– 45

 

CJ Powers: Taking Shots

45 Degrees Below Zero

There seems to be a growing informal consensus among Black Folk that henceforth, this president shall be referred to only as 45. This is fitting. The more we can collectively disassociate ourselves from this disaster the better.

They can’t blame us for that one. They can’t even blame Obama for that one.

I just have one problem with this branding of the one my man LeBron refers to as “that guy” (I’ve heard worse names for “that guy” from brothers at the barber shop…and at church). Referring to The Joker simply as 45 is an insult to the previous 44. That’s saying a lot. Worse than W. More clueless than Coolidge. More criminal (and vastly dumber) than Nixon. More deplorable than Asshole Jackson (mainly because this is 2017, not 1830, when America was great. Such a lovely plantation down there in Nashville.). More bought and bent than Hoover. More white supremacist hype man masking incompetence and cold war against the lives of working white people who support them because of hot war against the lives of Black and Brown people than Reagan.

Reagan was the Father. W. was the Son. Trump is the Un Holy Ghost.

So I’m not going to refer to the one my man LeBron calls a “bum” by a number in a sequence that includes Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eisenhower and Obama.

I propose we refer to him as 45 below zero. -45 for short.

-45 because zero is the demarcation between positive and negative. Between love and hate. Between something that builds up and something that tears down. -45 is cold as hell, a cold that makes things barren; a cold that chills to the bone. -45 is loveless, barren, hostile to beauty, and to peoples’ better angels.

I’m not referring his ideology, to the degree that he is coherent enough to have one. -45 is most notable for his narcissistic absence of human decency.

I’m going to pause here to allow those willing to forgive him any affront to anyone as long as he affirms the idolatry of whiteness. Go ahead and rationalize. Lawsuit for housing discrimination. Condemning 5 innocent black boys calling for their execution. The 44th President must prove his birthright (my favorite Alonzo Bodden joke: George Washington comes from the past to visit the White House. When informed that Barack Obama was President of the United States, Washington replies: “Well who owns him?”). Go ahead and put on your white lens to help you overlook Mexicans are rapist and thieves (though some are good people.) Grabbing women by the pussy. Sexual assault allegations. McCain not a real war hero because he got caught. Demeaning parents of war hero killed in battle. Calling for mob violence against protestors. Colluding with Russia and his own demons to destroy the American Government and disrupt the fragile cohesion of American society.

….It’s getting cold outside baby; I don’t know what we gonna do 45 degrees below zero, and my black is turning blue…

…A good old ‘Bama boy as Attorney General. Declaring after acts of Nazi terrorism that Nazis are good people (Klansmen too!). Bullshitting and blustering the world to the brink of nuclear war. Attacking the livelihoods of sportscasters (Free Jemele!) and athletes for exercising nonviolent and relatively tame protest and commentary. Ignoring the plight of USA citizens (has anyone told -45 Puerto Rico is a part of the United States? Fox could you get word to him?) whose lives have been destroyed by Hurricane Rita… …and the lies lies lies lies lies lies.

Is your basest nature so affirmed by his bigotry that you will overlook the disaster unfolding before your eyes and imagine redemptive possibilities? Does your idolatrous god hold such sway over you that you believe the apostasy expressed by gospel singer Vicky Yohe: That -45’s election represented Jesus (the white one) “On my way back to the White House”. And that he is worthy of her declaring: “protest all you want…no weapon formed against him shall prosper.” Is the pussy grabbing warmongering hater your Lord and Savior?

Would you rationalize my lynching?

And now he’s fucking with our football. And messing with my beloved NBA. Kudos to my new favorite coach of all time, Tell them Pops: “So you’ve got a choice: We can continue to bounce our heads off the wall with his conduct, or we can decide that the institutions of our country are more important, that people are more important, that the decent America that we all thought we had and want is more important, and get down to business at the grass-roots level and do what we have to do.” Kudos to LeBron, making the Big O, Kareem and Russ smile once again: “It’s not about disrespect for flag and military and people who served…It’s about equality and having the option and freedom to speak about things they feel are unjust.”

Kudos to Steph Curry dropping a 30′ three in -45’s eye: “It was amazing to see all these guys rally around each other and speak up,” Curry said. “That’s what this is about. We’re not trying to divide and separate this country. We’re trying to bring everybody together and speak about love and togetherness and equality.”

Kudos to all those football players, the NFL being the most plantation-like of the major American sports, for standing up to an existential question: How can you be a warrior on the field and punk out off the field when -45 calls our mothers bitches?

I pray you remember how strong you stood together next weekend, and for as many weekends as necessary. And I hope for your sakes you remember your solidarity come next collective bargaining time.

Since I was a child and to this day I do not salute the flag. I’ll stand in respect to my Father, a veteran who both served his country and agreed with and informed my perspective. I’ll stand out of a faded but still vibrant hope that we might work this shit out and truly take our country for

the first time. I’ll stand out of the understanding that the men, women and children I stand with are my brothers and sisters under God. I’ll stand on the possibility that we might one day actually win our unresolved civil war in a manner that doesn’t get us all killed.

I don’t stand for the flag. I won’t recite or sing words until they prove to be true. I don’t place my hand over my heart: the flag has not earned my heart yet. Justice, human compassion, respect for the earth, equal opportunity, and pursuit of peace: these earn my heart.

Blessed are the peacemakers…

And don’t say shit to me about it until the government stops obstructing us from the ballot.

Kaepernick chose to kneel. He isn’t the first sports figure to be punished for nonviolent protest for justice. Oscar Robinson and Kareem had doors shut on them that normally open for NBA royalty. Tommy Smith and John Carlos couldn’t find jobs and suffered for years after their 1968 Olympic protest. Mahmoud Abdul Rauf and Craig Hodges were blackballed in a manner similar to Kaepernick. Ali was stripped of his title and 5 prime years of the second greatest boxer in history (Sugar Ray Robinson #1…even Ali said it.).

Maybe the best argument for Bill Russell being the greatest player in NBA history, other than, you know, the 13 titles and never losing a game 5 or 7 (that’s 14-0 yall!), is that MJ and Bron never had to perform with stadium crowds shouting nigger at you. And breaking into your house to ransack and shit in your bed. Yes this actually happened to Russ.

Maybe Jack Johnson was the greatest boxer in history. Can you imagine a Black man publically beating white men in 1910? And getting paid! A lot! Because he beat the ass of white men. Go figure. Always, in America, hate sells. White riots killing Black people, sometimes hanging folk on lampposts, accompanied his victories.

So can we please stop with the pretense protesters “introduce politics into sports”. We wouldn’t have needed the suffering greatness of Jackie Robison if politics were not in sports.

Tell them Coach Pops: “This is an individual who actually thought that when people held arms during the games, that they were doing it to honor the flag. That’s delusional. Absolutely delusional, but it’s what we have to live with.

Why participate in the delusion of upholding the symbol of the flag while being denied what the symbol is purported to represent?

Consider this: “If the black man wins, thousands and thousands of his ignorant brothers will misinterpret his victory as justifying claims to much more than mere physical equality with their white neighbors.” -The New York Times; 1910

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s FIRED!’ You know, some

owner is gonna do that. He’s gonna say, ‘That guy disrespects our flag; he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it. They don’t know it. They’re friends of mine, many of them. They don’t know it. They’ll be the most popular person, for a week. They’ll be the most popular person in this country.” – The -45 President of the United States; 2017

Turn up the heat on -45! Free Colin! Fight the good fight of faith!

By CJ Powers

CJ Powers is a frequent contributor to this blog.

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The Celtics Are Back ! The Celtics Are Back!

By Lamar Battle

 

Or are they ?  Speculation abounds after the blockbuster trade sending Kyrie Irving formerly of the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Boston Celtics for a package of Isiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, rookie Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets unprotected 2018 first round pick which will more than likely be a lottery selection.

With popularity already through the roof the NBA managed to hold our attention to just before the start of training camp for the 2017-18 season…..Wow.

Most observers were aware of Kyrie’s trade request with the Cavaliers and how if unacknowledged could have unhinged the Cavaliers locker room for the up coming season.

After winning an NBA championship along-side LeBron James at age 25 Kyrie Irving expressed a desire to be the main man on his own team.

The trade though now completed holds huge implications for the balance of NBA power in the Eastern conference and quite possibly the entire league.

Who were the winners and losers?

Winners:

Kyrie Irving, who is now position to along with a solid team and competent coach to take over in the Eastern Conference if not this year then the next.

Lebron James, amid speculation that he would leave after this season to join the LA Lakers the Cavaliers have  an opportunity to convince LeBron to stick around awhile.  Isiah Thomas brings great scoring ability (29.8ppg), Jae Crowder is an above average defender and capable three point shooter (39.8%) but the sweetener  is the Nets  pick in a draft that may boast a number of potential franchise players.

Danny Ainge, Celtics G.M. recently completed seminar on how to rebuild a pro basketball team.

Koby Altman, the new Cavaliers GM absolutely got the best return for Kyrie Irving and the CAVS are now a deeper team with future prospects.  According to sources the Cavaliers may not be done dealing.

Dan Griffin, the Cavaliers owner side-stepped a burgeoning fan revolt after a disastrous off season to this point.

Losers:

Jae Crowder, who may be tasked with guarding Kevin Durant providing the Cavaliers make it to the NBA Finals.

The Washington Wizards, Toronto Raptors and rest of the eastern teams that may have to wait 4-5 years for a shot to contend for the East.

Verdict:

Kyrie Irving got exactly what he wanted.  LeBron James may delay breaking the hearts of Ohio fans for a little while longer but to beat the Warriors LeBron will need one to two bonafide superstars.

NBA fans simply cannot wait for the start of the season.

The NBA’s Western Conference will be a bloodbath and the East won’t be far behind.  At the end of the day both teams won this deal and yes………The Celtics are back.

 

 

 

 

What’s All The Fuss About LaVar Ball ?

By Lamar Battle

Unless you have been living on an island for the last 4 to 5 months I’m fairly certain that you have heard of LaVar Ball father of 2016-17 second pick in the NBA draft Lonzo Ball.

To say LaVar is a proud dad is to the least an understatement as he has been described as arrogant, loud, bombastic and of course crazy.

Mr. Ball has taken the sport world by storm mostly due to the basketball skills of his three boys, Lonzo, Li Angelo and LeMelo all accomplished players with Li Angelo and LeMelo following their older brother to UCLA on full scholarship.

The sports world is rife with stories of stage mothers and fathers following the exploits of their progeny with a  zeal that may best resemble oh, say Black Friday shoppers at a local Best Buy.

LaVar has on occasion been accused of saying that his son would become the greatest basketball player of all time, that he (LaVar) could have beaten NBA legend Micheal Jordan in a game of one on one.

LaVar signaled that he would accept a one billion dollar shoe contract from one of the major companies ( Nike, Adidas and Under Armour) for his three boys.  Better yet he announced the formation of his families signature brand for shoes and apparel: The Big Baller Brand.

The major sports networks most notably ESPN and FOX Sports cannot get enough of LaVar and word has it that Facebook has inked his family for a reality series.

Son Lonzo was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers and new team president of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson who has since characterized Lonzo as the new face of the franchise.

LaVar predicted ( he says since Lonzo’s birth) that his son  would be picked by the Lakers.  So how did it happen ?  LaVar said he spoke it into existence.

The Law Of Attraction ?

Could LaVar Ball be practicing that metaphysical discipline based in quantum physics that illustrates  the influence of thought and words on our circumstances?

Last time I checked LaVar was the one who said he spoke Lonzo’s ascension into being. He also spoke on how he chose his wife and mother of his children because she was beautiful, tall, (6-1) confident and together they raised three sons two of which will be NBA players and since launched a shoe and apparel line that has at least a 50-50 chance of succeeding.

Lonzo Ball is a 6-6 point guard who shoots 55.1% from the floor and 41.2% from the 3 point line and wields an unusual knack for passing and unselfish team play.

Lonzo could not ask for a better mentor than Magic Johnson (one of the NBA’s all time great point guards) but his greatest potential as a pro may be in the impact he has on his teammates.

So LaVar Ball the man many feel is as polarizing as he is impressive ( And he deserves more credit than he gets for being a first class athletic trainer) may very well be on to something reminding any one within ear shot over and over and over that his boys will make history.

Stay tuned.

 

Stats courtesy of Sports-Reference.com

 

 

 

NBA Finals Round table

By Lamar Battle

 

I had a planned  meeting of pod-cast contributors and ordinary gentlemen set for a later time but from the looks of things the NBA Finals series between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers  could be over in a heart-beat.

Joining me are Greg , Enrique, Mike and A.J.

Lamar:  With the Cleveland Cavaliers down 2-0 in the Finals does anyone feel that there is a chance for them?

A.J.:  I have a better question, who is the greatest of all time Micheal Jordan or Kevin Durant?

Lamar:  That was cold bro.

Greg:  Actually, that is not an unfair question in that Kevin Durant  up to this point is outplaying LeBron James and that’s after averaging 32 and 10 against LeBron in the regular season.

Enrique:  There may be a slight opening for Cleveland but I am surprised that LeBron has yet to make more of an offensive push in the 4th quarters.  We can all see how dominant he can be but when his team needs that extra push he always defers to his teammates.

Mike:  By the 4th quarter LeBron is probably tired from having to chase Kevin Durant around for most of the game.

Enrique:  Well someone should should tell him it’s the Finals for crying out loud.  If any series is where you lay it all down, it’s in this series.  I mean what good is going to the Finals seven straight times if you only have three titles to show for it.

Greg:  A lot of my readers are under the impression that the Warriors may lack heart and if the series tightens up that lack will show just like it did last year.

Lamar:  If the Cavs can take game 3 in such a way that changes the flow of the series then things can get interesting real quick.

A.J.  After you guys put down the kool-aid remember that the Warriors have won the first two games in convincing fashion.  One problem the Cavaliers face is that they have some older players that were more than satisfied to get one ring let alone two.

Greg:  One thing is  for sure and that is the Cavaliers will not beat the Warriors playing the Warriors style of ball.  One question is can the Cavaliers slow the game down and manufacture free throws?  Can Lebron and Kevin Love supply enough inside presence to open up their outside shooters?

Lamar:  What does a loss mean for Cleveland?

A.J.   For one, all of the LeBron as the G.O.A.T. talk will have to be put on hold.  As a matter of fact he may not win another title especially if he stays in Cleveland.

Lamar:  Where else could he go?

Mike:  The best fit if he wants to seriously contend for another  title  is probably the L.A. Clippers.  I say this because the Clippers have enough existing talent to contend in the west especially with LeBron James on the team.

Greg:   The Clippers are a possibility but if LeBron decides to stay home then the Cavaliers will have get some young studs in there.

Lamar:  You mean like Andrew Wiggins?

Greg:  Don’t get me started on that subject. (laughs all around)

Lamar:  A Fox Sports 1 commentator suggested that there are two teams in the NBA that are totally controlled by their star players, those would be the Cavaliers ( 16th in ppg allow and fg% allow) and the L.A. Clippers.( 11th in ppg allow and fg% allow) per Fox Sports.com,  If that’s the case then  LeBron may have to leave player acquisitions to experienced staff.  (providing he has not done so)

Also, one overlooked aspect of this series is that the Golden State Warriors put a lot of thought into the type of attack they wanted and then they (team management including consultant Jerry West) went out and got the players that formed the type of team that is seemingly revolutionizing the game.   The Warriors are long, athletic, smart and unselfish.

Essentially this highly coached and motivated team also boast the 3 best shooters in the game today and possibly of all time.

Come to think of it, we could have another dynasty in the making.

Mike:  That’s what I’ve been saying all along.

 

 

 

 

The NBA Finals: A Dream Match-up

By Lamar Battle

Time to prepare for a match-up that has been in the works since the beginning of the 2016-17 NBA season.

The Golden State Warriors (67-15) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (51-31) are on a collision course as they meet in the NBA Finals for the 3rd straight time, the series is tied 1-1.

This series has a number of ramifications at stake. To name a few, Cavaliers star LeBron James is sitting smack dab in the middle of a debate as to who is the G.O.A.T. ( Greatest of all time) between him and Former Chicago Bulls player Micheal Jordan.  Opinions vary as voices from all over the internet and networks take sides.

I like what Fox Sports 1 host Colin Cowherd said and I paraphrase, imagine if Micheal Jordan were McDonald’s and LeBron James were Starbucks who had just started making fries better than McDonald’s what would that mean?  In other words the one thing Micheal did better than LeBron was score but LeBron is on pace (as the All Time leader in playoff points) to surpass Micheal in that aspect too.

Warriors forward Draymond Green, so hungry for revenge and redemption (after last years defeat) more or less said that they want to crush the Cavaliers and considering the Warriors undefeated run through the 2016-17 playoffs crushing the Cavaliers is a real possibility.

One aspect rarely mentioned is the opportunity for this series to not only provide the Warriors Kevin (generally considered to be the #2 player in the world) Durant his first title but more important remove him from LeBron’s  considerable shadow.

Durant failed in his first attempt as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder to wrest the title from James but this time he returns armed with a 73 win team  at his back and the desire to beat the man (many have jokingly  referred to as his big brother).

This series represents a crossroads of sorts for both teams and the stakes are extremely high.  For LeBron it represents a chance to test his limits and put himself firmly on the path to becoming the G.O.A.T. as winning a second title against the Warriors would pretty much guarantee.

For the Warriors this represents an opportunity to prove that their 73 win season last year was no fluke and they can be one of the NBA’s great dynasties.

The psychological advantage of winning this title would be so great that a loss for either could mean the end of their hopes period.

Hollywood central casting could not have done a better job.

 

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press.

 

How To Beat The Golden State Warriors.

Respectful pause……..for those of you that are cracking your sides.  But how can one say outside of  maybe Tomahawk Missiles can this team be beat?  To even approach this notion we have to determine who

The Warriors Are:

A collection of parts that appear to mesh perfectly on offense and defense. It doesn’t hurt to have four All-Stars and two sure fire Hall Of Fame players on your team.

They have improved on the vaunted pace and space offense originally introduced by Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni to such a degree that their execution is almost at art form level. Without question in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant they boast the top outside shooters in the game and quite possibly in history.

The Warriors move the ball they move their bodies, they drive and dish and when it breaks down they just hand the ball to Kevin Durant to go one on one.

The Warriors front office deserves a lions share of credit for assembling a roster of players that are smart, versatile and competitive.  Those qualities show perhaps on defense more than in any other area.

The Warriors are aggressive they play the passing lanes with active hands and most importantly play on a string meaning they back each other up (help and recover) with precision over and over.

Having said all of that I’ve just about talked myself out of this piece but to beat this team the opponent should

Know Who They Are:

What does that mean?  Well to start the opponent cannot be a better version of the Warriors.  The opponent has to control the pace of the game and manage turnovers that usually come from passes to the wings and futile attempts at drive and kick-outs.

On defense the Warriors have Draymond Green, an All Defense 1st team player that is aggressive, smart and extremely mobile.  The one thing he is not is big so he has to be occupied down in the post by a player  with credible post up skills.  This approach would also serve to wear Draymond down but most importantly keep him out of the passing lanes.

The Warriors have the best team defense in the league so the opponent has to attack their players individually.  Klay Thompson is a better than average defender so skip him but in addition to posting up Draymond Green, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant have to be attacked off the dribble.  Durant is an excellent help defender but not as mobile in one on one situations.

Forcing the Warriors into one on one situations would serve to control tempo and wear down key players down the stretch.

On defense when battling an offensive powerhouse smart teams know they cannot take away everything so they pick their poison.

The Warriors are so formidable an outside shooting team that they can drop a double digit deficit on you in mere seconds so one has to choose.  I say you stay home on Stephen Curry and most importantly Klay Thompson…..I did say stay home on Klay Thompson ? right.

Now that means that All Everything forward Kevin Durant will be allowed to roam the earth free..or whatever one on one coverage amounts to.

Providing an opponent can control pace, occupy Draymond Green, successfully shadow Steph and Klay and maintain their poise during  yeoman efforts from supporting players and an occasional 50 points from Durant then you can achieve what most can only hope for.

A close contest at the end.

 

Photo courtesy of google images

 

NBA Playoff Roundtable

A meeting basketball neo-experts (and pod cast contributors) convened to discuss some of the issues surrounding this seasons (2016-17) NBA playoffs.
Joining Lamar are Mike Brown, A.J. Campbell and Greg Powell.
Lamar: Any surprises in the playoffs thus far?
Mike:  None in terms of the teams at the top doing what they were expected to do.  I did hold out hope that the Bulls could upset the Celtics especially after jumping out to a 2-0 lead.
A.J.:  Speaking of the Bulls the Chicago Media spoke on how Bulls Vice President John Paxson was quiet regarding the future of star player Jimmy Butler during the final press conference.
Apparently that gave the impression that the Bulls may be looking to trade him and if that is the case they blew a great chance last season when his value was at it’s highest.
Greg: For a long time I thought the Bulls should have built around Butler given how he has developed into a two time All-Star but now I suspect that Jimmy will require another front line player along side him to return the Bulls to contender status.
Mike:  Most observers feel that the bottom line always comes first when it comes to the Bulls and team development and for a long time I gave them credit for astute business moves but fact is teams like San Antonio, Cleveland and now Boston have made money maintaining a winning record and culture.
Lamar:  Well at least the Bulls have been a top three team in attendance for the last 18 or so years.
Greg:  That , my friend can attributed to the Chicago fans who can be knowledgeable and loyal but also extremely naive.
Mike:  Well Jimmy may not lead the Bulls to the promised land at age 27 but he may command a 200 million dollar extension and Mr. Reinsdorf, you can take that for data !
Lamar:  I think we can all agree that the NBA title will be won by either Golden State, Cleveland or San Antonio, but who are some of the other teams making a name for themselves going forward?
A.J. :   In the east the Bulls, Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons are heading south.  On the upswing we got the Washington Wizards, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers.
Greg:  I believe in Boston’s Isiah Thomas who has been playing out of his mind.  The Celtics are small but they got a lot of dogs.  Avery Bradley is really a glue guy and rookie Jalen Brown is going to be real good.
If Boston can pick up Gordon Hayward from the Utah Jazz in free agency they will be dangerous in the east.
Lamar:  What about the “Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo?  This cat is a starter on the All Star team in just his second year.
A.J. I have a theory/test for new young players and that is if a young player cannot lift his/her team at least past the first round then they are not ready and will need more seasoning prior to super-stardom..
Mike:  Well look at Micheal Jordan, It took him 7-8 years before he won his first title.
Lamar:  How about the Western Conference?
Mike:  Houston is definitely on the rise, OKC and the L.A. Clippers are a couple of moves away.  The Utah Jazz are showing great strides but they may lose their best player Haywood next season.
Greg:  The L.A. Clippers better jump on Melo before it’s too late.  They have a severely flawed roster and could probably get him now for J.J. Redick.  Paul George from the Indiana Pacers could also be available via trade.
As far as the Spurs go they got Kawhi Leonard and a bunch of old dudes. I can see improvements though from the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Portland Trailblazers and the Denver Nuggets.
Lamar:  Who wins the Title?
A.J.:  Just like last year I am riding with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Mike:  There is still room on the Warriors bus for all of you (laughs).
Greg:  Well you all know that I am leaning towards LeBron as the G.O.A.T.
Lamar:  Interjecting, that will be different session for another time.
Greg:  Even though I rate LeBron as the best player walking the earth I find difficult to pick him over a Warriors team adding Kevin Durant (generally considered to be the 2nd best player alive) and so I have to choose the Warriors.
Lamar:  Since my beloved L.A.Lakers are not quite ready I will have to pick the team sporting the best organization in sports,  The San Antonio Spurs.