Why NBA Fans Should Chill Out… And Why They Should Not

The Golden State Warriors seemed to have ruined the season for many NBA fans on July 2nd, when they had signed Demarcus Cousins, the league’s best center, to a 1-year, $5.3 million deal. Now, many people, including myself, originally thought that this was terrible for the NBA, yet after thinking over it for the past few days, I have some words to say to all worrying NBA fans out there, as well as Demarcus Cousins:

Why Everyone Should Chill Out

Seriously, everyone should chill. Yes, they got Boogie Cousins, which makes the Warriors look almost unbeatable on paper, but then again, he is coming off of an Achilles injury which kept him out for the last 34 games of the regular season and the playoffs, yet they went to the 2nd round, including sweeping the 3-seed Portland Trail Blazers, exceeding expectations. The biggest reason for this was because the Pelicans could finally play high-tempo basketball, something that Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry has been a master at his whole coaching career. Rajon Rondo and Solomon Hill were inserted into the starting lineup, Jrue Holiday was moved to Shooting Guard, Nikola Mirotic played at Power Forward, and of course Anthony Davis played Center. The offense gained fluidity through going up-tempo. What am I trying to say here? Cousins is going to slow down Golden State. He is a slow player, he cannot shoot, he doesn’t spread the floor, he’s a post player who can rebound, as shown by his 25 points and 12 rebounds per game last season. This isn’t Joel Embiid or Nikola Jokic, a Center that can shoot the 3, this is Demarcus Cousins, and this is the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors live and die by the 3. We have seen this since the start of the Cavs-Warriors rivalry, that is how they play, that simple. The deadlier part about that is that they play fast, up-tempo basketball, so while they seem like simply a 3-point shooting team, the fastbreaks they are able to create make things more and more un-guardable. Now, tell me, do you think that Steve Kerr and the Warriors would want to see Boogie not be able to run halfway up the court after grabbing a rebound, while Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson are all the way at the 3-point line? By the time Boogie gets back in transition, the flow of the offense is disrupted, the fastbreak is stopped, and the Warriors are about 7-8 seconds into the shot clock. Now, think about this for a second. The Warriors do this for a few possessions, they let up points on the other end, Steve Kerr calls timeout, and lets Demarcus hear it. How would Demarcus, the league’s biggest crybaby (besides Draymond Green, who is his new teammate), feel about that? Well, the same thing that has happened to Demarcus the past few years. He cries. He leaves next season once his one year deal is over. Oh, and another thing, he gets injured a lot, so maybe he won’t be so happy if he misses some time and doesn’t get his money’s worth. Oh wait, he didn’t get his money’s worth. He denied $40 million over 2 years from the Pelicans just so he could not have to do anything and still win a ring, because they will most likely still win this year. Now, regardless of if they win it all or not, it could still be a failed experiment because Demarcus didn’t like being under the scrutiny of slowing down the fast-paced offense of the team. He has the option to leave, but after seeing him make a move like this, no team in the NBA would want him, unless they’re desperate, which Demarcus would not want to be a part of. Also, Kevin Durant is a free agent next summer, and the New York Knicks are already planning to target him in free agency, and with Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler planning to team up in the East (Kyrie wants to play for the Knicks, and Jimmy wants to be wherever Kyrie is), and Kristaps Porzingis and Kevin Knox already with the Knicks, Durant would definitely consider it, and he would earn the respect of so many back, as he is essentially taking the path of earning his right to win a ring instead of it being given. Durant signing the 2-year extension this year proves he wants to prove himself as a team leader elsewhere, and he knows that the Warriors will always be Steph Curry’s team, even though KD is better. Klay Thompson could also leave for the Los Angeles Lakers, where his father Mychal played and won many championships in his career. Klay could certainly decide to continue his legacy there. There is a legit chance that KD and Boogie at least could leave the Warriors next season (Klay has voiced his love for the Warriors throughout his career, so leaving would be a 50-50 chance for him), and that the dynasty could be over, and teams like the Lakers, Celtics, 76ers, and Knicks, are all ready to take over the NBA.

Demarcus, How Can You Be So Ignorant?

Demarcus, how can you be so ignorant that you leave a team that was good enough without you to sweep the Blazers, get a win against the Warriors in the 2nd round, something the Cleveland Cavaliers couldn’t do in the NBA Finals, and still leave them for a team that swept the NBA Finals? How can you be so ignorant that you leave a top-5 player in the NBA (Anthony Davis), the man that hyped you up all season and all offseason, the man that literally wore your jersey for the All-Star Game because he was so sorry for you and that you weren’t there? How can you be so ignorant that you simply don’t want to be the best, and that you just want to be part of the best (Golden State)? How can you be so ignorant that Pelicans fans looked up to you, admired you, bought their jerseys, got hyped up, went to games for you, and had hope for the team, and you still left them? How can you be so ignorant that even if you didn’t want to stay in New Orleans, that you couldn’t just go to a team where you could put yourself in position to beat Golden State? How can you be so ignorant that you take your talents to a team that doesn’t need or care about you at all? How can you be so ignorant that you said you wanted to win yourself when you left the Sacramento Kings, and yet you go to the team where you need to do no work to win a ring? How can you be so ignorant that you force a team to trade valuable assets for you so you can just be injured and not play, and then you leave them thinking they aren’t good enough because you cannot stay healthy? Demarcus Cousins, you do not deserve to ever get more than the $5.3 million that you will get this year, you do not deserve to be worth more than that money, and you do not deserve to go to the playoffs and win rings. Everything you do from this point forward is not deserved or earned, it is given to your pathetic, narcissistic self for thinking that leaving a team where you put up max-contract-worthy stats, and you had a great team and players, and you left them for what potentially already was the greatest team ever assembled. Kevin Durant went from OKC to Golden State to try to win, and yes, it was messed up, because he was on a team that was so talented that they could’ve beaten that Golden State team, and he could’ve won the Finals, and even if he lost he could’ve stayed and proved himself, yet he was a backstabber who decided to take an easy way out. The difference between you and Kevin Durant is that Durant had proven himself as the 2nd best player in the NBA, and Durant, while he may not have earned his rings, earned respect across the league, and elevated the Warriors to be one of the greatest teams ever, yet you have done nothing. Being the best Center in the league means nothing if you cannot even make the playoffs yourself, and if you cannot stay healthy and get your attitude right to be part of a team like that. You are officially the most ignorant and least likeable player in any sport, and you didn’t take PEDs to break the record book, you didn’t commit any crazy crimes, no, none of that. You simply just are too weak to do anything by yourself. Period.

Why We Shouldn’t Chill Out

They will win the Finals regardless and he did absolutely nothing to deserve it, and the entire Golden State Warriors starting lineup has 5 All-Stars, that’s why. They can win this year, but this is the beginning of the end one way or another.

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Did Cristiano Ronaldo Close The Door On Lionel Messi For The Soccer GOAT?

On June 15th, 2018, Portugal and Spain, two European heavyweights went to battle in their Group B opener of their 2018 World Cup campaigns. Portugal superstar striker Cristiano Ronaldo had a huge test ahead in that Spain defense and goalkeeper David de Gea, the best in the world at his position. Ronaldo recently made claims that he is the GOAT, and that the gap between him and Lionel Messi of Argentina is the largest it has been in a while. This match gave him a great opportunity to prove himself, and he did more than just that. drew a penalty in the 3rd minute of the match and converted from the penalty spot a minute later to give Portugal a quick 1-0 lead. Spain, however, did not back down, as striker Diego Costa brought them level with a series of beautiful moves between a crowd of 4 Portuguese defenders. Portugal, or should I say, Ronaldo, was not fazed. In the 44th minute, Ronaldo got to the edge of the box and fired at the knee of David de Gea, who could not hang on to the ball, allowing the ball to deflect off his knee and in for his second goal. Portugal goes into half up 2-1. Spain, however, ended up taking a 3-2 lead by the 58th minute, with Costa scoring again, and Ronaldo’s Real Madrid teammate Nacho scoring an amazing golazo. Down 3-2, Portugal was unable to create any real chances until the 88th minute, when Ronaldo was fouled in his ‘free-kick territory’, and man did he deliver. Ronaldo, before he kicked it, stepped back, rolled his shorts up, took a few deep breaths, and kicked it straight into the back of the net. The Ronaldo GOAT talks seemed to be happening at an all-time high, and it seems as though we can expect to see more of this throughout his 2018 World Cup campaign.

On June 16th, 2018, Argentina played their Group D World Cup opener against Iceland, a team that had never scored a goal in its World Cup history. Argentina, full of world-class goal scorers led by Lionel Messi, seemed primed to take an easy win, but Iceland had other ideas. In a rather boring game, Argentinian striker Sergio Agüero got things started with an early goal in the 19th minute, which was followed up by Alfred Finbogasson’s goal, as those 2 goals would be the only goals of the entire match, but there were many chances from Argentina, specifically Messi, to win the match. Messi received a penalty kick which, unlike Ronaldo, he failed to convert on, and a free kick, which he also failed to convert on, again unlike Ronaldo. Messi had the pressure put on him by Ronaldo’s performance and did not deliver, that too against a much weaker team in Iceland. Considering the circumstances, Iceland celebrated as if it was a win, which despite the score line, it was a win for the Icelandic.

On June 20th, 2018, Ronaldo and Portugal played Morocco, in a rather sloppy 1-0 win, and Ronaldo scored off of a header in the 4th minute, yet he, and his GOATee shined throughout the match.

On June 21st, 2018, Messi and Argentina played Croatia. Croatia destroyed Messi and Co. 3-0, and Messi had 20 touches, not shots, TOUCHES, in the first half, and went the last 21 minutes and 11 seconds without a single touch. Croatian players like Ante Rebić, Mario Mandzukić, Ivan Rakitić, and Luka Modrić made Messi look like a player who shouldn’t have even gone to the World Cup.

Is Ronaldo The GOAT Over Messi?

Well, let us take a look at the stats. First, look at the Ballon D’Or’s, the award given to the best player in the world every year. Both of them have 5 each, with Ronaldo having won 4 of the last 5 Ballon D’Or’s. As far as Champions League’s go, it is in favor of Ronaldo, 5-4 (Ronaldo won his first in 2008 with Manchester United). So, now to the goals. Ronaldo in his career has 658 goals in 913 appearances (573 goals in 761 appearances club-wise), whereas Messi has 616 goals in 763 appearances (552 goals in 637 appearances club-wise). So, Ronaldo holds the crown in goals overall. Messi has 250 assists to Ronaldo’s 208, yet that it expected, since Messi plays on the wings, and has never played striker, whereas Ronaldo is often asked to play striker, as he does in international play for Portugal. Last, look at the trophies. Ronaldo has 3 Premier League Titles, 1 FA Cup, 2 EFL Cups, La Liga, Copa del Rey, Spanish Cup, and UEFA Super Cups each, along with the 5 Champions Leagues, and 4 Club World Cups. Ronaldo also won the UEFA Euro’s in 2016, giving him a career total of 23 trophies. Messi has 8 La Ligas, 6 Copa del Rey and Spanish Supercups each, 4 Champions Leagues, and 3 UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cups each, and he has a FIFA U-20 World Cup win, and a Gold Medal (2008), giving him a grand total of 32 trophies. Now, many of these trophies came before Real Madrid received Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United in 2008. Messi also has had guys like Ronaldinho, Carlos Puyol, Xavi, Xavi Alonso, David Villa, Andres Iniesta, Alexis Sanchez, Neymar, and Luis Suarez, all of these players being some of the greatest players at the sport. Ronaldo has had Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney, Garry Neville, Patrice Evra, Ryan Giggs, Edwin van der Sar, Gerard Pique, and Gareth Bale, also some of the greatest players to play the sports. Messi, however, much like in the Michael Jordan-LeBron conversation, has always had the more superior teams, unlike Ronaldo, who played in England, where the competition is always more tough.

As players, regardless of statistics, Ronaldo is more of a ‘move without the ball to get position, get into the box with the ball, and shoot or draw fouls kind of player’, as he creates many more chances. Messi, on the other hand, goes all over the field, yet is more of a player who stays on the wings and does his movement with the ball at his feet. When it comes to shooting, no one is as good as Ronaldo, especially with the technique that Ronaldo uses when shooting, such as the bend and finesse that he puts on every shot, you never see the same kind of bend and finesse twice. Messi is more of a power kind of kicker, yet less finesse-oriented. Ronaldo also, unlike Messi, is very good at conserving energy when on the field, as he really only moves around the pitch when his team is in possession.

Now, when leading a team, if Messi always has the better team, then why doesn’t he have a World Cup yet? Well, that’s where the composure part comes in. Messi, unlike Ronaldo, let’s the talk and pressure get to him, and he lets it affect his overall play on the pitch. Take yesterday for example, how Messi tried so hard to shoot and score, as Ronaldo calmly put away penalties and free kicks. Ronaldo also needs less shots and on-the-ball touches to be effective. Ronaldo took 4 shots and had 3 shots on target against Spain (he scored all 3), whereas Messi had 3 shots on 11 targets. Against Iceland. Messi had 0 shots against Croatia. ZERO! Even for club, Messi disappears in big moments, such as the Champions League. This year, in the quarterfinal against Roma, when his team was down 3-0 and tied 4-4 on aggregate, Messi took shameless shots on goal to no avail, and almost seemed to have given up on himself and the team as a whole, always with his head down, and not playing with the heart and will. Ronaldo, on the other hand, was in the same situation, this time in the Champions League semifinal against Juventus, tied at 3-3, and he drew the penalty which ended up being the final kick of the game, as he scored the penalty, giving Real Madrid a 4-3 win on aggregate. Going back to the World Cup conversation, Ronaldo plays for Portugal. Yes, Portugal is a good team, but not better than the top teams in the world like Germany, Brazil, France, Spain, or even Argentina. Argentina has guys like Paulo Dybala, Sergio Agüero, Lucas Biglia, Ever Banega, Angel di Maria, and many more, all of which are better than Ronaldo’s best world-class players, who would be André Silva, Bernando Silva, Joao Mario, and Joao Moutinho. Messi also plays for Argentina, a country with a long history, with Diego Maradona, one of the greatest midfielders ever to play the game, always watching him. Maradona has always called out Messi for his lack of leadership of such an uber-talented team like Argentina, yet Messi never answers. Expect Ronaldo to have a better World Cup, and Portugal to go to at least the semifinal of the tournament, beating Argentina in the quarterfinals (I am assuming both Portugal and Argentina win their groups). Ronaldo has almost closed the door on Messi for GOAT status during this World Cup, and expect him to finish the job this year. I am also predicting that Nigeria will pull off the upset vs. Argentina, and will not make it out of the group stage.

Can Any Player Catch Up To Messi and Ronaldo?

Neymar, the Brazilian great, of course, if he can bring Brazil to World Cup glory, and if he can find a club he can stay with for more than one year and win with (unlike PSG this year).

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LeBron’s GOAT Status Currently, and Free Agency Predictions

James is coming off an NBA Finals loss which, let’s face it, no one really cares about that much. Essentially, LeBron played what Fortnite gamers call ‘Solo Squads’, and the Warriors had a bit too overpowering of a squad. LeBron James, despite being 3-6 in the NBA Finals, is still the Greatest Player of All-Time, and he will most likely be a free agent. LeBron is going to be the talk of the summer once again, as he is approaching ‘The Decision 3.0’ in this year’s free agency. Here is my stance on where he lies as the GOAT, and where he could go in free agency this summer:

LeBron’s GOAT Status

LeBron James is really the only person besides Michael Jordan who is in the GOAT conversation, and deservedly so. Why wouldn’t the most complete NBA player to ever play the game not be in the GOAT conversation? Now, that being said, many critics are rather dogmatic and harsh in their judgement of LeBron James, but there are many things those people are missing out. First off, Michael Jordan is 1-9 in all playoff series when he did not have another superstar on his team. LeBron James has been to 2 NBA Finals with no superstars (2007 and this year, and no, Kevin Love is not a superstar). Second, Michael Jordan is 6-0 in Finals, yet he always had the NBA’s best team. LeBron, however, has only been the favorite in 2 Finals (2011 vs. Dallas Mavericks, and 2013 vs. San Antonio Spurs, according to FiveThirtyEight. He went 1-1 in those Finals). So, to say that Jordan is better because he is 6-0 is a bad argument to make, because LeBron has rarely been the favorite. On top of that, Jordan has been swept out of the playoffs twice, and unlike LeBron, has lost in the first round of the playoffs, so saying that LeBron has ‘easier competition’ is also a faulty statement. Third, LeBron is the much more complete player, as he isn’t simply ‘just a scorer’, or ‘just a perimeter defender’ as Michael Jordan was. LeBron can do much more to rebound, pass, play inside on both ends, and guard and play all positions on either side of the ball. Lastly, LeBron has never had the amount of talent that Jordan has had, as Jordan could afford to take a 2-year ‘retirement’ and still see his Chicago Bulls make the playoffs both years. Only LeBron’s Miami Heat teams could’ve made the playoffs without him. Sure, they both had superteams, but Jordan always had the more deep and dependable superteams as opposed to LeBron. All in all, the arguments for LeBron as the GOAT trump that of Jordan, and show that his ability to often just take terribly assembled teams to the Finals is remarkable, and the fact that Jordan always had a well assembled team to work with speaks volumes to the differences in their Finals records, yet also their individual talents and efforts. The only thing that could really take LeBron out of the GOAT conversation is if he were to go to the Golden State Warriors in free agency, which, considering the current Warriors position, they may have to trade all their superstars except for KD and maybe Steph Curry to get him, and even then, they will be guaranteed many Finals victories due to the presence of LeBron.

LeBron’s Free Agency Options

LeBron James has a lot of leverage as far as where he can go once he opts out, due to the how much money he can get per year, and the sign-and-trade ability that he possesses, as exemplified by the way Chris Paul used it last season to get to the Houston Rockets. The teams that are in the running for LeBron are: LA Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Golden State Warriors. Here is how I see each team in terms of those most likely to get him, sleeper teams, the best fit for LeBron, and who LeBron will eventually go play for:

The Teams Most Likely To Land LeBron

Los Angeles Lakers

Now, this seems to be the favorite to land LeBron by seemingly everyone, not just the Vegas odds-makers, or the fact that LeBron has two homes in LA. However, the Lakers need to do a few things to convince LeBron first. They must trade their big cap-space clingers, like Luol Deng and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, so that LeBron can have the ability to tell Magic Johnson how he wants the roster to be tinkered. The last thing he would want is to run into a situation that he did in the 2010-11 season, when the ‘Big 3’ had really no one else on the team, which resulted in their shock NBA Finals loss to the Dallas Mavericks in 6 games. LeBron wants to be able to get the roster up-and-running immediately, which he has improved upon doing since that season. LeBron also will want Paul George. The Lakers are the only team in the NBA that has enough cap for TWO max-contract players, and Paul George can be the second guy. While many say George is a lock to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder for his hometown of SoCal, George has talked many times about the fact that he may want to stay in OKC, citing that playing with Russell Westbrook has made him a better player and person. Even if PG stays with OKC, Kawhi Leonard, the superstar Small Forward of the San Antonio Spurs, has asked for a trade to the Lakers, and will be granted the trade soon. The trade will probably end up being Brandon Ingram and Luol Deng for Kawhi. Now, assuming that PG’s heart is set on going back home, LeBron to LA would be a virtual guarantee. LeBron, along with PG, and Kawhi, and the young pieces that LA already has, they will bring themselves back to NBA Finals contenders, as it would put them on a level to beat the Golden State Warriors, and win the Finals many times over.

Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia is enticing to LeBron James because of the heights that they reached this season. They went to the Eastern Conference Semifinals with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons leading the way. With LeBron’s presence, he can elevate the level of play from Embiid and Simmons, along with other role players like JJ Redick, Robert Covington, and Dario Saric, and make this team NBA Finals contenders. This roster already has pieces that LeBron would love to play with, as it has a scoring and shot-blocking center (Embiid), a creator (Simmons), and many spot-up shooters (Redick, Covington, Saric). LeBron probably fits best with the Sixers compared to any of his other suitors. The only piece LeBron may look to trade or replace is Markelle Fultz. The 76ers also have the 10th pick in the NBA Draft which is a week from today. Don’t be surprised if LeBron has Philly take a guy like Mikal Bridges or Colin Sexton, scorers who can either start or come off the bench. LeBron can easily take this team to the Finals, and they could knock off Golden State.

San Antonio Spurs

Kawhi Leonard wants to be traded to the Lakers, so no chance LeBron goes there.

Houston Rockets

Roster-wise, why wouldn’t LeBron want to go here? James Harden, Chris Paul, and Clint Capela are three of the best players at their positions, and the Rockets role players are some of the best in the business. So, why can’t LeBron just go there? Cap space. Houston backup Power Forward Ryan Anderson was signed in 2016 to a 4-year, $80 million contract in 2016, and if he isn’t traded, the Rockets should say goodbye to their chances at getting LeBron. LeBron would probably have to do a sign-and-trade deal like Chris Paul did, but it all comes down to whether or not the Cavs, or possibly any other team, would want Anderson. If Anderson is traded before LeBron makes ‘The Decision’, LeBron could go there and not have to go through the mess of a sign-and-trade deal, but considering Anderson is 30 years old, and really not bringing value to many teams anymore, the Rockets window to get LeBron is closing faster than ever.

Boston Celtics

I’m convinced that Celtics GM Danny Ainge wants to trade Gordon Hayward for LeBron in a sign-and-trade, but would Cleveland be willing to get ‘just Hayward’ for him? It seems as though Ainge will not want to trade Kyrie Irving and instead convince him to stay in 2019, when he can make $80 million more than what he would make this year if he extends his contract, which he declined to do. Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert wants to build a ‘championship roster’ without LeBron, so he may get greedy in the sign-and-trade, even if he does get Hayward. Plus, Kyrie ran away from Cleveland and their management to lead a team, so he may not want LeBron to come to Boston. I would, however, give Boston a higher chance to get LeBron than Houston.

Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron does not want to stay with this embarrassment of an organization. Unless he gets 1-2 superstars, such as Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins through sign-and-trade deals. I doubt that even then, LeBron would be convinced to stay, though, especially after how he took this terrible team to the Finals. Yes, this would make them miles better, but would they beat Golden State? Still not very likely.

Miami Heat

LeBron could get a reunion back with the Heat and his BFF Dwyane Wade, but it would take a trade. Center Hassan Whiteside, and possibly Small Forward Justise Winslow, would have to be traded for Cousins, Kawhi, or Demar Derozan, which all seem unlikely, but Heat Team President Pat Riley, who may be the best in the business, could make it work. The Heat have great pieces, like Philly and Boston do, to be NBA Finals contenders if LeBron goes there. They could be the sleeper team in the LeBron sweepstakes for sure.

Golden State Warriors

No. Just no. Kevin Durant said no. GM Bob Myers wants Anthony Davis from the Pelicans instead. They don’t need LeBron, and they would have to trade too much to get LeBron, so why would they even bother? Also, why would LeBron want to ruin his legacy by going to a team that doesn’t need him to earn their rings? So, the answer is no.

Where Will LeBron Ultimately Go?

LeBron to LA will become a reality. With PG, Kawhi, and young stars like Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma, how can LeBron turn down the opportunity to play with this team. The roster also is very flexible, meaning that LeBron can make many trades to better the roster, and give himself valuable bench players. He had the luxury of doing this with the Miami Heat by getting himself Birdman (Chris Andersen), Ray Allen, Mike Miller, and Shane Battier. In Cleveland, he got himself Kevin Love, JR Smith, and Kyle Korver. Expect LeBron to get more role players like this. The Lakers also have the 25th pick which they could utilize in a trade to get a role player of LeBron’s liking, if he wishes to have the Lakers trade it. On top of the basketball reasons, if the whole ‘family could determine his decision’ rumor is indeed true, then LeBron to LA makes sense, especially since LeBron wants to get more well-known in Hollywood, so, why not LA?

NFL Storylines Week 15: #StarWars Edition

The NFL season heads into its 15th week and at this point, teams are either playing for draft picks, a spot in the playoffs, or home-field in the playoffs. Here is how I see some of the biggest NFL storylines panning out, as compared to characters and movies of the Star Wars franchise:

What to Expect in The Return of Aaron Rodgers (the NFL’s Luke Skywalker)

Aaron Rodgers, the best quarterback in the NFL (yes, he is better than Brady), comes back off of a 9-week layoff from a collarbone injury he suffered in a Week 6 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Since his injury, the Packers have gone 3-4, and the Vikings have only lost 1 game. The Packers this week go to work in Charlotte against the Carolina Panthers, a team that currently holds the 5th seed in the NFC, but a loss could cost them a playoff spot. Now, you may be wondering, what do I expect out of Aaron Rodgers? I didn’t write a blog post about this, yet my preseason Super Bowl prediction was Packers-Steelers, with the Packers winning. My prediction has stayed the same, and the return of Rodgers, with all of the odds against him, gives me even more confidence as to what the Packers can do. In 2013, Rodgers had injured his collarbone and came back for Week 17 against the Chicago Bears. The winner of the game would go to the playoffs, and Rodgers won the game on a 4th and 8 with 46 seconds to go by throwing the game-winning TD to Randall Cobb. In 2014, after the team started 1-2 and people counted the Packers out, Rodgers had the famous R-E-L-A-X press conference, and the team ended up going 11-5 and were 1 game away from the Super Bowl. I expect Rodgers to work his late-season magic and lead the Pack to the playoffs, and to the Super Bowl. The force is strongest with Rodgers when they need it most.

A New Hope for Philly?

Carson Wentz was not just the possible MVP QB of the Philadelphia Eagles, but he was the man the city rallied around. He had done so much in supporting the city, especially through the AO1 Foundation, that he became a savior for the city of Philadelphia. Their dream season with Super Bowl hopes looked like it would become a reality, but Wentz’s ACL injury last week ended most hopes of that (by the way, my best wishes and prayers are out to Carson in hopes that he has a speedy recovery and comes back better than ever next season). Now, go back to the previous sentence where I said ‘most hopes’ are gone and not all. Yes, the Eagles have hope, ‘A New Hope’, as Star Wars fans would like to say. Nick Foles replaced Michael Vick in 2013 after his injury, and threw 27 TDs-2 INTs, won the NFC East, and became a Pro Bowler in that season. Now, I am not saying that you should expect Foles to play at that high a level, but to say that the Eagles have no chance at a Super Bowl is not right. I see NFC Championship Game for sure, but Super Bowl is unlikely. Don’t count out Foles.

The Steelers Killer B’s

The Killer B’s, Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and yes, even kicker Chris Boswell, are orchestrating a season similar to the way Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Chewbacca fought their way to victory against Darth Vader and the Emperor in ‘Return of the Jedi’, as The Killer B’s have led the Pittsburgh Steelers to an 11-2 season so far. This has led them to first place in the AFC, and nothing but smiles on the faces of them and all those in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh now goes faces their biggest test, ‘The Dark Side’ of the AFC, the New England Patriots, who are 10-3 after their suspect loss to the Miami Dolphins Monday night. Now, of course, this game not only will determine who will get home-field advantage, but the winner of this game will probably win the AFC and go the Super Bowl. After watching the stagnant and lethargic Pats offense, and the confused Pats defense, I have supreme confidence in Pittsburgh, especially since the game is in their house.

Why Roger Goodell Needs to be Replaced, Now!

Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL, simply put, has no idea what he is doing. Yes, even Donald Trump and the Clintons knew what they were doing when they ran for the election. Goodell gets paid to make decisions which don’t help the game in any way, by getting an average of $34 million per year. While many people will argue that the reason for the ratings being down in the NFL over the last 2 seasons is because of protests and scheduling, it really isn’t. The reason for all of this goes back to Goodell, with his unreasonable suspension and non-suspensions of players, the fact that the NFL barely allows players to celebrate, that the players can’t wear custom shoes, the concussion protocols being rather lenient, etc., I can go on and on. The biggest part of Goodell’s stupidity is his viewpoints of suspensions. Roger Goodell has no consistency when it comes to judging how to suspend a player, and with Ezekiel Elliott’s final suspension decision soon to come in, I explain why Zeke, despite the fact that what he did really should cost him a season, should really cost him nothing:

Ezekiel Elliott: What Did He Do?

Ezekiel Elliott is, as of right now, going to have to serve a 6-game suspension for his alleged domestic violence case. The accuser, Tiffany Thompson, has provided evidence of pictures of bruises on her body, yet the NFLPA has said that the evidence, because of the way it was sent and produced, and because of the bad timing of it, that they cannot uphold the suspension. Elliott and the NFLPA have filed conspiracy against the NFL, saying that the NFL is ‘hiding critical information which would free Elliott’ from his suspension. So, did he do anything? Well, we really don’t know, and Goodell will do everything he can to make sure we won’t find out.

The History of Goodell’s Stupid Suspensions

Now, many people will think that there are certain suspensions that aren’t stupid, but trust me, they are. First, we start with the most infamous one by Goodell, which is the former Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice’s incident. Goodell originally had suspended Rice indefinitely, and then the video of Rice beating his now-wife Janay Palmer was released. The video showed the elevator opening, Rice beating his wife unconscious, and then dragging her out by the knees. Goodell admitted he hadn’t seen the video, which resulted in Goodell lowering it to just 2 games suspension. 2 GAMES ONLY? FOR BEATING YOUR WIFE? REALLY? It’s simply put, blasphemous. Former Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys player Greg Hardy had an alleged domestic violence case against him in 2015, and originally got 10 games, which was later reduced to 4. Former NY Giants kicker Josh Brown got just 1 game for beating his wife in 2016, when he admitted after he got cut by the Giants that he had over 20 incidents in which he beat his wife.

Why Goodell’s Stupidity Means Elliott Really Shouldn’t Be Suspended at all

These cases of domestic violence after the Ray Rice incident, were all suspensions in which Goodell promised at least 6 games of suspension to all of these players, yet none of these players have ended up with 6-game suspension. Goodell is notorious for hiding information which is valuable to the NFL knowing, and he is taking the money and running. Now, when I say Elliott shouldn’t be suspended, I am not saying that in reality he shouldn’t. In reality, Elliott should receive 1 season, and Rice, Goodell, Hardy, and Brown all deserved that too. However, because Goodell cannot cooperate with anything besides the money, and because he is so inconsistent with the numbers in terms of knowing how many games each player should be suspended, there definitely is a conspiracy against Elliott, because if Rice got 2, Elliott should get none. Also, how come someone who is on drugs gets suspended a full season? If anything, the players on drugs should get 2-game suspensions, and the players who commit domestic violence should get a season. The players that do drugs need to be with the team, in practice, and in the team rehab facilities at all times. Sure, they shouldn’t play, because the drugs are wrong, but the NFL should keep them off the streets to make sure they don’t harm themselves with the drugs. When players are on the team facilities, with their teammates and coaches, they are in their ‘safe house’, because they know that they are around people that care about their health and future just as much as they do.

Should Goodell Be Fired?

Yes. I don’t know what evidence can keep him, as well as the league, in control of the NFL. In fact, under the current madness the NFL is in under Goodell, since he is trying to get all the money he can to benefit himself and not the league, the NFL could be non-existent by as early as 2025. Goodell should be fired, and there are plenty of people who can replace him.

Roger Goodell Replacements

  1. Me

If I, a high school junior, has the courage to let the world know that Goodell is the world’s biggest idiot and should be fired, then why not hire me. Just read everything I just said. I have common sense, Goodell doesn’t.

  1. Condoleezza Rice

Well, I guess me being the NFL Commish is a bit unrealistic, so let me throw out some names that actually have a high chance of running the NFL. The first one is Condoleezza Rice. Rice, former Secretary of State, has admitted that her dream is to be the commissioner of the NFL, and the fact that she is also on the NCAA College Football Playoff Selection Committee, she is the clear front-runner for it.

  1. Bill Belichick

Belichick was the mastermind behind Spygate and Deflategate, so if he knows how to perfectly get a team’s playbook and deflate a football to his team’s advantage, he would be able to prove why guys like Ray Rice and Ezekiel Elliott deserve full-season suspensions. As manipulative as Belichick is, he is extremely smart and honest, and that is something that the NFL needs.

  1. Adam Silver

Silver, the NBA commissioner, is right now the most fearless and most outspoken commissioner in all of sports. He wouldn’t be scared to share evidence and expose players to the entire world, just ask Donald Sterling and Jeannie Buss.

  1. Ray Anderson

Anderson, the current Arizona State vice-president of athletics, was also the NFL executive Vice President for 8 years, so he knows what he is doing. The hard part will be convincing him to leave Arizona State.

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Is Lonzo Ball a Big Baller?

Lonzo Ball is the most coveted rookie ever to be drafted since LeBron James not just because of his father Lavar, but because of the fact that he is playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the most accomplished teams in the history of the NBA. Ball has had huge expectations since his days at UCLA, thanks to his father. He said Lonzo would bring UCLA a championship. That dream ended in the Round of 16 of March Madness due to De’Aaron Fox’s 39-point outburst. He said that Lonzo would be drafted by the Lakers, which happened as we all know. Then there are some things that we have to wait and see before we can say they are true, such as if he is better than Stephen Curry, and that he will take the Lakers to the playoffs this year. Here is what I think about the potential of Lonzo Ball, and his shoe game.

Lonzo’s Potential

Lonzo Ball is the most gifted passer I have ever seen since Steve Nash. Much like Nash, Ball is a pass-first team player who is willing to sacrifice his scoring to set up others for easier scoring opportunities. While he was at UCLA, he averaged 7.6 assists per game, which broke UCLA records for assists in a season, and also propelled him into the top spot in the nation’s assist leaders. At UCLA, Lonzo averaged 14.6 points per game, which led his team. So far in the Summer League, he is averaging 16.4 points per game, and 9.2 assists per game, showing his innate ability to be a scorer and a distributor. While the scoring numbers may be slightly inflated due to the fact that he is playing against players fighting for a spot on an NBA roster, his ability to create opportunities for those same players on his team speaks volumes to his ability as a team leader. Lonzo already has proven that he is a Big Baller, but now he has also shown his potential to lead a team, be selfless, create scoring opportunities for himself, and be a good on and off-ball defender. He has the potential to be as good as Magic Johnson by the end of his career, as well as an NBA champion. Also, expect the #2 banner to up in Staples Center by the time Lonzo’s career is all set and done (as said by Magic Johnson).

Lonzo’s Shoe Game

Lavar Ball not only has put tremendous pressure on Lonzo to be one of the greatest players ever, but he has also started a shoe line under his family company’s name, Big Baller Brand. Shortly after Lonzo and UCLA were knocked out of the March Madness Tournament, Lavar tried to get Lonzo a shoe deal with either Nike, Adidas, or Under Armour. All three of the brands said no, which led to him creating the shoe line under the Big Baller Brand name. The ZO2 was unveiled, but to make Lonzo’s shoe stand out from the competition, Lavar priced it at $495. When interviewed about it, he said ‘if you can’t afford the shoes, you’re not a Big Baller.” In his first two Summer League games, Lonzo wore his Big Baller Brand shoes, but in his two latest games, he has worn the Nike Kobe AD, Adidas Harden 1 Lifestyle, and Under Armour Curry 4 (they were given to him by Curry). Lonzo said in an interview from TNT’s David Aldridge “when you’re a big baller, you can wear whatever you want,” showing the fact that he is still looking for a deal from the big companies, and by wearing their shoes is using this as a tactic to get the shoe deal. Lavar Ball told ESPN that since Lonzo is independent, “[he] is not forced to wear any brand as long as it’s okay with the NBA.” I think this is a great strategy and sooner than later, Lonzo will land himself a shoe deal with one of the major shoe brands.

 

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2017 MLB Season: The Big Storylines Going into All-Star Break

The 2017 MLB season has seen a lot of great individual performances, such as the show that Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger have been putting on as rookies, and also a lot of teams overachieving and underachieving their expectations, such as the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs, respectively. Here are some big storylines to look out for going into the All-Star Break in about a week’s time:

Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger’s Rookie Ceilings

A lot of rookies hit the ‘rookie ceiling’, or the ‘rookie wall’, as some people like to call it. Aaron Judge (26 HRs) and Cody Bellinger (24 HRs) are on their way to breaking rookie records that have been almost impossible to break. Both are on pace to break Mark McGwire’s record of 48 HRs in a season, which has been standing since 1987, and the two have also excelled in other areas (batting average, on-base percentage, etc.). The challenge, however, is keeping this up. Both Bellinger and Judge have been invited to the Home Run Derby, however, Judge does not seem like he is as interested as Bellinger. In many ways, this is a smart move, as it keeps him healthier going throughout the rest of the season. I expect both of them to get 40+ HRs, but Judge breaks the record.

The Nationals’ Bullpen Struggles

The Washington Nationals seem to have some kind of a discombobulated and non-existent bullpen. As displayed yesterday evening in their 5-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs at home, the bullpen doesn’t know how to keep their composure. The Nationals were leading 4-2 with 1 out left when Blake Treinen decides to sleep-pitch his way to get the last out. Treinen let Javier Baez get a single after Jeimer Candelario got a base-hit with 1 out, and then Tommy La Stella’s RBI single brough both Baez and Candelario in to score, and that’s how the game ended. Now, that being said, the Nats’ big time bullpen players like Sammy Solis and Francisco Rodriguez are returning from injury and being signed to the team, respectively, so if those two can provide sparks for this team. The Nats can gain my full confidence as the favorites in the NL as their offense is extremely impressive.

Houston Doesn’t Have a Problem Anymore

The Houston Astros for the longest time were the laughing stock of the MLB, always having the worst record in the MLB, and just having a terrible roster and management, in general. Now, after years of tanking, the Houston Astros have found their way, and are the current holder of the MLB’s best record. They have the second-highest scoring offense (445 runs), and are 1st in batting average (.283), on-base percentage (.349), and slugging percentage (.485). On the pitching side, they are currently 3rd in earned-run average, or ERA (3.82). Houston is also expected to have 4 unanimously chosen All-Stars this year in Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer, and Lance McCullers. Expect this dominance to continue throughout the year, and for the Astros to be the World Series favorites.