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 .


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


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 …….

Picture and slide show details below .


(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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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 !



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 …………………

Picture and slide show details below .


(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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Stripper Poles Or NBA Polls ………… Which Gets Your Direction And Immediate Attention ?

Stripper Poles Or NBA Polls ………… Which Gets Your Direction And Immediate Attention ?

I’ve never been one to really put much store in polls unless it’s pole that’s actually being adorned by an exotic dancer . Needless to say that with the NBA __ season now in full swing and but a quarter of the way through already some fans out there are already putting up their polls as to who they believe are the best in the league given the teams’ records. That may well be all well and good but anything can be read into a poll given the amount of information stated at the time. To my mind we don’t really know much about the teams until we are at least a third of the way through the season. But realistically we can as such say that a number of teams are merely now there only to make up the numbers .


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Slide show gallery for your perusal .

Unfortunately teams such as the New Jersey Nets (6-17), Washingtion Wizards (6-16), Detroit Pistons (7-17), Los Angeles Clippers (5-18), Sacramento Kings (5-15) and the Minnesota Timberwolves (6-17) are having a torrid time this season within their respective divisions . Needless to say that their fans while being somewhat disheartened are no doubt hoping for better things down the line as the season progresses. That feeling no doubt holds true also for the other teams around the NBA and of their fans also.

Here within the state of Florida where the NBA essentially comes down to the hype surrounding the trio that makes up the Miami Heat and its remaining roster of accouterments merely there to provide some sort of support and applause for Chris Bosh , LeBron James and Dwyane Wade while team President Pat Riley basks in the glory . He’s either the most despised person within the NBA or one of the most respected given the views of some across the league . I’m sure that there are a number of fans in the city of Cleveland who’d place Riley right up there alongside LeBron James at this juncture as amongst the most hated ! The Heat having got off to an ignominious start to their season now seem to be rebounding into the form many had expect. James and Wade seem to be playing up to their expected standards while Bosh just seems to be going through the motions. I’ve seen cardboard cutouts with more life than this guy seems to portray on a basketball court. But then again this was the best that Riley felt possible given the talent allegedly on the market at the time of the acquisition. You don’t say ?

The other team within the state happens to be the Orlando Magic coached by the always animated Stan Van Gundy . Now the expectations have been high for this team over the past few years and they’ve repeatedly come up short for one reason or another . To my mind it comes down to the lack of leadership shown and the very fact that this roster beyond Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson is like milque- toast , not quite tough enough to get the job done but the effort put forth at times gives you the impression that on a given night they can be world beaters but on other nights they can look extremely bad. And while I’ve no doubt that Van Gundy will find a way to will get the Magic into the playoffs I for one don’t feel that they possess the aptitude or mentality to deal with the team I believe are the favorites in the Eastern Conference the Boston Celtics. Doc Rivers perhaps the most understated coach in the NBA has a roster of veterans as well as young players that have gelled together and seem to be getting the job done and not only that but that bench of theirs might just be about the best and deepest in the league . The same I don’t believe can be said for the Magic or perhaps the perceived favorites , the Miami Heat within the Eastern Conference.

In the Western Conference while some seem to be impressed with the run of the Dallas Mavericks and their play. I’m wondering how the hell a number of people are overlooking the San Antonio Spurs ? OK so no it’s to be expected that the Spurs given their pedigree will be in there at the end and in Gregg Popovich they have the best coach in the league outside of Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers . However when it’s all said and done whatever the Mavericks are presently doing you can’t get over the fact that come the postseason this is a team that simply melts like butter off a hot knife . And I for one don’t believe that will change at all this season should they make the playoffs. Rick Carlisle I’ve no doubt is a good coach but he’s not a hard-nose coach who’ll get at his players when they’re failing to get the job done. I simply look at his resume’ as a coach in Indiana with the Pacers and it tells me all I need to know ! Now even with the Mavericks not much to my mind has really changed …… they simply are a team that essentially boils down to one thing go out and put up the numbers on the offensive end and then as they do so often struggle on the defensive side of things. And while they have had their plaudits it goes without saying that as their season progresses we will actually get to indeed see what this team is really made of.

The reigning champions the Los Angeles Lakers seem to have their own problems at present having lost four straight games for the first time under Jackson’s reign as a coach with the team. Hard to believe that such a thing has happened now for only the first time under this esteemed coach and the Lakers. And while there are some naive enough to think that this may well show some cracks in the vulnerability of the Los Angeles Lakers . You would be foolhardy to think that Jackson won’t find a way to fix things. Point being Phil Jackson knows how to win and one seriously doubts that Kobe Bryant won’t actually get at his teammates and tell them to pull their fingers out their own ass and get the job done . He’s as determined as anyone to prove those out there that he and not James is the rightful successor to assume the mantel as the face of the NBA since Michael Jordan’s departure. I think that 5 NBA titles, league MVP award and 2 time NBA Finals’ MVP awards gives him sort of credibility don’t you ? The team merely has to stop being complacent and simply play to its strengths rather than down to the level of their opponents . If they can do that then there’s no reason to believe why they cannot play themselves back into contention and make a return to the NBA Finals .



Picture gallery for your perusal . By clicking on a frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size.

From my own perspective this season and in particular within the Western Conference we could very well see a number of surprises within the divisions . I’ve no doubt that the likes of the Portland Trailblazers and Oklahoma City Thunder can stake a claim that they ought to be feared and be a major part of the postseason if they play up to their potential. For me , the most exciting duo in the league at present is the tandem of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant . There’s something to suggest that given the right set of circumstances these two players could lift this team to unexpected heights this season . But for their inexperience in the playoffs last season they could have pulled off a major upset in their first round loss to the eventual champions the Los Angeles Lakers (4-2 ). Coach Scott Brooks and his coaching staff had to have been encouraged by what they had seen and have no doubt put those lessons learned to good use this season as his team looks to improve on last season’s showing. I for one would like to think that somehow a team like the Thunder can be the future of the NBA . They seem to be going about things in the right way and have the fervent support of their fans and the city of Oklahoma behind them.

As I’ve stated in terms of polls unless the information there is succinct and subject itself is something that is substantive I tend not to put much store by it. Polls can be made to sway or detract from an objective. Strippers adorning a pole on the other hand …… well is there a reason not to look and enjoy ? As to the NBA season so far and how it has progressed what thoughts if any do you have on what you’ve witnessed so far ? Chime on in with a comment .


Alan aka tophatal …………………… 🙂



Eye candy ………. Sasha Del Velle Kicks anyone ?

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Ooh Child Things Are Gonna Get Easier ,Ooh Child They’re Gonna Get Brighter , Gotta’ Keep Your Head Up .. !

Little somethin for my godson Elijah and a little girl named Kerim

Some say the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice
I say the darker the flesh then the deeper the roots
I give a holler to my sisters on welfare
Tupac cares, if don’t nobody else care
And uhh, I know they like to beat ya down a lot
When you come around the block brothas clown a lot
But please don’t cry, dry your eyes, never let up
Forgive but don’t forget, girl keep your head up”

Lyrics to the song ‘Gotta Keep Your Head Up’ by Tupac Shakur

Now it goes without saying that the year 2009 has to have been one of great joy and no doubt costing us a great deal of heartache as it came to comings and goings of our team or teams , as the case maybe. Well, most certainly for me it was. Although I’m still pinning my hopes that the New England Patriots can acquit themselves well in the upcoming NFL playoffs. If not then , I guess that I’ll just have to deal with it. Fear not, I won’t be committing suicide or anything near as drastic as that. I’m more liable to drown my sorrows with a bottle of alcohol and reminisce as to what went right my teams and what indeed went wrong. Only then, will I have a really clear picture as to why things unraveled so, for my teams.

New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker (83) picks up yardages after pulling in a Tom Brady pass as he is hit by Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Derek Cox (21) during the first quarter of their NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday afternoon, Dec. 27, 2009.
New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker (83) picks up yardages after pulling in a Tom Brady pass as he is hit by Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Derek Cox (21) during the first quarter of their NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday afternoon, Dec. 27, 2009. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Stephan Savoia ................

In the NFL as many of you will no doubt be aware I’m an avid follower and supporter of the New England Patriots. Call me any of the following adjectives if you must, stupid , naive , crazy. I’ll be able to take it. It’s what we Brits do best but not always , as I’m not your typical soft spoken Englishman. I may well have been born on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and a subject of Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. But that’s as far as it goes with regard to my British background. As my ancestry is steeped in the traditions of the Caribbean and its islands. Both of my parents are natives of Jamaica . And for the younger part of youth, I initially lived there for the better part of 7 years.

Jamaica’s ‘greatest musical ambassador and export’ to the culture of the world. Bob Marley and his iconic group ‘The Wailers’ . Here they’re seen performing one of their biggest international hits ‘ Natural Mystic’. As a youngster I must admit that I went through the phase of mysticism and the Rastafarian faith and culture. Ever in search of something meaningful to life. Something that I still adhere to, today. ‘Jah , Rasta far I’ !

At the age of ten I returned to the United Kingdom with my younger brother to finish my formal education in Britain. My sister remained behind , living with my maternal grandmother for the next six years , before she too would join me , my younger brother ,father and mother in our home. Those years apart from my sister brought the siblings closer together as we advanced into adulthood. And for good reason, as it meant as a familial unit we could come to rely on each other when there was in fact a great problem. None perhaps more so , than when my father decided to up and leave his family to be with ‘his mistress’. What ensued from there made and the family and I ,a much closer unit than I could ever have imagined. No father there as a guide, for me and my brother . And no father figure as such , for my sister to dote on. Needless to say, it was our mother who ended up filling both of the roles, any child accustomed to having both parents around would need. And she fulfilled those obligations admirably.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) and New England Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss (81) hug after Moss caught a Brady first-quarter touchdown pass during an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday afternoon, Dec. 27, 2009
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) and New England Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss (81) hug after Moss caught a Brady first-quarter touchdown pass during an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday afternoon, Dec. 27, 2009 . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo / Stephan Savoia ......

At (10-5) with the lone game remaining against the Houston Texans, this upcoming Sunday (Week 17). The team can take flight in knowing that it has already sown up the AFC East division, having garnered a wild-card berth in the playoffs. But this ought to be not a great deal to shout about for this Bill Belichick coached team. As their form as late, can be best described as erratic. From one game to the next you just can’t be sure which Patriots’ team will turn up. The one that exudes confidence and at times has played like champions. Or the one that for some lame ass reason tends to stoop to the level of a lesser opponent and who in the end comes off looking like a fraud. That’s the dilemma that I, as a Pats’ fan sees before me. Whether or not those views shared by other Patriots’ fans , I cannot be all that sure . But in all likelihood I know that there are some of us out there who are very much concerned with the unevenness of the team’s play throughout much of this season. I can only hope for their sake and that of the fans the ship is righted before it sets sail into the playoff against its first round opponent !

Admittedly two greats of the game the legendary Bill Russell and the Spurs’ Tim Duncan sit down for an chat about their personal observations of the game.

As Tim Duncan gets older, the more cerebral he becomes as a player. He may well be that one or two steps slower but he more than makes up for it with his more than agile basketball IQ. If there’s a better player in the NBA at present playing the position of that ‘power forward’ and hybrid center’ , then by all means name him and make sure that you’ve got the facts to back up the veracity of your argument. The San Antonio Spurs may not be the dominant force it once was but they’re still a team to be reckoned with. And in Gregg Popovich , they still possess one of the more astute and well rounded coaches in all of the NBA. Other than Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers, Popovich is the only coach in the league to have won multiple titles posted on their career resume’ as a coach. It paints in stark contrast as to what has happened in the rest of the NBA. Long tenured coaches in the NBA nowadays, is now becoming something of a rarity , with the exception of Jackson , Popovich and Jerry Sloan of the Utah Jazz. A very select and rare breed indeed !

San Antonio, Tx,. December 29th ,2009. Richard Jefferson (#24) of the San Antonio Spurs drives to the basket against Damien Wilkins (#3) of the Minnesota Timberwolves in a  game played at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. picture appears  courtesy  of  NBAE/ Getty  Images/  D. Clark  Evans  ....
San Antonio, Tx,. December 29th ,2009. Richard Jefferson (#24) of the San Antonio Spurs drives to the basket against Damien Wilkins (#3) of the Minnesota Timberwolves in a game played at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/ D. Clark Evans ....

This season I expect the Spurs to contend within their division and the Southwest Division of the Western Conference may well be the most competitive in all of the NBA. It is now stacked with teams from top to bottom that possess a great deal of talent. And in all likelihood it will take something of a dog fight for more than one if not two or more teams from the division to make the playoffs. The Dallas Mavericks, Spurs , Houston Rockets, New Orleans Hornets and now a resurgent Memphis Grizzlies are all looking to stake their claim that they are indeed playoff material and NBA championship contenders. And of the teams within the division , the Spurs are the lone winners of an NBA championship. As a matter of that they’re the only multiple winners of a championship outside of the Lakers within the Western Conference. And as of now , the Mavericks’ owner, Mark Cuban will do whatever it takes to make that a reality for his team to land its first NBA championship. He’s become the George Steinbrenner of the NBA but with a much more odious personality. Brash and outspoken, Cuban doesn’t give a rat’s ass what anyone thinks of him , just as long his name is in the spotlight. And for NBA commissioner , David Stern that has become a bone of contention. Especially given Cuban’s constant criticism of the league and its game officials.

The Los Angeles Lakers are quite rightly deemed the team to beat in the Western Conference. And as the defending champions that’s where everyone will take aim. But with the now confidence enriched Lakers and that of their All Star guard and regular and NBA Finals’ MVP in Kobe Bryant looking to repeat as champions. I do believe that things will be considerably more difficult for not only the San Antonio Spurs in derailing the aspirations of Bryant and his teammates. But it’ll also be the same for the entire NBA. And that is with due respect to the likes of the Eastern Conference’s Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks. As the only way to derail the Lakers at this juncture, would be if someone were to pass on a communicable and deadly bacterial form of a disease unto Kobe Bryant. Now don’t get any ideas out there as this would be deemed a felony, punishable by a several years in prison , if found guilty. Think about it , do you really hate Kobe Bryant and the Lakers that much ?

Hanley  Ramirez  seen here  at  the plate   for  the  Florida  Marlins  in an  NL  game   played at  Dolphin  Stadium  ,  Miami ,  Florida.   picture  appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/ Alex Bustamante  ...................
Hanley Ramirez seen here at the plate for the Florida Marlins in an NL game played at Dolphin Stadium , Miami , Florida. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Alex Bustamante ...................

If you drink it and it doesn’t kill you, then you’re fine. That’s how it is with myself and the Florida Marlins. I wasn’t tempted by Eve to bite of the forbidden fruit, or in this case drank of the wine that is the Marlins. In MLB , what you see is what you get with a vast array of the teams. The Florida Marlins aren’t glamorous but they are by no means the poor man’s Donald Trump. They’re mid tier to low market team who just happens to reside in one of the top 25 ad markets in the US and that’s it. Any appearance of grandeur is lost on the franchise. Their owner Jeffrey Loria , though a billionaire several times over is essentially a spend thrift. And anyone who knows of his previous exploits as major league baseball owner with the ‘now defunct’ Montreal Expos , should know exactly what I’m talking about. ‘Shout-outs’ to my man mceezy, over at It’d appear that’s something that he’s not accustomed to doing when it comes to an in depth research on an issue.

Dan Uggla congratulates teammate Jorge Cantu on his home run hit during the spring training game played against the New York Mets. New York would go on to win the game 5-4 in a game played in Port St Lucie , Florida. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Alex Bustamante ....................
Dan Uggla congratulates teammate Jorge Cantu on his home run hit during the spring training game played against the New York Mets. New York would go on to win the game 5-4 in a game played in Port St Lucie , Florida. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Alex Bustamante ....................

In the NL East the pecking order now appears to be the Philadelphia Phillies and everyone else in no discerning order, with the exception of the moribund Washington Nationals. They’re now beginning to make competitiveness within baseball seem like an all ‘too dirty word’. With the continued mediocrity of the Pittsburgh Pirates , Kansas City Royals and the Washington Nationals. Major League Baseball can now be happy that it has its own trifecta of piss poor major league teams. And for God’s sake please don’t bring up the use of the word prospects as the rationale behind the ineptitude. That argument has now become mute, archaic and completely devoid as to its veracity. If only we had someone within the upper echelons of baseball’s hierarchy to figure this all out ? But unfortunately baseball Commissioner, Bud Selig is too busy counting his salary from 2008 and that was an estimated $17.5 million for that year alone. What the fu_k ? Not even Steve Ballmer , the CEO of Microsoft pulls down that sort of cash each year. And we all know how big Microsoft is as a company , don’t we ? And people question my resolve when I say that there’s indeed a financial imbalance within the game of baseball. Well look no further than Bud Selig , to see one of the ‘biggest miscreants and frauds’ within the entire game.

Marlins'  manager   Fredi  Gonzalez (left)  seen  here  alongside   his   All  Star  slugger   ,  Hanley   Ramirez   in  the  dugout   of   NL  game .     picture appears  courtesy   of  Miami   Herald  / ap/photo/  Hector  Barroso   ............
Marlins' manager Fredi Gonzalez (left) seen here alongside his All Star slugger , Hanley Ramirez in the dugout of NL game . picture appears courtesy of Miami Herald / ap/photo/ Hector Barroso ............

As I alluded to earlier the pecking order within the NL East is he Philles and everyone else thereof. We have free wheeling , dealing and exorbitant spending New York Mets, the Washington Nationals , the Atlanta Braves and last but not least the Florida Marlins. And for Marlins’ manager, Fredi Gonzalez , each year that he has this team remaining competitive. Then each year that it is, he also gains more experience and no doubt the confidence of his players as a team.

The Marlins, albeit that they’re very much a young team they do possess on their roster several bright and up and coming players who’ve essentially taken the opportunity given to them and have begun to prove themselves. Add in the fact that they also have one of the most ferociously talented players in all of baseball in, Hanley Ramirez. And you can well understand why it is I am excited to see this team on the baseball diamond. Ramirez’s presence only adds to the confidence of the team overall and his teammates feed off that confidence. This team can contend with the likes of the Mets and Phillies , if they apply themselves to the task at hand. But it’d be easy to overlook the team’s frailties as well. And that comes in the lack of real consistent every day pitching from the rotation. As good as I and many others may well deem it to be. I’d be remiss to think that they all have to do is to rely on the offensive presence of the likes of Ramirez, Jorge Cantu , Dan Uggla, Cameron Maybin , Cody Ross and Emilio Bonifacio to see them through each game. It has to be a collective effort all round . And it has to be done with regularity on a day in, day out basis. That’s what separates the good teams from the bad teams and the bad teams from the woefully inept. Consistency has always paid dividends and that is what the Florida Marlins must now strive for . In time everything else falls into place.

Renowned art   collector ,  business  entrepreneur and Florida Marlins'  owner   Jeffrey  Loria .    The owner  while  harboring   his   delight  in  knowing that   finally  the  ball   club  will  have  its  own   state  of the  art  venue  to  call  their   very  own.  Loria   has been  less  than   fortright as  to the  financial  obligation the   organization  is  willing  to  incur  in  order  to  get  the   stadium  built.   picture  appears    courtesy  of  Damian  Chiapa       copyrighted   material   @  All   rights   reserved  ...................
Renowned art collector , business entrepreneur and Florida Marlins' owner Jeffrey Loria . The owner while harboring his delight in knowing that finally the ball club will have its own state of the art venue to call their very own. Loria has been less than fortright as to the financial obligation the organization is willing to incur in order to get the stadium built. picture appears courtesy of Damian Chiapa copyrighted material @ All rights reserved ...................

I have been lucky enough to witness this ball-club win two World Series championships in the very first decade of their existence. And there’s not that many major professional sports franchises that one can actually say that about , in this modern era. But more is the pity that the game itself can’t be played on an even footing . It might perhaps further the allure of the game instead of detracting from it .

Financial nuances asides the tumult that has beset the Florida Marlins being the only major league franchise to call its own home venue. The franchise only derives of its revenues through concessions and souvenir sales at Landshark Stadium Stadium.(formerly Dolphins Stadium- owned by the Miami Dolphins of the NFL) Much of this asinine juxtaposition comes from the lack forthright action by Bud Selig’s office and none commitment of Marlins’ owner in making a full financial obligation in getting a new stadium built. Since they’re coming into inception the Marlins have continued to play in the same venue. Here you can the political grandstanding by all parties involved. Herein the Miami City Commission.

These are but my thoughts and feelings to three major professional sports franchises that I for one wholeheartedly support in good and bad times. And I’m not one sugar coat my feelings about them when I know that their fortunes are heading towards the outhouse. As is my right I’ll be openly critical of ownership on down. I’ve a vested interest in seeing them do well, rather than seeing them being proverbially being used as a fire hydrant for every canine that wants to urinate on them. And that’s something that some fans would rather not question about the teams that they support. Instead they sit around and play the optimist. What use is that when you’re continually being sold a ‘bill of goods’ that offers nothing tangible in return ?

In good times as with the bad maybe the only thing as a supporter you can do …..”is just to keep your head up ’cause things are gonna get easier and things are get brighter” .

Tupac Shakur’s rendition of his seminal hit, ‘Keep Your Head Up’

NB: Click here to read the entitled piece ‘If We Build It They Will Come’. The piece deals with the politicking , the in fighting and all of the intrigue of the vested parties that looked to finalize the building of a venue for the Florida Marlins.


Basketball, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA, Sports

Rip My Heart Out Why Don’t You ….? It’s All But A Done Deal ………!





Rip  My  Heart  Out  Why  Don’t  You  …?   It’s  All  But  A  Done  Deal    !





Well as  the  NBA season  comes  down  the final  stretch  of the  season.  A  number of  teams  with  playoff ambitions   are  aligning  themselves  and  jockeying   for  positions  that’d  be  favorable  in  terms  of  the  seeding.  





In the  Eastern  Conference   it’s  all  but  a  certainty  that the  Cleveland  Cavaliers (62-15) will be  the  overall  number  one  seed.    And  it’s  a  deserving  mantel  to  have   for  what  can  be  best   described  as  an  outstanding  season.  Having  already   surpassed  the  60  win  threshold   for  the  season .   The   team  is   further   looking   to  cement   its  status   as  the  league’s best   team  in  terms  of  the  overall   win total  and   number  one  seeding throughout  the  playoffs.  



Roger Mason of the Spurs goes for the layup over the outstretched arms of the Trailblazers' Brandon Roy in a game played at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Tx . picture appears courtesy of nabe/getty images/ Layne Murdoch .............




That  being   said in  the  Western  Conference   the  Los  Angeles  Lakers (62-16) are  loking  to  make  something  of   a late   run and  perhaps  derail   the  Cavaliers’  hopes. Well  that’s  unless  divine   intervention  from  up  on  high .  I  think  it’s  pretty  safe   to  say  that’s  not   going  to  happen  at  this   juncture.   And   as  much  as   those   in  the  West  would   very  much   like  to  see this   happen  .  It’s  somewhat  safe  to   say  there  are  those   who’d   rather   see someone  else  seated  atop    of   the  hill.






Which  now  brings  me  to  my  next   point.   As  a  long  avid   San Antonio Spurs’ (50-27) fan.  I   for  one   felt  that  this  season  there  might’ve   been  a  chance   of  at  least  of  gaining   revenge   against  our  conference   rivals  in the  Los  Angeles  Lakers. Well at  least  I  thought it  was  going  to  be  that  way.    Much   of  the  season  it   has  been   something  of   a   turnstile  of  players  being    injured   and  re-injuring  themselves. Wherein  there  was  never   any   real   continuity  , fluidity  or  cohesiveness  as  to  the  team’s  play.  And  that  has  led  to   a  great  deal  of   inconsistency    despite  them  once  again  obtaining  a  50  win  season  thus   far.   Suffice  to  say   it’s  been  other  another  remarkable  coaching  job  done  by  Gregg Popovich.    Even  if  the  carousel  ride  itself  at  times  has  flirted  with   disaster.  And  the  milestones    he’s  achieved   the  man  still  remains  almost   unflappable.  He’s   won  four   NBA  titles   as a coach  and  this  season  became  one  of  a  handful   of  coaches  to  have   attained   1,000 regular  season  wins.    Joining  a  select  few   and   most  certainly   he’ll  one  day  be   enshrined   in the  Naismith  Basketball  Hall  of  Fame . 




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