Thursday, August 28, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Hugh McCutcheon's Olympic experience was rare. These 2 weeks were the worst, and the best, of his life.
McCuthcheon's Olympic experience began with the brutal stabbing of his in-laws while they were site-seeing in Beijing. The attack by a deranged Chinese national killed his father-in-law died; his mother-in-law survived, but was seriously injured and remained in the hospital throughout the Olympics. To make the attack even more crazy, the attacker took his own life by jumping off the tower on which McCuthcheon's in-laws had stood.
This senseless attack would have ended many people's quest for gold, but McCutheon knew that his in-laws would have wanted him to compete. So, McCutcheon continued to coach the Olympic men's volleyball team.
McCutheon and his players banded together to play in the memory of the coach's father-in-law. Two weeks after the brutal attack, McCutcheon and his players won a gold medal and heard the roar of a Chinese crowd that saluted the team's victory, but also tried in some way to apologize for an attack by one of their countrymen. This must have made the cheers of "U-S-A!" even more special to McCutcheon.
He will remember these two weeks for the rest of his life as memories... both GOOD and bad.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
It's Spain vs. USA. Pau vs. Kobe. Europe vs. North America. Old World vs. New World.
Spain came into the Olympic Games as a legitimate contender for the gold medal, but so far they--and everyone else--have just been pretenders. The US is close to avenging a series of losses in world games, but redemption depends on winning the gold medal game, so the Americans haven't really avenged anything yet.
The games are becoming tougher for the US as they get deeper into the medal round, despite final scores that suggest blowouts. The Argentines pushed the US, and the game was a lot closer than the Americans would have liked. The question is... Will Spain use the same tactics Argentina used? Spain can win only if Pau Gasol has a huge game and Spain avoids a lot of turnovers.
More important than that... THEY GOT TO GUARD US! If they let us roam around behind the three point line, we'll first shoot wide open threes and then penetrate the middle when Spain contests the long ball.
Spain has a chance to compete for the gold if they do those two things but in my mind, it just isn't gonna' happen. The Americans will be wearing gold necklaces come tomorrow.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
When Usain Bolt goes on the track Lighting strikes. We all pretty much expect Usain Bolt to win gold. I watch it for the hype, the excitement, and his dance. People are saying he's a showboater... That's Bogus. Outright BOGUS. If you can do what Usain Bolt does.... why not dance?
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Kevin Durant was the ROY last season, but not the most surprising. Rodney Stuckey has my vote for the surprise rookie of the year. No one had heard of him and he didn't play much at all. He showed his stripes in the games that mattered most, also known as... The Playoffs! His stats don't show much at all but he showed his stripes. Commentators were saying that Stuckey has the potential to be the next D-Wade. Back to my point... I don't follow College Basketball much except for my favorite team UCLA. I never even heard of him before! Although he didn't win the ROY award, he had a much bigger season than Durant.
I've been reading Mike Lupica's book. Travel Team, The Big Field, Heat, Summer Ball. His books are great. All of them are. Great books for the perfect sports fan. I love Travel Team the most because of how he writes about Danny going through adversity by being the smallest on the team and with a difficult parent situation. I will say no more! NO SPOILERS! All I'm telling you is, go read those books. There fun, There smart, There great.
Great for every sport fan.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
In 2006, Dwayne Wade owned the NBA Finals. The Heat played the Mavericks, and the Mavericks won the first two games. D-Wade made sure that the Mavs didn't win another game. He scored 42 points game 3, 36 points in game 4, and 43 points in game 5. The Heat won all three games and then won game 6 to end the series. Wade was the series MVP and everyone expected him to be a league MVP candidate for every year after that.
It didn't work out that way. Wade missed 31 games during the 2006-2007 season and almost all of the second half last season. His stats and his production went down dramatically. We were all wondering where the D-Wade of 2006 was.
We've found him in China. In this Beijing Olympics, he is the leading scorer on the US team coming off the bench behind Kobe. In 18 minutes per game, he is averaging 17 points! Also, he is shooting 73% from the field with some additional sensational dunks to hype up the crowd. What else can I say? When everyone just about forgot about him, he has come up huge and helped our country dominate the Olympic Games. He also has gained a wider fan-base!
Way to go Dwayne!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I was thinking a couple of days ago about what makes an NBA player better than the rest. Remember that only about one-tenth of one percent of the population is good enough to become an NBA player. The sixth-grader or the ninth grader or the twelfth grader who you think is great most of the time turns out to be an average player at best in college and never makes it to the pros. Most of us don't know anyone who ever made it to the pros. So, out of the 400 or so people who are good enough to become NBA players, why is one of them so much better than anyone else?
It isn't because the player is a better athlete than anyone else. Most NBA players are amazing athletes, and there isn't much that separates Kobe from Caron Butler from Sasha Vujacic from that great shooter you knew in high school.
The difference, I think, is something inside the best players, something you and me will never be able to understand. About six months ago I read a book about Kobe that gets at this difference. In 1997, Kobe was only a 19 year old second year player. The Lakers were locked in a battle with the Utah Jazz for the Western Conference semifinals. After four games, the Lakers were down 3-1.
In game 5, when the Lakers were facing elimination, Del Harris needed one player to take the last shot. You wouldn't have thought that we would turn to Kobe. After all, that team had Shaq, Nick Van Exel, Eddie Jones, and Robert "Big Shot Bob" Horry. But when everyone else looked away from Harris in the final huddle, only one player returned his stare. Only one player wanted to take the last shot. And that player was a second year player from Lower Merion High School who had no reason to regard himself as the number one option on the last play of the series.
But that was when Kobe stepped forward and essentially asked to take the last shot. He had the courage and mental toughness to take 6 shots in OT and to take the last shot of the game. Yes, the Lakers lost the game and, yes, Kobe air-balled every one of his last 6 shots, but the fact that he wanted to take the last shot after whiffing on the prior five showed that Kobe had a competitiveness within him that no one else had. And after Kobe missed the last shot, he spent the next day making 1,000 shots from each of the spots on the court from which he air-balled a shot in overtime.
Just think about it, he was only in his 2nd year and he stepped up and took those shots that veterans won't even think about doing! Also, when other people were on vacation or sleeping, Kobe was in the gym working out on his game.
The average players will practice when they are told to but the great players will work out when they don't have to. That's what makes the great players great--they work harder than everyone else and believe in themselves more than anyone else does.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Nobody is talking about this because there are a lot of other things going on, but should the Dallas Mavericks have traded Devin Harris for Jason Kidd? Dallas lost an up and coming young point guard and gained a 35 year old point guard whose skills were declining with each day.
The Mavs thought that Kidd would help them go deeper in last season's playoffs, but that didn't happen mostly because Kidd couldn't keep up with another one of the Western Conference's young point guards--Chris Paul. Had the Mavs not made the trade, Harris would have been a better defender against Paul than Kidd. No one has been able to stop Chris Paul, but Harris would have had a much better chance of slowing him down. And Kidd didn't really add much to the the Mavs' offense. In other words, Kidd didn't help and probably hurt the Mavs' championship hopes.
We don't know what wold have happened had the Mavs not made the trade, but we do know that after the trade Dallas got their booties smacked 4-1 and their head coach was fired. And now they don't have a rapidly improving player in Devin Harris. What they do have is a huge salary cap hit on their roster for the rest of Kidd's contract. Oy!
One more thing, Kidd the starting point guard for Team USA instead of Chris Paul. This is a MESS! A total mess.
The New Orleans Hornets are going to play seven preseason games prior to their season opener. Two of those games will be in Europe in part of NBA Europe Live. They play the Washington Wizards on October 14th at the O2 World in Berlin. Last year NBA Europe Live brought over 10.3 million viewers watching.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Team USA looked great in exhibition games except they lacked defense the last two games. D-Wade is performing great, Kobe is playing D and scoring the ball. LeBron is a great option also. I will be very frustrated if we don't win the gold this year. We have more to lose, than win. Almost nobody would be surprised if we win GOLD medal but.... If we lose, I don't know what worse can happen. To lose in your own game. It's crazy. Keep on reading.
SAVE THE NBA
The number 1 draft pick hype has flown away. His expectations are very low and Brown says, "I'm in the best situation ever. I came in as the number 1 pick and now there are no expectations."
Kwame says he likes where he's at because of the low profile Pistons. Hopefully he brings back the hype.
The NBA once was Money-Land. Don't get me wrong, they make a lot of money. Now, Europe seems like Money-Land. First off, we all know that we lost Josh Childress left for Europe and Carlos Arroyo left for Isreal for more money. Nothing much but warnings for the NBA about players leaving for Europe. Now, LeBron is reportedly getting $50 Million dollars in Europe. Now.... LeBron is doing great stuff for the NBA and it would be a devastating loss if he went to Europe. LeBron is missing out on MVP awards and NBA championships if he leaves but his agent is saying if he leaves for Europe it will only be for one or two years.
LeBron would be a global icon.
$50 Million buckaroos a year! (He is being offered $20 million dollars until 2010)
LeBron would be the most Dominant player.
Not much of competition.
No NBA glory. (Championship rings, MVP award etc.)
Does LeBron need the extra $30 million dollars? I'm not sure.
It would really be a loss for the NBA and the NBA needs to decide quick on how to fix this problem of players going to Europe.