Kyle Jordan Ferguson
Road to the Hall
Manu Ginobili announced his retirement from the NBA a few days ago. Like most of us who follow sports when a player’s playing days are finished, we put their career in a historical context. We do this with just about everything. Sports, politics, music etc. We cannot help but doing so. Lebron and Kobe, as great as they are and were, will never escape the Jordan debate. As great as Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are they will not escape the Joe Montana comparison. It is what we do.
Warriors of the West
The small things can make a big difference in sports. Small changes and minor adjustments can change the trajectory of history. NBA fans have experienced this first hand over the past few years and it has resulted in the Warriors winning three of four titles. Dynasties contrary to the angry fans that oppose them are good for sports.
Financial Fair Play
There is an old saying that goes, “you don’t have to be sick to get better.” More on this later. Paris Saint Germain pulled off the transfer of the century last summer after signing Neymar for a record fee $263 million. From the player perspective this was an opportunity to step out of Lionel Messi’s shadow and take his place as the best in the world. From the fan perspective, we are left collectively scratching our heads at how this is actually possible. In 2010, UEFA began setting the table for a new policy that would require clubs to remain solvent in their pursuit of new talent via the transfer window. This new policy was Financial Fair Play.
Melo Out in OKC
What was once the most valuable startup in the association, the Oklahoma City Thunder, is now looking shaky as they look to shed their $310 million dollar payroll and luxury taxes after signing Paul George to essentially a $290 million dollar contract. Last summer, Sam Presti looked like a genius after pulling off deals to acquire both Carmelo Anthony and Paul George. The future looked bright in Oklahoma City and they looked to have rebounded from the departure of Kevin Durant a summer ago. That future looks bleak at the moment as they move into the 2018-19 campaign. Still without much of a bench, the roster is top heavy.
Boogie to the Bay
After a short wait, we now know where Lebron will play the tail end of his career, a decision that those who have been paying attention ultimately expected. Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers sealed the deal Saturday night, reports indicate. This is a major shift in the NBA landscape. Lebron leaving the East all but lays out the red carpet for the Celtics to walk through next season with the Sixers presenting their only real threat (unless you consider Toronto but, eh). A graphic displayed on ESPN illustrated that only one first team All-NBA performer now resides in the Eastern Conference. Underwhelmingly, that one player is Joakim Noah. This was a seismic shift, as Woj put it. With Paul George’s return to Oklahoma City coupled with Lebron’s arrival, the West is more loaded than ever before.
The Latest Installment
If you are over twenty-five, then you can recall the last real dynasty in the NBA. The 2000-2003 Lakers dominated the league and went on one of the greatest playoff runs in the association's history. A time in the association where hero ball was on its way out and low post dominance still held some sort of significance. Shaquille O’Neal was shouting expletives at his owner during training camp in Hawaii and Kobe had a taper fade. Ah, the good ol’ days. Well, those days are long gone, and there is a new sheriff in town. The Golden State Warriors locked up their third NBA title in four years last Friday night without much resistance from Lebron’s Cleveland side stamping a new era in basketball. The champs sent Lebron packing, likely to a new city, in the form of long range bombs and swagger on their way to solidifying their dynasty. A dynasty that given the probability of new league money and a front office with a hole burning in their pocket that looks to be here for the near future.
Summer of Bron
Like many things in life, decisions are determined by motive. What are you here for? In the case of Lebron James, what he is playing for heading into year sixteen remains to be seen. We enter another summer of free agency with another stock of talent prepared to make their decisions that will reshape the NBA landscape, Lebron being the biggest cog in that plot. We will all speculate until James ultimately makes the decision. Until then, we can do just that.
We are days away from the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Days away from the tournament that will pit the 32 best teams in the world on one stage competing for soccer hegemony. The stars have aligned and will be on the pitch for competition in the forms of Neymar, Messi, and Ronaldo. The trio of superstars look to provide a spectacle for all to see carrying their respective national team’s flag in hopes of capturing the most coveted prize as the world’s best. In lieu of that pursuit, the politics of sport have taken hold of this prestigious tournament. The setting and the timing of the event look to make this years’ competition one of the most politicized sporting events in decades. Russia as the host city in conjunction with the United States involvement in the bidding for the 2026 World Cup have made this years’ tournament particularly interesting.