RU content

Apologies we haven’t had many Rutgers posts lately. I have started contributing to the sb nation blog “onthebanks.com” and that has taken up all my Rutgers writing time.

There’s good stuff on there and the contributors have day jobs, they are not full-time Rutgers reporters.

For the other content, that has also taken a backseat, so apologies.

 

This will not turn into a political blog but I have to explain, “Why this happened”

I promise this will not turn into a political blog and refuse to even add a category related to politics on this website for now, but have to explain,  as I heard so many educated people in the last 24 hours in the city of San Francisco asking, “How could this happen?”

How can people be so stupid? (Myth #1)
I’ve never been more embarrassed to be an American (Truth #1)
We need to leave the country NOW (Myth #2)
I never cared about politics until now (Truth #2)

Short answer of “how ‘this’ happened” from of all things, Robocop 2; “Well you haven’t been following the polls!” In all seriousness, explaining “how ‘this’ happened” takes a little more time which I will try to do by responding to the four other most common statements I heard yesterday and today on TV, internet, and the streets.

Before people stop reading because of the Robo comment or they think I must be a Trump supporter, I did not vote for him yesterday nor did I vote in the Republican primary as I am not affiliated with any party which in my state means I cannot vote in Republican primaries unless I register.

Myth #1: How can people be so stupid?

Hmm, if putting food on your table should not be the most important thing to you as an individual, I’m glad you are not my parent. People want jobs with dignity and this was the #1 issue and possibly the ONLY issue in this election.  Anecdote: I have a degree from an Ivy League college, never failed any classes, white male with no criminal record, who started making plenty of money in software before the economy tanked in 2008. Despite living in New Jersey (not heart of the rust belt) with software background AND a Series 7 license, I (along with many Facebook friends) ended up working at Kohl’s for $8/ hour. Sure this was enough money to feed myself while living with my parents, but was not considered a job with “dignity” based on the standard of living millennials expect.If you want a great skit on how people have a standard of living, here.

One day in 2010, a customer came in and when I didn’t know for certain if we had men’s pajamas left(a seasonal item) in the middle of the summer, but volunteered to escort him to the area where they would be if we had any, he went into a tirade punctuated by a question, “Did you ever think about college?” Now, imagine my dismay had I not gone to college. Or imagine I lived in a state with few jobs, threatened by immigrants for the limited jobs there are because they are more willing to except less money for worse working conditions. This is the state of America pre-Trump!

As we now from this election as we have known for centuries, people know what is good for them. And when I saw the exit polls that 38% of people were voting for the candidate that they believed would affect change, I knew at 4 pm PST Hillary was in trouble at minimum.

Truth #1: I’ve never been more embarrassed to be an American.

It pains me to know how right I was for a while about sexism, racism, and overall discrimination. It didn’t hit me until every news source was actually calling it, but I could see at 5 pm PST that the women exit polls which held up voted 42% for Trump. An obviously sexist, misogynist  who commented about grabbing a woman’s vagina still got 42% of the WOMAN vote? What the hell? This speaks to bigger issues facing our country. I have heard from multiple educated women at various times that they prefer a male boss to a woman, so maybe that speaks to something cultural or subconscious. I have no idea why (as I am not a woman), but something is clearly wrong and I hope we can get it right.

6 pm PST: While rotating through the networks while I happened to be on CSPAN, I heard an educated Latino voter say how her whole family voted for Trump. This is a weird one because Hillary had a legit plan for the inner-cities. Then I saw polls and  the Latino vote (educated Latino vote included) was 65% Hillary. So even though Trump said we would build a wall with Mexico and deport people, 35% of Latin-Americans still voted for him!

The plan for cities helped somewhat as Hillary did get 88% of the black vote, which was actually higher than personally expected but still down from Obama. Being black in America is different than any other group as I learned the first days of having a black foster brother in a mixed family in a predominantly white neighborhood, but that DID NOT really impact this election very much UNLESS early poll closings, voter intimidation, and overall confusion happened at polls where African-American voters attempted to vote in red states. That is likely a stretch and we will know more when final numbers come in next week. Food for conspiracy theorists out there.

Myth #2: We need to leave the country NOW!

9 pm PST: No, you need to fight back! This is the flight generation, the Canadian immigration site was down for hours as so many people were trying to access it. What at one time and now is debatable about how America was the greatest country in the world is that people were willing to fight for the most simple concept in the history of civilization and government: freedom. And we have it! Some things are worth fighting for which I admittedly learn more and more every day. Just like the standard of living, people never want way less! If you want to get out of here, get the hell out. If you want to quit, then quit. I know democrats hate Karl Rove. People were fuming when they saw him last night, but guess what? Karl Rove lost a lot of times, but he kept coming back. The famous Lincoln-Douglas debates, what percentage of Americans would correctly identify that Douglas actually won that race!?!?!?! And Lincoln still ended up on two denominations of money and Mt. FREAKING Rushmore!

His own party thought Bernie too pie in the sky. Yea, Hitler and Napoleon were a little aggressive too when they thought he could take over the entire world, but they inspired people, they hit a nerve with people that brought out passion in some and compliance in others. They had a plan and explained how to execute it. Thank goodness they both failed, but Hillary didn’t give people something to come out and vote for. Why do people love football? One reason is they love quarterbacks. Why? Because they want courageous leaders especially if that leader comes into a huddle with a plan of how everyone should execute their responsibility to get what they want individually at the end of the day.

Truth #2: I never cared about politics until now.

10:30 pm PST: This is a kicker. This is the kicker. My moment of clarity came when explaining to a male generation X democrat with a 22 year old son about “Adam Smith was wrong!”, the famous line from a Beautiful Mind that won John Nash a Nobel Prize. Nash, the most advanced thinker at the time in game theory said Smith was incomplete that people would do what’s best for them and the group. Well, that is true if there is a pie to be shared, but if there is only one piece to share, are you going to accept a roll of the dice as to whether you get it or get NOTHING especially if you don’t trust the person holding the piece of pie until it’s decided? And if that pie is shrinking (or even staying the same) will you support adding more people who have a chance for a piece? No! You will do what gives you chance for “survival” which in this case is a standard of living: financially and dignified (humans probably won’t go extinct anytime soon). The 1%, the people in power, or whatever group you want to focus on that doesn’t want change is the one that has their piece of the pie already locked up and don’t want to risk losing it. Those with the piece locked up care about politics just enough to keep the lock, but those with a level of control unacceptable to them cared before the results were in.

Obviously this is why Trump won, the people who HAD to care about politics because they feel they are not getting what they need from their government did the only thing they can do: VOTE!. They thought he was their best chance for that change (with Bernie out and Gary Johnson’s ignorance). The liberal press and the foregone conclusion that Hillary would win was because the mainstream television media television media, the result of Bill Clinton making it 6 corporations. Well guess why NFL ratings are down, too? Because people under the age of 30 even a year ago dramatically cut their TV watching in a traditional sense. Because people under the age of 30 even a year ago dramatically cut their TV watching in a traditional sense. They are skeptical of what is reported in the mainstream media and read the internet to make their own decisions. They do this better than any group since the Hippies.

For those and many other voters the anyone but establishment vote was for Trump. One reason is Loyalty. Young Turks covered this pretty well saying loyalty is a one way thing going up in the existing political machine. Whereas in the Army the drill sergeants are the first ones there and the last to leave, some organizations have the “leaders eat last” edict, and in sports Bill Belichick gets respect because he is the first one to the facility and the last to leave. People want to feel like they are following someone willing to put in the time that respects those below them.

Whether you were right or wrong, your vote won or lost, how do you fight back if you so choose?

We need to create jobs, people don’t want a welfare check. Most people would take a welfare check over a super shitty job, but not over a legit one. Understand if you want to be taxed less, corporations are taxed more so they outsource jobs to other countries that are cheaper so jobs go away here. Remember and this is easy, you have the power, now go spread love, intelligence, and respect around this country again.

 

 

The Wild NL Card race – 24 days to go

We have a great one shaking out in the National League. The NL wild card race.

Recapping the current standings.

What you may have missed.

The Giants and Rockies played a tight one, but this time it was Colorado scoring 3 in the 9th for a walk off win to edge the G-men 6-5 and take the series.

The Cardinals fell 4-3 as the Pirates finally snapped their losing streak, remaining half a game back of SF. Their lead over the Mets shrunk to percentage points after …

The Mets won their 5th straight, edging Cincinnati 6-3 even though the Reds had gotten the tying and leading runs to the plate in the 8th before NY tacked on another in the 9th. Reyes became the 2nd player in Mets history with back to back games where he had a homer and a stolen base. The Mets are 0 GB having 1 more win and 1 more loss than St. L.

The previously mentioned Pirates sit 4.5 back.

Miami ended their losing streak by taking their frustrations out on Philly 6-0 buoyed by the returns of Bour and Ozuna a day after Stanton returned. They are 5 back of NY and St. Louis with a manageable schedule the rest of the way even though LAD up next has won 5 straight themselves.

The Rox are 6.5 back and hanging by a thread, but as we know anything can happen at Coors (like last night) and this same franchise went on the greatest September run possibly ever back in ’07. Plus, the move line “So you’re saying there’s a chance” was filmed in the state of Colorado!

Up next: St.Louis and Pitt begin divisional series at home against Cinci and the Brew Crew respectively today. Rockies in San Diego today. Giants at Arizona, Mets at Atlanta, Marlins in Chavez Ravine all starting Friday.

ESPN all-time NBA rank, Part 666 … just kidding! just Pt. 6

Much like the The Postal Sevice, the music not the actual parcel service, my former college classmate Johnny Blaze corresponded over text/email about ESPN’s all-time NBA rank. He started the discussion, I replied, he continued with 6-10, my 6-10, I continued with the rest of my top 15:, and he replied:

Recap ESPN / JB / BD:
11. Oscar / Hakeem / Duncan
12. Kobe / LeBron / LeBron
13. West / Moses / Kobe
14. Dr. J / Kobe / Isiah
15. Moses / West / West

We’ve discussed the Hakeem / Duncan rankings a lot already, but I’ll make one last point to show how much we let championships influence our perceptions of players, even though there are so many variables that go into actually hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy. Hakeem’s two titles came when Jordan was away from the game, or had just returned late in the season. While Hakeem outscored both Ewing and Shaq, their match-ups were pretty close overall. Tomjanovich coached his butt off against the Magic, and Riley coached to beat himself. Houston played great as a team in both series, but the Knicks really gave away the series, and it doesn’t just take a bitter Knicks fan (guilty) to realize it. But say Ewing and Hakeem both get one title. I doubt we have nearly the gap between the two that we’ve ranked them now, based on John Starks’ terrible shooting. All that said, you can’t go wrong with Hakeem here and anybody who can get drafted #1 overall (no Sam Bowie tangents today) over Jordan has to been a damn great player.

For all of LeBron’s Finals futility, it’s hard to argue with his overall success. He dragged the ’07 Cavs to their eventual slaughter and last year he was playing with a point guard teetering on the D-League and their biggest off-season acquisition also out. Maybe the only guy besides Magic who can play any position, and a much better athlete overall (Big O would probably have little trouble either). He still probably has 3-5 years of his prime left, which means he could definitely climb these rankings, but I’d have to see more of the leadership and less of the pouting, as you’ve rightly pointed out.

And if having LeBron over Kobe wasn’t enough, I’ve got Moses Malone wedged between them as well. I can already hear the steam releasing out of the ears of my Kobe fan friends. If you could draft an 18 year old Moses Malone or 18 year old Kobe Bryant at any time prior to 2012, you go Moses. From age 23 to 29, Moses never averaged less than 24 points and 11 rebounds a season, with his best effort probably being 1983 where he won both the regular season and Finals MVPs. If there was one center whose prime somewhat coincided with Kareem that could lay claim to being his equal, it was Moses. He was almost as unstoppable a force as Shaq or Wilt, and I think takes some dings for having spent some early years in the ABA, which again, the NBA does everything possible to ignore.

Which brings me to Kobe and the Logo. Against the earlier argument that we rely too much on championships, I’ve giving Kobe the nod over West because of the championships, but probably more so because Kobe was an elite defender in his prime. But there’s no doubt who the better offensive player was. Kobe can dunk, create, and kill his opponents from everywhere on the court, but Jerry West is one of the top 5 shooters of all time. He shot a higher overall percentage than Kobe, has a higher per game average, and averaged 30 ppg 4 times to Kobe’s 3, all with no 3 point shot in 14 versus 19 NBA season. But Kobe defenders can point to the monster numbers he put up when he chose to make it all about him, and the championships with two different sets of teammates. 12x all Defensive teams gives him the edge for me, even with West’s attributes as a point guard, but only very slightly. And it doesn’t give him the edge over LeBron, who can defend more positions, and had better help defense than Kobe ever did.

And since I haven’t drained the championship conversation enough, let’s take a closer look at Kobe’s 5 titles. The first three we all know were a result of his dynamic duo with the most unstoppable force of his era, the big Aristotle. Sure, Shaq didn’t win with Penny, and he didn’t win until Kobe got good enough to play Robin to his Batman. But Shaq won the 3 MVPs in those Finals. Shaq was the guy that no opposing coach had an answer for. Kobe was one of the top guards in the league. Shaq was the reason they won.

Kobe and Shaq both deserve blame for the fallout. Shaq got lazy. Kobe was so hard to be around, Phil Jackson quit. And snitching out your teammates to the police when you get into trouble does not display leadership. But give Kobe credit for growing up, forcing the Lakers to make the right moves to get him one of the best PFs in the game and some good pieces together to get back to three straight finals. Boston whooped them pretty bad in 2008. LA flattened Orlando in 2009 when you still scratch your head as to how the Magic got there. And in 2010 Kobe and his Lakers squeaked out a game 7 victory over the Celtics as they took advantage of Kendrick Perkins’ injury by owning the paint, although Kobe shot 6 for 24. We tend to remember the good performances with certain players and not the bad. For instance, Ray Allen, hero of the 2012 NBA Finals, shot 3 for 14 in that game 7 versus LA.

Championships…

ESPN all-time NBA rank Pt. 2

Much like the The Postal Sevice, the music not the actual parcel service, my former college classmate Johnny Blaze corresponded over text/email about ESPN’s all-time NBA rank. He started the discussion and I responded:

I’ll have to go with the following:

1. Jordan
2. Wilt
3. Kareem
4. Magic
5. Russell

 

You know I love Wilt and he is disrespected, an even named a website after him, but the fact is, Jordan won 6 titles. He won 6 in a league that was very top heavy. The 6 full years he played in his prime, he was a champion. And Scottie Pippen is a good player, but as we saw him in 1999, not as good as we thought. Also free throws, sorry Wilt. Without the ability to dunk them, you simply needed to adapt and didn’t.

 

Putting Wilt below 2 is just plain stupidity. How can anyone possibly say that LeBron is better than him? 2 titles each. LeBron is more amazing athlete? No. Worse supporting cast for Bron? No. Carried his team on his back but they still couldn’t win? Same. My tie-breaker is the fact that no one could ever “light up” Wilt and we know he could have tried harder, but didn’t want anyone to die or get injured. The league needed star power and if he just injured everyone on the Celtics, there wouldn’t have been a league! If Arnold says you are the strongest guy he’s seen, then you must be the strongest ever. Of course, LeBron and Magic could play all 5 positions, whereas Wilt would always be a 5 because there’s no way anyone would be better. He’s the only player to have led the NBA in scoring, rebounds, and assists at different points in his career. He could have got triple-doubles every game if either A. it was worth passing to people worse than you or B. they kept blocked shot statistics. Young Kareem initially took it to Older Wilt, who soon took over. And in Wilt’s defense with Jerry West AND Elgin Baylor injured in the 1971 WCF, how in the  heck is he supposed to guard all 5 Bucks players at the same time? Would Jordan have even beat the Jazz without Pippen and Rodman? Baylor, West, Pippen, and Rodman are tougher losses to overcome than Uncle Drew and Kevin Love, especially against superior opponents. The next year as the Lakers were even older and now Baylor retired, Wilt pulled a Russell and whooped Kareem’s squad despite 33.7 PPG for Kareem and 10.8 for the Dipper.

 

I also would like to say that 3 on 3 or 4 on 4 might get complicated, but if you had to say the greatest 2 on 2 team ever, it would have to be Jordan and Wilt. The only way they lose is if the other squad is Curry and Bird, they get ball first and somehow don’t miss a single shot from downtown so Jordan and Wilt never even get the rock.

 

The hardest person to rank is Kareem. All his titles came with Oscar and Magic which therefore makes them the second and third hardest respectively. That said, if you were starting a team and said this guy will play in the league for 20+ years as a starter at Center, win 6 championships, be the all-time leader in scoring, blocks (even though stats weren’t kept for Wilt, Russell, and Mikan), you would have to go with Kareem. I give him the edge over Russell because he could do it all. If we retired today, would you rather have Kareem’s career or LeBron?

 

By doing so, unfortunately now I have to pick between Magic and Oscar, and I give Magic the edge slightly because of his winning ways. The guy was a winner. He could rally a team like very few men in NBA History (maybe 3rd only to Jordan and Russell). His career was stopped because of HIV, which is lucky Wilt never got it during his days of being the town bicycle. His battles with Boston are well documented which LA won 2 out of 3 series against. He was the key. He was the second best player on the Dream Team.

 

Oscar had to face Russell and Chamberlain’s teams, which is tough when you are only maybe 6’5, and his 2nd title required a young Lew Alcindor. I love Oscar, but don’t see how I can rate him higher than the greatest winner in the history of team sports, Yogi Berra, I mean Bill Russell. If Chamberlain would have played all out against Russell, he may have dropped SF Bill down further, but he didn’t. Russell’s intellect as a player has to be top 5 all-time and his unselfishness as well. I’d have to take his career over Oscar, even though in a draft of the top players, if you were to pick sides, I don’t see Russell as a top 5 pick.

 

LeBron has the opportunity to alter this list, in which case I’d have to re-evaluate the 4 and 5 spots on my list. The Big O gets kudos for whipping on Goodrich, Riley, and Happy Hairston to get his 2nd title.

 

The other person I will mention that people would say is my 2nd favorite to Wilt, Larry Bird. His athletic skills alone keep him out of the top 5. He also lost 2 out of 3 finals to Magic. That said, if you were to have a 3 on 3 greatest team ever, I would say you want him as the 3rd man because of his shooting. His man could never leave him no matter where he was. And if you could pick any person in the history of the world to take the last shot, with your team inbounding the ball, down by 2 with 1 second left? You have to go with Chris Kyle, Jesus Christ (who never even shot anything), or Larry Bird.

 

NEXT: JB sends back his remaining top 10, agreements/disagreements ESPN. Then we’ll move on to 11-15, etc. until #25.

ESPN’s all-time NBA rank debate

Much like the The Postal Sevice, the music not the actual parcel service, my former college classmate Johnny Blaze corresponded over text/email about ESPN’s all-time NBA rank. He started the discussion:  
 
ESPN’s top 5:

1. Jordan
2. Kareem
3. LeBron
4. Magic
5. Wilt

 

First off, you wanna make Jordan number 1, I could argue 10 different ways why it’s wrong, but combining offense, defense, and titles (and potential titles), it’s not a bad choice, so I will pick my battles. Such as Kareem at 2 overall. He’s not even probably the second best center ever. We both watched old Wilt take on 24 y/o Kareem, which made me respect Kareem even more as a player, but to consider the miles on Wilt at that point, he was still markedly better. At their peaks, there’s no doubt who was better. This is a classic Ruth versus Aaron. Sometimes people just don’t believe the numbers when they’re that incredible and make excuses for them.

 

LeBron cannot be #3. There’s no way a guy who is still playing can be that high. Because if he was to retire tomorrow, and what we’ve seen was the end of his career, could you honestly say he was better than Magic? Oscar? Others? I won’t kill his 2-4 in the finals because once he took a team that was clearly inferior (07) and last year his next two guys were hurt. He will definitely retire as a top 10, maybe top 5, but right now if his career ended you can’t put him at 3.

 

Here’s my top 5:
1. Wilt
2. Jordan
3. Magic
4. Oscar
5. Russell

 

NEXT: I send back my top 5, agreements/disagreements with JB and ESPN. Then we’ll move on to 6-10, etc. until #25.

 
John Blaze received his cognomen after the superhero and song by Fat Joe making his status as  ‘Ghost Writer’ rather ironic compared to that of a Ghost Rider.