What up world? This Earl and of course I’m welcoming you to yet another edition of The Blog About Nothing. It’s Friday the 13th, and the NBA All-Star Weekend is about to kick off in my hometown. Today is not Black Friday. Nope. Today is Fantastic Friday.
It’s the kickoff of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend, my hometown is buzzing, and in my parents home country of Trinidad and Tobago, the Carnival season is in full steam. While I’d normally look at the NBA’s Rising Stars Game, I know I won’t be watching tonight. My attentions will be fully turned to the International Soca Monarch competition. In the words of soca perfomer Benjai: soca does give me meh powers, and my powers will be fully focused on the Carnival. Sorry, NBA.
Anyway, enough with the intros. Let me get into this thing, so without much further ado: let’s do this!
I’m going to kick this blog off with the Richie Incognito signing by the Buffalo Bills. New head coach Rex Ryan, did promise that his Bills team will become a bully on the field, and his first signing is a man that has been accused of bullying. How appropriate. For those who may not remember, Incognito was kicked off of the Miami Dolphins for bullying his teammate Jonathan Martin. The Incognito-Martin situation was covered by several media outlets, including our blog site here at 7Poundbag. In a matter of days, there were at least four different bloggers who offered their takes on the situation.
I was one of them. In The Blog About Nothing for that week, I condemned Incognito. I admitted that I was bullied as a child. It didn’t effect me, nor did it bring me down. I was different. I laughed it off, but I acknowledged that Incognito was a bit of a beast. He went after someone racially, violently, and came off as a new age neanderthal. I didn’t have much remorse for him but I did acknowledge that a day would come when he would be welcomed back into the NFL because many players sided with him. The NFL has a locker room culture where hazing and teasing is acceptable, and that Incognito would eventually be welcomed back into that world.
Now that he has, I have to admit that I’m alright with it. I never did think that he wouldn’t be welcomed back to the game, and I also have to admit that going to the Bills, under Rex, is the right place for him. If anyone can manage Incognito’s locker room personality, yet encourage that beast on the field, it would be Rex Ryan. Rex is the quintessential players guy, and I can see a guy like Incognito running through brick walls for him. If he needed a guy that can bring the culture Rex is looking for to Buffalo, then he made the right choice in Incognito.
There will be a segment of the population that may never accept Richie, but I’m blogging today that I am alright with his coming back to the National Football League. Was he a good teammate to Jonathan Martin and others? Hell no. However, does that mean he should be exiled forever? No. I’d have to think the man has paid his pennance and will come to Buffalo slightly different. Doesn’t mean he’ll go from tiger to house cat overnight, but I expect a better Richie Incognito will walk through that locker room, and I for one will keep an eye on his progress in Buffalo.
I rarely discuss the National Hockey League in this blog space. It’s not a sport I keep up on. Well, I do like to watch the Stanley Cup Finals, only because I think the trophy presentation is excellent, but it’s a sport I don’t really participate in. I’m also in a fantasy hockey league and my team is somehow in 6th place. I have no idea what I’m doing nor do I know the majority of players on my roster, but I’m still in contention.
Hockey has never grasped my interest, but it’s a sport I read up on because I read up on all sports. It was during my check of several websites that I stumbled upon the following story coming out of the hockey world.
The City of Las Vegas appears to be angling for a professional hockey franchise. The Hockey Vision Las Vegas group is currently in the process of selling season tickets. Their goal is ten thousand season tickets to be sold, and they are currently at the halfway mark. Now, how can 5,000 people invest in season tickets for a franchise that doesn’t exist is beyond me but it got me thinking: can the NHL be the first franchise to break into the Las Vegas market?
It should be noted that fans are paying only a downpayment on future season tickets, and I assume they would get their money back if the NHL doesn’t come to Vegas. However, an arena is currently under construction with the full intention of bringing a team to Sin City. The NHL is not the first of the “Big Four” sports leagues to contemplate bringing a team to Vegas. The NBA has been down this road before. The 2007 NBA All-Star Game was meant to be a try out. However, it didn’t go very well. The crowd that attended NBA All-Star Weekend was considered to be ill-mannered and destructive to the point that many Las Vegas casinos were against such an event being held in the City ever again.
Knowing that there is a bit of a seedy side to all the lights and glamour of Vegas, I’m unsure if any of the “Big Four” Commissioners will ever sign off on a professional sports team in Las Vegas. Personally, I can’t see it. Now I have to admit I don’t know if any of the major sports should expand, but looking at the NHL and NBA in particular, I’d think it’d be a bit more feasable for both sports to sidestep Las Vegas and concentrate their efforts on Seattle. The Emerald City is also building an arena, and are actively seeking a franchise in either sport. Also, I just can’t get past the complications that Las Vegas brings. I’m not hating on the City but there is an issue of gambling at the casinos, as well as the fan element a sports team in Sin City will attract.
So, sorry Hockey Vision Las Vegas, and sorry to the fans putting down their money, but if I were a Commissioner I would NEVER NEVER EVER consider placing a team in your City. I personally think it’s more trouble than it’s worth. However, it’s not my call. I just hope that the people plunking down money for season tickets in an arena not yet built, and for a team that does not yet exist, have a contingency plan on how to get their money back.
Finally, for those who read this blog regularly, or most blogs that I post, I’m the kind of guy who has no problem taking a stroll down memory lane. I did it earlier this week in my Tyson-Douglas 25 years later blog, and I’m going to do it here. I hope you’re prepared to take the walk with me.
The year was 1998. I was 16 years old, and a junior in high school. It was also the last time the City of New York hosted the NBA All-Star Game. This is important because 17 years later, it has returned to the Big Apple and will be co-hosted by the Barclays Center (home of the Brooklyn Nets) and Madison Square Garden (home of the New York Knicks). Back in 1998, the Nets were still stuck in purgatory, otherwise known as the swamps of North Jersey, and the Knicks ruled New York alone. Also, in 1998 a young man named Kobe Bean Bryant stood alone.
Kobe entered the game as the youngest All-Star in NBA history at the age of 19. It was his second season with the Los Angeles Lakers and he was sort of casted into this rivalry with Michael Jordan. Jordan will go on to win MVP of the game, but Kobe held his own scoring 18 points. It had the feel of a passing the torch game. Eventually Michael will retire for the last time, and Kobe will go on to win 5 NBA Championships.
However, time marches on. The 16 year old me would graduate from high school the next year, eventually move on to college, and today I’m just another working hump chasing a dream. Safe to say Kobe’s had the better of the past 16 years, but today he’s fighting injuries, and the Los Angeles Lakers are a mess. Kobe tried to do his part though this mess of a season and he was voted to the NBA All-Star Game. Unfortunately he won’t play in it due to injury but how great would it have been if Kobe could have had the spotlight in an arena where he first really elevated himself onto the national scene.
It would have been a fine bookend to a storied career. Feels like we the fans are going to lose something with Kobe not being able to play. I expect he’ll be in New York, and I expect he’ll be introduced to the crowd at Madison Square Garden but I feel we all have lost something by him not being able to play. New Yorkers will lose something in particular. We embraced the Philadelphia native as if he was our own. Kobe might be regarded as an asshole by the public at large, but New York loves him. Look at a Lakers-Knicks game at Madison Square Garden over his career. Look at the love he receives from the fans here. Look at the energy in the building. New York loves Kobe, and Kobe loves New York.
Sitting here remembering the 1998 game, and some of the great games Kobe and the Lakers have played at Madison Square Garden makes me feel wistful that Kobe won’t be able to play. Now, admittedly I don’t have much interest in this year’s game and I probably won’t even watch a good part of it, but if Kobe Bean Bryant was going to suit up and play: I’d watch! I’d be all over that game. However, it won’t happen. A shame.
That’s it. I’m done. Thanks for reading this edition of The Blog About Nothing and thank you for your support of all we do here at 7Poundbag.
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