Top 10 QB's Going into 2016 NFL Season

Surprise!  The league that took over baseball as America's favorite pastime is back.  The organization that may have better athletes than those in the NBA.  Boxing, yeah right.  Believe it or not Horse Racing once dwarfed the giants of the NFL as being one of this country's favorite sports.  The NHL may be the only one with an edge over the NFL. But that's in Canada, North America.

So our collective favorite sport is back in action as NFL training camps get underway and veterans are signing big deals.  Soon they'll hit the field and instead of competing for a job against his own squad, he'll be competing against other players as big and bad as he is.  Gosh I love football.

Quarterbacks are always the topic when it comes to the NFL and we all love ranking players and saying this guy is better than that one.  I'm guilty of being one of those people.  Even though I'm not a Patriots fan, I am disappointed that Tom Brady will miss the first 4 games of this season.  I want to see the best play and in an honest moment most athletes will tell you that they want to play against the best.  Players enjoy earning their victories by beating the best with no excuses.

With that being said I am not going to factor in Brady's and the Patriots issue of Tommy boy missing a quarter of the season when I rank my top 10 QB's going into 2016.  So here they are and I'd love to hear yours.

1. Aaron Rodgers:  I've always said Rodgers is a right handed Steve Young but Aaron has a much quicker release and can throw it faster and longer than Steve.  There's nothing the man cannot do on the football field.  Much like Tom Brady, Rodgers makes his players look better and play harder.  He's been the best and most consistent QB in the league for the past 6 years or so.  His TD/INT ratio is basically 4 to 1 which is ridiculous and led the league by a mile in that category last season.  He's currently ranked #1 in the history of the NFL with a 104.1 passer rating.

2. Tom Brady:  Even though the Great and All Mighty Tom Brady will be 39 years of age once the season begins, he continues to prove how great he truly is.  He may be the best QB ever to create an offense in which their skills are limited and annually find themselves either in the Super Bowl or the AFC Championship Game because of what Brady does with these "no name" players and turns them into household names.  Believe it or not this 4 game suspension may ultimately help to keep Brady healthy and come back with a furious vengeance to once again reclaim the title and be hoisting the Lombardy Trophy at the e
nd of the season.  Brady loves proving people wrong.  Being drafted in the 6th round way back when still bothers him today and that chip on his shoulder may never leave.

3. Ben Roethlisberger: I'm sure I'll surprise many when I say that Big Ben Roethlisberger is the 3rd best QB in the NFL.  Even more of a shocker is that I heavily debated putting him at #2.  And why not?  Think about it or better yet turn on the television when Big Ben is playing and what you see is a winner that never gives up, who'll do anything to win and most of all a complete football player.  He's like a TE/LB playing the QB position.  Despite him running a 40 second 40 yard dash, Ben has displayed over and over again how he works the pocket and is able to move around enough to extend plays and create something out of nothing.  When speaking of comparisons, Big Ben reminds me of another Hall of Famer in John Elway.  Not to mention that even if a defender is able to grab hold of Big Ben during the course of a play, you cannot blow the whistle and call it a sack because Ben is strong enough to shove those 275+ pounders off of him and run down the sideline for a 10 yard gain for a first down,  Although health has plagued Big Ben throughout his career, when healthy he's as fun to watch play ball as anyone in the league.

4. Cam Newton:  Some have him higher and deservedly so.  He absolutely began to peak last season when he led his Carolina Panthers to the best record in the NFL and a trip to the Super Bowl.  They lost to the Denver Broncos as Peyton Manning Rode off into the sunset on his Bronco and ran into a couple of Colts on the way.  I guess Peyton loves horses.  Anyway, what Cam Newton has done so far in his career and taking a huge leap last year earning MVP honors has turned him into the icon he wanted to be before his rookie season ever began.  With all due respect to his teammates Cam carried that team offensively.  Yes they had one of the best defenses in the league as well but still Newton performed incredibly and showed that he is no joke and not just some athletic quarterback.  He's an amazing athlete but he really put it together in 2015 as he learned how to win from the pocket.  Imagine if he weren't playing injured toward the end of the year!  His numbers would likely have inflated and perhaps even won the Super Bowl.  But it's now clear that Cam Newton belongs in the the conversation of best QB's in the NFL.

5. Russell Wilson:  He's been exceeding expectations since the so called experts said he was too short to be an NFL quarterback.  Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and his defense helped lead the team to 2 consecutive Super Bowl appearances (1-1).  They could have won both but we all remember the interception seen round the world when at the goal line the Seahawks decided to get tricky and treated themselves to a miraculous interception to put Seattle's back to back titles to bed.  Back to Russell Wilson himself.  He's Doug Flutie on steroids.  Other than Big Ben, nobody makes something out of nothing like Russell Wilson.  He is accurate, he can toss the long ball, he makes smart decisions at the line and man can this kid run.  Every play is designed to work for positive yardage.  That doesn't happen every time so Wilson will run around the backfield until a receiver gets open or a lane opens up for Wilson to run through for a 25 yard gain.  He's smart, athletic and already a champion.

6. Philip Rivers:  People forget that Rivers was in the same draft as Big Ben and Eli Manning because they have won two titles each.  If Rivers had a better defense and WR group then they could have made a Super Bowl or two.  They did come awfully close a couple times but the Brady Bunch had other plans for January.  Rivers is underrated in my opinion.  He doesn't have the weapons like Eli and Ben.  Rivers is forced to throw the ball 55 times a game because they're lack of a running back has plagued them since LaDanian Tomlinson left.  Still pound for pound Philip Rivers is at least at top 10 quarterback in the NFL>

7. Andrew Luck:  Luck is another guy without any luck in the backfield.  Andrew Luck throws the ball as much as anyone in the league due to the lack of a running game.  Last year Luck was hurt so we certainly didn't see his best.  Don't get me wrong, Andrew Luck is phenomenal and a fierce competitor.  My big issue with him is that he creates too many turnovers.  True he is hurt by their mediocre defense and pathetic run game but he needs to protect the ball better and figure out how to beat the Patriots.  Luck is a fantastic player but he needs to learn ball control and get better at his down field passes.  It's scary because he's so good with so much room for improvement.

8. Drew Brees:  A couple of years ago Brees would be in the top 4!  With the emergence of Cam, Russell and the fact that Brees is clearly in decline I can't rank him higher than 8th.  The man can still play ball but his skills are depleting.  Brees still managed a 32 TD to 11 INT ratio which is fantastic.  Brees is an all pro in himself but the talent around him has taken a negative effect.  Brees may be ranked higher if his defense were better and Drew didn't have to throw the ball 600+ times a season.  Brees is easily still a top 10 QB and maybe he should be ranked a bit higher.  All I can say is I watch the games and the 7 QB's I have ahead of Brees are playing better than him right now.

9. Tony Romo:  I want to rank Romo higher but his lack of post season success and even the lack of making the playoffs has been a thorn in his side for quite some time.  Romo is injury prone and that hurts his value in my eyes.  Tony Romo is a great quarterback.  Yes he is!  But he has made mistakes in very crucial situations.  He is notorious for throwing picks in critical moments.  The best quarterbacks play their best under pressure.  That's why Eli almost made the list but he turns the ball over constantly and rarely gets his team far in the payoffs with of course the respected exception of his 2 Super Bowl victories.  The Giants defense won the first one and Eli had more of a hand in their 2nd SB under Tom Coughlin.  Romo won't be considered a great QB unless he wins a championship.  That door is closing rapidly.

10. Matt Ryan:  Man did those Falcons fly to kick off the 2015 season.  Heading for a possible #1 seed they ran head on to a brick wall and destroyed their season,  Ryan was still playing well with one of the best 1-2 punches in football between him and Julio Jones.  Ryan has led the Falcons into the playoffs plenty of times but haven't had much success making it out of the first round only once t lose to the 49ers in the NFC Championship a few years ago.  Matty Ice has the goods and the ability to lead his team down the field when the pressure is on.  I've seen Ryan make 2 or 3 passes in 30 seconds to set up a short field goal for the win,  How else do you get a nickname like Matty Ice.

Honorable Mentions:
Eli Manning
Alex Smith
Carson Palmer

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If LeBron Goes 2 - 5 in NBA Finals...

What will become of LeBron James legacy if/when the Golden State Warriors take down his Cleveland Cavaliers for a 2nd straight season in the NBA Finals?

One could say that these Warriors are one of the greatest teams of all time with the best regular season record in NBA history at 73 - 9.  Others will support LeBron by saying that he has no support on the court.  Okay that argument can be made for last season's Cavs team when both Irving and Love were absent from the Finals and certainly his first NBA Finals appearance back in 2007 when the Spurs swept Cleveland 4 - 0 and was never even close.

So LBJ takes his talents to South Beach to join his best friend Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat.  In four years LeBron led the Heat to 4 Finals appearances with 2 championships winning the MVP in both.

Possibly feeling that he was satisfied with two titles in Miami and wanted to bring his home town team a championship or 2 or 3 or whatever, he returned to the team that drafted him with instant dominance in the Eastern Conference.  LeBron has dominated the East for a decade but the Western Conference just seems to have his number, which maybe he should have kept #6 since #23 hasn't brought any luck.

As far as I'm concerned, LeBron James is one of the greatest players I've ever seen.  He's absolutely dominant.  But not dominant enough.  He turns 31 in December and still has at least 4-5 good to great years left given his condition and commitment to the game of basketball.  But even those who work out as much or more than LeBron know when their time is up.

Kobe Bryant is certainly one of the greatest players who ever lived and worked out relentlessly to keep his body in shape.  Well even the greats must eventually fall.  Kobe retired this season at the young age of 37 since coming straight into the NBA fresh out of high school in 1996 and played 20 years in the league.  Kobe started to break down around the age of 35 and even before with constant injuries.  If LeBron has to miss some time over a couple of seasons due to an injury than that will surely diminish his goal of winning more rings

Like Kobe, LeBron went into the NBA right out of High School and has about the same amount of mileage on his NBA legs as Kobe and his 5 rings do.  Bryant went 5 - 2 in his NBA Finals career with 2 MVP's.  Yes, Shaq absolutely was the MVP of the Lakers 3-peat in the early 2,000's.  Yet Kobe is an absolute solid Hall of Famer and Shaq knows those Lakers wouldn't have won 3 titles in a row without Kobe.

Bryant has 1 regular season MVP though!  LeBron by the way since he has 4 regular season MVP's and 2 to match Kobe in the Finals.  But in the Finals guys like Kobe (5) Bill Russell (11) Kareem (6) Jordan (6) Magic (5) Duncan (5) have all these titles and rarely lost.

Did you know that Jerry West, the logo of the NBA was 1 - 8 in the NBA Finals?!  That's why we don't talk about him as one f the top tier players of all time.  He went to 9 NBA Championships and only won once.  Getting their 9 times is an amazing accomplishment but people don't remember you for how many Finals you went to, it's how many you won that matters.  That may or may not be true in the real world but as far as NBA fans, officials, players, writers and others alike will criticize LeBron despite the fact that he may be 1 of the 3 best players to ever hold a basketball.

So here's the bottom line.  LeBron has about 6 years to get himself a couple more championships without losing.  He'll still likely have a losing record in the Finals but people remember how you go out more than when you come in!
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Kevin Durant to the Spurs?

The San Antonio Spurs have been the front runner in my mind ever since talks broke out about where Kevin Durant would play ball once his contract expired with the Thunder.  Think about it!  We know at some point in time that Duncan, Parker and Ginobili would retire.  A championship this season may solidify their decision.

The Spurs have already began to reload their roster by building around Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.  That's a great one-two punch with the big man and skilled guard/forward sharing the ball.  Now imagine adding Kevin Durant to the mix!  There's your stretch PF/SF to compliment their 2 all stars with another NBA first team player.  K.D. did go to school at the University of Texas so he should feel right at home.

There's no doubt that on the court this threesome may be as good or even better than when LeBron took his talents to South Beach to join forces with his good buddy Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.  The question is, how will it be perceived?  We saw LeBron James basically admit that he needed a couple other super stars on his team in order to finally get that coveted ring.  Well he got 2 in 4 years in Miami and I'm sure K.D. would sign up for that down deep in the heart of Texas.

Once LBJ won a championship nobody cared that he went to Miami to get the job done.  Well except those living in Cleveland.  Speaking of Cleveland it took Kyrie Irving and the promise of Kevin Love to the addition of the Cavaliers for LeBron to even return to his home town and the team that drafted him out of high school.

So why should we care or frown upon Kevin Durant deciding to go to San Antonio for the best chance at winning a title?  The best player on the planet had to leave his home team in order to reach the ultimate goal in winning an NBA championship.  When you think about all the best teams in NBA history and those who won multiple titles, they all had a big 3 or top 2 players in the league with perfect role players.  Whether they team up from other organizations or drafted from scratch, it takes more than one man to win titles.

Even the immortal Michael Jordan needed players like Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Horace Grant, Tony Kukoc, Steve Kerr, John Paxon, B.J. Armstrong and others to get to hold the Larry O'Brien Trophy.  Magic needed Kareem, Worthy, Cooper and Scott.  Isiah needed Lambier, Mahorn, Dumars and other role players.  Larry Bird needed "The Chief" Robert Parish, Kevin McHale and Dennis Johnson to name a few.  Even Shaq needed Kobe and some clutch veteran play by guys like Derek Fisher and Robert Horry.

The point is that if Kevin Durant wants to win titles, and he does, there is no shame in joining one of the most solid organizations in all of professional sports to help better your chance at winning an NBA title or even multiple.  K.D. is young but the basketball time clock runs faster than the one you see on your wall.  If he wants to compete for championships than his best bet is not in Boston, Los Angeles, New York or Washington.  You can argue for Golden State but then again they would have to get rid of a lot of salary cap space.  The Spurs have been the model of consistency in professional sports for almost 20 years.  Their players get paid financially, but maybe even more important to guys like Kevin Durant they get paid with championship rings.
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Paper Champions


 



Stephen Curry and The Golden State Warriors are ruining basketball. They are the reason you can walk into your local YMCA, 24HR Fitness, Nike League, AAU League, school gym, blacktop, liquor store, back alley way, etc., and catch a slew of youth hell bent on hoisting three pointers all day long. Kids are no longer opting for the mid range game due to the fact that 3 is better than 2 in the game of basketball.



This was most likely the work of a genius mastermind--of someone so sinister in his ways he would calculate his each move to figure out a way to destroy the game of basketball. He would have to be cunning, he would need to be subtle, and have a lot of patience. He would need to be someone like Del Curry whom paired with his soon to be wife, hatched a plan in 1982 to create the ultimate b-ball assassin.

The plan most likely went like this:
- work really hard but fly under the radar;
- get drafted by the Utah Jazz, then traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers;
- and purposely have one of the most underrated careers in NBA history.

They won’t question whether you conspired against the game of basketball if you are an historic 6th man constantly being passed up for 6th man of the year awards. Carefully, masterfully hold back your offensive arsenal just enough to get recognition but not enough to be a full blown superstar. Nope they won’t question you about your wife and her possible life of espionage and spy games, nor the fact that you played into the early 2000's so you can survey the landscape of the NBA before unleashing your ultimate weapon only 7 years later.


Del Curry, you slick, slick, cold-blooded villain,



Is it all making sense to you as well? No? Good because the last couple of paragraphs could indicate that I am losing my mind, the same way that the success of Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors have identified media and former players ready to check into ‘Insanity Inn’ with extended-stay options.
When you begin to hear illogical arguments being made that Stephen Curry's nuclear offensive capabilities are destroying the game, that’s when you know you aren't just a good player, nor great player---you have now entered the twilight zone. Rare air indeed. The likes of which Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and few others have only seen. You've become so good. You've put in so much work that you're not able to quantify the impact you truly have on the game. And we all know what fear of the unknown typically creates in your average human being: Hate.
  • Fear of Wilt putting up anywhere between 50-100 points on you;
  • Fear in the fact that if Kareem gets it down low that The Captain will unleash his unstoppable "Sky-Hook";
  • Fear that Bill Russell will dictate the outcome of the game with his tenacity on the boards, his out-worldly defensive prowess and polished offensive game;
  • They feared Michael and tried to break him and then he took that fear and created a persona on and off the court so dynamic that those that feared him either hated him or fell in line;
  • And of course we know the story of Kobe Bryant who at 17 gave his life over to the basketball gods, and was granted an offensive arsenal that hadn't been seen--81 Points. Enough said--but it came with being alienated from teammates who weren't as serious as he was even if they themselves displayed their own superhuman like abilities.



Wilt Chamberlain was so dominant, such a monster at offensive and defensive rebounding that he would purposely miss his free throws, grab the rebound and finish with a monstrous dunk--sometimes all in one motion. They feared and hated that the game was so easy for him. it was considered "unfair”. Wilt was used to this treatment before he entered college, in 1956 the NCAA banned dunking free throws once they heard that a young Chamberlin would use this technique to help him dominate in high school. Although this rule was implemented it didn't stop Wilt from dominating the collegiate and professional games.

http://www.insidesocal.com/lakers/files/2012/11/sky-hook1.jpg



Kareem Abdul Jabbar was so dominant in college that, once again, the NCAA found themselves inventing rules to try and stop this dominant player’s go to move. The Dunk. The NCAA banned dunking in college during the time Kareem played. They would call this the 'Lew Alcindor' rule. This rule was in play from 1967 to 1975 and caused Kareem to add to his already dominant game. But their plans backfired. Kareem invented the 'Sky Hook' -- a finesse move that was just as dominant as his dunking abilities.




Michael Jordan is known for his acrobatic aerial assault, his savage demeanor on the offensive and defensive end, his determination, but above all else he is known for winning. However there are those that feel like he has impacted the game of basketball in a negative way. According to bleacherreport.com correspondent David F. Baer, Michael Jordan killed the game by using his ability to market himself into multi million dollar endorsement deals, movies deals and more. Prior to Michael's first shoe deal his agent David Falk had landed James Worthy one of the largest endorsement deals at the time -- an eight-year $1.2million shoe deal with New Balance. David Falk would then set his sights on taking a young Jordan and turning him into an icon before he won his first championship. Once again the insecurities of rich billionaire owners and sports writers who were envious of athletes and the lives they lead would rear it's ugly head. Jordan was ridiculed for not winning a championship. Until he did. And won not one, not two, not three---but six NBA championships solidifying him as a world icon and arguably the greatest player the game had ever seen. Did he truly ruin the game? Or did he show a league that is majority composed of African American/African players how to market themselves and make money from their own likeness, the way the league makes billions from them?



https://static-ssl.businessinsider.com/image/5527d5116bb3f7d35528a77e-1040-780/stephen-curry-12.jpg

And now, Stephen Curry is charged with the accusation that--he too--is ruining the game. Fox Sport’s Colin Cowherd during a segment called 'Unpopular Opinions' claimed that, "The Golden State Warriors are boring.", and "...basketball was meant to be played with more passing lanes." Huh? Is this guy even watching the Warriors when they play?


In an  article written by Scott Davis of BusinessInsider.com references Cowherd's statements in regards to Stephen Curry "ruining the game."
"Ball movement is beautiful. Magic Johnson was beautiful; he never shot threes. The most beautiful, artistic players that ever played the game weren't gunners." (source:<http://www.businessinsider.com/the-golden-state-warriors-are-not-ruining-basketball-2016-1>)


Where's my tea? Nevermind. I'll just leave this right here for your viewing enjoyment.

 
 

Honestly, I can write a blog on the superb ball movement of the Golden State Warriors and how they use offensive synergy to dominate defensively, effectively blowing teams out of their own gym. Magic Johnson's Los Angeles Lakers didn't just pass the ball, and pass the ball and not score. They were called "Showtime" for a reason. So either Colin Cowherd isn't a fan of Showtime and offensively creative basketball or it's the dreaded old age kicking in. I'd suggest the latter. The fear of what Curry brings to the game is causing hatred and an irrational temptation to tear down his accomplishments. This minimizes the hard work that has propelled Stephen Curry to become NBA's greatest shooter of all time. Here are some statistics based on data provided by Nylon Calculus.



https://espnfivethirtyeight.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/morris-stephcurry-21.png?w=575

What this chart indicates is that among players with more than 200 shots Curry is ranked as the 4th most efficient shooter. However Curry has more than 1,600 shots in that time span while none of the other players listed have half.

He has 371 total points added from shooting efficiency alone, with Korver in second place with 247. Note that this doesn’t include additional value from free throws earned — which would probably make Curry’s advantage even greater (Curry has 416 made free throws in the period, compared to Kyle Korver’s 118). (source:  <http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/stephen-curry-is-the-revolution/>)

Curry is set to shatter his 2014-15 MVP points-per-game averages, stealing and rebounding records. He is also setting highs in shooting efficiency--even though he is shooting at a higher rate per possession than last year below the arch and above. The most remarkable stat is that he is shooting 51% from the middle and left-wing 3-pointer spots--51% is better than most top tier NBA players who do nothing but dunk and take close range shots. Don't believe me? Just watch…

https://espnfivethirtyeight.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/goldsberry-warriors-3.png?w=575

To make matters worse, Stephen Curry isn't just frustrating opposing defenses and putting Hall-of-Fame bound point-guards on ice skates, he is just as frustrating to video game programmers who have specialized in providing gamers a 'real life experience' when playing with your favorite players in the famous 2K franchise.
 
They, just like the whole league, cannot solve the paradox Stephen Curry creates.

"Scoring in the paint and 3-point shooting have historically been the toughest areas to properly balance," Wang told Forbes. "Taking 3s off the dribble are also definitely discouraged in NBA 2K. Especially after over-dribbling beforehand", Mike Wang, NBA 2k16 Director

"For Steph, we need to re-define those rules so that his virtual character is able to make some of the insane plays that he makes in real life on a more regular basis", Mike Wang, NBA 2k16 Director
Bro, if they can't mimic Stephen Curry in virtual reality why can't you appreciate his greatness in real life? Colin Cowherd and other pundits are scared of the future, they're afraid to embrace the change. A major paradigm shift is in order.


A few years ago all AAU players wanted to do was dunk like Blake Griffin, Lebron, T-Mac, and Vince Carter. Although dunking in itself is an art and takes skill to accomplish, let me break down the physics of perfecting a consistent shot from 20 feet or beyond:
  • placing a  ball with a circumference of 29.5 inches into a basketball hoop 10 feet high off the ground with a rim measuring 30 inches of circumference leaving only a half of an inch for the ball to go through the hoop and travel down the net,
  • without hitting the rim. It’s cerebral.
And here’s a scientific explanation:
“...the lowest arc is 33 degrees for even a hope of making a 3-point shot, but with an arc of 45 degrees, a speed of just under 20 miles per hour and two revolutions per second of spin, at 20.9 feet from the basket, the player has the makings of the perfect 3-point shot. While some people say gravity is the only thing affecting the ball once it is in the air, Duda is not so sure… (continued)
In the book The Physics of Basketball, the author, John Fontanella, explains the Magnus effect, the backspin which gives the ball a little bit of lift allowing for the slowest possible speed and a less violent rebound if it hits the backboard or rim and may even allow the ball to go in the net.”


Pop quiz hotshot: Why are Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson considered the 'Splash Brothers'?
    Answer: Because they routinely hit nothing but net.
 
Talent combined with hard work. Really. Really. Real hard work and dedication can maybe get you to the point where you too can become a great shooter.
If players choose to perfect their skill-set, and thereby lengthen the time they can play in the league (putting less stress on their bodies; picking when they want to use athleticism versus when they want to rely on their skill of shooting) I see nothing wrong with that.


If players want to become more cerebral and learn the art of setting solid screens to free up shooters, pick and pops, pick and rolls, back door passes and flaring out to the 3-point line while all of your teammates are rotating like a fine tuned watch, I see nothing wrong with that.


I do see something wrong with pundits disrespecting the game because it is no longer archaic.


I do have a problem with people so disgusted that a team broke the mold and won a championship with a point-guard leading the way without a dominant center.

I do see a problem with ESPN and other sports media ignoring the historical game-changing anomaly that is the Golden State Warriors--especially after they won the 2015 NBA title. How naysayers derisively proclaimed and dismissed them as ‘Paper Champions’, versus admitting that these young, intelligent, talented Golden State Warriors are indeed True Champions of the game. But with records being broken left and right, the disrespect will only be another testimony to the greatness of Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors.











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Just Like Dad


Just Like Dad…
Monday, February 15, 2016
1:53 PM

    Fathers have a very special role in society. We do what must be done in order to make sure those that come after us--go further. Further in success. Further in experiences. Further in life. The job of a successful father is to show strength that endured through pain, loneliness, frustration, and confusion. But ’Great Fathers’ --fight through all these things to -- give the gift of wisdom and knowledge to their children.

     On a personal note, I had a friend tell me he was brought to tears after reuniting with his young son after being away for most of his life. He shared with me this:
"I took my son to the basketball courts and asked him to dribble the ball. He couldn't even get the ball to bounce. I became sad thinking about how my son doesn't even know how to dribble a ball."

 
He then compared his son to mine and admitted that I made it appear as if teaching my son how to do things came easy. I explained,
"No brother, it's not easy. The more you have the desire to teach though, the more they are willing to learn. As they respond to your guidance, the better you become at breaking everything down so your kid can translate it at his/her level--the easier the lessons will come. But there is one main key that MUST be translated no matter what, and that is confidence."

     

 
Coming from a single-parent home that is one thing I know: Father's instill confidence within their children, especially boys. I remember how it felt being the only boy going to basketball tryouts without any fatherly advice, or without a father, or father-like figure to watch me in practice and help me become a coachable player. Those feelings translated into how I played. I played with an uncontrollable fury that made me hard to deal with on and off the court. I noticed that most boys who grew up fatherless--like me--had that fury similarly woven into their mental game. Those that were lucky enough to find a mentor or have one gravitate towards them, were eventually taught how to harvest that emotion and use it to fuel themselves and maintain balance. The ones that didn't? Well, we were more prone to Russell Westbrook-like tantrums when we scored; when we get fouled; when we do well; or when we turn the ball over; and that usually lead to a whole-lotta fights.

 
Champs have confidence.
Champs have poise.

 
And how is it all turning out for Mr. Westbrook? If talking-heads are true, it sounds like the multiple failed attempts of missing the NBA Finals; the horrible shot selection coupled with the need to dominate the ball; and yes, even the whole attitude of Russell Westbrook seems to have worn out its welcome with Kevin Durant and OKC. Passion is great, but uncontrollable passion is a southern California forest fire in the middle of June, after years of drought.

    Too often we overlook important roles fathers have in the lives of our favorite athletes. How many times do you hear, "I wanna thank my momma" even before you hear, "I'd like to thank God"? The job of a great father is often overlooked because humility is often translated along with a litany of other great character traits. You must teach humility because your ego is your enemy and as men we understand that we will do some great things but those things aren't great so that we can boast about them, they're great due to the synergistic principles of leadership. Hardly does the man who finds a way to provide for his family but puts family first ever get the attention he deserves. He, in turn, must teach others how to be great and humble. Rinse. Repeat.

 

When you teach humility, you are choosing to shy away from what we call "glory." Here in America we have been taught to love our Ego--to become one with our Ego--because it perpetuates a mentality within ourselves that we’re independent & super important. Reality check:  we rely on the Ego fluff to feed ourselves; delusions meant to distract, and detour; and be used by those who intend to capitalize on our Ego-addiction.
   

 
        Let's use Michael Jordan as an example. How many men feel pressured to achieve levels of financial stability like that of Michael Jeffrey Jordan? If we're truthful with ourselves, a lot of us feel that heaping pressure to give our families the lives we didn't have--even if we grew up to be exceptional men. Oft times, exceptional skills don’t pay the bills. Money does. And by the time you're 30, what has been ingrained in your head? That if you aren't rolling in cash then you aren't a ‘real’ man. Did money save Michael Jordan's family? How well did it instill moral values into his sons? Or help build in them a work ethic and ingrained integrity into their value-system? Hell, did it even at least translate his other-worldly basketball skills over to his sons? No.


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    If Michael Jordan can boast about ‘Greatness’ then we should be able to measure that. I’ve often wondered if Michael took out time to train his sons with the same passion that propelled him to multiple championships and MVP trophies. I’ve often wondered if his intense competitive nature would allow him to lower his guard and want for him to make his sons greater than he is, or was. I think most people assumed that Michael’s sons would at least make it to the NBA whether that was due to talent or special treatment. You know, sort of like Austin Rivers; the son of Doc Rivers, the coach of the Los Angeles Clippers. But the crazy thing about the Ego is that it takes no prisoners.

On August 13th 2012 Chris Jones an ESPN Senior writer wrote:
-Interrupting his blistering of former coaches, employers and teammates, Jordan turned to his three children (he also shares a daughter with his ex-wife, Juanita) and said: "You guys have a heavy burden. I wouldn't want to be you guys if I had to."

 
That had to give his three children mountain-loads of confidence while they watched their Hall of Fame father tell the world for the 100th time just how much his high school coach (who was in attendance) motivated him to become the greatest basketball player the world has ever seen. He wasn't thanking his former coach, he was doing what Jordan does.

    I am not writing this piece as an indictment on Michael Jordan's parenting/fatherhood. But it is noted that we ironically celebrated the Jordan brand to the point of idol worship which made Michael's myth larger than life, yet his contributions to the game are barely felt. As an owner he has yet to utilize his knowledge and know-how to properly run the Charlotte Hornets.  He has drafted poorly and hasn't been able to secure legitimate free agents willing to resurrect a franchise that gave us Mugsy Bogues, Alonzo Mourning and many memories. I wanted to contrast the contributions of men who also had great NBA careers while keeping their family intact and instilling great morals, values and work ethic within their sons.
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                   Mychal Thompson the father of Klay Thompson (who plays shooting guard for the NBA champion Golden State Warriors) is a former NBA Champion himself. Mychal Thompson who played 12 seasons in the NBA helped to lead the "Showtime" Los Angeles Lakers to two NBA Championships and along the way did an excellent job as a father; he has three sons: Mychel Thompson-who played briefly for the Cleveland Cavaliers after leaving Pepperdine University; and Trayce Thompson-who played for the Chicago White Sox and is now suiting up for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is expected to contribute greatly. Even though Mychal Thompson has every reason to be a proud father, he manages to keep his sons level-headed, something I imagine is hard to do having grown-up in the professional sports world. Being married to the same woman without infidelity taking place is unheard of within the professional sports world. Heck, they even made a show based off of all the side chicks that NBA players  have dealt with and had the nerve to call it ‘Basketball Wives’. I'm guessing that the pun was intended because they sure do bounce from one player’s hands to the next. In an ever-evolving, ego centric society, Klay Thompson is regularly tempted especially having reached the level of Star/Budding Superstar.

With all of that pressure and temptation what is a father to do? He helps his sons the best way he knows how through faith, and the desire to share his knowledge with his sons.

“Don't find your next girlfriend in a nightclub.”
“Playing defense will set you apart.”
“Being late to anything is unacceptable.”
His advice can be relentless, his criticism blunt. "But," Mychal Thompson asked, within earshot of the boys, "how often am I right?"
"I'd say 99.9 percent of the time," said Mychel, who spent last season in the NBA Development League after a year with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"Yeah," Klay chimed in without looking up from his phone. "I'd go with that."

After watching the Jordan era and being personally disgusted on how the world translated a great player’s basketball game into being a great person, I grew up through the Kobe era and a few things became certain: the NBA loved to make money marketing player’s persona, trials, and tribulations; and, too many times your Tim Duncans’, David Robinsons’, and Kevin Johnsons’ of the world were overlooked because they weren’t considered 'flashy'. To watch these new group of players with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson leading the way it appears as though the landscape of the NBA is changing. Too many times people used NBA players to further the stereotype about black males: that all we are into is Sports. Women. And Money.

    Stephen Curry isn't just breaking records he is breaking the mold of your typical NBA superstar. He's underpaid and when you begin to look at who makes more basketball money than him, I think it’s insulting. There are 11 point guards out-earning Stephen Curry, it’s quite pathetic so I only listed six.

 
  1. Eric Bledsoe (not an all-star)
  2. Ty Lawson (not an all-star)
  3. Deron Williams
  4. Rajon Rondo
  5. Kemba Walker
  6. Ricky Rubio

All these players have something in common: they are floor generals who haven't led their team to anything besides playoff failures and blunders (Rajon won a chip, a long time ago…in a galaxy far, far away). Along with this meager contract in terms of contracts within the NBA, Stephen Curry also has a shoe deal with what was a relatively unknown and unpopular (although that is changing, thanks to Curry) athletic shoe company called Under Armor©. Under Armor© outbid Nike© who approached Stephen Curry with a shoe deal worth $2.5 million, so Curry opted for the $4 million Under Armor© offered. Under Armor© took a gamble on Stephen Curry who was once considered to be injury prone after he suffered multiple ankle injuries that required surgery. And in, turn it sounds like Stephen Curry will reward Under Armor© with their very own superstar to kick off their fairly new company, let Curry tell it and he isn't going anywhere.
 
"Under Armor© has felt like family since day one," Curry said in a statement. "In the first two years of our partnership, we accomplished so much--both on and off the court, and I'm looking forward to being part of the brand's story for the rest of my playing career and beyond."
-Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors


    How ironic that a company which started with humble beginnings bagged the first humble superstar/MVP that the game has ever seen. So many people chime in on Curry's game on the court but he's equally as brilliant at fatherhood. His father and mother both share joy in his upbringing often using bible verses that relate to keeping your faith and believing in all things possible so it's no wonder Steph has rewarded those that had faith in him with his loyalty.
 
     Ayesha Curry, the wife of Stephan Curry, carries herself so well that she brings women who aren't interested in morals and ethics to shame. She has her own cooking show, is a great mother and feels no need to use her husband’s fame to take away from the momentum the two of them are building--through working together. Stephen Curry's daughter, Riley Curry, is equally impressive as the rest of the Curry's, boasting a great personality with a smile that lights up any room her father is in quicker than the flash on each photographer’s camera. Amidst the haters who tried to shame Curry for allowing his daughter to share the spotlight with him is the overwhelming support from people who are tired of seeing our African American athletes catch a bad rap for being framed as absentee fathers and full of machismo.
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I like where this is going and you should too. The error of hype-moguls creating unrealistic images of our athletes is over.  A new era is emerging, with more availability and access to people who were once deemed 'idols',  we learn that once you take the idol worship away and see that they are people who work hard at what they do---that’s what makes the great ones extraordinary. These guys know how to balance what's most important with what pays the bills. They keep their family included throughout the process rather than opting to alienate them and push them away. This is passed down from their fathers who approached their careers the same way.

I'm a big believer that our parents should be whom we look up to, not athletes or celebrities. However, the truth is that there are a lot of parents that leave the job as role models to athletes who have never built a relationship with their children at all. It's nice to know that if parents are making that mistake, they now have athletes that care about family more than they care about a child's game.


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