Friday, August 28, 2009

Overrating Trevor Ariza

As a Laker fan who is one of Trevor Ariza's biggest supporters and whose friend had him dubbed Trevor "the future" Ariza, it was sad to see him go. He was a key cog in the Lakers' championship wagon and delivered some of the most exciting and timely plays of the season. He is still young and will probably get better.

But let's not get carried away. Trevor was a 9 point, 4 rebound a game guy this past season who was a great wing defender. This is not to diminish what he brought to the Lakers, but ;rather to put it in it's proper place. Ron Artest put up superior numbers and played a more vital role for the Rockets, but everyone is talking about how Ariza is ther better player. It's silly.

This leads me to my more general point that it is easy to overvalue a player based on one playoff ;performance and playing on the right team. Ariza benefitted from coming alive at the right time (the playoffs), playing in a huge market (Los Angeles) alongside one of the all-time greats (Kobe Bryant) and for the best coach of all-time (Phil Jackson). His accomplishments shined in the LA spotlight and he was deified for his performance. He had some great moments, no doubt. His late-game steals against Denver in the Western Conference Finals were magical, and his top of the key heave against Orlando in game 5 of the NBA Finals was the most underrated ;play of the 2009 playoffs.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Los Angeles Lakers Phil Jackson a Bad Winner

Don’t you love it when sports writers create a blog talking purely out of their, let’s just say, ‘ass’. A recent blogger on ESPN posted a story entitled Sore Winners. The main example used in the story was none other then the Zen Master himself, Phil Jackson of the World Champion Los Angeles Lakers. ; The story claims that Phil is a bad winner because we wore a hat with X, the Roman numeral 10, once the Lakers beat the Orlando Magic in the finals last month. The X stands for his unprecedented tenth title as a head coach, exceeding the great Red Auerbach. ;So why is the hat showing bad sportsmanship? Every time Michael Jordan won a title, he always held up the fingers of the championship, 1 through 6. Nike made a special shirt for Kobe Bryant’s fourth championship that he wore at the Lakers victory parade. Therefore by default, MJ and Kobe are bad sports too? ;Why should Phil, or any athlete for that matter, have to mask what they have accomplished? It’s not like he ran around the court refusing to shake the other teams’ hands, yelling he is the best. The hat was not just a way for Phil to show off, but a gift to him. It wasn’t a gift from Nike or any other sponsor, but rather a gift from his children. He wore a gift showing off his accomplishment from the people that matter the most to him. That’s a bad sport if I’ve ever seen one! ;

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tom Izzo's Legacy

St. John's Head Coach Norm Roberts and Steve Lappas join Jason Horowitz to discuss the coaching legacy of Michigan State's Tom Izzo as well as the Spartans' home court advantage.
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Sunday, August 23, 2009

5 Predictions for the 2009-10 Washington Wizards

; ;1. Gilbert Arenas will average over 8 assists per game – ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; It is quite obvious that with all the new offensive weapons and a healthy roster, Gilbert Arenas’ scoring average is going to go down. ;He isn’t going to be able to keep up a 29.3 ppg season like he did in 2005-06. ;My guess is that his numbers will drop down to around his career average of 22 ppg. ;Maybe even a little bit lower as there are going to be plenty of guys begging for the rock. ;Scoring averages aside, with Gilbert Arenas back in the line-up everyone will benefit. ;Gil still gets respect for his scoring capabilities, as evidenced in the two games last year in which he tallied 20 assists and no turnovers. ;He has the ability to draw the double team and help defense, much like Kobe, Dwyane, and Lebron, giving him opportunities to pass the ball off to the open man. ;In the two games he played last year, you could see that Gilbert still has a quick first step but is more cautious with it. ;That hesitancy makes opponents play on their heels which allows Gilbert to blow by them on a drive and get the basket or draw the foul. ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; What is going to happen is Gilbert will come out this season as a type of player we aren’t used to seeing wear number “0.” ;His essentially two years away from the game have undoubtedly changed his perspective as a floor general. ;What will emerge is a Gilbert Arenas that involves his teammates while still showcasing the killer instinct that makes him the great scorer he is. ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; Gilbert’s career assist average is 5.5 apg, a great figure for a small forward but not up to par with the best point guards in the league. ;Here are his assist averages over a few seasons:

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

James Vick Manny Beckham and Big Ben take a look in the mirror

Dave Dameshek, an podcaster gave kudos to Andre Agassi today ( on his podcast for his infamous mantra “ Image is everything” which Agassi stated in a Canon commercial over fifteen- years ago. ; Still, Dameshek argued, Agassi’s words seem fitting today as some top athletes currently find them-selves in a position of trying to restore their image due to off-field episodes that seemingly rattled their once squeaky clean perception. ; On Tuesday, TMZ released the feared truth; Lebron James was in fact dunked on by a Syracuse Guard named Jordan Crawford several weeks ago at the Lebron James Camp in Ohio. James reportedly may have confiscated the tapes, with the help of some Nike representatives until TMZ finally got a hold of them, somehow. ; In a book entitled The Beckham Experiment, author Grant Wahl explained, with the help of Los Angeles Galaxy star Landon Donovan, that it was indeed Beckham’s unwillingness to embrace the savior of American soccer that disallowed the sport from gaining any ground in becoming a main stream sport in America. ; ; ; ; ; Ben Roethlisberger will not only be fighting off defensive lineman next year but also some woman in a civil law suit who is accusing him of rape. ; Michael Vick wants to find a team to play for and be forgiven for killing dogs ( or having them killed) while Manny Ramirez is trying to battle back from a 50-game suspension for doing drugs. ; Because of their unfortunate off the field episodes, all of these for-mentioned athletes have one thing in common; they all have an image to be restored. However, the only way for these athletes to ever be perceived by the fans and the media as the cream of the crop again is to do what Adrian said Rocky should do; win. ; After being accused of rape in 2003, Kobe Bryant lost endorsement deals, respect from some of the fans and the media, and most of all his integrity. A few years later Bryant ranted on sports talk radio shows complaining that he needed better teammates that could help him win. The next season, Bryant was booed by his home fans at his first home game and ridiculed by opposing fans on nearly every road trip. ; ; But slowly but surely Bryant worked himself back into public approval. In 2008 he was the NBA’s MVP, in the 2009 Olympics he helped lead team USA back to the gold, ;and in the same year his Lakers were the world champions. While there are still people who dislike Bryant, let’s concur, most fans and journalists today associate Bryant with words like champion, winner and phenomenal athlete, as opposed to all the other negative things that use to pop into their minds. ; Less than a year after Ray Lewis was acquitted of murder chargers due to a plea bargain he chose, he returned to the NFL, and led his team to the Super Bowl while garnering MVP honors. Although Lewis was not chosen after the Super Bowl to repeat those infamous words “ I am going to Disneyland” by Disney World, Lewis has steadily inched his way back into public acceptance. Since the 2001 Super Bowl Lewis has been featured in commercials, done numerous television spots, put on the cover of Madden 2005, been involved in community services, and been selected to numerous pro bowls and is still highly regarded as one of the best linebackers in the league. While we can’t solely attribute Lewis’ resignation to his 2001 Super Bowl MVP, we can certainly conclude it was the match that ignited the fire. ; While Muhammad Ali was supported by many fans for deciding not to enter an unpopular war, some of the media was not as approving . After three years of not being allowed to fight, Ali returned to the ring to defeat nearly every foe in his way and eventually regained the title by defeating George Foreman. Today, almost nobody calls Ali unpatriotic or points to his unwillingness to go to Vietnam. I think it is safe to say that Ali’s success after being allowed to fight again left no room for ridicule; His success simply overshadowed his questionable decisions. ; Beckham, Vick, James and Big Ben all should try to take similar routes to take back up to the top. Sure, giving charity is nice, having your family by your side is touching, and appearing in commercials is a good gesture, but nothing says more than winning. Just look at Alex Rodriguez whose image is shakier than a Los Angeles earthquake. No matter how may MVP’s he wins, Yankee fans will only forgive A-Rod if he helps them win a ring. ; If Beckham wants to quite the Los Angeles Riot Squad at games, he must lead the Galaxy to a winning season, embrace the LA scene, pay for his team’s dinner, and perhaps even win a championship. If not, than enjoy your flight back to London and thanks for nothing. ; Vick cannot just come back and play-football, he has to enable fans to fall in love with his joy stick speed again. Maybe even take his team to the playoffs all while being a good teammate. ; Ironically, James decided not to shake hands with the Orlando Magic after losing in the Eastern Conference finals. James confiscation of the tapes at his camp shows the same characteristic; poor sportsmanship. No matter what happens, if James continues to fail, media and fans will helplessly point to the two incidents as an indication of James’ failures. Mantras such as “ James cannot win because he does not know how to lose like a man” will certainly be uttered by some. ; Roethlisberger is sord of an enigma because he has already won two Super Bowls. If he gets out of the mess he is currently in does he have to come back and win another Super Bowl to re-envent his image? Not necessarily, since he is already a proven winnner, but I guranatee that if he does come back and continue to be succesful that the incident in Lake Tahoe will be all the more easy to be forgotten, guilty or not guilty. If he returns and never wins again, than talk of “ Ben only won the big one because he was in a proven sysytem” will be all the eaiser to say. ; ; ;If we dare, let us take a tip from Manny Ramirez. After coming back from suspension Ramirez has batted 347, with four home runs and 17 runs batted in. While the rest of the world may have issue, Ramirez is adored in Dodger land, ala take a look at Wednesday night’s grand slam. A lot of that has to do with the fact that the Dodgers are in first but put it this way, if Manny was batting 215, with one home run and three RBI’s since his return, and the Dodgers were in last place, would he still obtain standing ovations? ; I understand that winning does not cure all. A murderer is not fully forgiven if he lifts up the championship trophy, nor should he be. My gist, however, is that above all winning can replenish an image more than Gatorade can quench your thirst. ; Don’t agree? Then why aren’t guys like Mike Tyson and Allen Iverson note-ably thought of for their outstanding talents first and foremost? Because their off- the field and even on -the-field misshapes have never been followed up with great success. ; This argument as a whole might also seem simplistic. It is human nature that when somebody does something bad, you tend to forgive them after a while, especially if they do a good dead. But some things cannot go over-looked. Can a wife ever forgive her husband for cheating, no matter how many good deeds he does? But that is the beauty of sports. In almost all cases, winning can make fans and media forgive. Doing steroids is bad until you hit a grand slam in the World Series, right? ; Charles Barkley once suggested and was even ridiculed for stating that athletes should not be looked at as role models. “A million guys can dunk a basketball in jail; should they be role models?" Barkley argued. While Barkley was urging fans to simply evaluate a player based on his on the field performance we as fans can never make that leap. Image, like Agassi said, is everything and the only way to ever restore a damaged one is to come back on the field and win. ;

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Michigan St. vs. UNC Preview

Jason Horowitz is joined by Steve Lappas and Drexel Head Coach Bruiser Flint as they preview tonight's NCAA Men's Championship final between Michigan State and North Carolina.
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Frontcourt Battle: 'Nova vs. UNC

Jason Horowitz is joined by Tim Brando and Steve Lappas as they discuss Tyler Hansbrough's importance to UNC, the impact of Dante Cunningham for Villanova and their overall predictions.
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Once Known As The Rainbow Warriors How Can Hawaiis Coach Talk About The Irish

University of Hawaii football coach Greg McMackin was suspended for 30 days without pay this past weekend after he used a slur generally targeted at gays to describe Notre Dame’s chant before last December’s Hawaii Bowl. ;

In the aforementioned contest, the Irish destroyed the Warriors 49-21 on Christmas Eve ;to finally win their first bowl game since the 1993 season. ;

However, instead of providing Notre Dame and their players with ;proper praise for their shire domination, McMackin went on a bizarre tangent against the Irish and their Head Coach, Charlie Weis, Thursday at the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) football preview in Salt Lake City. ;

“The night before the game, ;Charlie gave this talk, and he goes, ‘Any Notre Dame fans in here?’” said McMackin, 64, as he recounted a banquet the evening prior to their bowl game. “He had his guys, ‘We do something special at Notre Dame,’ he said, and they do this little cheer, like this, this faggot little dance. So, my guys are looking at me and they are all trying not to laugh.” ;

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Villanova vs. North Carolina Highlights

North Carolina took care of Villanova 83-69 in the second semifinal to set up a 2005 Final Four rematch with Michigan State, this time for the National Championship on Monday night.
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Friday, August 7, 2009

Final Four: News and Notes 4/4

The coaching carousel is a hot topic during the Final Four, as vacancies at some of the nation's top programs remain unfilled. Gary Parrish and Jason Horowitz have more.
Time:04:41More inSports

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What are the Knicks doing

Why aren't the Knicks doing something to better themselves this offseason?


The organization is so far up their butts looking into the 2010 season that they seem to care less about what is going on this year. Sure, they might be making all the right moves to give LeBron James the most money that is available to a player, but regardless of money, why would James leave when he won't have very many options around him.

He wants money, but more than anything, he wants a ring. And if he wins the 2009 NBA Championship, you better believe that he will not be leaving Cleveland.

Then what? Project LeBron becomes a failure. Tracy McGrady? I'm sure he would love to play in New York, but at the stage of his career, he wants a ring. Plus, didn't he flirt with the idea that he may retire once his contract is up?

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Is there a heated rivalry between the San Antonio Spurs and LA Lakers on the horizon

The spurs and lakers have done just about everything possible to put themselves in a position to win a championship. Both teams added some key players and odds are that the western conference will come down to ;these two teams!

How is Ron Artest going to fit into the lakers rotation and get his shots? ;I know that he's going to bring a toughness to the lakers that they haven't had in recent years, but will he have a positive impact on the team? I'm sure Phil Jackson will do a good job of ;managing player issues. The spurs on the other hand, are back in the discussion with their offseason moves. It will be interesting to watch the lakers and spurs play during the regular season. They ;will meet ; four ;times and these games will all ;be statement games. The fact that the L.A. Lakers are the current NBA champs means that the San Antonio Spurs might have ;a little something to prove! ; ; ; ; ;

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