Stop Hating for Five Seconds, See What We Can Learn From The Warriors – By Annie Apple

There is no such thing as a super team, unless a super team is a team that refuses to lose when it has to win. Lots of teams have talented players on their roster but aren’t winning. The term “Super team” is a low-key way of undermining what the Golden State Warriors are doing. The so-called experts gleefully fail to acknowledge that the Warriors are winning because their talented players play ego-free basketball. In an all eyes on me culture, the Warriors’ eyes are on the prize. They’re proving you get so much accomplished in life when you don’t care who gets the credit. The following are four other lessons we can all learn from this year’s Golden Warriors..

Make no time for ego

Warriors have two players in Kevin Durant and Steph Curry scoring 30 plus points each a game and either guy could be finals MVP. Yet they play selfless ball. Their team is loaded with talent, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala. But their greatest talent isn’t ball skills; their greatest talent is their ability and commitment to playing team ball. They aren’t stuck on who’s the star. The star for the Golden State Warriors is winning. That is their daily goal in practice, meetings, film studies and the results show. So whether you’re on an IT team, nonprofit, corporate, education or service staff team, focus on how you can work together to create a great product, process, service and the results will be super.

Stay unbothered

My mom told me many years ago, “Annie, when you want to accomplish anything in life, don’t look at people’s faces for approval or acceptance.” Kevin Durant left Oklahoma Thunder and never looked back. He’s been vilified, his character attacked and manhood questioned for his business decision as a free agent to join the Warriors. Yet, he stays focused and continues to be outstanding.  This team has been undermined all season. When they win, they’re supposed to win. With the so-called experts saying they’re only winning because they have KD. But at one point OKC had KD, Westbrook and Harden, but for whatever reason, the team couldn’t get it done, and Harden left, then Durant.

You can never underestimate importance of chemistry, sacrifice and teamwork. When Durant went to Golden State, it could’ve failed. With all that talent, there was no guarantee they would all gel together and make the mental sacrifices and game changes needed to win. They’re winning by shutting out the noise and focusing on exceeding their own expectations. So stop listening to what people who are not invested in your growth and success have to say. Focus on what you and your team, family, coworkers are trying to accomplish. Let the goal be the focus and the process will work.

When you put team first, you personally will win

Putting the needs of the team first in a team environment is important to personal success. When the team wins, you win. The goal isn’t personal accolades. If you get a dozen triple doubles but your team falls short, it doesn’t matter. Focus on the process and productivity of team work and you’ll all reap the benefits, individually and collectively.

Stay humble

Don’t get distracted. Don’t start believing your own hype. Don’t get sucked into the praise or criticism. Stay humble. Success can be as much a distraction as failure. Stay locked in and on task. Remember, when the goal is greatness, you will never arrived. Greatness is a process and a journey which requires patience, focus and humility.

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Several Reasons Fidel Goodell Has to Go

They say the cover up is always worst than the crime.  Roger Goodell’s malfeasance and subsequent cover up of his handling of the Ray Rice incident puts him square in the middle of the chopping block as NFL commissioner.

1) When the initial video came out of Rice dragging and unconscious Janay Palmer out of a casino elevator, part of his ‘investigation’ was to interview both Ray and Janay in the same room at the same time.  She married Ray so what in the hell did Goodell think she was going to say?  I wonder what Ray Rice told Goodell, as the commissioner made a huge deal of Michael Vick telling the complete truth to him regarding his dog fighting allegations.  Did he admit that he struck her?  Did he lie?  My educated guess he is told the truth.  Rice never said once publicly that he didn’t strike Palmer.  Janay went on national television and claimed she contributed to the left hook that sent her down for the count.  Goodell decided that two games was enough of a suspension.  FAIL

2) When the backlash of the two game suspension hit, the commissioner was M.I.A.  Instead of defending or explaining it himself, he waited days before rolling out NFL Sr. VP Adolpho Birch via a call to ESPN’s Mike & Mike In The Morning Show.  Said Birch, “The discipline that was taken by the NFL is the only discipline that occurred with respect to Mr. Rice in this case. Were he not an NFL player, I don’t know that he would have received punishment from any other source … We believe that the discipline we issued is appropriate — it’s multiple games, and hundreds of thousands of dollars. It doesn’t reflect that we condone the behavior.”   Weeks later during Hall of Fame Weekend, Goodell having no other choice defended himself.  “We have a very firm policy that domestic violence is not acceptable in the NFL, and there are consequences for that.  Obviously, when we are going through the process of evaluating an issue and whether there will be discipline, you look at all of the facts that are available to us.”… “”We have to remain consistent,” he said. “We can’t just make up the discipline. It has to be consistent with other cases, and it was in this matter. … I take into account all of the information before I make a decision on what the discipline will be,”    More outrage ensued and on yet a few weeks later on August 28th, Goodell announced a new policy for stiffer penalties regarding domestic abuse; six games for a first time offense and a lifetime ban for a second.   While some applauded Goodell for changing his stance, I was reticent to do so.  Goodell has never been transparent with the public nor had he ever changed his mind about a policy he’d put in place.  There was something else to this.

Birch NFL VP Adolpho Birch

3) On Monday morning we all found out what the something else was.  TMZ released the video explicitly showing how Janay Palmer ended up on the floor of the elevator.  From the moment I saw that announcement in the wee hours of the morning while watching the aforementioned Mike and Mike show, I said to my wife, “This is why they changed the policy.  They knew this video was going to surface.”  Initially again there is no comment from the NFL to the media.  The Baltimore Ravens did a u-turn cutting ties with Rice altogether terminating his contract.  Soon afterwards, Goodell suspended Rice indefinitely.  Speaking of lack of leadership, how about the Ravens rolling head football coach John Harbaugh out to speak to the media while owner Steve Bisciotti and GM Ozzie Newsome, adamant supporters of Rice and their own sources of what really happened were noticeably missing.  Talk about cowards?  Neither of them have my respect.  But I digress.  The issue now with the commissioner’s office is, 1) Did the league see the video.  2) If not why not.  Goodell claimed that not only had the league not received the video, but that they were rebuffed by the New Jersey State Police.  (NJSP)  It only took minutes for the NJSP to respond that not only was that a lie, but that they were not the ones handling the investigation in the first place.  The NFL issued a follow up statement attempting to wiggle their way out of being previously busted in the first lie.  Goodell appeared on CBS Tuesday evening with the following statements:

On why he made a decision without seeing the tape: “That’s why we asked for it on several occasions. Because when we make a decision we want to have all the information that’s available. And obviously that was the — that when we met with Ray Rice and his representatives, it was ambiguous about what actually happened.”

Let’s examine that statement for a moment.  Basically he’s saying that Ray Rice and his people gave the NFL the runaround and he realized that when they were in his office.  Rice’s lawyer had the tape.  Goodell didn’t press?  So he’s saying he was punked into giving him a minimum suspension of two games.  Does that sound like Fidel Goodell to you?

You can see the rest of that foolishness in the interview, especially in his BS explanation about how TMZ got the video but the NFL offices couldn’t.

But let me tell you something about NFL security.  They are pretty much second to Homeland Security in terms of resources and connections.  Many of their personnel are former FBI, military and other government workers.   There isn’t a player who is drafted who has not had an in-depth background check right on down to the friends they hang with as well as their family interactions.   As an example we can look at former Miami Dolphins executive  Jeff Ireland’s asking then draft prospect Dez Bryant if his mother had been a prostitute.  The NFL can get their hands on any tape or information they choose to.

Ray and Janay Ray and Janay Rice

There may be a few folk who believe Goodell when he says he didn’t see the video.  For him to say that he suspected there was a second video (in a casino no doubt) insults all of our intelligence.  He also said he was made aware of the video from his staff after he got in the office on Monday.  This is the final straw to me.  As I said before, I suspected he not only saw the video, but he new the video was coming out, which is why he changed the policy.  Furthermore, if I’m in my bedroom getting this news from ESPN shortly after 6 am EST. you mean to tell me Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL didn’t receive a call from ANYONE before he got in the office regarding the video’s release?

Now we have word that the NFL had the tape in April.  I mean how incompetent and arrogant can this dude be?  The ass covering operation is an epic fail.  I guess next he will go Ronald Reagan on us and say, “Well apparently we HAD the video in the office, but I didn’t see it.  They kept it from me.”  Maybe the female on the tape who answering the phone will be the NFL’s Oliver North.

4) Roger Goodell’s salary for last year was $44.2 million per year.  Many fans talk about the worth of players and whether they should make the money they make.  The same people don’t even consider a salary like Goodell’s when they pay for tickets, a hot dog and a beer at a game.  This is because most of us can toss a football around so we think we can relate.  The same people cannot fathom owning or running a team.  Like the players, I couldn’t care less about what Goodell makes.  That’s between he and his NFL bosses.  That being said, from his handling of Spy Gate, Bounty Gate, and this latest fiasco, it’s clear that this job is too big for him to handle.  It’s clear though he said he couldn’t ‘make up discipline’ in earlier interviews, he did just that in suspending Rice indefinitely after the second video became public.  He didn’t act because he saw the video, he acted because WE ALL saw the video.

Finally, the NFL had been soft on domestic violence for years.  For the first time there was an incident that got national exposure because of the initial surveillance video.  If the commissioner had done his job and suspended Ray Rice to 8 games, 12 games, or an entire season without pay nothing happening this week would have made a difference to the NFL.  A harsh penalty befitting the first video evidence, people would shown Goodell to be a great leader.  Rice could have had a chance to make amends with his wife, get some help, perhaps become an advocate against domestic violence and appeal to the public for a second chance.  Donte’ Stallworth and Josh Brent killed people driving drunk.  Stallworth played again and Brent will soon play again.  Instead, he handled the investigation like Barney Fife, gave Rice a slap on the wrist knowing Rice knocked Janay unconscious, defended it several times over,  and then once the second video became public re-sentenced Rice to lifetime penalties while acting pompously indignant.  I don’t see how the collective bargaining agreement with the players union would allow a second sentence to slide by.  Think about it, even if Goodell wanted to make some additional show of Rice, what happened to his second plan for first time offenders of 6 games?  He just skipped that.  If Rice doesn’t get back in the league, seeing how all of this fallout is on Goodell in the first place, Rice is in a position for a helluva lawsuit against the NFL… especially since he had been forthright with Goodell in telling him he struck Janay in the first place.  That doesn’t make Rice a hero, its just not his job to punish himself.  The commissioner should have laid the hammer down on Rice that he deserved in the first place.  There is no excuse.  Roger Goodell has failed miserably and there is no CEO of any company that would survive such a salacious scandal brought on by pure arrogance and stupidity.

Where’s Donald Trump when you need him?

 

 

Religious Hypocrisy Strikes Again, …or The Dog Fighter’s Advocate

“I wouldn’t have taken him.  Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it. …It’s not going to be totally smooth … things will happen.’’ – Tony Dungy

Let me start by saying I know where Tony Dungy is coming from.  I know because I used to run in the same circles he runs in.  I worshiped and congregated in the same churches, listening to the same preachers, fellow-shipped with the same men who attended Promise Keepers when it was in town.  Dungy, an author of 7 faith based books including one on marriage has never been shy about promoting his brand of Christian faith.  He raised money for the Indiana Family Institute to ban same sex marriage.  A champion for ‘conservative values’ he’s parlayed his image to be the NFL’s edition of  Billy Graham meets Cliff Huxtable.

Dungy displayed his Huxtable mentoring talents with Michael Vick.  After Vick was released from federal prison for the abuse and killing of dogs, he tutored Vick to become the calm voice in the Philadelphia Eagles locker room, and a protege to other potentially troubled NFL players.  On NBC’s Sunday Night NFL Football show, Dungy is the most vanilla/least polarizing of any football analyst.  That it until yesterday’s quote from the Tampa Bay Tribune.

Cliff-Huxtable

Dungy is living a double life, trapped between two conflicting worlds.  His Christian values teaches him that being gay is a sin.  He hears on any given Sunday that there is a ‘gay agenda’ promoted by Satan himself to subject god-fearing men to accept an abomination.  He’s also made a life playing, coaching, and now commentating in a brutal sport that destroys the body and cause brain damage.  Players in the NFL are generally not saints, but sinners.  They are young, brash, carnal, full of testosterone, trained killers who even if only briefly hold the world by their finger tips.  Generally, they live promiscuously and their idea of fun is making it rain in strip clubs.

How does Dungy navigate these two worlds?  It’s not hard.  His ‘values’ are not in peril because most of his Christian brethren love football.  They love the position he’s in.  They love to rub shoulders with NFL royalty.  And most of all, his presence on television brings credibility to their beliefs.  Which is why they don’t have a problem with his comments about Michael Sam.  Sam is gay.  As for what the straight players do and the lifestyles they live, it’s accepted par for the course.  Dungy and his sycophants don’t see promiscuity, materialism and making it rain as a ‘distraction’ to be dealt with.  Heck, if they weeded out the colonies from the strongest and fastest to the most chaste, the NFL would cease to exist. Make no mistake, these Christians want their football.

Some people are calling for Dungy to clarity or make some additional statement so as to not come off as bigoted against gay people. Sam is at least for now a member of the NFL’s family.  While he’s certainly not the only gay player, he is the only publicly acknowledged one.  Dungy, just the fourth black head coach in the NFL’s modern era post Fritz Pollard already had the path paved and smoothed  for him.  His Super Bowl victory makes him teflon.  His clean cut image made it so that he didn’t need to touch the Sam situation. But he just couldn’t help himself.  His Christian Agenda pricked him which prompted a statement for the boys in the congregation.  Veiled in the theme of ‘distraction’, he poked at Sam’s career potential saying he wouldn’t ‘want to deal with’ the baggage.  That same baggage that Branch Ricky dealt with for the media, social and player side show endured by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.   There are no sermons for womanizing, smoking weed and making it rain.  But the anti-gay message is weekly.

No, I don’t want Dungy to clarify a word.  If anything, he should keep it all the way 100 and own hypocrite that he and his Christian brethren are; instead of this passive aggressive ‘not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play’ BS.

Yea… Dungy wants Sam to have a chance….  just not on HIS team.

NBA Free Agency…ready, set…

July 1st is upon us and it’s time to get back into the what-what of the NBA, speculations, dollar$ and sense….or no sense.

Let’s start with the Heat!  That LeBron thing is settled in that as I said before that D-Wade opting in would settle that.   The man is not opting out of 42 million without guarantees that he is going to get to ride LeBron’s coattail a few years longer.  He will get a longer term deal that stretches out that money and saves him face.  Brian Windhorst reported that Bosh is on vacation after the Big Three (along with Udonis Haslem who also opted out on 10 million) broke bread over the weekend.  What does that tell you?  It tells me that since LeBron has never been the highest paid player of his team since he entered the league, that will change now with Bosh getting the second highest salary and Wade the third.

At issue is really what Riley will do with the roster… besides moving up two spots to get LeBron’s college crush Shabazz Napier.  I also suspect that LeBron’s contract may not be as long term as permissible. Being an astute business man that he is, he’s going to want to keep Riley and owner Micky Arison’s feet to the fire long term.

Sick of Derrick Rose!  I was off the Rose wagon after he got his first major injury two season ago, and while that team was struggling to play the Heat in the playoffs.  Luol Deng was having spinal tap issues while Joakim Noah and Nate Robinson were killing themselves balls to the wall for the Bulls, Rose is shooting jumpers and dunking in front of the cameras during pre-game.  ‘Oh he may be back or not.’   All along the word in the streets were he wasn’t going to play period.  As soon as the Bulls were eliminated he started talking shit about how explosive he was.  Fast forward he tears a meniscus, (a month long injury) and he again sits out the rest of the season.  Now that it’s time to get some free agency help with the roster, this primadonna out here talking about if Carmelo wants to come he will come but it ain’t his job to recruit.   Yea OK I see.  Hell I guess he doesn’t care seeing that in January of 2015 his broke body ass probably won’t be playing anyway.  If I’m Melo…. ‘F’ Derrick Rose!  I don’t want to play with Mr. Glass anyway!’

mr-glass-samuel-l-jackson-unbreakable

Does Houston have a problem?  There seems to be this talk about how the Rockets have such an attractive team.  But when I look at that roster I see problems.  D12 can’t be relied upon though he had a pretty nice 2014 playoffs.  And your most dominate personality and ball hogging handler on the team just refuses to play defense!  Just flat out refuses!  I see that as a hot mess more than an opportunity.  If they were in a bigger media market, they wouldn’t get the benefit of the doubt the way they do.  Some really good star free agent may take the chance (Melo) but being in the West, I don’t know how that’s going to ultimately work out in the end.  The Rockets are a great regular season team, I don’t see them being made for championships!

Lakers draft well!  Being a Laker man as I am, I am ecstatic with Julius Randle.  I just have to see more.  I suspect not having a head coach is all about remaining attractive to potentially Melo and James.  Funny as they don’t give a rats ass about what Kobe thinks. Letting Gasol walk would be a mistake.  And since Boston took Marcus Smart, Rondo has to be on the block and we need to see about getting him!  I’m far from trusting Jim Buss… so we’ll see!

**Andrew Wiggins is country as hell.  His daddy may be Mitchell, but his uncle must be CJ Memphis from A Soldier’s Story!

Feeling sorry for Jabari!  I bet JP has GOT to be thinking, “What kind of BS am I walking into now?  First the Bucks drafted me… they play in MILWAUKEE!  Cats from Chicago know how piss poor sorry Milwaukee is, especially for black folks.  They wear them ugly ass uniforms, they play on an ugly ass floor, and NOBODY wants to live there.   Losing in Philly is not as bad as at least the city is popping!  I’m just saying, I may elect to live in Cleveland before Milwaukee.  All of that is bad enough… now you got this Jason Kidd situation.  What the hell is THAT about?

parker

Jason Kidd to me is a rat fink!  Let’s look at the facts.  He gets a job in Brooklyn, NY of all places straight out of his playing days with no coaching experience.  He didn’t even sit at an ESPN or TNT booth and talk about the game like Doc Rivers, Mark Jackson and Steve Kerr did to give the perception he knew how to run a team while not dribbling the ball up the court.  Nets ownership put all this money into the team attracting free agents for him, KG, The Truth and Joe Johnson all got on board with him and even stuck with him during the Lawrence Frank debacle.  And now because Derek Fisher got more $$ than he did, he wants to flirt with his buddy in Milwaukee about getting the job there with more money and power.  Oh and wait a minute… here’s the really fun part: Larry Drew was coaching the team and was still under contract.  That didn’t stop Kidd… a narcissistic ‘BAN’ who went all the way O’Jays and won the BET award for back stabbing.  (I’ll deal with BET and other black award shows in another blog soon.)  Now he’s going from Brooklyn USA… to fuk’n MILWAUKEE…. with that team’s history, with that roster, with that dysfunction!  Good luck with that  cause in most NBA circles he’s done!  To that coaching fraternity, especially among the black coaches, he’s dead to them!  I’m sure Mikhail Prokhorov told him, “Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.  You ungrateful bastard!  And no you can’t come get your shit!  I’ll ship it to you if and when I damn well get ready!”

Anyhoo… all the major moves should be decided by the weekend!

Happy 4th!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Random Thoughts about the NBA 2014 Finals +

As we spring off into NBA free agency, otherwise known as The Decision II, here are my thoughts on the 2014 NBA season.

* The Spurs exercised the hell out of Game 6 demons of the 2013 Finals.  

Say what you want, but the to lose a series that was in your hands based on missing a crucial rebound and seeing Ray Allen step back and rip your hearts out with a corner three ball; live with that all summer; start your training camp by watching the film of that game making that the theme of your redemption story; work your way through the season with a game plan so precise that you not only earn the top seed in the playoffs, but none of your players averaged 30 minutes per game; work through the playoffs in the Wild Wild West including a riveting 7 games against the Mavericks… want the Heat, get the Heat, then dismantle the Heat winning 4-1 by an average of 15 points per game… that’s goal setting, game planning and execution at it’s best.  PERIOD!  That entire organization is a model of a great lesson of perseverance, unity, and trust.  Kudos the Spurs for not panicking and blowing the team up.  Kudos to Tim Duncan who played his ass off last year and missed the bunny at the end of Game 6… and continued to turn back the clock this year.  He meant what he said when he predicted victory this time.  To Danny Green who shot the lights out last year for the first couple games, then dropped off the map.  He returned with vengeance.  So did Manu, who was H20 (HumanTurnOver) in last year’s finals.  That dunk in Game 5 over Bosh and Haslem summed up his resolve.  And Boris Diaw, Mr. Do Whatever It Takes!

manu

* The Spurs are every coach’s dream.

In this day and age of  AAU one on one ego ball gone wild, the way the Spurs shared the ball, cut, moved and mixed in drives with jumpers.  Their dedicated team/accountability defense was a textbook script for successful basketball.  If the NBA were a copy-cat league like the NFL, every team would be trying to replicate the Spurs formula.  For youth and high school coaches, they should be salivating at the opportunity before them to promote team play!  I can only hope!

*The Heat Had a Helluva Run.

Four straight finals is four straight finals.  2-2 is better than the Buffalo Bills 0-4.  Nuff said!

*LeBron Haters are Ridiculous

The one thing I hated about the playoffs, is the social media hateration of LeBron James.  I don’t feel sorry for him.  He’s a champion, an MVP, and will one day be a billionaire before he becomes Hall of Famer.  But the utter jealousy of such a positive and awesome young man is very disturbing to me.  LeBron has never been in legal  trouble, never beat his wife, objectified women, has employed many people and given more of himself that most mainstream athletes over the last 25 years.  He is a talent we won’t see again in our lifetime.  And after he’s gone dammit he will be missed.  I suggest we appreciate him while we have him.   Unfortunately, some people are so utterly and distastefully jealous.  Twitter/nemes make for some bold cowards!

* What Now For The Heat

Obviously the Big 3, (Big 2 little 1) can opt in or out.  D-Wade is holding the trump card in all of this because he’s in the slot for $40 million over the next two years.  Want to know what LeBron is going to do?  Look at what D-Wade does.  He can blow this all up with a little paperwork faxed to Pat Riley in a heartbeat.  Whatever he does, business is business.  He has the right to take the loot.  But I tell you what, that guy is washed up.  A huge Wade fan from his Marquette days, I’ve long grown tired of his refusal to get back on D, (we could call him E Wade) and his whining to officials if not pointing to his teammates to pick up his man.  James logged hundreds of minutes more than anyone else on the team because they were pacing Wade.  He claimed he was healthy, so I’m going to take him at his word.  No excuses he sucked!  As much as LeBron may be able to trust Pat Riley, Pat can only do so much.  Owner Mickey Arison is NOT one to want to go into the luxury tax.  And he’s already shown that he will let players walk in order not to pay them, I.e Mike Miller.  If LeBron takes a pay cut, he’s going to demand that Arison spends that extra loot.  He’s been carrying the piano on his back long enough.  P.S. Carmelo Anthony is NOT the solution.

* Best NBA Stories of 2014

Wizards, Warriors

*Worst NBA Story 2014

Pacers/Sterling

Speaking of Sterling, after all the hub-bub of Adam Silver slinging the hammer like Thor on The Donald, it seems the Sterlings have played the NBA at their own game.  After saying none of the Sterlings’ would have anything to do with the team, it’s been leaked that the Steve Ballmer agreed to let Shelly Sterling have 2 floor seats, parking, and be ‘owner emeritus’ of the team.  If that’s not back tracking I don’t know what is.  I guess $2B wasn’t enough.  Regardless of what one thinks about whether they should have been forced to sell the team in the first place, the NBA has totally walked back just about every demand they made at the press conference.  Most notably, the NBA owners didn’t have to vote.  Which brings me to this… Why the hell hasn’t the NBA re-scheduled the vote since Donald Sterling is again suing the league?  Isn’t this why they were having the vote in the first place?  Are they not back to where they started?  I’m thinking that BOTH the Sterlings’ are playing the NBA.  Don and Shelly have been married for over 50 years.  Is it not obvious?

 

 

 

A Gathering of Church Brethren, Or My Richard Sherman Moment

Richard Sherman’s  NFC Championship game saving play and immediate reaction during his post game interview has spurned a lot of discussion.  The reaction, mostly negative seem to come from two separate parties:  One that is shocked that the gladiator leaving the field of gridiron battle was not calm and composed immediately after making the play of his life.  The second was a selective set of white folks viewing him as a black out of control mandingo ready to devour every white woman in the Emerald City.

I thought the interview with Erin Andrews was awesome!  His raw and unapologetic rant, the result of the competing for the ultimate prize in his sport against a heated rival made me feel as if I was on the field.  While others found it difficult to understand, I resonated being totally invested in stiff competition with personal feelings at stake.  I thought of my own Richard Sherman moments.

One that I will never forget happened years ago playing basketball with some brothers from a church I attended.  We met every Saturday afternoon at a local community center.  The competition was pretty good and the name of the game was to win and stay on the court.  These games often were personal to me because we had rivalries among the brethren.  That was the way I felt anyway…

A LITTLE BACKGROUND

Growing up I wasn’t a basketball player.  Baseball was my sport.  I taught myself how to play through battling against some of the toughest players the area.  I thrived on effort and intuition.  I did whatever it took to win and it didn’t matter if I felt I had to score all of the points or none.  All I cared about was winning or competing at my highest level with no regrets.  I wasn’t that guy who tried to “Be Like Mike.”  For me it was about not cheating myself from within.  Basketball was just a game, but competing in the right way meant that anything less than an all out effort was selling myself short.  If I didn’t stand up for myself I believed I would be punking out.   In those years I was still learning how to be a man.  Part of my personal rights of passage was to match myself up against other men in competition.   Simply put, I believed that if I can play this game and beat guys who were often times better than me skill wise or more athletically inclined, that meant I could compete in life in the career market and otherwise.  It was a self test of survival.

I wasn’t a great player but I could hold my own and I often did.  I gained a lot of respect among my peers.  For some reason, not with some of these guys I played with from church.  I would often get picked last below players whom I knew I was better than. Sometimes I wouldn’t get picked at all.  That would burn me up.  Once captains were chosen, I would throw my finger up asking one of the guys to pick me up.  Sometimes no one did.  I would have to wait and get ‘next.’  That would burn me up even more!

This one particular day I was one of the last picked up.  One of the players on the other team was one of the better players.  He had never picked me on his side.  So once again, I created a chip  boulder on my shoulder that said, “You are going to regret that you didn’t pick me…. ALL FREAKING DAY LONG.”

As custom, we gathered to pray first and play began.  As the games went on my team collected a few wins.  We took on all challengers and different team combinations from game to game.  There was trash talking, and more than a few arguments.  Towards the end of the evening, after winning 6 straight games I was ready to shut it down.  For years I had struggled with a sharp shooting pain down my right leg, which I found out later was sciatic nerve pain from a herniated disk in my back.  At this point I had a hard time walking.  One of the players on the other team wanted one more rematch.  Marjobo and I went to school together so we went way back.  He had been talking trash to me all day long though I was sticking it in his ass.  He was especially irritating and was relentlessly non stop with his rants and name calling.

Sizin'en Up

I have never been the trash talker many guys are.  I always believed the biggest competition was with myself.  I’ve gotten my ass handed to me by some great players.  And I’ve done my share of winning.  But I had no sorrows if I knew I gave it my all against them.  My never quit no excuses attitude is how I got my respect.  On the flip side, guys who talked trash to me often took me to a deeper level of intensity.  My friend Richard Dix knows this all too well.  We played one on one often.  On most occasions the results went about 50-50.  Richard was long, athletic and could jump.  But, Richard’s downfall was his pride.  If he were winning, he had to let me know about it.  He would talk, laugh and say stupid things.  From then on I would start into another gear.  As I would pile on the points he would say something like, “Oh boy, I see you done got quiet.  Here we go!”   I would be in an assassin’s mentality. Richard called it my, “You ain’t my friend no more mode.”  Either way, I don’t think he ever beat me when I was in that state of mind.

I told Marjobo my leg was bothering me.  I needed to sit it out.  He egged me on saying I was a scared punk who didn’t want him to beat me.  After a few minutes I said to myself, “F’it… let’s go!”

The two teams went at if for about 20-25 minutes.  Back and forth the score went.  Game was to 12 but it was win by 2.  Richard was there but he was watching.  Basketball never meant that much to him.  After a couple games, he was just hanging with the brothers.  He was entertained by the drama.  Marjobo was talking and talking.  I never said a word.  Dragging my leg around I did everything I could to rebound and play defense.  Finally we went up 16-15 with one basket to go for game time.  I received a pass on a cut to the paint, went up for the shot and as the ball went through the basket, my inner Richard Sherman came through in front of all these dudes I went to church and worshipped with every Sunday as I screamed at the top of my lungs:

GET YO MOTHERFU#@$! ASSES OFF MY GOTDAMN COURT!  THIS IS MY MOTHERFU#@$! HOUSE!   BUSTA ASS NI@@AS CAN’T F#@! WITH ME!!!!!!!!  NOW DON’T SAY SH#! ELSE!!!!  ALL YA’LL DISMISSED!!!

There was total silence in the gym, except for Richard who was on the floor rolling around laughing.  He said, “I told ya’ll.  Don’t say nothing to that dude.  Just play and leave him alone!”  I’m sure the other guys were thinking, “I knew he wasn’t saved!”

I can tell you over 10 years later that my response was totally unplanned and 100% organic.  It didn’t matter.  My mother, my kids, the pastor or anybody could have been there at the time.  I was mentally out of my mind with a euphoric satisfaction that was probably something like being high on crack for the first time.  My reaction wasn’t who I was on a day to day basis.  But it was within me.  I was a conquering warrior for that moment.   When I went home I could barely move the pain was so horrific.  I had an MRI and had the first of two back surgeries less than two weeks later.  For all of the days I suffered waiting on the surgery, as I reflected back I said to myself every single time it was all worth it.  I was just a guy playing some rec ball.  This wasn’t my career or my life’s dream.  What do you think it was like for Richard Sherman?

Marjobo

**Marjobo Harrell who was named after Martin Luther King, John Kennedy, and Bobby Kennedy (Mar- Jo- bo) was a St. Louis Firefighter who died tragically in a motor cycle accident.  He really was an awesome guy!  Much love and rest in peace brother!  

CMac’s Top Ten A-Rod Lies as Told By Bud Selig Before October

ARod

In lieu of the latest allegations against Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) that he leaked the names of Ryan Braun, as well as a hand full of other names to the biogenesis clinic in Florida, it’s imminently transparent that Bud Selig, MLB, and the Yankees will stop at nothing to rid themselves of A Rod’s contract.  The latest leaked rumor is an attempt to turn the players and the players union against him.  It’s yet to be seen whether this will work or not.  But if it doesn’t, rest assured the stories will continue and get even juicer.  Here are my Top 10 predictions of what Selig will release to gangster A-Rod out of the league and some 80 million dollars in salary.

10. A-Rod kidnapped Hannah Anderson and took her to Idaho

9. A-Rod, not White Bulger committed those mafia crime in South Boston.

8. A-Rod caused global warming

7. A-Rod shot Trayvon Martin

6. It was A-Rod who took pics of Anthony Weiner’s junk

5. A-Rod causes sink holes in Florida

4. A-Rod is the founder and leader of the Muslim Brotherhood

3. A-Rod leaked secret government documents and hid in a Russian airport for a month before gaining temporary asylum.

2. It was A-Rod who fired Abel during the AOL conference call

1. A-Rod’s real name is Walter White, and he cooks meth for a living using the code name Heisenberg

I can’t wait!