"To my fans: You know my life isn't perfect. I am going through some very tough times right now, like I am sure we all do from time to time. However, I will stand tall like always with 'rhino' thick skin." Allen Iverson finally broke his silence with these words concerning the issues he's had in his life lately. There have been reports of Allen battling alcohol and gambling - without real proof and denied by the subject of these reports. Now there is talk of his wife leaving him - all this amidst his daughter being sick - the reason he took a leave of absence from his job. That's right people, it's a job. It may be a job with a lot of notoriety and fame, but with all that comes the pressure of juggling commitments to your team and to your family. I know some people might say 'I don't feel sorry him - he makes more in endorsements than I do in a year'. This may be true but you also don't have the public critiquing every breath you take. I see it all the time - because you are on TV or in the public eye with a title, people seem to think they have a license to cut you down to make themselves feel better. I went to highschool and I pretty much remember that kind of rhetoric as bullying. I feel for the guy and I hope he works out whatever it is that is preventing him from enjoying the game he loves. I read a comment in one article: "Unfortunately, his family is taking precedence. Hopefully though, there is still a ray of hope that Iverson will return to the NBA in the future". Why wouldn't we allow him otherwise.
New Jersey versus New York - Nets get new digs
The Nets in New York city? Say what? You know what this means - in a few months time when NBA teams get to shop for free agents, the Nets can add living in New York to the menu. This along with money to spend and offering new recruits the chance to be a part of building something and playing in a new arena - eventually. The new digs won't be built until 2012-13. You know, it has always been a Knicks town and this move will put the Nets in direct competition with them. Not sure if this is really a good thing. The Nets right now are teetering on being historically bad so competing in a saturated market in the hopes of gaining new ground and new lease on things won't be fixed by the facelift of a new arena. But if we compare this situation to the NHL, maybe a little competition would be good for the Leafs. They too, have been historically bad and baulk at the prospect of another club moving into town. I think Gary Bettman and David Stern should have a little sit-down. They could learn a lot from each other.
Bobcats are "worthy" of James
Before you get your noses out of joint, I am not referring to my boss Mr. Dinoblogger (would that make me Miss Dinoblogger? Not sure), but James Worthy. Former Mr. L.A. Laker. He's a name that has been coming up as Michael Jordan starts wooing and getting wooed by potential professionals who want to work for him and the Charlotte Bobcats. James and Michael were teammates at the University of North Carolina. I don't think he would be suited for doing the TV work he did for the Lakers but more of a front office type of position that allows his basketball experience to be used to its full potential in the community. There are some athletes that can pull it off and there are others I know that are just thrown up there because they have played the game - that doesn't always make them a good broadcaster. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a Charles Barkley quip here and there but I was hurting during the H.O.R.S.E competition during All-Star weekend. Charles needs to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away and know when to run.
Basketball is Basketball - Get over it Already
The age old debate has been brought into the spotlight again. You may have seen the "Basketball is Basketball" video that debuted during ALL Star weekend and floating around YouTube ever since. The 30 second video pits WNBA player versus NBA player doing the same moves, making comparisons and basically saying basketball is basketball no matter how you slice it, whether a male or female athlete is competing. Remember the Nykesha Sales controversy in 1998? She was on the verge of becoming the University of Conneticut's high scoring leader when she ruptured her Achilles tendon. So Huskies coach Geno Auriemma talks with Villanova coach Harry Perretta and arranged it so Nykesha could limp out and score the game's first basket and then the Huskies let UConn score. Sales gets the record and both teams start the game off on a positive note. It was supposed to be a tribute to her and the 2, 176 points she'd already scored for her team since her injury sidelined her from March Madness. It was supposed to be seen as a kind gesture but it was defined by some media as the straw that broke the camel's preverbial back and the reason why they prefer the NBA over the WNBA. They thought this cheapened the record and proved women weren't really competitive. I didn't know that showing compassion and respect for your oponent meant you couldn't compete - I thought that was just good sportsmanship. And don't we give out MVP awards in the NBA to players like Steve Nash or Lebron James because they are good guys and good basketball players? This is what it should be all about if the NBA wants to attract the right player by awarding good behaviour. C'mon, that's JK 101.
McMaster University is Basketball Mania This weekend
The most outstanding female ballers in Canada are converging in Hamilton this weekend to compete in the CIS Women's Basketball Championships at McMaster University. I have covered these ladies -the McMaster Marauders- and have been following every game and I can honestly tell you, in all my years covering professional and amateur sports, I have never met a more fantastic group of young ladies and true ambassadors to the sport. They have a depth of talent that is not really reflected in their seeding (8th) and they are up against top seed Simon Fraser University when they play their first game of the weekend this Friday at 6pm. Hailey Milligan and Elizabeth Burns are larger than life in my house and I know the rest of the team has the character and determination that is needed for a first match-up like this. I bet you ten bucks Simon Fraser is already looking forward to the Semi-Finals thinking they can roll past McMaster. If they do, they have got another thing coming. The atmosphere in that gym on game night is nothing short of outstanding. I think something really has to be said for the power of home court advantage in games like this, especially the way MAC was seeded. In pressure situations like this, I think the team who keeps their composure and comes out with full force from the get-go, will come out on top. McMaster knows how to do both. For this game, I will be just be another spectator in the crowd, praying David beats Goliath.