Real Thought: Lives Matter

By: Opinionated MJ

Blog suicide? So be it. This is a call to responsibility.
Yes, I am a proud black male. Father of 1, a young girl. Son with 3 siblings, all women. I am not a racist. I am not here to brag about how many friends of different races I have. That doesn’t matter. Yes, all lives matter. Being a black male in America, though, I’m beginning to feel as if I don’t matter.

I remember learning about Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and other civil rights leaders and many people who complete the entire Black History makeup as a youth in school. Hating I had to do what seemed to be endless, huge reports on these people. I thought it was for nothing. Wondering exactly what they were going through, naïve to what awaited me in my lifetime. I’m currently “feeling” as if I’m living in a time where things are parallel to theirs. Where being black was to be frowned upon. I’ve worked in a dominantly white area and actually an area where KKK members were said to be. I worked as a Sales Rep for a cell phone company there. White people would come in and many would not come to me with their interest in products and to service them. I lost my job. Laid off and given unemployment due to the “lack of a need” for me. All my co-workers were white and they might have seen exactly what I was going through. I understood it. I didn’t allow it to bother me too much. I had been through too much already for this to be something to put me in the dumps, hell, they willingly gave me unemployment without fight. They weren’t racist at all. I actually loved how cool my boss was. It was a learning experience.

When I was 13, I attended high school that was predominantly white at first. Then eventually it became more and more diverse as the years passed. I’ve been able to experience racial backgrounds of many types and never had any hate or resentment towards any of them, nor did I feel any hate towards me. I was in a classroom when the planes hit the WTC on 9/11. I had seemingly felt like something devastating had happened to MY country. I felt for all those people who were on the television running away from burning buildings and debris. I had been frozen in time. Watching a blank sky outside. No planes flying. I had been tuned into television wondering what has happened. Sociology class was very interesting on this day. School continued on, life continued on, things took their course. All I heard comedians say is that we became fully American at this time. At this time though, I had actually never ever felt I wasn’t apart of America. I was American.

Fast forward to today, I remember Sean Bell. I remember Treyvon Martin. I remember Sandra Bland. I remember everything and everyone. I have tried to shy away from usual negativity but the uptick in to whom which group is targeted has now began to set a sense of concern in my mind. Affecting my psyche as I’m sure it is supposed to do by design. This isn’t by coincidence. This has got to be systematic. Who am I to make such a claim? I’m just a citizen. One who is of the skin tone that has had to fight to reach this point. Feeling like we grew too comfortable. I mean, Mississippi just ratified a slave bill, what, last year? Two years ago? I can recall things.

This isn’t a call to blame. This is a call to complain. This isn’t a call to bash whites or policemen who are black, white, Mexican, and so on. This is a call to humanity. On a blog dominated by my love for basketball and sheer drive to create conversation by settling into opinions and driving them to the point of mass irritation. This is a perspective of me feeling American in the past and me feeling like I’m concerned for that status right now in September of 2016. There’s millions of people. Roughly 325 million in America to be exact.

How many people do our athletes touch? How many do they reach out to? How much do they give back to all areas? Doesn’t matter. I see homeless, vacant homes, and empty schools in Detroit. We’re in direct contact with one another and although I get word out and opinion on these same athletes who actually do nothing for me but entertain me, I’ll expect nothing in return. How could I? How dare I. I’m in none of their circles. I’m on none of their payrolls. I’m not apart of any of their charities. My daughter isn’t apart of any of their programs. My family isn’t apart of anything that doesn’t deal with bills, taxes, government, debt, and state. I physically touch roughly 500+ homes a day in my current occupation. Athletes, entertainers, celebs, models, etc. touch that number within 1 minute of a tweet or status update. They directly affect psyche. They directly affect how we feel towards what they like, what they hate, what they’re driven for, what they’re thinking. Cool. Sure. What I’m getting at now is, we have to find a way to touch more people since we are all people, all of us. They are regular people as well. They aren’t better than us no matter their efforts. I am just as good for affecting 1 person if that’s within my means as they are for affecting hundreds, thousands, millions. Right? Fame and status is just that, we are all buried the same when it’s all said and done. 6 feet below. No matter how silent the death. No matter how horrendous the death. Legacy is deeper than classic records, deeper than sports history, deeper than the slimmest model. Legacy is defined by something that lasts for generations to come.

Let’s elevate our perspective to leaving legacies that will touch all. My child doesn’t know who Michael Jordan is or how many shoes he sold, how many rings he won, she probably doesn’t even know he’s bald, but she does know who Dr. Martin Luther King is and what his purpose was. Muhammad Ali would be a good example of a man who went against the grain, against what was expected of him and received support of the community, both black and white. He didn’t spend a dime. He didn’t teach your child to box. He just showed us what being an American is. What standing for something is. That has been lost in this generation. No one stands for anything and accepts everything that makes an overall lesser impact. That’s the point I’m making. Black, White, Latino, Hispanic, we must all come together at a time where ‘humanity’ calls for it. Stand for something or fall for anything. There are some who affect now. There are some who affect forever. Let’s find forever.

Be Blessed. Black Lives Matter. White Lives Matter. All Lives Matter.

Landscape of the NBA: Last Day of Summer 16 (Part 3)

By: Opinionated MJ

Last day of the summer! Welcome to the third and final installment of the Summer 16: Landscape of the NBA series. Let’s jump right in.

 

Knicks

I cannot wait to see the Knicks this season. I have even higher expectations hanging over them for the season. I expect a few boosts in different forms. I think Derrick Rose will perform like Kobe did when he was coming into the season in a similar situation. I think the time Melo spent with Team USA and also him getting the team together early now will serve the team well. I see Porzingis getting even better and more consistent this year and not hitting somewhat of a wall like he did in year one. Couple that with a new coach and bench depth and the Knicks should be a playoff team. I see them winning at least 41 games. Hold it against me.

 

Bulls

Butler, Wade, Rondo. I expect them to win 20 games off perimeter defense alone. I would say 30 since they’re in the Eastern Conference. That’s where the game is most played from in this era. Everybody wants to shoot and dribble, perimeter oriented. Everyone attacks from that point and they have someone to defend every perimeter star. They don’t have an answer for DeMarcus Cousins, Marc Gasol, Andre Drummond, and other big men, but that doesn’t mean they won’t acquire someone who can nor does it mean they can’t succeed without one.

 

Wolves

This will probably be one of the top 5 most watched teams in the NBA this year. I’ve seen pictures from NBA2k17 that shows them drunk off of the potential of the Wolves. Wiggins, Towns, Dunn, LaVine, coach Thibs! Oohwee! This team will be young, tough, gritty, and poised to make noise this coming season. With all the shake ups taking place, I expect them to compete for a playoff spot. Should they make the playoffs, they would be my dark horse candidate to upset many teams. They’re very versatile. I expect them to be .500 as well. 41 wins at least, potentially off of Thibs always squeezing a whole gallon of lemonade out of one lemon.

 

Lakers

They’re expected to be the worst team this year. I’d say maybe the third worst team. Look for the Lakers to make strides once they learn the offense. We see what happened with the Warriors when they were given freedom. Analytics also favor many of the Lakers players since Kobe won’t be there to jack up half of the shots. I can see them being a player in acquiring Okafor from the Sixers. Ingram for ROTY if he gets acclimated to the game fast.

 

Sixers

They have young pieces. They have better management. They could probably use better coaching and an installment of veteran players to guide the young players. Trade Okafor for a veteran scorer (Maybe Rudy Gay?) and they’ll be fine. Especially if Ben Simmons is as advertised and will impact his teammates in a LeBron like fashion. He could facilitate this team to a top 5 watched spot with the Wolves and lock up ROTY if he can be the glue missing for this franchise. Go Philly!

 

Durant

I expect something huge to happen in Golden State. Kevin Durant will takeover this team and it will become his OR he’ll play 1B to Steph Curry. One of them will be LeBron, one will be Wade in this situation. Looks like Steph will be a very trigger happy Wade. Klay will be a young version of Ray Allen, Draymond will be the engine and the bench will fit in as needed led by Iggy and Livingston. I can agree with Vegas, 66 wins. Actually, let’s say 63.

 

OKC Thunder

This team now belongs to Russell Westbrook and they will be successful under his watch. They’ve had success with Durant before and that was adjustment on the fly. This time they’ll have the luxury of a training camp and full health from the start. Victor Oladipo will make them interesting on the defensive end along with Roberson. I think the loss of Ibaka will show early on unless Adams and Kanter both start together. Russell will be the second coming of 2006 Kobe and will receive the MVP award if the Thunder can land a top 5 seed.

 

Quick Observations

I expect strides to be made by the Jazz, Suns, and Pelicans out west. The return of Exum to the Jazz, Bledsoe returning to the Suns who also have a sleeper star in Devin Booker, and Anthony Davis to the Pelicans, this will make the west very interesting going forward. Currently though, it’s still a two headed race for who will make the finals from the west.

Be on the lookout for upcoming articles. We’ll be entering training camp next week! I’m so excited! Been waiting for the season to begin! Basketball lovers, unite!