Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ryan Kalil "The guarantee "


This past Wednesday Carolina Panthers Pro-bowl center Ryan Kalil said the boldest words I’ve ever heard anybody ever say in a Panther uniform. He took out an ad in the Charlotte Observer too proclaim that the Carolina Panthers would claim the franchises 1st ever super bowl. In the letter he wrote he thanked the fans for the unwavering support they continue to receive year in and year out. I love his prediction for so many different reasons. For so many years as a diehard fan of this team I have seen us fall short of the ultimate goal plenty of times. In 2003 we fell too Tom Brady and the New England Patriots by a goal. Then in 2005 we fell to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC championship game. Then in 2008 after dominating the NFL to a 12-4 record going in as the 2 seed we get steamrolled by the Arizona Cardinals in Jake Delhommes worst game ever. Where I’m trying to get at is I love this guarantee because Kalil has now set a standard and a good kind of pressure for everybody who puts the black and blue on to do the little things right day in and day out. Personally just as a fan I think this team has more talent then the one that made the super bowl in 03. The guarantee gave something I have never seen any Panther team exude and that is supreme confidence. I don’t care who you are you don’t say what Kalil said without having confidence and the backing of a whole locker room. He isn’t as crazy as people think he is this team has potential to produce 4-6 pro bowlers there is plenty of talent on the Panthers to compete with just about anybody in the NFL. When you have a guy like Cam Newton running your offense you know you are gonna put points up on the board, The only problem with the Carolina was the Defense didn’t do its part. Hopefully with the upgrades of Reggie Smith, Nakumarua, Luck Kuechely and a healthy Jon Beason the defense should be solid they don’t need to be spectacular but they need to stay middle of the pack like 15th-20th and they will be fine. Most of the Panthers toughest out of division opponents are all playing them at home. Giants, Broncos and the Dallas Cowboys all make a trip to the Queen city where historically the Panthers play better. Kalil and his promise have endeared him to the fans and that is why he made the promise in the first place the fans. He said “It was for them we haven’t given them a whole lot to cheer about the last few years”. He is right fans continue to support the team regardless of the record, Carolina is on a 90+ consecutive sellout streak at Bank of America stadium. People look at the 6-10 record from the previous year but don’t realize that the Panthers lost 6 games by a touchdown or less, so it wasn’t like teams were steamrolling us. With upgrades at the teams weakest positions this team is primed and ready to take on the NFL’S elite and I believe as a fan that this could be a special year. We have the talent to do so and now we have new found swagger that I’ve never seen before so im looking forward to a great season and too what I hope is the coronation of the Queen City with a Super Bowl Trophy.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Wednesday marked the end of an era in Miami. Hanley Ramirez was traded to the L.A Dodgers prior to the Marlins contest vs. Atlanta Braves. His legacy in Miami was an up and down one he was a MVP canadite at times and other times he was detrimental to the teams success kicking balls into the outfield not playing hard at times. He got managers fired and he never fulfilled that 7 year 70 million dollar contract as the marlins franchise player. He arrived into the Dodger clubhouse around 4:00 Midwestern time he was greeted by teammates who were as equally happy too see him as he was to wear Dodger blue. The 3 time All-star was all smiles and said “I’m happy too be here”. That statement means a lot because I as a Marlin fan can tell you that a happy Hanley is a Productive one. Being in L.A could help reenergize the former batting champ back to form hitting in the same line up with Matt Kemp and Andre Eithier not having to be the face of a franchise. Hanley certainly looked like a changed man when I watched him play Monday night vs. the Cardinals. I noticed a few things that I hadn’t seen all year from him. He was a a lot more aggressive earlier in the count. He also had a more compact swing and that front shoulder wasn’t flying out so it allowed him to put more quality swings on the baseball. In his 1st ever at bat with his new ball club Hanley got those arms extended and drove the ball to center field which went off the Busch stadium wall and resulted in his 3rd triple of the season. Later on in the 6th inning he stayed back kept his hands nice short and compact and he smacked a ground ball single into center field to score Mark Ellis collect his 1st Dodger rbi. The Cardinals would eventually come back and ultimately win the game in the 12th inning 3-2. Despite the loss if im a fan of this ball club im excited to have Hanley in the middle of my order. I feel like L.A is a perfect fit for him and his personality, he loves attention and getting the limelight. When the ball club returns back home he will get to play on one of baseballs biggest stages Dodger Stadium in a city full of gilts and glamour. Hanley’s a gilts and glamour kind of guy so I think he will fit right in. If he keeps his head on straight he could be a huge asset to the team. If the Dodgers ever win a championship and he is a big part of it who knows instead of “Hollywood” we might see “Hanley-wood"

Throwback Thursday: "Broadway" Joe Namath

Today is Thursday and you already know that means it’s throwback Thursday here at the Tru school. Just want to thank everybody who read and gave me love on last weeks article on Muggsy Bouges, This week though we take a look at the Hall of Fame Super bowl champion  “Broadway” Joe Namath.


Very few players represent a standard that future players need to live up too but when you play for the NY Jets and you start at quarterback you will always be compared to Joe Namath. He is the Gold standard for anybody who puts on a uniform to play QB New York Jets. Namath in many ways represents New york city while he achieved greatness on the gridiron his blooming personality and appeal to women allowed him to get a career in acting. Appearing on shows such as the Brady Bunch Namath earned the nickname “Broadway”. As much as he was Broadway he was still a football player. He was most famous for his super bowl 3 prediction when he came out and guaranteed a victory against the heavily favored Baltimore Colts. Joe earned lots of criticism and people thought he was crazy for saying that. When the clock was done ticking and the smoke had cleared Joe “Broadway” Namath arose victorious shocking the sports world in what was called “The greatest upset in pro football history”. When the game ended Namath stormed off the field rasing his right hand running towards the tunnel at the orange bowl his hand had the #1 telling the Miami crowd that his Jets were the champs. He was later named the super bowl 3 MVP. Jets fans usually have goose bumbs when talking about him. Why wouldn’t they? He brought the organization its 1st and only Vince Lombardi trophie. Namath represents a lot of what the Jets and New York is full of and that’s a bunch of Underdogs who triumph over all the overbearing odds too achieve a common goal. That goal is too simply be called “Champion”

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ichiro a Yankee

Its been a very odd 2 days in Seattle for baseball fans. On Monday the New York Yankees aquired 10 time All-star Ichiro Suzuki from the Seattle Mariners. Ichiro in another uniform is weird enough but Ichiro playing his 1st game in Seattle with the Yankees batting 8th is even more odd. In a press conference held at Safeco field the former Mariner franchise player said “I’m going from a team with the most losses to a team with the most wins so it’s hard to contain my excitement” . He stepped up to the plate like he’s done many times before wearing #31 he was greeted by 29,911 of the Seattle faithful with a standing ovation and a tip of the cap. He dug in ready to face Kevin Milwood and very quickly he smacked a single right up the middle and got on base in the 2nd inning. He wasted no time Stealing his 16th base of the season and a lot of fans probably started saying “where was that yesterday” in they’re mind. Ichiro would go 1-4 with a stolen base and rbi on route to a 4-1 Yankee win in his debut. As odd as Monday night was Tuesday night might have even been a more odd sight to see. During the top of the 3rd inning Ichiro had his 1st plat appearance against “King Felix” Hernandez. If you are a Mariner fan this was a sight too see the All-time hit Leader vs. one of best pitchers in franchise history. The 2 Seattle cornerstones squared off and Felix got the better of Ichiro jamming him inside and getting him to pop out to 3rd baseman Kyle Seager. In the top of 6th the elite hitter got revenge on his former teamate Doubling  down the right field line for his 16th double of the season. The duel between the former teamates would end afte Ichiro got hit by a pitch in the 7th inning and Felix was taken out of the ballgame. So what does Ichiro in New York city mean? It mean the at for the 1st time in his career he truly has a chance to get the only thing he hasn’t accomplished in his illustrious baseball career. He gets to do it on one of baseball’s biggest stages ina huge media market. Playing in New York should give Ichiro a breath of freah air and rejuvenate him back to All-star form. He was only hitting 261. In Seattle which is far from normal for the Japanese phenom. As much as I hate the Yankees I wouldn’t mind seeing one of my generations greatest players finally get a ring.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Vegas Summer league

Vegas summer league has wrapped up and there were some rookies and sophomores who impressed. With all the different teams competing in sin city there was more talent on display then in Orlando. So with out further ado lets get into the players who impressed.

1. Josh Selby G Memphis Grizzlies 2nd round pick 49th overall 2011 draft


The former Kansas Jayhawk saw little time in the Grizzlie rotation with Tony Allen and O.J Mayo at shooting guard for the grind house gang. With the departure of Mayo to the Dallas Mavericks Selby may have an opportunity to get significant time in the Memphis rotation. Selby proved to be one of the most outstanding players in summer league dropping 30+ points in 2 of his 4 games. He shot lights out from the perimeter putting up numbers you usually see from me playing NBA 2k12 . In all seriousness though if Selby can come off the bench and give the Grizzlies some consistent shooting from the perimeter he will stick around for a long time. Memphis desperately need shooting from the perimeter ranking 25th in the NBA  last year shooting 32% a team from dowtown. If Selby can fill it up from 3 he will add a whole new dimension to the grindhouse offense.

Summer league stats: 4 Games 29 Minutes 27.5 PPG 2.8 Rebounds 2.5 Steals 59 FG%  70 % 3pt FG

2. Kemba Walker PG Charlotte Bobcats 1st round 9th overall 2011 draft


Kemba Walker is known as a winner capturing a national title at Uconn in early 2011 but his NBA experience was vastly different. He played on the worst team in league history going 7-59 with the Charlotte Bobcats. Talk about being brought down to earth from being on top of college basketball to worst team in NBA history. Kemba Walker individually struggled for most of the season and his numbers reflect that. Walker did show some flashes of brilliance posting a triple-double vs. Wizards on January 25th . With Walker being given the job,having his 1st real camp and a quicker more up tempo system by new coach Mike Dunlap Walker is looking to prove all the doubters wrong that say he can”t be a starting point guard in the NBA. He silenced all the critics (for now) with his impressive summer league play. He had games where he didn’t play his best basketball and still impacted winning. For example in the 2nd game vs. Cavaliers Walker shot 2-14 from the field but with the game on the line and the Bobcats down by 1 he hit a floater to give the Charlotte the win over Cleveland. Kemba may not be your prototype point guard but playing to his attributes in the Dunlap system will allow him to flourish and I expect the starting point guard to be in the running for the most improved player of the year award.

Summer league stats: 5 games 31 Minutes 15.8 points 3.6 Rebounds 5.8 Assists 1.8 Steals 35 FG%

Damian Lillard G Portland TrailBlazers 1st round 6th overall


Considerd a reach by many experts Damian Lillard has a chip on his shoulder to hopefully prove the critics wrong that he wasn’t a reach. He is a  little known point guard from the miniscule college of Weber State where he put up big time numbers his sophmore and senior seasons putting up 19.9 and 24.5 points respectably. Lillard is a guy who can flat out score and I saw a lot of things I liked out of the summer league scoring champ. He broke down defenses and penetrated the middle of the floor and set up team mates making it look effortlessly at times. Although he was inefficient at times Lillard was aggressive and you like too see that out of  your rookie point guards,especially if he is projected as your starter. This kid has All-star potential

Summer League Stats: 4 Games 32.8 Minutes 26.5 PPG 5.3 Assists  4.0 Rebounds 0.5 Steals 43.8 FG% 37 3PT FG%

Jeffery Taylor F Charlotte Bobcats 2nd round 32nd overall

This too me is considered a steal in the 2nd round because Taylor posses 1st round talent his game is versatile. He takes pride in his defense 1st but on offense Taylor can shoot lights out from the perimeter but still posses the athletic ability to get to the rim and finish. At 6’7 him and Michael-Kidd Gilchrist  will likely see some playing time with each other which could make for some exciting basketball in the queen city this season. Taylor no matter where he plays will be an effective NBA pro. His perimeter defense and long range shooting will make him an asset in Charlotte  this upcoming season and the native of Sweden  has looked solid so far even though its only summer league.

Summer League Stats: 27 Minutes 11.8 PPG 1.3 Assists 4.5 Rebounds 0.2 Steals  40 FG% 37 3pt FG%

Bradley Beal G Washington Wizards 1st round 3rd Overall



The St.Louis native is considerd by many to be the most NBA ready player in the draft and will be John Wall”s backcourt partner in crime for the Wizards. Beal will compliment Wall’s raw atheletisicm very well with his ability too shoot the ball from the perimeter. For the 1st time maybe ever in DC the wizards have a backcourt they can build around for a long time. I like what I saw from Beal he played solid defense hustled  in the open court to block players and in close outs. The effort level was really high and for a franchise that has a trend of having guys who take play off Beal should make a differnce.

Summer League Stats: 5 Games 30.6 Minutes 17.6 PPG 1.8 Assists 4.6 Rebounds 1 Steal 41 FG%  30 3PT FG%

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Throwback Thursday: Muggsy Bouges


Today is thrusday and here at Tru School Sports I have a new segment called “Throwback Thursday” where I look at and reflect on some of the the players, trends, and Arenas back in the day. Today we will look at Former Charlotte Hornets Point guard Muggsy Bouges. Anybody who knows Muggsy knows he beat the odds as the shortest player in NBA history at 5’3,he looked like a skittle running in a Hornets uniform around the atheltic specimans known as NBA players. He was taking by the Washington Bullets with the 12th pick in the 1987 NBA draft. After a season of not cracking the Bullets rotation he was left un protected in the 1988 expansion draft where he would be selected by the expansion Charlotte Hornets where he would be made the starting point guard. He would go on to become the shortest player in NBA history to average a double-double in the 1993-94 season averaging 10.8 points and 10.1 assists. The Hornets would make the playoffs three times in the Muggsy, Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning. Muggsy and the hornets never made the NBA finals and won a championship but during his time in the queen city the Hornets were always among the leagues best. He would go on and play the rest of his career with the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors. He lasted 14 years in the league, Not bad for a guy who was too short, not strong enough and had an inconsistent jumpshot. These were the words of many experts and critics of Tyrone Bouges but Muggsy was fearless he wasn’t even afraid to guard the likes of a Michael Jordan or a Patrick ewing. Muggsy even made former Atlanta hawks Shooting guard Steve Smith change his position saying “he made me change my position from a point guard to shooting guard saying I wont play point guard for long”. Muggsy played with heart hustle and unmatched tenacity and his supreme confidence allowed him to be successful to the point where he made a player change his position. Next time you are playing the game of basketball and someone tells you “ your too small” or “your too short” think about Muggsy Bouges and try to emulate his defensive intensity and effort. Muggsy himself even said philosophicly “your never too small to ball”. So Muggsy Bouges i salute you!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Heart Of The City: Knicks-Nets Rivalry

Since 1946 the Knicks have always been New York's team but with playoff struggles the last decade plus and no championship since 1973 the New York Knickerbockers have competition with their new crosstown rival the Brooklyn Nets. The franchise formely located in New Jersey was always viewd as the #2 in the NY area basketball team despite more recent success then the Knicks Manhattans squad always hogged the spotlight. Then the Nets relocated to the borrough known as Brooklyn and have already made some noise staking they’re claim as NY’s basketball team and the heart of the city. With the free agent signings of All-Stars Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and big men Kris Humpries and Brook Lopez the Nets will have a starting 5 capable of beating anybody in the league let alone the Knicks. The Nets seem to have resembled they’re owner Jay-z in the way they talk and convey themselves. For example newly aquired shooting guard Joe Johnson said when asked about who he thinks the best team in the big apple is “the Nets definetly the Nets” strong words for a player who on a team who hasn’t played a single game yet. Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony responded b saying “I hear they’re trash talking but  we will be ready for the challenge. The trash talking Dosen’t just stop at the players Brooklyn borrugh president Marty Markowitz said “ For nearly 40 years the Manhattan Knicks have shown the can’t bring a championship to NYC, so it’s up to the Brooklyn Nets to get it done”. He would later continue expressing himself by saying “ Move over Manhattan, you have had your chance”. The strong words should stir up feelings and city pride between players and fans alike lets compare different aspects of city’s, teams and player match ups.

The Citys

Manhattan: Home to central park, Times square and the empire state building. Manhattan is home to just under 1.7 million people and a tourist destination for millions of other people around the world. When New York is talked about as a big city with bright lights Manhattan is the center of it all. From Wall street to Madison Square Garden Manhattan is a place of attraction and endless fun for everybody. Manhattan is home to our countrys largest library and home to the ever popular Grand Central Train station which has appeared in countless movies and television shows. Manhattan is also the birthplace to my mom and is the definition of what a “glits and glamour” city looks like. Manhattan has also shot several TV shows like "Seinfeld" and "Friends" just too name a few. Whether you are a tourist,actor or even a pro Basketball player this is where you want to be.

Brooklyn: A much different city BK is New Yorks most populated borrough at about 2.5 million people. Brooklyn is home too Coney island, the 4th of july hot dog eating contest, botanical gardens and an incredible influence on Hip-hop music and culture. This borrugh dose not have the “big city ,bright lights” that Manhattan has but it is a place where many immigrants come to live and make home in. The city has churned out many hip-hop artists like Jay-Z, Biggie Smalls, Talib kweli and Busta Rhymes. BK is also home to one of the nations biggest art collections located in the Brooklyn library. It also is home too the world famous Brooklyn academy of music which has hosted musical acts like Paul Simon, Robert Redford and the Jimmy Kimmel show just too name a few famous people who have stepped foot into the bk landmark. Spike Lee (who ironically roots for the knicks) is a Brooklyn native and film director who shot the classic film “Do the right thing” in the Bedford-Stuyvesant housing projects located in Brooklyn.


New York Knicks

Walt Frazier, Bernard King, Allan Houston, Patrick Ewing those are some of the many names that hold a special place in the MSG rafters and Knick fans hearts. The franchise won world championships in 1970 and 1973 but has failed too do so since. In 1999 the Knicks fell short of becoming the first 8th seeded team in NBA history to win a championship when they lost to David Robinson, Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs in 5 games in the 1999 NBA finals. The Knicks began play in 1946. Madison Square Garden has been the Knicks home since 1968 and is the second oldest arena in the NBA behind the Golden State Warriors venue- Oracle arena. It is often reffered too as “the mecca of basketball” due to its high amount of unforgettable NBA and College basketball moments. Manhattaners have always supported this team regardless of how good or bad the record was. The Knicks last season were a straight soap opera with injuries too Carmelo,Amare stoudimeire and the firing of coach Mike D’antoni the knicks looked like they weren’t going to even qualify for the playoffs, then “Linsanity” happened. With the Knicks not even in the 8th seed the MSG faithful let the boo’s rain down on a nightly basis with the inconsistent play. When Jeremy Lin took the floor he would take NYC by storm and lead the Knicks to an 18-6 record down the stretch to secure the 8th seed in the playoffs. He gave NYC many memorable moments with 38 points and 7 assists in a win vs. Kobe Bryant and the L.A Lakers at MSG and 27 points and 11 assists vs. Toronto which he hit a buzzer beater 3 pointer in which sent the predominantly asian Raptor crowd into a frenzy. The Knicks had a great run but with Lin, Baron Davis and Rookie Iman Shmpert all sidelined with injuries the Knicks would lose in 5 games to the eventual world champs the Miami Heat.

Brooklyn Nets

 Often viewed as the awkward step cousin of NYC hoops in New Jersey the Nets have a new look, arena, energy surrounding the team like they have never experienced . With the sparkling new Barclay's Center in the heart of BK  the Nets are looking to create a buzz  and stake they’re claim as New Yorks team. With the signings of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humpries, and Brook Lopez the Nets will posses a starting 5 more then capable of matching up with the Knicks. The Nets are trying to do more then win the battle of NY but win the battle vs. the whole league and become champions someday. Trash talking and a cocky attitude really has showcased and embodied what  Brooklyn streetball is and by possessing a certain type of swagger the nets will rep BK very well. Joe Johnson recently came out and said “Brooklyn Nets have to have swag and it starts with confidence”. Make what you want of that statement but he is trying to forge an identity between the city of Brooklyn and the players on the Nets roster. The nets have raised the flag and made Brooklyn their territory, when its time to lace up the shoes they have to play with confidence and heart. I like the black and white color scheme of the Nets jersey because that’s how I believe a lot of people from Brooklyn are black and white from the way they view things so if this team plays well then recognition will come but if they struggle im sure Brooklynites will be sure to let em know. So its time too say HELLO BROOKLYN!!! But how many times will we say HELLO VICTORY?!

The Fans

This the most intresting aspect of this newly developing rivalry. Im sure many Knicks fans used to reside in BK but many have converted into Nets fans. However im also sure that regardless of location that many Knicks fans will hold true to their alliance to the Knicks. One person who’s a Brooklyn native is a actor/director/Knicks diehard fan Spike Lee who has stated many times that even though he is a native of Brooklyn he will remain a Knicks fan which too many people isn’t a surprise at all. Spike Lee has been with the Knicks win or lose and his love for the team is so deeply rooted that he could be the mascot for the Knicks (just ask Reggie Miller). Im sure that with the Nets in Brooklyn that many people will have debates too who should root for what team and I believe that it will cause a lot of civic pride in the fans and the borroughs in which they live. You may have a family who has 3 generations of Knicks fans and all of the sudden the younger generation breaks that cycle and becomes a Brooklyn Nets fan. Its stuff like that that I believe will make this rivalry exciting the fact that you may have rivalrys between fans within family’s. One person who has become a BK nets fan already is multi-platinum artist Busta Rhymes who was spotted at the Brooklyn hip hop festival wearing the ever popular black t-shirt with the Brooklyn Nets logo that reads in white letters “Hello Brooklyn”. Im sure with NY being a hoops crazy city this rivalry certainly wont lack passion or enthusiasim. Another thing I have thought about how many Brooklyn fans will go to Manhattan and how many Manhattan fans will go to Brooklyn? Although MSG  and Barclays center will be 2 very enticing arenas to catch some basketball which fan base will make a bigger impact in the other teams opposing arena? Brooklynites have used strong words Marty Markowitz Brooklyn borrough president called it “treason” for any Brooklyn nites to be rooting for the Knicks come November. He also makes a comparison to citizens of Brooklyn to Manhattan he says  Manhattan residents are “primp, promper, classy and impeccably dressed” when talking about Bkers he say “we are scrappy, unfraid to speak our minds and we wear our hearts on our sleeves”. He also said “MSG dosent have the same sparkle now that Barclays Center is in town”. Strong words from the Bk president hopefully his team plays up too his words.

The Matchups

The starting 5 between these two teams is gonna have a lot of interesting match ups so lets take a look and break down the match ups.

New York Knicks

PG: Raymond Felton
SG: Iman Shumpert
SF: Carmelo Anthony
PF; Amare Stoudemire
C: Tyson Chandler

Brooklyn Nets

PG: Deron Williams
SG: Joe Johnson
SF: Gerald Wallace
PF: Kris Humpries
 C: Brook Lopez

These are 2 pretty good starting fives even though im sure Knicks fans would object to that due to the fact that Jeremy Lin is now a Houston Rocket but I honestly think people forget how good Raymond Felton was for the half a season he played for the knicks he was playing like an All-star point guard before the trade for melo happened. I think that him coming back is the best thing for him its gonna motivate him to come into camp in shape unlike last year because NY is where he truly wanted to be. Raymond isn’t expected to out play a guy like Deron Williams but if he takes care of the basketball and can take care of the basketball and return to form he will give the knicks more then a fighting chance in beating their crosstown rivals.

At the 2 guard postion we have 6 time All-star Joe Johnson vs. Scrappy sophmore guard Iman Shumpert. Now while this match up would look like a definte edge to Joe due to his scoring ability don’t sleep on the young kid outta georiga tech he showed many times last year he can be a difference maker on defense and his toughness and agressiveness could get the better of J.J but because of his scoring ability you got to give the edge to Johnson.

The match up at the small forward position is easily the most interesting on one end you have Carmelo Anthony one of the leagues most purest scorers. On the other end you have Gerald Wallace a tough grity physical speciman who plays his heart out on the defensive end and in my opinion he will become a fan favorite and the embodiment of what Brooklyn Basketball is about. It will be interesting for me as a basketball fan too see how Melo and his jab step work against Wallace and his smothering wing defense four times a year when they play each other. I give the slight edge to Melo for a few reasons one he is a star and may get bailed out a few times and two he is one of the few guys in our game who can truly score at will no matter who the defender is.

 The power forward match up is really a toss up between Amare Stoudemeire and Kris Humpries while Amare is a NBA all star Kris Humpries is unknowingly too most one of the best rebounders and double double guys in our game. Amare doesn’t always maintain a high intensity on the defensive end and sometimes checks out of games so depending on which Amare we see ill give the edge because of rebounding ability to Kris Humpries but Amare can always be an impact player as long as he just shuts his mouth and plays the game.

Last but not least our matchup at the 5 position features 2011-2012 defensive player of the year Tyson Chandler and skilled but injury plagued big men Brook Lopez. This is the x-factor match up Chandler is arguably the most dynamic defensive player in the league his intensity can rub off on teamates and help the team win just look at the 2011 playoffs. Lopez when healthy is a top 5 center in the NBA but in order for th nets to go as far as they want he will need to stay healthy and play like he is capable of. Even though Brook can stretch the floor and shoot the ball as well as any big men ill give the edge to Tyson Chandler just because of his intensity and toughness I feel like he would impose his will on the fragile Lopez but if brook develops watch out NYK.

Final thoughts

Overall I will give the Brooklyn Nets the advantage over the Knicks, they have to much star power and presence on the boards. The Knicks would struggle on the glass which would lead to a lot of 2nd chance points for the nets. Also the diversity of the Nets offense would be too much to handle with the playmaking ability of Wiliams, Slashing of Wallace and ability to strecth the floor with guys like Lopez and Johnson the Knicks would have a hard time defending them and that’s hard enough for a team that overall isn’t the strongest defensively. Towards the later stages of the game I feel that Melo will have too much of the burden on his shoulder to put the team on his back and against a team With the nets skill level that will be a tough task in the 4th quarter. All in all I think this rivalry is just what the NBA needs because it lacks true rivalrys today like it had in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. What better stage then New York to have 2 teams fight it out for the right to be called the heart of the city?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Steele City: 2nd half importance for the Pirates

Pittsburgh the Steele city a town of grit, grind and pride. The people of Pittsburgh are blue collar people who love they’re sports teams, from the Steelers to the Penguins to The Pirates this city has seen its fair share of classic teams and players. The Pirates have for 19 seasons had losing seasons and haven’t qualified for the playoffs since Barry Bonds wore the black and yellow. Pnc park Opened in 2001 and is a gem of baseball cathedrals but it has never seen playoff baseball. It has how ever seen many All-stars such as Jason Bay, Aramis Ramirez, Jack Wilson, Nate Mclouth traded to other teams. These days around Pnc park are different though, the Pirates are Playing very exciting baseball lead by young guns Andrew McCutchen,Garret jones,Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker and Joel Hannarahan. As I sit here and type this the pirates are half a game out of first place and sit in one of the 2 wildcard spots. Now in most city’s its this would be cool and not that big a deal but when you haven’t had a winning season since 92 then this is big being in a wildcard spot after the all-star break. The pirates have given the Steele city faithful a lot of reasons to cheer at Pnc park these days with McCutchen putting up MVP numbers Leading the league in Batting average hitting 371.with 21 homeruns 64 Rbis this guy is the face of the pirates, is an MVP candidate and franchise player. When he comes to the park he gets after it with his combination of speed, power and high baseball iq he electrifies pirate fans with his spectacular play on a daily basis. He is the kid of guy that when kids walk into a gift shop they will want to buy his jersey you can build a team around him and sell tickets he is the type of guy who can be a role model too kids in the city. A.J Burnett and John McDonald have also become a nice 1-2 punch in the pirates rotation combining for a 19-6 record 3.10 era and 188 strikeouts. The stability off the top of the rotation along with timely hitting has the pirates at 49-39.The Pirates returning to the playoffs would mean a whole lot too the city of Pittsburgh but also the MLB.People forget that the pirates are one of the most tradition rich franchises in league history all you need to do is look at the players who have put on the black and yellow back in the day. Roberto Clemente,Willie Stargell, Dave parker, Barry Bonds are all names who hold a place not only in pirates but in baseball lure. This franchise has 5 world championships and this 2012 pirates team has a chance to do something that no team in the big leagues can do and that is reconnect a city with a proud franchise. Pnc park is arguably the best park in baseball it deserves playoffs baseball. Who knows in a few years names like McCutchen,walker, Jones, McDonald and Alvarez might hold a place in Pirate baseball lure. With a great 2nd half of baseball the pirates can make that yellow letter “P” on their new era fitted relevant again. I’m sure the longer they stay in contention the more black and yellow I will see at pirate home games.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Orlando Summer league 1st impressions and longshots

The NBA summer league represents a new time and new wave of players coming into the league and offers fans like myself to get a look at their game. Yesterday was the start of the Orlando summer league and after watching a few guys play I was left with a good first impression with a few young talented players and even a few intresting stories to say the least. So lets get into it

1. Kim English SG Detroit Pistons 2nd round 44th overall


The slick shooting guard from Missouri looked like a steal and a prototype 2 guard in the nba with his smooth jumpshot and perimeter play. He has a sweet stroke wherever he shoots from and many times yesterday he created his own shot and made smart decsions with the basketball. There were a few scenarios where Kim English made a nice play but it wasn’t the right one. With Ben Gordon traded I think English could be the future starting shooting guard for the Pistons and with more experience and acclumation to the speed of the game Kim English could be a pretty solid shooting guard in the league.

Summer league averages:2 games 27 minutes 12 points 1.5 rebounds 2 Ast  0.5 steals

2. Perry Jones III Oklahoma City Thunder F 1st round 28th overall


Based on talent Perry Jones III is a top 10 pick but injuries and questions about his lifespan and how long he will stay healthy had him slip through the cracks and picked at 28 by OKC. The Baylor product has caught my eye so far and has looked like a man amongst boys. He has displayed physicality on the block moving players out the way. With James Harden being a free agent and possibly leaving Okc the thunder might have found a gem and the future small forward of what they hope is a championship team. Perry Jones versatility ball handling ability and 7,2 wingspan will allow him to be a very good player in the league the only question is his health.

Summer league averages: 2 games 26 minutes 12 ppg 6 rebounds .5 Ast 1.5 Blocks

Andre Drummond Detroit Pistons F 1st round 9th overall


This guy is the definition of a “Manchild”  at 18 years old he stands at 6’11 265 pounds with a 7,6 wingspan. You can tell his momma fed him well because he has an NBA body but is considered by many to be a project. Many scouts question his motor but this guy is a big boy and as he adjusts to NBA game speed endurance shouldn’t be a problem. I liked what I saw from him in his match up with Utah Jazz big man and 2nd year man Enes Kanter  from the very 1st play he didn’t back down. Kanter tried to back him down in the post and found a baby hook shot getting blocked by the man child Drummond. The rest of the game Drummond showed inconsistency and him airballing a free throw and not using his body in certain situations. Andre Drummond posses talent that would complimant Pistons center Greg Monroe very well. Who knows in a few years Drummond and Monroe could be one of the most imposing front courts in the league. He is the kind of guy they would love in the motor city and im sure Pistons PA announcer “Mason” will love saying his name nut until then lets work on on some free throws,

Summer league averages: 2 games 24.5 minutes 5.5 ppg 0.5 ast 4 rebounds 2.5 steals 1.5 Blocks 50% fg

Lance Stephenson  2010 draft pick 2nd round 40th overall Indian Pacers


Although he is considerd a veteran in summer league circles many don’t know much about the Indiana Pacers point guard. He is most noted for giving Lebron James the choke sign on the bench during the eastern confrence finals and later got close lined by Dexter Pittman. What few people know is that this athletic 6.5 point guard posses a skill set to be a key contributer for a Pacer team looking to take a leap forward as eastern confrence power house. Lance has been playing a solid all around game displaying himself as a floor general and leader for the pacer summer league team. He keeps this up and he might become another teams key contributer with the Pacers already having Darren Collison and George Hill at PG its unlikely that Lance will find any significant minutes in the rotation.

2012 Summer league averages: 2 games 32 minutes 20.5 ppg 6.5 ast 2.5 rebounds 53% fg

Summer league also presents a few intresting stories of guys trying to guys trying to get back to the league,get there for the 1st time or simply just prove that they belong. Lets take a look at an example of all 3 I just mentioned.

1. Adam Morrison F Brooklyn Nets
Coming out in the 2006 NBA draft Morrison was highly touted coming out of Gonzaga and was drafted 3rd overall by Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Bobcats. After injuries and underachieving Morrison was dealt to L.A where he never received substantial minutes but won a ring sitting on the bench. 6 years after being drafted Morrison is out too prove people wrong that he can contribute in the league and that he will be back. Yesterday. Scored 10 points along 10 rebounds collecting his 1st double-double in summer league play. If Morrison keeps putting up solid numbers he might find himself in Brooklyn.

2.Blake Ahearn PG Utah Jazz


After balling out in the D-league with the Reno Big horns Breaking basketball Records for most consecutive free throws and a D-league all-star appearance Ahearn found himself with the Utah Jazz  getting called up. Ahearn is a longshot in todays NBA because he lacks athletisicm that most players have. All he is looking for is a chance to find an NBA teams rotation so he can prove himself. The guys is a journeyman who worked his tail off in the D-league and has had very short stints with the Heat,Spurs,Jazz. Time will tell if Ahearn will ever get a chance but one things for sure he will continue to grind and im rooting for him.

3. Dequan Jones F Orlando Magic


Coming into summer league Jones is an unknown too most. I know perfectly well who he is and what he is about. Dequan Jones is a physical speciman and an athletic freak. Watching him play at “The U” I was witness too many blocks and saw many posters made on opposing college basketball players. This is a high energy guy who has a really high motor. Although he is a very raw talent with the right coaching and guidance the Orlando Magic might have found themselves a nice bench player.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How Dontrelle Willis should be remembered

Not too long ago former Florida Marlins all-star pitcher and Fan favorite Dontrelle Willis retired from the game of baseball. Willis is known for his high leg kick delivery he learned growing up in Alameda, California. Willis is most remembered for his midseason run he had as a 21 year old young pup going 14-6 his rookie season and winning the rookie of the year en route to helping the Marlins 2nd world series title. 2005 saw the D-train go an impressive 22-10 and earn cy young runner up. After that season he was never the same pitcher again he failed to throw strikes with any consistency. After a few average seasons in Florida Willis was dealt to the Detroit Tigers along with fellow team mate Miguel Cabrera. From 2008-2011 Willis only recorded 4 wins and after bouncing around with the Tigers, D-backs, Reds, Phillies, Orioles Dontrelle decided to hang it up and retire via Twitter saying “im deeply thankful for everything the game has done for me and I will always remember the great people I met along the way #mlb”. Now a lot of people what will D-trains legacy be in the game of baseball? Some will look at it from the negative approach so from a positive one. I am gonna look at D-trains legacy as a positive one a 2 time all-star,20 game winner and a guy who was a huge part of the Marlins 2nd world championship. Above all that though I think people should look at Dontrelle willis and say that he played with a passion of a man but joy of a kid all at the same time. He played the game hard everyday gave you all he could ran the bases hard and had an infectious energy that rubbed off on teamates. I grew up going to Pro player stadium watching the man pitch so maybe im biased but when I would sit there in my cheap seats and watch him pitch he was always worth the price of admission. I have followed the Marlins since I was 4 years old and I have never seen a connection from player to fans like I saw With Dontrelle Willis and Marlins fns,so while many people will lable him a bust I will remember him for what he is a champion, hard worker, and great person and will continue to rock the black #35 jersey at marlins park. CONGRATS D-train on a good career thanks for the memories!!!!!!!

Nathans famous hot dog eating contest:THE American tradition

In the world sports there are few if any that only happen once a year and arent considered a sport but at the same time considered a tradition. If you don’t know what it is exactly im talking about I am referring to the 15 best most blissful minutes in competitive eating known as The Nathans world famous hot dog eating contest in coney island,NY. Nothing in the world is more patriotic then people stuffing they’re faces with americas most famous hot dog on americas most famous network on americas birthday. This is the 97th time that people from all over the globe that people will indulge in hotdogs sure to make them gain weight. This contest has gotten bigger and bigger every year. Espn started televising the event in 2004 and for many people including myself it has grown into a yearly tradition. The event has been dominated by only 2 people Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chesnut. Kobayashi was the most dominant competitor winning the contest 2001-2006 and setting world records on 4 different occasions. Then came Joey Chestnut Americas only hope at reclaiming the mustard belt for America and bringing it home.. At the 92nd Annual Nathans famous hotdog eating contest He set a new world record with 66 hot dogs consumed and scored his 1st Nathans famous mustard belt tittle. Next year after that he repeated in a sintulating eat off after equaling Kobayashis total of 59 hotdogs. Chestnut is a 5 time champion and hasn’t lost since 2007. With 1 more mustard belt Chestnut will equal Kobayashis record of 6. If you have never watched this event live I highly suggest you do,the personality and passion these people have is worth your time and making it a 4th of july staple and tradition in your life. With an expected record crowd of 40,000+ Coney island should be rocking this 4th july like always. Have a Happy and safe 4th of July too all!!!!!!!!

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