The Dream Team

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We all look at the bonehead decisions that GM’s and owners make everyday with our favorite team and we say to ourselves, “man i can do what he does”. If you were a GM and given only $15 dollars to create your Dream Team who would you pick.

My first team would be: Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley and Hakeem Olajuwon.

Can you come up with anything better? Remember you only have $15 dollars. Put your GM hat on and let the games begin.

King for One Night

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Whether you’re Homecoming King, Prom King or Mr. ‘whatever college you go to’, there is that one night where you are celebrated and put on a pedestal in which most mortals couldn’t dream, but in the sports world we call that a Game 7. The most exciting game in pro sports has produced some of the greatest performances ever. It has catapulted careers (Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and MJ) and also diminished them as well (John Starks going 2-18 including 0-10 in the 4th quarter). I know my Knicks fans are going to burn my post but it has to be documented.  If you were in a Game 7, which basketball player would you want to be: LeBron, Kobe or Michael Jordan?

Before I began writing this, I asked some of my brothers their thoughts and most of them scoffed at this question. As a matter of fact the first response I got was MJ doesn’t get to Game7 lol. Damn man…don’t shoot the messenger it’s all just regular conversation.  From this conversation, I gave them three choices: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. Even though these 3 names were selected leave it to my man Cook to say Dirk. I ignored that response not out of spite but if everyone throws a name I will be writing forever. When talking to these guys, the consensus I got was MJ all the way and I can’t blame him. They went as far as saying; MJ shouldn’t even be included in these scenarios. He shouldn’t be mentioned with other basketball players. I can sense any 80’s baby with any basketball acumen would pick MJ but times have changed and possibly so will the answer. As so eloquently stated: “If you ask Jordan or anybody…you be crazy not to pick Jordan 99% of the time LOL”.  The respect for MJ is definitely warranted as I continue to hear support for MJ for example, ‘in practice I’m taking MJ, on vacation I’m taking MJ’. Another quote was ‘I’m picking MJ in games 1-7. And 8, OT, 1st quarter, 4th quarter. Halftime. Offseason.’

While success is normally determined by championships, Game 7 can be used in many arguments as well.  How a superstar competes under the fell clutch of circumstance goes a long way? This is the ultimate “win or go home” scenario. It’s a 48 minute PowerPoint presentation on clutch with a lot of visual effects. There is no bigger game, no greater moment than a Game 7. So how do some of the greatest players match up?

Game 7 Performances  
Michael Jordan Kobe Bryant LeBron James
Record 2-1 5-1 3-2
PPG 33.7 22.2 34.4
RPG 7.7 8 9.0
APG 7 5 3.6
FG% 45.7% 38.9% 47.3%

 

We can start with the man of the hour which is LeBron James. There was a time when LeBron was called “LeBrick James” or “Prince James” by Skip Bayless but recently he has begun to shed those names with 5 game 7’s in his playoff career.  He was 0-2 in Cleveland but now he has won 3 straight Game 7’s with the Heat averaging 34.4 pts, 9.0 reb and 3.6 ast. Let’s not forget his last Game 7 against the Spurs won them the championship.  LeBron has been on the come up and with a lot of basketball life left these stats could become staggering.

Here’s how LeBron has done in Game 7:

Opponent Minutes  Played FGM FGA FG% 3P% PTS REBS ASTS STLS W-L
Pistons(2006) 47 11 24 45.8 0.0 27 8 2 1 L
Celtics (2008) 47 14 29 48.3 27.3 45 5 6 2 L
Celtics(2012) 48 9 21 42.9 20.0 31 12 2 1 W
Pacers(2013) 41 8 17 47.1 50.0 32 8 4 2 W
Spurs(2013) 45 12 23 52.2 50.0 37 12 4 2 W
 
Career Game 7 Average 45.6 10.8 22.8 47.3 29.5 34.4 9.0 3.6 1.6 3-2

 

Next contestant is Kobe Bryant. The Black Mamba. The next legend in Laker colors. Only a matter of time before he has a statue and jersey lifted to the rafters amongst other Laker heroes. In six games, the Mamba averages 22.2 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal on 38.9 percent shooting. Even though his shooting percentage isn’t as efficient as the others he still has a 5-1 record which equates to 83.3 percent. Pretty impressive. One of these Game 7s wasn’t just a series clincher; it was a title clincher back in 2010 against the Boston Celtics earning him his 5th championship.

Here’s how Kobe has done in Game 7:

Opponent Minutes Played FGM FGA FG% 3P% PTS REB AST STLs W-L
Blazers (2000) 47 9 19 47.4 25.0 25 11 7 0 W
Kings (2002) 52 10 26 38.5 66.7 30 10 7 2 W
Suns (2006) 43 8 16 50.0 50.0 24 4 1 0 L
Rockets (2009) 33 4 12 33.3 25.0 14 7 5 3 W
Celtics (2010) 45 6 24 25.0 0.0 23 15 2 1 W
Nuggets(2012) 45 7 16 43.8 100 17 1 8 0 W
 
Career Game 7’s averages 44.2 7.3 18.8 38.9 37.0 22.2 8.0 5.0 1.0 5-1

 

Then the final contestant and notably the greatest player to ever play this game but the government calls him Michael Jeffrey Jordan. “Psycho, I’m liable to go Michael Take your pick, Jackson, Tyson, Jordan, Game 6” MJ has the least amount of appearances in Game 7, none of them which occurred in the Finals which further exemplifies that Jay lyric and how dominant the Bulls’ team were during their era. Even though he played in only 3 Game 7’s, his stats are mind blowing: 33.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal  on 45.7 percent shooting.

Here’s how MJ has done in Game 7:

Opponent MP FGM FGA FG% 3P% PTS REBS ASTS STLS W-L
Pistons   (1990) 45 13 27 48.1 0.0 38 8 9 1 L
Knicks   (1992) 42 15 29 51.7 N/A 42 6 4 2 W
Pacers   (1998) 42 9 25 36.0 N/A 28 9 8 0 W
 
Career Game 7 Average 43 12.3 27.0 45.7 0.0 33.7 7.7 7.0 1.0 2-1

 

What makes Jordan so revered about his game 7 performances is that he almost got a triple double in 2 of the 3 games. The Bulls were rarely pushed to a game 7 in MJ’s career but something worth mentioning is that in the two times that he did win game 7, he went on to win the championship.  The same can be said for Kobe as well as LeBron nevertheless MJ has the superior stat sheet.

Upon further review which may not have been a review for some of us, I would choose Michael Jordan. The other 2 contestants are by no means a slouch in this category but like my brother Whitfield said, ‘MJ shouldn’t even be included in these scenarios. He shouldn’t be mentioned with other basketball players’. If you went by number of Game 7’s played then Kobe wins hands down but looking at these stats MJ had the most polished Game 7’s. Even with 3 straight wins, LBJ is still just beginning his NBA Playoff career. These three people are the Game 7 Past, Present and the Future which makes this harder than before because Kobe if healthy has about 2-3 years, if LeBron stays healthy maybe another 10 years. If that occurs then this conversation might not even matter sike who I am kidding as long as Michael Jordan name is brought up it’s worth a conversation.

*All tables used in this article were compiled from Bleacherreport.com, ESPN.com and NBA.com

 

As the Ping Pong Balls Turn

NBA Draft Lottery

“Draft Day, Johnny Manziel…Five years later how am I the man still…Draft Day A. Wiggins…Fuck the other side bitch we stay winning…Now don’t think for a second if I have a Drake lyric, I wouldn’t have a Jay lyric: “keep it 100, I hit the lottery…lottery…lottery”

While the Pacers, Spurs, Heat and Thunder are preparing for Game 3 of their perspective conference finals, the rest of the league is preparing for the NBA Draft. There will be numerous commentary for Jay Bilas and the crew, Chad Ford mock drafts and hearing the word potential as many times as Solange hit Jay in the elevator.  There are countless meetings, tons of scouting reports and discussions about potential draft picks. I wonder if the staff is only allowed to watch the NBA TV Channel until the draft is over.  On Tuesday Night, the NBA Draft Lottery painted a rough sketch of the Mona Lisa but the masterpiece won’t be completed until the selections are made. Just hope your pick doesn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth like drinking orange juice right after brushing your teeth.

The NBA Draft Lottery is the one time where losing is actually winning. It’s like that scene in Project X where 3 nobodies have the illest house party in the land and their credibility shoots as high as Andrew Wiggins’ vertical. However, it could be like the dude who was a geek in high school coming back to their 10 year reunion stunting on them chicks who now look like Cleo from Set it off. Either way the glass can be half full or half empty depends on who does the pouring.

For the 3rd time in 4 years, Cleveland Cavaliers will receive the 1st
pick in this upcoming draft. According to basketball enthusiast, Tony Taliaferro, “since Cleveland did so shitty with their last pick they shouldn’t get a pick at all they should give it to the Lakers”. Tony if only the NBA was like that but since it’s not Cleveland will have the first selection in what has been ordained as one of the best drafts since 2003. Cleveland for obvious reasons is the winner because they keep getting chance after chance to improve their team. They did well with Kyrie Irving; however Anthony Bennett is looking like Hustle man for Martin playing the kazoo for a music exec because
that man is stealing. Is 3rd time a charm or 3 strikes you’re out?

Now that the NBA Draft Order has been picked why not created our first mock draft containing just the top 10 teams:

  1. Cleveland- Joel Embiid, C from Kansas

Don’t shoot me just yet but my spidey senses are tingling and I smell a C-O-N…spiracy. Bad enough Cleveland get the number one pick again but guess who’s a free agent???? LeBron James. Now I know we’ve heard this before but to be honest Cleveland needs help in the interior especially with rebounding and Anderson Varajeao is getting up there like my weight so why not Joel Embiid. In the event all of this is nonsense Andrew Wiggins will be the pick.

2.  Milwaukee Bucks- Jabari Parker, SF from Duke

What’s Cleveland loss is Milwaukee’s gain. Jabari Parker’s refined offensive game could be the spark that they need and is probably the safer pick as of right now. He can torch defenders with the jumper or with his back to the rim. He could be a 3 or a 4 but he does have things to work on such as his defensive ability to guard the quicker wing players. In the event they do make him a 4 does he have the size to be a good post defender?

3. Philadelphia 76ers- Andrew Wiggins, SF from Kansas

The slide for Andrew Wiggins ends here and the Philly fans begin to rejoice all up and down the city. They should have Allen Iverson introduce this pick but back to reality here. If the jump heard around the world didn’t excite you then check your pulse. He’s a great athlete who averaged 17 points at Kansas and is a great wing defender. Now imagine if he can refine his offensive game.

4. Orlando Magic- Dante Exum- PG from Australia

Well let’s face it…Jameer Nelson isn’t get it done anymore and Orlando needs a point guard. Don’t try to make Oladipo into a PG just let him be a great scoring guard. This is a wildcard pick because he’s only 19 years old and he’s from Australia. But 6’6 with a 7 ft. wingspan for a point guard can’t be frowned upon. His upside is too much to pass up at number 4 and it creates a young backcourt of Exum and Oladipo.

5. Utah Jazz-Noah Vonleh, PF from Indiana

Utah has a few options here but adding a big man to help out Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter could be beneficial. Noah has a back to the basket game but he can also stretch out the floor to hit the jumper. Right now I would call him a poor man’s Serge Ibaka. Here’s something to consider even though he only played 27 minutes a game at Indiana he still led the Big Ten in rebounding.

6. Minnesota-Zach Levine SG from UCLA (trade with Boston Celtics; Boston gets Kevin Love and the 13th pick while Minnesota gets the 6th pick, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, Brandon Bass and a 2015 first rounder)

Zach Levine did very well at the NBA Combine to boost his stock up to this pick. His agility time was fastest in the gym, a smidge under 6’6 and 41.5 vertical could be a great compliment to Ricky Rubio.

7. Los Angeles Lakers- Julius Randle, PF from Kentucky

He’s probably not the Lakers’ first choice but he may be the top option on the board with his size, strength, athleticism and offensive prowess that could cause fits for others big men. He could be a day one starter if Pau leaves or they can keep Pau at the 5 put Randle at the 4 add a role player a healthy Kobe and a good coach who knows….If Randle can find a jumper watch out.

8. Detroit Pistons-Nik Stauskas, SG from Michigan (Trade with Sacramento Kings: Sacramento gets Greg Monroe while Detroit gets 8th pick)

In one of Stan Van Gundy’s first move as head of basketball operations, he unclogs that jam at big man by unloading Greg Monroe for the 8th pick where he selects Nik Stauskas. He’s a good wing player with a deadly jumper and that backcourt of Jennings and Stauskas could be a jumpstart to something good as long as Josh Smith doesn’t shoot jumpers at al. But for Sacramento, can you imagine a frontcourt of Cousins, Monroe and Gay.  I don’t believe what I just saw –Jack Buck voice

9. Charlotte Hornets- Aaron Gordon, PF from Arizona

This would be a steal for the Hornets if Aaron Gordon is available at this spot. He provides defensive versatility and could form a formidable frontcourt with Al Jefferson. He’s pretty quick and has a 39.5” vertical which could make Kemba Walker smile like how he plays in Madison Square Garden…big

10. Philadelphia 76ers- James Young, SG from Kentucky

Philadelphia has to be smiling like a big man when he opens the grill and smells delectable grill food. First they get Andrew Wiggins and now you add James Young. Not to mention you really have a third 1st round pick with Nerlens Noel and the rookie of the year in Michael Carter-Williams.  This could make the Liberty Bell ring again. That lineup could be Noel, Young, Wiggins, J. Young and Michael Carter-Williams. Don’t forget they have money to spend this offseason as well could this be a 180 or another 360.

Until next time stay classy AI.

 

They dont LOVE you no more

Kevin-Love1

I wonder if Kevin Love listened to rap and if so does he blast the ending of “They don’t love you no more” by DJ Khaled featuring Meek Mill, French Montana, Rick Ross and Jay-Z. I wonder while he’s cruising in his vehicle is his saying, “they don’t love me no more”, “all this shit I have done for yall and yall don’t leave me no more”. According to Glen Taylor, the owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves he says “Is Kevin that great because if he is then why haven’t we made the playoffs yet”. Now for those that works in the real world like me imagine you’ve been at the company for 6 years; you’ve won numerous rewards, recognized by your peers and upper management as one of the best workers for the company just for the CEO to say, “are you really that valuable because we haven’t made no profit off of you”. If this happens to me then I should have the right to blast “Wanksta at 1000% but just the part where he says, “damn homie in high school you was the man homie what the fuck happened to you” Well this is what faces Kevin Love.

Kevin  Love is one of the premiere big men in the league and possibly has the second best jumper behind Dirk Nowitizki for a man of his size. (Don’t let Cook read this because he will quote every GroupMe with this, shit for all I know he might change the group name to Dirk has the best jumper for a big man because sonny said so).  He would be a valuable asset to any teams but as of right now:  Lakers, Rockets, Celtics, Suns, Bulls and Warrriors have expressed interested in Kevin and his services. Will he take his talents somewhere else? In the words of Lil Wayne, I say “hell yeah hell yeah hell yeah fuckin right yeah right all right”. Don’t get me wrong the one free agent everyone should be after is Carmelo Anthony but since he has yet to declare officially whether he’s leaving the New York Knicks, Kevin is the topic of discussion.

What does Kevin Love, milk, cars and some relationships have in common??? They all have an expiration date and Kevin is about to reach his. He is forcing the Timberwolves’ hand and now Flip Saunders has no choice to at least entertain phone calls for the power forward. I mean he could do nothing and lose his hand like Jamie Lannister and be the butt of  all the jokes. But one of the problems both parties will have is finding the right fit. It’s like a virgin at the drug store looking for condoms for his first time. What did I do is that case…I bought a pack of all of them and tried them out like Steve Carell in 40 year old virgin. Technically he isn’t a free agent until next year but instead of waiting a slow death he demands a trial by combat. If you don’t know by now Game of Thrones is one of the hardest shows ever. Six straight years of no playoffs (cues Jim Mora’s voice and face) and he wants out now. The Timberwolves have 2 options: either trade him and get as most as possible or let him play another year be a distraction and let him go for nothing. So for all the fighting you end up nothing like when Shenene sued Tommy on Martin. So let’s see what team could acquire Love.

Boston is very intriguing because they have the assets such as draft picks, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger which all come at a cheaper rate than Love and it could create a young nucleus for a few years. That should buy Flip Saunders some more time but if not off with his head. Of course this wouldn’t be a good story unless I talk about the New York Knicks. They are willing to give up Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert and a first rounder which isn’t until 2018 so it’s safe to say that the Knicks are out of the running but who knows with the Zen Master running the show. One of the more deadly teams that could possibly get Kevin Love is the Houston Rockets. Now can you imagine Harden, Love and Howard on the same team? Naw me either but Daryl Morey, GM of the Rockets is a pretty creative guy with respect to trades and he wants a third superstar on that team. If it wasn’t for Damian Lilliard and his Game 6 heroics who knows where the Rockets are right now.  Just for kicks, Houston would have to give up at 4 players and a draft pick but as long as it ain’t Harden or Howard I think everyone else is expendable. If I was Houston I might go for Melo instead of Love because they both can play the same position and imagine Melo, Howard, Harden, Parsons and others good grief.  Chiraq should also focus more on Melo than Love but hey when you have one of the best coaches in the game with Tommy Thibs and a healthy Rose and Noah anything is possible. I think Chicago has at least 2 first round picks which could be enticing but I know for sure they would have to give up Taj Gibson and others and that might not be worth it especially if he stays for only one year. Now if I talked about the Knicks then you know I have to talk about the Lakers. Come on now, even though Kevin’s father played for the Lakers they have no coach, an aging superstar in Kobe, no real assets and no financial flexibility until 2015. If Kevin decides to wait it out then they become more appealing. But for Lakers fans the time is now and they have faith when most of the world doesn’t. Case in point, I was talking to my brother Tony Tal and when I asked him what team would be a good fit for Kevin Love he said, “uhh Lakers duh. Now I know he is getting a lot of criticism about not making the playoffs in 6 years but I feel with K Love and Kobe and a role player or two and a decent coach. We can at least make the second round of the playoffs next year”. Is he delusional naw but there are numerous variables that can cause this not to work and fast. A young team that can be interesting is Phoenix Suns. They have a good coach in Jeff Hornacek and a backcourt with Dragic and Bledsoe but in the end one of them got to go and right now Dragic is the hotter commodity. Could you imagine Dragic and Rubio in the same court holy Toledo with draft picks yikes? Now the problem with the Suns is that there is no appeal in comparison to Lakers, Knicks or the Bulls but if he makes the playoffs with them then why not wear the purple.

My favorite team out of all of those teams is the Golden State Warriors. They have a lot of talent to give up such as David Lee, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and first round pick which is in 2019 but could be very valuable when the time comes. David Lee and Kevin Love are both white boys that average double-doubles and owed a lot of money so why not. Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green aren’t household names but they could create a young core that can save money and maybe wins. For Golden State, check this lineup out: Bogut, Love, Iggy, Thompson and Curry. That would be the meanest pick and pop combo in the league and the defense would have to pick their poison because all of them except Bogut can shoot the J, shoot it. But since they fired Mark Jackson after 51 wins the most since 93-94, the time is ticking now. The sand in the hourglass is reaching its end. They can’t hesitate they must win now even though this adds pressure to Steve Kerr but fuck it what’s the worst thing that could happen: they fire him. In my opinion the most intriguing is Golden State followed by the Bulls, Suns and Celtics. We shall see but until then, “where is the love?”

 

 

Move Onward Soldier

1st Air Cavalry Brigade ground troops build on advanced skills

(Disclaimer: I am not a preacher by any means..this is what I learned from church yesterday but last night I fell asleep to Joel Osteen and this is what was on my mind when I woke up)

There always comes a time where things aren’t going the way that you hoped but you continue to perserve. You begin to question Why me, Lord did I not tithe enough and the list of questions go on and on. But yesterday in church we discussed suffering and how it is broken down into 3 components:

1. All suffering is temporary

2. All sufferings is educational

3. All sufferings is beneficial

All sufferings are temporary for nothing last forever sure it may last longer than you want it to but it doesn’t last forever. For example you get the flu and you feel like you are suffering to the point of a slow death but within a week you back like cooked crack and ready to go back to your routine.  Abraham Lincoln once said, “almost all men can handle adversity but the true test of a man’s character is when you are given power”. See we are given limitless power through our Spirit but it how you use it determines the legacy you leave behind. The majority of my friends watch Game of Thrones and we saw King Joffrey being a bitch amongst all the bitches, if it wasnt for Tywin Lannister he would have been murked long along. See he used for power only for his gain whether it was getting the wolf killed in season 1 to his dealings as King. As we all know now he met his untimely demise but he’s a character I won’t miss at all.

All sufferings is educational. Like Hov said I dont lose because i learn something everytime which makes me even. ( I know a HOV enthusiast will give me the correct lyrics, song, time on youtube where he says it and maybe even do it in his voice..I nominate Tony Taliaferro as that guy but it could be a wildcard but you get my point) We as humans learn inwardly. Suffering brings us pain which in turns brings us purpose. There’s 2 things that you can’t learn unless you suffer: hope and patience. Whether it was me on line in 2003 or almost getting evicted in 2012 with a pregnant wife I learned the possibility of hope and patience. You ever pray for something and you get the complete opposite. I have before back in 2012, I just got married had the illest reception possible and I asked the Lord for a promotion. Guess how God responds? I get laid off a month later. So I have a pregnant wife, a toddler daughter, bills mounting up and the only work I could find at the time was driving a flower van for the Wylie Funeral Home. An educated black man with a Master’s Degree in Engineering driving a flower van, I couldn’t write this if I tried but I persevered and out of one conversation at my church, I’m at Verizon as an Engineer. I learned about hope and paience right there and now I must continue my path to provide for my family at all costs. I feel I may not have suffered as much as some but I’ve suffered enough where I can speak on it and you gonna respect it. If not then cool but you can suffer an ass whipping through these hands too. I can be amongst my Brothers and from the outside everything can be perfect but you can’t tell how someone looks from the inside. You see the cars, the women, the clothes but what you don’t see is the car note, car insurance, budgets and bullshit these same women are putting them through.  As I’m getting older I am realizing that I can’t focus on the earthly possessions because they are meant to fail, break and die. For example I bought a car and as soon as I drove off the lot the price value drop 10 stacks like “what the fuck”. 10 stacks tho I can see 2-3 because these Baltimore CIty potholes will fry ya whip like Royal Farm chicken boxes.

All sufferings are beneficial. I know you like this is past Sonny bedtime and he needs a nap. For the record once you have kids you don’t get no naps. See our sufferings are never meant for evil but for good. Because it’s all good because it’s all God. Our suffering reveals our weakness and it forces us to confront our problems. One of the problems that I have is that I try to live up to this persona as a pillar of strength for my wife and kids. The first problem with that is that a pillar is an object that doesn’t move or have feelings like a mountain, monument or stone. I’m not made of stone (gumbs made sure that with his clubbing escapades). It’s like because I’m the big black I can’t show emotion unless it’s me cooking food on the grill, watching sports or having tea parties with Morgan. I failed to realize that I am human and that I must express my feelings. I’m not one of those men that cries at the drop of a hat as a matter of fact I may have cried about 5 times in about 5 years. 3 of those times were at funerals and the other 2 for my kids because doctors always trying to say some negative shit and ruin the brief utopia I have.  But when my wife says show your emotion let me know that you care then I feel like is this a setup or nah. In our moment of weakness it’s God praying for God because he is praying for his children

Suffering will never replace the love that the Lord has for us but forces us to re-evalute our priorities. What I have learned throughout my life regarding religion is 2 things: There is a God and I’m not HIM because if I was there would be a lot less corny niggas out here in the world and a  lot of my friends wouldn’t be dead but that justs my limited perspective and that’s why I am not God. Since I can’t see the Lord in this life, I must keep my trust in Him because I know he’s capable of anything. I had to stop asking the Lord “why me” because he responded back with “why not you, just know thoroughout all of this I have been here every step of the way. Don’t worry about the earthly problems for MY glory is better”

The more I care about something the harder it is for me to pray about it because it’s personal. I can pray for all the homeless people, sick and shut in, soldiers without a problem because I don’t know any of them. But trying to pray for my friends is hard because I hate to see the people that I love goes through something. At times I feel like I can take anything and everything for everyone else because I’m strong as an ox and I can take whatever you throw at me. Then I realize I’m human because I get humbled from a Wylie slap, a Quianna lean or a dropkick. Have you ever been so drained you just didn’t know what to say? Were the 4 words you were supposed to say “Lord please help me” turn into ” man fuck this shit”. In that moment of weakness that’s when you become the strongest because the Holy Spirit is taking over and praying for you.

This thing called life ain’t easy but if it was how would you  be living. Throughout all the trials and tribulations there’s a turning point where there is a trimuph and victory. For those reasons alone, move onward soldier.

Kids say the Darnedest Things

morgan

Around 5-5:30 pm every day during the week, I pick up my daughter from school and we cruise to the city to pick up my son. The weather is getting better so more sights to see which means more questions by the little one. Normally, my son is gutted while I’m driving so it’s just me and Morgan talking about life well at least as she see it. So I’m on the corner of Greenmount and 25th waiting on the light to change jamming to some music when I hear my daughter say ‘Why is that man sleeping standing up?’. I said Morgan what you talking about homie. She repeated it then I saw a man on the corner dope fiend leaning. Now my daughter is asking me questions like ‘How is he doing that?, Daddy, I thought you need a bed and a pillow. Have you done that before Daddy. He needs a nap daddy’ I was thinking of the best approach because she is only 5 so she really won’t understand but it has opened her eyes to something like she hasn’t seen before. I said ‘Morgan, main man tired fa real and he couldn’t wait to get home but just know you will never do that, there is always a bed and pillow for you baby girl’. Morgan says ‘thanks daddy and can I hear that song again’. The song that was playing ironically was called ‘Move that Dope’. I can tell she was glued to the window to see what else she could see.

So we get home, I’m fixing her dinner helping her with her homework you know the normal Sonny routine when my wife comes home. Her steps become heavier as the baby grows every day. Quianna in advance I’m saying sorry because we breed some big ass kids. 8 pounds and up gang stand up. But, Quianna and Morgan are talking and of course Morgan says ‘Mommy, guess what I saw today… a man sleeping standing up have you done that before.’ The world stops even Reid woke up like awww shit. My wife face said it all. She was confused but had to remember the area where we live and shit like this happens every day B. Quianna sends Morgan upstairs and as soon as she hit the final step she turned to me with disgust and said ‘Sonny, keep my daughter innocent. The last time we had a conversation it was about butterflies not dope fiend leaning’. My first though was like ‘I aint even do shit why you buggin but since she pregnant I let it ride but on Greenmount those are just some of the things you see. Some of it may be my fault because growing up over West, my grandfather would drive me thru all hoods like Pennsylvania and Gold, McCulloh Homes, Murphy Homes, Lexington Terrace just to show how blessed I am and you could end up here if you don’t act right. I saw the hookers, hand to hand drug deals, fights, dice games anything you name it I saw it. I can’t front when Morgan is of age I will do the same she needs to know that everything that glitters aint gold. I know Morgan didn’t mean to try to get me in trouble but I can understand Quianna’s frustration. You know you work hard to get your kids out of every possible bad situation and yet it still happens. I look at those bad scenarios as teachable moments. Bad things happen to good people all the time going back to the Bible. You can ask God, ‘Why me’ and I can see Him responding back ‘Why not you’. Kids will humble you, make you laugh but they will always say the darnedest things.

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The Firing Squad

Every offseason in every sport there is turnover amongst teams whether it’s players, coaches, GM’s and in the Clippers’ case the owner. Some aren’t surprising like D’Antoni at Los Angeles or Tyrone Corbin in Utah or Mike Woodson in New York but yesterday one firing that sent the social media ablaze was the firing of Mark Jackson, coach of the Golden State Warriors. Mark Jackson had a 121-109 record over his 3 years reaching the playoffs 2 years in a row. His 51 wins is the most since 1993-1994 and 3rd behind Don Nelson and Al Attles in franchise history. His improvement from 23 wins when he first started to 51 hasn’t gone unnoticed to us as fans but as ownership sees it, ‘what have you done for me lately’. A 1st round exit to the Los Angeles Clippers pretty much sealed his fate as he foreshadowed that same sentiment by wearing all black which symbolizing being killed in mob movies.

Bob Myers, General Manager of the Warriors states: “Mark has accomplished many good things during his three years with the organization, including his role in helping elevate this team into a better position that it was when he arrived 36 months ago” If he do such a good job then why fire him. Sure he may not have been the ‘Yes man’ that many owners want to have but the results are there. 23 wins 3 seasons ago and now 51. Yeah, I know 51 wins only got them the 6th seed in the Western Conference but it’s the Western Conference. If this was the Eastern conference, they are battling for the top spot and Jackson’s job is safe for now. While Jackson has had the most amount of success since Don Nelson there were problems between him and the front office. Now I won’t say this is what happens when keeping it real goes wrong scenario but it obvious something went awry and it wasn’t fixable. Golden State Management is under a lot of pressure after this move but who is to blame for this?

When placing blame on something or someone there is never just one culprit. There’s always a catalyst, antagonist, instigator and then the parties themselves. When Joe Lacob and the rest of the management team made this decision they starting on a trail that can become very dangerous and could be the ultimate demise of this franchise and here’s why: they are risking the support of the players which is making them all this money for them and they are making it clear to potential free agents and coaches that we don’t really value your opinion. We’ll listen but we won’t hear you. Face it Run TMC wasn’t running out that locker room but with the help of Mark Jackson the Splash Brothers were created. Before Jackson, Steph Curry was a guy with a jumper and had glass for ankles. Now, he’s becoming one of the better Point Guards just like his former coach Mark Jackson; a coincidence I think not. There are 3 parties that are responsible for this: Injuries, Mark Jackson and the front office.

Injuries were a key factor in this season for Golden State starting with Andre Iguodala’s hamstring to Andrew Bogut’s rib injury. Golden State took the Clippers to 7 games without Bogut imagine if he played are we even having this conversation. Jackson has to take some of the blame because his inability to maximize the talent or adjust to the injuries his team occurred to his team which proved to be costly in the exit of the Warriors. Granted, his defensive mindset propelled them to 3rd in the League in Team defense but at times his offense was stagnant and relied on Stephen Curry and isolation ball. It was kinda similar to the episode of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air when the coach tells the team to pass the ball to Will and get out of the way. There were also times when Jackson would substitute the whole starting 5 for another starting 5 which created confusion and inconsistency.

But it’s not like he was gifted the best roster either, this is where management must take responsibility. Who gave Andrew Bogut a three year extension worth 36 million despite his injury history? Who traded two future 1st round picks to create cap space for Andre Iguodala? Who didn’t think to acquire some decent backup players? Who traded for Jordan Crawford and Steve Blake in the middle of the season which didn’t turn any positive dividends at all? I know it’s still early but has Harrison Barnes lived up to expectations? These are calls from management sure no one is free from blame but Mark Jackson will be the scapegoat. It’s easier to fire a coach then an owner so what’s next for Mark Jackson.

There are plenty of jobs available for him: Lakers, Pistons, Timberwolves, Knicks, Jazz, possibly Bulls if Thibodeau leaves or OKC if Brooks get fired. Just know he won’t be on the market long if he decides he wants to coach. He can go back to the broadcast booth when he came up with catchphrases like ‘hand down, man down’. Another alternative could be preaching since he is an ordained minister and leader of a nondenominational church in California. He will always be a leader whether in the pulpit or on the blacktop will remain to be seen.

What options are available for Golden State? Whoever they pick better create a bigger splash than Curry and Thompson could ever do? Is it too much pressure on the next coach? What coaches could be options? The names that I can think of off the top are: Kerr, Hoiberg, Ollie, Hollins, Karl, Stan Van Gundy, Tom Thibodeau and Mike D’Antoni. These are just guesses but we will see. Even though the lights at the coliseum are off, the pressure is on.

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Minivan’s: A Necessary Evil

Nothing like going to a dealership negotiating a deal and leaving with a new car. It’s like you just won a challenge on Price is Right. You’re excited. Not a care in the world and you ready to cruise the streets. Do you feel the same way if that new vehicle is a minivan? See, this is the dilemma that’s plaguing my family right now. As you may know my wife is pregnant with our 3rd child and her Nissan Altima isn’t practical for that type of family. First and foremost wanna thank the Lord for blessing with me 3 kids and also the ability to even think buying another car. Could it be done without a minivan sure but the way my weight is set up, it wouldn’t be comfortable at all. I can see Reid popping Morgan, Morgan crying the whole ride, the new baby hungry and wet and like all parents did while driving reach their hand back until they found some body part and start hitting.

There are pros and cons to this purchase. One pro is that there’s a DVD player, navigation, backup camera and spacing for the kids. But the con as my wife would say ‘It’s a minivan, Sonny. Can you imagine pulling up somewhere else valeting the damn Mystery Machine? Is it Scooby snacks in the back? Are we going solve crimes after dinner? How am I a soccer mom and my kids don’t even play soccer. How about another SUV’ Sure that sounds good in theory because I don’t want her driving my truck to the ground because she don’t want to be in a minivan. But in this case this is why a minivan is a necessary evil. It’s necessary because it accommodates all of our needs but the thought of us driving one is evil. Any cool points we thought we had left goes straight to Hell as soon as we pull off the lot. Sure we’ll get the ‘oh this is nice’ comments at first but about 10 minutes later someone will say ‘yo got a minivan fa real.

I can only imagine my friends’ reaction, the jokes will not stop. Luckily, I’m nice with the counter like Mayweather and can make it entertaining for all. My only thought is driving somewhere and the kids getting on my last nerve right when I’m about to turn into the Incredible Hulk begin to realize, ‘hey I got a DVD player here kids watch Wreck-it –Ralph and shut the hell up’ The SUV could be a viable option only if it had the same requirements as the minivan because the way my wife’s height and short arms is set up, I will be the only taking the kids in and out the car seats, basically I will be the ‘put your big ass kids in the car guy’ and quite frankly I don’t wanna do that shit. As I’m getting older, I realized the old Sonny you know the one cutting a rug at all the clubs just being on the scene is just a distant memory but damn I had a good time. Now I’m evolving into another person. A father, a practical human being where cooking on the grill is like heaven instead of bouncing butts in my face. Don’t get me wrong nothing wrong with that if that’s your thing but now I look at them like LORD please don’t let my daughters even come close to that. If a minivan has to be purchased can it be at least a cool minivan or is a cool minivan an oxymoron. I understand my wife’s viewpoints; it’s the transition we as parents want to avoid like the black plague but once it’s becomes airborne it’s too late. Off to the dealership or nah??? What are your thoughts about a minivan? Do you have a minivan? Is a minivan a necessary evil?

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There’s always a First Time for Anything

0.9 seconds left Game Damian Lillard off balance three…Game. Watching Roy Hibbert play like me on the court…Set. 5 almost 6 Game 7’s in the first round… Match. I know when you hear must-see television it normally comes from HBO, TNT, VH1 or possibly BET but lately must see television starts with these letters: NBA. There is no drama on TV right now as compelling as the first round playoffs. This is like the thrill of a March Madness game multiplied by 50. Is there a way that Round 2 could be better?

The matchups have been set, predictions have been made and even though these matchups are intriguing can they match the same intensity that had us glued to our seats for the past 2 weeks or was it an anomaly? I’m not a writer but if I was call the Golden Globe people not now but right now.

Think of your favorite show right now, for example Game of Thrones, 24, Boardwalk Empire, The Walking Dead and others and imagine watching 50 episodes consecutively where the impact increases with every episode. How many people would need an oxygen mask? How many timelines would you flood with your every expression? How many phone calls and text messages will you miss? How many times would you call Stoko’s for delivery?

Are you not entertained in my best gladiator voice is the only words I can use to describe my excitement for this NBA Playoffs. The playoffs were so good in the first round that I was a fight party for Mayweather vs. Maidana and he kept changing the channel back to TNT. Now I’m not poor or rich but if I spent 74.95 for HD programming, I’m watching every minute. As a matter of fact I would become a commentator; I might even watch it again like a re-run of Sportscenter but that just shows how entertaining the first round really was.

Even the best writers of all-time couldn’t fathom the outcome of the first round of the NBA Playoffs. If this was scripted who was the idiot that threw that Donald Sterling curveball into the mix. Whoever that person needs a vintage Iron Mike two piece combo to the forehead so you can look like Martin when he fought Tommy Hearns.

There were 50 first round games. 5 Game 7’s maybe 6 if James Harden played as much as defense as college kids play Madden or 2K but hey he’s a millionaire so who’s the real winner there. There were 3 upsets which brings the comparison of a March Madness tournament but there weren’t any real blowouts beside the 40 point drubbing LA handed to Golden State. There were 8 overtime games need I say more. This may be the best first round of NBA playoffs in history. Can the next round continue to trend or will it die out quicker than a Twitter hashtag.

Can the second round live up to see the agony of Indiana as it’s late season collapse continues into the playoffs even though they made it to round 2 but they were taken to a 7 game series by a team that only had 37 wins. If you’re not good at math, the NBA season is 82 games long so minus 37 wins guess what you have 45 losses. This is the one time that mediocrity could have been as rewarding as summa cum laude. Can the second round live up the experiment known as Roy Hibbert and the disappearing act that only David Copperfield can explain. I wouldn’t be surprised if Michael Jordan told LeBron after the Heat swept the Bobcats, ‘I had the monstars take all of Roy Hibbert’s skills, thank me later’. Spurs and Mavericks had Vince Carter playing like his days at Toronto hitting buzzer beaters and Kevin Durant was called Mr. Unreliable. If that isn’t an oxymoron, I don’t know what is. Kevin Durant in my opinion best scorer in the league and to make that statement even more stupid he will be named MVP later on this week. Let’s not forget about the Zach Randolph punch that makes the infamous phantom punch of Ali era seems like a haymaker. That wasn’t a punch maybe a mush at best but like I said I don’t write this stuff.

What was lost from this first round was the coming of age backcourt of Wall and Beal that is bringing fun back in DC. But they will have their chance against the Pacers so let the games begin. From the buzzer-beaters, punches, Blake Griffin acrobatics to the block in Toronto that made all fans go back to hockey there is still a chance of a Miami 3Peat.

Even though the top seeds made it to the next round they were taken to 7 games, will this have a toll on them in the next round? Will Roy Hibbert be dominant or nah? Will Wall and Beal be household names after this? Will Paul George continue his rise to stardom? Is Damian Lillard a Top 5 PG after this playoff? Will Jay-Z dap up LeBron in Brooklyn? Will it be more game 7’s this round? If OKC lose will the blame be placed on Westbrook?

I’m going to make my predictions as I see in an upset Wizards in 6 barring any Nene head butts, Thunder in 7, San Antonio in 6, Heat in 6 but make no mistake these series will still have excitement, intensity and borderline insanity but that’s what the playoffs are all about. This is the one time I don’t mind hearing Jim Mora yelling out ‘Playoffs’. Watch out Miami because if Brooklyn steals a game someone crying in the car. If the Wizards steal a game, Roy Hibbert would have scored 0 points and 0 rebounds again and be the butt of every joke known to man. If Portland steals a game, Gregg Popovich’s interviews will get worse. If the Clippers steal a game, then the question of who’s the real leader of OKC dominates at least the first 30 minutes of ESPN First Take and who doesn’t what to hear Stephen A Smith articulate his viewpoints while so eloquently dismissing Skip Bayless as he’s pontificate his views until the point where he becomes unpleasant to be around….see what I did there (for those that watch ESPN First Take, you know Stephen A Smith uses those words at least twice an episode. He’s the Cornel West of Sports Talk; I need a dictionary, thesaurus, SIRI, google and a stenographer every episode. I salute you Stephen A Smith and your usage of vocabulary) We have already seen 50 games how will the rest turn out…no one knows but to quote Jack Buck…..’I don’t believe what I just saw’

*cues Sportscenter them music…da-da-da…da-da-da*

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The Three Sonny’s

My name is Sonny B and I’m 30 years old with 2 and a half kids because my wife is pregnant now with the very last addition coming in July. I’m praying for another healthy boy but a healthy baby is the most important part.  Before I get into this entry, I gotta shout out my main man Corn for providing this platform. I don’t know what I’mma write about. I’m just going to let the ideas flow which can be very dangerous, if you don’t believe me ask my wife or my friends.

Who is Sonny B really? That question isn’t as easy as you would think because in the past 12 years, I have been three different people with different psyches which handled situations differently. Sonny at 18 was a freshman at Morgan State University breaking out of his comfort zone and embracing new challenges. The man Sonny was born (another shout out goes to Jamaal Patillo for giving me that name that summer during the PACE program), who loved to smoke weed and holla at more women than Wilt Chamberlain had sex with. Sonny at 24 was a budding engineer still hollering at more women than Wilt Chamberlain had sex with before I met my future wife. I probably hollered at some of her friends ( fuck that it wasn’t probably, I did but I was man enough to admit it when she asked about it) Sonny at 30 is a proud father, husband, very practical, similar to the characteristics of Julius from Everyone Hates Chris and prompt taxpayer. See before I went to college, I was more of the gentle giant, like Michael Oher from the Blind Side before he got upset. My mom is a very nurturing woman that loves to be a mother. You have some mothers that want to be your friend but my mom wanted to be my mom. When I was growing up, if someone made fun of me I would ignore it but it would just fester and make me upset but I would always cool down because my mom said, “boy you too big to be getting mad just ignore them, you are fine just the way you are” Now that I’m older what the hell was my mom thinking. I don’t even know for real maybe when we are both angels and with the Lord by my side like literally the Lord standing next to me, I will have enough strength to ask her that. When other boys made fun of me it was easier because I could always fight them and gain respect that way, but with women it was different. That all changed in 2001 when I had a crush on a girl and it didn’t go through and I was felt stupid. See in high school, I had all the traits known to man that would prevent any guy from getting pussy, for instance I had a widow’s peak, braces all 4 years, not the flyest gear and I kinda resembled Biggie Smalls. At the time I thought that was cool until I learned that if you gonna be that big and black you gotta have personality, charisma, and a little bit of money. Biggie once said, “I’m black, ugly as ever however I stay coogi down to the socks” Any other big black that says “I’m black, ugly as ever” normally ends any chance of getting the pussy. Nevertheless, I was upset felt rejected and didn’t know how to bounce back. My mom said everything will be okay, you’re still my handsome boy and even showed me a picture of myself when I was 3. On the other hand, my dad, my right hand man pulled me to the sides and gave me a shot of Henny straight. In that long drunken talk my dad said, ‘Son you about to go to college, don’t sweat any of these high school chicks. The baddest chick in high school is about a 6 in college and for the record no woman want a big black that be acting all shy and shit so if a woman come at you incorrect put that girl in her place and you will get the respect” My response: “but dad, mom said treat women like queens and be nice” My father replies, “that’s the dumbest shit I ever heard don’t tell mom I said that but son that is stupid, trust me I had mad broads before your mother I know” So where would be the best place to try this theory out none other than Morgan State University.

When approaching a woman, Sonny at 18 would start with a compliment get a couple of laughs and then ask for the number. If it didn’t work depending on her answer determined my response. For example, one girl came to speak to me and I went for the kill and she said, “I gotta go, can’t talk right now” and I responded, “man if you sit your fat ass down and talk to me”. I can imagine Sonny at 24 was like you fuckin idiot any shot of you getting any pussy from her has gone down quicker than that chik-fil-a sandwich you just ate and sonny from 30 would of just shook his head and begin a mentoring session. I felt disrespected when she said that so I took my father’s advice to the T and let her have it. Wasn’t the smartest idea in retrospect see the other sonny’s have learned to embrace rejection and learn a lesson. Sonny at 18 wasn’t having no parts of that shit, I want what I want and I want it now. I broke out of my shell but since I had no guidance, I became a loose cannon which made myself and others look bad but at the same time I could be very charming, funny and personable. Sonny at 18 didn’t know how to turn the switch on or off, it was always one or the other. It became so bad that if any of my friends were having an issue with their woman, they would call me to lean on them. I was the Mariano Rivera of leaning but I felt accepted and I was good at it so fuck it why not. I didn’t know them, they didn’t know me but they was gonna learn today. Glad I got older and wiser, there were some lonely nights from that and now Sonny at 30 would say, “sonny this is all your fault, now you playing Madden getting your ass whipped by a computer, when you could whippin on some pussy. You’ll learn one day but until then keep losing nigga”

Sonny at 24 was like an African basketball prospect; full of potential but still very raw and would need some coaching. If this was a NBA Draft, Jay Bilas would say the word potential 47 times but then end it with well if he’s a bust I wouldn’t be surprised. Here’s a story that exemplifies that: I was with my main man Corn when he says guess what, I got this lady friend who got some lady friends with her lets meet up at Friday’s in Towson. My train of thought was worst case scenario I was getting something to eat so we all win. So it was about 5 of us and 5 of them and I remember Corn saying Sonny take the big girl on 3 ready break. First of all this wasn’t a basketball game and why do you think all big dudes only get big girls which is ironic because my wife is but that’s partially my fault since she’s been pregnant 3 times in 5 years. But he was serious like a basketball coach drawing up a play and I was heated. Don’t get me wrong she wasn’t ugly but she was thinking the same way I was thinking like why I gotta get the big nigga and the appetizers weren’t even half off so I hope this guy ain’t cheap either. I can tell just by looking at her man and that scowl that we were on the same wavelength but we would at least give it a shot before all hell broke loose while Corn had the Stevie J face and birdman hand rub at the same damn time. It was a cool event we got along fine but I wanted her homegirl instead and she want another one of Corn’s friends so it all worked out in the end. After some drinks some laughter and me leaning on corn it was all well and good and just another example of the man known as Sonny evolving live and in living color. I mean I played the wingman like I was supposed but please believe if she would of came at my neck, it would have been a Battle Royal.

Sonny at 30 ain’t hollering at nobody but my kids sike I don’t yell at them I just articulate at a volume where the whole neighborhood can hear it. Look at those moments as teachable lessons for any of my neighbors that are going through the same shit as me. Some consider me the wise man, some consider me a fool but I don’t know the difference because if you leave the comparison up to my wife it’s gonna vary from the dude who played Biggie. So I’m really just a biggie playing a biggie that’s acting like another Biggie to Kwame Kilpatrick that’s only when I have hair, Rick Ross and let’s not forget Doug Heffernan. I take it all with laughter and make jokes back until in Sonny fashion I go too far and I gotta get Chipotle or Coldstones or Rita or all three to keep me from sleeping on the couch. This married with kids life that I live, I wouldn’t trade it for the world since it gives me so many opportunities to act a complete fool and still get laughter from someone. I can only imagine the faces my friends give me when I tell them these wild stories but hey if you gonna listen to a story why not by me. Some say I need a reality show, I don’t know how that would pan out but I’m glad the acceptance that I was looking for is showing its true colors. There are various sides to me, I’m like the Vitruvian man shout out to Whitfield for explaining what that was nevertheless, ladies and gentleman this is only the beginning who knows where this will go but buckle your seatbelt and let’s get on down to that old Sonny rhythm.

Until next time stay classy Westside.