by: Michael Shields
2014′s NBA draft class has the potential to be one of the most prolific of all time. We take an in depth look at the future of the league…
Although the NBA season has only just begun, it is not too early to start fawning over this year’s draft class. And the reason for this is simple – it’s flat out incredible. We haven’t seen a yield of talent like this since Lebron, Melo, Bosh and Wade entered the league in 03’. It’s a draft class stacked with players who are assuredly going to make an immediate impact in the league. Although Coach K cannot even “fathom” that teams would tank their season for a shot at the kids atop this draft class, it’s happening. And you can begin to understand why when you lay eyes on this crop of athletes that compose this electrifying band of athletes.
by: Michael Shields
With a meager 19 days until the NBA 2014 season tips off, it’s time for Across the Margin’s preview. And it begins with ‘Bron and Co. with a bulls-eye painted upon their backs….
This season, much like last, it’s all about who can take down the King. The answer could easily be, no one. Yup, the champs are that good and everyone expects them hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy come next June. The core returns intact, now motivated by the notion that they are on the verge of a three-peat and the beginning of the dynasty they so brashly promised. With them, comes the same key role players (Allen, Battier, Chalmers, Cole, Haslem) that have been getting it done, along with two shots in the dark, a couple of draft busts that the Heat are dusting off and parading out for a possible career-reviving mulligan in Greg Oden and Michael Beasley. So, the Heat are going to win it all and there is your preview. Good day to you…..
There is a reason we play the games however. And there are a horde of legitimate threats to Miami’s reign. I mean, what if Wade is back icing his knees night in and night out? Or if Bosh pulls a muscle in that ostrich neck of his? The East is no joke this year – and potential semifinal match-ups including Miami, Indiana, Brooklyn, and Chicago have me licking my chops, like I was watching commercials for Wendy’s new pub chicken sandwich on that beautiful golden pretzel roll. Got damn! It’s a long season, and plenty of teams are gearing up for a shot at the crown. Here is a look at the biggest threats to the throne..….
by: Michael Shields
Ultimately fed up with the incompetence of the NCAA, an argument is made to finally pay collegiate athletes….
Change, it seems, rarely happens on its own. Normally it requires a catalyst of sorts. Something that riles the masses into a collective state of appall. It takes outrage. It takes emotions bubbling over to a point where you just can’t take it any longer – and it is at that point where there is action. The straws pile upon the camel’s back, and then finally the camel falls to the ground reeling in pain.
I thought this could be the case when word spread that the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), who increasingly are becoming a villain in the eyes of the public due to its propensity for taking advantage of student athletes, had ruled to bar a Middle Tennessee freshman, who finished serving five years of active service in the Marines, from playing football this season because he played in a recreational league in the military. I imagined that this could potentially be the rallying call for necessary and overdue reform at the NCAA. Their rules are outdated. Their decisions tend to favor profit rather than looking out for the students they claim to represent. And, I figured that enough would finally be enough.
by: Michael Shields
The NBA got the dream match-up it desired, and hoop fans were taken for the ride of their lives. NBA Finals 2013, Deconstructed…..
Lebron James legacy has been discussed more than The Red Wedding, Yeezus, and the NSA scandal combined. The reason for this is simple. We were told, in no uncertain terms, that Lebron was The Chosen One. We were promised the successor to Jordan and thus we have analyzed the young man’s career with a magnifying glass weighing his worthiness. It can be argued that his legacy was already sound prior to last evening. He already had garnered four MVPs, an Olympic gold medal, a championship and a finals MVP trophy earned last season with one of the best statistical performances of all-time.
Yet, with a loss last evening he would have dropped to 1 and 4 in the Finals. More Wilt than Jordan – and yes that is a knock on the man who once put up triple digits in a game. Moving to Miami in the manner he did put a stink on Bron, one that could only be removed by winning multiple championships, to justify “The Decision.” The only option was to win. And he is doing just that.
by Michael Shields
He had to do Nothing. He chose to do Everything. Mariano Rivera’s farewell tour….
Legendary Yankees Closer Mariano Rivera is calling it quits. After 19 seasons he has amassed an awe-inspiring cache of accomplishments: 619 regular season saves, 42 postseason saves, 5 Worlds Series Championships, and 12 All-Star Games. The remainder of this season will serve as his victory lap, a chance for us all to ovate his accomplishments one final time. But he has a touch more in mind than just soaking up the admiration of his countless fans….
Posted on May 3, 2013
by: Tom Rau
Sometimes when the water flows over New Orleans it’s just a sign that everything is in its right place…..
It wasn’t the first time Patrick had ever cried at a football game…..
It’s strange how serious we take sports as a culture. We dress up. We paint our faces. We chant. We go to war. Except there’s never a war. It’s always just a game. Yet there we are, bursting with passion, screaming, chanting, fighting. And all just to say that the group of guys we support is better than the group of guys you support, to say my city is fake tougher than your city. On one hand, it seems simplistic and stupid…
But on the other hand, the power of the collective unconscious is deep. Deep like a drug. It’s so deep that when you put a hundred people in a room together to listen to a speech, or see a show, you can feel it. It’s power magnified only by the number of people there to reciprocate. Think about every man or woman who has ridden that energy to do something greater than him or herself. Think about the waves of collective emotion that have changed the world: ‘I Have a Dream’, the Million Man March, Woodstock, etcetera. It’s something we’ve all felt. And probably one of the most awe-inspiring things we get to experience as humans.
by: Michael Shields
With more than half of the NBA 2013 season behind us, we take a moment to check the pulse of the league…..
The Spurs are the best team in basketball, as of right now that is. A mid-season report, I believe, must begin with the State of the Union in respect to the cream of the crop – and that is surely San Antonio. A brief glimpse of the standings will solidify this statement as the Spurs have more wins than any other team (43), a 3.5 game lead in the West over arguably the second best team in the league (OKC Thunder, who has the second most wins in the league with 39), and an impressive record on the road (22-10). But let’s get past standings and records and such and dig deeper: Why is San Antonio, one of the oldest teams in the NBA, so good?
I find that two stats, year in and out, help one gauge the superiority of a team. One speaks to defense, which we all know wins championships, and the other tells us which teams share the ball the best. This season the San Antonio Spurs are ranked 9th in total points allowed (95.8 – They conversely are fourth in total points per game with 104.2, that is how you win ballgames.) and are FIRST in assists (25/game). What we can delineate from this information is two crucial points. First, San Antonio plays as a team. They share the rock, looking for the highest percentage shot available. Second, they play stingy defense and they do it as a team – as you will hardly hear any of their roster praised for defensive prowess on their own. They are in this together – on both sides of the ball!
By: Michael Shields
We weigh in on two scandals, simultaneously in the National spotlight, that further decays our faith in humanity…..
It isn’t often that we, as a Nation, are served two plates simultaneously overflowing with a hefty serving of deceit; that we are forced to digest a momentous amount of filth all at once. But that is exactly the meal that sits upon our table, as the story of Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend and Lance Armstrong’s long overdue confessions share front page space in newspapers across the country.
by: Michael Shields
In one fell swoop we take a look at the commencement of the NBA season. the aging of a core group of superstars, the future of the league, and the recent firing of Mike Brown (and subsequent hiring of Mike D’Antoni)…
It is early in the season. Like pre-dawn early. Attack the snooze button like it hit you first early. But although the season is just getting off the ground story-lines are beginning to develop, and one certainly has had time to inspect all of the teams rosters at this point. And it doesn’t take long, while watching some of the premier teams in the league, to realize that we are not very far off from a retirement party of epic proportions. The league is as strong and entertaining as it has ever been, but it is also jam packed with stars pursuing one final moment of glory.
It may be obvious to an avid NBA viewer that this subject came to mind while watching a Steve Nash-less Laker game during their 1 and 4 start. I’ve seen faster moving Pedi-cabs. On Wednesday night the Lakers were dominated by the Utah Jazz, even though Kobe continued to excel at what he does best – score. The Lakers looked out of sync, unsure of themselves at times, and it is impossible not to equate poor early season production with the fact that the aggregate age of the starting line-up is 163 (An average of 32.6/player). On Friday evening, after the Lakers brass fired their head coach Mike Brown only five games into the season, the Lakers rolled over the Warriors as Kobe put up 27. Last evening they took it to Sacramento 103-90 behind a strong performance by Dwight Howard (23 /18) for their second straight win. The true justification for the Lakers 1 and 4 start more likely has something to to do with the time of year it is (and Mike Brown’s faulty rendition of the Princeton offense). To the chagrin of a sometimes skeptical fan base veterans tend to turn up the intensity as the season progresses. The Lakers will more than likely shake off the rust, learn to play together, and be a dominating force contending for the Larry O’Brian Trophy at the end of the season. It is, after all, only week 2.
by: Kevin Ventura
A guest contributor weighs in on the NHL lockout and the effect it’s having on an avid West Coast fanbase….
Want to know how the NHL’s second lockout in 8 years is affecting the common yet conscious man? Well, here’s a little perspective from an unexpectedly hockey-crazed West coast city. San Jose, CA loves their Sharks, and in an era when sport provides one of the few places for solace, the lockout couldn’t have come at a worse time.
On a personal level, I miss hockey just like I miss any other season that comes to end, or in this case has yet to begin. For example, just as the recent playoff run by certain bay area baseball teams has drawn to a close, I can long for Spring training, where even teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates have hope renewed at the same time each and every year. Whether we realize it or not, sport is a companion of sorts, and one that is usually reliable in when and where it is played. At this time of year, I can reasonably expect 2-3 Sharks games per week, and win or lose, I am confident in the entertainment value they are able to bring to the table. Everyone can appreciate having something to look forward to, and whether it’s a family at home or a game to watch, the absence of such is disappointing even when explicable. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the explanation in this instance is inexcusable, and one that reaches far beyond my own selfish need for intangible companionship.