Friday, December 31, 2010

Wirk-Life Balance ~ A sports, music, and travel blogger's year-end thoughts...

I have a friend who referred to me as "the blog lady".  At times, I don't touch this blog...  When there's nothing to talk about, there's nothing to write about.  I think about this blog a lot.  I have a lot of ideas.  I'm outspoken and opinionated.  When I have something to say, I express it. 
Since I'm single, I travel a lot.  At times I think I travel too much.  In general I have a lot of energy, but I also pay attention to my body and make sure I don't push myself too hard.  However, I admit that I do push myself.  If you've been following this blog, you've seen me travel the country now for 12 months.  I've criss-crossed the country, left the country, and visited friends and family as I went from adventure to adventure. 

This year I went to the NFL Wildcard games, Super Bowl, NBA All-Star weekend, The Masters, the ALDS, ALCS, NLCS, and countless other (i.e. baseball, basketball, football, and hockey) games.  I've reviewed various casinos.  I provided insight into various sports headlines.  I've also covered concerts such as Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, Eminem, and Prince.

If you look at the map at the top of my blog, you can see the trips I've taken.  The map looks crazy, and it's not even comprehensive.  Those are only my leisure trips that are tracked.  Ironically, for a blog called, I don't track my work trips. 

Although I'm usually behind a keyboard, there are times when you can hear me talking.  Usually, I save my "sports" voice for when I'm surrounded with other people in the industry (e.g. athletes, media, or very knowledgeable friends).  During the Winter Olympics, I made it on TV.  My comments on the US Men's Hockey team's quest for a gold medal, were on the news and published on the internet in multiple forms, as part of a larger news segment.  If you want to see a clip,here you are:

A few months ago, I auditioned with 2,000 other people in the New York/New Jersey area (i.e. there were 3 other casting calls in the US) for a TV show on Oprah's new TV network OWN that debuts in 2011.  I pitched my idea for a show and was called back by casting to shoot an audition tape.  I'm pretty sure that endeavor, via that forum died, but that doesn't mean that the dream is dead. 

I've seen places and stadiums that I've never been to and reconnected with friends and family. Some of my friends and extended family I'd only see at weddings, but because of a sporting event or a concert, I might have seen them at least a couple of times this year. Family and friends are important to me.

Sports, music, and my love of travel have introduced new people into my life that have made my life so much richer. Being a girl at a sporting event, it's not uncommon to be surrounded by 20,000+ men on any given night.  I'm a quality over quantity person though, and I'm very picky about who I let into my life, much less date.  I'm definitely not the friendliest person you'll ever meet (i.e. especially when I'm paying attention to a game).  Usually, I have my guard up and am not fond of strangers, but I'd like to think I'm a good judge of people.   When attending a game alone, I tend to drown everything out.  Sure I look around. I scan the crowd. I look for familiar faces, famous people, and/or anything worth taking a picture of so I can preserve the memory and bring the story home to you. When I attend games solo, I don't usually talk to the people around me. If I was watching a game, I wouldn't want someone yapping in my ear the entire time.

I have met some great people during my travels.  I sat with some folks in New Orleans who found my blog after sitting with me at a Saints game.  One of the ladies sent me an email inviting me back down for a Saints game and expressed her excitement over watching my skydiving video.  I've received an email from a pit boss in Las Vegas after he spoke with my friend about my blog.  The pit boss, pointed me towards his own blog that chronicled his passion for visiting college campuses.  Most recently, I met someone special at the ALCS game between the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers, who on a return visit showed me a fantastic time and so many sites in Dallas and Fort Worth that I never needed to visit either city again in my lifetime ~ but I did. 

Often I've been asked about credentialing.  I've struggled with whether or not I want to try to obtain media passes or all-access passes.  As of now, I enjoy writing about my experience from the seats.  I don't want to interview.  I don't need that type of access to players, coaches, artists, etc.  I'm more than content watching the game and performance from a floor or lower bowl seat (i.e. you will NEVER find me in the upper bowl ~ count on it).  You'll also never find me courtside.  I've sat in the 2nd row before, but I really don't want to sit courtside.  It scares me.  I like being close, but I don't like to be too close.  I need room to breathe, and I don't have that space, when there's nothing "separating" me from what I'm trying to take in.

Ultimately, I really don't know how long I'll keep up this pace of travel.  My goal to hit every stadium, park, and arena for baseball, football, and basketball is a life-long goal.  AND, in case anyone's curious I plan to live a long life.  It's been a wild ride this year, and I hope you've enjoyed the voyage as much as me. 

**** There are only 5 people I regularly answer the phone for and don't think about sending to voicemail. 3 of them are immediate family members. One is my friend, Kanak (i.e. but even she's gotten on Gchat now so those calls are lessening). The other one is whoever I'm interested in at the time and it's none of your business. So let's face it, you may never get me on the phone. I have a bad habit of not returning calls and/or not picking up the phone, when I don't want to talk. If I'm not interested, I won't talk to you. It is, what it is. However, if you want to know what I think or what I'm up to, read this blog and you'll know.
I've been campaigning this week for Blogger of the Year for a site that I contribute to.  I was trading messages with a friend and I said that it was hard to compete with bigger operations.  He simply replied, "There may be bigger operations, but there isn't a bigger operator."  Wow.  He's right though... 

I've never seen anyone cover the world like me in one year!  That's the truth. 


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Timberwolves lose to the Nuggets ~ Chauncey Billups drops 36

If you're a Minnesota Timberwolves fan, tonight's final score against the Denver Nuggets doesn't tell the story.  If you weren't at the game, chances are you didn't see any of the action.  The Denver Nuggets defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 119-113.  This was a very winnable game for the young Timberwolves, especially since Carmelo Anthony wasn't playing tonight.  ****  Carmelo's sister died last week, and he's expected to return to his team for Thursday's game.

Wednesday night is college night at the Target Center.  I'm not really sure what the promotion is, but I can tell you that the place fills up and that there were tons of people at the ticket window before the game.  It was an orderly scene, but surprising enough to me that I took a picture.

Ticket in hand, I was ready for the action and to see a great game. Do you know the name Martel Webster? I didn't. He's #5 for the T'wolves and he spent most of the game draining shots and/or in the air. Seriously. The kid blew up for 17 points. I had to Tweet @jonahballow during the game to figure out where Webster went to school. Turns out the kid came out of high school and spent 5 years in Portland. Wow. Never heard of him. My guess is that he played behind Brandon Roy or Andre Miller. No clue before, but I'll remember him from now on.  Here's a picture of him. in the air, going to the hole.  Yes, Webster can fly!

Darko.  OK.  I've never been the biggest Darko Milicic fan, but I'm also not a Darko hater.  I don't understand all the emotion people have about him.  It's not like the guy leaves any sort of impression.  Regardless, no one likes to see anyone get hurt  ~ but Darko left the floor twice tonight.  Once with about 6 minutes left in the 2nd quarter and again in the 3rd.  When he left the first time he didn't even make it back to the bench.

This is a picture of Darko being "aggressive on offense".  Intimidating, right?!?!  ****  Sorry, that's sarcasm.

These are pictures of "hurt Darko"...

In the first one, he's bent over getting replaced by Pekovic.  ****  I'll keep my comments to myself.  Milicic or Pekovic...  Which one would you choose?   Like I said, when Darko got hurt it took him a while to get off the court.  In the second picture, Ridnour went over to check on him.  In the third picture, finally he was able to walk off the court, towards the scorer's table before heading to the locker room.  As he "walked" off the court, it looked like he didn't want to put any weight on his left side.  I think I heard it's a hip contusion.  I have no idea why he even came out to play in the 3rd quarter.  He winced every time he moved. 

Enough about all that... 

Michael Beasley did his best to keep the Timberwolves in the game and every time the whistle blew (i.e. down the stretch) if you thought the foul was on Kevin Love, you were probably right.   Beasley had 33 and Love had ANOTHER double-double (i.e. 26-14).
Chris "Birdman" Andersen was great to look at with all the tattoos and played a physical game with Love down in the post.  Plenty of contact and banging on defense.  Wish more guys in the NBA were willing to play defense...  Here's a picture of the Birdman getting some air.  ****  Ironically, he'd miss this shot/dunk...

During the game a kid (i.e. about 7 years old) a few rows behind me yells, "Chauncey (Billups) you're old!". Thanks for the news flash, kid. He knows it. We all thought it. If anything all you did was motivate Billups to play out of his mind and drop 36 tonight. **** Nice job, kid... Next time why don't you heckle a guy who isn't a 5-time NBA All-Star and NBA Champion...

I was so into the game, I even reached out for a flying T-shirt.  ****  Don't worry.  It's not like I got ahead of myself and stood up or anything.  At the game I ate skittles, a cheesesteak, and peanuts.  I washed it all down with Mountain Dew.  Yeah, it was one of those nights...  I've got a sugar high or maybe I'm just still on the adrenaline high from this very winnable game, for the young Timberwolves....

8.8 seconds left in the game

If only the Timberwolves had Reggie Miller last night...  He could have scored 8 points in 9 seconds!

Here's another random one for you.  Is this Minneapolis' version of the Kardashians?!?!

I've always said that the Timberwolves have a great mentorship program.  By having Kurt Rambis, Bill Laimbeer, and Reggie Theus on the bench coaching these young guys, I think there's a lot of potential in Minneapolis... 


Coach K wins his 880th game to surpass Dean Smith tonight

I wasn't fortunate enough to get into Duke University.  I interviewed and if I remember correctly, all I talked about was Coach K.  Tonight Mike Krzyzewski (i.e. yes, I had to google the spelling of his last name) scored his 880th career victory.  I didn't go to Duke, but my brother did.  He was there for 9 years as he pursued every degree he could before my dad said "enough already".

I've been to Cameron Indoor.  I've traveled to the NCAA tournament.  I've seen the ACC Championship, and I've been to many other venues to see Coach K do what he does best ~ COACH.

Tonight Coach K surpassed Dean Smith, who also deserves ultimate respect.  Coach K is now 2nd on the all-time career win list.  Bobby Knight is at the top of the leader board with 902.

I didn't watch the Duke game tonight against UNC Greensboro, but tonight was a great night for basketball purists everywhere. 

You may not like Duke, but you have to respect what Coach K has done in international competition and as a professional.


Brett Favre is fined $50K ~ Can we all move on now?

Brett Favre's $50K fine (i.e. ESPN says it's, 5% of 1 of his game checks) for not being "forthcoming" is weak and stupid.  Why did the Commissioner Roger Goodell even bother?  Favre is going to retire anyway.  Good for Brett.  If I was him, I'd rather pay the NFL's "token fine" and keep my mouth shut.

I'm happy that he let the system run it's course rather than strike some sort of financial deal with Jenn Sterger.  Who cares anymore?  This all happened years ago, right?  If Jenn Sterger really wants "justice", she should use the legal system and not depend on Roger Goodell to hand out penalties.

What I want to know is how many pairs of Wrangler jeans, Favre has to sell to make $50K?

To paraphrase Field Mob and Ciara, "He said/she said/they said/I heard... So what..."


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

If you can't stand the (Miami) Heat, you're unhappy with the NBA right now

If you can't stand the Heat, you're not loving the NBA right now.

The Heat went into Los Angeles and whipped up on the Lakers.  Merry Christmas Lakers fans!  You got a lump of coal.  Actually, you got hit with a bag of coal (i.e. grifters' style).  Ouch.  As someone who was rooting for the Lakers and raced to find a TV upon returning from the Chicago Bulls v New York Knicks' game, I was ready for the marquee match-up that the NBA and anyone that loves basketball was expecting.  Even Mike Tyson tweeted asking simply, "Lakers or Heat?".  ****  I may have transposed his tweet, but it doesn't matter.

The Los Angeles Lakers lost last night to the San Antonio Spurs.  I'm not that surprised since the Spurs were home, and they're playing tough ~ but I am surprised that while the Heat are scorching, the Lakers are stumbling.  To me it looks as though the Lakers need a swift kick to wake up...  Maybe it's Phil Jackson's strategy to pull a Doc Rivers' and have his team "chill" during the regular season and then dig down deep in the playoffs.  I don't know...

I can tell that Kobe Bryant's getting annoyed and frustrated.  I'm getting annoyed and frustrated...  I looked at the box score of last night's game briefly, and he's still the one carrying most of the scoring burden.  That's to be expected.  I just wish, one of his teammates would step up and start scoring also.

It's a long season, and I want to believe that the Heat won't have an easy road to the NBA Finals, much less an NBA Championship.  As it looks right now, and granted we haven't hit the NBA All-Star break just yet ~ Heat fans can almost bank on another championship ring...

If it's not LeBron scoring it's Dwyane Wade...  ****  I'll admit again, that I am a Dwyane Wade, Pat Riley, and Erik Spoelstra fan.  Don't worry, I'm not jumping on the Miami Heat bandwagon.  I'm just admitting that it's impossible to ignore them and look the other way anymore.  This isn't a problem for me, because I just sit in the stands or watch the games on TV.  This is a problem for the players who go against them night after night and choose to watch the show as opposed to compete. 

My friend went to the Knicks v Heat game last night in Miami.  In one word he described Wade's 40 point performance, "AMAZING."  My friend doesn't play for the Knicks, but I wonder if the Knicks had the same reaction...  Man, I hope not.

Come on: Lakers, Spurs, Knicks, Mavericks, Jazz, Celtics, etc.  I realize that the Heat are like crazy Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction ~ they will not be ignored, but...  It ain't over, til it's over guys.  It's a long season...  COMPETE!!!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mavericks fans ~ Take time out to pray for Dirk Nowitzki's knee

Dirk Nowitzki left last night's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a sore right knee.  The Mavericks defeated the Thunder, 103-93. 

Dirk had an MRI scheduled for this morning.  I haven't seen/heard the results of the MRI yet...

Let's hope for his and the Dallas Maverick's sake that it's nothing serious (i.e. or even nothing at all).  The Mavericks have the best road record (i.e. 11-1), and Dirk has once again been putting up All-Star numbers (i.e. about 24 points and 7 rebounds a game ~ almost a double-double).

It's no secret, he's become one of my favorites this season, and it's also no secret that the West is stacked.  Therefore, if the Mavericks are going to contend against the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs during this long NBA season, his team "knee'ds him to stay healthy.  ****  Yes, "knee'ds" is corny, but I like it.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Hornets v Timberwolves or Saints v Falcons ~ NBA v NFL...

Tonight I had a choice between the NBA and the NFL, and I'm beginning to think I chose incorrectly. 

Rather than go watch the Minnesota Timberwolves host the New Orleans Hornets (i.e. for some I guess this match-up could be described as "contraction v contraction"), I decided to stay in and watch the New Orleans Saints play the Atlanta Falcons...  Is it just me or is this MNF game boring?  Don't get me wrong, it's a close game (i.e. Saints are up 10-7) with about a minute left in the 3rd Q ~ but for me, it's not that exciting and based on the Tweets I'm reading, I'm not alone in my feelings.

The Timberwolves on the other hand apparently dominated the Hornets.  I'm going to say "apparently", since tonight's ~ actually I think most, Timberwolves' games aren't televised locally here in Minneapolis.  I'm just going by the box score.  Hornet's star Chris Paul dropped 22 points and had 13 assists.  David West, a Xavier alumnus, had 23 points in the losing effort.

****  Once when I was in Vegas, there were a few guys arguing.  They were sitting in front of me. One guy said to the other, "I bet she doesn't know."  Then they all turned around to look at me, while one of the guys asked me where David West went to college.  In no time at all, I said, "Xavier".  One guy started yelling obscenities, and the other guy started yelling that he wanted to get paid.  Evidently I settled a bet.  Guys, don't get it twisted.  I know sports.  Plus, I was sitting in a sports book, and I'm from Ohio.  Of course I knew David West went to Xavier University.

For the Timberwolves, Beasley dropped 30 points and Kevin Love had another double-double (i.e. 16-11).  Wesley Johnson scored 24, but I'm not even going to fake like I know anything about him. 

Since scalping is legal in Minneapolis, I debated on going to the game tonight.  I remember when the Oklahoma City Thunder was in town and there was a "homeless" guy trying to sell me a corner, lower bowl ticket for $10.  I ante'd up for a better ticket with a better view, since sometimes it's not always about a bargain.

With Chris Paul not performing as well this season as in previous ones, I wasn't overly-excited about trying to go to the basketball game.  I determined that I was comfortable spending $10-20 on a lower level ticket, but ultimately decided I didn't have the strength to walk over to the Target Center and negotiate.  ****  I'd be willing to bet I could get a good seat at that price for that game.

Hmmm, now the Falcons have taken the lead, and the score is 14-10.  Maybe the 4th Q will be worth watching...

****  I used to live in Atlanta, but haven't actually been to a Falcons game in years (i.e. since the Michael Vick era ended).  That reminds me, in 2005 the Falcons hosted the New York Giants.  As I was waiting to go through the turnstile I noticed Evander Holyfield.  For those of you that don't know, he lived/lives in Atlanta.  From what I could see, Holyfield was denied entrance into the Georgia Dome.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it looked like he didn't have a ticket.  I SWEAR.  Can't blame the guy for trying, I guess...

Update:  Yes, the 4th Q was worth watching.  The New Orleans Saints defeated the Atlanta Falcons 17-14...  Turns out, I did the right thing after all, by staying in.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Landon Donovan files for divorce and asks for spousal support?! ~ Really?!

I'm watching the Real Housewives of Atlanta (i.e. don't judge) and playing on the Internet.  In between trying to figure out if I'm the only person who thinks Camille Grammer is insufferable and "researching" other topics, I came across a headline that Landon Donovan is getting a divorce.

First of all, I'm not a soccer person, but I thought it was interesting because he's married to Bianca Kajilich.  Do you know who that is?  She plays Jennifer in the show Rules of Engagement.  The couple was married New Year's Eve 2006, but Donovan recently filed for divorce in Los Angeles.

Apparently, in the Bleacher Report article I read, Donovan is also seeking spousal support and legal fees from Kajlich.  Really?!?!  Is it just me or does that seem "douchey" on his part?  ****  Yes, I asked the question.  I mean seriously.  He's a professional, soccer player for the Los Angeles Galaxy.  Plus, it's not like she's a mega-rich, star actressLet's get real. 


My thoughts on contraction and the NBA

My thoughts on contraction and the NBA.

Sure there are teams that historically have underperformed in the NBA and other teams that may not be able to survive financially in their city.  We all remember Danny Ferry leaving for Italy rather than play for the Los Angeles Clippers, but even the Clippers have become exciting again (i.e. with Blake Griffin).  Further, this month, the NBA has announced that it plans to purchase the New Orleans Hornets (i.e. where star Chris Paul excites the crowd).  There are other examples out there...  However, I don't believe contraction to be the answer.

I think the notion of having 3-4 stars on a team is fine, but I think that some players (i.e. who have been vocal recently)  need to understand that this is generally done by having 3-4 players (1) STEP UP to achieve stardom by improving their games and/or (2) play in a system that accentuates their strengths. I think making a "deal with the Devil" (i.e. it's an expression, so calm down ~ I love Riley and Spoelstra) is not and should not be the norm.  Even role players in the right niche, will work hard, develop their game, and become stars. It takes time...  There are no quick-fixes and shortcuts.

Would Scottie Pippen be "Scottie Pippen" if he had never played for the Chicago Bulls and was without Michael Jordan during his career?  The world will never know.  However, I believe that talented, hard working players in the NBA will rise to the top and make their teammates better... 

I think there's a lot of men in the NBA (i.e. regardless of what team they play for) that individually I couldn't pick out of a line up.  This "anonymity" can be for a variety of reasons...  Maybe the player is young or is a long-time journey men that bounce(s) from team to team.  Another reason could be that I'm getting older and the guys are younger now.  ****  Nah, that can't be it.  It's not like I'm losing my memory.  I'd argue that these men have given me no reason to remember their game.

It's no secret that all NBA drafts are not created equally.  I'd love for a team to walk up to the podium and "Pass" on a draft when the talent is weak if they really can't get a player to help them or make the right deal.  I've never been in a war room, but am I really to believe that some of these choices were sincerely thought to bring success to a team?  I've seen players get drafted and immediately I think of coaches who have a relationships with agents...  ****  Having the 1st pick in the draft doesn't guarantee a powerhouse for the franchise.  Further, of course, you can find a needle in a haystack and find treasures deep in the draft.  However, the development of that talent usually takes time.

If you want an argument for or against contraction from a financial perspective, this isn't the place for you.  I'm not going to run any numbers here.  I just needed to sound off on the topic, because I'm tired of reading other peoples' ideas about it.

LeBron James talking about being in favor of contraction, would be like Warren Buffett telling a homeless person that he saves a lot of his money.  Thanks, but just be quiet.

****  One last thing, if you found this post/blog thought-provoking and/or enjoyable, please vote for me (i.e. for Blog of the Year) on the right-hand side towards the top.  It only takes a second.  Thanks!


Custom Converse All-Stars ~ All I wanted for Christmas

All this Rex Ryan foot fetish video crap had me thinking...  ****  No, I'm not going to put a clip of that video in this blog.  People need to get over it and move on.  It was his wife, and it's feet.  Who cares?!!?

I want a custom pair of kicks...  Erring on the side of caution, since I'm simple in my taste, I created these custom Converse All-Stars. 

I had a pair of All-Stars in college and haven't seen them since.  I've been looking for a pink pair of All-Stars unsuccessfully now, off and on for a few years.  I'd only seen the One Star kind, in the color I wanted.  However, when I get my mind set, I accept no substitutions...

If you want to create your own pair of customized Converse, here's a link to the Converse website:  There's an option to "create" towards the top of the window.  You design the color, print, lining, tongue, eyelets, laces, heel stripe, toe cap, etc.  The pair I created only ran me $62 plus shipping.

I can't wait for my pink kicks to come in the mail... 

I know Christmas was yesterday, but "Merry Christmas" to ME.


Wizards' McGee and Blatche suspended for tonight's Spurs game ~ Does it even matter?

I was awakened about 20 minutes ago, since my phone went off.  I figured I'd check the NBA schedule and see what the league had in store for me today.  To be honest, today's schedule looks like a whole lot of nothing (i.e. which is fine since Sundays are currently for football for most sports fans).

At any rate, I noticed a headline about the Washington Wizards on  Here's a link to the article:  Evidently, JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche had an altercation at a club late Thursday/early Friday.  Allegedly they were cursing at each other and may have exchanged punches.  According to the article, The Washington Post reported that police were called to break it up.  ****  I wasn't there, so I have no idea.  Last year or a year ago, I witnessed a "scene" when of the Wizards players was forced to wait outside a Washington DC club while LeBron partied inside.  That occasion was definitely more benign than what the article on described.

I guess McGee must've been wearing his jersey when this all went down.  ****  Of course, he wasn't...  That's sarcasm, people.  Seriously though ~ could you pick McGee out of a "line-up"?!?!  I couldn't. 

As for Blatche, of the 2 games I've attended at the Verizon Center, it looks like the Wizards are making him a focal point on the team.  I'm not sure that this is a good idea, but time will tell.  I have my reservations... 

At any rate, both players have been suspended for tonight's game against the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio.  BFD.  It's not as if the Wizards have a good chance of winning tonight's game anyway... 

Merry Christmas McGee and Blatche, you get a day off. 

****  Honestly, I can't be the only one thinking, "Oh no...  Here we go again."


Knicks defeat the Bulls on Christmas Day at The Garden

Today I went to Madison Square Garden for my first New York Knicks home game.  The Knicks were hosting the Chicago Bulls and my seat for the Christmas Day performance was SICK! 

I was sitting about 5-6 rows behind the Chicago Bulls bench.  Don't get me wrong...  When I don't have a horse in the race, I have a tendency to root for the home team.  As a girl who adopted the Knicks as her team (i.e. when Patrick Ewing was drafted), I also had reason to root for the Knicks.

Earlier in the week Charles Oakley was named to Paul Silas' Charlotte Bobcats coaching staff, and I received a free pass to not have to go home to Ohio for Christmas.  Soooooo, of course I took it as a sign to go to New York for the day and watch the Knicks at home.

I decided to take the train, since Amtrak dropped me right off at Madison Square Garden and I didn't want to risk driving in holiday traffic.  The game tipped off at 12 noon and I arrived at The Garden with about 80 minutes to spare before the opening tip.  People were arriving early.  Before 11AM, when they started to let people in the entrance was packed full of people standing shoulder to shoulder.

As I walked in and went to my seat, I started to take in The Garden.  Yeah, the Knicks game was a sellout and you could tell that the Knicks fans were ready to battle.  There were a decent amount of Bulls fans in the stands, but they even seemed to be cheering for the Knicks here and there. 

Another thing that was strange.  The Knicks were wearing green uniforms...  Yeah, I get it.  It was a decision to make the game appear more festive for the holidays (i.e. green for the Knicks, red for the Bulls).  Admittedly, as a "basketball purist" I thought the green was corny.

Today's match-up was a high-flying, physical game and I was excited to see Amare Stoudemire perform with his "new" team.  Amare delivered 20 points, 10 boards, and 6 blocked shots.  For those of you that think Amare doesn't play defense, he did his best to show you what he could do today.  For all of you doubters, that was your Christmas present.

2 of Amare Stoudemire's points

Since I was at the game, I wasn't paying attention to numbers.  I had to check the box score, but here are the details.  Raymond Felton came up big with 20 points and 12 assists.  Danilo Gallinari was not to be ignored, since he hit 75% of his 3 point attempts and finished with 15 points.  Wilson Chandler also dropped 15 points and gathered 10 boards.  The Knicks were balanced and earned the victory.

The Bulls were without Joakim Noah, but Carlos Boozer and Derrick Rose came up strong.  Boozer dropped 26 points and grabbed 19 rebounds.  Rose had 25 points and 8 assists.  I took another look at Kyle Korver, and I still think he resembles Carrot Top.

Boozer looking light as a feather

The Knicks ended up winning the game and defeating the Bulls with a final score of 103-95.

I can cross Madison Square Garden off of my list.  By the way, parents please listen.  If you bring your child to a basketball game, please make sure the kid either wants to be there or is old enough to tolerate being there.  I was sitting next to a kid who screamed, "I want to go home!" for most of the 3rd quarter.  This wasn't pleasant for anyone in earshot, and believe me ~ this kid had a set of lungs!

Thanks to Amare Stoudemire's effort, the "Christmas" party at The Garden was also a "block" party!  Enjoy the pictures from the game.

****  Oh and did I mention that David Kahn, President of Basketball Operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves was sitting behind me during the game?  Maybe it's something.  Maybe it's nothing.  It is interesting though...


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Timberwolves' David Kahn at MSG for Bulls v Knicks game ~ Business or Pleasure?

Merry Christmas.

Today I went to New York and took my first trip to Madison Square Garden for a New York Knicks home game.  The Chicago Bulls were playing the New York Knicks.  ****  I've been to The Garden at least twice before.  Once for a Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers game and another time for the Big East Semifinals.

As I was leaving the arena today, a man said "Excuse me," and asked to move by me.  It took me a few minutes and a few looks but I'm 99.99999999999999% sure it was David Kahn.  For those of you that don't know your basketball executives, shame on you.  David Kahn is currently the President of Basketball Operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

I found myself sitting behind David in Las Vegas during NBA Summer League.  Actually now that I think about it, he was siting next to New York Knicks scout, Rodney Heard, that day.

Anyway, maybe it's nothing or maybe it's something, but David was definitely at The Garden today.  I don't normally notice other basketball execs hanging out at other arenas (i.e. when their own team isn't in town).

I did some digging and noticed that there's a Bleacher Report article about David Kahn referring to a "singular move" to take the Timberwolves to the next level.  Here's a link to the article:  Maybe this move involves the New York Knicks...

Like I said, maybe it's something or maybe it's nothing ~ but it's definitely interesting enough for me to post.

***  I just downloaded my pics and David Kahn was sitting behind me at the Bulls v Knicks game today.  How do I know?  I took a pic of myself while sitting in my seat.  Random... 

****  One last thing, to the many Knicks fans and everyone else who have/has been reading this post/blog please take a second to vote for me on:  I'd appreciate it.  Thanks!


Friday, December 24, 2010

Aside from Joe Montana, Karl Malone and Kareem ~ Do men really wear Shape Ups?

‎Am I really supposed to believe Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wear Shape Ups? 

Dear Skechers: Please stop airing that commercial.  As an old school, Los Angeles Lakers fan I love Kareem, but Karl Malone has to go!

Actually, now I'm curious.  Aside from Joe Montana (i.e. yes, I saw his commercial too), Karl Malone, and Kareem ~ do men really wear Shape Ups?


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gilbert Arenas should shut his mouth and let his game do the talking

I saw a Tweet on my Twitter feed, from TheBigLead, and I was instantly annoyed.  This is the Tweet:

"Gilbert Arenas w/ a dig at the Wizards: "Coach told me to push the ball. Haven't pushed the the ball in the last two years." Smile. Pause."

Are you kidding me?!?!  Who's fault is is that Arenas didn't play the past 2 years (i.e. or years before that)?  Umm, the ONLY answer is Arenas'.  Injury (i.e. real or fake), gun-toting, or whatever the case may be is why Arenas didn't play.  He was the face of the Washington Wizards.  I can't possibly be the only one who thinks his "dig" is laughable. 

Maybe a fresh start in Orlando is just what Arenas needs to breathe life into his stale career.  Maybe Orlando is the CPR his career needs.  At a minimum, the new city, arena, and bench will give him something new to blog about when he's sitting on the bench.

And don't even try it.  I liked Arenas when he was an Arizona Wildcat.  I was excited about the things he could accomplish in the league.  I was a fan, but I did root against him in the series v the Cleveland Cavaliers.  ****  I'm from Ohio.  I had to. 

I realize he's only played two games with the Orlando Magic and that time needs to pass for him to get used to the new offense.  However, I just took a look at his numbers and he's averaging 6 points per game and has a field goal percentage of 17.6%...  I think the Harlem Globetrotters have better numbers.

I looked for an image of Gilbert to put in this blog, but after looking through my photo archives, I can't find any of him playing.  Just saying... 

Come on, Gil.  Prove me wrong.


Charles Oakley to the Bobcats as part of Paul Silas' coaching staff

Congratulations to one of my favorite former New York Knicks and Cleveland's own, Charles Oakley, on his new coaching job with the Charlotte Bobcats!  As someone who grew up in Ohio and followed the physicality of the Knicks, it's great to see Oakley transition into coaching. 

Actually, when I met my 1st fiancee, I asked him on the day that we met, "What do you think about that Oakley-Camby trade?"  ***  Earlier that day or the day prior, the New York Knicks' Charles Oakley and the Toronto Raptors' Marcus Camby were traded for each other.  He responded that he didn't watch basketball.  That was a lie, though, because he played basketball for the Cleveland Cavaliers.  He knew exactly what I was talking about.

Anyway...  It's been announced today, and confirmed by the banger himself on Twitter (i.e. Twitter name: CharlesOakley34), that he's joining Paul Silas' crew in Charlotte.

Alright, Bobcats...  Now I'll be pulling for you (i.e. or at least checking the scores).


Kyle Korver and Carrot Top were separated at birth

Kyle Korver and Carrot Top share the same face/bone structure.

Today, I wanted to go to New York to watch the Oklahoma City Thunder take on the New York Knicks.  Things didn't pan out the way I wanted them to, but I did take the time to rest and watch a little bit of the Chicago Bulls v Washington Wizards game and then I started to think...

Kyle Korver.  Yeah.  This post has absolutely nothing to do with his game (i.e. or even the Bulls v Wizards game).  When I look at Kyle Korver on TV, all I can do is think of Carrot Top.

Last night, I was sent a picture of Carrot Top.  I think it's from an ad for his show.  I have a friend who's in Vegas and thinks he's funny.  The caption for the text was, "I found you a boyfriend!".  Both Carrot Top and my friend have jokes. 

Regardless, I'm sticking to my story.  Kyle Korver and Carrot Top share the same face/bone structure.  Honestly, shave both Korver and Carrot Top's heads and I'd be willing to bet they'd look like twins.
When I tweeted this revelation earlier today, I received a few tweets back, which made me wonder if I was the only person who "sees" the resemblance.

Turns out, I'm not alone.  I googled both Korver and Carrot Top's names together and numerous other links came up.  I also Googled "Kyle Korver" and took a look at the Kyle Korver Wiki page.  According to this page, people think Korver looks like Ashton Kutcher.  Umm, I guess so, but not really.  Moreover, if that's the case, does that mean Carrot Top looks like Ashton Kutcher?!?!  Absolutely, not.  ****  Update:  Umm, well...  I just saw Ashton Kutcher in the opening for That 70s Show, so now my answer is "maybe".

I just checked my photo files and I don't have any really great pictures of Korver.  Maybe these pictures (i.e. from his days with the Utah Jazz) will help you decide. 

Korver is on the left

Korver is on the right

You may not be able to see the resemblance in my pictures, but if you Google it, you'll see that I'm not alone.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas is not an NBA Holiday ~ Deal with it

Phil Jackson and LeBron James have come out and said that don't like playing games on Christmas Day.  I can understand that, to an extent.  I remember what it was like to hold Thanksgiving and Christmas "early" and/or have to cut it short, when my fiancee would have to leave to catch the plane for a road trip.  I remember hosting other athletes and cooking up a holiday feast.  Teammate(s) would come over and were treated like family, since a few of them didn't have families of their own to celebrate with. 

Travel is part of the NBA and yes, family is first ~ but unless you're new to the league you should be "used to" having to make certain sacrifices.  If the athlete is being "featured" on Christmas, it's a tribute to the success of the team.  If the athlete has the day "off", it probably means that the NBA doesn't value the team enough to schedule his team for a holiday, prime-time TV slot.

Those are the breaks.  If you don't like it, come down with back spasms and don't travel.  It's not rocket science.  I realize that's a little harsh, but at the end of the day, time is what's precious and not the actual day.  I was raised with the philosophy that "every day is Christmas".  If you wanted something, you could have it.  Ironically, I've never really been the type of person to ask for anything. 

I think people need to look past working or having to cut short Christmas Day and make the most of the time that they do have together with their families.


Movie: The Fighter ~ Not just a movie about boxing

Tonight I went and saw the movie, The Fighter.  It stars Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale.  Wahlberg plays Micky Ward, and Bale plays the role of his half-brother, Dickie Eklund.  There are a few reasons I wanted to see this movie.  First and foremost, I've actually been to Lowell, Massachusetts.   

Lowell, Massachusetts is the "Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution".  Similar to NYC playing a role in Sex and the City, the city of Lowell and the people are almost another character in the movie.  Before I visited Lowell, my fiancee (i.e. the 2nd one) mentioned that there was an influx of Asian immigrants in the 1970s from Cambodia.  I was pleased to see that the movie stayed true to that.  Seeing the characters and the setting ~ the "costumes" (e.g. clothes and hair), streets, houses, and the Mill took me back in time.

I've only just started paying attention to boxing again, so I wasn't familiar with the careers and stories of Dickie Eklund (i.e. the "Pride of Lowell") or Micky Ward.   Don't worry I'm not about to spoil the movie for you.  Since the movie is based on a true story, you can Google any questions you have about Eklund and Wards' careers. 

I will tell you that I think that Wahlberg and Bales' performances are worth seeing.  You'll find yourself cheering for Ward as he fights on the big screen, and cheering for Eklund as he searches for purpose helping his brother.  Before they were boxers, they were both sons and brothers.  The movie isn't just a story about boxing.  It's also a story about family, personal struggle, and the drive to "win".


Movie: Black Swan ~ Even a girl needs to "man up" every now and again

Black Swan.  OK, so I finally got around to checking this movie out.  Today I decided to go for a triple header, and Black Swan was the first movie of the day.  Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis are the main characters in the movie.  Portman evolves throughout the movie in order to escape a suffocating mother, to assert herself, and to pursue her ultimate passion (i.e. dance).  Throughout the movie, Portman's character is challenged to channel her darker side as she "competes", for the role of the Black Swan. 

Portman and Kunis' characters are polar opposites.  Portman's character is a weak, control-freak.  Kunis' character is a strong, free-spirit.  Kunis' "Devil may care attitude" is a sharp contrast to Portman's "look before you leap" approach.

I'll put it out there right now.  I'm not a fan of people who are weak, timid, or shy.  If you can't assert yourself, I tend to lose patience with you.  As a result, as I watched the movie, I grew tired of Portman's expressions and character.  I almost found myself rooting against her, just to make her quizzical, whiny expressions come to an end.

I'm not going to get into any more details about the movie.  I have heard that some people have had nightmares after watching it.  I guess I'll find out whether that's true, when I decide to close my eyes for the night.

Overall the movie is a good one, but I'm not sure I'd watch it again or recommend it to anyone who isn't female.  I really doubt that the "typical male", really cares about the struggle of a young ballerina.  Needless, to say even among my female friends, I'm pretty sure that I'm in the minority here.  However, I've never been a fan of the ballet and like I said, weak main characters annoy me. 

Bottom line:  Unless you're into girl drama and dance/ballet, I'd skip it.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mavs defeat the Heat, and then there's a lunar eclipse, solstice...

The Miami Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks today (i.e. the 12 game win streak came to an end).  Mike Miller returned to the line-up for the Heat.  Dirk Nowitzki led all scorers, with 26 points.  The final score was 98-96. 
And then there was a lunar eclipse and solstice...

Since I wasn't at the game in Miami, I figured I'd take a picture of the activity in the sky tonight/this morning. I had a great view of it all from my balcony, but I got bored in the middle of shooting pics and went inside. My friend talked me into going back outside. That's why there's a gap in the middle of the eclipse photos.

Here you are...

Let's hope it doesn't take another cosmic event, before the Heat lose again...


Sunday, December 19, 2010

ESPN 30 for 30: Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs the Knicks ~ Watch it

****  I saw this poster when I was in Indianapolis for the Baltimore Ravens v Indianapolis Colts AFC Wildcard game, November 16, 2009.  Before the Colts game, I went with a friend to watch the New Orleans Hornets play the Indiana Pacers.  We only stayed at Conseco Fieldhouse for a short time (i.e. because of the football game).  I never knew I'd need this picture, until tonight.

I just finished watching ESPN's 30 for 30 "Winning time: Reggie Miller vs. the New York Knicks"... 

I was never a Reggie Miller fan, but boy did my all into supporting Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks.  "He's never going to win it for you," was what my dad would say about Patrick Ewing and the Knicks.  Man, til this day I can hear my dad's voice saying that sentence.  He was right, but that's not the point of this post.

The year was 1985...

Originally a Lakers fan, my happiness during the NBA playoffs lived and died with the Knicks in the mid 80s-90s...  ****  Ever since Georgetown lost to Villanova in 1985, I was a Ewing fan.  When Ewing went to the Knicks, I (i.e. my heart and part of my NBA loyalty) went to the Knicks.

As I watched the 30 for 30 episode, I laughed to myself.  The relationship between Cheryl and Reggie Miller remind me of me and my brother.  As an older sister my brother and I would always compete.  I think the fact that we're similar in age forced us to be assertive and put a fire in both of us to succeed.  As I watched, I started to chuckle and sent my brother a text.  It said, "Watching ESPN 30 for 30.  Cheryl and Reggie Miller remind me of you and me.  Is it tough to live in my shadow? Hahaha.  Just kidding!" Needless to say, my brother has yet to reply.

As I watched the episode, so many memories came flooding back.  If you show me a score of 58-70, with the Pacers losing to the Knicks, I know what happens.  Reggie is going to start launching 3s.  ****  As I continued to watch clips of Reggie draining 3s, I started to feel sick.

All the footage from the Knicks and Pacers battles on the court, reminded me of the physicality that used to be part of the game.  How could Rik Smits not be considered soft in those days with warriors on the floor that weren't afraid to make contact on their way to the hole?!?  I'm not going to lie.  Admittedly, watching all the contact, jersey pulling, head butts, etc. has me fired up right now.
1995, 8 points in 9 seconds...  With 18.7 seconds left ~ Reggie wanted a quick 3 and everyone knows it.  The Pacers were down 99-105.  It was Reggie's time.  Reggie shot and drained a 3. On the inbounds play, Reggie stole the ball, went behind the arc, and launched ANOTHER 3.  105-105.  TIED GAME.  John Starks was at the line with a chance to give the Knicks the lead.  John Starks at the line: Clang 1. Starks shoots the 2nd: Clang X2...  Did you hear "clangs 1 and 2"?  Everyone who loved basketball did. 
Next thing you knew Reggie Miller was fouled and made both of his free throw.  The Pacers won Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semis with a score of 107-105.  GAME OVER.  "John Starks choked," was the quote I heard from Reggie.  To be honest, he was right.  I was never a fan of John Starks either.  He was way too streaky for me.
Knicks found themselves down 3-1 in the series, but would win Game 5 (i.e. thanks to Ewing and the refs for not calling traveling).  and Game 6.  Game 7 would be at Madison Square Garden, and the winner would face Orlando for the Eastern Conference Finals.  
With 5 seconds left.  The Knicks were down 95-97.  Everyone knew the ball was going to Ewing.  Ron Harper inbounded the ball to Ewing.  Ewing turned at the top of the key (i.e. everyone including the big man expected contact).  Instead of going strong to the hoops and even dunking, Ewing laid the ball up and the ball RIMMED OUT...  Ewing went down with his ship, and immediately my heart sank.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!  I called my dad who was "watching the game with me", to talk it over.  I was so shocked and inconsolable.  Like I said earlier, my dad always told (i.e. and continues to tell) it to me "straight".  He never believed Ewing would win the title with the Knicks.
Ultimately, the Pacers defeated the Knicks at the Game 7 at the Garden, but it wasn't the Conference Final.  Both the Pacers have yet to win a NBA Championship (i.e. since 1973).  If Ewing couldn't win it all, at least Reggie didn't win one either...

"8 points in 9 seconds,"  wow ~ that phrase still excites and nauseates me.  Absolutely AMAZING.  Here's a clip of the play(s) that I found on Youtube.

**** Do me a favor, if you liked this post or any other of the posts in this blog, please go to the upper right hand corner of this blog and vote for me for Blogger of the Year. It only takes a second. Thanks!