The NBA Now Stands For “Not Boring Anymore!”

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The Philadelphia 76ers are on a roll! Last week they beat the Milwaukee Bucks and the LA Clippers. The Clippers! Granted, Chris Paul did not play, but still! And last night they beat the Sacramento Kings, without Joel Embiid. YES! The Sixers were 9-4 in January, and an easy vote for most improved team in the NBA.

The NBA is “Not Boring Anymore.” Harden beat my Sixers on the last Friday on the month by dropping 51 points on them as he recorded a triple double while scoring almost half of his teams points. And speaking of Triple Doubles, Russell Westbrook continues on his tear through the Association by raking up triple doubles almost at will.

And we haven’t event gotten to talking about LeBron crying like a baby or Sir Charles talking about King James like a dog and Steph Curry’s return to MVP form or John Wall being the player of the month, not to mention the Carmello Anthony trade/no trade saga in New York or the DeMarcus Cousins crisis in Sacramento or the Jimmy Butler/Dwayne Wade fiasco in Chicago. And I haven’t even mentioned the how good the Warriors are or the All Star Game Ballot Box brouhaha! Whew!

To be sure, the quality of professional basketball in “The Association” has gotten better. A LOT better. Now there are still too many sub-500 teams, but the exciting thing is, games are more fun than they were when I was coming up. And we’re talkin’ REGULAR SEASON games. Even though my team has a losing record, we are now winning games and are exciting to watch. Individual players such as Joel Embiid and many others are fun to follow as teams are jockeying for postseason positions and playoff spots now, and it’s still January!

Back in “The Day,” The joke on the NBA was that you only had to watch the last 2 minutes of ANY game to know who was going to win. But that’s not the case anymore. On any given Sunday, or weekday night for that matter, you can find a decent NBA game to watch. That has not always been the case.

The parallel is clear; our lives should be a mirror of quality and worth and excellence and value as well.

So it seems that the NBA has arrived, and not a season too soon. It’s not just the Warriors who are drawing crowds, it’s the OKC’s and the Sixers of the world that have a national following too. And this year, I might even watch the All Star Game.

Mary Tyler Moore Turned The World On With Her Smile

 

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Mary Tyler Moore turned the world on with her smile. I grew up in the ‘70’s, so that means I grew up watching Mary Tyler Moore every week on CBS.

Mary was an American actress, known for her roles in the television sitcoms The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–1977), in which she stared as Mary Richards, a single woman working as a local news producer in Minneapolis, and The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966), in which she played Laura Petrie, a former dancer turned Westchester homemaker, wife and mother. Her film work includes 1967’s Thoroughly Modern Millie and 1980’s Ordinary People, in which she played a role that was very different from the television characters she had portrayed, and for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Moore became a cultural icon. She was a “plain jane” who served as an inspiration for many younger actresses and professional women. Her show was groundbreaking and her characters often broke from stereotypical images of women and pushed gender norms. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Tyler_Moore

So the lesson we learn from the life of the “girl with the three names” is this: can we turn the world on with a smile? Can we take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile? With each glance and every little movement, we should show it. Because love is all around, and there’s no need to waste it.  Amen

I don’t remember all of the words from the theme song for the Mary Tyler Moore Show, but a simple rehearsal reminds us that this short little sing-song is as iconic as she was:

Who can turn the world on with her smile?
Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Well it’s you girl, and you should know it
With each glance and every little movement you show it
Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can never tell, why don’t you take it
You’re gonna make it after all
You’re gonna make it after all
How will you make it on your own?
This world is awfully big, girl this time you’re all alone
But it’s time you started living
It’s time you let someone else do some giving
Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can never tell, why don’t you take it
You gonna make it after all
You gonna just make it after all

Football At Its Best

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The NFC and AFC Championship games pit four of the best NFL teams against each other and often produce two of the best football games of the year.  And we all thought that this year would be no different, even though it’s hard to imagine how Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers could play any better than they did against the Cowboys. Right? Nonetheless, we all anticipated a great matchup in Atlanta’s Matt Ryan and Green Bay’s Rodgers. Right? Wrong!

Rodgers didn’t show up. And Matt Ryan blitzed the Packers44 – 21. And Brady was Brady as he did in Roethlisberger 36-17.

So who ya got? The veteran Brady or the younger, understudy Ryan? Considering Brady’s four game suspension at the beginning of the season, it’s a wonder than the Patriots are still, and once again almost, at the top of the NFL world, again. And Ryan has the arduous and chalky challenge of STILL having to prove that he’s legit, even after his MVP caliper season.

So the lesson is this: we should live life at the highest level.  We should do our best and live our best and be at our best, all the time. But unfortunately, that doesn’t happen. We fumble and stumble and mumble our way through life; and that’s, well . . .  that’s life.  Our humble  humanity is full of frailty and fallibility. That’s why we need help. And the Holy Ghost from Heaven, the Father’s promise given, is the one who is ready and willing to help us when we need help the most.

Asking and receiving help from above to live life here below is the only way to be at our best. So stop trying to go it alone. Stop ignoring the unction of the Holy One and the leading of the Lord of all. Listen! Listen and learn to do well. Ask God for more wisdom. Ask God for more understanding. Because wise decisions and prudent actions are the only way to live life to the fullest.

As for this year’s Super Bowl, if Ryan and Brady play their best in Houston, this might be one the best Super Bowls yet.

Joel Embiid says,“Trust The Process!”

USP NBA: OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER AT PHILADELPHIA 76E S BKN USA PA

Joel Embiid: “Trust The Process!”

What is a process? Simply speaking, a process is defined as

  1. A systematic series of actions directed to some end; and
  2. A continuous action, operation, or series of changes taking place in a definite manner.

It seems that Joel Embiid is the one who will have the last laugh, as the Philadelphia ‘76ers are the laughingstock of the NBA no more. The Sixers are no longer in last place, as they are now surging and they are winning and they are beating some of the best teams in the league. Last night they beat the Raptors. The Raptors! Why are they winning? Or more precisely, how are they winning? I’ll tell you why, and I’ll tell you how. Because of Joel Embiid and “The Process.”

The Association’s longtime basement dweller and bottom feeder is now on the rise. They’re on the rise because the team and the fans and all of the Philly faithful trust “The Process.”  And I went to a game in Philly last Friday night and watched my Sixers beat the Charlotte Hornets!  If you were wondering what’s all the fuss, After watching the game in person, I can assure you that Embiid is as good as it gets.

Here’s what Sports Illustrated columnist Lee Jenkins wrote back on in October about Joel Embiid:

“He is engaging, charismatic and funny, but unlike many foreign big men, his humor is intentional. ‘You know how I learned to shoot?’ Embiid says. ‘I watched white people. Just regular white people. They really put their elbow in and finish up top. You can find videos of them online.”  How funny is that?

“First from the bench, then from a suite, Embiid watched the 76ers lose 136 games while changing general managers, overhauling training staffs and moving practice facilities. He became an emblem of frustration with the franchise, as well as a fascination. Maybe the Sixers were stupid to have spent such a high pick on a 7-foot center they knew was hurt. Or maybe they were genius, the rare organization (the only organization?) willing to wait for a Dream-shaking, floor-stretching, rim-protecting prospect the likes of whom arrive once a generation. Nobody could judge the graceful giant until he mended, body and soul.”

So well said and so well put.

So, aside and apart from all of Philly sitting on the edge of their collective seats watching Embiid and waiting for Ben Simmons (I can hardly wait!), here’s what we all can learn: we all need to go through as systematic series of actions directed to some higher and lofty legacy, not just “some end.”

Indeed, Embiid says that he IS the process. Amen brother. He didn’t just go through one; his life and his career are one. Since life is like sports and sports are like life, our lives are also a process. We are all going through a continuous, action and operation and a series of changes taking place in a definite manner towards a great and hopeful future.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11, NIV

Follow the Leader: Brady or Rodgers or Ryan or Roethlisberger?

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So who ya got? Which quarterback is better? Which quarterback will advance and carry and lead his team on to the Super Bowl?  Brady is Brady, and Rodgers is Rodgers (did you see that finish?) and Roethlisberger can’t be counted out. But what about Ryan?

Ryan is the presumptive MVP, but how can you bet against Brady?  And after Rodgers did what he did in Dallas, how can you bet against Rodgers?

Because it’s all about leadership. Everything, and I mean everything, rises and falls on leadership. For me, I need Heaven to lead me and guide me and instruct me in the way that I need to go. Because without a leader, you’re lost. You’re a ship without a sail and a plane without wings. Without an executive director or a chief officer, one who rules and guides and inspires us on and up and forward, we won’t win a thing.

So who ya got? A Brady/Rodgers Super Bowl would be just dandy. As for me, Rodgers has the hot hand and he may well win it all.

Aaron Rodgers Does Dallas!

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Rodgers does it again!  And the 13-3 Cowboys will have to wait until next year.

The Dallas Cowboys will not win Super Bowl LI. They won’t even go to the NFC Championship Game. Not this year. Why? Because of Aaron Rodgers.  That’s it and that’s all. Case closed. Rodgers basically beat Dallas all by himself, with an award for best supporting actor to Jared Cook.

Rodgers threw for 356 total yards, but none bigger than a 36-yard pass to a toe-dragging Cook down the sideline just after he had been sacked. Talk about being stagy and cagy. Then, field goal kicker Mason Crosby kicked a 51-yard field goal as time expired, sending the Packers to the NFC championship game with their eighth straight win. In so doing, the suddenly resurgent Rodgers thwarted a huge Dallas rally in a 34-31 victory in the divisional round of the playoffs Sunday.

Cook, who led Green Bay with 104 yards receiving, kept both feet inbounds with a knee just above the ground out of bounds. And it came after the Cowboys tied the game TWICE in the final 5 minutes behind rookie sensations Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott in their playoff debut.

Dak Prescott has nothing to be ashamed of. And Ezekiel Elliot did the best he could. But Dallas started slow and spotted Rodgers an 18 point lead. Yes they finished strong but they also came up short. That’s it and that’s all.

So what can we learn?

Wisdom and prudence beats hubris and ego every time.  Aaron Rodgers may be old and aging but he’s also senior and shrewd.  Yes he’s elderly in football years, but he’s also wily and savvy. And the veteran QB outlasted and out-dueled his rookie counterpart Prescott on the opposite sideline in a playoff game for the ages.

Wisdom and the spirit of wisdom are more to be desired than gold, yea even much fine gold. The Bible says that wisdom is the principal thing.  Remember that wisdom personified is Sofia, a delicate, dainty dame that is to be procured and protected. So get wisdom. Ask for her. Treasure her. She will never let you down.

And while Dak and Zeke are no dummies, I offer this scripture to emphasize how important wisdom is, and how dangerous it is to be stupid:

If you crush a stubborn fool in a mortar with a pestle along with grain, even then his stupidity will not leave him.

Proverbs 27:22, GOD’S WORD Translation

Note from Clemson: Don’t Be Surprised When You Actually Win The Big One

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Clemson Actually Won! Coach Swinney said “Only God could do something like this.” Amen brother. Down by 10 at halftime, Coach Swinney told his team

We’re going to win the game, because we love each other. I don’t know how, but we’re going to win the game.

Period. End of discussion. And after the game, Coach Swinney gave us the moral of the story: Clemson’s win gives us all hope, because “greatness is for everyone.”

So it shouldn’t be a surprise when our dreams come true. It shouldn’t be a shock to the system or a jolt to the nerves when everything we’ve worked for and everything we’ve hoped for and everything we’ve longed for actually and finally comes true and bursts through the front door.  

I am so happy for Coach Swinney.  I am. He deserves this win way more than most coaches that have won. And Deshaun Watson, Clemson’s star QB, was as confident and convinced and certain that his team would win as any other player ever.

Alabama did not lose the game; Clemson won the game, fair and square. Because Alabama was ranked No. 1 and Clemson was No. 2, it was an upset. But make no mistake, like it or not, the better team won. And Clemson clearly was the better team. And to quote Coach Swinney once more, “the win was not an upset, it was an expectation.”

The legend of Dabo Swinney just hit No. 1 on the charts and it will stay there for some time. The coach that almost nobody at Clemson wanted or heard of just won a national championship. And they didn’t just win, the won with ONE SECOND left on the clock! Wow.  Talk about a dramatic, come from behind finish. Some of the headlines spoke of the spectacular win:

Clemson Shocks Alabama to Win National Championship.

Clemson Wins National Championship in Thriller.

Clemson Stuns Alabama To Win National Championship.

Rarely is a sequel as good as the original, but Clemson rewrote the ending in its national championship story against Alabama. It was a triumph savored by Tigers players past and present.

Alabama v. Clemson II was everything we hoped it would be. The sequel was even better than the original. Legends were born as Clemson scored in the final seconds of the 2017 CFP National Championship, stunning Alabama with a thrilling victory.

Over the final 4:38 of the game, the teams would score three touchdowns and trade the lead three times, with the Tigers ultimately ending the night and the season on top the sport via a 35-31 final score. That insanity triggered a frenetic schedule that would continue for the coach, his family and his team that would carry on until well after most of everyone else on the East Coast was fast asleep.

He was already the best player in program history, but after coming up short in one title game and missing out on two Heismans, Deshaun Watson sealed the deal with an epic game-winning drive. At 12:27 a.m., the game finally ended after the game clock hung up on one final second for more than five minutes as officials made a ruling on the onside kick by Clemson.

What a way to win the big one.

http://www.usatoday.com/videos/sports/ncaaf/acc/2017/01/10/swinney-clemson-win-gives-hope-%27greatness-everyone%27/96393442/