10 Thoughts For The Week of November 29, 2020

1. THE PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION BEGINS

While spending a majority of his time declaring victory and making claims the election was stolen from him, President Trump authorized the transition of power to President-elect Biden. Biden began picking a very interesting Cabinet. Outside of having no answers for COVID, the president has never conceded anything to anyone in his adult life. He likes to say he got the most votes of a sitting president. How could he concede having the most votes against him.

2. WHAT’S THE RUSH WITH FIRING SQUADS

The Justice Department has been moving very quickly to bring the firing squads for federal executions back. President Trump wants to get them instituted to by the time he leaves office. Is this the president trying to keep some kind of twisted campaign promise? Is there a wing of the conservative movement that thinks firing squads are a major issue.

 

3. LEWIS HAMILTON TO BE KNIGHTED

This spring, when I was really missing sports, I started watching Drive to Survive on Netflix. While he was never on the camera during Season 1, Lewis Hamilton’s presence was everywhere. His season was not dramatic enough because he was winning just about every race.

It was announced that Lewis Hamilton will be knighted.

If there is anyone who reminds me of Tiger Woods, it is this guy.

 

4. THE TED CRUZ GUARANTEE

Why does this guy believe he has any chance to be president in 2024?

5. THE 1PERCENT RULE

If you have had some curiosity about income disparity or why progressive ideas to level the playing field, this article by James Clear explains a lot. It is a great read!

 6. AN ALL BLACK REFEREE CREW WORKS MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

This is far too long in the making.

7. SCOTUS AND HOUSES OF WORSHIP IN NEW YORK

The Supreme Court of the United States has drawn the line that the First Amendment right to worship is more important than keeping people safe in a pandemic. The Court determined that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s restrictions on the capacity of house of worship to 10-25 people was unconstitutional.

8. ROBLOX LIVE EVENTS

The lack of meeting in person and in large groups has forced most of us to virtual events. We all have our Zoom meetings. I have been an exhibitor at a virtual trade show. Now entertainers are putting on virtual events in Roblox.

Roblox is a video game my seven year old plays where he creates his character and plays in many different worlds. I am disappointed that we both missed out on the Lil Nas X concert.

 9. TRUE IDENTITIES OF POP CULTURE ICONS REVEALED

Alex Solis is a master artist who has done some brilliant reveals of the true identities of pop icons. They are super fun and put a smile on my face.

 10. KLAY THOMPSON

Last week when I wrote about the craziest week in NBA history, I didn’t mention Klay Thompson was at the center of things. Thompson injured his Achilles tendon on the day of the draft. There was a definite thought, which was later confirmed, Klay was going to be out for the entire 2020-21 basketball season.

I am not sure if it affected the Warriors picking James Wiseman with the Number 2 pick. However, the acquisition of Kelly Oubre, Jr. and Ken Bazemore showed there was a hole in the roster that needed to be addressed. It could also be insinuated by the moves of the other Western Conference teams that it was time to strike while the Warriors were down a star.

Losing Klay is a big deal but there is still a lot of talent on that team. I think that people are sleeping on Steve Kerr as a coach as well.

10 Thoughts For the Week of November 22, 2020

1. IT’S OVER FOR TRUMP

Two and a half weeks after the election, it appears that Donald Trump and his hopes for a second term as president is OVER. The state of Georgia certified Joe Biden as the winner of the state’s electoral votes; despite Lindsey Graham’s attempts to influence things. President Trump tried to start a coup in the state of Michigan which fell short. Just about all Trump’s frivolous lawsuits have been dismissed due to lack of evidence.

The events that convinced me the presidential election was finally over when people started turning on Ivanka. Ivanka had one job during this administration. She was supposed to be the only influential person in the president’s circle with a conscience. She failed. Now that the ship is sinking, nasty stories about Ivanka have been surfacing.

The events that convinced me the presidential election was finally over when people started turning on Ivanka.

2. TRUMP PETTINESS CONTINUES

Last week, I talked about Trump firing Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper. It was an unnecessary move for a president who was about to lose an election. Trump had probably wanted to do it since June when Esper publicly contradicted the president.

The pettiness continued this week when Trump fired Christopher Krebs who was the head of cybersecurity for the presidential election after he declared the 2020 election was “the most secure election in American history.” Once again, another petty move.

3. NBA TRADES

The highlight of the week has to be the NBA trades made before, during and after the NBA Draft. The Oklahoma City Thunder were at the center of the trades. The week started off with Dennis Schroeder being traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Los Angeles Lakers for Danny Green. By everyone’s understanding, this is an upgrade for a team that just won the NBA championship. It felt like the rich getting richer.

Oklahoma City then traded Chris Paul to the Phoenix Suns. Paul had a renaissance season with OKC last year. There is an excitement that comes from hoping he has the same kind of season with a Suns team that went undefeated in the NBA Bubble.

The Al Horford experiment in Philadelphia ended after one season when he was traded to Oklahoma City.

All these trades make me curious who are going to be on the roster for Oklahoma City next season.

4. NBA DRAFT

The NBA Draft was fun for the first ten picks. Then there was all the minutiae of what kind of skills people were bringing to the table. Anthony Edwards was the first pick for the Minnesota Timberwolves. I think the pick may have been influenced by the relationship between Timberwolves star D’Angelo Russell and the Ball Family. I am happy for Edwards who had to overcome some serious blows losing family members.

LaMelo was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets which is a good place for him. Personally I appreciated the quiet of having Lonzo in New Orleans. It would be really nice if LaMelo was super quiet and humble.

My highlight of the draft was Obi Toppin going full crybaby after being drafted by the New York Knicks. I am rooting for this dude to be the guy to help turn the franchise around.

 

5. NBA FREE AGENCY

The beginning of NBA free agency started off with Gordon Hayward leaving Brad Stevens and Boston Celtics to join the Charlotte Hornets. It doesn’t feel like a move that puts him in better contention to win the title, but time will tell.

Rajon Rondo used a brilliant performance in the Finals to get some money from the Atlanta Hawks.

I think the Miami Heat are going to miss Jae Crowder and Marc Gasol going to the Lakers is another example of the rich getting richer.

6. PATRIOTIC EDUCATION

Tate Reeves, the governor of Mississippi, has set aside $3 million for the Patriotic Education Fund. The funding would go to schools that don’t engage in what Reeves calls “revisionist history” that is “poisoning a generation.” He claims its a far-left agenda to make sure students learn about all the complete history of our country instead of just the achievements. It’s ironic the governor of the state that hosted the most public lynchings would not like to talk about them and would rather focus on a man on the moon.

It’s ironic the governor of the state that hosted the most public lynchings would not like to talk about them and would rather focus on a man on the moon

7. PITTSBURGH STEELERS ARE 10-0

The 1972 Miami Dolphins have not cracked their annual bottle of champagne when the final undefeated team loses their first game. The Pittsburgh Steelers at 10-0 are the current challenger to the perfect season. Pittsburgh’s defense is straight nasty. T.J. Watt is now the best Watt brother in the NFL. Big Ben looks like having a year off has made him a better quarterback. It doesn’t hurt to have JuJu Smith Schuster and Chase Claypool to throw the ball to. They seem to be the most complete team in the NFL.

 

8. USC IS 3-0

USC is 3-0 after dominating the Utah Utes. This game has determined the PAC-12 South champion the last couple of years; so USC is in the driver’s seat. Utah’s lack of a quarterback and the USC pressure led to too many turnovers.

The USC receiving corps is so talented. They have five guys who could be “the guy”; it really depends on what game it is.

 9 THE BEATS “YOU LOVE ME” COMMERCIAL

No words necessary.

10. WONDER WOMAN 1984

After being frustrated by Disney/Marvel’s continual delay of the next wave of the MCU, DC has announced that Wonder Woman will be released on HBOMax at the same time it is released in theaters. I understand that these movies are a business and money-makers but we all need a good superhero movie after all the crazy stuff we have been through in 2020.

10 Thoughts for the Week of November 15, 2020

1. MARK ESPER FIRED

The week started off with President Trump firing Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Esper had disagreed publicly with Trump about sending troops to control protests in American cities back in June. Maybe he refused to send troops to enforce Trump’s imaginary win.

2. DOJ VOTER FRAUD OFFICIAL RESIGNS

The Justice Department’s election crimes chief resigned this week when Attorney General, Bill Barr, changed the department’s policy allowing US attorneys to probe alleged election fraud prior to the results being certified. John Pilger, who was awarded the DOJ’s John C. Keeney Award for Exceptional Integrity and Professionalism, could not be involved in the baseless challenges to the election results.

This seems like another attempt by Bill Barr to take Rudy Guiliani’s place as President Trump’s personal attorney.

3. FIGHTING POLL TAXES

In the state of Florida, a convicted felon cannot vote once he has served his time in prison until they pay whatever fines they owe the state. Earlier the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed that this rule was constitutional.

With the help of Michael Jordan, Lebron James and Michael Bloomberg, 13,000 for the 40,000 felons unable to vote in Florida had their fees paid. That was a great investment and it is good to see these guys step-up to make a difference in the election.

4. N.L. MVP

Freddie Freeman was named the National League Most Valuable Player on Thursday. Mookie Betts was second in voting. Freeman was deserving of the award. However playoffs have a way of making everyone question the results. When Charles Barkley or Karl Malone won the MVP, they faced Michael Jordan and the Bulls; where Jordan always looked like the MVP. Lebron James had done the same thing to Stephen Curry. Curry and the Warriors got to do the same thing to James Harden.

This happened again in the National League Championship Series where Freeman played well, but Betts did the things and made the plays that won the series for the Dodgers. In the words of Kevin Durant “you the real MVP”.

5. CORI BUSH AND BREONNA TAYLOR

Cori Bush, from Ferguson, Missouri and BLM activist, was elected to Congress last week. She showed up to her first day at work wearing a mask with Breonna Taylor’s name on it. Many of her Republican colleagues believed her name was Breonna Taylor. This may be an innocent mistake with some other name, but a public official does not know who Breonna Taylor is.

6. ISAIAH THOMAS AND THE GOAT

Isaiah Thomas has always been a hater of Michael Jordan. He has taken his hateration to a new level. He claimed that Jordan was the fifth toughest player he ever faced. His list was

  1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  2. Magic Johnson
  3. Larry Bird
  4. Julius Erving
  5. Michael Jordan

All those guys were great competitors but it seems like Isaiah went out of his way to make sure Jordan was not #1 on the list. The funny thing about the list is Thomas never had to guard these guys. His qualification of “tough” may be different than what I think of tough.

7. THE WEEKEND FOR THE SUPER BOWL HALFTIME SHOW

The Weekend has been tapped to perform during halftime of the Super Bowl. I like his music but I am not sure he is ready for that kind of show. One of my favorite halftime shows was Bruno Mars. I wouldn’t even mind if he performed the same show. The thing about men performing is we don’t gawk about their appearance.

8. RICHARD MARX IS PROTESTING THE ELECTION

With all the drama surrounding the presidential election, I decided to put some comic relief up. Richard Marx was totally robbed by Michael Bolton.

9. USC v. UofA

USC pulled out another late game victory again. They were not impressive until the last seven minutes of the game. Most fans are frustrated …I am just glad they keep winning.

10. PLAY OF THE WEEK – HAIL MARY

Had to end with this amazing catch.

10 Thoughts for the Week of November 8, 2020

1. 2020 ELECTION DAY #1

The most important presidential election in my lifetime took place this week. The much anticipated event. It was super crazy! The polls had Biden with a significant lead. With all that happened in 2016, it was hard to believe any prediction or poll.

I started watching the results, flipping between MSNBC and Fox News, at 4pm. The first hour was exciting and seemed to go with the flow of the polls. Biden was jumping out to leads states he was supposed to have no chance in. Then there were the next couple of hours where all the live voting results were giving Trump a lead. At the end of the night there was no final result and predictions the results would change as the mail in ballots were counted.

 

2. PROTESTERS FOR TRUMP

As the results started to turn in favor of Biden, Trump and his supporters began to protest to stop counting the votes in states he was winning and keep on counting in states he was losing. I am all for protesting, but let’s just be consistent.

3. 2020 ELECTION DAY #4

Friday morning, I woke up and Biden was leading in Pennsylvania and Georgia. There was nothing official yet, but there was something inevitable happening. I found great pleasure in John Lewis’s district being the one that delivered Georgia to Biden. I doubled my pleasure with John McCain’s home state of Arizona kicking Trump in the balls.

4. STEVE KORNACKI’S BROWN PANTS

Steve Kornacki, whom I preferred over CNN’s John King, worked the results board. Maybe I have bad feelings from watching everything go down on John King’s board in 2016.

 

5. MARK MEADOWS HAS COVID

While the White House did everything it could to hide it, President Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, contracted COVID. There were four other White House employees who tested positive as well. One of the most important locations in the free world is COVID spawner.

6. 2020 ELECTION DAY #5

Saturday morning, while I was watching the USC game (more on that later), there was an alert across the bottom of the screen notifying the general public that Joe Biden was officially the president-elect. Then,as the day unfolded I saw more and more celebrations all over the country. I cannot recall if people celebrated like this when Trump won four years ago or when Obama won twelve years ago.

There was a collective relief that comes from knowing that in two months politics will resemble some kind of normalcy. Each day won’t bring the next outrageous thing the president did.

 

7. COLORADO JOINS THE POPULAR VOTE COMPACT

On Election Day, the people of Colorado decided they were done with the Electoral College. They joined the Popular Vote Compact where each state in the compact commits to giving their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote. The states in the compact make up 190 of the 270 electoral votes need for the compact to go in to effect.

8. GEORGE GASCON DEFEATS JACKIE LACEY

George Gascon became the District Attorney elect of Los Angeles on Election Day. He defeated Jackie Lacey (I hate voting against black women) who had more than 600 police shootings while she was district attorney. Only one police officer was convicted of a crime. When you have numbers like that, you gotta go.

 

9. ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME

Over the weekend, Whitney Houston and the Notorious B.I.G. were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. While I don’t think of rock & roll when I think of these two, it is a crazy coincidence they are going in posthumously.

 

 

10. ARIZONA STATE vs USC

The #20 USC Trojans barely won on Saturday against the ASU Sun Devils. The Trojans were trailing by thirteen points with less than three minutes left.

They came through down the stretch with the help of a successful onside kick. There is an argument for the first game of the season rust. The defense looked like it hadn’t been hitting the way it needed to in order to be ready for a game. A championship team gets one of these games in a season. Let’s see if USC used theirs up too early.

 

 

10 Thoughts For The Week of October 25, 2020

Sorry for the delay getting this post out…I think online learning and too many Zoom meetings caught up with me.

1. LOST BORDER CHILDREN

What has to be the most shocking story of the week is the release of ICE losing track of 545 children who were separated from their parents when they were caught crossing the border. The separation was supposed to be a deterrent for future crossers. A common sense assumption for such a deterrent is a plan to reunite the children with their parents. After all, who would want to be responsible for caging and feeding these kids for a long period of time. Maybe they think losing kids will be a bigger deterrent.

2. PASTORS FOR TRUMP

In a survey of Protestant pastors who plan to vote in the presidential election, more than half intend to vote for Donald Trump. The supposed moral leaders of our country have sold their souls to a real estate shyster to overturn Roe v. Wade. I wish they felt as strongly about criminal justice reform or income disparity. I guess they don’t really know what it means when God says “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.”

3. E. JEAN CARROLL v. TRUMP

This week the Justice Department attempted to defend Donald Trump in a lawsuit filed by E. Jean Carroll. She accused Trump of sexual assault. He called her a liar. She filed a slander and defamation lawsuit claiming calling her a liar damaged her reputation. The Justice Department, which should not be the president’s personal attorney, claims they should represent him because he made the statement as part of his job as president and you cannot sue the government for defamation.

4. RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE CHARGED WITH HACKING AND ELECTION TAMPERING

The Justice Department, in a completely different move, charged six Russian Intelligence officers with hacking including the 2016 election, the 2018 Winter Olympics and many other events. Just in case there was any dispute about that.

5. 2020 WORLD SERIES

The World Series has been all a baseball fan can ask for. The Dodgers dominated in Game 1 behind Clayton Kershaw and Cody Bellinger. Blake Snell and Brandon Lowe lead the Rays to a win in Game 2.

Game 3 was dominated by Walker Buehler. In Game 4, the Dodgers were let down by their manager and their bullpen. Dave Roberts left Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen on the mound too long and the Rays took advantage.Kershaw was dominant again in Game and the bullpen was solid.

So much of past postseason failures have fallen on Kershaw in an unfair manner in my opinion. I am glad that he has been able to shine this World Series.

6. FINAL PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

The presidential debate was a vast improvement from the first debate. The mute button played a big part. I cannot understand why Trump goes out of his way to talk about conspiracy theories. Maybe there are people who see it differently, but I always think that he is shooting himself in the foot. I do understand I am not part of the demographic he is trying to reach. The only thing that makes sense to me is he is getting ready for a civil war and he wants to make sure all the people with guns and crazy agendas know he is with them.

7. TRUMP CHINESE BANK ACCOUNT

The New York Times published a story about the discovery of a bank account in China that was not disclosed on the president’s list of assets. It may be that he has bank accounts everywhere. The fact that the account has never been disclosed before is a little disturbing.

8. 50 CENT SAYS VOTE FROM TRUMP

Last week, I brought up Ice Cube shopping his Contract with Black America plan to both presidential campaigns. This week, 50 Cent announced that he was voting for Trump because he would pay more taxes if Biden was elected.

If I gave Ice Cube flack for trying to help black people, I have to give ten times as much to 50 Cent for just thinking about himself.

 9. GOOGLE ANTITRUST LAWSUIT

The Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google. It is convoluted and will take a long time to work out. All I can really say about the lawsuit is this is just the beginning.

10. PENN STATE BASKETBALL COACH RESIGNS

Pat Chambers, coach of the Penn State basketball team, resigned this week after months of turbulence about a racially insensitive statement he made to a player. He told the player he wanted to “loosen the noose around his neck”. The player blasted the statement all over social media.

I am debating who was right and who was wrong. I was more curious if there was a racially offensive statement I could say to a white person that could cause the same kind of response.

10 Thoughts for the Week of October 11, 2020

1. WOLVERINE WATCHMEN

On Thursday, the FBI charged six men with conspiracy to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer. Whitmer’s strong response to COVID caught the ire of the conservative militias. I read an article about this militia movement and it made me consider the possibility of a civil war for the first time. These militias believe that such a war is inevitable and I am feeling like I am behind.

2. COVID HITS THE NFL

This past week, the NFL announced sixteen players who had tested positive for COVID. The biggest names were Cam Newton and Stephen Gilmore of the New England Patriots. Games have been postponed and rescheduled. I am a fan of Tuesday night football and I think it is good there have been no fatalities from the illness.

The positive tests seemed almost inevitable when you considered the NFL was not going to play in a bubble like the NBA and the MLB playoffs.

The NFL is a $3 billion industry so it will take multiple deaths to put an end to the season. Especially when they can postpone.

3. VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

When I think of the VP debate on Wednesday, I think I want to answer questions by answering something totally different. I wonder if you can do that in real life. All you have to do is say “that’s a great question” and then you can talk about whatever you want to talk about.

That would have been ok if Vice President Pence didn’t make a scene by constantly speaking over his time limit.

I didn’t think either person won the debate. It was not an event that was going to change peoples’ minds.

4. BIZARRE TRIBE

As a fan of A Tribe Called Quest and the Pharcyde, I had to put this song as one of the best things I heard this week. It is a mash-up of two of my favorite songs of all time.

5. LAKERS WIN THEIR 18TH CHAMPIONSHIP

Afters years of frustration and futility, the Lakers are back on top. Lebron James and Anthony Davis brought the star power. Rajon Rondo, KCP and Adam Caruso came up with the timely plays to seal the deal. This series was a war until Game 6. Hats off to the Heat for a valiant effort. They are going to be battling for titles for the next couple of years.

The Lakers got back on top the Laker way, they brought in the best free agent who can lift the team to the top. They tried it with the draft and player development but that is not the Laker way. It was good to have all that young talent to trade away for Anthony Davis.

6. DODGERS IN THE NLCS…AGAIN

I am excited for the Dodgers as they are back in the National League Championship Series. The Padres tried to give them a battle, but it was a dominant win. The hitting and the starting pitching are top line. The fact they don’t have a lights out closer is a little scary. They are the best team on paper and I worry the pressure is on them to win it all.

7. THE BEST THING I READ THIS WEEK

Violets, by Bud Smith, is a great story about the ups and downs of marriage and the spark that changes everything.

8. COLLEGE FOOTBALL RANKINGS

It is hard for me to take the college football ranking seriously when half the teams haven’t played yet or are not playing at all. It is hard for me to believe Cincinnati is ranked eleventh in the country. 

9. COVID SURGE

The rate of COVID cases has surged back up to almost 50,000 new cases a day. Explain it any way you want.

10. RAFAEL NADAL

Congrats to Rafael Nadal who won his 10th Grand Slam Title by winning the French Open. Nadal is truly a legend. He is also not the cookie-cutter tennis player. He was a rival of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. While there are no great American players, this is a great era of tennis.

10 Thoughts For the Week of September 13, 2020

1. 9/11

After 19 years, it is pretty amazing how 9/11 feels as fresh as yesterday. I still remember when I first heard about the planes hitting the tower. I remember going to work and being sent home. It was confusing and slowly developing for someone living in California. I guess that is what they mean when they say “We Will Never Forget”.

2. MILWAUKEE BUCKS

For the second year in a row, the Bucks have had the best record, the best defense, and the best player in the league. For the second year in a row, they didn’t get to the NBA Finals. The Miami Heat played inspired basketball and Giannis got hurt. Outside of Game 4, it didn’t appear the Bucks had the next gear that championship teams have to make it to the next level.

When I look at comparisons, I think of Jordan’s Bulls and Shaq and Kobe’s Lakers. They were both teams that had spent two or three years to get over the hump.

3. DANUEL HOUSE

When I heard about Danuel House being expelled from the NBA Bubble because he was entertaining one of the on-site testers, I thought of the Morris Day song “Gigolos Get Lonely Too”. The players were in the bubble for two and a half months and I guess it was too much for House; or was it love at first sight?

4. LAKERS ARE BACK IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

Due to Danuel House’s indiscretions, the Lakers destroyed the Rockets en route to the Western Conference Finals. This is the first time the Lakers have been in the playoffs since Kobe hobbled off with an Achilles injury. I would like to think of them as the favorites but their play has not inspired me they will steamroll the rest of the competition. Truth be told, they are a Dame Lillard injury and a Danuel House expulsion from being in two tough playoff series.

5. R.I.P. TOOTS HIBBERT

The music world lost a legend this week when Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals passed away. Their music was so joyful and Pressure Drop is a classic.

6. BLACK REPUBLICANS

This week, I listened to an interesting podcast about Black Republicans. It was a great conversation about the movement of African Americans from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party in the last half of the twentieth century. 

What I found most interesting is that as a people African Americans are conservative. They have conservative views, but they have zero tolerance for racism.

7. A COMPETENT PRESIDENT

Last week, I mentioned the challenging opinions of how many people in the United States would have died of COVID. Well German Lopez, of Vox, claims if the US had the same response to COVD that Canada did, 100,000 would still be alive.

8. THE NFL IS BACK

The NFL is back at a time that does not feel as strange as baseball and basketball. After watching the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, I think they are the favorites by a lot. Tom Brady lost his first game as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. Bill Belichick looked like he didn’t miss Tom Brady. It’s only Week 1.

9. DOG MAN

Dog Man is a family favorite at my house. The latest installment of the Dog Man saga Dog Man: Grime & Punishment has been the best selling book in North America for the last three weeks.

10. SOCIAL MEDIA & POLITICS

A recent poll from the Pew Research Center asked Americans their opinions about social media platforms’ ability for raising awareness was very surprising to me.

10 Thoughts for the Week of September 6, 2020

1. R.I.P. JOHN THOMPSON

Basketball lost a great man on Monday. Black America lost a great man on Monday. John Thompson took a little school and made it a national powerhouse for two decades. He did it his way and he did not compromise. As a kid, I thought Georgetown was an HBCU and John Thompson was the epitome of a strong black man. When I was in middle school and high school, you were either a Georgetown or a UNC or Duke fan.

2. TORONTO v BOSTON

Speaking of basketball…let’s talk NBA Playoffs. This series went from almost 3-0 to the best series of the second round. It’s even at 2-2. The next three games are going to be straight war. That’s right…it’s going 7 games. Kyle Lowery is the type of player you love when he is on your team and hate when he is on the other team. It is fun to see him in the same game with Marcus Smart

3. MILWAUKEE v MIAMI

There is a very good chance that Milwaukee is going to get swept. The team that seems to have most benefited from four and a half months off (besides the Phoenix Suns) is the Miami Heat. They play hard and they are getting inspired play from Jae Crowder. Crowder has been nailing three-pointers in a heartbreaking manner if you are a Bucks fan. Giannis is the two-time MVP and Defensive Player of the Year has played hard and has sprained his ankle twice. Miami has neutralized the MVP and the rest of the Bucks have not stepped up. For the last three years or so, everyone has said,  once Giannis gets a jump shot, it is game over. My question is that day may not come.

4. CLIPPERS v NUGGETS

Both teams have each won a game very convincingly. We will see if there are adjustments that make a difference. Game 1 was all Clippers…Game 2 not so much.  Patrick Beverly losing his mind was out of character. Maybe it was a sign of the frustration the Clippers felt as they were outplayed all night. These guys still are the Clippers I guess.

5. LAKERS v ROCKETS

The Rockets stunned the Lakers in Game 1. This is the most curious series of the round. The big men of the Lakers against the small lineups of the Rockets. Lebron and AD should dominate, but it looks like the Rockets pulled out a zone and dared someone else on the Lakers to beat them. This could be a long series or the Lakers could impose their will the next four games.

6. TRUMP AND THE MILITARY

Jeffrey Goldberg’s article about Trump and his habit to denigrate the military has become a big deal this week. Calling people who get captured or die in war “losers” and “suckers” does not sound all that surprising after Trump disrespected John McCain. The only person Trump has shown any respect to is Vladimir Putin.

7. DODGERS ON CRUISE CONTROL

With the best record in baseball, the Dodgers continue to dominate the MLB. They have found their flow and now it is a matter of keeping everyone healthy. With the trade deadline last week, the Padres made moves to show they are going all in. This may be their first postseason in a very long time.

8. BROOKLYN NETS HIRE STEVE NASH AS HEAD COACH

The two-time MVP has all the bonafide to be a great coach. He was a good/not great athlete who dominated the game with vision and skill. I think it is a good move for a team that needs some swagger. It may help keep Kyrie Irving in check as well. My first thought was I hope he doesn’t end up like Jason Kidd. Then I thought about how Steve Kerr was hired for the Warriors where Nash did an apprenticeship.

Byron Scott complained the black coaches don’t get to coach a contender for their first job. Nash and Kerr are bad hiring to make that call on. They have two MVPs and three championships as players between the two of them. Although, it is sad Patrick Ewing was never a head coach after being an assistant coach for a long time.

9. HOW MANY LIVES WOULD HAVE BEEN SAVED BY A COMPETENT PRESIDENT SAVED

The editorial department of the New York Times has been writing about the number of lives saved in this time of COVID-19 if we had a competent president. David Leonhardt argues that 145,000 of the 189,000 death would have been prevented by a competent president. Ross Douthat argues that 22,000 deaths would have been prevented. Either way, there are a lot of people who did not need to die.

10. MESSI TO STAY IN BARCA

The three-week drama regarding Leonel Messi was resolved this week. Messi will stay at the place that has been his home in Barcelona.

10 Thoughts for the Week of August 22, 2020

1. UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Last Sunday I watched Barcelona and Leonel Messi, arguably the best soccer player in the world, get completely destroyed by Bayern Munich 8-2. It was a straight-up beat down in any language. Soccer is the sort of game where a scoring a goal is equivalent of ten points in American football.

Soccer, much like football, is a game for one single player to dominate. Malcolm Gladwell has a great podcast about it. So much pressure falls on players like Messi and Ronaldo. The board of FC Barcelona was so disappointed, they considered making Messi available for transfer.

Bayern Munich was on collision course with high scoring PSG for the final which resulted in a 1-0 championship win.

2. DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION

My attention for the DNC was on and off. I didn’t need to be convinced Biden is a better pick than Trump. I uneasily appreciated how the other candidates rallied around Biden. There was a strange was the number Anti-Trump Republicans endorsements also.

3. THE OBAMAS

Seeing the Obamas on Tuesday and Wednesday nights reminded me of what a real President and First Lady look like.

4. AOC

What is up with giving AOC less than five minutes to speak? She is controversial but she needs some shine.

5. KANYE FOR PRESIDENT

Kanye West is getting help from the Trump Campaign to get on the ballot. They believe a vote for Kanye is a vote taken away from Biden.

I love Kanye’s music but I would never consider voting for him to be president. I would think twice about Lebron James long before I would think about Kanye

6. NBA PLAYOFFS – 1st ROUND

When it comes to the NBA playoffs, the matchups make the games interesting.

The Lakers and the Clippers find themselves in tough series because they don’t matchup all that well with Damien Lillard and Luka Donicic.

Denver is an offensive juggernaut but it got matched up with the defensive minded Jazz and Donovan Mitchell.

7. #1 SEEDS

For the first time in 30 years, both #1 seeds lost Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs. Both have bounced back to take control of their respective series.

8. THE DODGERS

With 20 wins in this strange 60-game season, the Dodgers have assumed the top spot in the NL West. Mookie Betts is well worth whatever money he is making this year. Cody Bellinger had a slow start, but he has found his stroke. Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler are shaping into form.

9. NFL TRAINING CAMPS HAVE STARTED

The NFL season is still three weeks away. It is hard to pay too much attention because there is 8 hours of basketball on everyday. I can barely keep track of MLB.

10. KEEP IT 100

A interesting tidbit from the NFL…Leonard Fournette is pinning $100 bills to his practice jerseys. He says it is a reminder that he needs 100 yards a game to be successful. That is an expensive reminder.

Who Makes a Difference – The X-Factors – Part 2 – 10 Thoughts on the NBA Conference Finals

Who Makes a Difference Part 2 (The X-Factors) – 10 Thoughts on the NBA Conference Finals

 

With the Conference Finals here, I thought I’d make another stab at ten players who have the ability to turn series for their team.

  1. Steph Curry – With Kevin Durant out for at least Game 1, the Warriors will go as far as Steph takes them. He needs to put up at least 30 for a win. He has a history of being streaky in the playoffs. Golden State cannot have a bad Steph Curry day.
  2. Kris Middleton – A remnant from my last list. Middleton is the key to their offense and I imagine he is going to spend some time guarding Kawhi Leonard. Middleton needs to provide the shooting that opens up the lane for Giannis. He also had to do the best he can to slow down the hottest player in the playoffs.
  3. Draymond Green – Guarding Dame Lillard and CJ McCollum is a daunting task. It cannot be done by one person. Steph and Klay are going to need the support that Draymond provides defensively and keeping Enis Kanter off the glass.
  4. Eric Bledsoe – When Bledsoe is hot, Milwaukee is unbeatable. He needs to be more than hot. He has to be smart. Kyle Lowry, who is not as athletic as Bledsoe, knows how to play intelligent defense. Bledsoe has to make smart plays and timely three-pointers.
  5. Kyle Lowry – The Raptors cannot be dragged to the Finals by Kawhi the way he dragged them to the Conference Finals. Lowry needs to take and make big shots. The rest of the team struggled through the second round and Lowry cannot be passing up shots if the Raptors are going to make it to the Finals.
  6. Andrew Bogut – The Warriors weakness is rebounding. Enis Kanter has dominated the glass in the playoffs. If the Blazers have any chance to dethrone the Warriors, they need Kanter to change the game by dominating the glass. Bogut is tougher than Nikola Jokic and he needs to physically dominate Kanter.
  7. Rodney Hood – Hood showed he can swing a game in playoff series. The Blazers probably need him to swing at least two. He has found his confidence and that makes him dangerous. His size and skill make him difficult to guard. If he commits to playing defense, he is a tenacious defender. Will his confidence wane when he is face to face with the defending champions?
  8. George Hill – Since he is healthy, Hill is the kind of point guard the Bucks need leading their bench. Hill was a surprise game-changer against the Celtics. I almost forgot that he was the point guard on those Indiana Pacer teams that made it to the conference finals. A healthy George Hill makes the Bucks such a deep team. They may be able to wear down the Raptors.
  9. Pascal Siakam – Siakam is not a second scorer on a championship team, but he is a third scorer and he can cause problems on defense with his length and athleticism. He needs to make his mark on the series or the Raptors are going home.
  10. Zach Collins – Collins showed in Game 7 against the Nuggets the effect he can have on a game. He is the type of player that could give the Warriors trouble. He could also spend a lot of time on the bench with foul trouble. We will see which Zach Collins comes to play.