2017 NBA All-Star Weekend


February is one of my favorite months for sports because of the Super Bowl, pitchers in MLB report to spring training, college basketball is starting to get down to the wire, and NBA All-Star Weekend. This year, the festive event will take place in New Orleans. I took a trip to New Orleans in May of 2015, and that was one of the best experiences of my life. The culture in “NOLA” is truly one of a kind. The original destination was Charlotte, but due to anti-gay laws within the state, the NBA elected to change locations. The NBA just hosted the All-Star Game New Orleans in 2014.

Besides Kyrie Irving’s belief that the world is flat, the most intriguing headline of the weekend is Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook reuniting as teammates. Their brotherly friendship has been derailed since KD’s departure to Golden State. The two has yet attempted to patch things up so that should make way for an interesting interaction in the locker room. 

The events for Saturday includes the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, JBL Three-Point Contest, and the Verizon Slam Dunk Contest. I’m picking Isaiah Thomas for the Skills Challenge, Nick Young for the Three-Point Contest, and Glenn Robinson III for the Slam Dunk Contest.

As for the NBA All-Star Game itself, I have Anthony Davis as the MVP. With that being said, I hope all the events live up to the hype! 
JGOOD

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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

Super Bowl LI


Today is bittersweet for the NFL. Even though this is the biggest game of the year, this is also the last game of the NFL season until the summer time. I do enjoy other sports that are active during the NFL offseason, but not having Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Football, and even fantasy football leaves an unreplaceable void. With that being said, let’s hope this game ends with a bang.

At 39 years old, Tom Brady is making his 7th trip to the Super Bowl. The New England Patriots have looked dominant the whole season, even with Brady being suspended the first 4 games of the regular season due to “Deflate-gate”. Even though New England has been without their superstar tight end Ron Gronkowski since November 13th, the additions of Chris Hogan, Martellus Bennett, and Michael Floyd have given the offense more depth. Already having Julian Edelman, LeGarrette Blount, Danny Amendola, and Dion Lewis, the New England Patriots have never lost a step.

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This season’s league MVP, Matt Ryan, has led his team to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1999. Ryan is the ringleader to this high-power offense, who was the highest scoring team in the NFL (33.8 points per game) 2nd in the NFL in total offense. Center Alex Mack has been the unsung hero of this offense. Atlanta arguably has the best 1-2 punch at running back with Devonta Freeman and Tevon Coleman. Atlanta finished top 5 in the NFL in rushing this season. The Atlanta Falcons have improved their wide receiver core by adding speedster Taylor Gabriel and possession receiver Mohamed Sanu. I forgot to mention that Atlanta already has arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL with Julio Jones.

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It’s kind of hard to bet against New England. They have had consistency at the coaching and quarterback positions between Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Also, those 2 individuals had plenty of experience in the Super Bowl. Their offense is good because of their versatility. Their defense has played well at times, but it’s not as consistent as their last Super Bowl appearance 2 years ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if New England wins today for these reasons alone. However, I believe Atlanta’s offense will be a problem. Once this offense gets rolling, it’s almost impossible to stop it (I think of it like a snowball running downhill). New England has never scored a touchdown in the first quarter of any Super Bowl. This will probably be the toughest offense New England has ever seen in the biggest game. As good as Malcolm Butler is, I don’t think he can stop Julio Jones by himself (if he is to cover him). Atlanta’s defense has stepped up in the playoffs, getting consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. I’m officially going with the “underdog” tonight. I have the Atlanta Falcons defeating the New England Patriots 27-21.

JGOOD

Hall Of Fame Debate: Michael Vick


Growing up, there were only a few NFL players that really caught my attention because of their impact on the game. Deion Sanders is my favorite cornerback to ever lace ’em up. Randy Moss is my favorite wide receiver to step foot on the gridiron. My love for the quarterback position started with Steve Young and Brett Farve. All of them have inspired me and are now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame (except Randy Moss).

Since the dawn of time, quarterbacks have been known to stay in the pocket and deliver the ball to their targets. Until the impact of Warren Moon, the quarterback position has been predominately caucasian. Over the last 25 years, we’ve seen more diversity at the quarterback position. Also in that course of time, we have witnessed the evolution of dual-threat quarterbacks. We went from a few like Randall Cunningham, Donovan McNabb, and Dante Culpepper to the likes of Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Colin Kaepernick, Dak Prescott, Alex Smith, Tyrod Taylor, and more.

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The pivotal reason for the surge of dual-threat quarterbacks in the NFL today was the emergence of Michael Vick in 2001. The former Virgina Tech star was the most electrifying quarterback in the history of the NFL. The number one overall pick, who ran a 4.25 40-yard dash time at the NFL Draft Combine, was embarrassing opposing defenses with his legs with his speed, agility, acceleration, and elusive juke moves. Also, he is the greatest video game athlete of all-time (if you played Madden 2004, you know what I’m talking about).

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Michael Vick finished his career with 21,503 passing yards, 131 passing TDs, 6,109 rushing yards (most ever for a quarterback), 36 rushing touchdowns, and went to 4 Pro Bowls. The Atlanta Falcons lead the league in rushing from 2004-2006, spearheaded by Vick, Warrick Dunn, and T.J. Duckett. Michael Vick had his best success as an overall quarterback under Andy Reid with the Philadelphia Eagles, especially in 2010 (3,018 passing yards, 21 passing TDs, 6 INT, 676 rushing yards, 9 rushing TDs). Also, he had the greatest performance of his career that season in December against the New York Giants.

I’m not going to get into the dog fighting allegations again because it’s irrelevant at the moment (CLICK HERE to check it out), and he has had injuries that have derailed some of his progress as a player. However, I believe he deserves to be in the Hall Of Fame. His statistics as a quarterback are probably not Hall Of Fame worthy, but his impact and legacy, to me, are enough credentials to get him in. Do you think Michael Vick should get in?

JGOOD

BIG3


There’s been a lot of buzz going around of Ice Cube’s new basketball league called “BIG3”. Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz have co-founded the new league. The newly formed basketball league will feature retired NBA players in a 3-on-3 halfcourt setting. Former deputy executive director of the NBA Players Association, Roger Mason Jr., has signed on as the commissioner to make this summertime basketball league a reality.

From left: Kwatinetz,  Lewis, Iverson, Cube, Martin, and Mason Jr. attend Wednesday's introductory press conference.
Left to right: Kwatinetz, Lewis, Iverson, Cube, Martin, Mason Jr.

The “BIG3” will feature 8 teams consisting of 5 players (3 starters and 2 bench players). Ice Cube has gotten NBA Hall Of Famer Allen Iverson to join as a player-coach. Other former NBA players that have expressed interest or have signed aboard include:

  • Rashard Lewis
  • Kenyon Martin
  • Jason “White Chocolate” Williams
  • Mike Bibby
  • Stephen Jackson
  • Bonzi Wells
  • Chauncey Billups
  • Jermaine O’Neal
  • Al Harrington
  • Ricky Davis

NBA Legends Gary Payton, Rick Barry, Clyde Drexler, Rick Mahorn, and George Gervin will coach but will not play.

The league is scheduled to start June 24 and will tour for 10 weeks throughout the summer. Personally, I’m excited to see the players that I grew up watching play basketball again in a competitive setting. Even if it is just 3-on-3, I get to relive some of my childhood just a litter longer. More news on the league will follow over the next few months. What do you think about the new summertime basketball league?

College Football Playoffs: Expansion Needed


The college football playoffs championship game is upon us. The defending champs, Alabama Crimson Tide, will take on the Clemson Tigers in what will be a rematch from last year’s CFP championship game (Alabama won 45-40). There are plenty of headlines you can make about this game like Alabama firing offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin this week (which seems very untimely), even though he’s going to be the head coach of Florida Atlantic, and will Alabama’s true freshman QB Jalen Hurts have a better performance than he did against the Washington Huskies (completed 7-14 for 57 yards)? Also, will the Clemson Tigers get their revenge?

Alabama vs Washington; Peach Bowl
Clemson vs Ohio State; Fiesta Bowl

The storyline that was trending a month ago and that I’m bringing up now is that the college football playoffs should expand the playoff format, specifically from 4 teams to 8. When the topic first sparked a month ago, I was in favor of it. After watching the results of a couple of bowl games since then, I’m completely in agreement of this proposal. If you watched the Fiesta Bowl, which featured Clemson and Ohio State (Buckeyes), you watched a complete domination by the Tigers. Ohio State was considered a top-3 team during the regular season. Their only other loss was against Penn State (Nittany Lions). The problem with that was Ohio State didn’t advance the Big Ten Championship Game because of that loss. The CFP Committee has said that winning your conference championship game is a big factor to being selected to the playoffs. Penn State, being ranked number 5 in the country, after winning the Big Ten Championship over Wisconsin (Badgers) was snubbed from the college football playoffs (If you watched the Rose Bowl, you missed arguably the best bowl game thus far!)

USC vs Penn State; Rose Bowl

Another bowl game I want to mention is the Orange Bowl that featured Florida State (Seminoles) and Michigan (Wolverines). Florida State defeated Michigan 33-32 in a stellar performance, but I want to point out that both of these schools were worthy of being in the playoffs as well (in my eyes). Michigan was ranked in the top 5 for majority of the football season, and Florida State has been consistent throughout the year. If you included Michigan, Florida State, Penn State, and USC in the playoffs along with Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Washington, I believe we would truly find out the best team in the country. 

Florida State vs Michigan; Orange Bowl

We all know Alabama has been dominant for a few years now. We have also seen some pretty good teams over the years that we thought were dominant as well for a short period of time. Expanding the field to 8 teams would get rid of a lot of the “what if” questions. I’ve always wondered how Boise State would fare with the big schools a few years back, especially after beating Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. The many excuses of a team not being on a particular team’s schedule will diminish. At that point, we’ll just let the play on the field decide the best in the nation. 

What are your thoughts about expanding the playoffs? If you agree or disagree, please let me know your reasons.

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