Thursday, August 12, 2010

Slow Summer

Seems like I got caught up in the all the hoopla of the playoffs and World Cup in May/June, so busy that I didn't get to my usual thoughts here. And all of a sudden, the sports world takes a pause over the summer.

Well well, there were some sports related news, like LeBron's big decision to take his talents to South Beach. That has drummed up quite the interest level for NBA action this fall. Tiger Woods has been a story, playing not so well, playing ok, etc.

I still find all of very boring with the live action of soccer goals or teams going at each other. Can't wait until fall. Until then, commiserate with me here in the comments.

Friday, April 16, 2010

NBA Playoff Picks

Alright, it's finally my favorite time of the year. I'll put in a few write-ups once the playoffs begin, but here are my picks for the moment:


Cavs over Bulls
Magic over Bobcats
Hawks over Bucks
Heat over Celtics
Lakers over OKC
Mavs over Spurs
Suns over Blazers
Nuggets over Jazz

Cavs over Heat
Hawks over Magic
Lakers over Nuggets
Suns over Mavs

Cavs over Hawks
Suns over Lakers


Cavs over Suns

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Self Inflicted Pain

Part of being a sports fan is dealing with the losses of your favorite team. It's a painful ritual that we all go through. Unfortunately in my case, it has caused actual physical pain lately. You see, I try to save time by watching the Lakers away games on the East Coast while running on the treadmill. The timing is perfect, they're in the East Coast where games start around when I workout. But recently, the Lakers have stunk. Not just normal losses, but utterly STUNK. So what happens is I get really irate, like the Hulk type of anger, and take it out on the machines or weights. And then I really feel it the next day. No, it's not good for me. If I wanted a more intense workout, I would've designed in that way. So now I take more time to recover and feel more tired the next day. Lakers suck.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Basketball Withdrawal

After that amazing weekend of basketball, I couldn't help feeling a bit of a withdrawal. Granted there were two amazing NBA games with playoff implications battled out on Monday, but what I found lacking was being able to revert to my bracket and compare it to the other people in my pool. Speaking of my NCAA March Madness bracket, despite losing Kansas, who I had losing in the finals, the other 3 are still alive. I suspect that if Baylor makes it, my chances of winning the pool are pretty good. Can't wait till Thursday!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March Madness is Coming!

Definitely my second favorite time of the year. (Don't worry, you'll KNOW when it's my favorite). So is everyone ready for a couple weeks of fun basketball and comparing brackets. Anyways, here's my final four: Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky, and Baylor.

I realize it's not so exciting with three #1 seeds, but you gotta realize, the college game talent disparity seems to get larger and larger all the time. So the better teams are really that much better. Don't expect too many upsets, as exciting as that may be.

My final prediction: Kentucky over Kansas. Shocking right? The two best freshmen in the country will bring home the championship.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Paging Mr Alston

Updated at the end of the post

Dear Rafer, where are you? Playing street ball again? I was flabbergasted when I read that Miami's point guard got suspended because he got angry for not starting, and essentially disappeared from the team. You're telling me that a NBA professional who gets paid about $500k a year now only communicates to his employers via text messaging? Who does he think he is, Anna Kendrick from Up in the Air?

Look, I am a big fan of Rafer Alston. He's got one of the storied NBA paths, coming from community college, and streetballing himself into the pros. I loved him in Houston and I thought last year he performed admirably as starting point guard for the Orlando Magic (until coach Stan Van Gundy inexplicably shook up the roles during the FINALS?!?). This year he lands in Miami, playing along Wade, in a team that could use some skill and veteran leadership. And now he pulls this stunt?

I don't know the situation. I don't know if Alston got shafted and disrespected. Still, he's living the dream, playing basketball at the highest level, for a team that's making a push for the playoffs. I have no idea why he would go Sprewell. It doesn't make sense and it exudes arrogance. No wonder fans get mad at prima donna athletes.

Skip 2 My Lou in Houston - photo credit Keith Allison

Paging Mr. Alston - What are you thinking?

Word is out that Rafer is dealing with some tough family issues and decided to focus on them after his coach told him he wouldn't be playing any more. I have no idea why the coach would do that, but Rafer admits to handling the issue incorrectly. No matter, I applaud him for saying something about the matter and wish him the very best with his family situation. And I genuinely hope to see him in the league next year.

Dances with Teen Spirit

An a lighter note in the world of figure skating, check out this creative sequence, and manly too!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tough to be Yao

Reading about the debate in China about where Yao Ming's baby should be born makes me feel sorry for the guy. Quick recap: Yao and his pregnant wife recently traveled back to the US. His unborn girl is expected to arrive into the world in June and this trip back to the US has stirred controversy in China about whether the daughter will be an American.

Tough to be Yao Ming.

Let me remind you that this is one of the most upstanding NBA and Chinese citizens, who has never exhibited anything but class representing his Rockets team and as an graceful Chinese host during the 2008 Olympics. He championed tirelessly for earthquake relief in China a few years ago and personally donated much of his wealth. Sadly, he broke his foot during last season's playoffs and had to miss the entire season this year.

Also allow me to say that he's more than fulfilled his obligations to the Chinese national basketball team, participating in all the tournaments and qualifiers during the summer, while his NBA teammates take the summer off to rest their bodies and work on new skills. Oh, and when Yao was drafted #1, the Chinese government announced that would take half of his salary, as payment for developing him into the player that his is today.

So now there is even a discussion on where his child should be born? How selfish is that? Yao Ming and his family are human beings, not property of the Chinese government or Chinese nationalism movement. Putting aside the ridiculous argument that being born an American, the girl blessed with basketball genes could not compete for China (she's not even born yet!), why don't people consider the practical considerations for Yao and his family? Without a US passport, the poor girl would have to get a visa every time to travel with her parents, who live and work in the US.

Yao is right, this is a private matter between him and his wife. That we're even discussing this is ridiculous.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Kim Yu-Na - Figure Skating Queen

Last night's performance by Kim mesmerized me. Honestly I felt a bit choked up seeing her shed tears after her record breaking performance. The other fantastic element of the competition was Kim beating arch-rival Mao Asada. That is some rivalry, especially with the historic and cultural background, I can't imagine a bigger satisfaction or frustration to come out on either side of that battle.

photo credit: R. Gauthier / LATimes

Aside from the battle for gold, the other performances were also fascinating, especially on the human side. Instead of focusing on the technical stuff, one aspect that affected the outcomes, both from the judging and crowd reactions, is the skater's emotions. As a viewer, it was fun to reading their body language and facial expressions. Originally researched by Dr. Paul Eckman, and made popular by the Fox series "Lie To Me", there's the notion that human emotions are universal, regardless of culture and race. And a trained person can read these emotions. Well, most people can still read emotions, and people with high EQ are particularly sensitive to others' moods. Where am I going with this? The best performances were those where the skater was feeling it and as a result connected with the viewer.

For instance, the 16-year old American Mirai Nagasu, skated last, knowing she probably would not medal. Nonetheless, she skated while wearing a sense of joy and boundless energy. Her huge smile captivated us and after nailing her technical components, propelled herself into 4th place. You simply can't fake that emotion. People can see it and connect with that.

In contrast, the two Japanese skaters performed without a sense of happiness. Miki Ando, while gorgeous in appearance, looked tired and nervous. And the runner up Mao Asada looked anxious and clearly upset going into her performance, knowing she had already lost. And the look she carried onto the podium to receive the silver medal made even me feel uncomfortable. Sometimes coming in second really is being the biggest loser.

Finally, the local darling Joannie Rochette skated to a bronze. After the terrible ordeal of the week, she got on that podium and beamed relief, gratitude and pride. You can't make this stuff up. We witness the most competitive athletes go out there every 4 years and wear all their emotions in full display. That's why we love these Olympics.

Stay Classy Canada

The Canadian women's hockey team sure knows how to celebrate that gold. Good work gals!

photo credit: LATimes

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Impending Doom for the NBA in 2011

Great, Bill Simmons is predicting a lockout for the 2011-12 NBA season. Before jumping into the issues, let's review the facts. The current agreement between NBA owners and the players will expire at the end of the 2010-11 season, and unless they get a new agreement in place, a lockout will happen. Horrible news for NBA fans.

Simmons makes some great points about how to improve the system, to align the incentives of the owners with that of the fans. Right now, there are so many loopholes within the system such that the NBA can get away with mistreating fans. Their biggest cash cows outside of TV income is from season ticket holders willing to pay for 41 games in advance, and the corporate fat cats who gobble up luxury suites. While there is a correlation between making the playoffs and income, once the team is in the lottery, it's as if they fall off the cliff. They'd rather be at the bottom of the record standings than finish number 9. What this translates to is poor fans being stuck watching crappy teams and praying for the next Blake Griffin to land in their laps, and even that doesn't always work out (see Clippers.)

Despite all the good ideas out there, I still don't see the NBA owners making enough changes to improve the product for fans. At the end of the day, they only want to make profits for themselves, and they won't hesitate to make the players look bad, portraying them as spoiled millionaires. We love the players because they are the best at what they do, play the game. Most of them aren't very skilled at managing their own finances, which is what put them at the owners' mercy during the last lockout. It's up to the league and the owners to figure out how to create a system where it's win-win-win for fans, players, and owners.

The ideal would be a group of players with charisma and star power to set up and educate the fans on the facts, make proposals, and ask for the fans to demand something better from the league. That and me finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Gosh I dread the upcoming lockout for my favorite sport, even if it's a year away. Thank goodness for hockey, baseball, football, soccer...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kornheiser Suspension for Nothing

While going through my morning round of sports news, I saw the Tony Kornheiser debacle. So apparently he made the following comments about Hannah Storm's outfit:

Hannah Storm in a horrifying, horrifying outfit today. She's got on red go-go boots and a catholic school plaid skirt ... way too short for somebody in her 40s or maybe early 50s by now...She's got on her typically very, very tight shirt. She looks like she has sausage casing wrapping around her upper body ... I know she's very good, and I'm not supposed to be critical of ESPN people, so I won't ... but Hannah Storm ... come on now! Stop! What are you doing? ... She's what I would call a Holden Caulfield fantasy at this point.

and got himself suspended from PTI, his usual gig on ESPN. Granted I did not hear the audio recording of these comments so I can't tell his inflection, but how is this inappropriate behavior in the world of sports? It's not like he said something outright sexist, other than the comments on her age. Still, I think that female broadcasters like Storm have been around long enough to realize that the sports world is and will be a testosterone filled environment. Besides, if we're struggling for equality here, this certainly shows a double standard. After all, nobody ever gets into trouble for making fun of Craig Saiger's array of dazzling yet out of place suits.

Now I don't know Tony personally, but I do find him intelligent and witty. He made a heartfelt apology, so let's move on with this ridiculousness already. Let's stop babying everyone and tone down the political correctness for once.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

College Basketball Jerseys

March Madness excites me like no other month in the sports year. As you can tell, I'm already thinking about it. The topic here however, is the notion of buying college basketball jerseys that bear the players' names. More accurately, you simply can't. That's because the players are college students, hence amateur players, and shouldn't be used to make money for whatever organization, be it the college or the NCAA. That's quite ok with me. However, some of the schools, Kansas *ahem*, allow folks to buy personalized jerseys, choosing the number and the name of anyone. So I might be smart enough to pick number 11 and the name Wall on the back, because my family name is Wall, or not. The point is, the schools can charge extra to customize this and still make money off of John Wall, even though he's not getting a single penny. So the school still can't mass produce those jerseys, big deal. I think it's horrible that players have to risk injury and give up a few years of their lives while schools create this loophole.

Back to the point of organizations not being allowed to make money off of students. I must point out the hypocrisy of the NCAA being a virtual monopoly, making tons of money from student athletes. Sure, they're a non-profit and they're even tax exempt. But they do get decide how to run their organization and what salaries to pay.

Anyways, I'll stop ranting about this other than to say go out and support your favorite teams this March. And if you're going to buy a jersey for the NCAA tournament, go get an official school jersey without the customization. Alright, good luck on your brackets!

Monday, February 22, 2010

USA-Canada Hockey

Short posting since something *had* to be said about that game. Simply wow, full of firepower on both teams and its surprise ending win for team USA. It was a great match-up and hope to see more of that in the coming rounds.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Team Canada Hockey 2010

One of the favorites to win the gold for men's ice hockey, team Canada is facing a lot of pressure. With a disappointing 7th place finish in the Olympic Winter Games in 2006, team Canada is prepared to avoid another embarrassing loss on its home soil as Vancouver plays host to the winter Olympics.

Even while captain Steve Yzerman insists that the pressure is on the Russians, hockey fans know that the Canadians are the true favorites. Anything short of gold would be considered a massive failure. Regardless of expectations, this team is built to win. Let's talk about their chemistry. Canada's '06 team was packed with stars, but little went into how the individual players played as a team. This time is drastically different. Yzerman has made sure to include NHL teammates on this team: Thornton, Marleau and Heatley come from the San Jose Sharks' top line and they'll need little time learning each others' quirks on the ice. Then we have the Chicago Blackhawks' top defensive pairing in Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith. Two more familiar pairings include Getzlaf and Perry of the Ducks and Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger, also from the Ducks special 2007 season. Then there's the last line of defense, the goalies. Looking at Team Canada's goalie trio, it's hard to find a better lineup. Roberto Luongo, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Martin Brodeur bring experience, talent, and leadership.

And finally when it comes to home-ice advantage, especially when it comes to hockey, Canada's got serious pride. Remember Vancouver couldn't even handle an NBA team despite home grown Steve Nash being 2-time MVP. But Hockey means everything. Canada dominated the Olympics in the tournament's early years, shutting out everyone else for six of seven gold medals between 1920 and 1952. Then came the Soviet era that eventually came tumbling down like the way when NHL players were allowed to compete in 1998. Then, team Canada took its first gold in nearly half a century. Needless to say, this team is getting more eyeballs in Canada, percentage-wise, than the Super Bowl in the US.

After an impressive first game destruction of Norway, 8-0, team Canada expects a few more road bumps before facing their US rival team this Sunday. Canadians can grab their prided Canada Hockey Jersey, and other hockey fans can revel in watching this anticipated match-up.


Welcome to SportsAhoy, where we cover everything sports. We're lucky to begin in the midst of a fun Winter Olympics in Vancouver Canada. Come back soon as we populate this site with more sports related news and fun.