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 10.0!!!

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Just before Thanksgiving, I want to give one big sports rant and say what I’m thinking on this blog before you enjoy your turkey and stuffing.

Ladies and gentlemen,

THE A-TRAIN RANT 10.0!

  1. Jameis Winston should be the Heisman Trophy winner regardless of the outcome on if he’s charged with sexual assault. A.J. McCarron is good  The Heisman Trophy award is for accomplishments done ON THE FIELD, not off of it. Now, I can see a person saying something like…”Well, what about Pete Rose?” Pete Rose STILL SHOULD NOT be in the Hall Of Fame. Why? Because the dirt he did was in baseball and during baseball. I hope this doesn’t become a race issue. I hope not.
  2. As much as I dislike Kobe Bryant, he put some truth on his social media followers about his “selfishness.” I hate to say it, but he’s the most loyal athlete. One team…17 seasons (although injured this season). He was right about the billions that the front office receives more than the players/athletes receive. Everybody wants a piece of the pie. Remember that. EVERYONE! He really is trying to be better than Jordan though, something about passing him in scoring is all he wants to do. He got the rings, MVPs, what else does he need to do?
  3. Chicago Bulls DO NOT NEED to tank for Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins…I wish people would stop saying that. Even if they did, the chances of them getting one of those guys are 1 in 4. Don’t believe me, look up the 2008 NBA Draft or check out the 1993 NBA Draft, and then read the 1985 NBA Draft when this whole lottery crap got started. Damn ping-pong balls. That’s why I hate David Stern. Come on February 1st (Stern’s last day as commissioner).
  4. LeBron James, as much as I dislike him too, should not go back to Cleveland. Anderson Varejao needs to shut his trap. What for? The fans dissed him, burned his jerseys and now they so desperate to win again, they want him back. If I’m LeBron, I’d tell ’em, “Kiss my ass. I love Miami.” Hypocrites.
  5. Alex Rodriguez is a jerk and I love it. The reason for that is because the good guy image (he’s been bad before this) in front of the camera is going south. From him going crazy in judicial hearings to him speaking out Mike Francesa’s radio show…where have you been crazy A-Rod? Let the madness continue. Trust me, it will. Definitely before 2014 spring training.
  6. After seeing some Monday Night Football and seeing Robert Griffin III get decimated by the 49ers…it’s still not a clear indicator that he should be the guy for the Redskins. Usually with 2nd year QBs, they get a 3rd year to indicate that. Same goes for Russell Wilson (even though he’s winning), Andrew Luck, and I’ll even be nice and say Brandon Weeden. The hell with that, Weeden stinks. Even on a good team, his best would be a backup role. Don’t like it, take it to the judge.
  7. Speaking of 1st-round QBs, Sam Bradford as a franchise QB has me wondering for the life of me…do the Rams really want to put their chips in him or find another potential franchise player but in a different round. I know it’s his 4th season and this was supposed to be THE YEAR for him. He got hurt against Carolina and ended all the dreams. Kellen Clemens is definitely NOT the answer but over the past couple of weeks has been solid enough to get quality wins. Still pissed about that Seattle game though, it was a clear game-changing moment wasted.
  8. The Missouri Tigers could be the greatest underdog to make the national championship. Yes, I understand they have a test this week in Texas A&M and a much bigger test in Alabama (if they make it to the SEC championship). We’ll see what happens come Saturday.
  9. I can’t see why Lee Smith and Jack Morris are NOT in the Hall of Fame. They were by far the most dominant at their positions in the 1980s and early ’90s (closer and starter, respectively). What is the problem here? Next year’s class will have Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine headlining the class for sure. Lee Smith had 478 saves in his career and Morris had 254 wins in his career. But guys like Bruce Sutter and Jim Palmer are in the Hall of Fame. Sutter had 300 saves but Palmer had more wins than Morris at 268. WHAT IS THE FIGURE TO MAKE THE HALL OF FAME? I don’t get it.
  10. Jason Kidd should have never been a head coach in the NBA.
  11. What the hell is a clean tackle in the NFL? I’ll leave it at that.

After all of this, my thoughts and prayers go out to the victims that were lost in the construction of the new stadium being built for the 2014 World Cup of soccer.

The A-Train

THE A-TRAIN RANT 2.0!

Time now for another great rant from the A-Train and it goes a little something like this…

(Clears throat)

  1. RGIII is a beast! That’s tough luck for the Rams (PLEASE prove me wrong St. Louis, PLEASE!)
  2. Jay Cutler just needs to shut the HELL up and play some football. BEARS FANS YOU CAN THANK ME LATER.
  3. Dwight Howard will be a hinder the L.A. Lakers…which means no championship for DH12…don’t believe me, ask James Worthy.
  4. The Mizzou Tigers might get only 1 win in the next three weeks…and I’m a Tiger fan.
  5. If the St. Louis Cardinals continue to keep playing so pitiful (yeah even the 2-1 win was pitiful…yet helpful), the Atlanta Braves will have a good laugh and sweet revenge. Trust me…they have not forgotten about last season.
  6. THE WASHINGTON NATIONALS ARE PURE IDIOTS! PURE IDIOTS! You have a top pitcher in Stephen Strasburg and say…”Well, let’s shut him down for the season. Don’t mess up that golden arm.” Manager Davey Johnson seriously doesn’t believe in this theory. He just fooling people that he is for this. Either way, I hope they get swept in the division series.
  7. Gary Bettman and David Stern are the dumbest commissioners in the four major sports.
  8. Bud Selig and Roger Goodell (BELIEVE IT OR NOT) are the smartest commissioners. Sad part…I can’t stand any of them, yet I’m stuck with them. A friend of mine is going to love these previous two statements. I can feel it. **Kanye shrug**
  9. I still have hope for the Baltimore Orioles winning the AL East…baseball needs a true shakeup and Baltimore is it. Hey, it’s going to happen in Boston, except in a bad and negative way.
  10. If replacement refs are keeping the NFL afloat, then just take it and leave them alone. It could be worse, no refs, no NFL games. SO BE THANKFUL.
  11. So Jim Calhoun retires…I wish the best for him. 29 seasons, 3 national championships…a good legacy for the most. Now, the stuff behind the scenes that were not so great, is between him, the University of Connecticut, the NCAA and God. Well…good luck to Kevin Ollie. But seriously though, a one-year trial??? He only gets one year to prove himself…C’mon man!
  12. As a sports gamer (person who plays sports video games for slow ones) I like EA Sports…BUT if they dare put out NBA Live 13 this fall, they should never make basketball video games again. IT’S ATROCIOUS, IT’S AN ABOMINATION TO FANS! Plus, that interview w/ the Live engineer…FORGET IT, I REFUSE TO DO IT, don’t ask why. Thanks.
  13. Speaking to EA Sports games…this is directed to EA Sports: If you know how to make good football games, WHY DO YOU KEEP COMING UP SHORT ON BASKETBALL, WHY? ASK YOURSELVES THAT, PLEASE! IT’S A DAMN SHAME!
  14. On a lighter note, shoutout to Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls…I’ll let you see it for yourself. He’s a class act in my opinion. More athletes need to be humble. REAL TALK. Here you go: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/derrick-rose-breaks-down-tears-shoe-company-product-130215847–nba.html
  15. UPDATE: Good to hear that Jerry “The King” Lawler is back after having a heart attack on last Monday’s LIVE Raw broadcast. The thing I don’t like is that the doctors that treated him said…HE CAN WRESTLE AGAIN? You’re serious? King, listen. You have had a storied career, but it’s really time to hang it up. Go back to the announcer’s table and stay there. GLUED TO THE SEAT! THANK YOU!

After that, I’m spent. Good day, folks.

The A-Train

AS A WINNER…LEBRON STILL LOSES

The Miami Heat knocked off the Oklahoma City Thunder in 5 games to win their 2nd NBA title, the topic will always go around one man…LeBron James. LeBrick, who I love to call, played much better than he did in last year’s Finals. The primary purpose for this is to shut up his critics. Well…I got news for him. THEY WON’T and I WON’T! As a matter of fact, winning this “tainted” title (don’t thank me, thank the “god of basketball” David Stern), he still loses. LeBron haters will remain “the king” and not him. While Heat and LeBron fans will celebrate the title and proceed to try and shut up every hater. Some friendships will end when this happens. Just saying.

Switching to something every LeBron fan dislikes hearing…

THE DECISION: YES I’M STILL ON THIS!! I will not get over that. So what! You will live just like I will. Sorry. But for this man to be the BEST player in the NBA, he surely came off cocky for that ESPN program. People, understand why I’m upset at LeBron for this. LeBron and his agents (mostly his friends) milked the idea of putting together a one-hour special on ESPN just for 2 seconds of announcing his decision to play for the Miami Heat and run away from the Cleveland Cavaliers because he felt that he wasn’t going to get anywhere with them. FOR WHAT? That sounds like pure cockiness coming from an athlete. Now you know without shadow of a doubt this could have been handled much differently. YOU KNOW THAT! He didn’t need the ESPN cameras, he didn’t need Jim Gray, he didn’t need Mike Wilbon and whatever ESPN analysts to ANALYZE this decision. It wasn’t needed. I lost a lot of respect for this guy. POINT BLANK

He won a title…with an asterisk. The same way, the San Antonio Spurs did back in that shortened 1999 season. Look who they played in the Finals. They played an 8th seeded New York Knicks team with “I’ll Choke Your Coach” Latrell Sprewell, Larry Johnson and Allan Houston. I still wondered how they got there after beating the #1 seed, (the pre-LeBron) Miami Heat. But I respect them now because of them winning back in 2003, playing in an 82-game season.

Now, why did I see with asterisk? Oh, the A-Train is on something? He needs help. He needs to lay off the meds.

No, that’s not the case at all. This could lead to another thing but. LeBron played a 66-game schedule and won a title. Last season, played in an 82-game season and lost in the championship. So, it takes for him to play shortened seasons and win titles? It looks like it. In his 9 seasons, only this season he won a title.

WELL, THAT’S NOT FAIR. Sure it is. In his first 8 seasons, he has played in 82-game seasons and has come up short. Even last year, when he practically had the same team. LeBRON WAS DIFFERENT LAST SEASON. He wasn’t any different this season, just put up more statistics. There was nothing impressive about LeBron. He didn’t take over the last 2 minutes of a game like he’s supposed to do. HE DOESN’T HAVE TO DO THAT WITH THIS TEAM. But this is LeBron’s team now, right? Dwyane Wade has given it up.  Critical moments during these 2012 playoffs, he hasn’t shown up. Sorry.

However he did get some help from the black and white. Something about referees and their ways of calling games just boggles my mind. From Tim Donaghy’s nutty scandal some years ago to the old refs like Danny Crawford, Dick Bavetta, and Joey Crawford. The game that once was a game has now been tarnished. Once again, I thank the “god of basketball” David Stern.

Once last thing…stop with the comparisons of Michael with LeBron. They don’t match. MJ still is the GOAT. MJ won 6 titles and didn’t lose a single one of them. LeBron has been in 3 Finals and won 1. Tough luck for the kid. You not Jordan, never will be. Greater than he, forget it. HAPPY FAKE TITLE TO YOU, LEBRON! IT’S WELL DESERVED!

A-Train

The Tainted Title…Thanks Mr. Stern

66 games. 2 teams. 1 championship. I see you looked at the title and are literally saying things like “What the hell?” or “He can’t be serious.” Something that will make you either stop reading or get mad as you read this. But the last time I checked, the full season was 82 games. Oh yeah, I forgot. Thanks to a lockout, the season was shortened by “the god of basketball” David Stern and Oklahoma City (formerly LA Lakers) point guard Derek Fisher. If you didn’t know, Fisher is the president of the Players’ Association. Yet, somehow he’s in the Finals…conspiracies??? Another time for that conversation.

But anyways,  here we are at the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Seattle Sonics aka Oklahoma City Thunder, which begin on Tuesday night at 9PM EST on your ABC affiliate. To many, this is going to be as good of a series since the Lakers/Celtics matchups of 2008 and 2010. The media (especially ESPN) are hyping this series as LeBron vs. Durant.

Why do I call this a “tainted title?”

I call it that because 1) 66 games for the regular season, it hurt a lot of teams and their postseason runs. 2) The scheduling. No way in the world that Stern thought playing 5-6 games a week would help the athletes do well on their respective teams. Some of them weren’t used to that. Many star players like Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard both have significant injuries and can’t even participate for the Olympic team in London. Those are two key losses to a team that just got back to prominence after winning the gold back in 2008 in Beijing. 3) Terrible officiating. Oh my Lord. I bet anyone on here that reads this can name the sorry officials from each game that made you throw something or even cuss at the TV. The way they put this season together made it seem like they went and got high school officials to call these games. I mean this was absurd and just plain ridiculous. It was like Stern meant to put those guys out there to get this outcome that we are at now. The NBA Finals. I almost swear this was a complete set-up from the jump.  4) Money. There shouldn’t be anything said after that. But that is what this whole thing was all about. Like any other sport, money is the key to having a season. This season was almost lost in its entirety. Stern and his staff had to rush through and put together which is what was supposed to be an “effective” season. All Stern thought about was those advertising dollars, the under the table deals (don’t act like there weren’t any), the TV contracts, the attendance for the respective games and IMHO nothing about the players’ themselves. Even though the players’ were just looking for their piece of the pie. While we get mad at them about their egos’ and all, they still go out and play every night. Am I ok? Am I really defending the players? The ones that tick me off so bad that they should play overseas somewhere and not in the States. I’m defending players like Carlos Boozer, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant…the names I can’t stand?? Really? Yeah I am. Because at the same time, they get a check cut every two weeks like you and I (the ones that have jobs).

My point is: This is not the real 82-game season, just like San Antonio back in ’99 which wasn’t a real title win with the 50-game season. Look who they played against in the Finals…the 8th seeded New York Knicks…with “I’ll choke my coach because I don’t like what he tells me” Latrell Sprewell on (LITERALLY) “Grandmama” Larry Johnson. So what about their banner sticking up in the AT&T Center being a title team. That season was a joke from start to finish. Just like that game on Showtime which was called “The Game on Showtime” where it featured 10 NBA players playing in Vegas for charity. I might as well just had that and didn’t need the season. The reason why all of this was going down…again MONEY!

Anyways, the match-up is great honestly (even though I still think it’s a set-up), these two teams do have effective teams that (believe it or not) provide championship experience from both sides. The Thunder are definitely young and Durant should enjoy this series win or lose. The Heat however are under a microscope…if they lose, they might as well dismantle that team. I want to see that happen, so bad. OKC’s legs should be fresher than the Heat’s after their 7 game affair with Boston. But maybe it was a blessing for those teams. This is what the fans have been really waiting for which is the top 2 players in the league right now going head-to-head for that picture, aka the Larry O’Brien trophy.

All from the destructive mind of David Stern. Thanks Mr. Stern for destroying the league that you have built up. You wonder why most sports fans wait for football season to come around. You’re an imbecile and an idiot. But I still will watch your sport till there is no more.

NBA Fan

The A-Train