It’s rare to find a write-up about magic on this site…unless we’re talking about Magic Johnson or the illustrious career of the legendary Magic Man himself, Cal Naughton Jr.
The International Federation of Magic Societies only holds its World Championships of Magic every three years, kinda like the Nobel Peace Prize or the Pulitzer Prize…except more difficult to win. Seriously, you think Gandhi or Robert Frost knew any good card tricks?
If you concentrate hard enough, you can almost hear Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger” faintly in the background (yes, that song is 8 years old) and everyone in a 5-foot vicinity discussing with vigor, theories for what really happened at the end of “Inception.”
– Just for the record, the spinning top is the totem of Cobb’s dead wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard), Leo’s totem is his wedding ring. Therefore, the whole scene means nothing in terms of his own reality. So, there ya go.
To everyone’s surprise, on Halloween, Derrick Rose costumed himself as a former MVP-level Derrick Rose, instead of the rickity-knee, walking boot ghost of an NBA point guard that we’ve seen repeatedly for the last 8 seasons.
But on All Hallow’s Eve, the specter of what once was and could be again appeared before us. Check out this stat-line: 50 points on 19-31 shooting (61%), 4-7 from three-point (57%), 8-11 freethrows (72.7%), 4 rebounds, 6 assists and a +10 on the +/- scale.
At first glance, this may have been 50-point explosion of a fluke game – but even so, can we take a moment to give some props for D-Rose’s single game career-high effort!
How is this possible? How has he never reached the 50-club previously?
How could a player who has never pinnacled the rare air of a 50-point game, pull this rabbit out of a hat at the age of 30 after three major knee surgeries, and being left behind to basketball-Narnia in the great white north?
But this is just an outlier right? Or is D-Rose really back?
In the two games that followed the 50-point explosion, Rose only played 5 minutes total. A well-earned couple of nights off, I suppose.
But, when Rose returned at full energy on Monday, November 5th – he picked up right where he left off. Facing the Clippers in LA, Rose went 8-20 from the field for 21 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists. Then, two nights later against the LA Lebrons, vintage D-Rose went off again for a smooth 31 points on 11-17 shooting with 7 three-pointers (single game, career-high), 3 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Over the course of just more than a week, Rose is averaging 26.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 4.3 assists, shooting 57% from the field and a STAGGERING 65% from the three-point line!
“Me turning 30, it plays into learning who I am as a man, learning who my family is,” Rose said. “My mom is a worrier. She has faith, but she worries. The genetics, I think, rubbed off on me. When I was younger, I used to worry a lot. But I told myself, ‘All of this is out of my control anyway. Why am I frustrated with this, worried about that, when at the end of the day, I am happy and I believe in myself?’
“I never went in deep with it. I am like, ‘Man, I am not going to be like Mom.’ That was my goal. That is what ended up happening until I got perspective of the whole situation.”
“I am in year 11 now. I tore my ACL in my third year. Most guys would have been retired. Financially, I have saved my money. It’s all about the love. I still feel like I can hoop.”
– Derrick Rose
The Rose has regained it’s full bloom, let’s take the time to enjoy the smell while we still have the opportunity to do so.
For the Aussie-born 29-year old real estate developer, being stuck in a mental rut and wedding planning was only the tip of the iceberg towards a brand-new life that eventually landed him in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
His professional soccer career had stopped kicking, his job was no longer fulfilling, he was about to turn 30 – so what’s next?
Why not play college football? A sport he knew absolutely nothing about, but James Stefanou cares not for such petty quarrels, he just wanted to kick the hell out of something.
Two years later, Stefanou is a 31-year-old sophomore at Colorado and the football team’s starting field-goal kicker. Nearly 9,000 miles from his home of Melbourne, Australia, Stefanou is the oldest player in FBS, although, to him, age is merely a number.
“I might be 31,” Stefanou says in a thick Australian accent, “but I’m pretty young at heart. It doesn’t feel different at all for me. I’ve always been a little like that. You can call it immature if you’d like, but I just like being one of the boys.”
Sure, this is a fun college story, I mean the Aussie kicker regularly boots 60-year field goals in practice and is about a decade older than his teammates.
But is this just a fun story for James? Or is there more to this?
For James, this is far more than just a quick trip to the states for a few pints and a few laughs. He hopes to kick in the NFL someday, and it’s not that far-fetched of an idea.
“He can absolutely kick professionally,” says Nathan Chapman of Prokick Australia, the punting and kicking academy that groomed and helped place Stefanou at Colorado. “He’s got the ability to do it, but he’s got to put runs on the board. Sports are not always a fairy tale.”
“He’s got a big enough leg, and he’s accurate,” Chapman adds. “So why wouldn’t he be given a chance?”
American football has only been a part of James’ life for a few years, but he’s no novice to professional sports or kicking spherically shaped objects around a plot of green grass.
Since childhood, he’s had a passion for soccer – he grew up a fan of Manchester United and as a player earned a spot on the Australia U19 team when he was just 17. He eventually played professionally for South Melbourne FC and Heidelberg United FC as a defender.
Groin injuries hampered his play, although Stefanou kept at it through his late 20s. Throughout the stints of rehab and comebacks, however, a familiar voice was always there, hoping to steer him in another direction.
Johnny Smith, who works with Chapman at Prokick Australia, was convinced Stefanou had a future in American football. Over the years, Stefanou would stop by Prokick and dabble with the idea of switching sports.
“We have a phrase in Prokick for the older guys,” Smith says. “Ticktock. Because time is the enemy … I finally asked him: ‘Are you gonna f–king do this or not? You need to take that God-given talent and put it in the arena, in the environment that it needs to be in.'”
In October of 2016, Stefanou began training with Prokick. What stuck out initially, according to his coaches, wasn’t necessarily his natural power but how much elevation he got on his kicks—making his field goals and point-after attempts nearly impossible to block.
Eventually, “Ticktock” was receiving interest from Maryland, Houston, Hawaii and Colorado. While Hawaii was intriguing, Stefanou worried “it would’ve been too much of a holiday all the time.”
After researching Colorado through Google, Stefanou was sold on the school and the city of Boulder. In July of 2017, two weeks after Laura and he were married, the two uprooted their lives and traveled nearly 9,000 miles to their new home.
“When he first got here, you could tell he was a talented athlete,” Colorado holder Josh Goldin says. “He just kicks the crap out of the ball. The noise it makes when it comes off his foot is something different. I’ve seen him hit from 65 yards in practice. He can really boot it.”
In his first season, Stefanou converted on 17 of 22 field goals (77.3 percent), including a 53-yarder, and made all 35 of his extra points. This year, Stefanou has connected on five of his seven field goals; he’s also hit all 20 of his extra points, making him a perfect 55-of-55 for his career.
James seems to have a solid chance at an NFL spot at some point in his future, at the very least he’ll have an incredible story to tell when it’s all said-and-done.
He’s been playing football shorter than Trump has been in office, so I’d say the sky is the limit for this destroyer of footballs.
“People continuously ask: ‘How old are you? How old are you? Should you be playing college football? It doesn’t bother me,” Stefanou says. “Come beat me then. If you’re better than me, come beat me.
“If you’re good enough, you’re good enough.”
The fact that Jay Cutler is on a cheesy reality TV show is about as perfect a life that any football fan or former Jay Cutler hater could ask for. Possibly the only topper to the actual show itself is the hysterical digital name card that appears any time Jay walks into a room.
“Jay – Kristin’s Husband”
I especially enjoyed the line where Jay’s wife, Kristin says: “I think it’s one of the weirdest things in the world to have a shrine to yourself, I know what I look like.” referring to a giant glamour shot of herself that apparently she doesn’t need hanging up on the wall – but nevermind the reality TV show that you’re a part of airing on the E! Network, cause that’s not a shrine to yourself at all, is it, Kristin?
Far be it for me to wax intellectual about “Keeping up with the Cavallari’s” or whatever the title of the show is, but go ahead and watch these clips and then try and tell me you don’t think a little better of Jay Cutler by the end of them?
His “Smokin Jay” attitude mocks everything dumb about shows like this as if he’s looking right into the camera and saying to the audience, “Hey, this is dumb – you’re dumb for watching this trash. But I don’t care, cause I’m getting paid.”
The Los Angeles Rams and defensive tackle Aaron Donald have agreed to a six-year deal, the team announced.
The deal is worth $135 million, including $87 million guaranteed, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
It’s the richest defensive deal in NFL history and could keep Donald with the Rams for the next seven years, through the 2024 season.
It’s about time, Aaron Donald has been holding out for a deal worth his incredible talent level and it finally seems to have come to fruition. This hold-out is a perfect example of why all top-tier players should always hold-out for what they deserve, especially in the NFL.
The bend or break point of contention will ultimately lean towards the player (if the player is a top 5 at his position) when a team finally and inevitably realizes that they can’t replace his productivity, leadership and fan morale effects. The backlash is too large for losing a player like Aaron Donald due to non-payment, that kind of management will quickly turn your team into the Cleveland Browns….and nobody wants that.
Do you hear me Oakland!?!? Pay Khalil Mack his money or someone else will!