhat emotional, but sought advice from former Celtics teammate Paul Pierce, who told him to “keep blinking when I look up so I don’t cry.”

Rondo was traded to the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 18 after rumors of him being traded have been swirling around for years. This time, the trade was official and completed with Rondo playing in his first game as a Mav just a few days later. Now, with six games under his belt on his new team and not even a month away from Boston, he’s back. Rondo will be greeted by former teammates, some of which he calls his friends. Jeff Green, for one, considers the point guard a good friend and said it will be “weird to see him in a different colored uniform.” He can also look forward to a video tribute and a warm welcome from fans, which will make it a little more difficult for him to keep his composure.

Though it wasn’t his choice, leaving Boston for Dallas is a better move for Rondo’s career and certainly increases his chances of adding to the lone championship he won as a Celtic in 2008. The Mavs have a more complete team to which he adds, as opposed to a young and rebuilding Celtic team, which includes a young Brad Stevens coach in his second year of coaching in the NBA.

As far as the game this evening, I see the Mavericks getting the road win, which will probably be bittersweet for Rondo. The win will be good for him and his new team, but in the back of his mind, Rondo can’t help but to forget about the Celtics team that made him the player he is today.

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Athletes Take a Stand

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged and what better way to start back up than talking about athletes with a cause, right?

These past couple of weeks have been filled with a lot of police-civilian tension because of two incidences where officers weren’t indicted for killing two black males, Michael Brown of Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner of New York. Many have spoken out about it and professional athletes are no different.

It all started with a few St. Louis Rams players, who came out before a game with the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gesture, made famous after Brown’s murder. Following that, other football players wore shirts that said, “I can’t breathe,” the now infamous words spoken by Garner, who was strangled on camera by the police.

NBA players began to do the same thing, with Derrick Rose being the first person to wear an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt. It then caught on and teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers, LA Lakers and Brooklyn Nets (pictured above) wore the shirts together. Though it has drawn some controversy, and whether you agree with the decision or not, the fact that athletes are using their platforms for a cause is respectable. It isn’t unpopular to see them promoting clubs, alcoholic beverages and other products, so why not stand with and promote a cause?

This isn’t something uncommon for athletes of old to do. In 1968 during the Olympics, as they received their medals, track athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos bowed their heads and lifted their fists as a way to promote black pride. Though the two were suspended, they stood for something. Other athletes like Muhammad Ali also made their political views known without worry or care.

So often athletes are looked to as role models and even idolized for their performances on the court or field, but their behavior outside of that is less than flattering. But now, there are those who choose to make their views known by supporting a larger message. They can score all the points, get all the touchdowns and score as many home runs as they can, but being able to use their fame to promote justice and social change (or at least conversation about either two), is nothing less than admirable. That’s something to look up to.

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Violence Against Women Running Rampant in Pro Sports

In the last few months, it feels like there’s been at least one athlete every other week who is being arrested or charged with hitting, beating and/or raping a woman. This includes both college and professional athletes.

The first case was Ray Rice’s incident with his then fiance, now wife a few months ago. Greg Hardy followed suit when he beat up his girlfriend in May. Then, there was the football player, Joe Mixon, at Oklahoma State who punched a woman at a cafe a couple weeks ago. Also in the Big 12, two UT football players were accused of and released from the football team for raping a woman. The latest case comes in the form of former Miami Heat center Greg Oden punching his ex-girlfriend and formally charged Monday (today) with felony battery resulting in serious bodily injury, misdemeanor domestic battery, and misdemeanor battery resulting in serious bodily injury.

My question is: when will it end? Why do men think it’s okay to beat on women, especially ones they supposedly care enough about to be with intimately? Why aren’t women valued and respected?

And to my fellow females: Why subject yourself to this? If he hit you once, chances are he’ll do it again. So, why stay? Never underestimate your value or feel like you deserved it. I’m not just referring to physical violence, but sexual as well. No matter what anyone says, there is no outfit, attitude or actions performed that make you the cause of being sexually violated. There are many organizations and people who teach women how to prevent being raped, but what about teaching men and boys how to prevent raping?

The worst part is the lack of severity in the punishment of these athletes. If they are found guilty, sitting out two games isn’t enough. Being dropped from a team isn’t enough. Criminal charges should be enforced. If Michael Vick served time in jail and was dropped from the Atlanta Falcons for fighting dogs (he wasn’t the only one fighting them in that situation, by the way), how much more should you do to punish someone who violated  a human life?

I don’t consider myself a feminist, but as a woman, I know my worth as I feel every woman should. No woman, or any person for that matter, deserves to be violated in any way, shape or form. The fact that rapes and domestic abuse situations are becoming more frequent show that something needs to be done. The time is now to crack down on this recurrent issue.

When the punishments begin to become more severe and people ignore the fact that it’s an athlete committing the crime, then and only then will men begin to think a little harder before they act.

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Kyrie Irving to Stay in Cleveland

Basketball season is over, but you wouldn’t be able to tell with the free agency buzz circulating. The free agency period began midnight Tuesday and phones haven’t stopped ringing since then. The biggest free agents being pursued include LeBron James, Kevin Love and Carmelo Anthony, but the first to re-sign is Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving.

Irving has agreed to stay in Cleveland for the next five years, a deal worth $90 million.

The official deal will be signed July 10.

Though Irving has yet to earn a playoff seed with the Cavs, he averaged 21 points and six assists last season. Despite his decision to stay, things haven’t always been easy for the guard. Problems between him and teammate Dion Waiters were evident during the past two seasons. But both Irving and Waiters maintain there’s no beef between them.

Irving re-signing with the Cavs is a good decision on his part. As the franchise player and the point guard, Cleveland can build around him. Also, with Andrew Wiggins coming in, the two will be great offensively and can be seen as the start of something  really good in Cleveland. If LeBron James decides to come back to the Cavs (which would be every Cav’s fan’s dream come true), this team would be a force to be reckoned with.

For the next week, James and other free agents will be under the spectrum to see if they’ll be like Irving and stay with their current team or take their talents somewhere else. You’re on the clock, gentlemen.

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NBA Draft 2014

Here are the results from tonight’s NBA Draft:

Round One

1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Andrew Wiggins (Kansas)

2. Milwaukee Bucks – Jabari Parker (Duke)

3. Philadelphia 76ers – Joel Embiid (Kansas)

4. Orlando Magic – Aaron Gordon (Arizona)

5. Utah Jazz – Dante Exum (Australia)

6. Boston Celtics – Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State)

7. L.A. Lakers – Julius Randle (Kentucky)

8. Sacramento Kings – Nick Stauskas (Michigan)

9. Charlotte Hornets – Noah Vonleh (Indiana)

10. Philadelphia 76ers – Elfrid Payton (UL Lafayette); traded to Magic

11. Denver Nuggets – Doug McDermott (Creighton); traded to Chicago Bulls

12. Orlando Magic – Dario Saric (Croatia); traded to 76ers

13. Minnesota Timberwolves – Zach LaVine (UCLA)

14. Phoenix Suns – TJ Warren (NC State)

15. Atlanta Hawks – Adreian Payne (Michigan State)

Honorary mention for Isaiah Austin

16. Chicago Bulls- Jusuf Nurkic (Bosnia-Herzegovina); traded to Denver Nuggets

17. Boston Celtics – James Young (Kentucky)

18. Phoenix Suns – Tyler Ennis (Syracuse)

19. Chicago Bulls – Gary Harris (Michigan State); traded to Denver Nuggets

20. Toronto Raptors – Bruno Caboclo (Brazil)

21. Oklahoma City Thunder – Mitch McGary (Michigan)

22. Memphis Grizzlies – Jordan Adams (UCLA)

23. Utah Jazz – Rodney Hood (Duke)

24. Charlotte Hornets – Shabazz Napier (UConn); traded to Miami Heat

25. Houston Rockets – Clint Capela (Switzerland)

26. Miami Heat – PJ Hairston (North Carolina, D-League); traded to Charlotte Hornets

27. Phoenix Suns – Bogdan Bogdanovic (Serbia)

28. L.A. Clippers – CJ Wilcox (Washington)

29. Oklahoma City Thunder – Josh Huestis (Stanford)

30. San Antonio Spurs – Kyle Anderson (UCLA)

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Round Two

31. Milwaukee Bucks – Damien Inglis (France)

32. Philadelphia 76ers – KJ McDaniels (Clemson)

33. Cleveland Cavaliers – Joe Harris (Virginia)

34. New York Knicks – Cleanthony Early (Wichita State)

35. Utah Jazz – Jarnell Stokes (Tennessee); traded to Memphis Grizzlies

36. Milwaukee Bucks – Johnny O’Bryant (LSU)

37. Toronto Raptors – DeAndre Daniels (UConn)

38. Detroit Pistons – Spencer Dinwiddie (Colorado)

39. Philadelphia 76ers – Jerami Grant (Syracuse)

40. Minnesota Timberwolves – Glenn Robinson III (Michigan)

41. Denver Nuggets – Nikola Jokic (Serbia)

42. Houston Rockets – Nick Johnson (Arizona)

43. Atlanta Hawks – Walter Tavares (Cape Verde)

44. Minnesota Timberwolves (now Brooklyn Nets) – Markel Brown (Oklahoma State)

45. Charlotte Hornets – Dwight Powell (Stanford)

46. Washington Wizards – Jordan Clarkson (Missouri)

47. Philadelphia 76ers – Russ Smith (Louisville); traded to New Orleans Pelicans

48. Milwaukee Bucks – Lamar Patterson (Pittsburgh)

49. Chicago Bulls – Cameron Bairstow (New Mexico)

50. Phoenix Suns – Alec Brown (Green Bay)

51. New York Knicks – Thanasis Antetokounmpo (Greece; D-League)

52. Philadelphia 76ers – Vasilije Micic (Serbia)

53. Minnesota Timberwolves – Alessandro Gentile (Italy)

54. Philadelphia 76ers – Nemanja Dangubic (Serbia)

55. Miami Heat – Semaj Christon (Xavier)

56. Denver Nuggets – Roy Devyn Marble (Iowa)

57. Indiana Pacers – Louis Laberiye (France)

58. San Antonio Spurs – Jordan McRae (Tennessee)

59. Toronto Raptors – Xavier Thames (San Diego State)

60. San Antonio Spurs – Cory Jefferson (Baylor); traded to Brooklyn Nets

Categories: basketball, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, National Basketball Association, NBA, NCAA, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, San Antonio Spurs, Sports, Washington Wizards | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Health Issues Arise in Draftees, NBA Draft Around the Corner

The upcoming draft has been regarded as one of the most anticipated drafts in a long time. This took a turn for some of the potential future NBA players when health issues surfaced.

The first came almost two weeks ago when a possible issue with former Kentucky power forward Julius Randle’s foot surfaced. Randled broke his foot in high school and some believed it didn’t heal properly. After the reports came out, Randle took to Twitter, denying any problems with the foot.

Former Kansas center Joel Embiid missed the postseason because of back problems, but was expected to be okay. However, on Friday at Southern California Orthopedic Institute, Embiid underwent surgery as two screws were inserted into his foot. His recovery time is expected to be four to six months and he’s taking it rather well. This, no doubt, will affect where he goes in the draft (Embiid was projected to go first overall).

The most recent and probably the most devastating health issue came when fellow Baylor Bear Isaiah Austin was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome Saturday night. An EKG during a physical at the NBA combine revealed the abnormality. Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that weakens the connective tissue in the body. In Austin’s case, it caused an enlargement in his heart, making strenuous activities like playing basketball potentially fatal. As a result, he won’t be able to make his dream of playing in the NBA come true. Austin appeared on SportsCenter Sunday morning to announce the crushing discovery.

Austin has overcome other health conditions, including shoulder surgery last year and having a prosthetic eye after a baseball injury when he was younger. With the draft three days away, the new diagnosis was a major disappointment for Austin, but he remains optimistic about his future. Many are hoping he is able to return to Baylor to finish his education and help out in the coaching department (granted, he gets his scholarship back).

The health issues and concerns will no doubt affect these young men and their future in basketball. Randle and Embiid will both get drafted, but may drop because of the issues mentioned above. They’re both still very young, so once they are 100 percent healthy, they can look forward to a prosperous career in the NBA. Unfortunately, Austin won’t have that opportunity, but can look forward to a possible career in coaching.

Best of luck to all three of these young men in the future!

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Stay or Go? LeBron’s Next Big Decision

It feels a lot like 2010 (except now I have a college degree and am job hunting). LeBron James must, once again, decide whether to stay with his current team or leave. Teams like the Houston Rockets, LA Clippers and even the Cleveland Cavaliers have all been brought up in the discussion of where the King will reign next.

The difference between 2010 and 2014 is he’s got two championships under his belt and has a better supporting cast. Keeping in mind the differences between the two teams and the events that took place while LeBron was with each one, it would be a big surprise if he actually left South Beach.

The way the season ended was a major disappointment for King James and the Heat. The team lost the chance to three-peat after the revenge-seeking two-time Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs took the series 4-1 to win the ‘ship. Despite this, LeBron seems satisfied with his current team. There have been some reports mentioning how Mrs. LeBron James loves LA or how LeBron should return to his home team. According to James, he won’t make a decision until after his family’s vacation. In fact, he says he hasn’t even thought about it, but does feel more at ease about the decision-making process.

At this point in his career, it would surprise me if LeBron left Miami for another team, especially after the fanfare behind his original decision to come to South Beach. He’s playing with a better team and coach and has a good chance of winning at least another two championships (granted, everyone is healthy and plays). There are very few teams out there that can offer that chance. Virtually any team he goes to will have to be built around him, which will cause him to have to carry the team.There were times when James had to do that with the Heat, but more times than not, there was always at least one other person that steps up with him.

Additionally, LeBron’s two rings allow him to be a superstar and truly seen as a contender to be one of the greats. Greats like him don’t have to move around every few years because players will want to come play with him, not vice versa. How often did Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson or even Kobe Bryant have to switch teams to play with other superstars? As a result, Bron should settle in and let new talent come to him.

Over the next few weeks (or however long it takes), all eyes will be on the king to see what he decides. It’ll be interesting to follow the various reports and stories, but when all is said and done, I believe LeBron James will stay right where he is.

 

Categories: basketball, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, National Basketball Association, NBA, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Football and Basketball Collide: Anti-Redskins Commercial To Air During Finals Game

The San Antonio Spurs won the first game of the NBA Finals and the Miami Heat took the second. As if there wasn’t enough excitement about tonight’s game three, an anti-Redskins commercial is set to air sometime during one of the game’s commercial breaks. The controversy over the use of the word ‘Redskins’ has been going on for a while now. Native Americans have spoke out against it, saying the word is a racial slur and are offended by it. As if the word isn’t enough, Native Americans are reminded of them being “redskins” by the use of a Native American man wearing a feather for the Washington logo.

However, the NFL sees nothing wrong with it and Washington owner Daniel Snyder says, “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”

I find it interesting how someone like Donald Sterling is booted out of the NBA for something he said in a private conversation, yet the NFL is doing nothing about a racial slur used over and over again because it’s the name of a team.

In my opinion, it largely has to do with the fact that the Native American population is too small and there aren’t enough people standing behind them. If the team name was the Washington (enter African American or Hispanic slur here), it wouldn’t be tolerated. In fact, it’s unfathomable that a professional sports team would do that. So why, then, is it any different for Native Americans, the people who were killed and relocated in their own homeland?

Last month, Seattle Seahawks corner back Richard Sherman spoke out about the Donald Sterling scandal, stating the NFL wouldn’t have banned Sterling and cited the Washington football team as evidence.

“We have an NFL team called the Redskins,” he said. “I don’t think the NFL really is as concerned as they show. The NFL is more of a bottom line league. If it doesn’t affect their bottom line, they’re not as concerned.”

For what it’s worth, I agree with the champion corner back. The NFL has shown what they represent by allowing a word that 67 percent of Native Americans deem offensive for the sake of “that’s the way it’s always been” and revenue. Hopefully, Native Americans can generate more support from NFL players and fans alike so that the Washington football team name can be changed.

Game three tip-off is set for 9 p.m. EST on ABC. To see the commercial before tonight’s game, view below:

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Are Constant MJ Comparisons Fair?

I think it’s safe to say Michael Jordan is the G.O.A.T. Nobody’s going to debate that. He revolutionized the game of basketball and has six rings to prove it. If you ask any player today about their basketball idol or who they model their game after, they’re most likely going to say Michael Jordan.

11 years ago, another man entered the NBA as the first overall pick and has also changed the game: LeBron James. He’s a dominant player and is considered the best player of this era of basketball. Though he only has two rings (and going for his third), he’s a four-time MVP and an inspiration for the next generation of basketball players. James is constantly being compared to MJ and now their respective teams are being put head-to-head.

In an interview with WSCR-AM in Chicago Tuesday, former Chicago Bulls power forward Horace Grant said James and the Miami Heat couldn’t hold a candle to his once dominant Bulls.

“The Heat wouldn’t have had a chance,” he said. “We would have locked them up. We would have locked them up. Especially with the rules today, Michael would have had a field day.”

He’s not the only one, however. People are constantly asking which team would beat which and if James could beat Jordan in a game of one-on-one (both in their prime, of course). But, is that a really fair question to ask?

First, it doesn’t seem fair to try and compare the two because they played in two different eras of basketball. There are things players did in the NBA during MJ’s time they can’t do now and vice versa. For example, the definition of a foul was way different 20, 30 years ago than it is now. The style of play was also more physical and aggressive (see the 30 for 30 on the Bad Boy Pistons to understand just what I mean).

Second, the players in MJ’s time were MEN. I don’t mean that disrespectfully, but playing against 18- and 19-year-olds is a lot different than playing against 22- and 23-year-olds who have three to four years of collegiate experience. So many college basketball players nowadays take advantage of being able to go pro early and leave school with only a year or two behind them. Most guys back in the day didn’t do that. They did their four years and then pursued their NBA dreams (with a few exceptions who did three years). Those four years are crucial and the guys who leave early miss out on that. As a result, the way they play basketball is different. One can argue this gives LeBron an unfair advantage over MJ, in terms of stats, because the competition isn’t as great. And, that’s a fair assumption.

Third, Bron and MJ play two different positions: Bron’s a small forward, while MJ was a shooting guard. Both can shoot, defend and have good ball control, but their style of play is different. LeBron has an easier time attacking the rim because he’s bigger. Jordan has an easier time getting past defenders because he’s smaller and quicker. The way they execute, although both excel at it, is different because of their sizes and position.

To sum things up, I think it’s both men are the greatests of their time. But to compare the two and/or their teams is inaccurate. You can only go on their play in the context of the eras of basketball, which are different, but still good in their own right. Because Michael Jordan came first, he’s considered the GOAT and will always be the standard. But I think people should hold off on the comparisons. There are too many factors to consider when it comes to the two basketball giants.

 

 

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One More Time: Spurs and Heat Back in the Finals

It looks like deja vu happened in this year’s NBA Finals. The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat are, once again, competing for the championship. As a result, both teams have something to gain (other than winning a title): if the Heat win, they three-peat; if the Spurs win, they’ll get the revenge they long for after what happened last year. It will be a battle of wills, but will the same team win?

In my opinion, no. I think the Spurs are still bitter from last year’s game six and are going to come back harder than ever. Despite dealing with an ankle injury in Saturday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Spurs guard Tony Parker is expected to play in the first game. Normally, this would be a weakness because the Heat can exploit Parker, the Spurs have proven they can play well without Parker (although they play so much better with him).

Injury or no injury, the match-up between Tony Parker and Mario Chalmers is a no-brainer. Chalmers does well in his position, but I believe Parker will be able to make more plays.

The level of talent the Spurs have had to play against in the playoffs also gives the team an advantage over the Heat. Miami’s playoff run consisted of playing against the Indiana Pacers, Brooklyn Nets and Charlotte Bobcats. There were some very physical games, but the level of competition isn’t the same as what the Spurs had to face (Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks).

The Spurs also have a different team than last year, not in the sense of players, but in player development. Small forward Kawhi Leonard is a much more developed player and plays a bigger role for the Spurs than last year, averaging 13 points and seven rebounds so far in the postseason.

One advantage the Heat do have is if and/or when center Greg Oden plays. Oden hasn’t played much this season, but did see the court Friday in Miami’s win against the Pacers. He managed to get a rebound, assist and steal in the five minutes he played. At seven feet, Oden gives the Heat more height and dominance in the front court.

Another advantage for the Heat is, of course, LeBron James. The Heat will go as he goes and rally around him. The game will truly be the best player against the best team.

Categories: basketball, Miami Heat, National Basketball Association, NBA, San Antonio Spurs, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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