Posts Tagged ‘Basketball’

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by @anarchyroll
10/16/2014

Have you noticed how there are now four major 24 hour sports networks? ESPN, FOX Sports 1, NBC Sports Network, CBS Sports Network.

There are more than four total. Each of the above listed networks have at least one secondary sports network, in the case of ESPN there’s at least three or four more as poked fun at in the movie Dodgeball.

America sure likes its sports. I know I do. I was raised to be a sports fan, and played competitive sports for ten years of my life. I watch/listen to PTI on ESPN every morning while I am making/eating my breakfast. Watching Chicago professional team sports has been the vast majority of bonding time with  my father for most of my life.

Professional sports these days, are used as a tremendous escape and distraction from the issues of our individual lives and the world at large. I watch pro wrestling for the same reason most people watch football. The main difference, less concussions and drugs, hahaha just kidding the brains of the athletes in both sports have been turned to jelly and dust for our amusement and money.

The latter, the money, is why there are now four major 24 hour sports “news” networks. Obviously nothing that happens in sports is actually news. We might lie to ourselves and each other that it is, but it’s not. The only news that comes out of sports is when taxpayer money is used to build stadiums instead of schools, bridges, or fund education programs. Or when an athlete gets arrested or dies. Those stories often only get reported if violence/blood are involved. If it bleeds it leads after all. Sports are often the lead topic in local newscasts these days. They’re upbeat and entertaining. Sports are meant to entertain. Just like pro wrestling, “real” sports have no dignity or integrity to them, it is all about making money through entertainment.

24 hour sports networks play up smack talk, rivalries, and personal feuds between athletes the same way that pro wrestling promoters, announcers, and managers do. ESPN and FSN are farmed out hype machines, WWE just does all their hyping in-house. The major professional sports leagues provide the content, the networks provide the hype. Highlighting the highlights, spotlighting the star players, dissecting referee decisions, and most importantly promoting upcoming contests.

The biggest job of these networks; is to make children’s games played by men seem more important than politics, environment issues, or economic policy.

The major sports leagues in recent years have all starting broadcasting their own 24 hour networks for their individual league and minor league(s). The NFL Network said it best when they launched; “where football season never ends.” That is the exact purpose AND the exact problem with 24 hour sports networks. The distraction and escapism never ends.

Hard working people deserve a break and an escape via entertainment. They earn it by giving their bodies and/or minds for the bulk of their adult lives, often in the service of other people’s dreams. From movies to concerts to soap operas to hiking to video games to traveling to television; there are many ways to escape reality for a little while to rest and recover one’s body, mind, and spirit.

The problem with professional sports and professional sports networks in America; is the astonishing rate at which time, attention, and money are being siphoned from communities, cultures, and societies in the name of never-ending, passive, spectator based escapism. Playing sports after work is one thing. It is physical exercise and creates real bonds between real people. Watching sports all weekend, every weekend while eating unhealthy foods and consuming large quantities of alcohol while sitting down…Noticed how the leagues and networks are sponsored by fast food companies, soda makers, and liquor distillers? How much advertising for those products are consumers exposed to each game/highlight show?

What would American society and culture look like if the time, attention, resources, and money that are spent on professional sports spectating went to economic inequality, environment concerns, infrastructure development, and/or civics? Everyone who works for a living deserves a break. Part of being an adult is that at some point, playtime is over and it’s time to do the unpleasant work of bettering not just our life but the world we live in. I am as guilty as anyone of trying to stretch my childhood into adulthood. Judging by the ratings and profits of the professional sports leagues, I can see that I’m not the only one.

 

 

 

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by @anarchyroll
5/21/2014

From the number one overall seed in the playoffs, to almost getting knocked out in the first round by a sub five hundred team.

From their star players calling out the league MVP to posting goose eggs in important statistical categories during key playoff games.

From dominating the two-time defending champions in-game one, to getting beat decisively and having a star player fined for flopping in-game two.

Just another day in the life of the most bi polar, enigmatic team in professional sports today, maybe ever; the 2014 Indiana Pacers. What an anomaly this team is. I haven’t seen anything like it in my lifetime. Teams either usually play up their potential, run into a bad match up and get steamrolled, or cash out and get bounced quick. The Pacers have done a little of all of those things and have survived. They are three wins away from being in the NBA Finals.

The Pacers match up very well against the Miami Heat. The Heat actually have to adjust what they do around the Pacers. There isn’t another team in the league other than the Spurs that forces the Heat to do that. What is going on in the minds of the Pacers players? Coaches? Management? Fans? Even loud mouth sports pundits have been shocked into dumb founded silence by the Pacers, for that at least, they deserve all of our respect no matter how their postseason ends up.

I find this team so fascinating no matter how much I have been trying to not pay attention to the basketball playoffs this year. I hear they’re the best ever according to Magic Johnson. I’ve been busy watching hockey playoffs, as a Chicago resident, you can understand why that would be the case. If I see a story about the Pacers online, I click the link. I turn up the volume when they’re talked about on ESPN or on sports talk radio. Something is going to come out in the press a month after the season that is going to explain all of this. My guess is that it will be one of the following;

  1. Team chemistry got messed up through bad trades and acquisitions during the season
  2. One or two star players got dumped by their woman
  3. Roy Hibbert is battling clinical depression
  4. A combination of 1-3

Hopefully, the Pacers can just play up to their potential and put an end to the Evil Empire of South Beach’s attempt to three peat.

Though personally I think that whoever wins East is nothing more than a lamb going to the slaughter of the Defend, Pass, Score, Repeat Machine that is the  San Antonio Spurs.

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by @anarchyroll
4/19/2014

Northwestern University’s football team recently won the right to unionize. They feel they are employees of the school and deserve compensation and collective bargaining rights. I wrote an article about this can be found by clicking here.

One of the reasons the term student athlete is a disgrace to anyone with a brain is how much money the NCAA makes off of the labor they don’t have to pay for. Scholarships, food, housing, and travel don’t mean shit when you’re talking about an $11 billion television contract. That is how much the NCAA is pocketing for their March Madness television deal. Who provides the content for the television networks to distribute? That would be the student athletes. Well in the entertainment business if you provide content to be distributed, then you get paid for it. The NCAA is getting paid, the students are literally starving.

Jon Stewart recently had many, many great things to say on this subject on a recent episode of The Daily Show.

All that money and the players still have to pay their own medical bills? It is irresponsible and reprehensible that the NCAA is allowed to make that much money and not pay the players. If the NCAA doesn’t want to pay players, then there is a very easy solution…..donate every penny above operation cost to charities with full transparency. If the status quo remains, that charity will be one that feeds and clothes impoverished division one student athletes.

 

 

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by @anarchyroll
3/2/2014

I’ll take hard work over born and bred talent any day of the week. More often than not, so will the city of Chicago. The only thing they love more than a good work ethic is a fun place to drink with minimal exposure to minorities, hence why the Chicago Cubs franchise makes so much money without winning in a century.

Joakim Noah is the embodiment of hustle and desire over talent and skill. Yes he has talent, but his craving to apply maximum sweat equity to his profession is what has made him a two time NCAA champion, two time NBA all star, and the unquestioned heart and soul of the Chicago Bulls franchise.

I have been a fan of Joakim Noah since the suit he wore on draft night. From there he won over the hearts and minds of both myself and the entire Chicago fan base by getting noticeably better every year of his pro career and by constantly hustling his ass off every single game regardless of time of season, home or away, regular season or playoff, nail biter or blowout. That is the kind of effort that Chicago demands of its superstar athletes. Or at least the ones who want to be considered local legends.

Derrick Rose is now perceived as being soft, fairly or unfairly, right or wrong. He has suffered legit injuries, it is in his method of recovery that a very large, very thick cloud on his integrity and grit has arisen. The only question regarding Noah is whether or not he’ll get ejected from a game for wearing his emotions on his sleeve so intensely.

With Rose habitually out of action due to injury, Luol Deng being traded, and the Bulls organization following protocol and refusing to make a trade at the deadline, Noah is both the metaphorical and leader of the Chicago Bulls for the remainder of the 2013-14 season. Because of this, they are winning. Noah has taken his game to the next level, matching his fostered talent with born perseverance. He is scoring more points, grabbing more rebounds, and assisting his teammates scoring more.

The only people who don’t like Noah now are out of towners. Fans of other NBA franchises who just can’t stand that Noah has just enough skill to back up his mouth. Chicago loves him and likely always will. He is the new A.J Pierzynski, who was the new Jim McMahon, who was the new Norm Van Lier…and the beat goes on.

Noah is everything that is right about pro sports, and he smokes weed. He’s not an arrogant primadonna. He’s not lazy. He’s not soft. He doesn’t negotiate his contract in public. He gives time and money to charity. He constantly thanks and gives props to the fans. You need only have vision to see the effort he gives every season, every game, every play, every minute, every second. Joakim Noah is the heart and soul of the Bulls, but now the talent is matching the will. If those two continue to intersect and correlate with better tangible performances, he’ll be a legend of the game in addition to a legend of the city, which he already is.

sportsrollby @anarchyroll
1/27/2014

I recently heard that Luol Deng had the third longest tenure in Bulls history behind Michael Jordan and Scotty Pippen.  He was certainly paid as if he had the talent of those two.  The problem is he never produced like he was paid to do.  The Chicago Bulls recently traded Luol Deng to get his contract off of their books.  The 2013-2014 season is already over for the Bulls. Hopefully Joakim Noah doesn’t injure himself playing his heart out like he does every night.  The season is a wash, that makes two in a row

Deng was only traded because of the Derrick Rose injury situations.  The team is headed for rebuilding whether they want to acknowledge it or use that word or not.  They need to dump as much salary as possible.  They need to get as many draft picks as possible.  They need to build the team around Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose.  Joakim Noah is my personal favorite basketball player since Michael Jordan (besides Tim Duncan) but even he probably needs to be traded for draft picks. I wouldn’t pull the trigger on that trade myself, but it is for the best in the long run.

Luol Deng is a nice guy and an even better ambassador for the Bulls, the city of Chicago, and basketball in general.  The media has been using that to remember Luol Deng fondly and highlight his many positives on his way out the door.  He played very good defense, was a textbook team player, was coachable, humble, and hardworking.  What Luol Deng was not however, was a superstar NBA player despite being paid like one.  His contract numbers indicated he was a top player at his position, he is not and was not.  Deng is the third or fourth piece of a championship team, never forget that.

If he was better than that, wouldn’t the Chicago Bulls have won an NBA Championship or at least gotten to the NBA Finals? Deng was supposed to be the number two, and although he was able to guard LeBron James, he couldn’t mount half the offensive numbers needed in clutch situations OR series’ to warrant his pay range or more than two all star appearances in almost a decade in the league.

Luol Deng is a nice guy but he should have been traded years ago. If Derrick Rose’s decision making and Carlos Boozer’s defense (lack thereof) didn’t occupy the ire of Chicago sports fans, Deng would have been in the crosshairs much sooner. Luckily for him, he got out before things got really bad.  Although I don’t know how lucky one can be going to Cleveland for any reason.

Hopefully Deng realizes before he’s too old he needs to take less money to play for a contender while he still can be a starter with some lead in his pencil.  He is a great regular season player, but vanishes in the playoffs on the offensive end every single time.  That is likely due to the incredible effort he gives defensively night in and night out against the league’s best.  That would be an acceptable excuse at half the base salary he’s been taking home for his last two contracts.  Kobe Bryant once wanted to be traded to Chicago to play with Luol Deng, seems like another dimension and a long time ago.

Luol Deng is a nice guy who plays damn good defense. That is good enough to be a number three or four, unfortunately he was paid like a number one or two. For that reason the Bulls made the right call in trading him and getting what they could in return to look towards the future.

@anarchyroll 's sports writing blog

ajclogo1by @anarchyroll
11/7/13

This just in! If you have to have reconstructive surgery on your good knee you won’t be able to play basketball very well for a while.  Derrick Rose and the city of Chicago are finding this out first hand. Adrian Peterson was the exception, not the rule…the freakishly fast healing exception.  I shudder to think what talk radio would be saying if Rose didn’t hit that game winning shot against the Knicks last week.

Rose’s rust is actually a good thing, because it is creating low expectations for the Bulls this season. After the opening night slaughter to the Miami Heat, low expectations is just what the doctor ordered for this team. The Chicago Bulls of 2013-14 have everything needed to win an NBA championship, IF they stay health and their starting five plays up to their potential.  The injury bug biting is out of the organizations circle of influence.  Playing up to potential, well that is the dictionary example of something within the circle of influence.  What does that mean for the Chicago Bulls?

Let’s start with Luol Deng since believe it or not, he is who will determine whether the Bulls win a title this year or not.  How him? Why him? Because he is supposed to be Scottie Pippen to MJ, he is supposed to be Manu Ginobli to Tim Duncan, he is supposed to be Moses Malone to Dr J, he is supposed to be Kevin McHale to Larry Bird. I mean, he’s paid like he is the number two guy. In an era barely a decade ago, he is getting paid number one guy money.

Deng’s salary makes his a poster child of disappointment.  His character, poise, integrity, kindness, humble attitude make him a poster child of how a professional athlete should act. The “nice guys finish last” paradigm first Luol Deng like a glove. He is too soft to be successful the way the Bulls need and have needed him to be successful. He doesn’t have the guts to charge the lane when we need him to, he doesn’t have the heart to make the big shot when D Rose is triple teamed at the end of the game. If he made 1/3 of his salary, Deng would be a Chicago hero due to his attitude and defensive effort, but he doesn’t make Andres Nocioni money.

Can I write a book about how awesome Joakim Noah is?! I just might. But for now all you need to know about Noah is he has been dubbed “The Heart and Soul of the Chicago Bulls”. If he can stay healthy, there’s no punditry needed. He isn’t paid to make jumpers, he earns his check and then some every second he spends in the paint on both sides of the floor.

Jimmy Butler seems to be getting saddled with the expectations Chicago used to have for Luol Deng. Butler is young and will still go through growing pains.  Thibs will whip him into shape defensively, no doubt about that. The question is, can the young fella play up to his potential consistently when the lights are brightest during the three month NBA postseason. That war of attrition can make cowards of the bravest regular season heroes.

Lastly we come to the new Reverend Run himself D Rose.  Mr. Adidas has earned a grace period of sucking it up and being off his game.  The yellow streak that was popping out of the back of all of his clothes last season is faded and forgotten…for now.  Championship or bust is the expectation around the city whether the team, organization, or press want to admit it or not.  Expectations come with the salary and endorsements, much like Luol Deng the fact that Rose is a soft spoken humble fella will buy him plenty of good will but only so much patience in a major market like Chicago.

If the Bulls maintain the status quo on defense, Rose returns to form, Noah does his thing, Butler plays slightly beyond his years, and Deng earns his money in the playoffs there is no one in either conference that the Bulls can’t beat in a seven game serious.  The question is which will be more fragile come playoff time, D Rose’s knee or Luol Deng’s will to win?