Posts Tagged ‘NBA’

Many would agree that the Miami Heat will make it back to the NBA Finals. If you look at the Eastern Conference there are some roadblocks but those blocks may not be sturdy enough to contain the Heat. The Pacers have exploited their weaknesses over the past two seasons and now look like the favorite to beat them out of the East. Now when I say favorite, I’m only saying that they have beaten them in a more convincing manner than the other top teams in the East. With that being said I don’t expect to see LeBron James tweeting from home during the finals.

If Miami makes it to the finals I expect them to win. I know that they’re lacking size and depth up front but looking at the big’s on the top teams the only team that could pose a threat is the San Antonio Spurs with Tim Duncan and likes of “Tiaaago Splitter” like ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith likes to say. But recent trends have shown that the San Antonio Spurs will dominate the regular season and fall short in the playoffs. With that being said it’s hard for me to expect them to make it to the finals this season especially seeing how great western teams are playing this year.

The Oklahoma City Thunder has shown that they miss the presence of James Harden and along with that, missing a post player forces them to play a run-n-gun style constantly. Sure Perkins is a great defender but when he has to guard either Bosh or Shane Battier he’s forced to leave the paint further than he would like to, rendering him to almost being ineffective. Ibaka might have a good scoring output one game but don’t expect that to be a constant variable in a seven game series.

The Clippers are tricky. Sometimes I look at them and try to figure out how they even lose games then other times their weaknesses are too much for them to overcome. They have two strong athletic big men who can pose a threat to Miami but at some point not being able to fully get a post-game going can hurt them. Blake Griffin has an advantage on most power forwards in the NBA because of his speed. If they’re in the finals against Miami whoever is going to be on him, probably Battier and LeBron at some point, will be able to keep up with him. He can back people down but without true post moves he’ll basically be aiming for the backboard hoping that it goes in. True post players are now becoming extinct; either you’re a face-up player or an athletic slasher. But that’s an article for another day.


Memphis and Utah both have good big men that could start for any team in the league but they’re missing too much on the wings. Memphis just doesn’t seem to play with the same energy they had before the Rudy Gay trade and let’s face it; Utah won’t even make it out of the first round. Utah might not even make it to the playoffs with the Lakers right on their tail. Houston is also in that mix but unless they hit a ton of three’s like they did against Golden State for the remainder of the season and into the playoffs they’ll be sitting at home for the second round.

But let’s say the Heat don’t make it and a team like the Pacers can reach the finals or even the Celtics or Knicks can get over their struggles and turn things around. How would they match up against the over powered West in a seven game series? If you check Hollinger’s playoff odds for this this year a lot of the western teams have a shot at winning 60+ games. The odds show that the Pacers would finish second in the Eastern Conference with a record of 52-30, which isn’t bad but if they were in the Western Conference that would only be good enough for 7th place… 7th place. So can an Eastern team that isn’t the Miami Heat really be a challenge to a Western opponent? I know records are just more numbers but sometimes they are hard to argue with. Sure the Pacers can beat the Heat but how do they match up against teams like OKC and the Spurs who they’ve struggled with in the past.


Indiana’s game is inside-out. They attack the high post with David west and Hibbert is there to beat defenders with rare jump hooks and to clean up misses with put backs. Sometimes the wings get too carried away and forget about the clear advantages that they have in the paint. But a team like the Thunder would be more comfortable with that matchup because their big men can stay home a little more. David West is a hard cover for anyone but if you ask Serge Ibaka who he would rather be chasing around between possible finals forwards (David West, LeBron James, Shane Battier, etc.), without a doubt he would say West all day.

The Knicks have shown shades of being great and have shown that if Melo is off you can’t count on the supporting cast to pick up the weight. The main reason for their inconsistencies on the offensive end is because of their high three point attempts. “You live by the three and you die by the three” is a quote that seems to come out of every commentator’s mouth when talking about the Knicks. They don’t exactly have an all-around game on offense. They can get up and down with anyone but when it comes down to the stretch and you need easy baskets it’s hard for them to get.

Carmelo can get a last second shot to win a game but why even be in that situation where you need one. One thing I love about players like LeBron is how he can take over a game before things get too tight. When that clock is running down he’s already done his damage on both ends of the court so that when that clock gets down to just seconds remaining all they have to worry about is playing defense. The Knicks usually don’t have that option when facing a formidable opponent. This is a very dangerous team but their flaws can be dissected easily.

Yes Melo can hit a shot from anywhere on the court but when it’s late in the game you need easy buckets and often we see Melo put into a one-on-one situations with minimum off-ball movement from the other players. When he’s in the game his teammates tend to stand around and watch Melo go to work. In today’s NBA you need more than one guy as your focal point. Even if you have one amazing superstar player it doesn’t matter how much he scores; if no one else is contributing that team will never get close to a championship.

The Chicago Bulls are a team that has shown us a couple things. They’re excellent on defense and will fight you to the end. But with Derrick Rose being out for this long there’s no way they’re in the championship talk. If he comes back they’ll be a better team but it’s a little bit too late to try to piece things together and make an historic run. The Celtics are in that same category. Yes they have played better since Rondo has gone down but to make a serious playoff push without him is a bit farfetched. Barbosa is out as well and without these guys who can really push the ball the Celtics won’t be able to fully gain control of some games.

Early in the season it was even a question if they would make the playoffs or not but now we’re seeing a clear drop off from the 8th seed Milwaukee Bucks and the rest of the conference. Boston will have to really stink it up to miss the playoffs and let the Bucks surpass them and to let a team like Detroit Pistons or Toronto Raptors in. But that just won’t happen. At the bottom of the Eastern Conference it’s not really a horse race. It’s more like three snails trying to keep up with tortoise. In other words it’s not too competitive.


At the end of the day I think we’ll see a repeat of last year’s finals. The Miami Heat will Face off against the Oklahoma City Thunder and they will dismantle them like they have done time and time again. The West will be Hell to get through and OKC will earn more respect throughout the league for doing so, but In the end they will just fall short. Their up tempo game is good enough to get past those western teams but getting in that type of game with Miami is exactly what they want. They will stretch them out on offense, then force turnovers and cause frustration on defense. LeBron James has shown us why he’s the best player in the league and having a shot at winning a consecutive championship will only motivate him even more. KD will have his turn but right now it’s clear that LeBron and company are just too much to handle.

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Danny Granger made his first appearance of the year in the Pacers’ third meeting against the Pistons this season.  After shooting 1 of 10 from the field against their sub-par defense, as we expected,  he still has quite some time to fully get back into the swing of things. But I can say that I was pleased with some of the shots he took.  With time he will get back to playing like the Danny we’re all accustomed to seeing.

In his home debut against the Warriors the only thing that I was thinking about was the future of the team. After Paul George came down and knocked down a three right in the face of a defender and the production team cut to a view of the crowd all I saw was over joyous Pacer fans in #24 jersey’s.

The Warriors called a timeout and the look of confidence on Paul George’s face added fuel to the already ecstatic crowd. The more I look at Granger’s body language it’s clear that he knows his time in Indy is coming to an end and he’s not too happy about it. Once he gets more acclimated with the team things will be fine for the remainder of the year but i don’t see a scenario where he gets resigned. Maybe he’ll take less money but at this point who knows.

Many people are speculating when Granger will be put back into the starting unit. If it was up to me I would have a serious conversation with Danny and ask him about being a sixth man. The starting unit has built up a lot of chemistry together and so far it’s won them a lot of games. Offensively they struggle but the main issue is their bench production. I don’t think putting Lance Stephenson back on the bench to lead the second unit is the answer to your problems.

Paul George is blossoming into a star and splitting shots with Granger could slow down that development process. If Granger is coming off the bench with the second unit he will have more than half of the scoring duties with that scorer-less unit. Coming off the bench could be beneficial in many different areas for the Pacers. But that’s just my opinion on that. Coach Vogel has made it clear that at some point Granger will be back as a starter, just depends on the timing.

To throw a visual out there look at the lineup with Danny as a starter and you judge if having him come off the bench would be a bad thing.

Starters:

PG: George Hill SG: Paul George SF: Danny Granger PF: David West C: Roy Hibbert

2nd Unit:

PG: DJ Augustine SG: Lance Stephenson (With occasional minutes from Orlando Johnson) SF: Gerald Green/Sam Young??? PF: Tyler Hansbrough C: Ian Mahinmi

Or would you rather have Danny come in and score at will with that second unit that has deficiencies at the small forward position and a need for more bench scoring. If you look at championship teams in the past a lot of them had excellent bench production. The best example of that is the 2011 Dallas Mavericks. Even without Caron Butler in the starting lineup they still had enough bench production to defeat the Miami Heat in a tough series.

Sure you could leave Granger or Paul George in with the bench but having Granger with the second unit will allow both of them to have equal time to rest. Plus with Granger coming off a knee injury no one knows if he can defend elite players as well as he could before.

It’s clear that coach Vogel doesn’t have a lot of faith in Gerald Green seeing that he lost his minutes to Orlando Johnson and didn’t play for a stretch of nine games. Sam young is a tough defender who Vogel has no problem throwing on the opposing teams’ best player but offensively he’s a liability.

DJ Augustine has definently had his scoring woes all season and has yet to really prove that signing him was a good idea. There’s no one on that second unit that just pops out as a guy who can get the job done as the starters rest.

When it all comes down to it there’s no doubt in my mind that the Pacers will be fine. No matter where he is on the depth chart he’ll do more good than bad. I just see a sixth man role as being more beneficial to the team.

Having one of your best players come off the bench has worked for teams in years past like the San Antonio Spurs with Manu Ginobili and the Los Angeles Lakers back when Lamar Odom was playing at a high level.  It’s worked more recently with the Oklahoma City Thunder in last years championship run when they had James Harden. I can see this working for the Pacers if they were to do this.

If the Pacers’ front office knows that they have no intention on resigning Granger to a contract extension they should do what’s best for the team now.  If they had success with a Granger-less roster for 55 games  i see no problem with him coming in off the bench and giving a huge boost to that second unit. It may hurt his pride and take a shot to his ego but if he loves his teammates and the city of Indianapolis he should be willing to do whatever the organization thinks is best.

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In the Past few weeks I have been all for trading Granger, before that i was against it. Right now I’m back to being against it, kind of. If I go back and forth with my thoughts in this article it’s because this move could change everything. It could create a domino effect that I’m not sure we’ll be able to benefit from right away.

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As you all know, Paul George is becoming the new face of the franchise. He’s doing everything on the court that you could ask for. He’s scoring, rebounding, and has really found patience on the offensive end. Defensively he’s great too. But even with his scoring numbers up it’s still not enough to move the Pacers out of the 29th rank in scoring. Yeah… they’re close to dead last in points per game. Their record is truly a testament to how great their defense is rather than their offensive production.

With Danny coming back by the All-Star break it can only help them. When you’re the 29th ranked team in scoring there’s only room for improvement. Trading away a scorer and leader like Danny could be a bad thing. Also, lets not forget that he’s a good defender as well. There’s not many players on the market that can really fill his shoes and make an impact like he can. There’s talent out there but right now the Pacers need more than hopes.

If you trade Danny there’s no guarantee that whoever they get for him will stay in Indy. If a player does want to stay most likely they will want to get paid and the Pacers front office doesn’t just pay people for potential.

George Hill and Roy Hibbert got paid because they earned it. Hibbert may not be showing that this season but the fact of the matter is he show’s constant improvement and had the best season of his career. We saw how he can be a game changer.

The Pacers still have to resign David West at this moment no one knows what will happen with that. Next season they could lose Granger possibly and West. What will they have after that? Losing those two veteran leaders is a lot. But resigning both of them could be hard to do when you take salary cap space into consideration. Especially with this luxury tax coming into play for next season it will be hard for a lot of teams to keep certain players.

Bob Kravitz from the Indianapolis Star wrote a great piece on the Pacers being good but still having something missing. He feels that in order for them to really contend they will have to make some moves before this season’s trade deadline.

I agree with him when he says that they need a dynamic scorer off the bench, but at what cost?Would the Pacers even get enough back to have a great scorer off the bench? If they make a move it will either be hit or miss. I don’t see too many players with great upside going to Indy.

Just as Kravitz said in his article, move Tyler Hansbrough, and make Gerald Green available. I don’t agree with him when he says trade Lance Stephenson, but we can agree to disagree on that.

The one thing that we are both saying is keep Granger at all cost. Paul George is blossoming into a star but their leader is without a doubt still Danny. George has stepped up and took leadership as most players should do when the top dog is out, but the true leader of that squad is Danny. They’re close to contention and getting rid of Danny now would be a huge mistake

The Houston Rockets have been in all the trade rumors when it comes to acquiring Granger. Unless Houston is willing to let James Harden and Chandler Parsons go there’s no one on that roster that is worth trading for.

But we all know Harden isn’t going anywhere for a long time. I mentioned other players in my article, “Potential Moves For The Indiana Pacers“, but realistically there’s not a lot of available players that can replace Danny and all of his intangibles.

If i were Kevin Pritchard, the Pacers General Manager, I would do everything in my power to keep Danny a Pacer and resign David West. I would hate trade Tyler Hansbrough because of the hustle and energy that he provides off the bench but they need to win now. Leave the starting lineup together and move players off of the bench. Trading Danny is not the answer.

The Indiana Pacers: #BeatTheHeat  <-(Click Here For Highlights)

On February 1st the leagues top two defensive teams faced off. When the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat play it’s always a physical game. Even before last year’s Eastern Conference Semi-finals they had intense games. The Heat took the first two season meetings, the first one was a crushing victory. The second game was one in overtime with a last second shot by Dwayne Wade. Most people will say that the Heat didn’t win the game but the Pacers lost it themselves.

The Pacers exposed a lot of the Heat’s flaws. Everyone knows that Miami is not the best rebounding team and that they lack depth and toughness in the front court. David West and company attacked the low post almost every time down the court. When West feels Shane Battier on his back it was almost an automatic bucket from there. Through three quarters West only missed one shot.

Another player who played big was Lance Stephenson. He may not be a household name but he is a guy who will try his hardest to out-hustle you. He’s an in-your-face defender and it looked like Wade and LeBron were not fully prepared for that. Throughout the game you could catch the two complaining to the ref about the physical play of Lance. They also got ticked off by Lance’s steady trash talking after plays and when he slapped the ball out of LeBron’s hands just for fun. At halftime he and Wade both had similar numbers so he had to be doing something right.

Paul George had a bigger night than what his numbers showed. He may be an all-star but the way the Pacer’s offense is ran, everyone is involved. He didn’t force anything at all during this game. Even with LeBron on him he was able to pick and choose his spots. On the defensive end he was solid as well. He had one series that showed his versatility on both ends of the court. After hitting a three he instantly intercepted a pass as soon as the ball came across half-court. That steal lead to a euro-step past a defender and into a two hand slam.

At one point in the game it looked like Indy was about to blow the lid off of their lead. It almost got out of hand. You could see the frustration in all the faces of all the Miami Heat players and coaching staff. There were two trips down the court where LeBron was slamming the ball while he was dribbling. It was just a really bad night night for them.

The Pacers laid the blueprint on how to beat them. Going forward i’m sure that teams with large, skilled big men will expose these flaws down low. Although Hibbert was a non factor on offense people around the organization still have faith that he will turn things around later in the season. If he wasn’t in such of a slump that game would’ve been worse for Miami.

The heat are actively searching for an anchor in the paint. They have recently signed Chris Anderson, better known as “Birdman”, to his second 10-day contract. His play has been pretty promising for them. He’s very athletic and provides great size for a team that’s lacking it. Miami may not need a dominant player in the post game on offense but they definently need a guy with size that can provide toughness and rebounding. The way their offense is set up it’s mostly drive and kick, or pick and pop with Bosh.

Expect to see many more great battles between these two ball clubs in the future. I wouldn’t be surprised if these teams met in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Pacers are headed in the right direction and the Miami Heat will be the team to beat for some time. Basketball is back in Indiana and it’s a beautiful thing.

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  Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last several months you know that Paul George has become the new go-to-guy for the Indiana Pacers. All of his stats are up and he also has more double-double’s this season than what he had in his first two years combined. So far he’s made his first all-star team and is the front runner to win the Most Improved Player of the Year Award. But all of this might not have happened if Danny Granger wasn’t out with knee tendinitis.

The front office and the people of Indianapolis have gravitated towards Paul George so what does this mean for Granger’s future with this organization? If you’ve ever typed in his name on twitter or even gone to a Pacer game you will know that the fans are not too fond of him. They feel that he hasn’t worked on his game enough to reach his full potential.. After his all-star season where he scored 25 ppg, the people expected him to continue to blossom into this scoring machine. But what they don’t know is that he only scored at that rate because of their former head coach’s (Jim O’Brien) system. His shot attempts were way higher in that system than what they are with coach Vogel.

With pieces falling into place for Indy who is expendable? Will they resign David West or make a move for the best available option? DJ Augustine has been a bust of a pick up for them and at one point he lost the back up point guard position to rookie Ben Hansbrough. DJ was suppose to provide energy and scoring off the bench but just hasn’t produced like they would hope.

I can see the Pacers making a package deal with Granger, DJ, and maybe West (Depending on if they want to give him a contract extension). But who could we get in return? Could they make a move for Indiana native Zach Randolph? Memphis has been cleaning house to avoid penalties from the luxury tax next season. After acquiring Ed Davis, a young big man with a promising future, they could decide to eventually move Randolph.

Some other people who have been in trade talks are J.J. Redick and Aaron Afflalo, Avery Bradley, Monta Ellis, Nick Young, Thaddeus Young, Andre Iguodala, Marcus Thornton and Vince Carter. When the Pacers get rid of Granger they will most likely move the 6’10 Paul George from shooting guard to small forward. Lance Stephenson is a capable guard but he’s no starter. They will nedd help at the shooting guard position.

J.J. Redick is a great shooter and hustles on defense but other players that I’ve named would make more sense. Monta Ellis would give the Pacers that instant offense that they’ve been missing for quite some time but the downside to Ellis is his attitude. At times he can be hard to please. His on-ball defense can be sketchy at times as well. He can get steals in the passing lane but more times than none you’ll get burnt from taking that risk.

Then there’s Nick Young and Marcus Thorton. Young isn’t consistent enough nor is he a defender that Coach Vogel would have confidence in. Lance Stephenson would take his starting spot before the season even starts. Marcus Thorton is a guy who can flat out fill it up. I can see him fitting in well with this current roster.

Vince Carter and Thaddeus Young are two other guys who’s names have been floating around also. The Pacers will not make a move for Vince Carter, that should be a given for obvious reasons. Young is very doubtful to me as well. He’ll bring more size and athleticism which is a good thing but it’s not really needed as much as scoring.

The next player would be a great fit but would be a risky trade, that player is the “Poor Man’s LeBron,” Andre Iguodala. He’s one of the most athletic guys in the league and also has good offensive skills, but consistency has been a problem for him this season but we all know what he can do when fully engaged. But the one part of his game that separates him from the other guys that I have named is his defense. He is for sure one of the best defensive guys in the league and if he isn’t feeling it on offense he’ll most likely always be solid on defense.

There are plenty of other names that have been floating around but as far as the Indiana Pacers go i say that these guys make the most sense for their roster needs. Granger most likely will not be traded this season because of his knee issues but anything could happen. I know for a fact that he will not be wearing the Pacer blue and gold for much longer. He will have to play at his absolute best when he returns if he wants any hope of staying in Indy.

 

Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr. was born August 14, 1959.  He’s one of the most recognizable figures not only in the NBA but in the sports world. After having successful campaigns in high school and college, Johnson was selected first overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1979 NBA Draft. In his rookie season he did what no other rookie had done by winning a championship and being named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (Had to start at center due to Kareem Abdul Jabbar being out with an injury).He went on to win four more championships with the Lakers during the 1980s. But no playoff series that Magic played would be harder than what he went through with the HIV virus.  

Before 1981 there wasn’t anything in medical publications about HIV. It was around before then but it wasn’t as much of a serious issue to the world. The only way that people thought you could get this was to have intercourse with the same sex. People had this idea that if you weren’t a homo-sexual you wouldn’t have anything to worry about. You might get something that is curable but as far as HIV you won’t get that. This sounds crazy now but back then awareness for this was low.

 L.A., in the 80s, was the spot for high profile celebrities. It was known for being the entertainment capital of the world. But no movie star, music artist or producer was bigger than Magic Johnson. With his play on the court and infectious personality he took the people of L.A. by storm. It was his town and if you were around him in public you knew that. But when you have fame and power you sometimes think that you are invincible. Magic found out the hard way that he wasn’t.

With the success of the Lakers and the big star that Magic had become, the Forum Club (located at The Forum where the Lakers played) became one of the hottest night clubs in the city. According to Chris Rock you could compare it to Studio 54 in Las Vegas. (The Announcement, ESPN Documentary) Anyone who was anyone would be there after the Lakers home games. Rock later on goes to say that it was “The Groupie Capital of The World”.

With the Forum Club becoming the spot for groupies it gives us an idea of what went on there and also what happened after club hours. Magic didn’t just get the virus out of nowhere. He was a big star and women threw themselves at him every minute that he was in the public light. It was a carefree time during the 80s. Have fun at night and don’t worry about it the next day. Thoughts of getting AIDS and HIV didn’t bother anyone. Once again, those diseases were thought to only be something homo-sexual men could get.  

While taking a nap before a pre-season game with the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, Utah, Magic received a phone call from the team doctor, Dr. Michael Mellman. Mellman told Johnson that he needed to come back to Los Angeles because he had something important to tell him about the physical that he had taken before the pre-season. After the call Magic hopped on the first flight back to L.A. Back in Utah his teammates thought that he just didn’t want to play because it’s not uncommon for a veteran player to fake and injury or sickness to get out of playing. So they had no idea at all that Magic had HIV.

Dr. Mellman told wanted Magic to come back to L.A. because he felt that telling someone that they have something as serious as HIV over the phone was inappropriate. After Magic’s arrival at Mellman’s office he sat Magic down and told him that he had HIV. A whirl wind of thoughts went through his mind after hearing this. He was not only concerned for his health but also the health of his wife Cookie and his unborn baby.

After Magic found out about having the virus he missed a string of games before even holding the press conference. To cover up being HIV positive he just told everybody that he had the flu. But the longer they strung this out, the more skeptical the media became.  A day before Magic decided he wanted to make it known to the public about his situation his agent got a call from a local radio station and they had a source that claimed he was going to retire from basketball because he has AIDS. They couldn’t keep it a secret anymore and his agent knew that. So he called up Magic and suggested that he hold the press conference that day.

November 7, 1991, Johnson made a public announcement that he would retiring from the NBA.  Dr. Mellman didn’t want him playing because he wasn’t sure if the grind of a long NBA season would weaken his immune system or not. Also they didn’t know if the virus could be spread by anything else other than blood. They did not want to take that chance.

At the press conference Johnson let the world know that his wife Cookie and their unborn child did not have HIV. He also went on to say that he was going to dedicate the rest of his life to help raise awareness for the virus. When this was announced people thought for sure that he’d be dead in months. People were saddened because they’d never expected someone like Magic to get something as horrible as HIV. This press conference, in a way, was one of the first key events where people around the world realize that contracting HIV could happen to anyone.

To further provide awareness for the virus, Magic, not very long after he made his announcement, admitted to having unprotected sex with multiple women throughout his career. At the time, it was uncommon for anyone to contract such a virus from heterosexual sex. The initial thought was that Magic was having relations with other men. He believed many of those rumors were spread by then, Detroit Piston’s star, Isaiah Thomas

Before the press conference it was a lot of tension in the room. When I was looking at clips it was obvious that media was kind of fed up with the whole situation. They just wanted an answer. For Magic to be out two weeks and all of a sudden have a press conference was odd. There was a lot of speculation on what exactly was going on.

A lot of the media didn’t seem to be overly sympathetic towards Magic. When watching the news you’d hear “Earvin “Magic” Johnson has contracted the AIDS virus” after he clearly said he had HIV and not AIDS. They said that Magic was now a statistic. To me that sounds like they were not only anticipating death but also trying to say “we knew that it was only a matter of time before an athlete gets this”. A lot of people in the media twisted his words.  

The regular media differed from the sports media. Obviously the sports media was going to be more sympathetic towards the situation. Their job wasn’t so much to raise questions on how he got the virus and if he was going to be ok. Their role was more so being a comforter. For sports fans’, finding out Magic had HIV was up there with tragedies like the Kennedy assassination. People knew for sure that they were losing their hero and they didn’t want to hear negativity from the sports media.

I think Magic and his camp handled this in the best way possible. They didn’t want the team’s play to be affected by thoughts about Magic having HIV and if he was going to live or not. Also he was able to avoid the bombardment of questions early on. Also he was already stressed out enough about the state of his family so having the whole world knowing early on would be too much for one family to handle. Avoiding the truth gave them some time to gather their facts so that when the time comes for them to make a public statement they’ll already have some answers for any question thrown their way.

When questions were being asked at the press conference you might as well say the reporters were fitting him for his casket suit. He was constantly telling them that he feels great and that his life has changed but he plans on living for a long time. The way people thought about HIV and AIDS back then was that it’s a ticket for the grave.  Everyone was skeptical but really you can’t blame them for thinking the way they did. There were no cases of people who beat it. All you hear was the high percentage of mortalities after getting HIV.

I love this story because it changed the worlds view on sex and how important it is to be cautious about how you handle your sex life. Now we see campaigns to raise awareness, not only for HIV and AIDS, but for many other sicknesses. Magic, even through immorality, still comes out as a hero. His flashy play style, awards, and lovable personality may have put him on top of the sports world  but his mistakes have had a long lasting effect. He said that God gave him the disease for a reason and that reason was to let the world know about this disease and let them that anyone could get it. I think he has done a great job in doing so.

 

If I was head over the NCAA I wouldn’t make any dramatic changes to the system that is in place now. I honestly like how things are now. There are a couple things that I would change but these things would not change the landscape of college sports. But the “one-and-done” rule is one thing I would change.

It’s good for the NBA game but for colleges and universities it’s a nightmare. I don’t see their being anymore great teams with groups of upper classmen. There will be a few but not like back in the day. It’ll be rare to see powerhouses like the old Duke Blue Devil teams or the old IU squads.

The freshmen are great players; don’t get me wrong, but their making it hard for coaches to build up their programs. They’ll be hot for a moment but after that it’s back to the drawing board because you have a whole new group of kids coming in.

A lot of coaches have had to change the way they recruit now due to the one-and-done rule. Rather than building for the future, they’re building for now. You might come across a kid like Jared Sullinger who will stay for a second year but that’s a stretch. If their NBA draft stock is high, they’re already marking their calendars and booking flights to New York for the draft.

But set aside building up programs for a minute, let’s focus on the quality of basketball. These “super-freshmen” are great but they are still raw talent that needs to be nurtured and developed. I’m seeing more poor judgment from players now than I have before. NCAA men’s basketball is probably one of the only sports where the teams from 30 years ago can beat the current ones.

My last issue with the one-and-done rule is kids thinking that they’re ready for the NBA when they’re really not. There have only been a few freshmen in the last couple of years that I felt were NBA ready. I look at these freshmen and compare them to LeBron James or Kevin Garnett when they were high school seniors. There’s no comparison. LeBron and K.G. were light years ahead of them.

These freshmen come into college and have one good season and think that they’ll be studs in the NBA. I’ve seen this fail way too many times. I can understand if you were in a situation where you’re injury prone, like Eric Gordon, and you need to go to the league now because of financial reasons. But if you can play; play. Be patient, your time will come.

Developing your craft and maturing as a player, in college, will only benefit you more when you make that decision to go to the NBA. When watching NBA games you can tell which young players stayed in college for 3-4 years. Their composure is good, and they’re also more fundamentally sound. Are they more talented; maybe not. But they have confidence in themselves to get the job done.

I’m not saying that all these things are true for all freshmen who come out early because that’s far from the truth. Look at Derrick Rose, led his team to the Eastern Conference Finals and won the league MVP award. I just wish that more freshmen would stay.