The Big 3…2.0

Today marks the first day of the fall, and I can’t contain my excitement as this serves as a reminder that the NBA season is right around the corner.  This season promises to be one for the books (knock on wood), as the story lines have been incredible without a minute even being played yet.  Hoop fans are excited for the return of D-Rose (again), the emergence of team USA standouts like Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson, and Kenneth Faried, and finally the return of LeBron to Cleveland.  Of all the occurrences of the off-season, none compares to the magnitude of LeBron’s return to Cleveland.  From the graceful manner in which he announced the decision (contrary to the prior decision of 2010), to the subsequent acquisitions that followed, the Cleveland Cavaliers are by far the team to watch this upcoming season.  This of course gets hoop fans to start the argument of whether the assembly of this Big 3 has the potential to be as successful as the Miami trio (if not better), and produce a run of the same magnitude (again, if not better).  I, for one, believe that this big three is more compatible with one another (at least on paper), and has the potential to do some pretty historic stuff.

miami 3 Miami’s big three was undoubtedly successful during their time together, even though they did not achieve the greatly sought after three-peat.  Making it to four straight NBA finals and winning two championships along the way is definitely something that any NBA team can be proud of.   Granted a player of the magnitude of a LeBron James might not be entirely satisfied with that accomplishment, it doesn’t make it any less impressive than it is.  Miami built a team on athletic wing-play from James and Wade, which was complimented by a gang of shooters which even included Chris Bosh.  Although the guys were the best of friends off the court, this big 3 was not a good fit based on the skill-sets of the players, as Wade and James have a very similar style of play (dominating the ball and creating opportunities for themselves and others using their athleticism) and Bosh was forced to relegate himself to becoming a spot up shooter.  With some changes: Wade becoming more of a cutter off-the-ball, and Bosh embracing his new role, the big three of Miami was able to make it work, as they made it to the NBA finals each year together, winning two.  Despite their success however, they were never the perfect fit, and it showed time and time again. Wade’s inability to consistently be a spot-up shooter when James had the ball sometimes made him a liability on the floor.  Despite all the talent, they never attained the status of perhaps the great Chicago Bulls teams of the 90’s that imposed fear into opponents on a nightly basis, as they had way too many surprise loses that left fans scratching their heads from time to time.

big 3The Cleveland Big 3, although they haven’t even payed one game together, seems to be a much better fit on paper.  It all starts with the all around play of the best player in the NBA LeBron James, who is comfortable doing pretty much anything on the court.  LeBron can facilitate the offense, post up, or even serve as a defensive stopper on the team.  Then you have the exciting play of Kyrie Irving who can take on the scoring load,  serve as a spot up shooter (don’t forget he has won a 3 point contest in his young career) and also facilitate the offense.  Lastly you have Kevin Love who will mostly serve as stretch-4 (naturally, unlike Chris Bosh…and yes, he too has won a 3 point contest in his young career), but can also post up, and bring in at least 10 rebounds on a nightly basis.  Basketball junkies know that a playmaker like LeBron surrounded by shooters is a match made in heaven, as he is naturally a pass-first type of player.  Granted Wade and Bosh might have been bigger name players, Love and Irving are certainly better suited to fit the style of play that LeBron’s game is tailored for.  Lets not forget that Irving is also a great open court player (much like Wade was), and Love is arguably the best outlet passer in the game.  This gives the Cleveland big 3 the ability to get up and down the court in the open floor, much like the big 3 in Miami was able to do, WHILE being able to space the floor beautifully in half court sets.  I predict that James will do a lot of posting up, with Love and Irving being the beneficiaries of the double teams that he attracts.

In sum, it doesn’t take a chemist to conclude that on paper, the Cleveland big 3 has better suited ingredients to stir up quite an explosion.  Even Stevie Wonder could see that the fit in Cleveland is more compatible with LeBron’s style of play, and is likely to yield greater results than his tenure in Miami.  Again, these three have not even played one game together yet; therefore one can only speculate as to how well they will mesh.  I think it is safe however to conclude that based on the premises used here, LeBron made the best choice for his career, as the Big 3 2.0 is undoubtedly better suited for each other in comparison to that of the prior big three in Miami.

Photo Credits:

article.wn.com

bleacherreport.com

 

 

The Kanye West Chronicles

kanyeI have a question I ask all my hoes … I say “Hoes … ! I got a question to ask you…” This following question determines everything the relationship will be; from a glimpse of what their personality is
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going to be like to how long it will take the relationship (I use the term lightly) to inevitably end. I’m so confident in the question that I’m pretty gotd*mn sure if Jesus asked it to Judas, my mans would still be alive to this day … (snitches man … ! ) I think two exaggerations are sufficient enough. So, are you guys ready ? If you ever want to figure a person out, ask them this simple question. “How do you feel about Kanye West and why ?” You think I’m joking but I can promise you with 99.98 percent certainty that their answer will show you more about them than whatever bullsh*t pre-rehearsed/generic backstory they have for you. A few of you probably intuitively understand where I’m going with this but keep reading, new points of reference are always great to have. If you don’t quite understand just yet it’s cool, just be open to new things and let me go ahead blow your f*cking mind right now.

For those of you that are confident in yourselves, I congratulate you. You’re awesome. You’re awesome because you haven’t let the negativity of the bitter part of the world get to you. You’re confident because you have some sort of safety net that allows you to believe that you are better than others in some sort of sense. I know that seems like a back-handed compliment but trust me when I say, just keep doing you, you’re awesome! For me, my confidence comes from a belief in myself. I’m agnostic, I won’t rely on others, and the fact that I’m naturally good at quite a few things is reassuring, but I know none of it means sh*t if you don’t put your passion into it. Passion is success. (“Okay Socrates, enough about you, get to the point !”) What I’m saying is that with confidence you can be whoever you want to be, even yourself, which is my subjective definition of success. What’s the point of making it when you have to sacrifice yourself? (Isn’t our biggest religion in America based on a guy who died doing just that?) Kanye West is portrayed as arrogant, selfish and extremely eccentric by the media. Understandably so. But Kanye’s behavior is not what surprises me. Whether or not that is the “real him,” he knows exactly what he is doing. Every great piece of art compels you to think. Even more so when it’s not trying. What you see on the tv screen a guy who is extremely confident in his abilities and not afraid to show that. But let’s bring it back to you. If you are confident in yourself what you should see on that tv screen is yourself. Arrogant, selfish, and extremely eccentric. Good for you, if our paths ever cross I look forward to the mental gymnastics we will put each other through. If you don’t see yourself it’s okay, you just have some work to do. (The purpose of this piece is not to motivate, sorry. Maybe another article) For you to embrace this article with anger/disgust proves to me you are not honest with yourself and therefore not worthy of my scarce time. (Go watch the news and just continue to be mad about the world we live in) What is so great about Kanye is not the fact that his music is dope, or that he bagged arguably the baddest woman in the game … It’s that even after people chastise him for doing what he wants to do, he still f*cking does it. He spreads nothing but positivity in his music, is genuine in his approach, and doesn’t let anybody f*ck with his beliefs all while being “arrogant.” (<—- And this is the guy you hate ??) Let me give you a quick piece of advice, humility is a person’s subtly smart way of telling you they know they can sh*t on you. They just choose not to. It’s the ultimate slap-in the face as the person is indicating you are not smart enough or good enough to compete with them. A person who tells you what’s up is at least giving you the chance to beat them. So I appreciate the sentiment Kanye … I know when I look up the sky whenever I leave my parent’s house, it always seems to look much bigger.

Let me just flat-out say the point of this article is not to condescend, belittle, or put down anyone because I never want to do that (Unless you do it to me … I’m no Jesus). By now you should realize that Kanye is a metaphor for something much bigger. He illustrates the subjectively worst traits in us but does so genuinely. Every person has these traits. Me, you, that homeless hippie you pass by on the way to work but always seems to have a smile on his face (If you came this far in the article and just grammatically corrected that sentence, go back and read this sh*t again. You’re missing the point). You don’t have to agree with me … I’d actually prefer you to find a hole in my logic. I want you to prove me wrong because at the end of the day it’s not only you and I who are better for it. It’s the world. I believe it was Hov who said, “gotta move forward, it’s all about progression. Loiterers should be arrested.” Word to Gwen Stefani in the early 90’s … No doubt. No doubt …

Photo Credits:

noisey.vice.com

The Week in Review: Who Stole The Show and Who Flopped

After this weeks’ games, many soccer fans may be asking the questions: “What’s wrong with Real?”, “Is Diego Costa going to take over the EPL?”, or “Has Manchester United finally solved their long drawn out problem by signing Angel Di Maria?”

Saturday afternoon was one of the saddest days to be a Madrid fan. Not only did they have to watch their team inflict their own wounds but also watch their neighbors to the North beat them back to back at the Bernabeu. It was quite remarkable to watch Simeone and his men turn around what looked like a typical Real Madrid show in the first 45 minutes. So then what is the problem with Real Madrid? The star studded team that Florentino Perez has put together has a major problem. A problem that may also be their greatest strength. Believe it or not, a team can actually have too many good players. Too many good offensive minded players that is! With this new team, Real are forced to play a rather unusual 4-2-4 combination with James, Roanldo, Bale and Benzema all pushing up.

Real Madrid's ultra attackingformation on Saturday night
Real Madrid’s ultra attackingformation on Saturday night

Anyone see the problem? I do!! This looks like an ultra-attacking formation on FIFA 14. No matter how fit, agile, and twinkle toed (I sure hope Ray Hudson reads this-fingers crossed), no player or team can keep this pressing formation for a whole 90 minutes, especially not against a team that grinds out wins like Atletico Madrid. Fans can continue to whistle at Saint Iker all they want but the real problem is 90 yards ahead of him. Not only is the pressing formation difficult to upkeep but Sergio Ramos and Pepe seem to be more concerened about taking prisoners than actually playing defense. To compound the problem, all 10 men on the team are too hurried to counter when the primary task on a set piece is to MARK YOUR MAN.
In the near future, meaning January transfer window Mr Perez, if you would like for your Los Blancos to turn things around, fill in the gap that La Barba Roja left; and it cannot be with Asier Illaramendi. No disrespect to the Mattress Makers for their hard fought win this weekend, but Real Madrid are the ones who have caused this problem and can only get themselves out by doing what they do best: buying expensive players. All your top players can be as fit as a butchers dog and attack as much as they want but cannot do it for 90 minutes in Europe especially not when the opposing team’s goalie puts up his best impersonation of Tim Howard.

Can We Officially Say Di Maria is Man United’s Saving Angel?

Like what I did there? In other news this week, Louis Van Gaal and Manchester United won their first EPL game 4-0 to Queens Park Rangers…. Yes to QPR. The same team managed by Harry Redknapp. Although some United players played a fantastic game and one to remember for Di Maria, this Manchester win isn’t one that will set off a string of wins. Van Gaal is not the type of coach to go away from his usual 3-5-2 formation as we have seen with Netherlands in the World Cup. There is always the initial sensation whenever a new player or coach gets signed where the whole team is uplifted to get a win. If saw that game, it is important to note that QPR had chances to equalize through Kranjcar if only he had his shooting boots on and if the goal was moved 15 yards to the left. In all seriousness, for United fans, they have to wait to assess the squad and see if players like Di Maria, Falcao, Herrera, and Falcao can gel well together.

How long will that smile last, Rooney

For other football fans of the world, there seem to have been no surprises as Barca continued their phenomenal performance this season, the Blues still triumphed after a slow start and with some amazing individual work from Diego Costa. On that note, does anyone see an uncanny resemblance between Bafetimbi Gomis and Kenwyne Jones? On the other side of Manchester, City fought hard to get a point against Arsenal. In Italy, if you didn’t see the goal by Jeremy Menez in Milan’s 5-4 win against Parma, you have not had a productive weekend as a football fan.

So in regards to the all important question: Who stole the show and who flopped? Besides Barca, I cannot honestly say anyone has impressed all around this season just yet. But keep your hopes up fans, it’s only the week after the first international break. The season is still young and many things can happen. I guess the same applies to all losing teams too- except if you are QPR.

Photo Credits:

http://www.theguardian.com/football/gallery/2014/sep/14/premier-league-manchester-united-v-qpr-in-pictures

www.footyformation.com

“I Hate Calling the Women B*****s … But the B*****s Love it …”

It’s Friday. You just got paid (assuming you’re the lucky bunch that gets paid weekly). You got women in the backseat holding your bottle of Ciroc Amaretto and your partner in crime riding shotgun.

<img class="alignnone size-
 
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medium wp-image-134″ src=”http://thenaykedtruth.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/BLnOk0gCUAIg4bv-1.jpg-large-300×300.jpeg” alt=”BLnOk0gCUAIg4bv-1.jpg-large” width=”300″ height=”300″ />

You got some 20’s on the ride … well they aren’t 20’s, but they are are off the hook. Let’s just call them 10’s. Tonight’s going down in the history books. You’re not worried about the fact that your girl is mad because “so-and-so told her [whatever you probably did]” or that, in this seemingly unjust world, that snitch-a*s Edward Snowden will probably never receive a fair and just trial. (You’ll never guess who my target audience is man, stop trying to figure me out … !) You plug your auxiliary cord into your Zune; now here is the one-million dollar question. What do you play ? (This isn’t rhetorical, answer it to yourself before you keep reading)

580_migos-young-rich-niggas-coverskrillex-ultra-2014

Skrillex? Okay. Migos? OMG, do you have like, any Chris Breezy?” Sure, but I have a rule that any time Chris says some cornball statement, you have to take a shot of the Ameretto (You might as well drop them off, they won’t make it to the party). Now if you’re that individual who says something along the lines of, “Bro, I gotta show you [insert your favorite ‘deeper than life itself’ rapper], he’s sooooo lyrical,” or “They’re saying such real sh*t how could you not like it?” Just know I immediately hate you and question your clearly impaired judgement. Harsh? Honestly, I don’t care and if you seriously got offended by that statement, you shouldn’t even care what some no-name writer has to say. (Like really, who the f*ck am I?) In all fairness though, I do enjoy that lyrical sh*t from time to time. Key words being “from time to time.” I’ve never taken a class on music theory but I’m betting there is a graph somewhere out there that confirms my hypotheses. There is a negative correlation between the amount of high-syllable words used in a song and the overall like-ability of it. Simplicity is elegance, rapping is no exception. “But what about Hov, Em … Ye ?” Do you wanna know the difference between professional artists like them and wanna-be rappers like Hopsin? (“Who?” Exactly.)

Quite ironic eh?

Work. They have worked on their craft for so long that they have developed the ability to either simplify or effortlessly fit their message in a way that is enjoyable to listen to. There is a reason clichès stick. I used to hate them, but now, I understand why people are so drawn to using them. “I hate calling the women b*tches … but the b*tches love it” just sounds dope as sh*t. drake-cover-650

You could say that at a feminist rally and there’s bound to be a couple of people who will nod their head in agreement. In one simple sentence Drake sums up what the majority of us already know about “b*tches,” what most novice rappers spend a whole verse trying to explicitly communicate. If you don’t believe me go on YouTube right now, find Kanye West’s “All Falls Down” instrumental and write one verse about modern day superficiality.

Then I want you to compare that to his two on the actual song.

Of course, I’m arguing against one side of the spectrum. We can go towards the other and find the superficiality that these backpack rappers are so eager to create a counter-culture against. Of course, that is an argument you can work out yourselves, time permitting that is. (“We have lives n*gga, ain’t nobody got time for that!” – Fair enough, but thank you for proving my point). What I can say is that as cliché as mainstream culture may be, it holds a majority of people hostage due to it’s appealingly simplistic nature. Simply put … it’s what sells because it’s what most people place value on. And if these backpack rappers were so adamant on changing the world for the better, then they would do so from the inside, rather than fight an uphill battle. And who knows, maybe a few are doing so as I write this, no idea is truly original. I mean, I always said if I wrote I’d say something significant, but here I am writing ’bout money, hoes, and rims again. It’s all love. That’s all it’s ever been.

Photo Credits:

radio.com

the305.com

billboard.com

xxlmag.com

hotnewhiphop.com

The Week in a Flash – Volume 1

nfl_a_rice_d1_600x400

The first full week after Labor Day was one filled with drama to say the least.  Where do we even start? Let’s start with the Ray Rice Saga! As we all know, Ray was suspended for the first two regular season games after a video of him dragging his wife out of an elevator was released.  Now, we didn’t know exactly what happened, but it was safe to assume that some sort of abuse took place in that elevator.  Earlier this week however, TMZ Sports released the video of the entire incident, where we saw raw spit on his wife twice: once en route to the elevator, and another time while in the elevator.  She then reacted, attempting to shove him, which ultimately led to a punch right to the face…knocking her down as her head hit the rail in the elevator. The world went nuts after seeing the video, and it ultimately led to another release: that of Ray Rice from the Baltimore Ravens.  Was that warranted? Some would agree so.  While it was in the best interest of the Ravens (and the NFL for that matter) to want to cut ties with any man who is known to be a woman beater, others argued that the act was too intrusive by the Ravens and the NFL, and that the beating might have been warranted (PS. hitting a woman is NEVER okay).  Although  Ray’s wife (who sadly enough married him after that incident) came to his defense, the majority of the population did not simmer down on the slander, and deservingly so I thought.

The NFL continued to ruin its reputation this week after a news source revealedGoodell-ref-lockout-206x300 that the TMZ video was actually shown to the NFL back in April.  Although Roger Goodell went on to deny this allegation, it certainly ruined his reputation even more; a reputation that I always questioned to begin with.  Nevertheless, this matter is ongoing and we are yet to receive the full details as to who in the NFL headquarters saw the video, when they saw it, and why the NFL failed to act on the occurrence accordingly until the general public was shown the tape.

Later this week, the NFL continued its self imposed defamation when one of its biggest stars, Adrien Peterson, was indicted for reckless/negligent injury to a child.  NFL: Minnesota Vikings-Training CampThis story featured what seemed to be a case of a “parent scolding a child” gone wrong.  AP allegedly spanked his 4 year old child with a twig after the kid knocked off his sibling off a motorcycle arcade game.  Peterson’s reaction resulted in cuts, bruises, along with other wounds to his child.  Although the intent behind this act seemed to not have been malicious, the end results were.  While we await the rest of the story to unfold, we can at least conclude one thing: that the NFL has certainly lost ratings this week.

Paul Millsap Press ConferenceDespite the abundance of negative attention received by the NFL this week, the NBA managed to steal away some of the spotlight, as it was able to create headlines of its own (and no I am not referring to the dominance of the NBA players who are suited up for team USA).  The contents of a recording of the Atlanta Hawks general manager, Danny Ferry surfaced the web, as Ferry was revealed making racially charged comments about Sudanese born NBA player Luol Deng.  Ferry, who referred to Deng as an African in the sense that he said all the right things publicly yet did questionable things behind closed doors, went on to blame a scouting report for his words, claiming that he was simply reading a report given to him (how convenient).  Shortly after the whole Donald Sterling saga, the last thing the NBA needed was another soap opera centered around race/ethnicity to raise even more eyebrows.

Chris-Brown-X-Art-CropOn a positive note however, the 6th studio album of R&B sensation Chris Brown, leaked and surfaced the web late Wednesday night.  The album has been well received by fans so far, and is scheduled to hit stores September 16th.  Be sure to support this artist and purchase the album.  This about covers the main occurrences of the week that was September 7 to the 13th.  Stay tuned for next week’s update.

Photo Credits:

espn.go.com

sports-kings.com

cbssports.com

atlanta.cbslocal.com

thisisrnb.com

“Summer’s Over and I Feel the Same Way You Do” : PartyNextdoor 2 Review

PND

PND Droppin’, Reps Up P Droppin’

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Majid Jordan Droppin’, OB Droppin’ … When it comes to this OVO sh*t you either fall into one of two categories: You either humbly embrace their charmingly sensitive nature (you softie), or you partake in “Drake that type of n*gga” memes while shuffling through his playlist on Spotify. Either way, better or worse, there’s no doubt that Toronto’s 6ound is influencing American culture.  PartyNextDoor is no exception as his last self titled mixtape was a summer hit among avid music listeners, myself included. From the moment I heard Wus Good/Curious I knew he was going to be something big. But let me take my hipster glasses off for a second and explain. This article is not for those who fall under the first category (you can still read along and agree with me though). Word to 11th grade English, this is a persuasion piece for those who need a push in the right direction. Yeah I said it, I’m right … ! (Then again, so are you. But I digress). A lot of comparisons to other artists are thrown around in an effort to explain newcomers in the game. Even though this can be helpful in understanding what’s already known, comparisons often miss the mark when it comes to understanding something new. So put on something nice, leave your ego at the crib, walk with me, and let’s take a quick peek into PartyNextDoor 2

Ever since I heard Kanye West utilize Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire” sample in a hip-hop record, I knew what music was about. Music conveys a specific word that describes the reason we laugh, love and unfortunately hurt those who laugh and love. Emotion. Emotion is the reason we get up everyday, as people, we love to feel. There are people who believe auto-tune is the decline of “real” talent but in all honesty, they are missing the point of music. Music is an art designed to make you feel/think. PartyNextDoor 2 is filled with compressed drums, mechanical hi-hats, auto-tune easily set a moderately high correction speed, and it still conveys more emotion than a chunk of musicians in the industry with “real” talent. FWU is a perfect example of PND’s ability to convey this emotion through artificial elements. His use of conversational singing in the beginning of the track makes lyrics such as “I’ll get to forget you” that much more powerful. But perhaps relationships are not your emotional trigger. The first track, East Liberty, reminisces on days of simplicity, you know, before we all took life just a little too seriously. And as we approach the fall, the season of hard labor and dying fruition, the words “The summer’s over and I feel the same way you do” is a sentiment that is duly noted among listeners.

Words are obviously an important part of our existence as it is the clarity behind expression. So when I say this shit is real, I really mean that. That’s real. (The equivalent of not one, but two “foreals”) This album is genuine in it’s approach. If you can name one person that can genuinely portray themselves as “thirsty” and make it sound good, you can tell them they’ve got life figured out. (I’ll give you a few words of advice though: They already know) The track Thirsty proclaims this outright, “Still I need a bad b*tch I’m thirsty,” PND croons as he paints a picture of a women who clearly isn’t being satisfied with  her current situationship. (“That’s a Fab reference.” Thank you, I know.) Furthermore, he lets his objects of affection know that they are in fact, extremely bad, (of course in the good way) and realizes they “have options” shortly before telling “hating a** n*ggas to shut the f*ck up” in the song Options. I mean if we can be real with each other, unless you’re not honest with yourself, how can you not feel that ?

What drives this album home after his longer than previous PartyNextDoor is it’s production. PND produces all of his music, but there is no doubt elements of 40 and Boi-1da in there. OVO seems to be investing more into his real talent. His use of samples is so fluid that it took me a while to realize the Latch sample on the track Sex on the Beach. The horns on Her Way are a nice addition and fit perfectly with the mood of song. Not to mention Recognize’s heavy 808’s and interesting electronic drum patterns. From a more technical perspective, I admire PND for putting so much effort into his overall sound. By profession he may be a music artist, but there is definitely an extra amount of time allocated on his part to make his drums sound the way they do.

Overall, I think this album is really good and covers pretty much all it’s bases thoroughly. My least favorite track was SLS and even that was dope in it’s own right. The biggest issue I see people having with this album is less of it’s sound and more of what is being said. To most, “You got n*ggas and I got b*tches … I want you to turn up on me” wouldn’t be considered the most eloquent use of the English language. But what I find rather ironic is that statement is the rap equivalent to “we’re up all night to get lucky.” There is nothing wrong with either statement, they both are very catchy, and let’s be honest … at the end of the day we’re talking about hoes man, male or female. If you don’t like the sound, that’s perfectly understandable, I don’t like the sound of death metal for reasons I don’t have to explain. If I had to label PartyNextDoor 2 into a specific genre I would say Electronic R&B, so if you’re not a fan of electronic music or R&B, then this album is probably not for you. But being the individual that I am, I challenge you to give new things a try as it never hurts, unless you yourself make it hurt. Who knows you might learn a thing or two as I did. “Either way, she gets her way.” And that my friends, is the Nayked Truth. ✌

Photo Credit:

www.albumkings.com

In Search of an NBA Team

NBA Jerseys

Before I start writing about my search for an NBA team, there is one thing that frustrates me every year which I am almost sure I’m not the only one. These NBA players get quite a long offseason dont they? It’s been almost 5 months since I saw a competetive basketball game in an NBA setting but the good news is I only have to wait another month. That however can be considered good and bad. The bad news is I only have approximately 62 days to pick a team for this season. Call me a traitor, a bandwagon or a deserter but maybe a bit of my NBA team history will prove otherwise. Allow me to give you a rundown of which teams I have backed over the years.

Let’s start with the 2005-2006 season. If any true Wizards fans are reading this, they will remember this year quite fondly. This season featured great players like Jamison, Butler, Jeffries, and last but not least Gilbert Arenas. I absolutely cannot go through this season without reminiscing the amazing buzzer beaters from Gilbert Arenas. (By the way, I included a link at the bottom of his top 5.) Then came 2009, a sad conclusion to the Wizard underdog story. Apparently no one expained to Arenas that he could not bring firearms to work no matter how many shots he can make- pun intended. The gun toting Gilbert Arenas ended a dream that many thought was just starting. So then I took my talents to Phoenix….

At the time, The Suns were one of the most entertaining and efficient teams in the league under Mike D’antoni. The idea was to get a shot off in the first 7 seconds which took a flawless combination of philosophy and spacing. All players on the team had to be dedicated to getting up and down the court quickly and making the opponent believe they WILL be outscored. A second component to ths Suns that made them a team worth rooting for was the Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire collaboration, reminiscent of the old Utah Jazz Stockton-Malone collaboration and in more recent memory Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler combination. To me, the PF and PG relationship is and has been so dynamic that when a team can get that right, they automatically become contenders for a championship. This and a few othe reasons kept me in Phoenix till that relationship was broken up when Amar’e signed with the Knicks.

Over the years since then, I have been in search of a team that can give me that same PG and PF/C relationship in addition to a high scoring team but have not been able to do so. So the search continues: 60 days to find 1 team. I am taking suggestions from any NBA fans who are willing to convince me their team is the best. Any ideas?

http://www.bulletsforever.com/2010/12/20/1884247/gilbert-arenas-tribute-day-top-five-arenas-buzzer-beaters

 

Photo Credits:

ftcshoops.com

Redskins Fans: Reverting from Panic

Washington Redskins v St Louis Rams

January 6, 2013 cast a dark cloud over the Washington Redskins franchise. More than 80,000 of redskins faithful made the trek to Landover, Maryland to support their teams first playoff appearance in recent memory. Quarterback Robert Griffin III was a major catalyst for the rejuventation of a franchise who had became a laughing stock of the National Football League. Nine months prior to starting his first playoff game, Redskin owner, Daniel Syner, General Manager, Bruce Allen, and Head Coach, Mike Shanahan executed the biggest draft trade in league history.  Mr. Snyder mortgaged the future of his beloved franchise in the form of three first-round draft picks to the St. Louis Rams, in exchange for the second-overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, which ultimately turned into the eventual Rookie of the Year, Robert Griffin III. After taking the league by storm, Griffin orchestrated an impressive seven game win-streak, and division crown setting up a wild card playoff match-up with the perennial NFC favorite, Seattle Seahawks. If you can picture the NFL as a sea of world class, talented athletes, the Seahawks defense would be a Great white shark. The scent of the leagues best defense was out for blood and Robert Griffin III became its prey.  Robert Griffin’s label as a top, young quarterback was digested at the mouths of the Seattle defense and from that cold, dark january evening, he was not the same quarterback and the question remains whether or not he will ever return to the ranks of the elite.

So, do I believe Griffin will ever be the phoenom he was during his rookie campaign? In short, No. Even an athlete as great as Griffin would not be able to recreate the magic he graced our television sets with, but that is not necessarily bad. As superb as Griffin was in 2012, he exposed himself to the punishing hits of professional linebackers and defensive backs, I didn’t include defensive lineman mainly because he outran most of them (maybe not when he was getting sacked, but I digress) which begged the dreaded “durability concerns”.  Robert missed games due to both a knee injury as well as a concussion, but what we will always remember is the cringe-worthy injury to his right leg at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. The point that I am trying to make is that we will never see the Robert Griffin of old, we will see the growth and maturation of a traditional pocket-quarterback, who has the capability to shread defenses with his god-given mobility. What irks me most about fans and so-called “football analysts” is when they call Griffin a “running quarterback”. Griffin made a name at Baylor University for not only his running ability, but his strong-arm and extremely accurate passing ability. Griffin had a higher completion percentage in his final year at Baylor than the eventual first overall pick, Andrew Luck, who played at Stanford the same year. As a matter of fact, It was Luck’s former collegiate Head Coach, now 49ers head signal caller, John Harbaugh, who recruited both Luck and Griffin, in the hopes of playing both quarterbacks at the same time. In the words of Harbaugh, Griffin would have eventually beat out Luck and took the starting job. No one questioned, Roberts talent, then, but fast forward to present day, and the once “faithful” have now turned into the most disloyal. Redskin fans who actually shed tears at the sight of Robert Griffin III clenching his knee in the third quarter of the 2012 Wild Card game, have now called for his job and a one-way ticket out of Washington.

The question that comes to mind is why? Why have you turned on the man that once was the hope, and still is, of a franchise that had over 12 different starting Quarterbacks leading into 2012. Why have we given up on the 2012 Rookie of the Year in 2013 after going through a grueling rehabilitation of a reconstructed right knee just to be “All in for Week 1”. Answers may vary, but the once poster child of DC sports has been set up for failure way before he stepped foot in the nations capital. You can say I am speaking with anger and frustration, but most of it lies with the fan base. I know fans have longed for a competitive team to support on NFL Sunday’s and rightfully so, but should it be at the expensive of the media-homicide of the best thing thats happened to the team since the drafting of Sean Taylor in 2004 (RIP, may you rest in eternity). It was the outcry of the “faithful” that led to the departure of quarterbacks such as Patrick Ramsey, Mark Brunell, Jason Campbell, John Beck, Rex Grossman and potentially Robert Griffin himself. The names that are aforementioned without a doubt are not quality starting-caliber quarterbacks in this league, but Griifin is different. Griffin possesses a combination of god-given ability, unquestioned leadership on and off the field, and the desire to be considered the best. So, I ask again, Why have we turned on the kid? Redskin fans have little, next to no patience. If “fans” actually watched Sunday’s opening game, they would have seen a porous offensive line as well as turnovers in the opposing teams territory, plagued the offense the entire afternoon. Did Robert have his part in the struggles, of course, I’ll be the first to admit it, but when you have a workhouse in Alfred Morris fumble and Tight end, Niles Paul have the football stripped of the football in mid-stride and special teams have a punt blocked for a touchdown, this is somehow the fault of Robert? (I can’t forget about the blocked PAT attempt as well *insert donkey emoji here*)

When you are anointed the face of an NFL franchise, you are expected to deliver results not only quickly, but consistently. Roberts approach to football is admirable in a sense. He entered the offseason on a mission: erase the nightmare that was the 2013 season. Remove Head coach Mike Shanahan and his son, Kyle and enter first year-man, Jon Gruden. Gruden, who comes over from Cincinnati has made it his job to turn Griffin into a great of a quarterback as he can be. We all know he struggled during the preseason, but what people have missed is the improvement that Griffin has made. The delivery of the football has improved drastically. Foot mechanics are better than the previous year. Surveying the field and going through his progressions has improved, but no one has made not of it. What concerns people most is how many fantasy points can he get me? Did he run the ball? When is Cousins starting? So many questions, but yet not enough patience. “Operation Patience” doesn’t that sound familiar?

One game has passed and fifteen more await on the horizon. For some, Sundays performance was indication that there is no hope for the rest of the season, and for others, including myself, who believe the loss to the Texans is no need to begin jumping off of the bandwagon. The Redskins are in the same predicament as fifteen other teams, including teams such as the Packers, Patriots, Saints, Ravens, and Colts, all of who were playoff teams a season ago, 0-1. All it takes is one play, one impressive performance and one victory to remind us of why we gave up three first-round picks to obtain the rights to Robert Griffin III. In October, Robert will once again line up against the same vaunted defense of the Seattle Seahawks he did nearly two years prior. He will not be wearing a knee brace on his reconstructed right knee, nor will he be playing for the naysayers and critics. Robert Griffin III is the future of the Redskins, whether or not that you chose to believe the future is bright is up to you. Hail to the Redskins & RG3.

Photo Credits:

www.abpnews.com

 

Looking Ahead: The Post College Dilemma

Hello Real World

As recent college graduates, we find ourselves analyzing life and pondering to answer the question “now what?” Four years of our lives that we will never get back (or however long it takes you to get a degree) have flown by, and for once, the answer to the question “what are you doing with your life?” can no longer be “Oh, I’m still in school.” It’s almost as if that phrase was a bulletproof vest of some sort that aided us in dodging the harsh realities of adulthood; but with that no longer being a valid excuse (at least for those not pursuing a higher degree right away), the pressures of adulthood hits, and strikes hard. What comes next?

Some of us have it all figured out (or at least we think we do). Some recent grads waste no time, and jump right into the pursuit of a higher degree. Others take advantage of this time to gain internship experience in the field that they one day hope to have a career in. Some go after any jobs that they can find in order to start paying back student loans. Some (like me) look for moderately paying jobs in the field that they one day hope to pursue a career in, while taking a hiatus from school. Then there is the group who is done with school for the foreseeable future, and is forced to find a job that will immediately help them embark on their careers. And lastly, there is the group who spend their college years going after a degree that they have no idea what to do with: the confused ones. Given the varying circumstances, we all have one thing in common; the pursuit of a level of success.

Success is defined differently by everyone. To some, success is marked by wealth. To others, it is marked by happiness. To some, success is attained by living up to the expectations set by our parents, family members, or even ourselves. To others, success is simply proving the doubters wrong. Whatever your definition of success may be, it must be explicitly determined before one can begin working towards it. For starters, one must have a goal. What do you want to be in life? What do you want to do in life? Once you have that figured out, you must develop a plan to work towards that result. The end goal is the ultimate motivator. Success might mean taking the highest paying job you are offered right out of college. Success might mean sacrificing a high paying job and settling for a lessor one simply for the experience that you may potentially gain, in order to obtain higher paying positions down the road. Success might mean sacrificing an income for several years, just to attain another degree that will ultimately yield twice the amount of income. Success is inevitably a subjective term; however, at the end of the day, we all want to succeed.

A variety of obstacles may stand in the way of that success; however it is important to keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Nothing worthwhile comes easy. To achieve, one must work. To attain, one must persevere. To arrive at the top, one must start from the bottom. Success is a process; so on the days when you feel like giving up, just remember that you’ve got to start somewhere, and that you have already invested a vast majority of your time into this process. Little progress is better than no progress. One day when you’re 42 with a family, a house, and many millions (or whatever your perfect life would consist of), it will all be worth the extra effort that you put into attaining this level of success. One day when you look into the mirror and can honestly say, “I am proud of you,” you will know that you have finally accomplished what you set out to achieve.  Until then, just remember, keep looking ahead. Success comes to those who go after it.