Durant Becoming “Marshawn” of the NBA, Plus More Thoughts on All-Star Weekend

Durant
Durant
Kevin Durant isn't happy with the media. I hope he knows what he's doing.

Have you ever looked at a picture of the United States from space during the night when all of the major cities are illuminated and the rural parts of America are as black as space itself?

Kevin Durant may need to look at that picture.

The National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player has been quite ornery of late with the media and over All-Star Weekend it didn’t get any better. What does this happen to do with a map of the US at night?

There’s been a tremendous amount of speculation that Durant may leave Oklahoma City in free agency following the 2016 season and his most likely landing spot would be his hometown of Washington D.C.

Now if I’m the Thunder and I get the slightest breeze of him leaving, then I’m going to do my best to work out a trade before next season starts but this is easier said than done.

What Durant needs to consider following his rant against the media this past weekend is that D.C. “ain’t no OKC.” Meaning, that if he thinks the media is tough while he plays in the heartland then what does he expect when he heads to the East Coast?

Durant came off sounding like the NBA’s version of Marshawn Lynch when he said, “To be honest, man, I’m only here talking to y’all because I have to.”

Durant at times seemed offended by the media claiming they had more power than even the players did.

I’m not real sure where all of this is coming from. It’s been a rough year for Durant who has missed significant time with injuries and is fighting to get his team into the top eight in the very difficult Western Conference.

He claims he’s “growing as a man” and I can respect that. I just hope he understands the spotlight will only get more intense should he choose to return home to Washington.

LaVine
I didn't give LaVine enough credit for his performance in the Slam Dunk Contest but I still think it needs to go.

All-Star Weekend Thoughts

I didn’t mean to be hard on Zach LaVine Saturday. The kid was spectacular and put on probably the greatest performance since Michael Jordan or Dr.J in a Slam Dunk contest. Despite his success, I still think the Slam Dunk Contest needs to go. It’s highly unlikely you’ll see a guy like him nail all of his dunks the way he did and that’s part of the problem.

Once guys miss a dunk, the thrill starts to leave fans immediately. The NBA needs to find something that creates the type of excitement and drama that the Three-Point Contest does and I’m not sure what that is but I’m open to ideas.

No sport relies on its’ individual stars the way the NBA does and not having them out there more often hurts the product. I really think if you created a H-O-R-S-E tournament or trick shot contest you’d bring the stars out. For one, neither would require much physically of the players and that’s about 90% of the battle right there.

As part of a HORSE contest, you could have kids come out and call shots for the players or at least the locations on the court. Maybe even do teams where kids are selected to participate with a particular player. This would be great exposure for the league and could easily be used to raise money for charities as well.

Again, LaVine was incredible but I don’t see that happening every year. Ideas for change are still needed.

Bullets Are Back for a Frigid Sunday

Lavine
Lavine
Zach LaVine is a worthy slam dunk champion but wouldn't it be nice if some actual stars participated?

I’m not sure where you are on this Sunday in February but I hope you’re warmer than I am. It’s always a real eye-opener when you look at the digital readout on the counter and it says “minus.” Ya, that’s not good but let’s talk some sports.

-I stopped watching the slam dunk competition a long time ago because it got stale and rarely did any of the game’s top stars actually participate. With that thought in mind I give you last night’s Slam Dunk Champion Zach LeVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves. I just watched his dunks and I admit, they were pretty darn spectacular. The problem is that most casual NBA fans have no clue who LeVine is. He averages about seven points per game. I’d rather watch LeBron take on Kevin Durant in H-O-R-S-E.

-The New York Jets yesterday decided not to extend running back Chris Johnson who now becomes a free agent. Johnson becomes just another one of those running backs who had a couple of big seasons and then petered out.

-Major League Baseball is apparently toying with the idea of shrinking the strike zone for 2016. Since new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred took over, he’s mentioned outlawing the defensive shift against pull hitters and now wants to make the already small strike zone even smaller. If you want more offense Mr. Commissioner then how about having umpires use the original strike zone? Then maybe hitters would be more apt to swing more often?

Petrino
If this man recruits your son, I'd look elsewhere.

-By trade, most college football coaches are salesmen. They have to sell themselves, their school and their program in order to get the talent they desire. That said, if Louisville Head Coach Bobby Petrino ever sent so much as a post card to my son I’d send it back express with a big middle finger on it. Many high schools in South Carolina have now banned Petrino after he pulled a scholarship offer promised to a player. Yes, it’s a business, but it doesn’t have to include people like Petrino. Just look at the way he’s conducted himself wherever he’s been.

-UFC President Dana White has a growing problem whether he is willing to admit it or not. More and more of his fighters are testing positive for everything from cocaine to performance-enhancing drugs. These aren’t his middle of the road fighters either. Guys like Jon Jones and Anderson Silva have tested positive after recent fights and White has to recognize that this isn’t a good look for his sport.

-NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addressed the state of his sport yesterday and he touched on a couple of issues that I think fans will like. First of all, he wants to tweak the schedule to get players more rest and that includes cutting back on preseason games. He also appears to be open to altering playoff seeding as well but that may take awhile. My hope is that Silver also decides to cut back on regular season games period. There are too many games that are meaningless especially ones where the top players are getting rest.

-I have no idea how the game of cricket is played in terms of rules but I can tell you that India defeated Pakistan in the 2015 Cricket World Cup. What I find most interesting is that these are two countries that politically, ethnically and religiously despise each other. Yet once again sports has shown that nations can get along for a little competition every once in awhile.