Do not try to prove clutch. That is impossible....

I have an opinion. I needed a place to put it. This is the place I put it. Basketball, General Sports, more basketball and stuff. Here it is.

KEITH OLBERMANN UNLEASHES HELLFIRE

9. September 2014

It’s impossible to avoid this Ray Rice story. By now you have seen the video of Ray Rice punching out his then fiance, Janay Palmer. The aftermath of the video has, for the time being, ended the career of Ray Rice as he has been released from his contract with the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely from the National Football League. 

However, the handling of this grotesque situation could not have been more botched by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Keith Olbermann had some not so nice words for everyone involved in this mess. Long story short, FIRE EVERYONE.  Here is Olbermann’s segment from his show yesterday on ESPN2:  

Here is a transcript via Deadspin.com:

"We begin tonight with the unavoidable and simple truth that, intentionally or by neglect, the Atlantic County district attorney’s office, the Baltimore Ravens, the National Football League and Roger Goodell conducted a cover-up of Ray Rice’s brutal assault on his then fiancee on February 15. There is no other conclusion possible.

Each body, each leading individual involved, came to a judicial conclusion about what had happened to Janay Palmer and what should happen to Ray Rice. And each, through deception or incompetence, misled the public, damaged the efforts of every man and every woman seeking to merely slow down the murderous epidemic of domestic violence, and made a mockery of the process by which those who batter those who they claim to love, are be brought to justice.

And not one of them, not commissioner Goodell, not NFL senior vice president Adolpho Birch, not NFL chief counsel Jeff Pasch, not Baltimore team president Richard Cass, not Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome, not assistant prosecutor Diane Rupert of Atlantic County, New Jersey, not prosecutor Jim McClane, not superior court judge Michael Donio, not Ray Rice himself, no matter what actions were taken today against Rice nor what might be taken in the future, none of them have any remaining credibility, and each must leave or be expelled from their current positions. And despite the obsession of the moment, it does not truly matter whether they had seen this video before today. The league, the team, the prosecutors either white washed Ray Rice’s brutal assault without having seen this video, or they saw the video and white washed Rice’s brutal assault anyway.

I accuse prosecutors McLane and Rupert and Judge Donio, even with the full weight of the law behind them, of failing to seek or failing obtain or failing act upon that in-elevator video, of failing to put Ray Rice in jail where he belongs.

The state of New Jersey must immediately begin an inquiry unto whether or not the failures of McClane and Rupert and Donio are mere incompetence, or if they rose to the level of criminal malfeasance.

I accuse president Cass and general manager Newsome of Baltimore of failing to act internally after The ludicrousness of the Rice two-game suspension should have become apparent, even to them.

They have had six weeks to add a team suspension to Rice’s token league punishment, to try to make the scales of justice slightly less out of all balance. They did nothing, until they terminated Rice’s contract today after all of them failed to get away it.

Mr. Casse and Mr. Newsome put the meaninglessness of their own team’s financial and on-field success ahead of the safety and well-being not only of Janay Palmer, but of every woman in the country now threatened by a man who, because of how they covered for Ray Rice, is a little more more confident of he can get away with it.

I accuse Roger Goodell of conducting a kangaroo court by interviewing Janay Palmer-Rice with Ray Rice present, in contradiction of all recommended practices when dealing with victims of domestic abuse, thus virtually guaranteeing that whatever testimony she gave them of the events of February 15th, they had the validity of a video made by a hostage with a gun to her head.

Putting Janay Palmer in a position to plead for her husband’s career, perhaps being at the risk of beaten again if she failed, that Roger Goodell did.

Seek and act upon the videotape that should have sent Ray Rice to jail without bail, that he dud not do.

Commissioner Goodell, as I first said on this program on Aug. 1, must resign.

If he will not do so, NFL owners must fire him, and fire senior vice president Birch, and chief counsel Pasch. Pasch, of all people, should’ve known better than to put the victim on trial and acquit without evidence,

Mr. Goodell’s ineptitude has not merely rendered this football season meaningless and irrelevant by contrast, it has not only reduced supporting or watching football to a distasteful, even a disrespectful act, but most importantly it has comforted the violent and afflicted the victim.

His push to increase NFL punishment of domestic abusers to roughly that one-third that of repeat pot smokers, his decision today to suspend Rice indefinitely, after the Ravens had fired him, are elements of classic tragedy, wherein the right thing is finally done only after it’s too late to matter.

Roger Goodell’s existence, who he is, what he has turned The NFL commissioner’s office into, is now symbolized by Ray Rice’s brutal left hand striking Janay Palmer and striking her again. Mr. Goodell is an enabler of men who beat women.

His position within the National Football League is no longer tenable.

And I accuse Ray Rice of a brutal and potentially deadly assault, followed not by admission and contrition, but by a pious, self-serving, insincere, cynical devious, manipulative, unapologetic performance to protect his job and his money at the expense of the truth, at the expense the public, at the expense the next woman he brutalizes. He has already had his second chance. This new video shows he had already squandered it. Ray Rice must never be allowed back in a National Football League uniform.

And lastly, I accuse us, all of us, executives, players, fans, reporters, of failing to draw a line in the sand when one was needed most. Any games played by Baltimore without its executives and the Commissioner having been dismissed, and without Ray Rice Being permanently banned by the National football League, must be fully boycotted by all of us. If not, we become accessories after the fact.”

The myth of the 2014 Cleveland Cavaliers

2. September 2014

image

NOTE: I had meant to write this post months ago but life and television work got in the way. Sorry if this post seems a bit delayed or random.

Kevin Love is finally a Cavalier. A new super trio is born in a city whose most successful sports team only exist in pieces of fiction directed by David S. Ward. Dan Gilbert now owns something he campaigned heavily against and cried about. Oh are we so far from removed from the days of the days of the “Lakers trade for Chris Paul” anger letter? Here is the link for those of you who chose not to remember or might have missed it: Dan Gilbert is mad about Chris Paul going to the Clippers

 

Did you fall for the PR? Did the public relations campaign have you thinking that he went home simply because he wanted to be home? I can believe that to an extent, but as all this developed it became increasingly more obvious that the Cleveland dream came together a bit easily.

 

Reading through LeBron’s letter in Sports Illustrated should have been the first hint. He refers to the young talent of the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, he never mentions the two youngest members of the team.  For some reason, a reason which is much more apparent now, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett were excluded from LeBron’s list of players that he was “excited” to play with upon his return to Cleveland. This seems like a clear sign that the Kevin Love move to Cleveland was discussed in some capacity, in private, long before it became official.

 

Back to the letter, the original idea that was sold was LeBron mentoring a young team of talent in a blue collar city. They would have their struggles, challenges and all that stuff. The exact quote was:

 

“I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010.”

 

The entire statement above is now null and void. When the Miami Heat first came together in 2010, their starting point guard was Carlos Arroyo. He was then replaced by the corpse of what used to be Mike Bibby. That same year, the Heat shuffled big men around like they were playing the shell game on a corner in New York City. Erick Dampier, Žydrūnas Ilgauskas, Jamaal Maglore,  and Joel Anthony with Anthony getting the sixth most minutes on the squad.

 

Do I really need to type another 300 words to tell you that this upcoming Cleveland squad is better than that 2010 Miami Heat team? The 2010 team was expected to win it all in their first year and were two games away from that accomplishment. The argument of this Cavaliers team needing to “gel” does not apply to them. If the expectations were there for the 2010 Heat, they should be no different for the 2014 Cavaliers.


Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report goes much further into this viewpoint here: After Kevin Love Trade, Cavaliers Should Face Same Standards as 2010-11 Heat

The Miami Heat’s Big 3s gift to the internet.

17. July 2014

The Big 3 era may be at an end, but it supplied some of the best sports related gifs that the internet has ever seen. Here is a small sample size featuring mostly Chris Bosh since he is responsible for most of these antics. Enjoy. 

Three ways LeBron shook the league in Free Agency

16. July 2014

image

LeBron James returning to Cleveland did more than just break the hearts of Miami fans, it completely changed the landscape of the NBA. Here are three ways the biggest move of free agency has changed everything in the association:

 

1) Competitive balance restored in the East: During stretches of last year, games seemed mostly irrelevant in the East as it was almost a certainty that the Miami Heat would land in the NBA Finals. With LeBron headed to Cleveland, the Miami Heat retooling, Gasol moving to Chicago and Lance Stephenson landing in Charlotte the East is far more wide open than it has been in the past four years.

2) The West looks even stronger: Even with the Heatles running the East, the Western Conference has always been seen as THEE conference in the NBA. Without the Miami Heat Big 3 standing at the end of the NBA playoff gauntlet, it is a certainty that any team that makes it out of the west will be the overwhelming favorite to win the Larry O’Brien trophy. Oklahoma City, San Antonio, the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers etc. are all possible favorites.


3) The owners won with the current CBA: Multiple superstars have been taking less money for their teams to be competitive. The biggest example of this being Dirk Nowitzki who agreed to a shockingly low $25 million over the next three years. LeBron James demanded the max and sent Wade and Bosh on a scramble to sacrifice money in order to keep the Big 3 together. Wade ended up still taking less than what he initially opted out of (2 years and $42 million) in order to bring in Loul Deng and keep the Miami Heat competitive. Tim Duncan is taking $10 million a year and he is more valuable than anything to San Antonio. Clearly, in the players eyes, there is something wrong here. The next work stoppage may be far worse than what we experienced in 2011.

FROM A REAL HEAT FAN: How I felt when LeBron James left

15. July 2014

image

I found out when I was in the most vulnerable position a man could be in. In the bathroom, on the toilet doing morning routine things. The sports media landscape had been so full of false reports and ridiculous speculation that I honestly thought it was fake when I first saw it tweeted. Tweeted like it was special report on gluten free cooking or something. Then I saw the Twitter reaction. The avalanche of NBA bloggers in sheer disbelief. Some making jokes and some just responding in the easiest and yet most meaningful way they could with simply, “wow.”

 

Chris Bosh had already stated that he would be on his way to Houston if LeBron were to leave Miami. The realization of the worst case scenario began to fall over me. This could all be over. The roller coaster of emotion had begun.

 

I was shocked, then angry, then depressed, then shocked again followed by more anger and you can imagine how this went. I didn’t initially understand why he would want to leave. I looked for every excuse I could. I blamed his wife. I blamed his mom. I blamed his agent and still do. I wanted to pin it on Miami’s hispanic culture for a little bit as I know that some people from up north don’t take to it so well. I didn’t even want to read his letter or the article or anything even remotely related to why he had left. Watching ESPN was out of the question. Everyone so happy he was going home to Cleveland with absolutely zero thought to how Miami felt about “The Departure.” We show up late to games, so what?! Come playoff time you can’t find a seat! That’s what really matters here. No one cared though. Everyone was happy he was leaving. Everyone except Miami and our beloved Miami Heat.

 

We had defended him from day one. Never slandered him. Labeled media pundits as outright haters because they weren’t happy for our success. We were greedy about it and we didn’t care because we loved him. Battled a small country worth of internet trolls because he was one of us now. The Heat had given him what he wanted; two championships attached to two finals MVPs and four straight trips to the NBA Finals. One of only three franchises to ever do so. A 27-game winning streak that would go down as the second longest in NBA history. Still, this wasn’t good enough for him. Living in this tropical paradise with everything he had ever wanted in his career wasn’t good enough for him.

 

The thing that really bothered me, even after the Miami Heat had been able to hold on to Chris Bosh while bringing Wade back, is how he left us with nothing. When LeBron decided to leave Cleveland back in 2010, a sign and trade took place that gave the Miami Heat LeBron James and netted the Cavaliers this:

-The option to swap 2012 first-round picks (not exercised).

-A 2012 second-round pick that eventually went to Dallas, who used it on Jae Crowder.

-A 2013 first-round pick that eventually went to Golden State, who used it on Nemanja Nedovic

-A 2011 second-round pick that turned into Milan Macvan.

-A large trade exception.

And, most importantly, a future first-round pick that is top-10 protected in 2015 and 2016 and unprotected in 2017 if it isn’t sent Cleveland’s way by then.

Now, for him to “go home,” he leaves us with nothing. Even worse, he leaves us with unpaid debt. At a time when we need those picks the most. That is the part that left me most upset. Yes, the Miami Heat were able to obtain the ultimate goal. On the verge of an NBA dynasty with an Eastern Conference dynasty already in place, the 2010 move was looked at a complete success. As a fan, I had everything I wanted. I thought it was everything LeBron wanted too. I was wrong. We were all wrong down here.

Another thing that vexed me, was how he could go play for Dan Gilbert again. The man who called him narcissistic and a coward. The man who treated him like property. How could he go play for him again? How could he put millions of dollars into a man’s pockets that didn’t have the balls to apologize and bury the hatchet with him over his four years in Miami? Funny how all of a sudden Dan was all apologetic. Now when it is most advantageous to him. Now when LeBron James is available to fill his pockets. Now when it is to his benefit. Not before. Now.

I understand wanting to go home. Some people have a connection with where they are from that can never be broken. It is interlaced within them and part of them always. I have that same connection with Miami. I get that. So, I eventually just realized that we wanted to go home. I just dismissed the whole thing as him growing up a Cavaliers fan, being from that area, his wife being from that area, his agent being Cleveland based, all his friends being from that area as the reason why he wanted to go back. That was my reasoning. I was content with that. We have our Chicago born hometown hero and our Texas import that loved everything about our city. This is what we got. I am ok with it. We will be in the mix next year and now we have the chance of possibly sending Cleveland home early. I love you LeBron, but I really dislike your owner and I’m not to fond of your flip-floppy fan base in Ohio either. Hated you when you left, and now it’s ok because they have you to make magic for them again. Fake love is what it is.

Now speculation has begun. Media clamoring for a reason for him to have hated it here. Something for them to point to as the reason he left. Something other than my “he justed wanted to go home” scenario. With reports that Savannah and his mother weren’t really pushing him back to Cleveland at all. That his entourage, or “La Familia” as he dubbed it, were more the ones looking for him to return. A case of what seems like wanna be big fish realizing how small they really are outside of their small pond of northeast Ohio. LeBron a global icon living the dream while they find themselves irrelevant outside of Akron.

Fingers now being pointed at Riley’s press conference, Wade’s “maintenance” program, Mike Miller’s amnesty, Spo’s finals tactics against the Spurs, no good pizza around LeBron’s Coral Gables home, anything and everything that may have possibly went wrong when it is all irrelevant now. The reality is here. The king is gone. An era we were lucky to have is over. For four short years Miami was the center of the basketball world. Like the saying goes, basketball never stops and so we will endure and move on. Chris Bosh and Miami Heat have work to do. In the end, we will all look for a Flash from the past to keep the party going on South Beach.

 image

NOTE: This post may read as biased. It is a true statement of how I felt at the time of LeBron James’ decision to leave the Miami Heat. It is my personal thoughts and opinion. 

Keeping my perspective for team USA.

1. July 2014

I am the son of immigrants from the island of Cuba. I’ve been told my ancestors come from the east of Spain with another great grandparent somewhere in there coming from France. I was born in the United States of America. I’d take a cheeseburger over anything else. Give me Coca-Cola classic and a side of fries. I bleed the stars and stripes while shooting freedom from my eyeballs. Even with all this. I am a realist. I have tempered my expectations for this United States Men’s National team.

The USA passed through the group stage with the very definition of mediocrity. One win, one draw, one loss and a goal differential of zero. Something any logical person would describe as the bare minimum.  Many people considered the United States group as a “group of death” with Germany, a multiple World Cup champion, and Portugal, currently ranked fourth in the world, in a group that also contained a side the United States could never seem to get around in Ghana. This seems to look a bit different now as Portugal proved to be a shadow of themselves with only Germany showing their true world class potential.  When all was said and done, the only thing keeping the USA from an early flight home was a -3 goal differential for Portugal.

Ever since the invention of the modern airplane, the United States has only managed to reach the quarter finals of the tournament one time. So, what has really been obtained? What can we point to in the history books and claim to be our achievement in this World Cup? Should we really be content at just getting out of a group that no one said we would pass? Because that is all the United States has done. We proved some people wrong. Whoopity doo. The real test begins now. Can this team push itself into the history books against Belgium? If not, it will just be another USA squad that couldn’t make it to the quarterfinals. Another World Cup where we finished just where everyone expected us to.

 

I want to dress up like George Washington, rent a white horse and ride through the streets of my hometown reading proclamations of American greatness while a bald eagle sits on my shoulders cawing at anyone who even looks like they disapprove of my ridiculous attire. Of course it would be ridiculous. I accept this. I want to be that guy. That idiot. That moron. I believe that they are on the verge of something special. I will ride with this team until the end.  I believe that we will win, but just winning the next game won’t be enough for this World Cup performance to be memorable. Yes, I believe that we will win. No, I won’t be surprised if we lose. 

OPINION: Shabazz Napier might be the most important draft move in Miami Heat history.

28. June 2014

image

On Thursday June 26th of 2014, the NBA draft took place. In a draft that many had seen as the deepest in years. Many teams banked their futures on young talents that in, most cases, are barely old enough to know the difference between condensed and powered milk.

It was no mystery who the Heat had their eyes on. The answer had actually been tweeted out months before from none other than LeBron James.

image

 

The man in question was University of Connecticut senior point guard Shabazz Napier. However, Napier’s draft stock had been on the rise days leading up to the draft and it was becoming more of a long shot that the guard would fall to Miami at the 26th overall pick. After some maneuvering and sending some second round picks Charlotte’s way, Napier’s rights belong to the Miami Heat. As expected, this went over well with the reigning King of Miami.

image

Some pundits applauded the pick while some, those with agendas that may not be entirely basketball related, hounded the Heat. In terms of pure basketball move, it wasn’t a bad selection for the Heat. Riley is known to like four year college players who can contribute right away. The Heat also showed a glaring weakness in their point guard play in the NBA finals and needed to add additional depth.

That’s all cute basketball stuff. Let’s stop kidding ourselves. This pick was meant for one reason and one person. It was what LeBron James wanted. Riley was doing more than getting the Heat a potential third guard off the bench. He was making a deposit into the LeBron James “Trust me I know what I am doing” fund.


A non-refundable deposit signaling to the best player on the planet that indeed his front office is willing to listen to what he wants and will do what is necessary for him and his team to be successful. Something Dan Gilbert failed to do in Cleveland. Something other GMs in the league can make promises about. Something that Riley now has in his pocket to keep James enjoying the pleasures of South Florida.

Shabazz has proven that he can play point guard on a team that has won a national championship. Yes, he can play. Yes, he can shoot. Yes, he has question marks. At this point, however, who cares. Even if Napier never makes an impact in a Heat uniform, the message is sent.

Will this be one of the picks to go down as one of the greatest in NBA history? More than likely no. It may be forgotten in the blink of a gnat. However, if it helps sway LeBron James into staying in Miami for the foreseeable future in the slightest of ways, it may be the greatest draft pick Pat Riley has ever made. 

My top 5 reasons players want to come to Miami…

13. June 2014

With the Heat down 3-1 to the San Antonio Spurs it seems like the 2014 season will soon be at its end. Of course, national media pundits are already foaming at the mouth with the idea that LeBron will be on the move this summer completely abandoning all his success in Miami. However, if your brain is working properly, take a look at my five reasons why it is more likely for players to make their way to South Beach than it is for LeBron to move somewhere else:

1)      LeBron

This is the easy one. Why would anyone not want to play with the most unselfish superstars in league history? Why wouldn’t anyone want to play with a player that openly states that his favorite part about playing the game is setting up his teammates? LeBron is a once in a generation talent and him being on your team basically guarantees you a deep play-off appearance. Especially with the way the Eastern Conference sits at this moment. Which brings me to my next point…

2)      The Heat play in the (L)Eastern Conference

To say the Eastern Conference is weak is an understatement. When the Miami Heat sent the Indiana Pacers home with a spanking after six games, it became apparent that there was no real team that would be able to dethrone them as champions of the East. Even if some big talent finds their way east, mainly Kevin Love to the Bulls/Cavs, it is still hard to see any team besting the Miami Heat if they are able to keep their big three. If the big 3 opt out of their current deals and resign for less, then this further extends the chances of their Eastern Conference Dynasty.

3)      No State Income Tax

 A lot of people tend to overlook this detail when it comes to player financials. The buzz these past few days has been the Miami Heat possibly signing Carmelo Anthony this offseason. I will use him as an example here. New York’s personal income tax system consists of eight brackets and a top rate of 8.82%. That rate ranks 8th highest among states levying an individual income tax. Carmelo made $23,530,000 last year.  So, before the Federal Government even gets involved with Melo’s money, the state of New York is taking just a bit of $2 million right off the top. Sure, there are other states that do not have an income tax like this, but most teams in those states don’t have a situation involving LeBron, Wade and Bosh.

 4)      The weather is pretty good here

What’s snow?

5)      Proven front office.

The main reason cited for LeBron leaving Cleveland in 2010 was the lack of players the front office was able to bring in to make Cleveland a legitimate title contender.  Clearly, this is not the case in Miami. Riley has proven that he has what it takes to continually put the talent around LeBron needed to compete for a championship. Also, Micky Arison is not afraid to pay a little extra when needed to make sure that this happens. This thing along with a true “family” atmosphere is another popular draw for players looking for stability in a league where the job performance is constantly under scrutiny.

FINAL NOTE:

 Why so sure LeBron isn’t going anywhere? In seven years in Cleveland, LeBron was able to make the NBA Finals one time. In four years in Miami, he had made the Finals four times.  So, he has had 400% more success in Miami without counting the NBA titles. Yea, he will be ok here.

2014 NBA Finals predictions

5. June 2014

Here it is. The finale. The end all. The top of the mountain. The alpha. The omega. The Spurs. The Heat. The rematch. Who will win? I have no idea. No idea at all. I’m not going to even pretend to know. How could I know?

After the Heat climbed out of the media/fan hate inferno off a final shot from Ray Allen to avoid an off-season full of laughter from America, how can anyone possibly know with certainty what will happen here?

I can tell you that Danny Green likely won’t hit over 26 3-pointers to once again break the NBA Finals record. I can tell you that if it comes down to a bunny for Tim Duncan, he won’t miss it. I can tell you LeBron will be his normal self and LeBron things all over, but what the hell do I know? I don’t know. I have no idea. No one does. So, here it is. My prediction.

2014 NBA FINALS

San Antonio Spurs (1) versus Miami Heat (2)

I don’t believe Danny Green will break the NBA Finals record for 3-pointers again. I do believe LeBron will come closer to his scoring average. I believe Dwyane Wade will be better. I think Manu Ginobili will be better. I think Tony Parker will eventually be hampered by a leg issue. I think Bosh will need to have a few games for the Heat to win. The Spurs haven’t seen a defense like the Miami Heat’s all playoffs. The Heat have not seen an offense like the San Antonio Spurs all playoffs. 

Ultimately, I think it comes down to which team hits there threes and who doesn’t. Spurs hit theirs more consistently than the Heat, they will win and vice versa. 

Heat in 6. Why? Because if they don’t win it in six, I don’t think they can win it in seven. #logic

Enjoy the finals. I will be in a corner crying.