Basketball, NBA, NCAA Tournament, Sports, Sports Commentary

It pays to take one step at a time …


It pays to take one step at a time …

The sporting weekend brought about a number of thrilling events, with perhaps the most scintillating of them all, being the Elite Eight games, which led to the Final Four of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament . The quartet of teams now making up the Final Four, are among the most renowned programs in Men’s Basketball at the D1 Level. Needless to say, the fans of College Basketball as well as the programs in question, have to be enthralled by the events which have taken place.

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There can be no denying these four teams have played the best throughout much of the tournament , with the highly favored and regular season unbeaten Kentucky (Wildcats) leading the way. John Calipari will be seeking to win the second national title of his career, while looking add his name alongside John Wooden and Bobby Knight as the only coaches in College Basketball to have led their respective programs to a national title and an unbeaten season during the same year. There is a great deal of pressure on this Wildcats’ team to succeed while adding their name to basketball immortality .

Mike Krzyzewski as the head coach of the Duke (Blue Devils) will be making his twelfth appearance in the Men’s Final Four , while also seeking his fifth national title for the program. Needless to say, Krzyzewski in some circles might be considered one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history and has to be ranked alongside such legendary luminaries John Wooden , Bobby Knight and Adolph Rupp . I certainly believe if Krzyzewski can lead Duke past Michigan State (Spartans) on Saturday , 4th April,2015. Then this sets up the Blue Devils for the chances to add a fifth title to the program’s already illustrious history.

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The four remaining head coaches will lead their respective programs in the Final Four . Clockwise, Mike Krzyzewski , top left , John Calipari top right , Tom Izzo, bottom right , and finally , Bo Ryan . AP Photo / Mark Howard

Tom Izzo’s name has become synonymous with the success achieved at the Michigan State Spartans’ program and his having led Michigan to what will now become their fifth Final Four appearance and the thirteenth time, where he has taken the Spartans beyond or where they have reached the Sweet Sixteen, during his two-decade plus career with Michigan State. This contest has the makings of a classic match-up between two legendary head coahes. As to the outcome , everything might suggest the Blue Devils being a slight favorite , but absolutely nothing can now be take for granted at this juncture.

The second of the two Final Four contests pits the Kentucky Wildcats against the Wisconsin (Badgers) , coached by Bo Ryan . Wisconsin like their opponents are regional number one seeds remaining at this stage of the NCAA Tournament, further highlighting, why ‘ March Madness ‘ is far more an exciting a premise, than the ” perceived idiocy “ of College Football and the recent changes made within the sport. Undoubtedly, there will be a great deal of tinkering being made to the current format as the sport looks to legitimize its standing in Collegiate Athletics, with their being the constant criticism of an archaic and money-driven format within College Football.

As fans of College Basketball along with analysts covering the sport debate the merits of the four teams left in the tournament , the unfolding stories which tend to encapsulate the event will now be front and center over the next few days , until we have the first of two tip-offs to determine who will be the two finalists in the national championship game.

With a mere seven games to be played for the vast majority of the teams in the 2014-15 regular NBA season. It has been interesting to see the fallout from what has been an understated season . Granted, the play of several players having exceptional seasons , with James Harden , Steph Curry and Russell Westbrook seen as the front-runners for this season’s League MVP Award. All three players have led their respective teams to a playoff berth , with only the Golden State Warriors (60-13) having secured a divisional title, winning the Pacific Division within the Western Conference , rather comfortably over their closest divisional rival the Los Angeles Clippers.

With the Golden State Warriors being the only team to have won sixty games or more this season. The Atlanta Hawks are the only other possible franchise now in with a remote chance of matching the Warriors’ feat with regard to exceeding sixty victories this season . It does seem to leave something of a question mark as to how competitive the NBA has been over the course of this regular season schedule. Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr has a team playing with a great deal of confidence .

With nine games left on their schedule , the Golden State Warriors have already set the franchise record for wins in a season , beating out the mark set by the 1974-75 team, coached by Al Attles and led on the court by of Hall of Fame player Rick Barry . This was a year removed from the team that won the NBA title . With the division won, and mathematically , Golden State cannot be caught within the Western Conference for the best record . Steve Kerr will likely mix things up somewhat , by having his bench players play an even bigger role , resting his starters as the season winds down . However, with a game coming up against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, 31st March , I am inclined to believe once that contest’s results are in the books , Kerr and the coaching staff will place that particular strategy into being.

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Al Attles who coached the Golden State Warriors to their only NBA title , in their victory over the Washington Senators in the 1974-75 NBA Finals . Attles is still closely involved with the franchise where is he is a team ambassador . NBAE/ Getty Images @ all rights reserved

Spare me the excuses and niceties when it comes to the mediocrity shown by the Los Angeles Lakers , New York Knicks , Minnesota Timberwolves , Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers ! Their front offices smacks of incompetence, with the continued apathy shown by their respective legion of fans, with their mundane and asinine analysis of their teams’ failures, shows them to be just as lacking of intelligence as the general managers and owners in question of the aforementioned teams. Plans were scuppered by conceit , stupidity , but above all poor coaching by Byron Scott , Derek Fisher , Flip Saunders , Jaime Borrego and Brett Brown . As to whether or not., either of the quintet of coaches will be returning for next season, will likely be predicated upon how their teams close out their respective schedules. Consistency , among these five teams have provided us with more than a rare glimpse to why by enlarge the NBA remains a diaspora of extremely average teams, with few being able to win more than 60 % of their games over the course of the season.

Phil Jackson’s competency as a front office executive has to come into question. The New York Knicks could barely stand on their own feet, having to be propped up more often than not, with little to show for a consistent lack of effort. It doesn’t pain me to say this ___ “but what the hell are the Knicks doing, playing as they have been, simply, making a mockery of the NBA “?

The Knicks are simply living on past glories , with their showing no signs of improvement or actually knowing how to extricate themselves out their own mess.

Needless to say, with their fans living in hope that the 2015-16 season, brings about a sea of change with the franchise being able to sign several marquee free agents. My question for these very same self-absorbed and self-indulgent fans, who coaches the team next season ? Clearly, Derek Fisher has little or no knowledge as to what is needed and his coaching staff has provided little assistance in trying to turn things around for the franchise over the course of this season. A great deal of the blame, has to be placed firmly on the shoulders of Phil Jackson , with his ego managing to get in the way of common sense and astute thinking, concerning the hiring of Fisher.

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Derek Fisher head coach of the New York Knicks is seen at the dais , taking questions posed from the convened press after his formal introduction in his capacity as head of the Knicks’ coaching staff. . Also pictured are GM Steve Mills , second from the right , alongside Phil Jackson who heads up the Basketball Operations for the Eastern Conference based franchise.. The Knicks will end this season with the worst record in the NBA and in the team’s recent history. Jackson has yet to commit himself to Fisher and the coaching staff next season , but there is likely to be a major shakeup among the playing and coaches during the off-season. With NBA Draft due on the 25th June ,2015 , all signs would point to the fact , any moves would likely be made prior to the event . AP Photo / Howard Roberts

There has been a marked difference , in how both the Golden State Warriors and New York Knicks have gone about rebuilding their respective organizations over the past few seasons. New York , has simply been wayward, with little thought or strategic planning being put into place and owner James Dolan , simply treating the franchise like a priceless bauble , something to be stared at and admired from afar, little does he realize , that the structure has been falling apart at the seams during that time-fame. In the case of the Warriors , it has been sound management within its hierarchy led by Jerry West, who alongside GM Bob Myers , has been given a clear path to proceed along by joint-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber . Golden State might well be in a better position to forge ahead with their bold ambitions while the Knicks are likely be to foraging around for pieces of scraps left at the table by the rest of the NBA. It pretty much has summed up their season this year , and in many respects the greater half of these last twelve years .

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As an impartial observer or avid fan of the NBA, where do you believe the New York Knicks might have gone wrong over the last six years ? Also are you of the opinion Phil Jackson will ultimately succeed in turning things around for the franchise , whether he chooses to step backing into a head coach’s role or not ? Of the quartet teams making up the Final Four , which pairing do you believe is likely to provide the fans with the most entertaining national title game ? Chime with your observations and thoughts as you see fit.

🙂

Tophatal

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NCAA Men’s Basketball

NCAA Men’s Basketball news

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (brackets)

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament results 29th March and 28th March, 2015

NCAA March Madness

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NBA

NBA news

NBA schedule 30th March

NBA schedule 31st March and for the 1st April

NBA standings (division)

NBA standings (conference)

NBA projected playoffs match-ups

Golden State Warriors’ history

Golden State Warriors’ profile

Golden State Warriors’ news

Golden State Warriors’ roster and coaching staff

This month in NBA history
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Baseball, Basketball, DeMaurice Smith, Economics, Football, NBA, NFL, NFLPA, NPBA, Roger Goodell, Sports, Sports Economics, Sports & Social commentary, Sports Commentary, Sports Econmics, Uncategorized

Deadlines Are For Idiots ………………


Deadlines Are For Idiots

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I’m not so sure that I can really take much more of the idiocy now going on with regard to the impasse between the NBA and NBPA . Two sides that now seem on course for what could very well turn out to be a contentious divide between the two parties . David Stern and his union counterpart Executive Director Billy Hunter . At the same time union President Derek Fisher and the Executive Committee are intent on not cowering to the demands of the league hierarchy and team owners . In the midst of this all Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver have tried their utmost in trying allay the fears of the fans who are of the thought that there will be a lockout and labor stoppage .

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Coming off what has been one of the better NBA Finals in recent years between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat . And as we know the Mavericks would prevail over the Heat winning that series 4-2 with Dirk Nowitzki being named Finals MVP . It’s interesting to see that Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban in spite of his team having won the series he has had little to say about what may well be the impending lockout . I’m not about to suggest that this lockout can’t be averted but given the mess created by the NFL and the labor dispute which has now entered its third month , in effect over 100 days, I’m beginning to think that even there also there has been even less common sense shown by all of the parties concerned . Roger Goodell has been outmaneuvered by a truly worthy nemesis in DeMaurice Smith a former patent and labor attorney with DC law firm Patton Boggs LLC .

Now with a great deal at stake for both sides it appears that the team owners and league hierarchy now feel where they’re at the point where they can now see light at the end of the tunnel . And as of now the light being shone can’t be seen because of the ineptitude having been shown by both parties during their ongoing deliberations.

If the NBA team owners such as Jerry Buss , Michael Jordan , Donald Sterling , Rich De Vos , James Dolan , Joe Maloof and Micky Arison have sat back looking for the league hierarchy to lead in the ongoing deliberations. It seems strange that it has been left to Stern to take the lead but in reality it shouldn’t be as a surprise to anyone given the autocratic rule by the commissioner . Slowly but surely the mess created by the league hierarchy as well as the owners and their general managers has me wondering what other forms have idiocy have now taken place under David Stern’s reign ! The NBA has a soft salary cap of $57 million but somehow more than 2/3 of the teams within the league have sought to exceed that figure . Now it’s quite obvious with a downturn in the economy the NBA has been affected adversely and much of that has come down to the very fact the league and union has simply chosen to run amok with regard to their excessive spending . Teams have simply sought to buy their way to success and in large part it has been an immense failure for the vast majority of the teams . With the league now on course to lose in excess of $450 million for the fiscal year 2011 and having lost a cumulative $750 million in the last two years it has to be said the owners and Stern have some pressing issues to resolve.

The revenues shared between the league and players is split on a 53/47 ratio deriving from approximately $3.77 billion . The league hierarchy would certainly like to see that figure lowered but with Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher steadfastly clinging to the belief that it would not be beneficial for their members to be giving concessions to the NBA . Much of what we’re being led to believe now happening between the union and league hierarchy is something akin to modern day comedy of errors . Things have yet to take a truly contentious fervor but it could well be heading that way with David Stern now taking the lead in the deliberations and wanting to come off looking like the hero . And for Stern any photo op that has him being front and center in the public eye makes him all the more appealing for the public’s perception of him .

If there ever has been a reason to simply have little faith in the Congress then the ongoing stupdity being shown by the House of Representatives , Senate and the President’s administration in trying to raise the debt ceiling of $14.3 trillion ($14,300,000,000,000) has me wondering how much longer the two sides can actually remain in denial . Sen Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and Rep Paul Ryan (R-Wisc) have simply stuck by the fact that tax cuts will be the one thing to stimulate the economy , create jobs and the lessening of government regulations in all facets of commerce , government regulatory authority will go a long way in adding to the vibrancy of the economy . Pity that they chose to ignore the mere fact that tax loopholes will remain in place and also that the numerous committees within both legislative chambers have simply let lobbyists write and rewrite many of the regulations that have placed the economy in the shit-hole that it is now in ! I’ve no real faith in either party given the ongoing stupidity being shown by Democrats and Republicans ! China as the country’s greatest creditor holds in excess 17% of nation’s government bonds and considerable debt . But the herein lies the caveat a great deal of these bonds also held and other governmental financial instruments are in the hands of some of the nation’s largest financial institutions and insurance companies . Think New York Life , Bank of America , Morgan Stanley , Prudential Insurance , JP Morgan Chase and GE Capital .

Even amongst the Democrat cabal of idiots led by Sen Harry Reid (D-Nv) whose own knowledge of the economy can be best described as man whose idea of being firmly abreast of a situation, is try and persuade you that his aides have advised him thoroughly on the issues . Well that’s like saying I’ve just been told a bedtime story by my teacher because Reid like any of his peers within both legislative chambers were never that bright to begin with , especially where it concerns the US economy and its underlying problems !

Any maneuver now either way be it the raising of the debt level and austerity measures in cutting a number of programs will simply be like throwing shit up against a wall to see what will actually stick ! For far too long each successive Presidential administration has chosen to ignore to this acute problem simply thinking that its creditors would continue to buy its treasury bonds because of the added security that the US was a safe haven . Well that’s no longer the case, in spite of what Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner or Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke continues to say merely to calm the financial markets because the country is now completely bereft of ideas as to how to deal this problem . It’s simply using a Band Aid to cover a hemorrhaging stomach wound and as the exsanguination of the country is now in place , who’ll be left to mop up the blood ?

Should the debt ceiling be raised even with the proposed spending cuts sought by Republicans and a number of conservative Democrats certainly won’t stave off any great fears of a tailspin of US the economy. Speculation asides , all that needs to be done are for the top credit ratings agencies ( Moodys , Standard & Poors ) to downgrade the US government’s credit rating from AAA to AA + or AA- (minus ) and this would send precipitous seismic waves in the financial markets around the globe , as there would be a great deal of uncertainty about the government’s ability to pay down its debts much less make principal or even the interest payments due .

The ensuing mess we’ve seen created here with regard to the NFL , NFLPA , NBA , NBPA , the present US administration and both legislative chambers of Congress simply shows us that common sense no longer prevails within sports but also within the dizzying heights of politics . And no doubt there are those amongst us who are prepared to ask the question why should I care ? Well you ought to care one way or another as many decision about to be made will certainly affect us one way or another in our every day lives .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the ensuing negotiations said to be taking place between the NFL , NFLPA , NBA hierarchy and its union counterpart the NBPA how do you view each situation ? And what of the government’s own handling of the debt crisis where do you see things ending up there ? Do you really care at all or have you simply chosen to ignore it all ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……………. http://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) David Stern (right) and Billy Hunter seen here in June 2005 having just reached an accord on the NBA’s then existing CBA (collective bargaining ) agreement which is due to expire midnight June 30th 2011. AP Photo / Gene Kershaw ….

(2) NBA Commissioner David Stern (right) is seen alongside NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver speaking to the convened press . AP Photo / Mark Richmond ….

(3) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and National Football League Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, right, speak to the media outside of the Ritz-Carlton hotel after addressing players during the NFLPA rookie symposium on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 in Sarasota, Fla. AP Photo/Brian Blanco ……

(4) NBPA President Derek Fisher in line with his Executive Committee and player representatives have steadfastly stood by in their determination not to make any concessions to the league hierarchy and owners unless they are prepared to reciprocate in kind . AFP/ Photo / Marcus Pruett …….

(5) Michael Jordan , left, majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats and general manager Rod Higgins watch an NBA summer league basketball game between the Bobcats and the Orlando Magic in Orlando, Fla., Friday, July 9, 2010. AP Photo/John Raoux ….

(6) Los Angeles Lakers NBA basketball team’s new head coach Mike Brown (2nd L) poses with team owner Jerry Buss (2nd R), Vice President of Basketball Operations Jim Buss (L) and general manager Mitch Kupchak after a news conference in Los Angeles, California, May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson ….

(7) Sen Mitch McConnell seen here alongside fellow Republican members including Sen Jon Kyl (R-Az) [right] addressing the convened press on the nation’s debt ceiling issue as well as that of the President’s healthcare reform plan of which GOP is totally opposed to . AFP/Photo/ Richard Curtis ….

(8) Rep Paul Ryan (R-Wisc) is seen here addressing members of American Conservative Union Foundation a Conservative political Think Tank and lobbyist’s group. AP/Photo ……..

(9) Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke (foreground) listens briefly as Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (right) speaks quietly in his ear . Courtesy of Financial Times of London / Keith Parsons …..

(10) Director of the National Economic Council Lawrence Summers (L), Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Dr. Christina Romer (2L), Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner (C) and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke (R) listen as President Barack Obama (2R) speaks after a daily economic briefing in the Roosevelt Room of the White House March 23, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama said the administration’s plan to purchase toxic assets from banks is a move in the “right direction” to unlock credit markets. Romer and Summers are no longer a part of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers having stepped down to pursue other outside interests . Getty Images /Pool Archives …….

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NBA News

NBA hierarchy

NBA team owners

NBA General Managers

NFL news

NFL team owners

NFL General Managers

Albert Pujols, Baseball, Basketball, Billy Hunter (NBPA), David Stern, ESPN, Football, Gregg Popovich, Jim Tressel, Major League Baseball, MLB, NBA, NFL, NFL Lockout, NFLPA, Ohio State (Buckeyes), Sports, Sports & Social commentary, Sports Commentary, St Louis Cardinals, Terrelle Pryor, Uncategorized

Are You Up For That ?


Are You Up For That ?

Ah get a litany of lawyers in a room to try and draw up an agreement between two parties as part of the resolution process in a negotiation is like extracting several teeth without the use of a pain killer . Neither side will be truly happy at all even when you’ve been told that a compromise has been reached . Inasmuch as the NFL negotiations have been going on for what appears to be in an indeterminable period of time. It’s hard to believe that the owners , league hierarchy and players represented by their union NFLPA are actually any closer to a real compromise . Granted , ESPN has made it their sole purpose of keeping us abreast of each and every whiff any move that that has taken place . But for me, this whole episode has been one complete and utter bore ! So much so , that with the NFL having already alienated much of their fan-base I seriously doubt why it is that these arrogant and pompous assholes would actually create the perception that at any time they have actually cared what the fans think !

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If as is to be believed that the league and all parties concerned will have an agreement in place by the 15th July at the latest then what can the NFL offer the fans this season . A slew of preseason games as usual where in large part we will see the new draftees try to show us why it is that the teams went out and drafted them in the first place . At the same time we may well get to see none other than Terrelle Pryor try and make believers out of us that he has in fact changed and is ready for the rigors of the NFL and all that it brings . Fast cars , loose women and plenty of money . Oh I forgot, Pryor was already use to that with his days served under Jim Tressel at Ohio State . So what will be new for the player ? Well first out having signed with agent Drew Rosenhaus as a client you can be sure that the ubiquitous agent will be doing his utter best to hype up his client as if he were the second coming of Joe Montana . But then again when hasn’t Rosenhaus never not been known to do that for any of his clients ? In the right environment the agent could sell oil to the Arabs right from their very own wells at a reasonable price and they would still feel happy about the transaction .

With Pryor having left Ohio State and having declared himself eligible for the NFL’s Supplemental Draft it will be interesting to see if there are any teams out there interested in acquiring the player . I am sure that there will be but as to who they might be remains to be seen .

Well the NBA Draft is almost upon us and environment is rife with a great deal of speculation as to will be the top pick in the draft . With the Cleveland Cavaliers having the privilege of that pick along with another in the top ten it will be interesting to see how Cavaliers GM Chris Grant goes about rebuilding the roster in the aftermath of LeBron James’ departure and their rather lackluster season within the Eastern Conference . From my own standpoint I do believe that Bryon Scott as the team’s coach has a monumental task to undertake as the Cleveland Cavaliers appear to be a team without a sense of real purpose . The fans within the city may well have had the last laugh in seeing the player and his team the Miami Heat succumb to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals . But that asides it has to be said that the situation while on the face of it may well appear to bleak it could well be a number of years before we can actually view the franchise as a legitimate threat to win an NBA title .

Being an avid San Antonio Spurs’ fan I’ve read a number of blogs within this medium suggesting that GM R C Burford may well seek to trade Tony Parker or use the player as bait in moving up in the order of the NBA Draft. While on the face of it seems a reasonable thing to do . I would point to the fact that the player throughout much of the regular season was the team’s most productive player by far in terms of their offensive output . But what might be even more asinine would be for Burford to actually believe it feasible to acquire an aging Vince Carter to add to this team. The team doesn’t need to get older but simply more athletic with the younger players on this squad actually stepping up their game and actually contributing more . But given the sheer ineptitude shown by the Spurs this postseason I for one am not so sure that the fans won’t be in for more of the same should they make the playoffs this upcoming season . As great a coach as I know Gregg Popovich to be if these players aren’t motivated to get the job done then their ass ought to be kicked to the curb . And yes that includes veteran player Tim Duncan as well !

I don’t know if at this time of the season any team can really afford an injury to one of their most prominent players on their roster . In baseball this seems to be the anomaly that repeatedly tends to either add an incentive to the rest of the players or simply saps them of all of their confidence . This could very well be the case with the St Louis Cardinals and the loss of their All Star slugger and first baseman Albert Pujols for what we’re led to believe could be a minimum of six weeks due to a fractured right arm/wrist . Given the player’s productivity and what it means to the team over the course of the season any loss of this magnitude has to be profound for the organization

The St Louis Cardinals now appear to be in a tenuous dog fight in terms of seeking dominance within the NL Central . While trying to fend off the resurgent Milwaukee Brewers they also have to deal with a Cincinnati Reds team that would like to show the fans that their appearance in last season’s standings and their appearance in the postseason were by no means a fluke .

If the Cardinals are to have any chance of the team even winning the division much less obtaining the wildcard berth as the NL representative then the likes of Matt Holliday , Coby Rasmus , Ryan Theriot and Lance Berkman in particular will have to raise the level of their play over the ensuing weeks while Pujols remains on the DL . If the Cardinals can weather that storm and stay at least within two games of the division leaders then the loss of Albert Pujols mightn’t be as grave as one would have first thought . It will be however down to Tony La Russa to have his players believing that they’re still in with a fighting chance and that the loss of Pujols is not in vain .

And here was I thinking that the idiocy of the NFL labor negotiations had become a real farce ! Now I’m being proven wrong by the sheer ineptitude now being shown by the NBA team owners , league hierarchy and the NPBA (union) . Were it not for the asinine behavior continually being shown by the Obama administration of the government , the House and Senate I could have sworn that this wasn’t indeed the US but some third world country on the African continent ! Somewhere or should I say somehow , the NBA and the union seems to have found themselves in a total divergence when it comes to an according concerning their collective bargaining agreement that is due to expire at midnight on the 30th June. Suffice to say, that if an agreement of some kind is not reached then in all likelihood the fans of the NBA could see a lockout of the players . Bring on the dark days of Summer I say ! Can anything else go wrong that already hasn’t when it comes to the world of professional and collegiate sports ? I’ll leave that for you all to decide !

Courtesy of AP & Yahoo Sports

Union: Owners still demand too much in NBA talks

By Brian Mahoney , AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP )—Union officials said Wednesday that NBA players and owners are about $7 billion apart over a 10-year span in their most recent proposals, a significant gap to close to avoid a work stoppage.

So far apart in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement that union president Derek Fisher(notes) said when players are briefed on the state of the talks, they are in “total disbelief” and ask why they even bother having meetings.

“When we put our spreadsheets up, we put it on the board, we lay it out, everybody’s at a loss for how to even begin to close this gap,” the Lakers’ guard said.

They have only until June 30, when the current CBA expires, and they’ll take another crack at it during another session Friday.

But as they continue to disagree over issues relating to the salary cap as well as the enormous gap in economics, it becomes clear how difficult it will be to avoid a lockout.

“Their demand is gargantuan and we just can’t meet it,” executive director Billy Hunter said.

Hunter and Fisher decided to meet with reporters after being caught off guard Tuesday when NBA Commissioner David Stern revealed details of the league’s latest proposal during a press conference after a bargaining session. Both sides had largely kept specifics from the media during the negotiations.

Yet Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver laid out their proposal for what they called a “flex cap,” in which teams would be targeted to spend $62 million in salary, but could exceed that number through the use of exceptions to an unspecified level before the ceiling kicked in.

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If what we’re being led to believe is that the two sides are so far apart , as in trying to alleviate this issue with both parties aren’t able to come to an agreement , wherein they can successfully reach an accord as to how best to equally split a projected revenue stream of $ 7 billion over the next decade then there’s something seriously wrong with the thinking of parties . Not unlike the idiocy we’re now seeing concerning Democrats , GOP and the President as they try to rein in the runaway spending and an ever deepening deficit and national debt . Can I get a what , what here ?

I’ve never really been enamored with David Stern as the commissioner of the NBA and I simply do not trust anything that has been set forth by NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter or anyone from the union’s executive committee led by union President Derek Fisher . Both sides at present would rather have a pissing contest , seeing who best can actually write their name in the sand . Can any of these bumbling oafs actually see the forest but for the trees ? Then one has to consider that should a labor stoppage now begin in earnest where does it leave the players now awaiting the commencement of tonight’s NBA Draft ?

Now as we head on into the dank dark days of summer no doubt hoping to enjoy a season of fun in terms of what sporting offers there are to be had . I’m not so sure that we are all expecting will actually be that satisfactory to begin with . I mean simply look across the collegiate landscape to see the machinations that have taken place there ? I’m sure that Jim Tressel if he had it to do all over again would have preferred to have had a tattoo on the end of his member, asking all those who view it, to pull ! But instead, it was left to Prior and several of his now former teammates to blow that bitch asunder for us to actually know that collegiate athletics has always been a complete joke to begin with ! Needless to say those devout fans of USC would like to tell us otherwise .

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By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as you would deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……. http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, left, hugs his wife, Candice Romo at his annual football fundamentals camp at Burlington High School, Wednesday, June 22, 2011, in Burlington, Wis. They were married May 28. Romo graduated from the school. The two-day camp is for athletes entering grades 7-12. AP Photo/Journal Times, Mark Hertzberg …

(2) Woody Johnson, left, owner of the New York Jets, talks with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft at the NFL football owners meetings in Rosemont, Ill., Tuesday, June 21, 2011. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ……

(3) Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, second from right, and others grab a bite to eat during the NFL football owners meetings in Rosemont, Ill., Tuesday, June 21, 2011. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh …..

(4) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a news conference at the NFL football owners meetings in Rosemont, Ill., Tuesday, June 21, 2011. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ….

(5) Terrelle Pryor ended his silence Tuesday — for exactly 97 seconds. Pryor (right) is seen here with his agent Drew Rosenhaus and Rosenhaus associate Robert Bailey (left). AP Photo / Michael Croft ……

(6) FILE – This April 29, 2011 , file photo shows San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, right, talking with guard Tony Parker, of France, during the first half of Game 6 against the Memphis Grizzlies , in a first-round NBA basketball playoff game, in Memphis, Tenn. Parker is backing off earlier comments to French media that San Antonio realistically has no more chances to win another championship. The comments came a few weeks after the 61-win Spurs were upset in the first round by eighth-seeded Memphis. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey ……

(7) ST. LOUIS, MO – JUNE 22: Lance Berkman (12 ) of the St. Louis Cardinals double up Ryan Howard (6) of the Philadelphia Phillies at Busch Stadium on June 22, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Phillies would go on to defeat the Caridnals 4-0 . Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images …..

(8) Starter Cliff Lee(33) and Carlos Ruiz (51) both of the Philadelphia Phillies congratulate each other after beating the St. Louis Cardinals at Cardinals at Busch Stadium on June 22, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images ……

(9) St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols stands in the dugout with his left arm in a soft cast during the Cardinals’ baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies pm Tuesday, June 21, 2011, in St. Louis. Pujols will be out 4-6 weeks after being injured on a play during a game against the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …

(10) NBA Commissioner David Stern, left, gestures as he sits next to Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver , following a meeting between team owners and the NBA players’ union on Tuesday, June 21, 2011, in New York. Both sides made new proposals in a 3 1/2-hour meeting on what Stern said was an important day in the league’s labor talks. The collective bargaining agreement expires June 30. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews ……

(11) Los Angeles Lakers basketball player Derek Fisher holds a press briefing following a meeting between team owners and the NBA player’s union on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 in New York . AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews …..

(12) Billy Hunter, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, holds a press briefing following a meeting between team owners and the NBA player’s union on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 in New York. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews …..

(13) These recent handouts provided by their respective schools or overseas team, show 2011 NBA basketball draft prospects. Top from left are Nolan Smith, Duke; Malcolm Thomas, San Diego State; Trey Thompkins, Georgia; Klay Thompson, Washington State; Tristan Thompson, Texas, and Jeremy Tyler, Tokyo Apache. Bottom from left are Jonas Valanciunas, Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania); Jan Vesely, Partizan Belgrade (Serbia); Nikola Vicevic, Southern Cal; Kemba Walker, Connecticut, Derrick Williams, Arizona, and Jordan Williams, Maryland. AP Photo / File …….

(14) Toronto Raptors new head coach Dwane Casey , left, and general manager Bryan Colangelo pose following a basketball conference in Toronto on Tuesday, June 21, 2011. Casey was hired as coach of the Raptors on Tuesday, nine days after the Dallas assistant helped the Mavericks win an NBA title. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young ……

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Can’t Knock The Hustle …………


Can’t Knock The Hustle …………….

Well in the aftermath of the NBA Finals series loss it seems just about everyone has an opinion on what went wrong for the Miami Heat . I see it as nothing more than the following ….. the fans were sold a bill of goods and it was hyped up with amped up so completely that a snake oil salesman couldn’t have done a better job. Pat Riley sold this crap for all it was worth and LeBron James and Dwyane Wade simply made us all believe that the team could get by on simply turning up in the Finals . Well it’s now over and done with and arguably this might be the most embarrassing series loss in NBA Finals’ history. A patron of mine would suggest that this loss was in no way as humiliating as the Los Angeles Lakers’ series loss (4-1) to the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals of 2004 . But I simply look at this way, an aging Lakers’ roster that had four future Hall of Famers , Karl Malone , Gary Payton , Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal , wherein two of those players (Malone and Payton) in particular were somewhat past their prime simply made this Heat loss more improbable .

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The Dallas Mavericks are crowned as champions for the 2010-11 season and quite rightly so , as they sought to win this series on its merits rather than simply being there merely as a sideshow and be the Heat’s whipping post. The oddsmakers in Vegas simply went with style over substance , hence looking lure in those sucker bets of those who thought that the Heat would sleepwalk their way through the NBA Finals . Can’t say that I blame as there’s a reason why there those monstrous edifices are being continuously built in Las Vegas ……… the House always wins .

As the postgame autopsy begins we now know that “Three Headed Monster” doesn’t necessarily work when the superstars that are surrounded aren’t all on the same page alongside the supporting cast . I mean you can either buy into the hype LeBron James being “the best player” in the league but given what I’ve now seen that argument has become so weak and overplayed that it no longer warrants being part of any discussion concerning the NBA ! The self anointed King is merely a prince without a crown and kingdom. As for Dwyane Wade his ass should simply be thankful that his legacy hasn’t been questioned but the jury could still be out on that . Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra this offseason will certainly have to assess the roster and the damage done because there’s no doubt in my mind this organization and team is now in a state of shock even if on the exterior they’re not showing the signs.

It wouldn’t surprise me now to see Hollywood mega producer Jerry Bruckheimer bring in the cast of hit show ” CSI Miami” to investigate whether or not a serious felony crime had been committed during the 2011 NBA Finals . Care to who guess the villain of the piece may well end up being ? I’m sure David Caruso’s character Horatio Caine will provide us not only with a succinct and successful investigation but seeing the villain being taken away in handcuffs would be fun . But alas , I think we all know where the guilt will ultimately rest here, in lieu of this debacle ! All fingers point to the King and his cabal of aides . Suffice to say while in Dallas , Texas the fans there are cheering on their team , it wouldn’t suprise me if they’re also laughing at James and his supporting cast. And what of the former fans of LeBron James in the Cleveland area ? Get the feeling that they’re simply loving this as well ? And even if at the time I thought it rather idiotic with Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert making the claim …” that the Cavs will win a title before the Heat “ ……… who are we now to make light of that statement ?

Well now that Terrelle Pryor has escaped the prying eyes of the NCAA and Ohio State having left school to ply his trade and wares in the NFL . I can’t help but wonder how his new agent Drew Rosenhaus will sell his client as viable and potentially a game breaker who knows how to win. Don’t get me wrong I liken Rosenhaus to his counterpart in MLB —- Scott Boras . These two sports agents to my mind have represented the seedier sides of both sports and nothing that they can do , short of donating their combined wealth can convince me that they represent what is good about professional sports in general through the eyes of an agent.

Pryor will come with a great deal of baggage , character issues and the fact that honesty isn’t one of biggest traits but somehow Rosenhaus will try to convince a team that his client is well worth a look at . With the player not being part of the NFL Draft that took place in April , he’s now eligible for the supplemental draft where he’ll no doubt be joined by other unsigned college free agents and other college talent (from lower subdivisions) not taken in the draft. And while there’s no denying that Terrelle Pryor is a talented player I’m not so sure that if taken by an NFL team it will be at his desired position of quarterback . If anything he could be asked to change position and become quite possibly a tight end or wide receiver but it is obvious to those who have an acute awareness as to business acumen of Drew Rosenhaus , he will sell his client as a bonafide NFL ready quarterback capable of leading a team if given the chance.

From my own perspective I believe that there will be a team willing to take a flier on Pryor purely out of desperation . But amongst the teams who may well be in need of a quarterback without having or wanting to pay a premium price then Terrelle Pryor may well be their best option .

The thinning of the herd has now began amongst the managerial casualties within baseball. Bob Geren was summarily fired by the Oakland Athletics but the inherent problems of the organization solely shouldn’t laid squarely on a manager who has in reality never been given the weapons to get the job done. This team has struggled this season and their record (28-39) within the AL West is a clear indication of that . If anything I for one find it extremely difficult to see how the fans can simply think Geren is primarily to blame for the team’s woes given the fact that team owner Lew Wolff has about as much of an ambition to win as Anthony Weiner (D-South Brooklyn) to admit that he’s not only sexual deviant but also someone who’s not fit to hold any sort of political office much less be a legislator in Congress . Granted , GM Billy Beane has been entrusted to turn things around but how much longer should the fans really be asked to tolerate the ineptitude being shown at this juncture ?

Beane has done his utmost make the best out of a bad situation but even now I can’t help but wonder how much worse things will have to get before there is enough outrage from the fans wherein some action will be taken. Instead they stand steadfast in their support of the team while its ownership group looks on merely laughing at them . Well it’s not as if they have shown any concept or the perception that they feel their pain but instead it’s been the same old story as usual without there being any real signs that the organization is actually on the cusp achieving anything of merit. OK , so one can praise the fact that they’ve a talent crop of young players throughout their farm system and some top prospects that given time will prove to be productive . But in the game of baseball from a business and competitive standpoint it’s about what is happening now on the field of play , rather than what could possibly happen two or even four years from now . And given the financial impediment of this organization and its unwillingness to actually spend money I seriously doubt that many of the players the fans are now yearning to see at some point in the future will actually be with the organization at that time in the future !

The frailties of the team this season has manifested itself in innumerable ways from the team’s lack of defense to the inconsistency of the pitching and offense . And now with Bob Melvin being entrusted to take control and guide this staff it will be interesting to see how the team fares over the remainder of this month and the rest of the season .

With the core of this team being a group of youngsters with some veteran presence sprinkled in for added surety one can understand the struggles that the team has gone through . Injuries asides , as is the norm with any organization the Oakland A’s have had their fair share of ups and downs . this season but at the same time players such as Coco Crisp , Josh Willingham , Cliff Pennington , Trevor Cahill , Carlos Gonzalez and others on this roster know that there is still something to fight for even if the belief amongst the masses is that the team really doesn’t stand that much of a chance in attaining some semblance of success this season.

I know of some passionate fans of the Oakland A’s who’d like nothing better than for Lew Wolff to out the team up for sale . And I for one would relish to see that event actually take place as I do feel that in large part in spite of the alleged business acumen of some the team owners in baseball . I for one feel that the majority of them on their best day wouldn’t know the difference between a balance sheet and baking sheet ! I’d even go so far as to suggest that the general managers within the game aren’t that far behind the owners with regard to that issue as well ! To further emphasize that point who in their right mind given the environment at the time would agree to trade away a player and still be on the hook for the greater part of their salary some five years later after that trade had actually taken place ? This is but one of many asinine business concepts that has taken place within the game and that is completely suborned by baseball’s hierarchy . I can hear agent Scott Boras now in the aftermath of the Alex Rodriguez trade from the Texas Rangers to the New York Yankees with then Rangers’ ownership group led by Tom Hicks and George Ken Gillette you’ve been had suckers “ . It has only been recently that the Rangers have been able to untie themselves from that particular financial debacle .

If there are said to be any interested parties now pursuing the purchase of the Oakland Athletics we’re not being informed publicly of any such premise but I am sure that the fans of the team would willingly accept anyone at this juncture if it meant to quick removal of Wolff and his partners expeditiously . I mean having to endure his tenure as owner of this organization I would guess could be compared to a form of Chinese water torture ! But those are merely my own opinions as the present predicament surrounding the A’s at present . The fans deserve a great deal more than this from the ownership group but unfortunately Wolff doesn’t feel it necessary to reciprocate at all .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

At some point I know that this all comes down to making money more than anything else but surely the fans deserve more from the athletes and owners given the fact that it is the fans who are actually paying the price of admission for these sporting events ? Simply chime in with a comment on your thoughts as to the points raised within the piece .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………..

http://tophatal.wordpress.com ……

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh, left, looks on as Dwyane Wade answers a question during a basketball news conference, Tuesday, June 14, 2011 in Miami. Instead of hosting Game 7 of the NBA finals on Tuesday, the Heat packed up their stuff for the summer. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …….

(2) Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra gestures as he speaks during a basketball news conference, Tuesday, June 14, 2011 in Miami. Instead of hosting Game 7 of the NBA finals on Tuesday, the Heat packed up their stuff for the summer. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …….

(3) Conceitedness on the part of Macy’s and the Miami Heat ? For the second time in five years the retailer made a mistake of this magnitude . An ad for Macy’s proclaiming the Miami Heat as NBA champions inadvertently ran in the Miami Herald Monday, June 13, 2011. The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat in Game 6 in Miami Sunday night to win the NBA Finals 4-2. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …

(4) Dirk Nowitzki (L) and Jason Kidd (R) of the Dallas Mavericks hold the MVP and Larry O’Brien Trophies after defeating the Miami Heat in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals, at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida on June 12, 2011. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON …..

(5) LeBron James (left) and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat answer questions after the Heat were defeated 105-95 by the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Getty Images/ Mike Ehrmann ……

(6) LOS ANGELES, CA – AUGUST 17: Executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer (L) and actor David Caruso (R) attend the CSI Miami 100th Episode Cake Cutting Party at Raleigh Studios on August 17, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. Life Magazine / Getty Images/ Michael Buckner ……

(7) They’re already on the case CSI Miami unit members at a club that James and Wade are said to frequent . LOL,LOL !! Courtesy of CBS / Jerry Bruckheimer Productions Inc.

(8) Buckeyes’ quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Getty Images / Kevin C Cox …

(9) Sports agent Drew Rosenhaus whose latest client is reputed to be Terrelle Pryor . The hard sell now begins for the agent luring the interest of teams around the NFL . AP Photo Kevin Neill ……

(10) Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin left, argues with first base umpire Brian O’Nora after a MLB baseball game with the Chicago White Sox in Chicago, Sunday, June 12, 2011. Chicago won 5-4 . AP Photo/Paul Beaty …….

(11) Hideki Matsui(notes) #55 of the Oakland Athletics bats against the Chicago White Sox on June 12, 2011 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Athletics 5-4. Photo by David Banks/Getty Images …….

(12) Wolff is seen here with former manager Bob Geren . AP Photo/ Nick Warner ……

(13) Bob Melvin is introduced to the press as the new manager of the Oakland A’s after the firing of his predecessor Bob Geren by GM Billy Beane (right). Courtesy of CSN ……………

(14) The A’s ballpark one of baseball’s most heralded places of pageantry and a part of the ballclub’s folklore . Courtesy of mlb.mlb.com…….

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It Seems To Be A Sign Of The Times …… Good Quality Coaches Could Soon Become A Thing Of The Past ….. Have You Looked At The NBA Lately ?


It Seems To Be A Sign Of The Times …… Good Quality Coaches Could Soon Become
A Thing Of The Past ….. Have You Looked At The NBA Lately ?

As the postseason of the NBA continues with the Finals now in place between the Eastern and Conference representative the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks . And for the first time in three years we will have a coach raise the Larry O’Brien trophy whose name will not be Doc Rivers or Phil Jackson . The two contending coaches in the 2011 NBA Finals are Rick Carlisle of the Mavericks and Erik Spoelstra of the Heat. With the retirement of Phil Jackson there are now only two active coaches in the NBA to have won a title of which Rivers is one and the other being the San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich a four time NBA champion winning coach as well as a recipient of the Coach of The Year Award .

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It seems inconceivable to an extent that in this day of age that we’re told is parity in a number of sports but there are certainties that we tend to know will remain as is . Dynasties aren’t necessarily a thing of the past but I do feel that the talent level within a number of professional sports has dropped off somewhat but to my mind the most troubling thing is the lack of truly talented coaches within the professional ranks . I think that is particularly true within the NBA , most certainly the NFL and definitely within MLB . Each season we’re led to believe that the drafts within MLB , NBA and NFL is literally filled with exceptional talent and it merely is a matter of being prudent in assessing players . Given the fact that these drafts are usually a hit or miss endeavor and the fact that a large financial investment is tied to acquiring a player I would have thought it not only prudent that an organization be especially sure that the players they acquire meet their competitive needs.

The mantel of assuming the reins from Phil Jackson will now be undertaken by former Cleveland Cavaliers’ coach Mike Brown . Filling those shoes will be an enormous task for Brown and knowing that he will be under constant scrutiny not simply by the local media in the Los Angeles market but across the entire NBA landscape at the national level. Brown’s reign with the Cavaliers had its moment of success but in the advent of the LeBron James’ saga and his departure from the franchise the ball club fell apart . Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert chose not to retain the coach and soon hired Byron Scott to assume control of the team. And for Brown’s successor his task will be not that easy given their season endeavors their utterly abhorrent play .

With the upcoming NBA Draft set to take place on the 23rd June and the rather asinine Draft Lottery that took place last month gave the perception the NBA is trying its hardest to give the fans something that they actually need or want . Isn’t it bad enough the whole spectacle to begin with only assures a quintet of teams at the bottom of the food chain a one in five chance of obtaining that number one overall pick ? Simply give the team with worst record in the league that top pick and be done with it ! .

The Houston Rockets in their infinite wisdom saw fit to hire former Boston Celtics’ great and Hall of Famer Kevin McHale . Now anyone with the remote insight as to McHale’s career as an executive and then coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves will simply know that his track record isn’t that impressive. And from my own perspective I can only surmise that team GM Daryl Morey and owner Leslie Alexander were hard pressed to find a suitable candidate . But given the fact that it is now rarity for a franchise not to hire retread rather than a first time coach . Consider the number of stops over the long and varied career of Larry Brown and how things have panned out wherever he has been a coach ? Granted , he won an NBA title with the Detroit Pistons in defeating the star laden Los Angeles Lakers in what turned out to be one of the most lopsided series Finals in recent history. But Brown’s years with the New York Knicks were the embodiment of an inept front office led by team owner James Dolan and then GM & President of Basketball Operations Isiah Thomas and a team that simply were not good enough , much less had the desire to win. Never mind the fact that Brown as a coach looked as if the game has passed him by. And it would be more of the same during his tenure with the Charlotte Bobcats and team owner Michael Jordan . .

Success within any professional sport isn’t simply defined by winning as making money seems to the predetermining factor for an owner. But it’s extremely good to have the two go hand in hand . I’ve long held the contention that the NBA has now become so myopic and that’s simply due to the fact that the league hierarchy led by David Stern has lost sight of what made the NBA so enjoyable to watch for the fan. Now the players have become larger than life characters and the teams have in essence taken a back seat role in the midst of this all as Stern and his minions seek global domination for the brand . And while this goes on the talent level within the league also consistency dips to great highs and or exceedingly deep lows . The coaching itself isn’t that far behind , so much so that I for one now believe that the coaching talent within the NBA is now at an all-time low ! The fans may well continue to debate the greatness of Kobe Bryant , LeBron James and the now somewhat idiotic comparisons and contrasts that are being made to Michael Jordan and the aforementioned duo. That debate if anything should actually take place once those present day contemporaries’ careers are over , rather than it being conducted now in the public domain. Isn’t it bad enough that we have idiots such as Jason Whitlock and Scottie Pippen throwing their weight behind this topic ? If anything Pippen may well have alienated himself with many of his former Chicago Bulls’ teammates and in particular the city of Chicago. The less said about Whitlock on the other hand gives credence that he has and always will be an utter blowhole and an unabated ass !

In many respects the issues with regard to the falloff in the coaching talent lies in the fact that a number of the general managers around the NBA themselves , in large part are not very good at what they’re being paid to do. Many of them simply have primarily a business background but there are number of them that have had less than stellar careers in the NBA as a player. Simply put this isn’t simply about the coaches themselves but also about the aptitude of the general managers and the owners who make the decision in the hiring of a coach. Obviously they all want to win thre cost can be very expensive if the hire turns out to be an exceptionally inept applicant .

The NBA is no exception to the rule and with regard to this instance of the falloff in the coaching talent but I simply didn’t it expect to become so acute ! Consider this , once Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich call it quits within the league we may well have only one active coach having won an NBA title . Good or bad for the league ? I will let you be the judge of that !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Chime in with your thoughts on this topic and anything that you feel pertinent to the subject matter .

Alan aka tophatal …………………

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki (41) goes up for a rebound against the Miami Heat during Game 2 of the NBA Finals basketball game Thursday, June 2, 2011, in Miami. Nowitzki shook of an injury to his non-shooting hand and gave the Mavericks new life in the NBA Finals. The Mavericks defeated the Heat 95-93 to even the best-of-seven series to a game apiece. AP Photo/David J. Phillip …….

(2) (L-R) LeBron James (6) and Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat answers questions from the media during a post game press conference after they the Heat lost 95-93 against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Two of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 2, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Getty Images/ Mike Ehrmann …..

(3) Dirk Nowitzki(notes) #41 of the Dallas Mavericks lays the ball up agains the Miami Heat in the second half in Game Two of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 2, 2011 in Miami, Florida. AP Photo/ David J Phillip/ Getty Images -Pool ……

(4) The Miami Heat’s LeBron James (6) goes for a slam against the Dalles Mavericks during the NBA Finals game 2 on the June 2, 2011 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images …..

(5) Celtics’ coach Doc Rivers is seen here with his opposite number Phil Jackson . The duo between them have won collectively 12 NBA titles as coaches of their respective teams . Over the course of their respective coaching careers their teams have made 16 NBA Finals appearances. Getty Images/ Scott Murphy …..

(6) From left to right Miami Heat team President Pat Riley introduces Erik Spoelstra as the team’s new coach in early 2009. Also inset is owner Micky Arison far right . AP Photo …………..

(7) (L to R) Chris Wallace , General Manager of the Memphis Grizzlies, Shane Battier and Ishmael Smith of the Memphis Grizzlies address the media during a press conference to announce their trade to the Memphis Grizzlies on February 25, 2011 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. Getty Images / Joe Murphy ….

(8) Cleveland Cavaliers’ GM Chris Grant (left) listens as the newly installed team coach Byron Scott speaks with the convened press at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio . AP Photo/ Steve McKinney …..

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I Wanna Be That Guy But Not The Guy Who Succeeds The Guy


I Wanna Be That Guy But Not The Guy Who Succeeds The Guy

Well the Phil Jackson era is now said to be over in Los Angeles with the Lakers having said good bye to their much beloved coach for the second time over that coach’s illustrious career . And under the auspices of the team’s owner Jerry Buss , senior executives EVP Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak have hired former Cleveland Cavaliers’ coach Mike Brown . Surprising as it may seem I felt that the organization would stayed in-house and hired one of Jackson’s assistants either Jim Cleamons or Brian Shaw , with the latter in most circles believed to be have been the heir apparent to Phil Jackson. But as the saying goes …… ‘ out with the old and in with the new ‘ . As this clearly seems to have the mantra best felt that would serve the Lakers’ hierarchy and the team as they now move forward.

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Now there’s no denying that Brown has some big shoes to Phil when one considers Phil Jackson’s legacy within the city and with the Los Angeles Lakers . Five NBA titles over the course of his tenure with the organization and seven appearances in the NBA Finals . Not bad at all but it’s going to be one hell of an act to follow for an experienced coach such as Mike Brown. From my own perspective I think that the hire is a good one although as I alluded to earlier I felt that Brian Shaw would be Phil Jackson’s successor. I’ve got to wonder whether or not Kobe Bryant perhaps the team’s most respected player had any say as to the organization’s next hire might have been . The player himself , hasn’t yet issued a formal statement as to Jackson’s successor but Mike Brown , himself , has made it clear that this is still Bryant’s team . And if anything the newly installed coach will have to prove his worth to the player , who may well have felt somewhat slighted that his former teammate wasn’t hired . That being said , I do believe that there’s room for two to co-exist and form a successful partnership . As to whether or not it is as successful as the one that was attained and sustained between Bryant Phil Jackson remains to be seen. Certainly if Mike Brown is able to continue the level of success achieved by Phil Jackson by winning at least a pair of titles , his hiring will undoubtedly be viewed as being an initial and instant success.

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There is no denying that the fallout in light of the demise of the Lakers in the postseason with their series loss (4-0) to the Dallas Mavericks was if anything a surprising one. One might be even more inexplicable was the lackluster effort of the team by anyone not with the last name of Bryant . If you could tell me that the likes of Pau Gasol , Lamar Odom , Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum would be an absolute non-factor in the series I would be laughing at you ! But low and behold this was the type of effort where the Los Angeles Lakers were complacent , they looked old and simply didn’t give a damn ! OK you had the atypical postgame interviews from the players but in reality I believe that the players were not only dumb founded but they were outplayed in absolutely every facet of the game ! Mike Brown has a tough off season ahead of him as he and Mitch Kupchak will have to assess the needs of this team and also look to get rid of the dead weight on this roster . I certainly do believe that this might be the last time that we will see Derek Fisher in a Lakers’ uniform ! And certainly the Artest experiment has to viewed as a ‘ dud’ after his postseason travails this year. Steve Blake cannot be considered a starting point guard in this league , at best he’s simply an adequate backup. As for the so called role players on this roster well let’s just say that they knew their role in during this series against the Mavericks . They were bitch slapped and showed their immaturity during the series , enough said I think !

Given the expectations of the fans in Los Angeles the scrutiny with which Brown will be placed under and his every moved analyzed and judged . I just hope that he has the mindset and temperament to last the length of his contract . I’d hate to see him flame out much as in the same way that Rudy Tomjanovich did in his shortened tenure with the Lakers ! Egos asides , anyone who undertakes such a task in coaching an organization such as the Los Angeles Lakers with all of the brouhaha , then having to deal with the Hollywood A list celebrities , fans seated at the Staples Center and all that it brings , that type of pressure cooker atmosphere can’t be at all good for one’s psyche .

As I alluded to earlier I believe that the Lakers will have to look to bolster this roster be it through free agency or through the NBA Draft . From my own perspective these crop of players within the draft seem extremely short on real talent with one or two exceptions . The Lakers for their part do not have a draft pick in the first round of the upcoming draft having traded the rights to that pick (25th) to the New Jersey Nets . However, in the second round they will have multiple picks which ought to prove to be fortuitous for the organization if they make prudent choices .

Now don’t get me wrong I have the utmost respect for former Florida Gators’ coach Urban Meyer . But in all honesty his departure from the program the second time around left a great deal to be desired . Health issues or not, Meyer flip flopped as to whether or not he was departing in the same way that John Kerry and Mitt Romney would go about making political decision in order to seek out the public’s sympathy. What might be even more asinine was in light of his departure he still wanted to remain a part of the program’s decision making process even in the advent of his successor being named ! The AD of the school’s athletics program Jeremy Foley knew that he had to cast his net far and wide in order to seek out a high profiled and proven coach. The hiring of former Texas Longhorns’ assistant Will Mushchamp seems to have gone over well amongst the fans of the Gators and it has been met with a great deal of positive vibe from the state’s sports print , radio and television media that cover the football program .

A great deal is being asked of Will Muschamp in having to succeed a successful coach . Urban Meyer’s record with the Florida Gators simply speaks for itself , with two national titles , two SEC championship game titles and a number of All Americans , never mind the recruits to the NFL from one of the most respected programs in the SEC . In light of that one has to admit that last season was something of a disappointment for this program. Having finished the season 8-5 within the SEC Eastern Division a non BCS Bowl appearance in the Outback Bowl against Penn State was in reality all the team had to show for the year .

One of the main reasons I believe for the letdown last season with the Gators was the loss of Tim Tebow to the NFL and the mere fact that Meyer simply hadn’t adjusted or completely comprehend the magnitude of the loss would mean to the team overall. John Brantley , Tebow’s understudy along with Jordan Reed and Trey Burton may well have been viewed as suitable replacements but it was belied in the fact that their statistics and performances didn’t bear that out. However , in saying that I also felt that there was a great deal of complacency which the coach at the time would fail to admit . And with such teams within the SEC as Auburn , Alabama , South Carolina , Arkansas , LSU and Mississippi State all looking to show their dominance within a powerful conference you can well understand why it is that the Florida Gators have to be a formidable team in all aspects .

Muschamp along with his coaching staff will most certainly look to assess the roster looking for its strength and weaknesses. And certainly from a defensive standpoint I expect to see an improvement by this team . It will also be interesting to see how the juniors and seniors on the team perform this upcoming season . I’ve no doubt that we will see an improvement in the play of Chris Rainey , Jeffrey Demps , Moses Jenkins , Deonte Thompson , Jonathan Bostic and Dominique Easley . If these players can instill a sense of leadership and maturity then I firmly believe that the Gators can be seriously challengers within the SEC and quite possibly for a major BCS Bowl berth .

Now as many of you are aware Florida Gators fans are about as passionate as they come and in terms of bragging rights within the state especially when you have the likes of Florida State and the Miami Hurricanes no one when it comes fan worship wants to left on the outside looking in . College Football within the state in terms of its supports plays second fiddle only to the NFL with baseball (MLB) bringing up the rear . The passion for the game at the collegiate level is almost as bright as an incandescent light bulb. And speaking as an outside observer looking in I have seen heated debates between all three sets of fans . So much so, that I would never want to interject and make a case for any of the teams in question . Hence the reason I feel that there will be so much pressure placed on Will Muschamp to succeed and should he fail by the program’s own lofty then there’s no doubt in my mind that he will be ran out of town faster than a registered sex offender in a rural town. Does anyone remember how Meyer’s predecessor Ron Zook was treated not only by the Gator fans but also the print , radio and television media across the state ? He was persona non grata and a pariah within three years of accepting the position , solely because he was unable to win with any great consistency . The fact that he was one of hell of a recruiter simply didn’t seem to matter to the press or the fans at all as he relinquished of his duties as coach . It was unfortunate however that he had to succeed a coaching legend , Steve Spurrier . I know winning is meant to be everything but it also takes time for the coach to acclimatize himself with his players and the environment of that program but within collegiate athletics and in particular college football , winning means everything not only terms of the success it brings the numerous financial bounties and the notoriety for that sport.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support !

Alan aka tophatal ………….

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) EL SEGUNDO, CA – MAY 31: Mike Brown, (L) the new head coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, shares a laugh with owner Jerry Buss (C) and Buss’ son Jesse Buss after Brown’s introductory news conference at the team’s training facility on May 31, 2011 in El Segundo, California. Brown replaces Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who retired at the end of this season. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images…..

(2) Jim Buss, (C) executive vice president of basketball operations of the Los Angeles Lakers, team owner Jerry Bus and player Matt Barnes listen to new coach Mike Brown’s speech during his introductory news conference at the team’s training facility on May 31, 2011 in El Segundo, California. Brown replaced Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who retired at the end of this season. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images ……

(3) Mike Brown, the new head coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, speaks during his introductory news conference at the team’s training facility on May 31, 2011 in El Segundo, California. Brown replaces Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who retired at the end of this season. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images …..

(4) Phil Jackson, coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, leaves after his last official Lakers news conference at the team’s training facility on May 11, 2011 in El Segundo, California. The Lakers were swept out of their best of seven series with the Dallas Mavericks four games to none. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images ……

(5) Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers leaves a news conference at the Lakers training facility on May 11, 2011 in El Segundo, California. The Lakers were swept out of their best of seven series with the Dallas Mavericks four games to none. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images ……

(6) Jackson (left) is seen here on the sidelines along with his former assistants Brian Shaw (center) and Jim Cleamons during an NBA game earlier this season . Courtesy of ESPN …..

(7) GAINESVILLE, FL – APRIL 9: Coach Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis of the Florida Gators direct play during the Orange and Blue spring football game April 9, 2011 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ……

(8) Running back Chris Rainey (3) of the Florida Gators runs upfield during the Orange and Blue spring football game April 9, 2011 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ……

(9) Quarterback John Brantley (12) of the Florida Gators runs upfield during the Orange and Blue spring football game April 9, 2011 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ……..

(10) Will Muschamp, center, the new head coach for the University of Florida’s football team and his wife Carol, right, are escorted to the media room by Florida’s athletic director Jeremy Foley, left, where he is to be introduced to the media at a news conference in Gainesville, Fla., Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010 . Muschamp comes to Florida after being the coach-in-waiting at the University of Texas since Nov. 2008. AP Photo/Phil Sandlin ….

(11) Tim Tebow (left) is seen here with Urban Meyer celebrate the second of the duo’s two national BCS titles . AP Photo / Robert Phillips ….

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Phew I’m Glad That’s Over …….. !


Phew I’m Glad That’s All Over !

Well the sporting weekend was filled with a litany of stories that may well have found its way into your time spent resting and taking anyone of a number of events on offer. Both the NBA and NHL playoffs are underway and as those episodes play themselves out the fans there I’ve no doubt will be thoroughly entertained. Now I’m not nor have I ever been that much of an enthusiast when it comes to the game of hockey and I doubt I ever will be ! Suffice to say that when it comes to being physical in such a way when the opposing players are throwing down and landing punches like effeminate school girls I’d rather throw my weight behind a good mix up in a martial arts dojo !

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Slide show for your perusal.

In what is allegedly said to be baseball’s biggest rivalry the Boston Red Sox and their divisional arch rivals the New York Yankees met in a three game series which the Yankees hosted at Yankees Stadium . Having lost the the first two games 5-4 , 6-0 respectively the Yankees were looking to redeem themselves in Sunday’s game in front of a soldout crowd and a national cable broadcast on ESPN .

Much has been made concerning the New York Yankees this season and the frailties of this team in particular with their pitching rotation whom many believe to the team’s Achilles’ heel. If anything with both of the losses in question it simply wasn’t about the weakness of the pitching but also that the bats wents extremely cold for the Yankees . Last night’s game in light of the furore created by the team’s veteran catcher Jorge Posada has pretty much summed up how things could very well go for the Yankees this season .

Posada is having a brutal season batting a mediocre .165 , much to the dismay of the player and the coaching staff led by Joe Girardi and hitting coach Kevin Long . That being said it was somewhat inexplicable the way in which the player informed GM Brian Cashman that he wouldn’t be able to play in Saturday’s game. His excuse seemed to be contrived , with him suggesting that he was suffering from a back-ache and that his head wasn’t where it needed to be. Pardon me for saying this , but if you’re unwilling to suit up when it’s all on the line and your teammates are counting on you then you have no part being on that team ! Either Jorge Posada was genuinely hurt or he wasn’t but for him to take umbrage when Cashman made it public to the press before the game that he wouldn’t be playing , I find it rather naive on the part of Posada ! After-all it was his decision to withdraw from the team and not face their AL East rivals the Red Sox . Now in light of that , it now appears that there’s a great deal of friction and an apparent rift between the player and the upper levels of the executive heirarchy of the New York Yankees . This I believe is what tends to happen when things become contrived and the players who feel that they ought to be treated with deference from their peers within the locker room . Posada, if he’s to be seen as a veteran and an example to the younger players on this Yankees’ roster then he ought to act accordingly , and not like some infantile child who has had his pacifier taken away from him.

I’m not about to suggest that after this Sunday loss ( 7-5 ) which gave the Boston Red Sox a clean three game sweep in this series that the season for the New Yankees is now up in the air as that would be rather asinine ! The Yankees’ situation won’t be made any easier knowing that they now have to face a red hot Tampa Bay Rays’ —- team that has the best away record (13-5 ) in the league this season and whose confidence at a real high. Having lost that game to the Red Sox the Yankees saw their lead within the division erased with the Tampa Bay Rays now leading the AL East with a 23-17 mark with the Yankees two games behind and the Red Sox a mere 3 games behind the division leaders. Things are hotting up within that division and there’s a great deal to play for , nevertheless I do believe that it’s still too soon to write the Yankees off at this juncture but I do believe that the chasm that has now been created between Jorge Posada and the front office could well be irrevocably broken . With Cashman having stated that he’ll approach the commissioner’s office to see what , if any punishment can be levied against the player , you simply get the feeling that Posada could be on his way out with the Yankees unless there’s a contrite apololgy from the player to the organization. The chances of that happening might just be diminishing by the second given the demeanor shown by Posada and his own remarks in light of the series loss.

This two game series between the Yankees and Rays at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida could go a long way in telling us about the direction that both teams are now presently heading in. The Rays need to win and win consistently if they’re even to be thought of as legitimate contenders within the division much less a wildcard entrant or for that matter to have a legitimate shot at the World Series Series . It’s a near on certainty that the wildcard entrant from AL will undoubtedly come from the AL East unless there’s a major surprise to come from within any of the other divisions . At this juncture with how the teams are now playing nothing can be taken off the table as of yet .

I don’t know about you but with all the talk of the Miami Heat strolling their way to the NBA title this season , I’m so glad they were given that proverbial wake up call ! Last night in their conference finals game opener against the Chicago Bulls played at the United Center in Chicago showed us why the Bulls should be written out of this series based on their so called inexperience . Complacency I believe has already has set in with the Heat especially amongst the role players on this team !

The Miami Heat showed why there are still many flaws on this team none more so than on defense as the Bulls laid an almighty can of whup ass on the self absorbed Heat . This game may well have started off as a sprint with the Heat’s ‘Big Three’ looking to stamp their identity on this game . But as good as LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are said to be , on the night Luol Deng , Derrick Rose , Taj Gibson , Joakim Noah and Ronnie Brewer simply better , as the Bulls took the Heat behind the woodshed and fuc_ed them proverbially in the ass ! Statistically the Bulls won this game by being aggressive and simply beating up on the Heat on the boards (45-33) on both ends of the floor .

Inexplicably the Heat were simply no match for the Bulls and the idiocy came about even further when the Heat had six players on the floor during this game but somehow the officials , Dan Crawford , Michael Smith and Ken Mauer as incompetent as we’ve known the referees to be didn’t call a technical against the Miami . Inasmuch , I had expected the Heat to win game one I certainly didn’t believe that they would be upended and embarrassed in the way that they were on the Bulls’ homecourt . But as I alluded to earlier , there’s a complacency about this team that I don’t believe that Erik Spoelstra or Pat Riley can deny . I think that there’s connivance and a belief about the Heat that having beaten the Boston Celtics with effortless ease they may well have felt that they would walk the Bulls like a hot knife through butter. Well it’s game on bitches and you’re now going to be in for a hard fought battle and one hell of a war .

The result a 21 point defeat ( 103-82) of the Miami Heat simply ought to remind us all that we ought to also take note that the Bulls did also sweep the Heat in their regular season meetings 3-0 . And though one could allude to the fact that the Heat as a team weren’t playing cohesively as a unit you simply cannot discount those results as being a one off at all ! The Heat were beaten and albeit that the regular season tends to mean nothing at all once the postseason comes around , you can’t deny that this would be the last thing that Miami Heat would have wanted at this juncture . And that’s to be in a battle where they’re expected to win soundly ____ but instead they’re now in the midst of what could turn out to be guerilla warfare and they’ve simply shown that based on last night’s display they simply haven’t the arsenal to compete against their younger foes.

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What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece and as such what sporting even over the weekend had your undivided attention ? Simply chime in with a comment and thanks as usual for the continued support .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………..

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) VANCOUVER, CANADA – MAY 15: Mason Raymond (21) of the Vancouver Canucks skates after the puck on the forecheck against Joe Pavelski (8) of the San Jose Sharks in Game One of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Arena on May 15, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Canucks defeated the Sharks 3-2 . Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …..

(2) Chris Higgins (20) of the Vancouver Canucks makes contact as he screens goaltender Antti Niemi (31) of the San Jose Sharks in Game One of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Arena on May 15, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Canucks defeated the Sharks 3-2 . Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ….

(3) Teammates, including catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia congratulate Boston Red Sox Kevin Youkilis, second from left, after he led the Red Sox to their 7-5 victory over the New York Yankees for a three-game sweep in their baseball series at Yankee Stadium Sunday, May 15, 2011, in New York. Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, right, and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez join in the celebration. AP Photo/Kathy Willens ……

(4) New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez watches his seventh-inning RBI double in the Yankees baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, Sunday, May 15, 2011 in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …..

(5) David Ortiz (34) of the Boston Red Sox celebrates a home run in the fifth inning as Russell Martin(notes) #55 of the New York Yankees looks on and J.D. Drew (7) of the Boston Red Sox gets ready to bat during their game on May 15, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images …..

(6) Brett Gardner (11) of the New York Yankees is caught in a run down against the Boston Red Sox during their game on May 15, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images ……

(7) A woman holds up a sign supporting New York Yankees five-time All-Star and designated hitter Jorge Posada one day after Posada pulled himself out of the lineup in the Yankees baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium Sunday, May 15, 2011 in New York. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Posada apologized to him in a face-to-face conversation. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(8) Jorge Posada (20) of the New York Yankees cheers his team on from the bench against the Boston Red Sox during their game on May 15, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images ….

(9) From left to right Kurt Thomas (40), John Lucas III, Joakim Noah (13) and Derrick Rose (1) of the Chicago Bulls celebrate late in the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls won 103-82 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …

(10) Head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat reacts as he coaches against the Chicago Bulls in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images/ Gregory Shamus ……..

(11) Chris Bosh (1) and Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat talk on court against the Miami Heat in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Gregory Shamus/ Getty Images ……..

(12) Kyle Korver (26) of the Chicago Bulls reaches for a loose ball against LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images/ Johnathan Daniel ……..

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Fabolous …… feat’g …….. Nate Dogg ……” I Can’t Deny It”