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.

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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.

 

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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

Kobe Debate


The end of a historic career is tonight on ESPN 2 @ 10:30 ET against the Utah Jazz. We’ll probably never see another player like him so embrace tonight and his remarkable moments.

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With that being said, I want to ask you all a few questions. I’m curious to read your answers.

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Will you be watching Kobe’s last game or the Golden State Warriors attempting to get win number 73?

Where does Kobe rank all-time to you?

Who’s legacy is better, Kobe or Derek Jeter?

Who had the better career, Kobe or Duncan?

Who’s the best Los Angeles Laker ever, Kobe or Magic?

And dare I even ask, Kobe or MJ?

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I’ll share my thoughts later but I want to see what you guys have to say.

Bro Code?


If Kobe Bryant had his way for his final season, the Los Angeles Lakers would be getting ready to make a championship run with him leading the charge. Instead, the Lakers are in the basement of the NBA with the organization promoting Kobe’s last hoorah in visiting cities. Kobe has less than 10 games left of his career and it cannot come any sooner. With the drama going on in the locker room involving Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell, this may be the icing on the cake for the Lakers’ season. If you haven’t heard, Russell secretly recorded Young confessing about other women he messed with that his fiancée (and rapper) Iggy Azalea.

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CLICK HERE TO SEE THE VIDEO

Prank or no prank, nobody wins from this. The whole world knows that Nick Young is unfaithful (unfortunately just like many celebrities and athletes). More significantly, D’Angelo Russell is known as being an immature “snitch”. His teammates are isolating him. He won’t ever be trusted again. The locker had trust issues to begin with so this just broke the mold. His agent may not want him anymore. The organization may contemplate trading him for the right offer, but players around the league are aware if the situation and feel the same way too.

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Bottom line is that Iggy Azalea is the real victim here. Nick Young shouldn’t have done what he did. However, no other grown man should be intervening in another grown man’s business. If karma was going to happen to Nick Young, it should’ve happened on his own terms and not in the hands of a teammate who a secretly recorded video that got leaked. Russell is going to have a long road ahead of him to recover from this. The only from here is up.

What do you think about the situation???

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JGOOD

NBA Top 10 All-Time List


When I was on “The Come Up Podcast” a couple of weeks ago for my monthly visit, we discussed Kobe Bryant’s retirement announcement and where he is ranked all time. Then I asked a few of my friends to make their own top 10 list and have people vote to see which list they like the most. Also, I will note if their list is in order or not. Check out the lists below and cast your vote! Place your vote in the comments (Note: I forgot about Larry Bird when I was naming my top 5 on the podcast so I inserted him in the list below)

JGood (Order)

  1. Michael Jordan
  2. Magic Johnson
  3. Larry Bird
  4. Kobe Bryant
  5. Hakeem Olajuwon
  6. Tim Duncan
  7. Shaquille O’Neal
  8. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  9. Bill Russell
  10. John Stockton

Reap (Order)

  1. Michael Jordan
  2. Magic Johnson
  3. Kobe Bryant
  4. LeBron James
  5. Shaquille O’Neal
  6. Tim Duncan
  7. Allen Iverson
  8. Larry Bird
  9. Tracy McGrady
  10. Kevin Garnett

D.Reed (Order)

  1. Michael Jordan
  2. Magic Johnson
  3. Kobe Bryant
  4. Shaquille O’Neal
  5. Larry Bird
  6. Kareem Abdul-Jabber
  7. Oscar Robertson
  8. Hakeem Olajuwon
  9. Bill Russell/Wilt Chamberland
  10. Tim Duncan

Victor (No Order)

  1. Michael Jordan
  2. Magic Johnson
  3. Larry Bird
  4. Shaquille O’Neal
  5. Kareem Abdul-Jabber
  6. Tim Duncan
  7. Kobe Bryant
  8. Hakeem Olajuwon
  9. LeBron James
  10. Allen Iverson

Armando (Order)

  1. Michael Jordan
  2. Shaquille O’Neal
  3. Larry Bird
  4. Magic Johnson
  5. Kobe Bryant
  6. Karl Malone
  7. Tim Duncan
  8. Allen iverson
  9. Kareem Abdul-Jabber
  10. Hakeem Olajuwon

Bork (No Order)

  1. Michael Jordan
  2. Magic Johnson
  3. Larry Bird
  4. Julius Erving
  5. Kobe Bryant
  6. Dwyane Wade
  7. Shaquille O’Neal
  8. Clyde Drexler
  9. Dominique Wilkins
  10. Hakeem Olajuwon

NBA Preview Part 6: Pacific Division


Pacific Division

Golden State Warriors
Key Additions: Jason Thompson, Kevon Looney
Key Subtractions: David Lee
Outlook: The reigning champs… a lot of people didn’t see this coming. some journalist and NBA players have criticized their title because their opponents were missing key players during the postseason. Truth of the matter is they played whoever was in front of them and got it done. With all of that being said, they are poised to defend their throne. They traded David Lee, but he wasn’t really a part of the rotation as you think. That move saves them money and provides flexibility down the road. In other words they should be able to contend for years to come, including this season. Expect them to back in the thick of things again.

Los Angeles Clippers
Key Additions: Paul Pierce, Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith, Cole Aldrich, Wesley Johnson, Pablo Prigioni, Chuck Hayes, Branden Dawson
Key Subtractions: Matt Barnes, Spencer Hawes
Outlook: If you take a look at this roster on paper, you would want to automatically place them in the NBA Finals. This team is loaded with talent, skill, leadership, and now championship experience on the court with Paul Pierce. If Chris Paul can’t get past the second round this year then I’m not sure who or what else you can blame. They resigned DeAndre Jordan in one of the most bizarre free agency signings of all time. Blake Griffin solidified his worth to the team when Chris Paul was out last season. You add Josh Smith and Lance Stephenson, two players who plays with an edge. Drafting Branden Dawson was a steal in my eyes. It’s basically do or die for this team otherwise somebody has to go! In a stacked Western Conference, one if two teams will be disappointed early. Will it be the Clippers again?

Los Angeles Lakers
Key Additions: Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams, Brandon Bass, D’Angelo Russell, Larry Nance Jr.
Key Subtractions: Jordan Hill, Ed Davis,  Wesley Johnson, Carlos Boozer, Jeremy Lin, Ronnie Price
Outlook: The future looks much brighter now than it did a year ago. Any time you have Carlos Boozer on your team, it prevents your future (I know quite well). D’Angelo Russell will be pretty good… he might become a legitimate franchise-caliber player, but only time will tell. Larry Nance Jr. has bounce just like his dad. I’m not sold on Roy Hibbert, but it’s better than Carlos Boozer. Lou Williams and Brandon Bass were good signings. Julius Randle is finally back after missing last season. He looked good during preseason. Oh yeah.. Kobe’s back! Hopefully he can stay healthy for the most part this year. If this team gels and plays up to their potential, they can sneak into the playoffs. However, their ladder to climb is relatively difficult.

Phoenix Suns
Key Additions: Tyson Chandler, Mirza Teletovic, Jon Leuer, Devin Booker, Ronnie Price
Key Subtractions: Marcus Morris, Brandan Wright, Reggie Bullock
Outlook: In all honesty, I’m not sure what this team is trying to do here. They came close to signing LaMarcus Aldridge (even traded some players to clear up cap space to try to sign him), but those plans fell through. However, they seemed to be in rebuilding mode when they trade Goran Dragic at the trade deadline last season. I’m not sold on their back court of Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe. They are young, athletic, and talented, but their lack of skill and intangibles (leadership, game management, awareness) is really suspect. This team may continue a fast-paced offense (as they should), but getting wins will be difficult due to the lack of overall talent and skill. I’m expecting a high lottery pick, but you’ll never know.

Sacramento Kings
Key Addition: Kostas Koufos, Rajon Rondo, Willie Cauley-Stein, Marco Belinelli, Seth Curry, Caron Butler, Quincy Acy, James Anderson
Key Subtractions: Jason Thompson, Derrick Williams, Ray McCallum, Carl Landry, Nik Stauskas, Andre Miller
Outlook: Sacramento has been at the door to unlocking their full potential for the past 3 to 4 years. You have the most under appreciated and probably the best overall center in the league with DeMarcus Cousins. You have an all-star caliber player who can score on anybody at will with Rudy Gay. You bring in players that has championship experience with Marco Belinelli, Caron Butler, and Rajon Rondo (who has something to prove after that horrible outcome in Dallas). This team has the biggest chip on its shoulders in the entire league, and I really think this is the year they break through that door of potential and legitimately compete for a playoff spot. Don’t be surprised if they are still in the hunt in late March.

The Come Up Podcast 2.0


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The Come Up Podcast

I was able to make my second appearance on The Come Up Podcast this past weekend. The last weekend of the month, they allow me to come on a talk sports. This episode was about Allen Iverson, Vince Carter’s legendary dunk, the NFL season thus far and more! Check it out below!

Sports Show

Also, follow me on Twitter! @jgoodwithsports

“The Answer” The Media Didn’t Want


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First things first: Check out Allen Iverson: The Answer Documentary (Full)

After Michael Jordan retired, Allen Iverson was the next NBA superstar to revolutionized the NBA (Sorry Kobe but Allen qualifies a little more for this category and here’s a video to go along with my claim Allen Iverson vs Michael Jordan: Who Impacted NBA Players More?). Iverson finished what the “Fab Five” started back in the early 90’s with college basketball: solidify the hip hop culture in the league. Everywhere you looked, Iverson’s influence was magnified. Kids in the neighborhood parks wore cornrows, oversized t-shirts, baggy shorts or jeans, and had Allen Iverson branded Reebok’s on their feet playing ball. Everyone tried to imitate his signature crossover that’s known worldwide. Before the NBA changed their dress code, Iverson would show up to games with baggy jeans, a throwback NBA jersey, a durag, and a headband. He would dress just like anybody you would see in the inner city. I didn’t get new shoes too often growing up, but I did own a pair of Iverson’s.

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A.I. never backed down to anybody or anything no matter how big or tough the opponent or obstacle. He has played through every injury you could possibly play through and has probably hit the floor more than anybody else to ever play the game (including floppers now and days). People, including LeBron James, have called him “pound for pound” the greatest player of all-time. What separated Iverson from the rest and made him so special was his heart and his determination. He grew up in an unhealthy environment, something I can relate to. An area that’s filled negative energy, hatred, limited resources, and crime, Iverson barely made it out. Even though the was the star quarterback (also played running back, defensive back, and kick returner) for his high school as well as a basketball prodigy, trouble did follow. Him and some of his friends were arrested for fight that broke out in a bowling alley. Iverson,  allegedly, threw a chair in hit a young lady in the back of her head. He claimed he had already left the altercation when it first happened. Even though he was 17, he was tired as an adult and spent 4 months in prison. He was facing double-digit years, but the case was dismissed.  Iverson was allowed to finish his senior year at an alternative high school (no sports). Fortunately, Georgetown University’s coach John Thompson offered him a full scholarship to play basketball. Iverson won Big East Rookie of the Year and took the Hoyas to the elite 8 in his sophomore season. He’s has the all time leading scoring average for Georgetown at 22.9 points per game.

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Allen Iverson was selected by the Philadelphia 76’ers as the number one overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft Class. Iverson exploded in the scene,  winning rookie of the year in arguably the deepest draft class of all time (Bryant, Nash, Allen, Marbury, Camby). He averaged 23.5 ppg, 7.5 apg, and 2.1 spg. The 76’ers only won 22 games that season, but they continued to grow along with Iverson. Iverson made his first playoff appearance as the 6th seed in the 1998-99 shortened season again Orlando. They were put out in the second round by Indiana. His most prominent season came in 2000-01 where his team was the best in the conference, he won the league MVP, scoring title (31.1 ppg), steals title (2.5 spg), and went to the NBA Finals.

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Allen Iverson had one the most prolific NBA Finals performances in game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals. He dropped 48 points in an overtime victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. It was the only loss the Lakers suffered that post season. He also displayed the infamous step-over on Tyronn Lue. If you need a refresher or just want to enjoy the highlights of game on, here it is below:

Allen Iverson 48 pts 2001 GM1 NBA Finals

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Allen Iverson’s performances matched his heart and courage. He defied the odds and made everybody a believer. Iverson also stayed true to himself, even in front of the media. He always spoke what was on his mind and never backed down to anybody discouraging him. Do you remember how Iverson was portrayed for his practice rant? The NBA never liked the way he represented the league. He wasn’t as charismatic as Magic Johnson, wasn’t as clean as Michael, and was on the other side of the world compared to Larry Bird. The NBA was known for keeping their brand “clean”, but Iverson was far from that image with his tattoos and demeanor… and the NBA was stuck with him for the majority of his career.

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Allen Iverson was basically “blackballed” out the league by the media and the NBA executives. Granted they made a lot of money off of Iverson’s image to the public eye. From 2000 to about 2007, other athletes, entertainers, and fans would wear baggy clothes, tall t-shirts, jerseys, and anything that attached itself to the NBA. They were waiting for the day that Iverson would slip up to bury him. After being traded to the Denver Nuggets in 2006, his label of being the “poster child” for the NBA started to deteriorate. Eventually, he would bounce around from team to team (Detroit, back to Philly, Memphis). In 2010, Allen Iverson signed with Beşiktaş, a team in the Turkish Basketball League. He only played 10 games, but he was beloved in Turkey. No teams in the NBA wanted to sign Iverson because he was “cancerous”, “not a team player”, “wouldn’t come off the bench”, or “wasn’t coachable”. Those were the images that the media created of Iverson. We all know that Iverson had some issues off the court, and he did say at one point that he said he shouldn’t come off the bench. Eventually, he retracted that statement and matured. Iverson was willing to do whatever it takes to win a championship, and no NBA was going to give him an opportunity. How you could you say that a 11-time all-star, who won a league MVP, 4 scoring titles, 3-time steals leader, and played courageous his whole career can’t be an asset to a team making a run for an NBA title?

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A few days ago, the NBA announced that Allen Iverson would be eligible for the Hall Of Fame in 2016. In many people’s eyes, he is a no question first ballot hall of famer. His numbers and legacy speak for itself. The only thing that worries me is the members of the media will feel the same way… the ones that has the power to vote him in. The same people that pushed him out the league are the same ones who has the power to neglect him from something he should achieve with no problem. This could be the final obstacle to torment Iverson if they choose to do so. A.I. deserves this honor as a first ballot hall of famer with Larry Brown introducing him. I’m proud to have grown up in an era that showcased a player that never backed down from a challenge… and stayed true to himself. The media may remember him as someone who is all about Iverson. I’ll always remember him for someone who knocked down every obstacle that was in his way… to every problem… there was “The Answer”.

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Leave Vick Alone


It has been 8 years since Michael Vick has went to jail (yes 8 years already), and some people are still trying to backlash his occupation. There’s a petition going around in Pittsburgh with over 15,000 signatures in hopes for Vick’s new team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, to release him.

Michael Vick first arrived in the NFL in 2001 and made an impact since day one. The have been few quarterbacks that scrambling ability such as Randal Cunningham, Steve Young, and few others. However, Vick revolutionized the QB position forever with is off the charts speed, agility, and acceleration. The NFL has never seen a player that can throw the ball approximately 60 yards with a 4.25 40 yard dash time.

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Vick spent his first 6 years in Atlanta demolishing defenses like a wrecking ball. In case you forgot how explosive he was, he’s some highlights below:

Michael Vick Career Highlights

The link shows his highlights in Atlanta, the allegations, and his time in Philadelphia. Vick served 23 months in prison and 2 more in a halfway house for his infamous involvement in dogfighting. Ever since being released, Michael Vick has been ridiculed for his part in harming of the dogs. People have protested and signed petitions to keep him out the league. Even though he’s still employed by the NFL, how long does Michael Vick have to deal with this? What else does he have to do to be okay in the court of public opinion?

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Michael Vick has served his punishment in the court of law, rightfully so. We all understand the severity of his actions but how come he’s constantly getting harassed? He’s made speeches about his changes, and he’s one of the few athletes who is serious about the changes he has made in his life.

How come majority of people didn’t backlash Plaxico Burress when he became the “Cheddar Bob” of the NFL? Even though the incident was self-inflicted, he still had a firearm on him and went to jail for nearly 2 years. He played in the NFL 2 more years after that.

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What about Donte Stallworth committing vehicular manslaughter in 2009. He was suspended for the 2009 season and spent 30 days in jail. He ended up playing 3 more years afterward. How come “the people” aren’t at his throat for taking somebody’s life (yes, he KILLED a human)?

Better yet, what about his current teammate “Big Ben” Roethlisberger. “Big Ben” was accused of raping a woman back in 2008. He was found guilty, but a settlement was made to dismiss the case. How often do you see people holding up signs or signing petitions to remove him as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers? Same thing that be said about Kobe Bryant and his Colorado scandal. He took some heat for a while, losing sponsors and endorsements, but eventually, the majority of people have forgotten that even occurred.

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How come we can’t let go of what Michael Vick has done? In my eyes, he’s done more than enough. This country loves to give second chances, and who are we to judge for his actions… he did the crime and did the time. He’s made motivational speeches and had done community service. Other players have done worse and don’t get this much treatment from “fans”. It’s 2015, let it go.

JGood