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: Circle Of Men Athletics


If you ever lived in Northwest Indiana and have been involved in sports, you will know that this area is called “The Region”. The Region has produced many pro and collegiate athletes in different sports over the past few decades like former MLB center fielder Kenny Lofton (East Chicago, IN). He was a 6x all-star and a 4x gold glove winner. Another is current Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kawaan Short (East Chicago, IN). In 2015, he was named to the Pro Bowl and was second-team All-Pro.

However, Indiana is known as the Hoosier State. There’s been plenty of successful basketball outcomes from The Region like Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson (Gary, IN), who happens to be an alum from my high school, Roosevelt, in Gary. Robinson was the number 1 overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft (to the Milwaukee Bucks). He averaged over 20 ppg for his career, was a 2x all-star, and won a championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 2005. Over the past 10 years, more players have been exposed to the NBA like Glenn Robinson III (Gary, IN, and currently with the Indiana Pacers), E’Twaun Moore (East Chicago, IN, and currently with the New Orleans Pelicans), Robbie Hummel (Valparaiso, IN), Branden Dawson (Gary, IN), and Mitch McGary (Chesterton, IN).

We even have athletes now that are already in division 1 or division 1-bound. Charles Cooper, a senior guard at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, helped the Phoenix during the 2015-16 season reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996. Dana Evans, senior guard at Gary West Side High School, is currently ranked #3 at the point guard, and #7 overall for the 2017 class by ESPN. She has committed to Louisville.

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Dana Evans

My friend Leroy Cooper, who is also a part of our basketball network and former intramural basketball teammate, is the co-founder (along with Mr. Daniel Baker) of Circle of Men Athletics (COMA; @Circle_of_Men) . Every since I met Leroy, he has always been the type to lead and show support for others.

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COMA is an organization in Gary Indiana focused on the development of inner city athletes on and off the court…1 Corinthians 9:24-27.

Leroy, who played his last two years of college basketball and spend the following year as assistant head coach at formerly Purdue University Calumet (now Purdue University Northwest), wants help student-athletes on and off the court.

The purpose is to instill life beyond talent for inner city athletes…provide mentorship, training, life skills and exposure to guys with athletic abilities.

In this day and age where violence seems to be at an all-time high (especially the way the city of Chicago is right now), it’s wonderful to know something like COMA is taking place within The Region. However, this organization has plans on spreading the helping hand.

Our vision is to take our not for profit worldwide and change the world through God’s anointing. Changing lives and giving people opportunities to advance through life is God’s kingdom on earth. Our staff is really passionate about our organization, and we have a great success rate so far. We started the organization in 2014 and have placed 78 guys in college on athletic scholarships. Our next showcase is April 22nd, 2017.

The more I looked into COMA, the more impressed I’ve become. This organization has the chance to become something iconic. Sending 78 young men to college in that short amount of time is the one thing that’s sticking out to me. I support anyone that’s trying to do something positive with the youth and the community. Leroy, continue striving for excellence with this program and don’t let any obstacle prevent you from your vision.

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JGOOD

FireFan App


FireFan is a new app that will allow you to play along with live sports on your mobile device. The app will be dropping this week, just in time for Thanksgiving when you’re stuck on the couch watching football because you’re too full to get up (We’ve all been there).

The app is FREE to download. You will need tokens to play. You can either watch a quick Ad to receive a token or spend money if you want to bypass the advertisement. However, if you CLICK HERE to preregister before the app releases, you’ll be awarded 12 Bonus Tokens using the promo code: JGOOD. This app is not considered gambling and is simple enough to where the average sports fan can play and be intrigued by it. You can play amongst others or by yourself. Also, you will be given points, where can redeem for prizes! (Everybody likes prizes).

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If you’re a fan of basketball, football, hockey, baseball,  and soccer, this app is for you! Here’s the intro video so you can get an idea of what it’s about.

Personally, I’m excited to play it this week. I love sports and I play games on a daily basis so this is like an early Christmas present to me. Hopefully, some of you all will sign up so we can play against each other. If so, let me know what you’re user name is after the app is released and we can play!

JGOOD

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).

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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.

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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

Cy Young and MVP Contenders


One of my good friends, Chris (follow him on Twitter @mrwsa11), and I have compiled a list of contenders for this year’s Cy Young and MVP awards in each conference.

A.L. Cy Young 

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Zach Britton (Baltimore)

The Orioles closer has been unreal pretty much all year. He has 40 saves, 62 strikeouts, and an insane 0.65 ERA. Since May 1st, Britton has only allowed one earned run, and is the clear cut favorite for the Cy Young.

Corey Kluber (Cleveland)

The Indians ace is sporting a win-lose record of 15 and 9, helping to lead the charge for the club’s rotation. With 198 strikeouts and an ERA slightly above 3, he may benefit from the fact that voters usually don’t consider voting for closers (i.e. Britton) for the Cy Young.

Rick Porcello (Boston)

With an outstanding 20-3 record, Porcello has the best record amongst all pictures. It has been a resurgent year for him as he leads the Red Sox staff.

N.L. Cy Young

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Max Scherzer (Washington)

The Nationals ace is top 5 in wins, strikeouts, WHIP, and ERA. He is also tied for the most wins in all of baseball. It’s hard to argue against him.

“The 3 Cubbies” (Chicago)

Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, and Jake Arrieta are all candidates for the Cy Young. Lester is top 10 in ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts. Arrieta is tied for wins in the N.L with Scherzer and Lester (16). The surprise, Kyle Hendricks, leads all of baseball in ERA. His pitching isn’t as dominate as the others, but he still makes it difficult for opposing batters.

A.L. MVP

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Jose Altuve (Houston)

The Astros captain and leader, is batting .339 on the year. He leads the MLB with 190 hits, and is boasting a career best with 22 home runs and 92 RBIs. He’s your complete player.

Josh Donaldson (Toronto)

The Blue Jays star continues to be a solid all-around player in the MLB. Doesn’t matter from his bat to his glove, he has the opportunity to win his second consecutive MVP.

Mike Trout (Anaheim)

The game’s best player continues to put on a show. With his amazing defense and great hitting, Trout has proved that he will continue to dominate the majors, night in and night out.

Mookie Beets (Boston)

Beets is hitting .315 on the year with career best in home runs and RBI’s. If Beets can lead the Red Sox to a division crown, he has a legitimate chance of  walking away with his first individual award.

N.L. MVP

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Kris Bryant (Chicago)

In only his second year in the league, Bryant has become one of the top hitters, fielders, and base runners in all of baseball. With his versatility in these categories, he has become a clear favorite for taking home the N.L. MVP.

Daniel Murphy (Washington)

Murphy leads the N.L. in batting average, slugging percentage and OPS. This makes him a viable candidate.

Nolan Arenado (Colorado)

He leads the N.L. in home runs and RBI’s for the second straight year. You can’t argue against those accolades.

Anthony Rizzo (Chicago)

Rizzo is on track to hit 30 homers and over 100 RBI’s for his second consecutive year. With him being the leader for the best team in baseball, he will continue to be a contender.

 

Upcoming Events: 2016 Summer


First off, I want to congratulate the Cleveland Cavaliers on winning their first NBA Title. It has been 52 years since the city of Cleveland has last won a major sports championship.

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Also, I want to congratulate Chile on winning Copa America. I’m shocked that Argentina couldn’t get it done. I’m even mkr surprised that Lionel Messi announced his retirement from international competition. Personally, I hope he reconsiders and continue to play. Argentina will need him in the 2018 World Cup.

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With that being said, here are some things to look forward to:

Euro Cup 2016: Now

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We are currently down to the last 8 teams in this exciting event. Germany has always been a strong team but France and Italy has been exceptionally well. I can’t wait to see how this plays out.

NBA Free Agency: July 1st

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Free agents can’t actually sign until July 10th but they can come to verbal agreements as soon as the first of the month. Headlining this free agency class is former league MVP Kevin Durant.

MLB Home Run Derby/All-Star Game: July 8-12th

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We are in the prime months of Major League Baseball. The Home Run Derby will showcase the league’s biggest bats while the All-star Game will display the season’s best players.

NFL Training Camp: Second Half of July

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Amazing how quickly the NFL season is approaching. Before you know it, it will be week one and I’ll be finalizing my fantasy football lineups. Hopefully, no major injuries in the next couple of months.

Olympics: August 5th

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I’ve waited 4 years for the return of the World’s biggest sporting competition. I’m most looking forward to USA Men’s Basketball, Swimming, Track and Field, and Water Polo.

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JGOOD