Archive for March, 2014

The N.Y. Knicks: Team, King, Warrior & Master

Posted in Sports with tags , , , , , on March 20, 2014 by geniusscribbleink

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“Winning and Grinning” is a common colloquialism that the truest of Knicks fans are all too familiar with hearing during the telecast of a game on MSG. This phrase, along with many other candid and color dictations, are the creative isms articulated by legendary N.Y. Knick and NBA Hall of Fame inductee Walt “Clyde” Frazier. Modern day fans recognize Walt “Clyde” Frazier more for his eloquent commentary and flamboyant fashion, however for many Knicks fans of the past thirty plus years, the man simply and affectionately known as “Clyde” represents something both bitter and sweet. He is a constant reminder of the Knicks golden era in which he assisted in capturing the franchise’s only two championships, but he also reminds rabid N.Y. basketball fans of the barren championship drought that has stemmed some 41 years and still counting. New York has always been referred to as the “Mecca of Basketball”, however unlike the city located in Hejaz that is the birthplace of the Muslim savior Muhammad, the New York Knicks have been in search of their own basketball savior. A savior who could resurrect the franchise and lead them back to the illusive top of Mount Olympus, ultimately leading to a baptism of champagne and confetti parade trails down the Canyon of Heroes. This feat has been easier said then done, as we have seen a bevy of heroic attempts that have always seem to fall short, only further cementing the immortal and iconic legacies of both coach Red Holzman and the members of that 1970 and 1973 NBA Championship teams. As we reflect on the past 41 years of ineptitude, the historical and well chronicled dissent from ascension can be justly summarized in one orderly phrase: Team, King, Warrior & Master. Let us reflect on the tumultuous road towards glory and championship immortality.

We can start with epitome of the franchise’s echelon (Team) which is the 1970 and 1973 NBA Championship teams. A team that many regarded as being one of the greatest assembly of individual talent in NBA history. Armed with a plethora of all-star caliber players, they would go on to edify and capsulate the ideologies of teamwork, sacrifice and commitment, all under the coaching guidance of the late, great Red Holzman. Players like Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Bill Bradley, Willis Reed and Dave DeBusschere would go on to be heroic figures in the hearts and minds of many New York sports fans abound. Proving that championships all but solidify eternal admiration that exceeds both time and generations when achieved under the hot lights of the Empire State. From the echelon peak we transition to a slight valley where a legendary “King” would dwell. Bernard King, the would-be Knick savior and recent Hall of Fame inductee, would electrify the “Garden Hopefuls” with a prolific scoring prowess that would vault him into the conversation of being one of the best pure scorers to ever grace the hardwood of the NBA. Unfortunately Bernard King would be a solo act on the Madison Square Garden stage and would eventually succumb to a near career ending knee injury that ultimately jettisoned him out of New York leaving him to resurrect his career as a Washington Bullet in 1987. This devastating knee injury would prove to be very costly as it would prevent Bernard King from being paired with the recently drafted (Warrior) Patrick Ewing. A pairing that many projected would have placed the New York Knicks into championship contention for years to come. One would have to wonder how one player’s injury could set back a franchise that had a talent the caliber of Patrick Ewing featured at center. Well the answer to that is quite the quagmire of Murphy’s Law. Patrick Ewing in his fifteen years as a New York Knick would never be paired with another superstar caliber player his entire career. He would eventually receive help in the form of a mod squad of tenacious role players, however this came during the epic reign of Michael Jordan. During Michael Jordan’s hiatus, Ewing would reach the NBA Finals, but would ultimately succumb to the Hakeem Olujawon led Houston Rockets. Patrick Ewing eventually returned to the finals, but as an injured player; as the Knicks would lose to the David Robinson’s San Antonio Spurs. Patrick Ewing would eventually be traded to the Seattle Supersonics, thus ending an illustrious career and beginning what would be the darken doldrums of a forever collapsing franchise. The Knicks would attempt to resuscitate its allure with the signing of Amare Stoudermire and Carmelo Anthony, however outside of one promising season, it has been a disastrous experiment to say the least. So once again the New York Knicks franchise and their fan base find themselves looking for a new savior once again. A savior who can not only resurrect a fallen franchise but one who could also give the New York Knicks fans hope and promise. This feat may require the skills of a true “Master”. A “Master” who is trained in both the art of war and the philosophy of winning. Enter in the Zen Master himself, Phil Jackson. Welcome home Phil. The saga continues…#lucky13

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A Race Towards The Oscars

Posted in Movies & Television with tags , on March 8, 2014 by geniusscribbleink

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“We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock” but “King Kong ain’t got sh** on me”. Those two lines when integrated, makes for great hyperbole when defining the dichotomy of two extremely different characters played by one phenomenal actor; Denzel Washington. Many proclaim that both roles were defining moments in his brilliant and illustrious career, as he would go on to receive Oscar nominations for his memorable performances in both Malcolm X and Training Day. Denzel would of course go on to win the Best Lead Actor Award for playing the part of the menacing narcotics detective, Alonzo Harris, in the film Training Day, leaving behind a trail of movie quotes that will forever dangle inside the hallowed halls of infamy. Denzel’s crowning achievement would not come without its share of blemishes, as many in the African-American community questioned the mindset of the Academy in choosing to award him for playing a menacing villain, yet seemingly snubbed him for his epic portrayal of a martyr in the film Malcolm X. I did have the pleasure of watching both movies and by far Malcolm X was a film for the ages and Denzel did clearly out-perform Al Pacino’s Oscar-winning performance in the movie The Scent Of A Woman, although I did enjoy that movie as well. So the question we must ask ourselves is whether or not African-Americans are receiving awards based on stereotypical depiction or is it based on the merit of an incredible performance? As we begin to revisit the list of Academy Award Winners that are non African-American, we will find that a recent strand of those winners have played less than favorable roles from an image perspective. Kevin Spacey won Best Actor for his role in American Beauty by playing a perverse father who was sexually obsessed with his teenage daughter’s best friend. Sean Penn won an Oscar playing an ex-con in the movie Mystic River. Nicholas Cage won his Oscar portraying a down and out alcoholic, who was hell-bent on drinking himself to death in the movie Leaving Las Vegas. With regards to female Oscar winners, we saw Hillary Swank win for her role as a lesbian masquerading as a trans-man in the movie Boys Don’t Cry. Both Charlize Theron (Monster) and Kathy Bates (Misery), won their respective Oscars for playing menacing, psychopathic women. Now are these roles conducive to the racial perception as it relates to the Caucasian community? Are all Caucasian men perverts, cons and alcoholics? Are all Caucasian women psychopathic, lesbians who break their favorite author’s ankles with a provocative sledge-hammer? The answer is of course not, but that is the basis of my point. Are African-American actors/actresses subject to a character typecast template that Caucasian actors/actresses are not subjected to or is this premise of type-casting more of a product derived from the lack of available movie roles for African-American actors/actresses to pool from? The longstanding belief is that we as African-Americans, only find ourselves being nominated for playing roles of degradation as opposed to playing roles of professional prominence. If we were to recount the Oscar winners for Best a Lead Actor as it stands from an African-American characterization point and occupation, it would reads as follows: Sidney Portier (Lilies Of The Field-handyman, Denzel Washington (Training Day)-narcotics detective, Jamie Foxx (Ray)-Musician Ray Charles and Forrest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland)-dictator Idi Amin. In addition to that list of winners and roles that garnered them their prestigious awards, it would only be apropos that we revisit those who won for Best Supporting Actor as well. It reads as follows: Louis Gosset Jr. (A Soldier’s Story)-military Sargent, Denzel Washington (Glory)-soldier, Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry McGuire)-football player and Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby)-boxing trainer . As it pertains to female African-Americans in lead roles, the Academy Award list is extremely shallow with only Halle Berry winning for her portrayal of a struggling, single mother in Monsters Ball. The winners for Best Supporting Actress reads as follows: Hattie McDaniels (Gone With The Wind)-servant, Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost)-psychic median, Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)-singer, Mo’Nique (Precious)-abusive mother, Octavia Spencer (The Help)-maid and Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave)-slave. Outside of the African-American actresses having a gripe as it relates to obtaining more prominent roles, the supposed character assassination via typecast is less malicious and less pronounced as one would initially think. But what is great acting if it doesn’t conjure up certain emotions that make us pause and reflect on certain aspects of life, especially when the movie is insulated inside a certain time in history regarding its plot? We cannot rewrite a time of societal unrest and deplorable acts of degradation with the mindset of believing that because it’s translated into some form of entertainment or art that it’s pigeonholes us into a certain cookie cutter mould. If anything, it broadens the awareness for those who wish to become more knowledgeable about a group of people or a subject matter, thus opening up dialogue such as this so that we can delve deeper into the matter at hand. Those who have hatred or ignorance in their DNA are somewhat un-reachable to begin with, therefore there will always be those who will feel a certain way no matter what light is placed upon a dark situation. If anything should arise from this debate of typecast is the fact that the African-American community should encourage the Spike Lees and Tyler Perrys of the world to develop better scripts and movies showing us in other facets of life such as love, vulnerability, education, professionalism and mystery. We saw this great quality of work in the movie The Best Man’s Holiday, so why can we not get more movies like that versus Madea Goes To Band Camp? Great stories can lead to great movies, so as much as the Academy Awards committee has had a few questionable moments, the fact still remains that those who are empowered like the fore mentioned directors, could help by putting a better product out as well. I salute the accomplished actors and actresses for reaching the pinnacle of being nominated no matter what the role is. If there is anything that truly needs revamping it is our presence on reality television. We have un-accomplished and untrained buffoons receiving notoriety for being unimportant, while those who are trained in the arts are vilified for accepting a role that supposedly “typecast” us. This is where the true problem lies, people being famous for doing nothing while the accomplished receive ridicule. “The sh**s chess not checkers”. “You’ve been took, you’ve been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, ran amuck”. #and the award goes to