March Madness Contest 2017


We’re already in March, but it feels like the new year just started. Now that we’re past the Super Bowl, NBA All-Star Weekend, GRAMMY Awards, and the Oscars, we can turn our attention to March Madness. Last year, I had a contest for the best bracket and the winner received a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a JGoodWithSports “March Madness” themed t-shirt. I haven’t decided on the prizes yet for this year, but the value will be more.
Here are the rules:

  • FREE ENTRY
  • I will create a private group on ESPN once the bracket entries are open.
  • One entry per person.
  • You have to be a follower. If you’re NOT a blogger, CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE (make sure you check your email to verify the subscription).
  • Once you become a follower, send me an email with the subject “March Madness” at jgoodwithsports@gmail.com with your name. Once I receive your email, I will send you an invite to fill out your bracket. Password is “jgood”.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment or send me an email.

Good luck!

JGOOD

Respect Greatness


We are living in an era where we’re witnessing historical records are being broken, mesmorizing moments from deciding games are taking place, and once in a lifetime achievements are current. Clear examples of such greatness includes the Golden State Warriors winning 73 games in a regular season, the newly infamous Julian Edelman’s catch that helped propel the New England Patriots Super Bowl LI comeback, and the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series since 1908.

We are also living in an era where we’re witnessing some of the best athletes to ever play. When I was a child, I saw Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Ken Griffey, and Jerry Rice. As I got older, I witnessed Kobe Bryant, Mario Lemieux, Derek Jeter, and Randy Moss. Now there’s LeBron James, Patrick Kane, Kris Bryant, and Julio Jones. Over the past 30 years, we’ve have seen athletes come and go, but we have all been witnesses to the greatness that certain professionals have displayed.

In the last 12 months alone, we have seen some of the best championship sporting outcomes in history. We saw March Madness end with a buzzer beater by Villanova to beat North Carolina. Two months later, the Cleveland Cavaliers ended the city’s championship drought by coming back against the Golden State Warriors down 3 games to 1 to capture their first NBA title in franchise history. Fast forward to October, we witnessed another drought end but on a more significant level. The Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians in the 10th inning of game 7 after being down 3 games to 1 as well. Last month, we saw Clemson get their sweet revenge against Alabama in of the most fantastic finishes in recent memory. Serena Williams won her 23rd Grand Slam title. Less than 2 weeks ago, we’ve witnessed the best Super Bowl ending in NFL history. The UConn women’s basketball team are currently on a 100 game winning streak (that is ridiculous!).

It seems like we’re at a point where we expect great things to happen at every major sporting event. From The Master’s to Wimbledon; the Stanley Cup to the World Series; the NBA Finals to the Super Bowl, we are spoiled by greatness. Appreciate these moments while you can because all things (including exceptional moments) must come to an end.

JGOOD

2016 Sports Moments: Top 10


What a year! I hope everybody enjoyed 2016. If you didn’t for whatever reason, I hope 2017 will be a better one. In the sports world, we definitely had our fair share of good and bad moments. We even had some interesting moments like Odell Beckham Jr. going one on one with a kicking net (and losing), Rougned Odor knocking the shades off of Jose Bautista’s face, Kevin Durant shaking up the NBA by signing with the Golden State Warriors, and JR Smith being topless for about half the week (supposedly) since the beginning of the Cleveland Cavaliers championship parade.

Honorable Mentions

  • Joe Thomas Sr. (55 year old running back from South Carolina State becoming the oldest man to play Division I football. His son Joe Thomas Jr. is a linebacker for the Green Bay Packers)
  • Colin Kaepernick Kneeling (You may or may not agree with Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling to the National Anthem, but the reason behind the action should be the focal point)
  • Conor McGregor Dominance (Conor McGregor became the first 2 division champion in UFC this year. His next venture may be a fight with Floyd Mayweather, but we’ll see)

10) Ken Griffey Jr. Hall Of Fame (Almost) Unanimous

“The Kid” is my all-time favorite baseball player, ever since I saw him swing with the Seattle Mariners (I barely remember that). In January, Griffey and Mike Piazza were the only two players elected to the National Baseball Hall Of Fame. This is the hardest sport to get placed into the hall of fame because it requires 75% of the vote. The most impressive and staggering note to take away is that Griffey received the highest percent of votes in the history of Major League Baseball at 99.3% (437 out of 440 votes). Personally, Ken Griffey Jr. should have been the first unanimous hall of famer, and I would love to hear their reason for not voting Griffey in for those 3 voters who didn’t vote for him. Nevertheless, this is an astonishing achievement to cap off a remarkable career.

9) Stephen Curry: Unanimous MVP

Speaking of unanimous, Stephen Curry became the first player in NBA history to be voted unanimous MVP of a season. In 2015, the Golden State Warriors shocked the world by winning their first NBA Title in 40 years. Trying to top that achievement in 2016, the Warriors won the most games in a season in NBA history with 73, while Steph Curry was putting on a display. Even though Golden State came up a Draymond Green kick and few plays short of repeating this past June, they found a way to steal the headlines over the summer (signing of Kevin Durant).

8) Von Miller Dominates Super Bowl 50

Even though Cam Newton (#1 overall pick) was the only player selected ahead of Von Miller (#2 overall pick) in the 2011 NFL Draft, Von Miller came out on top on the biggest stage. Newton looked like “Superman” throughout the whole season until the Super Bowl, where Miller registered 2.5 sacks and forcing 2 turnovers. His constant pass rush disrupted the Carolina Panthers offense the entire game. If Von Miller wasn’t hitting the quarterback, Demarcus Ware was definitely getting a few hits in from what I remember.

7) Bolt, Phelps, USA Takeover Rio 2016 

Rio 2016 will go down as one of the most memorable summer Olympics ever. It signifies the end of an era with Usain Bolt accomplishing the “triple-triple” (winning the 100m, 200m, and 4 x 100m relay races consecutively in 2008, 2012, & 2016) and Michael Phelps winning a total of 28 medals (23 gold medals). The United States also were dominant in swimming events, gymnastics, and track and field events. I’m going to miss seeing Bolt and Phelps dominate their respective competition, but I’m excited to see who’s going to be the next sensation on sports’ biggest stage in Tokyo 2020.

6) Villanova Buzzer Beater

From what I remember, Villanova has always been a tournament let down whenever they are seeded high. This past March and April, Villanova actually lived up to the hype. Their mind-blowing victory over North Carolina in the NCAA Championship game was the icing on the cake. That game, in particular, was arguably the best championship game I’ve ever witnessed. The game had non-stop action with suspense and an appropriate climax. Kris Jenkins brought the game to a close and a National Title home to “Nova”.

5) Eric Berry’s Homecoming

PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO. Eric Berry has been my favorite safety in the NFL since he came into the league back in 2010. Berry was diagnosed with cancer in December of 2014 and was pronounced cancer free in July of 2015. When he bounced back after 7 months, it gave me a stronger reason of why he’s my favorite safety. Atlanta is Eric Berry’s hometown and where he received treatment during his fight against cancer. In his first visit back since therapy, Berry had a “pick 6” and a failed 2 point conversation returned for a touchdown (another pick 6) to solidify the Kansas City Chiefs victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

4) Mamba Out: Kobe Bryant’s Final Game

On the last day of the 2015-16 regular season, you had the choice to either watch the Golden State Warriors go for 73 wins or Kobe Bryant’s last game. I caught the 4th quarter of “Mamba Out”. I wasn’t the biggest Kobe fan, but I truly respected him. Watching the final 3 to 4 minutes live gave me chills and rewatching this video duplicated how I felt about it. Seeing him leave the game lets you know that an era in the NBA has ended (and my childhood basketball icons are gone). When you add Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen (officially announced his retirement) to that list of retirees in 2016, you have a higher level of appreciation for the game of basketball (and an epic hall of fame class down the line). Paul Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki, and Manu Ginobili are next in line.

3) Cavaliers Comeback 3-1

In June of 2015, the Cleveland Cavaliers came up short in the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors. Even though LeBron James nearly averaged a triple-double, missing Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving due to injuries played a crucial part of them coming up short. A year later (with healthy teammates), the Cavs pulled off an improbable comeback in the NBA Finals. What really makes this achievement special is the fact that this is the first major championship for the city of Cleveland since the Cleveland Browns won in 1964 during the Jim Brown era. This was also the first ever NBA Title for the Cavaliers. Being a Chicago Bulls fan, I wasn’t thrilled about Cleveland winning, however, I know the importance that particular title meant to the city of Cleveland. Congrats, again, to the Cleveland Cavaliers!

2) Passing Of Legends

With the amazing things that I’ve previously mentioned during this countdown thus far, we lost some great people along the way of this special year of 2016. Some of the icons that we’ve lost this year includes boxing legend Muhammad Ali (His contributions inside and outside the ring can’t be compared to another), golfing legend Arnold Palmer (golf’s most beloved figure and he surged the sport into popularity), legendary sports broadcaster Craig Sager (#SagerStrong), former NFL head coach Dennis Green (coached the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals), legendary women’s basketball head coach Pat Summitt, and ESPN’s reporter John Saunders. I know it can be sad to think about, but we should remember their achievements and how meaningful their contributions were.

1) Cubs Win!

This is by far the most memorable moment for not only this year but the best moment for certain people’s lives. There have been generations that have waited for the day for the Chicago Cubs to win a World Series championship since 1908. I remember a little over a decade ago in 2003 when the Cubs were 5 outs away from the World Series. Then…the Steve Bartman incident happened. I seriously believe Chicago is the best sports city and Chicago Cubs fans are the most loyal fans amongst all major sports. Chicago coming back from 3-1 against Cleveland (pretty ironic), which included an unreal rain delay in extra innings of game 7, made their championship more fitting for the franchise. I know a few Cubs fans that are still celebrating (and it’s well deserved). 2016 is your year, Chicago Cubs.

Happy Holidays!!

JGOOD

 

Ball Is Life: Windy City’s Spaniards


Last week, I mentioned that I was part of a basketball network at Purdue University Northwest. Apparently, some people within this unofficial fraternity has experienced some unbelievable moments and rare opportunities. A prime example of this is my good friend Angel Martin de Soto, who was the personal assistant of Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic. I’ve known Angel since 2011 when he first came to the United States from Spain.

He’s one of the best all-around basketball players I ever played with (intramural basketball teammates). From his home country of Spain, Angel has been playing basketball since the age of six. He has played with the youth teams of Unicaja Malaga, one of the Top 5 teams in Spain. Angel has also played 4 years semi-pro in the 3rd Division in Spain.

If you don’t know, Nikola Mirotic is from Spain as well. The 6 foot 10 inch forward was drafted by Houston Rockets with the 23rd overall pick in 2011, but his draft rights were ultimately traded to the Chicago Bulls. Mirotic stayed in Spain until 2014, where he and Real Madrid (basketball team in Spain) reached a buyout of his contract.

Image result for nikola mirotic

I’ve been a Bulls fan ever since I can remember. When Angel first told me about his unusual opportunity back in April of 2015, I was stunned (I actually have that  conversation saved on Facebook).

The reason why I worked for him, it is because Nikola was looking for an assistant that help them with their daily basis in his freshman year. I have a really good relation with his agent and he called me to have a interview.

Even though this job was an experience of a lifetime, just like any job, it came with some hard work and some inconvenient duties.

Everyday was different. It was basically 24/7 on call for whatever they (him and his wife) might need. I usually help them with their personal documents, travel arrangements, game day assistance, like hosting the guests, get their tickets and passes. Also, few times we did some shooting practice in his days off.

On the positive side, just like any job, there are a few benefits that make it worth your time there.

 

img_0482
Black Mamba warming up

 

The fact that both Angel and Nikola Mirotic are from Spain was probably the icing on the cake during their time together. To have someone with you from the same country when trying to adjust to another country’s culture makes the transition less hectic. Angel stopped working for Nikola Mirotic this past August to move back to Spain, but he has truly helped Mirotic adjust to the American culture. As long as Nikola Mirotic is a Chicago Bulls player, I will continue to cheer for him, especially knowing one of my friends has assisted him off the court.

JGOOD

NFL Week 10: Tips and Fantasy Picks


nfl-week-10

CONFIDENCE PICKS

JGood (Green) 

14 Arizona
13 San Diego
12 Pittsburgh
11 New Orleans
10 New York Giants
9 Philadelphia
8 Carolina
7 Tennessee
6 New York Jets
5 Minnesota
4 Chicago
3 Baltimore
2 Jacksonville
1 Seattle

D.Reed (Blue)

14 Arizona
13 Green Bay
12 San Diego
11 Houston
10 Atlanta
9 Baltimore
8 Denver
7 New York Jets
6 Washington
5 Cincinnati
4 Tampa Bay
3 Carolina
2 New England
1 Pittsburgh

Week 9 Points and Results
JGood: 75 pts (10-3) record; Overall: 618 pts (72-59)
D.Reed: 64 pts (8-5) record;  Overall: 658 pts (78-52)

HOT OR NOT 🔥❄️ (D.Reed)

What’s Hot🔥
QB
Ben Roethlisberger (Dallas @ Pittsburgh)
Roethlisberger played shaky in his first game back from injury against the Baltimore Ravens last week. “Big Ben” will be poised to get the Steelers offense rolling this week as they play host to a smoking hot Dallas Cowboys team. I expect for Roethlisberger to improve on his subpar performance from last week as he continues to get healthier. Roethlisberger has been a different animal at home, and it’ll be very difficult to bet against him there!!! Be sure to get “Big Ben” locked into your QB1 slot this week!!!
Carson Palmer (San Francisco @ Arizona)
Fresh off a bye week, Carson Palmer and company will be up against the dreadful secondary of the San Francisco 49ers who have surrendered multiple touchdowns to opposing QBs in all game but 1 this season!!! Before their week 9 bye, Palmer put up top notch numbers throwing for 363 yds and 3 scores and I foresee week 10 being another huge week for Palmer!!
RB
Jonathan Stewart (Kansas City @ Carolina)
In three games since returning from injury, Stewart has averaged 3.8 yards per carry and has also averaged 20 touches per contest with four total TDs over that span!!! This week, “J-Stew” is back at home against the Kanas City Chiefs, who were ran all over by both Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon for a total of 172 yards rushing and one TD!!! I see a huge opportunity for Stewart to be a top 10 RB play this week!!!
Jordan Howard (Chicago @ Tampa Bay)
In Howard’s outing last week, he ran wild against a very tough Minnesota Vikings defense for 153 yards and a score!!! With Howard dominating the touches over his backfield mates KaDeem Carey and Jeremy Langford, he could be in for one stellar outing against a poor Tampa Bay run defense!!! If the cards are played properly, Howard could find paydirt twice before the day’s end!!!
WR
Larry Fitzgerald (San Francisco @ Arizona)
Larry Fitzgerald was one of the hottest WRs at the beginning of the season, scoring 3 TDs in his first 2 games, but he has cooled off a bit since then. This week, I look for Fitzgerald to get back on track as he draws a matchup against a San Francisco defense that’s allowed 18 total passing touchdowns!! With injuries to Arizona’s receiving corp, Fitzgerald should be used heavily, especially in the red zone. I like “Fitz” to find the end zone this week!!!
Jordan Matthews (Atlanta @ Philadelphia)
I love Jordan Matthews for two reasons this week:  he is facing the Atlanta Falcons defense (who has allowed the second-most receiving TDs and the most receiving yards to opposing wideouts this season!!!) and the Eagles are going to have to score early and often to stay in the game against one of the leagues most potent offenses!! I see a land of opportunity for Matthews this week!!!
TE
Antonio Gates (Miami @ San Diego)
It’s good to see that “Ol Reliable” is still getting the job done in the sunshine state. Antonio Gates just continues to produce, tallying 28 targets, 14 receptions and 146 yards for two scores over the last three games!!! Gates has seen a tremendous target boost with the last few games, especially in the red zone!!! At home against the Dolphins this week, it’s safe to lock in future Hall of Famer as your TE1!!!
D/ST
Arizona (vs San Francisco)
Arizona is fresh off a bye week and hosts a very lackadaisical San Francisco 49ers team this week! I expect for Arizona to lead by a couple scores in this one, which would force San Fran to throw the ball often (resulting in multiple turnovers)!! This game is just what the doctor ordered for Arizona to get its inconsistent defense back on track!!! Expect a very solid stat line from the Arizona defense this week!!!

What’s Not❄
QB
Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco @ Arizona)
Colin Kaepernick had an awesome fantasy outing last week against the Saints, throwing for nearly 400 yds (398 passing yards) and two scores!! In just about every fantasy format, “Kaep” was surprisingly labeled a stud for the week. Kaepernick’s solid outing may very well be short-lived because this week I would bench him against a Cardinals defense that is allowing an average of 200 yards passing and one TD a game to opposing quarterbacks!!
RB
Christine Michael (Seattle @ New England)
Christine Michael was once a very reliable fantasy option, but it seems as if those days may be limited with C.J. Prosise cutting into his carries and Thomas Rawls nearing full strength. To make matters worse, Michael has a tough matchup on the road this week against the New England Patriots!! I’d keep Micheal on my bench this week until the Seattle backfield becomes less cloudy!!!
WR
Brandin Cooks (Denver @ New Orleans)
Brandin Cooks has been a boom or bust this year and very touchdown dependent as well. Cooks has a week 10 matchup with one of the best secondaries, and the number one ranked defense against wideouts in the Denver Broncos!!! Denver is fresh off shutting down one of the best duos in Oaklands Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper!! I would temper my expectations for both Brandin Cooks and Micheal Thomas this week!!!
TE 
Julius Thomas (Houston @ Jacksonville) 
Thomas has become TD or bust as of late, and I expect him to have a subpar performance in his matchup with the Texans this week! If Thomas doesn’t score this week, you could be looking at about 3 points in standard scoring!!! With Blake Bortles playing so terribly, I would avoid Thomas in most league this week if I could help it!!!
D/ST
Philadelphia (vs Atlanta)
If there was week to bench the third best defense in football, it’s Week 10!!! The Eagles are in line to face one of the most potent offenses out there in the Atlanta Falcons!!! Bench the Eagles D this week, and stream a team with an easier matchup!!! If Atlanta comes out with guns blazing, Philly could be in for a long day!!!

D.Reed @freshprynce23 (Twitter and Instagram)
JGood @jgoodwithsports (Twitter and Instagram)

It’s Over! Cubs Win World Series


Witnessing the Chicago Cubs winning the 2016 World Series goes down as one of the most remarkable moments in sports history. The Cubs hasn’t been to the World Series since 1945 and hasn’t won a title since 1908 before this achievement. As a Chicago White Sox fan, I am extremely happy for the Chicago Cubs organization and their entire fan base. There have been generations that haven’t seen the Chicago Cubs on top of Major League Baseball. The Titanic sinking was more recent than the Cubs last championship title before this one (let that SINK in).

Image result for chicago cubs cleveland indians game 7 images

Image result for chicago cubs game 7 images

I’ve watched quite a few games this postseason just to see if the hype around this team is true. This team on paper is strong in all the major categories: hitting, pitching, baserunning, fielding, and coaching. However, the one word that has defined this postseason run for the “Northsiders” is resilient. The Cubs hasn’t faced adversity all season until they reached the playoffs, and a lot of people and baseball analyst wasn’t sure how this team will react when their backs were against the wall. This Cubs team has proved multiple times during this postseason run that they will not give up. Game 4 of the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants was a prime example. The Cubs were down 5-2 in the top of the 9th inning. Chicago scored 4 runs that inning to win 6-5 to eliminate the Giants (The Giants emptied their whole bullpen and still couldn’t stop the bleeding).

The fact that the Cubs forced a game 7 after being down 3 games to 1 is resilient within itself. This game 7 will go down as one of the most memorable game 7’s in the history of sports, in my opinion. From the Cubs being up 5-1 in the middle innings to Cleveland hitting the 2-run home run down 3rd baseline to tie the game at 6 in the bottom of the 8th inning to the, now infamous, rain delay, this game had a story book ending. Two teams have suffered for decades, and both teams were deserving of ending their respective titleless droughts. Words can’t fully describe the story and impact of this game, but the atmosphere was like no other. Here’s the highlight to game below.

This Chicago Cubs team that is currently constructed is poised to be contenders for the foreseeable future. There were 1 million people that turn out for the Chicago Blackhawks parade and festivals in 2015. I seriously believe that number will at least triple for the Chicago Cubs. Wrigleyville in Chicago was packed instantly after the win.

Image result for outside wrigleyville cubs game 7 images

This was by far the best game of 2016. To me, this game tops game 7 of the NBA Finals when Cleveland came back down 3-1 to beat the Golden State Warriors. I know that the city of Cleveland hasn’t won a sports title in over 50 years until that moment. However, this Cubs team is “America’s Cinderella” that had never gotten over the hump for 108 years. This was the LONGEST drought in NORTH AMERICA sports (mind blowing). Cubs fans from all over the world will come to their victory parade. Congratulations again to the Chicago Cubs of ending something that has lasted for far too long. Chicago has truly become a “City Of Champions”. “Fly The W” Northsiders, you truly deserve it!

JGOOD

See Red Into A New Era: Chicago Bulls


A new beginning is upon us in the Windy City. The Bulls organization has made some significant changes over the summer that have transformed the shape of the team. The Bulls officially traded away their franchise (and my favorite) player, Derrick Rose, to the New York Knicks for Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon (thankfully we cut him), and Jerian Grant (Former Chicago Bull Horace Grant’s nephew). In free agency, we elected not to bring back Pau Gasol (signed with San Antonio) or fan favorite Joakim Noah (signed with New York to play with D.Rose).

The Bulls front office, at the time, said they wanted to get “younger and more athletic”. We eventually drafted Denzel Valentine out of Michigan State. However, things got interesting when the Bulls decided to sign free agent point guard Rajon Rondo. The biggest and most unexpected news was the signing of free agent shooting guard, and Chicago native Dywane Wade. The Bulls pursued Wade in the summer of 2010. There were actual signs that Dywane Wade was going to sign with Chicago, but that changed at the 11th hour when Lebron James decided to take his talents to South Beach.

With that being said, the initial plan of rebuilding has turned into a retooling phase. Recently, the Bulls traded Tony Snell to the Milwaukee Bucks, for former rookie of the year winner Michael Carter-Williams. With all the changes, Chicago has one of the more interesting teams in the league. They lack 3 point shooting, but have better defense and can attack the basket. We did get somewhat younger but added veteran leaders and championship experience. We’re not quite a championship contender and not good enough to beat Cleveland. However, if we make the playoffs, we won’t be an easy out either.

It’s definitely a different vibe with the team because this is a new era with the Bulls. Last season was the beginning of the transition when they fired Tom Thibodeau and hired Fred Hoiberg. This year, we enter a grey area in which we don’t really know the outcome. We can finish as low as probably the 11th or 12th best in the Eastern Conference, or we have the ability to challenge for a home court advantage in the first round. One thing is for sure, I’m going to be here for the ride. I’ll have my Dywane Wade shirt ready for when we start our season against Boston. Let’s see what happens!

JGOOD