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    How Escalating Salaries Are Changing the NBA

    Jul 25 • NBA • 29 Views

    The top tier of professional basketball players can make a lot of money. We are talking serious dough here. This, of course, is nothing new to even the greenest of NBA fans. What is not as well known, however, is that those salaries are slated to skyrocket in coming years thanks to a lucrative new television deal that is going into effect. As this happens, the scope and structure of the league is almost certain to change. Will smaller market teams such as Milwaukee and Utah be able to compete? How will younger players react to earning so much money in such a short amount of time? There are many questions remaining that need to be answered. Let’s take a quick look at how these escalating salaries are likely to change the NBA in the short term.

    There Is Truth To the Rich Getting Richer

    Even in the face of escalating revenue in the NBA, there is only so much wealth to be spread around. Some clubs simply do not have the cash to splash on big name athletes. Raising the salary cap does little to help the Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz’s of the world, but the Golden State Warriors.. whole different story. Small market teams did not have the money to reach it in the first place. What rising salaries have done is further polarized a league where multiple superstars playing on the same club is now possible.

    Could this be the end of an era where we have the likes of Jordan, Bird, and Johnson all duking it out on separate teams? It would have been unheard of to have three such superstars on the same team, yet we just finished an era where we have James, Bosh, and Wade play multiple seasons together. Before that there was Garnett, Pierce, and Allen. Now, we are going to have Curry, Thompson, and Durant for the foreseeable future. While that is great for Warriors fan, I am not sure how it will sit with the rest of the country.

    The New Reality

    With a salary cap that was just raised to $90 million for this coming year, only to skyrocket to $127 million as early as next year, players will certainly benefit. What about the fans? We have already seen how the wealthy teams now have the room to pay multiple superstars to assemble their own dream franchise. Other clubs, however, will simply be unable to compete under the new system. What we will likely see are teams such as the Lakers, Knicks, Heat and Bulls continuing to compete for free agents. They will land some for sure and be able to pay them in the $30 million per season range.

    The league needs to find a way to distribute this new wealth more equally. They were gradually heading in that direction for the past decade, but now that good work has dissipated. Throwing money at top name players does little to promote new, home grown talent. We might have seen the last of the Tim Duncan’s and Larry Bird’s of the world where one team is all they need. The players win under the new salary structure, but what about the fans? The jury is still out, but it does not look entirely promising.

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    Watch: Charles “Peanut” Tillman’s retirement video

    Jul 21 • NFL • 72 Views

    Charles “Peanut” Tillman retired after 13 years on Monday. He was known for being one of the best playmaking corners via his “Peanut Punch” which he make players fumble on a yearly basis. He had a quick stint with the Panthers last year, but he will forever be known as a staple in the Chicago Bears secondary.

    Salute Peanut!

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  • Heath out, Kreis in

    Jason Kreis Appointed Head Coach Of Orlando City SC

    Jul 20 • Other • 110 Views

    Jason Kreis is back!

    The previous New York City FC coach is back in MLS after almost a year of looking for a club. Orlando City SC announced on Tuesday that Kreis will become the club’s second coach in history.

    “We are very excited that we have got our man. Jason is a progressive thinking and highly ambitious coach, who is very familiar with success in MLS,” Orlando City SC president and founder Phil Rawlins said. “Jason’s playing philosophy is the same attack-minded, possession-oriented style of soccer that we have built our club around. He is a winner who checks all the boxes for us.”

    Kreis had a great coaching career before his “flop” with NYC. He led Real Salt Lake to two MLS Championship appearances, winning one of them. In addition, he directed the team to a CONCACAF Champions League appearance.

    On Twitter, Kevin Kinkead, a Philly U informant, tweeted “Those RSL teams played good defense and had a core that stayed together for YEARS. Beckerman, Morales, Rimando, Beltran, Borchers, etc”… and he is exactly right. Kreis had a dominant group at RSL and, whether you like it or not, this played a huge role in the overall success of the club.

    But in my opinion, Kreis is walking into another NYC situation. NYC didn’t qualify for playoffs – you can tell the team really didn’t gel together and who knows what went on behind the curtains. Lampard came into the team half way into the season and you can see the frustration in David Villa’s eyes. Orlando City also depend on star power – Kaka, Larin, Brek Shea – to get anything done; Kaka has been battling some injuries all year that is literally why they are sitting 8th place.

    I’ve only been watching MLS for a couple of years and never saw the “Kreis era,” but Kreis is beloved by MLS fans and knows the league already. The board of directors in Orlando are clearly content with this decision and hopefully will be behind him going forward.

     

     

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    3 Bold Predictions for the NFL 2016 season

    Jul 19 • NFL • 170 Views

    With training camp set to begin within the next week or so, I figured what better time than now for me to make my 3 bold predictions for the upcoming NFL season. Now anyone and there dog can throw something out that they’ve heard around the league and brag they are correct come January, the real test of psychic abilities is to travel far beyond the perimeters of the metaphorical “box” and have those be correct. Here is my best attempt at just that.

    Joe Flacco hits a stat line of 44Tds, 4000+ Yards and a trip to the playoffs

    While some may say the postseason berth alone is a bold prediction, I laugh in the face of critics. Call it a homer pick, the truth is in the stats laid out in this paragraph and my previous article. I won’t go into the 2012 Super Bowl run, those reasons are known and I’ve written about this numerous times, no need to beat a dead horse. All I will say is, look at the previous seasons pace, which was headed towards a 4000+ yard season, all without Joe for the better part of 2015 and lacking any credible WRs. Add to the mix for the upcoming year, a vengeful Mike Wallace, a redemption seeking Breshad Perriman, two solid rookies in Chris Moore and Keenan Reynolds and the ever dangerous, Steve Smith Sr. All this making Mr. Joe Flacco locked and loaded for another spectacular run. Mark it!

    Pittsburgh Steelers fail to crack the top 5 in offensive rankings

    Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh Steelers

    Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh Steelers

    At the surface of this prediction, one would dare to say it isn’t bold to state a team misses out of a top 5 ranking. In this case it is. Heralded by many to have the most potent and deadly offense in the entire NFL, the Steelers are aiming for the top ranked team on one side of the ball. Leveon Bell will be back healthy for week 1, as will Big Ben. Antonio Brown will be poised for another gigantic season in yards and Tds, and the main cog in the OL, Maurkice Pouncey, should be ready to lead that line to greatness come September. Seems easy right? Wrong! The offseason saw the Pittsburgh organization lose two massive puzzle pieces to their previous success. Heath Miller went on to retirement while Martavius Bryant learned he will be sitting on the sidelines with a year long suspension. Although it does take more than two players to make a championship roster, it could take two players to break one. Big Ben found solace in Miller for the past several seasons, using him as his trusty safety blanket. Whenever he encountered trouble a check down to Heath would be the solution. This time around they look to former Charger, LaDarius Green. While never having an opportunity to shine in San Diego playing behind veteran, Antonio Gates, one is to wonder if the comfort level will even be somewhat existent between Ben and his new tight end. Also losing your second best WR who made some incredible catches to win games, for not one game, but the entire year is incredibly tough. The onus will be put on AB and Bell to carry the load, potentially causing the major health hazards in the RB to flare up, and causing an easy irritable AB to combust within himself. The end result? A rather mediocre showing, possibly 7th ranking. Oakland, Jacksonville, Green Bay, Arizona, Baltimore and the Vikings, are all on my list of teams to finish higher than the aforementioned Steelers.

    The New England Patriots will NOT win division year thus causing them to miss the payoffs entirely

    tombradySince 1999, the AFC playoffs have witnessed Tom Brady or Peyton Manning run rampant through teams cementing their legacies along the way. After Peyton announced his retirement following his magical SuperBowl win, the last hope left of this immaculate streak continuing would be #12 in New England. With the earth shaking suspension being upheld for the deflate-gate incident two playoffs ago, The Mighty Pats will be without their saviour for 4 rather decisive games to begin the 2016 campaign. Out of those four opponents they face only one beatable team in the Miami Dolphins, the other 3? Defensive juggernauts, Houston, Arizona and division rival Buffalo. All with legitimate shots of burying the Patriots chances of regaining their division dominance and their playoff predictability. They will in my mind, go 1-3/ 0-4 ultimately leaving them on the outside looking in come postseason time. The team to dethrone the Belichick led organization and take the AFC East? The New York Football Jets!

    So in conclusion, call it crazy, clueless, confident or a bit of all of them, the fact of the matter is, these are my Bold Predictions made to envoke friendly debate and discussion among football fans. Have some bold predictions of your own? Leave them in the comments or hit me on Twitter!

    @Emcwesb
    Cheers

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    Watch: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James Sends A Powerful Statement at the ESPY’s

    Jul 14 • NBA, Other • 100 Views

    Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James took center stage in the opening portion of the ESPY’s. The four megastars used the platform to promote social change. Touching on matters such as gun violence, racial profiling, community involvement, and other prevalent issues, were brought to the forefront. Oftentimes big time athletes are afraid to touch on social issues in fear of losing fans, money, and endorsements, so this was refreshing to see.

    If you haven’t seen the video, check it out below.

    Kudos to the banana boat crew.

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  • Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) takes the court before Game 7 of the Western Conference finals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., Monday, May 30, 2016. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

    Kevin Durant Did The Right Thing By Selecting Golden State

    Jul 12 • NBA • 117 Views

    Guest Blogger: LeRon Crowder/@LeRonCrowder via Twitter

    (Editor’s Note: The article was written on 7/4/16)

    Today is Independence Day. Family cookouts are a plenty, and it’s also known as a “Tell your side chick, Nah My family don’t celebrate July 4th” Day. I’m sitting in my cubicle getting calls and tweets out of queue, and getting paid time and a half and holiday pay while waiting on the breaking news from Kevin Durant.

    Life is in slow motion. Early into my shift, I’m slithering through my TL, waiting for a KD decision, and I see “KDTrey5: My Next Chapter”. Immediately my Stomach goes into full butterfly mode. In that moment I knew something crazy was about to happen. I click the link, and what do you know? It crashed. The traffic was Los Angeles, California Bad! I couldn’t even see the decision. I wanted to open that link like Christmas Morning, but I couldn’t. Instead a barrage of “Wow” tweets ravaged through the timeline. I knew at that moment, that things got really, very real. Yes, KD signed to the Golden State Warriors! The only people mad were the ones whose dad’s went to the corner store for milk and never came back.

    First, KD gave 9 years to the organization, so stfu about loyalty. Half of y’all don’t stay in relationships longer than 3 months to get a ring. The other half in relationships for 10 years and still got nothing to show for it.

    Class is in session. From the day that the last buzzer of the finals go on till about October, we have what we call off season. In that off-season, NBA draft happens. That’s where young players from collegiate or overseas gather together to be picked by NBA teams. We also have trades. That’s when GMs use methods of exporting their own players or draft picks to other teams to import other players and draft picks from other teams. It’s quite the simple process. And THEN we have Free agency!

    That’s when players who have fulfilled contractual obligations with teams, can go where-ever THE FUCK THEY WANT! FREE(Dom) AGENCY! If they want to put themselves in better position to take more money and not win (Melo) they can do so. If they want to win and don’t care about money (Ray Allen), they can do that. If you’re a superstar and want both, you have EVERY RIGHT to do that as well (KD and LeBron).
    The most intriguing thing has been the complete, usual biased Ohio Sports fans show.

    Listen here—if you have to explain why something is different, then yeah essentially it’s the same. Trying to nitpick how the LeBron move is Different from The KD move is pointless. Fact of the matter is. LeBron did it TWICE! He teamed up with Bosh and Wade THEN went to Kyrie and Love. If Kyrie wasn’t a potential superstar and Love wasn’t interested in coming to Cleveland, he would have NOT came back to Cleveland. Now, I don’t have a problem with King doing that, especially not the second time. The only problem with the first time was the sitcom he put on. Which I think even King James admitted to being a Dick move.

    I’m seeing similarities with the move now as far as personnel. When LeBron moved both times, people were lining up to join the roster. I’m seeing the same thing with the Warriors. The move to the Warriors makes sense because it makes for an interesting season. People say KD is a pushover or too nice of a guy. In actuality he’s been warming up this move for a while now. Actually it’s well documented that Steve Kerr and KD has shown interest in each other since before the historical 73-9 season. He’s been at odds with the media for a few years now. It looks like he’s been preparing for this complete heel turn on the league.

    LeBron took it from Kobe. Now KD taking it from LeBron. He’s played with an edge and I think he’s ready to compete for his ultimate goal. To be a champion. The NBA has always been a chase for rings. Just now it’s more scrutinized because it’s more scrutinized now when certain players don’t win. It’s not like when Barkley, Iverson, Malone, Stockton, etc played. They are brought up in conversations about not winning but their legacies weren’t defined by it. Now!? LeBron, Melo, KD, Chris Paul, all were/are under the microscope of failed careers if they don’t bring home rings. The media has created this rhetoric for fans to weigh down on superstars. Even Chris Paul tried to pull a move like this via trade which was vetoed by other owners. It was seen as cheating. Let that had been free agency. Chris Paul would without a doubt had a ring by chasing it. Seen a quote from Charles Barkley saying how disappointed he is in Durant and Bron for cheating to win rings. Sounds bitter.

    Especially when he forced a trade to Houston, a proven winner with Two Hall of Famers Hakeem ‘The Dream’ Olajuwon and Clyde the ‘Glide’ Drexler. I respect Charles Barkley, but he sounds like the guy who wants the ringless bus of Greats, he’s on, to be full. Its funny people talk about rings now, when in the 80’s and 90’s, only a handful of Superstars were winning them. People weren’t equally winning. It was like 6 teams out the entire League. Maybe KD doesn’t want to be on that wave.

    Whispers of  James Harden saying, “There’s only one basketball,” when asked about The KD move. That was the problem with OKC often. Is that the ideology that there is only one basketball was so transparent. Meaning Russ is a ball dominant player. James Harden uses 20 seconds of a shot clock dribbling. KD is in a situation now where that mindset is not with GS. The ball Moves. Everyone is held accountable for the way that offense runs. That is a thing of Beauty for KD.

    Why would KD leave a title Contender to a join a team that wasn’t a title contender? He spent 9 seasons with this team and had great times there, but no one knows what that locker room was like. Going to Boston? Nah. Team isn’t good enough with him to knock off the Cavs. He could stay in OKC for that. It’s the kind of team with him, as OKC is. Clippers? That’s the SAME thing as going to Warriors. That team is loaded already. With the same rep as stacking a roster. NY? Rebuild. Washington? He didn’t want to go home for personal reasons. LAL? Rebuild. Warriors were the only logical team ready to compete for a ring.

    With Westbrook knowing himself that he would be leaving, it would be another rebuild without him. KD made the right decision for him to put him in position to win his rings. The same way King James did.

    Yes the Warriors won 73 games, but they didn’t win it all. Now with most of the team leaving, is it still cheating? Or logically does it take more than 5 people to win a ring. They still have to work hard to win against deeper teams this upcoming season. Chemistry may be off a bit because of the #1 option changing. Not only changing, but now on that team there being one. I’m not sure there was a number one option before as much as they were just shooting arenas up all over the country. Obviously Steph is a different player, but I’m not so sure to say he was a #1 option because of the system they ran.

    I guess we will see though. One thing you can definitely count on is, KD to show up every night a villain, and perform like Bron did in his first season Miami. No matter how much the skeptics fake hate KD, you’re still going to watch EVERY night.
    With that said, shut up and enjoy this upcoming season. It’s going to be special

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    Can the Baltimore Ravens rebound in 2016?

    Jul 12 • NFL • 213 Views

    At the end of the 2012 season once the confetti had fallen, there was an unsettling nervousness in the city of Baltimore. Although they had just watched their beloved heroes parade their way to M&T Bank Stadium with the imposing Lombardi trophy in tow, it was apparent the Ravens landscape was practically in the midst of an implosion.

    Ray Lewis, the proverbial model Raven, had announced his retirement, Ed Reed was informed he wouldn’t be receiving another contract, the three main targets for Joe Flacco were on their way to new cities and to top it all off the main cog to the offensive line in Matt Birk embarked on his retirement.

    History has shown that when an organization loses its main component to its success, the team begins its descent. Put that theory into play for the 2013 Baltimore team whom lost five superstars, and it is sure to overly cripple them. To no ones surprise, the team fell into an enormous funk the following season, missing the playoffs for the first time in years.

    They were well on their way to a world without their purple blooded warriors whom so effortlessly carried the team for what seemed like an eternity.

    Though the pain was deep and scars were fresh, Ozzie set out to mold another legitimate Super Bowl contender. Drafting a defensive stalwart in CJ Mosley was the first step to recovery. Follow this up with the legend Steve Smith, Sr. joining the team, the newly acquired in 2016 Eric Weddle, Mike Wallace and Ben Watson and you have the recipe for success. Weddle is an impressive boost to the secondary while Watson and Wallace bring some size and speed that was more than needed. Not to mention the unproven undrafted players looking to make an impact this season.

    As the puzzle pieces begin to fall into place, putting the Ravens potentially back into the playoff race. Little is left to be done. For the first time in his career, Joe (Don’t call me Fluky) Flacco will have numerous targets on offense. Critics will be advised to revisit his Super Bowl MVP performance where he undoubtedly shot the lights out. Posting an unreal 11-0 TD/INT ratio with a mediocre Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones and Anquan Boldin, all but shows his “Elite” status. Doing it against the big 3(Luck,Peyton,Brady) With receivers whom are miles above those three, now playing under second year coordinator Marc Trestman, they will look to emphatically dominate the AFC and ultimately the league. My prediction? An out of this world showing. 44 TDs, 4000+ Yards and another ring for #5.

    In closing, let it be known that the Super Bowl hangover which was so highly unwanted has begun to lift its ugly head. The black clouds have made way for the purple rain this year and the Ravens fan base couldn’t be more happy. The nervousness has turned into excitement and the anxiety has began to morph into acceptance.
    The journey is far from over but the end is most certainly in sight.

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    Pep Guardiola Hoping To Reach New Heights With City

    Jul 11 • Other • 112 Views

    New kits. New badge. New manager. This is the Manchester City of 2016. The days of the struggling Manuel Pellegrini are long gone and City fans can only be optimistic about the future.

    On July 3rd, the club revealed their new home kits; The uniforms stick to the classic baby blue shirt and shorts, but with a smoother look. Along with the new kits, came the revamped Manchester City badge (which, if I add, is brilliant).

    With a “#ItBegins” Twitter campaign signaling their new vision, thousands of supporters converged at the club’s Etihad campus this past week to grab just a glance of their new manager and look.

    Pep Guardiola, who found nothing but success with Barcelona and Bayern Munich said, “I proved myself in Barcelona and, after I proved myself in Germany, I wanted to prove myself in England.”

    Manchester City has already signed Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan – if this isn’t a signal of things to come, then frankly, I dont know what is. Stick Gundogan behind the likes of Sterling, Silva, Aguero and De Bruyne? Gundogan is no doubt a Xavi/Fabregas-esque type player with a holding midfielder player capability and this is an overall great first signing.  

    Personally, I always find it very intriguing when managers that have had previous success in other countries come to England and try to test the waters. I feel like Pep is in for a little bit of shock… He already had his plate made with Messi at Barca and Robben and Co. at Bayern.

    But lets elaborate on the team he has now. Sagna, Zabaleta, Kolorav, and Kompany all range from the 30-33 age. Their defensive mids – Fernando and Fernandinho – are 28 and 31, respectively. I think the improvement of these two areas will determine the outcome of City’s success this season. In addition, there have already been rumors of Guardiola preparing to give a plethora of players the door. On the other hand, their attacking players are quite young and all have exceptional qualities. How Guardiola attempts to gel this team together after (probably) getting rid of some extra fat is something to keep an eye on. 

    Either way you put it, “The best coach in the world” is in the house. His resume spells nothing but greatness and City fans are already mesmerized. The season hasn’t even started but City and United are certainly already in the runnings for Premier League triumph. As a Chelsea fan, I am literally not looking forward to this. 

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    Watch: Tyrod Taylor x Toyota Camry commercial

    Jul 9 • NFL • 113 Views

    I was watching TV and noticed Toyota Camry commercial and noticed Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Taylor was a former backup for the Baltimore Ravens and got a shot to start last year for the Bills. It was pretty cool to see him get some national exposure.

    I wonder if they gave him loaded Camry? Check out the commercial.

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    Copa America Centenario: A Retrospective

    Jul 7 • Other • 137 Views

     

    If there are still any doubts that soccer is gaining in popularity throughout the United States, those were surely put to rest with the conclusion of the recently completed Copa America Centenario.  Playing host to this prestigious South American soccer tournament for the first time in its one hundred year history, America put on quite a show from coast to coast.  

    From the continuing surge in popularity of Major League Soccer to the number of American born footballers now playing overseas, it appears that the nation is finally ready to compete. This year’s Copa America was an opportunity for America to showcase the sport in ten different cities, and record breaking crowds attended each match in force. Playing host to 16 different national clubs, including the number one ranked team Argentina, provided a chance for soccer fans around the world to sit back and enjoy the festivities.

    For their part, host United States made a surprising run through group A. Losing only one match and finishing with 6 points, the club made their way to the knockout round where they ended up in a semi final clash with Messi and his Argentinian counterparts. It was at that point where the United States team fought valiantly, but demonstrated that they have some work to do before they can be considered among the world’s elite. At the same time, passionate crowds followed the American team from venue to venue, culminating in their consolation match defeat to Columbia at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

    Another story line was Brazil’s lack of an appearance at the tournament. Fans from around the world travel to see the club play whenever they are present, yet the team did not even make it out of group play. That resulted in the firing of their coach, which leaves the club once again in a state of turmoil just prior to the Olympics to be held in their own native land.

    Through it all, the matches were filled to near capacity, with an epic championship battle between Argentina and Chile playing itself out at the Meadowlands in New Jersey. Playing to a 0-0 tie through regulation and into the extended period, the final was decided on penalty kicks. Messi would start things off with a miss, which was rather staggering to both himself and the thousands in attendance, eventually resulting in a 2-4 Chile win on penalty kicks. The newly minted Centenario Cup was handed over to the Chileans, capping a tremendous month of soccer that only serves to further the sport throughout North America.

    Who knows how long it will be before international soccer at this level is once again played in the United States. It could be decades, or the World Cup could be set to take place before we know it. What is certain, however, is that American fans are ready to highlight to the world that they not only enjoy this most international of sports, but that that they can compete at the highest level as well.

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