Tag Archives: ESPN

In Case You Missed It….

Finally, a 30 for 30 on ESPN got my attention. It’s been a pretty successful series so far and has won over plenty of sports fans, but “Once Brothers” really became the defining episode of the series for me. It’s not saying much, because I still associate sports documentaries with Kobe Bryant Doin Work. I’ll spare you the movie review and simply say that I was old enough to remember Vlade Divac and Drazen Petrovic on the floor, but too young to understand what was really going on between them and back home. I was a huge Nets fan in the early 90s, because of Kenny Anderson. So naturally, I became a fan of Drazen, since he was the real star of the team. (Sorry Derrick Coleman)

Here’s the trailer, but find a way to check out the whole thing.

The Street League Is As Good As Advertised

No, I’m not talking about my favorite EA basketball video game, NBA Street. I’m talking about skateboarding! I work for Quiksilver at their headquarters in Huntington Beach California if you didn’t know. Naturally I’m plugged into the action sports industry happenings. This year, Rob Dyrdek’s dream came to fruition with the new Street League, and I really wasn’t sure how it would play out when I first heard about it. He pulled together DC Shoes (a company owned by Quiksilver) and Monster to sponsor his skateboarding Street League. Growing up I was much more into snowboarding, skateboarding, wakeboarding, and eventually surfing to a lesser extent over the ball and stick sports, but the appeal went away when my free time dwindled. I was never a huge fan of how you couldn’t really declare a winner or call someone “the best” for any of these sports since it’s subjective to whose style you like, but Rob created a league that comes very close to finding a true winner. I do watch some of the X-games, but only for the good events, like the street skate, and find myself more into the contests they show on FuelTV than the X-games ones. To this day, I have so much respect for the pounding that these guys take just to get this good. In my opinion skateboarding is by far the hardest of the action sports to learn, and is probably why I love watching the street skating contests. This contest series really does embody all that is street skating. Last night the first leg of the Street League competition was aired on ESPN, and after watching it, I knew I had to write why you should be watching it too. Skateboarding is probably the most popular non ball and stick sport, and Rob Dyrdek is taking it to a whole new level showcasing the best of the best.

Even if you don't like skateboarding, you had to love Rob & Big when they were on MTV!

Rob’s vision was like nothing we’ve seen from the skateboarding world. He threw out the old style/formats for contests where you can go where ever you want on the street course to make a run that suits your abilities, and instead he made it so the skaters would have seven trick attempts for a specified obstacle in the skate park. Dyrdek basically threw out the whole timed run type of contest, which already made it a better platform for a skating event, since nobody is timed when they are street skating, unless a security guard calls the cops. Last night they had four obstacles set up where each skater was given seven tries to do tricks on that obstacle. This brings out some strategy within the contest. If you go for a big trick and don’t land it, you get zero points. If you do an “easy” trick, you don’t get that many points, but it’s much better than bailing. Nyjah Huston ended up winning the event, and I was happy for the 15 year old. He has a silky smooth style that makes everything look effortless. Plus being from Norcal (Davis), always made me root for him a little more or maybe I just get mesmerized by the flowing dreadlocks. If you don’t know who I’m talking about you can check out clips of him ripping hard here and here. Anyways, this contest came down to the wire, and Nyjah laid it on the line throwing down HUGE tricks that the judges rewarded him with high scores to take over first place, and ultimately winning the contest for him. He had a habit of finishing second in nearly every contest I’ve watched him in, so it was great to see him get his first win, and the $150K check to go along with it.

Nyjah throwing down a switch noseslide.

The genius part of this whole league is how Rob made it have the feel of ball and stick sports game. Each trick is scored live before the next guy goes, so you can see the names jumping up and down the leader board with the real time scoring after each contestant goes, so the scoring looks kinda like a basketball game where you can’t win on the first couple obstacles, but you can definitely lose if you fall too much. What makes it feel like a sporting event? The simple fact that all these contest are going to be held in arenas in front of a crowd oohing and ahhhing over the tricks. Supposedly nearly all of them have been sold out. It’s a big step up from the X-games in terms of declaring a true winner, and I think it will help the sport grow/conform for the viewers. It might not ever be as big as the major sports, but it could give the NHL a run for their money!

How can we be sure that these are really the best 24 skaters there? Well, it’s by invite only, and there’s no way any of the top skaters would turn down the invitation to compete. There’s $1.2M in prize money, and $150K up for grabs at each venue. They also throw $5K to the skater with the best trick (highest scored trick of the night), so even if someone isn’t doing all that well, they can go for huge tricks that have a high failure rate to win that backup prize. If you missed the contest last night, don’t worry, they are going to show all three of the contests on ESPN. As an added bonus Rob and Steve Berra are doing the commentating which is much better than listening to Tony Hawk during the play by play during the X-games.

Doin ESPN Short Film Review

I know I’ve said in the past how much I love ESPN’s 30 for 30 series. If there was a channel dedicated to these short documentaries, my DVR would be full no question about it. Last night ESPN aired a 30 for 30 on the origins of fantasy sports. I was really excited to see what they came up with, but it was the first time I was truly disappointed by one of their short films. They’ve done a great job up to this point making moments in time or people that I didn’t care about, and turned them into interesting stories. I figured that a 30 for 30 about fantasy sports would be great, because I’ve been playing since 2000, and figured I’d see some more insight on how it grew. Maybe I expected too much or this film maker wasn’t up to the task. I mean, it’s pretty cool how it all came about, and these baseball nerds made the game that millions of Americans waste thousands of hours on each year. The problem with this short film wasn’t the story, so much as the execution. They had all the original guys, they interviewed the right people, but the acting, and set up sucked. I’m not sure if they were trying to be funny or not, but I felt like I was watching a group of porn stars acting without taking off their clothes. Continue reading

Seriously Royals Fans?

I googled the Royals and this came up.

Just saw this poll on espn.com, and I can’t believe the good people of Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska actually think the Royals will win the AL Central. I’m an expert in blind faith to your local team, but really? Winning the division? ESPN asked, “If Joe Nathan is out for the season, who is the favorite to win the AL Central?” This question is a bit misleading, because if Joe Nathan WERE healthy, would the Twins even then be the favorites? Probably not. I think irregardless of Nathan’s situation (hmm, has a nice fantasy team name ring to it), the Twins are not the favorites. Despite Miguel Cabrera’s slumping trend and the downgrade from Granderson to Damon, the division still runs through Detroit. But what stands out to me most is that in three states, the majority of voters predicted the Royals would win it. I’m the first guy to go on record saying I like the talent in the Royals system, but until they actually contend within their division, I can’t even begin to speculate that they’d actually win it. Missouri is the state where the Royals play, so that makes sense, although for every Royals fan, there’s got to be 2 Cardinals fans who dislike the Royals. And sure, Kansas shares a name with the home of the Royals, but you’re equally close to the Rockies, so you should know better about your teams winning divisions. Lastly, Nebraska is where the Royals triple-a affiliate is, so I can see where all the Mark Teahens and Billy Butlers to come through your town would give you plenty of reason for optimism. But let’s get serious here, no matter how promising the talent on the Royals roster is, they’re still the least likely team in all of baseball to ever win their division. I’d say it’s pretty much a two horse race between the Royals and Nationals to be the team that never wins their division in our lifetimes. Having said all this, look for my next post about why the A’s will win the AL West this year. After all, they did acquire the Royals best player, Coco Crisp!

Future RFP Of The Day: Adam Morrison

Some day, kids are going to look at this and say, "he played in the 2000s?! No way, I thought he played in the 1970s!"

I am not an Adam Morrison hater. Nor am I a Gonzaga fan. These are the two things you need to know first, otherwise you’d assume the opposite. The title might also be a bit misleading, as it may suggest this is gonna be a kick-Adam-Morrison-while-he’s-down party. I don’t like Adam Morrison, but I don’t not like him. I never rooted for him, but I also never really rooted against him. Well, no more than I would any player playing against my team. See, my Adam Morrison story goes back further than most’s. I’ve more or less watched his career every step of the way. Although of late, like with any sitcom that’s run its course , there’s just not much new going on. Much like Head of the Class, you don’t really see a lot of him on TV anymore. But when you think about it, that’s what RFPs really are. Players and shows you used to like watching as a kid, but now they’re nothing more than a once-every-9-years blip on your life’s radar. It’s not a flattering distinction, but it’s not the worst either. I’ll be damned if I didn’t respect each and every one of those guys I’ve featured in an RFP of the Day.

The pilot episode of my Adam Morrison saga was in the beginning of 2004. I was playing (not ball) at USF and he was a freshman at Gonzaga. The Zags were continuing their rise to the upper echelon of college basketball, and the Dons were continuing their decline to the outer realms of relevance. Gonzaga was making their annual visit to the Hilltop in San Francisco, led by Ronny Turiaf, Blake Stepp, and Corey Violette. They also had a new freshman on the team, who came pretty highly touted. In front of a sellout crowd at War Memorial Gym, the game went down to the final possession. With the game tied at 63, the Dons had an opportunity at the last shot. When their game winning attempt rimmed off, JP Batista grabbed the rebound, outletted to the freshman with the buzz cut, and Adam Morrison pulled up just in front of the half court line and buried a 40 footer at the horn that silenced the crowd and sent the Zags home with a 66-63 win. (Editor’s Note: I have since learned that none of this ever happened. I combed the annals of the WCC  and could not find a box score to validate this story. But I have believed it to be truth for the last 6 years, so I’m leaving it. -mc)

The following season – or so I thought, my memory’s credibility is completely shot at this point – Gonzaga returned to the City, this time with Morrison as the man. They still had Turiaf, and Derek Raivio had emerged into a star player as well. Unbeknownst to me, ESPN was in the building filming for the original series, The Season. The show seemed more focused around Morrison than the rest of the team, or at least in this episode. I’m sure it was the only one I ever watched. But in this particular episode, it was highlight after highlight of Morrison, and every highlight showed the same skinny guy in a green Keyshawn Johnson jersey standing courtside. Morrison went for 30+ that night, and every one of those shots was recorded on video with me in the background. I hated being associated with that. The closeup of me in the crowd on Wheel of Fortune? No complaints. But broadcasting Adam Morrison propaganda to the entire world with my face as an accessory? I don’t want that burden. (Editor’s Note: Naturally I was unable to find this video anywhere. If anyone knows how or where to find it, let me know.)

Picture was taken in 2014, during Morrison's first game back in Charlotte after being traded for Jerry Stackhouse and DJ Augustin's expiring contract.

So, now that the Adam Morrison show has long been removed from primetime and we all know what’s happened since, I hereby declare him the First Ever FUTURE RFP OF THE DAY. He did me wrong on the first night we met, when he may or may not have hit a game winner to beat my school. He also dragged me along on his traveling soap opera when I was in the background of every highlight that ESPN may or may not aired. He deserves to be random and forgotten for that.  Fifteen years from now, some kid who’s in 2nd grade right now will blog something to the tune of, “Hey, remember Adam Morrison? He’s random and forgotten. Member his hair and mustache? Member when he was good? Blah blah blah.” Well this is the prelude to that post. This is my Nostradamus prediction (insert ‘of the week’ for recurring blog feature idea), that this man, here’s a man, who may end up being best known for crying at the end of a game, but here’s a man…. Well, he’s just the man for his place and time. The random, forgotten, mustache having, Head of the Class watching man.

Tyreke Evans Show Going National Tonight

ESPN recently added tonight’s Washington Wizards – Sacramento Kings game to their schedule. It will be broadcast nationally at 7:30pm PST. This marks leading Rookie of the Year candidate Tyreke Evans’ national television debut. Basketball fans throughout the country will get their first glimpse at Evans’ professional career, something I’ve been watching every step of the way early in the season. The red carpet has pretty much been laid out by the national media over the last few weeks, and tonight, Evans will make his much anticipated debut. Tyreke didn’t take long to make his presence felt in Sacramento. After Kevin Martin was sidelined with a wrist injury, Evans has assumed control of the team and become the franchise player. Honestly, he’s one of the best rookies I’ve witnessed in the entire decade. Let’s take a look at what he’s done thus far….

To this point, Evans is averaging 20 pts, 5 reb, and 5 ast per game. You can find him in the top 10 in numerous statistical categories among NBA point guards. Although his status as a point guard can be debated, his impact on the court cannot. He’s the primary reason for the Kings’ surprising 10-13 start. He’s playing 35+ minutes per night, and his ability to get into the lane and attack the basket is borderline unparalleled. One of the bigger knocks on him coming into the season is his jump shot, but he has knocked it down better than was predicted. Opposing teams have often put their best perimeter defender on him, only to see him blow by them and get to the basket. He’s also impressed with his defensive ability. His 1.55 steals per game rank him 20th in the league, and 6th among point guards. It will be interesting to see him match up against Gilbert Arenas tonight, someone whom I would compare Evans’ game with. Tonight will be a huge night for Tyreke, as it will mark his national coming out party. His name has been floated around in awards discussions, not only for rookie of the year, but he’s also garnered consideration for an all-star berth, and even MVP attention. If he plays well tonight, expect him to remain atop the Rookie of the Year rankings at least through Christmas. If this is your first time seeing Tyreke Evans play in the NBA tonight, sit back and enjoy the show. The kid is well on his way to a phenomenal NBA career.

Tiger is Special, Cable is NOT!

So, you may have heard by now that Tiger has cheated on his wife more times than he has fingers, but most major sports outlets aren’t really saying their opinion. Yes, I’m talking about you ESPN, SI, Yahoo, etc. I’m guessing it’s because of money, but I found it interesting that sites like TMZ and US have shed the true light on our most recognizable sports figure of this generation. Giving us the texts and voice-mails he sent to his mistresses. It got me thinking are these media outlets scared of the Jordan factor. When he went to play baseball Sports Illustrated put him on the cover of their magazine telling him to go back to basketball. He blackballed them for the rest of his career never giving them another cover shot, advertising shots, interviews, etc.

Tom Cable had a dream, and that dream was to be a head coach. The dream has worked out pretty well so far, as the Raiders have more hope than they’ve had in years, and like anyone living a normal life, he has had some “transgressions” along the way. I can’t defend whatever happened to “the punch” of assistant Randy Hanson. He was portrayed as target #1 bad guy by ESPN as they even ran an Outside the Lines report on the women he abused, and people he didn’t get along with. It was fine and all, because all of it was true, but where’s our expose on Tiger!?! It’s lame how they pick and choose what guys they are going to throw under the bus, and in fear of upsetting possible future connections they aren’t going to run a trashy story on Tiger. Make your mind up ESPN give us the tabloid trash or don’t, just stop being a hypocrite!

We Get It: Favre = God

Brett Favre gunslinger

Last night was another memorable Favre performance, but if you were only listening to the ESPN crew (Jaworski, Tirico, and Gruden) you may have thought Brett Favre was playing one on one with himself vs. his younger self in Minnesota. They brought out the full archives of Favre to show us that he was in fact once young. They talked like they’d leave their wives for him if he asked. ESPN’s bromance with Favre has reached a new level that I didn’t think could happen. Even on crucial plays for the Packers they’d still cut to Favre for a sideline shot. It was very important to show him kneeling on his “legendary knee” or scratching his “legendary stubbles.” All of the over hype made me actually hate the Vikings by the end of the game. I didn’t care all that much who won going into the game hoping to see a close divisional rivalry play out, but the bromance with Favre has made me into a Minnesota hater. Sure he was having a good game, I can’t deny that, but the Packers D was giving him 30 seconds to throw each time he dropped back. If any quarterback has that much time to sit there and look at every receiver he better find the open one. Hell, you could put JaMarcus’s corpse of a QB body back there, and probably put up 300 yards with that O-line performance last night! I wish Aaron Rodgers pulled a Tonya Harding on him when he was wishy washy on his first retirement, so we wouldn’t have to keep hearing about him. I guess we’ll just have to hope the Vikings ship sinks as fast as the Jets did last year, so the Favre bromance can end once and for all.