London Olympic Games Update: Style Over Substance

Some of this year’s most prominent London Olympic athletes live by the Angre Agassi credo of “Image is everything”, even though Agassi admitted in his autobiography that he was a meth addict at the time.  It seems that this generation of athlete wants the glory before they earn it.  Everyone loves a winner, but you have to win first if you want that type of treatment, otherwise you are a joke.  USA Women’s Soccer goalie Hope Solo and swimmer Ryan Lochte obviously didn’t get the memo.

Ryan Lochte beat  Michael Phelps in the Olympic trials, so I guess he thought that meant something.  He must not have realized that he still needed to beat him when it counts like Phelps did him.  He was taking little digs at Phelps leading up to the Olympics, and he even won a gold medal in the first event that he and Phelps faced each other head to head.  Then, on the first day of the Olympics with several events still to go, Lochte made it all about him by flashing his Paul Wall designed ice grill on the medal stand.  He definitely stunted on ’em.

That move created all the buzz with the media, but Lochte followed it up by losing the lead on the final leg in the relay,  and then not even medaling in his next event.  There was a story on ESPN about how Lochte trained with the same exercises that they use for the World’s Strongest Man, but, after running out of gas in a 100m swim, I have to question whether that was just something else to boost his image because you need stamina and strength.  But I think there is some substance to Lochte, I think he is probably frustrated being in the shadow of Michael Phelps for the last 12 years, but I can’t say the same for Hope Solo.

Hope Solo is strictly a media creation like those reality show stars.  The media says she is the greatest American woman goalie of all time because they know no one follows soccer let alone women’s soccer.   Anyone that follows the sport knows that Brianna Scurry is way more accomplished that her, but Brianna Scurry is African-American and didn’t seek attention.  Solo has always tried to get attention.  It started in 2007 when she called out her coach publicly for benching her in the World Cup, after they lost the game.  She ended up being kicked off the team that year for those comments.  Then in 2011, when she had her chance at redemption she gave up 2 game tying goals at the end of the game.  The US ended up losing the World Cup to Japan 3-1 on penalty kicks, when again she didn’t step up and make a stop.

So to distract from that fact, she later comes out with an autobiography and reveals how drunk the team was while doing interviews after the 2008 Olympics, how much sex goes on in the Olympics, and her parents conceived her on a conjugal visit while her father was in jail. All money ain’t good money, and I wonder how her family and teammates feel about these revelations.  In this Olympics, to keep her name in the news, she went on a Twitter rant against Brandi Chastain, a former soccer player turned commentator, saying the game has changed in the last 10 years and she doesn’t know the game.  I thought it was still about scoring goals, and not letting the other team score, but since women’s soccer is only relevant every 3 years at most, we may all need to brush up on the game.  Solo just needs to worry about performing, and getting some sort of redemption for losing the World Cup.  But then again, who needs to win, image is everything, and hers is perfectly crafted.

 

Vegas Summer League Recap

The Las Vegas Summer League is over and we have a better idea about some of the new rookies coming into the league.  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist impressed me, even though he only played 1 game, but he did everything and did it with energy.  Often people question the heart of today’s players, but that is not the case with Kidd-Gilchrist.  He goes hard all the time.  Second year player for Memphis, Josh Selby, and Portland’s rookie, Damian Lilliard, were named the co-MVP’s of the summer league.  Selby put on an incredible shooting display behind the 3 point line, possibly saving his NBA career, and Lilliard was the darling of the Summer League with many people calling him the best rookie outside of Anthony Davis.  Lilliard did average the most points in Summer League, but I wasn’t as impressed as everyone else because undrafted Dee Bost out of Mississippi State came in and looked impressive, which leads me to believe it may be the system.  Bradley Beal of Wizards played a good all around game, but his jumper wasn’t as advertised, and Austin Rivers struggled trying to play the point guard.  It will interesting to see how he and Eric Gordon co-exist in New Orleans.  Here is a list of the All Summer League Team, which of course includes Selby and Lilliard:

Vegas Summer  League – All League Team

Malcolm Thomas Bulls

Bradley Beal Wizards

Tobias Harris Bucks

John Henson Bucks

Jeremy Lamb Rockets

Dominique Jones Mavericks

Cory Joseph Spurs

Jimmy Butler Chicago

Kemba Walker Bobcats

Donatas Motiejunas Rockets

Jae Crowder Mavericks

Penn State Supporters Upset Joe Paterno Statue Removed

The statue of Joe Paterno was removed from Penn State University, and surprisingly many university supporters oppose the decision.  They contend that it was a rash decision and state that all the facts have not come out.  It is amazing that college educated people could be so naive.  The continued support for Paterno proves that he had the power and he had a responsibility to do more.  The Freeh Report, which found Paterno culpable in the abuse, was commissioned by Penn State University, and was led by Louis Freeh, a former FBI director.  The information came from emails and over 430 interviews of key participants.  What more evidence do they need? I would wager that these same people believed Sandusky’s story that he was naked in the shower with children showing them how to properly wash themselves.   But what is really surprising is that these college educated people don’t realize this scandal could destroy the school, not just the football program. Continue reading “Penn State Supporters Upset Joe Paterno Statue Removed”

Michael Vick Opens Up About Prison and His Book: Finally Free

Michael Vick has a book that will be coming out on September 4 called Finally Free.  The book was written while he was in prison, and in it he reflects on his journey that led to him eventually going to prison.  Vick is doing a promotional tour to promote the book and as part of that, he was on Pardon The Interruption (PTI) with Michael Wilbon and Chris Broussard.  He was very open and articulate with his answers during the interview.  He seems remorseful and a more humble person.  This is a testament to how far he has come in his progression.

Michael Vick on PTI

Penny Hardaway: A NBA Retirement Success Story

Penny Hardaway career was cut short and he was out of the lime-light, but that was because Hardaway was doing something positive.  It is a big deal when athletes make any kind of mistake, but their good deeds and self-less acts go unnoticed, which leads to their negative perception.   It’s the nature of society to celebrate another’s  misfortune, but I believe there is a racial component as well.  There are many former NBA players who have not only prepared for post life basketball, but they have also excelled in that phase of life.  Penny Hardaway is one of these success stories that you don’t hear about.
Penny went back to the urban area he was from, Memphis, and supported the community.  He didn’t just give money, he gave something even more important, his time.  Hardaway actually coached an inner city elementary school team.  He is like the Jim Brown of Memphis, speaking to gang members, so the children have a chance to succeed in life.  He is also a savvy businessman.

Penny is still under contract with Nike, and his foamposites are one of Nike’s top-selling shoes.  He has a high-profile salon and barber shop in Memphis, a celebrity fitness salon in Miami, a shooting skills website pennyandtheshotdoctor.com, and he is executive producer of Bottom Line Sports Show. He is also working with the state to secure funding for a 100,000 square foot facility in Memphis for the children to help them reach their dreams, and he emphasizes that it’s not only about sports.  Hardaway preaches education to kids, and he  fulfilled a promise to his grandmother and got his college degree in 2003, so it’s not just lip service.  A story like this needs to be told, but its a shame that so many don’t want to tell it.

They Are No Dream Team…Team USA Struggles to Beat Brazil 80-69

Team USA struggled in a 80-69 victory over Brazil in an exhibition in Washington, D.C.  Team USA trailed by 10 points in the second quarter.   Lebron James scored 30 points to will the team to victory, but they can’t be happy with this performance.

Team USA shot 6 of 24 from 3 point range, which isn’t going to cut it against the better teams because those teams are going to pack it in and make them hit jump shots.  I hope this gets them focused on the task at hand, winning the gold medal, instead of worrying about their historical significance.

People need to realize that dunks and athleticism look nice, but this is a team game about fundamentals and execution.  Team USA has the talent, but the other teams have been playing together since they were kids, and they know how to maximize each other’s strengths and minimize each other’s weaknesses.

Hopefully this was a wake up call, and Team USA realizes they are no Dream Team because the world doesn’t respect them like that.  If they want that kind of respect, they are going to have to go earn it because no one is going to give it to them.

Team USA vs Brazil highlights

Can the New York Knicks Afford Not to Keep Jeremy Lin?

The New York Knicks were adamant that they would match any Jeremy Lin offer, so we will see now that Lin has signed an offer sheet with the Houston Rockets.  The offer sheet was for 3 years and $25 million, but the contract reportedly will pay Lin $5 million in years 1 and 2 and $15 million in year 3.  This is significant because with the luxury tax that last year could cost the Knicks closer to $30 million.  First impressions are that it seems like an exorbitant amount to pay for an unproven player, but looking at the business side it’s a no-brainer.  The New York Times quoted some mind staggering numbers that justify that even with that third year, Lin is a bargain.

Carmelo Anthony is the star of the team on the court called the Lin contract ridiculous, but even after only playing 25 games, Jeremy Lin had the second highest selling jersey in the NBA behind only Derrick Rose.  Then the New York Times article quoted that the New York Knicks parent company, The Madison Square Garden Company, added about $250 million in value in February alone and about $600 million since Lin’s first start.  Today players aspire for global brand status and Lin’s Asian decent makes him just that.  He can deliver the very profitable Asian market that everyone wants into.

He was on the cover of Time Magazine, unprecedented for a basketball player.  Lin is a Harvard graduate, so he knows his value, and he may know that he can’t sustain it on the court, so he wants to cash out now.  I can’t blame him for that, but the question is can the Knicks afford to let their cash cow go? Let’s be honest, they aren’t close to winning a title with or without him, and with the Brooklyn Nets coming up, it is questionable whether they are even the best team in their city.  Raymond Felton isn’t going to bring in any extra revenue, and the Carmelo Anthony star is losing its luster, so can the Knicks afford to lose Lin at this time? We will know by Wednesday, but in reality he has already more than earned the money.

 

Kyrie Irving Challenges Kobe Bryant to Game of 1 on 1

Kyrie Irving Challenges Kobe Bryant

Along the same lines of Kobe thinking that his Olympic Team could beat the 1992 Dream Team, Kyrie Irving challenges Kobe Bryant to a game of one on one.  They say they are going to play next summer with the loser giving $50,000 to the winner’s charity.  I like Kyrie Irving, but he is too small to be trying Kobe like that.  They don’t call Kobe the ‘Black Mamba’ for nothing.  I can’t wait until the Lakers play the Cavs next season because Kobe says he may put 50 on ’em.  Peep the Youtube video this is some funny stuff.

2012 Olympic Mens Basketball Team Couldn’t Beat Original Dream Team

Kobe Bryant is trying  to motivate the 2012 Olympic Mens Basketball team by saying that they could beat the 1992 Dream Team, but the media is starting to give credence to the thought.  First off there is and will only be 1 Dream Team.  It’s funny how soon people forget impactful that 1992 team was.  It’s true that athletes are bigger and stronger now, but their fundamentals and heart aren’t the same.

Everyone mentions how Magic and Bird were old, but Magic was fresh because he hadn’t played in the NBA in a year and Larry was still a better shooter than ANYONE on the 2012 Olympic team.  The International game is more about shooting and fundamentals, and that is something that is lost on this And 1 generation.  Dunks look nice, but if you trade 2 for 3, you will lose every time.

Plus everyone is talking about Magic and Bird being old, but they fail to mention that Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, and David Robinson were all under 30.  The debate will rage on because so-called experts are saying they think Kobe is right, but there is a reason that ’92 team had an impact on the world.

In order to think that the 2012 Olympic team has a chance against the Dream Team, you have to think that there is someone on the roster that could deal with Jordan in his prime, and I, personally, don’t think that is the case.  Also I don’t think the 2012 Olympic team compares to the ’96 Olympic team with Shaq, Hakeem Olajuwon, Barkley, Karl Malone, Penny Hardaway Grant Hill, Scottie Pippen, and Reggie Miller.  I hope this 2012 team at least brings home the gold, since they are already comparing themselves to all-time greats.

 

Dwyane Wade Speaks On What He Was Going Through In NBA Finals

I was wrong about Dwyane Wade.  I questioned whether he was a superstar, and that still remains to be seen, but he can’t be judged on what he did in the playoffs because besides the knee injury he was dealing with some serious real life drama.  I knew his ex-wife was crazy because she attempted to sue his new girlfriend Gabrielle Union a few years ago, but I didn’t know she was this crazy.

Wade opened up about how he almost missed game 3 of the NBA Finals because his children, who he has custody of, weren’t being allowed by their mother (Wade’s ex)  to leave to come to Miami to be with Wade for Fathers Day.  I definitely respect him as a man after hearing this interview, and it is a testament to him that he was even able to focus enough to ever be productive on the basketball court because  he said, whenever his kids aren’t with him he has to worry.

Dwyane Wade The Father