Michael's Sports Blog

Sacramento Kings Staying in Sacramento… At Least for Another Year

In a previous post I talked about the possibility of the Sacramento Kings moving to Anaheim and becoming the Anaheim Royals.  The deadline for the decision ended about a week ago, and I wanted to update you on the situation.  The owners of the Kings have decided to keep the team in Sacramento for at least another year.  They are giving the Sacramento Mayor, Kevin Johnson, a chance to come up with a realistic plan for a new arena.  Johnson was able to get support behind the team and raised $10 million to show that people still believe in the Kings in Sacramento.

According to an ESPN article, “co-owner Joe Maloof and NBA Commissioner David Stern made clear that the team will leave after next season if an arena plan is not in place.”  So, this means that Johnson needs to make sure that he has attractive plans for an arena because if not, the team will be heading off to Anaheim.  Without a new arena, the team would be able to get a lot more revenue in Anaheim, which is a good enough reason for the owners to want to move the team.

I am glad that the team is not going to move, at least for now.  I don’t think I could handle another NBA team in Southern California.  I already don’t understand the point of there being two teams in Los Angeles.  Both teams share the same arena-which makes no sense to me who is the home team when both teams play each other- and people have to decide which team they want to be a fan of.  By having a team in Anaheim, that would mean there would be three teams within forty-five miles of each other.  This is way too many teams to have in such a short distance.

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May 9, 2011 Posted by | NBA, Sports | , , , , | 1 Comment

Lakers Swept by the Mavericks

The Lakers became another team added to the seemingly impossible statistic of coming back after being down 0-3 in a playoff basketball series.  They are now the 99th team to lose the series after starting 0-3.  There were a few teams who were able to make it to seven games, which I thought the Lakers may have been able to do, but not with their performance today.  Another interesting fact about this series is that there are only a few teams who won the championship the year before and then were swept in a series the following year.  The Lakers are now part of that group as well.

The Lakers didn’t look good today in their 122-86 loss to the Mavericks.  The team shot 38 percent, while the Mavericks shot 60 percent.  Not only were the Mavericks hitting two point shots, but they hit a playoff record 20 three point shots.  A 36-point loss is something you don’t expect in a playoff game because that just means one game completely outplayed the other.  A playoff team should not be outplayed as badly as the Lakers were this series.

Bynum and Odom were both ejected in the fourth quarter for an unnecessary flagrant foul, making them the second and third players thrown out of a game in the series.  The Lakers’ players were frustrated and took out their anger on the Mavericks.  You could see from the players’ faces that they were upset with how each other was playing, and this led to the Laker downfall.  I know from experience that when you are mad at people you are playing with, it gets in your head and causes you to be distracted from your play.

I can’t believe this may be the last game that Phil Jackson coached in his legendary career.  This is not the way you would like to end your career, but he has had many great seasons to cancel out this last playoff disaster.  Jackson may be the best NBA coach ever, with eleven titles and three three-peats.  I would like to see him back next year, but if he doesn’t come back, I hope his successor will be able to do as good a job as he did.

May 8, 2011 Posted by | NBA, Sports | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Lakers Down 0-3 Against the Mavericks

It doesn’t look good for the Los Angeles Lakers attempt to win their third NBA Championship in a row.  The Lakers won their first round series against the Hornets, however, the team looked a little off even with their victories.  The next series against the Mavericks has not turned out well.  The Lakers lost the first two games in the series at home, and then lost the next game in Dallas.  I did not expect the Mavericks to come out with this much fire and the Lakers to play this badly, but they have.

The statistics are against the Lakers chances to come back from the 0-3 deficit.  An NBA blog gave the facts about the Lakers chances of winning the series against the Mavericks: “While three teams in NBA history have won a seven-game series after losing the first two at home, no team has rallied from an 0-3 deficit.”  So, as you can see, the biggest game was the third game of the series because at least by winning this game, there were three teams who had come back from this deficit before.

Although there has been no team that has come back from the hole the Lakers are in now, they have a very talented team and there still is hope that they can win the next four games.  Kobe Bryant is a leader, and if he can talk his players into believing they can win, I think the Lakers may be the first team to overcome the 0-3 deficit.  This is also most likely Phil Jackson’s last season as a coach in the NBA, and I’m sure the players don’t want to disappoint their coach by losing a second round series.

May 7, 2011 Posted by | NBA, Sports | , , , , | 4 Comments

Pac-10 Lands Television Deal with Fox and ESPN

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott

The Pac-10 conference (soon to be the Pac-12 conference) landed an incredible television deal with Fox and ESPN Tuesday.  The deal will begin in the 2012-2013 season, and is worth approximately $225-$250 million per year.  This is the largest television deal for any college conference right now.  The ACC, SEC, and Big Ten recently signed deals, but these were worth $155 million, $205 million, $220 million respectively.

The previous media rights deal for the Pac-10 conference was $60 million per year, which was one of the lowest for college conferences.  I have to give credit to Scott for coming through with getting a $165-$190 million per year increase in media rights for the Pac-10 conference.  I heard that Scott was trying to get the biggest contract of any conference, but I didn’t think this would be possible.  Yes, the Pac-10 has a lot of good teams.  But there are other conferences out there with better teams than us, and also with more loyal fans.  The massive increase in payment for the conference shows that the demand for television rights to college conferences is vastly increasing.

Larry Scott said this about the deal: “We are excited to become a more integral part of the ESPN family.  We look forward to providing dramatically enhanced national exposure for our institutions and their outstanding programs.”  Fox and ESPN will share the coverage of the games, each putting a certain amount of games on their network.  There will be a few Thursday and Friday night football games, as well as Saturday games.  The Thursday and Friday night games will help increase the exposure for the conference because not many games are played on these games, so more people will watch these games.

According to an ESPN article, “every Pac-12 football and men’s basketball game will be televised on either ESPN, Fox Sports or a new Pac-12 network, according to the new television contract.”  One of the things that Scott wanted to get from a new deal was increased exposure for the conference, and by having all these games televised will definitely increase exposure.  Last year there were many times when I wanted to watch a Pac-10 game, but I was unable to watch because it wasn’t on T.V.

The deal also will start Pac-12 Media Enterprises, which will “own the Pac-12 Network, the Pac-12 Digital Network and Pac-12 Properties.”  The Pac-12 network will include non-sports content as well as sports content to try and please all the people who would possibly watch the network.

May 6, 2011 Posted by | Sports | 1 Comment

Department of Justice Looking into BCS System

The first blog post I wrote about dealt with the BCS vs. playoff system in college football.  I explained why I believed that the playoff system was better for college football than the BCS system.  It makes no sense to me why all other sports in college have a tournament type system, yet college football stands alone with a BCS format.  There has been some recent news regarding this system that I figured I’d share with you.

Recently, Utah attorney general, Mark Shurtleff, has threatened to file an antitrust lawsuit against the BCS.  He believes that the BCS is an unfair system, and that the system is also anti-competitive.  If you look at how the BCS system is decided, you will see that it definitely favors certain schools over others.

Shurtleff’s first reason for the lawsuit is that it is hard for non-automatic qualifying schools to make it to the big BCS games.  The winner of the power conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, Big East, SEC) automatically gets a bid to a BCS bowl, unlike the other five conferences.  The other five conferences have to get an at-large bid, and may not even make big bowl games with one or two losses, unlike the power conferences.

Another reason is that the BCS gives a lot more money to the automatic qualifying conferences than the non-automatic qualifying conferences.  A Sports Illustrated article said that the: “six automatic qualifying conferences made $145.2 million this year versus $24.7 million made by the five non-automatic qualifying conferences.”  This is a big discrepancy in the numbers.  It is no wonder the power conference schools are able to get top recruits every year over other schools because the BCS is basically feeding them the money they need to recruit these players.

Along with this lawsuit, twenty-one professors from universities around the country sent letters to the Department of Justice explaining their reasons why the department should look at the current BCS college football system.  And it seems like the Department of Justice listened to what these people had to say.  A Huffington Post article explained that “the Justice Department has sent a pointed letter to the NCAA asking why there isn’t a playoff system for college football, saying “serious questions” continue to be raised about whether the current Bowl Championship Series complies with federal antitrust laws.”  I’m curious to see how the NCAA responds.

The Department of Justice and Utah attorney general have made their point that they believe the current college football system is anti-competitive.  There will be plenty of evidence to prove this system is ineffective.  I am glad that something is finally getting done regarding the use of the BCS system because I don’t like this system.

Hopefully the Department of Justice is able to persuade the NCAA to change the college football system to a playoff system so that each team will have an equal shot at getting to the bowl game they deserve.  As a fan, I want to see games that are the best available, and having a BCS system that favors certain teams over others does not allow this to happen.  I am also not a fan of an unfair system, and this is definitely one that is not fair to all schools involved.

May 5, 2011 Posted by | NCAA Football, Sports | , , , , | Leave a comment

Blake Griffin Wins NBA Rookie of the Year

Blake Griffin won the NBA Rookie of the Year award this year, receiving all 118 first place votes.  He was the first unanimous Rookie of the Year in the last twenty-one years.  He beat out John Wall for the award, and it was well deserving.  I knew he was going to win because he had the best numbers of all the rookies this year.  Griffin was electric, averaging 22.5 PPG and 12.1 RPG.  Not only did he bring down the house in regular season games, he also won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest by jumping over a car in his final dunk (which I blogged about earlier).  There are many YouTube videos that show off his many spectacular dunks this year.

In my sports journalism class, I learned about something called the Griffin Domestic Product (GDP).  He increases ticket sales for Clippers games, but also for games that aren’t at the Staples Center.  People want to see him play, even those who aren’t fans of the Clippers.  The amount of Northern California people who came to see the team also increased.  With Griffin on the team, website traffic has risen, attendance has risen, jersey sales have risen, television ratings have risen, and parking prices have risen.  The team is selling out a majority of their games, something they had trouble doing in the last few years.  Clippers games are cheaper than Lakers games, so this may be a reason why people are interested in the Clippers other than just to see Griffin play.

What I find interesting about Griffin winning the NBA Rookie of the Year is that technically he is not a rookie.  Griffin was drafted two years ago, but suffered a knee injury that year and was unable to play in what was really his first year in the league.  I know that he is known as a rookie, but the fact that he has actually been in the NBA for two years is something I found fascinating.

May 4, 2011 Posted by | NBA, Sports | , , | 4 Comments

Derrick Rose Wins NBA MVP

Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose won the NBA MVP this year, defeating Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant.  He received 113 of the 120 first place votes, dominating the field.  Some thought Lebron or Durant would win, however, the race for MVP wasn’t even close.  Rose was the youngest NBA MVP winner ever, a major feat.  He added this award to his NBA Rookie of the year award he won two years ago.  Rose is trying to lead the Bulls back to where they were when Michael Jordan was on the team.  This year the Bulls had the best record in the NBA, which is sure on the right path.

Although Rose had a great season (25.0 PPG, 7.7 APG, 4.1 RPG) and led his team to 62-20 record, I thought that Kevin Durant
deserved the NBA MVP.  The Bulls have a lot of talented players on their roster, which may have led to Rose’s increased numbers.  He could dish the ball to good players, and those players also could have allowed him to have open looks because the defense had to guard everyone.  I’m not saying Rose isn’t a very talented player, but I think there was someone who deserved the award more than him.

Kevin Durant

Durant (27.7 PPG, 2.7 APG, 6.8 RPG) led his team to a 55-27 record this season.  He led the league in scoring, even though his team was not as talented as the Bulls team.  The center and shooting guard position are weak, which allow defenders to help, and sometimes double team Durant.  Before Durant got to the Thunder, the team was 23-59, so Durant had a major impact in turning the team around.

What’s fascinating about Durant and Rose are that they are both young players.  Both are only 22 years old!  You would think more experienced players would win the MVP, but these two are proving those who believe that wrong.  They have shown that even at such a young age, they are leaders of their team.  I look forward to watching these two play in future years.

May 4, 2011 Posted by | NBA, Sports | , , , , | 1 Comment

USC Trojans Number One Football Factory

I came across an interesting Bleacherreport article that explained how USC is the number one football factory for players. The Trojans have the most draft picks of all time since the draft was started (472 picks compared to Notre Dame’s 469). The school also has the most Hall of Fame players, with eleven right now. There will be more in upcoming years, so they will just increase this number.

In the 2011 draft, USC tied for the most players selected with nine.  Here were the USC players drafted in this year’s draft:

  1. OT Tyron Smith (Dallas, 9th overall)
  2. DT Jurrell Casey (Tennessee, 77)
  3. CB Shareece Wright (San Diego, 89)
  4. TE Jordan Cameron (Cleveland, 102)
  5. WR Ronald Johnson (San Francisco, 182)
  6. TB Allen Bradford (Tampa Bay, 187)
  7. FB Stanley Havili (Philadelphia, 240)
  8. WR David Ausberry (Oakland, 241)
  9. LB Malcolm Smith (Seattle, 242)
The article makes it clear at the end that “USC is the best football program if you want to play in the NFL.”  If you want to play in the NFL, going to USC will surely help increase your chances of doing this.  The team has a lot of national exposure because of their storied tradition, making it easier for scouts to watch games of the players.  People know that USC strives to play some of the toughest competition, and so the players are well tested.  The coaches are of the highest class because the program draws these types of people to coach here.  The players receive great advice from their top notch coaches that help them prepare for the next level.
Even with sanctions on the school, top recruits are still coming to this school because they believe in what the Trojans have to offer them.  Due to the fact that California is a very highly populated state, there are many athletes to choose from.  If you look at any recruit in the California area, I can almost assure you that USC is on their radar as a school they want to go to.

May 2, 2011 Posted by | NCAA Football, Sports | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Decline in African American Baseball Players

I went to the Padres-Dodgers game today with a couple friends, and we noticed a lack of diversity among the players on both teams.  We began talking about what we thought was the reasoning behind the decline of African American players in the league.  I was fascinated by our talk, so I decided to look up information on this when I got back to see if there was any explanation for this fact.

According to a CNN article: “The percentage of black major league players is now 8.4 percent, not counting those who are foreign born.  That’s a touch less than half the level it was at only 10 years ago.  Some teams, such as the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros, have no black players on their rosters.”  The article talked about the reasons behind this, and were similar to my two reasons.  I believe basketball and football are becoming more popular among people- especially the inner city youth- beginning to play sports.

Basketball and football require one ball, and don’t require many players to try and get a game going.  To play baseball, people need to have a bat, a baseball, and at least nine players to play the field.  That makes baseball expensive economically, and also harder to gather a team to play a game.

Another reason I believe there is a decline in African American major league players is because many people find baseball boring.  Basketball and football have a lot of action, with dunks, blocks, touchdowns, field goals, and hard hits.  Baseball is a slow paced sport, and there is not much scoring to make it exciting.  A few hits and a few runs may happen in a game, but it is nothing like watching a high scoring basketball or football game.

I think that we will continue to see the number of African American baseball players drop in the future until something changes about the game of baseball.

May 1, 2011 Posted by | MLB, Sports | , , , , | Leave a comment

NBA Playoffs 2011 Conference Semifinals Coming Up

The opening round of the NBA playoffs has finished, and eight teams are now left.  There were a few upsets in the opening round, which led to an exciting beginning of the playoffs.

The two matchups in the Eastern Conference will now be the Boston Celtics vs. the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls vs. the Atlanta Hawks.  The Boston Celtics dominated their opening series, sweeping their opponent in four games.  They seem to be playing really well as a unit right now.  The Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls both lost one game, and showed that they could possibly be beaten in the next rounds.  The Atlanta Hawks shocked me with how easily they were able to beat the Orlando Magic in the series, and I think they have the talent to advance far in the playoffs.

The two matchups in the Western Conference will now be the Memphis Grizzlies vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Dallas Mavericks.  The Memphis Grizzlies surprised everyone when they advanced over the San Antonio Spurs.  This was the franchises first playoff series win, and the team did that by beating the number one seed in the Western Conference.  The Lakers struggled a little bit in their first series against the New Orleans Hornets, but were able to advance.  Hopefully they pull it together so they can repeat their championship.  The hottest team in the league right now, the Oklahoma City Thunder, will play an eight seed now, and I think they will handle them pretty easily.  The Dallas Mavericks proved to be a good team, which I was skeptical of because I thought they had too many older players to advance.

Predictions for the Eastern Conference: Miami Heat over the Boston Celtics in 7 games.  Atlanta Hawks over the Chicago Bulls in 6 games.

Predictions for the Western Conference: Oklahoma City Thunder over the Memphis Grizzlies in 5 games.  Los Angeles Lakers over the Dallas Mavericks in 6 games.

April 30, 2011 Posted by | NBA, Sports | , , , , | Leave a comment