We get it, LaVar.

This is the only time I’ll address this because I don’t like giving attention to people who aren’t worthy of giving my attention to which is why on Facebook at least, I don’t start these wars about the Twitter eggs who are in federal office (OOF).

The LaVar Ball train has now peaked. It probably peaked last month. Or maybe two months ago. I don’t know. At first, I was cool with LaVar. To some degree, I still am. I’m cool with a father instilling confidence in all of his kids to be the best of their ability, although I would think his style and methods in doing so are unconventional. I can’t relate to how Lonzo and the other two sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo feel about it so I’ll try not to.

Creating your own brand and attempting to do things differently is great. If I had the time, the resources, and the money to do so, I would do it myself.  I support anyone going out there and dreaming about taking on any of the major companies to “change the culture,” as Lonzo Ball himself said in the video yesterday.

Initially, I was gonna write about LaVar Ball and his family this week because I saw a headline about how Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour each turned down an offer to endorse Lonzo, ala sign him to a contract that would allow him to have millions before he signs his first rookie deal this summer. I was gonna write about how ridiculous and stupid LaVar (or the Ball family for that matter) was for trying to make his brand, the Big Baller Brand incorporate with one of those three companies. Then yesterday happened.

I said above that I’m all for creating opportunities, and pushing things forward and being your own entrepreneur. That’s how Nike and Under Armour were created. This… I don’t think this is it, man.

lonzo ball shoes
these look like my Kobe 10s I got for $80 at the Nike outlet

Is the shoe terrible looking? It really isn’t honestly. It’s an off-brand version of the Kobe 10s. It also looks better than the shoes that Stephen Curry wears so, BBB has done something right here. However, the price? $495 for that? That’s not changing the culture. Your brand is not that important to charge a shoe that much.

In the group chat I have with a set of homies, Micah, Shaad, and Kyle, we roasted these shoes for a good bit. Then we realized the fact that we don’t have the slightest clue on who is making their shoes, if the shoe is even comfortable to wear at that price, and the technology on the shoe. It’s just here in the public eye to be laughed at.

This shoe created a stir on my Twitter timeline from people creating memes from the photo above to others defending the price of the shoe stating how regardless, we need to support because we’d buy a pair of Nike basketball shoes at that price. That “it’s okay” for Lonzo to have his own shoe because other athletes, such as Lebron James, and Michael Jordan did.

I rolled my eyes at that. I can’t speak on Jordan because I wasn’t alive and wasn’t thought about in 84,  but I’d bet that lots of people figured he’d be a great NBA player considering he was a known commodity as he left Carolina as a national champion, 2-time All-American, and was the National Player of the Year as a Junior. Nike itself signed him when they were known but still small. We knew of Lebron James since 2002-03 because ESPN showed his High School games and they were glorious.

The last time we saw Lonzo Ball play a basketball game, De’Aaron Fox had Lonzo doing the electric slide on route to a 39 pt game and a Kentucky win over UCLA in the sweet 16. Yes, Lonzo was a player of the year candidate and a 1st team All-American in his lone season at UCLA but he wasn’t on their level as a player.

Also, I’m pretty sure Nike and even Jordan Brand for that matter haven’t charged close to $500 for a pair of basketball shoes, but I digress.

LaVar then tweeted (I didn’t know he had a twitter account) this:

 

I… I…. yeah. If I buy a pair of shoes for $495, I better be hooping like I’m related to Jesus.

 

currently

 

This is where we’re at now. We’re at a point where LaVar took advantage of how the media because of their desire to see the “most ridiculous quotes” and giving that media attention all day. Is it LaVar’s fault that programs such as First Take and Undisputed had him & Lonzo on the air three days after UCLA got bounced in the NCAA Tournament? Absolutely not. Lonzo’s the biggest name in the NBA Draft (I personally don’t even think he’s even close to the best player in the draft). Not because of his play but because of how he’s received media attention.

There was a point where LaVar was on ESPN’s SportsNation every single day for one week in April. That’s not on them. That’s on us for giving his pops all the attention, thus taking it away from Lonzo, the athlete.

I’m not knocking the ideas. I think it’s cool to see something different. However, LaVar could have waited years to launch this, thus waiting for his youngest son to at least attempt a pro career. But he put himself and their family brand in front of the ability that his oldest son was about to receive endorsement money from any company of his choosing.

Unlike others, I do want Lonzo and the other kids to succeed. I want them to achieve their goals of being in the NBA. A lot of people have that dream and that vision to get there. Only a select few are able to accomplish it. That being said, forcing an opportunity and attempting to cash a check early often doesn’t end well. Let’s hope LaVar doesn’t blow it here. The Ball family calls themselves “Big Ballers.” Good luck at your prices trying to convince the rest of us that we are also Big Ballers.

 

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Hate #Draymond all you want, but…. he’s kinda good

draymond playoffs
 #Draymond

A lot of people hate Golden State Warriors Forward, #Draymond (If you’re wondering why I just put a hashtag in front of his name, that has been a long standing thing on Twitter from like 2011.) Green.

I understand the aspect of why #Draymond Green has haters while he’s on the basketball court. #Draymond Green is the NBA’s biggest villain on the team that has been proclaimed as “villains.” #Draymond kicks people in the genitals. He verbally went at Lebron James last year in the NBA finals, then got suspended, which changed the course of NBA history (although he had 32/15/9 in game 7 while the rest of his teammates… nevermind). #Draymond’s emotional state is a gift and curse. Green’s antics last year did him in which makes sense.

Personally, I’ve been one of his biggest supporters since he was at Michigan State. #Draymond Green is one of three players to have two triple doubles in the NCAA Tournament. The other two? Magic and Oscar. Elite company. Plus, I’m cool with guys who talk on the court and back it up to a significant amount against the best.

For most, people believe that #Draymond would not be a quality role player without the likes of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and that guy with the last name Durant. In a generation that loves stats and numbers, obviously #Draymond doesn’t have the 25 ppg numbers, and when he’s on the highlights, it’s normally assisting to those three guys above or arguing with an official. However, when you watch the Warriors play, #Draymond is the most important piece to their engine, especially defensively. Some will read that statement and ask, “how can a guy that averages 10/7/7 be that important for a team that has three other all-stars?”

Green impacts the game in ways that in most nights, the box score doesn’t show it. The ability to be a defensive anchor and leader of the 2nd best defense in the NBA (San Antonio is #1) is very important.  The ability to grab boards and push the ball up the court to start their break is important.

In game 1’s victory against Portland on Easter Sunday, #Draymond’s defensive efforts and two blocks in the 2nd half were incredible, especially the one on Damian Lillard.

Green should win Defensive Player of the Year. Not because of these blocks but because in the regular season, he was making plays defensively for Golden State all season long, guiding them to their 3rd straight season with over 65 wins. Green’s final stat line on Sunday was 19/12/9/5/3 was something for the ages.

You can hate #Draymond how you want to. I’m sure he doesn’t mind. However, don’t like your hate blind the facts that #Draymond Green is the heartbeat, the most important player for the NBA’s best team, and a really good NBA player. Flex on, #Draymond.

The NBA Finals?

stephen curry lebron james

So, the NBA FInals start tomorrow after a 25 8 day layoff.

Stephen Curry, the current MVP vs Lebron James, the guy with 4 MVPs and 5 straight NBA Finals appearances. It should be fun. For the NBA’s sake, it HAS to be. Can you imagine if the NBA Finals were bad just like most of the NBA Playoffs? Because let’s face it, the NBA Playoffs outside of the Clippers/Spurs has been lackluster, and disappointing. But I guess, I’m spoiled.

Looking at this series as an observer, I don’t know if Cleveland can you know… win the finals. I know Lebron is an alien, and even though his fanboys speak “efficiency” nonstop, he really hasn’t been that efficient in these playoffs. He’s been dominant in different ways with a weird type of supporting cast that’s featuring Earl Smith III (Jr Smith for those of you who actually don’t know his real name), Matthew “the new white guy everybody hates” Dellavedova, and Iman “I’m afraid of California” Shumpert. It’s been fascinating, especially without Kevin Love, and a banged up Kyrie Irving. Can you imagine Lebron last summer thinking how great this supporting cast would be knowing that in the following June, he’s playing playoff games with a 45% Kyrie Irving and without Kevin Love? I bet he would have sucked it up and stayed in Miami to carry Dwyane Wade through another season.

It’s not to take anything from Cleveland. They’re good, if not great since Lebron came back from his 2 week vacation (you know, the vacation where he went back to Miami, went to the College Football Playoff, etc). The problem is…. everything that Cleveland does great, Golden State does it better. Golden State is the better team defensively. Golden State is a more efficient offensive team. The only saving grace is that Golden State turns the ball over more than Eli Manning playing quarterback, and Memphis kinda showed the blueprint how to frustrate life for the splash brothers (particularly Klay “Ben Savage” Thompson).

Golden State is deeper, talented, and they’re better. Lebron might be the best player in the world, but Golden State as a team and a roster is historically great. At some point, you have to win your first title, and seeing how that hasn’t happened since the 1991 Finals where a team with no finals experience have won (you know when the Bulls had this guy), a lot of people continue to doubt the Warriors because of their lack of experience. What they lack in experience (Btw, enough about how Cleveland is more experienced than Golden State. Only like two guys in their rotation have finals experience. Let’s not count Shawn Marion, Mike Miller and Kendrick Perkins, please. I beg of you), they gain in talent.

Do I think the Finals can be exciting? Sure. But will they?

Well….

I mean….

if Mark Jackson cries on camera knowing that last year, he was coaching this same squad, then sure.

Yikes, man
Yikes, man

If Draymond Green elbows Dellavedova for attempting to take out Curry, then that’ll make things very interesting. But if this series is gonna be dry………

Dubs in 5. 6 at max. And when it happens, I’ll make sure that my guy Aaron Legaspi will do pushups on camera (Give him a follow on twitter, btw).

So that’s that. Questions? Comments? Leave em. We out.

Carolina/Duke could be another classic on Saturday

Before I even get started on this blog, I feel the need to get this off my chest about my personal feelings about Duke University in the most bias way possible. If you’re a duke fan, don’t get all pissy and upset what I’m about to say. If you’re in my family, I know you’re overreact hence why I’m going to say this simple fact about Duke.  If you know me personally, you’ll know I say this at least 15 times a year because to me, it’s the only way I can state my feelings about them.

Fuck Duke University. Fuck their floor slapping. Fuck their charges. Fuck Coach K (In all seriousness, I actually like K when he’s not coaching against Carolina), and most importantly, Fuck those nerds who jump and yell they call the Cameron Crazies. You know what’s funny about Duke? Well for one, they lost to Lehigh in the tournament last year. I know, I know Duke fans. You lost. But it’s still pretty funny that one of the most successful programs of all-time loses to a team that NOBODY heard of. If anything, you made them famous. Besides, Carolina lost to Weber State in 1999 in Seattle (I still get sick thinking about this game because it happened in my own backyard). It happens. Stop your whining and deal with the jokes.

The one thing that I’ve noticed is that whenever a Duke player makes a great play, they always seem to hug each other. Most teams chest bump, but at Duke, it’s more favorable to give a hug. If these players were hugging each other after winning, say the ACC Tournament, or winning the National Title, I’d understand it. But over one great play? That’s why folks invented the chest bump, fellas.

You’re better than that, K

The funny thing about my Duke slander is that it’s not really “slander.” About 85% of Duke fans that I know are actually dope and it’s a back and forth trash talk. In fact, my cousin Chauntelle is a Duke fan and we talk about Duke all the time (Well not all the time. But you get the picture). She knows how I feel about them, but at the same time, I don’t mind Duke winning games but that being said, I’m not saying I want them to prosper ever, because I don’t. But at the same time, I don’t really sit and root against them unless it happens to help Carolina out (See Duke’s loss against Virginia). Most people hate Duke because they win. I hate Duke because it’s a natural feeling coming because my team is their rival.

If you think about it, Duke has helped college basketball but ruined the way they play a bit.  Why do I say this? It has nothing to do with them winning. It has everything with the charge circle that was implemented in the college game a couple of years ago. Duke players used to sit and take charges underneath the basket. See: Greg Paulus.

 

Now that I’ve gotten that mini rant out the way, let’s talk about this game on Saturday.

Continue reading “Carolina/Duke could be another classic on Saturday”

Why We All (Myself included) Need to Calm Down About the Lakers, part 2

Shaun let me (@mercs_808 on twitter) take over the WordPress…this might be a mistake.

Anyway, as we all found out in the middle of Saturday night/Sunday morning, the Los Angeles Lakers hired Mike D’Antoni to replace the very abruptly fired Mike Brown. As a fan, I didn’t even wanna see Mike Brown hired to begin with, but I digress. This came as a shock to the basketball world because everyone, and I mean fucking EVERYONE wanted to see Phil Jackson come back for one last stand alongside Kobe Bean Bryant in hopes of winning one more championship together. The fans of Laker Nation cried, yelled, chanted, and screamed in all caps on twitter for the return of Phil Jackson to the Lakers bench. They obviously didn’t get their wish.

After Mike D’Antoni got hired, Laker Nation was pissed. This I found hilarious. Why? Because hiring Phil Jackson would not have worked at all, yet hardly anyone understood this. They still don’t. “But Micah, Phil won 11 championships!!!!”

I don’t care. Phil Jackson won all those damn rings, sure. I’m not taking that away from him. But did we forget how he essentially mailed in his last season in Los Angeles?


(Say it witcha chest, lil ass nigga)

Ahh yes, the 2011 playoffs. The Lakers flat out sucked. It took 6 games to knock out the lowly New Orleans Hornets in the first round. Then in round 2, they were so full of struggle that in Game 3 Phil said to himself “Goddamnit I actually have to coach,” and went and punched Pau in his chest. Let’s be real here Phil ain’t stood up from the bench in 4 seasons. He’s used to letting his guys figure it out, and when they did, it was genius. However in this case, it just didn’t work out that way. I loved Phil Jackson, and consider him to be one of the greats but man…dude got lazy towards the end. It took the Lakers falling to 0-3 for him to finally do something about it. I’m sorry Phil, but I’m not looking for a coach to mail it in, not with this roster, and not with the way the top teams in the league are playing.

Also Laker fans, did you forget that Phil runs the triangle offense, which doesn’t fully maximize the skills of Steve Nash or Dwight Howard?

Let me break it down as simply as I can:

The triangle, or triple post offense requires players to space the floor and move the ball using passes and cuts. The “triangle” where the offense gets it’s name from is formed by the guard in the corner, a forward on the wing and the third on the low block. On the weak side, the other guard and forward from the two man game with the guard at the top of the key and the forward at the high post. This doesn’t require an advanced point guard like Steve Nash and essentially makes him a spot up shooter (think John Paxson, Steve Kerr, or most recently Derek Fisher). Also, the offense requires a center adept at playing with his back to the basket. Dwight Howard is getting better at this but by nature he’s a pick and roll big, so right now, it wouldn’t maximize the players we have.

This is where I took issue with those who kept on saying that Phil should have been hired. It’s like people don’t get that just because he won the Lakers some rings that does NOT mean he’s the right coach for this team as currently constructed. Steve Nash would have been reduced to a glorified Steve Kerr, yet as we all know, he is far too skilled to be reduced to a spot-up shooter. I’m sure the Lakers organization saw this and looked at what Mike D’Antoni was able to accomplish with Steve Nash and a bunch of roster fillers. So that’s why I believe he was hired over Phil Jackson (besides the Lakers not wanting to fulfill Jackson’s ridiculous ass requirements). D’Antoni’s system will have these Lakers scoring and scoring and scoring.


(For even more about how D’Antoni’s offense fits these Lakers)

Enough about offense though, let’s talk about this D (pause)..

This is the side that I’m sure you’re all so worried about with these Lakers. And guess what?! We’ll be just fine. When people think of Mike D’Antoni defensively they immediately go back to his Phoenix years and talk about the lack of defense those Suns teams had. The problem with that argument is that the best defensive player he could’ve possibly had on those teams was Shawn Marion…and that’s not saying a whole lot about the team’s defensive prowess. In contrast, during D’Antoni’s shortened second season in New York, his Knicks team was a top 5 defense, this improvement was largely due to the acquisition of Center Tyson Chandler. Now the Lakers haven’t acquired Tyson Chandler, but they have someone better, Dwight Howard. As a 3 time DPOY (Defensive Player of the Year). Dwight can EASILY do what Chandler did under D’Antoni as the anchor of this defense. Also keep in mind that Dwight isn’t even 100% yet and he’s established himself as a tough defensive force already. I’m not saying these Lakers will be a top 5 defense, but the potential is in place to at least be a decent defensive team. Whether or not they perform to that potential is all on the players.

Mike D’Antoni really isn’t gonna be that bad, but because he’s not Phil Jackson so I’m sure that when the Lakers hit a rough patch y’all will drag his name through the mud just like y’all did Mike Brown.

Just remember, not every system fits, and rings really don’t mean shit when we’re talking about present day sports. Just look at how hard it is to repeat a championship season.

Calm the fuck down and watch some basketball. This season is about to get real fun.

-Mercs out

(@mercs_808)