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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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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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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2010 Was A Great Year In Some Sports And In Some Ways It Was Also An Unmitigated Disaster !


2010 Was A Great Year In Some Sports And In Some Ways It Was Also An Unmitigated Disaster !

Well there are but three days left before we ring in a year year and the start of another decade and as such 2010 will have left most sports fans enriched with the spectacles that unfolded in front of their very eyes. Now speaking as an avowed sports fan there were times when I simply wanted to turn off the television set or were it an event that I’d attended I was simply hoping for a refund after the money I’d paid out and the event itself hadn’t met my expectation. For me as such having lived in the state of Florida since 1992 , coming from the UK where I’d served in the military and then worked for several years in the financial world for a number well known international financial concerns. I would became enamored with the game of baseball and my support was fully thrown behind the local baseball team which just happened to be the Florida Marlins . South Florida was a buzz when the organization came into its inception and when that first pitch was thrown out by Charlie Hough in the team’s inaugural game it was of great comfort to the fans within the region who’d longed for a baseball franchise. In that time to now I’ ve witnessed the highs and lows of the organization , from seeing them win their first World Series (1997) and then with that team being ripped apart by then owner, businessman H D Wayne Huizenga merely to save a few million dollars at the time we were led to believe. The multi billionaire co- founder of Waste Management Inc , AutoNation and Blockbuster Inc would subsequently become the owner of the NFL’s —- Miami Dolphins having bought the team from the Robbie family.

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Slide show for your perusal .

Having torn apart that championship winning team when a great many observers at the time felt that the Marlins could have successfully defended their title left a bitter taste in the palates of the fans in South Florida. If that wasn’t enough for the fans who now felt cheated the idiocy that took place upon the team’s sale to commodities’ broker John Henry ____ had many wondering what the hell was going on within the game and in part with the game’s hierarchy led by Commissioner Allan “Bud” Selig . Henry’s tenure as owner of the organization was short lived but it didn’t stop the ongoing insanity that was taking place at the time. A lease agreement was signed by the organization (front office) with the Dolphins to lease their stadium to accommodate the team’s games throughout the season. That contract was so imbalanced and weighed everything heavily in favor of the Dolphins in terms of revenue streams that the organization (baseball club) would have greatly benefited from. So much so that to this day I still wonder who provided legal counsel for John Henry and his partners at the signing of that lease agreement ? It’s clear that these lawyers could not have graduated from an establishment that actually taught contract law with any great distinction . And as short-lived as Henry’s tenure of the team would be there was little success on or off the field that came the Marlins’ way , be it from a competitive standpoint or a financial one for that matter.

Once Henry saw fit to divest himself of the team it was bought by the MLB hierarchy with a view to either contracting the team or looking for a possible buyer . With the Montreal Expos being disbanded and them being folded the team owner billionaire art dealer and entrepreneur Jeffrey Loria was given a sweetheart deal wherein he sold the remnants of the Expos to MLB and he would then be loaned $38 million dollars by MLB at preferential rates in order to buy the Marlins from the game’s hierarchy ($158 million) having sold the Expos to Selig and his cohorts ……….. in other words all the teams in the league were in essence also part owners of the now defunct Expos and prior to that the Marlins. Loria for his part having bought the team would revamp much of the front office bringing in his trusted aide step-son , Dave Sampson as Team President and with Larry Beinfest as President of Baseball Operations & GM. However rather than look to renegotiate the lease agreement that was in place Beinfest and Sampson sought to leave it in tact even though it was a gigantic financial burden to this new ownerhsip group . Over time it would indeed prove to be costly, albeit that there was beginning to be signs of life on the field of play. A second World Series( 2003 ) would be in the offing but alas history would again repeat itself as the front office would divest itself of the talent that got them to the game’s big show.

Come full circle in 2010 and the Marlins though competitive within the NL East it’s now being ran merely as a treasure chest that’s pillaged by Loria and his general partners while making false claims as to the team’s lack of profitability. That may well be true to a certain extent but much of the claims aren’t valid given the fact that much by way of the game’s tax sharing revenue scheme the Marlins have been able to inflate those figures while at the same time misconstrued facts and then getting the state county and local municipality to finance their new venue that will come into being 2012 on the site of the Orange Bowl in Miami. Once again taxpayer’s monies and the so called bed tax (hotel tax) increased service fees and bonds are being used to finance and construct a facility for a private enterprise that will be in part will be co-owned by a multi billionaire . And with there being little if any out of pocket expenses or escrow monies as a sign of good faith being put up by the present ownership group it has to be said that the local community and governmental agencies have again been duped. Given the economic blight within this state and the unemployment that rate that is now in line with the national average of 9.8% one wonders what the hell local and state governments are thinking when they’re in part cutting many services and furloughing if not pink slipping their staff ? They may well feel that the a new venue will be a boost to the economy but within the state of Florida the game of baseball is on life support when it comes to the interest being shown by the local residents. Spring Training asides other than when the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox are in town there’s minimal support shown for the Tampa Bay Rays much less the Florida Marlins . Hardcore support for the Rays might not even break 15,000 when they are in attendance at Tropicana Field and that figure is even less when it comes to the Marlins and the attendance of fans at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.

As spirited a season as the Marlins had it was as such an immense disappointment with the team’s lack of success as much had been expected given management’s feeling at the time. And for myself I disavowed my support of the team once it became known of the lies and complicit underhandedness of Loria and the local politicians in getting a deal done that will end cost the taxpayers and state far more than estimated albeit that proponents of the new stadium are claiming otherwise. Fredi Gonzalez is no longer the team manager and his position has been entrusted to rookie manager Edwin Rodriguez . The team itself now is but bare bones with the exception of All Star _____ Hanley Ramirez and Ricky Nolasco who was recently signed to a three year $26.5 million deal. It’d be safe to say that the aspirations of the Marlins this upcoming season will fall short of expectations as I firmly believe that the team will struggle to be competitive within its own division much less the rest of National League never mind the intra-eague games that will have been scheduled against AL teams .

The 2010 World Series itself brought about the rags to riches story some might say of the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants who actually played like the champions that some wouldn’t have presumed they would be be . Throughout the postseason they set aside the egos and played as a team waylaying whatever obstacle that stood before them and their NLCS series against the Philadelphia Phillies (4-2) became so lopsided that it even had me wondering which team was star laden and had a multi million dollar payroll . Bruce Bochy’s Giants simply took care of the Phillies with consummate ease and then made light work of the Rangers with a 4-1 in a lopsided World Series victory. Enough said !

OK so the Miami Heat in its present format has become ‘the talk of the town’ but last season the team struggled to remain competitive within Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference . In the off-season ‘The Decision’ as it came to be known would bring LeBron James to Miami to play alongside his good friend Dwyane Wade . James for his part played the showman trying to say the right things but at the same time coming across like a child who’d found himself a treasure trove of new toys to play with. Along for the ride also would be Chris Bosh and it immediately created to my mind the comical trio ‘The Three Amigos’ that now cult film that starred Steve Martin , Chevy Chase and Martin Short . As to the pretense by James, that he’s on South Beach merely to win titles that may well be true but in essence it’s all about the money , albeit that he’s taking less money to sign with the Heat ___ endorsement deals will undoubtedly come pouring in once the corporate behemoths align themselves with the player . Team President Pat Riley who engineered this all in conjunction with owner Micky Arison have to be now sweating bullets because should this team fall short of expectations then it’ll not only be Riley who’ll undoubtedly be judged but also LeBron James . And given the player’s less than enthusiastic welcome at such venues as Quicken Loans Arena and Madison Square Gardens this season , is it any wonder the player himself has been somewhat conciliatory to the fans in Cleveland and elsewhere ? James is now about as welcomed in Cleveland as Osama Bin Laden would be at a synagogue while the patrons there celebrated Hannukah !

Now while the Heat as of late have been on a winning spree wherein they sit atop of their division they are by no means as such viewed as the consensus favorites to make it to this season’s NBA Finals . Oddsmakers in Vegas would have us all believe that Erik Spoelstra’s team are a shoo-in as the Eastern Conference representatives but given the play of the Boston Celtics , Chicago Bulls and in particular a revamped Orlando Magic —– team I certainly don’t think that the Heat will have things all their own way ! As good as this team looks on paper I for one don’t feel that their depth can match that of the Celtics who are the team to beat within the conference . Zydrunas Ilgauskas , Erick Dampier and Carlos Arroyo simply don’t cut it for me as front line players who need to be athletic in order to give the Heat a legitimate shot. OK, so the big three night in and night out will be asked to carry the offensive load but there’ll be nights when they will cool off or the possibility of a prolonged injury to one or two of the trio that could take place at some point in the regular if not postseason. What then one might ask and who steps up to the plate at that juncture ? David Stern may well be frothing at the mouth like a hyena who’s just seen its prey fall to the ground having taken its last breath but that envisaged match up against the Phil Jackson’s Los Angeles Lakers is by no means a certainty and as appetizing a prospect as at might be . A ratings’ bonanza yes but an NBA Finals without that marquee match-up and we all might as well watch paint dry. I mean last season’s NBA Finals between the two most storied franchises whilst appealing, wasn’t exactly suspenseful to begin with. Once the Boston Celtics took their feet off the gas pedal they essentially paved the way for the Kobe Bryant and his teammates to successfully defend their title and add a sixteenth Larry O’Brien Trophy to the Lakers’ legacy and cabinet showcase.

At what point of the NFL —- season was it that the San Diego Chargers started to play football ? Midpoint or three quarters of the way through ? Such has been this team’s persona over the past few seasons that sooner or later it had to catch up with them. Starting the season and then slowly progressing to 2-5 with injuries and off the field issues Norv Turner and his coaching staff were asking a great deal of Philip Rivers to lead this team with aplomb and take them back into the postseason . As poor as the AFC West has become in terms of the play , there were spirited signs being shown by Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders . Coach Tom Cable looked as if he had the Raiders heading in the right direction but as we’ve so often come to expect of this team oil and water just doesn’t mix . And suffice to say that’s akin to asking the Raiders to win consistently , so much so, that for the first time in almost five years they’d notched three successive victories in a season. Now if only they could’ve maintained that momentum throughout the season but alas it wasn’t to be as there was a lack of cohesiveness in the team’s play , injury issues and that seemingly problem that always arises, a healthy quarterback who could string together 60 minutes of continuous and consistent play. Bruce Gradkowski and Jason Campbell each had their part to play and at times they were extremely good but more often than not they would fall short of Cable’s and the fans’ expectations .

The AFC West now has a newly minted champion in the Chiefs and much of that credit has to do with GM Scott Pioli , head coach Todd Haley and former cast offs Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel who have the Chiefs playing meaningful football at the right time of the season. Familiarity doesn’t always breed contempt but given the fact that Pioli, Haley , Crennel and Weis are fruits that were borne of the New England Patriots’ tree under the tenure of Bill Belichick and owner Bob Kraft is it any wonder that this Chiefs’ organization is now being modeled on that Patriots’ template ? Success there starts from the top and works its way down to the coaching staff and players and beyond and it become a bona-fide success on the field of play. That’s the mantra now being ingrained within the organization by Pioli that hadn’t been apparent with the Kansas City Chiefs in years .

Kudos to Brett Favre , Randy Moss , Chad Ochocinco and Vince Young for showing us all that a narcissistic ingrate much like a leopard never changes its spots. Who could’ve foreseen that Favre would now be deemed a pariah both on and off the field while at the same time bring about the downfall of coach Brad Childress which in essence led to his firing by Vikings’ team owner Zygi Wilf ? If that wasn’t enough we had Randy Moss in the space of three months , played on three different teams during the season . Welcomed back like a prodigal son returning home to Minnesota to play for the Vikings , Moss made himself about as welcomed as Pat Robertson would be amongst a group of Haitian refugees or homosexuals. Suffice to say that the organization cut Moss without him adding anything productivity wise . From the Patriots to the Minnesota Vikings and on to the hapless Tennessee Titans where Vince Young’s relationship with coach Jeff Fisher is now about as combustible as Semtex and nitrolgycerin being placed in the same room would be . If that’s not enough of an indication to tell you how bad things have become then I don’t know what will . Young after a verbal assault on his coach has since been placed on injured reserve then unto the PUP list and was subsequently asked by Fisher to to stay away from the team until further notice . Moss for his part when on the field might as well be catching flies because he’s won’t be catching anything at all in terms of the Titans’ pass offense . Less we forget Titans’ owner Bud Adams still believes that Young has something to offer the team and the fans ? There’s a sucker born every minute and Bud Adams most certainly is one of those ! He might just be one of the worst owners in the NFL present .


When all you have to show for your NFL season are your accomplishments off it rather than for anything that you’ve achieved on it then it has to be time for you take a look at where you’re at in regards to your career. Not so for the Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver Chad Ochocinco who’s had perhaps his least productive year in the NFL since his entry amongst the professional ranks. Lined up alongside what was deemed to be a potent receiving duo of himself and Terrell Owens , Ochocinco has performed like a circus clown simply out for laughs ! Suffice to say that the Bengals’ season went south so fast that you’d have sworn that just like the Titanic this team had hit an iceberg. Coming into the season as the AFC North divisional champions this Marvin Lewis coached team simply didn’t live up to the perceived hype or expectations . And glaringly , both Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco had years that they’d no doubt rather forget. In the case of the always opinionated wide receiver he still talks up his exploits as a top line and being of the elite receivers in the league . Not so fast Chad because the likes of Devin Hester , DeSean Jackson , Larry Fitzgerald , Wes Welker and Andre Johnson now make you look all the more pedestrian ! And if that wasn’t enough the player and his teammate Owens now have host their very own cable talk show on Versus the non-descript sports programmer owned by cable giant Comcast . Now I’m beginning to understand the reason why the content there is so bad alongside that of their newly acquired network station NBC and its affiliated companies. The The TOcho Show is so pallid and a waste of resource that you’ve got to ask yourself which cable executive within Versuse came up with this idiotic idea and has he or she yet been fired by a superior ? Hopefully once the the show has ran its season it’ll be <b< yanked off the air faster than Jenna Jameson has been known to go down orally on an intimate companion.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As to the NFC itself well suffice to say that beyond the New Orleans Saints , Atlanta Falcons , Philadelphia Eagles , Chicago Bears and the now rejuvenated St Louis Rams the rest of the conference itself has been less than appealing . It’ll be interesting to see which of these teams does in fact make the postseason how well they’ll fare . But I’m simply hoping that all the teams from both the AFC and NFC make this postseason an exciting one, and one to remember ! Last season’s fairy tale story of the ‘Who Dat Boys’ of the New Orleans and their Superbowl (SB XLIV) triumph (31-17) over the Indianapolis Colts was a welcome surprise and thankfully we all got to appreciate the finesse and greatness that Drew Brees as a player is all about . Can the Saints repeat ? Well we’ll just have to wait and see.

This encapsulates part one of a two part series on some of my most prominent sporting memories of 2010 . Be on the lookout for part two and then by all means chime in with a comment as to your thoughts on both pieces and what if anything was one of your sporting highlights of the year.

NB: Click on the link provided to read Pt 2 in this two part series .

https://abritishman.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/2010-was-a-great-year-in-some-sports-and-in-some-ways-it-was-an-unmitigated-disaster-part-two/

Alan aka tophatal ………………………..

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Candace

Eye candy Candace Pictures appear courtesy of Smooth Magazine

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Suelyn-Brittany

Suelyn and Brittany
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Jasmine  Black

Porn star Jasmine Black not coming to your local school hall or church anytime soon.

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Basketball, Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James, Miami Heat, NBA, Sports

Is There A Nigger Around With Some Common Sense Please ?


Is There A Nigger Around With Some Common Sense Please ?

Well the fallout from the LeBron James episode has created some seismic shifts but at the same time some respected African Americans have come to the fore making the most asinine of suggestions. Now don’t get me wrong in their chosen professions I’ve no doubt that they’re well respected. But when I here the likes of Jesse Jackson calling an NBA owner , a person with a slave owner’s mentality then I for one have to question Jackson’s mendacity and intelligence ! This being the very same person , who while in New York chose to disparage the Jewish community and then had the temerity to act as if he’d done nothing wrong. Now we have respected journalist and ESPN show host Michael Wilbon coming out in support of Jackson . Now had this been Jason Whitlock making that statement in support of Jackson then I’d have thought nothing of it. But given that , to my mind Wilbon being a highly respected sport’s journalist , I do believe that he of all people ought to have known better.

Now in this day and age where there are very few African American males where the young men of that race can look up to and say that’s a proud example of a man let alone an African American man. We’re now bereft of leaders and men who can actually sustain an eloquent conversation much less talk about a subject that might have a bearing on a young person’s life.

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Slide show for your perusal .

Courtesy of Examiner.com (Tampa Bay)

Jesse Jackson: Spewing hate and his own brand of racism

No matter how we try to downplay it, cover it up, smooth it over or seek to put it in the context of what hopefully will one day be ancient history, there is simply no denying a tragic fact.

We are a civilization that uses racial differences as a weapon.

American sport and our very history is riddled with examples, most of which have become the core of our sensitivity to race and the need to treat everyone equally.

Jackie Robinson endured torrents of verbal rage and emerged an early champion of civil rights. Jack Johnson refused to “know his place” as a black man and was later jailed for preferring white female partners. His pardon waited almost a century. Countless athletes from varied walks of racial life can still remember being treated to their own water fountain, dining counter or rest room.

We are certainly not alone in fighting these stigmas. Players of color are routinely mocked with monkey chants in European soccer. One star player made no attempt to hide his use of the Nazi salute to honor his despicable brethren in the stands. A former star rugby player and current broadcaster speaks to a team and allegedly calls an opposing player a “black c***”.

Despite all this, people of intelligence, honor, wisdom and patience soldier on to stem this fetid tide of racial bile. Secure in the knowledge these are the most useful weapons one can use in fighting what remains a raging battle not only on our fields of play, but certainly in our daily existence as well.

But then, just when you think a time has come for an athlete to be judged on the merits what was earned working in that uniform instead of the skin shade underneath it, comes the one person, the one comment, the one action, that restarts the pinwheel of hate, misunderstanding, and disgusting racial examples that we are better off diligently erasing from our memory.

Jesse Jackson has in one verbal swoop inundated the fires of racism with more than enough fuel to reignite the mud-dwelling mores of those who revel in continually joking and mocking the tragic and insulting slavery of African-Americans.

“His feelings of betrayal personify a slave master mentality,” Jackson said in a statement released Sunday responding to the angry post-Lebron signing statements from Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. “(He) sees LeBron as a runaway slave.”

No one will argue, at least successfully, that Gilbert didn’t shoot his mouth off and take a chunk of foot with the blast. Following James’ departure, Gilbert became the shining example of not merely being a boorish sports baron, but of mixing in a heavy dose of petulant adolescent child to create a sad and, at the same time, laughable mutation.

Gilbert roared that James was a coward for leaving Cleveland. He quit during a handful of Cavs playoff games. And compared the holding of James accountable for his actions to that of dealing with a spoiled child. And even while being fined $100,000 by the NBA for his words, he remains adamant there was no racial connection whatsoever.

Emotional? Certainly. Insulting? Not in the least when players such as James have dealt with much worse on a nightly basis during an 82 game season. Words that mask racism? Go ahead and read them for yourself. I’ll dare you to find something even remotely connected.

But racist? Taking race into consideration as a basis for dropping the hometown hammer on this once-favored son? Considering James little more than an indentured servant who should be using a scythe to clear fields when he’s not nailing double-doubles? And taking to task the very sports league that has become the model for race relations?

While I was taught at a very young age to never use this word in describing anyone, there is no better fit for anyone making this connection.

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Click on the above link to read this article in its entirety.
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Let me see, Jackson’s claim to fame a follower of the late Dr Martin Luther King and whose claim that he was at his side when he was shot has since been found groundless and false. He’d met with him on that fateful day but as to him being at his side ….. that’s simply Jesse’s idea of being economical with the truth. This is also the same man also disparaged the current sitting President by using a profanity whilst on camera and we’re meant to take his claim seriously concerning his statement concerning Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert ? Is it any wonder that young African Americans can’t identify with a generation of leaders from yesteryear who are now bereft of intelligence as they are to their ongoing reason to be a part of a legitimate political debate ? Can someone answer me this but when was the last time Jesse Jackson actually had something of relevance to say on any given subject ? Much like certain members of Congress , he’s about as useful as fecal matter would be on the sole of someone’s shoes.

Now as to the situation of James and his move from Cleveland to the wiles of Miami and the Miami Heat . Admittedly it was a surprise that he moved to the Heat when every indication might be that he would either remain with the Cavaliers or quite possibly go to the Chicago Bulls . That asides the premise I see behind the move is borne out by the fact that the Cavaliers’ management and front office were complacent but above all naïve to think that their most prized asset would remain with an organization whose idea of improving its talent was to obtain an aging Shaquille O’Neal and get a player in Antawn Jamison who shows flashes of brilliance about as often as Lindsay Lohan has been known to have a hit movie. Come to think of what was the last time Lohan had a “hit movie” and what was it ? Girl has a “rack” though, even if she’s supposedly batting for the other side .

Now come full circle and we’re now to think that Gilbert despite his child like rants against his former employee isn’t without fault ? He’s failed to look at himself in the mirror and ask himself the question what could I have done better in order to have made this situation work ? Now he’s whining like someone who has stolen something of value from him when he in the first place hadn’t made sure that the asset was secure. Somehow if this is a guy who believes that his NBA franchise will win a title before the present incumbent Heat organization does. Then for all sense and purpose I fully hope that he’s made to eat his words ! Though I’m in no way a Heat fan , I do feel that Gilbert has made a complete ass of himself and placed the Cavaliers’ franchise in almost impossible position when it now comes to acquiring players in the future. Players will see his actions and then ask themselves ….. ” is this the sort of guy I’d want to play or even work for” ? And the answer may well be a resounding …..”no” .

An opportunist like Jackson will now look for the next photo op and fire whereby he can add more fuel to it by making another asinine statement . Thankfully, on the international front he’s about as well known as “Joe The Plumber” whose brief fifteen minutes of fame were filled with about as much well meaning sound bytes as a speech by Sarah Palin on the US economy. Either way one can be thankful that Jackson is about as reliable as a ground hog on Ground Hog Day. He pops his head up for the season then disappears back into obscurity . Unfortunately , far too often it’s the times when he does pop his head up for all of the wrong damn reasons , that’s when the public sits up and takes note of the ridiculous things that he has to say. None more so than at present as it now becomes a water cooler topic of discussion. And needless to say this very statement will be discussed , analyzed and then have supporters on both sides of the argument. And the chances are that divide will be drawn along racial lines. Well just to dispel that notion as here’s one nigger who’s not buying into the bullshit that Jesse is now espousing. Let’s just say that Jesse Jackson is about as relevant to my way of life as fecal matter would be on the sole of my shoe. In other words I’ll just scrape it off and be on my merry way. Like I said when was the last time the man had anything of relevance to say on any meaningful subject that would be of impact on our way of life ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Chime in with a comment on the topic if at all interested and I’ll respond to your comments as best I can . Thanks once again as always !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………… 🙂

Black Eyed Peas ……………………..“Shut Up”

Basketball, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA, NBA Playoffs 2010, Sports

All That Glitters Isn’t Necessarily Gold ………… Why The WNBA Might Be Now More Pertinent In The City Of Cleveland ……..


All That Glitters Isn’t Necessarily Gold ………… Why The WNBA Might Be Now More Pertinent In The City Of Cleveland ……..

Well the tires on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ bus not only did they go flat but for all sense and purpose the “RV” simply wasn’t up to the task ! The long haul of the regular season might be one thing but as everyone knows , come the postseason that’s where the excitement is to be had ! Having posted an impressive 61-21 regular season record the team was viewed as the “presumptive favorites” to win it all and thereby gaining their very first NBA title .

Now there’s a great deal to be said for what a team achieves in the regular season and what they then aspire to achieve in the postseason . And usually the achievements of the regular season can at times give you a clue as what to expect. But at times it can also be very misleading . See the Dallas Mavericks postseason foray as a prime example of what one can expect of a team that was vastly over-rated by pundits and idiotic prognosticators alike , who ought to have known better ! The Mavericks had no body of work which to point to and most were simply enthralled by the dog-n-pony show and paper tiger element that they brought to the 2010 NBA postseason.

A somber looking LeBron James takes questions from the convened press after the Cavaliers' loss in game six of the Eastern Conference semi-finals to the Boston Celtics. The Celtics now go on to meet the Orlando Magic in the conference finals. AP Photo __ Charles Krupa ................

A somber looking LeBron James takes questions from the convened press after the Cavaliers' loss in game six of the Eastern Conference semi-finals to the Boston Celtics. The Celtics now go on to meet the Orlando Magic in the conference finals. AP Photo __ Charles Krupa ................

The Cavaliers for their part were expected to march through the Eastern Conference playoffs with ease. Having a two time regular season MVP award winner doesn’t make a team invincible and even if LeBron James has been anointed “The King” or as he’d become more commonly known “King James” . Until you’ve actually landed the brass ring or the leprechaun’s pot of gold. Any comparisons being made to a monarch aren’t at all justified. What’s even more derisory were the comparisons being made about the player to the likes of Michael Jordan , Magic Johnson , Larry Bird , “Dr J” and Kareem ? Each of whom were not only regular season MVP’s but had also garnered the postseason award as well in the NBA Finals. Now don’t get me wrong , LeBron James is a tremendous player and some day he may well go down as one of the all-time greats of the game. But he’s yet to achieve a body of work that can be comparable to the names mentioned !

Ray Allen of the Celtics consoles LeBron James after they defeat the Cavaliers 94-85 in game six of the conference semi finals of the NBA Playoffs. The Celtics now go on to meet the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals. Getty Images/ Elsa Martinez .................

Ray Allen of the Celtics consoles LeBron James after they defeat the Cavaliers 94-85 in game six of the conference semi finals of the NBA Playoffs. The Celtics now go on to meet the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals. Getty Images/ Elsa Martinez .................

What we can attest to is the fact that while on paper the Cavaliers looked good as a team , once the playoffs got underway they had their problems from the very start. And although they had their way with the Chicago Bulls in the first round , winning that series (4-1) with relative ease. You came away with the impression that if they weren’t being tested then they would at some point become very sloppy and complacent against a future opponent. And in their series against the Boston Celtics all the chickens would come home to roost as the Cavaliers and James were found wanting throughout much of this series . Cleveland Cavaliers’ coach Mike Brown and his coaching staff may well have had this team prepared but did he actually have them prepared to play a Celtics’ team that had been given a new lease of life ? And though the series did ebb and flow as each team sought to make its presence felt and stamp their dominance on the series. One simply knew something had to happen that would flip the script as far as the perception of how the series was meant to turn out.

To my mind the difference maker in this series wasn’t LeBron James , it was in fact the determined by the play of Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics. As he went , so did this team and what might’ve been more inspiring was the very fact that the seasoned veterans on Doc Rivers’ team fed off the young point guard’s example. To see the likes of Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce , Ray Allen and Rasheed Wallace simply play as though they’d freshly arrived in the NBA was very inspiring.

Unfortunately,for LeBron while he may well have had a woefully inept performance in game five . His surrounding cast weren’t even marginally better than their more celebrated play-maker. That 32 point loss __ (120-88) simply sealed the fate of not only LeBron but for the entire Cavaliers’ organization . Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert and GM Danny Ferry will now have to assess the whole organization from not only player personnel aspect but also on the coaching front as well. Mike Brown may well have done all that he can as a coach for this team. Perhaps a fresh set of eyes might bring a new perspective as to what ails the Cleveland Cavaliers ? And given the fact that LeBron James now becomes a free agent on the 1st June the urgency of the situation isn’t lost on anyone within the front office of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Retaining the player must be their number one priority but so too will be the need to bring in another dynamic talent to complement the needs of this team as well as taking the burden of LeBron. He may well relish being the go to guy on the team but little went right for LeBron when it was needed most in this series against the Celtics.

Game six saw the Celtics on their home-court at a soldout TD Banknorth Garden Center in Boston ____ in essence put an end to the Cavaliers’ postseason aspirations. The Boston Celtics came away with an 94-85 victory that puts them in the Eastern Conference Finals where they will meet the Orlando Magic . And that will be a series that ought to be thoroughly entertaining and one to be relished. So close but yet so far but with a cast that had no real passion or desire to get the job done . You get the feeling that with the Cavaliers that all that glitters isn’t necessarily gold. Merely because of the presence LeBron James , complacency became the norm for this team. Winning is also about having a positive mental attitude. James may well have it but it was all too rare in this series when it mattered most.His teammates for their part showed very little of it. But it certainly didn’t help that this team simply couldn’t keep possession of the ball by needlessly turning it over at the most inopportune of moments.

James looks to make a pass while being defended by the Celtics' Rasheed Wallace in game 6 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals played at the TD Banknorth Garden Center, Boston , Mass,. Getty Imaged __ Elsa Martinez .............

James looks to make a pass while being defended by the Celtics' Rasheed Wallace in game 6 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals played at the TD Banknorth Garden Center, Boston , Mass,. Getty Imaged __ Elsa Martinez .............

There’s no real need to empathize with the Cavaliers at all. They came to play but their mind laid elsewhere as they didn’t come into this series with the mindset of dealing with the immediate task at hand. Theirs was a season that has ended with a whimper instead of an almighty bang. This may well be the last chance that the Cavaliers get to an NBA Finals should the unthinkable happen of LeBron James choosing to leave the franchise. But then again the city of Cleveland still yearns for the NBA . So why not bring in WNBA franchise within the fans’ midst ? It could very well be as close as they’ll ever get to be engaged as a participant in an NBA Final at this juncture . An off-season of indecision and decision making as the case maybe for the organization . But one thing is now sure the crown of King James isn’t as secure as some might have thought. LeBron James simply has proven to us that he’s human and by no stretch of the imagination is he anywhere near ready to be talked about in the same breath as MJ , Magic , Bird , Dr J , Kareem or even Kobe Bryant for that matter ! They’ve set about leading their respective teams to the pinnacle of NBA success. All that LeBron has done is try and make us believe that he’s ready to do that when clearly he is not ! He’s still got a long way to go before he can even match the achievements of the venerable names mentioned . Will he ultimately match those feats or even surpass them ? Who knows only time will tell . But for the moment let’s not continue to heap too much praise and expectation upon the shoulders of a young man who’s still learning what it means to play in the NBA and at the same time learning how to be a leader to others.

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So now what are your own thoughts as to the Cleveland Cavaliers fall from grace ? Do you embrace as something that was needed ? Or do you as such empathize with the team and their fans ? As and when you’re ready I’ll look forward to reading your comments and responding in kind.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………………..

Bob Seger ………….. “Shake Down” one of the several hit songs from the Eddie Murphy hit movie vehicle from the 80’s “Beverley Hills Cop 2” . And though some might say “BHC 1 & 2 were all that should’ve been made. As thereafter #’s 3 &4 were simply disastrous and “bombed at the box office”. But this is the way that Hollywood works as they’re forever chasing the cash cow rather than making movies of substance and that can stand the test of time.

Baseball, Basketball, Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Cavaliers, MLB, NBA, NBA Playoffs 2010, New York Yankees, Sports

Tha Crossroads ………. See Ya’ At The Crossroads …….. So You Won’t Be Lonely ……


Tha Crossroads ………. See Ya’ At The Crossroads …….. So You Won’t Be Lonely ……

Well the “epicenter” of the sporting universe will very much this weekend be in the city of Boston . The NBA will have the continuation of the playoff series between the Boston Celtics against the Cleveland Cavaliers . And in MLB (baseball) we have the renewed and very much heated rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees of the AL East .

And for the venues in which both of these spectacles will be showcased for the attending fans and those watching on television. Expect the excitement and action to be riveting in its form and presence. Fenway Park , Boston will take center stage for what is perhaps baseball’s richest and most storied rivalry. The New York Yankees will be looking to keep astride with the division leading Tampa Bay Rays . And it’d be safe to say that the Rays are not only the “surprise team” of the division but they might just be the best team in baseball at present based on their current form. If only their “home fans” were appreciative of that fact in turning out at Tropicana Field , St Pertersburg in droves to show their unconditional support for the team . But alas, they are very much a fickle set of fans , to say the very least !

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The TD Banknorth Garden Center in Boston will play host to the Cavaliers led by their newly minted regular season MVP _____ LeBron James . And this particular series and game will be “pivotal” for both teams. Tied 1-1 James and his Cavaliers’ teammates will be looking to retake the advantage by winning the first game at the Celtics’ home venue. Not to be outdone however, Doc Rivers knows that if his team are to have a chance against this Mike Brown coached team and keeping the momentum after their ” lopsided” game two victory 104-86 over the Cavaliers. Then the Boston Celtics will have give their fans a repeat performance of their display at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland , Ohio.

And as surprising at that 18 point margin of victory was , what even be more shocking was the laissez-faire approach taken by Cavaliers in general. Mike Brown’s post-game interview was none apologetic and if anything both he and his coaching staff ought to be held accountable for such a poor display. And the fact that he was unwilling to call out his star player as well as the supporting cast makes you wonder who is in fact ruling the roost there in Cleveland ? Is it “King James” or is it the coach ?

Can we all agree the disdain and contempt that the Red Sox fans have for the New York Yankees’ fans as well as the the team borders on that spirited feud between the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s ? If there’s a more heated rivalry both on and off the field in all of sports. Then I for one have yet to witness here in the United States ! Now don’t get me wrong there may well be one or two other rivalries that would like to lay claim that theirs is comparable to that of the Red Sox and Yankees’ rivalry. But you’d be hard pressed to convince the majority of baseball fans that is indeed the case. What one fans purports to be a rivalry one hand pales into insignificance when measured against of what we’ve all no doubt witnessed between these two teams over the course this rivalry’s existence. I know it’s not allout war but the Palestinians and Israelis could learn a thing a two from this long existing feud. Yankees’ fans can be obnoxious because their self conceived superiority complex. Red Sox fans on the other hand, now feel that after years in the wilderness and now with renewed success. Well in essence , they feel that their time is now to hell with what the Yankees’ fans might think or who the hell they are. As for their contempt of the team , well let’s just if they had a pot urine or fecal matter it would not surprise if they chose to launch it in the direction of an opposing fan or player of a fan ! Do you get where I’m coming from concerning this matter ?

Well what can the fans and viewing public expect to see throughout the series ? A Yankees’ team that’s playing well and in many ways some might say pacing themselves for the long haul drudgery of the season . The Red Sox for their part seem to be back to their winning ways . But this is a team that’s lacking in confidence and the players brought in via trades or free agency have yet to show their worth. As astute as GM Theo Epstein is deemed to be , even he must be somewhat disappointed in the form of Adrian Beltre , Marco Scutaro , Mike Cameron and in particular the team’s DH , David Ortiz . Granted, Mike Cameron is on the 15 day DL . Oh what a surprise that is ? Were he a race horse the veterinarian might well have considered euthanizing the often injured player. If there’s said to be a real disappointment however , then it has to be the inconsistency of the front-line starters in terms of the pitching rotation . Josh Beckett’s ERA of 6.31 is either an aberration or there’s a real cause for concern. I’ll let you be the judge of that if you happen to be a Red Sox fan. On the other hand, if you’re a Yankees’ fan then you’re probably rolling about the floor laughing your a_s off .

How manager Terry Francona and the team goes about contesting this series may well go a long way in telling us about the Boston Red Sox and their real aspirations for the season . His opposing number Joe Girardi knows that with the bulls eye resting squarely on their backs as World Series champions . Everyone within baseball will be looking to take them down and usurp their dominance. With a plethora of high priced stars on the team’s roster . This is a Yankees’ organization that takes “their dominance of the sport” rather seriously. Winning equates with success , which equates with making money. And no professional sports franchise makes money the way that the New York Yankees is able to do. Be it from a business or competitive standpoint their success is unparalleled and unmatched .

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Well all that is left to say at this juncture , is merely to enjoy the sporting weekend and the revelry of the spectacles as they unfold. Be it in support of the Red Sox , Yankees or Cavaliers or Celtics . Just have fun and hopefully you’ll enjoy the cavalcade of sports entertainment at your disposal. For myself , it may well not so much be about these two series in question. But if anything I’ll be watching to see how the San Antonio Spurs acquit themselves in their playoff series against the Phoenix Suns . They have to erase a 0-2 deficit and still play themselves back into contention. An impossible task ? Not necessarily but given the consistency of their play against the Suns . I’m hoping that they can defend their home-court successfully in order to put my mind at ease. Thereafter, it’s then everything to play for .

Alan Parkins ………………….tophatal ………


Bone Thugs-n-Harmony ……………….. “Tha Crossroads”

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The always sultry Kerry Washington .

Basketball, NBA

Dan’s Got To Do What Dan’s Got To Do ………. !


 Dan’s   Got  To  Do What   Dan’s   Got  To  Do 

 

Well  considering  the  situation  that befronts  the   Cleveland  Cavaliers.  The   question  now  has  to  be asked   is   the  franchise’s   owner  Dan  Gilbert  looking to   line  up  all  of  his  ducks  in a  row  ?

 

Cavaliers'  owner  Dan  Gilbert in  attendance  at  a  Cavaliers'  home  game  at the  Quicken Loans'  Arena  in  Cleveland  Ohio.   Gilbert  is  a  founding   partner  in  Rock  Financial Inc.   as  well  as  Quicken Loans.   The  latter  being  one  of  the  largest  financial  services  and  mortgage  loan  companies  in North  America.
Dan Gilbert owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Gilbert is one of the founding partners of Rock Financial Inc as well mortgage and financial service company Quicken Loans Inc. The arena whose naming rights are named after Gilbert's company. Now comes word that he's prepared to sell a minority stake in the Cleveland based NBA franchise. It's purely speculation as of this moment the price that his potential investors are prepared to pay. But it is believed to be in the tens of millions for a 15% 20 % stake in the Cavaliers.

  

As  the  majority  stakeholder   in  the  entity that owns  the  Quicken  Loans  Arena  and  the  Cleveland   Cavaliers  franchise.    The   rumors  and   rumbling   concerning   Gilbert  and  the  very   fact that  he’s  prepared  to  sell  a  minority   stake  in  the  franchise  to   a   Chinese  investment   group  led  by  Jianhua  (Kenny) Huang.

 

 

It’s  rumored that  Huang  and   his  business  partners  were   in  town  as   guests  of   Gilbert   , the   successive   business  entrepeneur     who  created   mortgage   giant and   financial  services  company   Quicken  Loans  Inc.   Albeit  that  the  economy  is  in  something of  a  mess   primarily   stemming   from the  mortgage   crisis   brought   about   by  the   egregious   acts   by  not   only   the   borrowers  .  But   also the  predatory   lending  practices  of   many  of the    major   financial   institutions  that   led  to   gargantuan  debacle. 

 

 

We all  know of  AIGFP   (American International  Financial Products) and its parent  company  AIG.   AIGFP ,   the  subsidiary    company   behind  the  derivatives   meltdown  that  has  led  to   trillions  of  dollars   being   wiped  off  the   major   stock  indices    around  the  world.   Never  mind  the  fact that   for  a  number  of  employees  that’ve seen their   net   worth   diminish  rather   rapidly   in a  short  space  of   time. 

 

 

As  for  Gilbert’s  own  wish  to  have  a  cash  infusion  into  the  Cavaliers’ organization.  It’s quite understandable   given  the   fact that  he   and  the  hierarchy    within  the  Cavaliers’   inner circle  have  got  to  be  looking   ahead as  to  the  direction they  believe the   franchise  to  be   heading  in.    In   2010   they’ve  got  to  look   secure  the  re-signing  of  their   superstar  LeBron  James  .  And   if  nothing   else   bolster  the  roster   if   the  franchise  is  to  be   thought  of  as   a  legitimate  contender   for    postseason  honors,  in   terms  of   winning  an   NBA  championship.

 

LeBron James  leaves  the  court  after  his  team's loss  to  the  Orlando  Magic  in  game  three of  the  Eastern Conference  Finals  played  at  the  Amway  Arena  in  Orlando,  Florida.
LeBron James leaves the court after his team's 99-89 loss to the Orlando Magic in game three of the Eastern Conference Finals. The game was played at the Amway Arena in Orlando , Florida. Orlando leads the Cavaliers 2-1 in the best of seven games' finals.

 

  

The  postseason   travails  of  the   Cavaliers   thus   far  has   been   impressive.   But   now   it  appears  that   they’ve   ran  into  a  buzz-saw  in the  guise  of the  Orlando  Magic. With   tonight’s  99-89   loss   to the  Magic  and  the   fact that  they  now  find   themselves  in a  2-1  deficit  in the  Eastern  Conference  Finals.   It  might   suggest  Gilbert   may  well of the  opinion that  the   team   mightn’t  be  the  franchise  everyone   believed them to  be .

 

 

The   postseason  has    a  way  of   creating   something  of   an   illusion.    And   nowhere  is it  now  becoming  more  apparent   than  with  the all  too  unbelievable  fortunes  that  has   befallen  the   franchise.    What  was  seen   as  the  season  that  was  filled  with  so  much   promise.   All  of a  sudden  it   looks  as  if  it’s  all   falling   at  the  feet  of  LeBron  and  his  castmates.   But for   his    heroics   in   game  2 , we’d  be   talking   about   the  Magic  leading  this   series   3-0  and  looking  to  close  it  out   ,  in  double   quick   time.     And though the  belief  is  that   this   series  is   still   far  from  over and  there’s  still  a  great  deal  to  play.   One  can’t  but  help  feeling  that  a  further   loss.  And  indeed  the  postseason  ambitions    of the  Cavaliers  would  be  definitely   dead  and   buried   , bar  the  shouting. 

  

Now  comes  the  hard  part  how  will  this  all  be   viewed   by  the   fans  of the   Cleveland  Cavaliers  ?   Would  the  impression   be  that   Gilbert  is   looking  to  actually  sell  the  franchise ?   Could    his  financial    viability    be  teetering   on the  brink  of a  precipice  ?   Billionaire  or   not  this  is   still    a  tough  time  for  everyone  in this   financial   meltdown.  

 

Dwight  Howard  of the  Magic and   the  Cavaliers'   Dwight  Howard  share  a  few  words  during  a timeout  in  game  three  of  the  Eastern Conference  Finals.
LeBron James (left) and Dwight Howard share a few words during the game interval of their Eastern Conference Finals matchup played at the Amway Arena in Orlando, Fl.

 

 

Gilbert   is merely   looking  to   make   sure   that  his   slice  of the   pie   still   remains   the same.  And   if   anything   also   his   slice  of  the  American  Dream   still   is  in  tact.      The   fact that he  might   be  selling  to  a  foreign   investor   shouldn’t   really   be  a  cause  for  concern  should   it  ?   

 

 

Afterall  it’s  not as   if  it’s  a  major   industrial   entity that’s now   falling into  the  hands   of  a   foreign   invader  ?  Or   is it  ?