Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

NBA Season Is Here

The NBA season has started and class is back in session.   This point is highlighted by Shannon Brown from my hometown Lakers throwing down a rebound with considerable force and urgency.   Enjoy.

Oh yeah, also, happy Halloween. I’ll be back and posting again on Monday.

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Nike has a new ad out for their basketball branch that features a few up and coming NBA guys as the 1990’s’esque hip hop crew the Hyperizers performing the song “Don’t Criticize (Hyperize)” — and I’m not exactly sure what to make of it.  On one hand, the whole thing is incredibly strange, and let’s face it, NBA players rapping has never turned out well for anybody (I’m looking at you Shaq…  and Kobe…  and Ron Artest).  On the other hand, I like that the ad feature’s some of the most criminally under-the-radar studs of the league in Kevin Durant, Mo Williams, Andre Iguodala, and Rashard Lewis.  Also, it’s pretty funny.  On a sidenote though, Mo Williams with a jheri curl?  Definitely gangsta.

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Apologies, as I’m shamefully late to get this up.  Sadly, tragedy has continued to plague the boxing world as two-time champion Vernon “The Viper” Forrest was shot to death in Atlanta over the weekend.  The reports say that he was shot in the back after what appears to have been an attempted robbery.  He was 38 years old and will be survived by his son, Vernon Jr.

Forrest is perhaps best known for his two victories over future hall-of-famer “Sugar” Shane Mosley or his second climb to the title in 2007, and again by defeating Los Angeles’ Sergio Mora in 2008.  However, this doesn’t tell the whole story, as Vernon’s life was lived just as richly outside the ring as it was inside of it.  He was known for his charitably and kindness to all of those whom he met.  He will be missed.

Below you’ll find Vernon as I’ll probably remember him, in his physical prime and at the pinnacle of his career after he first defeated Mosley to capture the Welterweight title of the world.

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The juiciest news of the day is probably that Michael Vick has been granted a conditional reinstatement by the NFL, with the possibility to receive a full reinstatement by week six of the upcoming 2009-2010 season.  So despite engaging in the most infamous dog fighting this side of Amores Perros it would appear that Mike Vick is going to be wearing some kind of football jersey by October.

Now, I don’t have a crystal ball (shocking, I know), but I would wager that there is going to be some knee-jerking over this news.  Personally, I’m not too interested in hearing any cries of “he did a terrible thing, he should never play football again!” as I’m of the impression that spending time in prison and giving up essentially the prime of your career is punishment enough.  Besides, as the article tells us, since his arrest Vick has been under the tutelage of Tony Dungy.  Tony Dungy!  If Dungy can win a Super Bowl than I would certainly assume that he has what it takes to rehabilitate and redeem the soul of man!  Kidding aside though, I think that Vick has served his time and it’s perfectly fair that he’s going to be bouncing back to the old No Fun League.

So now that it’s been determined that he’s going to be allowed to play, and it’s all but determined that some team will want to sign him, the question will be as to whether or not Vick can be any kind of effective after his layoff.  I think we have learned from the great Mike Tyson experience that such an intense break can lead to a pretty dramatic drop off in the skill set of an athlete, and for a guy who many people thought thought was a bit iffy as a quarterback to begin with, things could potentially get ugly out there.  However, the point is that Michael Vick at least deserves this chance to make a go of it.

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I’m late getting this up, but there is some more sad news on the heels of Alexis Arguello’s death, another famous boxer has passed away.  Former welterweight champion Arturo Gatti was found dead in a hotel room in Brazil over the weekend.  Apparently, his 23 year old wife is being held as a suspect in the murder, and signs point to her having strangled him in his sleep. He was 37 years old.  Dark stuff.

While he was never one of my favorite fighters, I always respected his never-say-die warrior style of fighting.  He had a reputation for being a real blood-and-guts fighter who would leave it all in the ring.  On MaxBoxing.com there’s a great tribute to the fighter written up by Thomas Gerbasi that does more justice to the man than I would be able to do.  Though being from Montreal, Gatti was the adopted son of New Jersey and was a staple of the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

As a fighter, Gatti will likely be best remembered for his series of wars with Massachusetts fighter Mickey Ward.  The first meeting between the two fighters was awarded Ring Magazine’s fight of the year, and the 9th round of the fight was chosen as the round of the year.

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If the very beginning of this is old news, then you’re in the NBA know and please just bear with me for a moment.  During the summer NBA superstar LeBron James hosts a skills camp for younger players.  During this year’s camp, a pickup game broke out featuring a series of college players and LeBron James himself- also I should mention that people were filming the game.  One of these college players was Xavier’s Jordan Crawford, and apparently at some point during the game Crawford unleashed a monster jam on LeBron, and smashed home a dunk on the reigning NBA MVP.

So that should be about the end of the story.  I mean, it would be cool to have seen, but lets face it, it’s basketball, guys get dunked on all the time, regardless of how good they are.  No big deal, right?  Well, not according to Nike.  The word from CBS Sports Gary Parrish is that Nike had people at the event (they must sponsor it) and they immediately confiscated the tapes! Wow.  I’ve heard of protecting your investment, but this is going a little overboard.  As a matter of fact, in the basketball world, this is how something small becomes something big as the tales of the jam grow larger and more people clamor to see it.  This is just a bizarre move by Nike that speaks to the creepy nature of big-corporate business and the lengths to which it will go.

So that’s it.  Nike is nutso, LeBron got dunked on, Jordan Crawford is at Xavier, and the world will go back to spinning.  In the meantime, you’ll just have to use your imagination, which will probably create something more entertaining than the video of the dunk would have.

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This is a pretty sad story.  The mayor of Managua, Nicaragua as well as boxing hall-of-famer and former three time world champion was found dead in his home this morning.  He suffered a gunshot wound to the chest that reportedly is looking like it was the result of a suicide.

Not only has the world lost a political figure and a great former athlete, but also somebody who is reputed to have been a rarely kind and classy person in both arenas.  While I’m not particularly knowledgeable about Nicaraguan politics, I am a rather fanatical boxing fan, so Arguello’s contributions to the sport were clearly on my radar.  While I never had the opportunity to see him fight (yes, I’m too young) he was actually my father’s favorite fighter in his heyday, so his name was one that was immediately familiar to me.  His career record of 82-8 with 65 KO’s is one that is staggering by today’s standards.

While I think it would be unfair to just cast this as a “sports only” piece of news, I do want to link over to this article from MaxBoxing’s Thomas Gerbasi as he does a good job of talking about both the boxing and personal sides of the former fighter.  There’s also a 1998 interview that he conducted with Arguello at the bottom of the article that’s a nice read.  It seems that Arguello will be both missed and remembered.

Finally, Arguello’s probably best known for his pair of brutal wars with Aaron Pryor which are a couple of the best fights in boxing history.  As such, below you’ll find a video of the opening couple rounds from their first fight in 1982.  If you have the opportunity, you should check out the whole thing.  The way in which Arguello carries himself even in defeat is a more fitting tribute to his life than anything that anybody could write about him.  A real warrior and a class act through and through.

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