If you haven't caught on to Damian Lillard by now then you might be asleep. But thats ok, because he is here to wake you up. This kid from Oakland *(Who wasn't highly recruited out of high school. Who stayed all four years of college so that he could get his degree. Who was drafted 6th overall in the 2012 draft. Who wasn't selected to be on the Olympic team. Who has never been selected to an All-Star game by the fans. Who lost all four of his starters last offseason. AND STILL has his team in the playoffs looking to move forward to the second round.)* still doesn't have the respect that he deserves, and he is totally fine with it.
He feeds off of the fact that people write him off or doubt him, because he has been treated that way his entire life. Where he came from and how he grew up shaped him into the man that he is. And even more than a great basketball player, he is a great person. He has given back to the community not only in his home town of Oakland, but also in his new city of Portland. He wears the #0 to represent his journey through life and the places he has been by putting the 'O' on his jersey for Oakland, Ogden, and now Oregon.
I could go on and on about his journey, but I want to introduce you guys to Damian Lillard the rapper aka Dame Dolla. He is not your typical basketball player/rapper that you would expect. His lyrics are about his real life, basketball, politics, and striving for peace on Earth. In his song "Bigger Than Us" he says "We need a change, better attitudes. To open up lanes, better avenues. We need rise up instead of latitude, lets think about the kids that gonna be bred after you." His lyrics are extremely inspirational for anybody who has ever felt any kind of adversity in life. He is proof that you can make your dreams come true with enough hard work and dedication. I just wanted to share this motivational and powerful video with you guys, and encourage you to really listen to the lyrics and understand that every single one of us can make a difference.
Love is more powerful than Hate.
So I realized that I'm not so great at picking NHL playoff winners, I went 3-4 on all of my picks. But that is the beauty of the NHL. It is an ultimate team sport and it is so unpredictable, and I suppose that's why they have 7 game series. An exciting and somewhat shocking first round has come to an end and now it is time for the second round! Here is some more horrible guessing!
Western Conference Second Round
Dallas Stars vs. St. Louis Blues (St. Louis in 7)
Nashville Predators vs. San Jose Sharks (San Jose in 7)
Eastern Conference Second Round
Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (Washington in 7)
New York Islanders vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (New York in 7)
Happy Earth Day world! I could sit here and tell you to recycle and why its important. I could tell you about how we're polluting the Earth and what you could do to stop it. But I'm sure you guys have already heard all these things. I'd rather give you a little inspiration for your life.
I'm not sure when they came up with Earth Day or even why they started it in the first place. But I'm going to guess that the people who started it were some pretty caring people. To decide to have a day to celebrate the beautiful Earth that we live on, together, is something that most of the common thinkers wouldn't be able to fathom. This Earth has been here for billions of years. When the Earth first began its young existence, I can only imagine that there was very little life. So an entire planet that can sustain life is something extraordinary, and the possibilities were endless. But we turn to today, and look at how the human race has changed the landscape of the Earth like no other living being has ever done.
When we look at the way the world is now, I still feel like it has so much potential to be a better world. Right now we have wars, violence, evil acts, and many other horrible things being committed by humans against other humans. As the human race, we are at the top of the food chain because we were given an advanced brain and thumbs. But since being at the top, we have done nothing but be violent towards each other. As history has shown, there will always be evil in the world as long as there are people that drive to achieve power in their lifetime on this Earth. But we need to strive for something better.
I encourage you to spread peace and love everyday to everyone you see. We are all the same race: Human. If you go up to someone you don't know and you ask them how their day is, they're probably going to look at you weird because they don't know you. But that's ok. Because for every person who doesn't want to get asked how their day is, theres thousands of people who need someone to ask how their day is. Every human needs love and positivity. Treat others the way you want to be treated and I promise the world will only improve. Imagine if every person on Earth wanted nothing but World Peace, how easy would life be?
Here is one of my favorite Beatles performances. Doesn't have much to do with Earth Day, but it still seemed fitting.
The NBA Playoffs are finally here and the matchups are officially set! I'm going to give you a quick preview of each series and my picks.
Western Conference First Round Series'
(1) Golden State Warriors vs. (8) Houston Rockets
On the last day of the season, the Houston Rockets found a way to sneak into the playoffs. James Harden has had a great individual season by averaging 28.9 points per game, 7.5 assists per game, and 6.1 rebounds per game. Harden has carried the Rockets into the playoffs, and I believe he will play great in the series and maybe even have one epic game. But the only problem is . . . they're playing the Golden State Warriors. The Golden State Warriors have had one of the best regular seasons in NBA history, and set the record for the best record at 73-9. Steve Kerr won't allow his players to let the series last very long. Golden State Warriors in 5 games.
(2) San Antonio Spurs vs. (7) Memphis Grizzlies
If it wasn't for that team in Oakland dominating the basketball world, the Spurs would be the best team in the NBA hands down. Their addition of Lamarcus Aldridge has given them a huge boost from last year, even tying the NBA record for the most home wins in a regular season with 40. They still have Gregg Popovich at the helm, so thats an instant advantage. The Memphis Grizzlies have been decimated by injuries this season, but they do have the greatest dunker in NBA history in Vince Carter so it'll be fun to see him play one last time. This one won't be close, ever. San Antonio Spurs in 4 games.
(3) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (6) Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks had an extremely tough offseason, but their head coach Mark Carlisle is very good at his job. And owner Mark Cuban was able to get his coach some players that could put his team in a good position to win basketball games. Dirk Nowitzki may have some magic left in those legs, but it may not be enough to beat this star-powered Thunder lineup. Russel Westbrook tied the record for the most triple-doubles in a single NBA season with 18. Kevin Durant is still #NotNice. And new Thunder head coach Billy Donovan has continued his winning ways as he always has in his coaching career. Thunder in 5 games.
(4) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (5) Portland Trail Blazers
The Los Angeles Clippers are a very talented basketball team. They have plenty of shooters, they have great defenders, they have a legendary coach, and they play in a beautiful arena. But they are annoying and they are very Hollywood, they love to act. They could beat just about any team in a one game playoff, sadly for them the playoffs are 7-game series. Damian Lillard has been slept on for too long now. The Blazers lost 4 of their 5 starters from last season, and Lillard still managed to take his team to the playoffs yet again. Lillard will be magnificent and nearly unstoppable. Blazers in 7 games.
Eastern Conference First Round Series'
(1) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (8) Detroit Pistons
Stan Van Gundy has changed the entire culture of basketball in Detroit. Adding Reggie Jackson to this young lineup has paid huge dividends for the team on the court. He has brought that winning experience to a Detroit team that has struggled since their Chauncey Billups days. BUT, the Cavs have Lebron James and it is the Eastern Conference playoffs which he has dominated for the bulk of his career. Cavs in 4 games.
(2) Toronto Raptors vs. (7) Indiana Pacers
The Raptors have been running through the 6 with their woes all season long. They have an absolute all-star lineup, and they have played like a team with a chip on their shoulder all season long. Adding Cory Joseph has given them the championship experience that their young team needed. But Paul George is back, and better than he has ever been. After his horrific injury he had with the Olympic team, it is great to see him back and ready to remind the NBA who he is. I smell a huge upset in this one. Pacers in 6 games.
(3) Miami Heat vs. (6) Charlotte Hornets
The Miami Heat and the Charlotte Hornets ended the season with the exact same record, but because of a bunch of different scenarios, the Heat ended up with the 3 seed while the Hornets had to settle for the 6 seed. Both teams have had great seasons. Miami still has Dwyane Wade, and we will see the vintage Wade that we are used to seeing. Injuries have forced them to pick up seasoned veterans like Amare Stoudemire and Joe Johnson who have brought leadership to the locker room. But the Hornets are very deep. They drafted Frank Kaminsky who has come in and had an immediate impact on the team, and they added Jeremy Lin as their backup point guard who has played well above expectation. The Heat have experience, but the Hornets have youth and depth. Hornets in 7 games.
(4) Atlanta Hawks vs. (5) Boston Celtics
I don't think I have ever seen a closer matchup in a first round series in my life. The Hawks and Celtics both ended the season with the same record. They both have point guards who are undersized that can dominate the game. They both have coaches that have improved their franchises in ways nobody expected they could. This one is honestly a toss up. On the last game of the season the Celtics came back from a 26 point deficit to defeat the Miami Heat, while the Hawks lost by double digits to a horrendous Wizards team. If I'm being forced to choose a winner, I am going to go with the team with the deeper bench. Celtics in 7 games.
As a child growing up, Allen Iverson was my favorite player. So I hated Kobe Bryant. I challenged everything any of his fans ever said about him and his greatness. I even gave credit to other players on his teams instead of him just to try to prove my point even further. But that was all hate, because I always knew how great he was. Kobe Bryant was great for basketball. His play on the court was unmatched by many who challenged him for the bulk of his career.
I had so many Kobe memories. The first one I had of him was when he beat Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2001 NBA Finals, which started my hatred. I remember him hitting game winner after game winner. It felt like every night he played he did something clutch. Dunking on Dwight Howard. The alley-oop to Shaq. Banking in a game winner against Wade. Scoring 81 points in a single game. Beating the Celtics in the Finals. Scoring 60 points in his final game. And my favorite Kobe game in my memory might have to be when he beat the Suns in 2006 on two clutch plays.
But of all the memories, there are none that stand out bigger for many people then his alleged rape case. Being young, I didn't really understand fully what had happened, but all I knew was that the media was making Kobe out to be a bad person because of a mistake he had made in his personal life. The allegations are obviously very serious, and in no way do I condone anything that he was accused of doing. But what I do know is that everybody makes mistakes, even you. Some of us just make bigger mistakes than others.
Kobe Bryant was a great basketball player on the court, regardless of the mistakes he made in his life. We can't judge people based on their mistakes, but we can help them learn from their mistakes and push them to be a better person. When the world was against Kobe, he challenged himself to be better. We must remember that we are all human, and none of us will ever get this life thing perfect. Instead of tearing people down, we need to build them up to be better. We are all the same race, and we all must share our earth and our time together in the most positive way possible in order to improve as one large community. So next time you see someone make a mistake, pick them up, don't tear them down.
Just my best guesses on the NHL Playoffs after watching a good 3 or 4 games this year.
I'll be back with NHL Quick Picks before the second round begins!
Western Conference First Round
Dallas Stars vs. Minnesota Wild (Dallas in 5)
St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks (Chicago in 6)
Anaheim Ducks vs. Nashville Predators (Anaheim in 5)
LA Kings vs. San Jose Sharks (Los Angeles in 5)
Eastern Conference First Round
Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers (Washington in 4)
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers (New York Rangers in 7)
Florida Panthers vs. New York Islanders (New York Islanders in 7)
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Detroit Red Wings (Detroit in 7)
On Saturday April 9th, 2016, the Sacramento Kings will take the court for the final time at the building forever known nationally as Arco Arena. Next year the Kings will be playing in Downtown Sacramento at the new Golden 1 Center, which is sponsored by Golden 1 Credit Union. You can take a look at the beautiful new arena here.
The real reason I bring this up is because the Arco Arena gave me so many memories as a young basketball fan, and the state of their current team is not representing California's capital the once they once did. Growing up, watching players like Chris Webber, Mike Bibby, Bobby Jackson, Peja Stojakovic, Vlade Divac, Hedo Turkoglu, Doug Christie, Gerald Wallace, and my favorite King of all time Jason Williams aka White Chocolate. Probably the best team on paper that never won a championship.
They were once the premier team to watch in Northern California, but with the San Francisco Warriors playing the way they are, they are being overshadowed. The team and the ownership has failed the city with team that plays on the court night in and night out, and it is truly a sad sight to see. Hopefully the new stadium brings some excitement back into the city and the fans start showing up the way the used too. And hopefully once there is some faith, the team will feed off of that.
The way the Kings need people to believe in them in order to be successful, so do you. You can always give 110% everyday you live, but if you aren't surrounded by people who are going to support you then life will be tough. Show the people you love that you believe in them, and that you know they are capable of anything they set their mind to. Maintain that positive attitude and maybe one day you can ball in your own way like White Chocolate.
Give it up one more time for one of the GOATs! On Monday April 4, 2016, Allen Iverson was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, as a first ballot inductee. Allen Iverson started his athletic career at Bethel High School in Hampton, Virginia. He started at quarterback for the football team, while also playing the position of running back, receiver, and return man as well. He even won the state championship in football as the starting quarterback in his junior year. But there was something Allen loved even more than football, it was basketball. He won the state championship as the starting point guard in his junior year as well. It was evident that he was destined for great things in the world of sports. He chose to go to Georgetown to play basketball, where he would win many accolades in just two years, and also set the school record for points per game with 22.9. He would choose to leave after his sophomore year and enter the NBA Draft, where he stood at "6 feet tall," and was selected #1 overall by the Philadelphia 76ers where he would lead a historic career in the great game of basketball.
His rookie season was an indication of how he would leave his mark on the game. He won rookie of the year by scoring 40 points or more in 5 straight games, averaging 23.5 points per game, scoring 50 in a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and most memorably crossing over Michael Jordan.
The first time I ever sat down and watched an entire Allen Iverson game was in 2001 when the 76ers played against the Toronto Raptors in Game 7 of the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Allen played the full 48 minutes of the game, which turned out to be a nail biter until the very end when the 76ers defense stopped Vince Carter from hitting the series winning shot. I was excited for him and the Philadelphia 76ers.
When they reached the NBA Finals, they played against one of the greatest teams in the history of the sport, the Kobe and Shaq-led Los Angeles Lakers. It was Game 1 in Los Angeles and nobody in the world thought they had a chance. But Allen led the way in one of his greatest games he's ever played, scoring 48 points and defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in overtime in a stunning upset. Allen juked Tyron Lue into the year 2015, when he became a head coach. That moment probably did more for Tyron Lue's career than any of his actual play ever did. In that game I saw something that I had never seen until that point in my life, mind you I was only 9 years old, but still. This guy was out there playing with his heart on his sleeve. Leaving no emotion hidden inside. He was himself. Regardless of what the media, his coaches, his teammates, or his fans thought about him, he was going to leave it all on the court once the game started. You could visually see him willing his team towards a victory. At that moment, I knew what kind of person Allen Iverson was and I was instantly taken over by his persona.
I remember playing basketball all by myself in the driveway, imaging that I was him. Trying to perfect every move that I saw him do in that game. Dreaming of one day feeling the same thing he felt when he was on the court. But no basketball player in world could do what he was doing, especially at his height in a big man's game. He paved the way for so many basketball players that are in the league today. But even bigger than that, he paved the way for people like me in a lot of ways. His mother was 15 years old when she had him, just like my mother was when she had me. He fought his whole life just to find a way to prove that anyone can be successful as long as they stay true to themselves. Allen Iverson stayed true to himself, and it has always inspired me to be whatever I believe I can be, regardless of what they believe you are capable of. And as Allen Iverson found himself inducted into the Hall of Fame, you too can reach your wildest dreams, as long as you stay true to yourself.
Here is the greatest Allen Iverson highlights video ever created.
So over here at The IrrelAVant Blog headquarters, we like to think of diabolical pranks. So obviously we had to bring you something great for April Fool's Day. And what better way to start off then with a prank on my younger cousin Alex. Alex likes to think he's a big boy, so we wanted to see how he reacted when we gave him some big boy news. He was a great sport after, because he knows that we care about him and did this out of love. Please enjoy this video of our first official April Fool's Day prank!
Just a man trying to make the most of his time on this planet.