DeMarcus Cousins & The Sacramento Kings: “We Like Him But We Don’t Want Him”

demarcus-cousins

DeMarcus Cousins was traded from the Sacramento Kings to the New Orleans Pelicans. Sacramento is 24-33 and in ninth place in the Western Conference, one game behind the Denver Nuggets for the 8th and final playoff spot. The Pelicans are 23-34 and in 11 place in the West.

But Cousins is the Kings leading scorer, averaging 27.8 points and 10.6 rebounds this season. The three-time All-Star recently served a one-game suspension after accruing his 17th technical foul and will be forced to serve additional suspensions with every additional technical he incurs for the rest of the regular season.

So the question is this: will it work? Can Cousins calm down and settle down and simmer down and play basketball alongside one the NBA’s elite players, Antony Davis, the 2017 All Star Game MVP, who is also on a struggling team? The Pelicans sure hope so.

From the outside looking in, Cousins is a head case. After publicly saying that they would not trade Cousins, Vldae Divac and the Kings turned right around and traded him. On Feb. 6, Divac told ESPN, “We’re not trading DeMarcus … we hope he’s here for a long time.” Yeah, right.

Divac’s public statement, sources said, followed a face-to-face meeting days earlier in which he assured Cousins and his representatives that there would be no trade and that the sides were on track for the extension this summer.

So why was Cousins traded? Because he’s a hot head and everybody knows it. The Kings now have the chance to start over because there was growing internal concern about Cousins’ unpredictability and run-ins with referees, and these were chief among the lures that convinced Sacramento to go forward with the trade Sunday, rather than playing the process out until Thursday’s trade deadline.

So the lesson is this: what do people think and say about you? What do they say publicly, and does it match what they say privately? The Kings were willing to part with arguably one of the NBA’s best big men in order to get … Buddy Hield? It doesn’t make sense unless you understand why the Kings wanted to get as far away from Cousins as possible.

Our attitude determines our altitude.  Period. Those around us can see and sense our disposition a mile away. And because we are supposed to emulate and imitate and mimic and model Jesus Christ, let’s hope that this ironic, sarcastic and sardonic “we say we like him but we really can’t stand him” attitude can’t be pegged on and doesn’t apply to any one of us.

Charles Oakley and The Sad State of the New York Knicks

charles-oakley

It’s all so sad. It’s all so saddening. And it didn’t have to end this way. The removal and arrest of former New York Knicks star Charles Oakley on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden didn’t sit well with fans in and outside of the arena and current and former NBA players alike, who were shocked at his treatment.

Oakley — a fan favorite known for his toughness, defense and rebounding alongside Patrick Ewing during the 1990s — was removed from MSG by security and then was charged with three misdemeanor counts of third-degree assault and another third-degree misdemeanor.

Oakley, the tough-as-nails big man who played 10 seasons in New York, got into a shoving match with security guards during the Knicks’ loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. The 53-year-old was escorted from the World’s Most Famous Arena in handcuffs, according to another source, by the NYPD and he subsequently was charged with three counts of assault and one count of criminal trespass.

We don’t know what Oakley may have said, but we know what James Dolan and the Knicks organization did. And a handful of current and former NBA players reacted to the incident on social media, supporting Oakley.

There’s right and there’s wrong. There’s a right way and there’s a wrong way to do things. And this one smells really wrong. With something like this occurring just a few feet away and allegedly at the direction of James Dolan, the owner of the Kicks, it’s no wonder that this once proud and prestigious NBA franchise is stinking on and off of the court.

Dwyanewade
10years!!! 10 years Oak gave everything he had for this organization and the image everyone will be left with won’t be this picture. It will be the imagine of him being taken down to the ground last night in the same arena he gave his all 2 as a player by the guards! This Could happen to any of us!!! #StayWoke We are not above this treatment!

The Return of Kevin Durant: Why Oklahoma City Is Still Mad — And Why They Need to Get Over It

russell-westbrook-e-kevin-durant-1

We loved seeing them together, on the court, at the photoshoot, and everywhere in between. But now that’s over. That’s all over. And we may never see them together again. And that’s why OKC fans are so hurt and why they’re so mad.

IT’S BEEN SEVEN months and six days since Kevin Durant made his decision to leave town and to break camp and to get out of Dodge, err, I mean Oklahoma City. February 11, 2017 has been circled on the calendar for quite some, and for good reason.

“The Return” comes after Durant gave nine celebrated seasons to the fledgling NBA town called Oklahoma City. Before Durant, this was only college sports territory. Without objection, Durant single handedly put this franchise and this Midwestern urban oasis on the basketball map. But when free agency rolled around, he chose another suitor. So after all of the love and the laughter and the good times and the great games, he chose to ditch them for their hated and heated rival, the Golden State Warriors.

“The Oklahoma City Thunder have moved on, or so they say. Clearly, the city hasn’t moved on, at least not entirely, as aftershocks attest, like T-shirts that read like a math equation: “35-35=0”. Aka, Durant wore number 35 while playing for the Thunder, and his departure, meaning No. 35 – No. 35, equals Russell Westbrook’s Number: “0.”

In addition, the occasional No. 35 jersey with Durant’s name changed or crossed off — still reverberate around town from time to time. As much as there’s celebration and appreciation for Russell Westbrook’s historic run, a trail of smoke lingers.

The two haven’t spoken since Durant left, and probably won’t for some time. Betray Westbrook’s trust and you’re dead to him for a lifetime, whether you’re a reporter, a coach, a friend or a teammate.

Westbrook’s remarkable, historic season has transformed what was expected to be a year of mourning into one of excitement and passion. He has sopped up the sadness, keeping the words “Kevin Durant” mostly out of the mouths of Thunder fans.” Royce Young, ESPN Staff Writer

So what will the reception be like tonight at Chesapeake Arena when Durant steps onto the floor in the house that he built? People are human, and when we are let down and feel betrayed or begrudged, for whatever reason, we hold it against and hold fast onto hurt feelings and let go of any goodwill that may have been generated or said or done. 

So while I understand how OKC fans feel, I’m still a Durant fan. And if you’re a sports fan, you should be too. Durant’s leaving opened the door for Westbrook’s appearing. Westbrook’s wonderful, delightful, breathtaking season full of triple doubles and double downs (on him) and his single handedly picking up where Durant left off is a sports spectacle like none other. And they have an anticipated playoff run.

durant-westbrook

So go ahead OKC fans; go ahead and boo KD tonight. Go ahead and get it out of your system. Any and all sports fans the world over were let down when the one we loved left town.  We’ve all been disappointed and disillusioned by a professional athlete or a sports team or two.

Sports are like life, and life is like sports. We’ve all be let down by a boyfriend or a girlfriend or a good friend or a relative or a boss or too. Welcome to club. Now all you have to do is get over it. The rest of us did, and you can too.

The Greatest Comeback in Super Bowl History

tom_brady_sports_illustrated

What Happened to Atlanta?

What happened to Atlanta? Tom Brady happened to Atlanta, that’s what.

What happened? Thirty-One unanswered points happened. Overtime happened. And most of all, momentum happened. Atlanta was winning by double digits, but Atlanta lost momentum as they gave the game away. They had the Patriots down 21-3 at the half and 28-9 after three quarters. But it didn’t matter after they lost momentum.

Once Atlanta lost momentum, you had that sinking feeling that they were going to lose the game. The Atlanta Falcons and the NFL’s newly crowned MVP Matt Ryan LOST an epic Super Bowl to the greatest franchise in the NFL, simply because they lost momentum.

Brady and the Patriots won 34-28, in OT, and in the second half and in the extra period, the Pats outscored and outplayed the Falcons 31-0. MAN! Said Brady, “We all brought each other back. We never thought we were out of it.” How’s that for confidence?

Joe Buck and Troy Aikman called the game for Fox Sports.  After it was all over, they said that New England redefined the word Momentum. Atlanta had the game in the bag, up nineteen points, 28-9,  after three. But Lady Gaga laid a mojo on the Dirty Birds. Ryan and the Falcons went into the locker room and didn’t score enough again after Lady Gaga dove into NRG Stadium and danced away the hopes and dreams of the Falcons faithful. Those rooting for Atlanta watched in horror as Brady did his thing and came back to win a thrilling, exhilarating, breathtaking Super Bowl.

It was the greatest of comebacks. It was the grandest of turnarounds. And it’s everything every Brady hater had hoped not to see. You’ve gotta’ be so sorry for Matt Ryan, and you’ve gotta’ be so enthralled by Tom Brady. Like him or lump him, you gotta’ respect him.

And so the lesson is clear: don’t lose momentum. Do all you can to steal it and snatch it and grab it and get it anyway you can. But most of all, when you have it, keep it. Because a change in momentum is all you need to turn the tide and stem the flood. And momentum will carry you over and past and through anything; past a huge deficit and past a hot quarterback and past a great defense.

And past an almost sure loss to an even greater and ultimate win.

So never give up. Brady didn’t. And Brady did it. He overcame and overpowered and overawed the Football world. He’s a five-time Super Bowl winner and a four time MVP.

Well done, Tom Brady.

Lady Gaga?

lady-gaga-super-bowl-50-halftime

Lady Gaga?
I’m old. I don’t listen to contemporary music and I don’t know a thing Lady Gaga sings. Yet she’s doing the halftime show for Super Bowl LI. Go figure. So let me know if I should watch, because I’ll probably be on a nacho run or a hot wings break.

I’m just saying.

Don’t Bet Against Brady

  tom-brady

I’m not a Tom Brady fan. I’m not. And I don’t like the New England Patriots. I don’t. But something tells me to tell you not to bet against Brady and the Pats in Super Bowl LI. Don’t do it. As much as I don’t want them to win, I think they just might pull off and turn in another super, Super Bowl.

 Some say that sports and life are polar opposites. In fact, sports and life are actually opposite sides of the same coin.  In both sports and life, there are some things that you thought would never happen and yet happen they do. In sports and in life, there are the improbable, implausible, almost impossible occurrences and incidents that no one, and I mean no one, could even dream up in a thousand years and yet “Voila!” – they appear and emerge and transpire right in before our very eyes.

 Such is the case with Tom Brady. He is headed for yet another Super Bowl, after a season of suspension and turmoil, and perhaps the only thing that stands between him and another Super Bowl ring is a favorable coin flip or two.

 This year, Matt Ryan may be the sentimental favorite. But Brady is still Brady. He’s still coached by Belichick and he is the only member of the Patriots roster left from the 2005 Super Bowl Team. If there’s one constant in the Patriots puzzle, it’s Brady.

“Since the first week of the season, it has seemed inevitable that it would end this way, with Tom Brady in his seventh Super Bowl and two years of drama finally winding down to one final scene.

 From the moment the New England Patriots beat the Arizona Cardinals in the one game they seemed most likely to lose without Brady — on the road, in prime time, in the first start of Jimmy Garoppolo’s career — the trajectory of the Patriots’ season was set. That first month certified Bill Belichick’s ability to adapt to his circumstances, without Brady and then, incredibly, without Garoppolo, too, shutting out the Houston Texans with rookie third-stringer Jacoby Brissett under center.

But everything after — the 13-1 record since Brady came off his suspension, the nearly flawless regular-season statistics, the relentlessness of the Patriots’ offense even after Rob Gronkowski was hurt — was testament to Brady’s own ability to compartmentalize and carry on.” By Judy Battist, NFL Media reporter

Sports science stipulates cohesion and consistency and comrade on any and every team. And yet, with all of the shuffling and shifting, the one constant with the Brady Bunch is, you guessed it, Brady. The Patriot Way is the Brady Way. Brady has won more than most. So it’s difficult, nay pert near impossible, to bet against Brady. So don’t do it. Don’t bet against Brady. Just don’t do it. You’ll thank me later.

Brady, the University of Michigan stud, was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round (THE SIXTH ROUND!) of the 2000 NFL draft. In Brady’s 13 full seasons as a starter (he missed nearly all of 2008 with a torn ACL), the Patriots have earned six trips to the Super Bowl, winning four. Brady has won three Super Bowl MVP awards, two league MVP awards (2007, 2010), has been selected to eleven Pro Bowls, and has led the Patriots to more division titles than any other quarterback in NFL history, with thirteen. Brady is fifth on the all-time list for career passing yards and third for career touchdown passes. His career postseason record is 22–8; his playoff win total is the most in NFL history. Unbelievable.

 Some players aren’t pegged or don’t seem to have the potential to pan out and prosper. Yet someway somehow, they seemingly, consistently and continuously find a way to win. We might not like them but we sure do respect them. They give us patterns and paradigms to follow. Whatever happens, and in spite of who comes and despite who goes, there stand players like Tom Brady, like a stone wall. He’s endured derision and disdain from everyone from Roger Goodell to me in this blog. But like the Bible says, Brady is steadfast and unmovable.

 So, like him or lump him, just don’t bet against him.

Signing Day: Penn State and Brailyn Franklin

c3lp1wiwcae2nfm

Brailyn Franklin is going to play for Penn State!

Brailyn is a fine young man. He “picked” Penn State over Maryland, Temple, Virginia Tech, and Syracuse on Signing Day. He attends church in Manassas, Virginia where his pastor, Bishop Wesley Cherry, Sr. preaches and teaches and lives and breathes faith. And watching him from a distance, it is clear that Brailyn is a product of his family’s and his church’s faith. His proud parents are humbled by the prospect that their son was recruited by a Big 10 Power school, and are moved even more by how Heaven is elevating Brailyn.

Sometimes faith is mixed with “pinch me, I must be dreaming” amazement at how God has ordered and orchestrated the pieces of our lives to come and fit together perfectly. Brailyn’s athletic and emotional development is impressive. Add to it his maturation and progression and you get the excitement of Signing Day that is only surpassed by his unlimited potential.

Brailyn Franklin did everything for Battlefield (Va.) High School: rush the passer at defensive tackle, return kicks, run the wildcat, force fumbles, split out wide and built a stadium. Alright, he didn’t build a stadium. But he did build a solid relationship with Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry, and that was key in leading Franklin north to Happy Valley.

Here’s what the website FANSIDED said about Brailyn signing with Penn State:

Thin at linebacker, the Nittany Lions got an important piece of the puzzle on National Signing Day when linebacker Brailyn Franklin officially signed with Penn State. Franklin committed to the Nittany Lions back in August and followed through with that promise on National Signing Day.

Listed by many recruiting services as an athlete, Franklin will start at Penn State as a linebacker. He mainly played on the defensive line in high school in Virginia, but at 200 pounds, he’s better suited to be a linebacker in college. He’s a raw talent who would benefit greatly from an extra year to both develop his skills and build some size. He could also move to the defensive backfield if needed.

Franklin’s versatility and speed make him a very intriguing prospect and Franklin could be a key addition to the defense. http://victorybellrings.com/2017/02/01/penn-state-football-20017-recruit-profile-lb-brailyn-franklin/

Franklin intends to major in sports psychology, a mission he’ll begin as soon as his Haymarket, Va., Battlefield High team finishes its 2016 season. “What I’m hoping to accomplish on the field this season is to actually get to the championship, and making sure that I finish out the season healthy so I can prepare for college,” Franklin said.

Congratulations Brailyn and welcome to Penn State!