Friday, May 31, 2013

Graduation Cards

As I am sitting here typing this it is 1:05 PM and I am less then 5 hours from graduating South Broward High School. Usually with graduation comes gifts, money and a bunch of hoopla from the family. My Mom chose to gave me money and being the avid Sports collector I am decided to take my behind to Hollywood Collectibles and spent part of my new found riches on some cardboard heroes of basketball, so lets begin!

Card #1 Sky Box 1990 Magic Johnson

People talk about how versatile Lebron James is and sometimes my man Magic gets lost in the shuffle. This man was also 6'9 played multiple positions and changed basketball with the offense he ran as point guard of the “ShowTime” Lakers. I found this card Digging through a dime box of assorted cards.

Price: 2$

Card #2: 1997 Topps Tim Duncan (Rookie)

The San Antonio Spurs are in the finals again and if Tim Duncan is to capture another ring it will make 5 and further cement him as one of the greatest the NBA has ever seen. Some people don't really appreciate his greatness the way I do so when finding this card I flipped. The Cards I gt is a rookie card and probably one of the best cards in my miniscule yet evolving basketball collection.

Price: 4$

Card #3: Sky Box 1991 Michael Jordan

Of all the cards I purchased yesterday none are as visually cultivating as this cardboard treasure which features MJ basking in the glory of what was his 1st of 6 championship rings with the Chicago Bulls. The card speaks for itself.

Price: 2$

Card #4: 2007 Upperdeck Artifacts Jason Kidd Jersey Card

Of all the cards this one is definitely my favorite for many reasons. Its the only card I purchased not in a dime box. It was actually inside one of those shelfs with other nice expensive cards I can't afford. This was a steal though, I had a little more money then usual so I decided to splurge a bit. This card is rare numbered 12/100 so the feeling I have of purchasing something rare is comforting. Also Watching Kidd with the Nets growing up along with guys like Vince Carter,Keyon Martin and Richard Jefferson was some of the most fun I ever had watching basketball.

Price: 10$

So all in a another great day of purchases at Hollywood Collectibles. Now it's time to start practicing throwing my cap up in the air at the conclusion of graduation.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Throwback Thursday: 2002 Sacramento Kings

As I am Typing this the Western Conference Finals is over and the San Antonio Spurs have swept the Memphis Grizzlies. As I was watching this series unfold my mind like it usually does began to to wander off into thinking about one of the most memorable Western conference finals of all-time. I'm speaking about the 2002 edition of the WCF that series featured Chris Webber and the Sacramento Kings who squared of with Kobe Bryant and the LA Lakers who were in the midst of starting a dynasty. This is known by many as the most controversial series in NBA history and is the subject of today’s edition of throwback Thursday.

The Back story

Before the series between the Kings and Lakers even got started the records between the two teams read like this. For the Sacramento Kings they were 61-21 with the best record in the west. The Lakers were not to far behind the Kings with a record of 58-24. Although the Kings had the best record in the conference they had a record of 1-3 vs the Lakers in the regular season, so they were still the new kids on the block.

The Stats

Put the two teams players stats side by side and the Top 2 for the Lakers were just a bit better then the top 2 for the Kings.

(Per game stats)

Shaq: 27 Points 10 Rebounds 2 Blocks
Kobe: 25 Points 5 Rebounds 5 Assists 2 steals

Webber: 25 Points 10 Rebounds 5Assists 2 Steals 1 Block
Peja:21 Points 5 Rebounds 1 Steal 41%3-point shooter

Very Evenly matched as far as the top goes with the edge going to the Lakers but where things look very lopsided statistically is within the role players of both these teams. Outside of Kobe and Shaq the Lakers only had 1 play averaging 10 points per game and that was Derek Fisher at 11.2 points per game who back then had enough hair to get a 15$ haircut at the local barbershop.

The Kings on the Other hand had 5 guys beside Chris Webber and Peja who averaged 10 points per game or more (Mike Bibby,Doug Christie, Bobby Jackson,Vlade Divac and Hedo Turkoglu). The highest was Bibby at 14 points per game. My main man Gerald Wallace even averaged 3.8 points per game for that Kings team.The Sacramento Kings certainly had depth on their side.

The Series through 5 games

Through 5 games Sacramento had a 3-2 lead but two things kept this thing from being a short series for the Lakers.

#1 Stealing home-court in game 1

When you bust your tail all season to earn home-court advantage you must never allow the road team to steal that from you and that’s exactly what the Lakers did in game 1 with a 106-99 victory in Sacramento.

#2 Robert Horry Shot In Game 4

Can't forget about Jordan's retirement/Can't forget about Robert Horry's shot to win the game in the finals kid”. Nas stated that very eloquently in his song “Can't forget about you” and Robert Horry Kings fans will never forget about you. Had that shot not went in the Kings could have won this thing in 5 and advanced to the NBA Finals but this shot kept the Lakers alive.

With both of those negatives though the reality was that the Kings still had a 3-2 lead on the defending champs and were just 1 win away from taking the city and the franchise to the finals for the first time ever.........then there was game 6.

Tim Donaghy

Ever heard of referee Tim Donaghy? He was the guy who made bets on games he officiated and would make calls depending on the point spread so he could make money. The former NBA ref even admits that the NBA would effect the outcome of the games using referees. He also admits that he as well as his colleagues were not allowed to call technical fouls or throw out certain star players. Why is this relevant? Because this is the guy who in a report back in 2008 stated that Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals was fixed.

Game 6

So it was a beautiful for basketball in LA as the Staples Center crowd was sold out yet again for game 6. At the end of three quarters is was all tied up 75-75 the scoreboard read. The Kings had to win one more quarter to defeat the defending champion Lakers but then controversy struck. The 4th Quarter saw LA take 18 free throws and it was the most lopsided horrible officiating in the history of the league. There is certainly a reason Kings fans and NBA fans both call this a fixed series. In the 4th quarter of a series like this in game 6 you got to swallow the damn whistle so fans can watch the players play, they don't pay to watch free throws but keep this in mind. Shaquille O'neal has always been made fun of for his free throw shooting and in that game 6 he shot 13-17 from the line which is pretty good for him. Kobe went perfect at 11-11, even though the officiating was lopsided they hit most of they're free throws. The Kings missed 7 free throws and lost by 4 points so some of this is on them but the Refs certainly didn't help giving the Lakers all those chances. The Lakers won game 6 by a score of 106-102 and would go onto win the series in 7 games and would go on to capture their 3rd straight NBA title completing the “3 Peat”.

The Legacy

All though that Kings team remains a what if tale they are certainly not forgotten. Many long time NBA fans call them “the real NBA Finals Champions of 2002” and it is a valid argument and an understandable way to feel. We can argue as fans that it was fixed but we will never truly know but I will say this the 2002 Sacramento Kings are the greatest team to never win the NBA Finals so much depth and top level skill they certainly deserved one. So many players like Chris Webber, Mike Bibby,Peja Stoakavic,Doug Christie and Vlade Divac a pretty complete team that played hard night In and night out that wanted to punch you in the mouth and let you know what Sacramento Basketball was all about. I remember when I used to play NBA Live 2005 they were the highest rated team in the game and surely the hardest to beat. Look around Kings games even to this day and in the stands people still sport #4, #16 and #10 jerseys the memory of that Kings team is still fresh in the minds of those loyal fans and for a team that almost relocated this off-season they represent a golden era. Sacramento fans can only hope that they talk about Demarcus Cousins they way they talk about Chris Webber.

Were the Kings victimized of a fixed series? Are they the greatest team to never win the NBA Finals?

Join the Throwback Thursday debate of the day on the Tru School Sports fan page by clicking the link and liking the page below

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Kyrie Irving And Cavs Are Building A Team In Cleveland

The NBA draft lottery is all about luck some teams have and some teams don't. The Cleveland Cavaliers franchise seems to have it they landed Lebron James with the #1 pick in 2003 and the same with Kyrie Irving in 2011. This year they won the lottery again for the 1st overall pick and will likely take Kentucky defensive standout Nerlens Noel to add to the young core players of the Cavs. With a franchise player in Irving and young guns like Dion Waiters, Alonzo Gee, Tristian Thompson and Tyler Zeller things seem to be moving in the right direction in Cleveland. Check out my video below speaking on the current direction the Cavaliers are heading in.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Panthers Fan For Life

Social Media has made the world smaller. Outlets like Twitter have given us a chance to connect to our favorite actors,athletes and Sports teams. It's very rare that we get to interact with those people or things. Well not to long ago one of my childhood favorite Sports teams just followed me and that’s my beloved Florida Panthers. Before I was collecting baseball cards or caught basketball fever I was watching Pavel Bure score 60 goals in an electrifying manner from my nose bleeds at the National Car Rental Center. The Panthers have been a staple in my life and I fell in love with hockey because of it. This afternoon they followed me on twitter @thatboybtaylor and gave me a shout out (Follow me and see tweet below).

They only follow the most loyal dedicated fans and I have been there through thick and thin for my team. I was there when it was empty in 2007 and Todd Bertuzzi was injured the whole year. I was also there when we met the New Jersey Devils in the playoffs last year and the place was sold out. I Love the Panthers and hopefully they bring the cup to Sunrise one day. We may have struggled this year due to injury’s but we will be back.


A Healthy Alternative: A Day Of Women's Basketball

Yesterday started off as any regular day for me, wake up, check my email and go play basketball for a few hours. After all of that though I decided  to change things up a bit and watch some WNBA basketball (Don't make fun of me). I watched it though because of all the hype surrounding three women who are suppose to help the league draw fans. I'm speaking about the tope 3 picks in this years draft- Brittney Greiner, Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins.

So I got some kool-aid and some eggs while sweaty and settled in for the games. I caught a bit of Skylar Diggins play shes pretty talented a bit inefficient but talented and a pretty solid none the less. The Tulsa Shock which is who Diggins plays for lost but the future looks bright for her career in Oklahoma just has to get used to the speed of the game.

The game I really wanted to see though was between the Phoenix Mercury and the Chicago Sky. I went and got my pillow for this one. The reason I wanted to see this game more then the other one is because of all of the hype surrounding Brittney Greiner . Greiner if you aren't familiar was discussing trying out for the NBA with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban as well as training with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. All of this had me intrigued so I watched the game. Her team got blown out but she did things never seen in Women's Basketball. She became the 1st Pro Womens basketball player to dunk twice in the same game. A lesser known fact- she attempted a hook shot during today's game that she missed but still impressive even trying to attempt in game.

The Girl who really impressed me (as well as mesmerize) was Chicago Sky Forward Elena Delle Donna. There was more to her then just her beautiful complexion this girl could play, she played inside and outside. I saw her on the block displaying her face up game as well as knocking down some shots from beyond the perimeter. There was even a few times were the blonde bombshell was boxing Greiner out and getting rebounds. They came for Greiner but they left talking about Delle Donna, she definitely stole the show with 22 points leading her team to the 102-80 win over Phoenix. This girl has a swagger to her before halftime ESPN interviewed her before going to the locker room asking her about the speed of the game. She responded by saying “It's a Faster than College but I'm not getting double or Triple teamed so the game is getting easier for me”.

Although it will never will take over men's basketball, the future of the WNBA looks brighter than ever with these 3 talented women, I know I'll be getting my basketball fix this summer watching these three.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Cal Ripken: American Hero

First of all just want to say happy Memorial day to all the men and women who make the selfless choice to fight for our nation's freedom. I know it's not in me to do that so I respect that greatly. In honor of memorial day I busted out this special Fleer 2001 graded jersey card of Cal Ripken Jr. The card show Cal after he broke the record for most consecutive games played passing Lou Gehrig. The card reads at the top “An American Hero” and has an American flag in the background. Cal is defiantly a good example of hard work and sacrifice which represent a lot of what our country was built on.

U Did It

Throughout his tenure as a member of the Miami Heat I always have felt that Udonis Haslem is under appreciated. Living in South Florida most of my friends are fans of the Heat but i've always noticed that they're is a lack of appreciation for the Miami native. If they had any then game 3 was the game for them to realize UD's importance to the Heat. Last night he was the difference off the bench with 17 points and 7 rebounds. He was the difference in the Heat taking a 2-1 lead in the Eastern conference finals.

So to all my friends who don't appreciate Udonis Haslem you better start too that man is a class act, competitor and a winner. Give the man his just due.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Video Blog: Pacers/Heat Series will be Classic

 The Indiana Pacers are not going to be just another just a foot note in the Heats quest for a repeat. As great as Lebron James is Paul George is standing toe to toe with him, we might be watching a star being born right in front of our eyes. Game 3 is tonight and I’m sure it will be a good one just like the first two but I think this series could go down as a classic. Check out me speaking on this in the video below

Tru School Of Kicks: Nike Airmax 91 QS "Oakland Raiders"

People love surprises, Well at least I do and this is a pleasant one. Nike has decided to release the 1991 Air Max Quick strike model but with a bit of a twist. This version pays tribute to one of Sports greatest all purpose athletes in Bo Jackson. The model is in an Oakland Raiders Color way which also features The Raiders logo and Jacksons #34 on the back of the shoe. These bad boys are slated for a May 25th retail price of 110$ apparently Bo Knows sneaker pricing.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Video Blog:Charlotte Hornets Are Back

Several days ago Michael Jordan and company made the announcement that the Hornets name will be returning to the Queen city in the 2014-15 season. I recently spoke on this in a video, check it out below.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Lebron James Top 6 Sneakers Of 2013

In the NBA, players train to be the best and are world class athletes. With that being said, world class players get exclusive colorways on sneakers that make them the envy of sneakerheads nationwide (Unless you are D.Wade). This applies to Lebron James more so then anybody who has been making history in 2013. He became the youngest player in league history to score 20,000 points, joined the likes of MJ and Bill Russell to win 4 NBA MVP awards but besides his statistical accomplishments, he also sported 30 plus different colorway variations and still counting of his own shoe-the Nike Lebron 10's. There was the good,the bad and the “What The MVP's” (Google it). I like to focus on the positives though so here are the top 6 Lebron James shoes of 2013.

#6 Miami Heat Home PE's

In Game 1 of the Heat's playoff series vs the Milwaukee Bucks LBJ rocked these bad boys. The sneaker features a Miami Heat colorway with the red making up the better part of the base, the white making up the front of the shoe and the black which outlines the silver Nike swoosh.It had solid colorways and was one of the better Lebron player exclusives this season. He dropped 27 points on 9-11 shooting en route to a game 1 Heat blow out of the Bucks (110-87).

#5 Carmex PE's

Earlier in the year I chronicled the Carmex Player exclusive Lebron in my “Tru School Kicks” series of posts that he wore for the 1st half of a game at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks in February. Lebron has an endorsement deal with Carmex Lip Balm so this is an ode to them but the colorway on these shoes remind me of a place I love dearly and thats my alma mater of South Broward High School........PS Congrats Class of 2013 We Did It!!!!!!!!

#4 Olympics

When I look at the Lebron 10 Olympic Sneaker, the colorway looks awfully similar to the Jordan 7 Olympic sneaker. The base is white, blue towards the bottom of the shoe and the logo for Lebron is gold. The only difference is that on the Jordan Olympic sneakers there are gold accents along with blue on the bottom. Anytime you get your sneaker compared to Jordan Olympic 7's then you did something right with the shoe.

#3 Veterans Day

This sneaker is in the upper echelon of Lebron Player exclusives in 2013. In an early season matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies, in honor of veterans day, he broke these out. The colorway is exactly what you would expect from a shoe in honor of veterans day, red, white and blue. The Base is a solid Navy, the bottom is red and the Nike swoosh is white. It's a cool way of Lebron paying respect to our nations veterans.

#2 Floridians

In 2013, one of the more popular variations of the Lebron 10's were the Floridians. The colorway was inspired by the Miami Floridian colors which is what the Heat wear for Hardwood Classic night in tribute to the Magic city's old ABA team. These sneakers have a real Miami Feel to them with art deco colors and a white base. If I was going to Deco drive I would rock these Joints.

#1 PS Elite Black/White/Gold

Over the years King James has had many shoes I loved but none have really captivated me like me these (Beside The Hornet Lebrons). The color way is simplistic sophistication and who ever is responsible for the color way deserves a raise. The base being white gives the shoe a really soft look but then when you add in the Black outlines it evens out the shoe. What really sets it off is the Gold swoosh, in my mind it serves as an exclamation point. These aren't to gaudy but aren't to boring, they serve as a happy medium for Lebron sneakers in 2013 which is why I am crowning it the #1 Lebron James Sneaker of 2013.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sweet Spot Classic Patches 2003

After many countless hours of rummaging threw my Collection of baseball Memorabilia I ran into some classic cards like I do on many occasions when digging threw that mess. Back in 2003 Upper Deck had their Sweet Spot Classic set and in that set featured baseball legends with Patches of the teams they played for smacked right in the middle of the card. The three cards I own of that variety are Johnny Bench, Ozzie Smith and the Great Ted Williams. I purchased all 3 of these fantastic cardboard classics at card shows almost a decade ago. Really love what Upper deck did with that set they offered a lot of variety of players so for fans of many teams they had a lot of players to look forward to acquiring a patch card of. One of my favorites I don't have is the Ernie Banks edition of this card.

Video Blog: Carmelo Anthony isn't the reason for Playoff Exit

When you play in New york City for any sports team and you are the star if your team loses and falls short of the ultimate goal you will take the blame whether its fair or not. This is relevant to Knicks Franchise Player Carmelo Anthony who lead the Knicks in scoring averaging 28 points per game with a bad shoulder but ultimately lost the series to the Indiana Pacers in 6 games. Over the last few days since the Loss The New York Media, ESPN and people like Skip Bayless have blamed this loss solely on Melo. This is incredibly unfair to Carmelo when his supporting cast did nothing to help him. Guys like Raymond Felton and J.R Smith deserve most of the blame for the inconsistency of the New York Supporting cast with poor shooting performances like 0-7 and 4-15. Melo's former coach at Syracuse said it best about Smith and Felton by expressing the following “Those Guys weren't great players where they were and now they are asking them to be 2nd and 3rd options”. Great analysis by the Championship college coach. After addressing the supporting cast he then went on to say “he is going to have to get 50 to win this game” when speaking about the series ending game 6 when Melo scored 39. Playing isolation basketball and relying to much on one player isn't a winning formula for winning in the playoffs so besides the Knicks supporting cats I think management and the coaching of Mike Woodson are to blame for the series loss to Indiana. The structure of the roster makes Anthony's life harder and isn't built to beat the likes of Lebron James of the Miami Heat.

I recently Spoke on why The series loss to the Pacers isn't Carmelo Anthony's fault in a recent video, Check it out below.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Gary Payton: Most Complete Point Guard Ever

Recently Gary Payton was elected into the basketball Hall Of Fame and it was more then well deserved. I Payton who is known to be the Greatest Defensive Point Guard Of All-Time and the only one to win defensive player of the year still may not get his just due in terms of how great he was. I'm sure if you are sitting in a barbershop talking basketball like many do across the country and you guys are having an argument about who the greatest Point Guard Of All-Time is I'm sure people will name plenty of guys who are more flashy like Magic Johnson or Isaiah Thomas. They might name 6 or 7 guys before you hear the name Gary Payton. They're are plenty of Great Point guards in NBA history but is there one who is as well balanced on both sides of the Floor as Gary Payton? In other words does the Offense matchup with the defense.

Gary Payton is the Most complete well balanced guard of All-time. He could command and facilitate an offense along with scoring the basketball and guarding your best player. GP's impact in his prime stretches far beyond the stat sheet though. In Sports we talk about guys in sports who have “Intangibles”, guys who do things that don't show up on stat sheets. Gary has plenty of intangibles particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Many guys in the NBA only excel in 1 type of defense whether it's man to man or team defenses such as a zone defense. Gary had the ability to excel at both and do it at an elite level, I think Kevin Johnson said it best” You think of guys with great hands, like Maurice Cheeks and Derek Harper. Gary is like that. But he's also a great individual defender and a great team defender. He has all three components covered. That's very rare”. It's those abilities coupled with the fact that he is one of the best trash talkers in NBA history that Make Payton's impact stretch far beyond the stat sheet. Dominant Center Shaquille O'Neal expressed the following about Gary's trash talking “He Didn't care, The crazy thing was the way he was on the court was the same way off of it”.

Payton is a world class trash talker and knew how to get into peoples head but there is no greater evidence this than when he took on Michael Jordan in

Game 4 of the 1996 NBA Finals. In the first 3 games Gary didn't guard MJ due to a calf injury but when the Bulls took three straight Coach George Karl decided it was time for GP to get his shot at MJ. The whole Night Gary made things tough on MJ fronting him, Forcing turnovers and just making him work for every little inch of offense. The result was a 6-19 inefficient 31% shooting Night for Jordan and everybody could see Payton was in his head. Jordan Said this after the game about his bad night and Gary Payton Guarding Him “No one can stop me, I can only stop myself. I missed some easy shots “. Things got testy in the later games with GP and MJ going face to face at each other, Gary “The Glove” got no Love from MJ.

For People who Like Stats Payton had those too. From 1992 to 1999 he averaged 2 steals a more in a game which also included averaging 2.9 steals a game in 1995-1996 which was the year he became the only Point Guard in the History of the NBA to win Defensive Player Of The Year. He was a 9 time All-Star and made 9 straight All-NBA 1st team for defense from 1994-2002. Then he cemented his legacy when he won a championship with 2006 Miami Heat as a role player.

Payton did a lot of things that no player or Point Guard has done in this league ever. Lakers legend and Hall of Famer may have said it best about Payton though “Probably as complete a guard as there ever was”. Payton could talk but knew how to back it up, he feared nobody and talked to everybody. Gary Payton is the Most well balanced point guard of All-Time......Unless your in a barbershop.

Monday, May 20, 2013

You Don't Know Bo

ESPN'S 30 For 30 series has some of the best documentaries in sports and this one was no Different. In the film “You don't Know BO” ESPN personalities as well as other sports writers/analysts who lived and witnessed the mythological ability of the 2 sport star give you insight into what it was like to witness Bo Jackson playing baseball and football at a high level. Guys who played with him tell you about the raw talent they saw day in and day out. George Brett the Hall Of Fame baseball player and Teammate of Bo discusses watching him in Batting practice for the Royals saying that he has never seen players hit baseball's that far at Kauffman Stadium in his whole career. Bo himself gives you insight to what he was thinking during many situations of his sports career such as the Injury that changed the course of his greatness and also Choosing Baseball over football initially. The Film is very well put together and if you are a baseball or football fan you should sit down and take in this film, the way it is put together makes it feel like you were actually there watching Bo's Career unfold in front of your eyes even if you weren't even alive to see the prime of it. You can find the documentary on Netflix or watch it in its entirety on YouTube. If you are interested in watching the fill then I have taken the liberty of putting the whole video below for you to watch...Enjoy. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tru School Of Kicks: Air Jordan 1 "Cool Grey"

The Nike Air Jordan 1 just on nostalgia is a great shoe but when Nike starts slapping popular colorways like the “Cool Grey” then it gives the shoe very classy feel that very few sneakers have. As you can see here Nike took the Original Air Jordan 1 Model and put the “Cool grey” Colorway thats been seen on many Air Jordan Models. That has been something new this year where Nike is experimenting with the Nike Air Jordan 1 model by putting exclusive Jordan Colorways, it looks great and I got to find me a pair of these. This particular sneaker isn't gaudy with the colors but keeps it very clean and classy and I like that because that’s how I like my sneakers. 
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