It’s that time of year again. The 2014 NBA Playoffs begin this evening, and in honor of that, I’ve broken down the Western Conference’s matchups, (my apologies to Eastern Conference fans, but nothing really exciting happening in the first round) their biggest matchups and best strategies. The eight teams facing off from the West are some of the most talented teams in the NBA. From the Golden State Warriors and their shooting stars (no pun intended) Steph Curry and Klay Thompson to the Oklahoma City Thunder and their 4th time shooting title winner Kevin Durant, the West is completely star studded and should provide some incredible match ups in this post season.
I remember the last play of my high school football career.
I suffered a high ankle sprain when the opposing tight end hit me with an illegal cut block. At the time, I relished the moment. Despite all the efforts of my teammates to assist, I walked off on my own, dragging what was left of my healthy left leg. I received a standing ovation from the crowd as praise for my "toughness." It was the football mentality's machismo that encouraged me to limp off without help despite all evidence to the contrary to common sense. That limp is all too familiar to those who know me today, as it springs up after an hour or two of any pickup basketball game.
I can’t, however, recall the last day I played football.
Last Wednesday at 4:00pm I received this text message:
I had two paradoxical reactions to this message. The first reaction was boyish excitement at the possibility of being in the same room as one of the most (in my opinion the most) magnetic personality in the history of sports. Every thing about Michael Gerard Tyson was must-see TV, there hasn’t been a documentary made about him I haven’t invested the time to watch. I could only imagine what it might be like to experience what he was like live and in person.
186 days. That’s the length between the Super Bowl and the first NFL preseason game. There’s no one more excited to see the media attention turn away from the NFL player conduct than Roger Goodell. Since the end of Super Bowl 47, more than 40 arrests involved NFL employees. More than 8 per month, almost two per week since the Super Bowl. An ugly offseason was capped off by an Aaron Hernandez murder indictment.
The Anatomy of the Blowout
The cheers of the hometown crowd bring subliminal pressures that are usually ignored by the talking heads. The assumption is always that the home team has the advantage. Sure, there’s the familiarity and energy that a team can only get from its home court, but there’s just as much of a possibility for uneasy, piercing silence that resonates through a nervous and disappointed crowd. That can be crippling.