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