N The Zone SEASON 2: Wade B. Olson, Nicole Powell, Wayne Neal, Jeffrey Boyd, Tiera Dobbins, Adam Little, Alex Washington

nthezonelogoALL NEW EPISODE! On this brand NEW edition of “N The Zone” (@NTheZoneShow); shenanigans ensue along with a “best of” monologue from Palmer as he discusses his time with The St. Louis American and gives a hard but effective lesson to Elsberry Elite Flyers basketball coach Britney Koch-Dowell. (CLICK LINK BELOW)

NOTE: The following contains language that some will find objectionable. Parental discretion is advised. CHE-TOA-TAH!

N The Zone SEASON 2: Open and The Monologue 01-22-17

Wade B. Olson is back again to talk about the recent political topics regarding Senators Elizabeth Warren and Al Franken and their confrontation with Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos along with the inauguration of President Donald Trump. (CLICK LINK BELOW)

N The Zone SEASON 2: Wade B. Olson 01-22-17

Nicole Powell of The Sportstyle talks Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks, all the rumors and why Phil Jackson doesn’t seem to be a good fit for the organization. (CLICK LINK BELOW)

N The Zone SEASON 2: Nicole Powell 01-22-17

Wayne Neal, our newest member of the N The Zone family w/ “N The Zone LA,” joins the show to talk the vibe in LA about the Chargers coming to town and whether it’s good to have two teams in two different conferences. He also talks the L.A. Lakers and if the organization can nab a big free agent for the future. (CLICK LINK BELOW)

N The Zone SEASON 2: Wayne Neal 01-22-17

Jeffrey Boyd, STL alderman and candidate for mayor of St. Louis sits down in-studio with Palmer talking about his plans if elected and also why the St. Louis American newspaper completely disrespected him on social media and why the paper is sold on one particular candidate. (CLICK LINK BELOW)

N The Zone SEASON 2: Jeffrey Boyd 01-22-17

Getting you geared for the conference championships…we have our N The Zone family entertaining you to close out the show. From NFLFemale.com and N The Zone Ohio, Tiera Dobbins. Alongside her is the guys from the Deuces Wild podcast aka N The Zone New England…Adam Little and Alex Washington. It’s Steelers-Patriots in the AFC and Packers-Falcons in the NFC. Who is going to the Super Bowl? (CLICK LINK BELOW)

NOTE: The following contains language that some might find objectionable. Parental discretion is advised. CHE-TOA-TAH!

N The Zone SEASON 2: Tiera Dobbins, Adam Little, Alex Washington 01-22-17

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Bulls Get Consolation Prizes

pau-gasol-carlos-boozer-nba-los-angeles-lakers-chicago-bulls-850x560Since the end of their second championship run in 1998, the Chicago Bulls haven’t quite lived up to the hype of being a champion. The closest they have been to getting to the title was losing to the Miami Heat back in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, 4 games to 1.

In the span of the last 16 seasons, the Bulls seem to let big name superstars slip through their fingers and grab just “consolation prizes” through free agency.

During the seasons from 1998-2003, the Bulls have had the opportunities to lure in such players as Tracy McGrady and Tim Duncan. Both said no to Chicago. McGrady went on to Orlando and played for a slew of franchises. Duncan went on to win 4 more titles with the San Antonio Spurs. The Bulls went after free agents like Fred Hoiberg, Ron Mercer, Brad Miller, Eddie Robinson, and believe it or not…Scottie Pippen. Clearly, ALL CONSOLATION PRIZES. At the same time, those teams were horrific which included that 13-37 strike-shortened season back in 1999.

From 2003-2010, the Bulls signed 1 free agent…Ben Wallace, believe it or not, a consolation prize. Wallace, of course was the backbone of those Detroit Pistons’ teams that won 2 Eastern Conference titles and captured the 2004 NBA Finals. He signed a 4-year deal with the Bulls and never lived up to that deal, being dealt after just 1 and a half seasons with Chicago. So much for that idea.

It was very easy and widely known about the 2010 free agent class that came out (LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Carmelo, etc). Plus, Chicago already had Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah from draft picks, yet now were looking for a key free agent to add to their possible contention at a title.

As the reports and rumors were coming out that summer, the Bulls looked like they could have gained their piece. But none of the big names signed their name on a contract with Chicago. The Big 3 (as its famously known) assembled in Miami, thanks to LeBron. The Bulls however took…the man on the left of the photo, Carlos Boozer, aka yet another consolation prize.

Boozer, who was coming off a stellar year with the Utah Jazz, SEEMED like the solid piece that the Bulls needed. In his 1st season with Chicago, he helped them get to a 62-20 mark and the best record in the East. His numbers were solid but not the same as he was in Utah. He wasn’t a vital part of Chicago’s defensive scheme orchestrated by head coach Tom Thibodeau. He was a main liability, getting punked by other power forwards in the league, good AND bad. In this past season, he averaged under 14 points and 8 rebounds a night and hardly ever played in the 4th quarter of ballgames. Again, he was a defensive liability. It also didn’t help Chicago when Rose went down in back-to-back seasons. Nonetheless, Boozer was amnestied after the season and won’t be a part of the Bulls’ future.

Here we are 4 years later and Bulls’ management still can’t seem to lure a major free agent in a huge market. They even couldn’t get ‘Melo (personally I’m glad they didn’t) to play in Chicago. They went out and signed…the guy on the right side of the photo…Pau Gasol from the Lakers. AGAIN, another consolation prize. However, this one could benefit more than it could hurt. This new core could possibly win the East, thanks to LeBron again (going to Cleveland). Yet, it will definitely raise a lot of questions before training camp begins. I’m not going to ask them or answer them now. Stay tuned. Training camps and preseason will come faster than you think.

The A-Train

THE ASSOCIATION REPORT: Second Edition

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In the second edition of “The Association,” the primary focus is on the professional level…the NBA.

Here we are in the month of February and the Oklahoma City Thunder is playing like they want to be in the NBA championship once again, even without their floor leader Russell Westbrook. Reggie Jackson is definitely picking up the slack at the 1 position, Serge Ibaka playing magnificent ball at the 4 position and DEFINITELY should have been an All-Star this year (we’ll talk about that later) while Jeremy Lamb, 3-point veteran Derek Fisher and defensive specialist Thabo Sefalosha providing great contributions from the bench. This team has been on a roll have blown out opponents in the month of January…including their 17-point win against the Miami Heat. The person behind those epic wins is their MVP for not only the team, but the league as well…Kevin Durant.

Durant is without a doubt playing the best basketball of his career. It was ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith that said about Durant that he can play “any of the 4 positions.” He can. He really can. He’s a great ball-handler, he can handle the wing positions and he can post up on just about anyone. He definitely a player that is hard to guard…just ask LeBron James. In their matchup on January 29th, LeBron may have won the point battle, 34-33, but it was Durant who had the last laughs. On three different occasions, Durant buried 3-point shots in the face of James. Both guys are definitely valuable to their respective teams, but you almost can’t go against either of them. LeBron is actually having a down year…at least if you are talking about his scoring average (which is at 26 points a game), but the other numbers have remained consistent. But the guy everyone is talking about in circles…is Durant. He clearly has made it known to fans and haters that he’s tired of being second best. So far, he’s the best player. I can hear the LeBron fans immortalizing the great Ric Flair’s line, “To be the best, you got to BEAT the best.” Still, Durant is the best player.

One team you should definitely watch for is the Golden State Warriors. This team is young, energetic, highly-entertaining and VERY exciting. I haven’t seen them look this good since the days of Run TMC (TIM Hardaway, MITCH Richmond, and CHRIS Mullin). If you are looking for a “one season to the playoff” team, this is not the team for you. Mark Jackson’s boys will be in the playoffs for a while. Stephon Curry playing all-star ball as usual. He needs to make sure to let his game do the talking and not his mouth. Klay Thompson is a dead-eye shooter and can give opposing guards fits. Andrew Bogut and David Lee are very solid in the post…but health will be the issue for these two. The addition of Andre Iguodala was genius by Golden State. He doesn’t have to be THE guy for this team, all he has to do is play his role where he’s needed. I can’t forget about young guys Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and the recent acquisition Jordan Crawford (from Boston), they bring punch off the bench. The Warriors are as young as the recent Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. It may look a little far-fetched that they would be in the NBA Finals this season but they have the right pieces to make themselves a championship contender.

While the New York Knicks have been the NBA’s biggest primetime drama (yeah they moved out the Lakers), the important piece of the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony has suddenly become an ultimate prize for other suitors. As the rumors continue to fly out about where ‘Melo could be going…whether it’s Los Angeles, Chicago or even staying in NYC…the question is: Is he worth it? It will depend on what squad decides to put him on their roster. If it’s the Lakers…you’re asking for trouble. As much as Laker fans want him there, he’s not the answer to their equation. Maybe a Kevin Love added to the mix could make it a championship contender but I just don’t see it. Yes, the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics pulled off doing Big 3’s to help them win championships, but those teams were very different compared to what other NBA squads are trying to combine and make their own.  If he goes to the Clippers, it’s going to have to be in exchange for star Blake Griffin. Griffin could work well in NYC, he does like to run and the Knicks are a running team. The longshot is Chicago…yeah they don’t have Derrick Rose but they could use a scorer, the bad part is they won’t have a good defender unless head coach Tom Thibodeau can help him a great deal. Who wants an effective scorer but poor defender for their playoff-bound/championship contending team? I would choose Chicago. That’s not because I’m a Bulls fan either.

(I’m going to try to be nice with this one) The beginning of the month saw a 30-year tenure for David Stern come to an end. Stern took the NBA to an international phenomenon, taking the game all over the world, and even returning with some of the Non-American’s best players. Stern made the NBA very marketable…turning people like Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James into household names. He even was the brainchild with the WNBA and did his best to bring substance to his league. Adam Silver takes over the commissioner’s position and hopefully will bring a lot more positivity to the league.

A-Train

THE A-TRAIN RANT 16.0!

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Time for another edition of The A-Train Rant…16-point-OH!

I have a lot to say on this day. Here we go.

  1. Roger Goodell continues to kill the NFL. I feel indifferent if professional football should go away as a whole.
  2. Tom Brady is a sore loser.
  3. Bill Belichick needs his eyes checked.
  4. Ohio State really sucks along with my Tar Heels. I knew UNC would be bad this year after watching them BEAT Kentucky.
  5. Joel Embiid of Kansas shouldn’t look at being #1 overall in the draft. He has great game so far, a lot more to work on and doesn’t need to focus on the NBA. He doesn’t need to be a Ralph Sampson or Hasheem Thabeet.
  6. I think I may have found a new favorite team…it’s the Golden State Warriors. Yes, they lost last night. But at the same time, this is a young team with a great head coach in Mark Jackson and should make playoff/championship runs for years. I love this team.
  7. The St. Louis Rams should get Clowney or a signal caller to wake up Sam Bradford in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. Not an offensive lineman. Work with the linemen they already have. Stop thinking that the next big draft pick is going to be the answer.
  8. Joakim Noah scares me as an NBA player. Last night’s Lakers/Bulls game indicated when he gets the ball under 2 minutes, he forgets how to play basketball. I like his energy but it seems like it spirals out of control when the game is on the line.
  9. Speaking of that Lakers/Bulls game…the Lakers got cheated in that game. Taj Gibson’s last second lay-up shouldn’t have happened the way it did. The clock didn’t start when Gibson got the ball.
  10. Clayton Kershaw deserves every bit of that $215 million the L.A. Dodgers gave him.
  11. Fighting in hockey is probably the reason why I watch it. Sad.
  12. What the hell happened to Serena Williams? She might be done with tennis.
  13. So far EA Sports is on point about the St. Louis Blues. They simulated their season and it came out that they would win the Cup. It would be the franchise’s first. I would love to witness that for real (on TV of course or downtown).
  14. Super Bowl 48’s matchup on paper looks like it’s one for the ages. The NFL is getting what they want by playing the game in it’s “normal” element.
  15. Carmelo Anthony needs to leave the Knicks. All he’s doing is bringing them down instead of building them up.
  16. Paul George’s 360 dunk was very impressive. To anybody that thinks it wasn’t…get a video camera, go find a court and do the dunk. If you can, the dunk wasn’t impressive. Point blank.
  17. Speaking of that dunk, George won’t be in the dunk contest. This is a great indicator that All-Star Weekend needs to die. Who can forget the ever-popular 2Ball competition? SMH
  18. I hope the WWE gets this new WWE Network correct.
  19. I can’t wait to see what the Ultimare Warrior says at his Hall of Fame speech.
  20. I will participate in Warren Buffett’s BILLION DOLLAR (yes that’s correct) bracket challenge. CBS, ESPN, Fox Sports’ bracket challenge’s better up their game. $1,000,000 means nothing anymore.
  21. FINALLY. This whole Richard Sherman thing indicates how silly, stupid and crazy us fans really are. I think we are worse than the athletes themselves. What Sherman did wasn’t right. But don’t dare call him a thug. A thug is a criminal. If that’s the case, Sherman robbed the 49ers of going to the Super Bowl. That’s the best description of what a thug is. People are getting mad that Sherman’s antics have been compared to Muhammad Ali’s antics. It has great comparison sports-related. Talk trash. Back it up. Ali did that. So far, Sherman has done the same. 20 interceptions in just 3 seasons indicates that. With that said…
  22. Justin Verlander needs to (in the words of Chris Jericho) SHUT…THE HELL…UP.

GOOD DAY EVERYONE.

A-Train

Hey Chicago, We’re Ready When You Are

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These days it’s tough to be a Chicago Bulls fan. I mean really tough.

The days of Marcus Fizer, Dickey Simpkins, Mark Bryant, Matt Maloney, Khalid Reeves, Michael Ruffin and Khalid El-Amin are gone. From 1998-2004, the Bulls were 119-341, with 5 straight seasons of 50 or more losses and went through coaches like Tim Floyd, Bill Cartwright, Bill Berry and Pete Myers. Yes, the Jordan replacement…PETE MYERS! YIKES! But after clever drafting and added some key veterans, the Bulls became playoff contenders again. In the last 10 seasons, they enjoyed their finest season during the 2010-2011 season when they went 62-20 and Derrick Rose was named MVP. It looked like the Bulls would be CHAMPIONSHIP contenders, then…Rose gets injured in the 1st round of the following season’s playoffs and it went downhill from there. He didn’t play the following season after much controversy and distraction about his injury status, yet the team was able to make the playoffs only to get bounced by the eventual champion Miami Heat in the second round.

This season…PURE HELL. PURE H-E-L-L.

Not even a full two months have gone by and several Bulls players have been injured, including Rose (who’s out for the season again) and my “favorite player” to hate Carlos Boozer. Yes, him. The hate for LeBron has ceased. Not only that, the recent trade of Luol Deng to Cleveland for Andrew Bynum and draft picks. Bynum will never get to see a minute in a Bulls uniform because he was waived in under 24 hours. Just trying to get the room for cap space and lure a potential free agent, maybe a Carmelo Anthony, LeBron or a Kevin Love. Now, Love would be an awesome addition in Chicago, it would get him a chance at actually being on a playoff team…which he has yet to see in his (now) 6 seasons in Minnesota. Another funny possibility would be Blake Griffin. This is a business. Loyalty is so gone. That’s why I respect Timmy D and Kobe.

But back to the subject at hand…freeing of cap space to lock in a key free agent…the Bulls did that so well back in the 2010 free agent sweepstakes. It was so well that they went and got…Carlos Boozer. Yes, Carlos Boozer. He was the guy that was mentioned earlier in this blog. The Bulls couldn’t nab LeBron, they couldn’t get Dwyane Wade…the hometown guy, Chris Bosh or even Amar’e Stoudemire, not to mention Rudy Gay or David Lee. They got Boozer for 5 seasons, $75 million. The Sporting News couldn’t have said this any better, “Boozer, who has performed well below his deal for years, is set to make $16.8 million next season and does not fit the Bulls’ defensive approach, which has led him to spend time on the bench in clutch moments.” This was a guy who was an all-star with the Utah Jazz and averaged 20 points and right at 10 rebounds a game, and never looked like the same player back in Utah. His defense was just horrendous. Allowing smaller players, other power forwards, even slower players to outplay him. Not to mention the numbers are atrocious. This man TRICKED John Paxson, Gar Forman and Jerry Reinsdorf. Where is Jerry Krause when you need him? I see why they put the amnesty clause on him. No way you put that salary on this team.

As a Bulls fan, I can stomach this season. But I can’t say the same for the crowds that once sold out the United Center. For right now, those are gone. Yet, they have great young talent in Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson. Rookie Tony Snell is starting to get more in to the mix off the bench and hopefully Mike Dunleavy can fill the void that Kyle Korver left. Korver doesn’t fit the Thibodeau book of defense. But that efficient shooting is missed greatly. Didn’t necessarily get a good upgrade in Dunleavy. He’s decent but not a plus. At this rate, it looks like the Bulls are going to be revamped in a similar fashion the way the Portland Trailblazers and Golden State Warriors have done to get back into the playoff mix. If the Bulls don’t make the playoffs it won’t be a surprise. This team looked doomed after the Rose injury. The biggest questions will be…Can D. Rose be a solid player again? Can the Bulls lure a GOOD free agent? Can they become a contender again? Only time will tell. But for now, Bulls fans, you’ll just have to let this season go. But hey Chicago, we’ll be ready when you are.

A-Train