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NFL: Detroit Lions make Matthew Stafford the highest paid QB in history.

The Lions quarterback signed a record breaking contract extension on Monday that positioned him to earn a jaw dropping $151.5 million through the 2022 season. The deal will make Stafford the highest paid player in the NFL and will ultimately heap more pressure on the skilled quarterback to lead the Lions to a deep run in the post-season.

Under the contract, Stafford will be guaranteed $60.5 million at signing and $86 million by the beginning of year two. The full amount of $92 million is guaranteed for year three and will keep the franchise quarterback under contract for five years, ensuring that the Lions keep Stafford for the majority of his prime years.

Stafford had a solid statistical year in 2016, recording 4,327 yards while throwing 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on the season. Despite his volume throwing and ability to create plays on offense, the Lions were not a great football team.

Last season saw the Lions fall to another mediocre year at 9-7, unable to make a push in the playoffs. Whether Stafford wants to admit it or not, his new contract will have expectations set through it. The struggling franchise needs a successful season in the near future to justify granting Stafford a max-contract.

While Detroit’s defense needs improvement, their offense should have a breakthrough season. The Lions receivers must make an impact this upcoming season, the talented tandem of Golden Tate and Eric Ebron will be carrying much of the offensive load. Improving the running game is a vital part of success for the Lions who ranked 30th in rushing yards during the 2016 season.

Whether Stafford delivers a great season in Detroit is yet to be determined, the Lions play in a tough division with the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings being their chief competition.

Will Detroit reach the Super Bowl this season? probably not, however that is not the expectation for a franchise that has been devoid of playoff success for the past 20 years. A concrete improvement would be to win a division title and progress to make a run in the playoffs that will engage and excite a Detroit fan base that has been loyal and starving for post-season success.

The Lions will begin their 2017 campaign against the Arizona Cardinals on September 10th at home, visit Ticketmaster.com to book your season opener at Ford Field.

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NFL: how great will Tom Brady be at 40?

Tom Brady will enter the upcoming season with the New England Patriots as a 40-year old quarterback. The position has been unforgiving for the majority of players that have attempted to lead a team at that age.

However, Brady has been shattering the mold of what aging quarterbacks are able to accomplish as their careers advance. Last year the 39-year old advanced to a seventh Super Bowl appearance and a fifth Lombardi trophy.

Not only did ‘Tom Terrific’ excel in the playoffs, his regular season statistics were equally amazing registering 28 Touchdowns, two interceptions and 3,554 yards on the season in which he played a total of 12 games.

The only quarterback to have a decent campaign over the 40-year old mark was NFL legend Warren Moon, who in 1997 was selected to a Pro-Bowl and led the league with 245.2 passing yards per game.

At this juncture in his career, Brady will be competing against his own records so to speak. The ultimate goal will be to lead the Patriots to another Super Bowl, the additions of wide receiver Brandin Cooks and cornerback Stephon Gilmore give the team a boost on offense as well as defense.

Barring any catastrophic injuries, the Patriots should be able to accomplish another 12-14 win season, the AFC East is a relatively weak division that New England will dominate for another season.

The roster is loaded on the offensive side of the football while the defense is more than capable of being an efficient squad. Bill Belichick is still the best coach in the NFL and will give Brady the opportunity to have the best season a 40-year old quarterback has ever had.

If Brady plays at the pace and productivity of last season, that would suffice to prove that he can still perform at the highest level despite his age. However individual statistics will not be the marker for a successful season if the Patriots do not advance to a Super Bowl with the firepower they possess.

The defending champions will have much to prove this upcoming season and Brady will be the first to set the expectations and lead the team with his on field performance, with the Oakland Raiders rising to contention behind their young star Derek Carr and a worthy opponent in the Pittsburgh Steelers and the revamping Denver Broncos.

The tandem of Brady and Belichick is a proven formula, the Patriots are still the favorites to come out of the AFC and contend for a Super Bowl this season.

Mayweather vs. McGregor super fight is set

Floyd Mayweather will fight Conor McGregor in a boxing match on August 26th in Las Vegas. The highly anticipated bout has come to fruition after months of speculation, both camps have come to an agreement after UFC President Dana White and CEO of Mayweather Promotions Leonard Ellerbe announced the fight.

Both promoters revealed the historical context of the fight and how the clash has the potential to be the largest event in combat sports history:

 

White and Ellerbe will lead the charge in promoting this colossal fight for the next three months, Here are the latest details:

154 pounds will be the official weight for the bout, McGregor has fought at this weight previously when he beat Eddie Alvarez at 155 and captured the UFC lightweight championship last November. Floyd has also fought at 154 pounds numerous times throughout his illustrious boxing career.

The super fight will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on August 26th. Mayweather loves to fight in Vegas which is one of the premier destinations for the biggest boxing matches in history.

Mayweather and McGregor will box with 10-ounce gloves continuing the traditional format of a boxing match. The fight will not incorporate any elements of Mixed Martial Arts.

The fight will be 12 rounds at three minutes per round. Both champions will be tested by USADA ( United States Anti-Doping Agency), who also currently handle the UFC’s testing and doping policies.

Ticket availability and pricing have yet to be determined, but taking into consideration the magnitude of this fight, tickets will have a hefty price tag attached to them, (upward of a $1000).

The payday for both fighters is expected to be well over 100 million each despite McGregor being a novice in the boxing world, the fight will draw viewers and attract stars in attendance who will be clamoring to be a part of this historic event.

Follow me on Twitter @laithmalhas91 for more updates on the fight.

NBA Finals: four adjustments Cleveland must make to win game 3 at home.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are down 0-2 in the Finals after being blown out in back to back games at Oracle Arena. The defending champions have a chance to regroup and win game 3 on their home court in Cleveland, however, achieving that will require a few adjustments from the Cavaliers.

The Warriors are seemingly an insurmountable force on offense, but their defense can be exploited in certain areas as well as in the paint. The first half of game 2 was close as LeBron James was attacking the rim with reckless abandon, no defenders on the Golden State crew could handle what James was dishing out.

Here we look at four factors that would give Cleveland the edge:

KYRIE IRVING MUST SHINE

Irving struggled in the first two games in Oakland despite averaging 21.5 points per game. His defense was limited and could not slow down Steph Curry at crucial junctures throughout the game. Kyrie will have to score over 30 points and start setting up his teammates on the offensive end.

Irving only combined for 9 assists in two games, until Kyrie creates some offense and starts making defensive plays against Curry, the Cavaliers will continue to struggle at home. The All-Star point guard might have to explode for 40-points as he did in last year’s Finals, which will give LeBron some relief on the offensive side.

 

CAVS MUST WIN THE BATTLE OF THE BOARDS

Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love must win this battle. Offensive rebounds are also imperative to the team’s success on offense as it will keep plays alive, making it difficult for Draymond Green and Kevin Durant to push the ball up the court.

Golden State is winning the total rebounding match 103-100, the Cavaliers will need to dominate the boards going forward in order to limit the Warriors scoring spurts in transition. The Warriors are virtually unstoppable in transition, Cleveland’s best strategy would be to win the rebound battle and force Golden State to run half court plays in a set offense.

Golden State Warriors v Cleveland Cavaliers

SUPPORTING CAST MUST HELP OUT

J.R Smith has scored a total of three points in two games while Kyle Korver has put up 8 points. The two sharpshooters have been non-existent and will have to produce in game 3 to equal what Klay Thompson and Green are producing on the offensive side.

The Cavaliers bench will have to step up their game as well, Deron Williams has offered no relief at the point guard position for Irving. Role players usually perform better at home and feed off their crowd for energy, that might improve their performances in games 3 and 4.

2016 NBA Finals - Game Six

THE 40 POINT CLUB

The king of Akron is performing at a high level and is averaging a triple-double with 28.5 PPG, 13.0 RPG and 11.0 APG. Despite his great performances in both games, the Cavaliers were still outmatched and blown out by an average of 20-points.

In order to beat these Warriors, James must score more and enter the realm of 40 or more points. As we witnessed in last year’s Finals, LeBron went on a tear in back to back 40-point performances that led his team to victory. James will need a few ‘Jordanesque’ scoring games to match Golden State’s high-powered offense.

LeBron must take the reigns and score at will as he did in the first half of game 2 and continue that for four quarters. The team will also have to take care of the basketball and limit turnovers throughout for Cleveland to tie up the series.

 

Game 3 will commence tonight; 9:00 PM at the Quicken Loans Arena.

The BIG3 American League brings 3-on-3 basketball to the national stage

Allen Iverson and Chauncey Billups along with Jason Williams and Mike Bibby are all making a comeback this summer. Not to the NBA, but to the new 3-on-3 basketball league that will air exclusively on Fox Sports 1 in June.

The impetus behind this new project has been spearheaded by hip-hop legend and Hollywood actor Ice Cube. His idea came to fruition back in January when the announcement was officially made.

The new 3-on-3 professional basketball league will bring NBA legends and former players who will participate in a touring league that will last ten weeks. The BIG3 league will have eight teams comprised of five players coupled with a head coach for each roster.

The league will be managed by the players and the appointed Commissioner Roger Mason Jr. a former player in the NBA. Of course, these players are not in the prime of their careers but are competitive none the less. The game format of 3-on-3 is designed for excitement and fierce competition between the former marquee names.

Kenyon Martin, Jermaine O’Neal, and Rashard Lewis will be playing in this tournament. The coaches also add an element of intrigue as NBA legends Gary Payton and Julius “Dr.J” Erving will be calling plays on the sidelines.

Now that we have highlighted the caliber of players that will be participating, let us have a look at how the game will be played and what rules apply.

RULES OF 3 ON 3:

  • The standard two and three point shots are intact.
  • A half court game is implemented.
  • There will be a 4-point shot on the court highlighted as a 4″ circle.
  • The first team to 60 points wins / Halftime occurs when a team scores 30 points.
  • Personal fouls result in team fouls, no foul out rule.
  • A defensive three-second rule does not apply.

The league’s version is similar to the traditional three on three basketball game with a few variations to enhance the excitement for fans. The launching day of the BIG3 League will be on June 25th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

The inaugural day will showcase four games that will segway into a nationwide tour through Los Angeles and Seattle as well as Charlotte to name a few. The championship game will be played in Las Vegas on August 26th at the T-Mobile Arena which will culminate a 10-week tour of fierce basketball action.

Success of the BIG3 League will depend on the ratings it produces, fans will have to support this new brand of entertainment and patronize the games as well. Ticket sales and viewership will determine whether or not this concept will have longevity.

If the league can eventually attract the likes of Kobe Bryant or Kevin Garnett that would further legitimize the tournament. If retired legends of the NBA start signing up to play in the future that would provide a major incentive for others to follow suit.

The timing of this tournament could not be more fitting, sports fans will be occupied with an event that begins right after the NBA Finals and will end before the start of another football season in the NFL.

The eight team rosters and coaches can be seen in depth on the BIG3 official site where you can also book your game tickets.

NBA: top 5 most dominant runs in playoff history

In light of the recent dominance from the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden state Warriors, we look at the most successful playoff runs in NBA history.

No team in NBA history has been able to stay perfect during a playoff run to a championship however, some teams have come close.

The 2017 playoffs have two teams capable of running the table to the NBA Finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors both halfway there with an 8-0 record in the playoffs in their respective conferences so far.

The Cavaliers will have a much easier opponent in the Eastern Conference Finals, whether it is the Boston Celtics or the Washington Wizards, as both squads lack the experience and talent to overcome the Cavs and LeBron James, who is performing at an all-time level in these playoffs.

The Warriors will face sterner resistance from either the San Antonio Spurs or the Houston Rockets.

Both teams have a chance to enter the Finals with (12-0) record and solidify their excellence in playoff history, here is a look at five teams who achieved the best records in the postseason:

5) 1986-87 LOS ANGELES LAKERS

PLAYOFF FORMAT: 5-7-7-7

PLAYOFF RECORD: 15-3

Led by Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the Lakers ran through the 1987 Western Conference, sweeping the Denver Nuggets in the first round, then defeating the Golden State Warriors in five games in the second round. T

heir success continued by sweeping the Seattle Supersonics in the conference finals to set the stage for a clash with Larry Bird and his Boston Celtics in the Finals. The Lakers defeated their bitter rivals 4-2 and completed one of the most dominant runs in playoff history.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings

 4) 1988-89 DETROIT PISTONS

PLAYOFF FORMAT: 5-7-7-7

PLAYOFF RECORD: 15-2

The year of the Bad Boys, Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars led the rough and intimidating Pistons to one of the best streaks in American sports. They only lost two games in the Eastern Conference Finals to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls, Detroit dismantled all their other opponents in four games including the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals.

Detroit Pistons pose for a team photo

3) 1990-91 CHICAGO BULLS 

PLAYOFF FORMAT: 5-7-7-7

PLAYOFF RECORD: 15-2

The first of six championships for the Bulls, Michael Jordan was a man possessed during the ’91 playoffs and was determined to lead the franchise to its first title. The Bulls swept the New York Knicks in the first round, handled the Philadelphia 76ers in five games then swept the Pistons in the conference finals.

Chicago met the Lakers and Magic in the Finals and easily dispatched the older team in five games to claim their first championship in franchise history.

Chicago Bulls:Horace Grant and Michael Jordan

2) 1982-83 PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

PLAYOFF FORMAT: 3-7-7-7

PLAYOFF RECORD: 12-1

The opening round of NBA playoffs during the 1980’s was a best of three series. The 76ers were a juggernaut first seed in the East and earned a first-round bye at the time. Julius (Dr.J) Erving and Moses Malone led their team to a sweep of the Knicks in the semifinals, afterward defeating the Milwaukee Bucks (4-1) in the conference finals.

The 83′ showdown it was called, Philadelphia obliterated the Lakers in four games and avenged their two previous losses to Los Angeles in the championship round.

Los Angeles Lakers vs Philadelphia 76ers, 1983 NBA Finals

2000-01 LOS ANGELES LAKERS 

PLAYOFF FORMAT: 5-7-7-7

PLAYOFF RECORD: 15-1

Considered the best one-two punch in league history at the time, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal were in their prime and ready to wreak havoc on the rest of the NBA. The Laker swept all their Western Conference opponents to reach the Finals with an (11-0) record.

The 76ers and Allen Iverson were standing in the way of a perfect post-season for the Lakers, Shaq and Kobe took over the series but could not end on a perfect note, Los Angeles lost the opening game at home (107-101) in overtime off a 48-point performance from Allen Iverson. The Lakers won every game after that to win back-to-back titles.

Kobe Bryant talks with Shaquille O''Neal.

If the Cavaliers and Warriors meet in the finals, there is zero chance that either team could sweep the other. The story line could shape up into two super teams meeting in the NBA Finals for a trilogy with perfect (12-0) records coming out of their conferences.

NBA’s 50 greatest players: who are the next ten on the list?

During the 1997 NBA All-Star game, the league celebrated the top 50 players in league history. The stars assembled at halftime and were ushered onto the stage for a group photo that captured the historic moment.

NBA 50 Greatest Players

The NBA’s 50 greatest players gathered during the 1997 NBA All-Star game.

The late great Wilt Chamberlain was present, along with Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell and Philadelphia 76ers legend Julius “Dr.J” Erving. Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson were some of the other notable players present at the celebration.

Twenty years have passed since the greatest players in league history were exalted into basketball lore. Great players have emerged since that celebration, some transcendent players have entered the league and have made basketball history, winning championships and MVP awards and further globalizing the NBA game.

This list illustrates the next ten players that should be added to the existing 50 greatest in NBA history.

KOBE BRYANT 

CAREER STATS: 25 PPG / 4.7 APG / 5.2 RPG

It was easy to start off the list with the “Mamba”. Perhaps the best scoring guard the league has ever seen since Michael Jordan. Bryant is a five-time NBA champion and two-time finals MVP and a regular season MVP.

Kobe retired in 2016, third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with (33,643) total points. Bryant had a storied career in the league, his competitive vigor and work ethic was legendary, leaving behind a legacy of winning and excellence on the basketball court.

TIM DUNCAN 

CAREER STATS: 19 PPG / 10.8 RPG / 2.2 BPG

The “Big Fundamental” is considered to be the greatest power forward in NBA history. Duncan is a five-time NBA champion, three-time finals MVP and a two-time regular season MVP.

The dominant power forward led the San Antonio Spurs to a decade of greatness and championship contention. Duncan was a 15-time All-Star and became the only player in NBA history to be named to All-NBA first and All-NBA defensive teams in 13 seasons.

LEBRON JAMES 

CAREER STATS: 27.1 PPG / 7 RPG / 7.2 RPG

Based on what Lebron James has accomplished so far in his career, the “King of Akron” is already deserving to be on this list. Lebron is a three-time NBA champion coupled with three finals MVPs, James has been to the NBA finals a record six times in a row and seven overall.

The four-time league MVP is 32-years of age and is still adding to his legacy. Lebron is a five-time NBA All-Defensive first team player, further proving his all-around ability as a basketball player.

ALLEN IVERSON

CAREER STATS: 26.7 PPG / 6.2 APG / 2.2 SPG

Also known as “The Answer”, Iverson was a cultural icon and the best small player in his era. Known for his quick handles and ambidextrous crossovers, Iverson made a career of scoring while playing against giants around him.

Iverson was recently inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, the culmination of a great career. Despite his inability to win a championship, Iverson was an 11-time All-Star, a four-time NBA scoring champion and led the NBA in steals three years in a row.

KEVIN GARNETT

CAREER STATS: 17.8 PPG / 10 RPG / 1.4 BPG

The “Big Ticket” started his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves and was an instant life changer for the franchise. The fiercely competitive power forward revolutionized his position in the NBA, earning him MVP honors in 2004.

The trade to the Boston Celtics won him his first and only championship in 2008, alongside Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Garnett was a 15-time All-Star and a nine-time NBA All-Defensive first team player during his illustrious 21-year career in the league.

DIRK NOWITZKI

CAREER STATS: 21.8 PPG / 7.8 RPG / 2.5 APG

The German power forward has played for the Dallas Mavericks since 1998, becoming one of the best shooting forwards the NBA has ever witnessed. Nowitzki is a threat on the outside and possesses solid post moves to compliment his great shooting.

Dirk led the Mavericks to a championship in 2011, earning him his first title and finals MVP. He won league MVP in 2007 and achieved the 50-40-90 statistic, which means Nowitzki’s shot over 50% from the field, 40% from the three-point line and 90% from the free throw line during that season. Nowitzki is a 13-time All-Star and a four-time All-NBA first team player.

GARY PEYTON

CAREER STATS: 16.3 PPG / 6.7 APG / 3.9 RPG

Fittingly named the “Glove” for his defensive excellence, Peyton was known for shutting down his opponents during his prime years with the Seattle Supersonics. He is the only point guard in NBA history to win defensive player of the year. Gary was named to nine All-NBA defensive first teams, a nine-time NBA All-Star and an NBA champion in 2006 with the Miami Heat during the latter years of his career.

Peyton was also known for his trademark trash talk on the court, which irritated and intimidated most of his opponents. Gary was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.

DWAYNE WADE

CAREER STATS: 23.3 PPG / 5.7 APG / 4.5 RPG

“Flash”, he was called in 2006 by his then-teammate Shaquille O’Neal. Wade is a three-time NBA champion with the Miami Heat, where he established himself as one of the best scoring guards in the NBA. During his tenure with the Heat, Wade teamed up with Lebron James and Chris Bosh to form their super team in 2010.

They went on to win two titles and contend for a four-year stretch that was remarkable. This season witnessed Wade leave the Heat and sign with his hometown Chicago Bulls. Wade is a 12-time NBA All-Star, a Finals MVP, and an NBA scoring champion.

DOMINIQUE WILKINS 

CAREER STATS: 24.8 PPG / 6.7 RPG / 2.5 APG

The “Human Highlight Film” was the high-flying small forward playing for the Atlanta Hawks during the 80’s and early 90’s. Perhaps best known for his amazing dunks and his duel’s with Michael Jordan in the NBA slam-dunk contest, splitting wins with Jordan and winning another, Wilkins was a great scorer during that era as well.

He was a 9-time NBA All-Star and a scoring champion, Wilkins ended his career with (26,668) points scored, Dominique never won a championship during his career but was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

CHRIS WEBBER

CAREER STATS: 20.7 PPG / 9.8 RPG / 1.4 BPG

Chris Webber was a versatile center that played both sides of the ball, making him offensively and defensively effective. Webber had his best years with the Sacramento Kings, leading them to contention in a stacked western conference with multiple powerful teams during the early 2000’s.

Webber was a five-time All-Star, an NBA rookie of the year and a former number one draft pick in the NBA. He currently works for TNT/NBA broadcasting, providing color commentary as well.

This list was put together based on the player’s overall body of work. Compiling championships, MVPs and career averages.

Give us your feedback on who you think should be on the list. 

Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor super fight a possibility: does McGregor have a chance in a boxing ring?

The Super fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor could come to fruition in the near the future, a deal has yet to be reached, but both fighters are indicating that an agreement is inevitable.

Both fighters are great in their respective professions, but the fact that Mcgregor has won nearly all his UFC fights with striking and stand-up, suggests that he could enter a boxing ring and hold his own against a boxer.

Conor McGregor started out as a boxer in his early years as a youth fighter in Ireland. But he ultimately switched over to Mixed Martial Arts and has made history in the UFC, becoming a two-weight world champion.

However, Mayweather is no run of the mill boxer, the retired welterweight champion has never lost in his career and has solidified himself as the best defensive boxer of all time. His pure boxing skills are mesmerizing to watch and not many fighters are able to catch him with devastating blows.

Presuming the fight does happen under boxing rules, does Conor McGregor, who is a novice in professional boxing, have any chance at beating Floyd Mayweather?

No, and here is why:

EXPERIENCE

Floyd Mayweather Jr. has fought Canelo Alvarez, who was younger and bigger, he also fought a full fledged Welterweight in Shane Mosley. Tough fighters like Marcos Maidana who gave Mayweather some fits, but Floyd ultimately won both fights against the Argentinian. Oscar De La Hoya was another fighter that Floyd conquered in his boxing career.

McGregor’s awkward style might be challenging to Floyd in the early stages of the bout, however, Mayweather can adapt to his style and movement and will pick him apart with his ring experience.

BOXING ABILITY

When it comes to pure boxing skills, few will argue that Floyd is at the top of the list. The defensive skills he possesses are second to none. Quick reflexes and his ability to slip and roll with punches always keeps fighters fearful of his dexterity.

Mayweather boxes at different angles, the shoulder protruding slightly outward as he purveys the fighter in front of him. He is constantly moving, trying to anticipate the fighters next move.

Although Floyd has never had devastating punching power, the punches he delivers are precise. They are effective and fast, to go along with his great hand-foot speed in the ring.

Mayweather’s task is to not get hit, he will take a couple blows as the fight progresses, but his defense keeps him relatively untouched. When he finally fought Manny Pacquiao many boxing experts predicted beforehand that Floyd would get hit and hurt throughout the bout. But Mayweather proved that his skills were superior to Manny and made him look mediocre over 12 rounds.

INTELLIGENCE

Floyd’s intelligence inside the ring has been lauded by experts and pundits over the length of his career. As Mayweather often says,”No one can crack the may Vinci code”, which has reigned true for the past 20 years.

Floyd’s tremendous anticipation and attention to detail have him above and beyond all the boxers in his generation. A vital reason for Floyd’s longevity in the sport is the fact that he avoided taking hits and punishment over his career. His mind has been a weapon in the ring and has paid dividends for Floyd.

VERDICT

The chances of Conor beating Floyd under boxing rules are slim to none. The only advantage Conor has over Floyd is age, Floyd is 40 years old while McGregor is still 28 and in his prime. But Mayweather has stayed in tremendous shape since his retirement.

If for all intent and purposes the fight does happen, Floyd will dominate Conor in a boxing match as would Conor in an MMA match. The build up would be a spectacle to behold, the fight will be closely followed, even if purest on both sides do not approve of the bout, it is still box-office entertainment and the amount of revenue this super fight will generate is the reason both fighters will clash.

Watch some of Floyd Mayweather’s greatest highlights:

NBA: How has the game changed over the last two decades?

The NBA has drastically changed over the years and what the game was in the 1990’s to the early 2000’s has been quite different. The way the game is coached and played is different, the modern athletes in the NBA are the complete antithesis of players in the past.

The NBA has always relied heavily on star power and those stars attract millions of fans around the world. Despite the popularity of the league, there are fundamental issues that are affecting the NBA game in a negative manner:

 

1. THREE POINT SHOT

The three-pointer is the great equalizer in the NBA during the last decade, but never was it abused to the point it is now. More players are living beyond the arch in today’s game, which might be great for teams like the Golden State Warriors because they have a tandem of excellent shooters, but when you watch other teams constantly chuck up three-pointers up and down the court it seems excessive.

The Houston Rockets are attempting 51.0 three-pointers in their last three games this season and 40.4 attempts on the season. The average for NBA teams this season is 26.7 attempts per game with 9.7 three-pointers made per game.

There will be experts that claim the players are becoming better shooters and that is why they attempt shots from further out than in recent decades. But the game has somewhat become watered down to dunks and three-pointers.

NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley has criticized this style of offense, pointing out that teams cannot solely rely on the outside shot, there must be a low post game to compliment.

Even the best shooter in the league gets into slumps:

 

The three-point shot is important but should not be the primary source of offense. The inside-out game will give three-point shooters plenty of attempts throughout the game. A large aspect of basketball skills will continue to go missing if this trend continues to dominate the NBA game.

ZONE DEFENSE

The younger fans might not remember the style of defense that was played during the 90’s and early 2000’s, but that is no excuse, a true student of the game should go back and watch how different era’s played the game.

Most NBA fans can remember a time where centers and power forwards were menacing figures playing around the painted area. The Physical aspect of defense was a staple of basketball, guards would pay “a price” on their way to the basket. Hard screens coupled with shoving for position, the defense would make the offense work for every point.

The introduction of the zone defense was very detrimental to individual defensive skills. The zone defense basically hides players that cannot defend well, man to man defense is a strategy that shows how well a player can cover his opponent.

The referees call the game with a hypersensitivity to physicality, the rules have already been tailored to give offensive players more flexibility. Hand checking has been taken out of the game and defenders can barely touch players today without getting called for a foul, especially when it comes to superstars.

Watch how Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls played the “Bad Boys” Detroit Pistons:

 

POST GAME

The low post game is virtually nonexistent in today’s NBA. A handful of centers and power forwards are developing and using post skills. Let us not forget when Shaquille O’Neal dominated the league from the center position, a time when Tim Duncan used his post play and fundamentals to dominate the power forward position.

Kevin Garnett had a patented 15-foot jumper that he utilized in the post. Today’s centers and power forward’s are playing more of a finesse game, they stretch the floor and take mid-range jumpers, fittingly called stretch forwards.

Basketball seems to be evolving into the perimeter,  shaping a generation of players that are focused on shooting percentages and analytics. Two players that are still playing around and under the rim are Demarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. Another center is Andre Drummond that takes to the post to get the bulk of his points.

Ultimately, a fair balance of both would be healthy for basketball. There will be players that come into the league that can stretch the floor and shoot with range, but centers should return to dominating under the rim offensively and defensively.

 

REFERRING

NBA referees are routinely criticized by coaches and players on a plethora of issues. The game has lost some edge when it comes to passion and fervor, players that display emotion and express themselves are quickly subdued by technicals. Physical play will warrant many whistles in today’s NBA climate, what was considered a hard foul in the past is a flagrant today.

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was ejected this season for arguing with the referees, in both incidents Kerr was furious with the calls and displayed his anger to the officials. Coaches and officials often clash over missed calls and “ticky tack” fouls, defensive players also have difficulty with calls by the officials, that often leads them to play without being as aggressive.

 

FLOPPING

Flopping is when a player acts in order to get a call against the other team, even after the NBA started penalizing flopping, it still occurs today with players that try to sell a foul to the officials.

Flopping makes a mockery of the game we all love and follow. Rules were put in place to keep the flopping to a minimum and it gives the referee discretion to decide whether or not the player was acting.

SUPER TEAMS

When a number of superstars come together on one team to chase a title. Super teams might be great and beneficiary for the franchise that acquires the stars, however, it causes a negative ripple effect on the rest of the teams in the league. Throughout the history of the NBA, there have always been top tier teams that are usually contending for championships. It is impossible to spread out the talent equally to make all 32 teams competitive, even still, during the 90’s and early 2000’s, there was still an element of resistance against the top teams.

The past three years in the NBA have been dominated by the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The only story line that was interesting outside of that was the Oklahoma City Thunder with Russel Westbrook and Kevin Durant on whether or not they could capture a title.

That narrative was done away with by a swift Kevin Durant signature that sent him to the Golden State Warriors during the offseason. The unprecedented move was a shock to the NBA world, Durant essentially went to the best team in the western conference that just lost the NBA finals.

The same case can be seen in Cleveland with Lebron James and Kevin Love, who joined Kyrie Irving who was a budding talent at the time and was drafted by the Cavaliers in 2011. The eastern conference is currently a power vacuum at the top, the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors are the only teams that pose a threat to the Cavaliers.

The western conference is much of the same with Golden State at the top with no competition outside of the San Antonio Spurs, and the Houston Rockets. The Los Angeles Clippers are stacked with talented players but cannot seem to produce results deep into the playoffs under head coach Doc Rivers and point guard Chris Paul, who has been battling injuries.

The bottom line is that the league needs more parody in the future for basketball to become more interesting. It is detrimental to the NBA when four teams are contending for the Larry O’Brien trophy and the rest of the league are bottom feeders.

 

The NBA is a global product and is continuously evolving, each era will witness a different style of basketball. Subsequently, fans that did not witness the last decade or two of players and teams might not give much thought to how basketball has changed. Is the evolution of the game trending into a higher quality of basketball? I would be inclined to think otherwise.

Michael Jordan’s influence and power via ownership is unprecedented in the NBA

Since the legendary basketball player took over the Charlotte Bobcats back in 2010, his power has grown from an ownership standpoint. Even though Michael Jordan has struggled over time to build a contender in Charlotte, the power he yields as a former player and now owner is palpable.

Jordan commands the ultimate respect from current players as well as former players that witnessed his greatness during his era. Considered by most to be the greatest player to ever play the game, Jordan has a unique position in the league. He is the only former player to own a current franchise in the national basketball association.

Consequently, Jordan operates as a bridge of understanding between players and owners, especially when collective bargaining deals are being made. Owners respect his business acumen and players know that he can relate to their needs and viewpoints. Seeing as how Jordan was on the other side of that table during the 90’s when he was a fiery player that demanded changes be made during CBA negotiations.

(NBA.com): James Jones of the Cleveland Cavaliers commented,”He understands the passion that players have. He understands that language and he’s able to digest it and relay it to the owners. And he’s also able to relay the owner’s sentiments and viewpoints.”

Evidently, NBA owners and the players union spoke in favor of Jordan’s involvement in the process. Adding that he helped create smooth negotiations this past year when both sides met. The meetings ended in fruition with an agreement in place without the usual threat of stoppage during the season and parties unwilling to compromise. Michael can be credited for this improved understanding between owners and players.

The latest situation that unfolded in Madison Square Garden, where former New York Knicks legend Charles Oakley was accosted and taken out of the arena for allegedly spewing profanity at Knicks owner Bob Dolan. After the debacle and subsequent involvement of law enforcement, Oakley was charged and banned from Madison Square Garden shortly afterward by Dolan. The league had a PR nightmare on the table and Commissioner Adam Silver diligently worked to get the issue resolved as soon as possible.

Once again Michael Jordan was called in to help, Oakley and Jordan are long time friends and former teammates in Chicago. The two have a strong bond and Jordan was brought in by phone while the Commissioner and Bob Dolan sat with Oakley. His “Airness” defused some of the tension and certainly helped Oakley reach an understanding with the embattled Knicks owner.

The world-renowned icon is still attempting to change life in Charlotte when it comes to basketball. The Bobcats are still a .500 team and are a long way from contending in the playoffs, but Jordan’s competitive nature is unrelenting and will likely be adamant in proving that his Bobcats can become a contender. While Jordan is not working in basketball operations he is putting out fires around the NBA and continuing to bridge the gap between league ownership and players when it matters the most.