Irving, Celtics set to dethrone the Warriors

By Zaheer Clarke

Published November 20, 2017

Kyrie Irving and his new team, the Boston Celtics, seems set to dethrone the last two NBA champions: the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors.

Kyrie Irving and LeBron James won an NBA championship together. A year later Irving wanted out of the Cleveland.
(Photo credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Earlier this summer when rumours swirled that Kyrie Irving wanted to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers, the question everyone asked was why. Why would Irving want to leave a team that went to NBA Finals three years in a row? Why would Irving want to stop playing with arguably the best basketball player in the world right now, or possibly the second best player of all-time, LeBron James? Why? Why? Why?

Somehow, the Boston Celtics eventually enticed the Cavaliers in a dance and trade that saw Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas and Cavaliers’ Irving switching teams. The Cavaliers got other pieces, but the Thomas-Irving switch was the eye-catching part of the swap. We then learned that Thomas was injured and wouldn’t start for the Cavaliers until possibly 2018. Irving was healthy and rearing to go for the Celtics, who also acquired former Utah Jazz star Gordon Hayward. Continue reading

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LaVar Ball is great for the NBA

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published October 30, 2017

For some individuals, LaVar Ball is the “worst thing to happen to basketball in the last hundred years.” On the other hand, right now, he may be the best thing for the NBA. 

LaVar Ball has turned heads in more ways than one with his sons and how he manages their promising careers.
(Photo credit: Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

If you follow the NBA and College Basketball, then for the past year-and-a-half you must have heard about LaVar Ball. In 2015, Ball was introduced to the world as the father of three sons, Lonzo, LaMelo and LiAngelo, all elite basketball prospects. He and his wife Tina, a biracial couple, coached an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team named Big Ballers VXT for which their three sons played. Thereafter in 2015-2016 prep basketball season, all three brothers played for their high school team, Chino Hills High, which went undefeated. Chino Hills amassed a record of 35-0 to be crowned sectional, state and national champions. This was a true Hollywood story.

Starting in late 2016, LaVar blew up on social media when he made some bodacious comments regarding his sons, their talent level, their future destinations and even his own skillset. For one, he guaranteed that his son, Lonzo, would win the national college basketball title playing for the UCLA. Unfortunately, UCLA didn’t. They lost to Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA tournament. He further remarked that Lonzo was a better than Steph Curry. He even went down the sacrilegious viewpoint, according to some, when he claimed that back in his day, he would kill Michael Jordan in one-on-one basketball. The basketball world went berserk. Continue reading

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

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