by Mack Williams
28 November 2014
I. Sleep Tight
I was going to say that if you had done a Rip Van Winkle since Dr. J did the rock the cradle fast break dunk over Michael Cooper in the Moses Malone-named “Fo’ Five Fo'” 1983 NBA Finals, and woke up to hear that the Sixers and Lakers are quite possibly the two worst teams in the league, you would never believe that. But actually the Lakers might not be as horrible as originally thought. “Swaggie P” Nick Young is back, Jeremy Lin is beginning to get used to playing with Kobe Bryant, and Kobe will – barring injury – become the oldest player to lead the league in scoring.
The Sixers, on the other hand, may be worse. Were I in management down on South Broad Street, I’d pick a low demand game – Orlando? Detroit? T-Wolves? – and open the doors for free. Gotta do something for a fan base that could grow tired of several years of tanking.
II. The Champ Is Here
Very rarely do I predict a champion before a game is played; too many unknown variables – usually injury-related – can come into play which would render such predictions obsolete. That being the case, I’ve predicted that the San Antonio Spurs will repeat as champs this coming June – a prediction that was by no means unanimous. The Vegas oddsmakers had all but put the Cleveland parade route starting point in GPS.
Now, with close to twenty percent of the season having been played, my question to them would be the following: What have you seen so far to make you think San Antonio won’t win it? What I’ve seen is the Spurs winning games against good teams with three or four rotation players out, while the Thunder – as a result of the Durant/Westbrook injuries – may have a hard time making the playoffs in the west, and the Cavs are still finding their way in the east. I’ll stick with my call.
III. Spin Cycle
So this is why LeBron James urged the Heat to draft Shabazz Napier (before he left town)…
IV. Meet The Mets
The New York Mets are moving the outfield fences in next season, basically because their players aren’t hitting enough home runs. (Of course, I wonder if they have considered that with the shorter dimensions, the opponents may hit more homers as well.)
They are also looking for a shortstop…which is interesting because in Jose Reyes they previously had a shortstop whose offensive game was tailor-made for a spacious ballpark such as Citi Field, especially with the original dimensions. And now with the great young arms in house – including the rookie of the year Jacob deGrom – you would think the larger park would work to their advantage. No such luck now.
So getting Michael Cuddyer seems like it may be an excellent move…or is it one in a long line of Met signings/trades in which they get a successful veteran who has, however, left his best years behind with the other team?
V. Flying Solo
Glad President Obama has gone ahead and done his own thing on immigration reform without the “help” of the obstructionist Republican congress. Hope he’s able to find a few more things he can do in their absence.
What I hope he doesn’t do (and I’m positive he won’t) is take the advice of Rep. Peter King, who wants him to invite Darren Wilson to the White House and praise him for a job well done. Should he also invite the guy that pushed the man onto the subway tracks? They’re both killers.
VI. No Justice, No Peace
During this week of Thanksgiving, we should thank God for the world of sports. While in the real world Michael Brown is killed and Darren Wilson is said to have acted in a justifiable manner, the sports world provides a welcome distraction from the nonsense. When I am scared for my Black son, a young man not that much older than Michael Brown, we can talk about his two-hit night on the ball field we passed in North Bergen, a place Michael will never go again. And when the 6’4″, 210 pound Wilson absurdly compares his encounter with Brown to that of a five-year-old holding Hulk Hogan – after which he forgot his job is to apprehend and not kill – I can think back to my friend’s gift of a replica WWE championship belt to my-then 10-year-old son. The belt is meant to remind you of an arena in which everyone leaves contented and happy; unfortunately the Brown family will never feel quite that way again.
So when your thoughts are not diverted from the tragedies, it is easy to be outraged. It is easy to see how some would react violently when our vaunted system of justice provides none whatsoever in case after case involving people of color. If the system condones violence, then don’t be surprised when people act violently. To those who would, I certainly understand – but I would encourage you to pick up a ballot instead of a rock. We can’t change everything overnight, but certainly in a place like Ferguson, MO we can start by changing the people in office.
VII. World AIDS Day
Monday, December 1st is World AIDS Day 2014 – and in New York City, New Hope for the World Ministries, Inc. will sponsor a Gospel Concert featuring Pastor Terrance L. Kennedy & The Reach Music Ministry. The program will take place at 6:00 pm at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building, located at 163 W. 125th St., and will celebrate the life and musical legacy of George E. Canton, Jr. Get there if you can!