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Can Beggars Actually Be Choosers? (2011)

Dwight Howard: A box of roses for me from LeBron?

*Reads note*: Dear Dwight,

Keep making me look good I love what you’re doing with your coach and team it’s awesome. See you in the playoffs!

Love,

LeBron James.

For good or bad, better or worse “The Decision” by LeBron James will always be remembered. No one wants to remember how LeBron treated the season before in regards to how he handled the questions and attention that came with trying to see what he was going to do; the only thing that will forever be remembered is the words “I’m taking my talents to south beach”.

Dwight Howard was this season’s LeBron. Since last season the world has been wondering where Howard was going to go, whether he was going to stay in Orlando, or move onto to another city. For the past 4-5 years it seems as though we have been dealing with and lobbying for insight on where guys were going more than the performance on the court. From LeBron, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, to Carmelo Anthony last year, to this year’s participants being Howard, Deron Williams, and Chris Paul (before he was traded) when it comes to these athletes and other high profile athletes their in-season decisions can less important to some people than their offseason decisions.

The Link between LeBron and Dwight is similar in ways more than some of the others. Of those groups of players listed above only Wade has an NBA title. Dwight and LeBron both made were number one draft picks in their respective draft classes, and came in the league with very high expectations to revive struggling franchises. Both were able to bring their franchises to NBA finals when no one expected to. Dwight’s lone finals appearance actually came at the expense of beating LeBron in the conference finals. Both also lost in their first appearance in the finals.

So what links them this time around?

Easy: the way their situations are being handled. LeBron never forced his way out Cleveland. LeBron showed up to the gym played basketball and went home. When reporters asked him about his upcoming free agency sometimes he gave them an answer or a quote but for the most part it was simply “next question” or “l will handle that when it’s time”. Since the lockout was done Dwight has not handled it this way. It started with Dwight having his agent meet with nets management over dinner. Dwight later told Magic management that he wanted to be traded even giving in a list of teams of where he wanted to be traded. Up until All-Star weekend it seemed as Howard was giving the world 2 answers every week. On Monday he was saying he wanted to be traded by Friday he was saying he wanted to stay “and see how this works out” when All-Star weekend arrived Howard did not answer a question about the free agency, it was wise, it was smart, it was something he should have probably been doing all season long. He welcomed the NBA world into the arena that was built for him, and did his best to make everyone feel at home.

When the trade deadline was 24 hours away the Magic had put out that they was indeed going to trade Howard instead of him walking out in free agency? The seriousness of being traded seemed to have scared Howard who came out and said he wanted to stay and finish the job then decided to opt in and stay for another year. Howard’s indecisiveness all season made the magic decided to give Howard 24 hours to think over his decision as he decided on the plane he wanted to stay. 24 hours later Howard decided to not change his mind and signed the papers making him Magic for at least another year.

So for all of this you would think the Dwight saga would be over right? NO. Suddenly Howard now wants his coach Stan Van Gundy fired, and if you ask the coach he’ll tell you he’s known this all year. With this entire situation going on it makes you wonder and realize that what LeBron did was not bad at all compared to this. It seemed everyone before and including CP3 and Deron Williams this year was on board the “I’m just going to play basketball and see whatever happens” train except Dwight Howard. Maybe it was the people around him who caused him to act this way but at the same time he is a grown man. Maybe he just wanted to feel what it was like to be wanted by so many teams and be recruited considering he did not go through the college process since he went straight to the NBA from high school.

All of this plays in to what he has done this year. The fact that his opt in is only for next year just shows that unless he signs an extension over the summer we will be doing this all over again next year, if that’s the case can he at least do something LeBron did and give all proceeds to his decision to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America?

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The Boy in Blue is Now The Man in Orange (2012)

It seems like every few years something happens that you don’t see coming in sports. Michael Jordan coming back to join the Washington Wizards, Brett Favre retiring then coming back to play for the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings, Mario Lemieux coming back after retirement to play for the Pittsburgh Penguins. These sports moments along with so many others stand out forever. You always assume the greats play with one team their whole career. Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson ONLY played for the Lakers; Tom Brady will only play for the New England Patriots along with so many others.

Peyton manning was the face of the Indianapolis Colt for 14 seasons. He was their number one pick back in 1998. He took the colts from being the team that other teams looked on a schedule as an easy win to the team no one wanted to face. He took them to two Super-bowls, winning one. He gave them constant accolades, four MVP trophies, record breaking seasons, but most importantly hope to city that on every Sunday they were witnessing one of the greatest to play the game.

So when the person who has wore the same blue jersey for fourteen years all of sudden takes a photo holding up a bright orange jersey, how do you feel? All of a sudden you have to prepare yourself to no longer hear “Peyton Manning and the colts” coming through your speakers, instead you’re going to now hear “Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos” weird right? The only things that are not in this is that Manning is still in the AFC and his team is still horse related, and he still will wear the number 18. This is where it stops. No more Indianapolis, in fact he won’t play there at all in the 2012 season. No more Primetime Colts vs. Patriots games now that the rivalry has officially been killed. He goes from indoor stadium to outdoors with high altitude. From dominating the AFC south he moves on to the AFC west.

The one thing that everyone will care about in the end is whether Peyton will change? Will he be fully recovered from the neck surgery? How rusty will he be after missing an entire year of football? Will he be able to control the offense and call the audible like he is so famous for when he was in Indy? Manning says he’s about 80 percent right now but of he had to play this Sunday he most certainly can. This is it for him. He is going to more than likely retire as a bronco. Many athletes who create legacies just to go a 2nd team before retiring never produce like they did with their old team. Manning is determined to be one of the greats who did; starting off with a simple touchdown with ease will be a very good beginning.

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The Good in Sanity (2012)

It seems like every season no matter the sport a feel good story is guaranteed to make headlines and give people something to root for. MLB had it in 2008 with Josh Hamilton and his amazing performance at the home run derby. This past season in the NFL it was Tebowmania with the Denver Broncos. It was the only thing on ESPN for months and, i admit while at first i was all into it watch his performances in full games then seeing only him getting the credit turned me off (thank you Skip Bayless).

In the NBA the story of the year goes to New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin. Tebow has Tebowmania. Lin has Linsanity. Lin and Tebow were also in the second season as professionals and aside from the crazy media attention that is pretty much where the comparisons stop. Jeremy Lin is an underdog but only for the fact he went undrafted, was cut twice by two other teams, and on his way to being cut by the Knicks. Udonis Haslem of the Miami heat actually said that when the Knicks came to play the heat in January Lin went to the chapel in the America Airlines Arena and asked the the pastor on hand ”Can you pray I don’t get cut?”. Lin knew the February 10th deadline for teams to cut players so their contracts are not guaranteed for the season was approaching. Before the deadline the Knicks decided to give him a shot to that would decide his fate. His first game against the Celtics was not the performance you want to give if your job is on the line. The next game against the nets Lin was put it and that is where the Linsanity began.

If you ask Lin he credits him getting into the game thanks to teammate Carmelo Anthony. Carmelo Anthony was the one who suggested coach Mike D’Antoni to put Lin in their Feb 4 game against the nets. That game Lin produced 25 points and 7 assist off the bench; the next game was placed as the starter against the Utah Jazz, and the rest is history.

Linsanity was born and from the jump went full speed ahead. The fame came instantly, but how could you not appreciate and like it? A second year kid out of Harvard University goes from almost being cut to Leading the New York Knicks to a 7 win streak after what seem like the season was going downward in all ways. In the biggest city in the country on the brightest stage the kid was shining so bright. It was also a cultural thing with him being Asian-American. The NBA is all about expanding their game across the globe and not since Yao Ming has the Asian community had a star as big as Lin. Linsanity was taking over everywhere. T-shirts, hats, twitter with #Linning and replacing any other word you could with Lin in the beginning.

With every good story though there must be some negativity. There are the negatives of his game such as his inability to go left, his amount of turnovers during games. Then there is the personal negativity that comes with being in the world where free speech is protected by the first amendment. You have people like boxer Floyd Mayweather who believes that all the hype is simply because of Lin’s Asian decent. There was the New York Post headline after a Knick win that said “AMASIAN” in bold letters. Things went over the top the night the Knicks lost their first game with Lin as a starter to the New Orleans Hornets. A writer for ESPN.com made the headline about the loss titled “Chink in the Armor”. The headline was taken down within minutes and the writer was fired by ESPN. A ESPN sports broadcaster was suspended 30 days for using the word chink in relation to another topic during an interview. Issues like these can show that remarks and words still have meaning. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream made a flavor dedicated to Lin called “Taste the Lin-Sanity” that included pieces of fortune cookies in the initial recipe. Officials had to issue a statement of apology to anyone who had been offended. The limited edition flavor replaced the fortune cookies with a fresh baked waffle cookie and sold out at the company’s Harvard Square location.

In the end Jeremy Lin is doing something no one could predict. He is gaining respect from his NBA players and even as much praise from league leading scorer Kobe Bryant. ”The biggest thing to me is how everybody missed it,” Bryant said before the All-Star Game, via the New York Post. “They all would be fired if I was owning a team. I hear this stuff, ‘It came out of nowhere.’ I think it’s a load of garbage. You can’t play that well and just come out of nowhere. There has to be something there and everybody missed it. So heads would roll if I was owner.”

The Linsanity resumes Wednesday when the Knicks return to action. There will continue to be support and negativity, but in the end like Ben & Jerry’s says everyone is just going to have to “Taste the Lin-Sanity”

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Hello World

Welcome to my sports blog. My name is Brandon Dugger I’m a 19 year old college student majoring in journalism specifically sports journalism. Basically I love sports I played high school football and baseball. I’m terrible in basketball, tried hockey, but that did not work out very well. It was suggested to me by my advisor that I make a blog dedicated to sports if I want to help me become comfortable with writing a lot so here’s the first post and I hope you all love it if you choose to even read what I write.

Aside from yesterday being valentines day, yesterday marked the beginning of baseball season. Pitchers and catchers reported and soon positional players will join them. Being from New York City it made sense that my first post be about my NewYork Yankees. 2010 was a very up and down season. Aj Burnett had a terrible season with a 10-15 record and a 5.26 era. The captain Derek Jeter also had a down year after coming off a year in which he finished 2nd in the MVP voting jetted finished 2010 with a .270 batting average with 67 RBI. With an almost completely new outfield that had Nick Swisher in right, Curtis Granderson in center, and Bret Gardner in left field the 2010 season was an interesting one. You of course had the usual guys do their job. A-Rod, Mark Texiera, CC Sabathia, and Andy Pettite kept the team at bay and were the leaders. The biggest surprise came from second baseman Robinson Cano. Cano had a MVP caliber season with a career high .319 batting average 109 RBI and 29 home runs, his play led him to a 3rd place finish in the MVP voting behind Miguel Cabrera and winner Josh Hamilton. The team finished with a 95-67 record and a wild card spot with the Tampa Bay Rays winning the division. The defending champs easily took care of the Minnesota Twins in the NLDS In a 3 game sweep before losing to the Texas Rangers in the ALCS in 6 games. The offseason was an offseason that had been on everyones mind the whole season. The contracts of Derek Jeter and, Mariano Rivera were up along with Andy Pettite deciding on whether to retire or not. The biggest prize of the offseason was pitcher Cliff Lee. Cliff Lee has become know as “the Yankee killer” during the postseason. He is 3-0 vs the Yankees in 3 post season meetings in the past 2 years. In the end Cliff told the Yankees that dollars don’t equal happiness as Lee took 50 million less to go back to the Philadelphia Phillies. Lee going to Philly along with Andy retiring has put a choke on the Yankees rotation. CC,AJ, and Phil Hughes are the front 3 with a battle for the 4th and 5th spot between Ivan Nova, Andrew Brackman, Sergio Mitre, Bartolo Colon, and Mark Prior. Jeter and Rivera are back and with new catcher Russell Martin coming over from the LA Dodgers, Jorge Posada is moving over to the dh position. There are many other questions going into this season for the the Yankees. What will they do with Joba Chamberlin. Yesterday gm Brian Cashman told the NY post that there might be a chance he doesn’t even make the team so it’s do or die for him. If the Yankees have a bad year will CC leave? He has an opt out clause in his contract that he can use after the season so what happens this year will definitely affect the offseason. There’s always drama with the pinstripe boys. there’s only one thing they can do PLAY BALL