What up world? As you know, this is EJ and I’m back with another edition of the Blog About Nothing. It’s pretty self-explanatory what I do here, if you are new to this blog series. I blog literally about nothing. OK. Not nothing. I blog about whatever is on my mind. So what is on my mind this week? New York versus Los Angeles, the NBA Finals, the EA Sports-Ed O’Bannon case, Colin Kaepernick getting PAID, Flip Saunders naming himself the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Diego Costa agreeing to terms with Chelsea. Let’s do this!
The Stanley Cup Finals started this week and the Los Angeles Kings are up 1-0 on the New York Rangers. It was a thrilling game that went down to overtime and the Kings won in front their home fans in the Staples Center. It’s also the first time since 1981, when the Dodgers beat the Yankees to win the World Series, that New York and Los Angeles are facing off in a finals in one of the four major sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL). To put it into some personal context, I wasn’t even born yet the last time NY and LA went at it. My mother was pregnant with me though, and I was born over a month after the World Series ended, but just over 32 years is a long time for two of the major media markets in the United States not to face off against each other when a trophy is on the line.
So who do I got? Well considering I’m sitting here wearing a Henrik Lundqvist T-shirt, it should be self-explantory that I’m reppin’ my hometown. Your boy EJ is down with the King! Now I’m not going to pretend I’m a big hockey fan. That would be lying. Although, your boy has been to the Hockey Hall of Fame, and touched the Stanley Cup, I’ve never really gotten into the game. So, if you want a series breakdown I suggest you go elsewhere. What I will say though is that this series will come down to the goaltenders. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, and the aforementioned Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers. Both goalies are great at stopping shots, and coming up with the timely save. Whoever wins, their goalie is going to be the Most Valuable Player. For my sake, and my City’s sake, it better be Lundqvist. Let’s Go Rangers!
The NBA Finals have also started this week, and the San Antonio Spurs are up 1-0 on the Miami Heat. In an arena that got over 90 degrees, due to no air conditioning, the Heat couldn’t quite stand up to the heat in San Antonio. LeBron James once again cramped out, and the Heat faded out in the 110-95 Spurs win. Now, before the series started I felt that the Spurs were going to get their revenge from last season’s Finals and beat the Heat. Why? The Spurs are a balanced team that can realistically go 10 deep, and they don’t necessarily need a big contribution from their star Tim Duncan. However, Duncan did become the first player 38 and older to lead his team in scoring in a Finals game since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it for the Lakers back in the day.
The Heat were in the game though, until the Spurs went on a 31-9 4th quarter run, a run that ultimately saw LeBron miss the majority of the final 7 minutes in the quarter with cramps. Cramping in the playoffs has become an issue for LeBron. Going back to his days with the Cavs, he’s had several instances where cramping have effected his playoff perfomance. It’s likely a combination of overexertion, anxiety, and lack of fluids, but that’s something LeBron has to manage if the Heat want to actually make a series of this. Well, I’m saying Spurs in 6 games but if LeBron keeps this up, this could be a sweep. Just saying.
This week video game maker EA Sports came to a $40 million settlement with a group of former college athletes, led most notably by former UCLA Bruins basketball player Ed O’Bannon. It was the view of O’Bannon, and his colleagues, that the NCAA was profiting off of the likeness of college athletes. As someone who lived for EA Sports NCAA Football, I bought the game just about every year, you could play with your favorite school, and while player names were not in the game, their numbers were and the players looked just like the real athletes who wore that number. Tim Tebow looked just like Tim Tebow, he wore number 15, and he was the starting quarterback of the University of Florida Gators. Just an example. When the O’Bannon case was presented in 2009, the NCAA and EA Sports resolved to not make any more NCAA related titles. A shame for myself, but now comes word that some universities will no longer sell the jersey numbers of current players.
Texas A&M, Northwestern, and the University of Arizona are set to announce that they will only sell generic number jerseys. Some universities already do this. The aforementioned University of Florida, only sell the numbers 1, 15 (for Tebow), and 96 (for 1996 the year of their first National Championship). These three universities are prepared to follow Florida’s suit. Texas A&M who likely made millions off of Johnny Manziel, will no longer sell the #2 jersey. Going forward A&M will only sell the #12, as in their 12th Man. Northwestern sold their #2 jersey last season, worn by quarterback Kain Colter, who ironically is part of the group that is leading the charge to unionize student athletes.
While I understand what the NCAA, and the individual universities, are doing here, part of me doesn’t like this. As a fan, I buy a jersey because I like a player. I used to really love wearing college football jerseys and I had several different ones in my teens and early 20’s. I wasn’t a fan of Virginia Tech, but I bought Michael Vick’s #7. I wasn’t a fan of the University of Georgia but I had Quincy Carter’s #17. I wasn’t a fan of the University of Texas but I had Vince Young’s #10. However, I was a Michigan fan and I had Charles Woodson’s #2, and Anthony Thomas’ #32. You get my point. For some fans, it’s bigger than the school. You want to identify with the player too. That’s why I bought the jerseys, why I played the video games. While I support the former, and current, players in their legal pursuits I can’t help but feel robbed in all of this. Instead of the nuclear option the NCAA has taken by completely running away from the issue, I feel that there could be a way to give athletes compensation for their likeness, and still use them to promote the school. Not sure if I made myself clear in my argument, but there must be some grounds for compromise. Right?
Speaking of video games, Madden 2015 will feature Colin Kaepernick’s tattoos. If it’s in the game, then it’s in the game, takes on a new meaning, huh? Anyway, it’s been a big week for the San Francisco 49ers quarterback. Kaepernick has agreed to a 6 year $110 million extension with the team. $61 million of it’s guaranteed, and with that deal Colin has earned the biggest guarantee amount by a quarterback. Of course, knowing the NFL that record won’t last long. For one, I expect Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson to exceed that amount next summer.
Back to Kap, I like his game. The kid can scramble some, he’s deceptively fast runner with his long strides, and he’s got a pretty good arm. If he can improve his accuracy, and utilize the weapons the Niners have at receiver (Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, newly acquired Stevie Johnson, and tight end Vernon Davis), it’ll be hard to see the Niners not back in Super Bowl contention this season. Some may say that Colin has been overpaid with this deal, but I’ll argue the contrary. The Niners just made a great investment in their future.
Back to basketball. Minnesota Timberwolves part owner and President Flip Saunders, has named himself as the new head coach of the franchise. The T-Wolves under some pressure to keep franchise player, Kevin Love, needed a big hire and who better than Flip. Saunders the former coach of the team from 1995-2005, and owner of a 638-526 record over the span of 16 seasons was obviously a better candidate than the list of names that were floated for the job. It’s hard to argue that Flip wasn’t a better choice than Memphis Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger, former Toronto Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell, or former Los Angeles Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro. Saunders, probably realized that in order to convince Love to stay he had to take the job himself.
However, word is Love still wants out. So, if this is Flip’s intentions it’ll likely fail. However, as President as well as part owner, he has the chance to assemble a team he wants to coach. Minnesota has a choice to make. Do they trade Love to the Eastern Conference, to teams like the Bulls and Celtics who have a multitude of draft picks and young stars, or do they keep Love in the Western Conference and try to bring back established players from the Warriors or Rockets? Please know I only named those 4 teams because to date they are the teams most linked with Love. I’m sure more teams, and more trade scenarios will only emerge. It’s June 6th. I got a feeling by July 15th, we’ll know what city Kevin Love will be calling home. Keep an eye out on this situation as it develops.
Finally, a little soccer for the folks. Atletico Madrid, and Spain international, Diego Costa has agreed to terms with Chelsea FC. Costa will be leaving behind La Liga, for a star turn with the Barclays Premier League club. The Brazilian born striker, will play with Spain in this year’s World Cup, and he’ll be leaving Madrid for London in the 32 million pound exchange. Chelsea clearly needed a man of Costa’s firepower. Last season Chelsea scored 19 goals from the striker position. A decent output from one player, but three players combined to score 19. Not good. So, while Demba Ba, Fernando Torres, and Samuel Eto’o were misfiring in front of goal, Costa scored 27 goals in all competition for a team that won La Liga and finished the runner up in the Champions League.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has his striker in Costa. He’s not done though. If you’re a soccer fan, and your mind gets boggled by big transfers, keep your eyes on Chelsea. It’s a team in a bit of upheaval. Midfielder Frank Lampard has been allowed to leave, as well as left back Ashley Cole. All three of the aforementioned strikers will be on their way out, and we know Chelsea’s rich Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich will splash the cash. Costa was the first of many moves that will be forthcoming.
That’s it. I’m done. I gave you a little bit of everything. Thanks for reading, thanks for supporting www.7poundbag.com. Peace.
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