Winning Finals MVP Meant so Much to Kawhi Leonard That He Forgot/Left The Trophy at the Podium After His Postgame Press Conference
Nothing if not symbolic. Hilariously fitting of a player that returned from a suspicious season off and led the entirety of a championship run like it wasn't as much of a redemption story as it was the conducting of business that's as usual as the refilling of an empty coffee pot, but mostly symbolic.
While many found themselves more enamored with debating whether or not Steph Curry would get the media-manipulated monkey off his back by adding a Finals MVP to his extensive trophy case, Kawhi Leonard mechanically engineered a near-unanimous heist (Hubie Brown, you good fam?) of it just to leave it sitting on a table like a complimentary bottle of warm water. If that doesn't speak to just how unwilling he is to be about the (incredibly entertaining) bullshit of basketball as a coldblooded competitor with the one goal of winning then I don't know what the hell does.
We're talking about an award that represents a Jordan-esque performance that willed his team to a peak previously unknown in toppling a dynasty and defining a legacy. Yet, I'm honestly not convinced that Kawhi Leonard forgot the Finals MVP trophy as much he just couldn't even be bothered to pick up something that didn't have the word 'Spalding' stamped on it.
I don't know if a species of Black Mamba whose assassinations are silent and that wouldn't be caught dead counting his rings with his fingers has been discovered as of yet, so I'll just assume that dude is a different breed. Judging from its apparent disinterest in all things shiny, it's safe to say that it's one that can only be satiated by success despite not giving a half of a damn about sinking its fangs into the glitz, glamor, and gold that comes with it.
Take a Hike Drake, Because 'Plant Guy' Was the Real Star of the Show in Toronto's City-Wide Celebration of the Raptors
I have to be honest, I love this dude, and that's saying a lot of someone that typically finds disturbing the appetite for destruction that long-suffering sports' fans seem to develop while amidst the chaos of absolute ecstasy. This is where environmentalists should close their eyes, because I think there's something about the relative harmlessness of matter of factly plucking a small tree out of the ground with the interior decorating of an NBA superstar at least satirically in mind that I can't help but find endearing. Plant Guy, with his 'Kawhactus' in hand, was so delightfully drunk and deadpan in explaining the intent of his pro bono grooming of Toronto's garden that I can't help but feel drawn to his cause.
And ya know what, oddly enough, no can say whether or not he contributed to the cause of
getting 'The Klaw' to dig in north of the border for the foreseeable future. If we know anything about Kawhi Leonard it's that we know almost nothing about Kawhi Leonard. I'd say it's about as likely that he is a fengshui aficionado as it is that he's interested in actually leaving his residence to eat free meals in...::robotic gasp::...public. Maybe the thought of uprooting greenery on his behalf plays to a love of fellow largely lifeless organisms and counts enough for him to spurn Southern California and consider rooting himself in Canada for the next 4-5 years. Almost definitely not, but you have to think out of the box when trying to persuade someone whose entire personality appears to packaged in one. Might as well attempt to warm his house to feel like a home before his blood turns back cold...
Regardless of whether or not they end up being in vain, I appreciate Plant Guy's efforts. After all, his ability to sarcastically(?) elaborate on them makes him unquantifiably less obnoxious than 99% of the fans doing patently stupid shit as a form of celebration.
The Warriors Lost More Than Just a Chance at Another Championship Last Night, As Klay Thompson Became a Casualty by Tearing His ACL in the Process
Unless the Golden State Warriors' empire was built on damp cardboard, "when it rains, it pours" doesn't seem like a destitute enough analogy to use in reference to a consummate champion finding out they basically lost another season while licking their wounds following a futile fight for a three-peat that turned fatalistic. The weather going from bad to worse doesn't quite encapsulate the sullen state of a dynasty dethroned, unless we're talking about the type of 100 year storm that would put Noah to work on his next Ark in potentially reshaping the entire landscape of the NBA.
With both Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson currently being the most top-dollar of damaged goods, it remains to be seen what direction Golden State decides on going, but it's safe to say that neither they nor a previously predetermined NBA will ever be the same again. Throughout a postseason that wasn't short on shock value, every health-compromised Warrior had me saying to myself "not like this" about an overdue changing of the guard. That guard, while having just been manned by a Raptors' team that vindicated their decision to say "fuck it" to forethought in a way that might inspire copycats in the Anthony Davis' sweepstakes, is now up for grabs going forward. The West is suddenly wide-open on the heels of the East being owned by a group that manifested its destiny by adding the ultimate mercenary.
The way we got here reminds everyone to be careful what they wish for, as no one feels good about the sequence of events that ended the Warriors' reign, but the truth is that greatness never bows out gracefully. To say it was inevitable that injuries would eventually rear their unforgiving head makes for far too bleak of a fate-fulfilled horoscope, but their impact makes it impossible to ignore how much luck plays a factor come playoff time. It's honestly as if the basketball gods made up for lost time in blindsiding Golden State with a black cloud that became more and more saturated as their roster was a relentless ray of sunshine while tallying up titles. That doesn't make it all that much easier to accept the impending year-long absence of two of the NBA's top 10-15 talents, but it does a decent job of explaining how painstaking playing through June, seemingly annually, can be.
It could just be crushingly coincidental, but it certainly seems as though Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson just paid a hefty price, perhaps both figuratively and literally, for sustained success. In a fashion that speaks to the endless entertainment value of the most eventful offseason in sports, such devastating news might just make for a summer that is exponentially more interesting. What it doesn't do, however, is make for an enjoyable end to an era in the aftermath of what was otherwise an awesome NBA Finals.
Mike Vrabel Admitted to Hating Lines and Always Being in a Hurry, As if That Makes Him Special or Something
First and foremost, I have very little doubt that Mike Vrabel is a highly competitive person. I think that much is supported by him carving out a 14-year NFL career during which he was entrusted as a jack-of-all-trades by one of the greatest coaches in sports' history for a team that won three Super Bowls in four years. If, for some strange reason, that isn't enough proof of his aggressive ambition then his ability to transition to the sidelines with enough success to work his way up through the entirety of the ranks and snag a head coaching gig as a spry 42-year-old certainly should be.
That being said, him (over)valuing his time as an impatient person who hates lines enough to silently race other adult men to them does not make him special. That's not to say that he's not special. It's just to say that being an anxious and irritable asshole that wants to be where he wants to be when he wants to be there without anyone, his own family included, slowing him down or standing in his way only makes him as special as every non-special ingrate that spent a significant portion of their life living in the Northeast.
Perhaps instilling in his team the "kill or be killed"-type attitude that one develops when dealing with Massholes daily for nearly a decade could coincidentally inspire a sense of urgency that breeds winners on the football field. Sort of sounds like a big load of Belichickian bullshit, but I suppose I could see that being the case.
On the other hand, I could also see how forcing those around him to adopt the same socially abrasive mindset might make life less stressful for someone who has probably found himself biting his tongue while being inconvenienced by one too many tedious acts of Southern hospitality since his arrival in Tennessee. Judging by how taken aback the local media was by what is standard operating pissyness above the Mason-Dixon line, I'm leaning towards the latter, as strictly enforcing a speed minimum greatly reduces the road rage of those living life in the fast lane.
You know what, credit to that poor bastard. I typically find it obnoxious when adults go scrounging around for relatively useless foul balls that would mean so much more to the children standing idly by so as to not get bowled over by boozehounds, but a little self-awareness goes a hell of a long way.
As evidenced by his own bittersweet words, that dude very clearly didn't like what had become of him as a person as he got on all fours to swipe a little bit of joy away from the next generation. He wasn't happy to play the unruly asshole, but three decades is a long ass time that's undoubtedly been made to feel exponentially longer by the unrelenting thanklessness of rooting on his favorite team live. You know the extent of what that man's 30 years of loyalty have been rewarded with? Zero World Series, zero pennants, one division title, one wildcard berth, and one record-setting Ironman streak that now serves as symbolic in reminding him that the "best" part about Baltimore Orioles' baseball is its consistency in taking the field.
Point being, you're goddamn right he's going take what he can get, even if he has to begrudgingly take it right out from under the puppy dogs eyes of children who might as well get used to leaving Camden Yards disappointed. Not because he wants to, but because he basically has to if he's going to justify continuing to show up to watch the worst team in the sport as they go nowhere fast in a painfully familiar fashion.
This isn't a particularly surprising viewpoint from a player who has appeared fairly care-free in taking things as they come throughout a rocky (top) ride to the peak of his profession. In a lot of ways, Alvin Kamara's public persona comes off as the polar opposite of Michael Thomas', in that he remains pretty low-key in taking anything he may or may not take personally in a familiarly smooth stride. For that reason, I hardly envisioned him bashing those that were laughably far-sighted in not being able to see clearly an unprecedented playmaker while he was directly under their nose.
That said, can you imagine being one of the coaches that so poorly mismanaged the otherworldly talents of someone who went on to become the NFL's Offensive Player of The Year that said talents waited until the second day of the draft to get selected? Butch Jones has since been humbled, as he was interning as Nick Saban's most trusted window washer while Alvin Kamara was turning in a studly sophomore season...
However, I wouldn't be surprised if his original reality check came in the form of watching #41 make a stage out of every single Sunday. In fact, I don't even know how you don't look in the mirror after one of your offensive afterthoughts immediately becomes the NFL's ultimate X-factor, and question your entire life's work as a coach. Alvin Kamara is so preposterously versatile that you have to actively try harder to underutilize him that badly than you do to utilize him to the best of his abilities. We're talking eating steak with a spoon levels of stupid. If the former brain trust at Tennessee couldn't figure that out over the course of one single New Orleans Saints' offensive series then merely telling them how dumb their depth chart was when Jalen Hurd was a top it certainly isn't going to do the trick.
Let Brad Marchand's Tears Hydrate the Hockey World, As His Laughable Lack of Focus Played a Huge Part in Costing The Bruins a Stanley Cup
To be honest, I'm struggling for the words. The timing on a line change that all-too-perfectly resembled a rat choosing flight after having the brightest of lights turned directly on it while its mind was in a gutter was so mystifyingly stupid that I'm still damn near speechless. The most acceptable excuse for Brad Marchand scurrying off the ice as one of the last men back after whiffing defensively is that he thought periods had been changed to 19 minutes and 50 seconds in length. Unfortunately, he's probably going to have to do better than that to explain the otherwise inexplicable to the segment of the Bruins' fanbase that doesn't blindly blame Tuukka Rask (who was one win away from a Conn Smythe trophy, mind you) whenever they drunkenly dribble a little pee on their own pants.
Now, to say Brad Marchand is guilty of losing the entirety of a Game 7 with one lazy lack of awareness would quite obviously be false. However, to say that going down two downright deflating goals with mere seconds remaining in a period that the Bruins completed dominated otherwise against a road warrior of a opponent whose goaltender already successful stonewalled their best shot is an inglorious gut punch couldn't possibly be more truthful. There was still a ton of time left in the game, but the Bruins' odds of winning the Stanley Cup were dealt such a sperm-stunning kick to the crotch by an insurance goal that the league's biggest lover of low blows almost had to be complicit in it. Combine that with yet another no-show from a top line that basically bottomed-out offensively all series, and 'The Pest' was predominantly a pain in his own team's ass.
Of course, the Blues deserve a ton of credit for exterminating the impact of him and his linemates with a system that could suffocate even the most relentless rodent, but in playing 'Gloria' there's no more fitting undertone than the tearful face of failure belonging to Brad Marchand. After all, it was his familiar lack of focus that eternally altered a game that was well within reach...
The Blues' Fan That Turned $400 into $100,000 by Betting on His Then Bad Team to Win the Cup Has Eternal Bragging Rights
Assuming you aren't the executive whose confidence in the team he assembled was unwavering as they went through the type of rough stretch that has driven plenty of resilient rich men to the bottom of the bottle, or the head coach that took over when the things were at their bumpiest in helping to smooth a road to relevance, or any of the players who believed in one another as they battled against near inevitable odds to make history, you can't possibly feel more vindicated than Scott Berry currently does.
As sports' fans, we often look like unhinged idiots to the outside world in deriving a second-hand sense of either failure or accomplishment from the outcome of games we couldn't be further from factoring into, as though paying for tickets or memorabilia grants us some unofficial role within the organization. That realization is a pretty harsh one when you think about it, but it's one that Scott Berry can now comfortably avoid after putting his money where his mouth was in refusing to hedge on what was a bottom-feeder of a Blues' team that hadn't won a title in its 52-year existence and having it pay huge dividends.
The phrase "ultimate fan experience" gets tossed around a lot. However, you could have been sitting on Jake Allen's lap last night and you wouldn't have felt more a part of the actual on-ice action than someone who watched his favorite team participate in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final while knowing full well that one bad bounce could cost him six figures. In that moment, as the clock struck zero and Blues achieved the unthinkable, Scott Berry absolutely had to feel a profound sense of pride that only pales in comparison to that of those who were about to hoist the greatest trophy in all of sports after months of physical and mental anguish and sacrifice. You honestly can't put a price on that, though a cool 100K would be a damn good starting point.
During an Old Radio Appearance That is Now Making its Rounds, Dabo Swinney Referred to Himself as the 'Osama Bin Dabo' of Alabama Recruitment
Ah yes, the old "compare myself, by both name and overall animus, to the mastermind behind the deadliest and most tragic terrorist attack on American soil" move. As an age old joke amongst the comedy community, who could have predicted that such a quirky analogy would fall on deaf ears until it was later stumbled upon by those who, oddly enough, don't exactly find the person most responsible for the national nightmare of 9/11 to be a laughing matter?
I mean, when you really think about it, the similarities between a persuasive recruiter of regional athletic talent that won a National Champioship and a persuasive recruiter of radical suicide bombers that ended/forever altered countless innocent lives become too stark to ignore. All Osam....scratch that...Dabo did was make the unfortunate, albeit tooootally hilarious, connection before the rest of us inevitably put our collective finger on it. Pretty selfless on his part to finally put himself in the same sentence as one of the most evil assholes in all of history in terms of operational secrecy. After all, the endless parallels were really starting to become an elephant in the room.......where two older white guys struggled to discuss the intricacies of their respective sports without the wildly unnecessary use of taboo topics like politics and terrorism in kickstarting the conversation.
Hand Up: I Fully Endorse the USWNT's Limb-From-Limb Destruction of Thailand, Yet Still Suffered Second-Hand Embarrassment From Some of Their Celebrations
As someone who cringes whenever the concept of class is thrown around in regards to sports, like fields of play hosting the most competitively cutthroat of athletes are supposed to be treated with the reverence of a 5-star dinner amongst dignitaries, I get it. I really do. The phrase "act like you've been there before" makes my goddamn skin crawl, especially with "there" being the back of a goal and not a fucking black tie event.
That being said, I also think that celebrating the 9th goal of a brutal bludgeoning of a soccer game, that was over once it was scheduled, like you're auditioning for a show tune objectively makes you look like an overzealous jackass in the moment...
As a veteran of multiple World Cups, the last of which she was instrumental in winning, it's almost impossible for Megan Rapinoe to derive that much joy from an uncontested tally against a Thailand team that had already tucked their tails. After all, if she genuinely does then it stands to reason that her heart might legitimately explode on the pitch if she pots one in the elimination round.
I say the following as someone who knows the importance of goal differential during the World Cup, and as someone that takes pride in the fact that at least one American team is capable of pounding the piss out of the rest of the planet in the most global of game. Regardless of whether or not it was...::chokes back taste of vomit::..."sportsmanlike", adding the type of insult to injury that you'd expect of someone seeking retribution for the murder of a loved one was a completely clueless display of self-(un)awareness.
The USWNT should have won by 100 if the opportunity presented itself. That doesn't change the fact that - regardless of gender, nationality, or whatever else people will stop at nothing to make this about - you should feel kinda stupid when you frolic shamelessly over a pretty forgiving line in reacting to what might as well have been the 100th goal as if it were the first. As it turns out, the world's best female athletes can also be assholes. Consider it a downside of the ongoing process of equality.
The type of hugs you'd expect to see given to someone safely returning from deployment weren't just objectively over-the-top given the score. They were also awkwardly over-the-top given the score, and I say that as someone who would have liked to have seen said score tripled by ladies that distracted from their dominant talents by acting as if they'd just magically discovered them yesterday.
I don't want to sound as if I'm against celebrating the realization of a lifelong dream, because I am most certainly not. However, I find it incredibly unlikely that any young soccer player, boy or girl, ever closed their eyes and dreamt of scoring the 13th goal against an overmatched opponent in the first game of the World Cup.
Now this, this is how you resurrect a franchise. In saying that, I am quite obviously not talking about a decidedly dysfunctional NFL franchise that needs another distraction about as badly as they need a second (or third, or fourth, or fifth) asshole. Rather, I am talking about a 'Hard Knocks' franchise that's set to do numbers while covering every level of an organization that was basically built to be viewed from the outside in as a guilty pleasure of football fans everywhere.
From a front office that is headed by a grown ass man with a bowl cut, to a sideline that is run by a head coach with a penchant for preaching the patently ridiculous more profoundly than a blind guy standing on a city sidewalk screaming towards the heavens, to a roster that reads like role call at an athletic asylum. The Raiders were made for this moment as their volatile cast of characters makes those of even the most ridiculous reality shows seem more shameful than shameless. Seeing as their chances of competing for a Super Bowl are about the same as the odds of Vontaze Burfict playing a suspension-less 16 game season, this feature is their Super Bowl. Therefore, I suspect they'll make of it a spectacle that makes the actual Super Bowl look about as entertaining as a forced training camp storyline by comparison.
Richie Incognito is probably already crafting conspiracy theories for a camera that Antonio Brown is planning to shove up his own ass so that it can get a better look at his shit-eating grin while Jon Gruden can be heard evangelizing the sweet, sweet nothings of 1980's-inspired cliches in the background. Honestly, the biggest concern HBO should have is not producing quality content, but rather editing an amount of must-see footage that would overwhelm Mike Mayock during draft season.
This Raiders have the potential to make Hue Jackson's last hurrah seem stable, and in doing so they have the potential to produce a documentary that needs not dramatization in making 'Hard Knocks' back into the exact opposite of an intervention as the type of sports' soap opera that makes for the preseason's only appointment television. Get ready Las Vegas, for this show could make for such a perfect Sin City audition that there might eventually be a strip-side adaptation.
What does this mean, you ask? Well, other than that the New Jersey Devils were universally understood to be the poster boys for a strangling level of defensive dominance en route to winning three Stanley Cups between the mid-90's and early 2000's, less than absolutely nothing.
In fact, I'd go as far as saying that it even being referred to as though it might have some underlying relevance to an unsourced trade rumor of some sort speaks more to the point here, which is that Devils' fans are quickly approaching the cliff towards full-blown Crazy Town if they aren't soon offered the opportunity to feel even a little bullish about the team's blue line.
Ray Shero, heed these words. I'm not even sure it gets more conspiratorial than studying the semantics in reading into PK Subban making easy-to-absorb basketball analogies to an ESPN audience that is half-witted towards hockey. However, if it does then you might as well make the first promotion a tinfoil hate giveaway if no NHL-caliber defensemen are added prior to October. I can't imagine Taylor Hall would be too ecstatic about the idea of continuing to receive outlet passes off the glass after spending 30 seconds a shift chasing the puck while his defensemen chase their own tail for the foreseeable future, and if he wants out then straight jackets might have to come complimentary with season tickets. Therefore, I strongly suggest some reinforcements are made to the backend so that a throwaway mention on 'First Take' is no longer the last resort of impatient Devils' fans who are near certain their pets heads are about to start falling off.
Look, I get it. Everyone loves a juicy punchline, and Kyle Lowry's thicc ass has been unable to squeeze one damn good one dry, postseason and pathetic postseason, for quite some time now. For that reason, I couldn't imagine myself asking the following when he tried to go through a defender's legs on the final possession of a one-score playoff game a mere month and a half ago...
That being said, are we so stuck in our same old storylines that we'll ignore the entirety of what was an otherwise excellent performance by the Raptors' guard who has been tirelessly trying to rewrite the book on 'Playoff Lowry' under a far different genre and shame him for one missed shot free of circumstance? The internet, as it's one to do, is still having fun with what was soon determined to be a brilliantly blocked shot as though it were some sort of blooper, and I can't help but wonder what Kyle Lowry ever did to its users other than provide them the type of annual comedic content they figured to last forever...
On first glance, I thought Draymond Green made a hell of a contest on a buzzer-beater that could have brought Toronto a title, so I was hardly surprised to learn that he got finger on a ball that ended up sailing about 30 yards South of bringing an NBA championship to the North. That begs the question, how ignorant and uncreative must you be to still be taking to Twitter as if it were some sort of wide-open jumper that left Kyle Lowry's hands and took a direct, behind-the-backboard path to a neighboring province?
I'm far from innocent when it comes to taking liberties in an effort to mock professional sports' easiest targets, but when they ferociously fight back on a stage as big as that of the NBA Finals, I refuse to be willfully blind in sticking to an overdone script in pushing an unapologetic agenda. Kyle Lowry was great last night and he's been very good this series. Ignoring one of the better defensive plays you'll ever see save a season isn't going to change the fact that you're in desperate need of some new material, so you might as well stop making fun now before he's raising the Larry O'Brian trophy like the high school dork who got the last laugh on his way to the bank.
Cam Jordan's Wish is New Orleans' Command, As He Officially Signed the Extension That Should Make Him a "Saints' Lifer"
There's one thing that the Saints can cross off from the top of their to-do list, and considering Cam Jordan's unwaveringly elite impact on the field and his leadership off of it, they can do so with a shit-eating grin on their collective face.
As proven by Mark Ingram's dumbfounding departure, nothing about the cutthroat business of the NFL is inevitable. So, while this extension felt as though it was only a matter of time, it's comforting that said time has already come. As expected from someone who made his intentions to be a "Saints' lifer" known, Cam Jordan - who had every right to break Mickey Loomis' bank as the most versatile of All-Pro pass-rushers - agreed to leave a little money on the table in exchange for the majority of that which he will take home being almost as guarantee as (::knock on wood::) his dominant presence on the defensive line...
With the negotiations of Sheldon Rankins, Alvin Kamara, Marshon Lattimore, and especially Michael Thomas looming all-too-rapidly, it's nice to put any order of business in the rearview. Even if it is just business as usual with a player who, quite frankly, has been too understanding in offering up (adopted) hometown discounts for performances and production that are consistently above his pay grade.
New Orleans' defense might as well revolve around Cam Jordan with how reliably revered he's been throughout his career, and he more than deserved to get compensated for his role as its brightest star until he retires as an absolute shoe-in for the Saints' Hall of Fame.
Raptors' Fans Brought Shame Upon Their Country With an Obnoxiously Upbeat Reaction to Kevin Durant's Achilles Injury
I'm sorry Toronto, but I tried. I thought long and hard about giving the benefit of the doubt to Canadian courtesy, but with every re-watch it became more and more painfully obvious that not even the most regionally inclined aren't without fail when it comes to putting aside sports' allegiances to show a baseline level of compassion.
Now, I'm sure most of the volume in a building that was already buzzing was due to the audibly shocking realization that an insanely impactful moment had just upped a passionate fanbase's chances of seeing and celebrating their first championship. That doesn't make it much better, of course, but expecting the entirety of Scotiabank Arena to go from raucous to respectfully reserved in a matter of seconds during what could have easily been the biggest night in its existence simply wasn't realistic.
What should have been a realistic, however, was for fans to stop themselves from offering the universally condescending gesture for "GTFO" to an opposing player in waving him into what sounds like it's going to be an extremely elongated offseason. I hardly think every eardrum-pounding decibel could be attributed to the disingenuous dickheads in attendance, but the primitive reaction of Jurassic Park didn't exactly lead me to believe that Raptors' fans cheer and jeer from some sort of moral high ground. The sins of the few (hundred) shouldn't exactly lead to the punishment of the many. However, when your reputation is righteous enough to put organized religion to shame it is going to take a hit when you get noticeably loud and proud in response to an opposing player hobbling to the hardwood.
Credit to Kyle Lowry and Danny Green for encouraging Raptors' fans to use their collective brain and do some damage control by starting a 'K-D!' chant while clapping him back down the tunnel, but said damage was already done. Hate to break it to you Toronto, but America ain't the only country with overly fanatical assholes who can't read a room when their favorite team is playing a meaningful game in it.
Don't Let a Choked Up Bob Myers Distract You From the Fact That Kevin Durant Shouldn't Have Been Playing Last Night
Well, that was...a lot. That's not to call into question the sincerity of Bob Myers' words, as he went above and beyond effusive in expressing his respect for Kevin Durant as both a player and a person. Still, that was a lot. Especially so when you consider that it managed to do very little to convince anyone that an athlete who was likely on the verge of testing free agency should have been on the court out of desperation when he was apparently one minor misstep away from a career-altering aggravation, exacerbation, or byproduct of an already existing injury.
There were plenty of knowledgable people that still remained skeptical that what spent the last four weeks hampering KD was more achilles-related than calf-related, so it would be quite the untimely and unfortunate coincidence for the former to tear if only the latter was thought to be at risk. Whether that miscalculation made by the Warriors' medical staff was influenced by them working on behalf of the best interests of the organization that employs them, as opposed to the best interests of its most talented player, we'll probably never know. What we do know, however, is that it absolutely was a miscalculation.
At the end of the day, it was KD's decision to give it a go in a pivotal Game 5 with his team's season on the line. That much is certain. Why that go was 'full' and without any sort or minutes restriction, despite him being entirely unable to compete in the NBA Finals as of three days prior, with one of those days being devoted to a practice he couldn't complete, I'm not sure I understand. However, it was his decision to play.
I just don't think I can take Bob Myers' seriously when he's lashing out at the internet's most obnoxious idiots as if leaks from his own locker room don't paint a picture of internal aggravation that one of the most thin-skinned superstars in the NBA would have to be blind not to see...
The fact of the matter is that there absolutely is blame to be passed around, as this wasn't some entirely unrelated freak setback for someone who, Drake be damned, went 0 to 100 real quick. Now, I'm not quite sure how it to accurately divvy it up, but the Golden State Warriors should feel guilty, since they did no better a job looking out for the long-term well-being of their back-to-back Finals MVP than he, an emotionally manipulated competitor, did.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson Certainly Isn't Short on Confidence, As He Randomly Challenged LeBron's Receiving Prowess on Twitter For Some Reason
I can't imagine it's all that important to Chauncey Gardner-Johnson's impending NFL journey that he is willing to test his coverage capabilities against one of the most transcendent athletes playing an entirely different sport, while he is on the downside of his career in said sport, free of charge. After all, he's actually being paid to lock up actual football players, so it stands to reason that should be pretty far ahead atop the list of his priorities.
Nonsensical cross-sport competitiveness aside, however, I absolutely love the level of self-contained cockiness he's shown, both on and off the field, since his suspiciously belated selection. I'd certainly hope he could mirror the rudimentary and rounded-off routes of a 34-year old NBA player, no matter how freakish his athleticism, but that's not really the point. The point is that the Saints' 4th round pick will fit right into the collectively confident culture of New Orleans' secondary as he has a 1st round grade when it comes to unabashedly believing in his talent.
Considering the dynamic versatility of said talent, as well as the quickness with which he flashed it during practices that far and away favor the offense, there's reasons to believe that we'll be seeing it trusted in far more important circumstances than lined up opposite LeBron sooner rather than later.
Jesper Boqvist, One of the Big Fish in the Devils' Prospect Pool, Has Finally Signed a 3-Year Entry Level Deal
And now, we wait.
As Jack Hughes gets ready to fulfill what has been his destiny for all of...::checks calendar::...two months and Devils' fans clench their asscheeks while clutching their Taylor Hall jerseys in preparation for what better be an eventful offseason, consider this signing to be a fairly good fail safe. Second to only a blueline that, figuratively speaking, is bereft of reasons to live, I think it's a pretty universally held opinion that New Jersey should be prioritizing the collection of high-level skill to flank their soon-to-be solid center depth.
Jesper Boqvist, although entirely unproven on North American ice, unquestionably fits that bill as a dynamic offensive asset regardless of what happens between now and October. Whether or not he has danced enough Swedes in developing enough physically to make the team out of camp is probably about as reliant on his performance in said camp as it is on the outside additions made prior to it. However, he makes for a highly intriguing back-up plan for a team that hasn't exactly made a habit of owning the rights to top-six level skill-sets.
As of right now, it's naively optimistic to pencil Boqvist in as a second line left wing for a team whose 'Hart' wants it wants, which is to play meaningful hockey beyond April. That said, it's nice that the Devils have another offensive option at their disposal as their fans have laid witness to far less provocative worst case scenarios than the one that has them deploying a multi-Jesper attack atop their lineup.
Madison Bumgarner Threw a Fit After His Pitch Was Hit So Hard That it Was Lucky to Not Capsize a Kayak
Look, I get that baseball has a number of rules that have somehow remained unwritten in ink since they were unofficially instituted by the gaggle of white men who chiseled them into the walls of their culture-less cave. I even understand that the most important of those rules is that one must not express emotion nor enthusiasm, and especially not personality, while playing a kid's game at the professional level.
I just ask that we make one very small amendment, with that being that you are allowed to take a second or two to admire your hit when you've bombed it hard enough for it blow a hole in the side of a vessel. Personally, I think Max Muncy earned the right to round the bases solely in backhand springs with a blast that damn near demanded its own firework display, but something tells me that multiple generations of closed, insecure minds like Madison's would disagree with that assessment. Therefore, I just reasonably request that pitchers eat their humble pie and use the proverbial napkin to wipe their tears when they get taken a distance that would most accurately be measured in leagues. Especially when the aesthetics of his earned run were about 100x more worthy of his attention than the relatively reserved, run-of-the-mill celebration happening as a kayaker narrowly avoided being left lost at sea with a concussion.
In What Could Be the Lasting Image of Oracle Arena, Raptors' Fans Were Basically Left Dancing on its Grave
Despite being the type of person who rarely leaves games early, I try not to fault those that do. Traffic can be a real son of a bitch, and even I can admit that the juice of a final minutes of a fatalistic foregone conclusion aren't worth the squeeze of 10,000 cars all thinking they have the right-of-way in exiting the parking lot.
That being said, with the game in question potentially being the last one ever played in a venue that has offered it's attendees multiple lifetimes of memories over the last handful of seasons, Game 4's mass exodus from Oracle Arena was inexcusably embarrassing. Take that snapshot of Raptors' fans making Oakland their own and frame it in the spoiled supporter's 'Hall of Shame', as it encapsulates the entitlement of a fanbase whose most incredulous arguments are over which of their superstars will win Finals MVP. The bandwagon of every successful sports' team gets packed to the brim, but for that bandwagon to bail out early due to a couple bumps in the road during what was potentially the final ride in an otherwise incredible escort certainly fits the way people have come to feel about Warriors' fans.
I hate drawing comparisons between the NBA and the NHL, because hockey fans are entirely too up their own ass, but St. Louis Blues fans stayed during the dying minutes of a blowout to loudly and proudly wish well their team despite the final home game of their season being a demonstrably depressing one. Meanwhile, Warriors' fans were in a full-on sprint out of seats that have served witness to no shortage of greatness that they may well not sit in ever again.
The main difference, of course, being that Blues' fans are desperately hoping to celebrate their first championship whereas Warriors' fans are pissed off that their 4th parade in 5 years isn't already underway. Still, to leave such an accomplished home court for dead while opposing fans danced on it's eventual grave is potentially an atrocious lasting look for Oracle Arena. More importantly, it's an exponentially worse look for those that priced the loyalists out of a building in which they spent decades living and dying with the results of the games it hosted, be it to their most triumphant or bitter end.
Credit to Raptors' fans for a strong international showing, for while their team looked destined to dethrone a dynasty they sounded inspired to put to eternal shame those that used to unconditionally make raucous its residence.