2018 & Beyond

What’s good folks? I had to get in here and dust some things off. I’m still here and I’m still trying to keep this here blog going. 2017 ended on a sour note as my Grandma Doressia transitioned on into the after life. By contrast, January 2018 ended with me and my family moving into a new home! The emotions of both life events continue to run through my mind from time to time. Both overwhelming in their own ways. I’m thankful for both. We all should cherish our time here. We should all make the most of our time here. Most importantly we should all love and enjoy those we share this time with. I look forward to doing more of all 3 and I look forward to posting more on this blog.

After the funeral I joked that me and my family looked like the “Black Gallagher’s” as an ode to the TV show Shameless. I’ll let you all judge for yourselves. The building/club/restaurant where we gathered for the repast was “shot up” a few days later. Like I said, Black Gallagher’s.

black gall

 

This scene from the movie Old School sums up my rooting interest in sports.

It looked liked things were all good after I made a personal plea to the Basketball Gawds to start the New Year. The New Orleans Pelicans went on a 4-game winning streak and had a winning record (9-5) in the month of January. It was filled with highlights and monster numbers aplenty from Anthony Davis and Boogie Cousins. We even got this great cover from SLAM Magazine.

Everything was looking great. Both players were voted starters for the 2018 NBA All Star Game. There was no limit to the cash money trash talk I was ready to unleash. The Pels were in the process of pulling off a shaky but most important – at that moment – home win over the Houston Rockets on January 26. Then with little time left in the game, I knew how New York felt after watching Snoop come through in the music video for New York, New York. Boogie went down with a ruptured Achilles tendon and yeah nothing has been the same. Oh and Arsenal? Heh! I give you another picture to sum up their season.

Arseko

 

Other notable sports news, Roger Federer continued to pad his GOAT status by winning the Australian Open. The #FlyEaglesFly Crew (Philadelphia Eagles) finally won a Super Bowl. The NBA Trade Deadline gave us a day to remember as LeBron traded his whole team. Whoa, Nellie! After all of that it’s only right that I leave off with a phrase from the legendary announcer Keith Jackson who passed on January 13. As I said…cherish your time here; make the most of your time here; most importantly love and enjoy those you share this time with.

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2018 & Beyond

Hall of Fame or Nah?

In recent years I’ve done a few posts that would celebrate the return of football. It won’t be happening this time around. I’m sure I’ll be watching when everything starts but my enthusiasm for the sport has waned a bit. One day I’ll go into further details about that but for now I’ll get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Class of 2017 was inducted the first weekend of this month. As usual there were questions of “How did he get in?” and many statements of “If _____ is in then ____ should be in.” There is no set criteria for players to make the various sports Hall of Fames. The Basketball Hall of Fame is the easiest of the three major American sports. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is a lot tougher. Not only does the player’s stats and accolades come into play but apparently his interactions with the media can cause hiccups. The toughest of all is the Baseball Hall of Fame. There are too many variables that get in the way when discussing who gets in and who doesn’t get in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The most ridiculous of them all is the “hard nose” approach that some baseball writers choose to take when selecting the honorees.

As I mentioned above the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrined some new guys. For another year, they left out former All-Pro Wide Receiver Terrell Owens. Every statistical category related to wide receivers will tell you that T.O. is worthy of the Hall of Fame. For example Owens is currently 5th in total touchdowns scored (156) and 3rd in receiving touchdowns (153). There are a slew of numbers I could continue to list to show why he should be in but that’s pointless. T.O. isn’t in because the voters – mostly NFL media – see him as a jerk. The Committee to select each Hall of Fame class consists of 48 members. Of those 48, it’s possible that only TWO may not be a member of the media. Owens was definitely a character during his time in the league but he backed it up with his play and was a true competitor.

Terrell Owens is just one of the many former NFL players on the outside looing in. The future selections for the Pro Football Hall of Fame won’t get any easier. At one point most discussions for players looking to enter the Hall of Fame centered around career longevity, career numbers, team success, impact on the game and things of that nature. Through the advancement of technology and demands from fans we now have more access to players. We’ve gone from seeing them behind the scenes in the locker room to following them 24/7. A player’s behavior should be taken into consideration when selecting Hall of Famers and in a similar tone the Committee’s behavior should be considered when they continue to hold grudges. I guess as fans all can do is continue to argue if Owens is “Hall of Fame or nah?”

 

Hall of Fame or Nah?

Super Week is Here

“Super Week” has arrived and man does it promise to be exciting for me. Not only do I get to enjoy the game on Sunday but my daughter will be turning one on Friday! Seems like the time flew by. There’ll be a party on Saturday. I can’t wait for the day when these two forces collide and we have a Super Sunday. Anyways we have the two teams in that game – Atlanta Falcons & New England Patriots – but there’s a bigger match to me taking place on Saturday in London between Chelsea & Arsenal. I care a LOT MORE about that one than the Super Bowl but I’ll touch on both along with some NBA.

The Super Bowl could be a shootout or it could be a blowout. Vegas had New England as a 3 point favorite after both teams won their respective Conference Championship. Matt Ryan has already received the MVP nod from a couple of publications. Matty Ice has been on a tear thanks to his slew of weapons on the offensive side of the ball. One of them – Julio Jones – needs no introduction if you follow the game. Atlanta’s young defense has stepped up and shown that they’re coming to bring some pain, just ask Mr. Discount Double Check.

On the other side, we have the boring and methodical cheat- my bad Patriots. Belichick and Brady have been here before (this will be their 7th Super Bowl together) and they’re looking to bring back their 5th ring. Brady’s Bunch is mostly a gang of no names with the exception of LeGarrete Blount and Martellus Bennett. Both of them are talented and have shown that they can produce on the field but both are guys that I enjoy for other reasons. Look for New England’s defense to grab, hold, chuck, and whatever else they can get away with. Malcolm Butler said he “dreamt of covering Julio Jones” though he never stated whether that was a sweet dream or nightmare. Guess we’ll find out on Sunday. If you’re a Patriots fan then look away because I’ve been known to jinx a team or two and it could be your team’s turn. Brady brings back ring number 5 as the New England defense and run game on offense slows the high powered Falcons. Score: New England 28-17

Saturday morning at 6:30 before I get to running around doing party stuff I’ll be up ready to watch Chelsea and Arsenal duel. This time last year Arsenal was in a similar spot. They had an early February match against Leicester City. On that day, Arsenal won on a last minute goal and closed the gap between 1st and 2nd. Unfortunately Arsenal collapsed afterwards and watched as Leicester claimed the League title. This time around Chelsea sits in first place with an 8 point cushion. Both teams have a match midweek with Chelsea going away to Liverpool and Arsenal hosting Watford. If the Gunners are to have any hopes of catching Chelsea then they’ll need to start by winning these next two matches. Some help from Liverpool would be nice too but their form leaves a lot to be desired. Chelsea has been the cream of the crop in the Premier League since getting thumped 3-0 at Arsenal in September. The Gunners have been knocked down since then but are trying to regain traction in what could be a heated title race. The same question still remains for Arsenal – Do they have the mentality to win the title? – as they head into this big match. I jumped the gun last year after they beat Leicester but it won’t happen again this season. Even with the best case scenario of Chelsea losing twice and Arsenal winning twice there’ll still be a long ways to go before the title is settled.

You know the NBA is heating up because arguments of various types have started. We’ve seen quarrels amongst teammates. We’ve had the annual who should/shouldn’t be voting for All-Star Starters debate along with who should/shouldn’t be on the team/starting. We know one thing is clear; Golden State is the hands down favorite to win the title. The Warriors have the best record, best offense, best defense, 4 All-Stars (2 of them starting), 2 MVP candidates, best crowd, a new arena in the works…need I continue? The ONLY thing that can stop Golden State from hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy will be themselves. Many games have to be played but the Warriors are buzzing and it could get ugly as they continue to fine tune things for the Playoffs.

But that doesn’t mean the rest of the league will sit quietly and let GSW have their way. Russell Westbrook and James Harden continue to put on a show for their teams. Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers is running away with the Rookie of the Year. Will Carmelo be traded? The rumors continue to swirl but nothing solid has come up. Melo could swing things for a potential Playoff team. I saw John Wall live and in-person for the 2nd time this season. He’s very good and so are the Washington Wizards. Scott Brooks has done an excellent job with that team.

Dion “Waiters County” is heating up in Miami as they continue to win games for some strange reason. The Heat are on an 8-game winning streak and inch further away from a top draft pick. We’ll see how long this string of winning continues.

It’s an exciting week ahead to say the least. My weekend will be filled with two of my joys, family and sports. I look forward to both as the kids will be all over the place and I’ll be busy helping out. Also I’m sure the Falcons fans that know me will be happy because I didn’t pick them. It’s Super Week folks…enjoy!

Super Week is Here

Dumb Football Picks 2016

Football season is here and my wife can’t stand it! I admit I loathe the sport at times myself but like a fool I run back to it every late August/early September (I have no clue how some of you sit through preseason NFL games). With the seasons (NFL and NCAA) starting that means “picks” have to be made. Only thing I feel comfortable about in the NCAA is Christian McCaffrey  as the clear favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. After that just enjoy the chaos.

In the NFL, it’s a little easier to make blind picks for Division winners. I feel so gracious that I’ll also throw in a Super Bowl winner. So with no further ado:

AFC EAST – Miami Dolphins
AFC NORTH – Pittsburgh Steelers
AFC SOUTH – Indianapolis Colts
AFC WEST – Kansas City Chiefs
NFC EAST – Dallas Cowboys (In Dak We Trust)
NFC NORTH – Green Bay Packers
NFC SOUTH – Atlanta Falcons
NFC WEST – Arizona Cardinals
SUPER BOWL – Pittsburgh Steelers will beat the Green Bay Packers
My choice for AFC EAST was the most jaw dropping of all the Divisions. The Oakland Raiders have been discussed a lot in the AFC WEST but I’m not ready to “crown them” yet (RIP Dennis Green). In Dak We Trust is all I have to say about the Dallas Cowboys. My Super Bowl picks depend on both teams having better secondary play this season. We all know what both teams can do offensively when healthy. If I picked your team don’t get mad when it all goes downhill. Enjoy the football people…It’s Byke!
Dumb Football Picks 2016

Interview with Aaron Lockett

As the new football season approaches I decided to come with some new interviews.  This time around I’m interviewing guys that played football.  My first interview was with former Kansas State All-American Punt Returner/Wide Receiver Aaron Lockett.  Lockett was a standout athlete – in track, football, and basketball – at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  From there he showcased his talents at Kansas State where he was a member of the football and track teams.  Lockett set many records during his time at K-State and in the 2000 Big 12 Championship Game he had the first return TD in the game’s history.  Aaron played five years professionally in the NFL and Canadian Football League. His brother Kevin was also a standout player at Kansas State and played in the NFL. Lockett’s nephew Tyler Lockett continued the family’s tradition of great Wide Receiver/Returner play while at Kansas State.  Lockett is currently a blossoming talent – First Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl as a rookie – in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks. Check out the audio interview and a few of Aaron’s highlights from his time at Kansas State.

 

Interview with Aaron Lockett

2016…Be Great…Be Positive

We’re at day 7 of 2016 and things are “looking how they looking” as my wife would say.  We have the Presidential race to look forward to this year as well as the Summer Olympics in Brazil.  This happens to be a leap year so that means Wale will get to work an extra day this year.  I don’t know about y’all but I love off days.  Shout out to Wale tho.  All of that is fine and dandy but most importantly I’ll be celebrating something a lot more important within a few weeks.  I’ll blog about it when it happens.

Ok now on to a few sports thoughts…shout out to Ken Griffey Jr. for being 99.3% great.  He’s beloved by many that watched the game of baseball in the 90s.  “The Kid” best known for his sweet swing, home run saving catches, and wearing his hat backwards.  Thanks for the memories.  Congrats to Mike Piazza too.

In the NBA my Pelicans are still trash.  As of today they’re sitting next to last in the Western Conference at 11-23 but are only FOUR games away from the 8th seed.  This has caused a lot of confusion for fans as to whether the team should fight for that playoff spot or blow it up and acquire some assets.  I’m sure we’ll know by the end of this month.  Over in California, the Golden State Warriors (33-2) are still in striking distance of the best overall record for the regular season in NBA history.  Draymond Green has been a monster for GSW, he leads the NBA so far in triple-doubles with 7.  The 2 losses for the Warriors have been on the road and in both games the team was missing key players. With all of that GSW only has a 3 game lead on the San Antonio Spurs.  There’s space between San Antonio and Oklahoma City but the Thunder is picking up momentum and is looking solid.

In the Eastern Conference, the Cavaliers are still at the top.  Kyrie Irving returned from injury in December and he hasn’t disappointed as he gets in game shape.  Right on their heels are Da Bulls.  Chicago has had a few lumps this season but look to be getting things together.  Thanks in-large to the play of Jimmy Gets Buckets.  After a few ugly losses and some comments about head coach Fred Hoiberg, Butler has upped his game.  He and Paul George went at it on New Year’s Eve in an excellent game.  Butler ended that OT thriller with the game-winning points and a blocked shot/contest against Paul George.  After that the Bulls bounced the Knicks easily by 27.  Then on Sunday night Mr. Butler went for 42 against Toronto.  After a slow first half – with only 2 points – Jimmy dropped 40 points on 14-19 shooting to help his team pull off a close victory.  The 40 points in one half broke Michael Jordan’s old Chicago Bulls record.  The Eastern Conference race promises to be exciting as only 6 games separate the top 8 teams and only 6 games separate teams 8 thru 13.

In football news, we’re at the best time of the year.  The NFL Playoffs start on Saturday and in college football we get the National Championship game on Monday night.  I don’t like making picks but I’ll do so.

NFL Picks:

Kansas City over Houston

Cincinnati over Pittsburgh

Seattle over Minnesota

Washington over Green Bay

FBS Championship:

Alabama over Clemson

If any of the teams teams I chose to win are dear to your heart then be very afraid.

I posted the words “Be Great…Be Positive” in the title of this blog for a reason.  2015 while it had its ups also had a bunch of downs.  I don’t recall a year where I saw so many people so set on being divided and tearing others down.  I can point out a lot of examples of negativity but instead I’m challenging everyone that reads this blog to not only heed my words but to also encourage others to “Be Great and Be Positive.”

2016…Be Great…Be Positive

OBJ

“OBJ” are the initials that some fans use for New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. There are many things that jump out at many NFL fans when it comes to Odell. You have his play on the field, which has gained him many accolades and arguments as the best WR in the league.   His play last season – in his rookie year – landed him on the cover of EA Sports Madden 2016. His hairstyle and looks garnered a lot of attention. But there’s also something else that caught the attention of many fans. OBJ has an affinity for dancing in way that has caused a lot of interesting dialogue on social media sites. All of these things could be getting ready to send us to a place in pro sports that we haven’t been.

Let’s start on the field of play. In 26 career starts Beckham Jr. already has 182 receptions, 2,701 yards, and 25 TDs. The New York Giants still have 2 games left in the 2015 regular season but OBJ will have to sit out the next one. I’ll touch on the reason for the suspension later. In his rookie season, Odell only played in 12 games due to a hamstring injury but he was still able to rack up unworldly numbers in route to winning the 2014 Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year. Along the way Beckham Jr. made some catches that left many of us speechless. There was one thing that stuck out to me during the 2014 season and ironically it finally exploded this time of the year versus the St. Louis Rams. A mini scrum broke out near the Giants sideline after a tough play occurred between Beckham Jr. and a Rams defender. I was a bit surprised that it took that late in the season for it to happen again. Beckham’s fast rise as a rookie wide out along with his tough play and end zone celebrations didn’t sit well with opposing players. The mini scrum was swept under the rug and was basically seen as a non-factor due to OBJ’s youth. But it did plant a seed for opposing players going into the 2015 season.

After the season was over, OBJ’s star grew even more. Shampoo commercials, shoe deals, video game covers and all the attention that comes with it. Odell also became more noticeable after some dance videos were posted on YouTube and other social media sites. The videos caused an immediate storm due to the fact that Beckham Jr. was “dancing” with another male in one of the videos. This of course led to the talk of OBJ being gay and all other kinds of foolishness that I find sad. All of the assumptions being made were based on the dance videos that had been posted. Well not only dance videos because some folks took it upon themselves to create video snippets and memes that caught OBJ in precarious positions. I found it both strange and interesting that supposedly straight men were so intrigued and caught up in trying to “out” Odell. Another interesting factor is that a lot of the things being said for jokes have been laced with homophobia and distasteful language. I’ve seen him (Beckham Jr.) referred to as “her”, “girl”, “Odella”, “faggot” and a bunch of other things that make me wonder, “where we are as a society?”

Now I’m back to what led to Odell Beckham Jr being suspended for one game. It was mainly the fiery attitude that the star receiver plays with that led to the trouble. The Giants took on the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. New York entered the game hoping to end the Panthers’ perfect season and OBJ hoped to have a stellar day against Josh Norman in the process. The game was very exciting and fans were treated to some great action. Unfortunately fans also got to see Odell at his worse. He dropped a surefire TD early in the game after toasting Josh Norman. Norman and Panthers’ defense used that play – and some alleged pregame shenanigans – as a way to get under the WR’s skin and it worked. Beckham would go on to cheap shot Norman and spend a lot of time rattled and not focused on the game. Lucky to still be on the field; OBJ was able to get a bit of revenge in the 4th quarter by catching a TD over Norman to tie the game at 35.   It was short-lived as MVP hopeful Cam Newton led the Panthers on a drive to setup a game winning field goal by Graham Gano.

So where does all of this leave us? We won’t be watching Odell Beckham Jr on Sunday in a game with Playoff implications. His Giants teammates will be playing against the Minnesota Vikings and hoping to keep their slim chances of winning the NFC East alive. More importantly I hope Beckham Jr pays attention to the fact that he needs to keep his emotions in check while on the field. Odell is a talented and valuable player but he’s doing himself a disservice if he can’t bottle that emotion properly and use it within the rules of the game. Finally I ask, “are we ready for an openly gay “star” athlete?” We’ve had athletes and a few referees announce that they are gay but none of them fit in the category of a “star” based on the 3 major professional sports (NFL, MLB, NBA) in America. And at the current moment the biggest sports league in America is the NFL. I often see fans ask “why is it important that an athlete announce his/her sexual orientation?”  Until the attitudes of fans and players change then it’s easy to see why the decision to announce is important.

OBJ