Setback for a Comeback … Welcome back, Klay

It was extremely great watching Klay Thompson (KT), Golden State Warriors (GSW)’s number 11, suit up and play again yesterday.

Klay Thompson had been out of the game for two-and-a-half years having suffered two back-to-back injuries; first an ACL during the 2019 NBA Finals and then rupturing his achilles during the 2020 NBA Draft. 2019 was definitely not the Dubs’ year. It was devastating watching it happen in 2019 during Game 6 as GSW was contending for that year’s Championship. After a year off, Klay returned only to rupture his Achilles on Draft Day. Bad as it was, it was preposterous that it happened on Draft Day; giving the Warriors’ Executive Team a quick strategic maneuver on its Draft selection.

KT, the Splash brother, was definitely and apparently missed by all; Team, fans, and the media. Though his other Splash brother, Steph Curry, held the forth in his absence, Klay’s contribution to the Team and game of basketball left a void that was terribly felt and unfillable.

The Splash Brothers, Steph and Klay, earned their alias as a result of their duo-dynamite three-point shootings from any angle. Both changed the basketball landscapes with their shootings.

Way to recovery …

The road to recovery for any athlete after a bad injury is often an emotional tumultuous journey that requires character-defining traits and values that will uphold one through till the end of the journey. While some players recover fast, others have a slow recovery. While some players return to their normal or better state, others seem to slump and finally stop playing; thus ending their athletic career. Even the strongest, positive, and most-optimistic player still has intermittent doubts and questions such as:

  • What if I do not fully recover?
  • What if I’m no longer as good?
  • What if I’m traded because of this injury?
  • What if other teams think my useful years are over?
  • What if no team wants me?
  • What if the injury ends my career?
  • A gazillion what-ifs hardly with no futuristic answers.

Klay obviously had a few question and or doubts.

After the initial surgery and recovery, Klay was always seen on the bench cheering his teammates and, after games, chatting with the analysts. His return date has been speculated a few times. He had even been sequestered to the Warriors’ G League which is a minor development team for the GSW. Having held up strong and mute about his hiatus and injuries over the years, rarely speaking about the injury nor his recovery, Klay finally and publicly showed his emotions after a Warriors’ game in late November. He was seen still being on bench long after the crowds had dispersed the Chase Center.

I was personally touched by Klay’s emotions. The wait and “weight” of not playing must have taken a big toil on him wondering why his return was being delayed.

The wait is finally over

He finally had his day of return on Sunday. I was overjoyed for him, like tons of fans and colleagues were, to finally watch him play again.

Click the links below to watch the various highlights on Klay’s return and game on Sunday:

  1. https://www.nba.com/news/nba-players-react-to-klay-thompsons-return
  2. https://gsw.page.link/k8TyojQZqdqDFojh7i
  3. https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/klay-thompsons-triumphant-return-to-warriors-brings-unbridled-joy-emotion-when-fans-need-it-the-most/
  4. https://www.nba.com/news/klay-thompson-return-feature
  5. https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/33028982/nba-players-celebrate-klay-thompson-return-more-two-years

Setback happens to all

If you live long enough, it is certain that one would experience one form of setback. Life often can hand us lemons and bad things often does happen to the best of folks that set us back in many ways than one. It could be a health/physical setback, like Klay’s and several other basketball players/athletes. The physical setback can have a domino effect on one’s finances, emotions, and sometimes spiritual.

What do you do when it happens?

Many murmur and complain. We ask tons of unanswered questions and can recluse. We play the blame game. Why me? I have, too, at some point. We can stop living especially when we lack helpful and positive relationships concluding that none seems to understand our predicament.

However, only few understand that at such point we cannot and should not step on the brakes. It is a turning point. What we turn round to, blame or control, will make the difference.

The proverbial “when life gives you lemon, you make lemonade,” suffices. A professional football player, for example, who suffers injury that ends his football career can turn to a new other career as a coach or recruiter or game analyst. The point is that all is not lost. It might be the end of a season, but definitely not the end of one’s life or career.

7 Steps to a Comeback

  1. Have a positive outlook that things will be better
  2. Choose the people to surround yourself with.
  3. Do everything within your power to get better. It might mean learning new skills.
  4. If new skills are involved, be gentle on yourself, realizing that there’s a learning curve which is different for each person.
  5. Take life one day at a time
  6. Every step you take will eventually turn to giant strides.
  7. Be consistent.

If you do the work, optimism will lift you up to your eventual comeback which will propel you to a better state than you were before.

Glad that Klay did the work; long though it was, and is back to doing what he does best. GSW’s chances of winning this year’s Championship got much better with your return … The Game just got started. WELCOME BACK, KLAY!

One thing I know for sure …

Credits: Unsplash / Pro Church Media

No matter who you are and how many people rave about you, about your cookies or cooking or style or looks or you-name-it, one thing I now definitely know for sure is that there is always someone somewhere who doesn’t give a hoot about you, still can’t stand you nor like you nor adore anything everyone is raving about you. And I also know for sure that that’s definitely all right.

It’s pointless trying to be all things to all men (and women). It just turns you raggedy and into an unconscious dissociative identity disorder personality.

What I’m saying is that it’s totally all right not to be liked by or raved on by people and we should all be comfortable with it.

As a kid, I repeatedly heard an international artist’s song whose lyrics in part went thus: “there’s no intelligence nor behavior that you may have that will please all people or the world; life is but a short time so people do good always …”

Lately, I also heard Oprah Winfrey say that people always accused her of being “too full of herself.” It used to hurt until she started embracing it. She went on to say that “I can only give out of my overflow; so those who say that I am full of myself are saying the truth – I am full and my cup is running over and I give out of the overflow.”

Road to greatness or making history

You might have heard that Steph Curry, of the Golden States Warriors (GSW), recently made history breaking Ray Allen’s 3-points record by 511 less games.

The road to breaking the record was aired and tracked by the news and social media for days. With 17 3-pointers to making history, Curry was frustrated by opponents. I’m sure by now players know that keeping the key player under wraps is a strategy that not only frustrates the key player, but can secure wins. So it wasn’t unusual that Curry was double-teamed most of the time thereby making it impossible for him to rain those threes. The game between Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia Sixers was the start of the 17 3-pointers needed by Curry to make history. Sixers won the game and Curry only made three 3-pointers of the 17. A rarely-frustrated player, I saw Curry openly frustrated on that game night. What caught my attention however was during the end-of-game chat with the reporter, a young Sixers player stated that he and veteran teammate, Joel Embid, talked before the game and agreed that Steph Curry would not make history on their turf. People, Seth Curry, Steph’s brother is on the Sixers team! The young player’s statement caught my attention. Why say that? What does it matter if Curry broke the record on your turf or not? Curry was closer to breaking it anyways, and it will happen – your turf or not, right? I concluded that they might not have been happy with Curry trying to make history. The subtlety of envy and jealousy or is’t intense or negative competition?! You be the judge. I don’t know but I surely didn’t like it.

The road to greatness is not all smooth or paved with gold. There will be bumps, curves, detours, lies, slanders, overt or covert hatred, and some times temporary or permanent stops. The permanent stops happen when we give up out of frustration. Some history makers, like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and Joseph, who were supposed to liberate their people, had themselves been imprisoned before achieving destiny. Most millionaires were once penniless. Most real estate/home developers were also once homeless. Those who carry out the negative, wicked acts to deter anyone’s momentum often do so out of ignorance unknowingly doing the devil’s bidding. But my people, we can take a rest to comeback stronger, but we should never ever give up, for that breakthrough will surely come.

Congrats, Steph Curry

Stephen Curry broke the record at the GSW and New York Knicks game night; the third game after the Sixers. The New York fans were elated for him and so were the reigning record-holder, Ray Allen, Reggie Miller (another previous record holder), family, friends, and the NBA community. New York looked a better ground for the record-breaking moments than it would have at the Sixers.

I am so happy for Stephen Curry. He not only put in the work, but was key to changing the trajectory of the NBA games with his three-pointers. For someone who was overlooked and once rejected, Steph, like Michael Jordan, has proven that you can turn everyone’s rejection to applause. Now, Steph’s on to the next record …

Curry’s way to making history and the Sixers’ comment supports my point that not everyone will celebrate you, but you have to be okay with it. Waiting for the approval of men just means that we will never get anything done, because that approval might just never come.

Sometimes people (or things and, God forbid, even ourselves) deter our momentum in life, but if we don’t give up, what has been ordained for us will surely happen. Delay never equates denial. Those stumbling blocks are meant to buffet us and make us more determined for a stronger comeback.

Till your breakthrough or history-making happens, keep on keeping on, my friend.

The Antagonist

Credits: Unsplash / Callum Skelton

Have you ever encountered an antagonist? I’m not talking about a storyline or drama-type antagonist. I’m talking about the one who is passive-aggressive, subtly malicious, unkind, intentionally does things to hurt you, and pretends that it was done unintentionally, in error, without bias, or were just trying to help you.

Who’s The Antagonist?

The Antagonist knows you well, knows your likes and dislikes, has studied you intensely, knows your weakest points, and know what to do not only to stir, but exploit, your emotions.

The Antagonist can be a close friend, family member, colleague, business associate, neighbor, or a sports teammate.

Most antagonists are charismatic, sociable, and have lots of friends. These character traits, which are great traits to possess, only serve as a cover-up for the antagonist’s true personality.

The Antagonist’s true self is one who seeks the attention and love of everyone and woe to the one who does not join in their attention-seeking group.

The antagonist goes after those who resist their attention with the goal to stir their emotions such that when those react, the aggressor looks like the pacifier.

Lakers and Pistons brawl

Such was my reaction regarding Sunday’s Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons’ game-turned-brawl that got LeBron James (LBJ) and Isaiah Stewart (IS)’s subsequent NBA decision of game suspension without pay. The incident occurred during the third quarter and was all over the media. You probably already heard or watched it. If you didn’t, google Lakers and Pistons fight.

The outcome was that NBA suspended LBJ for one game, but IS was suspended for two games, both without pay.

It’s unfortunate that IS got the heftier penalties, whereas LBJ, who in my opinion was the initiator, got a lighter penalty.

Sir Isaac Newton once said that “for every action, there is an equal or greater reaction.” Though Newton’s statement refers to the law of motion, the same statement is applicable in this instance. LeBron’s action, unintentional or not, including his response afterwards necessitated Isaiah’s furious actions. Granted that IS should have restrained himself when the officials stepped in to the court, but seeing and tasting your own blood threw commonsense outta the window for him.

What happened?

On this unfortunate Sunday, the incident happened during the third quarter. A younger team (Pistons) with one of the worst records of the season (4-11) was leading the game by two-digit points. It was also the second game day back for LBJ, having been out with injury and missed eight previous games. To have Pistons leading the game was an embarrassing moment, to say the least, for LBJ and the Lakers.

At the point of a free throw, LBJ elbowed IS by the brow causing blood to ooze down the right-side of his face. As would be expected, IS walked to LBJ, in my opinion, in an attempt to “verify” if it was an accident or an intentional act. Whatever response LBJ gave certainly compounded an already charged IS and thus infuriated him the more. He was furious and attempted retaliatory attacks before he was finally restrained. He was also seen running to the “tunnel” in an attempt portrayed by the media as going to the Lakers’ locker room and for LBJ.

For the record, the Pistons have been known to be a combative team. Which didn’t help a lighter NBA decision-making either.

My take is that if the initial act hadn’t been committed by “the antagonist,” the ensuing incidents wouldn’t have occurred. LBJ’s response, in my opinion, added fuel onto IS’s troubled waters.

One team player commented that LBJ is not a dirty player having been ejected only once (during the Cavs and Heat’s 2017 game) in his 19-year career. Sunday’s was his second ejection. The fact is that LBJ is not a saint either on the court, nor does he play a-100% clean game 100% of the time. He’s sly and being a veteran of the game, he knows how to tweak without breaking the NBA rules. I’ve watched him done several on-court unkind acts, both intentional and unintentional, over the years. To his credit, most of those acts were overlooked by the referees. LBJ would be a saint when compared to some players such as Draymond Green of Golden State Warriors (to his credit, he’s a changed man now), Rus Westbrook now of LA Lakers, Demarcus Cousins (now a free agent, Patrick Beverley now of Minnesota Timberwolves, etc., who are notorious for intentional vile acts and who would easily warrant a foul or technical for the slightest acts.

I do not advocate violence nor retaliatory acts. But I am fed up with antagonistic folks who act like the innocent after their intentional harmful deeds hence the need to speak up and call the act out for what it is. The NBA ruling also sends a strong message against such actions.

Do incidents occur when playing games? Sure they do. Both intentional and unintentional. Most intentional acts go undetected by the referees. But none should have to draw blood out of another. IS got five stitches for the brow bust. The more reason I feel that LBJ got away too easy.

Know how to handle them

Antagonists are everywhere. You might not understand my post if you’ve never experienced one. I had. At the time, I didn’t know how to handle antagonistic acts and people. After making outburst reactions, I learned to dissociate myself from such people.

I also recently had an experience at an Asian grocery store I occasionally visit. I bought fresh fish, shrimps, and a bag of local foods. On my way out, I realized that I had couple more errands to run before heading home. So I turned back to ask for a bag of ice to help preserve the seafood. I took out the other item from my grocery bag to make room for the ice. As I was about to grab a plastic bag near the exit of the store, to go get the ice, one of the staff (an Asian lady) chased me down. She ran all the way from the back of the store, was so loud speaking in chinese, pointing at me and the item in my hand. Since I didn’t understand, I ignored her and went straight to the store’s freezer room for the ice. The lady was still talking to her other store staff when I returned. So I asked what her uproar was. When I realized that she was actually accusing me of not paying for the item in my hand, I got upset. Now it was my turn to cause an uproar. I demanded an apology. The lady instantaneously shifted gear and said “me help you …”. She stated that she was trying to help me. Which was untrue. The lady ran from the back of the store to the front to accuse me and tried to cover up her act when she was told that I had paid.

My recent experience is nothing compared to LBJ-IS’s, but the outcome of turning the vile act to one of help-apology is similar.

If you have antagonists in your sphere of life, the best reaction is to ignore them. Their goal is to have the incident escalate from your reaction, while they keep silent and feign ignorance of why you’re reacting as such thus portraying you as the aggressor.

Another way to deal with antagonists is to be assertive. As in my recent instance, I requested an apology which was given. I am of the opinion that LBJ ought to apologize publicly to IS to portray the true NBA sportsmanship and face. Being proactive is also helpful and be prepared to walk away to avoid the situation getting out of hand. I wished IS had walked away.

Taking the above measures will help to know how to tame the antagonist.

Loving Basketball: 2021-22 NBA Season starts today

Woohoo. I’m excited that the NBA 2021-22 Season begins tonight. Each Team will be playing a total of eighty-two (82) games, compared to seventy-two (72) played last season.

There was a Preseason, which was a two-week warm-up, feeler, tester of sorts, for players as several Teams were revamped with new players added and exiting. The Preseason games showcased each Team’s new portfolio of players though not all “old” and veteran players played during the Preseason. Many rested and watched the younger players flex on the courts for Team inclusion and time.

A handful of Teams are totally revamped while few had minor changes. Should be exciting watching the unifying dynamics of the new with the old players.

First Game Night will feature two games that supposedly mirrors the Conferences Finals:

  1. Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks @ 7:30 p.m. ET
  2. Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers @ 10:00 p.m. ET.

Click here to see the full Season’s schedule, I hope you will watch some or all of the games with utmost cheer and care. Live games can be watched on your local sports channels or the NBA Station. Highlights, and sometimes full games, can also be seen on YouTube or Hulu.

To an exciting and fun Season while wishing all players the very best with minimal or no fatigue or injuries.

NBA Lane

www.nba.com/watch/video/welcome-to-nba-lane-nba75

Did you see the short movie clip commemorating the 75th NBA history? If not, click the above link to watch, courtesy of the Association, and produced by Michael B. Jordan.

Yes, some noteworthy players were left out. Intentionally or otherwise, it’s impossible to include every player. I wonder though what the selection criteria for inclusion was.

I love the clip; wished it was a little longer to accommodate for more players, old or present.

The Association has come a long way … Happy 75th Anniversary, NBA!

Loving Basketball: 2021-22 PreSeason and 75th NBA Season

To the Hoops Enthusiasts

As you may or may not know, the Preseason started last Sunday. The Teams are different from what they were the previous season as several players have found new homes (teams) all in the race to win the Championship.

The Preseason games, already played, featured mostly the younger and new players showing off their skills and familiarizing themselves with one another. I’m hoping that the veterans will join in the fun too, if only to sort of warm up with the teams.

The Preseason is a two-week warmer, tester, feeler of sixty-six games; I hope I got the count right. I also hope that the veterans advised the younger (agewise and years in NBA) and newbie players to use wisdom and take it easy at the onset in order to minimize injuries and fatigue as they will have seventy more games to play. Their strength, skills, and stamina will be needed more towards the end of the Season, and continuing into Playoffs and Finals.

Interested in who’s moved to where, click Familiar faces in new places for 2021-22 season courtesy of the NBA.

Preseason Schedule

I’m still trying to get the hang of using tables in WordPress. It has not being easy. Even when done in Excel and uploaded, it comes out funny. But, I hope the below format is easily readable. All Times are ET.

Sunday, October 3rd

  1. 3:30 B Nets – LA Lakers

Monday, October 4th

  1. 7:00 P Sixers – T Raptors
  2. 7:30 O Magic – B Celtics
  3. 7:30 A Hawks – M Heat
  4. 8:00 NO Pelicans – M Timberwolves
  5. 8:00 C Hornets – OKC Thunder
  6. 8:30 U Jazz – SA Spurs
  7. 10:00 GS Warriors – PT Blazers
  8. 10:00 P Suns – S Kings
  9. 10:30 D Nuggets – LA Clippers

Tuesday, October 5th

  1. 7:30 I Pacers – NY Knicks
  2. 8:00. C Cavaliers – C Bulls
  3. 8:00 W Wizards – H Rockets
  4. 8:00 M Bucks – M Grizzlies

Wednesday, October 6th

  1. 6:00 LA Lakers – P Sun
  2. 7:00 SA Spurs – D Pistons
  3. 7:30 C Cavaliers – A Hawks
  4. 8:00 O Magic – NO Pelicans
  5. 8:30 U Jazz – D Mavericks
  6. 10:00 D Nuggets – GS Warriors
  7. 10:30 S Kings – LA Clippers

Thursday, October 7th

  1. 7:00. M Grizzlies – C Hornets
  2. 7:00. T Raptors – P Sixers
  3. 10:00 M Heat – H Rockets

Friday, October 8th

  1. 7:00 I Pacers – C Cavaliers
  2. 7:30 M Bucks – B Nets
  3. 8:00 NO Pelicans – C Bulls
  4. 8:30 LA Clippers – D Mavericks
  5. 8:30 M Heat – SA Spurs
  6. 9:00 M Timberwolves – D Nuggets
  7. 10:00 LA Lakers – GS Warriors

Saturday, October 9th

  1. 7:00 T Raptors – B Celtics
  2. 7:00 NY Knicks – W Wizards
  3. 8:00 A Hawks – M Grizzlies

Sunday, October 10th

  1. 6:00 SA Spurs – O Magic
  2. 7:00 C Bulls – C Cavaliers 3. 7:30 OKC Thunder – M Bucks
  3. 10:00 P Suns – LA Lakers

Monday, October 11th

  1. 7:00 H Rockets – T Raptors
  2. 7:30 C Hornets – M Heat
  3. 8:00 B Nets – P Sixers
  4. 8:00 D Pistons – M Grizzlies
  5. 9:00 NO Pelicans – U Jazz
  6. 10:00 S Kings – PT Blazers
  7. 10:30 M Timberwolves – LA Clippers

Tuesday, October 12th

  1. 7:00 T Raptors – W Wizards
  2. 10:30 GS Warriors – LA Lakers

Wednesday, October 13th

  1. 6:30 D Mavericks – C Hornets
  2. 7:00 M Grizzlies – I Pacers
  3. 7:00 B Celtics – O Magic
  4. 7:30 D Pistons – NY Knicks
  5. 8:00 D Nuggets – OKC Thunder
  6. 9:00 M Bucks – U Jazz
  7. 10:00 PT Blazers – P Suns

Thursday, October 14th

  1. 7:00 M Heat – A Hawks
  2. 7:30 M Timberwolves – B Nets
  3. 8:00 D Nuggets – OKC Thunder
  4. 10:00 LA Lakers – S Kings

Friday, October 15th

  1. 6:30 B Celtics – M Heat
  2. 7:00 P Sixers – D Pistons
  3. 7:00 C Cavaliers – I Pacers
  4. 7:30 W Wizards – NY Knicks
  5. 8:00 M Grizzlies – C Bulls
  6. 8:00 D Mavericks – M Bucks
  7. 8:30 H Rockets – SA Spurs
  8. 10:00 PT Blazers – GS Warriors

NBA enters its 75th Season

The Season starts on October 19th. It will be exciting with NBA entering its 75th Season. Special programs have been scheduled to commemorate the history, Teams, players past and present. Click on the above link for a movie, NBA Lane, showing tomorrow.

Loving Basketball: 2021-22 Season begins soon

2020-21 Recap

What a spectacular ending, in July, to the 2020-21 Basketball Season that catapulted the underdog Milwaukee Bucks (MB) as that season’s Champions. I was elated for several reasons; one particularly of which I felt that Giannis Antetokounmpo (GA), who led the Team, had been disrespected and routed by all; the media, fans, and other players, for shenanigans and silly various reasons in my opinion. The likes of disrespect and taunting that would not have been thrown at LeBron James (LBJ or Kevin Durant (KD) or Steph Curry (SC), or any of their caliber without some rebukes. Then again, it could have been a strategy (which obviously backfired) to intimidate GA, the Greek Freak. But, thank goodness, all those negative vibes didn’t sway him to withdraw. Yes, it did slightly affect him with his free throws. But he overcame and conquered to win the Season’s MVP. And, together with his equally indefatigable teammates, won that Season’s championship.

Too bad they (GA and MB) can’t enjoy the Larry O’Brien (LOB) trophy and exhilaration for long for two reasons: one, the break was curtailed, and two, the 2021-22 Season starts soon.

Anywho, that was a long recap.

2021-22 Season

I’m so happy to say that this Season is about to start in a month. Preseason games, which I call the warmers, testers, and feelers, start two days prior and the opening games start on October 19th.

The Preseason games in my opinion are kinda sorta warmers, testers, and feelers. Warmers because most players probably didn’t touch the ball during the break; resorting understandably to spend much needed time with their families to make up for those periods that they were grinding for the Larry O’Brien trophy. The warmups will help them know where they stand physically and mentally with the ball or see how rusty they’ve allowed themselves to let go.

It’s also a tester and feeler because each team, after the musical chairs of trades, wants to have a feel for the “new” team’s roster relative to other teams and test their capacities in various ranges.

It’s still always fun to watch. Having watched several, I feel that the experienced teams withhold their strength and capacities to give a false impression of the team. Kinda like a bait of sorts strategy. Why waste all the fire at the onset when you have seventy-two games to play, right?

The Preseason and initial first few Season games also allow the Coaches to try different strategies, plays, and players (aka rotations) for the best fit.

I can’t wait to see what the Season has for every Team. Will Milwaukee Bucks play for a back-to-back championship?

Various Teams are in the run for the LOB Trophy this season. The trades were brutal, coupled with the Rookies from the Draft, and returnees from injuries, the race to the 2021-22 Championship is going to be wild.

Have you seen or heard of the LA Lakers’ new roster? The big ball team could scare off the best of teams. But, what with Brooklyn Nets as an equally great contender?

Well, my team is in the race, too! It’s fire, fire, fire all round with the return of Klay Thompson (Welcome, Klay!), Jordan Bell, and acquisition of Ighi (Andre Iguodala), and the two Rookies, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, Golden State Warriors is right there at the top of the race. Sad to see Kelly Oubre Jr. and Eric Paschal leave. Wish them the very best.

Of course, we are cognizant of the younger teams: Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Pelicans, Phoenix Sun, etc. They, and the rest of the teams in-between, all put up a show last season. How did the Drafts and Trades impact them? Will they return with greater tenacity this season?

I can’t wait to see and find out.

Cheers to a Season of great, fun, competitive, and mitigating (or no) injury to all players.

Last One: what’s up with the vaccine?

We all now know that being vaccinated does not preclude one from still testing positive for the covid, right? So, why did the National Basketball Association (NBA) agree to not test vaccinated players? Sounds also that masking has been lapsed, including allowing not vax’ing for religious reasons. 🤔

First, I read that the players disagreed to mandated vaccination stating that it was not part of their contract. Hey brothers, covid is no respecter of your contract. I just pray that none will test positive this season. That even if any, the impact will be mild. But remember, should any test positive, that player will be out for at least two weeks. Two weeks at the beginning of the Season is nothing, but I’m sure no Team wants their key player out for two weeks at critical times of the Season.

Now, the player options are vax or be tested daily.

My two-cents is that everyone (NBA players included) engaging in public should be vaccinated and intermittently tested. Stay home if you don’t want to vax or mask – it’s simple. I recognize the division between those who don’t want to and those who choose to. Defiantly choosing not to vax or mask is an act of selfishness given that your choice could directly and indirectly affect another or several and that the outcomes of covid when infected could be fatal. Those players choosing not to are a dire threat to those players who have chosen to. I just hope that the Basketball world are aware of this.

If you’re an unvaccinated player, do remember not to shake hands with nor hug any fans no matter how desperate the fans may be.

What side are you on: vax and mask or no vax no mask, or in-between?

For now, as much as I love to attend the opening games, my TV and living room will be my team stadium till further notice.

History in the Making! Will it happen today?

Have you been watching the NBA 2020-21 Championship between Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns, like I have? What a ball it has been!

Game 6 will be played today, at 9:00 P.M. EST in ABC. That’s in approximately three hours. It is the game NBA Analyst, Steve Aschburner, has tagged Desperation versus Discipline. I cannot agree more.

Desperation or Discipline?

Both Teams are indeed desperate to win today for obvious reasons. For Suns, it’s win or go home. The desperation is hardest on them such that some Phoenix lawyer(s) will pay for a billboard to be mounted in Milwaukee! Read about it here. Whether to support the Suns or troll the Bucks, it seems an act of desperation. The law firm should have used the money to fly all its staff and family members to Fiserv Forum to cheer Phoenix Sun if it really wanted to support. Well …

For Bucks, it’s win, clinch the Larry O’Brien Cup, or return to Phoenix for another grueling game.

Also, both Teams haven’t won a Finals in at least fifty (50) years.

Both Teams also have to indeed exercise discipline; a much better one than they had done and particularly did for Game 5 in order to mitigate the foul calls and avoid technicals and injuries.

Whether it is desperation or discipline, I hope it’s all clean, good, and fun game with no fatal injuries.

Background and Series thus far

As you may or may not know, NBA Playoffs and Championships are a series of seven games. The Season’s Championship began on Tuesday, July 6th at the home court of Phoenix Suns (PS). The Series started with Games 1 and 2 at Phoenix, Games 3 and 4 in Milwaukee, Game 5 – Phoenix, Game 6 – Milwaukee (today), and Game 7, if necessary, back in Phoenix.

As expected, PS clinched the first two games of the Series utilizing home court and fan base to their advantage, setting everyone, viewers and analysts, wondering what was going on with the Bucks, and thus putting Team Giannis in the hole 2-0! Phoenix’s fan base loudly roasted (or booed) Giannis Antetokounmpo (GA) non-stop at the free-throw line – a mental torture, in my opinion.

However, at Buck’s homecourt, GA appeared to get mentally tougher, better, and of course, fewer or non-existence of the Phoenix fans helped eased his composure at the free throw line. With some superb leadership caliber plays, Bucks won the next two games; also utilizing the fan base-home court to its advantage.

Though Game 5 was at PS’s, Bucks clinched the game; now leading series by 3-2. Spectacular was the steal by Jrue Holiday (JH) (from Sun’s Devin Booker) at the last few minutes, GA’s dunk, and Khris Middleton’s back-to-back three-pointers, including free-throws from fouls all helped put Bucks in the lead and cemented the win.

All games featured superb 40+ points each by three players; Devin Booker (PS), GA, and Khris Middleton (KM); thus making the Finals MVP a hard choice. Also notable were stunning steals in the last two games, including blocks and dunks throughout.

The Desperation continues

The Phoenix Suns franchise, established in 1968, has never won an NBA Championship. Per Jason Schandl, “the last time they even made the NBA finals was the 1992-93 season, when Charles Barkley and company lost to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. Their only other championship appearances came in the 1975-76 season.”

Bucks’ slogan is “History in the Making.” It’s the first time the team reached the Finals in fifty (50) years.

“The last time the Bucks were in The Finals, legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson were their stars. Current coach Mike Budenholzer was only four years old. Some of the 2021 players’ parents weren’t even born yet.”

Steve Aschburner

“Only four teams have ever bounced back from a 2-0 series deficit in the NBA Finals. Can the 2021 Milwaukee Bucks team become the fifth?” – Yash Mantange

The four teams, he wrote, were:

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016
  2. Miami Heat in 2006
  3. Portland Trail Blazers in 1977, and
  4. Boston Celtics in 1969.

I believe Mantange made the above statement simply because Milwaukee Bucks is closer to clinching the Series’ win than Phoenix Suns. But, it will be interesting to see the outcome tonight. Yours truly will definitely be watching, cheering, and taking notes. [smile]. I hope you will be too.

Post 2: Lessons Learned from just watching Basketball

In Post 1, I listed some observations from watching this season’s basketball. Please check it out to better understand the origin of this continuation Post.

In this Post, I’m diving into the Lessons Learned.

  1. Don’t give up: Persevere
  2. Be open-minded
  3. Change
  4. Believe
  5. Always put your best foot forward, and
  6. Speak / affirm your success.

Lessons

  1. Don’t give up: Persevere

The two teams in this season’s Finals got there as a result of perseverance and resilience. Not ever giving up means that your time will surely come if you continue to persevere. Most of us give up at the slightest turn of adversity and lose our dreams. Sometimes we give up at the edge of our breakthroughs.

Milwaukee Bucks’ back-to-back eliminations at the semi-finals rounds were both painful despite being the #1 NBA team both years. The team nevertheless did not give up, nor was the coach fired (a common theme with losing teams), nor did Giannis Antetokounmpo request a trade as a result. And, now, here they are at the Finals.

Another lesson came from Chris Paul who, and team, are also in the Finals now. But Chris has been in the NBA for sixteen years, in five different teams, but never once made it this far. Read more about Chris Paul here.

  1. Be open-minded

In basketball, or any sport for that matter, or in business, or at work, one may be required to perform in a different position, shift, or another job, or be offered a differing business proposal. It is important to be open-minded in accepting the shift or change and/or weighing the proposal. LeBron James though officially a forward, small and power, has played the point guard position and is one of a few players capable of playing all five positions. He wouldn’t have been if he had closed up on being tried on the other positions. True that sometimes one might try other positions and not excel at it. That’s okay; the attitude should be that “at least I tried it.” One would never know without trying.

  1. Change

Change is good. Yet some changes can be bad. It is a matter of attitude and perception – is the glass half-full or half-empty.

Changes for the players may occur as a result of trades or exercising their free agency options, and for the coaches by being fired. Both players and coaches could also not have their contracts renewed.

Trades are a part of basketball. It happens every season. NBA has designated a time frame for all trades to happen and the “deadline traditionally is in early February, about three and a half months from the start of the regular season.” While some players request the trade either because of friction / conflict or frustration not advancing as envisioned, most are traded because of non-performance. Also, most teams trade as a business proposition. An example is when the team desires a key player. To make it happen, the team might have to exercise some options that will trade (or let go of) an existing player or players in order to make room for the new player without exceeding the salary cap (which is the limit to the total amount of money that NBA teams are allowed to pay their players.). Good examples were when Golden State Warriors (GSW) and Los Angeles Lakers acquired Kevin Durant (KD) and LeBron James respectively.

I watched KD being an unhappy and aggressive player during his tenure at Oklahoma City (OKC.) But saw a “new” KD while at GSW. He didn’t show any unnecessary aggressiveness, but merely let out his super-elite skills. And he was happier in my opinion. The same observation goes for Anthony Davis formerly of New Orleans Pelicans (NOP), now with the Lakers.

  1. Believe

Faith is action. And faith without works is dead. Putting our faith to work produces result. And backing our faith with action, produces the desired result. Faith without action is merely wishful thinking. I noticed a lot of the players show, overtly or covertly, one form of faith or another. Some do the sign of the cross and others clasp their hands in a form of prayer. Notable among the players are Steph Curry and James Harden, The clasped hands might also connote “thanks.” Since I don’t know why the players perform the acts of faith or gratitude that they do, I’m unable to say whether their were praying or showing gratitude for answered prayers or not. But those forms of public actions demonstrate the players’ faith in a higher being.

  1. Always put your best foot forward

Some of us wait for things (or life) to happen to us then we react, rather than being proactive and going for the best and highest of everything we desire in life. I used to be so, too. There were areas of my life that I would not negotiate and thus was very proactive in those areas. A few others though, I just “accepted” when I should have denied.

In the Milwaukee Bucks-Atlanta Hawks Series opener, I witnessed Bucks playing reactively and thus not only lost to Hawks for Game 1, but had to thereafter “pant to win” though they were clearly the favored-to-win of the two teams. The win still happened for the Bucks in this instance, but sometimes it could have been the opposite. I hope that they learned a lesson from it, too.

Lesson: put your utmost endeavor at the onset of everything you do.

  1. Speak / affirm your success

This should actually be the Number 1 lesson but I left it here to match its placement with the first post.

Speaking your preferred outcome into existence is an act of faith though many call it affirmation. Whatever you call it, just speak it out specifically loud and clear. I know LeBron James spoke it out and pursued it relentlessly to the point of changing teams in search of the first Championship and ring. He’s done it thrice, has the three rings, and is looking on to the fourth.

Chris Paul has also declared that he has to win the Championship.

Note: your words must be specific. For example, “this is my year or season to win the Championship” is much better than saying “I have to win the Championship.” The latter is too general and has no set date attached to it.

It is akin to setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Target Date) Goals.

Questions and Comments

There you have my 6 Lessons Learned from watching Basketball. The lessons also apply to other sports. Do you watch basketball, too? Which of these lessons resonate with you? Do you have other lessons you would like to add? Please include in the Comments. Thank you for reading; like and share if you please.

Know the key players and coaches leading their Teams to the NBA Finals

Today is the first of the BIG Game basketball lovers have been waiting for. The 2020-21 NBA Finals between Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns is led by Giannis Antetokounmpo and Chris Paul respectively. Seven more games to excite fans, if it gets to the wires. We don’t know if Giannis Antetokounmpo will return today or not. (this was the paragraph I wrote earlier and chose to keep it …)

Well, Game 1 has been played and the Suns won. The win though is not enough to use as a predictor of the Series. We know the Suns ended their Western Conference Final (WCF) two days earlier than the Bucks. We can deduce that Bucks is still fatigued from the travel and jubilation of their Eastern Conference Final (ECF). And though Giannis played, it will be unfair to expect a top shape body and game from him having missed almost three games. It was obvious, in my opinion though that Khris Middleton was fatigued. Understandably so having carried Bucks on his back the last two games and to the ECF. Here’s hoping that Bucks bounces back soon from the exhaustion.

I thought to blog on the key players and their coaches. I found some articles, Ten things to know about the player, from NBA.com, to share. Click on each name to find out more.

  1. Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo
  2. Bucks’ Khris Middleton
  3. Phoenix’s Chris Paul
  4. Phoenix’s Devin Booker

The Coaches

Mike Budenholzer is the current Bucks head coach, since 2018. The team was formed in 1968, and there have been 15 head coaches for the Bucks franchise. The franchise won its only NBA championship in the 1971 NBA Finals under the leadership of its first coach, Larry Costello.
Don Nelson was the head coach for the Milwaukee Bucks from 1976–1987. Terry Porter was the head coach of the Bucks for two seasons. Jason Kidd served as the Bucks head coach from 2014–2018.

Founded in 1968, the Suns are chronologically the second-oldest team in the Western Conference. The Suns are also chronologically the third-oldest team in the NBA to have never won an NBA Championship while having played in the NBA Finals at least once

Former Pelicans coach Monty Williams was hired to coach the team on May 3, 2019. The Phoenix Suns franchise has had 20 head coaches. John MacLeod is the franchise’s all-time leader in coaching years and games won, winning the most regular-season and playoff games. Cotton Fitzsimmons, Mike D’Antoni and Monty Williams are the only coaches to have won the NBA Coach of the Year Award with the Suns. The Suns never have been coached by a Basketball Hall of Fame inductee.

Now you know why the Finals game is important to both teams. Who would win the Championship? We’ll keep watching and I hope you’ll watch along.

References:

  • NBA.com
  • Wikipedia.org
  • Factsnippet.org

6 Lessons I learned from just watching Basketball: Part I

  1. Never give up
  2. Be open-minded
  3. Change
  4. Believe
  5. Always put your best foot forward, and
  6. Speak / affirm your success.

Preface

I know that God speaks to all His creatures (people). The question is whether or not we are receiving or perceiving what He’s saying? It is akin to a radio station; you hear it clearly when your antenna is in sync with the station. Other times, when the antenna is not, it’s muffled and you can get interferences. Interruptions that distorts the messages received will spur the wrong action.

I gravitated wholly to basketball when my daughters got more into the sport in middle school. They both had been playing since they were four. At the time, it was just to occupy their time. However, it turned out to be a sport they both loved, in addition to soccer. Prior to that, personally, basketball was just another sport. I wanted to better understand the game in order to be able to help them be better. So I learned, read, watched, and asked questions. Their dad was not interested in being part of it because he considered it a waste of time and money! Occasionally he would join us for a game, drop and pick them up from practices which all seemed like a “forced” chore.

Basketball is now my #1 pastime.

Observations

While I saw few players being misfits in their initial teams, blossoming when placed in another team, I also noted those who were excelling as starters at one team, relegated to benchers and thus dwindled skills. A few of those players have either faded into NBA oblivion or gone international for a second opportunity.

As with the players, so with the Coaches. A coach (or more) couldn’t coach his team to a championship not to talk of the Playoffs. Yet, when let go and embraced by another team, I watched their teams excelling and reaching Playoffs and Conference Finals.

What was it that changed or why couldn’t the same coach perform at the old team? I wonder repeatedly for an answer.

I also watched teams defeated, that were otherwise sure-bankers for the win, while the underdogs shone over and over. This instance happened to my younger daughter’s big 7th grade championship game! I still remember it to this day. And a few top key players appeared unprepared for certain games, and the benchers were the saving graces for the day.

All these, I hope you agree, demonstrates that nothing is etched in stone and never say never.

Golden Nugget

I shared with my younger daughter, while we were both watching the Milwaukee Bucks-Atlanta Hawks’ Game 6, one thing that had stayed with me over the years from a former CEO. At an office quarterly meeting, he said “we put so much into hiring the right fit and I believe that we have a superb HR Department. If an employee is not performing where we’ve placed him/her, it is not the employee’s fault. It could be that we made a mistake in hiring, which I doubt, or it could be that we placed the employee in the wrong department. Most likely the latter. I implore all managers to give the employee another chance and help find the department where they think the employee might be a better fit, before showing him or her the door. Give the employee time to adjust; learning curve.

The wisdom from that statement stayed with me and I have used it in advising others till date.

I shared that while musingly watching Nate McMillan coach Atlanta Hawks within the year to the Eastern Final; one he couldn’t achieve for Indiana Pacers nor the Portland Blazers during his tenures for four and five years respectively. His closest record to the Atlanta Hawks’ was once during his seven-year season with the Seattle Sonics.

Some thing, or things, definitely changed either connected to his maturity or skills or both. Was he let off too soon at his previous coaching positions and could he have achieved the same, or more, success had he stayed longer? Your answer is as good as mine.

God in Basketball?

God is everywhere and in everything whether you admit or acknowledge it or not. And, yes, he is in the basketball and all games.

One of my favorite scripture chapter is Ecclesiastes 3:

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill (my interpretation: this is not to murder anyone, but more in reference to “killing” what is not fruitful in our lives), and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and
a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate (my interpretation: not hating of people, but more of a hate of evil and the heavy things that tend to weigh us down);
a time for war, and a time for peace. …
He hath made everything beautiful in its time: also he hath set eternity in their heart, …
I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it; and God hath done it, that men should fear before him.
‭‭(Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:‬ ‭ASV‬‬ verses 1-8, 11a, 14)

I referenced this scripture because winning in basketball, aside from the right fit, is about seasons and times. While the coach strategizes and breaks down the game plan, the players have to build up their game-changing habits, skills, and styles. More of this later.

Is “God” in the basketball, finals, and championship? Yes, you bet He is, though many will disagree with me and loudly say that it’s a matter of skills. And God is in everything though we don’t all see it nor acknowledge Him.

The two finals’ teams have long histories. On one hand one key player has been in the NBA for over a decade, with multiple teams, yet has never reached Finals let alone win a championship. Another was so close to a Final, yet missed it. Both Teams haven’t won in several years. I would propose that each player and both teams are desperate for a deserving win, right? Yet we know that only one will win. Who will it be?

These observations and lessons are not peculiar to this season’s basketball alone, but to every season, game of basketball be it at the school, college, or professional levels, as well as, every spheres of life. But we have to pay attention in order to grasp them.

Someone once said,

“If you pay attention, attention will pay you.”

This statement does not mean seeing the obvious and visible. We don’t need any more attention for that. What it means is that only the diligent and curious will see the latent. How does it relate to basketball and the lessons I have learned?

To be continued … stay tuned to find out.

All Hail Milwaukee Bucks, the Eastern Conference Champion!!!

What a game! What a series!! I had to watch Game 6 all over again.
But now it’s over and on to the next challenge, the Real Finals.

Milwaukee Bucks are the NBA 2020-21 Eastern Conference Champs. The #3 Eastern Conference seed defeated the young and feisty #5 Atlanta Hawks in an incredibly underestimated 4-2 run.

Milwaukee home fans

I hope that Bucks learned a lesson or two from this Series which started with underrating Atlanta in Game 1 of the series The “hungry” Hawks quickly stated that they showed up to play and behold won the Game.

I had thought that it would be an easy win or a sweep, but Atlanta Hawks proved me wrong.

Of course the Series was not without its share of injuries. Both Teams’ key leaders were sidelined for two and three games each respectively. First, it was Trae Young, then it was Giannis Antetokounmpo. Both Teams survived and won at least a game each without their key players.

Giannis, who left Game 4 and missed Games 5 and 6, humbly stepped aside to allow his deserving teammates; Middleton, Holiday, Lopez, Turcker, Portis, and Connaughton, to enjoy the exhilaration of holding the Larry O’Brien cup. They all elevated their games to cover Giannis’ absence and thus are taking the trophy back home to Milwaukee.

Bucks will face the Western Conference Champs, Phoenix Suns, starting on Tuesday, July 6. It sure will be another spectacular Series as it is Bucks Final qualifier since 1974 and Suns’ since 1993. Both Teams also entered the NBA in the same year. Surely, I’m not about to miss any of the games.

Hope you’ll be watching, too.

Congrats again to Milwaukee Bucks being the superior team in the Series.

Thanks to Team Trae Young for giving Bucks a hard-earned game. Till next season, rest, rest, rest!!!

The NBA Finals begin on Tuesday, July 6. Oh how I wish the Bucks have more time between games to recoup and reenergize. Phoenix Suns has been “resting” since Thursday. I’m sure they will all be fine. 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾

Mike Brown prepares to make Olympic history with Nigerian national team

OAKLAND, Calif. – Nelson Mandela once famously said, “The world will not respect Africa until Nigeria earns that respect. The Black people of the world need Nig…
— Read on theundefeated.com/features/mike-brown-prepares-to-make-olympic-history-with-nigerian-national-team/

Woohoo to the Nigerian Basketball Team – what a delight to qualify as the only African country – and to Mike Brown, the humble Golden State Warriors assistant Coach!

👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾😎

CONGRATS TO PHOENIX SUNS, The 2021 NBA Western Conference Finalist!

While we await the conclusion of the Eastern Conference Final, which has been a roller coaster of a series, I stop to Congratulate Phoenix Suns, Team Devin Booker, Chris Paul, Deandre Anton, Mikal Bridges, Cameron Payne, et al.

They just defeated LA Clippers in an emotional and high-intensity-packed game amidst injuries, bruises, fouls, technicals, and all, that demonstrates a finals hunger. And the hunger was satisfied with immense resilience and perseverance.

It’s the Suns’ first win in over thirty (30) years and Chris Paul’s in sixteen (16). Highly commendable.

👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾😎👍🏾👍🏾👍🏾

The NBA Finals will definitely be a record performance of two hungry teams; be it Milwaukee Bucks or Atlanta Hawks. Can’t wait to watch. I hope you’ll be watching, too.

What happened to the Spida fire?!

As you may have known or heard, Utah Jazz has been eliminated from the Playoffs. They started well with ‘Spida’ Mitchell on fire in Games 1 and 2, but the Los Ángeles (LA) Clippers came with their fire extinguishers for the subsequent games and Spida could fire no more. It was sad to watch Team ‘Spida’ Mitchell unable to bounce back after leading 2-0. The Number 1 Western Conference Team was sadly eliminated by the Number 4.

What happened?

One team was hungrier for the win than the other? Or the two-up-Team felt that it was a done-deal and relapsed? Your guess is as good as mine.

Experience was a factor in my opinion; the difference between the vets’/playoff/finals’ teams on one hand compared to the new-kid-on-the-block team on the other. Utah also doesn’t have any such player on their Team.

Clippers’ win was the Team’s first Wéstern Final. They move onto Round 3, the Western Playoffs Championship, against the Phoenix Suns (PS). Series is already in progress with PS leading 2-0. Will Clippers continue their new signature-style and strategy as seen with the Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz? Time will tell. Watch the game tonight at 9:00 PM (Eastern Time) to find out.

Well, on to next season for Team Utah. Thanks for a great and exciting 2020-21 NBA Season.

Congratulatory Corner

Congratulations to Utah Center Rudy Gobert though for being the 2020-21 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year; an award he has won for three consecutive years and overall four times.

Shoutout, as well, to the First and Second All-Defensive Teams. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

Did you watch it?

Game 7 was phenomenal as expected. It could have passed for the NBA Finals, rather than the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals that it was. And for the Milwaukee Bucks, no other game going forward, could be as challenging as the one today against Brooklyn Nets. For sure!

So, Team Giannis won having narrowly missed a last minute three-pointer that could have ended the regulation with Kevin Durant’s (KD) shot, but for his (KD) foot on the line. Thus it was a two-point shot. It tied the game and went into overtime.

KD’s three/two pointer shot

The overtime (OT) started with Nets early shot, while Bucks’ shots refused to hit the basket until almost the fourth minute (of the five-minute OT).

A game with KD is not over until the clock times out because he is such a great player and shooter who can shoot from any angle. Unfortunately his last shot for the Game 7 OT was an air ball. As Giannis always says, a win is a win, whether by one or ten points. KD’s miss clenched the win for Team Giannis.

I have watched both Giannis Antetokounmpo (GA) and KD played each other times without number, both during regular seasons, Playoffs, and Finals, but still none compared to 2021 Game 7 nor have I ever seen both key players as exhausted as they both were for this Game. Everyone, that is the NBA village, was watching.

Bucks was the underdog, but with injuries plaguing the Nets, they had a chance. And chance they not only had, but took, and snatched the win from the Big Two (or shall I say, Big One-and-a-Half since Harden, who surprisingly made more shots (3s) than he did for Games 5 and 6) was not totally healthy. He stepped up immensely though to aid KD and the Team.

The key players on both Teams were glaringly and excruciatingly exhausted not surprisingly since both KD and Giannis played about 50 minutes each and had 40+ points. Giannis played with a limp towards the end having suffered pains from being hit. So did P. J. Tucker at some point. Giannis was also ridiculed at the free throw line for taking too long and missing the shots anyways, which he finally overcame and made a total of I think five out of the eight free throws. Middleton was hit in the eye. And there was also foul troubles; P.J. Tucker, who was doing a tremendous job guarding KD and frustrating his efforts, eventually fouled out during the OT.

Great Sportsmanship

KD gave his respect to the Milwaukee Bucks for all they did tonight, during the Series, and had done throughout the Season.
See the after-game video courtesy of NBA.

Congrats. Congrats. Congrats.

Congratulations to the Milwaukee Bucks. They get two days of rest, (excluding travel back to their home base) while waiting on the winner of Sixers and Atlanta, before the start of the Eastern Conference Finals Series.

Bucks-Nets Game 7 was the Game of the Season and one to remember for years!

It Is A Must-Watch Game 7!

You probably already heard about Brooklyn Nets-Milwaukee Bucks’ Games 5 and 6. If you thought those were spectacular, today’s Game 7 will definitely be much more. It is a MUST WATCH! This is the finale that determines who advances to the Eastern Conference Finals. The fight of the titans. An African adage says: “when two elephants battle, it is the ground (where the fight is taking place) that suffers.” We don’t interpret ethnic adages (aka proverbs) literally because they are so weighted that no literal translation can suffice. In the above adage, imagine the ground being wet and muddy, then imagine if the ground was dry and concrete. [laugh] Get the picture?

when two elephants battle, it is the ground (where the fight is taking place) that suffers.”

An African Adage

Anyways, and seriously, I am so excited that the game extended to Game 7. It was what it was supposed to be. The first two games of the series were a sham indeed. Bucks finally awoke and tied the game, only to lose Game 5 in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter though they had led throughout. It was unbelievable with Giannis’ fumble at the critical moments and the Team being in foul trouble. But Game 6 was better making it look like a ping-ponging series between the two teams. The ping-ponging is the sign of an equal team natch. But now this is it. Today at 8:30 P.M. ET.

Both Teams have utilized their respective court advantages. So, if courts- and fans-advantages have played a role, though I believe that Bucks could have won Game 5 on Nets’ ground, how will it play out today?

We will surely find out. Make sure you watch it if you can.

Congratulations

Congrats to the Los Angeles (LA) Clippers for making it to the Western Conference Finals. They defeated Utah Jazz’s Team Mitchell yesterday winning the series 4-2. It’s the first time ever for the Clippers to advance to the Conference Finals despite their key player, Kawahi Leonard, being injured and missing their last two games.

Congratulations also to the Phoenix Suns and their determined Team Devin Booker, Chris Paul, Deandre Ayton, Cameron Payne, and Mikal Bridges for making it to the Western Conference Finals. The Western Finals start on Sunday. Doubtful if Chris Paul will be playing the first two games since he’s on protocol watch.

It has been fun and exhilarating watching the games so far. It gets even better going forward till the Grand Finale.

Are you watching? Why or why not?

Loving Basketball: Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets’ Game 4 was super-electrifying. Did you watch it?

Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets’ Game 4 was super-electrifying. Did you watch it?

It was very physical. Which is okay for a Playoff game, right, but when intentional hurt, harm, and injuries overshadow the games, it takes the fun away. I felt such happened during the game, but overall it was just what was expected of two elephants on the court. To some, it’s a part of what Playoffs and Finals are made of. Does it have to be though?

Unfortunately, Brooklyn Net’s Kyrie Irving, the Team’s indomitable point guard accidentally stepped on Giannis of Milwaukee Bucks, thought he twisted his ankle, had to leave Game 4, and won’t be available for Game 5. We learned later that Kyrie only suffered a sprain.

Also, Milwaukee Bucks’ Guard, Pat Connaughton, got hit in the brow and had to be stitched. Was his hurt/injury, a retaliatory action?

Yet, there was the unflinching recently-acquired-from-Houston Rockets Guard, P.J. Tucker, who superbly defended and restricted my awesome KD such that KD was frustrated and had a too-close-for-comfort-facial court encounter that necessitated KD’s bodyguard running to his side. It was dramatic and scary for me to watch. For a second I thought it was about to turn into a scuffle. Thank goodness that the swift actions of the referees and coaches averted one. [sigh]

All said and done, the Bucks put up a superb and superior game to equalize the Series; now 2-2.

Kudos to all for a tremendous Game 4 worth watch.

Today is Game 5. Nets’ James Harden, who left Game 1 with a hamstring injury and missed Games 2-4, might return to aid the lone star of the Big Three.

Will Bucks continue with the tight defense and fearless pursuit? We’ll see tonight.

Hope you’ll be watching too.

.

Loving Basketball: The Big Three are Nasty!

Excusez-moi, monsieurs! Qu’est-ce qui se passe?

What I envisioned to be a game of the titans is turning out to be an embarrassing game of mismatch to watch. Pardon me, but it appears that Giannis and Team Milwaukee are proving to be no match for Brooklyn Nets’ Big Three of Kevin Durant (KD), Kyrie Irving (KI), and James Hardin (JH); Big Two for Games 1 and 2 since Harden exited at the onset of the series. I can only imagine if he was playing.

The Nets rout Bucks, without resistance, in the second game leading by almost 40-points. Game 1 was sort of a sampler. I had thought that Bucks will resist and show up for Game 2. But was I wrong? Glad that I didn’t bet on it because I could have lost money big time.

I love to watch a game of equals and I had thought that there wasn’t much difference in NBA’s 2020-21 #2 Team Durant/Brooklyn Nets and #3 Team Giannis/Milwaukee Bucks. But watching Games 1 and 2 of Round 2 of the Playoffs, and particularly Game 2, proved that the difference and disparity goes beyond the numbers and thus me wrong.

I’ve always loved Kevin Durant (KD). The boy’s got style on the court. He’s so slick and plays the game with such unbelievable ease. So when he was acquired by Golden State Warriors (my favorite Team), I was elated. And he proved his worth earning the back-to-back MVPs. KD’s on-court countenance also changed compared to his time with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Too bad that we (GSW/fans) couldn’t keep him longer.

Anyhow, KD seems to be on a roll for a championship as it appears that this might be a sweep if Milwaukee is unable to bring their A+ game on Thursday and fight back. I hope they will. In basketball nothing is impossible as we saw with the Dallas Mavericks and LA Clippers.

On edge waiting for this duo’s Game Three … till then

Love and Peace.

Loving Basketball: 🥵 Golden State Warriors’ 2020-21 NBA Season is Over?!

Two painful losses for the Dub Nation in the Play-In Tournament fighting for the 7th or 8th Seed, first against LA Lakers and tonight with the Memphis Grizzlies, substantiates the fact that some outcomes in life just don’t make sense despite your BEST efforts.

It’s the second time Warriors will miss the Playoff after winning the Championship thrice, with one back-to-back.

As a fan, the losses hurt. I can only imagine how Steph and team feels.

But for a team that started the season with only eight players (due to injuries) for the first twenty or so games, coming from last and second-to-last team, to now be in the Play-In, despite the loss still needs to be commended.

Well, on to next season. Hopefully, we’ll have Klay Thompson, who’s been out since 2019, back and be back to our Championship form.

Step said “It’s weird going out like this … we gave it all the gas we had in the tank.”

Thanks Dubs for a great season!

Loving Basketball: Woohoo All 30 Teams Playing Today!

It’s a day of basketball starting now. All 30 Teams playing today – 15 games!!! It’s Pre-Play-In which starts on Tuesday. Some teams (6 from the Eastern Conference and 5 from the Western) have clinched a Playoff seed, but a few teams need to win the game today and the Play-In to qualify for Playoff.

If you’re in the U.S., check your television local and sports channels for correct times. You can also subscribe to the NBA Station for individual games or all games. Happy viewing.

Praying for all Teams.

Loving Basketball: 2020-21 NBA Season, Play-Ins, and Playoff

What a Season! The 2020-21 NBA Season has been quite interesting. What with covid and a lack of fan-fare. We must commend all the players for continuously entertaining us despite being in lockdown away from families and their fans. Yay yay yay. I hear your mutterings – they are only doing their job after all the big contracts and pay packages. True, but I believe that they could have opted out of the lockdown conditions during covid and still be legally or contractually un-liable. Well, what do I know; I’m just speaking from my heart. I am however glad that they didn’t and chose to play through it all.

The 2020-21 NBA Season started in December 2020. Now, it’s down to the wires as the Season officially ends on Sunday. Under normal circumstances, we would have known the eight teams that made the Playoffs which starts a week from Saturday (May 22nd). But since the Season’s circumstances were abnormal, there is a Play-In Tournament to determine the 7th and 8th seeds. The Play-In, starts before the Playoff Tournament, on May 18 through the 21st and, according to the NBA, “will include teams with the 7th through 10th-highest winning percentages in each conference.”

Is the Play-In an exception as a result of covid or does this become the NBA Playoff norm? We will find out sooner or later. I bet the ninth and tenth teams, given the opportunity to play-in, are glad, but it might be one game too many for the current seventh and eighth teams.

It has definitely been an interesting Season to watch. On the Western Conference, what with the 2019-20 Championship, LA Lakers, regressing from the #1 Team, and Golden State Warriors once the #15 team advancing, to both now needing to win to clinch a Playoff seed. Likewise, the Eastern Conference has seen an impressive Miami Heat already clinched the #5 playoff seed, while the once indomitable Boston Celtics is in the same boat as their Western Conference counterparts, LA Lakers.

No one team retained the #1 spot on either the Eastern or Western Conference throughout the Season. However, the Utah Jazz has maintained the #1 spot for the Western than any other, while the Philadelphia 76ers are currently Eastern Conference #1 seed.

Of course, playing rigorous, and sometimes heart-wrenching, 72 games took its toll on some of the players and some teams a lot more than others. See this current injury list of all teams. Understandably. Here’s wishing a speedy recovery to all.

Life Lessons learned from the NBA Games

  • The greatest lesson learned, cliched as it may sound, is that nothing lasts forever. Never say never.
  • The other lesson is that resilience pays. Just watching the teams and players not giving up; one game after the other, was exciting sometimes playing through pain.
  • Grace was present for those players who merely and naturally were themselves and played for the love of the game, rather than for showbiz.
  • Opportunity might only come once in certain instances. Always be ready and prepared – no excuses. Watching how bench players had to step in and up. If they missed that opportunity, they get replaced or don’t get another chance for a long time. I wish that Coaches could give other players more playing times so that they can easily step in when the noted and more famous starter-players became injured. This one puzzles me all the time as it looks so simple, but I wonder why it’s not implemented so. I’ll love to know what the reason behind this is. It takes a few back-to-back losses for a team to recoup itself after an injury to the main player.
  • Basketball is a team sport, but sometimes it only takes one player to make the defying moment of victory. Often times, it is the least-expected player that makes it happen.

The next few days are highly expectant. I know it is for me. ThinkTalk wishes every team the very best.

Loving Basketball: Team LeBron vs. Team Durant: NBA All-Star Draft rosters and results

Credits: NBA

The Captains, LeBron James for the West, and Kevin Durant for the East, selected their starters and reserves watched by probably millions on TNT a few minutes ago.

Below is the roster per the NBA website:

Team LeBron

Starters:
• LeBron James*

• Giannis Antetokounmpo

• Stephen Curry

• Luka Doncic

• Nikola Jokic

Reserves:

• Damian Lillard

• Ben Simmons

• Chris Paul

• Jaylen Brown

• Paul George

• Domantas Sabonis

• Rudy Gobert

* Captain

Team Durant

Starters:

• Kyrie Irving

• Joel Embiid

• Kawhi Leonard

• Bradley Beal

• Jayson Tatum

Reserves:

• James Harden

• Devin Booker

• Zion Williamson

• Zach LaVine

• Julius Randle

• Nikola Vucevic

• Donovan Mitchell

Interested in details, click here

The, one-day 2021 NBA All Star Game is scheduled for Sunday, March 7th.

Schedule (per NBA):

Both Captains are playing for a Charity Organization. Should be lots of fun.

I hope you will join to watch and support. 😍

Enjoy Christmas Day with your Family watching these NBA Games!

Source: NBA

Schedule

12:00 P.M. Miami Heat and New Orleans Pelicans

2:30 P.M. Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks

5:00 P.M. Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets

8:00 P.M. Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers

10:30 P.M. Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers

Credits: NBA

I am sooooo excited and will be lazing in front of the screen with my family aaaalllllllll Day!

Games are airing on ESPN and ABC today. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Loving Basketball: Can’t believe this is happening …!

Check out this game in the NBA app!
Celtics VS Bucks
https://watch.nba.com/game/20201223/MILBOS-1

Tell me that there’s no fear because it’s just the beginning of the Season! Again, an indicator of what the season holds.

Enjoy the remainder of the game on second opening night😍

Here are the results of other games played tonight, courtesy of NBA; couple or so still in progress.

Stop Press!

Though Milwaukee Bucks closed the lead, they lost the game to Boston Celtics by one point – 121:122!

Loving Basketball: 2020-21 NBA Season Starts Tomorrow!

For lovers of NBA Basketball, the 2020-21 Season starts tomorrow!!! I’m so excited but too bad Covid-19 has barred fans from being live on-the-ground to watch their favorite Teams. Well, we’ll be glued to our televisions.

It’s going to be different. What with Teams’ almost all new players and the ten (10) players who, missed almost all of the previous season or more, now returning, and all the BIG deals and trades! Giannis Antetokounmpo having the BIGGEST BADDEST DEAL! The trades are on till March, so still more trades to expect and James Harden is still looking for a new home. I wonder where he’ll land.

The Championship race this season will sure be different. Personally, it’s hard to tell who’s going to lead each conference, but I know it’s gonna be darn wild and exciting!! Yours truly will be watching and I hope you will too.

Here’s the Season’s Broadcast Schedule. Watch your locals for appropriate showing times.

Loving Basketball: Preseason starts this Saturday!

t.email.warriors.com/r/

Woohoo!!!

Check your local Teams for respective stations’ airing times. You know (C)ThinkTalk will be glued to the television.

Quiz:

Which Team will win this season’s Championship?

1 Golden State Warriors

2 Golden State Warriors

3 Golden State Warriors

4 Golden State Warriors

😆 Okay, I just displayed my bias!

Let’s take two:

Which Team will win the 2020-21 NBA Championship?

1 Golden State Warriors

2 Los Angeles Lakers

3 Miliwaukee Bucks

4 Brooklyn Nets

You can also write it in the comments.

Hope you’ll be watching too!

Loving Basketball: So glad to see these guys back!

www.nba.com/news/10-players-we-finally-get-to-see-again-in-2020-21

. . .

I’m really glad and looking forward to the 2020-21 NBA season starting soon – Christmas will be bomb!!!

The game, like any other sports, is a risky venture. We, the fans, concern ourselves more with the big bucks paid to the players and big contracts signed. But none, absolutely none, can relate to the private grind and unfortunate mishaps, nor the public scrutiny, that comes with it.

I’m really gladder to see these players, highlighted by renowned NBA sportswriter and my fave sportswriter (though he doesn’t know that or know me! smile), #ShaunPowell, return to doing what they love. I watched the incident live as it happened to everyone on the list and man, I shed a tear or two. That each had to be grounded at all is painful; for some a year or more. But as awful as each’s incident was, I gathered and consoled myself that each needed a divine rest that they would otherwise not had taken.

How could the Bay Area fans had explained Kevin Durant’s (KD’s) incident recur live during the 2018-19 NBA Championship. It undoubtedly dented hopes of winning that season. Steph, Draymond, et al were still fighting till the next casualty Klay Thompson went down! All hopes at that point, for my beloved Golden State Warriors (GSW) winning that season, shattered. Was that a divine coincidence? You be the judge.

Needless to say, we welcome these guys back and pray that there will be no mishaps during the season. Cheers to the stronger, vibrant, and healthier ten (10) NBA players. Love you all and thanks for giving us your best always and sharing your gifts and talents with the world.

p.s. we continue to pray for a speedy recovery for the indomitable Klay Thompson.

Loving Basketball: NBA Teams’ Star Duos

“Everyone needs somebody,” right? Yes, we all need each other, but most importantly, we all need at least one person in our life who is our confidante or a balancer of sorts. For married couples, this person often is the significant other. But even married couples need a confidante outside of marriage. This person could be your parents, a sibling, or a great friend. Identify such a person in your life today and be willing to be accountable, as well as to listen, obey, and have mutual respect for one another.

. . .

If you’ve been following the NBA lately, especially since the NBA Drafts, you would have noticed or heard the numerous musical chairs (I’m referring to the trades and deals!) going on. Despite the ongoing “tradeals,” I thought it would still be fun and interesting to see how much change each Team has undergone when the 2020-21 Season starts.

As our lives need somebody, so do sports teams. Each Team has the superstars who the rest of the players revolve around. I was musing a while back about keep my Loving Basketball posts alive during the League’s recess and this is what I came up with; the NBA Team Star Duos. Let’s talk and learn about who they are.

. . .

Who are the Super Star Duos of each NBA Team?

I hope the Star Duos were obvious to you as you watched the recently-completed NBA games; restarts, playoffs, and championship. If not, they are listed below.

Basketball is a team sport. But every team has a duo super-star around which the rest of the players revolve. The duo players get more playing times than the rest, are the “face of the Team/franchise,” and this status is topped with mega contracts. A few of the teams have more than two, but primarily it’s always the main two.

Trivia

Before we get to the Team Duos, first, a little trivia.

  • Do you know how many teams are in the NBA today?
  • Do you know when the NBA started?
  • Do you know how many teams the NBA started with?

. . .

As of today, thirty (30) teams play in the NBA; 15 each for the Western and Eastern Conferences. Of these, only two (New York Knicks and Boston Celtics) teams have maintained the same name and played in the same location since the League originally started with eleven (11) teams in 1946! Click here for a chronological history of the NBA.

Going back to NBA Team Duos,

Team Duos

  1. ATLANTA HAWKS Trae Young, Clint Capela.
  2. BOSTON CELTICS Jaysun Tatum, Kemba Walker, Enes Kanter, Jaylen Brown.
  3. BROOKLYN NETS Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant (though he sat out through the season), Spencer Dinwiddie.
  4. CHARLOTTE HORNETS Devonte Graham, Miles Bridges.
  5. CHICAGO BULLS Wendell Carter Jr., Coby White.
  6. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS Tristan Thompson, Kevin Lowe, Andre Drummond.
  7. DALLAS MAVERICKS Luka Doncic, Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
  8. DENVER NUGGETS Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic, Jerami Grant.
  9. DETROIT PISTONS Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin, Christian Wood.
  10. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS Step Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green.
  11. HOUSTON ROCKETS James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Eric Gordon,
  12. INDIANA PACERS Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner.
  13. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS Kawhi Leonard Paul George.
  14. LOS ANGELES LAKERS LeBron James, Anthony Davis.
  15. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr..
  16. MIAMI HEAT Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, Andre Iguodala.
  17. MILWAUKEE BUCKS Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe.
  18. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES D’Angelo Russell, Karl-Anthony Towns.
  19. NEW ORLEANS PELICANS Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Lorenzo Bell.
  20. NEW YORK KNICKERBOCKERS RJ Barrett, Julius Randle.
  21. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER Chris Paul, Steven Adams.
  22. ORLANDO MAGIC Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier.
  23. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid. Tobias Harris, Al Horford.
  24. PHOENIX SUNS Devin Booker, Ricky Rubio, Deandre Ayton.
  25. PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum,
  26. SACRAMENTO KINGS De’Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes.
  27. SAN ANTONIO SPURS LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan, Dejounte Murray.
  28. TORONTO RAPTORS Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka, Marc Gusol.
  29. UTAH JAZZ Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Bojan Bogdanović.
  30. WASHINGTON WIZARDS John Wall, Bradley Beal.

Now you have the list. Can you identify which team belongs to the Eastern or Western conference? 😊

The 2020-21 season has been scheduled to start on December 22; in time for the Christmas holidays. I’m looking forward to a fun holiday. I hope you are too. Basketball is my outlet.

Again, lots of changes have taken place; some of the players have changed teams and some are still in the works. Play along with me and let’s try to match the players to their new team for the season. I think it will be fun.

Thanks for reading. I hope you learned a thing or two.

Loving Basketball: 2020 NBA Draft: Results

The 2020 NBA Draft has now been completed. The spectacular event was full of surprises and extremely emotional for many prospects.
Locally, LaMelo Ball was rumored to be the #1 draft, but the first draft went to Anthony Edwards, while LaMelo was the #3. Former USC Star Onyeka Okonkwo was, as of yesterday nominated by only 26%; while Isaac Okoro was barely nominated by anyone. Both prospects shocked all as #6 and #5 drafts respectively.

Golden State Warriors went with the #2 James Wiseman.

After all said and done, personally, it doesn’t matter what number the drafts were. What matters in my opinion is that they were selected. Forty of the prospects were not selected. So why complain about the number, right? Each draft should have a heart of gratitude. No doubt, they’ve each worked relentlessly hard to get here. We hope that they will continue and not relent now.
ThinkTalk wishes all the 2020 NBA Draft the very best career in the NBA and eagerly looks forward to who will bag the 2021 Rookie of the Year!

. . .

There was Draft’ing and Deal’ing as Teams traded players up and down. As you can see from the table below, some Drafts were immediately traded to another Team or were involved in a three-way deal.

It would be interesting to see the makeup of each NBA Team for the upcoming season.

. . .

Here’s the complete list, courtesy of the NBA.:

First Round

  1. Timberwolves draft Anthony Edwards
  2. Warriors draft James Wiseman
  3. Hornets draft LaMelo Ball
  4. Bulls draft Patrick Williams
  5. Cavaliers draft Isaac Okoro
  6. Hawks draft Onyeka Okongwu
  7. Pistons draft Killian Hayes
  8. Knicks draft Obi Toppin
  9. Wizards draft Deni Avdija
  10. Suns draft Jalen Smith
  11. Spurs draft Devin Vassell
  12. Kings draft Tyrese Haliburton
  13. Pelicans draft Kira Lewis Jr.
  14. Celtics draft Aaron Nesmith
  15. Magic draft Cole Anthony
  16. Trail Blazers draft Isaiah Stewart >> reportedly traded to the Pistons, after first being dealt to the Rockets
  17. Timberwolves draft Aleksej Pokusevski >> reportedly traded to the Thunder
  18. Mavericks draft Josh Green
  19. Nets draft Saddiq Bey >> reportedly traded to the Pistons, after first being dealt to the Clippers
  20. Heat draft Precious Achiuwa
  21. 76ers draft Tyrese Maxey
  22. Nuggets draft Zeke Nnaji
  23. Knicks draft Leandro Bolmaro >> reportedly traded to the Timberwolves
  24. Bucks draft RJ Hampton >> reportedly traded to the Nuggets, after first being dealt to the Pelicans
  25. Thunder draft Immanuel Quickley >> reportedly traded to the Knicks, after first being dealt to the Timberwolves
  26. Celtics draft Payton Pritchard
  27. Jazz draft Udoka Azubuike
  28. Lakers draft Jaden McDaniels >> reportedly traded to the Timberwolves, after first being dealt to the Thunder
  29. Raptors draft Malachi Flynn
  30. Celtics draft Desmond Bane >> reportedly traded to the Grizzlies

Second Round

  1. Mavericks draft Tyrell Terry
  2. Hornets draft Vernon Carey
  3. Timberwolves draft Daniel Oturu >> reportedly traded to the Clippers, after first being dealt to the Knicks
  4. 76ers draft Theo Maledon >> reportedly traded to the Thunder
  5. Kings draft Xavier Tillman Sr >> reportedly traded to the Grizzlies
  6. 76ers draft Tyler Bey >> officially traded to the Mavericks
  7. Wizards draft Vit Krejci >> reportedly traded to the Thunder
  8. Jazz draft Saben Lee >> reportedly traded to the Pistons
  9. Pelicans draft Elijah Hughes >> reportedly traded to the Jazz
  10. Grizzlies draft Robert Woodard >> reportedly traded to the Kings
  11. Spurs draft Tre Jones
  12. Pelicans draft Nick Richards >> officially traded to the Hornets
  13. Kings draft Jahmi’us Ramsey
  14. Bulls draft Marko Simonovic
  15. Bucks draft Jordan Nwora
  16. Trail Blazers draft CJ Elleby
  17. Celtics draft Yam Madar
  18. Warriors draft Nico Mannion
  19. 76ers draft Isaiah Joe
  20. Hawks draft Skylar Mays
  21. Warriors draft Justinian Jessup
  22. Kings draft Kenyon Martin Jr >> reportedly traded to the Rockets
  23. Thunder draft Cassius Winston >> reportedly traded to the Wizards
  24. Pacers draft Cassius Stanley
  25. Nets draft Jay Scrubb >> reportedly traded to the Clippers
  26. Hornets draft Grant Riller
  27. Clippers draft Reggie Perry >> reportedly traded to the Nets
  28. 76ers draft Paul Reed
  29. Raptors draft Jalen Harris
  30. Pelicans draft Sam Merrill >> reportedly traded to the Bucks

I hope that you watched the event. If not, I’m sure that it will be re-aired. Be sure to catch a glimpse of it.

Loving Basketball: 2020 NBA Draft Day

Today is the NBA Draft. Hundred (100) prospects with their families will gather, via videoconferencing due to covid-19, for the event and the possibility of starting a “new life” in basketball. The event which was originally “scheduled to be held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, will now be conducted at the ESPN’s facilities in Bristol, Connecticut.” The WNBA Draft earlier this year was also conducted via videoconferencing because of covid-19.

The NBA Draft consists of top talented American and International basketball players.

Of the hundred (100), only sixty (60) favored of these prospects will be chosen in two rounds of what will seem like an anxious auction of sorts.

Unlike the highest bidder getting the product in an auction, in the NBA Draft, the teams already know who they’d like to pick. The uncertainty arises if another team picks the specific prospect before the Team’s turn. I’m sure that each NBA Team has done its due diligences and has a first through probably fifth choice should that happen. Makes it the more uncertain though intriguing.

The Lottery earlier

The NBA Draft Lottery, which determines the order of selection for the NBA Draft, was earlier conducted in August. The 14 teams that did not make the 2020 postseason were eligible for the Lottery and included:

Golden State > 14.00% Charlotte > 6.00%
Cleveland > 14.00% Washington > 4.50%
Minnesota > 14.00% Phoenix > 3.00%
Atlanta > 12.50%

San Antonio > 2.00%
Detroit > 10.50% Sacramento > 1.30%
New York > 9.00% New Orleans > 1.20%
Chicago > 7.50% Memphis* > 0.50%

Though the above fourteen (14) teams have the edge of choosing the top fourteen prospects, all NBA Teams will have the opportunity to choose a prospect that fits with both their current needs and cultures and that will subsequently enhance their abilities to be competitive for the upcoming 2020-21 NBA Season. The goal will be to maximally compete for the next NBA Championship.

The NBA 2020-21 Season will start on December 22, 2020.

Draft Rounds

There are two rounds to go through. The first round consists of college freshmen who have opted to forgo the remainder of their education for a rosier NBA life. Their “contracts run a total of four years, with the first two being guaranteed.” The second round “talent often consists of sophomores, juniors and seniors who have had more time to develop their skills on the basketball court and end up being much better pro players than they would have been coming out a year earlier. This creates a demand for them, but the additional year in school theoretically means one less year for that drafting team, and as such, they fall to the second round.”

Steinberg, a Forbes Sports contributor, believes that “there is an inverse relationship between age and draft position.” Click here to read more on this.

Draft and Deals

Prior to today, several trade deals have been entered into that involves Teams exchanging draft picks. It is also not uncommon to make trade deals on Draft day. It will be interesting to see those that happen today.

. . .

Wikipedia has a table, with all Teams and their draft selection positions, that you can print and use to enter the prospects as you follow along. I’m unsure if I’ll be available to watch the live event, but I’ll definitely utilize the form for a later watch and reference.

Tune in if you will to watch this spectacular event on ESPN at 8 P.M. ET.

ThinkTalk wishes the chosen young men the very best in their NBA pursuits and career. May each land with the Team of their Dream. Here’s also wishing that the unselected forty (40) will continue to hope and try again either next year or look to alternative basketball or other pursuits; such as international. There’s surely a place for each one!

Thanks for reading.

Loving Basketball: I must confess, I was somewhat salty with Lakers’ win

Credits: NBA website / Shaun Powell

This blog could have been posted yesternight if I was exhilarated for the LA Lakers’ winning the 2020 NBA Championship. But, NO. It is delayed as I have to search and clear my heart. The truth is that I am somewhat salty that Lakers won.

Yes, I dropped it. Father God forgive me for being salty for LA Lakers’ win for I acknowledge that Your Word says that we should rejoice with those who rejoice and that we should let all evil be put away from us (Ephesians 4:31). I therefore repent.

Not that I ever wished LA Lakers any evil, but I believed that Miami Heat played a better game under the circumstances.

I love clean, great games and teams that play sly, and intentionally hurt players of the other team don’t get my respect.

* * *

It’s no secret that LeBron James (LBJ) was desperate for a win. That he coerced or cajoled Anthony Davis (AD) to switch teams puts him in a precarious position of a “win or die playing” mode.

Well, now LA Lakers have won seventeen (17) times and LeBron James four (4) times, and the real MVP, in my opinion, Anthony Davis, for the first time in the eight (7) seasons played. And for the records, the younger Antetokounmpo, Kostas (draping the Nigeria and Greece flags in the feature image above), won a ring before his MVP brother, Giannis, of the Milwaukee Bucks. Think-Talk hopes that Giannis’ is next.

What about the fans?

First they were irate that Danny Green (DG) missed the three-pointer that gave Miami the Game 5 win. Every player or team missing shots at critical game time knows the awful feeling. So it’s bad enough that the dude missed the shot! But to send death threats to anyone, or the player in this matter, is ridiculous. Did the fans miss that LeBron could have taken the shot himself rather than deflecting and passing to DG? And why didn’t the fans go after LBJ beats me?! Not that I’m advocating that the fans do so, but it points to the often illogical stance that people take sometimes.

Players play, fans cheer.

The death threats should be condemned. To that instance, I am glad for Danny’s sake that the team won. I can only imagine what the fans could have resorted to do if the outcome was otherwise.

* * *

Congrats LA Lakers! Congrats LBJ!!

Father God does not count our sins against us once we’ve confessed (1 John 1:9), repent (Acts 3:19), and turned from our wicked ways (2 Chronicles 7:14b).

I congratulate LA Lakers and LeBron James on their 17th NBA win and 4th MVP respectively. I must say that the win is long overdue (ten years) for Lakers. Enjoy your celebration.

Now that the 2019-20 season is over, I am looking to fill-in the space with something. Any suggestions? Maybe more blogging time.😊

Due to the pandemic, the start of the 2020-21 NBA season has been delayed. The League is weighing a few option dates (Fall, Winter, or Spring). I hope that it comes sooner than later.

For sure, next season is going to be simultaneously fun and fire. Looking to have Golden State Warriors back in the groove, Kevin Durant making his debut with the Brooklyn Nets, and hoping to see Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in the finals. I do have more favorite players whose list will be too long for this post. To every NBA player,

Thanks for keeping us continually entertained. And moreso for pushing to play during this bubble.

Loving Basketball: Who is he?!

Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Aside from the Golden State Warriors, I haven’t seen another resilient team in the NBA as I did tonight watching the Denver Nuggets (DN) take on the Los Angeles (LA) Lakers.

Twice Nuggets’ team rebounded from a 3:0 (against Utah Jazz) and 3:1 (against LA Clippers) deficit to win both the playoffs’ first and second round games.

Denver Nuggets is currently playing in the 2019-20 NBA West Conference Finals against the LA Lakers and trailing a 2:0. Today, I watched these DN guys wear out the LA Lakers – it was hilarious watching LeBron and AD panting on the court! Or maybe it was just my imagination lol

Enough of the Denver Nuggets team. But, who in the world is Jamal Murray?! At the end of the fourth quarter, this #27 guy and his teammates were still ready to go another quarter or two. I love their tenacity and won’t at all be surprised if, on Thursday, they win again to equalize the series.

But, who is this young dude?

According to Wikipedia, “Jamal Murray is a Canadian born on February 23, 1997. He played one season of college basketball for the Kentucky Wildcats before being drafted by the Nuggets with the seventh overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft. His career highlights and awards include:

  • NBA All-Rookie Second Team (2017)
  • Third-team All-American – AP (2016)
  • First-team All-SEC (2016)
  • SEC All-Freshman Team (2016)
  • Nike Hoop Summit MVP (2015)
  • BioSteel All-Canadian MVP (2015)
  • Jordan Brand Classic International MVP (2013).”

. . .

There are tons of young excellent and talented dudes in the NBA. Many with “hands;” some with speed, some with brains; many with passion, some with court character – no dirty tricks or plays and no shoving on court and feigning unawares of occurrence, but few combine it all. I watched Jamal Murray and, as 23 years young as he is, I tell you, he got it all! He was relentless and determined and he sure delivered on the win with a double-double making LeBron’s triple-double pale in comparison.

Credits: ESPN

Certainly Jamal couldn’t have done it all by himself; that’s why basketball is a team sport unlike golf or tennis. His companion, Nikola Jokic, who also had a double-double for the night, was spectacular. So were Jerami Grant and Monte Morris. Granted (no pun intended) that Nuggets blew a 20-point lead twice, the night was well worth the fight.

. . .

Tuesday’s game puts the Lakers on notice that the Nuggets weren’t going to be discarded easily nor soon. We look forward to an equally, or better, spectacular game on Thursday.

Loving Basketball: What a Game, but Bucks is out!

Unbelievable! Milwaukee Bucks, the NBA Number One seed and East Conference leader, with a regular season record of 56:17, is out of the 2019-20 NBA Playoffs!! Bucks was edged out by an underdog, the East’s 5th ranking Miami Heat who had a regular season record of 44:29!!

First-time a lower-seed (5th) will oust the number one seed!

Miami is already the first No. 5 seed to hold a 3-0 playoff series lead over a No. 1 seed in league history.

Miami Heat, with the duo of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, and their two three-point shooters of Tyler Herro (a rookie) and Goran Dragic, were phenomenal. They outscored the Bucks in the fourth quarter.

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (GA) had earlier sprained his ankle, the second time, during Game 4 of the series and had to leave the game. That was a damper, but his teammates successfully held the fort and won that game. Giannis showed up at Game 5 in a boot. I was optimistic that Milwaukee, without GA, will continue the streak. And they did till the fourth quarter. Though Khris Middleton and team played hard, too many turnovers and missed shots cost the leader team.

This is the second time that Milwaukee Bucks will lose the playoffs despite their team’s formidable season’s efforts. The first was the 2018-19 season during the finals against Toronto Raptors. Which brings me to wonder what’s going on with the team. Is’t exhaustion? But no, if the Golden State Warriors could hold up and win back-to-back championships, then Bucks could too. The question is “why aren’t they?” Did the Heat have the advantage of being well-rested since they finished the first round sooner than other teams and Bucks didn’t? Could there be internal affairs issues that the outside world/fans are unaware of? Your guess is as good as mine.

Well, well, well … Kudos really to the Miami Heat. They swept their first opponent, Indiana Pacers, in the first round of the playoffs and almost did it with the Bucks, too. They went 7:1! Now they have another opportunity to be well-rested for the semi-finals. Will it be Boston Celtics, who leads the series at 3:2, or the reigning champions Toronto Raptors?

Congratulations to Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat.

Like Charles Barkley said, we hope that Giannis will remain with the Bucks, figure out what the stumbler is that’s affecting them at critical moments and rectify it soonest, including hoping to win the NBA Championship soon.

Thanks for reading.

Loving Basketball: Stop Press – Game 5 boycotted to protest another senseless Police Shooting

After all the national unrest on Police brutality and systemic racism, it is disturbing that there was yet another shooting of a 29-year old African-American man.

As a result the planned Game 5 between Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic, scheduled for 4:00 p.m. ET today, was boycotted by the Bucks. They simply gathered in their locker room and wouldn’t come out to the courts.

The shooting is extremely disturbing. Proves that some law enforcement authorities are deadly adamant about continuing this heinous and hateful senseless shootings, and God forbid, killings of Blacks and minorities.

Jacob Blake, unarmed, was shot seven times in the back at close range. Sources say that he is in critical condition and might remain paralyzed as a result. Details are yet unknown about what led to the shooting.

Other NBA Teams followed Bucks’ boycott. As such no NBA games will be played today, Wednesday, August 26, 2020.

The Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics, who both had qualified for the 2nd Round Playoffs, had initially planned to boycott their first 2nd Round games too.

Media is wild at the moment with the news. Please check it out and add your voice to the senseless shootings – this needs to stop!

One bad egg should not pollute the whole crate

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The Police, have gone apathetic and are killing the people they are paid to protect. No-one is safe people. It doesn’t have to be your family member to matter to you. We all need to speak up!

We do acknowledge that not all Police Officers are malevolent and that there are still good and great Police Officers, but the bad ones are polluting the good/great and causes the Police Departments across board to stink.

We should not allow the bad ones to remain in uniform.

More of the news here

Loving Basketball: Landslide Victory for the Greek Freak!

Credits: CBS Sports

The media went agog on the announcement.

Congratulations is in order for Milwaukee Bucks Giannis Antetokoumpo on winning the 2019-20 KIA Defensive Player of the Year Award. An award with the best NBA defensive players gave Giannis a landslide victory of 432 points over candidates Anthony Davis of LA Lakers and Rudy Gobert of Utah Jazz who had 200 and 187 points respectively.

This is one of two awards the Nigerian-Greek player was nominated for this season. He was also nominated for the 2019-20 KIA MVP along with LeBron James of LA Lakers. The result and winner of the Kia NBA MVP Award will be announced during coverage of the ongoing 2019-20 NBA Playoffs.

Once again, congratulations to Giannis Antetokoumpo. We wish him very best!

For more on the award, click 1, 2, and 3.

Loving Basketball: For Basketball Lovers – 2020 Draft Lottery is Tomorrow

Credits: NBA.com

Have you ever wondered how the NBA Draft Lottery works? Have you ever watched one live or replayed? I bet you had a question or some.
Watching this simplified video, by my favorite team the Golden State Warriors aka Dubs, helps break it down. I hope you enjoy and learn a thing or two from it.

An indepth version can be found here if you prefer reading to watching.

. . .

Golden State Warriors, because of their fantabulous records over the previous years, haven’t being part of the Lottery since 2012. This year, they stand a 14% chance, among the qualifying teams, of picking the #1 through #4 draft, but stand a higher chance of picking the #5! Sounds somewhat complicated, right? I agree. Why doesn’t NBA just keep it simple?!

Predictions!

NBA published the list of Drafts in alphabetical order.

Many sports’ commentators however revel in ranking sports drafts with precision. I found one such ranking of tomorrow’s lottery.

CBS Sports already predicted and matched drafts to teams. We’ll find out on Thursday how accurate their predictions are.

Make sure you watch it: live or replay

This year’s draft lottery is being planned virtual, like most events, undoubtedly as a result of COVID-19.

Don’t forget to watch this year’s NBA Draft Lottery pick on Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 8:00 P.M. ET.

Also love this post, please share, comment, like, and/or follow 😍

Loving Basketball: All hail Dame $$$Dolla!

Damian Lillard was determined from the get-go. “We didn’t come here to play.” He sure was right. Contending for the West’s 8th seed was no joke for Dame and his team.

The Restart is now over!

What a two-week Restart! What a finish particularly for Dame and the Trailblazers?! Of the 22 teams that competed in the NBA Restart, 6 teams were sent back home. All 22 teams played, in my opinion, better than they did during regular season and before the shutdown, with the exception of two, maybe three, teams. The competition was fierce but the determination to qualify for playoff was fiercer.

A few offsets and surprises made me wonder what was going on in/around Camp Florida. But, as we always say, it’s all well that ends well.

As I earlier blogged, and stated to watch out for Dame/Trailblazers, he and his team did not disappoint and probably surprised noone other than their opponent, the Grizzlies! They played their hearts out and, fought to finish, for that 8th seed. Dame is definitely an indefatigable leader. No wonder he was unanimously selected for the Kia Player of the Seeding Game. He obviously couldn’t have done it without the equally indefatigable teammates, McCollum and Nurkic; who despite injury and death in the family respectively, were equally as determined to qualify.

I salute their tenacity. Congratulations to Dame and the Portland Trailblazers.

Here’s hoping the energy will continue to flow unhindered by any force of sickness or injury as they face the LA Lakers on Tuesday, August 18, for Round 1 of the 2019-20 Playoff.

Honorable mention is due to the Rookie, Ja Morant. He’s sure on his way for the bigger and better. Here’s hoping that he wins the Rookie Award, which could have been a difficult choice to make had Zion W. played as expected in the Restart. Zion’s efforts, or lack thereof, makes the award an easier one to choose.

Click here for more on Dame and Trailblazer news.

Below is the Round 1 Playoff schedule.

I’m excited for the 16 teams and look forward to more intense energy. We wish all players and coaches the very best competing for the race to the NBA 2019-20 Championship.

Loving Basketball: Recap of First NBA Restart Game

My oh my!

Did you watch the two debut Restart games yesterday?! Were you, like I was, holding onto your seat, screaming to the point of near-hypertension (I pray not), most of the time, shaking-my-head wondering how the games will end?

Well, I couldn’t help myself doing all that. Though I won’t be blogging on each game, the above two games seemed important for two reasons; one, it’s the first two games of the Restart; and two, the hype about Zion and LeBron. The latter more so for the MVP race.

How it ended

Well, we know how it ended. For those who didn’t watch or were even oblivious of the NBA Restart games, Utah Jazz (UJ) won over New Orleans Pelicans (NOP), and LA Lakers (LAL) over LA Clippers (LAC). Both defeated teams put up a fight till the end as such the minimal differentials in points. But win or lose, those minuscule points matter a great deal. It only takes a point to win any game, right?

Could game outcome have been different?

Could there have been a different outcome if key players, like Zion (NOP) and Lou Williams/Patrick Beverly (LAC) started and/or had more playing minutes? Your guess is as good as mine.

I enjoyed every moment of both games. They’re the kind I like to watch; not those mis-matched games where one team clearly dominates the other.

Needless to say, the NBA Games is back with a bang! Did not realize how much I had missed them! Welcome back guys!! Love you all for entertaining us … yay yay yay I know making-those-huge-salaries and laughing-all-the-way-to-the-bank entertaining us, right?! Still love you all. 😊😍

Today’s games:

  • Orlando Magic vs. Brooklyn Nets
  • Phoenix Suns vs. Washington Wizards
  • Portland Trailblazers vs. Memphis Grizzlies
  • Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics
  • Houston Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks

Watch your local channels for airing times.

😊

Loving Basketball: A Note from Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner

NBA Games Restart tonight on TNT at 6:30 ET. Watch your local channels to check for airing times. For detailed schedule, visit NBA Restart Schedule. Let’s enjoy it together.

Letter to NBA Fans

Dear NBA Fan,

It’s been more than four months since we last played NBA basketball.  Tonight we restart the season with 22 teams in Orlando and attempt to establish our new normal.  And while spectators won’t be there in person, fans remain at the heart of our game.

We’re introducing several elements to improve the live game viewing experience, including multiple, new camera angles, enhanced audio of players and coaches, a feature on our NBA app that allows for virtual crowd reactions, customized alternative streams on NBA League Pass with statistical overlays and influencers calling the action, and video boards surrounding the court featuring hundreds of fans watching from home.

At the same time, we recognize that this moment is about more than basketball.  It’s an opportunity for NBA players and teams to continue a longstanding tradition of addressing important issues around social justice.

These are difficult and challenging times, but the NBA is coming back because sports matter in society.  We hope that the return of the NBA – along with other major league sports – will enrich your lives.

Welcome to a whole new game!

Sincerely,

Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner

© 2020 NBA PROPERTIES, INC.