As we celebrate and reflect upon the end of another calendar year, I celebrate my 35th birthday. Besides it being New Year’s Eve, I can be also revel in the most memorable moments I saw during 2011. Without further ado, here are my top 10 sports accomplishments of this year:
- Dallas Mavericks win their first NBA Championship
- Drew Brees breaks NFL single-season passing yardage total
- Derrick Rose earns first NBA Most Valuable Player Award
- Auburn Tigers Football claims first National Championship since 1957
- UConn Huskies Men’s Basketball endures to a National Championship
- Robert Griffith III’s historic Heisman Trophy season
- VCU makes Cinderella Run to Final Four
- Chicago Bulls finish with best record in NBA for 2010-11
- Chicago Bears advance to NFC Championship Game vs. Packers
- St. Louis Cardinals incredulous playoff run and World Series Championship
I know some people may object. But given that it’s my birthday, I get to be subjective today. Cheers to a fantastic year. Best wishes for more sports fun in 2012.
Life is surely ‘smelling like a Rose’ for Derrick now, as the MVP of the league will receive a king’s ransom. According to ESPN, the Chicago Bulls will announce the 5-year/$94.8 million- dollar-contract extension that will keep him in his hometown through 2016-17 season.
For Rose, this is a very exciting time but he keeps it in perspective: “I think I live a humble life. Of course, I know I’ll be able to afford whatever I want, but other than that, there aren’t too many things that excite me. Me winning is one of the things.”
But it is good to know that his teammates are very happy for him. “He deserves it,” says starting power forward Carlos Boozer, who received a big payday of his own during the famed free agency period of 2010. The Bulls acquired him.
Unlike Boozer, Rose will not disappoint. How could he? In all of his three seasons in the league now, he has gone from Rookie of the Year to All Star to Most Valuable Player. He has become the youngest ever to do so. At just 23 years old, by the time this extension ends, Rose will just be entering the prime of his career. Then he will be set up for an even larger future payday. Talk about being put in an enviable position.
In a twist of irony though, the hard working point guard actually has become the first beneficiary of “The Derrick Rose Rule,” a part of the new collective bargaining agreement.
This rule rewards players like him who have, under their rookie contracts, either been voted as an All-Star starter twice, All-NBA team twice, or even as the MVP. Winning last season’s Maurice Podoloff Award (for whom the MVP trophy is named after) clinched it for Rose.
And the reward for that is a contract which pays him 30 percent of the Bulls’ annual salary cap. This is a raise from the previous benchmark of 25 percent. It means that Rose’s salary alone will be nearly a third of the team’s entire payroll for each year of the deal. In other words, Bulls’ brass is truly showing how valuable he is. “Obviously, we want Derrick to be a Chicago Bull for a long, long time. To us, obviously, it’s very important that we put the right pieces around Derrick that he’s able to have success, that we have success, and that he remains a Chicago Bull,” according to Bulls general manager Gar Forman.
But still even this boatload of money doesn’t mean as much to the floor-leader as guiding his team to an NBA title. “I want to win,” Rose quips.
So when the press conference is held today at the United Center, the deal will guarantee that the Bulls’ young superstar will continue to be a ‘thorn in the sides’ of opposing teams for many more years to come.
Murphy’s Law states: what can go wrong will go wrong. This week Kobe loses out on trading for Chris Paul to the rival Clippers. And now the Lakers great loses his marriage. Mrs. Vanessa Bryant officially ends the couple’s 10-year matrimony by filing divorce papers citing “irreconcilable differences,” according to FoxSports.
It is alleged that the Mrs. has gotten tired of Kobe’s continuous infidelity over the years, and enough is enough. This is from the same woman, who faithfully stood by her man’s side at the press conference back in 2003, when Bryant was charged with sexual assault of a Colorado woman. Kobe did admit to cheating but not to forcible rape. The case never went to trial. It was later settled out-of-court.
We all know that the life of an NBA ball player comes with its’ fringe benefits of picking from the best groupies that NBA cities have to offer. But Kobe, why you have to go there again?? You are married to a model. But you know how that goes. They say high maintenance females bring with them a lot of attitude. And being the diva that Kobe is already, two of them both couldn’t wear the tiara. Something has to give. Listen, I’m just ‘grasping at straws’ here. Your guess is as good as mine’s as to explain the reasons why us men cheat. But at least The Black Mamba always played it straight on the court.
There’s an old Johnnie Taylor song that goes: “It’s cheaper to keep her.” Kobe will have to pay up. The soon-to-be Mrs. Bryant is asking for half of the $200 million he has earned over the duration of his career. The couple did not sign prenuptials. Now that’s a costly mistake.
Nowadays it seems like Kobe can’t win for losing. But at least with the NBA season set to begin at least he can earn money again. He definitely needs all that he can get.
“I’m excited to bring a championship to L.A. in a Clipper uniform,” says the 4-time All Star point guard who is excited to become a part of a new movement in Los Angeles. Yes, no longer a black-hole destination for NBA players, who just want to have a payday alone. Now, with Chris Paul not only accepting his trade to the Clippers for this season, but also committing to re-opt for the following one too, he is making a statement to future star free agents of the league: “I believe in this organization. I [want to] win. And I [want to] win now.”
From the press conference, one can tell there is a synergy in the room. From the general manager, to the head coach, to even Chris Paul himself, it is acknowledged that this will be a cohesive relationship. “If we were [going to] take this quantum leap as a franchise, its [going to] have to be with a superstar,” as taken from the comments of Neil Olshey, Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Clippers. A man most people of the general public have probably never heard of before.
But what he and the rest of his teams’ brain-trust have done in a short period of time, during this condensed free-agency period, is to acquire F Caron Butler, G Chauncey Billups, and PG Chris Paul. All have been All-Stars and all have had playoff experience, if not championships won (Billups in 2004 with Pistons and Butler last season with Mavericks).
Add that collective winning attitude and experience and it will be invaluable to the Clippers’ young franchise centerpieces of Blake Griffin and De Andre Jordan. They will inevitably learn from the teachings of these veteran additions.
Even better though, teams that now stroll onto the Staples Center floor will face a very respectable team. The city of Los Angeles forever has been known as “Laker-Land” and rightfully so because they’ve brought home 16 NBA championships, while the Clippers have been responsible for over 30 years of mostly lottery-busts until Blake Griffin arrived. But with Chris Paul’s prior trade to the Lakers actually being rejected by the league and this one to Clippers being approved subsequently, the Purple and Gold’s misfortune gives the Clippers bragging rights. And his impact will pay dividends immediately on the court and at the front gate. So now long-time L.A. Clippers season ticket holders like actor Billy Crystal can actually have playoff expectations but not lottery ones.
The Clippers have been absent from the playoffs since the 2005-06 season and that was with an entirely different ball club. For a franchise that has been consistently about disappointment throughout its history, this year’s version will live up to the hype and then some.
As Chris Paul says, “I’m a long way from home.” So let us welcome him with the laid-back, eccentric, and beautiful narcissistic ways that only Californians demonstrate and his stay should be both enjoyable and incredible.
Chicago Bulls just got a little better with the signing of free agent shooting guard Richard “Rip” Hamilton to a 3-year/15 million-dollar contract with a team option for the final one. The 33-year-old, who is now entering his 13th season, cleared waivers today.
The Bulls add a strong mid-range spot up shooter, who can also give them a solid defensive effort at the 2-guard spot.
As we all have witnessed during last season’s Eastern Conference Finals series against Miami Heat, teams will try to load up on Derrick Rose in the lane. But now he will have a consistent shooter to relieve the pressure. And at 6’7”, Hamilton can match up well against his shooting guard counterparts.
The move was the first free-agent acquisition for Chicago, who could only offer a mid-level exception, at best, to any free agent acquisition interested. Hamilton was more of a Plan C alternative after guards Jason Richardson and Jamal Crawford, who both were unrestricted free agents, showed no interest.
But Hamilton, despite his championship experience, having won a ring with the Detroit Pistons in 2004, fell out of favor with the franchise last season due to his insubordination. He averaged just 14.1 points-per-game.
But as a career 17 points-per-game scorer, Rip’s new destination in Chicago will be a welcomed chance at resurrecting his career. And playing for a team like Chicago, his winning experience will be an asset too.
After almost a week’s worth of rejection, the league, the New Orleans Hornets, and most importantly, All-Star point guard Chris Paul all get their wish finally. Today Chris Paul will be shipped to L.A., but to play for the Clippers, alongside All-Star power forward Blake Griffin, in what is sure to be a phenomenal alley-oop combination all season long.
In the deal, according to ESPN, The Clippers send guard Eric Gordon,center Chris Kaman, forward Al-Farouq Aminu and 2 second-round picks to the Hornets for the embattled point guard and the Timberwolves unconditional 2012 first-round pick.
Both teams did great in this trade: New Orleans got a young point guard stud in Eric Gordon in return, who at just 22-years-old, has a lot of upside himself. Kaman and Aminu will also provide a strong rebounding and interior presence for the Hornets with the loss of forward David West too.
The Clippers now have exponentially improved their roster from last season’s already exciting one. This year’s version is very intriguing. Give Clippers’ owner, Donald Sterling, a lot of credit for surrounding his All-Star forward and defending Rookie of the Year, Blake Griffin, with a veteran cast of supporting players, who know how to win, which is invaluable for a franchise that has been the most losing in NBA history.
Now you can seriously expect the Clippers to join the Lakers in the playoffs this season.
Celtics and Magic Swap Forwards in a Deal that Seems Sweet for Both Teams by Timothy Watson III-December 9, 2011
Glenn “Big Baby” Davis once sunk an improbable game-winning shot against the Orlando Magic in their seven-game Eastern Conference Semifinal round series of 2009. Now he will return to the new Amway Center under positive terms, as he suits up for the Magic this season. He becomes the team’s newest member after being traded from the Boston Celtics in exchange F Brandon Bass. It is a sign-and-trade deal that works very well for both teams.
Magic Guard Gilbert Arenas is Given His ‘Walking Papers’ Officially by Timothy Watson III-December 9, 2011
In a move that came as not a surprise to anyone even remotely associated with the NBA, the Orlando Magic’s front office just made NBA has-been G Gilbert Arenas the first victim of the new “Amnesty Clause” under the new collective bargaining agreement.
Arenas, the self-proclaimed, “Great Hibachi,” (which means a small grill in Japanese) saw his jump shot extinguished a long time ago as a result of multiple knee surgeries. And last year, he set a personal all-time low in field goal percentage for a season at an ice cold 36 percent. Now he should hang up the sneakers for good, and that should be pretty soon.
But don’t shed a tear for this clown because he still will get paid the rest of his $60 million-dollar contract he is owed.
Blazers Guard Brandon Roy’s Knees Just Couldn’t Take the Weight by Timothy Watson III-December 9, 2011
In the irony of life, Brandon Roy’s knees never ‘buckled under pressure’ with the game on the line. But still his knees ultimately gave out on him. Drafted by the Portland Trailblazers in 2006, Roy only played in at least 70 games for a season just twice in his career. Arthroscopic surgery on both knees proved to be too much and his career’s demise has manifested. Today, Roy will officially seek a medical retirement. But don’t feel too bad for the brother because he will still get nearly all of his present 3 year/62 million-dollar contract, which is in its’ second year currently.
Orlando’s Front Office is Seriously Considering Filing Tampering Charges Against Nets by Timothy Watson III-December 9, 2011
It appears that a back alley-meeting between Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and New Jersey Nets front office executives, including owner Mikhail Prohkorov has landed them in potential big trouble with the league for alleged tampering. Coming to find out, just like how everybody else did via the media, Orlando’s front office is understandably very upset. Needless to say, the deal is off.
All-Star center and self proclaimed “Superman,” Dwight Howard, will be making a formal trade request to his current team the Orlando Magic. Howard seeks to pair with another perennial All-Star, point guard Deron Williams, in New Jersey. In a much likely trade proposal, Magic would also ship F Hedo Turkgolu along with C Dwight Howard to the Nets for F Brook Lopez and 2-First Round picks.
The rumored, almost certain, blockbuster NBA trade involving New Orleans Hornets perennial All-Star Chris Paul is in serious jeopardy of not being completed, and thus ending just as soon as it was starting. According to ESPN, a group of league owners are getting involved in resistance to the deal, and are forcing the hand of NBA Commissioner David Stern to halt the already agreed-upon deal that would have sent him to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The rumors were swirling all around so it was no secret: Chris Paul was leaving New Orleans. But most thought it was to the East Coast to play with Amare Stoudamire and Carmelo Anthony in New York, but surprise! The All-Pro point guard will be droppin’ dimes to Kobe and the Lakers on the West Coast. In a blockbuster 3-team trade between Los Angeles, Houston and New Orleans, the Lakers just upgraded tremendously at the point guard position.
Other players involved in this trade include F Pau Gasol to Rockets as well as F Lamar Odom to Hornets alongside players: F Louis Scola, G Kevin Martin, G Goran Dragic and a future 1st-round pick.
In the early morning hours of today, former St. Louis Cardinals slugger, Albert Pujols, agrees to a new 10-year/$254 million-dollar contract which currently ranks as the 2nd-highest valued contract in major league baseball history, only behind Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez’s 9-year $275 million-dollar deal signed in 2008.
The player highly regarded as the best hitter in baseball throughout his entire 11-year career is truly “Fat Albert” because of his deep pockets now.
An NBA season is guaranteed, not just for now but for 10 years to come. From the press conference today in New York, NBA Commissioner David Stern announces that players and owners both agree to a new collective bargaining agreement thus ensuring the Christmas Day opening of the 2011-12 season.
In a display of overwhelming support for this new agreement, owners ratified it by a 25-5 vote as well as the players’ union by a 86-14 vote.
Next is the official first-day of the free-agency period to begin Friday, and as Stern says: “We can’t wait for the free-agency frenzy to begin.”
Right after you exchange gifts with friends and family, enjoy the holiday even more watching NBA megastars like LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Kevin Garnett and reigning MVP Derrick Rose all in action as a part of the opening day quintuple-header for 2011-12 season.
Yes, the long awaited, lockout-shortened season will commence with incredibly good matchups: Boston at New York, Miami at Dallas, Chicago at L.A. Lakers, Orlando at Oklahoma City and L.A. Clippers at Golden State.
The NBA is off to a good start in trying to win back fans for sure.