Monthly Archives: February 2012

Let’s Talk a Little Combine

Let me start with the least impressive…In fact, I will put it this way: I’m glad my team is not in desperate need of a tight end.  The TE prospects were good, but no stellar, must-have 1st rounders in this group.  According to NFL Network, only 14 guys were invited to this years’ Combine.  It was hard to find anyone to jump up and down about.  Basically we want an awesome blocker who can be another receiving option.  Many of these guys didn’t catch the ball well.  If you feel your team does need a TE, no need to panic…studs like Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski were drafted in the 2nd round.  Even Jason Witten and Jermichael Finley were drafted  in round 3. I’d imagine that’s were guys like Dwayne Allen, James Hanna (who ran a fast 4.49) and DeAngelo Peterson would go round 3. They were all just…meh

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An Open Question on Danica Patrick

I don’t care what anybody says, NASCAR is not a sport.  This is why I don’t watch it. But after what I’ve seen this past weekend, I have to ask a question about it. But before I can ask the question, I have to do a little set-up work.

First, there is the issue of “sport.” A while ago, I wrote a piece that offered a hard definition as to what constituted a “true” sport. While this definition was applied to Olympic events, one can easily measure any activity against these criteria:

  1. It must contain at least 1 element requiring true athleticism; it must not be only the mastery of a particular skill.
  2. It must require the athlete to actively expend the energy to perform that athleticism.
  3. It must contain the element of competition with an objective scoring method used to determine a winner.

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The late Wayman Tisdale was one of my favorite Kings players as a kid. (Photo by: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

There have been 63 professional sports teams (4 major leagues) that have moved from one city to another for greener pastures for many reasons. The NBA has had more franchises move than the other three leagues, 22 NBA teams have left a city in the dust and not looked back.

To most people’s surprise the Kings franchise is one of the oldest franchises in NBA history dating back to 1945 before the NBA was a league, the Rochester Royals joined the NBA in 1948. So the Kings being this old, as the country has grown the Kings franchise moved as well and is one of the most moved franchises in all of sports (Roch./Cinn./K.C./Sac.) and they almost moved again to no doubt be the most moved professional franchise in all of North American sports.

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Behind the 8 Ball

The non-hockey market of Columbus, Ohio will have to continue waiting for a contender. No biggie, right? It has only been 12 years.

I doubt that very many people really care but the Columbus Blue Jackets are once again left to rebuild. An expansion franchise that has never really found its way in the National Hockey League, the Blue Jackets will likely be clawing its way up from the bottom of the barrel for another couple of years at least.

Unfortunately, this rebuild happened 1 year too late.

The trade for Jeff Carter in the off-season predictably did not have the desired results for GM Scott Howson. They gave up a 1st and 3rd round pick along with Jakub Voracek for a guy who ended up playing 39 unmotivated games. I have cottage cheese in my fridge that has lasted longer than that. Luckily for the Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi threw Scott Howson a bone. Howson got a 1st round pick back as well as underachieving defenseman Jack Johnson.

Nevertheless, Scott Howson messed up worse than Vince Young on the wonderlic test. Continue reading


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The Circus around the NBA All-Star Game, NFL and MLB as well!

My mild version of a weekly rant!

I wanted to do a post after the wonderful NFL pro bowl game that we had but I decided to hold off and save my energy for a later date. I wish you could hear the sarcasm in my voice, that was one of the worst pro bowls/all-star games ever, what an embarrassment for the NFL, luckily for them it’s after the season.

After watch this year’s NBA All-Star game and the somewhat sub-par events surrounding the over hyped party this past weekend with performances by Chris Brown and Pitbull it makes we wonder, are these so called best of the best events even needed and necessary?

In baseball a few years back the game was tied and going way deep into extra innings and players and pitchers were getting worn out, players were pitching that weren’t even pitchers, talk was going back and forth during the game about calling the game. But as we all know the MLB All-Star has the World Series home field on the line that in itself is another debate that most people don’t agree with.

The NBA All-Star game has no offense and is weak example of a pick-up game at your local downtown park.
The slam dunk contest has turned into who has the best prop, not so much who has the best dunk. The dunk started out as a play that is allowed during a real NBA game that is a flashy way. So why not put these exiting plays into a contest, but as time has went by its turned into a fake example of what can really be done in a game.

Now the talk is about how they can get big NBA stars in the dunk contest, like paying them.
It just really all seems silly to me, just a little!

The older I’m getting the less I even care about these events and All-Star circus.
They should just have the All-Stars picked and each one given a trophy and enjoy the break with some rest so they can get well for the second half f the season, the thing that really matters.

But the bottom line is there is a lot of money in these events and the reality is their not going away because the leagues make too much money hold these water downed, getting old sporting events.

But just because they hold them doesn’t mean we have to watch them. Now I do understand that if your favorite team has a player in these circus games you want to tune in.

But even still if you’re a Suns fan and you tune and care for the 19 minutes that Steve Nash plays what’s the point.

Bottom line is more about hype and in the end nothing rather than substance!
I do know that there are a lot of people who like and want these All-Star games but as a whole for you younger folks, there just not what they use to be.

What do you think? Let us hear it!

I feel a little better now, my rant was a lot louder after the NFL pro bowl game, but I lost some steam for a complete blow up!

-Bobby Charts


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Fantasy Basketball at its Finest

It’s Monday. That’s the time for us to get back to our normal lives. Some of us have classes, some of us have dull meetings at work that we must get to. Monday is usually all about getting back into the groove of your weekly duties. Especially after having a mind-blowing weekend. People usually have an abhorrence for Mondays–this is ten fold for me after All Star weekend.

This is the best weekend in sports to me. All Star festivities are amazing–if you’ve ever been you would know. I went in 2001 when the All Star game was in D.C. That’s when my passion for basketball really started to kindle. My father took me downtown and we had a blast. It was probably the best time of my life in my early childhood. I was only 9 years old at the time and I wanted to be the next Michael Jordan. We all know that’s not happening, but I’m grateful that the sport sparked my passion to be a thinker and a writer.

There is no better picture in sports than all of the best NBA players collaborating on one floor. It keeps the fans integrated into the process–to a fault at times–and makes us love the game even more. In recent years the dunk contest has been a failure, but people will still tune in because of the tradition. These things have so much meaning to basketball fans everywhere. The three point competition, the skills challenge recently, the dunk contest, the rookie/soph game–now the Rising Stars Challenge–epitomize what the fans want to see.

That weekend is more than a break, its a time where we can step back and look at how far the game has come. We can step away from the business part and look at the history of the game. We did that especially this weekend–there were some moments that were big in All Star game history. You had Kobe playing in his 14th all-star game–which isn’t a record but is astounding. Kevin Durant and LeBron James pushed almost broke Wilt Chamberlains scoring record of 42 points. Each man was six points away. Bryant had eclipsed Michael Jordan in scoring points in an all-star game, Chase Budinger recreated Cedric Ceballos’ blindfolded dunk, and this was the 20th anniversary of Magic Johnson’s return from his HIV virus.

This is the only time we’ll be able to see Russell Westbrook thrive as a shooting guard slashing to the rim. Steve Nash gave him a pin point laser pass that was about 60 feet across the floor. LeBron James won the dunk contest last night all the while going 6-7 from three-point range. By the way, Andre Iguodala placed a close second. Westbrook could’ve received honorable mention, but John Wall had been doing too much work on the rim the previous nights before.

This is the only time we’ll be able to see Rajon Rondo running with athletes. Possibly the only time for the rest of the year we’ll be able to see a few Boston Celtics involved in a game that goes over 96 points. Rondo gave LeBron James an awesome feed for an alley-oop from a little bit above the half court line. Chris Bosh received a few excellent feeds from Rondo too.

By the way, Boston and Miami working together is something else.

Blake Griffin murdered the rim with his powerful dunks. I didn’t believe that man could jump that high, but his head was well above the rim. He probably could’ve taken a bite out of it on all of his dunks. I lost count at about 5 but if I had to guess it would be around 8.

Dwight Howard–after playing a wonderful host all weekend–was dunked on about 3 times in a row. We’ll never see that again.

Kevin Durant was given the MVP after a 36 point outing. He deserved the award–I was proud of Durant because of him being from my area. I connect with him the most because I know some of the struggles that he has gone through. I have been through some of them and I know people who have gone through similar things. When saying that winning that MVP was a childhood dream he meant it; I’m glad he’ll be able to bring that home.

These games just make us wonder what it would be like to get all of these guys on the same team. They have no chemistry together, but yet they already know each other’s tendencies. What if Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James all played on the same team? What if Rondo had some elite athletes around him? What if Russell Westbrook played the shooting guard position with a point guard like Steve Nash or Chris Paul as his backcourt teammate?

Basketball is just so fun. There are things that these guys can do that no one else can. I hope you all enjoyed the weekend as much as I did.

Here are some of my favorite moments of the weekend.

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The End Of Joel Zumaya

In 2006 I watched the Detroit Tigers eliminate my New York Yankees in 4 games in that year’s ALDS.

Of all of the torturous memories I have of that series (including A-Rod’s embarrassing performance) what really killed me was how helpless the Yankees looked against one man.

His name was Joel Zumaya.

Zumaya was Aroldis Chapman before he existed. Zumaya was a fireball throwing right-hander whose arms were covered in flames literally thanks to matching fire tattoos on his forearms.

My first memory of him was game 2 in Yankee stadium that year. After Justin Verlander pitched 6+ impressive innings and clung to a one-run lead Tigers manager Jim Leyland called on Zumaya to handle the middle of the Yankees order.

He did more than handle it, he dominated it.

He blew away Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez with ease as they looked helpless against his 100 mph fastball. As he walked off the mound I hoped to God that the Yankees would never run into him again.

Unfortunately I as well as many AL batters are getting their wish.

Zumaya ruptured another tendon in his pitching elbow yesterday ending another season in what has turned into a tragic career for him.

Zumaya hasn’t pitched a full season since his breakout year in 2006 and has missed the last two because his throwing arm can’t hold up.

What looked like the start of a promising career has turn into a repetition of setbacks that could end his career.

It’s sad because Zumaya had the kind of stuff that pitchers and coaches die for. The prospect of facing him in the AL for years and years in the seventh and eighth innings was a nightmare for me and any fan that watched their team play the Tigers.

Unfortunately for Zumaya and The Tigers that won’t be the case. His career likely is over before it ever really got started.

You always forget that the human arm wasn’t meant to throw that hard for extended periods of time. Zumaya found that out the hard way.

That ALDSperformance will always be stuck in my head. I thought I was watching the next great reliever in the game who would dominate for years with an intimidating fastball that no one could hit.

I was… Unfortunately his arm didn’t see it that way.


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My Hero, My Mom, Brenda Victoria Johnson by Derrel “Baby Boy” Johnson


Daphne Johnson (in Mask), Brenda Johnson, and Derrel Johnson in Mid-1970s

Daphne Johnson (in Mask), Brenda Johnson, and Derrel Johnson in Mid-1970sMy Mom, Brenda Victoria Johnson, Playing in the SnowDaphne Johnson, Shanti Dixon-Gramby, Santa Claus, Derrel Johnson and Brenda Johnson


Daphne Johnson, Brenda Johnson, and Derrel Johnson, from the Mid-1970s

Daphne Johnson, Brenda Johnson, and Derrel Johnson, from the Mid-1970s


The reason why I am a passionate sports fan is my Mother, Brenda Victoria Johnson, who was my biggest fan. To the day she left this Earth, Tuesday, January 24, 2012, my Mom was a huge sports fan. She was a bigger boxing fan than I was. She would still watch Friday Night Fights and ShoBox: Next Generation. Continue reading


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A Suggestion For The NBA All-Star Weekend

The NBA All-Star weekend has concluded and the Western Conference pulled off the 152-149 win over the homestanding Eastern Conference team. The excitement was incredible, especially during the fourth quarter. But what was even more exciting was the dunks that were in this game. LeBron was throwing down dunks with tremendous force and so was Blake Griffin. Seeing these incredible athletes rattle the rim gave me an idea of how to spice up NBA All-Star weekend for next year.

I believe the NBA should find a way to bring the big-time stars into the Slam Dunk competition. No offense to the guys that competed this year, but Jeremy Evans compared to LeBron James is a no-brainer. Fans would be thrilled to see the stars compete on the big stage. After all, Dominique Wilkins and Michael Jordan used to compete in the contest even though they were accomplished stars. So why can’t these stars do the same? I believe that the fans are let down when the stars bow out of events and lesser name guys are competing.

So, my message is simple and it is directed to Mr. David Stern and the rest of the stars of the NBA. Get your butts in the Slam Dunk contest stars. The dunk contest needs you. Stern, make it worth their while. Throw a bonus in there for the winner like you do for the winning team in the All-Star game. Commissioner, if you cannot get stars to compete in the Slam Dunk contest, then I think that you should get rid of the contest altogether. It’s gotten worse every year and it will not get any better.

What are your thoughts on how to make the Dunk Contest better sports fans? Who would you like to see in it? I know I would love to see Westbrook, LeBron and Blake Griffin duel against each other.


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The  NBA All-Star break is now wrapping up, and that means that it is time for my 2011-12 NBA Midseason Awards. We’ve had many breakout stars as well as guys who have been making plays for the past 15 years. Taking all of those players into account, I have compiled 2011-12 Midseason NBA Awards: (ALL GRAPHICS MADE BY SAM BRIEF)



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