Posted on: May 4, 2009 6:12 pm
I'm so happy for LeBron James. He really is deserving of the NBA MVP. I'm a big Kobe Bryant fan, but this year James really elevated his game. If his paranoid head coach didn't sit him in the last game, he would've played all 82 games and his team would have tied an NBA record by winning 40 of 41 games on their home floor. They had the most wins in the NBA and he truly had an outstanding year.
What's even more impressive about him is the way that he impacts his teammates. His enthusiasm is contagious, his energy is infectious. James understands that he can catch more bees with honey than he can with vinegar. The nicer of a person hie is, the more fun he has, and the more they win, the more his teammates like him and the easier it becomes to lead. Magic Johnson was like this in a lot of respects. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant lead more with a domineering, fear-based, leadership (although I think Kobe has tried to change that perception some). Jordan and Bryant seem like the kind of guys to go somewhere on their own with a few personal friends and James seems like the kind of guy to get the teammates together and take them to dinner and bowling. He's just more of a guy's guy, you know what I mean.
Being from Chicago, I am a big Phil Jackson fan and I really want him to get his 10th title to pass Red Auerbach. I know how bad Phil wants it and I want him to have it too. There's just something about me that is pulling for LeBreezie this year. This just feels like his year, it's hard to put a finger on it. Sometimes you just want to see the good guys win; not a sniff of controversy off the court and nothing but smiles and positive results on it.
I'm pulling for you LeBreezie. Get it done, this is your best chance -- so far. There will be more to come.
Posted on: May 1, 2009 8:38 pm
I'm so proud of the Bulls. I mean, this has been one of the most courageous efforts that I've seen from any team in my 25 or so years of watching NBA basketball. Now, admittedly, the NBA is not as much fun as it was 10, 15, or 20 years ago, but I am a fan of good sports and when it's really good, it transcends sports. It's almost like theater. I was trying to explain to my wife one day that one of the greatest things about sports is that it's unscripted. That's why you always have something happening that has never happened before or maybe hasn't happened in 50 years, because this is not a movie. She always gets on me about not watching enough movies, but I just HATE sitting through a bad movie and a stupid ending.
I remember a few years ago when the Bulls took Joakim Noah. I always thought that he was somewhat UNDERrated after his senior year at Florida. Remember that he was the most outstanding player of the Final Four after his junior year, but they were all so greedy and wanted to win another title, that they came back to do it again and Al Horford and company got the accolades. Why? Noah is the consummate team player and will do whatever it takes to make his team win. This an obvious comparison, but he's a lot like Dennis Rodman. He rebounds, defends, passes, provides timely offense, and gives his team energy necessary to get through tight spots.
Ben Gordon, Tyrus Thomas, Kirk Hinrich, the incomparable Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Brad Miller, John Salmons, you're looking at a team that is drawing immense confidence from this series. They don't know that Kevin Garnett is out. All they see is "Celtics" on the other uniform and they know that they're playing the World Champions. After all, this is a team that won 80% of their games without Garnett and is still in the upper echelon of the league.
The Bulls are gaining momentum and win or lose tomorrow night, they now believe that they belong. I see a 50 win season next year. Chicago, it looks like our team may be back.
Posted on: April 28, 2009 1:23 pm
Ok, I'm here to keep it real. How many of you are watching the NBA playoffs on a consistent basis, night in and night out? Are you eagerly tuning in to watch 2 and a half hours of Philadelphia vs. Orlando? How about that Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Hornets thriller last night? About the only series that I've been watching is the Bulls and Celtics; 1) Because I'm from Chicago and 2) Because it's actually a competitive series with some pretty good basketball.
How BORING is the NBA? First of all, I heard that about a third of the teams are losing money. One columnist dubbed it the "No Benjamins Association." Secondly, these games are just BORING. Unless you're from Florida or Pennsylvania, who are you tuning in to watch in the Philadelphia-Orlando series? Hedo Turkoglu? How about Andre Iguodala? Can't wait to watch Dwight Howard grab another rebound? There's NOTHING to see and these games irk me.
I do consider myself a basketball fan, but it's like we have to sit through a month of meaningless window dressing to watch the Cavaliers play the Lakers in the finals. That, I WILL tune in to watch. That will be something worth sitting down for a couple of hours to see; two of the premier athletes in the world and two of the greatest basketball players of all-time. Remember when an Eastern Conference seminfial featured the Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks? It went 7 games and you had BALLERS; Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Dennis Johnson, Tree Rollins, Doc Rivers, Dominique Wilkins, Cliff Levingston, I mean, those were good games with good players. Of course, you'll tune in to maybe see a little CP3 or catch a bit of Dwayne Wade, but it just doesn't have the luster that it used to.
Cleveland-Detroit a few years ago was definitely worth the price of admission, when LeBron got loose for 48 or 50 and scored like their last 25 points. Those types of performances are what make the NBA playoffs. The NBA is a stars game, headlined by big performances and without that, you have nothing. Nobody is tuning in to see Andre Iguodala or even Tim Duncan (anymore). A LeBron James-Dwayne Wade matchup in Round 2 might be good for TV and worth checking out, but somebody PLEASE give me something.
On a more positive note, my fantasy baseball teams are looking up. Only 1 day this week has passed by, but it's good to be leading for once after Monday and not trying to make up a deficit.
Posted on: April 25, 2009 6:58 pm
Well, the NFL Draft is on and there are a bunch of guys being drafted that I've NEVER heard of. Where is Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Randy Moss, Adam "Pac-Man" Jones, Keyshawn Johnson, Brady Quinn, I mean, give me some NAMES for crying out loud.
I'm happy that these guys are getting drafted, but I'm SO bored. About the only excitement in this draft is that a 2-time Fred Bilentikoff award winner (the award given annually to the BEST wide receiver in college football) fell to the 10th pick. The 10 pick??? There are a lot of idiots in the house, I'll tell you that.
First of all, teams should have learned about drafting based on "need." The Portland Trail Blazers passed on Michael Jeffrey Jordan because they didn't need a guard. Nice pick guys. The Green Bay Packers passed on Barry Sanders because they needed an offensive lineman. Ben Roethlisberger fell to the 13th pick. All he's done so far is win 2 Super Bowls and lead his team to a 15-1 record in another season. TAKE THE BEST PLAYER ON THE BOARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Let me name off some of the past Bilentikoff award winners; Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, Randy Moss, Terry Glenn, Antonio Bryant, and Braylon Edwards. Bobby Engram, Troy Walters, and Troy Edwards have also won the award and they have had decent careers. Michael Crabtree LOOKS like a star. He walks like one, talks like one, had on a pinky ring with about 550 diamonds, and just has that swagger about him.
All 3 of my fantasy baseball teams suck, Brandon Webb had been on the disabled list ONE time in 7 years and then as soon as I draft him, he goes on it again, it's raining outside, and hell yes, I am hungry!
Well, the Indianapolis Colts are on the board. I actually am eager to see who they pick, this should be interesting...
Posted on: April 23, 2009 9:48 pm
Well, I tried to tell anybody who would listen that the Bulls were going to come out and lay an egg tonight. This has turned into the reality of Chicago sports. Just like the military, we build you up to break you back down.
The Bulls had to have the greatest player in NBA history, Michael Jordan, and another one of the NBA's Top 50 players of all-time, Scottie Pippen, to give us one of the most amazing sports dynasties in NBA history. Why is the only time that we have a consistent championship caliber team when we have the best players in the history of the game? I hate to say it, but we LUCKED out. There is not going to be another Michael Jordan or Scottie Pippen in Chicago for a long time.
Ok, apologies to my beloved White Sox. We DID take home the title in 2005 and we did so in resounding fashion, going 12-1 in the playoffs and SWEEPING the defending World Champion Boston Red Sox. The White Sox did win 90 games the following year, but missed the playoffs in consecutive years after winning it all. Last year, they bounced back and made the playoffs by winning a playoff game with the Twins to get in, but that's not consistent championship caliber baseball.
Don't let me get started on the Cubs. Yes, they did have the National League's best record last year, but THEN what happened? They got their tails SWEPT in the playoffs by Manny Ramirez and the Dodgers and we didn't hear a peep from them. The year before that, they made the playoffs and I don't think they won a game that season either, getting rolled by Chris Young, Brandon Webb, and the Arizona Diamondbacks. I told my buddy Chad that the Cubs would NOT make the playoffs and that St. Louis was going to be the best team in the NL Central. So far, so good.
The Bears made a splash by getting Jay Cutler this offseason, but I dont know if that automatically equals playoffs. Our defense is still shaky and I'll tell you what else. If the Bears don't get in the playoffs this year with Lovie Smith, say goodbye Lovie and hello Mike Shanahan. You can see it coming.
So, COME ON CHICAGO! John Paxson, Jim Hendry, Kenny Williams, and Jerry Angelo, get us some teams and some players who will make us CONSISTENT winners and give us a chance at some more titles. Again, we can't hate the White Sox, because they did give us a title in resounding fashion, but I want to see this every year, for years to come, just like the big market New York teams. Since Los Angeles has decided that sports is an afterthought to modeling and shopping, we will take over as the other big market sports media market and truly represent what championship caliber sports is all about.
Posted on: April 20, 2009 7:51 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2009 7:52 pm
Certain years, when you have marquee players, the NFL draft is very exciting. I mean, the first round can be an event in itself. Remember the year that Eli Manning and Philip Rivers got traded? I was at the bar watching that with my wife, I actually ditched work that Saturday and went to Champps and got full of food and beer and had a blast. Eli Manning was a name that my wife heard before from hearing me talk about Peyton Manning and I explained to her how Eli Manning didn't want to play in San Diego, blah, blah, blah.
What made that draft really fun was that Adam "Pac-Man" Jones got drafted and my wife said, "Wow, look at that guy. With a name like Pac-Man, he's going to be trouble. Remember Pac-Man from Colors?" In the movie "Colors", Pac-Man was a drug dealer and she looked at him and his dreadlocks, glasses, and gold chains, heard his nickname, and recalled the character from the movie and said that he would be trouble. It turned out that she was right! That is just incredible to me and shows why the NFL is so popular. The average person, non-sports fan, like my wife, can look at a situation like that and tell you what's going to happen. I had no clue.
With that said, I have ZERO interest in this year's NFL draft. The first pick is.... Matthew Stafford! Who??? Mark Sanchez has become the biggest storyline in the draft and you know why? The guy has personality! He's been on tv shows, talk shows, all over the internet; the kid has charisma, style, he's smart, and he's good looking. Characters and storylines are what make sports stories, other than the obvious great performances that we all tune in to see. I will probably be watching baseball on Saturday and following my fantasy team. As a sports fan, I will tune in to see what happens, but it won't be the same excitement like it has been in past years.
Other notable drafts that I can remember are the Peyton Manning, Ricky Williams, Ryan Leaf draft, the Jimmy Johnson draft when he traded all of the picks, the year my beloved Bears drafted Cade McNown (seriously?), and the famous draft when Mike Tice and the Vikings couldn't make their pick on time and lost their slot. What idiots.
Well, back to fantasy baseball. I have Mike Hampton making the first of 2 starts tonight and I have him going in 2 leagues. Gimme some Mikey Mike! I'm a seasonal guy and it's our favorite pastime taking center stage now. In a month, it will be the Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James NBA finals stage. I will not miss a minute of that. It will be a 7-game series and go down as one of the best of all-time.
Posted on: April 17, 2009 12:03 pm
How many of you play fantasy sports? I've played fantasy football for about 12 years now. I have 4 titles in 2 different leagues, while losing in the championship game a combined 4 times over those same 2 leagues. I made the World Series in the inaugural year of fantasy baseball. I've done pretty well.
This is my 3rd year playing fantasy baseball and I've learned that it is infinitely more difficult than fantasy football. There are more players, more teams, more games, it really is a greater challenge. One of the lessons that fantasy baseball has taught me is that you MUST be patient when it comes to your teams following your draft.
Why do I know this? Last year, when C.C. Sabathia started 0-3, along with my fantasy team, I panicked and dropped him like some red Victoria's Secret panties. We all know that he came back and pitched Cy Young caliber baseball for the remainder of the season. Nice job, Jamal. Alfonso Soriano got off to a similarly bad start, I think he hit below .200 in April last year and I got rid of him also. He did make 2 stints on the DL, but had some monster weeks, one in particular in which he hit 8 home runs that week. Soriano is a MONSTER, in case you didn't know.
You really have to be patient, more so in fantasy baseball than football, to capitalize on the team that you drafted. You spend all offseason doing research, reading magazines, perusing websites, only to drop a guy after a bad start to the season. Week 2 will be completed in fantasy baseball this Sunday, but guess what? There is 90% of the regular season left to play. Even if you start 0-2, you have plenty of time to make that ground up and have a phenomenal year. Lance Berkman has started the season like crap, as has Cliff Lee, and a host of other players. Be patient with them. They are household names for a reason. I'm big into statistics and I believe that eventually, over the course of a season, those numbers will even out.
The other thing that I've learned, is the importance of depth in fantasy sports. In football, where you have so many injuries, and bye weeks, it is critical to have a stable of good players. The same is true in baseball, where players go on cold streaks, get nicked up, etc. Even though you will probably start Vladimir Guerrero 18 out of 20 weeks, there may come a week or two where he's a little cold at the plate or slightly injured and you sit him. Of course, the week you sit him, he'll hit .430, with 5 home runs, and 11 RBI, but hey, that's the way it goes!!! ALWAYS TRUST YOUR FIRST INSTINCT when it comes to setting your lineup. I like to set my lineup early in the week and I only change it if something forces me to. More often than not, whatever your initial thought process is turns out to be right.
Good luck to all this season. Remember, be PATIENT with your stars. They will come around and those numbers will even out in the end.
Posted on: April 15, 2009 9:15 pm
I consider myself a true sports fan, but since the demise of my Bulls, it just hasn't been the same. Baseball and football are true team sports which operate best when there is parity throughout the league and you tune in to see surprise teams like the Tampa Bay Rays or the Arizona Cardinals. Basketball is the ultimate team sport, which is highlighed by an individual. Basketball functions best when the stars take over and dominate the league; a la Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, etc. Wasn't the NBA more exciting during 2000-2002 when the L.A. Lakers had star power? EVERYBODY tuned in to watch the Lake Show. Even if you weren't a Lakers fan, you always wanted to know what they're doing.
My NBA pulse usually gets going around this time of year, so I'll definitely be tuning in to the playoffs this weekend. I've been talking a friend of mine into going to the Bulls game to scalp some tickets when we have a home game. That would be a lot of fun. I may even take my wife down to catch a game.
I'm really excited to see LeBron James in this year's playoffs. His team has the best record, and home court advantage, and they are about to tie an NBA record for having the best home record (40-1) in a season. James is the NBA MVP and this is his year to win it all. The NBA Finals will be headlined by LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, the NBA's two biggest starts on its biggest stage. Personally, I think the Lakers are too strong for Cleveland. With Pau Gasol, a fresh Andrew Bynum, Bryant, Odom, Derek Fisher, and a host of other role players, they may just be too much. It wouldn't shock me if the Celtics knocked off Cleveland in the East. The only problem there is the health of Kevin Garnett. If he's not 100%, the Celtics have no chance. They may not even get by the Magic, assuming everybody wins in the first round (sorry Bulls).
Well, let's get it on! This will give me something to do in between watching my fantasy baseball team crash and burn. That's an entirely separate blog though... Fantasy baseball is the most challenging fantasy sport BY FAR. More to come...