No Sleep Til Vancouver

For anyone who hasn’t been paying attention to the USA run at the Women’s World Cup happening in Canada right now, you’re an idiot. All of your would-be excuses relating to conflicts have run out. No other sport takes precedent throughout the next week. Believe me, I checked. There is more drama in these matches than what’s on Netflix. Seriously, yellow cards galore.

TODAY live on Fox at 7PM ET/4PM PT, USA will take on Germany in the semifinal round in Montreal.

Here’s a cheat sheet to get you up to speed–

•Germany is currently ranked #1 in the world.

•USA is the only country ever to have made it to 7 semifinal appearances in the WWC. You can say it. Total bosses.

•Friday’s win against China had 2 USA players benched due to yellow cards. They will be back and looking for vindication.

•We win, we go to Vancouver for the final match on Sunday. That’s right, the World Cup Final. One of the most highly touted sports trophies of all time.

FURTHERMORE, who can forget the men’s tenuous 0-1 Pool of Death loss to Germany last year in Brazil during the rainstorm? If this game and all that’s riding on it doesn’t spell redemption, I don’t know what does.

Today is your chance to catch up and stay up. Turn on that communal TV at work, stream it online or grab your friends and head to a watch party. We all did it last year, this is no different. These dames have game and you don’t want to miss out.

Now say it with us: “I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN.”

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Peyton Manning Isn’t Going Anywhere

Calm down Broncos fans, there’s no way Peyton’s going anywhere before the start of the 2015 season.  These ridiculous rumors started a few days ago because one reporter heard that the Houston Texans called to ask John Elway what the “going rate” for Peyton Manning was.

Elway (in my head) calmly laughed his ass off while smoking a cigar and replied with, “what’s more than the kitchen sink?”.  Then he hung up the phone and painted a picture of himself shirtless riding a Bull while hurling a thunderbolt at a cartoonish defensive back in a Raiders uniform.

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After the Houston Texans smoke was reported by a Twatter (sports reporter who tweets too much bad info), the Denver news ran with it like their cowboy hat was on fire (click here).

After the issued denial about trade rumors, the media ran with it even more.  Cause we all know that where there’s a denial, there’s a story.  But this one isn’t true to that form by any means.  I could go through a million reasons why this is ridiculous, but here’s the #1 reason:

  1. John Elway wants to win a Super Bowl right now.  It’s obvious, he’s moving players around the last two years like he’s my drunk uncle Scott in his first fantasy football season.  Peyton Manning is STILL a top 5 Quarterback in the NFL, who would you possibly replace him with right now to make the Broncos better?  You don’t win a Super Bowl in Denver without Peyton Manning, at least for the foreseeable future.

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Come On……….Seriously?

This really happened:

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A banner on the BBC urged soccer fans all over England to “Come On Our Girls” in order to raise everyone’s spirits in the World Cup.

To further their UNBELIEVABLE play on words, they employed the cast of Bend it Like Bekham” to hold up the sign and chant!!!

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I don’t even think a well placed comma would have helped this scenario.  Seriously, is this an episode of South Park?

The 2015 NBA Draft Ignition Switch

In no particular order, these are the players to keep an eye on in the NBA draft tomorrow.  No tricks, no cheap thrills, just strait booty.

Jahlil Okafor – Duke 

  • NBA Position: Center
  • Class: Freshman
  • Ht: 6-11
  • Best-case comparison:  Hakeem Olajuwon/Tim Duncan

He’s big and powerful with huge hands, palms the ball easily (also 13 tennis balls in one hand) which allows him to control rebounds in traffic … Polished, skilled back to the basket scorer with a variety of moves … Smooth for his size, solid rebounder, very good IQ, plays to his strengths, knows his limitations and doesn’t try to do things that he can’t do … NBA body and strength, quick feet for a player with such a big frame … Has great moves and counters, the footwork of an NBA vet, soft touch around basket.

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Okafor isn’t a great athlete and his conditioning will be an issue early on.  He doesn’t seem to be a “hard worker” as much as he was just bigger and more skilled than EVERYONE in the NCAA.  He’ll be solid right away in the NBA, but he’ll get beat up by bigger, more athletic centers.

NBA Team Projections:

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Emmanuel Mudiay – Congo 

  • NBA Position: Point Guard
  • Class: International
  • Ht: 6-5
  • Best-case comparison:  John Wall, maybe Russell Westbrook

Emmanuel is a true point guard with dynamic speed and athleticism and great size… Very unselfish player who loves to get his teammates involved … Outstanding ball handler who is equally comfortable attacking right and left … Excels in the open court where his speed hits another gear… Sees the entire floor…Very quick first step and a lethal crossover … Has the size and strength to post up smaller guards … Good rebounder for a guard.

He’s an incredible athlete, but with that being said he’s similar to LOTS and LOTS of guards with size and athleticism: he can’t shoot outside the paint.  He may be TOO athletic for his own good, he obviously never had to develop his jump-shot the way it should be.  He’s still very young with tons of potential to develop a jumper, but look how long it’s taken guys like John Wall and Russell Westbrook to develop a legit jumper and a real feel for the game.

NBA Team Projections:

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Stanley Johnson – Arizona 

  • NBA Position: Small Forward
  • Class: Freshman
  • Ht: 6-7
  • Best-case comparison: Metta World Peace (when he was the Indiana Pacers – Ron Artest) or possibly the newly improved Jimmy Butler

The first two things that jump out are his incredible football player like body and his competitiveness … He’s a standout with his on ball defense where he is able to use his huge chest to muscle any offensive threat … But compared to Ron Artest, he looks like a much better defender off the ball, using his large wingspan to deflect passes and his big hands to snatch the ball away from opposing players … Defensively, he’s absolutely a beast, who could immediately play in the NBA and create problems for many NBA wings … He uses his big shoulders to get into the lane and finish with contact and he doesn’t have any problems finishing with both hands around the rim … He became a better ball-handler late in the season, as well as a good pick-n-roll scorer

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Stanley is a beast athletically and sized up to bang underneath like Anthony Mason.  Can he develop the skills necessary to be an All-Star in the NBA?  His shooting, passing and ball-handling will have to continue to develop, but he seems to be worth the initial investment for many teams.

NBA Team Projections:

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D’Angelo Russell – Ohio State 

  • NBA Position: PG/SG
  • Class: Freshman
  • Ht: 6-5
  • Best-case comparison: A left-handed Magic Johnson…yes seriously

An incredibly talented combo guard with tremendous ball skills … Intriguing long term prospect considering his package of attributes … Smart, and smooth guard who never seems to get rattled or rushed into making mistakes … Makes everything look easy … Great imagination and creativity, his vision and passing ability is the best several analysts have ever seen (click here) … Excellent decision maker and appears to have the ability to develop into a GREAT point guard for the next level … He’s got a 6-foot-9 wingspan that gives him the ability to disrupt passing lanes and shots, as well as an extra length to get to loose balls and get shots off … Shows good form on his shot with a quick release … Very good at running the pick-and-roll, well ahead of most guards at the same stage in that element ..

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D’Angelo has the charisma, skill potential and confidence to be the NBA’s next HUGE, true point guard.  I’m actually excited to see how this guy plays out, for the first time in a long time I actually REALLY like a point guard coming out of college.

NBA Team Projections:

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Karl-Anthony Towns – Kentucky 

  • NBA Position: Center
  • Class: Freshman
  • Ht: 7-0
  • Best-case comparison: An even better Marc Gasol

Strengths: Center prospect with the size and skill set to make a strong impact at both ends of the floor in the NBA … Hard worker, smart kid, with strength of character … Possesses a great feel for the game … Offensive game oozes potential with a text book shooting form, great touch and ability to hit outside and mid range jumpers effortlessly and consistently … Has even implemented a steadily improving hook shot into his repertoire … His length and strong body gives him excellent ability to rebound and hold position in the post … Tremendous rebounder on a per 40 minute basis, with big hands, good box out fundamentals, post positioning and energy … Has worked hard on his body and has developed broad shoulders and good strength … Should be able to add additional weight and play comfortably in the 260-270 range … Terrific passer, good vision, he’s able to find players when doubled, and even have the offense run through him at the high post … Very good shot blocker … Underrated foot speed and perimeter defensive ability … Recently in workouts has shown the ability to step out and shoot the three very smoothly and effortlessly.

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He’s as close to a guaranteed star instantly as you can get in the NBA.  He could be DeMarcus Cousins without the headcase/knucklehead attitude combined with Marc Gasol.  He’s GOTTA be the first player taken, if Minnesota doesn’t take him (then they’re really dumb), the Lakers definitely will at #2.

NBA Team Projections:

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Kristaps Porzingis – Latvia

  • NBA Position: Power Forward
  • Class: International
  • Ht: 7-1
  • Best-case comparison: A more athletic Dirk Nowitzki

As a legit 7 footer he has perfect height for the role, combined with long arms and big hands … Despite the size he prefers to play as a small forward, showing amazing body control, coordination and ball handling skills … Porzignis excels in transition situations, where he can use his speed, fluidity and athleticism to outrun defenders … During the past season he has improved his off the ball game, exploiting cuts and backdoors to get the rim … He’s a solid shooter, with range also from three point, showing a remarkable confidence and variety of solutions: step-back, pull-up jumper, catch and shoot are all part of his repertoire … His lateral mobility makes him a solid P&R defender, a key skill for a big man, especially at NBA level.

His high ceiling would be a more athletic Dirk Nowitzki, his basement level is something like Andrei Kirilenko on an off night.   Let’s hope he doesn’t get a dragon tattooed on his back.

NBA Team Projections:

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Justise Winslow – Duke

  • NBA Position: Small Forward/Power Forward
  • Class: Freshman
  • Ht: 6-6
  • Best-case comparison: James Harden

Big time athlete with elite level speed and athleticism … Shows the ability to score in a variety of ways, with spot up shooting as well as scoring off the dribble … Can finish at the rim with highlight dunks, and does a good job of utilizing his great body strength to absorb contact … Very dangerous in the open floor with his speed and leaping ability … Tremendous basketball body with solid wingspan and great body strength considering his age … Excellent on ball defender showing great lateral speed and awareness as well as a high effort level. Even blocks some shots, making use of his great quickness and timing … Has exhibited a nice ability to create off the dribble from the perimeter and get to the rim and finish … Has great body control and touch on the move … Smart kid and considered a high character individual.

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His game really turned into something fun to watch in the NCAA tourney, he combined a TON of athleticism with size and skill at scoring the ball in traffic.  If he can develop his jumper, he could easily be the next James Harden.  He’s got that quickness and body control that very few players combine, he just needs to learn the scorer’s game and improve his jumper to get to star status in the NBA.

NBA Team Projections:

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Devin Booker – Kentucky

  • NBA Position: Shooting Guard/Small Forward
  • Class: Freshman
  • Ht: 6-6
  • Best-case comparison: Klay Thompson

High basketball IQ and 3-point specialist … Good feel for the game and makes smart plays … Sharpshooter who’s shooting release and form is mechanically sound … Silky-smooth and lighting quick release with a soft touch … Has good balance and accuracy on his shot and releases the ball at its highest point … Great floor spacer … Terrific scoring instincts … Possesses a deadly step-back jumper … Makes shots from the corners and at the top of the key … Ability to catch-and-shoot and make shots off the dribble … Efficient shooter off pick-and-rolls and while coming off screens … A crafty and instinctual playmaker who can distribute to his teammates … Willing to make the extra pass around the perimeter … Unselfish player and wants to get his teammates involved … At 6-foot-6, 206, he has good strength and size for a two-guard at the next level and resembles a prototypical high-volume NBA long range specialist … He’s capable of using one or two dribbles and pulling up from 15-18 feet.

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Re-read the description of Mr. Booker again if you need to, but it’s basically a carbon-copy of what was said about Klay Thompson when he was coming out of Washington State.  I love this kid’s game, if he gets to the right team that can use him the way that Golden State uses Thompson, he’ll be a 18-20 point scorer in the NBA.

NBA Team Projections:

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Quick predictions:

Denver and Philly will screw this up, Denver will pick ANOTHER European player that will refuse to come over to Denver (look at their track record).  They’ve drafted eight international players since 2002 (two were first-rounders), NONE of which have played more than 3 seasons in Denver, and NONE have even SNIFFED A SINGLE all-star vote.  Don’t even get me started…

Philly will surprise us all and select ANOTHER Power Forward/Center “project” with athleticism (Willie Trill Cauley-Stein or Kristaps Porzingis) and tank again for a third season in a row.   Philly fans will finally burn down the arena and give up all hope.  Don’t worry 76ers fans, the Nuggets fans are a few seasons away from that too.

Advice for the Draftees, don’t wear these suits:

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Just for kicks, here’s the quick list of second tier guys to keep an eye on tomorrow.  These guys will be the true test of a great draft for most franchises; who can find the diamond in the rough outside of the lottery picks.

2nd-tier guys:

Mario Hezonja – SF, Croatia Myles Turner – Center, Texas Sam Decker – SF, Wisconsin Cameron Payne – PG/SG, Murray State RJ Hunter – SG/PG/SF, Georgia State Willie “Trill” Cauley-Stein – Center/PF, Kentucky (name change surprisingly didn’t UP the draft stock) Frank Kaminsky – PF/Center, Wisconsin Kelly Oubre – SF/PF, Kansas Bobby Portis – SF/PF, Arkansas Jerian Grant – SF/SG, Notre Dame Kevin Looney – SF/PF, UCLA Trey Lyles – PF/Center, Kentucky Tyus Jones – PG/SG, Duke

Pete Rose Probably Bet on Baseball While Playing

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Pete Rose has kept to his lie about betting on baseball for just over 26 years:  He never bet on baseball while he was playing.  That statement may be proven to be yet another in the list of non-truths we’ve heard over the years when professional athletes get backed into a corner by huge accusations.

Pete Rose has been recently standing behind the revised statement he made 15 years ago while being grilled by the media and all of baseball: He only bet on baseball when he was a manager.

Sorta reminds me of the half-lies a desperate husband tells a desperate housewife on those acid-reflux inducing reality shows: No baby, I never slept with your mother…or sister, I never would do that.  OK, OK, so I only slept with them once, but I was really drunk and it was while we were all on vacation.  Drunk vacation sex doesn’t count!

From ESPN’s Outside The Lines:

• In the time covered in the notebook, from March through July, Rose bet on at least one MLB team on 30 different days. It’s impossible to count the exact number of times he bet on baseball games because not every day’s entries are legible.

• But on 21 of the days it’s clear he bet on baseball, he gambled on the Reds, including on games in which he played.

• Most bets, regardless of sport, were about $2,000. The largest single bet was $5,500 on the Boston Celtics, a bet he lost.

• Rose bet heavily on college and professional basketball, losing $15,400 on one day in March. That came during his worst week of the four-month span, when he lost $25,500.

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“This does it. This closes the door,” said John Dowd, the former federal prosecutor who led MLB’s investigation.

Charlie Hustle just had the nail hammered into his Hall Of Fame coffin with more bat-speed than any of his 4,256 career hits.

I’ve always been on Pete Rose’s side when it came to being inducted into the Hall Of Fame, I think he should be in the Hall as a player.  The man transcended baseball and is the all-time hits leader, he’s arguably the best hitter in the history of the game.  Yet he’s not in the Hall Of Fame, because he’s a degenerate gambler.

Babe Ruth was a misogynistic alcoholic, Ty Cobb reportedly was a complete asshole of a human being, and do I really need to get into the steroid talks?  How many guys are in the HOF now that used steroids in the 80’s and 90’s?

It’s not smart to compare apples and oranges, but in the case of baseball aren’t they all just…apples?  They all played the same game with roughly the same rules that has always silently condoned cheating and turned a blind eye to certain kinds of cheating.

Spitballs, Vaseline curve balls, pine tar, stealing catcher’s signs, stealing coaches signs, scuffing the ball and corked bats have all been lessor infractions that were secretly embraced as baseball lore or history of the game.  It’s part of what tied the new age generations of players with the “old school” players from the baseball yester-years.  The same stories about Babe Ruth calling his shot in the 1932 World Series could have been followed up with stories of drunkenness and smacking around a few of the lady-folks in the stands after the game.

I’m not saying what Pete Rose did was/is better or worse than any other cheating that baseball tends to overlook, but he’s still one of the greatest baseball players that put on a jersey.  The man has 4,256 career hits!!

Put him in the Hall Of Fame now, but don’t let him ever work for a team again.  He’ll have to continue living with the reality of who and what he is off the field.

Inevitably and unfortunately, these will end up being the last two images anyone will remember of Pete Rose, IN ORDER:

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Is Lebron James’ Legacy Tainted?

When compared to the greats in the game, splitting hairs between championship appearances, championship wins, lifetime stats, personal achievements and hairline receding all come into play.

Lebron is already on the short list for best of all-time, and he may be just now reaching his peak as a player.  But if he keeps losing championships, does that hurt his legacy?

Let’s say Lebron goes to 10 NBA championships in his career (very possible), if he only comes away with 3-4 wins, does that hurt him in the conversation of best ever?

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Current NBA Players List

MJ went 6 for 6 in the NBA Championship department.  He also went 6 for 6 in NBA Finals MVP awards in the process, while never losing a game 6 or a game 7 in the Finals.  Does this change how we think of Lebron?

NBA Finals are Over, So Here’s Some Argentinian Soccer

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With the NBA Finals now officially over, we will swiftly tumble into the deep, dark, bottomless depths of the sporting year referred to as “Sports Purgatory”.  

During this time of year, the only sport inhabiting our TVs are mid-season baseball and if you’re a junky, the NBA Summer League.  On the sports calender, this time in our life is the equivalent of the film “Mad Max”. 

Picture this if you will:

A rabid, flourishing sports fan loses all his/her various team’s respective hopes, dreams and remaining season as his sports crumble into darkness.  His/Her civilization is rapidly collapsing due to war on free time, excuses to watch games on TV and newly found family priorities as well as critical resource shortages.  The sporting world is a vast, brown sandstorm of shit turning and idling as it waits to completely annihilate the desire to consume any worthwhile sporting event.  Any hope of survival remaining rests solely on the shoulders of each individual man/woman and his/her ability to remain drunk until football season starts in the fall.  Good luck to everyone’s survival out there, happy hunting.

Until then, I will strive to bring you the most obscure and hopefully ridiculous sports topics and  commentary available to the world.

Today, I introduce you to Argentinian soccer: