Escape From New York: Carmelo Is A Knick No Longer

Carmello Anthony Running and All Smiles
NEW YORK, NY –  Carmelo Anthony, #7 of the New York Knicks, is all smiles as he’s running out of  Madison Square Garden in NYC and is on his way to play for the Thunder in OKC.
Carmelo Kyam Anthony is smiling now. He’s smiling because he’s running out of and running out on New York. That’s right, Carmelo Anthony is a New York Knick no longer.  Too bad, so sad (for New York Knicks fans, that is). And the really sad part is that he seemed like he never really wanted to be there in the first place. Talk about continuous compunction.   

So let’s get it out there right up front: this has been one of the messier and muddier sports separations in recent memory. Discord, disharmony, and dissonance all led to distrust and the destruction of a viable team playing at MSG, and you could see it a mile away.

The spiritual lesson is eternally, powerfully poignant: always and forever, where there is unity, there is strength. But since there was only disunity and dysfunction in New York, it had to end in disaster, at least for the Knicks. And since one teams’s trash is another teams treasure, it appears that the OKC Thunder are now even more primed to go toe to toe with Golden State for the Western Conference Title.

So much for the color commentary; here’s the play by play:

Anthony, 33, is a ten-time All-Star, but the Knicks are prioritizing a full rebuild centered around Kritaps Porzingis after a tumultuous last few seasons. The team fired Phil Jackson as general manager and replaced him with Scott Perry in July. (And just who is Scott Perry?)  Anyway, New York went 31-51 last season and has not made the playoffs since 2012-13.

In Oklahoma City, Carmelo joins a team that acquired Paul George in the offseason, and reports say George and reigning MVP Russell Westbrook played an “immense part” in convincing Anthony to waive his no-trade clause.

Even after losing Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors in free agency last summer, Oklahoma City went on to win 47 games and make the playoffs.  If the Thunder are able to keep their new stars, they could set themselves up for many more  seasons of sustained success.

Anthony leaves the Knicks with uneven results. They made the playoffs three times during his tenure, including a 54-28 record and Eastern Conference semifinals appearance in 2012-13. But New York never reached the conference finals and had four coaches and one interim coach in Anthony’s seven seasons with the team.

The Knicks have had four consecutive losing seasons – three of them under Phil Jackson’s unproductive run as president. Jackson alienated Anthony as the team tried to go into rebuild mode. Though Anthony may have enjoyed living and playing in New York, he also realized his time with the Knicks was over.

So let’s learn the lesson again; in sports and in life, where there is unity there is strength. And when there’s not . . .

Too Much Talk and Not Enough Play

Lebron-Curry Some Cavaliers have been a little too cavalier with their comments. And some warriors have been a little too wanton with their words. Both teams are posturing and showboating and mudslinging so much that you wonder if they will have anything left when the games begin. There’s been too much work with the mouth and not enough play with the muscles. Of course the Finals haven’t begun yet, so let the talking terminate and let the games begin.

Goliath was a big mouth, and nobody likes a big mouth. Goliath was a loud mouth, trash talkin’, tongue waggin’ somebody. And until David came along, he could back up what he said by what he did. But that all changed. Because David could out talk his taunter because of what his God could do.

Trash talking is and always has been a part of the game. Oft-times players brag and boast about what they are going to do on the court and on the field, yet, only 50% of all trash talkers can deliver; only one team can win the battle for the game, and by extension, the trash talk war.

David and the giant Goliath engaged in what we would call trash talk. “The Philistine said to David, ‘Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?’ And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine said to David, ‘Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.’”

But David was unphazed.  He did not talk trash; he spoke by faith. “Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down, and cut off your head; and I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give you into our hand.’ ”  1 Sam 17:43-47, RSV

So many of us talk a good game, and yet we don’t back up what we say.  We say one thing, and do another. In my book, that’s trash talk. We promise but we don’t deliver. That’s trash talk.  Indeed we over promise and under deliver.  That’s trash talk.  We purport and “front” and sell wolf-tickets, yet when it’s time to cash them in, we come up short. We talk loudly and proudly before the game, yet slink silently and pitifully on the sideline; after boasting and brandishing we live unseen and unheard lives and are unable to back up what we say.

Many doubt our faith and our Lord. They are trash talking us.  They are wolfing us down. And so the question is, what is our response to this doubting, doubtful, degenerate generation? Like Goliath they look down on us and decry us and our God. Can we backup everything we say?  Can we do everything we promise? As Christians, can we perform and can we deliver?

No worries. As long as we speak the Word of God, we have no fear of trash talkers. And our Champion and King can back up what he says. He will do just what He says! Contrary to Ali, Jesus Christ the righteous is truly the greatest. What He promises He is able also to perform. So let’s follow our Lord’s example.  Let’s say we’re going to do the right thing, and then let’s DO the right thing. No more saying one thing and doing another.   No more reneging on our word. No more trash talk.

Bring It On!


This is the Finals we’ve all been waiting for: The Warriors vs. the Cavaliers, and now the Warriors have KD, Kevin Durant. It’s Ali / Frazier III all over again.  And this time, Love and Kyrie aren’t hurt, and hopefully Draymond Green won’t get suspended. So both teams will be at full strength, and we’ll see who’s boss. 

As Kobe once said, “to be the best you’ve got to beat the best.” So if you think you’re all that and a bag of chips, you shouldn’t worry who you’re playing. When you’ve got confidence and conviction and assurance and assertion, it doesn’t matter who’s lining up on the other side of the ball.

And the same principle applies spiritually. We who trust in the God of Heaven shouldn’t be worried or concerned when we’re challenged or cornered or confronted or called out. We know we’ve got a God who will fight our battles. We’ve got a God who’s got our back and our front too. We’ve got a God who won’t back down or back up or give in or give out when we need Him most. We’ve got a God who’s not afraid of the enemy or the opposition. Not in the least.  When we have a problem or a glitch or a quandary or a conundrum, our God says “Bring it On!”  We just have to hold on and hold out and not give up.

So wake up! It’s time to watch NBA Finals, and these Finals should show some of the best basketball ever. And if I fall asleep during one of those late night games, it will be because it’s way past my bedtime, not because one team is playing bad ball. But the action and the excitement and the drama should be enough to keep me awake, right?

The plot is thick and subplots are plenty. Will Durant get his ever elusive championship ring after jumping ship and leaving the Thunder behind and joining the Warriors? Will LeBron win back-to-back championships in Cleveland, after starting his career there before jumping ship and going to the Heat to win two rings on South Beach?

And will these be the best Finals ever?

Bring it on.

Derek Jeter: Baseball At Its’ Best?

Here’s my tribute to Derek Jeter, written two years ago. Jeter was honored this past Sunday night at Yankee Stadium. He was one of baseballs best.

God and Sports

Derek Jeter

Derek Sanderson Jeter just played in his last All Star Game and is playing in his 20th and final season with the only team he’s ever known. At the All Star Game he went 2 for 2 and was the darling of the dance. The incomparable heart beat of the Bronx Bombers, Jeter is the poster child of the pinstripe primadonas, and the captain of the team that captivates us all. Jeter’s team, the New Yankees, is the team that we love to hate, and Jeter is a player that we will hate to lose.

Jeter is the heart and soul and the modern “Pride” of the Yankees. He’s won five World Series rings, and lost 2. And the two he lost he hated to lose. And hating to lose, more so than loving to win, is his enduring legacy. His stats are stellar, but stats are only one thing…

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Little Davids Are Still Slaying Giant Goliaths

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In the 2017 Women’s Final Four on Friday Night, another David defeated another Goliath: Morgan William and Mississippi State ended UCONN’s amazing 111 game win streak. Morgan William made a clutch shot at the buzzer and defeated the giant juggernaut UConn after 111-games without a loss. The Bulldogs will now go on to play South Carolina in the NCAA championship game today, Sunday April 2nd.

One of the craziest things about this upset — aside from breaking UConn’s crazy win streak — is that Mississippi State actually faced Connecticut last year in the Final Four, but that time the Bulldogs lost in a blowout, 98-38. They were able to dramatically redeem themselves this year. And Morgan’s shot will go down in history.

It must be noted that Morgan William led the way as Mississippi State beat Baylor in the Elite Eight, but got emotional after in dedicating her performance to her late father.

The Mississippi Bulldogs were ostensibly underdogs entering their Elite Eight matchup against the Baylor Bears on Sunday night. As the Bears were the No. 1 seed in the region, Mississippi State was the No. 2 with a spot in the Final Four on the line. What oddsmakers and the committee seeding the 2017 NCAA Women’s Tournament didn’t factor in was Morgan William being an absolute clutch monster.

Standing at only 5-foot-5, the junior guard came out and had the game of her life. After taking the No. 1 seed in their region to overtime behind her efforts, William sealed the deal by carrying the Bulldogs the rest of the way to punch a ticket to the Final Four.

William’s incredible night saw her finish with 41 points, seven assists, three rebounds, one steal and one block as she simply dominated. What’s more, she also helped this Mississippi State program reach new heights.

However, the junior guard then got very emotional after the win alongside her coach. While being interviewed about her big win, William teared up as she started to say that Saturday was the three-year anniversary of her father passing away, dedicating the win to him though her coach had to finish the thought for his emotional star.

 Whenever you see a young college player have a game such as this, you know it’s going to be something they never forget. However, it adds something much more special when the circumstances are such as William’s. With the memory of her father helping fuel the best game of her collegiate career, this is a special moment for William that she’ll never forget, but also one that fans should remember and admire for a long while as well.

So the lesson to be learned from little Morgan is this: Goliaths are still lurking and threatening and barking and bullying. But have no fear; Davids are still standing and defeating and prevailing and conquering too.  

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


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.


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.