Rambling Thought: Dating, Sports, Celebs, and Culture

 

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By: Opinionated MJ

Well, we are in the midst of a scandal between D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young where D’Angelo basically exposes Nick Young for infidelity. Nick Young is engaged to Iggy Azalea and you would like to believe that with the smile they share together in photos, everything is peaches and cream on their end. Maybe not any more. I’d like to first say that I’m grown enough to know that if I’m going to want to be promiscuous then I would simply be single. I want to follow that up by saying that I’d also be pissed, just as a man, if I were in Nick Young’s shoes. Yes, there is guy code. I’ve been violated against many times when it comes to the “guy code” in my lifetime, not that I’m the story here though. Most men don’t follow it if they have motives and intentions anyway but the way this situation happened just happens to be actually awkward. The whole video thing, especially with snapchat, I don’t have snapchat so I don’t have an actual knowing or opinion as to how it works. I do have friends that have it and I was under the belief that you could share it directly with particular people privately. So I’ll question this just as others have, “who did he send it to that wanted money from him?” Apparently they wanted a payday, so they violated his trust, which in turn put him in violation with Nick Young, which violated Iggy Azalea. Domino!

 

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I think that across sports we’ve seen codes broken everywhere, nearly every year. I’m sure it’s every year. I just heard something on the radio within the last month about some football players where a player’s teammate was dating his ex-wife/girlfriend. I forget exactly what she was prior but this exists everywhere. Guy code is if I’m your friend, co-worker, teammate, etc., then your woman is supposed to be off limits. Period. Even if she comes to my house sporting nothing but a trench coat, it’s still a resounding, NO! OFF LIMITS! We’ve had this happen with Tony Parker didn’t we? Currently we have some news buzzing about Kyrie Irving. He’s saying that he wasn’t dating Kehlani when she was shown in a picture with PARTYNEXTDOOR via Instagram. Thanks internet. Everyone is a part of the real live, real time Truman Show. Everything you do is watched and calculated and broken down by people who don’t even know you, or worse, media. All the media wants to do is get viewers, watchers, and money so they follow any story they can without a regard for the actual effect on people. Allegedly, Kehlani attempted suicide after the picture was posted. Then she finally spoke and Kyrie just spoke on the matter today as well. The thing we’re forgetting as human beings while we’re holding our favorite athletes and musicians, actors, and celebrities, is that they all have lives and emotions as well. Action, reaction. Why not live and let live?

 

Matt Barnes Charity Event Hosted by Maserati of Manhattan
(L – R) Matt Barnes, Gloria Govan and Derek Fisher attend the Matt Barnes Foundation Charity event hosted by Maserati of Manhattan by Maserati of Manhattan, December 11, 2010, Masrati of Manhattan, New York City.(Photos by Bennett Raglin)

This lastly brings me to the Derek Fisher and Matt Barnes story. Derek Fisher has been with Matt Barnes ex at Matt Barnes house where Matt Barnes children lay their heads and where I’m certain that Matt pays the bills. No one cares about any details except that there was a fight and the continued display of hate and anger that Matt Barnes continues to spew out towards Derek and about this situation altogether. I guess we forgot how to respect people’s property, wait, we’re down with other people’s property. Your ex girl, at your house! I get a W for that! We’ve been birthed into a culture where infidelity, sleeping with each other’s wives and girlfriends, and just finding a way to one up another is accepted and seen as a good mark on someone’s reputation. I don’t mean to get biblical but thou shall not covet. I don’t judge, I won’t judge. Women are the same as well in many instances. I’ve heard about what’s going on with the Hip Hop Wives or it may be the Basketball Wives where the one woman is being adulterous with a married man and refusing to stop her pregnancy out of spite. Then that would lead to a topic of pro-life. That just leads me to the end of this article. Let’s focus on respecting one another and being mindful of trespassing. We have enough broken homes, especially in the black community. I’m not a preacher, nor a speaker, I’m just a sports fan with an opinionated mind.

 

I’ll leave you with a positive image of relationships, dating, families and something our culture no longer values!

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MESSAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Steph Pressured, Uncomfortable, Reeling, Slipping?

NBA: Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs
Mar 19, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) passes over San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (14) at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

 

By: Opinionated MJ

NO! It’s only one game. We already forgot the Spurs suffered a 30-point loss too, I see. With a win against the Golden State Warriors, albeit shorthanded due to injury (excuses everyone says), we believe the Spurs are now a legitimate threat to the Warriors? They are, but the game Saturday night did not make me believe that they will be able to sustain that type of performance over a 7 game series. Not against a fully healthy Warriors team. No.

The Warriors have another dynamic they could run with Andre Iguodala on the floor. He can push the ball, has been shooting well, can cut and slash to the hole and can make big shots when they need it most in order to relieve pressure on the others. He’s also capable of defending 4 positions on the floor and even the center position if something happened where it was LeBron or Kevin Love playing that position in a finals rematch of sorts. Although, for the third time, I don’t see Cleveland making the finals anyway. Iggy can help contain or at least attempt to contain Kawhi Leonard. He can definitely put the brakes on Danny Green and Manu Ginobli. I also think he may be able to do a better job guarding the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge. Let me not continue on this point like that’s what I expect him to do. He’s just a major piece is all I’m trying to state here. He’s the 2015 Finals MVP. Simple.

I see a weakness Saturday, a blatant weakness. The Warriors had nearly NO INTERIOR GAME AT ALL! Well, there’s a reason for that. No Andrew Bogut, no Festus Ezeli, and that meant NO INTERIOR DEFENSE! Draymond Green is good but he can’t defend LaMarcus Aldridge or Tim Duncan. I won’t forget some of the things Duncan did to DeAndre Jordan in last year’s playoffs. Vintage Old Man Riverwalk. They’ll not be another like him.

These teams currently sit at 1-1 against one another and have 2 games remaining that are sure to be entertaining unless both teams are resting by this time. What if Golden State doesn’t lose another game leading up the April 7th game against San Antonio in order to clinch 72 wins? This makes this game beyond must see! This would probably be the most watched game along with the next if the Warriors win this game. The next game would be win #73 if they could streak. It’s no guarantee but they’ll regain a few pieces along the way towards trying to achieve their goal.

I think the Spurs are the ONLY team that can do anything to this Warriors team. No one in the east can hold a candle to them. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook tried and tried in this regular season but haven’t managed to get a win. LeBron didn’t manage to pull out any win either. I’ve seen no guard do anything to Stephen Curry offensively demeaning except Damian Lillard, and that list includes Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, James Harden & Patrick Beverly, Mike Conley and everyone else who was injured last year or just in competition with Steph. All the NBA haters have turned their hate into respect since Steph has been explosive this year. I wonder who the players will vote as MVP this year at their own little award show this time.

The NBA Championship this year only can be obtained by 5 teams, at least from my perspective. The Warriors, Spurs, Thunder, Cavs, and Heat are the contenders. Well let’s say 6, I’ll throw the Raptors in there for good measure since they’re making a lot of noise and they are a matchup problem as long as Lowry and Derozan play well. They have a lot of good pieces surrounding them which make them a threat to make the Finals also. Although still, this is Steph and the Warriors championship to lose, if fully healthy. Congrats to the Spurs on a big win. I’m looking forward to the next two games between these two.

Far Fetched? LeBron, Melo, Kyrie, Dwight in Cavs Uniforms Next Season

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By: Opinionated MJ (Michael Tolliver)

Oh he’s so stupid! This would never happen! Wait, this could become a reality. I know Stephen A. Smith and others have actual sources and agents and personal relationships, true. I’m just a lifelong NBA fan with a passion for the game. I love this game! I’ve been watching these players, these storylines, and I’ve come to this imaginative idea! The prerequisite though is Cleveland not making it to the NBA Finals. I don’t think they actually will. So why not Extend some careers and give a champion LeBron James some players with hunger and individuality enough to be able to flourish with him at the head of the group? Yes! LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kyrie Irving, and Dwight Howard all teaming up to chase after an NBA Championship, IN THE LAND!

It can’t be too far out of reach with the cap growing, with Kevin Love’s huge contract and with Tristan Thompson’s huge contract. It’s setup to actually happen. We all know the story that’s developing with Carmelo Anthony. Rumors are swirling that he might actually waive his trade clause and move on from NY. Kevin Love could be the piece to go back to NY in this deal and Love’s contract would actually help this become much more of a reality. I believe Cleveland may also want to move Shumpert, maybe not back to NY but maybe in a separate deal to free up more cap space. This move would make it where LeBron doesn’t have to worry about taking big shots from outside so much or at least free him up in those areas with a true floor stretcher being there in Carmelo Anthony. I trust Carmelo more to score in a LeBron system than I do Kevin Love. Kevin Love needs to be at least a second option to be effective. I make this deal quickly!

Dwight Howard could come to the Cavs straight from free agency or with a sign and trade deal that sends Tristan Thompson to the Rockets. I’d honestly try to keep Tristan if I were to acquire Dwight though. That could be a really formidable defensive and rebounding duo if they mesh well together. I’d also make sure that Timofey Mozgov is my backup. The depth they could instantly possess would be nicer than it is now depending on how the rest of the team takes shape. I’m sure either JR Smith or Shumpert would be sacrificed in one of the deals. Looking for roster stability, I may get rid of JR Smith but that may hamper their shooting ability a bit. They should look to acquire a defender at the shooting guard position that can also stretch the floor and occasionally create his own shot.

This NBA offseason is sure to be a crazy one, especially if the Warriors repeat. I don’t think the NBA is ready to wrap their heads around that reality and we will see some major moves made in order for someone to be able to honestly compete against the Warriors. Someone has to have the will and potential to be blessed with a chance to actually win. What makes things worse is the potential for the Warriors to land Kevin Durant in free agency. I would keep the team the way it is right now, though, and add another role player or 2 and continue forward. This team needs to maintain its pecking order to continue to be successful.

Golden State has a team that can compete at a high level, as constructed, for another 2-4 years without making any major changes. I’ve seen Steph Curry cross LeBron, KD, Westbrook, Chris Paul, and others. This leads me to believe that he is currently unguardable. I also believe that Golden State is not playing their best ball currently. Yes, the 59-6 Warriors are NOT playing their best ball. They haven’t fully stepped into their individual potential as a TEAM. Barnes hasn’t fully shown his current potential, Iggy hasn’t either, nor has Bogut. This team is designed to mix and match with any team in the league on any given night and at any given time. Whoever can defeat this team is blessed. So unseating them may take something like this to happen. Surround LeBron, Melo and company with shooters and defenders and watch them make some magic happen.

Lineup 1-5:

 

  1. Kyrie (Scorer, although he needs to pass more and improve on defense)
  2. JR/Shumpert/Anonymous (honestly doesn’t matter as long as they can produce)
  3. LeBron (back to his “natural” position and best position to facilitate and attack from)
  4. Melo (stretch 4)
  5. Dwight (Rim protector)

 

That could be a nightmare for anyone especially if LeBron still distributes the ball to everyone in a half Rondo-like fashion. This means he will basically have different guns to play with at all times and be able to explode himself. You can’t double team any one man without the other having an advantage, period! I also think bringing in two players who are truly hungry to win a championship would make them buy in immediately and turn the Cavs into a clear favorite not only in the east but in the entire league. The only problem that would remain is guarding the Splash Brothers. LeBron, I’d make this one happen for The Land if you want to bring a championship to Ohio. This might be the only way. The only thing better is to land Kevin Durant in place of Melo. What are the chances of that happening? Then maybe Westbrook for Kyrie the next season? Let’s stick with this story first. Kevin Garnett said it best, “ANTHING IS POSSIBLE!” Your move LeBron!

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Real Quick: Damian Lillard (the New Iverson?)

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Philadelphia 76ers
Jan 16, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots a foul shot against the Philadelphia 76ers during the first half at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

 

By: Opinionated MJ (Michael Tolliver)

Before we go into sniping me and leaving me to die on the curb with my thoughts and opinions, let me tell you why I believe this to be somewhat true. I’ll give you clarity first. I don’t mean he’s the new Iverson by hairstyle, dress style, in speech, in the way he approaches the media, teammates or his coaches. No. What I mean is that he is driven to lead his team to the promised land one way or another and he is determined to fight through all the doubts thrown his way.

I’ve been watching his story develop over the last couple years from a distance. It’s come full circle now with him carrying his team. He’s lost LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews, and Aaron Afflalo and Robin Lopez and somehow he has still kept the Trailblazers in the playoff picture and his team inspired enough to compete against the best teams in the game. He’s wrongfully compared to Stephen Curry, he’s wrongfully snubbed when it comes to the All-Star games and to Team USA Basketball. He’s basically seen as 3rd tier. Let’s be honest. I think he’s had a better year than James Harden. I think he’s had an MVP-type season for the hand he’s been dealt and the success he’s mined along the way.

Damian Lillard is like Iverson cause where people say that he won’t succeed, he does. Where people think he’ll come up short, he’ll exceed expectations. I guess they both rap, right? LOL! But Damian Lillard has an opportunity to begin crafting a legacy. If he can push this team deep into the 2nd round, he should be applauded. If he can’t get them out of the first round, he should be regarded as a good NBA player with a “don’t quit” mentality. A player with heart. The first player I’ve seen since Iverson to actually go against the grain. He puts in the work to improve and to ultimately prove people wrong. Fighting through adversity instead of letting it swallow him and make him a shell of who he is potentially supposed to be. They said he couldn’t play defense, he’s improved. They said he couldn’t facilitate, he’s improved. They said he wouldn’t be able to keep his team above .500, he’s done that. They said he couldn’t closeout, he does. They said he couldn’t explode, he has! I believe in him too much to throw the “he won’t win a championship” stone. I believe he will. I’m a fan that respects his struggle and rise because I can relate to having to overcome something and being surrounded by people who believe that you can’t rise to the occasion.

He’s not even comparable to Iverson, so let’s bury that though altogether. I think he will be better than Iverson. I think his career will flourish and he will reap more success than Iverson. As long as he stays focused on improving his game and making sure that he doesn’t fall into the pit that is the media, and scrutiny, Lillard will continue to shock the world.

 

Wanna Bet? Cavs WILL NOT Make the Finals This Year…

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By: Opinionated MJ

 

Yeah I said it. The Cleveland Cavaliers WILL NOT make it to this years NBA Finals. I don’t see it right now. Of course, I’m human, I could be wrong but I’m believing what I’m seeing right now from their team and that isn’t much. My thoughts all stem from their behavior with the media and from their leader, LeBron James. It isn’t the behaviors of a contending team. This team is doomed to fail unless they hit a hot streak over the last 15 games of the season and win their last 13 of 15 games on the way to the playoffs. Even if that happens, there is still a level of trust and chemistry that has to be built in order to be able to execute precise plans on teams in the playoffs where every game becomes a chess match.

There’s not enough time to fix this and I’ve been watching some of the Cavs games this season and I must admit that I don’t “feel” their presence when they play other teams. Last year they were very imposing when I watched them play other teams. This season, those same teams have certainly grown and aren’t scared of LeBron or playing like they believe the Cavs are the superior team. It’s not going to take much to knock Cleveland off in my honest opinion but there’s still dealing with LeBron James at the head of this monster. HE can operate WITHOUT Kevin Love & Kyrie Irving. I’ll talk about that in another post. Right now, I’ll speak in respect to what I think could get Cleveland back. Sorry Coach Lue, but here’s my plan.

  • Make LeBron the primary PG (not point-forward) and put Kyrie at the 2, ASAP! Let LeBron set the pace and let Kyrie be a somewhat 1st option scoring.
  • Have Kevin Love as a facilitator/scorer type like Pau Gasol was on the Lakers. Place him at the elbows like they planned but let the offense RUN THROUGH HIM! This puts him in position to move into post position and kick to a slashing LeBron or Kyrie, drop in to Mozgov/Thompson, or pass to one of those old shooters they’ve got sitting around on their bench. This would also allow Kevin to work with the bench unit. He’d help them succeed often.
  • Play LeBron off the ball more to begin sets because he’s a bigger threat off the ball. He can bring it up the floor and look for a quick score or get it to Kevin. I just think of how the Spurs play him when he’s handling the ball. When the playoffs come around, he’ll see more teams honing in on him to try to destroy anything the Cavs can do.
  • Make Kyrie pass the ball more times than not OR make him run with the second unit more often. Again, LeBron can run this team alone.

The Cavs are more defensive without Kevin & Kyrie. I highly doubt they would’ve held a slower burning candle to the Warriors in the playoffs with those two on the floor. Maybe the focus of last year and momentum would’ve upheld them and forced a game 7, but we still would’ve had the same outcome. I think there are a few REAL threats and a few darkhorse threats to the Cavs in the postseason. ALL of 2-8 is a threat. The REAL threats are the Heat, Raptors and Celtics. The darkhorse threats are Chicago, Detroit, Indiana, and Charlotte. I won’t put Atlanta in this conversation cause they have yet to honestly be a true threat without having a defensive wing like Demarre Carroll there any longer, he’s a Raptor now. I’ll keep this short, if the playoffs started today, the Cavs would be bounced in round 2 by the Heat. Yeah, I said that too!

20+ Games Left To Go As The NBA March Madness Continues

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By: Opinionated MJ

What a season thus far that we’re having! April is just around the corner. We’ve watched the steady Knicks fall hard from being a .500 team, we’re currently watching the Cavs implode as far as trust is concerned, we seen the Heat improve by adding Joe Johnson into the fold, we’ve also seen the dynamic duo of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant lose big games against the Warriors and Clippers. My Detroit Pistons seem to get better one piece at a time, the Bulls have fallen out of the playoff picture (as of this moment at least) and we have no idea what to make of any other team besides the Warriors & Spurs when it comes to actually being true contenders for the championship.

I’ll go in order, firstly, the Knicks. Derek Fisher gets fired midway during a skid although he helped get the Knicks off to a good start. I think it’s time for this team to start thinking “Porzingis” instead of “Melo & Porzingis” and build this team around the rookie going forward. Allow Melo to go wherever he wants as long as they can get some decent players in return and hopefully some picks, even if they’re second round picks. They need youth going forward to continue their rebuild. They should’ve never given away Tim Hardaway Jr. I think he would’ve served as an important piece going forward. They also need to go all out and hire Tom Thibodeau before the Lakers do.

Now on to the Cavaliers. LeBron James… He’s praising Stephen Curry, he’s in Miami, he’s sending out tweets, he’s doing everything to keep the media full of things to talk about and, if true, he’s continuing to give his teammates reason to believe he doesn’t trust them. He didn’t trust them enough in the finals after game 3, and he doesn’t trust them now even with them at full strength. He has Kyrie and Kevin at his disposal and has still lost to the NBA’s top teams and a few teams they probably didn’t expect to lose to, including my Detroit Pistons. Yeah, had to toss that in! LeBron just needs to either leave Cleveland again or try to get Kyrie AND Kevin shipped out of town and somehow turn that into Kevin Durant or Carmelo Anthony and a true point guard (Mike Conley anyone?) and either more minutes for Mozgov or a more serviceable big man that they’ll actually feed. I’m also not sold on Coach Lue either.

Surprisingly since they’ve acquired Joe Johnson, who I’m also not high on, they’ve been on a roll. Without Chris Bosh! They’ve been showing a different dynamic and they’ve also been able to space the floor a bit more. Dwayne Wade has been playing surprisingly good, so good that all his naysayers should be wondering if he’ll ever truly fall from being efficient and consistent. Dragic is finally coming around and being more productive and they look like they may even be able to beat the Cavs in a 7 game series now. Look for the Heat to rise before the playoffs begin and put themselves in position to compete for a championship with the likes of the Raptors and Celtics too! Never thought you’d hear that, huh?

I’ll be short about the Clippers… They need Blake Griffin for the playoffs but they’ve looked like a TEAM without him. It’s hard to figure how that makes sense but it simply does. There’s only so much Paul Pierce is going to give you, DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford, and JJ Redick. Their lone star currently on the floor is Chris Paul and we’ve seen what he can do with someone he can throw alley-oops to and with a few good men around him. He needs another star with him to elevate higher and he’s due to make it to an NBA Finals. Anything less for him is honestly a bust. I’d consider trading Blake during the offseason if they lose in the first round.

The Thunder haven’t been so intimidating as of late. They’ve lost two games they should’ve won against the Clippers & Warriors. They’ve also allowed this situation to affect them mentally in my opinion. They look as if they need to retool their bench if they can get Kevin Durant to stay. I don’t really see where he would want to go. This would be his best opportunity to win a championship. He’s definitely overdue for another finals appearance. Russell Westbrook is playing like an athletic Chris Paul this season and I don’t see him bolting OKC either. It’s too much structure in place where they already are to actually leave and think they have a better chance. Unless they go east.

As far as I’m concerned, this is the Warriors championship to lose unless the Spurs can clone Kawhi Leonard.