President Obama Picked Kentucky To Win The Tournament And All Hell Broke Loose

Wednesdays, the middle day of the work week, are never exciting. You’re past Monday and Tuesday but you’ve still got Thursday and Friday. Mine started out the same as always; checking emails and missed calls before moving on down the list. This Wednesday was not promising anything out of the ordinary, until I opened up ESPN and was greeted with this:

obama bracket

There are a few reasons this excites me. For starters, I am an avid college basketball fan and a big supporter of Barack Obama, and his desire to partake in March Madness each year due to his self-professed love for basketball brings together two of my biggest interests. For the past 6 years, seeing President Obama talk with Andy Katz about the nation’s best teams signals that is it truly time for March Madness.

This year promised to be even more exciting. That’s because there was a very good chance the president was going to pick Kentucky as his national champion. It would be hard not to; Kentucky is 34-0 and has college basketball on notice about who the is prohibitive favorite this year.

That didn’t mean that President Obama was going to pick them, though. In 2012, when UK was the favorite yet again, the commander-in-chief went with North Carolina to beat Kentucky in the championship game. They didn’t even make it that far.

So, I waited for 9 AM to roll around so that I could find out who the president chose. And then finally, as the segment was wrapping up on SportsCenter, I saw this tweet from the Herald-Leader’s Mark Story:

Yes. It was going to happen.

What, exactly, was going to happen, you might be wondering? Well, let’s back up a bit. You have to understand the relationship between the state of Kentucky and President Barack Obama. That relationship is this – the majority of Kentuckians hate Barack Obama. Now, there is one major factor as to why this is probably the case (B-L-A-C-K) but there are others too; the majority of Kentuckians have historically voted Republican in national races while electing their hometown Democrats in lesser, state roles. Take 2012 for example – Barack Obama won 60% of his presidential primary. The other 40? Those votes were cast for “Undecided”. And those were only Democrats voting for him!

Back to the point at hand. Barack Obama had just picked Kentucky to win the national championship, most likely because they’re the safest pick in 20 years and politicians usually don’t stray too far out on any limb. Combine this with the utter disdain he gets from the people of Kentucky, and today suddenly got much more interesting.

As the news started to trickle out, there were a few early opinions on Twitter that made their presence felt. For example:

OK, the kiss of death complaint. I can handle this one. President Obama has picked only one right champion (North Carolina in 2009) during his time in office, so I can understand some angst about being chosen by someone who doesn’t have the greatest track record in prognostication. We’ll call these the Mark May truthers.

It was only beginning.

These guys were so upset that a Muslim African-American the president picked the same team as them…the team that almost 4 MILLION other people picked on ESPN as of today, that they were actively struggling with whether to stay with UK as their champion. What a cross to bear. You know what, WE DON’T NEED YOU ANYWAY. This bandwagon is full and has been full since the moment John Calipari was hired.

Then, we had this guy:

Actually, the only reason I wanted to include him was because he used the nonexistent word “upsetted”. That’s some strong grammatical screwing up, when you throw a past tense on the word upset. OK, moving along.

I started to notice a pattern to the majority of these anti-Obama-picks-Kentucky tweets. See for yourself:

Hmm, I thought. I might be on to something here. Surely, though, people are smarter than that, right? Surely not EVERYONE on Twitter who disliked President Obama’s pick ended their joke creation process at the same, quick, dead-end conclusion.

“I don’t like the president, but he just chose my favorite college basketball team, but I don’t like the president. But that was a good decision by him…and it was the same decision I made…and I’m always right, so… PRESIDENT OBAMA MADE A RIGHT DECISION FOR THE FIRST TIME!”

Even Drunk Coach Cal (who isn’t real! that is not Calipari but yet an imaginative Twitter account that deals with what it would be like if Calipari tweeted while drunk! I love social media.) had to get in on the action.

I had been let down. I had given more credit to my fellow Kentuckians. I thought we were better than this. I mean, not by much, don’t get me wrong, we as a state are in the bottom 5% in almost every major health category and have both the poorest counties in the nation and the region with the highest rates of cancer…BUT I STILL THOUGHT WE WERE BETTER THAN THIS.

The only silver lining I can find in this whole sad affair is that, God forbid, Kentucky were to actually slip up and be eliminated form the NCAA Tournament during this historic run…just imagine all of the (same) jokes that will be delivered. It may help brighten up another mundane day.

Thanks Obama, indeed.

Shoot straight my friends.

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Daryl and Beth’s Drunken Quest

Daryl and bethpeach shnapps

It’s been a while, but I’ve missed picking apart The Walking Dead, and this episode was as good as any to jump back on the saddle and pick up where I left off. This will be short and sweet. As sweet as a fruity drink with peach schnapps.

Although this season of TWD shows a little promise as far as the main storyline goes,¬†¬†its trudging uphill at its usual, unbearably slow pace. In this week’s addition, Beth wants to get crunk. The writers legitimately want me to be invested in Daryl and Beth as they search for her “first drink”. What would her headless daddy think? And as they reach the first stash of alcohol at an abandoned country club, we learn that the only drink available is peach schnapps. Daryl HATES peach schnapps, so obviously they continue on their journey to find Beth the perfect first drink. At this point, I’m on the edge of my seat. Will it be beer or vodka? Maybe whiskey or wine coolers? I couldn’t decide, I had¬†no choice but to¬†continue watching to find out. To make a long story short, the two find a secluded cabin out in the woods where they find a nice little stash of moonshine, and the both of them get lit and play drinking games until the sun goes down. We learn that Daryl comes from a poverty ridden home (imagine that), and Beth misses her family (another big surprise). Just reading back over what I’ve just written, I can’t believe my eyes. That is honestly this week’s episode of The Walking Dead. The only positive thing that happened in this episode is the Mountain Goats playing the episode off. But, Beth’s drunk, mission accomplished.

Now, why do I dread an episode featuring teen heart throb Daryl Dixon? Because Daryl is the most popular character on the show… Therefore, he is off limits when it comes to writers killing him off. Predictability is off the charts when it comes to Daryl. I’ve also found the main storyline never progresses when the spotlight is on our prized redneck. It feels as if time stops and we’ve wasted a week not moving or going anywhere. I’m really beginning to question how much longer the show can get away with this. This is a water cooler show, and I can’t see people standing around discussing Beth searching for liquor.

There is a positive point to this season. In the last episode where Rick hides under a bed for 30 minutes, we see a pack of biker/gang bangers raiding the house that Carl and Rick have been inhabiting. It seems these guys could possibly be linked to the next adversary that Rick and company will have to face down the road; the Lucille wielding son of a bitch that tees off when someone looks at him wrong. This is my small sliver of hope in a boring, undead world.

In next week’s episode of TWD, Rick and Carl desperately search for Carl’s first joint. Until next time…

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ESPN’s Thirst For Character Assassination And A Black And White World

Tebow BDay

I recently finished watching¬†Youngstown Boys,¬†ESPN’s newest 30 for 30 documentary that chronicled the rise and fall of Maurice Clarett, under the guidance of his head coach at Ohio State University, Jim “The Senator” Tressel. The documentary was great, as the story focused on Clarett and his tribulations through his lone year at OSU and the prison sentence that followed when he was pulled over drunk with a car full of illegally owned firearms. Many people probably walked away feeling good about the redemption story that was the central focus, but I came away more intrigued with a minor sub-plot of the movie – the true character and humanity of Jim Tressel.

Jim Tressel, who was drug through the coals and chastised on ESPN during the tattoo scandal that encompassed Terelle Pryor and other OSU stars, comes across in Youngstown Boys as a coach who really cared and loved for Clarett. A coach who tried to reach out to an unreachable player and put him back on the straight and narrow, to no avail. How, then, can ESPN portray that same Jim Tressel as such an inhumane coach only obsessed with winning a mere 7 years later when NCAA violations began to surface within his program? Easy. ESPN had grown a thirst for character assassination and looked to create a completely black and white world, totally void of any gray areas in those 7 years.

ESPN gained success and fame in the early 70s and 80s as the premiere place to go for anything sports related. They brought the world of sports into the information age and for that reason they became the self proclaimed “Worldwide Leader in Sports”. No one can argue with their success. There is, however, a new philosophy that has taken over ESPN, one where their programs run obsessive stories and blow the tiniest amount of news or events out of proportion. They then force feed those events or news angles to their audience in a way that forces viewers to choose a side. ESPN forces us as their audience to defend what we believe in, when in reality we may not even¬†care what it is they are debating.

Take, for instance, Tim Tebow. Tebow complete his career at Florida as probably one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in college football history. His story coming out of college should have been one of celebration and triumph but we instead got the story of “can he play quarterback in the NFL?”, a question that was silly to begin with. We won’t go down that rabbit’s hole, but eventually Tebow found his way onto the Jets and the Patriots and his story evolved from an interesting study of a quarterback adapting to one where you either hated Tebow for his abilities and his beliefs, or praised him beyond any reality for his beliefs, regardless of his ability.

How did we reach that plateau? In short, ESPN. Summers were filled with reporters giving daily updates on Tebow about…well, nothing. ESPN’s SportsCenter mentioned Tim Tebow 65 times during the first week of the Summer Olympics, almost more than double Michael Phelps, the winningest Olympian in American history. 24 hour news cycles have created an era where no new IS news, at least to those getting paid behind the desks. Throw in Skip Bayless (we’ll get to him in a moment) and you had people arguing on Facebook about not believing in God if you didn’t root for Tim Tebow. Wait, what? ESPN helped turn a non-story (a struggling QB who happens to be a Christian) into the biggest story of an entire year – culminating with the above and absolutely ridiculous birthday party for Tebow, something they would later publicly regret.

Bayless

If you have watched ESPN over the last almost 10 year, you know of Skip Bayless. Ask yourself, however, how many times have you seen Bayless on a program other than ESPN2’s¬†Cold Pizza/First Take program? SportsCenter? Nope.¬†Around the Horn? Not there either.¬†Pardon the Interruption? Never. Skip Bayless represents the very black/white, do/don’t, with me/against me environment that ESPN has created. Bayless rose to prominence for his downright hatred of all things LeBron James, calling him “LeBrick James”, mocking him following playoff losses in Cleveland, said he didn’t deserve the MVP, and most notably, proclaiming that James would never ever EVER win an NBA title.

Do we really think Bayless hates one person that much? Of course not. It is called TV ratings. Bayless has become to ESPN what Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann were to Fox News and MSNBC, respectively – extremist talking heads with skewed opinions created from baseless arguments for the sake of pandering to a certain crowd. In the same way Glenn Beck thinks President Obama is Muslim and Olbermann thinks George Bush is a war criminal, Skip Bayless has created his own world on ESPN2 that is free of opposition and used to feed the mindless crowd that agrees with his insane notions.

If Bayless brings in the ratings, however, why hasn’t he moved up the ladder at ESPN? If you look at the newer correspondents on ESPN, they all follow a similar career arc. Most are writers or radio heads, like Bomani Jones, Dan LeBatard and Chris Broussard. They begin on ESPN2’s¬†First Take against Skip Bayless (who originally argued with Woody Paige, who has since moved up) until they move on to¬†Around the Horn, Pardon the Interruption,¬†or hosting SportsCenter as Jay Crawford, who started on Cold Pizza.

In essence, everyone at ESPN moves on to bigger and better pastures…except Bayless. He still sits on ESPN2’s morning show spouting nonsense against a revolving door of panelists. What if Bayless was put up against the veterans of¬†Around the Horn¬†or the great Tony Kornheiser on¬†Pardon the Interruption? (for the record: it is no coincidence that two of ESPN’s most successful and longest running shows are filmed in a completely separate studio in Washington D.C., free of the zealots that run the main campus in Bristol, CT) He would be laughed off the camera! No one would take him serious as a respected analyst part of ESPN’s stable. No, Bayless is perfect for the network right where sits; a Twitter fiend who pulls people to the light side while banishing those who disagree to the nonsensical dark side he has created in his own reality.

So, how does Jim Tressel, Tim Tebow, and Skip Bayless all fit into ESPN’s world dominance? Despite sounding like the beginning of a bad joke, the reality is that these three individuals portray the world ESPN seeks out for sports fans. A world where you are right or wrong, no in between. But, why? Is it so bad that Jim Tressel is just a successful college coach who feared for his player’s safety concerning a federal drug investigation when he didn’t seek the NCAA as violations were uncovered? Is it so bad to not believe Tim Tebow could ever be a successful NFL QB, but perhaps a decent fullback or tight end, while still respecting his beliefs and what he stands for without shame? If you listen to the likes of Skip Beck/Olbermann Bayless (he isn’t the only one…Stephen A. Smith stands out as well), then you would believe there is something wrong with that gray area in which so many of us try to operate.

These examples are two of many (Tiger Wood’s golf career/sexual transgressions,LeBron James pre-NBA championships, and Tony Romo in the 4th quarter also come to mind) but showcase how absurd ESPN has become in the past decade. Next time you watch a segment on ESPN and you feel like you must take a side to be a true sports fan, take a step back and research the topic yourself. It could just be another case of the big dog thirsting for blood.

The Knicks Are A Dumpster Fire

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Some teams just can’t seem to do anything right for several years in a row. Most teams can make one mistake on their roster, recognize their faults, and move on. James Dolan and the New York Knicks are not in this category. The New York Knicks have taken a successful roster just under the label of championship contender and turned it into a total dumpster fire. Calling a team a dumpster fire is not something to take lightly. The Bobcats may be terrible, but they are no dumpster fire. There is some sort of goal that Michael Jordan hopes to achieve with young players and brighter future as the team rebuilds.

The Knicks are not rebuilding. They are delaying the inevitable by putting pieces (awful ones) around their offense-only centerpiece (Carmelo Anthony) and injury riddled salary eater (Amar’e Stoudemire). They grossly overpaid for a complete chucker in JR Smith who is the cause of the blowtorch that ignited the elements to create the dumpster fire (more on that later).

Since they did not have enough 3 point chucking overpaid stars, the Knicks made a deal with the Canadian Devil also known as the Toronto Raptors and got Andre Bargnani. The former number one pick adds to the overall mantra of the Knicks Defense: “DONNNNN’T CARRRRREEEEEEE.” The best part is that Bargs doesn’t even shoot well anymore. He is a seven footer who can’t use his size as a defensive weapon and tries to play like a guard without having any guard skills. Just to add the kicker, the Knicks have Raymond Felton, the hefty point guard who defenders can back off five feet because his shooting prowess is about as threatening as mine.

Like any dumpster, there are a few valuable items inside. Iman Shumpert is young, versatile, and provides some trade value. Tyson Chandler may be aging, but he is still going to be the anchor on defense that prevents the Knicks from giving up about 140 points a night. BUT WAIT. Tyson Chandler is now out with injury. The Knicks are hopelessly thin in the frontcourt with Chandler out. They are left to start Bargnani at the center spot, which is terrifying. Amar’e Stoudemire is forced to play more minutes so you can start the clock on when he goes down with injury. It would be really nice if they could sign another center to help play actual defense on the blocks. There has to be a player on the end of the bench that the Knicks could cut right?

Enter Christopher Smith. Oh yes, the brother of J.R Smith.

The former Louisville guard is not an NBA player by any definition of the term. One scout called Chris Smith, “Not even good enough to play in the D League.” Another scout noted, “He was the worst player in Summer League.” So why in the name of Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, and Patrick Ewing would the Knicks front office sign a player who doesn’t even belong on the worst team in the league? J.R Smith is your answer. James Dolan and the his incompetent front office gave Chris Smith a guaranteed contract to sweeten the deal for J.R Smith to return to the Knicks. Chris Smith is taking up the last roster spot that could easily be used for another center (Jason Collins, the first openly gay NBA player comes to mind) to shore up the lineup until Chandler returns. Instead, the Knicks continue to pour gasoline on the dumpster fire by keeping Chris Smith on the roster. While J.R Smith is the cause of the blowtorch, Chris Smith is the blowtorch that incinerates everything in the dumpster in a pit of fiery, embarrassing flames. The blowtorch will continue to torch the dumpster until the fire department (front office) saves the day. That day is not coming any time soon.

The worst part is this dumpster fire might become so hot the whole dumpster will melt. At this rate, the Knicks might squeak into the playoffs, but that is likely not enough to keep Carmelo Anthony around. The one saving grace for the Knicks future will leave for greener pastures or dumpsters, and the Knicks will be left searching for the next superstar they can ruin in the draft.

But hey guys, at least they got Iman Shumpert, he’s a nice piece I guesss.

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Bullshit Fantasy Moments: Week 9

We won’t be like Tom Brady and leave you hanging; let’s dive in-

Tyler

My bullshit moment isn’t as bad as leaving Chris (29 points) Johnson ¬†on the bench and playing DeMarco (4 points) Murray, (Hi, Drew!) but nonetheless, deserves recognition. I played Phillip Rivers in place of Tom Brady. Now, leading up to this week, it’s been pretty much a toss up on who to play each week. You know why? Because let’s review Tom Brady’s receiving corps: first, you have Aaron Hernandez who *allegedly* shot not 1, not 2, (LeBron voice) but 3 people, and is locked up for, oh I don’t know, the rest of his life. Next, we have Wes Welker who added to his legacy of dropping a crucial Super Bowl pass by going to the Denver Broncos, and the other white super successful record breaking quarterback, Peyton Manning. Who did they replace him with? Danny Jelly Bones Amendola. Finally, we have Rob Gronkowski, the oft-injured millionaire playboy and night owl – wait, is Gronk Batman? I digress.

So that left Brady throwing to Kendrell Thompkins. I’m going to prove to you how little known Thompkins is by not looking up his name to see if I am even remotely close on being correct. I don’t care. He’s a nobody. Anyway, long story short, Rivers gave me 22 and Brady erupted for 41 points. Bullshit.

Rating

I ended up winning my matchup by 40+ points anyway thanks to my opponents disregard for subbing in player not on a bye week, so I can’t go more than 1 Drunk Papa J this week.

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Jordan

A real bull might as well walk up and shit on me, because once again, my fantasy week was a catastrophe. This time, I’ll let Pete Caroll’s Seahawks personally accept my drunk Papa’s. With Danny Amendola (yeah, that’s right) going off alongside Tony Homo and A.J. Green, I thought I may slip by with an easy victory. And I have the Seahawks defense going up against a winless Buccaneers team without a primary running back and quarterback in Seattle! I don’t need to explain the rest… 3 points. I expected at least 20.

Rating

So with my defense laying an egg and my opponent playing Andre Johnson, I can confidently say I’m in fantasy hell. Three drunk Papa’s.

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Bullshit Fantasy Moments: Week 8

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Each week we will bring you the most ridiculous, bullshit moments that have happened to us in fantasy football during the previous week. Here we go:

Tyler Johnson – Cleveland Browns score on the Chiefs

Going into this week, I felt good about my fantasy matchup. I had picked up the Chiefs defense in Week 2 before they had become the #1 defense in the NFL, and I was particularly happy that they were playing the Cleveland Browns this week. Not just the Cleveland Browns, but the Brian Hoyer Tore His ACL and Brandon Weeden Is Awful, So Jason “He’s Still Alive and Steve McNair Isn’t? Cold World, Man” Campbell Is Starting At QB Cleveland Browns. In other words, how could this go wrong? I have a defense ranked #1 in all major categories so, 20 points, minimum (MINIMUM) should be my expectation, right? Wrong. Jason Campbell thew for 293 yard and 2 touchdowns, and the Chiefs barely won, 20-17. Why do I even put myself through this torture?

Rating

This wasn’t as bad as Andrew Luck going off for 35 last week to beat me by 4, but it still sucks. Two Drunk Papa John’s out of five!

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Jordan Adams –¬†The muscle hamster¬†is dead.

If I had to place a title on my fantasy week, it would be: My Running Backs Suck Dick. I’m not getting carried away, either… Doug Martin, who was an explosive addition to my team last season, has only surpassed 10 points once with a single TD. On top of those pathetic numbers, he suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder. Gotta love those labrums…¬†And that’s not the worst part. Thursday Night Football rolls around (which no one gives a shit about unless you have the NFL Network), and I’m blanking on the fact that Doug Martin is still included in my starting lineup. The Buccaneers played the Panthers,¬†so when I pull my team up Friday morning, I’m greeted with a big 0 next to Martin’s name. I’m sure my opponent is still making fun of me. Oh, and Demarco Murray, my “premiere” back, was ruled out last second, forcing me to pick up Pierre Thomas 15 minutes before kickoff.

Rating

My fantasy team¬†has no reliable¬†running backs.¬†So what do you think, guys? Four Drunk Papa’s?

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Chris Setters – Calvin Johnson made my team bow to him

This week won’t really have a bullshit moment, but it still made me mad. Going into the week, I’m matched up against a tough opponent who is 5-2 and would probably be considered the best team, or one of the best in the league. So it’s already going to be a tough day. My team has to score and score plenty in order to win the game… Well they did (142 points actually). ¬†What I wasn’t expecting to happen was Calvin Johnson having 329 receiving yards and a touchdown. I still had my chance to win, but I left Deangelo Williams on the bench and he scored 10, so that’s my fault… But when you score 142 points in your game and lose, I’m calling bullshit.

Rating

I scored plenty of points so the rating won’t be too bad this week. It still hurts though. Calvin Johnson just caught another pass.

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“Sick” of Waiting: The Walking Dead Season 4

walkers Hershy Tyreese

The only thing The Walking Dead accomplished in episode three was creating a new drinking game. Every time someone coughs, take a shot. Now you’re DRUNK 10 minutes into the show, and that should alleviate some of the pain of having to sit through this boring addition to The Walking Dead season four.

Last week, when I referenced the sneak peek for this episode, I promised it would include a scene where fan favorite Daryl and his friends cruise down the road going on a supply run. They would run into an onslaught of walkers, and that’s where the clip ended. Little did I know, that scene wouldn’t come around until the show had 10 minutes left. Sigh… Instead, we’re stuck in the prison (what’s new), with all of the sick people from the cell block that was invaded, and uh-oh, we find out that Glenn has the bug! On top of that, it turns out that this is a Hershel episode… Yes, Hershel is loveable and has a beard and a peg leg, but by no means should he be on the screen longer than our heroine Rick Grimes. Anyway, Hershel has a big dilemma. He doesn’t want to stay quarantined with the others that don’t have the curious illness, so he decides to take it upon himself, defy Carl and his bad ass pistol with the silencer sticking four feet off the barrel, and go out and pick berries, damn it! Go Hershel! Fight the fight, brother. This is honestly the girth of this episode. I can’t make this stuff up.

About the coughing… The group is now deathly ill. How do we know¬†who carries the mysterious virus that is sweeping through the prison? A cough. I can’t fathom how many coughs are in this episode. There are more coughs than walkers. There are more coughs than angry/disoriented Rick looks. This illness storyline has run its course. I’m not sure I can sit through another 30 minutes of watching Hershel feeding berries to sick people. Therefore, I’ve come up with a solution. Doctor House shows up and accidentally discovers what the illness is and finds a cure for it. Done.

Now for my positive point of the week. Yes, something¬†good happened. I can’t just bitch and moan this entire time… The show finally referenced the comics. Twice. In the opening scene, Rick and Tyreese get in a little scuffle, and Tyreese finally shows his aggressive side. This was a big moment in the books. Little do any of you know, Rick and Tyreese are pretty tight on paper. I would go as far as to say Tyreese was second in command. A horrific fight broke out leaving both Rick and Tyreese bloodied and battered. But they were still buds. It was nice to see that moment unfold on screen. The second homage to the comic universe included Tyreese once again. Tyreese, not having the will to go on any longer, decides to wait in the car a little longer than anyone else to see what hand fate has dealt him. He finally comes to his senses and he is consumed by rage. Walkers surround him as he begins pounding skulls with his mighty hammer. It looks as if there is no way he can survive and he is left behind, only to show up at the end of the episode, victorious.¬†When¬†I was reading this issue, I thought for sure Tyreese was a goner.¬†¬†Well done.

I’m not really impressed with the sneak peek for next week. It features Daryl and Michonne sneaking through an abandoned clinic, trying to find medicine for the ailing group members. They alert a walker and are pursued. That’s it. Oh, and Marilyn Manson was on Talking Dead. Need I say more? I’ll leave you with something to look forward to. I’ve seen pictures of who they’ve casted as¬†Abraham Ford, and I’m impressed. Those of you who aren’t familiar with Abraham, he has a militaristic background and pummels walkers with an array of automatic weapons. And he has a sweet handlebar mustache. Until next time, just keep watching, I guess.

A Look At The 2013 NBA Season

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The NBA season starts Tuesday and if last season was any indication, the league as a whole is on the rise in terms of talent, number of actual contenders and young players who are blossoming into superstars game by game. Admittedly, the incoming rookie class may not boast many players who will last longer than the ink dries on their rookie contracts, but nonetheless the NBA will continue to be great as they wait on the historic 2014 class to pay their dues in the form of college basketball.

Let’s start by handing out some preseason awards that I am sure I will get right because I am rarely never wrong:

Coach of the year: Mark Jackson, Golden State Warriors – Jackson had a strong showing last year with Steph Curry becoming a legitimate NBA superstar and it won’t be a surprise if the Warriors make a deep playoff run with the addition of Andre Iguodala. A superstar AI 2.0 is not, but he has the size, ability to drive and finish at the rim and experience to take some of the pressure of off Curry. The playoffs are all about half-court basketball and I don’t see many teams who could¬†outshoot¬†Golden State in such a scenario.

Rookie of the Year: C.J. McCollum, Portland Trailblazers – The former LeHigh guard joins Damian Lillard’s backcourt as Portland has become the “Mid-Major of the West”. McCollum will benefit from Damian Lillard’s guidance as well, seeing as how Lillard is coming off of his Rookie of the Year campaign from 2012. McCollum is out 6 weeks with a broken foot but considering his biggest competition is Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller, the pride of Tom Mouth Kiss Crean, I am confident that C.J. runs away with the award.

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NBA MVP: LeBron James, Miami Heat – Look, call me a James homer but until someone presents themselves as deserving of the award, how could you pick anyone else? Chalk it up to bad timing for Kevin Durant as it just so happens that his dominance of the offensive side of the game comes at the same time that LeBron finally decided to take the offseason serious enough to dominate every facet of the game. Barring injury and the fact that the last person not named LBJ to win the award is coming off a torn ACL and year of rehab, I’ll go ahead and take #6 vs. the field.

Bandwagon Teams That Will Be So Bad People Will Jump Off: Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics – The number of people who cheer for the Lakers and Celtics has seemingly doubled in the last 5 years. Sure, the Heat probably have the most bandwagoners (outside of people who started watching Breaking Bad just this fall to fit in) but at least they will be able to satisfy their flat bill fans with their on the court performance. The Lakers and Celtics will be, well, awful. Rondo and Kobe both are out an unspecified amount of time and when the Lakers front office is bragging how good….Xavier Henry has looked then the season does not look promising. Hey, we have plenty of room in Miami!

3 Bold Prediction for the Upcoming Season

Cousins

  1. DeMarcus Cousins will lead all centers in scoring and rebounding –¬†Cousins has finally found his foothold in Sacramento, including an ownership group that has pledged their support in him and a mentor in the form of the Shaquille O’Neal. Cousins has always had the potential and the talent to dominate the league but has never really had the right circumstances around him; that has all changed now and there are no excuses left. His biggest competition will be Dwight Howard, who frankly has become a shell of what he was in Orlando and looks to share court space with Omer Asik in an experiment that will blow up sooner rather than later.
  2. The Nets will not compete for the Eastern Conference – The Brooklyn Nets may have fancy black uniforms and the newest arena but you can put lipstick on a pig and it will still oink. The Nets crazy Russian owner has tried since acquiring the team to try and go all in each year, a model of success that has repeatedly been shown to be unsuccessful – even the Heat¬†couldn’t¬†pull off a title in their first season together. The Nets boast a senior retirement center rotation that includes Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Throw in the fact that Jason Kidd (excuse me…. HAHAHAHAHA) is their head coach and all of this talk about winning the East is premature, or postmature considering the age of the players they’re suiting up this season.
  3. At least two teams will openly admit to tanking for 2014 – As the NBA season gets underway and we get to see the new rookies pop up in the wild, it will become apparent just how bad they really are as a whole. I’ve always been a proponent of teams just asking to skip their pick in the draft (it is legal, by the way) and instead keep the money to throw at free agents or the next rookie class. This will never happen, for a multitude of reasons, but as the college basketball season rolls on and scouts see first hand just how good Aaron Gordon, Julius Randle and Andrew Wiggins will be, teams will begin to tank and they will not be ashamed. You will never convince me the Cavaliers did not huddle up before their first practice in 2002 and agree to lose every game possible to grab hometown hero LeBron. Look for that level of mediocrity this year, but many teams. What do they have to lose?

NBA Playoffs Prediction

#1 Seed in the West: Oklahoma Thunder

#1 Seed in the East: Miami Heat

Surprise Upset of the West: Warriors over Spurs

Surprise Upset of the East: Hawks over Nets

Western Conference Finals: Grizzlies over Thunder in 7

Eastern Conference Finals: Heat over Pacers in 7

NBA Finals: Heat over Grizzlies in 6

Finals MVP: Greg Oden. Just kidding! LeBron James.

One last thing. Kyrie Irving is really, really good:

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Superstitious Much?

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With all of the talk about the Boston Red Sox beards (they’ve got some great beards on that team), going into the postseason, it got me thinking about other sports superstitions. My main sport growing up was baseball, so I know all about the odd tendencies– to come into the batters box the same way, or never step on the baseline coming on or off the field… But everyone knows baseball players are weird like that, so I wanted to find a few from other sports.

Mike Bibby РApparently Bibby was so nervous during games, he would chew on his fingernails when he would come out of the game. Looking to break the habit of actually chewing on his fingernails, he adopted the new strategy of having someone hand him a set of nail clippers when he would come to the bench so he could clip his nails.

Ecuadorian National Team –¬†The Ecuadorian National Soccer Team in 2006 was so superstitious they actually hired a witch doctor to go to each of the 12 stadiums and ward off all of the evil spirits that would keep them from winning the World Cup that year. If I were the team, I’d ask for my money back, because even the mystic couldn’t hold off David Beckham, who eventually scored the goal to help England beat Ecuador out of the tournament.

Lyoto Machida –¬†I don’t know that this is necessarily a superstition, considering he says that he does is every morning no matter what, but it’s pretty….interesting. Machida is an MMA fighter, and to get ready for the day he drinks a big glass of his own urine. Yep, he drinks his own pee… That’s all I have to say about that.

Patrick Roy –¬†Roy is considered to be one of the best goaltenders in NHL history, so obviously he’s got some talent, but even the most talented want that extra edge. Roy would commonly have a nice little chat with the goal post before each game, just to make sure they are on the same page.

Glen Hall –¬†Another goalie on this one, and I could go for days with goalies it looks like, because they’ve got some weird habits. Hall would get sick before each game he played in, which was a lot, because he holds the NHL record for most consecutive games started at 502. It seems simple enough right? Maybe the guy just gets really nervous before each game… Nope. He made himself throw up before every game, and he started doing this ritual in junior hockey…. Guy had to cause some damage. You say sports superstition and I say bulimia, but the guy was a Black Hawk, so I won’t get onto him too much.

Most superstitions are simple enough, like Tiger wearing Red on Sunday. But some are really odd, and you can count me out on drinking my urine to win a game.

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The Wait for Winter

George RR MartinGo to your bookshelf and find your copy of Game of Thrones (Your bookshelf should be in alphabetical order). Dust it off and begin re-reading, Song of Ice and Fire fans… If the rumors are true, it could be a while before we see Winds of Winter.

At a recent New York comic con, George R.R. Martin revealed that he is releasing a few new titles that he’s been working on. Such titles include: The Words and Wisdom of Tyrion Lannister and Old Mars. And guess what anticipated book he’s probably had on the back burner… Winds of Winter, which most hopeful fans assumed would release late 2014, is now expected to release in 2015… Most realistically 2017. If I could capitalize numbers…

Fans have always been disgruntled with Martin’s pace, which is painfully¬†slow. There was a five year gap between A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons, so it’s no surprise that fans may be waiting even longer to know the fate of Jon Snow.¬†This also bodes badly¬†for the show… As¬†Game of Thrones¬†races¬†into season 4, it follows the storyline of the second half of the third book (A Storm of Swords). If the show continues this grueling pace, there will eventually be a drought for material.¬†Writers¬†have even entertained the idea of featuring episodes that focus on secondary characters and their backstories. Let’s hope it never comes to that.¬†What is particularly frustrating is the fact that Martin is working on side projects featuring popular characters from the Song of Ice and Fire series… While these titles are interesting, fans like myself are much more interested in a full length, 1,200 page masterpiece that pulls us closer to a conclusion in Westeros.

On a happier note, Martin has shed some light on the premise of a new evil character that peaked my interest. He revealed that he is working a character into the story that is inspired by none other than Bryan Cranston’s performance as Walter White in Breaking Bad. That should be enough to have any SOIAF weak at the knees. Heisenbaratheon? House White? We can only speculate at this point, but be on the lookout for blue milk of the poppy. House White

So continue reading the Ice and Fire Wiki (a third or fourth time through). Keep trying to decipher who Robert Strong is made out of, and pray for Lady Stoneheart. It’s going to be a long wait for winter, friends.