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

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

The Big Fundamental


Tim Duncan is one of the last NBA players to have played when Michael Jordan was still on the Chicago Bulls. With his retirement, the San Antonio Spurs won’t be the same. His legacy comes second to only a handful, and can definitely make a case to be in “the conversation” for THE GREATEST (particularly at his position). 

In his 19 seasons in the NBA, Duncan has never missed the playoffs. He’s won 5 NBA Titles (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014), 3-time NBA Finals MVP, 2-time league MVP, 15-time all star and is the master at shooting the ball off the glass. He’s definitely a top 10 player of all-time and can make a case for top 5 in my eyes.

Where do you rank Tim Duncan all-time?

How is his legacy compared to Kobe Bryant?

Compared to Shaq?

Will anybody that’s currently in the NBA be able to surpass his greatness at the Power Forward position?

How will you remember Tim Duncan now that his career is over?

JGOOD

The Greatest


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We often call players who leave a significant impact “great”, and we call the greatest of the greats “The G.O.A.T.” (Greatest Of All Time). The players are legends, icons, extraordinary, almost invulnerable… we usually use them as the rubric to grade others by. These players set the bar of precedence. Only few players are even considered to enter “the conversation” and even at that point you will get heavily ridiculed. So what does it take to be considered the greatest, the best to ever do it, The G.O.A.T.??? What does it take to even be mentioned in “The Conversation”??? If you can’t even enter the debate, then you have been disqualified for the greatest throne.

How do you enter “The Conversation”? There has to be some guidelines right? (A sign that says “you have to be this tall” like at Six Flags or something).  Lets break it down!

Numbers
Do these individuals have the stats? We all heard the phrase “men lie, women lie, numbers don’t”. For the most part that’s true, and that’s the part we’re going to focus on right now. These players has to put up numbers superior to their piers. They should have the ability to rank in the top 10 in multiple statistical categories.

Consistency
Anybody can put up incredible numbers for a season or 2 but can they do it over the longevity of their careers? These individuals have to preform on a nightly basis. They have to average staggering numbers while playing at an elite level over several seasons.

Accomplishments
How many times were these players named to the all star team and/or all pro? Awards like Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Most Valuable Player, and even the team awards are vital. And of course winning championships are an important factor.

Clutch Factor
Can these players perform when it counts? They have to have the ability to close out games, make game saving plays, and make the impossible happen at times.

Hall Of Fame
When its all said and done, will these individuals be enshrined? These players have to be good enough to make it to Canton, Ohio, to Cooperstown, to “The Hall”.

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So with those factors to consider, that will eliminate almost everybody. Once we get down to the smallest of smallest pools, we can only then enter them into “The Conversation”.

Once you enter “The Conversation”, it’s survival of the fittest. These are the likes of Barry Sanders, Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Pele, Wayne Gretzky,  Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Floyd Mayweather, Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and the list goes on. So how do we separate the greatest from the greats? There are other factors, deeper factors, we will have to consider:

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Intangibles
All great players can make plays that show up on the score box but what about the plays and the characteristics that you will remember? “The Catch” by Willie Mays, “The Drive” by John Elway, “The Shot” over Craig Ehlo by Michael Jordan, “The Rumble In The Jungle” with Muhammad Ali, are prime examples of what this category is all about. It was their willingness to win plus the enchanted moment that lives on forever. You can’t teach heart and a desire to win. Only some players have that gene inside of them.

Revolutionary
Did these players change the way you play the game or the game itself? Were other players or teams have to alternate their game plans to try to deflect the greatness of one individual? Were the rules of a sport ever altered because of one’s dominance? This category will eliminate majority of the remaining  participants.

Iconic
When these players still be remember generations from now? Could people from all over the world still remember who you are and your greatness 20 years after retirement? Are people owning their memorabilia?

Legacy
Will everything they have ever achieved,  earned, accomplished, live on forever? Can something that has taken a whole career to build be demolished by any negativity? The legacy is a players ultimate portfolio, resume and transcript. ALL tangible and intangible factors are weighed and utilized to determine your rank amongst the field.

Only the strongest survive. Having debates over the greatest will forever live on. My plan wasn’t to pick the greatest but to give you all a template on how to pick one yourselves. With that being said, let the debates begin!!!

JGood