SPORTSPASTOR


The Sports World Needs to Lighten Up

Apparently the media are as bored with the headlines they are writing as we are reading them. David Beckham makes his debut tonight, oh but wait, a bad ankle will limit him to five to ten minutes. Now America will be watching something else other than the over-hyped MLS debut of Brad Pitt in cleats. Sergio will enter Sunday at the British Open with the lead and every chance to blow it on the final hole like Jean Van de Velde did eight years ago at the same course. In addition, Sergio has a chance to break the title of “best golfer yet to win a major.” Who comes up with these angles on sports?!?

Kobe is not practicing for team USA for the first time ever, instead he is simply shooting around in between interviews about his indecisive nature on whether or not he wants to remain a Laker. He says that he does not want to be a distraction to the team and the reporters ignore his request and ask the same questions in 100 other ways. And now the poll of the day on ESPN is “Which accusations are most disturbing to you as a sports fan?” Your choices are Michael Vick’s alleged involvement in dogfighting or referee Tim Donaghy’s alleged NBA betting. These stories are accompanied by the question of where and when will the alleged “Steriod King” will become the MLB “Home Run King”. And will the commissioner, Bud Selig, be in attendance to observe the making of the largest asterick in Guiness Book of World Records history. Everyone is looking forward to the NFL season as a chance to see if anyone on the Cincinnati Bengals is out of jail and free to join Carson Palmer for the 2007 NFL regular season. Pac Man Jones… OK…you get the point.

It is time to hire Charles Barkley as the President and CEO of all sports and have him make decisions as to what is in the best interest of the game, regardless of sport. All of the commissioners will report to Sir Charles and the players and officials have to meet with Barkley one on one every time they screw up. The best part about interviewing Barkley about the state of sports as the new boss is that he would help every reporter lighten up. That is what the sports world needs.

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Lebron James 2.0

This is an entry that I originally posted on NBA Unplugged as a Season Preview, but I felt it needed an update in honor of Lebron’s arrival on the grand stage that is the NBA Finals.

Today’s edition of “23 Things” features NBA Superstar Lebron James’ list of 23 things he plans to achieve before he turns 23 years of age. Let’s call it Lebron James 2.0 Enjoy the game!

DONE:

01. Lead High School team (St. Vincent-St. Mary’s) to 3 state titles

02. Win award as “Mr. Basketball Ohio” for 3 straight years

03. First HS sophomore to make the All-USA Today 1st Team

04. 2001-02 Gatorade National Player of the Year as a HS junior

05. Cover boy for SLAM, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN as HS junior

06. High School games televised nationally on ESPN 2 and PPV

07. McDonald’s All-American High School Game MVP

08. Get a Hummer H2 for 18th Birthday ($80,000)

09. Selected as # 1 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft

10. $95 Million Shoe Contract from Nike (even before playing)

11. 25 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals in 1st NBA game

12. Win 2003-04 NBA Rookie of the Year Honors

13. USA Basketball Team member 2004-Greece/2006-Japan

14. Youngest NBA player to ever record a triple-double

15. Youngest NBA player to ever score 50+ points in a game

16. Lead Cavaliers to the playoffs for the first time since 1998

17. Lead Cavaliers to a 50 win season (2005-06)

18. Sign a contract extension to stay in Cleveland 3 more years

JUST DID:

19. Carry the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals

20. Receive comparisons to Michael Jordan (ECF – Game 5)

STILL TO DO:

21. Win an NBA Championship

22. Win the NBA Finals MVP

23. Earn comparisons to Michael Jordan



New NBA Coach Billy Donovan Has Chosen Wisely

Before accepting the job as new head coach of the Orlando Magic, Billy Donovan did everything right. There are so many things that Billy Donovan did during his decision making process (according to ESPN’s Andy Katz) that really impress me. First of all, he placed family first. With four kids and a wife that live in Gainesville that are surrounded by family and a good support system, Billy did not want to just uproot the family and move to Indiana or Memphis (other teams that were reportedly wooing Donovan to their organization). So the offer of an NBA job that was less than two hours away from home was finally something to consider with more fervor than previous offers. The college-coaching job at Kentucky that was offered would have required moving the family, as well. In making the decision to turn down the Kentucky job, once again, he put family first.

Next, he sought wise counsel. He spoke with his dad constantly in addition to some of his closest friends and mentors, including the great Rick Pitino. He spoke with the powers that be of the Orlando Magic organization on Wednesday and then went to his church on Thursday to get away from all of the hustle and bustle to be alone with God. It was then that he would find the peace he needed to know he was making the right decision.

If you were to ask Billy the main reason he took the job he would not say for the money. I think he would repeat what he has said to the media since the decision, that he is excited about the challenge. The University of Florida will definitely miss Donovan, but he will receive a respectful, warm welcome from Dwight Howard and company in Orlando. Many say leadership is about influence. I say it begins with a passion for what you do that leads to influence on those willing and inspired to follow a leader that is sold out to the challenge that is before him and his team. This will definitely be the case with Billy Donovan and one of my new favorite teams: The Orlando Magic.

See my April post about Dwight Howard