Thursday, April 30, 2015

Raiders Draft A Gem

First Round Draft Pick (#4)

For an on-field scouting report, we have this tidbit from Rob Rang and Dane Brugler:

“Excellent quickness and balance to get a clean release against press coverage and to make defenders miss in space. Accelerates in a flash, generating the burst to gain separation from top cornerbacks. Makes the spectacular reception look easy with terrific hand-eye coordination and awareness to high-point passes. Competitive blocker."

Wow! Everyone Says He's Smooth.

A Big Play Baller and We Got'em.  
Time to start puttin' it down Raiders.

Welcome to the Silver & Black Smoothy!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Not Just Another Sports-Filled Weekend

All over the internet you'll find this weekend's buffet of sporting events being called one of the greatest ever.  I beg to differ on that. But I would say its one of the biggest sports betting weekend's in a long time. Las Vegas will have dollars falling from the skies by the time this sports betting weekend is over.

The usual events this time of year have arrived.  You get Kentucky Derby Horses on the run; The NFL Draft with folks holding their breath before each and every pick; Pro Hockey and Basketball should be entering round two of their respective playoffs, And then there's what I call the main dish on the menu, or what could be billed as The Main Event: Boxing, with Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.  

Without this long awaited match, the weekend sports lineup would be just another good show.  

Manny and Floyd are what make this weekend a great one.  Nobody I've asked is 100% sure who will come out victorious.  Though the price for tv viewing admission is $99.00, every sports fan I know is finding a way to watch it.
Ferris: Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

I overheard some radio talk hosts boycotting the fight because they can't find it in themselves to support the controversial Floyd Mayweather.  Their idea of having to explain the morality of Mayweather's celebrity status to their young kids, if their kids were old enough to understand, was just too much for these sports gurus to swallow.  I had a hard time listening to these guys. I was left wondering if sports figures have become so representative of all we fans stand for, that guys are willing to skip major sporting events to avoid being labeled a this or that.  Maybe it'll make some feel better about themselves by being able to say I did not support the so-and-so fight.  Come'on Man! It's a fight between boxers, not a religious leader conference.

If I judge every sporting event by past actions of the athletes, owners and/or league decisions, I might as well give up sports altogether and take up something like classical ballet or cooking competitions.  As radio host Damon Bruce always says at the end of each broadcast, "sports don't build character, they reveal it."

Folks, if you love sports as much as I, don't let your conscience get in the way of enjoying a once in a lifetime sporting event.  You can hate yourself later, that's what therapists are for, but please, don't pass up the opportunity to have witnessed a Manny vs Floyd type event, live.  

We sports lovers spend much down-time waiting for that matchup that defines why we love watching sports so much.  This weekend's sports lineup, climaxing with Manny & Floyd, is one of those defining moments. They don't come around as often as we'd like, but when they do we somehow make time for them. 

I don't know any of the horse's names that'll be running in the Kentucky Derby. I might catch a game or two of the NBA playoffs and highlights of NHL hockey. NFL draft day won't excite me beyond the Oakland Raiders #4 pick.  R-A-I-D-E-R-S

But come Saturday evening, when Michael Buffer stands in the middle of the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas and recites his infamous boxing slogan......'let's get ready to rumble'......I will be watching with maniacal anticipation; eyes wide, fists clenched, blood pressure pumping through the roof as Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather face off for what is undoubtedly the fight of this century.
Michael Buffer poster courtesy of painter Stephen Holland, Liss Gallery

How big is this fight?  It's so big that there's already a Wikepedia page about it.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Warriors Historic Playoff Comeback

Golden State Warriors fans thought they'd seen it all this season. The team has broken all kinds of regular season records on their way to sixty-seven wins.  Last night's 20 point comeback and overtime playoff win might've outdone all other season accomplishments. It was the most improbable win I've ever seen the Warriors pull out. EVER!!!!

As coach Steve Kerr eluded to in his post-game press conference, I didn't recognize the team on the floor playing those first three quarters. The Warriors looked most un-Warriors-like for the first three quarters in this road game against New Orleans.  

The Pelicans were running the Dubs out of the building.  Then came the fourth quarter, Warriors down by 20.  The Dubs bench players started a resurgence. The starters came back and got into a rhythm. The stars battled and the MVP hit a clutch three-point shot with 2.8 seconds left to send the game to overtime.  And just for the record NOLA, Curry is that MVP.

Today the league announced that Warriors guard Stephen Curry was fouled on that three-point shot. Well whaddaya know!

Speights, Green, Bogut, Barnes and the rest is NBA history.

IN PHOTO: Apr 23, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) scores on a three point basket over New Orleans Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans (1) and forward Anthony Davis (23) and guard Quincy Pondexter (20) during the final seconds of the fourth quarter sending the game into overtime in game three of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at the Smoothie King Center. The Warriors defeated the Pelicans 123-119 in overtime.REUTERS/Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Final Score
Warriors 123
Pelicans 119

What they're saying in New Orleans about the Curry Shot

It was the latest reminder that no one, least of all the Pelicans, should be fooled by Curry's sleight build or genial demeanor. Beneath that boy-next-door countenance lies a stone-cold killer -- and likely the NBA's MVP. His 3 capped a 10-point fourth quarter in which the Warriors outscored the Pelicans 39-19.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Grappling With A Genocide - Armenian

A favorite old author I like reading, Franz Werfel, introduced me to the Armenian Genocide of 1915 in his book "The 40 Days of Musa Daugh." The book, written in 1933, is based on true events that occurred in Turkey during the early years of World War I.

In that God-awful year, Armenians living in an area controlled by the Ottoman Turk empire, were rounded up by the young Turkish government to be deported, put into concentration camps and massacred.  The Armenians suffered through what the European Jews would encounter some twenty-five years later at the hands of German Nazis led by Hitler.

I've always found it so odd that Israel, a Jewish state that became a refuge for so many European Jews who suffered through a genocide, would refuse to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1918 that predated their own tragedy. Why? God forbid its because Armenians are Christians.

Based on the article I read today, Israel Grapples With Recognizing Armenian Genocide, The reason was and continues to be political. Israel is not the only country refusing to recognize the tragedy.  Our good'ol United States of America has issue with admitting the wrongs of Turkey 100 years ago.  I read that President Barrack Obama had promised in his first campaign for president, that he'd right the U.S. wrong on this Armenian Genocide issue. Well into his second term, the President has balked on that promise. 

I attended a lecture and short documentary film viewing on the Armenian Genocide some years back, after reading Werfel's incredible book.  I got an education in what it means to carry the torch of a people injured and still seeking justice.  

To meet the Armenian peoples, to hear their stories of suffering that had passed down from grandparents and great grandparents. I was easily reminded of my own peoples of African-American descent and the stories of suffering through what could easily be called one of the worse holocausts' (catastrophe) in human history; the raping of a continent.

The Turks did everything they could to wipe out the Armenian culture, even banning the Armenian language. Entire Armenian communities were emptied and repopulated with Turkish citizens.  Many years later, remnants of those lost communities could still be seen in the shadows, like a mosque that had once been a christian church.

What can be read in the tears of a surviving Armenian descendant today is the pain that non-recognition brings to their people. As far as I know they're not asking for financial reparations, only Turkish acknowledgment of the Genocide along with an apology.  As with all wrongs, until the wrongdoer accepts full responsibility for their cruel actions and apologizes to those wronged, only then can the healing process begin for both the victim and victimizer.  

100 Years ago a most terrible crime was committed upon a people.  In 1915, information about such a cruel crime did not travel far nor fast.  Those controlling international information back then were few. Today in 2015, with internet access world-wide, the few have become the many and news travels faster than a bullet.  Let's hope that today's politics catches up with the medium that shares world news and events.  Turkey, Israel and those who refused in the past to recognize a wrong committed, it's time to recognize.  Help heal a hurt and encourage solidarity against all genocidal assaults in our world.

 Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion in the early fourth century (traditionally in 301) in establishing this church.[7]
Vagharshapat, Armenia

40 Days of Musa Daugh - Armenian Genocide

Fearing repercussions from its former ally Turkey and wary of breaking ranks with American policy, Israel has refrained from calling the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I a genocide. Now, days before Armenia holds centenary commemorations, and with ties to Turkey frayed, there are growing calls from within Israel to finally do so.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Raiders Family - Glory Awaits Us

The Godfather, one of the most amazing family sagas ever put on film, highlights the life of a family leader and his successor son. The story of the Oakland Raiders might just be the most amazing family saga ever featured about a football team. This silver and black saga also features the loss of a family leader and the rise of his successor son.

The Oakland Raiders are on the brink of busting out of their twelve year slump.  Owner Mark Davis, son of the late, legendary Al Davis, is sticking with GM/Consigliere Reggie McKenzie's plan, and there's light shining through the tunnel.

Through all those years of misery there was one thing that was missing and has now been found; a quarterback.  Derek Carr, quarterback of the new Oakland Raiders, has exactly what the Silver & Black have been missing in their return to glory; consistency and leadership on the field. More parts are still needed but it seems much of the blueprint for success has been assembled. A strong foundation has been laid.

I see a stronger defense, a reliable offensive line, an experienced and proven coaching staff and just flat out playahs ready to play.  Questionable are receiver and running back positions, but that can be remedied with one draft or trade. I really do like the linebacking corps for this upcoming season and love the pickup of defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. to head that corps.

On the website Bleacher Report there's a telling article titled "Returning to Glory Days" by Nick Costos.  The article talks about where the Raiders have been, where they are currently and how far they need to go in order to return to greatness.  Based on Nick's assessment, the Raiders aren't that far off.  

Like a storybook saga that has its up and downs, that's what the silver and black team has resembled since returning to Oakland in 1995.  Such is life, a path of cycles that every living thing must journey. This coming NFL season I see the losing cycle ending and one of winning with consistency beginning for the Raiders.  

Its time the pieces come together to produce what was once a Team of the Decades franchise. Just give me those two or so remaining pieces to fill the roster. Gimme an Adrian Peterson at running back or an Odell Beckham type receiver out of the draft. 

Give me a chance to show the rest of the league that the Oakland Raiders are again a family and football team who'd "rather be feared than respected." Give me a silver and black return to glory. Then, get me a another championship!

Talib Kweli Gives A Hip-Hop Education

I gotta give the Commonwealth Club of California credit for giving rapper Talib Kweli a platform to express his views and ideas about life, society and music. It shows that the forum does not shy away from the tough issue of race in America. And the guest speaker does not disappoint.

Talib, straight outta Brooklyn, NY, is a very gifted young man who speaks truths and exposes spades, calling it as he sees it.  I like the way my brotha speaks to the issues and matters of race confronting our American society today. There's a spiritual grace in his voice as opposed to hate and/or anger.

Talib follows in the footsteps of his mother and father; he is an educator at heart.He uses his music and poetry to reach the minds of young men and women of all colors out their who are trying to understand where they fit into this American society. 

Talib gives us a very unrestricted and honest perspective on how music can better serve the needs of its audience. He  is not a corporate commercial hip-hop artist. Listen to the Commonwealth Club podcast to understand the difference. 


Talib Kweli: Race, Justice and Hip Hop

"A Fredo Moment"

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Golden State Warriors (67-15)

I am speechless!  How the hell did Our Golden State Warriors finish an NBA regular season with sixty-seven wins and only fifteen losses? 39-2 at home, are you serious? 

What are the chances, after all these painfully losing years, that they'd put together a spectacular record breaking, sports shaking season like we witnessed here in 2014-15?  I see the headlines, I hear the sports talk and still I have to ask myself; did the Warriors really pull off such a feat? Are they truly heading into the playoffs with the best record in the NBA?

And they actually did it with a rookie, first time head coach?

If this is the best it gets for the Warriors then its been a truly great season. We should congratulate the team, the coaching staff and ownership for a job very well done.  Should the Golden State Warriors step it up a notch in the playoffs, then win, lose or tie they would've given Warriors fans what we've long been waiting for; a championship team. 

For we must remember Warriors fans, that this is not the end of a great season, its the beginning of an extraordinary Pro Basketball dynasty right here in our backyard.  We're blessed to be alive to witness it Live on our turf!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Defending Rugby World Cup Champions, 
New Zealand's All Blacks

How can a Raiders fan not like the New Zealand team. Their colors alone ignite a sense of pride and loyalty from any silver and black fan. To hear an All Blacks pregame Haka (traditional maori challenge dance) is to feel the  passion of a Black Hole R-A-I-D-A-H-S chant inside Oakland Coliseum. To us who dress in Black, football is more than just a game.

I know next to nothing about the United States Rugby World Cup team (the Eagles). I wish them luck in this year's upcoming quadrennial competition. Call it treason, but in my heart I'll be cheering for the All Blacks.  Just Win Baby!

It's Coming!

Bare-Knuckle Boxer Bill Richmond

I'd read about the old boxing legend Bill "The Black Terror" Richmond in a book titled "Black Ajax" years ago.  Unfortunately for me, the book focused more on a protege of his, "Tom Molineaux," than on Richmond, who's story and legacy is truly one for the ages. Molineaux was a very tough boxer, but Richmond had the tact and intelligence to overcome obstacles both in the ring and out.

Today I watched a great documentary on Bill Richmond.  It was as informative in its historical reflection of early 1800's London, England as it was on the early days of boxing (milling). We in America owe much to England for our taste in sports icons and champions.

Every boxing fan should take time to view this slice of pugilistic history. The man they called "The Black Terror" was a boxer ahead of his time in many ways. To go from a slave boy in New York to a cabinet maker in England to being recognized by a King of England for his boxing prowess is testament to this man's legacy.

Boxing Great Bill Richmond; a pioneer in the art and sweet science of boxing.

1 of 5

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Duke BlueDevils R NCAAB Champions

And the Madness of March has concluded with BlueDevils as champions. It wasn't easy for Duke to overcome the size and sizzle of the Wisconsin Badgers in the tournament's championship game.  It was a back and forth battle that saw The Badgers lead by as many as 9 points with 13:43 left in the game.

With 13:17 on the clock Duke took a timout. When they returned to the court of play, Duke players began stepping up their game as the Wisconsin team seemed to unravel and look out of synch under the Blue Devil's defensive pressure and offensive attack. 

It was a game that truly demonstrated all the reasons why we sports fans tune in when there's a trophy on the line. Those tears of joy and pain being shed at game's end by players, coaches and fans, is all anyone need see to understand why the sports world has rightly labeled the month of march, madness. It was a crazed month of basketball that took us on one helluva ride. I shed tears because I simply hate to see it end.

Congratulations Duke Blue Devils on your Championship

Final Score