Archive for Lebron James

The Burning Betrayal

Posted in Trending with tags , , , , , on July 11, 2016 by geniusscribbleink

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“What is to give light must endure burning”-Anton Wildgans

Jackie Robinson stated: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives”.  I can sincerely concur with this notion as my very reason for writing is to impact at least one person’s life for the better during my visitation here on planet Earth.  One would probably have very little resistance if he or she stated that sports as a whole, tends to have an impactful effect on its viewers as we recently witnessed with the loss of the great Muhammad Ali.  Ali did in fact “shake up the world” in both the athletic arena as well as in the social arena. He was a vibrant orator, considered intelligently conscious, yet provocative.  He was unapologetic when delivering his dissertation on the struggles of a society marred in hatred, violence, racism and bigotry.  In fact the Ali that is beloved world-wide today was not as beloved during his ascension into the professional boxing realm.  His decisions on religion and his freedom of choice did not settle too well on the forefront of an American society that did not except a person of African-American descent speaking out so brash and so loudly against the quote on quote establishment. I am more than sure he received a countless number of death threats due to the fact that he chose to live his life a certain way. This is in fact what America is said to be built on; the freedom of choice. I grew up in great admiration of a few athletes myself,  most of which happened to be basketball players. I can recall at some point during my unbridled days, forfeiting a night on the town in order to see what phenomenal feats Michael Jordan would accomplish during the waning seconds of a pivotal game. Yes my obsession with basketball is about as real as it can get. However I like to think of my obsession as that of a healthy obsession and not the type of obsession that borders on that of the Robert Dinero character in the movie “The Fan” (Come on Bobby!). I become euphoric when watching anything competitive as the excitement conjures up a jolt of adrenalin that pulsates throughout my veins. This indeed makes me feel lively. Of course as it is with most things we are passionate about, we tend to have both admiration and disdain for certain aspects of it.  As much as I have athletes that I have admired, I also have a list of athletes that I am not so fond of for various reasons or another.  For example I did not like the manner in which Lebron James made his exit from Cleveland (The Decision) as I felt he conducted himself in way that was classless and tasteless.  I felt the same disappointment when hearing that Kevin Durant opted to join the Goldenstate Warriors in a move I felt was not indicative of my personal philosophy and principles regarding what a superstar basketball player does during the peak of his prime years. Yes athletes disappoint us with some of the choices they make, as we find ourselves sort of living through them or having invested interest in them because of how we believe they can help the particular franchise we cheer for achieve the ultimate success of winning a championship.  Trust that I am a New York Knicks fan and we seem to specialize in disappointment. So to the fandom that is starving for success and waiting with baited breath for that illusive championship parade, do know that I empathize and document your pain as a suffering fan myself.  I can relate to the suffering fan who spent his/her own money on tickets and merchandise as you indeed have a legitimate gripe. There is nothing more heart-wrenching than hearing the final buzzer sound of a long season and there you are left with just the logo of your team on your apparel and the looming phrase of better luck next time hovering over your head like a dark Sirius cloud. Sometimes it’s just too hard to swallow.  Yes these are  the dog days of the offseason and I get it wholeheartedly. However recently what I did not get, which I found to be overly disturbing was the burning of Dwayne Wade’s jersey after he decided to part ways from the Miami Heat after thirteen loyal seasons. During these loyal thirteen seasons Dwayne Wade help to usher in three world championships, as well as, help the Miami Heat organization accrue millions of dollars in both ticket and merchandise sales. What should be noted is that Dwayne Wade assisted the organization in achieving all of these accolades while deciding to take lesser than his NBA standard value in order to ensure the team’s success. This is something unheard of in today’s modern-day game, an athlete taking less so that his/her organization can bring in better talent so that they can win more games. So one would think that with all of those accomplishments and said sacrifices that this man would receive a gracious thank you from his fans in delivering not only championships, but for also leaving everything on the floor during his thirteen year tenure in a Miami Heat uniform. But this was not such the case as there is footage of this man’s jersey being burned at the stakes by fans for making a decision to leave not of his own volition, but because the organization he made financial concessions for decided to lowball him during contract negotiations. Perhaps being a financial martyr was not the right choice to make for Dwayne Wade, but nevertheless it was a choice. So when Dwayne Wade decided to make a different choice beneficial to his perceived value and worth, why is this being met with such disdain? A disdain so venomous that it resulted in the burning of this man’s jersey. What is the burning suppose to symbolize?  Is this a new ritual or is it suggesting that you wish to burn him at the stake for trying to leave?  Does this denote some sort of ownership of the said “man”, saying that he physically belongs to you and only you?  This would make it appear that he was thought of as some sort of property or personal possession. Strangely enough this is not the first that we have seen regarding these acts of burning game jerseys as this also happened when Lebron James left Cleveland as well as when Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City. All of these ritualistic burnings stem from the fact that a man-made a professional choice during a time in which his contract deemed him worthy to do so.  So what exactly is this message conveying?  Is this stating that they are free but not until you give them permission?  Is this a modern day Salem witch trial where you are setting that person afire in order ward off their evil presence? One has to wonder how much does their ethnicity or economical worth play a part in this as well? We often see everyday people leave their respective places of employment in order to seek a better situation for both them and their families, so how does this differ from that same scenario? At the end of the day, it is just entertainment. We don’t burn down NBC or ABC because they decided to pull one of our favorite shows, so why target these athletes in particular?  Have we as a society become so infatuated with being voyeurs that we have lost sight to that which is reality? If the truth be told, we are exhibiting traits of animalistic behavior worthy of being highlighted footage on Animal Kingdom. So if enduring a burning is giving light to something, then that light is clearly showing that we are still barbaric and more than ever we are still uncivilized.#freedom #choice

The G.O.A.T vs. The S.H.E.E.P

Posted in Sports with tags , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2014 by geniusscribbleink

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“Greatness is to stay humble when the whole world calls you great!”
― Mehmet Murat Ildan

Trials, tribulations, obstacles, criticism, failure and defeat, are all but some of the countless trepidations an individual may face along the gallant road towards the illusive grandeur of success. “I made it mom, top of the world!” is an emphatic chest beating howl that symbolizes the primal roar of victory after a tumultuous path towards winning. It is often reverberated in the statement: “You have no idea what it took for me to get here”. So true is this self-written biopic that shows the cartography from which one has come from, to their epic arrival to their sought after destiny. I believe that trying in itself is the embodiment of victory, as the easiest thing for any individual to do is not try at all. It is in the underdog that we can relate to the Rocky-esque ascension, because it enables us to empathize with being knocked down, kicked around, given up on and mentally deflated, as if we don’t belong in the conversation. So appropriate is the quote from Mark Twain that stated: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” I am partial to those who in the face of adversity and amidst turmoil, that rise to the occasion and slay the proverbial dragon by cutting its head off. This ability to become the Phoenix rising from the smoldering ashes, all but incase and crystallizes one into the echelon of celebrated “Greatness”; a caveat that very few gain membership to its hallowed halls of immortal indoctrination. With profound respect to the legacy that is Jackie Robinson, I often utilize Muhammad Ali as the template for “Greatness” due to the fact that his opponents varied from not only the individuals he faced in the ring, but also the racially infested social climate, his provocative religious alignment, as well as, the U.S. Government. Muhammad Ali was the embodiment of the Phoenix rising and because of that he has become arguably the world’s most celebrated athlete to date. The subject of Muhammad Ali is the perfect transition into my topic of discussion. A subject, albeit debatable, that has been at the forefront of sports talk over the past few weeks. The subject has been about greatness and who belongs on the “Mount Rushmore” of basketball lure from a historical perspective. This comes on the cusp of current basketball star, Lebron James, submitting his ballot into the ballyhooed mountain of the historical elite. Now there is something to be celebrated as it pertains to his self-assurance and lofty expectations, however, it was his belief that those who had solidified and cemented their legacy should be removed and replaced by him. That smells of what I call “premature arrogance”. It forced me, being a huge fan of basketball, to ponder what would make him state such blasphemy? Then it occurred to me that it’s “generational disturbia” that is plaguing the audience of this over-saturated era of commercialized mind bending. So in offering perspective as it pertains to greatness, I utilized a known acronym, with a self-created newfangled one. I call it The G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time) vs. The S.H.E.E.P (Shamelessly Hyped-up Especially Entertaining Professional).

First and foremost, I would like to substantiate that Lebron James is one of the most physically gifted athletes in the history of basketball. He’s a multiple league MVP, a two-time NBA Champion and hands down a night in and night out performer without question. His celebrity is well deserved regarding his box office appeal to fans of the game. In fact, I am willing to say that very little about Lebron James on the basketball court can be refuted regarding his value to his team and his value to the collective league as a whole. So my gripe is not with his accomplishments nor his professionalism. My gripe with him is about the amnesia he’s suffering when recalling his career to that of the career legacy of those who preceded him. ESPN has a tendency to put basketball (no other sport do I see them do this with mind you) and place it in a condensed vacuum of “in the moment” acknowledgment instead of the often revisited historical significance to that of a sport like Major League Baseball. The great lengths by which they go to eradicate the archives is beyond an abomination. It is then that we have these unprecedented debates that ask “Who is better, Michael Jordan or Lebron James?” that forces me to scratch the remaining hair follicles of my scalp. Of course my “pistivity” level rises higher than mercury on a hot August summer, as I declare: “How dare they let Robin tug on Superman’s cape?”. Lebron James with all of his accomplishments, leaves the conversation of comparison once you bring up two digits, 6 and 0. That is Michael Jordan’s win to loss ratio in the NBA Finals. Lebron’s record; 2 and 2. Lebron James completely leaves the room of comparison once you consider the level of competition Michael faced on his way to the mountain top. That competition consisted of Hall of Fame players who cut their teeth into the record books of NBA history. Lebron, faces inferior talent, with the exception of the San Antonio Spurs, and has barely been able to get past that inferior talent without what many believe are favorable calls and theatrical flopping. Once we talk about the rule changes in the game that have taken away hand checking from a defender, then it puts an even greater damper on Lebron’s legacy, because technically it renders his defenders merciless. Yet we find ourselves debating whether Lebron is better than an emerging star like Kevin Durant. During the era of Michael Jordan, the distance between him and the second best player was the Grand Canyon and not a small river. But is that not what “Greatness” is? Is greatness not so vast that it’s never questioned, only solidified while we witness it happening right before our eyes? Bill Russell’s greatness was never questioned because he earned eleven NBA Championships. Magic Johnson solidified his greatness as a rookie, capturing a title while playing center for the Los Angeles Lakers. Kareem Abdul Jabbar captured six rings and remains as the all time NBA scoring leader. Larry Bird won three NBA Championships and would forever revolutionize that term “clutch performer” in the NBA. Not to be forgotten as it pertains to Michael Jordan, is the microscope he played under night after night off and on the court; and as expectations rose, so did his level of performance. It perturbs me that entitlement has usurped accomplishment, rendering it to a meaningless asterisk disclaimer. This generation of fandom and reporters are doing a disservice to a storied league whose pride use to far exceed its marketing perceptions. The term “greatness” is being tossed around like a summer frisbee, landing in the mouth of any mutt reporter who is willing to put personal likes ahead of actual facts. You cannot rewrite history in order to satisfy a network’s promotional rating. More importantly you cannot fly alongside side Superman, when you have yet to even leave The Batcave. #stick to the facts

In Review: NBA 2K14

Posted in Technology, Gaming, Etc. with tags , , on October 3, 2013 by geniusscribbleink

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From One on One: Dr. J vs Larry Bird to Double Dribble to Bulls vs Blazers to NBA Live and NBA 2K, the evolution of basketball video games has greatly transcended from an assortment of pixel dots resembling the outline of an NBA persona to that of the modern day motion capturing technology and facial mapping software that literally puts a virtual hologram of a player at your fingertips. I was always an NBA Live fan for many years, that is until the debacle of NBA Elite 11 that would result in the shelving of the series for two years and is set for relaunch in November. So, being that I routinely buy basketball video games each year and due to the NBA Live hiatus, I ended up switching to the NBA 2K series for the past three years. At first I was reluctant to try a new series, however, the pros of the NBA 2K series far out weigh the cons. There are really no major hitches in the game, as you feel like you are in or at an actual live game when playing it. The graphics and the soundtracks stimulate your senses while the controller configuration is less complex than a television remote. It’s a no brainer for me now, when hearing of this latest release of NBA 2K14 (Lebron James on the cover), to go out and purchase it without hesitation; however, it does come with a bit of disappointment. The disappointment for me, is that the only thing that appears to have changed since NBA 2K13 is the cover. The new “Path To Greatness” mode lends a new depth to the gaming experience, but the graphics appear to be the same graphics from the prior edition. For $59.99, NBA 2K14 should be on its own “path to greatness” instead of borrowing from “past greatness”. I expected more from this flourishing franchise and received less. This may be the opening NBA Live wanted and needed, as Lebron may carry the Miami Heat to a championship on his broad shoulders, however, his face on the cover is not helping to satisfy the elevated expectations of an avid basketball video game fan like myself. It’s not worth the full price of admission and if you can hold out, perhaps NBA Live could inject new life into the basketball gaming world. NBA 2K14: Purchase with caution. I rate this 3 out of 5 Remote Controllers. Happy gaming folks. “Don’t Hate The Player, Just Beat The Game”

84.72% of Serena Williams

Posted in Sports with tags , , , , on September 9, 2013 by geniusscribbleink

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Title Nine states that: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity….”. Although the intricacies of this said law has been touted as the allowance of females to participate in athletic programs on both the high school and collegiate levels; Title Nine never actually states anything regarding sports. It’s main function was to fight against the inequalities levied against the female population as it relates to their place amongst men in a societal structure. Although race has been noted as the greatest of the biases executed throughout history, one could challenge that gender bias is all but a close second in the pecking order. If we dig deeper into the trench that is life, we see examples of this Biblically, as the women throughout the text are often referred to as “the mother of”, “the daughter of”‘, “the wife of”, with the exception of only a few individuals like Jezebel (Queen of Israel) and Jael (Heroine responsible for delivering Israel from King Jabin). Yes, the role of women in society is usually that of an asterisk or an afterthought. Even in our casual references, we still hear amongst a collaboration of male, testosterone laced conversations, that “he plays like a girl” or “he hits like a woman”. I often find myself asking if that “woman he plays like or hits like” happened to be Laila Ali or Rhonda Rousey, would they actually stand unguarded and allow them to free swing at their jaw? And just how many men who actually snub and snide Danica Patrick, really could drive full throttle like her without killing themselves on the first lap? We saw this discriminatory plague become somewhat cured in 1973, in the famed “Battle of Sexes” tennis match between Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs. Billy Jean King (female) would go on to defeat Bobby Riggs (male) in a exhibition match after Riggs boasted that the female game was inferior to that of its male contemporary’s. This is a perfect segue into my subject of interest and why 84.72% of Serena Williams still seems to not be enough.

We live at the apex of the social media era, where as nothing happens without someone having a camera or recording device to capture it. As the waning moments of 2013’s US Open Women’s Championship match had concluded (fascinating match by the way) with Serena Williams capturing her fifth championship of the annual tournament for the second straight year in a row, all I could think about was crickets. I knew that the minute the camera would close its eye on Arthur Ashe Stadium and the world media would have concluded its final photo-ops with the participants, that this great event that ended up becoming the longest tennis match in women’s history would be quickly replaced by snarling Cowboy fans cheering mediocrity or upset NY Giant fans who are seeking to trade their entire team after one game as if it was the Super Bowl. Meanwhile a real sporting story for the ages is being covered like a junior varsity game. Serena Williams in this modern era of sports has a resume that exceeds Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Colin Kaepernick, RGIII, and many more of the other overhyped mechanisms that ESPN and endorsement driven manufacturers display in their collective ad campaigns. Since 1999, Serena Williams has captured 17 Grand Slam Championships. That’s three more than the Tiger Woods has captured in golf majors, with his last win coming in 2008. Yet still, we find Tiger’s face plastered all over ESPN as a loser. We see Lebron James, who albeit dominant at times, struggle against inferior teams that Michael Jordan would have devoured in his sleep. Yet, he gets more publicity than Lady GaGa performing at a nun convention for winning two championships in ten years. Experts claim that he’s the best in the world. Really? So if the best in the world is based on struggling to dominate or not being relevant since 2008, then to borrow a line from the movie Titanic, Serena Williams must be the “King (Queen) of the World!” Serena, for mathematical purposes, has won 84.72% of her career matches. If we round it up that means there’s an 85% chance that she will win every time she touches a tennis racket. If this was a man, the words “immortal” and “God Like” would be phrases offered up to describe such dominance. If someone was to tell you that eight and half out of ten tries that you were predestined for success, most of us would ask to see their medicine cabinet to check for hallucinogens, because its unheard of. So why is Serena not mentioned amongst the greatest athletes? I’m not talking female athletes, I’m talking the entire sports population. Men are celebrated for mediocrity, so why is it that she is not celebrated heavily, ala Michael Jordan , especially when her dominance is more Michael like than any other male athlete. Maybe Title Nine is mere window dressing for a male locker room to coverup the “Only Men Allowed Beyond This Point” sign hanging over the entrance. Perhaps the industry, much like tennis, needs a line judge, because this ball has sailed way out of bounds and we are in desperate need of a tie breaker. Serena Williams is a once in a lifetime athlete who deserves more than financial rewards for her accomplishments. She deserves recognition and the accolades equivalent that of her championship peers and not to that of her gender. #17 and counting