Been awhile…

Since that last post, Cavs played the Warriors in the finals and Cavs currently playing Warriors in the finals…

I DON’T want Kevin Durant to get a ring. Really. I don’t. As Stephen A. Smith said, weakest move ever by a superstar deciding to go to Golden State. And who truly lives by the words “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”?

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I suppose sore losers do. True athletes PLAY AGAINST the team that beat them again.

 

 

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Defensive nightmares

His numbers in the NBA Finals were crazy. For so much of the series, he was a one man team. He threw his team on his back, was the points, rebounds and assists leader in the series and almost single handedly gave the Cleveland Cavaliers a chance to win the NBA title. lebron-james

The Cavs weren’t supposed to have a shot. No Kyrie Irving; no Kevin Love. They were facing the team with the best record in the league.

But King James…

I’ve seen it already; people are calling him LaBum and LaChoke and other similar names. But seriously?

LeBron James is THE MOST UNDERRATED NBA PLAYER EVER!

Underrated? Yeah, I said it. What he did was uncomparable. People will repeatedly point out the losses. They’ll talk about the rings he doesn’t have. And rightfully, they can talk about the struggle James had during crunch time of the decisive game six against the Warriors.

But don’t call the man a loser or anything synonymous. LeBron James is, like Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith regularly say and James himself said during the finals, the greatest player in the world; without question.

So imagine kissing Michael Jordan’s feet all you want, MJ diehards. Bow to all of your Air Jordan apparel. But he didn’t win until he had Scottie and another option (see Kukoc). Though no, I’m not knocking Jordan by any means. He will always be one of the best offensive players to grace the NBA hardwood. But in exchange Jordan fans, how about recognize another guy who truly deserves the comparison. Screenshot_2015-06-23-10-13-16-1

For a second, forget the championship trophy. Yes it’s what every athlete wants to reach (and James held it twice), but an athlete does not deserve to have his career rated based on that. Team sports are about teams. Were Barkley, Ewing, Malone, Reggie Miller and others not great despite the failed attempts.

With that in mind, you could truly take yourself seriously when you tell yourself what a bad player LeBron James is?

I’m not a Cavs fan. I don’t like the Miami Heat. I don’t dislike the Golden State Warriors. I’m not from Akron. But as a diehard sports fan, it’s impossible for me to dislike the show LeBron puts on and impossible not to appreciate seeing his skills on the court (most of the time).

So I guess, through all of this, I just wish the MJ fans would stop acting like no one could possibly compare. Magic, Bird, Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, Abdul-Jabbar, Willis Reed, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West and so many more were able to be talked about in the same conversation; no reason, at this point, to keep Jordan and James in different leagues.

Sparing a murderer

Simple, right? The jury decided Dzhokhar Tsarnaev would get the death penalty for his role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. The kid and his already deceased brother tried to kill, so killing him was chosen as the correct retaliation.
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But three reasons the jury’s decision was wrong…

TOO EASY

For one, is dying not the easy way out? Tsarnaev and his emotionless face clearly deserve a life of criticism and agony, not a quick wave goodbye. Even if, as his lawyers tried to say, his brother was the brains behind the operation on that sad day in Boston, Dzhokhar was an accomplice. Horrible. Overall, he was as guilty as Tamerlan Tsarnaev was for the three deaths and 260-plus injuries, April 15, 2013, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

MONEY

Aside from the cost of court hearings that will inevitably be held for the next year or two or three or more, IT’S MORE EXPENSIVE to execute someone than throw him in a jail. Yes, perhaps Tsarnaev may have tight security around him in a cell to spare his life (as in to avoid a fellow inmate from killing him), but all-in-all, killing off felons is not cheap.

MAJORITY RULES

I didn’t conduct the study, but I did read that most people in Massachusetts would rather see Dzhokhar Tsarnaev put behind bars rather than see him killed. Even the Richard couple, parents of the 8-year-old killed at the event, don’t want to see Tsarnaev killed like their son Martin was. The majority of Boston opposes the death penalty.

Alas, the thought of Tsarnaev is more than he deserves, and I suppose the jury feels that killing him eventually will wipe his name out of everyone’s memory. But I can’t help but think that life in prison is more painful than a few minutes of agony. So through the end of this, no matter how long it takes, I’ll side with the majority of Bostonians and agree that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be thrown in jail. Spit on him, kick him in the shins, never let him forget what he did, but let him live.

THAT’S the pain he deserves.

History in sports

Tonight’s history is centered around boxing–a match that’s considered one of the best ever and supposedly most important in 20 years. Yes, Mayweather-Pacquiao. mayweather-pacquiao1

I really don’t know boxing. I write high school sports; there’s no boxing in New Jersey high schools. Is there anywhere? Before an hour ago, I didn’t even know that the two premiere boxers fighting in Vegas later weigh under 150 pounds. That surprised me. Many things have surprised or interested me while listening to information about tonight’s battle.

But despite that, I do not plan on watching. Aside from the fact it would cost money to watch, I just can’t muster the interest. I love sports, but I can’t think of boxing as anything much more than a money gathering. The fighters will make a ton, Vegas will make a ton, and plenty of people who don’t have much money right now will be rich tomorrow. So, so many people have put so, so much money on the match.

And hey, you’re right or wrong. Fifty percent chance of making the right pick, but I know for me, not worth risking everything for it like so many probably have.

Nonetheless, I’ll make a pick here. And I’ll stand by my choice. I can’t even fathom someone winning other than Screenshot_2015-05-02-19-03-23-1 (Floyd Mayweather). But as I said, I don’t know boxing.

However, if I’ve influenced your selection, for whatever reason, and it’s correct, share the wealth?

Thinking in the AM

Yup; thinking. My dad would have been 60 yesterday. Yes, April 5 was his birthday.

Not many other days of the year that I think about him. His birthday, the last day I saw him (July 5), day he died (July 7), funeral (July 9)–that’s really it.

Yeah, my father passed away July 7, 1999. I loved him. I appreciated the role he played in my life. Did he leave an impact? I don’t know. Would I be a different person if he was still here? I don’t know. Yogi Berra said it’s hard to make predictions about the future, and as much as I agree, I’d say it’s even harder to say how different the present would be if the past was changed.

Then there have been the times I questioned if it was bad I didn’t think of him more often. My mother posted a memory of him on Facebook and his two closest cousins commented. I don’t know.

Perhaps I’m just busy living in the now. Is there a Heaven or a hell? I don’t know. Does he see me? I don’t know. In five minutes I won’t be thinking about any of it.

Maybe I’m wrong–I know I have distant relatives often thinking about their lost ones (because of Facebook!)–but I don’t think it’s wrong of me not thinking of the deceased.

Yup, it’s the morning after my dad’s birthday. I’m thinking of him as I type this. But dad, don’t be mad at me when I don’t think of you again in the next few months…2015-04-06-04-20-21-1757883972-1

Bracket time!

About everyone ever in this country knows about March Madness. Even those who never watch sports at all notice the madness, even if his or her Alma mater isn’t included (and in some cases deserve to be — Temple, not there, reeeeeally? Snub!)Screenshot_2015-03-19-18-10-47-1

But I got over the fact my school didn’t make it, my sister’s (Indiana) (not so deservingly) did, and I got to making my bracket (upon the constant pressure to finish).

I went through. I first made my “guarantees” — no way was Kentucky being dropped in the first two rounds! I wasn’t too confident anywhere else in my picks! 20150318_122813

But yes, eventually finished. My siblings were happy. Fantastic. Absolutely no money on the line for me this year!

Today the games begun, and let me tell you…

MY PICKS ARE STINKING! REALLY IOWA STATE?! A 2015-03-19-14-57-47--1343714355 -eating.

So bracket busted again. But it’s whatever. Like I said, nothing really on the line this year.

Yup, let’s just watch some basketball, and if it’s not ripped up yet, stock-photo-16282482-man-throwing-paper-into-wastepaper-basket good luck with your bracket!

Pizza? Please! But keep AWAY pepperoni!

Yesterday my son and I saw the episode of The Garfield Show in which the famous orange cat ordered pepperoni pizza on repeat. You may be thinking, “But people don’t hear him talk!” And that’s true. So he wasn’t trying to talk on the phone. When his owner, John Arbuckle, called the pizza place (Vito’s) and ordered the pizza, Garfield recorded it. The next 10 minutes of the show was occupied hearing, “Hey Vito. It’s John Arbuckle. I’d like one pepperoni pizza. Charge it to my credit card.” (or something almost identical). Whatever the exact words were, it was continual orders of pepperoni pizza.Garfield_Screen_Grab_4

Personally knowing plenty that don’t eat pepperoni and seeing many complaints about the product online, I know I’m not the only one to think ewwwww!smell-bad-holding-nose

Yes, yes, many things I won’t eat that others thoroughly enjoy (I really can’t eat anything that makes me want to vomit from the smell alone; ie pepperoni, mustard, sauerkraut, etc.), so I can’t criticize all the horrid smelling foods, but my real thought here is how the heck did pepperoni become the main topping in America?!

I’ve searched it online — apparently pepperoni isn’t from Italy and an authentic Italian restaurant wouldn’t even have the item. But somehow, some way, it’s become the No. 1 thing (behind cheese), that’s suppose to touch our pizza.

Whyyyyy?!???!? I could never imagine a thin spicy sausage type thing being popular. Not to sound sexist, but especially amidst females!

I came across in my short search through Google that there have been people trying to figure out where pepperoni started, but it’s as if no one wants to take responsibility. In 2011, the New York Times even investigated!

But the only things that have ever truly been figured out are that pepperoni launched in popularity around 1950 and that no pizza place in America will leave pepperoni pizza off the menu.

“Give them what they want,” was the message a pizza place owner in Staten Island delivered years ago, the NY Times was told. And the pizza joints have learned that pepperoni is what most want.3077971-a-boy-ready-to-eat-a-pepperoni-pizza-pizza-eating-kid

As for me, I’ll just always wonder why, while saying eww, keep that stuff away from my pizza! I do love pizza…that pepperoni was never near!Three Friends Eating Pizza

Where’s the basketball?

OK, OK, I work most nights into early mornings, so I would miss it anyway. And I’m a Knicks fan, so better off missing them play. But it’s Feb. 17–two days after the NBA All Star game, and there’s no games on the schedule tonight, tomorrow night and only two the day after. So two games from Monday to Thursday. Come on! It’s still basketball season! images-2 What? It’s still time for the after party? All Star weekend is sheer fun, enjoyment and plenty of potential rest.

Usually, for the average person, the “party” is the rest. Said person doesn’t usually take off more time to have off from resting. And of course, the average person doesn’t get to make millions playing sports! Injuries, yes, I know. Wear and tear on the body. Yes. But entire teams don’t need an extended rest so those who struggle to play 82 games in the season can heal.

I always loved the NBA in a generation so many turned away from it. Long nights and frequent tiredness–I pay attention to it a tenth of what I did 10 years ago. And honestly, I may not have even realized the season was on pause if I didn’t look at my fantasy basketball team.

But with decisions like this…to put the season on hold to extend the party…I suppose I see why it’s OK for me to care less than I used to. michael-jordan-full-highlights-12-990x664

after the Super Bowl

Realized I hadn’t yet shared. Know I had one person I had to rush to for questions…err, a question…after the game. Everyone was already talking to the coaches and talking to the quarterbacks and talking to the guys no one ever heard of a few weeks ago…

Me: Some reason didn’t get the ball to you, Marshawn. What went through your mind when the ball was picked off?

Marshawn: Yeah. Thanks for asking.

No need to fine Marshawn Lynch, Mr. Goodell. All I needed there. That’s what he was thinking when his Seahawks, for some reason, decided to look for an option other than him on the goal line. Why give the ball to a star running back who surged towards the end zone within the prior two plays? IMG_9036
There was no way the Patriots would have stopped him. If they did, no way they would have kept him out of the end zone on two attempts. Need we talk about a potential fourth down?

My sit down with Marshawn Lynch

Yup. Other day I had a quick chat with the Super Bowl bound Seahawks running back, Marshawn Lynch. Not sure what the media means in saying he’s difficult to talk to. Answers every question or statement.Marshawn-postgame-Cards-355

Me: Two years in a row now going to the big game. Must be hyped.

Marshawn: Yeah.

Me: Figure you’re preparing for full-out Beast Mode one more time this season, huh?

Marshawn: Yeah.

Me: Yup. The Patriots–they’re always a tough matchup; especially this time of the year.

Marshawn: Yeah.

Me: You’ve proven, especially the last few years with Russell at QB, you’re bound to find a hole through the defense. Just another day of work, right? Same plan as usual?

Marshawn: Yeah.

Me: And your D–attack Brady has to be goal one. Though of course he’s had trouble throwing to the right, like most do when facing Richie Sherman to that side.

Marshawn: Yeah.

Me: Game’s in Arizona this year. Last time there your Seahawks crushed the Cardinals, 35-6. So only good memories out there this season.

Marshawn: Yeah.

Me: At this point, only thing worth remembering about Arizona, for you, would be a second consecutive championship?

Marshawn: Yeah.

Me: I bet. Flying the family to the game?

Marshawn: Yeah. Thanks for asking.

Me: Alright, Marshawn. Won’t hold you up any longer. Probably some rest now before it’s time to get back to practicing.

Marshawn: Yeah. Thanks for asking.

Me: OK. Good luck preparing, and good luck in the game.

Marshawn: Yeah. I’m thankful.

OK, OK, I didn’t really talk to Lynch. Never have and likely never will. But any sports fan, at this point, knows that an interview or press conference with the kid would look/sound rather similar. Yes, a reporter, such as myself, would try to go for questions that couldn’t be truly answered with a “yeah,” but I wanted to make his one word replies fit. Because whether it fit or not, the yeah or the “thanks for asking,” would be potential answers from the disinterested, Oakland-born running back.

So why, as a reporter, would I even want to try talking to him? Answer is he is a key player on the Seahawks roster. And any good reporter could have a little bit of fun incorporating his not truly helpful answers into an article. An opinion piece could end with, “I wasn’t so sure the Seahawks could make it two in a row, but I felt confident when the team’s running back almost guaranteed a victory. Asked him, ‘win again, Marshawn?’ and he immediately spit out, ‘yeah!’ He sounded so sure. Maybe he’s right. If the Patriots are watched closely — by the Seahawks AND the refs — ‘hawks could win it again.”

Works, right? Let me ask Marshawn…

But as a journalist, I keep thinking of how reporters could feel standing there with a guy they know isn’t going to answer seriously. How it feels waiting for the guy to come up with a new answer. Know he has to have something prepared for the Super Bowl. We’ve already seen “yeah,” and we’ve already seen, “thanks for asking.”

Should reporters stop trying to interview him? No. Either way, it’s a story. Some ESPN people and others say to leave the guy alone, but every one word response could fit into an article.

“I’ve been in the media for 35 years. I don’t ever want to talk to Marshawn Lynch,” Michael Wilbon, one of my favorite people on ESPN, said the other day. “If I was with Marshawn Lynch in an empty locker room, I would turn around and walk out. I don’t want to talk to Marshawn Lynch because he doesn’t have jack to say.”

That’s one way to look at it. Maybe I do look for every little humorous or clever comments that I could include in my stories. I like the idea of fitting in something unique. Right now every interview with Lynch is rather unique — something we’re not used to seeing from pro athletes.

Stephen A. Smith, on the other hand, labeled Lynch selfish. He talked about how people in Oakland, a rough city, idolize the football star; especially kids. Because of that, they’ll copy him. Imagine a student who said “yeah” to every question in the classroom. Don’t think any parent wants to hear about that.

“He’s serious about his business. He’s hardcore, and he’s real,” the ESPN representative said. “I find him to be incredibly selfish.

“Your personal life is your business. Your private life is your private life,” Smith added. “When it comes to the game, it’s not a stretch. You have 60-70,000 people coming to watch you play. They want to know what goes into you playing the way you play.

“It’s what you do for a living,” he continued. “[He] has a lot to offer [and] has a lot of kids that would listen. He’s a big time player and probably an even better person if you talk to his teammates. A lot of young minds could benefit. He could really have something to give back.”

Me personally, I don’t know all that much about Oakland, but I suppose it’s comparable to places I know more about like Philadelphia or Newark. Yes, I understand the idea of a standout athlete from a location could undoubtedly motivate the youth. Or they could even motivate someone struggling in an area. At the same time, I guess the question is if an athlete should be held accountable for that?

In some ways, I suppose the answer is yes. Once you become someone in the limelight in the way a professional athlete is, anything you do could potentially be seen by everyone. Every mistake will be looked at with a microscope. There are thousands of kids that at some point in their young lives hope to become a pro athlete. As a result, they’ll do their best to copy their favorite ones — the good and the bad. But now I guess I’m thinking more of the “obscene gestures” Lynch was giving the fans in the last win, rather than the interviews.

Interview wise, I suppose every athlete should be able to decide what they want to answer and what they don’t. I accept that. So, I’ll just ask Marshawn Lynch one last set of questions. Then I’ll leave him alone.

Me: Should I end this interview now? Got better things to do?

Marshawn: Yeah. Thanks for asking.

Me: Cool. Good luck in Arizona.

Simple enough.2022192788