Boring NBA All-Star game needed to change

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published October 9, 2017

The NBA All-Star Game had become a circus and an insult to the fans. The NBA announced major changes to the format for the 2018 edition. Will the changes restore the fans’ interest?

A week after the 2017 NBA All-Star game, NBA Commissioner (left) and NBPA president Chris Paul started discussions about possible changes to the All-Star game. The changes were announced last week.
(Source: Slam Online)

The National Basketball Association made a ground-breaking announcement last week regarding the NBA All-Star and how the members of each team will be selected. For 66 editions spanning 67 years, All-stars from one conference played against All-stars from the other conference in the traditional West versus East battle. However, the 2018 edition of the All-Star game will mark a new chapter in the NBA’s Exhibition battle.

On Tuesday, the NBA declared that the East versus West model would be abolished for a model where the opposing teams could comprise players from both conferences as teammates. As in the past, twelve players from each conference will be selected to play in the All-Star game. The starting five of each team will be elected by a combination of voting by the fans, the players and media members. The head coaches will pick the seven reserves from each conference. Nothing new, right? Continue reading

Advertisements

Kevin Durant: the X-factor to Warriors’ success

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Written June 2, 2017
Published June 5, 2017

Last year, the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors to claim the NBA title. This year, Kevin Durant will be the difference-maker for the Warriors.

Kevin Durant and LeBron James first Finals clash was the 2012 NBA Finals. How will the second meeting unfold? 
(Source: Marques Says Blog)

Last Thursday, the 2017 NBA Finals begun the trilogy between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. The game was a re-introduction of Kevin Durant to the NBA Finals, after a five-year hiatus since the Oklahoma Thunder played LeBron James’ Miami Heat in the 2012 Finals.

Back in 2012, the Thunder battled the Heat with James Harden and Russell Westbrook, this year’s MVP front-runners, in tandem with Durant up against James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Thunder made easy work of the Western Conference that year, beating the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs on their way to the Finals. The Heat, surprisingly, were pushed through the playoffs by the Indiana Pacers and a tough-nosed Boston Celtics. Expectedly, Thunder was supposed to make light work of the Heat as well, even though, James, Wade and Bosh – two seasons earlier – were three of the top-4 players in the league in terms of player efficiency rating (PER). After the Thunder won game one of that series by 11 points, Heat stormed to the championship winning the next four games by a combined 31 points to give LeBron James his first NBA title and Final MVP crown. Continue reading

Sports, Technology & the Future: Will robots entertain us?

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published March 13, 2017

Sports is big business and technology has played an integral part in how we are entertained today through sports. Will robots entertain us in future and be our future sports stars?

Deandre Jordan is seen shooting while wearing a wristband that records his biometrics.
(Source: ESPN)

Recently, DeAndre Jordan, the NBA’s leader in defensive rebounds and field goal percentage, wore a little biometric computer called WHOOP on his wrist in an NBA game. The WHOOP tracks his heart rate, skin temperature and other metrics. The device according to Jordan has assisted him with recovery after travelling as well as with his sleeping and eating habits. In essence, Jordan told ESPN’s TrueHoop that the device has taught him what he needs to do and what he does not need to do.

A few weeks later, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, using former New Orleans Pelicans’ Langston Galloway showcased some of the real-time biometrics data that could be collected on an NBA athlete. With wires strapped to his stomach and chest, viewers were able to view biometric data on Galloway’s heart rate, skin temperature, oxygen levels, respiration levels, sleep quality, caffeine levels, and blood pressure. Technology like this is currently banned in the NBA and not allowed under the current collective bargaining agreement, but that may change in the new deal due this year. Continue reading

The Warriors are in trouble, or are they?

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published March 6, 2017

With Kevin Durant injured, several individuals believe the Warriors are doomed to make it out of the West. Don’t sound the alarm just yet. The injury might make the team better.

Kevin Durant to the Warriors, the rest of the NBA’s nightmare happened.
(Photo credit: SN illustration/Getty Images)

Seven months ago, former MVP and eight-time All-Star Kevin Durant released a statement that shocked the world and changed the landscape of the NBA possibly forever. Part of his statement simply read, “I have decided that I am going to join the Golden State Warriors.”

At the end of the last NBA Season, the Cleveland Cavaliers were crowned NBA Champions with Lebron James lifting his team from a 3-1 deficit against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. Two weeks after his team’s meteoric rise from the proverbial ashes, their beaten rivals in the NBA Finals, the Warriors, acquired former MVP and eight-time NBA All-Star Kevin Durant. The Warriors were the newly crowned best regular season team in NBA history, copping 73 wins in their 82-game regular season. This feat had just eclipsed the former record set by the all-conquering 1995-96 Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan of 72 wins. However, the Warriors failed to cap off the effort by winning the NBA title. Continue reading

Jamaica could learn lessons from Iceland’s success

By Zaheer E. Clarke
Published July 4, 2016

The blueprint to reverse the misfortunes of Jamaican football may lie within Iceland’s recent path to success in European and world football.

LeBron James hoists the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy after the Cleveland Cavaliers come from 3-1 down in the series to defeat the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals. (Photo credit: Ezra Shaw)

LeBron James hoists the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy after the Cleveland Cavaliers come from 3-1 down in the series to defeat the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals.
(Photo credit: Ezra Shaw)

The year 2016 seems to be the year of fairy tales in sports. From Leicester’s improbable run to win the English Premier League (EPL), to Cleveland’s comeback from 3-1 down in the NBA Finals against the greatest regular season team in history, and now Iceland’s destined run in the European Championships, of a certainty, anything is possible against all odds.

At the beginning of the 2015-16 EPL season, Leicester started out as 500-1 underdogs to win the EPL title. Eight games before the end of the previous season, 2014-15, they were relegation bound and at the bottom of the table. However, the team, centred in belief, made the great escape and not only escaped, they trounced the preponderant teams of English football, a little over a year later. From April 4, 2015, Leicester’s last day at the bottom of the table, to the end of the 2016 season, Leicester have been better than the luxuriant Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea by 16, 17, 20, 26, 32 and 33 points respectively. Nothing is impossible if you only believe. Continue reading