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May 2012 Archive


Pinpointing the Exact Moment I Became a Fan of Lebron James

A Boshless Miami Heat doesn’t interest me much though I’ve been really impressed with how Lebron James and D Wade have come together without him thus far. I’m pretty much locked into this series now and fully expecting the Heat to slice and dice the team that ousted my beloved Sixers.

But let’s get to the point…

Kevin Garnett infuriates me. Don’t like him.

The minute that Lebron laughed in Garnetts face-which you can view here-will forever be known as the exact moment I became a fan of Lebron James.

Make no mistake, I never expected Dwyane Wade to miss much colored-pants shopping time studying the Celtics. I didn’t think that Lebron James would fog up his fashionable non-prescription glasses worrying about Boston. Nor did I think that Haslem would have to put Tupac’s Machiavelli album on repeat to get hype in case he has to lay someone out again for messing with his teammates. So the Heat taking game 1 was no surprise to me.

But what WAS a surprise is the way that Lebron James purchased a one way ticket into my heart by gleefully laughing in Kevin Garnett’s face and being the shark that we all know James is when he’s not busy pretending to be otherwise for the sake of the wussy media.

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Miami Dolphins Hard Knocks May Be Surprisingly Good

By now you know that the Miami Dolphins will be the team profiled on HBO/NFL Films Hard Knocks this year.

It definitely feels wrong for Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to pursue greater attention whore antics after Channing Crowder, Jason Taylor, Chad Henne, and Brandon Marshall leave. Though the Dolphins would never be of particular interest to most fans the previous cast of characters would have given us something to immediately look forward to: The quotable linebacker, the handsome veteran, the maligned quarterback, the troubled dynamic receiver. Those storylines would have written themselves before the show started giving us all something to look forward to.

But the good news is that most of the Hard Knocks installments have turned up story lines and personalities that were unexpectedly interesting (Carson Palmer was a hoot on the Bengal’s turn on the show) and some usually colorful folks we thought would be interesting on screen turned out to be BORING (think normally boisterous RB Larry Johnson in his apartment alone painting. Cute but zzzzz).

A few things that might provide a spark for Miami Hardknocks:

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Apparently Hipster Clothing IS Allowed Under the NBA Dress Code

With all the creativity that these NBA fellows have been putting into their wardrobes I wondered how much of this is allowed under the dress code. Well, you will be happy to know that…ALL OF IT is. The NBA dress code isn’t nearly as strict as I remember. Here’s a little refresher:

Oklahoma Thunder's Kevin Durant (right) and Russell Westbrook (left) are fashion risk takers

…the NBA set forth a “minimum” dress code starting with the 2005-2006 season. The following highlights are excerpted from the memo:
1. General Policy: Business Casual
Players are required to wear Business Casual attire whenever they are engaged in team or league business. “Business Casual” attire means:
• A long or short-sleeved dress shirt (collared or turtleneck), and/or a sweater.
• Dress slacks, khaki pants, or dress jeans.
• Appropriate shoes and socks, including dress shoes, dress boots, or other presentable shoes, but not including sneakers, sandals, flip-flops, or work boots.
2. Exceptions to Business Casual
There are the following exceptions to the general policy of Business Casual attire:
a. Players In Attendance At Games But Not In Uniform
Players who are in attendance at games but not in uniform are required to wear the following additional items when seated on the bench or in the stands during the game:
• Sport Coat.
• Dress shoes or boots, and socks.
3. Excluded Items
The following is a list of items that players are not allowed to wear while on team or league business:
• Sleeveless shirts.
• Shorts.
• T-shirts, jerseys, or sports apparel (unless appropriate for the event (e.g., a basketball clinic), team-identified, and approved by the team).
• Headgear of any kind while a player is sitting on the bench or in the stands at a game, during media interviews, or during a team or league event or appearance (unless appropriate for the event or appearance, team-identified, and approved by the team).
• Chains, pendants, or medallions worn over the player’s clothes.
• Sunglasses while indoors.
• Headphones (other than on the team bus or plane, or in the team locker room).

I don’t know exactly what business Russell Westbrook’s shirt would be appropriate at. But it’s an upgrade considering last week he showed up to his presser wearing what appeared to be a nurse’s scrub shirt. I suppose the code could take issue with Kevin Durant wearing what looks like a t shirt but given that it’s covered with a blazer I doubt anyone would quarrel with that.

I’m all for guys taking fashion risks so I’m not complaining, really. I actually love it. Cause when the dress code came out it really was in response to the NBA becoming too urban and trying to appeal to the suits who buy tickets for their companies and the average middle aged white male fan. It was basically saying we don’t want a league that is too hip hop. Well now, the league is more hip hop than ever. All the players are dressed like Lupe Fiasco, T.I. and Common and there are more tattoos showing than Allen Iverson ever could have predicted when he was being maligned for his tattoo sleeves.

I guess since some people wouldn’t come to hip hop, hop hop just came to the people. Now we just have to wait for “book bags” and “non prescription glasses” make it onto the dress code’s excluded list.




Ed Reed’s Great U of Miami Hall of Fame Speech and a few other things on my favorite player

A few months ago Baltimore Ravens Safety and love-of-my-football-life Ed Reed was was inducted into the University of Miami Hall of Fame along with current teammate OL Bryant McKinnie. He joins fellow defensive phenom Ray Lewis and WR Reggie Wayne (his best friend whose snake he apparently killed by accident) in UM’s Hall of Fame.

Ed Reed is the last one on the left. Bryant McKinnie can't be missed in the middle.

I saw the photos from the ceremony via twitter while it was taking place but now video of Ed’s speech has been released. And, true to form, he never disappoints. He was professional, eloquent, and witty. No surprise there.

Ed thanked a bunch of people but also revealed a few details about him that I didn’t know. For one, he lived with his high school’s secretary for a year and a half because he wasn’t doing well academically and needed to improve. He thanked his parents for allowing him to do that and also continuing to be a strong and positive presence in his life. Secondly, apparently Ed is a little bit of a diva cause Chuck Pagano (former UM DC and Ravens DC now Colts HC) used to have his daughters help Ed with his laundry! Ed was a little sheepish when he talked about that.

You can watch the full video below.

On May 11, Ed threw out the first pitch at the Orioles game. He’s been busy because the same weekend he held a flag football tournament for charity which you can see him talk about here. He has a camp for kids coming up soon July 14th-July 16th. Sign up here.

For most of the off season there has been speculation about whether Ed will play this season or not. First he was saying that he was upset that the Ravens hadn’t offered him an extension. Then he said he wasn’t 100% committed to football. Then he said his goal is to play but there are other things going on that are important to him.

For the past three years we have done this dance with Ed and he’s always come back and performed. So I’d assume he’s going to come back and finish his contract out this year. But I do think his statements this off season indicate a lot more serious thought about football’s role in his life than before. Then again it could be all in the spirit of good old fashion negotiation.



Terrell Pryor Gives Insight Into the Cold Business of the NCAA

Jim Trotter, one of my favorite writers strikes again. His pieces typically resonate with me very strongly and his latest article on Oakland Raiders’ Terrell Pryor is no different. Pryor was punished by the NCAA for selling his own Ohio State items and was vilified after the infraction was discovered including 5 game suspension in the NFL which I still think was extremely unfair and insulting and hypocritical. Pryor explains to Trotter why he did what he did and how confused he was about why he was being treated so harshly after making a mistake as a freshman.

Then he goes on to describe why he sold his pants:

Pryor says:

The reason why I did it was to pay my mother’s gas bill and some of her rent. She was four months behind in rent, and the [landlord] was so nice because he was an Ohio State fan. He gave her the benefit of the doubt and she said, ‘My son will pay you back sometime if you just let me pay you back during my work sessions.’ She ended up losing her job, and she and my sister lived there. Let me remind you it was freezing cold in November, December, and she’s using the oven as heat. That’s what I did as a kid. I was telling the NCAA, ‘Please, anything that you can do. I gave my mother this so my sister wouldn’t be cold, so my mother wouldn’t be cold.’ They didn’t have any sympathy for me. It’s not like I went there and bought new Jordans. It’s documented. Whenever I write my book the proof will be in there, the receipt that the money I gave my mother was to pay the electric and heat bill. The truth is going to come out one day when the time is right. I don’t think I deserved [being punished] in that way, because of the reason I was doing it. I felt like I was doing God’s work in a way, and I was getting driven into the ground.

Yesterday I tried to watch Buzz Bissinger and Malcolm Gladwell argue that college football should be banned. I lasted about 15 minutes. My mind kept wondering off to what REALLY bothers me about college football and that is the student-athlete thing that makes the adults involved able to treat the kids any way they want to and hold them to different standards. That will never ever sit right with me. And that paternalism players are groomed to accept in college sports extends right into professional sports where you have Commissioners like David Stern and Roger Goodell walking around like Daddy Warbucks…or worse, Daddy Grace!






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