53120-derrick-rose-chicago

Should professional athletes speak out on social issues?

D’s Corner,

When I think of these former or current professional athletes, John Carlos, Tommie Smith, Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, Jim Brown, Charles Barkley, LeBron James, Serena Williams etc…I think of athletes who aren’t afraid to share their personal views on political or social issues as it relates to the country as a whole but Black America in particular.

On the other hand when I think of the following former or current athletes, Jesse Owens, George Foreman, Wilma Rudolph, Lynn Swann, Walter Payton, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, etc…I think of athletes who usually kept their feelings or thoughts about political or social issues regarding the country as a whole or Black America in particular to themselves or who in some cases (Jesse Owens and George Foreman come to mind) tended to lean more towards the “establishment” for lack of a better term.

Who’s right or wrong here? In my honest opinion, NOBODY!

Keep in mind, this is a Sports Blog and the show that I’m proud to serve as a co-host on “The Starting Lineup” is a sports show…not an avenue necessarily for political or social views (even though we have delved into each from time to time) so my column today is not meant to delve into the current unrest in the country regarding Ferguson, MO., Long Island, N.Y., Cleveland, OH, etc…! Those are different topics for a different type of show or blog.

What is sports related however, is that we as a fan base tend to have very strong opinions (Pro or Con) when it comes to our professional athletes speaking out or not when these type of incidents occur and what I’ve found is (in my opinion) we as a fan base tend to be very fickle!

We usually want our sports heroes to speak out…but ONLY when it’s a topic ‘we’ tend to agree on! Otherwise, we tend to say “this isn’t the time or place for that”, “why did he or she have to get involved”, “they should just stick to sports”, etc…when it’s a topic ‘we’ tend to oppose!

This past week members of the St. Louis Rams came out in pre game introductions with their hands up symbolizing the gesture many protestors in Ferguson, MO. (and other places) are using to symbolize that the shooting of an unarmed black youth was (in their eyes) wrong. Personally, did I have a problem with it…NO! Just like I didn’t have a problem with John Carlos or Tommie Smith’s gestures at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico (and I was only eight damn years old)!

It’s freedom of speech…it’s their right! Freedom of speech doesn’t mean…”only when I agree”! However, many people did have a problem with their gesture…and guess what? That is also their right.

But ‘flip the script’, many athletes (the NFL now has a campaign on it) have spoken out recently against domestic violence (particularly against women) recently and I’ve heard narrowly a peep about them. Why? Because that is a topic most people tend to agree on.

I say all of this to say, we can’t have it both ways! I’ve heard too many times people/fans say…”these professional athletes should give back to the community and take a stand” but then when they do often times it’s met with resistance because often it goes against something we’re for. I have agreed and disagreed with some of the athletes listed above on some of the stands they have taken (or haven’t taken) but I applaud them all for one thing…those who have chosen to take a stand (right, wrong or indifferent) have that right (and courage) to do so…those who choose to remain silent also have that right as well! You can’t be “a little pregnant” or “a little dead”…it’s either one or the other! Take a stand or if you don’t have an opinion don’t say anything!

Neither side is wrong…at the end of the day it’s simply up to the individual…remember, though these are professional athletes they are human beings first…fallible just like the rest of us. The difference is they tend to have a platform to express their views that we as regular citizens don’t tend to have. Honestly, can you imagine if some of us said what we really felt about certain subjects to the masses how that might turn out? Barber Shop and Beauty Shop conversations? My guess is not good!

Lighten up on these folks no matter which side they choose…they are not the problem!

You know often times who’s really the problem in cases like these…US!

statue-of-liberty

Love and Basketball : Ferguson Missouri

Anthony Powers Love and Ball

11/26/ 14
Much of the language of the following was taken directly from transcripts of Darren Wilson’s grand jury testimony in the police murder of Michael Brown.

So here’s what happened. I ‘m in my police SUV patrolling Lincoln Street in New Lenox, IL. I see these two male whites walking in the middle of the street. It’s a hostile territory. They don’t like blacks too much in this area. I often see guys standing on corners with Obama in Hitler mustache and Swastika signs.
A robbery was called in a little earlier in the day. Two male whites had allegedly stolen some cigars. We take cigar theft and jaywalking real seriously in these parts.
I notice that the larger male white has marijuana socks. I notice this because he has on basketball shorts. He also has strange tattoos. I drive along-side them and say: “Hey fellas, why don’t you get on the sidewalk.” The smaller male white replies: “We’re almost to our destination.” I ask them, “What’s wrong with the sidewalk, guys?” At that point the larger male white comes around the mirror and says: “Fuck what you have to say.”
I was taken aback by his response. I guess he had a real thing about sidewalks.
Suddenly I see the larger male white has some Cigarillos in his hand. I realized that the two male whites match the description of the alleged Cigar thieves. They are male whites. And the Cigarillos I suddenly see in his hands are a dead giveaway. They are prime suspects!
They keep walking in the middle of the street. I call for backup. I position the SUV to cut them off. As I move to get out the car, I tell the larger male white: “Hey, come here a minute.” He turns and faces me, and says: “What the fuck you gonna do about it?” I say, “about what? He says, “about it”. I say, “about what it”. He says, “about it”. I guess that’s just the way these thugs talk.
Then in a flash, before I can get out the car, he slams the door shut. I tell him to get back but he just stares as me, like to intimidate or overpower me. It was definitely an overpowering look. His face was intense, like a beast. I tell him, “get the fuck back” and push my door at him. He pushes my door back, ducks into the car window, and begins to punch me in the face. Then he stops punching me in the face, hands the Cigarillos’ to his friend (Cigarillos are obviously a prize possession in this ghetto), saying “My man, hold these while I kick this armed cops ass in his patrol car”.
He is on foot and I am in a Police SUV with backup on the way. This gives the large white male the advantage over me. These thugs are very athletic you know. And mean. That’s why they dominate Hockey. And football offensive lines.
He had already hit me twice. The two punches grazed me. I am certain a third would’ve killed me. Or put me in a wheelchair for life. These large white males can really hit. You ever see a hockey fight?
I grab the large male white’s arm and pull out my gun. I say: “Get back or I’m going to shoot you!” He says: “You are too much of a pussy to shoot me”. I say: “Huh?” He says: “You are too much of a pussy to shoot me.” I say: “Me being a pussy has nothing to do me being able to shoot you”. He says: “yes it does”. I say: “no it doesn’t”. He says: “yes it does.”
He reaches in and grabs my gun. This wasn’t covered in my police academy training for apprehending a crazed male white from within your stationary vehicle. He pushes the gun into my leg and pushes his finger into the trigger area. Then I somehow manage to push the gun up and at him in spite of his superior strength, leverage and animal rage. He continues to hold the gun. I guess he really did think I was a pussy. I pull the trigger until it goes off. Glass and blood falls on my hand.
He steps back and looks at me with this intense aggressive face. He had this real angry look. The only way I can describe it is like a blue eyed devil.
He comes at me again. I shield my face as he punches me again. While shielding my face, I fire two more times. Now he knows I’m definitely not a pussy. He begins to run, followed by a cloud of dust. Like a horse in old western.
I call again for more cars. I get out the car a begin give chase. Suddenly he stops and turns around to face me. At this point I really wish he would make up his mind as to whether or not I am a pussy.
I tell him to get on the ground. He grunts. Stamps his feet menacingly. He is like the Incredible Hulk and I am like a five year old. He gives out an aggravated growl. Then he barks. He comes at me, his hands reaching under his shirt. Oh my God, I think to myself, he must have a gun in his basketball shorts. Those whites wear them real baggy to accommodate their large….
Anyway, he’s coming at me. I begin repeatedly firing at him. I know I hit him at least once because he flinches again. At this point it looks like he is almost bulking up to run through the shots, like it is making him mad that I’m shooting at him. And the face that he has is looking straight through me, like I’m not even there, like I’m not even anything in his way.
It is then that I realize he is a mutant.
I am backpedaling quickly. I know if this mad white male mutant reaches me he’ll crush me like a tin beer can. He’ll pull my eyes out my skull. He’ll eat my children. He’ll knock me into a state of Bolivia.
When he gets ten to eight feet away, all I can see through my sites is his big ass head, so that’s what I shot. The demeanor on his face goes blank, the aggression is gone, it is gone, I mean, I know he stops, the threat is stopped. This is what tends to happen when you shoot a young large (as in my height) male white in the head. Having successfully stood my ground against overwhelming odds, I could only mutter to myself: “Told you I wasn’t a pussy”.
So here’s the question for you, Dear Reader: Do I get arrested? Properly investigated? Charged? Given opportunity to present the above case to the grand jury without cross examination? Given the opportunity to have the District Attorney prosecuting the case as my de-facto Public Defender? Assured that the foregone conclusion would be never having to suffer the inconvenience of an indictment and trial?

Is the media sympathetic to me? What is the reaction from the New Lenox community?

By the way: note from the County Prosecuting Attorney: Every single eye witness to the events from the New Lenox community is either too much of a liar, too emotional, too much of a criminal element, or too dumb to be credible.
So this is Love and Basketball. Here’s the basketball. Stay with me here. I recently read Roland Lazerby’s; Show: The Inside Story of the Spectacular Los Angeles Lakers , a great oral history of arguably the premiere franchise in NBA history. From George Mikan and Jay Pollard, Kareem and Magic through Shaq and Kobe, no franchise other than the Celtics represent the whole of NBA’s short history like the Lakers. Ran across this story: Jack Kent Cook, the Laker’s owner who preceded Jerry Buss and the emergence of Showtime, was at a restaurant shortly after a doctor’s appointment. The doctor called and congratulated him for having “the constitution of a 25 year old man and the heart of an ox.” Cook hangs up the phone and immediately has a heart attack. He survives, and when his mother visits him at the hospital, he informs her that he had actually “died” for 30 seconds. His mother replies: “Tell me Jack, which way were you going? Heaven or hell?
I wonder if Officer Darren Wilson’s and County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch’s mamas would have the same question

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