The Legend of Kelly Olynyk. Celtics KO Wizards in game 7 with the help of Olynyk.

Legends and Heroes are made in game 7’s. All it takes it one shot, one play, or one spectacular performance from an unlike source. Tonight the legend of Kelly Olynyk was born.

Olynyk a backup stretch 4/5 for the Celtics is probably more known for breaking Kevin Love’s arm in the first round of the playoffs a few years back, and tangling with Wizards forward Kelly Oubre in this series.

None of that matter tonight, as Olynyk scored a career playoff high 26 points, with 12 of them coming in the fourth quarter. Those 12 fourth quarter points came during a three minute stretch that put the game away for good for the Celtics.

His 26 points is the most points scored by a Boston reserve since Eddie House went for 31 points against Orlando in 2009.

All season and postseason long Isaiah Thomas has carried the Boston Celtics. Whether is playing though pain or tragedy, or taking over in the four quarter. Thomas finished with 29 points tonight, but the story of the game is Kelly Olynyk.

Because of Kelly Olynyk’s heroics the Celtics are moving on to the Eastern Conference Finals for a date with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Bradley Beal was also spectacular tonight and scored a new playoff high as well with 38 points. He single handily kept the wizards in the game on a night where John Wall struggled shooting 8-23 for 18 points.

Washington biggest weakness all season long was a lack of bench production. Tonight the Wizards reserves scored a measly 5 points. That wasn’t enough and the Wizards season is over.

MLB and it’s race problem.

Racism has absolutely no place in society or in sports. Unfortunately, some Boston Red Soxs fans didn’t get the memo. Orioles outfielder Adam Jones was serenaded and targeted with racial slurs by Boston fans. He was called the N-word on several occasions during the game, and had peanuts thrown at him by a fan.

Jones said “it’s unfortunate that people need to resort to those type of epithets to degraded another human being.”

Jackie Robinson broke baseball color barrier in 1947 and 70 years later where still dealing with some of the same issues he faced. For a sport that prides itself on diversity, it’s time to address the elephant in the room, about African American players and their place in baseball.

As an African American, fan of MLB, and a fan of all Boston teams, I am completely disgusted and outraged about what transpired at Fenway Park. It’s unacceptable on all levels and should be met with the proper consequences. Jones is one of 62 African Americans players on an MLB roster, and one of the most popular faces in MLB. He was also the starting centerfielder for team USA in the World Baseball Classic this past fall.

Jones is a five time all-star, four time golden glove winner, and a three time winner of the Roberto Celemente Award, which recognizes players who represent the game through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy, and positive contributions both on and off the field. If a player of Jones caliber, pedigree and stature is the target of racial slurs then no one is safe.

Jones recently spoke Colin Kaepernick’s protest and why baseball players haven’t spoken up about the racial issues affecting our country like other athletes in other leagues.

“Baseball is a white man’s sports,” Jones said. “We already have two strikes against us already. So you might as well not kick yourself out of the game. In football you can’t kick them out. You need those players. In baseball, they don’t need us.” http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/17533600/adam-jones-baltimore-orioles-says-lack-african-americans-why-mlb-seen-no-protests

MLB has struggled for years to attract African American players, executives and viewers. Part of that has to do with the culture in MLB, where African Americans players feel like they don’t have a voice or they don’t matter. This unhealthy environment has trickled down to fans who now think they have a right to disrespect African American players.

This battle is not Adam Jones battle to face alone. More ongoing dialogue needs to happen in order to bring about change.

Baseball is recognized as America’s past time, but it’s time to stop living in the past. It’s time to change the culture in baseball and end this racist cycle.

http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/19294487/boston-red-sox-apologize-fans-racial-taunts-baltimore-orioles-adam-jones

 

 

 

Recapping the first round of the NFL Draft.

Before I dive into the madness of all the trades and draft picks in the draft, I just want to shine a light on the two best moments from the first round of 2017 NFL Draft.

The powerful, visual and heartfelt stories of Garrett Boles and Takkarist McKinley. Boles was kick out or expelled out of five different school, and his parents home. He went to live with his lacrosse coach who helped shaped and mold him into a man worth of being drafted in the NFL. Watching him walk across the stage with his son in hand was adorable and moving.

McKinley lost his grandmother and brought a beautiful portrait of her to the draft, as a reminder of the promise he made to her. He then delivered a passionate and heartfelt speech about all the adversity he overcame to make it to the biggest stage the NFL Draft.

Those two moments were the highlight of the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Trades, Trades and more trades

The first round of the 2017 NFL Draft was full of surprises and trades. We didn’t even have to wait long for the first trade of the night and a SHOCKER of a pick.

Coming into the 2017 NFL Draft, most of the talk was about how this was one of the deepest draft for defensive players in recent memory, but offense stole the show for most of the night. Eight of the first fourteen picks were offensive players.

The Browns had the number 1 overall pick and did the wise thing by selecting DE Myles Garrett. There were talks on the Browns being torn between Garrett and Trubisky, who wouldn’t have to wait long to hear his name called.

The Bears traded up one spot with the 49ers to select North Carolina QB Mitchell Trubisky. The 49ers received the 3rd overall pick, as well as the 67th, 111th and a third round pick next year. That was a steep price to pay for a QB who has only been a starter for one year.

Both the Chiefs and the Texans also traded up to select a QB in the first round. Breaking News: The NFL is still a QB driven league.

The chiefs traded the 27th pick, a third rounder, and a 2018 first rounder to Bills for the 10th overall pick and selected QB Patrick Mahomes II.

The Texans traded the 25th pick and a 2018 first rounder to take QB Deshaun Watson at number 12.

These trades for QB’s set the tone for the first round of the draft and allowed other teams to scoop up quality defensive players that might not have been around.

Draft day slide and character concerns

Every year during the draft it’s always a player or two, who experiences a draft day slide due to inures, character concerns, or teams going in a different direction. Ohio State CB Gareon Conley slipped all the way to the Raiders at number 24 due to an ongoing rape accusation. Reuben Foster slipped all the way to the 49ers at number 31 after a diluted sample and injuries concerns surrounding his shoulder.

Day 2 of the NFL Draft continues tonight and it has a tough act to follow after last night exciting start.

 

Russell Westbrook: Explosive, Enigmatic, Exuberant.

Let’s all take a minute to appreciate the greatness of Russell Westbrook. Westbrook receives more criticism than praise and that’s truly unfair for a player of his caliber.

“He shoots too much. He turns the ball over too much. He chases triple-doubles. He caused Kevin Durant to leave. He’s too arrogant.”

Let’s talk about Westbrook’s heart and passion for the game of basketball. Let’s talk about him going out there every night and leaving it all on the line. Let’s talk about him become the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season.

When I look at Russell Westbrook, I see a warrior always prepared for battle. A leader who takes charge. A relentless and fierce competitor that never gives in. A superstar who is misunderstood and oftentimes taken for granted.

Everything about Russell Westbrook is different. The way he plays. The way he dresses. The way he carries himself and doesn’t care what others think of him. In so many ways Westbrook reminds me of Allen Iverson. That once in a generation, enigmatic superstar who shifted the paradigm and culture of the NBA. Both players are not afraid to be themselves, and that should be celebrated, not chastised.

Don’t get me wrong, Westbrook has flaws in his game just like every other player. There are times when he tries too hard to take over games, instead of trusting his teammates. There are times when he chooses to ignore the simple play for a highlight play.

Whether you love or hate Westbrook, you have to respect what he accomplished this season. Becoming the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season. Recording the most triple-doubles in a single season in NBA history. Securing the most 50 point triple-doubles in NBA history. Not to mention he guided the Thunder back to the playoffs, and the number 6th seed in the west, after losing one of the three best players in the world in Kevin Durant.

To know Russell Westbrook is to love Russell Westbrook. Knowing him means accepting and appreciating him for who he is. He may not be the superstar everyone wants, but he is the superstar we all need.

The Black Hole in Oakland. NFL Approves Move to Las Vegas.

Remember all of the fears and concerns about having a sport franchise in Las Vegas? 

Vegas was always one of the cities on the list for a possible sports team, but there were concerns about gambling; and whether or not a team could be successful, with all the other entertainment options in Vegas.

Well now, the city of Las Vegas will now be home to not one, but two sports franchises. The NHL Vegas Golden Knights, and now the soon to be non existent Oakland Raiders.

The NFL owners voted and approved to have the Raiders relocate to Las Vegas. 31 out of 32 owners voted yes, with the Miami Dolphins being the only exception. 

The Raiders will stay play in Oakland get at least the next two years, before moving into a $1.9 billion dollar stadium to be shared with UNLV in 2020.

This move to Las Vegas has been in motion for quite some time now. It’s no secret that the Raiders and owner Mark Davis, wanted a new stadium for years, and once they realized it wasn’t happening, relocation become the best alternative. 

Originally the Raiders wanted to move to Los Angeles, but the NFL instead choose the Rams and Chargers. That opened the door for Vegas to become host to its second sports team. 

Relocation is always an issue that elicits different responses from different people. 

For the owner of the team it’s always a great deal because they get exactly what they want which is a new stadium. 

For the players and fans it’s difficult because of the attachment to the city and the community. 
Raider fans have waited for years for there team to finally be good again, and just when they get good, they end up leaving.

Raiders Fans are some of the most passionate and loyal fans in all of sports, and unfortunately the name Black Hole will take on a whole new meaning once the team leaves in 2019.

Everything isn’t so Golden for the Warriors 

When Kevin Durant went down with a MCL sprain, most people thought the Warriors would be okay without him for the most part. They have enough talent. They won 73 games without him. Steph will return to playing at an MVP level and all would be right for the Warriors. 

Since KD’s injury the Warriors have gone 2-3 in there last 5 games, and both Curry and Thompson are in shooting slumps. Thompson is shooting 34% overall and 25% from three. Curry is shooting an unfathomable 29% from three. 
Should the Warriors start panicking or is everyone just overreacting to a mini slump? There is definitely some cause for concern for the Warriors. 

For one KD’s injury changes the Warriors rotation, and forces other guys to step and play more minutes than what there accustomed to playing. Rookie Patrick McCaw was thrust into the starting lineup. David West, Iguodala and Green are asked to do more on the offense end.

The Warriors already had a great offense without KD, but he made there lineup even more dangerous and unstoppable at times. Even if Curry or Thompson was struggling, KD would pickup the slack. One of those three was always guaranteed to be on. 

It’s hard to replicate KD’s 25 ppg, 8 rbg, 4 apg on 53% shooting. 

Not to mention the Warriors don’t have the same depth as that 73 win team last season. Barnes, Speights, Bogut and Barbosa are all gone. The Warriors sacrificed so much to get KD and now that he’s injured, the loss of those players are magnified. 

The Warriors currently have 1.5 game lead over the Spurs for the best record in the west, with a showdown looming between these two teams on Saturday. The Spurs and Warriors play each other two times in the next 18 days. Home court advantage could definitely be decided in the balance. 

Life has suddenly become a lot more difficult for the Warriors, but they still control there own destiny. They still have the personnel and championships pedigree to hold down the fort until KD returns. 

Will the real Splash Brothers please stand up?

Pelicans strike gold with trade for King’s DeMarcus Cousins. 

The Pelicans have been looking for a center to pair with Anthony Davis, who would much rather play the four than the five position. The Pelicans recently engage in trade talks with the 76ers and Nets about a deal for either Jahlil Okafor or Brook Lopez. Omer Asik was never the solution.

Not only did they trade for a center, The Pelicans went out and got the best center in the NBA in DeMarcus Cousins. The Pelicans and Kings agree to a deal sending Cousins and Omri Casspi to the Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and a 2017 first and second pick.

Kings GM Vlad Divac who denied the Kings were shopping Cousins and was ready to sign him to an extension, said during a press conference “Winning beings with culture and character.” Through cousin’s 7 year career in Sacramento there were constant questions about his character.

Although you can’t deny Cousins issues with technical fouls, lashing out at media personal, and his lack of defense at times, he wasn’t the problem in Sacramento. SB Nation Tom Ziller said it best “The Kings aren’t terrible because of DeMarcus Cousins. They are terrible in spite of him.”‘

The real problem was the Sacramento Kings organization. Consistency throughout the organization was nonexistent. Cousins has played for five different head coaches, two different front offices and an ownership change. The Kings failed time and time again to surround Cousins with the right talent.

That start with the poor drafting and head scratching decisions over the years. Like drafting both Nik Stauskas and Ben McLemore in back to back years. Or letting Isaiah Thomas walk away for nothing. He’s flourishing by the way in Boston.

There’s only three players in the NBA averaging 25+ points and 10+ rebounds a game. Westbrook, Cousins, and Davis. Yes, two of them just so happens to now be teammates.

Anthony Davis is a happy man. He won all-star MVP in his hometown and broke Wilt Chamberlin all-star record for most points scored in a game with 52. Now he has his Kentucky brethren DeMarcus Cousins as a new teammate.

What’s the sound you hear? Opposing NBA team quivering in fear of having to defend the best front court in the NBA.

Sources

http://www.sbnation.com/2016/12/21/14037664/demarcus-cousins-sacramento-kings-failed-history

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/18722737/sacramento-kings-agree-deal-demarcus-cousins-new-orleans-pelicans