Archive for the ‘General Thoughts’ Category
He could have been just another high draft pick who didn’t quite live up to the expectations. Instead, Stephen Curry is writing his own story.
Hockey is not popular. Doesn’t that make it more fun?
5 years ago: Pitt 13, West Virginia 9
Francoing > Tebowing
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Good article here about the post-retirement struggles of NFL players.
Scene: American Airlines Center, Dallas, June 2011. It’s Game 4 of the NBA Finals. The Miami Heat, already leading the Dallas Mavericks 2 games to 1 in the series, appears poised to put a stranglehold on their bid for a championship. After dominating most of the series, they’re up by 9 in the 4th quarter. They have the two best players in the series – so far. A 3-1 lead, and the inevitable series victory that will follow, seem like a foregone conclusion.
For LeBron James this will be his long-awaited coronation, the sweetest validation of a Decision that didn’t exactly go as planned. For years in Cleveland, he carried a series of sorry supporting casts to great heights. But 60-win seasons and division titles were followed by humbling and humiliating playoff exits. Who could blame him for jumping at the chance to team up with the 4th and 5th overall picks from his draft class? It was going to be different in Miami: LeBron wouldn’t have to face constant double-teams and score 40 every night. And even if LeBron and the Heat foolishly planted targets on their own backs, they were able to salvage a turbulent regular season by dominating the playoffs, losing just twice on their way to the Finals. As the clocked ticked down in Game 4, the first installment of LeBron’s ludicrous preseason prediction of multiple titles – “not one, not two, not three…” – seemed like it actually might come to fruition.
The tide turns suddenly in Game 4. The veteran Mavs methodically chip away at the lead while remaining poised and confident. With the crowd going crazy, Miami cracks under the pressure for the first time in the postseason. LeBron was still LeBron, but something was…different. In the fourth quarter, he takes only one shot – a miss. He looks gassed and out-of-synch. He barely touches the ball in the final minutes as the Mavs squeak out a close win.
Five days later, Dallas wins the series in Miami. LeBron, playing for his new team, with his own hand-picked stars, is still ringless.
LeBron is now back in the Finals for the third time, and he knows. He knows he’s done everything in the NBA, accomplished every goal, won every award, checked every box – except one. He knows that there are two categories of elite players, that All-Star appearances and MVP awards mean very little when the final judgment is passed. He knows that the truly great players must break through that wall, no matter how much of it is out of their control. He knows that people were saying the same exact things about Dirk Nowitski at this time last year. He knows how the media, the fans, and even other players talk about Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Allen Iverson and others: Great players but…well, you know.
LeBron also knows – doesn’t he have to know? – that this chance, while it won’t likely be his last, may be one of his best. At 27 and in the prime of his career, he’s putting up jaw-dropping playoff numbers that even Dan Gilbert and Scott Raab have to appreciate. Last Thursday, with the team teetering on the brink of a disastrous series loss to the aging and underdog Celtics, LeBron painted his masterpiece: 45 points on 19 for 26 shooting, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists in a blowout win in Boston. It may someday be known as the game that transformed the Heat from Dwyane Wade’s Team to LeBron’s Team.
For the series against Boston, LeBron averaged 33.6 points and 11 rebounds, adding another chapter to a sparkling playoff resume that is missing only one thing. LeBron’s playoff failures have been dissected so much that his triumphs often get overlooked as if they don’t merit the same attention. Now, he does everything so well that even his Game 7 line against Boston – 31 points and 12 boards in 47½ minutes – barely raised an eyebrow.
LeBron arrives at this stage playing the best basketball of his career. He insists that he’s relaxed, he’s in the zone. That last year was different, that this time he will leave it all out on the floor. No one will remember this in a couple weeks unless…well, you know.
It had to be the Oklahoma City Thunder, didn’t it? It’s a team that was built from the ground up, through draft picks, frugal free agent signings, and timely trades. It’s an organic team, carefully constructed over a period of years, the antithesis of Miami’s all-or-nothing approach where the superstars arrive and we’ll-figure-out-the-rest-later. A year ago, when Dallas triumphed over the Heat, there had to be some satisfaction among the basketball purists who always maintained that a great team could beat great players. Now the theory is being put through another round of testing.
It would be hyperbole to suggest LeBron needs this series to validate his career. If he never plays another game, he’s still a Hall of Fame lock and one of the best players to ever touch a basketball. No matter which way his career goes, it seems almost impossible that he wouldn’t have at least one or two more appearances in the Finals. In his first nine seasons, LeBron has nearly exceeded even the most impossibly bloated expectations. He can score like Jordan. Pass like Magic. Defend five positions. Athletically, he’s got the power and strength of Bo Jackson, stretched out over a 6-foot-8 frame. Physically, he’s a nightmare matchup for any and every defense.
But LeBron is something more than just a great player. A few weeks ago, he won his third MVP award, becoming the only 3-time winner who has never…well, you know. LeBron’s physical gifts put him in a higher plane; when he’s judged, the standard is not the standard. His numbers this postseason have occasionally soared so high into the stratosphere that they’ve crossed path with the numbers of another multiple-MVP winner whose physical gifts were such that he transformed the game itself. But Wilt Chamberlain’s career, or at least a small part of it, is often thought of as a failure: Despite his otherworldly size and skill, he “only” won two NBA championships.
Starting tonight, LeBron James gets his third swing at true greatness. We all know what happens if he leads the Heat to an NBA title. But if he has another shaky series, or endures another humbling exit, his career legacy may be permanently turned upside down. Because another missed opportunity could mean that no matter how many titles he may one day end up with – “not one, not two, not three…” – the focus will always be not how many times he won, but how many times he didn’t.
The Ultimate Footballer’s Diet Plan
This is posted on behalf of PartyCasino.
If you are a sports fanatic and you love reading the latest sports news and going to live games, as well as playing football at your local club, then you are sure to be in good shape. Sports like football are physically demanding activities which require a lot upper body strength. After an intense training session, you are sure to feel tired and hungry – this is because your metabolism is working very fast and burning off calories.
The last thing you want to do is to give in to your hunger by pausing your game at de.partycasino.com or your TV show to order Chinese food because you will just be undoing all the good exercise you’ve just completed. If you want to have a lean and fit body like all the professional players have then what you need is a simple and healthy diet plan which is rich in protein. Below is an example menu for maintaining a lean physique which should be combined with your normal training.
Breakfast – Kick start your metabolism in the morning by having a bowl of porridge made up with skimmed milk. Add in a few raisins to sweeten it up. Alternatively, why not have a bowl of unsweetened muesli with skimmed milk and a glass of fresh fruit juice? Carbohydrates provide you with long lasting energy – this energy is slowly released throughout the day.
Lunch- Tuck into a sandwich made with brown or granary bread. Substitute butter for an olive oil based spread and fill your sandwich with lean ham or chicken. Have it with a side salad sprinkled with mixed seeds and a glass of juice. For dessert, opt for a low sugar, low fat yoghurt.
Evening meal – Choose a lean fillet of steak or a skinless chicken breast. Choose a carbohydrate out of boiled rice, new potatoes or sweet potato. You are allowed to have lots of steamed vegetables on the side to fill you up.
The last time the Patriots and Giants squared off in the Big Game, the result was one of the best Super Bowls of all time. Here’s how it went down.
Originally Written & Published on February 4, 2008
There will be no parade on Super Tuesday. No commemorative books about the “Path to Perfection.” In New England, the church bells all are broken.
-Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe, February 4, 2008
And so it goes. In an NFL season where all the talk and focus was on a perfect record, no one ever brought up the possibility of a perfect Super Bowl. It wasn’t the prettiest game, but it was still beautiful. It was a defensive struggle, yet the offenses took over in a fourth quarter that saw three lead changes. It was a game that was over before it even started, yet didn’t end until Eli Manning – Eli Manning!?!? – took a knee with one tick left on the clock. When the confetti settled, this much was certain: it was a game they will forever remember in New York; in Boston, it will be impossible to forget.
From the start of the two weeks of Super Bowl pre-game hype, it seemed nearly unfathomable that the Patriots would, or could, lose. Once the Giants started talking trash in the middle of last week, I thought there was a real possibility that the Pats, eager to put a stamp on their claim for “Best Team of All-Time” would come out and throttle New York back into reality. But once the fireworks ended and the actual game started, any notion of a New England-induced blowout crumbled under the rush of the Giants front seven.
When the Rams held off the Titans in 1999, I never thought I would see a more riveting Super Bowl. I remember the Giants-Bills game in 1990, and the 49ers-Bengals game from the year before, but I was too young to really appreciate them. And although the Rams-Pats game from ’01 was certainly a great one, I was bitter because the Steelers weren’t playing in that game. But this year’s game delivered the goods, and then some. Even the most ardent hater of the Boston-New York rivalry has to admit that this was, and probably always will be, one of the best Super Bowls we will ever see in our lifetimes.
As for the game itself, I was baffled by a few things. First, New England’s offensive line, so good throughout the year, suddenly and improbably turned into the weak link in Belichick’s army. Tom Brady looked more like Ben Roethlisberger as he was running for his life and hitting the turf all night. Who knew the only way to stop the Pats juggernaut offense was to manhandle their O-line? It had not been done in 18 games. The other thing is, the Patriots were so good at capitalizing on opponent’s mistakes, but couldn’t make the Giants pay for two huge blunders – the interception that Steve Smith tipped up into the air, and the 12-men-on-the-field penalty, which was amazingly spotted on a replay and successfully challenged by New England. This wasn’t the same team that beat the G-Men in Week 17, and it definitely wasn’t the same team that was running up the score all through September and October.
Now, a word about the Giants. They played inspired, they played as a team, they bounced back when it seemed like the game was over…what can you say? The better team won on Sunday. Smith, Toomer, Tyree, Burress, and that white guy all made huge catches. Jacobs and Bradshaw each had some nice runs and clutch blocks. The defensive front seven played unbelievably, and the secondary, except for one mistake (the Moss TD) was pretty darn good. And old Eli, well – I think he may have finally won over the New York fans. That’s what happens when you engineer one of the biggest upsets in sports history.
Three things that will haunt the Patriots, maybe for eternity:
1. Wild Bill’s decision to go for a 4th-and-13 in the 3rd quarter. I know Belichick’s whole schtick is to make those ballsy calls and not worry about the repercussions, but the play they ran in that situation looked like it never had a chance. I was waiting for Brady to dump it off to Kevin Faulk for one of his patented catch-and-run first downs, but a fade to a double-covered Jabar Gaffney was certainly not a high percentage play. A good field goal right there might have made a difference, perhaps?
2. Asante Samuel’s dropped INT. Samuel is a great player, one of the best cornerbacks in the league, and has a great playoff resume. He might catch that sideline pass 8 out of 10 times. But the bottom line is that he was on the wrong end of two plays that ultimately became the difference in the game – that sideline pass, and the TD to David Tyree, where he got beat inside.
3. The Play Speaking of Tyree, he immediately joined Lynn Swann on the NFL Films reel of great Super Bowl catches. I don’t know what was more insane – the fact that Eli somehow spun away from three Pats defenders who all had him in their grasp, or the way that Tyree settled the ball on his helmet while Rodney Harrison was simultaneously groping him and slamming him to the ground. I know the “They just wanted it more” cliché is played out, but it fits that play perfectly. Now it’s up to the mass media to give that play a corny name that nobody will like.
And so it goes. The 1972 Dolphins, unwittingly thrust back into the spotlight, can now rest easy for at least another year. This surreal Reebok ad can be resurrected from the cutting room floor. Plaxico Burress can guarantee anything he wants from now on. Eli Manning can permanently change his status from “good quarterback” to “great quarterback.” And finally – and this is where my hatred for all things Patriots comes out – the legacy of the supposed greatest team of all-time is realized. Here it is…
Every year, there is inevitably one team who breaks away from the pack, and starts the season 8-0, or 10-0 or something-and-0. And now every year, at some point, NFL fans will look to the TV screen and see the following graphic: Team X becomes the first team to start a season x-0 since the 2007 New England Patriots started the season 18-0 before losing in the Super Bowl.