Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pro Wrestling as an Olympic Sport (ETS Daily Exclusive)

While watching the Olympics, it's impossible not to think about how much things have changed. One needn't look any further than the opening ceremonies, which outdo themselves every year in terms of spectacle. Imagine what the competitors in the first modern games of 1896 would think if they saw a young man being flown by a harness and running over a projected video of blowing grass? Or an unfathomable amount of lesbian Canadian performers singing renditions of songs while people dressed up as Native Americans danced around paper mache volcanoes? Before they died of massive brain hemorrhaging, they'd probably think to themselves that maybe it's become more about the spectacle than the actual sporting events. As for the sporting events themselves, what actually constitues a sport? Or, more to the point, what constitues an Olympic sport? Take doubles figure skating for example. It is an Olympic sport that involves two participants taking part in a staged athletic display, who try to tell a story using music and an array of correographed moves. What makes this different from Pro Wrestling? Pro Wrestling, like most art forms, tries to tell a story. Not everyone can do it, but those who do it well have become legends in the ring. Wrestlers such as Lou Thesz, Ric Flair, Kurt Angle, and even the "immortal" Hulk Hogan each had their own ways of telling stories, and making people believe. They did it by choreographing moves in an athletic display in an effort to tell a compelling story. A great match, like a great skating performance, can bring people to their feet and insight emotions. Both events are staged, or as skeptics like to say, "fake," yet people who already know this to be the case can find themselves screaming at the top of their lungs in support of their favorite Wrestlers. I would like to see these great storytellers display their athletic art on an Olympic stage, and here's how they could do it. There would be a cruiserweight division, a heavyweight division, and a tag team division. Each competing country would have 8 competitors, including two cruiserweights, two heavyweights, and four tag team wrestlers. The wrestlers from each country, like a pair of olympic figure skators, would wrestle each other in an effort to have the best match possible in a predetermined amount of time. Say, 10 minutes. Judges, in their scoring, could include the exeuction of the moves, the pace of the match, the difficulty of the moves that were used, and the overall flow and story that was told in the match itself. There could also be a set of moves that must be performed during the match as part of an overall curriculum. There are wrestlers from all over the world, and many different countries could be represented well. Besides the U.S., countries such as Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Great Britain have rich professional wrestling traditions, as well as their own wrestling style. While it remains doubtful that Pro Wrestling will ever be adopted as an Olympic event, why not bring these great athletes onto the world's biggest stage, and allow them to perform their craft?

Forecast: Five More Years of Terror (ETS Daily Exclusive)

With Groundhog Day still fresh in our minds, it is only fitting to do a report on another rodent who recently reared his ugly head: Roger Goodell. As you may have heard team owners recently agreed to extend Roger’s already incredibly cushy contract by another five years, at about $10 million a year after bonuses. Since taking office the Gestapo of fun has seemingly done everything wrong, even his noble effort at player conduct reform amounted to a joke. Some honest players were railroaded by the system, all the while Bill Bilicheck got a slap on the wrist for Spygate, as according to Roger a fine (which I am sure Mr. Kraft who so vehemently supports this policy reimbursed Bill for), would be far more effective than suspending Bill. Why would it be more effective? Because Roger loves the Patriots and he loves when they win, a Bilicheck-less Patriots might not make the playoffs (although I think at that time Lord Thomas Brady could have gotten them their without a coach), and the Patriots out of the playoff means less bonuses for Roger. For more evidence on Roger’s obvious bias check out the Brady rule, as well as his love affair with Jerry Jones who is for some reason exempt from revenue sharing. I hate Pete Rozelle with a passion for a lot of his policy, but the one thing he did right was revenue sharing, it’s easy to hate revenue sharing when you own a big market team, but I digress. With controversy quickly compiling what does Roger announce next? Roger decides that not only do teams not need revenue sharing to stay afloat, but also that they don’t need a cap on team spending. Roger who up until now has been the second worst sports commissioner is quickly learning from the worst Bud Selig. Won’t it be wondrous when NFL playoff brackets become as predictable as the MLB? Watch as teams like the Raiders and Bills get worse and worse while the Cowboys buy everything they haven’t been able to earn in the past 10 years.

Roger claims this policy is only in effect to avoid the impending 2011 lockout, but I doubt that. Even after Roger’s announcement, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith made a statement that there is a 140% chance there will be a lockout. As much as I love NFL football I would love to see Roger with egg on his face. The man thinks he’s a godsend, he pretends he’s a saint. Last year Roger took a salary freeze as it was in his mind in the best interest of the NFL. Roger walked away with a measly $9,759,000, wow Roger what sacrifice! Lucky for the fans some teams are taking the high road and vow to stay within the realms of what a salary cap would be. One such the Pittsburg Steelers, acknowledge that this may hurt their competiveness, say that foresight (something Roger completely lacks) is more important. The Steelers recognize that when the salary cap is re-imposed teams will be forced to breach contracts, anger veterans, cut salaries and likely take a page out of the movie The Replacements. Personally I’m willing to take a year without the NFL if it means the end of Roger’s Reign, this is Rogers first time dealing with labor negations, and I pray team owners can him at the first sign of failure. Should Roger fail, fear not football fans, as the UFL is too the rescue. While the UFL has nothing on the XFL, it does have the backing of Mark Cuban, and it doesn’t have Roger. Just think with Roger removed from power; we can look forward to playful antics from the likes of Chad Ochocino and Terrell Owens. Maybe we’ll get a commissioner that doesn’t see fun as one of the seven deadly sin.
Friday, February 12, 2010

Jim Rome Sucks

ESPN should permanently replace Jim Rome with Marcellus Wiley, he is doing such a great job that I would even consider calling him Jim Rome, and just getting rid of the real Jim Rome.

Rookie Challenge Preview

Tonight marks the 16th annual Rookie Challenge game between the Rookies and Sophomores of the NBA, this is the night for all the league's fresh talent to show off to the world. The Rookies, coached by Nuggets assistant Adrian Dantley, don't have history on their side, the rookies haven't won the game since 2002 when Tony Parker, Pau Gasol, and Jason Richardson were on the team. Top rookie players include Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings and Johnny Flynn. A special assistant coach for the rookie team is former Texas Longhorn and 2008 Rookie of the Year, Kevin Durant. Durant led the sophomores to a 122-116 win last year with an astounding 46 points.
The Sophomores, led by Brook Lopez, Danilo Gallinari, Michael Beasley, and Marc Gasol are coched by NBA legend, and current assistant coach for the Magic, Patrick Ewing. Giving Ewing a hand on the bench is Raptors forward, and Olympic gold medalist Chris Bosh. The sophomores have a very strong team, and are looking to defend their streak of dominance in the game.
The game has a few rule changes that make it more interesting to watch, most notable is the college format time keeping. The NBA four quarters system is abandoned for the game, and the college twenty minute have system is substituted in. Teams are allowed one timeout per half, and player can not foul out, however the bonus is still used.
As a special treat to viewers at home, Miami Heat guard, Dwayne Wade, and Orlando Magic center, Dwight Howard will join the play-by-play announcers as broadcast analysts. Howard will also be an analyst for the first ever NBA Dunk-In contest at half time, the Dunk-In will determine the fourth and final participant for tomorrow Slam Dunk Contest.
Before the Rookie Challenge, the Celebrity All-Star Game will take place, notable players include; Terrell Owens, Mark Cuban, Robert Horry, Chris Tucker, and four Harlem Globetrotters. The teams for the celebrity game are coached by Alonzo Mourning and Magic Johnson. Tonight looks like a great start to All-Star Weekend, and the rest of the events look like they won't disappoint.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nets Move Away from Their New Jersey Americans Image (ETS Daily Exclusive)

This story is now two weeks old, but as I was at the center of the controversy, I figured I would wait for my anger to subside before commenting on it. I was in attendance at the 1/28 Washington Wizards @ Nets game sporting my Gilbert Arenas Jersey sitting behind the basket for FREEEEEEEEEE, when I spotted the most disgusting act by a Net all season. I wasn’t watching T-Will sleep through shoot around, Bobby Simmons suck the team out of millions a year without ever playing a game, or admiring CD-R lay court side on his stomach while kicking his feat like a horny school girl. No, in fact the game hadn’t even started yet. The disgusting act I am talking about; a ball-less practice dunk by Yi Jianlian during the national anthem. Anyone whose watched a Nets game knows watching Yi play is painful, his D is abysmal, he almost always has the ball stolen from him after rebounds and he walks around with a smug sense of entitlement, crying for fouls as if he somehow earned the level of respect Kobe has. However this act takes the cake, it was disrespectful to the country, to the anthem, to the fans and to the choir brought into sing the anthem. I’m aware that it wasn’t the anthem of his native country, but the least Yi could do is sit quietly and respectfully. I took action as soon as I got home emailing the NBA and the New Jersey Nets. Surprisingly I got a personalized apology from both and was more or less pacified by that. However after talking to some Nets fan my rage was renewed as I received some pretty asinine responses as to why Yi’s actions were ok. I won’t insult your intelligence by posting all the answer. The one that enraged me the most was that because athletes such as Josh Howard has purposely disrespected the country it was ok for anyone to do it on accident and moreover was most likely unaware of our cultural norms.

How is it acceptable? I have no idea. Yi had played in nearly 130 NBA games at this point in the season, and thus had stood (or in his case dunked) through 130 national anthems. During that period of time Yi had ample opportunity to learn what appropriate action during an NBA game was. Furthermore Yi comes from the totalitarian China, a government who tries to regulate every aspect of life, from how many children you have to what search engine you use. If Yi had done such a thing during the Chinese anthem, or worse yet an American had tried such a thing they likely would be reported missing the following morning. Yi should thank his lucky stars, being on a 4-48 team is a small price to pay for the right to speak your mind or disrespect the country. Now back to the Bobby Simmons argument, I could surely argue how being clueless about the consequences of your actions is worse than being purposefully disrespectful. However for that I will leave you with a link in the comments section, as more important to our discussion is the fact that Yi is not all that clueless. In fact even before Yi signed with an NBA team he displayed tell-tale signs of racism. After being drafted 6th overall in the 2007 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, YI demanded a trade, before even stepping on the court. According to Yi Milwaukee didn’t have a large enough Chinese population and thus wasn’t worthy of watching him play. After milking that angle for all it was worth Yi and his manager got Chinese officials involved and demanded that Yi get substantial playing time, because a gold medal for China in the 2008 Olympics was more important than the long term success of the Bucks. Such an arrogant, self-centered view of the game is exactly why Yi’s disrespectful dunk wasn’t just a clash of cultures, but likely Yi showing his pure hatred for Americans who aren’t good enough to watch him play. The New Jersey Nets have come a long way from their 1967-1968 ABA debut as the New Jersey Americans, in which they actually represented America and which they actually made it to the playoffs (but were forced to forfeit due to unfit playing conditions).
Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Nets Lose to Cavs, not Nearly as Badly as You'd Think (ETS Daily Exclusive)

The Nets held Lebron James to an astonishingly low 32 points and 11 assists, but the Nets lost for the 7th consecutive time. However, they only managed to lose 104-97, which is quite impressive. Most experts assuredly thought Lebron would put up 70 points, but instead of making the Nets cry he merely competed with them (probably to amuse himself). Brook Lopez had his first double-double since January 20th against the Suns, putting up 23 pts and 14 boards on 8-15 shooting. Courtney Lee had probably his best game as a Net, with 24 points and 7 boards on 9-15 shooting. Jarvis Hyes, thought to probably miss time after his collision on Saturday, threw up 19 points and was 8-13 from the floor. Yi was 5-9 for 11 points and added 8 rebounds. Sadly, even with many Nets contributing to the effort, it was only enough to hang around with the Cavs for 3 quarters, and never really threaten to beat them. With snow storms likely in Jersey, the Nets will travel back home to the 'ZOD to take on the Bucks tomorrow night in hopes of procuring win number 5. The Nets currently stand at 4-47.

Yi and Harris both Questionable Tonight (ETS Daily Exclusive)

It has been reported that Yi Jianlian has been battling shoulder problems of late, and woke up in considerable pain this morning, suggesting he might not play in tonight's assured blowout against the Cavaliers. Harris, who also is ailing from shoulder problems after Saturday's collision with Jarvis Hayes, is also questionable. Hayes, who bruised his shin, claims he will play. If the Nets were gonna sit one game out to rest up for another, this might as well be the game to do it, because even with all their starters in they have virtually no chance of emerging victorious. Plus, who knows, with Yi and Harris both sidelined, the Nets bench (which actually plays defense) might only allow them to lose by ten. Should both men decide not to play, it is predicted that Keyon Dooling and Kris Humphries would replace them as starters. God speed Nets, $#!t's about to go down in Cleveland.
Sunday, February 7, 2010

Taking Jay-Z to School for the Very First Time (ETS Daily Exclusive)

We have all heard something about Shawn Carter aka Jay-Z for most of us it’s that he has 99 problems. None of which are a bitch but also none of which can be fixed by his millions upon millions of dollars, which leads one to wonder what exactly problems he has really has. One problem which we can all agree that Jay has is of course that he has ties to the Nets. What we don’t know is why? Why would a millionaire who has professed his love for New York sports; particularly the Knicks buy a stake in the rival Nets? The most obvious answer comes from Nets superfan Mr. Whammy aka Bruce Reznick who also grew up a long time Knicks fan. According to Mr. Reznick he bought a stake in the Nets as a season ticket holder when he realized “he would never get eighth-row seats at Madison Square Garden”. However that answer really starts to fall apart when one realizes that Mr. Reznick is a delusional old man, running a small time law practice who believes he has the power to “whammy” free throw shooters into missing. Whereas Jay-Z is a bestselling artist who could likely buy the entire Izod Center with the profit he made off of his hit song Empire State of Mind.

A second theory has recently emerged in the sports world upon the release of a new article on high earning high school dropouts. At the top of the list was of course Jay-Z, who according to the article “grew up in one of Brooklyn's roughest housing projects, dealing drugs”. Since that rough start (though not nearly as rough as the start the Nets had this season 0-18) Jay-Z has managed to remain a mainstay in hip-hop. While he may have acquired money, it would seem he did not acquire common sense. It was understandable when Jay invested that $4.5 million in the Nets, they were an OK team. However, the Nets have been on the decline since their 2006 playoff appearance so why hasn’t Jay-Z sold his share? Some would say lack of education, while he may make massive bank with the appearance of the Nets new lord and savior Mikhail Prokhorov and their nearly ensured 2010-2011 playoff appearance, it is doubtful he saw this one coming when he made that initial down payment. So why has Jay-Z kept his share of the Nets all these years despite his obvious indifference to them? Maybe it is all about intelligence, maybe Jay-Z invested after that playoff run expecting them to play well the next year? Maybe after investing he simply forgot he’s a minority owner? Or maybe he has so much money he just doesn’t give a shit. In my mind Jay-Z’s lack luster support of his own team will continue until the move to Brooklyn at which point I suspect we’ll be seeing Jay rotating in a Nets hat in between Yankee games and turf wars. In the end who am I to criticize Jay-Z he makes millions doing what he loves and I co-run an unsuccessful sports blog.
Post your own theories in the comments section.


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