Rampage vs. Sugar aka "Black on Black Crime"
On the eve of what could possibly be an epic Memorial Day weekend, we here at ETSF don't always take the time to show the proper respect for some of the big time sporting events that occur outside of the big 3 (basketball, football, baseball). Plus, I know that some of you feel some kind of way about certain sports. Some of you could care less about the World Cup, (take Spain...trust me.) some of you could care less about the Stanley Cup, (take Philly...trust me.) and some of you do not like Boxing or MMA, and I totally get it.
However, I've watched plenty of UFC fights in my time, and there is a fight going on this Saturday that is unprecedented for MMA. There will be two black fighters fighting for a title for the first time ever in Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Rashad "Sugar" Evans at UFC 114. Now we're not talking about Jackie Robinson territory or anything, and I'm not sure if that is the reason I'm so geeked to watch this fight, but it has the chance to be epic. That's the reason we stay up late (like last night) and watch all these games, because you never know when someone will "Shock The World" and something truly great will happen.
Stan Van Gundy: The Master of MotivationLadies and gentlemen, that title is not a typo. It's not malarkey, hogwash, or a statement rooted in one bit of blasphemy. After witnessing the Orlando Magic beat the dog out of the Boston Celtics last night, there is no doubt in my mind that the Magic will be the first team in NBA history to come back from a 3-0 deficit, and win a best-of-seven series, and at the front of this turn-around is none other than The Master of Motivation himself, Stan Van Gundy.
NBA's top five greatest bench units Of all-time (my generation)It was astonishing watching last night's game as the Suns bench out-hustled and out-worked a Los Angeles team who seemed ready to dance their way to the NBA Finals. Phoenix has 5 role players that do five completely different things on the floor, and that makes them extremely tough to guard against. Think about it for a second.
Dragic is a well-rounded playmaker, Barbosa is a speed demon with 3-point range, Dudley is the new JYD (does all the dirty work) of the league, Amundson has no other skill than be tough and hang around the rim, and Frye is basically a 6'11" shooting guard. Good luck guarding that crew. If Phoenix were to win the NBA Finals and win their first championship, this collection of players would go down in annuls of history as one of the better units, but who were the best?
Lets take some of the spotlight away from the stars and shine on the best bench units of all-time.
The 1993-95 Houston Rockets Bench: Don't be fooled by the greatness that was Hakeem Olajuwon and Co...
Fans Always Win
Being involved in sports, on any field, exposes you to just about every type of experience. If you’re a player, you play. Coaches coach, managers manage, etc. It really can be a monotonous, boring, and trying series of events, and even the best of people at times just run out of ways to illustrate it. It can explain how a hitter can go to the plate, and go 0-4, or how a great basketball player can have a horrible shooting night, or how a quarterback can throw the football everywhere except for a receiver’s hands. There are sometimes when everyone just has one of those days, and instead of wallowing in pity about it, the best thing for them to do (and what they usually do) is charge it to the game, regroup, and come back stronger the next time around.
There's Nothing Wrong With Being Tough...
After watching the first set of basketball games since seemingly light years ago, there was a definite contrast in the two games that were played this weekend. Sure, you might say in one, the underdog team finally won a game, whereas, in the other game, another laid down. Yes, you are correct. However, for the greater good of the league, and a key ingredient for any team that wishes to be worth a damn, take heed to what I saw in Sunday night's game vs. Saturday's.
Sunday's game had two teams willing to lay it on the line, whereas in Saturday's game there was only one.
The Best Second Banana Who Ever Lived - Scottie Pippen
I realized in reading Kenny's phenomenal post about Shawn Kemp yesterday is that we're missing some very key pieces in these playoffs. I believe it's the reason that some of these teams are getting destroyed in the playoffs like when Antoine decided not to help Kenny and the U-Dubb basketball team in The 6th Man because they were selfish. Yeah I said it, selfish. It takes supernatural ability to be able to sacrifice for the greater good of the team, and it's become quite clear that some players just haven't figured that out yet (I'm looking at you Vince Carter and Amare Stoudemire). Thus we're going to have sweeps in the conference finals, because the two winning teams have figured this out, and the losing teams are still scratching their heads.
Scottie Pippen was the epitome of doing all the "other things" that the Bulls teams needed to do, and its the reason that some teams that have all the talent in the world will always fail, because they don't have someone in the Pippen mold.
I miss Shawn Kemp**I just want to go on record and say that I'm supremely jealous that Kenny thought of this idea before I did. -Ed.**
Yesterday, a discussion emerged about front-court players, and what started out as a rant against a current power forward that will be named later turned into a trip back in time, and it landed on one of my favorite players of all-time: none other than The Rain Man, Shawn Kemp.
Plenty of people remember the monster alleys he caught from Gary Payton, but he had an all-around game. The man could shoot, rebound, dribble, and pass. Kemp was an absolute monster, and at a time when the NBA had true and dominant big men, Shawn Kemp was right in the mix with the best of them.
He was a perennial ten rebound per game player, which is expected from a power forward. Going a step further, he averaged 20 and nine, even when he went to Cleveland, and got fat! His weight marshmallowed to 275, and he was still a monster. An announcer once said about him, “he is a handful to play. If that guy’s not an All-Star, I’ve never seen one.”
You Can't Win NBA Titles Without Quality Bigs...
Name one team in the last 30 years that has won an NBA Championship without having an elite set of big men on the team?
Did anyone come up with the 90's Bulls? That is the only acceptable response to that question. We can go back into the annuls of history and you will not be able to find another team without a dominant frontline that won an NBA title. So unless MJ comes back from that hot tub time machine and drags Pippen and a less mercurial Phil Jackson coaching him, it isn't going to happen again this year. Can you come up with another squad? Don't worry, I'll wait. Cue the Jeopardy music please...thanks.
Shock the World Chronicles: San Jose State UniversityIt's safe to say people have some lasting image in their mind of some event, some circumstance, some moment in time. It can be related to their life, and whether they were there or not becomes secondary. That image speaks to them, for them, and they can tell you about it, what it means to them, why it does what it does to them, and so forth. In my case, that image is the medal ceremony from the 200-meter final at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, courtesy of Tommie Smith and John Carlos.
The images were always there, always in front of me for as long as I could remember, even though their meaning was still unknown. A faraway image of three runners on the podium, two with their heads bowed, fists raised, with the third runner (Peter Norman, second-place finisher) staring ahead. At first glance, the thought was simply, "this is the coolest thing I've ever seen," but what initally was cool became so much more, and also became my definition of athletes taking a stand.
Keep Your Head Up LeBron, You Did What You Could...
What you saw in the last two weeks helped us display what's real and what's not.
What was real was that the Boston Celtics have hopped into the Hot Tub Time Machine and look like the 2008 squad that made us all believers of what a collection of players who believe in each other can do. They had leaders, they had players who excelled in their roles, and embraced the concept of team.
What we saw in the 2010 Cleveland Cavaliers was that this team was put together in the interest of keeping LeBron happy. This team was put together to keep LeBron in Cleveland. This team was put together for all of the negative things that are associated with Cleveland. In a nutshell, this team was not built to win a championship.
Julius Caesar, Malcolm X, LeBron James...
Somehow, in the span of about 3 hours I became a "witness" to something truly remarkable. I literally saw Twitter, Facebook, my text messages/BB messenger, and any other communication device go nuts last night during the annihilation that Cleveland received at the hands of Boston last night.
I literally saw thousands of people viciously assault the man that is know as LeBron Raymone James. Is that what it took for everyone to seemingly turn on the man? Because he played a bad Game 5? Last time I checked the series is not over and the man still has games to play.
Kobe: the ETSF townhall meeting
*picks up mic*
Come one, come all.
Haters, lovers, non-believers, fans, stans, everyone from all walks of life...
You can find a story about Kobe pretty much anywhere. Hell, even when the story isn't about Kobe, someone finds a way to weave him into the discussion. The thing about those stories is this: they are always told through someone else, but rarely are they told by the fan. We recognize the influence of this man, which has led us to do a first here at ETSF.
This post is a townhall discussion on Kobe. Everybody in our community is invited to attend, voice their opinions, and read the responses from our peers. You can say whatever you want about the man. Good, bad, indifferent. Use the comments section, and that'll be the story that ends up being told. The story of Kobe Bryant, by none other than the fans.
It's interesting being able to witness one man being able to hold the power of an entire playoff game in the palm of his hands. You get to a point that you almost take it for granted that the man will be involved in almost every play on the basketball court. The crowd started chanting "M-V-P! M-V-P!" and it totally felt right.
Yet on this day, the stat line, the destiny of a game, and the crowd screaming in delight was not fit for "The King" but instead for a scrawny dude from The 'Ville named Rajon Rondo.
Vince Carter Pisses Me Off...
I think its safe to say that if you are a reader of this site you are probably a fan of this thing we call basketball. Its something that brings together arguably the greatest athletes in the world to play a game where 10 men fight a seemingly never-ending quest to put that almighty ball in the basket. However, there is a distinct art form for the truly elite players in this game where they have the ability to make us "Oooh" and "Aaah" in so many different ways. With sheer speed, unfathomable power, ballet-like finesse, and with the intelligence of a Rhodes Scholar, the greatest players in the Association have the ability to do all of the above.
Yet there's one player who is not considered elite in stature, but elite with all of the physical tools to be one of truly greatest basketball players of all-time. That my friends is Vince Carter, the most awe-inspiring athlete I've ever seen in my entire life...and he pisses me the hell off.
Aye, Ease Up off The KingEver since the Celtics beat the Cavs on Tuesday night, there have been quite a few revelations. Yes, Rasheed Wallace is actually alive and played extremely well. Yes, Kevin Garnett can still command a double-team. It’s further confirmed that Mike Brown can’t coach offense worth a damn, and yes, there's more confirmation that Month Williams still sucks...speaking of which:
Note: the origin of Month Williams was brought to light by @thetillshow and @DragonflyJonez, who informed that the aforementioned stems from the Blackberry Auto-correct feature. When you type in “Mo,” it automatically changes it to Month. It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life, and even funnier, because they got @Candace_Parker saying it, too.
The Atlanta Hawks Should Be Ashamed Of Themselves
This is what happens when your PA announcer celebrates the end of a 7-game series against a heavily depleted yet scrappy and full of heart Milwaukee Bucks by screaming, "WE'RE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!" to their fans. This is what happens when your Johnny-come-lately fans celebrate the end of a 7-game series against a heavily depleted yet scrappy and full of heart Milwaukee Bucks by singing, "Na-Na-Nah-Nah...Na-Na-Nah-Nah...HEY HEY HEY, GOODBYE!!!"
The basketball Gods have a way of having vengeance against you in the harshest of ways.
Seat's taken: the trials of trying to break into NBA title territory
Last Friday night, I had the opportunity to take the Shock the World Tour up to The Ford Center to watch The Lakers-Thunder game. The Lakers ended up with the victory, which knocked the Thunder out of the playoffs, and in the midst of hearing 20,000 people stand and give their team an extended standing ovation, plus watching the youngsters huddle up for the final time, it made me proud to be a fan, and to see a fan base take pride in their team. If only they can stay together, add a piece or two and get better, then they’ll be a force for years to come, and even contend for a championship.
I Knew There Was Something Strange About Sugar Shane...
Remember when we were in high school, and there was always that one girl that was off the chain in school. I mean, she was fine and she knew it. All the dudes was jocking her, and she brightened up your day when she walked by you in the hallway. She was a pristine memory when you left high school, knowing that she would always be that way...
Now, remember when you came back home after being away from college for a couple of years. Remember seeing the same pretty young thang you used to know? Now she's developed a chain smoking habit, put on the freshman 50, and you are pretty sure she's got at least 2 kids? You're just like WTF happened to you? That's the feeling I had on Saturday night when Shane Mosley fought Floyd Mayweather, it just looked like Shane Mosley's game feel off a cliff with no hopes of ever coming back.