“I’ve been waiting on this moment for a long time”.
By now every NBA team has made their 2016/2017 season debut. From King James and the Cleveland Cavaliers coming out of the gates like the champions they are against the new look Knicks. To big free agent deciding factor Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors dropping their first game of the season to the Tim Duncan-less San Antonio Spurs like the growing pains the best team of superstars on paper will go through this season, especially against the only player for squad team that could surprise surpass them out West.
We’ve had even more surprises. Some pleasant. Some not so much. Like a Sixer fan flipping two eagles at Russell Westbrook after he claimed this years MVP lane frontrunner called him “fat”…and we thought these type of hostile gestures would happen in Oklahoma City once the Thunder weathered the return of someone that bolted for sunnier California climates. Not just a rountine start-up game on the road in Philly. It’s a good job it’s sunnier in Los Angeles, even following Laker legend Kobe Bryant leaving the building. With the ice in D’Angelo Russell’s veins and the one off the bench cooler in Jordan Clarkson proclaiming STAPLES Centre as their house as this young core of the brodies plus this years number two draft choice Brandon Ingram and the lottery pick that started all these balls rolling Julius Randle looks to prove everyone wrong in the next 82 and whatever follows.
Still there seems to be a homecoming theme this year in an NBA season were history has already been made with Anthony Davis’ 50 points, 16 rebounds, 7 steals, 5 assists and 4 blocks legendary line debut. Following the coronation of LeBron as the King turned his Ohio home into ‘Believeland’. Dwight Howard has redemptively dunked his way back to Atlanta. Showing his number 8 was a wonder for the Hawks. But no return home was as sweet as Alabama as LeBron James former South Beach running mate taking his talents to the Windy City that have been through a storm of Rose and concrete.
Dwyane Wade may be synomonous with the Miami Heat franchise he lead to the promised land with Giants and Kings and all men inbetween, but he’s actually even more Chi-town than D-Rose. Chicago is coded in his Illinois born DNA. And now aligning with Rajon Rondo in the backcourt, rookie love Denzel Valentine and the man the team serves, Jimmy Butler the Bulls look to lock horns with this franchise change of all guards in this small ball revolution running league of associated players.
And in his official debut at home in Chi-city, Dwyane Wade lifted this town back on the shoulders that were raised here like the new Common album ‘Black America Again’ (expect a shoutout dreamers and believers). As he knelt to the United Centre floor, held his fist to his heart and prayed during a player introduction as emotional as the pre-game stars and stripes National Anthem standing together of all teams and players linking arms, the whole home state of Illinois could feel it like the Cubs swinging big and hitting so much they even resurrected Will Ferrell’s Saturday Night Live impression of late, great announcer Harry Carry on Kimmell.
And the actual game itself was as storybook beautiful as all these perfect preludes when Wade went as explosive as Kevin Garnett joining TNT. As against Rondo’s former Boston Celtics team lead by the new general Isiaah Thomas, Wade held guard scoring 22 points to go along with 6 rebounds and five assists and a clutch dagger with 26 seconds to go as he went for the jugular in the teams 105-99 win and celebrated with a stank face, throat slash gesture. Something that wouldn’t fly in the NFL from this basketball Q.B.
Something perhaps a little inappropriate in a city marred by gang violence, but the home fans loved it. Because their boy was home and this show of solidarity meant so much more in standing defiance than all the torment and troubled times the Second City has been through.
For this storied franchise looking for a new tale to tell, Dwyane Wade in closing the Miami one, wrote quite the opening chapter.
Knicks RJ Barrett: Basketball + Business
Canadian RJ Barrett sits down for a very candid interview with agent Bill Duffy and “The Boardroom” host — former no. 1 overall pick Jay Williams to discuss basketball and his business ambitions and aspirations.
Barrett is expected to be amongst the highest global sponsorship earners of his generation and is represented by agent Duffy — who has done over 3.5 billion dollars in contract negotiations and also represented Canada’s greatest basketball player to date and RJ’s very own Godfather Steve Nash.
Under Duffy’s direction, Barrett is expected to capitalize on the immediate rise of Canadian Basketball and the national corporate entities looking for an immediate association with the rapidly growing sport.
Barrett has already inked deals with financial powerhouse Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), and global leader in made to measure apparel company INDOCHINO — Which costumed designed his Draft night suit.
Globally, with Barrett’s ability to speak French, Duffy also sees a market in China but as well as untapped African market. After all, Duffy is somewhat responsible for Yao Ming’s massive success in the Asian-Pacific markets.
When it’s all said and done, Barrett stands a chance at being Canada’s top-earning athlete, both in salary earnings and corporate dollars.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Is The Real MVP
Santa Monica, California was on an award tour like A Tribe Called Quest for the NBA’s end of season grand prize spectacle last night. Hanging out in the coolest performing arts theatre in all of Los Angeles (my apologies to the Hollywood Bowl), the converted airplane Barker Hangar played host to the 2019 NBA Awards. The Emmy’s, Oscar’s and Grammy’s of hoops Tony.
The best of the Basketball best and the cream of the future hops crop descended on this hangar, suited and booted like they were flossing injured court-side.
Shaq sized in the perfect setting in a place that houses feats of brilliance that take flight like Mike, this event could only be hosted by the one and only, Big Aristotle of the Diesel, Shaquille O’Neal (sorry Drake. Although you troll NBA players better than Kevin Hart telling Kenny Smith he’s so ashy if he smiles his lips will bleed as he goes to take a sip of his water). And the most entertaining NBA player ever (give him his award) laughed, joked, sang, rapped and danced his way to an enjoyable evening in the place he racked up three rings on repeat.
But how about the prize giving? Well your real Most Valuable Player this year is Giannis Antetokounmpo. Say what you will about last year’s MVP and this year’s runner up in the closest of recent races as tight as the Rookie of the Year voting, James Harden racking up triple-doubles like Charles Barkley says Lonzo Ball does triple-singles, but it’s the Alphabet’s time now after slaughtering this season gone. Sure he didn’t come away with the ‘chip like worthy candidate Kawhi Leonard and his (we still hope) Toronto Raptors, but that is his next challenge for the Mamba Mentality tweeted in congratulation by Kobe Bryant who predicted this MVP years back. And in a beautiful and emotional speech, Giannis dedicated all this to his dearly departed dad and his brothers and mom in attendance as every eye not dry in the house got out their seats in unanimous ovation.
And in a truly global game flying the flag outside the United States for each category winner, Antetokounmpo almost doubled up, finishing in second place for Defensive Player Of The Year, under the stifling Eiffel of French fly swatter, Rudy Gobert. As Paul George after an incredible season-no lucky shot-came in third place like he did for the MVP voting. Toronto not only got the ‘chip in the Six however as their X-factor Pascal Siakam came up with the Most Improved Player award ahead of Sacramento sophomore De’Aaron Fox and Brooklyn’s own (if they play their free agent cards right), D’Angelo Russell.
Coach of the Year was bucked by Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer dry-erasing for the MVP. And Bradley Beal was passed the Community Assist Award for all the good this All Star has done. Give him a hand for all the ones he has. Whilst the Sportsmanship award went to new Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley Jr., who also racked up the Teammate Of The Year award for his grit n grind time with the Memphis Grizzlies. But who else for the Sixth Man of the Year award then the ‘6 Man’ of all-time, Lou Williams? Joining Clippers teammate Jamal Crawford as the only player to win the Sixth award three times over.
And the House Of Highlights Moment of the Year of course went to Derrick Rose. Can you guess for what game?
We have a ball rattling around the rim forever in Toronto that shoots for even more stars though.
But how about that Rookie of the Year award? Who you got? Because in narrowly beating out Atlanta Hawk Trae Young it’s clear the award belongs to superstar right now Luka Dončić after a Maverick season in Dallas. Where the Texan gunslinger from Slovenia is about to draw on them all next season. Look out for the kid like Pat Garrett, Billy.
Sager Strong, broadcaster Robin Roberts took home that award named in honor after the suited court-side with a microphone presenter. And her “make your mess your message” speech was the most inspiring of the night after her fight against breast cancer and bone marrow disease, raising awareness.
Executive of the Year went to Jon Horst of the Milwaukee Bucks (sorry Rob Pelinka…jokes) but the Lifetime Achievement? Well that went to a former President who has just left office. No not Obama (although POTUS does have game…WAP!). But the Magic man, Earvin Johnson. The Laker legend honored in California for all he’s done since starting the fast-break of Showtime, to changing the game behind the back without taking a single shot. All the way to walking away from it bravely when he was diagnosed with HIV and then making a comeback so beautifully for the man who will always be purple and gold with all this entrepreneur pulls out the empire of his top hat. Say what you will about his presidency residency but as we look to free agency this crazy off-season, remember who started all this off by bringing the King to Hollywood last Summer, waiting outside his house in his car at one in the morning.
Now that can’t be tampered with.
Apart from with this. How about one better? In a courtship of rivals and a year of what could have well just been shared MVP and ROY honours, Magic Johnson shared this award of a lifetime with his former, rival and friend Larry Bird. The college to big league opponent who was a Celtic classic legend from downtown Boston. All the way to the parquet green pride of more smoked Red cigars. Two lifetimes for the price of one. Now who cares whose coming in second place?
Because all in all last nights NBA Awards show of All-Stars showed us one thing like the NBA Finals. No matter who took home the gold, we all came away winners.