Thursday, July 24, 2008

Expecting Great? The WNBA Moving Forward

So what if Lisa Leslie was thrown to the ground?

Yeah, I said it.

Not quite the introduction your were looking for, huh? Well, neither was the coverage the WNBA has received as of late for its version of the "Brawl at the Palace". Despite the irony of the location of the WNBA's first throwdown, everyone has seemed to approach this situation as if it is a huge black eye on the league in its entirety. From all of the WNBA analysts to the sport beat writers that cover basketball as whole, all look upon this situation as marring the game.

Now yes, it is totally agreeable that disagreements, fights, and brawls occur in professional sports. It happens all the time. And yes, it is definitely unacceptable behavior for professional athletes, the game, and the many youngsters that idolize them to partake in such a manner. It should not be condoned, and is totally unacceptable.

After all, the WNBA's motto is "Expect Great."

On the other hand, treating this situation as the end of the WNBA entity is part of the annoyance and the exaggeration that turns fans off from the brand as a whole. Many do not buy into the "pure athleticism" mantra that the WNBA portrays. Yes, we know its women's basketball. And yes, this nation isn't exactly enthralled with that; but give us a reason to watch.

I mean after all, the WNBA's motto is "Expect Great", right?

They began what was a very innovative (and cool) idea with the Outdoor Classic at Arthur Ashe Stadium last week. Although, despite it's originality, the idea will take take time to become a novelty and signature of the WNBA.

The WNBA needs to be great now.

There is a reason why we love the NFL. It's violent. It's rough. It's "In your face and we don't like you." It's show me what you got mixed with a little dance-and-prance in your face taunting. The NBA is no different. The signature style of the game mixed with physicality and flair makes it unique. MLB provides that stage for drama, and its ability to create several climaxes for each game. It's a script that can't be written.

There is a reason we love these leagues. It's entertaining. It's the Yankees and the Red Sox. The Lakers and the Celtics. The Patriots and the Colts. It's Terrel Owens. It's Ozzie Guillen. It's Ron Artest. It's must see action.

Although a very good foundation for a league, there is more to it than just "athleticism" and "the right way to play the game."

I'm not supporting the actions of the Los Angeles Sparks and Detroit Shock at the Palace, nor am I condoning it. However, the WNBA now may have a rivalry between two big basketball cities in their league- and this may be exactly what the WNBA needed to spark some interest in their product.

We do "Expect Great." And it only took classless behavior to get there. Go figure.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dome Pondering Import - "What's Right with America? Plenty"

It is very easy these days to criticize everything about our nation. In fact, our society has become so critical about basically every aspect of life, that complaining about our nation is almost second nature. Economy. Gas prices. Education. Poverty. Global Warming. Politics. Celebrities. Sports. You name it, Americans can find something to complain about. Nonetheless, here is an article from cnn.com written a few days after July 4th by Glenn Beck. Beck presents an alternative side to all the bickering, complaining and criticizing by revealing to Americans the greatness of this nation.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Reality Hits Seattle: Sonic Fans Feeling Less Than Super

So when did sports become so serious? So unforgiving to the fan?

Sports and the world that it makes its home in, has always been one of escape. Escape from our jobs. Escape from our politics. Escape from controversy. Escape from our lives. Escape from ourselves. A world where a fan can throw his or her heart into and forget about all the wrong doings of the world. A world where there is only victory and defeat. It's a love for the game. A love for your city.

However, as of late it seems that sports have become as real as your 9-to-5. Scratch the love. Sports now involve all the quirks, perks, and legality that you might see in an episode of Law and Order. Everyone has heard the cliche so many times that, "Sports is a business", however, it seems the line between the two has been blurred, and that shade of gray has been replaced with politics. Ultimately, leaving fans out of the equation.

Need an example?

Look no further than the situation with the Seattle Supersonics. Excuse me, the Oklahoma City (Name later to be determined).

Seattle, a rabid town that has been supportive of their Sonics for 42 years, will now have their team upped and moved to middle of Sooner country because the new owner, Clay Bennett, wants it that way. And in fact, who can argue with him, he does own the team! However, Bennett never gave the city an opportunity to keep the franchise with his absurd demands for a new $500 million dollar arena.


Forget the fact that the Sonics, who have tremendous history in the Key West Arena, just renovated the facility through tax dollars a few years ago. Forget the fact that the Sonics, who have sold out the arena, and boasts a very good attendance percentage in a relatively small market, just added another marketing piece in young superstar, Kevin Durant. Forget the fact, that this franchise meant so much to the city of Seattle, that many rallied, protested and fought every way possible through the legal system to "Save their Sonics."

No. Clay Bennett bought the team. It's his now. So off they go for Oklahoma City...to be second to Sooner Football.

Doesn't sound like good business at all.

After all, haven't we been down this road already with the Charlotte Hornets and the city of New Orleans?

I'm sure Cleveland fans enjoy watching Baltimore Ravens football.

Nonetheless, in the end, it seems the fans that pay their hard earned dollar to support a franchise, one that gave them hope to remove them from reality, was stabbed in the back by the "business" of the real world. And for good measure, Clay Bennett announced he has no intention of using the team name, colors, or logos, while hijacking the teams history, and urinating on the memories of Sonic fans throughout Washington.


Bennett retains the rights to the Sonics' name, history and colors but doesn't intend to use them saying he "will return them to the team if a team returns to Seattle in the term."
Bennett said at a news conference in Oklahoma City that the original team banners and 1979 championship trophy will stay in Seattle, but "we will create duplicate banners and championship trophy that we believe will be assets we want to have."
-Percy Allen, Seattle Times
Gary Payton. Oklahoma City. #20. Such disrespect.
One has to feel for the city of Seattle, and all the Supersonic fans. With no expansion team in sight for years to come, the Sonic fan has to wonder what exactly did they do wrong?

It doesn't matter.

Because no one cares what the fan thinks anymore.

Sports. It's a business. It's politics. Its Legality. And if theres room, we'll throw in something for you.

Seattle, you were screwed.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Danilo Gallinari: Hoping for the Real Deal



With the sixth pick in the NBA Draft, the New York Knicks select...Danilo Gallinari.

Booooo!

A familiar sound heard on draft night in the MSG Theater regarding the selection of the Knicks. Nonetheless, in what is deemed as the most crucial selection in New York Knickerbocker history, the Knicks selected the young Italian nicknamed "The Rooster".

After initial doubt, Gallanari has grown on many including yours truly. After being heralded by Fran Fraschilla on draft night as having the potential to be amongst "the untouchables" of New York City such as Derek Jeter and Michael Strahan, Gallanari has shown in a short amount of span that Fraschilla might have been on to something. However, "The Rooster" has yet to play a game, or even lace up a pair of kicks under the Garden lights. So he may be far away from the Jeters and Strahans, but compared to the trash most New Yorkers see on the Knicks roster, Gallinari's looks like a gem.

After all, what Knick fan would reject a 6'10'' (and growing), ball handling, jump shooting, sleek passing, experienced basketball player?

After looking over a resume which includes playing professional basketball in a very good Italian League (More competitive than the NCAA to most), an ability to handle pressure, which included a lifestyle of being a superstar in Italy with numerous billboards and perks of unlimited Armani suits, and a passion to play NBA ball, NBA fans have to be excited. Knick fans should be ecstatic.

Knick Fans need a guy like Gallinari to be The Real Deal.

When was the last time a player was excited to be a Knick? Not "want to be a Knick" like Stephon Marbury, but really want to be a New York Knick? According to reports, Gallinari has since worn the cap given to him on draft night everywhere. Seriously, everywhere. Every interview. Every day since the draft. He wants to be a Knick.

The New York Knicks need a guy like Gallarini to be The Real Deal.

Gallinari isa guy that respects the franchise, the history, and its fans. In a time when the New York Knicks need a new face, Gallinari has the tools and potential to fit the bill. David Stern would love for the New York Knicks to have a new face that is not filled with lies and controversy behind the basketball skills.

He's talented, charismatic, good-looking, passionate, hard-working and classy. And oh yeah, he's only nineteen.

The NBA needs a guy like Gallinari to be The Real Deal.

And for those that question if he can handle New York, when asked about his feelings regarding the booing on draft night, Gallanari responded, "I love it. I've been through this already in Italy. It motivates me to work harder to show New York that I can play. I like the pressure. I've done it all my life with pressure over in Italy."

Hopefully, "The Rooster" is The Real Deal...because this city needs it.

Knick fans have been through too much.

Hopefully this time-this one time...we may have something.