Kobe Bryant

Love and Basketball

Love and Ball

By Anthony Powers

It’s twenty three degrees outside this cloudy day in Chicago. Winter did not tarry getting here this year. But it could be worse. It could be Buffalo, currently buried… I mean literally buried…I mean folk trapped under snow inside their homes waiting for rescue by the National Guard buried. I know the climate change delusional deniers have an appropriately pseudo-scientific explanation for this. I’m waiting…

Anyway, am thankful and blessed to be in a warm home, while we await the grand jury down there in Ferguson Mississippi circa 1963 where they jailed Fannie Lou Hamer and beat her damn near to death Missouri to determine the current value of a large young black man’s life. This value, as you know, shifts like that of other publically traded commodities, although always kept artificially low except in various entertainment industries.

There is palpable fear in the air. The Nigras are getting restless. A state of emergency is declared in St Louis, and 400 National Guard troops deployed. National Guard troops are deployed around Ferguson because they must be contained. Ladies and gentlemen of these United States of America, this is the greatest gonna-be crisis since the Saudi Arabian oil scion orchestrated the destruction of the Twin Towers! Hide your valuables! Send away your daughters! Call out the troops! Call out Blackwater! Keep your military assault rifles trained on families engaged in anti- American sitting on the porch activities. Shoot to kill! Bring in the drones! Keep those niiii….urban prospective rioters and otherwise senselessly and irrationally angry Black People in their place at all costs!

After all, if Michael Brown didn’t want to get shot, he shouldn’t have run so fast. And who can blame a peace officer when confronted with a large black young man with a bullet in him and his hands raised? Don’t you know what damage a large black young man (LBYM) can do to an armed officer if he has a bullet in him and his hands raised? He’s a mad wounded beast!!! No wonder the District Attorney find the very notion of charging the officer profoundly and historically distasteful. That man was fighting for his life!!!!

Flipping back and forth between MSNBC and the game after coming in from the cold. The Kings vs. Pelicans. Boogie vs. The Destroyer. Boogie is a load. Boogie got crazy skills. Literally. Boogie gets down in the lane and pushes people around like Moses Malone. Big men tumble off his shoulders. He spends the first half…maybe three quarters of the game alternating from whupping that ass in the lane to channeling his inner Lebron…skying for the board, pushing the ball on the break, dishing to open teammates with precision. Boogie’s got 24 on 10 for 18 shooting, 17rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks for the upstart Pels. All appears to be well in Boogie World. And then…and then…well a couple things happen.

Anthony Davis gives his team exactly what it needs every time he’s on the floor. With his protector, Asik sidelined with a back injury, the team needed someone to match Boogie’s ability to wreck a defense. Enter The Destroyer with a smooth and totally in the flow of the game 28 points on 11-19 shooting, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals. Need somebody to bend space and time to create wide open pastures for Ryan Anderson to bomb away for 22? To extend rim protection out to the three point line? To turn away interlopers into the lane..I mean actually turn them around by suddenly removing the lane as an option..at critical moments in the game flow? To dive to the floor for a critical steal? Here’s the scoop: Anthony Davis is not from here. He’s from a place, far far away. Maybe the same planet or at least solar system that produced the Honorable Bill Russell, the brilliant underappreciated Kareem (I mean he had to advocate for his own statue in LA? What??? Did he really piss that many people off with his idiosyncricities, much having to do with his stereotype-defying intelligence), and the GOAT power forward /de facto center Tim Duncan.

And then…Boogie’s team collapses around him. Collison reminds everyone he’s not a floor general. He’s more of a floor private. They stop giving Boogie the ball. Unforced turnovers. Wild jacked up shots. Rudy Gay deciding to challenge Mr. Davis at the rim, giving Davis opportunity to go all Mr. Fantastic on him. AND THEY STOP GIVING BOOGIE THE BALL. After blowing a 24 point lead to the Mavericks, and a 26 point lead to the Grizz…do you see a trend? Nevertheless, man was this fun.

Some other random reflections on Love and Ball:

Kobe sets the record for most missed shots. This is great catnip for the Kobe haters, the MJ idolizers, and those who live in fear of intelligent confident gifted Black men. Yes Kobe has…um let me see just off the top of my head…feuded with coaches, high-jacked offenses with one on one play, destroyed teammates with his pathological competitiveness and ruthless intimidation, stormed out of practices, threatened to go to the Knicks, punched out Steve Kerr, and retired having gunned the fifth most missed shots behind John Havlicek, Elvin Hayes, Karl Malone, and Kareem. Opps…that’s not Kobe. That’s the lord thy baller Michael Jordan. And MJ played fewer years than all of the above.

Kobe was no different than MJ in his approach to the game. MJ was just better at it. And was a lot better in PR in an era before the onset of omni-media coverage of professional sports and sports celebrity.

Unless one is prepared to dismiss the careers of Hondo, The Big E, The Mailman, Kareem and MJ, one shouldn’t dismiss Kobe’s accomplishments over a cosmetic stat. The most missed shots is really an indicator of sustained offensive brilliance over time. And maybe we should

acknowledge the astonishing fact that Kareem was first in scoring all-time but only fifth in misses.

I agree with Noah. Everybody needs to chill the fuck out about Rose. In fact, Rose needs to chill the fuck out about Rose. Note to the fandom…it’s not the athlete’s fault if he is beset with injuries in the course of the game. If he needs to sit and be cautious for him to get to the playoffs in one piece…so be it! Grow up, Bull’s fans and keep the main thing the main thing. This is a team with a short window opportunity to contend for a title, dammit! I don’t care if Rose sits with a sprained ankle in November if he’s dive bombing to the rim come June. Note to Rose: nobody cares about your retirement plans. Just do you and everything will be alright. Or it won’t. That is the nature of sports, and of life. That’s why we walk by faith and not by sight.

I got love for Michelle Roberts. “I don’t know of any space other than the world of sports where there’s this notion that we will artificially deflate what someone’s able to make, just because,” she said, talking about a salary cap — a collectively bargained policy that, in its current form, has constrained team spending in the NBA since 1984-85. “It’s incredibly un-American. My DNA is offended by it.” Giancarlo Stanton just signed a contract with MLB’s Miami Marlins for $325 million over 13 years. That’s $25 million per. LeBron James’ contract is capped at $ 42.1 million for two years. That’s $21 million per, the max he is allowed to be paid due to the owners locking the players out and giving it to them up the collective bargaining agreement. Counsel rests her case. Nice to see the NBPA finally getting their shit together. This could end up being Chis Paul’s greatest legacy.

I love God. I love humanity. Let’s spread the real love in the global ‘hood. Got to get out here and go to work. ‘Til next time. Peace.

Noah

The Chicago Bulls are rounding into shape.

The Bulls recent 102-91 victory against the Pistons at the United Center produced a sneak preview into what kind of team the Bulls could be as they work to live up to those pre-season predictions of a possible eastern conference crown.

The Bulls starters were finally together for one of the few times in this young season and the results were impressive as the team displayed their new found offensive potential spearheaded by Derrick Rose. Utilizing his considerable speed Rose controlled the pace of the game and repeatedly penetrated the pistons defense for passes to his teammates.

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As Pau Gasol said to Sam Smith, “It was great to have everyone, a full roster on the floor, available and healthy. Now we’ve just got to keep it that way. It’s great to have (Rose) on the floor, difference maker, very explosive, gets to the hole. He’s a key player for us. “

Joakim Noah added “ Derrick’s a hell of a player.” “ To have your best player on the court, floor general, means a lot. When he’s out on the court, he demands so much attention it opens up a lot of easy opportunities for everyone else.”

It seems like Rose put his time off to good use. One refreshing trait is Derrick’s ability to drive, elevate and find teammates with what seem to be laser shots. Few NBA point guards throw cross court passes off penetration and It’s a coaching adage in some circles that one should not leave ones feet to complete a pass. Derrick however, and he showed signs during the World Cup that he has added a number of new passes that are delivered with a crispness that on occasion catch his teammates off guard.

Unlike the San Antonio Spurs who on offense rely on ball movement only after a one dribble slash into the crease the Bulls will have the added advantage of seasoned play maker who is just about impossible to keep out of the lane.

When you throw in his speed and decisions on the fast break the Bulls will benefit greatly on offense as the season progresses.

Joakim Noah had his best outing so far this season scoring 13 points with 14 boards and showing the grit and mobility that he is known for. Noah’s start to the season was tough as he had to overcome off- season knee surgery along with the finding of his place in an offense featuring Pau Gasol who does just about everything better than Noah with the possible exception of Noah’s heart and incredible defensive footwork.

If players were cars then Noah would be a Camaro SS to Gasol’s Jaguar. Paired with Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic, The Bulls have what makings of the best front line in the league.

Albeit Detroit is an improved team under new team president and coach Stan Van Gundy but the Bulls served them and now it’s on to The great north and the Raptors.

When will this Rose Bloom ?

D’s Corner”,

This week Derrick Rose raised the ire of many fans as well as some current and many former players for comments he made regarding why he takes himself out of games.

His quotes were, “I’m thinking about after I’m done with basketball,” “Having graduations to go to, having meetings to go to.” “I don’t want to be in my meetings all sore or be at my (2 year old) son’s graduation all sore just because of something I did in the past.”

“Something I did in the past?” That “something you did in the past” was something MOST people NEVER get a chance to do…make MILLIONS of dollars playing professional basketball! He’s talking as if “something I did in my past” was something crazy like jumping off of garage roof’s or dirt bike riding. If he would have said…”I want to make sure I’m 100% healthy (or as close to it) come playoff time (ala Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker) I and I would think most everyone else would have understood considering what he’s been through the last two years with his major injuries.

C’mon Derrick, ok, ok…I get it…not everyone is great at public speaking…I don’t and can’t fault you for that but bro, you have to know that when you’ve missed over 185 games in the last two plus years and your making roughly $300 million dollars (Bulls contract and endorsements) that kind of comment isn’t going to go over well with the masses!

Then, he decides to ‘double down’ on the comments by saying…”he was just being himself” and “I could NOT care less” about those upset by those comments.

I thought that’s what you have managers, agents, hell…family and friends for? To try and STOP you from saying or doing something stupid…especially when you are in the public eye.

While I have seen NO evidence of him ‘dogging it’ ON the court he definitely gets an ‘F’ for ‘dogging it’ with the media OFF the court. Look, professional athletes get hurt all of the time…it’s really part of the gig or in other words…a ‘job requirement’. And yes, often times those injuries linger long after said athlete is done playing…in many cases certain injuries (bad knees, broken bones that don’t heal properly, arthritis, a limp, concussion syndrome, etc…) may last a lifetime.

And guess what? Most people (you can count me in) would accept ALL of the above for a chance to get paid MILLIONS to play a sport you used to play for free and for a chance to be setup financially for the rest of your (and most likely your kids) life. I agree with Charles Barkley’s take on Rose’s comments when he said “there are consequences to what we do (playing pro basketball) for a living, but we got the best life in the world”. Amen “Sir Charles”!

I could give less than a damn about Derrick Rose being sore at some meeting or at his kids graduation fifteen or twenty years from now! So what! I’m old, fat, broke and sore as I write this piece right now and I suffer from all types of ailments based on “something I did in my past”…good, bad or indifferent…it’s called life! You know what I do? I thank the good Lord for waking me up each and every morning and I simply ‘push on’! Nobody’s going to feel sorry for me (nor should they)…any mistakes or bad choices I made as an adult are ‘on me’ and me only!

This isn’t even a ‘mistake’ or ‘bad choice’ Derrick Rose is making…he was blessed with the gift of being one of the greatest professional basketball players on earth but instead of him embracing it like a blessing he comes off with his comments more like he considers it a curse!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I think it’s time for Derrick Rose to get NEW ‘handlers’ because when it comes to public relations they STINK!

Ok…he doesn’t speak the King’s English…that’s ok…at the same time he’s a grown man and should have a better handle on the things he says and does. However, you’re job as his ‘handlers’ are to shield and protect him from making a fool out of himself (like he’s done on more than one occasion) by making idiotic comments like this. You’re supposed to make sure his comments are vetted and measured whenever possible (especially when you know he’s going to get these type of questions…probably for the rest of his career) otherwise, what does he need you for?

When will Derrick’s ‘Rose’ bloom? I feel once he ‘jets’ his so-called ‘handlers’ and surrounds himself with better ‘professional’ people to help him run his professional affairs.

My advice to you Derrick, for what it’s worth…sometimes family and friends are the WORST people to do business with…family, friends and money usually do NOT mix!

“D”

Bill Russell

Not your Fathers NBA Preview

Anthony Powers

Wow. So much has gone on since I last put voice to screen. Ebola has become the next bad bio-shit to come out of Africa to serve nature’s agenda of population control for the globe’s great polluters. ISIS is the new global boogieman to inspire us once again to march thoughtlessly back into war. Tracy Morgan, the comedian my friend at the barbershop refers to as little T Rex, is blamed by WalMart aka the Anti-Christ, for crashing the WalMart truck into his car and not even having the decency to put on his seat belt before being crushed. Ray Rice, now that’s a genius. Not only a sorry excuse for a man who violently violates the humanity of the woman he claims to love, but does so in a public elevator. You know dude, they do have cameras in those things. Or maybe he’s too busy trying to keep it real to exercise common sense. Brother, if you’re going to be the beast they think you are, at least exercise some discretion.

And who the fuck left the door to the White House unlocked? Or who unlocked it? Please understand: I’m old enough to have lived through the Kennedy assassination, Malcolm assassination, Evers assassination, King assassination, Hampton assassination, Cointelpro, the war on black people on drugs and The Jeffersons; so don’t be surprised if I find something inordinately fucking odd and suspicious about an armed somebody rummaging around freely in the White House and another armed somebody GETTING INTO THE ELEVATOR WITH THE NATIONS FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN MOST DEATH THREATENED PRESIDENT SINCE LINCOLN. Or by the secret service suddenly losing its morale about around umm ….2009.

To survive the above attacks on your psyche you face day by day in Babylon, I recommend two tonics. By tonic I mean don’t think the shit will actually heal you. You need Jesus for that. But the tonic will refresh you for the journey. And the two tonics are related in a mighty cool way. Look, I’m 53. So yes I still say cool. You don’t appreciate the timeless, transcendent qualities of cool…well fuck you. Cool remains our navigation system through a demonic world.

Survivors Remorse and the upcoming NBA season are tonics, man. Survivors Remorse , the new what I hope will be hit series, especially among us, is what the much abused and debased keeping it real is really about. I’ve seen the first two episodes, and so far, it’s about black love in a society whose power is waged against it, yet it comes through somehow. It’s about real black people somehow maintaining black love even when the nigguh shows up. It’s about Nigguh love. Intelligent, beautiful, frustrating shaped in the fires Nigguh love. Love that somehow survived the United States post 1619. Love that maintains itself in the midst of our own bullshit and self-sabotage. The love that maintains itself even behind bars. Love that endures. Look I’m no TV critic nor do I have pretensions of being one. But I’m feeling this show in a major way.

The Pre-Season is on! I am borderline manic about the upcoming can’t get here soon enough NBA season. When you get older you appreciate the present more. You don’t know how many more generations of players you have time to see. That said, I believe we’re in store for one of the greatest NBA seasons in my lifetime.

Look I know we love to romanticize the glorious NBA past. But I remember. For all of the 80s and most of the 90s, going into any given season only two to three teams had any legitimate shot at winning a title. The Magic/ Kareem Lakers and Bird/McCale Celtics rivalry was historic, and the Moses/ Doctor Sixers and the Isaiah Pistons memorably broke through, but name one other truly contending team from that era. Name one other dominant team to rival the Jordan era Bulls. Going into 2014, the Spurs, Cavs, Bulls, Thunder, and Clippers have a legitimate shot. The Griz, Warriors, Mavs (because Carlisle is the ju ju man), and maybe the Wiz have a shot. The Pelicans and the Raptors could take a leap and make things interesting. This is a great season to be a NBA aficionado. Should be a refreshing tonic.

By the way, I do acknowledge that should LeBron and his wolf cubs mature and become fully realized predators earlier than expected; a real possibility given the genius team-focused nature of LeBron’s game, the frightening real possibility that Irving could become a once in a generation point guard, the real deal skills Love brings to the party, and the potential development of the other wolf cubs, Waiters and Tristan Thomas: I may have to eat the previous paragraph and proclaim the coming of Cav’s era. I mean LeBron in an actual offensive system with an array of weapons at his disposal. Oh my God.

A look at the other contenders:

San Antonio Spurs: Duncan is done. Ginobili is finished. Parker continues to be Parker. The Spurs time era is over. Opps…how did predictions from 5 seasons ago make it into this? The Pops machine rolls on!

Oklahoma City Thunder: OKC appears ready to take a leap and take out the Spurs. OKC is going to be the most fun in-trouble team over the next 8 or so weeks. Westbrook is unstoppable and nuts. Westbrook is Neutron Man. Be afraid…very afraid… of Neutron Man. Westbrook about to make opposing guards his bitches. And they have a little more bench help this year. Look out when KD comes back fresh and rounds into shape for a push toward a title.

My beloved Bulls….I go back to the days of Van Lier, Sloan, Butterbean, and my main man Chet Walker… are….interesting. How do Gasol and Noah…two brilliant high post passing bigs, neither exactly automatic from 15-18ft…exactly work together. I mean while you have Butler giving you little reliable offense. Why oh why hasn’t he developed a corner three?! Why?! Why!? Who is the go to scorer? Pau maybe? Other, of course than Rose…But you need another option for when Bron shuts down Rose with 2mins left in game seven. The Bulls have me thinking in championship terms again. But who is the go to scorer other than smallest players. Which means they will be asking a lot from the new Bulls, McDermott and Mirotic, as well as

Dunleavy. Simple truth, of course given Rose and Noah can stay healthy, is that if those three can hit open shots and play some team D, the Bulls should be right there at the end. But that is a lot to ask.

LA Clippers: Time for Ubutu!!! Doc Rivers has what he needs to get it done. I thought Blake Griffith was the third best player in the league last year. Can he take another step? What if his jumper starts dropping at late Karl Malone percentages. Yikes. Mr. Paul, your destiny is calling! And Mr. Crawford…you just keep on balling! If they win it all, Doc should get into the Hall of Fame for…Behold Doc’s creation…DeAndre Jordan!!! (btw, I LOVE Hawes as backup, fourth quarter option, big man).

The Golden State Warriors: Let me see…um….I can go to New York and live in a triangle of dysfunctional basketball and Bargnani, or I can go coach a loaded team, especially when Bogat is healthy and actually enjoying himself a little, the greatest shooting backcourt in NBA history, a defensive stopper in Iggy, and a host of nifty odds and ends. They could catch fire, especially if Thompson takes another step and Barnes discovers himself. Mrs. Kerr did not marry a fool.

The outside shots:

The Memphis Grizzles: Marc Gasol is a wizard! Marc Gasol is a wizard! The Griz have lots of players I like (Conley, Randolph, Vince Carter the all-time member of the got-a-clue-too-late-for-it-to-really-matter-club, Tony Allen, etc.), but none I really love. But still, a couple of key injuries (KD sigh) at key times and Memphis could be right there.

The Dallas Mavericks: Rick Carlyle is a wizard! Rick Carlyle is a wizard! As one of one person on the face of the earth who picked the Mavs to beat the Heat back in ’11, I have nothing but fascination and love for the Coach. Chandler should fit nicely. Nice backcourt. Getting Chandler was nice. Nice squad maximized by a genius coach.

The New Orleans Pelicans: Calling all earthlings. The Mothership has returned and brought a gift from the outer expanses of the known universe. He seems benign but he will take over, leaving mass graves and destroyed franchises in his wake. His teammates just have to stay friggin healthy. Asik doing the heavy lifting on rim D. Ryan Anderson long range missiles. Jrue Holliday emerging from the cocoon. The Gordan/ Evans monster slashing defenses in the gut. All in support of the coming destroyer of worlds. Run for your lives!

The Washington Wizards: The Wiz might just be at their ceiling. The question being is that the ceiling to a championship contending structure? Wall is an occasional spectacle but he still has holes in his game. Beal is the real deal. Paul Pierce is one of my all-time favorite players. He’s got an advantage: he’s always had an old man’s game. Now he’s an old man…how could he not age gracefully?

The Toronto Raptors: My puncher’s chance team. Lots of breaking out talent. DeRozan is close to being a very significant player. Ditto Lowry. The play of the big man, Valanciunas will determine how far they can go.

I got to go back to work. I’ll get to the other teams next time.

And my brothers and sisters…if any of you, especially my church going mosque going practitioners of the rich spiritual culture of my people, were offended by any of this…that’s is cool. Talk about it. Don’t argue. I have resolved myself to argue with nobody. Let’s talk about it. In the barbershop’s, salons, taverns, porches, and of course churches. Let’s love ourselves into real talk. Soul talk. Let’s love ourselves through survivor’s remorse. We have to be real to keep it real.

Peace to the world. Powers love y’all.

Enough is Enough Jameis Winston

“D’s Corner”

By Daryl Wren

Enough is enough! Jameis Winston…just go straight to the damn NFL already!

In what can only be described as the ‘latest’ in the ‘ongoing’ saga called…”Jameis Winston…Student Athlete”…we now have ‘new’ allegations that Mr. Winston has ‘allegedly’ signed upwards of 950 autographed items through a broker that has been authenticated by a company called “James Spence Authentication” (let me clarify that this company only ‘authenticates’ and ‘certifies’ that items being sold are actually those that were ‘signed’ by the athlete and not forgeries…they do NOT actually sell the items themselves).

This is the SAME company who authenticated the over 500 autographed items signed by Todd Gurley, FORMER star running back of the University of Georgia who is now suspended!

Of course Mr. Winston (along with his coaches and Florida State University) is denying he signed any of these items for money…yeah, yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah!

I’m not going to waste your time and go the ‘politically correct’ route here (anybody that really knows me knows I couldn’t be ‘politically correct’ if I tried…it’s called having ‘tact’…I know what to say, when to say it and how to say it…I don’t need to be ‘politically correct’)…

I think he’s as guilty as sin!

It’s my opinion (not a fact)…If I’m proven otherwise I’ll apologize…but I have his history on my side…what you got?

Speaking of history…let’s start from the beginning with this young “student athlete”…

November 2012 Mr. Winston (along with several other teammates) is questioned regarding 13 broken windows at an apartment complex that ‘allegedly’ stemmed from a ‘BB gun’ fight Mr. Winston and some of his teammates had with each other…no charges are filed…
December 7th, 2012 a young woman files a sexual assault complaint against Mr. Winston with eventually no charges being filed (although the case is STILL under investigation…and before any of you ‘street lawyers’ get started…there IS NO ‘double jeopardy’ here BECAUSE no charges were ever filed…he wasn’t found guilty or innocent of anything…yet…stay tuned…
July 2013 Mr. Winston (who was accompanied by 3 other men) is accused of stealing soda out of a Burger King restaurant…at first out of ketchup cups (ketchup cups)? After being asked to stop by an employee he asks for a water cup…and then CONTINUES to steal more soda…no charges are filed…
April 29th, 2014 Mr. Winston is caught (on tape…I saw it myself) literally walking into a supermarket grabbing a bunch of crab legs and walking out…he was given 20 hours of ‘community service’ and suspended from the FSU baseball team until they were completed…
September 17th, 2014 Mr. Winston is suspended 1 game against Clemson (originally it was a half until public pressure mounted) after several students tweeted that Mr. Winston stood atop a table in FSU’s Student Union and shouted…”F— Her Right In The P—-“!
September 20th, 2014 Mr. Winston shows up for the Clemson game in FULL uniform (what does the word SUSPENSION or ANY rules for that matter mean to this young man) which prompts his VERY visibly agitated coach to send him back to the locker room to undress…
October 11th, 2014 it is discovered by ESPN (and authenticated by the James Spence Authentication company) that Mr. Winston has signed upwards of 950 autographed items…’allegedly’ to be sold…

And I had the nerve (in a previous article I wrote) to call Johnny Manziel an idiot!

What else do we need to see from this idi– ah…young man? As talented an athlete as he is he is just plain bad as a person! He is your classic ‘spoiled brat’ athlete who clearly feels NO rules apply to him!

He is costing himself millions of dollars (as his draft stock plummets) and runs the risk (as Todd Gurley did) of getting suspended and not only losing the rest of his college career (which he obviously doesn’t care about because he’s about to get ‘broke off’ in the pro’s) but more importantly costing his teammates and the university another possible National Championship because he’s too selfish and only thinks about himself!

Look, I have serious issues with the NCAA and some of their rules, particularly regarding revenues and whether student athletes should receive some for the sale of their name or likeness (I think they should)…but until the rules are changed they are the rules!

When these brokers offer these young men let’s say…$25 per autographed jersey or helmet of course some of them are going to sign as many of them as possible! Here’s some advice for these ‘dummies’…because of your pending pro status if you would just WAIT a couple of months until AFTER your season is over (and avoid being suspended and costing yourself and your teammates possible bowl victories and affecting your draft status) your autograph will be worth even MORE! Also, like anyone else with sense will tell you something ‘rare’ is worth a lot more than something in ‘abundance’…in other words, the LESS items you sign the MORE those items will be worth! Oh, the broker didn’t tell you that? Why should they? They know a “student athlete” when they see one…they already know you don’t know!

Enough is enough! Jameis Winston…before you do yourself and your school (more importantly your teammates) more harm…’drop out’ of school…NOW…and just go straight to the damn NFL already!

They are the biggest ‘Pimps’ in the land and trust me…they know a ‘Hooker’ when they see one…you’ll fit right in!

D

Who is the best MLB Hall of Famer you hardly ever hear about ?

By Daryl Wren

Why that would be Frank Robinson!

You might be saying to yourself…ok…why are you bringing him up? I mean, he’s still alive right (yes)? He’s not in ill health (not that I’m aware of)? He’s not about to get another managerial or front office job is he (doubt it)?

So why then are you bringing him up? Granted, he was a fantastic baseball player in his day and had a very good managerial career but what’s the relevance?

The relevance is this week marks the 40th anniversary of Frank Robinson being named the first…FIRST I said… African American manager in Major League Baseball and that deserves to be recognized!

On October 4th, 1974 Frank Robinson was named player/manager of the Cleveland Indians!

Before I delve into his managerial career let’s look back on an absolutely stellar playing career…

Robinson had a long and very successful playing career. He split his best years between two teams: the Cincinnati Reds (1956 – 1965) and the Baltimore Orioles (1966 – 1971). The latter years of his career were spent with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1972), California Angels (1973 – 1974) and the Cleveland Indians (1974 – 1976). He was named the National League Rookie of the Year in 1956. He is the ONLY player to be named MVP in both leagues (in 1961 with the Reds and again in 1966 with the Orioles). He also won the Triple Crown in 1966 (his first year with the Orioles). His career batting average was .294 with 2,943 hits, 586 Home Runs and 1,812 RBI’s. He was inducted into the MLB Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982 as a Baltimore Oriole (the cap he ‘wears’ on his plaque) in Cooperstown, N.Y..

One of the main reasons he remains an ‘underrated’ figure in baseball has to do with his perceived ‘attitude problem’ (which was nothing more than pure honesty, integrity and bluntness) during his playing and managerial career which did not endure him to many opposing players, teammates, coaches or writers. He also was as “tough as nails” as the saying goes. On the base paths he had a very aggressive style and often went into second base ‘spikes high’…he also had a tendency to ‘crowd the plate’ which drove opposing pitchers nuts. Especially, guys like Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale and Juan Marichal to name a few who had no problem pitching ‘inside’ or putting one ‘in your ear’ if they felt necessary. Also, playing most of the productive years of his career in small markets did not help him gain the recognition he truly deserved.

As for his managerial career, he entered the 1975 season as the player/manager (which was not then, nor now common) of the Cleveland Indians. While the Indians organization deserves credit for making what was at the time a ‘bold’ move keep in mind, when Frank got the job the Indians organization refused to give him not even a ‘penny’ over his player’s salary…in other words, he was only being ‘paid’ to play…he was managing for FREE! Think of the Indians logic, “he’s black, who else will give him a shot”? If he turns the job down at least we can say…” we tried offering a black man a managerial job but he said no”! Frank knew he really had no choice but to take the job…not only for himself but for all of the black men and men of color to follow him. In his first game as player/manager against the New York Yankees he put himself in as the DH and as only Frank could…hit a home run!

Frank went on to have a stellar career as a manager (the Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles and Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals) winning Manager of the Year (once again) in BOTH leagues (the San Francisco Giants in 1982 and the Baltimore Orioles in 1989)! He also has the distinction of being the first black manager in (one more time) BOTH the American and National League. Frank also served in the MLB front office as Vice President of On-Field Operations from 1999 – 2002, responsible for player discipline, uniform policy, stadium configuration and other on-field issues.

He helped ‘pave the way’ for so many future managers of ‘color’ to follow in his path (Larry Doby, Cito Gaston, Dusty Baker, Jerry Manual, Lloyd McClendon, Don Baylor, Willie Randolph, Jerry Royster, Davey Lopes, Ron Washington, Cecil Cooper, Dave Clark, Juan Samuel, Felipe Alou, Manny Acta, Fredi Gonzalez and Ozzie Guillen) to name a few.

Frank Robinson is still a man who displays honesty, integrity and at times bluntness and in today’s sports climate how refreshing is that?

On this being the 40th anniversary of you making history in Major League Baseball take a bow Frank…you deserve it!

D

This weeks edition of D’s corner

By Daryl Wren

Let’s talk about the two greatest owners in sports history who came from the…ABA?

No…I didn’t mean NBA…I meant ABA!

I thought with all the negative news that’s going on in sports right now (particularly in the NFL) which I’m tired of hearing or talking about (and I will not mention ANY of it in this column) I’d discuss something completely different. The ABA and two owners most sports fans have probably never heard of…Ozzie and Daniel Silna!

Let me start by saying I was a huge ABA fan back in the day (don’t ask me why because I don’t know why). If I had to guess I would say that while there was never a Chicago franchise in the ABA I always liked watching (though not very often…you didn’t see the ABA on TV much) the overall style of play and some of the ‘best’ and ‘coolest’ players of that era…with some of the biggest ‘fro’s’ you have ever seen…way more exciting than most of the players in the NBA at that time.

Greats such as Rick Barry, Mel Daniels, Billy Cunningham, George “The Iceman” Gervin, Julius “Dr. J” Erving (who together were known as the “Erving and Gervin” show with the Virginia Squires), Artis Gilmore, Connie Hawkins, Spencer Haywood, Dan Issel, Freddie Lewis, Maurice Lucas, George McGinnis, Doug Moe, Charlie Scott, David Thompson and sadly the recently deceased (even though during his day he was as we call it today “a hot mess”) Marvin “Bad News” Barnes…and trust me…he earned the nickname…”Bad News”!

You might look at this list and say hey? Didn’t most of these guys play in the NBA? Yes! But in most of their cases before they played in the NBA they started in the ABA! Whenever you see a guy shoot a three pointer or dunk in a game or whenever you watch the All Star festivities (Slam Dunk Contest, Three Point Contest) think ABA…because that’s where it all came from.

Back to the Silna’s…while there’s a lot to discuss regarding their claim to fame so to speak I’ll simply ‘cut to the chase’. The Silna brothers owned the Sprits of St. Louis team in the ABA from 1974 through 1976 and their hope when they purchased the team was to eventually become an NBA franchise (especially since St. Louis was the largest city to have an ABA franchise).

When the ABA finally folded in 1976 (with only seven teams remaining) four teams where allowed into the NBA…the New York Nets, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs! The other remaining ABA teams had either completely folded or negotiated buyouts amongst themselves. The Silna’s however held out for more…a lot more it would turn out!

The Silna’s negotiated a deal with the four teams that merged into the NBA for the following…$2.2 million in cash up front and an additional 1/7 share of the four teams TV broadcast revenues…for as long as the NBA exists…in other words…perpetuity!

At the time however, that seemed like a very good deal for the NBA…for those of you who don’t remember or are too young to know…NBA ratings at that time were in a word…TERRIBLE! The NBA Finals (yes, the Finals) were often seen on ‘tape delay’ AFTER your local news…can you believe that?

The first two years of the deal the Silna’s received NOTHING…in 1979 they received a paltry (by league standards) $200,000 and by 1980 a modest $521,749.

However, as the NBA’s popularity exploded in the early 80’s (Magic and Bird) and 90’s (MJ) the league’s TV rights were first sold to CBS and then NBC (with additional deals being struck with TNT and TBS cable networks) which resulted in the league’s TV revenue soaring into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Thanks to the deal the Silna’s made all of a sudden their annual share of the TV revenues started averaging about $4.4 million through the 90’s.

By the turn of the century their shares increased to $12.53 million, from 2003 through 2006 their take was at least $15.6 million per year. By 2010-11 they were receiving $17.45 million annually. This year that deal the Silna’s made all the way back in 1976 for near nothing at the time was now costing each of those ‘final four ABA teams’ $5 million dollars a year…all going to…you guessed it…the Silna’s. Add it all up an the Silna’s have earned roughly $300 million dollars from that deal.

And oh by the way, since the original deal stipulated ALL “visual media” revenues the Silna’s took the NBA to court to receive monies from internet rights, international broadcasts and NBA TV cable network money. These are money sources that were unimaginable back in 1976.

Needless to say, there have been numerous attempts by the NBA and the former ABA clubs to buyout the Silna’s but each time the Silna’s said…NO! Wouldn’t you?

Earlier this year the league finally made the Silna’s and offer they couldn’t refuse…(as “Vito Corlone” would say)!

In the deal, the Silna’s will receive an UPFRONT one time payment of $500 million dollars from the four remaining ABA teams pursuant to the Silna’s dropping their suit against the NBA for the additional media revenue streams. Add it all up and it turns out that the ‘at the time’ lousy deal the Silna’s made with the NBA all the way back in 1976 has netted them roughly $800 million dollars!

My guess is if the NBA had it to do all over again there would be a team in the NBA right now called the St.Louis Spirits (I doubt the NBA would have allowed the name “Spirits” to go first)!

Ozzie and Daniel Silna never got into the NBA but man did they ever GET the NBA…way to go Silna brothers! I ain’t mad at ya!

Finally, to Marvin “Bad News” Barnes (who played for the Silna’s as part of the Spirits of St. Louis)…REST IN PEACE!

D