Rules or Hypocrisy ?

New “D’s Corner”…

Rules or Hypocrisy?

The Jackie Robinson West team was recently stripped of its Little League U.S. Championship by the governing body of Little League International due to residency violations!

Before I delve into this situation I would like to share a story with all who read this column about a personal and similar situation I experienced before I give my take on JRW!

In 1974 I played on a Little League Softball Team called “The Fulton 49ers” that played in an organized Block Club League (ages 13-17) out of the Garfield Park Chicago Park District located on the West Side of Chicago.

The name “49ers” is distinctive because in order to play on this team you had to live in the 4900 block of Fulton St. in Chicago on the West Side. I lived however, in the 5000 block of Fulton St. and technically was ineligible to play on that team. Excuse my lack of modesty, but because I was the best player on that team and I grew up playing with all of the members of that team I was allowed to play simply by one of the mothers of the Block Club board listing me as ‘living’ at her address.

Our 1974 team went 0 and 14 that year so NOBODY cared where any of us lived because we ‘stunk’! Fast forward one year later…1975…our coach on the 1974 team resigned and we got a new coach…the late, great Ernie Terrell (RIP)!

Yes! THAT Ernie Terrell, the famous boxer who fought and lost to Muhammed Ali in the Houston Astrodome in 1968 (with Ali shouting “say my name” because of Terrell’s insistence on calling him “Clay”)! However, Ernie Terrell was our coach ‘in name only’ (he dated one of the women on the Block Club board at the time). Because we were so bad the previous year the league wanted to kick us out and replace us with another Block Club team ‘in waiting’ but because his name carried ‘weight’ he was needed to grant us at least one more year.

However, our ‘real’ coach was a gentleman named Bob Johnson and he was a great coach for us because he really took time with us and loved the game. But because we were so bad the year before most of the 1974 team quit due to lack of interest. Bob was somewhat new to the neighborhood so he asked me (I was the team captain) to ‘recruit’ us some new players since I grew up in the neighborhood and knew pretty much everybody. And I did, I loved recruiting and I went around the neighborhood and recruited the best players (all within the age range and within a two block radius) I knew…guys like (I’ll use their nicknames) “Tony Rome”, “Jethro Bodine”, “Bay-Bay”, “Pompeo”, “Baptiest” and a few others…and guess what?

We went from 0 and 14 in 1974 to 17 and 0 in 1975 and won the league championship! Now, EVERYBODY cared where we lived? Why?

Easy, because we won the damn championship after going winless the season before. Why care now? Winning does that…it brings scrutiny, second guessing, jealousy, envy, you name it (see the New England Patriots and “Deflategate”). But what it also brings are those who now want to get religion and make sure YOU played within the rules (even if they didn’t) those are usually the losing teams who could care less about themselves and everybody else who also may have also broke the rules.

I went out at 15 years old (I’m not blaming the adults) and put together the best team I possibly could and my only rules concern was everybody meeting the age requirement (you can’t have any 19 and 20 year old’s on your team…THAT to me was cheating). Plus, since most of the 1974 team quit there weren’t enough boys left in the 4900 block of Fulton St. to field a team…I HAD to ‘go outside’ of the block. However, I still knew I was breaking the rules but my attitude was “I’m sure all the other teams players don’t live on their respective blocks” so if everybody else is doing it…well…you get my point. Is it still breaking the rules? ABSOLUTELY!

I would love to close this column with some fantastic moralistic act on my part but I can’t and I won’t! I willingly broke the rules by recruiting players I knew didn’t live in the 4900 block of Fulton St. and I realized there may be consequences but I/we (because the Block Club board knew) were willing to take that chance.

So at the end of the day while most teams in the league whispered about us nothing ever came of it. We received our championship trophy at an outdoor ceremony from former NBA forward Mickey Johnson who at that time played for the Chicago Bulls. We were never stripped of our title and I’m (as you can tell) still proud of what we accomplished as a team some forty years later.

Why didn’t the league or any other team investigate and/or turn us in? Probably because I was right in my assumption that they were doing the same thing so if ‘we’ go down they ‘all’ go down. This is where the hypocrisy comes in.

Back to JRW…did they break the rules? It appears they did according to the rules set forth by the Little League International governing body. Was it wrong? Absolutely! Should they be punished? Yes! Should their punishment be this severe? I say no!

These rumors had been floating for months (many say JRW had been breaking the rules for years) and at one point the Little League International governing body deemed the matter closed. However, they received so much increased and intense pressure from various coaches (here in Illinois and Nevada) and apparently from an investigative reporter from DNA Info Chicago who had ‘new’ information to share that they had no choice but to re-open the case hence their decision.

If many knew JRW had been breaking the rules for so long why wait until AFTER JRW won the Little League U.S Championship to get religion?

Now it comes out that Evergreen Park, IL Little League VP Chris Janes (who brought the majority of these allegations AFTER JRW beat one of his teams 42 to 3) ALSO tried recruiting players he knew didn’t meet residency requirements for a team in his league…talk about hypocrisy!

Look, rules are rules (no matter how dumb) and if they are broken there should be consequences but sometimes, when you have a rule that’s almost unenforceable it’s time to examine the rule not necessarily those who may be breaking it. Stripping these kids of their title I feel is a punishment that doesn’t fit the crime. They earned that ON the field!

Taking the title away from these kids does absolutely nothing but hurt the kids. They played on the team they were told they could play on by adults who we assume knew the rules. If anything, punish the adults…not the kids!

Am I to believe that every player on every team in the Little League International governing body met the residency requirements? Unless you can tell me the ONLY team that didn’t meet residency requirements was JRW you can miss me with that!

JRW, you know ‘in your hearts’ no matter what, YOU are champions! They can take the trophies and wins but they can’t take what you did and what we and the rest of the world saw you do!

So here’s to you Jackie Robinson West…oh, and by the way…Happy Black History Month!

D

D can be seen also on thestartinglineup.net

Mr. Cub (1931-2015)

New “D’s Corner”…

Mr. Cub! (1931 – 2015)

We lost not only a Chicago sports legend recently with the passing of “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks but we also lost a baseball legend.

For anyone growing up in 1960’s and early 1970’s Chicago it was hard ‘not’ to grow up a Cubs fan. Why? Because the Cubs were synonymous with Chicago sports culture at that time. WGN Channel 9 was their station and showed ALL of their games even when it had to ‘bump’ the ever so popular ‘Bozo’s Circus’ which was deemed sacrilegious to many children growing up at that time.

The Chicago Cubs were Wrigley Field, Jack Brickhouse (it is sacrilegious in my opinion to associate Harry Carey as ‘the voice’ of the Cubs when we growing up in that era know who the ‘true’ voice was and is) calling the games and of course, Ernie Banks.

I used to always feel because of Ernie’s infectious personality, smile and friendly demeanor his baseball skills were often overlooked.

How about we unravel his pedigree…

Ernie Banks was born in Dallas, Texas in 1931 as the oldest of 11 and legend has it he was not very interested in baseball as a child and had to be bribed into playing by his father who played for black semi-pro teams in Texas. Eventually, young Ernie decided to ‘pick up’ the sport (along with basketball, football and track) and was noticed by none other than the great ‘Cool Papa Bell’ and eventually signed by the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League.

Ernie signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1953 and spent 19 years (1953 – 1971) in the major leagues (all with the Cubs), he was their first black player, he made the All-Star team 11 times, he won back-to-back MVP’s (1958 and 1959), one Gold Glove and of course hit 512 home runs in his illustrious career. He was voted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame on his first ballot in 1977.

After Ernie retired in 1971 he became a coach for the Cubs for a few years. Once he retired completely from the game Ernie became active in the Chicago community by founding a charitable organization, the owner of the first ‘black owned’ Ford dealership in the US and made an unsuccessful bid for Alderman in Chicago. In 1999, he was named to the MLB All Century Team and in 2013, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama for his contribution to sports.

Ernie was always known for the famous catch phrase…”let’s play two” because he so loved the game of baseball he always wanted to play two games a day.

We lost Ernie on January 23rd of this year and while he is no longer here with us his legacy will live on in Chicago and baseball lore forever!

He was given the unofficial nickname “Mr. Cub” and not only did he earn it but it’s very safe to say that no other Cubs player will ever be referred to by that moniker!

Ernie, you will never be forgotten and the next time we “play two”…we will ALWAYS think of you!

Sleep well “Mr. Cub”!

D

Daryl Wren can can also be found on Thestartinglineup.net

Stuart Scott RIP

By Darryl Wren

Stuart Scott…(1965 – 2015)

We lost an icon in the world of sports broadcasting yesterday (1/4/15) with the passing of Stuart Scott of ESPN fame!

He was in many ways a pioneer when it came to broadcasting sports, particularly to an African American audience who prior to Stuart never heard sports (or news in general) quite described in the manner Stuart described it. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had/have many African American broadcasters (sports or otherwise) who have or are making a name for themselves in the media industry but quite frankly, if you were to just listen and not look at many of them you wouldn’t know what nationality they are because they are often ‘cookie cutter’ or just plain ‘bland’ and all sound the same.

Stuart was different, he was always eloquent and used perfect diction and enunciation but at the same time he came at it with an ‘old school’ and ‘urban’ flair that made him distinctive. He broadcast sports almost the way many of us as African Americans ‘talk’ about sports; with an almost ‘Barber Shop’ type quality and style that made it more cool and real and I’m sure made it a lot easier for African Americans (young African Americans in particular who came up in the Hip-Hop culture) to relate to.

When I think of some of my favorite young African American sports anchors of today (Jemele Hill, Cari Champion, Josina Anderson, Michael A. Smith, Stan Verrett, etc…) I can’t help but think Stuart being the first of his type made it at least a little easier for those I just mentioned and kept them from dealing with a lot of the negative things I’m sure he had to deal with.

I remember saying to some old colleagues of mine after the first time I heard Stuart on air over twenty years ago…”I’m not sure how long brother is going to last with that style”! Not because I didn’t like it or that it was bad but because I didn’t know how he would be received…particularly from a non-African American audience. And trust me, he had his detractors, however, for him to stay true to his style tells me a lot about the brother’s courage and conviction to remain himself. And guess what? It worked! At the end of the day he created a style that now many sports commentators imitate but none can duplicate. I used to just sit up and often say…”brother is just cool”…with pride!

How can we forget some of his best catchphrases such as…”Just call him ‘butter’ because he must be on a roll”, “It’s called ‘chuuch’ not church and its a ‘choirerr’ not a choir”, “Don’t hate the playa, hate the game”, “He must be the bus driver cause’ he was takin him to school”, “And the Lord said you gots to rise up”, “You ain’t got to go home but you gots to get the heck outta here”, “Holla at a playa when you see him on the street”, “Hangin’ with ‘Pooky’, ‘Ray-Ray’ and ‘Laqueisha’ nem'” and of course the two catchphrases he’s probably most famous for…”Boo Yah” and “As cool as the other side of the pillow”! But don’t get it twisted, brother wasn’t some ‘cat’ who was all show and no substance! He was always fact based and true to his craft…a true professional!

I myself owe a lot of the ‘style’ I use when co-hosting (with the lovely Mona Lisa and brother Lamar) for our web broadcast show “The Starting Line Up” to Stuart Scott because I also believe in presenting sports to our audience in a way they can easily relate to with opinions based on research and factual information while at the same time not allowing my style to become an ‘act’ versus ‘fact’.

For those of us who watch ESPN we knew brother had been ill for some time (battling cancer on and off for roughly seven years) but when Stuart received the “Jimmy V Award” at last year’s ESPY Awards he delivered a speech that only he could have with my (and I’m sure most others) favorite part of the speech being…”When you die it does not mean you lose to cancer, you beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live”!

While we have unfortunately lost many great members of the media over the years I don’t quite remember the outpouring of love, appreciation, praise and gratitude that was (and still is as of this writing) shown for this brother as I saw just yesterday (1/4/15).

Moments of silence at NFL and NBA games, tributes by colleagues (not just at ESPN…which was amazing…Hannah Storm in particular who broke the news handled it with love, hurt, caring and comfort while remaining professional), tweets of love, prayers, support, admiration, etc…from athletes, entertainers and even the President of the Unites States…the President! How often does that happen for a ‘sports’ anchor? Not often, mainly because Stuart Scott was MORE than just a sports anchor, he was (from ALL accounts) a good man, great colleague, amazing sports anchor and most of all…a loving father who left an indelible imprint on those of us he touched be it personally or through the media.

To paraphrase the comment I probably heard most often from people who knew him best was…”who you saw on TV was who he was”!

RIP brother Stuart Scott…you were and will always remain…”As cool as the other side of the pillow”!

D

Catch Darryl at thestartinglineup.net

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.