Game. Set. Match.

This won’t be a post about GOATs or Ghosts. Just appreciation for a sport and one particular player. I have two distinct memories of Tennis. One is of my dad trying to teach me and my siblings how to play the sport. We all gave it a half hearted try but we weren’t interested. The other memory is of Wimbledon. During my childhood I spent many summer mornings watching Wimbledon on HBO. I looked forward to the Tournament every summer. In the time spent watching Wimbledon I was able to learn the rules of Tennis and the great history of this particular tournament.

Wimbledon is one of the four major events – Grand Slams – in professional tennis. The other 3 are the Australian Open played in Melbourne, Australia; the French Open played in Paris, France; the US Open played in New York City. Wimbledon which is played in London, is the oldest of the four Slams and was founded in 1877. The competition in London is played on a grass surface while the French Open is played on clay and the Australian Open and US Open are played on hard court. I’ve had many fond memories of Wimbledon like the first time the Williams Sisters played each other in the final or that time Serena “C-walked” after winning a Gold Medal there during the 2012 London Olympics. Another great memory is from 2010 when John Isner and Nicolas Mahut played the longest match in Wimbledon and tennis history. The match started on Tuesday, June 22, 2010 and ended on Thursday, June 24, 2010 lasting 11 hours 5 minutes.

Far and above all of those memories is watching Roger Federer play. Four years ago, I was asking for Fed to retire – as if we know each other personally – via Twitter. My exact words were “Don’t want to see him out there flabby and sick.” Cause at that point he was. 2013 marked the first time he had failed to reach at least one Grand Slam Final since 2002. He regained a bit of form in 2014 and 2015 to reach 3 finals out of the 8 Grand Slams he played. But in 2016 he again failed to reach a final. He skipped the French Open and US Open while reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Many fans (myself included) felt that we wouldn’t see him win another Slam Championship. Tennis has always been seen as a young person’s sport and now with Roger in his mid-30s it looked like his playing career was nearing an end. Roger has found a way to amaze us once again despite the negativity around him. He started the year by winning the Australian Open and then skipped the French Open. Then on yesterday he won the 19th Grand Slam title (most amongst Men) of his career. Federer put himself at the top of the list for most Men’s Singles titles won (8) at Wimbledon. He has long been seen as one of the best to play on grass and he didn’t disappoint this year by winning every set he played in the tournament. In the Open Era, Federer has not only won the most Grand Slam titles but has also appeared in the most finals (29), semifinals (42), quarterfinals (50), match wins (321), and appearances (70). He has a winning percentage of 86.3 which puts him 3rd. To put that in perspective, from 2004-2010 Federer played in 21 Grand Slam finals and won 15 of them.

If you watch a tennis match that features Roger Federer you will often hear the announcers speak about his grace and elegance on and off of the court. There is a ball of fierce competition that powers Roger when he steps on the court. Without it there’s no way he would’ve turned around his game at this point in his career. Tennis is an individual sport but after winning yesterday Roger was quick to thank – his team, family, opponents, fans – everyone. I took solace in the fact that even for a player at Federer’s level there has to be joy in what he’s doing. We should all keep that in mind.

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Game. Set. Match.

The Truth

I have a lot to cover. This sports weekend was one to remember and one to forget for me. We had a World Championship Boxing match that gave us some great action. The 2nd Round of the NBA Playoffs are finally here. We also had the only Game 7 of the Playoffs thus far on Sunday. That Game 7 also saw the end of a career for “The Truth” Paul Pierce. Finally and most sadly for me Arsenal was thumped once again. This time by their rivals Tottenham in the North London Derby.

First the boxing, Anthony “AJ” Joshua was able to defeat – via 11th Round TKO – Wladimir Klitschko in an EPIC Heavyweight match. Both guys looked like some giants or as many proclaim “Super Heavyweights”. No fat to be found on either fighter. Both all muscle and chiseled. The fight moved along well and took off in the 5th Round when Anthony Joshua came out of his corner swinging and caught Klitchko with a good right. Joshua would then chase down his opponent until he was able to drop him. Joshua, a bit too excited had celebrated prematurely AND punched himself tired. Wladimir was able to get up off of the canvas and nearly drop Anthony in the same round. Smartly AJ either leaned against the ropes or held onto his opponent for dear life. The 5th ended with me going nuts. When the 6th Round started it was Wladimir that came out like a house on fire. He set the tone in the round and dropped AJ with a crushing right hand. This was the first time that AJ had been knocked on his backside in his pro career. Joshua was clearly hurt but he managed to survive the round and make it out standing. Klitschko was in control of the fight at that point and went on to control the following rounds. But during that time, AJ pulled another savvy move. He purposefully spit out his mouthpiece and had to get another one from his corner. This was smart because it allowed him to buy some time to catch his second wind and thoughts. In the 9th Round – I was surprised the fight made it that far – Joshua appeared to kick it up a notch. He controlled that 9th and then the 10th. In the 11th, AJ came out fiercely once again. He caught Wladimir with a nice combo that staggered the former champ. Wisely AJ didn’t get anxious in his pursuit of the KO. Instead he stalked his opponent into the center of the ring and caught him with a vicious uppercut. An uppercut similar to the one Tommy Hearns delivered to Martin on that boxing episode. Somehow Klistchko didn’t fall after that punch but he was down a few seconds later after a barrage of punches.  AJ would drop Wladimir again before the referee stopped the fight with AJ swinging away in a corner. This was the type of fight that the sport of Boxing needed from its top division. The star of Anthony Joshua will continue to grow and he’s expressed interest in fighting anyone that wants to go. He’s now 19-0 with all 19 by KO.

 

The Game 7 between the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers ended up being a dud. Utah sent the Clippers home after winning 104-91. Utah will now face the Golden State Warriors with that series starting on Tuesday night in Oakland. Utah’s starting center Rudy Gobert was in foul trouble from the jump and eventually fouled out in the 4th quarter. The Jazz turned to Derrick Favors who provided a solid performance despite fouling out too. Favors had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson combined for 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists off the bench for Utah. The star of the game was Gordon Hayward. Hayward just happens to play the position- small forward – that the Clippers have never been able to fill. Hayward had 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists. He was also a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line. On the other side Chris Paul tried hard to get the Clippers going but had no luck. Paul finished the game with 13 points and 9 assists. He also had a terrible day shooting the ball. CP3 was 6-19 overall and 1-7 on three pointers. DeAndre Jordan was able to provide a whopping 24 points and 17 rebounds despite shooting 6-15 on free throws. Jamal Crawford was the only other Clippers player with a pulse as he provided 20 points off of the bench. The Clippers only got 14 total points from their other 3 starters.

After the game, twitter blew up as expected. Another team featuring Chris Paul is out of the Playoffs again in the First Round. CP3 is a great player but there’s only so far a team will go if he’s the lead player. Chris will be a free agent this summer and must make a decision on the path of his legacy. He can stay in L.A. and get up to $200 million over the next 5 seasons or he can consider a move to San Antonio. He’ll be teamed with a top notch coach in Gregg Popovich and a current top 5 player in Kawhi Leonard. I fully expect him to take the money and stay in Los Angeles. Really can’t fault him for that. If he chooses to stay; the Clippers will have a lot of moves to make in order to get “better”.

The first game of the NBA Playoffs 2nd Round saw Washington take on Boston. Washington jumped out to a 16-0 lead in the 1st quarter. Boston made a run as expected and trimmed that lead to 5 by halftime. Boston outscored Washington 36-16 in the 3rd quarter and never looked back thanks to stingy defense and three point shooting. The Celtics shot 19-39 from three point range as the Wizards never stopped Isaiah Thomas (33 points and 9 assists) from driving and kicking to the perimeter. Jae Crowder was 6-8 from three point range and finished with 24 points. Al Horford was one rebound shy of a triple double. The Wizards got most of their production from their starters. They’ll definitely need help if Markieff Morris isn’t able to return from an ankle injury. As for predictions, I was 7 out of 8 in the First Round. I chose the Clippers instead of Utah. for the 2nd Round I have Cleveland over Toronto in 6 games; Boston in 7 games; Golden State over Utah in 6 games; Houston over San Antonio in 6 games.

Paul Pierce played his final NBA game on yesterday for the Los Angeles Clippers. Pierce aka The Truth is most notable for his time spent in Boston. He was a 10-time All Star and 2008 NBA Champion and Finals MVP. He battled LeBron James a countless number of times and there are some great behind the scenes stories about those two. I first started watching Pierce during his time at the University of Kansas. He was an AP First Team All-American in 1997-1998. He was then drafted by the Boston Celtics and went on to have some fun times playing alongside “Worker #8” Antoine Walker. I couldn’t stand Pierce after he was joined by Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in Boston to form the “Big 3”. He’d hit a dagger shot one minute and then be stretchered out in a wheelchair the next like his life was over. His final 4 seasons he hit a few big shots in Brooklyn and Washington before joining the Clippers close to his hometown of Inglewood, CA. Thanks Paul for a great career and this hilarious moment. It’ll always remind me of why I hate Boston.

 

P.S. I would talk about Arsenal but that’d make me feel like Paul Pierce in the wheelchair. Ok I’m done.

Stats courtesy of:

http://www.basketball-reference.com

The Truth

How We Love These…

I always felt that my first music blog would be about Freddie Gibbs but instead I’m here talking about one of music’s favorite and most controversial topics “Hoes”. Gibbs is probably my favorite rapper at the moment and he too has touched on the subject. I’m not focusing on him now though. Instead I look at the different ways male musicians love singing about hoes. Whether they’re bragging about them, chasing them, or trying to save them – one thing remains the same – dudes really love making songs about them. And I know many are thinking with the recent N.W.A movie that I’m talking solely about rap but nah the topic crosses into other genres. There have been years and years of songs about the topic.

My journey to this topic was very random. It started with me getting on Instagram and seeing this shirt on my TL.

nwa-the-police_fucknwa_t_sh

Interesting huh? Now if you have no idea who the 3 men on that shirt are then look up the group “The Police” and some guy named Sting. That should make the “Fuck N.W.A.” part funny (well at least it’s funny to me). So now I explain how The Police tie into this whole topic of singing about “hoes”. Well the group has a very popular song called Roxanne. Roxanne is a song about a prostitute “not having to put on the red light” anymore because well Sting was there to save the day. He gracefully sums it up with the following lines: “I loved you since I knew you – I wouldn’t talk down to you – I have to tell you just how I feel – I won’t share you with another boy”. Like I said it’s a great song and I think you should check it out below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXzFCS72QIA

This one here may come as a surprise to some but yeah here we go. A few years ago music mogul Diddy hit it big when he was able to help the vodka brand “Ciroc” expand in the United States. As part of helping the brand take off, Diddy released a great commercial featuring some of our favorite entertainers in it.  The group crashes Vegas and has a great night “breaking the bank”. The whole time there’s a classic song by Frank Sinatra playing in the background. The name of the song is “Luck Be A Lady”. Now on the surface the song appears to be very innocent and one wouldn’t think much of it. I mean you have a bunch of guys in Vegas gambling and a song about “Luck”. Well that was until I decided to actually “listen” to the song and not get caught up in the chorus and band. Boy was I cracking up after finally listening to the song. Somewhere in the Twitterverse there are a series of tweets of someone going on a rant about the song.

Frank did a very good job with the wordplay on this one. I mean the song starts off with an intro for the ages that ends with him stating, “so the best that I can do is pray”. Sinatra goes on to drop plenty of lines with double meanings. In the process Frank talks about “cuffing” this chick so things won’t get out of hand between him, the young lady, and some other guy. I’m sure those of you that are familiar with The Rat Pack have heard or read about the rumblings. I went years “hearing” this song and then a Ciroc commercial changed the way I heard it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJpGHR6ofus

The third and final song is a soulful ballad titled “Two Wrongs” by Mayer Hawthorne. This one doesn’t come with the same topics as above but shows how both parties can exhibit “whore-like” ways, as my wife likes to say.  “Two Wrongs” follows the classic cheating love song layout. There’s the beginning where Mayer acknowledges, “they say two wrongs don’t make a right” as many of us have often heard. He even states how “we all make bad decisions…that we make mistakes sometimes” – not quite sure why Mayer is bringing us in HIS mess – but when in “that moment” oh well! In the second verse he goes on to tell us the problem. He talks about how him and his secret lover can’t get caught up in some mess. Because well he has a woman and the lady that he’s sneaking around with has a man. He goes on to end the verse by talking about how the situation is so wrong but never says he’s not staying the night. The last word we hear from Mayer is “How”. This leads me to believe that he spent a night and then after it was all said and done, he could only ask – “How?” – in reference to his predicament.  This video will also help those of you wanting to brush up on your Spanish.

It’s amazing how the different songs we listen to carry so many meanings and messages. Some are plain as day and easy to decipher while others are written with double meanings. I enjoy the three songs I mentioned above and many others like them. Music is an art that is to be enjoyed and at times it’ll take us into a certain mood. There are some lanes that music ventures into that causes some people to question and protest lyrics. There have been claims that certain lyrics influence the decisions that a listener may make. Who knows? Some even say the lyrics are “dumbed down” now. Maybe they are but it seems to me that maybe we were never listening and only hearing to begin with.

How We Love These…