Hit Me With Your Best Shot

The SEVEN
by Mack Williams
26 February 2015image
I. For Whites Only

If you happen to be an African-American woman, my suggestion would be to refrain from buying this purse. It could wind up being your last purchase…as in, “I thought she had a gun.”
II. DOJ Not Charging Zimmerman

Can someone – anyone – please find a way to grant George Zimmerman the jail time he so richly deserves?
III. I Can’t Breathe

From Ferguson to New York and numerous other places, we have reason to question the validity of grand jury verdicts in case after case involving the killings of people of color. We go to rallies and meetings and put our hands up in protest…but as the saying goes, you’ve got to be in it to win it.

The federal system and many states use lists of registered voters as the source for potential grand jurors (as well as trial jurors). So if you’re walking around with your hands up but haven’t used those hands to fill out a voter registration form, put your hands back down and go get registered.
IV. Celebrity Apprentice?

Like many people, I have been trying to process what is up with former Mayor Rudy Giuliani after his numerous foot-in-mouth statements regarding the patriotism of President Obama. My first thought was that perhaps the attention-starved failed presidential candidate should make his next stop the board room at Celebrity Apprentice.

But as I think more about his cringe-worthy statements which seem to dig a deeper hole for him with each passing day, I wonder if he would really be a good candidate for such a show. Of course host Donald Trump is a clown as well, but Celebrity Apprentice contestants do have to perform tasks which require thought. Perhaps his doctor ought try a prescription of Namenda. It could be early dementia setting in.
V. Showtime 2016

Let me be the first to predict that Rajon Rondo will take a free agent walk to the left coast to become the next point guard of the Los Angeles Lakers. Certainly it’s no secret that Kobe Bryant would love to have him, which was probably part of the dinner conversation between the two of them a few weeks ago.

Why would you think he won’t return to the perennial contender Mavericks? Let’s examine the comments of Mavs coach Rick Carlisle after he and Rondo shared some not-so-nice words during and after the other night’s game:

“We need to work on the solution for making his stint as a Dallas Maverick the most successful one possible.”

His stint? Doesn’t sound like coach speak for “five year contract on the horizon.” What it sounds like is coach doesn’t want him back and he doesn’t want to be back. I’m guessing L.A.
VI. Pacquiao vs. Mayweather

It may be five years too late for it to be the fight it could’ve been…but after all these years where Roy Jones played basketball and Floyd Mayweather fought The Big Show, finally a match to catch the public’s attention.
VII. Who Knew?

Of all the viewers of ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder, who knew Annalise’s mom was Miss Jane Pittman?

Advertisements

Stars Were Out

image

The SEVEN
by Mack Williams
18 February 2015

I. Love Is In The Air

After Valentine’s Day Weekend, where people were going on dates with significant others and candy companies were preparing for significant bank deposits, U. of Connecticut women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma has to be loving what he saw in Little League shutout pitcher Mo’ne Davis in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=12322708

Davis, currently in the eighth grade and the captain of her high school varsity team, has said she wants to attend and play basketball at UConn.

II. Can Man Fly?

Nowadays, at the NBA Dunk Contest, people are attempting dunks over players and chairs and stars and cars, but there’s still something riveting about the original contest-winning dunk Julius Erving did at the first ABA Dunk Contest in 1976. (Oh, as they say, to have been a fly on the wall at New York Nets – yes, their ABA name – practices where I’ve been told that Dr. J and Larry “Mr. K.” Kenon used to have dunk contests that were a sight to see on the regular!)

But back to the future, this year’s winner, Zach LaVine has some stuff with him! He and Andrew Wiggins and Ricky Rubio may have the beginnings of something big, or at least bigger, with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

III. End Of An Era

When thinking about the New York Knicks and their history during their last 45 years, one can more or less group them in eras of significance:

The Championship Era (1969-81…extended through the retirement of the last championship player, Earl Monroe)

The Bernard King Era (1982-87…although he did not play in 85-86 and only the last six games in 86-87)

The Patrick Ewing Era (1985-2000)

The Amar’e Stoudemire Era (2010-2015)…which is now over now that he has been waived after the negotiation of a buyout. It was an era which began with the excitement level somewhat similar to what Bernard King brought, as Amar’e was arguably the best player in the league during the first half of the 2010-11 season…prior to the arrival of Carmelo Anthony.

But in realty the Amar’e era ended right then, for the combination of these two stars did not for the most part produce the success that would have been hoped for, if not expected, with the exception of the 2013 division-winning team – and once Carmelo arrived, it became his team. Plus injuries sadly took Amar’e from superstar to part-time player. Hopefully the rest of his career will work out well for him.

IV. Why?

Accused of using players from out of their district, the U.S. Champion Jackie Robinson West Little League has been stripped of their title and had their wins taken away…as if you can really erase history, and that awarding someone else a title they didn’t win on the field will cement their legacy as champions.

A few questions, however, remain:

1) To the coaches/administrators…why? Life should have shown you by now that a Black person or organization would be under more scrutiny. But…

2) Why would it take so long to find these transgressions? My youth baseball experience was that as a coach, you often carried everyone’s full info with you to tournaments…and now it took six months to find this?

3) Why would their neighboring Little League organization allegedly drop a dime on them, especially considering the positive effect the JR LL had on the city within what was a horrific year with respect to the violence in the city of Chicago? With that said, glad to see that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is going to honor the team with championship rings.

V. Fair And Balanced

When I finish this I’m tempted to send my resume to FOX News…a place that I would never have imagined myself looking to go to. But if Brian Williams is suspended without pay for six months from the anchor desk at NBC for one falsehood told, then by all rights virtually every anchor position at FOX should be open. So they should really be accepting resumes.

Meanwhile…
UPDATED: Fox Affiliate Apologizes For Airing Obama Photo Instead Of Rape Suspect

VI. The Gospel Truth

After what many felt to be a much less than thrilling Grammy performance of Precious Lord, Take My Hand by Beyoncé, some were trying to connect the dots to something six years ago…which in all fairness to Mrs. Carter, does not work.

On the evening of January 20th, 2009, while Republicans in D.C. were plotting how they were going to thwart any and everything proposed by the newly-inaugurated President Obama – good or not – the President and First Lady were dancing at various inaugural balls to “At Last,” as sung by Beyoncé, not the original artist, Etta James. Beyoncé took heat from some for that, but her presence was undoubtedly by request from the First Family – and it was her time, her era.

This situation was different…in that she asked her way onto this spot despite the fact that Ledisi – a contemporary of hers – had performed Precious Lord so brilliantly in the film “Glory.” Then after getting herself put on, she failed to channel any Mahalia Jackson in her performance. Nor did she put her own unforgettable spin on it to make you consider it a new classic.

Another reason to see “Glory” if you haven’t already.

VII. Shondaland

Finally a grand jury indicted a policeman for the killing of an unarmed person of color…especially since it’s been said that a DA worth his or her salt can get an indictment on a ham sandwich.

I was beginning to believe How To Get Away With Murder shouldn’t be starring Viola Davis.

One Week Out

image

The SEVEN
by Mack Williams
8 February 2015

I. Worst Call Ever?

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and his offensive coordinator have taken it on the chin in the week since the Super Bowl for the pass call at the one yard line that resulted in the interception that saved the game for the Patriots; some have even taken to call it the worst play call ever. But what would have happened had Malcolm Butler not stepped in to make an extraordinary play? The Seahawks would have won and everyone would have praised Carroll for not going with the “obvious” choice of Marshawn Lynch.

My thought, though, is that handing to Lynch is not as obvious a choice as some would have you think…things can go wrong, as in the case of the “Butt Fumble.” I would wager that Russell Wilson on a keeper minimizes potential mistakes, and I doubt they would have stopped him from gaining a yard running for the flag at the sideline.

II. Give Me A Call

If there is a nameplate on Brian Williams’ desk at NBC that reads “Mr. Williams,” I could use that same one if I were there. I’m not there, but to the suits at NBC, if you need me, give me a ring.

I don’t gloat over anyone’s misfortune, nor hope for anyone’s firing, but I must note that if it had been me in that position, and I had misrepresented my role in a wartime situation, I’d be gone already.

III. Called To Serve

What a shame that Sarah Palin is not going to seek the Republican nomination for the presidency. I was really looking forward to her participation; we need some comedy relief in our lives from time to time. Fortunately her fellow GOPers – from Carson to Santorum to Paul to Christie to Cruz to Walker, and so on – should be able to pick up the slack.

IV. The Weather Outside Is Frightful

…with more bad weather on the way for the East Coast. But word is that it might not be as frightful in the near future for Kevin Garnett – and perhaps Amar’e Stoudemire as well. Both are allegedly considering asking for buyouts from their teams, the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks, with KG supposedly headed to join former coach Doc Rivers with the Clippers and Amar’e supposedly sought after by the Dallas Mavericks. Frankly, I don’t see why KG and Paul Pierce didn’t both roll out there in the summer.

V. Seeding

A lot is made about playoff position within the NBA format, in which in each conference seed 1 plays seed 8, 2 plays 7, 3 plays 6, and 4 plays 5. The general assumption is that the eighth seed has the hardest road to the finals…but in fact, it can be argued that – assuming the teams are, in fact, seeded in order of competence – the eighth seed has it slightly easier than the sixth and seventh seeds.

In each case – assuming no other “upsets” – these teams would be without home court advantage in each conference series. The eighth seed would play number one first, and then if they win would play number four, then number two. Meanwhile the seventh seed would play number two, then number three, then finally number one. The sixth seed would play number three, then number two, then number one.

So eight would play 1, 4, 2.

Seven would play 2, 3, 1.

Six would play 3, 2, 1.

Obviously eight’s road to the finals is less strenuous by the factor that seed three is better than seed four. Were it not for the fact – in each conference – that seeds nine and ten are usually fighting to the end to pass number eight and number eight has to play hard in order to keep that slot, there would theoretically be little incentive for the eighth seed not to “tank” in order to avoid getting to six or seven.

VI. If Form Holds True…

Given that Justin Bieber won the MVP one year at the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game…and given that this has been an incredible 10-12 months for Mo’ne Davis, I expect her to be the Celebrity game MVP on Friday.

VII. Too Bad…

…that Olympic champion Bruce Jenner is now referred to as “reality star,” and so many younger people know him as a result of the Kardashians (and now this other story) as opposed to the Decathalon.

Super Sunday

The SEVEN
31 January 2015
I. We Are The Champions

If it weren’t for the general lack of respect that some non-New England fans have for the Patriots for various reasons, “deflate-gate” being the latest, we would be viewing the Patriots in the same light as the San Antonio Spurs, in terms of reverence for long-term excellence.

That said, tomorrow’s game has the potential to be Super, especially in terms of being a showcase of the skills of the two best cornerbacks, Richard Sherman and Darrelle Revis. It would definitely be fun to see Sherman get the Disney trip.
II. ODB

If Odell Beckham Jr. – he of the one-hand grab – was playing hurt all season, you almost can’t wait to see what he does with a full season and healthy.
III. All Stars

I always thought they played no “d” in the largely anti-climactic Pro Bowl…until I saw the final score in the NHL All-Star Game, 17-12. This in a league where a bunch of games are 2-1 with the shoot out.

Meanwhile, with the NBA All-Star Weekend in NYC two weeks away, we must remind ourselves that the players voted as starters by the fans are there because fans love and have loved them, not because each voter has parsed every stat this season. As a result, sometimes players get voted in on a “lifetime achievement award” basis as opposed to what they have done this season…as in the cases of Tim Duncan (who is having a solid year) and especially Kobe Bryant (whose injury prevents him from playing).
IV. Blizzard

Perhaps the east coast was hit with the winter storm last weekend – and possibly yet again during or after the Super Bowl – because Santa was overwhelmed and missed a few people on his list, and wanted to have the sense of a white Christmas as he delivered. If that’s the case, he won’t need to stop by the homes of David Blatt or Steve Kerr. Their presents were not only on time, but in fact early.

Blatt, a very successful coach in Europe but a rookie coach in the NBA, happened to get to begin his NBA coaching career in Cleveland with the returning LeBron James. Kerr was gifted the already rising Golden State Warriors, who have proceeded to continue on the upward spiral begun under Mark Jackson and currently hold the league’s best record.
V. Won Them Both

Next time I bet the Republicans will watch what they sarcastically applaud at the State of the Union address after getting embarrassed by the President last week, as he reminded them that he had won these last two elections. I’m sure the European-American Unity and Rights Organization that Steve Scalise spoke to wasn’t too pleased, either.

At least Joe Wilson couldn’t say that he lied.
VI. Mr. Cub

One of the reasons that Darryl Strawberry was my favorite athlete was that my New York Mets had produced great pitchers and pitching staffs, but were so offensively challenged that the great pitching was not a guarantee of a win. And I was so jealous of the living legend sluggers that the Mets faced on a daily basis, from Dick Allen and Mike Schmidt on the Phillies, to Mays and McCovey and Cepeda on the Giants, to Aaron on the Braves, Willie Stargell on the Pirates, and seemingly the entire Reds team. So I was overjoyed that the Mets finally had a truly fearsome power hitter of their own.

Add to that list Ernie Banks, Mr. Cub. If there was ever proof that a Hall of Famer is not defined by how many rings they have won, Banks is it. Rest in peace, Mr. Cub. Let’s play two.
VII. 42

Banks was one of the last Negro Leaguers to be an active player in the Major Leagues, playing with the Cubs until 1971, ending his career just over one year before Jackie Robinson’s death. If you have a chance, please check out the Facebook page of my new kids book, Jackie Robinson and the Negro Leagues – Facebook.com/JackieNegroLeagues.

image