Archive for June, 2014

Why So Many Pro Athletes Go Broke

Posted: June 29, 2014 by world_of_bc in Uncategorized

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(Originally written by B.C. on January 6, 2013)

Many sports enthusiasts as well as casual observers are still buzzing from the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary titled: “Broke”. The documentary profiles several former professional athletes from various sports who have managed to squander their finances. From my observation, these athletes’ misfortunes are somewhat self-explanatory. There are many factors that go into these athletes going broke.

One of the biggest factors that play into these athletes going from riches to rags is their socioeconomic upbringing. Though by no means do I, or any of you use this a crutch for these athletes, but it has been well-documented that many professional athletes, particularly those athletes in the NBA and NFL where the player population is predominately African-American, spent their early years experiencing less than desirable living conditions, and in many cases, their way of living at that time became the driving force that would propel them to exceptional, even otherworldly athletic achievement that in their minds would ensure that they or their families would no longer have to experience meager living standards again in their lives.

Unfortunately, many of them were wrong.

One of the byproducts of the conditions of their upbringing would be mismanagement of finances. The saying that goes, “People with nothing aren’t used to having anything, even after they finally do get it” rings all too true among these athletes that go broke. The previously stated quote is nothing more than a testament to human nature itself. What should we expect when we sign a 19 or 20 year old young man who may or may not have any college experience under their belts to a contract worth of millions of dollars? To exacerbate the problem with why many of these athletes go broke is because many of them are wealthy even before they shoot their first jump shot, score their first touchdown, or hit their first home run. This is a recipe for disaster. To be realistic, we can not expect these young men (I’m emphasizing the male athlete because the instances of the female athlete going broke is very rare and is almost unheard of) to maintain and even increase their newly attained wealth over a span of generations that will ensure financial stability for themselves and their families for generations to come, especially when they are easily influenced by family members, “friends”, agents, and other new found hangers-on that reek of alterior motives and jealousy, and care nothing about the athlete outside of what that particular athlete can do to assist these toxic people financially.

I also blame the educational institutions that these athletes hone the very same athletic skills that allow them the opportunity to compete in the highest levels of their respective sports that contribute to their eventual personal financial demise. You may ask, “Why would these athletes’ schools and colleges be to blame for these athletes going broke? ” My answer to this concern would be that the coaches at these high schools and colleges do not require or even suggest that their athletes receive an adequate education on finances, nor do they instill in them a belief that the life span of their athletic careers are relatively small in comparison to their actual lives. This means that if the athletes were properly taught by their schools the value of money, and the athletes are in a position to make the big bucks, they will be properly prepared to handle their finances, whether it be through saving, investing, or maximizing their earning potential during their playing careers so that they are able to acquire even more wealth. Sadly enough, this too often is not the case. The coaches, especially those coaches in the NCAA Division 1 levels, are under such pressure to get their teams to perform at optimum levels, that emphasis on their athletes’ well-being (let alone their financial well-being) are often neglected for the sake of the athletic betterment of that school’s athletic program. As a result, these young men often lack the business acumen that is desperately needed in their future careers as professional athletes.

Once these young men advance to the professional ranks of their respective sports, the semi sheltering and nurturing environment provided by these athletes’ college programs suddenly disappears. They are left to fend for themselves in an environment that is already established to be hyper-competitive and predatory, and unfortunately this type of environment combined with a lack of thorough financial know how extends over to their lavish lifestyles. From automobiles, to excessive houses that these athletes will never fully utilize for them or their families, to other trivial items that are greatly overpriced, many of these athletes live a lifestyle that even exceeds their multi-million dollar salaries.

Another factor that leads to these pro athletes going broke that people are often reluctant to discuss are the countless paternity suits, child support and alimony payments, as well as shady player agents and other people of little or no character who only seek leech from these athletes. That being stated, I will note that I do not condone the irresponsible sexual behavior and ill advised marriages that these professional athletes become involved in that eventually leads to their financial ruin. However, we must acknowledge that these athletes are involved in situations that prove time and time again to be detrimental to their financial well being.

However, there are solutions that would prove beneficial to the financial well being of professional athletes in the future that would prevent them from going broke, and break the continual cycle of financial crisis for these athletes.One solution would be to strongly emphasize an extensive education and understanding of money management while these athletes are still in the student-athlete stage of their athletic careers. Another solution that may not be as popular or embraced would be for the athlete to shrink their social circles. The term “small and tight circle” is an often used slogan, but it proves to be very beneficial when someone like these professional athletes become men of means. They must be very selective about who they choose to associate themselves with socially, especially in their dating relationships and marriages. A third solution that would prove highly effective to prevent pro athletes from going broke would be to practice discipline. Learning to say no to people who do not have their best interests at heart, and learning to walk away from purchasing items they do not need will only prove to help them and their families in the long run, thus creating financial stability as well as a very strong possibility for generational wealth.

 

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(Originally written by B.C. on September 10, 2013)

 

 

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a weekend warrior is known as ‘a person who participates in a usually physically strenuous activity only on weekends or part-time’. Doesn’t this describe many of you who, at one point, used to be involved with a sport full-time? In this case, I’ll be referring to basketball, a sport that many still play outside of the boundaries of the typical high school, college, or professional setting.

Outside of soccer (more commonly known as “football” outside of the United States), basketball is the most played sport in the world. Much of this is due to the fact that basketball, first and foremost, is a very economical sport to play.  The bare minimum requirements of a recreational basketball player is a basketball, a basketball goal, and the standard workout attire. Hell, a person could even play the game by themselves, if need be! This leads us to the topic of the “weekend warrior”. We have all been exposed to that friend, family member, or co-worker who can’t wait to finish their shift at work so that they’ll be on time for their recreational league game that evening. Another prime example of a weekend warrior would be that former high school or college star who can’t seem to quell their desire to want to play the game of basketball and compete as frequently as possible. Pickup basketball provides the platform for those very same athletes to play the game they love so much.

Weekend warriors are known to play the game of basketball while disregarding any outside criticism from others toward them. More often than not, this means that a weekend warrior who’s been removed from the fast paced environment that is organized basketball will still indulge themselves into the pickup basketball scene. We have all witnessed pickup basketball everywhere. Pickup basketball is played at our local recreational centers, outside basketball courts, school and church gyms, and any other facilities that are known to house a basketball court with one or two goals. Weekend warriors live up to their names because their schedules are usually so hectic, that any free time devoted to play the game of basketball combined with their love of the sport is taken very serious, i.e., the games are usually highly competitive. The weekend warrior comes in many shapes, sizes, age groups, and other various backgrounds. However, when the gym lights are on and the round, orange ball rolls out onto the court, the weekend warrior will do whatever it takes to give their team the best chance to win the game, regardless of how comically low the stakes of the games tend to be, or that the participants in these pickup games have to return back to the real world after the last game is played for the evening and their forays into rehashing their high school varsity years have been temporarily put aside until next week.

Once again, the weekend warrior comes from many different backgrounds. One of the most common weekend warriors are the players who are fresh out of high school or college. These young men and women are typically young–under 35–and still possess an abundance of stamina and athleticism, and an ability to slash to the hoop for an uncontested layup or dunk. The second category of weekend warrior is slightly older, usually the player over 40 years of age who may or may not maintain peak physical condition, but the advantage that these players often have over their younger counterparts is their on-court savvy and overall heightened awareness. Many people in basketball circles refer to these seasoned basketball vets as having a “high basketball I.Q.” The third type of weekend warrior is a person whom I’d like to refer to as the “scrubs” in the gym. These individuals can also fall into subcategories as well. The first category being that of a player who has no basketball skill whatsoever. The second subcategory of these basketball “scrubs” are the players who may have the skills necessary to compete, but they’ll hurt their team’s chances of winning in the long run because of their overall laziness on the basketball court, and their apathetic attitude towards what goes on in the very same game that they’re competing in. Don’t waste your time with these on court slackers regardless of their skill level. The third subcategory of the basketball “scrub” is known as the troublemaker. The troublemaker is boisterous, obnoxious, and an overall pain in the ass to play with. The troublemaker does not respect foul calls of the players of the opposing teams, nor do they respect their own teammates. A great example of this would be the troublemakers in the gym who seek out confrontation. These players may or may not have game. If one does happen to play with or against these characters, do so at your own risk!

The weekend warrior is an often overlooked subculture of player in the sport of basketball. These players possess a drive and passion for the game that totally surpasses their fellow players who hung up the sneakers as soon as they were able to. The weekend warrior has no intent on giving up the game anytime soon, because they still have many basketball games to conquer, regardless of the fact that they have to be back at work again bright and early on Monday morning.

 

 

How Quickly They Forget

Posted: June 29, 2014 by world_of_bc in Uncategorized

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Kobe Bryant is a 5-time NBA Champion, 15-time NBA All-Star, 2-time NBA scoring champion, 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist, NBA MVP, and has played 17 seasons in the National Basketball Association. Despite all of the accolades and awards that Bryant has received throughout his career, he continues to play with the same fire that would lead one to believe that he is far from finished. The fact remains that Kobe has played SEVENTEEN NBA SEASONS. Considering the sobering fact that the average NBA career life span is only 3-5 years, he has played more basketball than most people would probably ever care to. He’ll soon be 35 years of age by the end of this summer, and as of this past season, he played some of the best basketball of his career, until a season-ending and devastating achilles injury caused him to miss the remainder of the regular season and playoffs.

One would read this and take into account the current trending sports news stories that rightfully focuses most of their attention on the back-to-back championships won by the Miami Heat, and its leading megastar, LeBron James, and think: “Why are we even mentioning Kobe right now, of all times?” I would argue that right now would be the ideal time to shed some light on the man who is also known as the “Black Mamba”. Why, you ask? The reason I wanted to shed light on Mr. Kobe Bean Bryant at this time is because like LeBron James, Kobe is a two-time NBA Finals MVP as well. However, as the years progress, we’re starting to witness a sense of amnesia among fans who at one time showered Kobe with adulation. Could it be that we’re just in a new NBA era, which is LeBron’s to lose? Perhaps. Another way to look at it is that many fans have waited for years for Kobe’s status as NBA alpha male to be relinquished to someone else, even if people in Cleveland are still furious with LeBron for leaving them.

Kobe Bryant is such a polarizing figure among NBA fans, that it’s hard not to tune in to watch him play. As the oft-used saying goes as it pertains to Kobe, “You either love him or hate him”.  Perhaps it was his upbringing that suggests that he wasn’t raised in the “hood”, or perhaps it’s the striking resemblance in playing style to Michael Jordan. Whatever the case may be, it strengthens his already large fan base, or it increases the feeling of disgust that is shared among many NBA fans when it comes to Kobe. Either way, you have to give respect where it’s due, because Kobe has been working for 17 seasons to build a legacy that has propelled him into the upper echelon of NBA notables.

Kobe has stated that he has all intentions on returning to the hardwood for the upcoming 2013-14 NBA season. Will he be able to provide the same high level of basketball productivity that we’ve grown accustomed to watching? Or will we see an old and washed up Kobe Bryant, whose efforts on the court will become barely recognizable?

Only time will tell. Let’s just not forget that he isn’t quite finished yet.

 

The Trials & Tribulations of Derrick Rose

Posted: June 29, 2014 by world_of_bc in NBA

Wizards v/s Bulls 02/28/11

 

Chicago Bulls superstar guard Derrick Rose suffered another devastating knee injury in his team’s 98-95 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers this past Friday night. Fans across the sporting world held their collective breaths as Rose limped off of the court. Results of an MRI showed that Rose suffered a medial meniscus tear to the opposite knee (the news isn’t as bad, thank goodness) that sustained the ACL injury.

Many observers and experts are saying that “D-Rose” (as his fans affectionately call him) probably won’t return until next season, which would be devastating and frustrating for not only the Bulls organization, but especially Rose, who underwent a very intense and extensive rehabilitation process to recover from his April 2012 ACL injury.

As a basketball enthusiast, it bothers me to see such a devastating injury choose not only an excellent player, but an excellent human being, a young man whose humility is deemed atypical of today’s often egotistical multimillionaire athlete. D-Rose in my opinion, like his NBA contemporaries Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, and Blake Griffin of the L.A. Clippers represent an up-and-coming class of superstar athletes who stay grounded, and enjoy connecting to their fans in the process.

Derrick Rose brought life back to a Chicago Bulls franchise that hasn’t been familiar with winning since the Jordan years of the ’90s. Ironically, in 2011, Rose was the first Bulls player to win the league’s Most Valuable Player award SINCE Jordan did it in 1998.  In the midst of a Chicago that has been under much public scrutiny and turmoil in recent years that I’ll choose not to elaborate on at this time, its native son represents that person who is able to use his gifts as a basketball player to entertain and inspire many people who are hurting, and just want to tune in for a couple hours and watch one of the most explosive and talented players that the NBA has ever seen. While I am fully aware that the area of sports and entertainment aren’t careers that the youth should bank their futures on, I do believe that young people can look at D-Rose’s vision to make his dreams as a pro basketball player come true. They can look at his undying work ethic to improve his status to that of an MVP-winning player. They can also take note of his resiliency to successfully fight through his ACL injury, as well as current meniscus injury.Derrick Rose’s young fans can observe all of these intangible traits that Mr. Rose possesses, and apply them to their own lives. They’ll be surprised and pleased by the results that they garner.

I would like to wish Derrick Rose a speedy, yet full recovery. The NBA is in the midst of an era of awesome young talent. The same energy and life that you contribute to your team, is the same contribution that we as your fans anticipate you dedicating to returning to the basketball court as soon as possible.

The NBA can only stand to benefit from your once-in-a-generation talent.

 

 

 

I originally wrote this blog in November of 2013. Nearly a year later, Derrick Rose is THRIVING as a key player for Team USA Men’s Basketball team as he and his teammates seek to secure a  gold medal at the 2014 FIBA World Championship.  As NBA teams open their training camps at the end of this month, I’m even more excited to be able to witness a healthy D-Rose prepare for the 2014-15 NBA season with his Chicago Bulls.  With the league’s Central Division becoming slightly tougher because of Bulls division rival Cleveland signing some free-agent “James” guy from Miami, Rose’s return couldn’t have come at a better time.

(Revised on September 8, 2014)

Basketball Pet Peeves

Posted: June 29, 2014 by world_of_bc in Uncategorized

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(Originally written by B.C. on November 27, 2013)

 

I’ll keep this brief, but if you play the game of basketball on a regular basis such as myself, then chances are that you have one or more things that just drive you nuts whenever you step foot on a basketball court. Whether you’re playing the game at an advanced level in the collegiate or professional ranks, or you’re an everyday guy like me who has a love for the game, and enjoys getting the opportunity to stay in shape by having fun in the process, then you’ve come across a few annoyances–that may or may not–make your visit to the gym somewhat less pleasurable. Here’s the rundown of some of my personal basketball pet peeves, as seen from a pick-up basketball player/rec league player perspective:

1. Players who take all damn day to get a game started

That’s right. We’ve all been in these situations where you just wanna start playing. You may be that person who only has a just enough time to squeeze a couple games into your already hectic schedule, and you watch in frustration as the guys who are up to play sit around and decide to get some extra stretching in, want to take 20 or so extra jump shots so that their jumper will be on point during the games (although that person who needs all of those extra shots usually never had a jumper anyway), and the two homeboys who  probably carpooled to the gym together who decide that this is the best time to chat and reminisce on past good times.

2. Excessive Arguing

I’m gonna paraphrase the title of a classic street ball video game (The actual title of the game was “Barkley, Shut Up and Jam” in reference to the NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, who the game was named after) when I say “Shut Up and Play!” Undoubtedly, excessive arguing and complaining by players often stems from the lack of referees who can control the flow of a game with their enforcement of the official rules. However, some players like to argue just to get their point across, and dealing with hotheads such as these often prove nerve wracking to their opposing teams, but also many of their teammates as well.

3. Funky, crusty, musty, offensive, and oftentimes downright flagrant hygiene

Now, I know that this one can be a little tricky, because we ARE all out here running around working up a sweat, right? This is true, but I was told sometime ago that there’s nothing worse  than “funk on top of funk”. There’s no shame in showering before playing, or at the very least, making good use of that stick of deodorant before running out there on the court. This definitely applies to those of you who love to go shirtless during play, while being touchy feely and physical with other players. We would all love to instill a little fear and apprehension into our opposition when we step foot onto the basketball court, but one thing that we definitely should not aspire to do is to be untouchable on the court because your body odor has rubbed off on everyone’s shirts. Not a good idea at all.

4. Bootleg general managers and their questionable draft picks

I know that we’re not being drafted into the NBA, but the team selection process works a certain way on the pick-up hoops scene, except it’s done on a much smaller scale. The team captains will decide to pick up their brother, cousin, friend, or even worse, that guy who isn’t even in the gym yet while there’s 7 or 8 other players on the sideline who are laced up and ready to roll.

5. Dusty and slippery courts

You ever see basketball players constantly wipe the bottom of their sneakers during breaks in play? That’s because the floor that they’re playing on is dusty, and causes players to slide all over the court like they stepped on some greased banana peels, which increases the chance of a freak injury or accident. Someone call the gym’s janitor….ASAP.

6. The undercutters, Edward Scissorhands, and low-down dirty basketball cheap shot artists

These are the players, generally older players who are past their athletic prime, or those who never had an ounce of athleticism to begin with. These are also the players who secretly resent the high-flying above-the-rim type of players. They’ll do anything in their power to ensure that these “showboats” not show them up on the court, and when I say they’ll do anything, I mean ANYTHING. They’ll grab you, step on your shoes so that you can’t jump for the rebound, hit you with quick and dirty elbows to the gut, and sliding their feet up under the jumpshooter that they’re defending so that the jumpshooter will be greeted with a nasty and ankle twisting surprise when he lands from taking his shot. Perhaps the worse tactic that they use is the one that takes a player’s legs out from him whenever he takes flight to lay the ball in and/or dunk. Chances are that these guys aren’t gonna pay your medical bill in the even that they succeed to severely injure you, so try your best to avoid these types of players as much as possible. Even better, if you’re a team captain, don’t pick them at all.

7. That one player who happens to own the only ball in the gym, and decides to leave after the first game

This player falls under the “I’m Mad That I Can’t Play With The Big Kids, So I’m Taking My Toy Home With Me So That No One Else Can Play Either” category.

 

Other than these slight on-court grievances, I have a great time!

The Charlotte Hornets' return to the NBA will spark fanfare and nostalgia among not only the people in Charlotte, but also many diehard fans across the NBA landscape

The Charlotte Hornets’ return to the NBA will spark fanfare and nostalgia among not only the people in Charlotte, but also many diehard fans across the NBA landscape

The Charlotte Hornets have that mystique about them. If you followed the NBA or were a young kid during the 90’s, then you’ll remember how wildly popular this team was. While many were fixated on the Chicago Bulls’ legendary title runs during this time, the Hornets developed quite the cult following of their own.

Does anyone remember the Starter Jacket Era? If you do, then you knew that the Hornets Starter Jackets were among the most popular jackets worn by people back in the day. Maybe it was the bright teal colored jerseys that had such an effect on fans. Maybe it was the blend of athleticism, power, and charisma that the Hornets’ 1991 number 1 draft pick Larry Johnson exuded. Maybe it was the fact that the Hornets originally took residence back in 1989 as an expansion team in North Carolina, a state that is famously passionate about not just their Hornets, but also their Tar Heels, their Blue Devils, their Demon Deacons, and their Wolfpack to name a few. The state of North Carolina has been a basketball hotbed for years, and its citizens have shown their love to the Hornets by rewarding the franchise with sellout crowds in the old Charlotte Coliseum on numerous occasions throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.

Of course, the Charlotte Hornets wouldn’t have the same allure that they have now without putting names to the legend that is the Hornets. Fan favorites such as Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning, Mugsy Bogues, Dell Curry (father of Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry), and Glen Rice were forces to be reckoned with during the Hornets’ heyday.

Fast forward to 2014, and after witnessing heartbreak on a few occasions, the fans in Charlotte have been through more than what the average loyal fan deserves to endure. They’ve witnessed their Hornets leave Charlotte in 2002 to head to New Orleans (where they lasted until 2013, changing their names to the Pelicans), leaving them without a team for a couple seasons. They then witnessed the years of the Bobcats becoming Charlotte’s NBA team for almost a decade, but the Bobcats just didn’t seem like the Hornets.

In 2013, then-Bobcats owner Michael Jordan made the decision to change the name back to the Hornets, a decision that could prove game-changing for the future of the franchise. I feel that the Hornets return to Charlotte will spark the nostalgic spirit of not just NBA fans in Charlotte, but fans across the entire sports landscape.

This upcoming basketball season, it might be time to dust off that Hornets Starter jacket that you haven’t worn since ’95, and take it to the cleaners to wear again. The “buzz” is back.

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“Oh, the irony!!!” you may think to yourself in response to my decision to create a page that’s dedicated to all things basketball….on the tail end of basketball season as we know it, of all times too. Just three days ago, the San Antonio Spurs won their fifth franchise NBA title, which all but guarantees their spot on the Mt. Rushmore of legendary NBA franchises, such as the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, and L.A. Lakers.

Now that basketball season is over, and most of us probably won’t be treated to any semblance of basketball on television until next week’s NBA Draft, for most die hard fans–particularly those who follow the NBA–indulge themselves in the seemingly endless rumors of free agency talk that oftentimes turns out not to be true for the most part. Does anyone remember the rumors that had Kevin Garnett going to the Lakers in the summer of 2007? What about the rumor of Scottie Pippen becoming a Supersonic back in the summer of ’94? Sure, the talk is provocative, and it makes for excellent conversation material around the water cooler with your buddies at the office, but at the end of the day, they’re….just….rumors.

That being stated, I would like to take the time to give major props to the San Antonio Spurs for winning their fifth in 15 years. I’ve said this many times, but I truly feel that the Spurs are the most disrespected NBA team in NBA history. Notice that I didn’t say that the Spurs were the most despised. That honor would probably have to go to the “Bad Boy” era Detroit Pistons, who won back-to-back NBA titles in 1989 and 1990. I say that the Spurs are the most disrespected team because they lack a key ingredient that many legendary teams possess: CHARISMA. They lack the box-office appeal that moves the fans to buy tickets and pack out the other 28 (There are 30 teams total, but the Lakers and Clippers both share the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Math class is over!) arenas outside of San Antonio to watch them play on the road. Think about it. There were the “Showtime Lakers”, who were led by Magic Johnson. You had the 90’s Chicago Bulls teams led by “Air Jordan”, “Pip”, and Dennis “The Worm” Rodman, who was a charismatic dude all to himself. This lack of “excitement” as it deals with the Spurs is a testament to the personality of the General Manager and coach of that team, Gregg Popovich, and the team’s heart and soul for many years, Tim Duncan.

To me, Duncan has that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar-like aura about him, where he just goes about his business and puts in the work. He’s a big man, like Kareem. He has longevity, like Kareem. Also like Kareem, Duncan has amassed Hall-Of-Fame caliber numbers, and will be sorely missed by his team when he finally decides to hang up his Adidas. Growing up as a teenager during the Shaq-Kobe threepeat Lakers teams, and the one-on-one dominance of other players like Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady, and Vince Carter, I was understandably caught up in the showmanship of the aforementioned players, while almost ignoring the legend in the making that Tim Duncan was becoming in San Antonio during that time period. Does anyone realize that Duncan has been the ONLY player in NBA history to win championships in THREE DIFFERENT DECADES (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007,and 2014)?? Talk about staying power!

If you’re a “Hoops Head” such as myself, then you won’t limit yourself to waiting for late October/early November to come down with the case of the “Basketball Jones”, you’ve got the fever all year long.