It has definitely been another great week in sports. The big event this weekend was the NBA All-Star weekend that was going on in Houston. The game and the weekend were good except for one part: the Slam Dunk Contest. It continued it’s downward spiral again this year. The dunks this year were good, but as a whole, they left a lot to be desired. Besides dunkers missing a ton of dunks, one cure to maybe making it better would be to put people in the game that fans are familiar with. We all know that LeBron did not want to be in the contest, but there are other up-and-coming stars that the NBA could ask to do the contest. And another thing that made this year’s contest worse was they made the contest East vs West. The slam dunk contests that I remember growing up were every man for themselves, not team competitions. Fix that and maybe that will bring some more people back to the competition. But until then, the dunk contest is dying a slow and painful death.
Along with the All-Star game, there were also trade winds blowing. And the main player talked about in trades has been Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe. It’s no secret that the Clippers are trying to get better this year and one area they feel needs to be shored up is their post play. The Clippers, with their young front court, have no one that can get them easy baskets in the post. The first potential trade that was talked about was Bledsoe, along with young Clippers center Deandre Jordan, heading to Boston for Kevin Garnett. The trade would be pretty hard to pull off because Garnett has said he would not consider waiving his no-trade clause unless Paul Pierce is traded from the Celtics as well. As it looks right now, the Celtics are content with Pierce and Garnett and it seems like this trade proposal will come and go with no one moving teams. And just when you thought Bledsoe may be staying in Los Angeles at least the rest of this year, another trade proposal popped up. The Clippers would send Bledsoe to the Utah Jazz for the services or veteran forward Paul Milsap. That trade is still a possibility, but one thing is for sure: the Clippers are trying to go for it all this year to keep Chris Paul happy. And more importantly, impress him enough to get him to sign a long-term deal in Clipperland.
In college basketball, the University of Miami was always known for their football program and basketball was considered an afterthought. But this year, people are going to have to pay attention to the Miami basketball team and take them seriously. The Hurricanes are ranked #3 in the country and are undefeated in the Atlantic Coastal Conference(12-0). What is so special about this team is that in a world where college basketball teams are getting younger and younger, this team is one of the oldest in college basketball. The Hurricanes have some experienced veterans players like forward Kenny Kadji, who is 25 years old, and center Reggie Johnson, who is 23 years old. That type of experience, along with the coaching of former George Mason University head coach Jim Larranaga, has this team in peak position to claim a number one seed in the NCAA tournament. In Miami, you could be looking at a team that could be in the Final Four this year and win it all.
As Miami is ascending, it seems like the University of Kentucky is falling to Earth with a thud. The Wildcats lost to the University of Florida earlier this week along with losing their best player in center Nerlens Noel. And as if it could not get any worse, the Wildcats went to Tennessee and got thrashed by 30. The team looked lifeless and looked like they had lost their souls. And just like that, Kentucky is in danger of not making the NCAA Tournament at all. This has to be the most challenging season that Kentucky head coach John Calipari has had since he’s been in the Bluegrass state. In order for this team to make the tournament comfortably, they must decide to play together and for each other. Too many times, players are seen doing their own things instead of this team playing like a team. It’s time for this team to look in the mirror. Time is running short and March is quickly approaching for Kentucky, so this team better get it together soon or they will be watching the NCAA Tournament on the TV rather than playing in it.
In the NFL, it was reported this week that NFL commisioner Roger Goodell made over $29 million dollars in 2011. But what is even more astonishing is that he only had a base salary of $3.1 million and he made the other $20+ million in bonuses and incentives. In case you all don’t remember, 2011 was the year of the lockout. And this insane amount of money right here makes you wonder about the purpose of the lockout. In my opinion, it looks like the biggest winner in the whole thing may have been Goodell. The money he made jumped from $11.6 million to $20 million in one year. And in years to come, expect his salary to keep going up more and more. This right here proves to me that in every situation, the commissioner and the league will be the winners, while the players will get the short end of the stick.
In NCAA football news, the talk of the week was about whether or not South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who is expected to be the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, should sit out the year and train for the draft. Clowney has not fed into the talk and intends on playing his junior season at South Carolina, but what was so interesting is that it was even brought up to begin with. If he was to do this, he would have been seen as a person that is selfish and only cared about himself. But in a business sense, it was something that would have been smart to do. Your body is what makes you your money, so why not protect it from harm as much as you can right? Well, unfortunately, business decisions and doing what you feel is the right thing to do don’t always mean the same answer. Clowney will play and in my eyes, that is the best decision for him. It isn’t guaranteed that he will be the fist pick if he sits out the year, so why not solidify it.
Lastly, the NHL had a horrific injury happen to Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson. The up-and-coming young player suffered a lacerated Achilles last Wednesday when Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke’s skate swiped across the back of his leg. It’s sad that Karlsson suffered this terrible injury, but this injury could have been prevented had he used one incredible invention that could help the NHL. Kevlar-laced socks are what some NHL players wear these days to protect themselves from having the same injury that Karlsson has now. The kevlar protects players even more than they are now and could help them stay on the ice more. In my opinion, with the potential of hockey players being in position to get cut by blades, the NHL must step in and make this type of equipment mandatory. If the players are not going to choose to keep themselves safe, then the NHL needs to make that decision for them.
These are my thoughts and these are my words. Until next time…….