Ball Dominate

If you’re around anyone that follows the NBA or basketball you’ve probably heard of the “Ball Family”. Lonzo (drafted 2nd by the Lakers in the 2017 draft) LiAngelo (an incoming freshman at UCLA) and LaMelo (one of the top high school players in the class of 2019) are the sons of LaVar and Tina Ball. The family has taken the basketball scene by storm. It all started during their time at Chino Hills High School in California. There the 3 brothers all played on the same varsity squad in 2015. The trio’s talent on the basketball court can speak for them but it’s their boisturious father LaVar that has ruffled the most feathers. 

On the surface LaVar is no different than any other loudtalking parent that you’d run into at youth sporting or extracurricular events. His grandstanding and bragging on his sons is NOT a problem. It does not take away that opposing players and parents will feel some type of way. LaVar is aware of this but it doesn’t stop him from talking. Some consider the extra pressure placed on his sons to be a disatorous recipe. I’m not one of them, these kids have been around their dad all of their lives and are used to this. Also if LaVar was a “quiet – behind the scenes” parent the pressure would be the same. Quiet or loud parents don’t change the scrutiny that comes if a top rated player does not pan out.

This post was sparked by a text from my sister. She asked my thoughts on LaVar and this is what I said: 

He doesn’t bother me. I think he’s funny. It doesn’t seem to irritate his sons. So that’s the main thing. Think the key is he can’t upset or talk about his son’s teammates or opponents.” 

There are two different things at play to me. There’s the basketball side that the son’s control and then there’s the business side that LaVar controls. This is where fans have to ask themselves “why am I booing these guys?” I plan on booing them when it comes to the basketball side. I don’t like the Lakers or UCLA. But I’ll give them their credit if they perform well. On the business side there’s no reason to “boo” them. LaVar has given a blueprint for the way future draft prospects and the people around them should handle the business. This year’s top pick – Markelle Fultz – revealed that he thought about doing a shoe deal with Big Baller Brand before going with Nike. We may not agree with the deals he turned down or the appearance of the apparel but the fact another player considered BBB is huge! 

The winner in all of this hoopla is of course the Ball Family but also the NBA. And when I say “NBA” I mean the league as a whole. From the Commissioner down to the fans. We now have a villain to either root for or against. Fans are booing, players already want to dunk on Lonzo, and LaVar is being LaVar. The NBA’s version of “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart has predicted that the Lakers will make the Playoffs, he threw his hat into the crowd while leaving the NBA draft and even has WWE interested in booking him for Monday Night Raw in Los Angeles. You may not like LaVar’s antics and find him annoying but there’s no denying he’s a Big Baller in Business

Advertisements
Ball Dominate

It’s Over…

The NBA Finals are over and the Golden State Warriors are the Champions (of the world Craig). Congrats to them on winning their 2nd title in 3 years. Not too many people were surprised by the results of this season. That doesn’t mean we didn’t get a bunch of dumb thoughts from fans and media members. In the future I encourage you to enjoy these games and save the “hot takes” for something else.

Kevin Durant went to Golden State to get over a few humps. Those humps included the Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City’s front office, and LeBron James. I’ll take the three in reverse order. LeBron James has been the best player in the NBA for 8-10 years now and it is no surprise that after winning his first championship KD admitted that LeBron was the guy he was “chasing” and the only guy he felt could look him in the eyes in basketball terms. Durant’s performance during the 2017 NBA Finals more than showed his desire to win. Oklahoma City’s front office is probably kicking themselves repeatedly and they should. They spent their time with Durant making questionable moves over and over and over. Jeff Van Gundy spent most of this Finals talking about Durant’s abilities and rightfully so. But I couldn’t help thinking “this is what happens when you’re not passing to Andre Roberson!” You don’t need me to tell you how great Golden State is cause you already know. Durant was surrounded by guys that made his game easier. On the offensive end, the spacing afforded to him must’ve been a dream come true. Not having to watch KD go isolation, bring the ball up the court in a point forward role, or just stand waiting was nice to see. Golden State maximized his offensive talents by being themselves. Durant maximized his talents on the defensive end by being a team player. Also how hard can it be to transition a skilled 7-footer – who currently is #1 or #2 on current best player lists – into one of the greatest teams most of us have seen?

LeBron James, LeBron James, LeBron James is now 3-5 in NBA Finals and some people find that as something to laugh at. Long ago I marveled at the fact Magic Johnson made it to NINE NBA finals (5 wins in those appearances) and feel that LeBron will get to 10 before he’s done. LeBron has exceeded every level of expectation that was placed upon him on the basketball court. I’ve read and heard fools state that he made “the wrong play” in Game 3 when he passed to an open Kyle Korver. For the sake of your sanity please don’t discuss anything with people saying that. The Golden State Warriors paid LeBron the ultimate sign of respect when they went and got Kevin Durant last summer. To me that’s all that needs to be said. For those that thought this, NO Andrew Wiggins nor Carmelo Anthony would’ve made a difference in this series against Golden State. The Cavaliers needed defense something they lacked most of the 2016-2017 season.

Overall the NBA is in a very good place. If I had to rate them on a scale of 1-10, I’d say they’re an 8.5. There are some things that could be improved but I’m far from disappointed. Superteams aren’t the problem some make them out to be. There’s talent – young talent ready to make big jumps – throughout the league. We watched one of the youngest All-Star games in NBA history. Russell Westbrook and James Harden had historic seasons. We saw a rivalry blossom between Washington & Boston. I could go on about the positives to takeaway from the season but I’m not getting paid for this. And think about it, next season we get to enjoy the sights and sounds of  LaVar Ball. I can already hear him laughing.

 

It’s Over…

Reasons to Watch the UEFA Champions League Final

 

Along with the Olympics and the World Cup I’d say the UEFA Champions League final is one of the most anticipated and watched sporting events in the world. My first time watching a UEFA Champions League final was in 2010. My favorite thus far was in 2012. I’m an Arsenal fan but I must admit before rooting for them I was a huge fan of Didier Drogba. If you know the history of Drogba and Arsenal then it makes no sense.

 

This year’s final should be another great one. Juventus will face Real Madrid. Both clubs are rich with history and have won plenty of trophies. I’ll point out three reasons why you should watch this match.

Reason #1: The Teams

Juventus (from Turin, Italy) was founded 119 years ago. Juve enter the final having won their domestic cup championship and league championship – Serie A – once again this season. This is their 6th straight season winning the Serie A title and 33rd overall. Juve has a total of 64 trophies in all competitions and have won the UEFA Champions League twice. Most recently in 1996. Juventus will be gunning to win a *treble* by winning on Saturday.

Real Madird (from Madrid, Spain) was founded 115 years ago. Real come into the final having won the La Liga championship. This was Real’s first league championship since 2011-2012. Los Blancos as they are sometimes called has won La Liga a record 33 times and have 84 trophies total from all competitions. Real holds the record – 11 – for most championships won in the UEFA Champions League. Real Madrid is the defending champs of the UEFA Champions League and are trying to pull off the tough feat of being back to back winners.

Reason #2: The Players

The field or pitch as it is referred to in futbol terms will be littered with World Class players.  Real Madrid will have the biggest of them all in Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo is Real’s all time leading goal scorer and in the modern game is only rivaled by Lionel Messi when it comes to best player in the world. Real Madrid also has Toni Kroos, Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, and Marcelo to name few. Gareth Bale’s status for the match is still unknown.

Juventus will be led by their captain and goal keeper Gianluigi “GiGi” Buffon. Buffon at the age of 39 is still one of the best – if not the best – goal keeper in the world. Buffon has earned a swell of individual accolades and lifted many trophies in his career – including the World Cup for his country Italy – but never the UEFA Champions League trophy. Buffon is not surrounded by any slouches. Giorgio Chiellini has been a stout defensive presence for the club since 2005. Some others on the field will include Dani Alves, Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic, and Gonzalo Higuain.

Reason #3: All-Purpose Backs

Technically by the positions they play Dani Alves and Marcelo are known as “defenders”. Both players hail from the futbol rich country of Brazil. Dani a right back and Marcelo a left back. Dani is very familiar with Real Madrid being that his former club – Barcelona – is Real’s biggest rival. Both players do an excellent job of defending but it’s what they can do with the ball at their feet that sets them apart from others. Marcelo flows around the field with his black hair flowing behind. For those familiar with the game Street Fighter II think of Blanca. As for Dani you never know about his hair. He’s come out with a bunch of different styles. Like their hair, both players are expressive and emotional on the pitch and they don’t try to hide it. That emotion and expressive nature allows them to play freely and switch into deadly attacking threats. Don’t be shocked both players have an impact on the match. Check out this post The Secret by Dani Alves from the Players’ Tribune.

 

I’ve given you the reasons to watch and now for the time and channel. The match is scheduled to start at 2:45 pm Eastern Standard Time. If you’re in the USA the match can be watched on your local FOX station, Fox Deportes, Fox Sports Go, fuboTV, foxsoccer2go.com, ESPN Deportes radio, SiriusXM Channel 83 (tape at 5 on Fox Soccer Plus, tape at 8 on FS2)

*Treble* is when a club wins 3 championships in one season. The most heralded treble in club soccer occurs when a team is able to win the domestic cup and highest league championship in the country which they are from. In Juventus case that is Italy and then win the contenital trophhy (Europe and UEFA Champions League in this case).

Credit to:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cristiano_Ronaldo

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gianluigi_Buffon

 

Reasons to Watch the UEFA Champions League Final