• Brett Favre soon to earn acknowledgment for Hall of Fame career

    This summer, Brett Favre will be inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.

    Some of you may know Favre as the old guy on the Wranglers commercial holding a football for no reason. Or you may know him as the Jets quarterback for one season. Or you may even know him as the Minnesota Vikings quarterback, who was the targeted player by the New Orleans Saints “Bounty Boys.”

    But to the NFL, Favre is the legendary Packers quarterback that led the team for 16 years, the quarterback with two NFC titles, 11 Prop Bowl appearances, three NFL MVP titles, and a Super Bowl win. 

    But there's more. 

    Favre collected nearly 72,000 career-passing yards, 508 career touchdowns and a career passer rating of 86.

    Yes, he is the guy who retired twice, but that should not be his legacy. Maybe that is what we remember because it is what happened recently, but there is so much more to Favre.

    Not only will we remember Favre for the way John Madden said his name, but also for the legend he was. For those 16 seasons on the Packers, he played in every single regular season game except for one game in his first season.

    Prior to Favre’s arrival in Green Bay in 1992, the Packers achieved relatively little on field success for about 24 years after the departure of Vince Lombardi. Favre led where needed and took the team back to prominence. The Packers team seen today is because of Favre.

    So next time you see a Wranglers commercial, I hope you notice the legend in the yard wearing jeans and throwing a football. Salute Brett Favre in your best John Madden voice.

  • All-Star Weekend predictions

    Fans of the NBA All-Star Weekend festivities can breathe a sigh of relief. The NBA has changed the format again from last year’s team concept for All-Star Weekend. Last year’s team concept did not bode well with the fans so they are modifying it once again. So hopefully we will get a more entertaining All-Star Weekend.

     

    Lets start from the top: the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge. This year’s new format still features players in their first two years in the league. But it separates the top players by USA and World rosters. The World roster is featured by Andrew Wiggins (Canada) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece), while the USA roster has Victor Oladipo and Michael-Carter Williams leading the way. The World Roster is filled with big men such as Steven Adams and Rudy Gobert that could give USA some trouble in the paint. However the guard play of USA is far superior than the World team’s, so I’ll give the slight edge to USA. 

    Team USA wins this and Oladipo is crowned MVP. 

     

    Next up, the Degree Shooting Stars Challenge. This one is quite simple, it comes down to who can knock down that half court shot fastest. Chris Bosh’s team is the defending champ but I think he loses that title this time around.

    I’m taking team Westbrook which includes Russell Westbrook, Penny Hardaway, and Tamika Catchings to win this competition. 

     

    Now the fun starts. The Taco Bell Skills Challenge features quick and speedy guards from across the league and showcases their skills in an obstacle course. The format has players going head to head in a bracket style tournament. Another change has the obstacle course ending in a three pointer. That is a big game changer as it eliminates some players right away.

    Give me Jeff Teague in this event. He may not be the quickest of the bunch, I’ll give that to John Wall, but he will be able to make the passes and finish the three pointer rather quickly. 

     

    Probably the most anticipated event of the entire weekend is this year’s Foot Locker Three-Point Contest. Participants include the Splash Brothers, Wes Matthews, JJ Redick, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Mr. Automatic Kyle Korver (we need to get him a nickname), and defending champ Marco Belinelli. The field is said to be the greatest of all-time by many. It includes the top five players in three pointers made so far in the season. So picking this apart will be difficult, because how do you separate the best of the best? Well I’ll go with the process of elimination and say Belinelli won’t repeat and Wesley Matthews doesn’t seem like he can hang with the big names. Plus I don’t like the idea of him going first. As for Curry, arguably the best shooter in the game, I don’t think his game translates to the three point contest so he’s out. Harden and Irving face the same problem.  They aren’t much of spot up shooters, they create their own three point shots. JJ Redick is my dark horse pick, because honestly if he didn’t shoot so well he wouldn’t be in the league right now. Which leaves Klay Thompson, who has my favorite shooting stroke in the league, and Mr. Automatic himself. Both are great spot up shooters and both can light it up on any given night. 

    Its a toss up between these two but I’ll give the nod to Thompson winning it all. Its hard to bet against a dude that dropped 37 points in one quarter. 

     

    To wrap up the Saturday night events comes the Sprite Slam Dunk contest. It is usually my favorite event to watch however in recent year’s it has been a disappointment to say the least. Again this year we are stuck with no big name players. However one of my favorite players to watch, Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo is pretty intriguing but I think his frame and size prevents him from doing a dunk appealing in a contest. Having said that, if there was a contest for posterizing players, he’d be at the top of my list. Mason Plumlee has the same problem, I don’t like the idea of having a big 7-footer in the dunk contest. We don’t care about how powerful of a dunker you are, its about finesse and don’t tell me Plumlee has finesse. 

    I’ve seen Oladipo throw it down plenty during games and he has the creativity but the rookie Zach Lavine is my pick to win it. And if you have any doubts, just search Zach Lavine’s highlights on youtube, you won’t be disappointed. The kid can fly. 

     

    Last but not least, the All Star game itself. Its a fifty fifty bet on who wins since it’s the best of the best, and honestly it doesn’t really matter who wins. 

    But I just like the Western Conference roster a bit more

    And the fact that overall, the West is so much better than the East tells me the West will win. And I’ll go ahead and appoint Anthony Davis as the MVP. I think he will get plenty of easy dunks early on, snatch a good deal of rebounds, and block quite a bit of shots. And yes, I believe this is foreshadowing for Anthony Davis. He has plenty of MVP’s coming his way soon. The dude will be the dominant force in the NBA within 2 years. 

  • Clippers in trouble?

    As we pass the halfway mark, teams are starting to cement themselves as contenders or pretenders barring any unforeseen injuries. Well unfortunately for the Clippers, that injury just happened. All-Star power forward Blake Griffin will require surgery on his right elbow due to a staph infection. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks of action. 

    When asked on the extent of the injury, head coach Doc Rivers said he hoped to have Griffin back in about ten days. However he admitted he knows that is a stretch and it is more likely to take Griffin about a month to come back from the surgery. Now Rivers and company are forced to replace Griffin’s productivity to stay in the hunt for the playoffs. 

    In the offseason the Clippers signed big man Spencer Hawes with hopes he would be the perfect big man to compliment Griffin and Deandre Jordan. He has been a disappointment to say the least. Hawes looks lost at times on the court and is still finding his rhythm with his teammates. But now he won’t have much time to get adjusted, as he will slide into the starting lineup in place of Blake Griffin. 

    Honestly, the biggest issue is staying in contention of the playoff race. Currently, the Clippers have a 5 ½  game lead over the Pelicans who sit ninth in the West. However, Oklahoma City is also creeping up to contend for that eighth and final playoff spot. I’m not suggesting the Clippers are in jeopardy of missing the playoffs, but if Griffin is out for about a month, the race will definitely tighten up for the final month of the regular season.

    The Clippers face their toughest stretch of the schedule in the next few weeks, which is the exact amount Griffin is expected to miss. Let’s say he misses a month, in that time frame the Clippers play the Rockets twice, the Grizzlies twice, Spurs, Mavs, Blazers, and Warriors all once. That is an insane stretch for a team that will be playing without arguably their most important player. 

    And to make matters worse, the Pelicans have been making a push lately. Anthony Davis as MVP is gaining more and more traction as his team continues to fight for playoff contention. And quietly Tyreke Evans is posting gaudy numbers lately. The Thunder are also right there fighting for that eighth spot. The Thunder are desperately awaiting the All-Star break so they can get Durant fully healthy and make their run to grab that eighth spot. 

    So, yes the Clippers should feel a bit pressured. They are one small collapse away from losing their footing in the playoff race.

  • NBA midseason predictions

    The NBA season has lived up to all the preseason hype that surrounded it.

    Midway through the season, we have seen a triple overtime game, Klay Thompson break the NBA record for points in a quarter with 37, and so far the top three teams in each conference have never won a title, which could be a compelling story come playoff time. But with the season halfway done, lets look at some predictations: 

    Eastern Conference

    Before the season started, the biggest prediction fans had was that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls would clash in the Eastern Conference Finals. Fans and even analysts knew better than to say the Wizards or the Hawks (yes the Atlanta Hawks) would be the top two seeds in the conference come All Star break. So what is happening in the East?

    Well, Cleveland struggled out of the gate. But to be fair, it isn’t easy starting the season with a rookie head coach, a reloaded roster, and the abundance of expectations the team faced. However, now that Lebron is healthy and J.R. Smith and Mozgov seem to have found their place on the team, the Cavs have won seven straight. Still in my opinion, they can’t win with this current roster. A big part of their problem is that Kevin Love doesn't fit in their roster. He seems misused and even lost at certain times.

    On the other side, Chicago can’t seem to avoid the injury bug, but thankfully Derrick Rose is slowly looking to be back to normal. This season Noah, McDermott, and Dunleavy have continuously missed games due to injury.

    However, if the Bulls can get healthy, they are still my favorite to win the East. They have a point guard in Rose that has veteran experience and they have the biggest frontline in the NBA in Noah along with a rejuvenated Gasol and a high energy Taj Gibson. With rookie Nikola Mirotic finding his groove in the rotation and Jimmy Butler a clear cut favorite for most improved player, this team can be dangerous come playoff time.

    But wait, I almost forgot the top three teams in the conference. Atlanta has been a great storyline thus far. No superstar on the roster, and yet they are currently on top of the East riding a 17 game win streak. Sorry to break your hearts Hawks fans, but I don’t see this team representing the East in the Finals. Simply put, they don’t have a go to player. We haven’t seen a team without a superstar win since the Pistons did it in 2004. Next the Wizards. Again, this team has the pieces to be a contender in the next few years. They’re just too young right now. But the backcourt of Wall and Beal will continue to be one of the dominant duos in the NBA. As for the Raptors, there is just no big men on that team that can bang with the Hawks or Bulls come playoff time. So have fun during the regular season, because come playoff time your team will come just a bit short.

    Western Conference

    Lets just start off by saying the Oklahoma City Thunder sit at 10th in the Western and two games out of the 8th and final spot. That right there should tell you how crazy the West has been this year. Quite frankly, a three-game losing streak can drop you from third place to 7th place very easily. So how can I possibly distinguish who are actually contenders and who are just not there yet.

    Well I’m going to start off by saying, the defending champ Spurs will be just fine. Kawhi Leonard is back and slowly they are finding their groove. And nobody is better than resting their players during the regular season to keep fresh during the playoffs than Gregg Popovich.

    Next, the Golden State Warriors have been arguably the most impressive team this year. Stephen Curry is the leading candidate for MVP and Klay Thompson is cementing himself as a true star in this league. Not to mention, Steve Kerr has these guys playing stifling defense. Draymond Green has played himself into consideration for a max contract this offseason. Plus, having home court advantage throughout the playoffs can be huge for a Warriors team that is 21-2 at home.

    Sitting at second is my pick to win it all. And here’s why. The Memphis Grizzlies might be the most balanced team in the NBA. They have the strongest frontcourt duo in the NBA with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Mike Conley is having a career year. With the addition of Jeff Green, they got a versatile player who can defend multiple positions and knows how to put the ball in the basket.  They have the league’s third best defense in points allowed. If they can acquire one more solid bench player near the deadline, they will be the team to beat come playoff time. Moving along, Portland unfortunately had its chances cut short when Lamarcus Aldridge injured his thumb which requires surgery. Even with him delaying surgery, there’s no telling how much his game will be altered while playing through pain.

    Now the next few teams in the West, Clippers, Rockets, Mavericks, all have one flaw that scares me. They rely on the jump shot, way too much. Yes, Harden is playing at an MVP caliber but where has his “Robin” Dwight Howard been? Harden can’t and won’t do it alone. For the Clippers its simple, there’s no depth. The addition of Austin Rivers seems a bit bizarre with a team that needs much more help. And for the Mavericks, Rajon Rondo hasn’t been the missing piece. Actually he’s been the opposite. They are now 11-9 since acquiring him. Yeah that sure was a “blockbuster” trade, Cuban.

    So in my prediction, we will be seeing the Memphis Grizzlies versus the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals this season. And the ultimate winner? The Grizzlies. Even after saying all that, what do I know? Except that there is plenty more basketball to be played, and so many more factors that can alter the playoff picture. But for now, this Memphis team looks poised to make a deep run.
     

  • Four-star QB Kai Locksley flips commitment to Texas

    Four-star athlete and dual-threat quarterback Kai Locksley officially chose the Longhorns Monday night after previously committing to Florida State in July.

    “OFFICIALLY COMMITTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS!! #HookEm,” Locksley tweeted, including a picture of himself photo-shopped into a Texas uniform and a note thanking his recruiters.

    Locksley is the 23rd ranked athlete prospect, according to 247sports. Though, he is expected to compete at quarterback when he arrives in Austin, the 6-foot-3 prospect from Maryland can also play wide receiver as he did at the Under Armour All-America Game.

    With four-star quarterback Zach Gentry’s latest de-commitment from the Longhorns, Locksley joins three-star quarterback Matthew Merrick as the only quarterbacks in Texas’ 2015 class, however Merrick will not join the team this summer. Locksley fills a big need with Texas’ quarterback situation in question, and his commitment will be key in producing the best possible quarterback competition this fall.

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