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The Drama known as Brett Favre

 

While “the decision” will probably go down as the sports story of the year, it’s nothing new in NFL.

With so much attention in the National Football League centering around Terrell Owens and his inability to land on a team, Brett Favre has gone almost unnoticed. Even after one of his best seasons in his career

Favre has waited until the last-minute to announce if he will play or not play in the NFL for the last six years.Minnesota coach Brad Childress went to visit Favre at his home in Hattiesburg, Miss. on Sunday to check on his quarterback.

 When questioned by WDAM-TV of Hattiesburg, Childress said, “You can fill in the blanks”.

Favre is just taking his time and doing what he always does; go home, relax, take his time and be with his family and come back and play football on his terms. He is still undecided on what he will do.

He is still recovering from an ankle injury that he suffered in the NFC championship game last season.

At the ESPY awards last week, he told ESPN, “When you wake up in the morning and your feet hurt it kind of makes the rest of your body hurt,” he said. “And if you’ve been sacked 700 times that usually adds to it.”

At 40 years old, Favre may never be 100 percent healthy after playing 19 season in the NFL and taking hit after hit the way he does.

It has nothing to do with his desire. The will is there to play. This is the same man who in Green Bay vomited blood and was dehydrated yet came back into a game and led his team to a last-minute winning drive. If anyone can play thru pain, it’s Favre.

He just doesn’t want to have another situation like he had in his only season with the New York Jets. After starting the season 8-2, they lost their last six games when he had a shoulder injury and he was not pulled out of the lineup.

“Physically, I want to know if I can play and make those types of plays,” Favre told ESPN. “I don’t know if I can ever answer that. At least in my mind that’s how I feel where I have to be.”

This is a different situation from the Lebron James decision albeit a similar one also.

Favre has made it clear that he will move when he so desires and when things are right for him. He is different in his approach in that he cares about the team and doesn’t want to leave them in a bad spot.

On the other hand, he’s developed a name for himself in a bad way where he is indecisive and leaves a team wondering what he will do instead of just doing it.

“I would love to play and be the best I can possibly be,” he told ESPN. “That’s what I’m working toward now.”

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Free Agency signals a changing in the NBA Elite

The 2003 NBA draft will go down as one of the best drafts in history. It had star power, player potential and franchise players.

The marquee draft prospects were a high school player who exploits had been watched since he was in the eighth grade and arrival was so anticipated that he garnered the nickname “King”. A college freshman with poise and maturity for his age had not ever been seen, who led his team to their first NCAA championship and a collegiate junior who had went from sitting out his freshman year because of grade to being one of the top three players in country.

So when Lebron James went first overall, Carmelo Anthony third and Dwayne Wade fifth in the draft,  it was all a perfect fit for the NBA.

“King” James would be giving the reins to a struggling franchise in Cleveland and be the leader of the new school. Anthony would go into a good setup for him in Denver, where he would lead his team into the playoffs in his first season. Wade would also help his team into the playoffs after a  slow start and eventually lead the team to an NBA championship.

As rookies, they knew one valuable lesson that needs addressing, rookies don’t make a lot of money on their first NBA contract.

Fast forward to the present. Free Agency is among the NBA just hours away from the midnight deadline before NBA teams are allowed to talk to free agents. Guess who are the marquee names that everyone wants to make their team better and to make them rich individually — James and Wade.  Anthony falls into this category because the collective bargaining agreement. If he opts out, he could be a restricted free agent and sign with his current team or opt out for next season. His current team, the Denver Nuggets, are ready to give Anthony a contract or trade him if he doesn’t accept. They don’t want to be in a situation where he leaves and they don’t get anything.

With all the expectation surrounding this, don’t expect much out of the ordinary. A lot of players will stay put. Amare Stoudamire will more than likely be a Sun next year. The same goes for Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce, who opted out of the lats years of their contract. Next years collective bargaining agreement will be worse than this years so players want their money while it’s there.

Miami has the most money to spend, so expect Wade to be signed initially right after the deadline. The Heat will then turn to him to help recruit another player — Chris Bosh or Carlos Boozer — to play with him in South Beach. Whoever they take, expect the other to go to play where James goes.

To make a long story short as everyone has speculated, whatever James does will dictate how the others move. Most of the other players will stay put but expect few changes of teams.

James, Wade and Anthony will continue to be trend setters in their own right and set a presidence  for players to follow as they make decisions on their future. Money talks and every thing else runs a marathon so let “shoe me the money” marathon begin.

Queensbridge duo leads Lakers to the NBA championship

There is a difference between a star and a superstar. A superstar wants the ball in the last seconds with the game on the line. Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant understand that. This is why they are the go to players for their teams. Bryant has been the headliner for the Los Angeles Lakers almost from the time he entered the NBA. The Boston Celtics go as Paul Pierce does.

With the Lakers hanging on to a four point lead with 25 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Bryant called for the ball, took it to the basket, was fouled and made both free throws. Pierce got the ball off an inbound pass with 11 seconds remaining and instead of turning around and shooting a contested three pointer he passed it off to Rajon Rondo, a mediocre outside shooter who seconds earlier made a three-point shot.

Bryant finished the game with 23 points and 15 rebounds and his fifth championship ring en route to a 83-79 win in front of a sellout Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The Black Mamba’s game resembled John Starks in game seven of the 94 Finals but thankfully for him Queensbridge was in the house.

Ron Artest was the leading scorer the first three quarters of the game and finished with 20 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals and Lamar Odom added 10 points, most of which came in the third quarter to keep Los Angeles within reach.

“Artest was unbelievable,” Boston coach Don Rivers said.  The three Artest made, you think about some of the shots they made, late clock, three by Artest, Fisher’s rainbow over Rondo, and then again the foul call on Ray, that’s nine points. They scored 30 points in the fourth quarter, and for us, a defensive group, that’s the toughest part to swallow, that we gave up 30 points. We scored 22, but we gave up 30.”

The Celtics seemed to run out of gas in the fourth quarter. The energy they played with in the first half disappeared when the Lakers intensified their defense in the second half. They played great defense but could not keep up with the Lakers offensively.

Boston outscored the Lakers in first quarter but that was it.

This is the 17th championship for Los Angeles putting them one behind Boston all time. Bryant downplayed this meaning something to his legacy but he has further distanced himself from his counterparts as the leagues number one winner.

“It was the most physical one,” Bryant said. They believed that they could beat us. Obviously what happened in ’08. But the physicality of their team, how smart they are, extremely well coached, and guys made big shots. It was tough. They weren’t going to beat themselves, we had to beat them.”

NBA Finals Preview

Every morning, I wake up and pick a quote of the day. I try to pick from a person who embodies all the intangible quality that I look for in a person. While searching I ran across a quote from the late John Wooden.

“The people who turn out best are those people who make the best out of the way things turn out.”

There it is. That’s what I was looking for. It sums up the way I will tackle today and how either the Los Angeles Lakers or Boston Celtics will go into things tonight. How they overcome injuries will decide the outcome of  tonight’s game come out at the Staples Center floor tonight at 9 p.m. EST.

Both teams have ailing centers. At 80 percent, Andrew Bynum can make a big difference for his team instead of being a big body clogging the middle. The Celtics go into tonight without their starting center, Kendrick Perkins. He was diagnosed with a knee injury suffered in the 1st quarter of game six. The Celtics missed his toughness and defense. Without him, Boston has no true low post defender.

Whoever didn’t see a game seven coming when the series started has not watched these teams closely. Let me be emphatic — your oblivious to basketball.  These teams are a microcosm of each other and have played that way this series. Until game four and five in Boston, no team had won a back to back game this series. When a team has won they have looked like a championship team and when they have lost they have looked like the back of a milk carton with a headline saying , ” Have you seen me ?”

There are three significant things to look for with tonight.

1. Who will step up and step out?

Ray Allen had a record-setting shooting night for Boston in game two.  He hasn’t been heard from since. Same goes for Derek Fisher, who saved game three but that’s it. Queensbridge natives Lamar Odom and Ron Artest has been inconsistent the entire series. Both played well in game six but need to be better in game seven which I don’t see happening because they are playing to their capabilities now. Someone out of this group has to be a big time scorer and contributor to push his team over the top out of this group.

2. Boston’s interior defense

When Perkins went down, so did their interior defense. Shannon Brown looked like Lebron James in the 2005 Eastern Conference Finals going to the cup. It got easier and easier for him and his teammates to get to the basket and unless Rasheed Wallace — who played in the game against James — will have to remember he is a post player and stay away from the three-point line and fouls. Glen”Shrek” Davis and Sheldon Williams will have to collectively bring energy and rebounding to the post or the Celtics will lose again.

3. Coaching/History/Legacy

Suffices to popular belief, Bryant’s legacy does not ride on game seven.

Should they lose, he will still be the games best closer and the best player.  If LA triumphs, he will have won another championship and presumably a series MVP. Things he has already done.

Paul Pierce on the other hand, can join the pantheon of Celtic greats. They all have won more than one championship. If teh Truth wins this one, he would get two. Hello retired jersey, Hall of Fame, Boston Immortality.

The same can be said for coaches Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers. Doc Rivers has won more elimination games than any coach in history and has in some cases out coached Jackson this series. Jackson has never coached a game seven but he wants to win this one bad. This is the real story of tonight’s game.

As the saying goes, this is where the rubber meets the road tonight. These questions must be answered for one of these teams championship aspirations. Whoever it is will cap an amazing NBA Finals series that’s has been suspenseful, entertaining and great.