Philly Has The No. 1 Pick!

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Da Sixas, a.k.a., the Philadelphia Seventy Sixers (if you’re not from Philly), have the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.  Look out Warriors!  That’s right — NBA Finals, here we come!  (in a few years, or so, give or take).  Anyway, Philly snatched the No. 1 pick from Boston, that’s right BOSTON — that hated rival up nawth — and now we’re on our way. Whoever said your enemies are good for nothing didn’t realize that your enemies are actually good for somethin’.

Anyway, while it’s distasteful and disdainful to celebrate prematurely, in sports that is, in this case we’re going to make an exception. Because spiritually speaking, you never wait till the battle is over when in the end you know that you’re going to win.

Now, the Sixers will have “Trust the Process” Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jahlil Okafor AND potentially Markelle Fultz on the same squad!? Seriously? And they’re all young and hungry?

Drop the mike!

So, if and when the Sixers win an NBA Title with this roster, it will be one of the greatest turnarounds in sports history. So, when and if that happens, I’ll need all of you to hit me up and say that you heard it here, and you heard if first at Godandsports.net.

Go Sixas!

 

 

Joel Embiid To The Philly Faithful: “Trust The Process”

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PHILADELPHIA — Joel Embiid began the night as nervous as he has ever been. But by the end of his highly anticipated pro debut, Embiid was showered with chants of “Trust the process!” while already becoming the 76ers’ go-to player.

Playing in his first regular-season NBA game after missing his first two seasons due to two surgeries on his right foot, Embiid drew oohs and aahs from a sellout Philadelphia crowd — even on missed shots — by flashing the versatile potential that made him the third overall pick in 2014 out of Kansas.

More important, though, was the fact that the 7-footer got up and was OK after taking a hard spill in the second half while fouled in transition. His fall drew a collective arena-wide gasp from the 20,487 who came to witness the start of the Embiid era.

Embiid kept playing, and he didn’t disappoint, finishing with 20 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in a 103-97 Sixers loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday. In 28 games with the Jayhawks, Embiid never scored 20 points in a game. (ESPN.com)

So, Trust the process, right?  We all need to trust the process of God.  At times it might not be pretty and it might just be painful, but we all need to trust the process -the process of God that is.

Here’s what a Philly sports writer had to say about what Philly fans and the Sixers organization have gone through these last three years:

It has been an emotional journey for Embiid and the Sixers, who have endured a historically bad rebuild that has seen a total of 199 losses over the past three seasons. The losses, though, have enabled the team to draft the likes of Embiid, Ben Simmons and Jahlil Okafor.

The Sixers drafted Embiid in 2014, but the raw center had to undergo two surgeries on his right foot before finally taking the court this season.

“There are times when I get emotional, like watching him today walk around in shoot0around and you see [all the arena] seats with white shirts placed on them, and it’s opening night, and Joel Embiid is here,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said before the game. “I lived every second of that journey with him, good times and bad, and for him to arrive now here … knowing the work and uncertainty and the emotional strain that he went through, wondering if he would play again, to see him arrive, it is a special night.”

“We have gone through 52 players,” Brown said. “Count them, 52 players that I’ve put on the floor. Only 11 are still in the league. We’ve gone through 14 point guards. Count them, 14.” Now, Brown can walk into a locker room and see keepers. So even though Wednesday appeared to be just another loss, it was far from that.

“I am seeing something that has a chance to grow, that we can all wrap our arms around,” Brown said “And on opening night to do some of the things that we did with [Embiid and Saric], it does feel a little bit different on opening night.” (Keith Pompey – Philly.com)

So again I say, trust the process. Joel Embiid’s comeback is epic. Philly fans everywhere are pulling for him and rooting for him and cheering for him to make it. So, take it from Joel Embiid: it might seem hard, and it might BE hard, but trust the process of God working things out for good for you.

 

 

Odell Beckham Jr: OBJr = OMG!

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Odell Beckham Jr., the New York Giants’ sassy and sensational young receiver, is a knucklehead. Or maybe he’s a knucklehead in the making. Or maybe he’s already a full-fledged, full-blown, full throttle blockhead who doesn’t know his butt from his belly bottom. I’m talking dumb and dumber, personified.

Beckham in two seasons has become one of pro football’s most popular and celebrated players and the focal point of the Giants’ offense. His spectacular one-handed catches and entertaining end zone dances after touchdowns have made him a marquee name in sports and a frequent pitchman for commercial products across multiple media platforms. Beckham also graced the cover of Madden N.F.L. 2016, the best-selling sports video game.

But he’s also a knucklehead. A knucklehead is a person of questionable intelligence. The point is, figuratively speaking, that the size of their brain is being compared to the size of a human knuckle. The term is similar to pinhead, or someone of limited intelligence and with a mean nature or someone who prefers using their knuckles or fists, to using their head.

Odell Beckham Jr., or OBJR., was penalized three times for unsportsmanlike conduct during a game-long battle with Panthers cornerback Josh Norman AND THEN after the game he was suspended by the NFL for one game because he repeatedly tangled with Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman.

The suspension was for multiple acts as Beckham was whistled for three personal fouls (and it could have been more) for unnecessary roughness. But the most glaring incident came in the third quarter, when Beckham, running at full speed, slammed his helmet into the side of Norman’s. In college they call that “targeting” and it warrants an immediate ejection from the game, whether it was unintentional or not.

In announcing the suspension, the league referred to the vicious collision as a flagrant hit against a defenseless player, “in which Beckham left his feet prior to contact to spring forward and upward into his opponent.” Unbelievable.

In an era where safety comes first and flagrant fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary roughness are examined under a microscope, players do well to play within the rules and within themselves and not let their emotions get the best of them, especially when it comes to inflicting injury on another player. But OBJR doesn’t see it that way.  

After the game, Beckham defended himself.

“We are out there playing football,” he said. “We are competing. You are a competitor. I’m a competitor. We are always going to go at it.”

Wow. “Go at it” he says. Slamming your head into another player is called targeting or spearing, and once they called it head hunting. Can somebody say “Knucklehead!?”

Not surprisingly, this is not the first time OBJR has been fined for this type of behavior. In fact, this is the FOURTH, count it, fourth time Beckham has been suspended or fined in his short career for violent acts or temper tantrums. In 2014, he was fined $10,000 for kicking Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree in a brawl-filled game in St. Louis. The same month, he was fined $11,025 for taking off his helmet and throwing it to the turf during a prolonged protest of a late tackle out of bounds. Early this season, Beckham was fined $8,681 for throwing a punch at Buffalo Bills safety Duke Williams.

So what can we learn? Or, more pointedly, what should Mr. Beckham learn?  He is 23 years old; old enough to know better and yet young enough not to know what he doesn’t know.  And he doesn’t know how to behave like a professional. He’s substituted macho chauvinism for proper professionalism and is behaving badly like so many of his other young and unbridled stud athletes these days. Jahlil Okafor, take note (https://godandsports.net/2015/12/02/jahlil-okafors-rookie-mistakes/). 

So let’s just hope and pray that his pride is humbled before his haughty, high mindedness costs him more than fines and one game suspensions.

Jahlil Okafor’s Rookie Mistakes

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Jahlil Okafor was the third round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. He went to Duke University where he won the NCAA National Championship. He is a high priced, highly touted rookie who will go higher and farther if he learns from his recent rookie mistakes.

Okafor’s had a mess of a month. On the court, his team was winless, 0-18, until last night. Off the court, he’s recently made some miscues and mistakes which have been exposing and embarrassing. And for his recent involvement in a street fight in Boston, Jahlil has been suspended for two games effective immediately.

Okafor, who will turn 20 on December 15th, was caught on video engaging in a brawl with a man outside a Boston nightclub in the early-morning hours after losing to the Celtics after LEADING by 11 late in the game. The victim filed a report with the Boston Police Department, and police have urged any other possible victims to come forward. The videos released by TMZ appear to show two separate scuffles.

It is now reported that Okafor was involved in two altercations leaving nightclubs, the most recent after a loss in Boston that saw TMZ release two videos detailing Okafor punching out hecklers. He also was stopped on a bridge by police last month driving 108mph in a zone where 40 mph is considered reckless.

Last Sunday, Okafor tweeted that “I own my choices” and he “doesn’t want to be a distraction for my team” going forward. He went on to say that

“I hold myself to a higher standard than anyone else ever could and I’m not proud of some of my decisions over the last few months,” Okafor wrote. “I own my choices both personally and now publicly. At this point I am cooperating and respecting the process I have to go through.

Going forward I don’t want to be a distraction for my team and am grateful for the support and guidance those close to me are giving. I am 100 percent focused on my responsibility to the league, my teammates and fans.”

He called the Boston punching incident “dumb” and “something I’m embarrassed about.”

As for the Philadelphia 76ers, the team released this statement:

“Jahlil is a very important part of our organization and our future. While we are disappointed with his recent actions, we have faith in him as a valued member of the Sixers. We will provide the necessary resources to support him on his journey and will do our part to help him succeed both on and off the court.”

On the court, Jahlil has experienced basketball success. Despite the fact that his team is now at the bottom of the barrel, he has a promising future. And off of the court, Jahlil has experienced extreme exigency with his mother and exciting expectancy with his father.

Jahlil’s mother, Dacresha Lanett Benton, died when he was 9 years old as the result of a collapsed lung. Jahlil moved to Chicago to live with his father, and Jahlil’s story became two stories, connected: the story of a boy turning to his father to learn to become a man, and the story of a father whose wandering life – a life of mistakes and trouble and unfulfilled potential, a life cast in the shadow of his own mother passing away at a young age – was set straight when he realized that, now, he was all his son had. “Without Jah,” Chucky Okafor told me simply, “I’d probably be dead or in jail.”

After Jahlil’s mother died, the father came to save the son. It turns out the son saved the father, too. 

So what can we learn from Jahlil’s life and his recent letdowns? Disappointments and downers and difficulties can and must be overcome. Unforced errors are messes of our own making which can be controlled. And we can control them. The tragic death of a loved one, especially your mom at an early age, can be traumatic and even catastrophic. But it need not be cataclysmic. We have the innate, God given ability to bounce back and bound forward, if only we limit and learn from the “rookie” mistakes we make along the way.

Who Really Won Big In The 2015 NBA Draft?

Okafor Drafed by Sixers

Who Really Won Big In The 2015 NBA Draft?

Well, if I’m from Philly, and I am, I’m loving our First Round Draft Pick.  Jahlil Okafor? Seriously? We got HIM? Right now, in Philly, they’re dancing in the streets. I mean the Mummers are marching down Market Street right now. And the Philly Faithful will note that the Mummers strut down Broad Street on New Year’s Day. So while this is a big deal, let’s not get carried away. Until we WIN another title.

So back to who won. And who won big. We did. Philly absolutely won. I mean, I would like D’Angelo Russell AND Okafor, but you can’t have it all. I mean, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. At least not every season. So we got the best player in the draft.  And to win big you have to draft big. Just ask every team who’s won a title.

So learn to pick well. Learn how to choose and to select and to decide on the best and nothing but the best. Because anything less than the best is really sin; it won’t get a grin, and it just won’t win.

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Go Sixers. And Congratulations Jahlil. Welcome to Philly.