The Boston crowd is stunned. Rajon Rondo is being lifted in the air by Lebron James. Both players winning once again on Boston's floor, but together this time. And both donning the Los Angeles Lakers jerseys of all things. They are joined in celebration by the same group of players who started the season with them as the trade deadline passed just hours before game time. They all look happy... for now.
So how did we get here?
When Lebron James made his announcement to join the Los Angeles Lakers, he was going to make sure they became the best show coming out of Hollywood. We knew this was going to be the case, but we still weren't prepared for everything that has happened throughout this season.
Starting the season 0-3 the questions began to arise very early. Does this team have the talent to make the playoffs? Can Lebron raise the level of play amongst the Lakers youth quickly? Will they ever win a game?
They got their first win against the lowly Phoenix Suns. A win is a win as they say, and they say many things. The Lakers didn't get above .500 until 13 games into the season. But once everyone began to learn their roles on the squad, they hit a bit of a hot streak.
They began to climb the playoff ladder, and found themselves looking at possibly having home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They went 18-9 over a stretch that started on Halloween and ended on Christmas. And what would follow would be more tricks than treats, and a lot of coal on their stockings.
Lebron James sustained a "minor" groin injury on Christmas Day. But I always says that for a man, there is no such thing as a "minor" groin injury. His team went on to demolish the Golden State Warriors in front of 20,000 stunned Oakland fans. And with the entire world watching, they brought the drama to everyone's television screens.
But without Lebron, the team would simply be full of guys probably feeling like they were the stars of The Truman Show. Every player was evaluated relentlessly. Each night, the question was who was going to be the hero or the scape-goat. Who was going to be the player that separated himself from the rest of the pack? Who was going to prove to Lebron that they were deserving of remaining off the team until past the trade deadline. And then... it happened.
Rich Paul, (Lebron's best friend slash agent) spoke on behalf of his client Anthony Davis and requested for trade from the New Orleans Pelicans. The Los Angeles Lakers were the obvious desperate trade suitor. With nobody on the team proving anything other than the fact that they are good enough to play on a mediocre team with a 7-10 record, we assumed that nobody on the team was safe...
*Deep narrators voice* Because they weren't.
It is easy to imagine what was going on through these guys' minds every single day. Knowing that their career as a Los Angeles Laker could end at any given moment. Knowing that their play on the court was being evaluated so meticulously not only by their own ownership, but other team's ownership, and everyone in the basketball world.
The game before the trade deadline may have been the most telling of them all. Lebron's teammates kept their distance from the thrown, and came together as a group to form a mutiny so strong that it catapulted them to Lebron's worse loss of his career.
A 42-point blowout by the Indiana Pacers seemed to be the final stamp on this group. With less than 24 hours to go on the trade deadline, each player probably had their minds prepared for any possible scenario. But what would happen next would be the biggest plot twist of them all.
The trade deadline came and went, and not a single Lakers starter was traded. In fact, besides a couple of small moves, the Lakers remained relatively quiet at the trade deadline. So naturally, with all of these questions finally being answered, the next question would be... Will it work?
They had a date with the Celtics in Boston, and there could have been a million different ways this could have ended. The Lakers could have gotten blown out in a second consecutive game, and everyone would've continued to question the management. They could have found a way to lose a tough game, and someone other than Lebron would have been the one to blame. But the way it actually finished seemed like planned chaos.
The final two minutes of the game were intense, and both teams had a counter for every jab. With no timeouts remaining and the Lakers down by one, everything that had gone on over the first half of the season was forgotten.
Rajon Rondo caught a loose ball out of the air and elevated in slow motion, much like he used to for all of those years in Boston. He created a moment so ironic, that it defined the entire Lakers season. The ball went through the net as the time expired, and the entire Lakers teams came together as one to celebrate the victory. For a moment, they looked like a team with the same goal in mind; Win.
And while their season has been like a bumpy old-school wooden roller coaster, we can now see that best television is yet to come. The Los Angeles Lakers are captivating, and if you blink you might miss something.
Everyone goes on vacation to do different things. Whether its for the adventures, shopping, events, scenery, or restaurants, we all find something that makes us enjoy our time off the most. I never realized until my most recent vacation that some would consider me a "Foodie."
As soon as I'm done eating a meal, all I think about is where I'm going to eat next. I prepare before every vacation, looking through dozens of Yelp pages to look at menus and pictures and location of different spots. Asking locals what the best spots for different types of foods are. I don't like to label myself as anything, but yeah I guess I'm a Foodie.
5424 Laurel Canyon Blvd
Valley Village, CA 91607
Hours: 11 am - 8 pm Mon-Sat
On a beautiful breezy January afternoon in Los Angeles, my boys and I were cruising around with the windows down. Checking out the scenery and enjoying the weather. I'm in the passenger seat and of course I'm keeping an eye out for some cool local restaurants, and I see a sign for a restaurant called Burgerama. The name got my attention and I guess I said something about going there. My friends claimed this happened but I don't remember.
Apparently I had spoken this experience into existence without even knowing, or remembering it. It ended up being our last restaurant on our way home. My friend said he needed a burger before we left the city, so I guess I subconsciously had already picked this spot the morning before.
Burgerama is a brand new burger spot in Valley Village, a neighborhood in Los Angeles that is just a few minutes away from Hollywood. And similar to the big dreams made in Hollywood, you can make your dreams of a delicious burger become a reality in just a matter of minutes.
There was two smiling faces waiting for us as soon as we walked in. Stephanie and Val greeted us and asked us how we found out about their restaurant that has been open for just five months. It is just the two of them, six days a week, serving the community with some delicious food and good vibes. If you want to talk about trying to make a dream become a reality, thats how it happens.
I'm guessing they put in anywhere from 10-12 hours a day of hard work in the restaurant, and on top of that, still have to run their new business. It was inspirational just to talk to them for a few minutes before putting in our order.
Makes you kinda wonder what is really possible if you follow your passion.
The good vibes come first with them, but then it's all about the burgers. And after having a conversation with some of the nicest people we've ever met, I didn't think the food could top the vibes. But my goodness.
I ordered the Country Boy, which is served with bacon, monterey jack cheese, two (FAT) onion rings, and drizzled with bourbon sauce. Val brought the food to our table, and it was a wrap from there. I didn't want to take the time to take a picture of my food, but I knew for the sake of the blog I had to wait and capture the moment.
I knew the bite I was about to take was going to be incredible. I remember everything in slow motion. My hands stretched out as wide as possible in order to get the best grip, my eyes wide open so that I could take in the moment, mouth watering in anticipation. And then finally taking that huge first bite was like a Hollywood dream come true. That burger was thicc af.
This was easily one of the best burgers I've ever had. I'm usually always trying to keep my hands and face clean as I eat, but after that first bite I made the conscious decision to just immerse myself in the entire experience and allowed myself to be a sloppy mess while I devoured it all. The fries were cooked to a delicious salty crisp, and were served with ranch and spicy ketchup that paired beautifully.
This spot was all about about passion. The love and care that these two put into this restaurant can be tasted in the food itself. There is soul food and then there is food for the soul. This is where you go to cleanse all your sins, and those sins being any other lesser burger you've ever eaten. Do yourself a favor and ask for a side of forgiveness with your order. Stephanie and Val were very humble, and that will do nothing but take them wherever their hearts desire.
But I'll be not humble for them. Go check them out next time you're in LA!
5 Years Ago...
Even though I was working two jobs, I never felt tired. It could've been because I was 22 years old and I didn't need sleep. But it was something else that kept me alive everyday. I found a new love to share with you. We loved each other as best friends, but that was different. This was a new found way for us to appreciate each other.
It wasn't easy making the transition from friends to boyfriend and girlfriend. There were days that were harder than others. Dealing with a 21 year old young woman can be rough on a dude who is still trying to grow within himself. But your annoying ass still made everyday worth looking forward to.
The first date was at In-N-Out, and I still can see that moment in my mind so vividly. You were beautiful as always. So warm and inviting. Tender and kind... I'm talking about the food. But you babe! Yeah, you looked good too!
Waking up every morning, knowing that I had that one person to go to if I needed anything was a new and beautiful feeling.
4 Years Ago
A very eventful year. Probably us at our "stoner" peak. But aye we was still doing adult things and making big moves. We moved in together with some roommates. Having our own place was dope. We had the freedom to live and learn on our own, but we got to experience it together.
Going to Santa Cruz for our first dating anniversary and eating the most smackin burger in California. Going to Oakland A's opening day and watching them unveil their new big screen. Going to Hippie Hill for 4/20 and watching Sam literally cry from Cards Against Humanity. You coming to youth baseball games and root for the umpire. Seeing Chromeo and The Glitch Mob for the first time. Going all the way down to San Diego to watch J Cole, Big Sean, and YG go Brazy. Taking our first camping trip together with your family right before going on our first real vacation together in LA. You saw me become a Dodgers fan over the span of one week. A$AP Rocky, Tyler, and Based God, yes. Having photo shoots with our very tiny kitty cat, and spending our first Christmas with her.
But one of the most memorable moments was when we were hanging out at our house with Forrest. He was chilling right there on the couch with me and I remember looking down and thinking to myself that I could see myself being a dad. But not because I selfishly wanted a child, but because I wanted to share that experience with you, and only you.
3 Years Ago
I guess I spoke a lot into existence this year! Because I fucking knocked you up. Me. Anthony. The guy who used to watch So You Think You Can Dance with you. The guy who would give you advice on your relationships with other dudes. The guy your friends would tell you would be your future husband and you'd be like "Eww no, we're just friends." Well guess what world, I really broke the friend zone when I put a baby in my best friend. Deadass.
I still get hyped thinking about it. The feeling you gave me when you surprised me with a present letting me know that I was going to be a father is still indescribable. The constant love you shared with me everyday allowed me to become a father. You did all of this. You are everything.
You gave birth to our beautiful baby boy. Pregnancy kicked your ass, but there was no where I would rather have been then right there with you every step of the way. You really grew our child inside of you, and I can never tell you how much I appreciate the sacrifice! I would love to talk about our perfect tiny baby that we met on December 22nd at 2:30 pm, but this is about you and only you.
2 Years Ago
Now shit really got real. We were parents for the first time. Somehow I felt like we didn't know what we were doing, yet we did know what we were doing all at the same time. Most days were easy because he was such a good boy, but man some of those nights were long too.
Waking up at 3 am to change an entire outfit because he had some explosive bowel movements definitely made me question whether I had it in me or not to really do this dad thing. But you were so supportive. Everyday giving me encouragement and letting me know that I was a good dad. Helping me understand how important it was to be a loving and caring father. Teaching me and guiding me with your motherhood skills.
You was really out there doing the mommy thing, I see you girl. A lot of women don't got what it takes to really be a champion mother, but you take the crown. All while still loving and caring for me as a man, a friend... and a fiancé. That was crazy! I can't believe I asked you to be with me for the entirety of my life. That's like, a really huge commitment. But you said yes! And showed me that commitment is a beautiful thing.
Exactly 1 Year Ago
I'm standing on the beach, staring out at the ocean thinking about my life. I've come a long way as a man. And while I'm still learning how to be a father, I'm also still learning how to be a great companion. Do I really have what it takes to lead a good life? Can I really be a great father to my son? What if I fail?
And as I turn around, and see you in your wedding dress, all of my worries that I've ever had go away. You are the answer to every question I have ever had about myself. The fact that you chose me to be the one you want to be with for life let's me know that I am capable of anything in this life.
Your love gives me the strength to be me. Your unselfish desire to be a great woman for me, our son, and our baby on the way leaves me breathless just thinking about it. You are an incredible woman, and I am so blessed by the fact that you said "I Do."
I loved you then. I love you now. I will love you forever.
Do y'all remember the Folgers coffee jingle? "The best part of wakin' up, is Folgers in your up!" Whenever I saw the commercial I felt like I could smell the coffee through the television. The sun rising through the windows and the birds chirping, made it always look like a beautiful morning. They ran those commercials until I was about 13 years old, so up until that point I never actually drank coffee.
So the first time I was going to try some Folgers, I thought it was going to be fire. Everybody in the commercial looked so happy to have that cup of Folgers. I thought it was literally going to be the best part of waking up. It was the worst cup of coffee I've ever had. I did not get that feeling of morning bliss that the actors pretended to have. So my whole life, I was searching for that cup of coffee that would actually give me that feeling. And a year ago to the day, I found it.
3-3601 Kuhio Hwy
Hours: 7 am - 3 pm Monday-Sunday
The best part of waking up on the island of Kauai is watching the sun rise above the breathtaking horizon. Getting up early and sitting on the beach while the light breeze takes hold of you. The smell of fresh air being brought to shore by the waves of the oceans. The roosters hanging out right next to you, waiting for you to feed them something. Those are the little homies for real. They know how to live.
But even with the gorgeous scenery bringing your morning to life, you still crave that cup of coffee to really get your day going. And there is no place you would rather be than at Sunrise Coffee. This unique coffee truck offers everything you need for your morning on an island. Scenery, atmosphere, fresh food, smiling faces, and most importantly delicious coffee.
My wife was really craving an acai bowl, and I was really wanting to go somewhere that was one of a kind. So as I was searching for where to go, I came across this spot. The matte black truck looked dope as hell, so I told my wife "Yo, this is the one." So we got our 1 year old ready to go and we headed out.
On the way there, I searched their Instagram page to get an idea of what I was going to try. I went back and forth "Oh I'm going to get a fresh bagel! No, I'm going to get an acai bowl! No, I'm going to get a panini!" My mouth was watering and my stomach just wanted everything.
So of course when we got there, I had a million questions for them. The owner of the spot was so helpful and nice, I was about to ask her for a job application. I was trying to be a part of that environment everyday. But that would be a weird question, so I just asked about the coffee and food (lol).
I decided to go with an organic bagel and cream cheese, and man oh man it paired so well with my coffee. I was upset that it was so good because my son ended up eating half of it. I mean I don't blame him, it was my fault for not buying him his own.
My wife ended up getting an acai bowl with fresh blueberries, bananas, and strawberries. I'm lucky that I even got to share some with her, that's how I know she really really loves me. That bowl left me feeling refreshed and ready for any adventure.
But the coffee though. THE COFFEE THOUGH! That feeling that Folgers claims they make people feel is just a claim. Sunrise Coffee is really about it. All of their espresso drinks are made with their Sunrise Signature Espresso. I got a Hazelnut Almond milk latte, and that smooth espresso hit every part of my taste buds and my soul. The foam was placed ever so delicately on top, leaving me with the tough choice to actually drink it or just stare at it all day. It was a piece of art in and of itself. It left me feeling bright and alive.
As I took my final sip of coffee, the light rainfall cleared and a rainbow began to appear above us. It was like a sign from the island telling us we made the right choice. The fresh food and comforting latte gave us the energy we needed to continue our young day. The beautiful scenery left us craving more from the island. Sunrise Coffee gave us the inspiration to go on a hike with our baby boy.
This family friendly truck was the best place to start our day. The island has many great natural offerings like I mentioned before. But the best part of waking up, was Sunrise Coffee in my body. I'm sure theres a better slogan we can come up with, but for now we'll stick with that.
You guys know how I feel about about basketball. It's the best sport in the world, and All-Star Weekend is the funnest weekend of the season. Getting all of the best players in the entire world together for some great challenges. And there is nothing better than watching the greatest players in the game display their talents (mostly offensively) for 48 minutes.
For now, we at least know who will be starting the game for each conference. The votes are broken down this way: Fans 50% Media 25% Players 25%. Let's see if the fans, media, and players got it right!
Obviously. We're talking about a guy who is playing in his 15th All-Star game, with his third different team, his first in the Western Conference, and his second year in a row as "Team Captain." Although he has missed the last month of the season due to injury, there was no way he wasn't going to be voted as a starter. It would be like eating cereal without milk.
You can go on the street and ask anybody who the most popular basketball player on the planet is, and I'm sure at least 80% of those people are going to say Lebron James. Even people who have never watched an NBA game have heard of Lebron James. So yeah, he's starting. And it is to no surprise.
This guy has been nothing short of spectacular this season. His name has been drug through the mud by the fans and the media because of his decision to take his talents to the Bay Area. However, he is easily a top-3 player in the world and he was a lock to be a starter this year.
He has been available for every game this season on the best team in the league. And we all know that availability is the greatest ability. He has made the game look so easy, and there have been nights where he has gone for 40+ and made it look routine. This was another easy choice.
The Chef will be cooking once again in front of his hometown in Charlotte. This homecoming will be a beautiful one, as he will be able to play alongside Lebron James for the first time in his All-Star career. It is going to be fun to see what these guys have in store for us as a tandem. Possibly a small preview of the next Olympics.
Curry is the second best player in the world, and this choice was another no-brainer. You could've put whoever next to these three guys and it would've been a stacked lineup. But instead, in only gets better.
Hands down, the best offensive player in the game right now is already my early favorite to win All-Star MVP. This guy has been on an absolute tear. And this selection comes one night after he drops 61 points in Madison Square Garden.
This game is made for a guy like him. Nobody is going to play defense until the 4th quarter, by then he'll probably have about 40 points. I would not be surprised if he breaks the record for most points in an All-Star game, and I hope he does.
Those first four guys were obvious locks. If any of them weren't starters, there might have been a re-vote. However, this last spot was up for grabs. Typically, you get two guards, two forwards, and a center. But the last couple of years the voting has been slightly different, where we get two "Frontcourt" players and three "Backcourt" players.
If we had to choose a center, if would've been either Anthony Davis or Nikola Jokic. But the way the voting is designed now allowed for us to get the 5th best player into the starting lineup. This guy has been unbelievable since signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and has done nothing but take the reign as a leader of his hot team. He has been the best defensive player in the game up to this point in the season, and neither of those other guys I previously mentioned deserved this spot over him. The fans, media, and players definitely got this starting lineup right.
Every time I spell his last name, I have to to pronounce it out loud like four times to make sure I got it right. This guy man. Among the players vote, he was the top vote-getter and much deserved. In his third All-Star game, he will represent the East as the "Team Captain."
If it wasn't for James Harden's recent hot streak, he would be leading the race as the MVP. His play has made the Milwaukee Bucks look indestructible on their way to the first spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Look for him to play hard on both sides of the ball in this game as he will want to assert his dominance as the next face of the NBA.
His first season with the Toronto Raptors has looked extremely promising. His swap for Demar Derozan has had the Raptors looking just as good as the Bucks as the best team in the East. He is playing as well as we remember he once could when he was healthy.
He hasn't had the greatest availability, as he has missed multiple games due to injury or rest. But this is how it is with Kawhi, he makes his own schedule. But when you're this good, you do what you want. These two guys are going to take this game a lot more seriously than anyone in the West, as they will look to prove that the East is not any less talented.
The biggest troll in the NBA, both on and off the court. He has been the best center in the league all season, and to see what he has done with health on his side has been magnificent. We're talking about a guy who can do everything on the basketball court on both sides of the ball. He has got every move in his bag.
Hakeem Olajuwan with a Euro-step. Shaq with a free-throw shot. Tim Duncan with three-point range. Yao Ming with Twitter fingers. This guy is going to have some fun with it, and don't be surprise if we get an Instagram Live story in the middle of the game.
Uncle Drew isn't going to be the captain of the East, but he is definitely going to be the vocal leader. This lineup is stacked with guys who probably care just a little bit more about actually winning this game. It has been an up and down year for Kyrie in terms of his image. But his play on the court has been the best of his career.
The Boston Celtics have struggled with and without him on the court, but his individual play makes him more than deserving for this spot. He is easily the best point guard in the East. Hopefully we see someone in the game try to shut down his handles, and they get dropped like a rock. We need some Vine-worthy content.
The odd man out. No disrespect to Kemba. I love his game, and I have since his crazy championship run at UConn. However, he wouldn't even be an All-Star reserve in the West. So to see him as a starter in the East is a bit surprising. His great start to the season may have been enough to get him this starting nod, well yeah obviously it did.
His team is under .500, but this is an individual accomplishment. The game is in Charlotte, so this could be why he got more votes during this time. I am excited to see the hometown crowd go crazy for him when they announce his name.
But there are a couple guys who are definitely more deserving. Bradley Beal has averaged over 30 points per game since John Wall went down with injury, and his play has put his team back into playoff contention. Ben Simmons has averaged 16.6 points, 9.5 rebounds, 8.3 assists, with a shooting percentage of 58%. Not to mention he has had 8 triple-doubles and 31 double-doubles. So the fans, media, and players got this last spot wrong. However, it is pretty dope that Kemba got this spot for the Charlotte crowd.
This game is going to be dope. I'm sure there will be a lot of wide open pull up threes, lanes for some crazy dunks, and fastbacks with multiple alley-oops. It won’t be East vs. West, but Team Lebron vs. Team Giannis. Stay tuned for how the draft turns out! I’ll definitely keep y’all posted and will let you know the rules to how the draft works!
Typically, I'm a pretty positive guy. I find myself waking up way too early most mornings and fantasizing about the nap I'm going to take later in the day. Just thinking about that glorious nap helps me get through the day. No matter how crappy of a day I may be having, I find that little tiny bit of happiness to look forward too. But most of the time I don't actually get to take that nap because... life. But I never doubt the fact that I will take that nap, eventually.
If I ever were to doubt the fact that I was going to take that nap later in the day, then my whole day would be terrible. My attitude would be horrible. I'm just saying all of this because I need to remind myself sometimes to treat everything like I treat my nap dreams, Don't doubt it.
In basketball, I tend to believe in guys a little bit longer than most others. I like to think that guys continue to have more upside as they grow in their career. However, I also tend to give up on guys if they have a down season or show some signs of regression. And then I make bold claims that eventually just make me sound stupid.
D'Angelo Russel is making me eat my words this season. I loved his game when he was at Ohio State. He never looked like any moment was too big for him. His early years with the Los Angeles Lakers proved that wasn't scared of the bright lights. His "Ice in my veins" celebration is one of the best in the game.
But once he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets, I started to cool off on him. His first season as a Net was a little underwhelming, but it was mostly because he was injured for most of the season. I started to wonder how long it would be until he considered going to China to play professionally. But his healthy return this year has given all of his doubters plenty of reasons to keep their mouths shut.
In my Mid-Season Awards article, I put him as a player in the running for Most Improved. Russel has already matched his game total from last season with 48 games played. He is posting career highs in points, field goal percentage, three point percentage, free throw percentage, and assists. But its not his numbers that have made him a guy to root for, its his leadership and love for his teammates that has changed the way his peers view him. Because for a minute there, his image took a hit.
You guys may or may not remember, but in his second season with the Los Angeles Lakers he got into a little social media trouble that caused a rift between him and his teammates. His teammate at the time Nick Young was dating rapper Iggy Azalea, and Russel caught Young admitting that he cheats on his SnapChat and posted the videos. Many thought this would stain his image forever, but this moment now seems like a small mistake made by a young kid. But aye, it ain't his fault Swaggy P was doing things he wasn't supposed to be doing lol.
The Brooklyn Nets were lacking a leader over their rebuilding stage the last few seasons. In just his fourth season, he was become the vocal leader of the team. Not only leading by example on the court, but also being one of the most encouraging teammates even from the sidelines.
The game I'm thinking of in particular is their game from a few weeks back against the Houston Rockets. He was having a poor shooting night, which led to him not playing in some key moments down the stretch in an overtime thriller. He took a backseat to his teammate Spencer Dinwiddie. But instead of making a fuss for being benched, he was visibly the most vocal player on the bench. Standing right next to head coach Kenny Atkinson. cheering on his team and coaching them from the sideline.
After the big win, he was the first player to run out onto the court and celebrate Dinwiddie's clutch performance. Theres something to be said about a guy who is willing to put ego aside when it comes to moments like this. He knew his play was not putting his team in the best position to win, so he played his role from the bench.
With Victor Oladipo going down for an extended period of time, a guard spot has opened up for the Eastern Conference All-Star reserves. And with his career play at an all-time high in just his fourth season, its possible that Brooklyn can have their first representative in over 5 years.
We're not even ten days into 2019 and I'm already in my feelings. I was reading this book called Skippyjon Jones to my son last night. It's about a cat who wants to be anything in the world, except for a cat. His imagination gets him into some hilarious situations.
There was a part where he was having a standoff with a gang of Mexican Chihuahuas, and he was trying to convince them that he's actually a dog. And for some reason, I started tearing up. Not because of the story. but because I started thinking about how one day, he won't want me to read him books anymore. He'll be reading books to himself, not needing me for anything. I only helped give him the gift of life! Ugh. I guess that's not enough for kids these days. SMH.
After wiping away my two tears, my son got up and started playing with his cars. I was watching the end of the Philadelphia 76ers game, and when they showed their current record my tears began to flow again. I realized we're already halfway through the NBA season. Which mathematically means, there's only half of a season left. Which emotionally for me means that my heart is half-empty. But what's most importantly, is that my heart is still half-full.
So instead of sitting here in misery and sulking in the fact that time is still linear, I figured we could celebrate what we've seen so far this season. It's time for some Mid-Season awards!
Most Improved Player
When Paul George was traded for Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo, most people had said that the Oklahoma City Thunder won the trade. And with George deciding to stay in OKC, they did. However, that doesn't mean the Indiana Pacers lost. Last year Victor Oladipo won this award, and halfway through this season, his buddy who traveled with him in the trade is keeping the award in Indiana.
His jump in numbers is staggering when you compare this season and last season. He is only playing one more minute per game, but he has been extremely efficient in his time on the floor. Sabonis is averaging 14.9 points per game (11.4 in 2017-18), 3 assist per game (2 in '17-18), 9.6 rebounds (7.7 in '17-18), 62% on field goals (51% in '17-18), and an incredible 71% from three-point range (35% in '17-18).
All of these numbers are indicative of the way the team has used him this season. He is visibly much bigger and stronger than he was just a year ago. Those NBA weight rooms are working well for him. He's taking most of his shots from within 10 feet of the rim, and less than 13% of his shots are coming from three-point range. His play has helped his team maintain the 3rd spot in the East, and if he keeps it up he will help them stay there.
IN THE RACE: D'Angelo Russel, Pascal Siakam, Jamal Murray
Sixth Man of the Year
During the offseason, Derrick Rose said that he wants to be the first player in NBA history to win a Rookie of the Year award, an MVP, and the Sixth Man of the Year award. He was already the youngest to ever win the MVP, and now he can fulfill the rest of his goal. His play off of the bench this season has rejuvenated his career, and has made all those who love his game appreciate it once again.
This time around, the highlights are coming with him playing less than 30 minutes per game. He is shooting with the best efficiency since his sophomore season in 2009-10 with 48.6% from the field. He is also averaging the most points per game since his 2011-12 season with 18.9.
His best performance came on an emotional night when he dropped a career-high 50 points against the Utah Jazz early in the season. It reminded everyone of what Rose once was, and what he still can be on any given night: Electric. Now that I'm looking at these numbers, he could also be a candidate to win Most Improved Player. Maybe we'll leave that goal for him for next season.
IN THE RACE: Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrel, Spencer Dinwiddie
Defensive Player of the Year
The last guard to win NBA Defensive Player of the Year was Gary Payton in 1996. Nearly a quarter of a century later, Paul George could bring the award back to the backcourt. In a season where the Thunder are without their best defender in Andre Roberson, George has thrived.
He leads the league in steals per game with 2.2, which is also the best he's ever had in his career. He also has a career-high with 0.6 blocks per game. This is all a benefit of his teammates. The Thunder are number one in the NBA in Defensive Rating, thanks to guys such as Steven Adams and Russel Westbrook.
But most of their success falls on the shoulders of George. Defensive Win Shares is an Advanced stat that takes into account a player's contribution to team wins based on their defense. Paul George is one of the best in the league with 2.9 which also leads his top-ranked defense. Should he keep this up, his nickname may soon be The Mitten or Glover or Guy Who is Good at Defensive Things.
IN THE RACE: Russel Westbrook, Miles Turner, Rudy Robert, Robert Covington
Rookie of the Year
The Ben Simmons Rookie of the Year memes have been hilarious. Maybe this year they'll give it to Donovan Mitchell instead. But even if those guys were somehow eligible, we might still be giving the award to Luka Doncic. This teenager has been even better than his biggest believers may have thought he'd be at this point in his young career.
His professional basketball experience has proven to be what has separated him from the rest of the pack. His late game performances have been great for any player in the NBA, let alone a rookie. His stepback threes have been electrifying, and has already given defenses fits. His ball handling skills have helped him embarrass two top defensive players in Paul George and Rudy Gobert.
His numbers speak for themselves as he is averaging 19.6 points per game, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.9 assists. He's got the Dallas Mavericks looking like a fringe playoff team, and at worst, a team with a bright future due to their young star. The Rookie should also be receiving some All-Star consideration, I'm just sayin'!
IN THE RACE: NONE. LITERALLY NO ONE ELSE.
Most Valuable Player
Usually by the halfway point in the NBA season, there is a clear front runner for the MVP award. We have been lucky enough this season to have two front runners in Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden. The former is trying to establish himself as a solidified superstar, while the latter is trying to go back-to-back with the most coveted individual award the league has to offer.
I could play the fence and say they are both the respective MVP's so far, but I'll pick a side. James Harden is incredible, his run over the last 20 games or so has been historic, and he is an Arizona State alum. However, halfway through the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has been the MVP. This is not to say that things could change over the next few months. But for now, it is The Greek Freak's award to lose.
His new coach, Mike Budenholzer, has opened up his game to heights we have been waiting for. He is second in the league in Win Shares with 6.7, only behind Anthony Davis. He is first in the league in defensive plus-minus. His team has the best record in the NBA because of his play. And he is - wait a second, damn it. As I'm sitting here thinking about it, I'm changing my mind. I am gonna straddle the fence, because James Harden is freakin' amazing.
Harden is first in *clears throat* three-pointers made, free throws made, free throws attempted, total points, points per game, usage percentage, plus-minus, offensive plus-minus, minutes per game andddd value over replacement. Yeah... Let's keep it going, he is top-5 in win shares, player efficiency rating, assists, and *wait for it* STEALS! Yes, he is top-5 in a defensive category. That alone should make him the MVP.
But to top it all off, he has already had the top "MVP moment" of the season. On the road against a fully healthy squad in the Golden State Warriors, the Rockets were without Chris Paul and Eric Gordon and they were down 20 points in the second half. None of this mattered because Harden put the team on his back and hit crazy shot after crazy shot, which led to his 44 point triple-double consisting of 10 three's. None more memorable than his shot that won the game for them in overtime that silenced the crowd.
Say what you want about the guy's game, but he is clearly the best offensive player in the league who has also improved on his defensive play.
IN THE RACE: Lebron James, Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, Steph Curry, Kyrie Irving
It's that time of year where everyone is getting sick. Every morning I'm waking up hoping that I haven't caught whatever new cold is out on the streets. But I'm ready for whenever I do catch it. I got my Theraflu on deck, extra honey, hot teas for days, beef Top Ramen, and our humidifier.
Whenever I'm sick, I have my own remedy. I wake up in the middle of the afternoon and take a scorching hot shower for like 30 minutes. Then I drink some honey drenched tea, so hot that you'd think it was sent to the sun and back. Eat some Top Ramen with extra sriracha sauce and lime. Then drink some Theraflu, and wrap myself in like 3 blankets and sweat that shit out.
My wife says I'm not supposed to sweat it out like that, but it works for me.
Panic! At the Disco
A Fever You Can't Sweat Out
Released September 27th, 2005
Ok, so maybe Panic! At The Disco wasn't trying to cure any common colds when they named the album. But maybe if I add listening to this album to my remedy, then I'll find myself getting better faster. Either way, this album is a certified banger.
2005 was like half of a lifetime ago, these guys had only been together for a little over a year before releasing something that would change the landscape of their career forever. They weren't anything we hadn't seen before. Bands like The All-American Rejects, My Chemical Romance, and Fall Out Boy were already on the scene. But this debut album showed that they not only belonged on the scene, but they could own it for the moment.
When we look back on the album, it was not successful right away. The first single off of the album "The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage," didn't exactly break ground. It wasn't until they dropped the second single 5 months later that they started to get any kind of national notoriety.
I chime in-
"I Write Sins Not Tragedies" was a huge radio hit. This was also a time when people were still watching television and actually cared about music videos. The visuals for this hit may have played an even more important role than the song itself. The attention grabbing makeup and wardrobe helped them win Video of the Year at the MTV Awards, when people cared about that stuff.
They built off of this momentum and dropped their second hit single "But It's Better if you do" just a few months later. This gave them their second top 5 Billboard hit. A story of a young man falling in love in a strip club, reminds us of what T-Pain once said "I'm in love with a strippperrrr!"
The final Billboard hit off of the album was "Lying is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off." I have no idea where they come up with all these random ass names, but they go hard. I don't really understand the video, people with fishbowls for heads..? I think they were trying to push some deeper message, but it just made for some confusing visuals.
Either way, it got the attention of the viewer and the image has stuck with those who have watched it all these years later. Just like how this album has stuck within our minds nearly 15 years later. The lyricism and uniqueness displayed on this debut album created a cult following for them for the rest of their careers.
And although they have yet to release an album as polarizing as this one, they have still maintained their status as one of the most listened to bands worldwide. Being able to build that base to begin their career allowed them to work freely and create art the way they wanted to.
Who knows if they ever found a way to sweat that fever out. Who knows what the hell they were even talking about half of the time, but it worked.
If this video came on late at night with the lights off, it could be considered a horror film...
Whenever it gets under 50 degrees in Central California, we assume the world is freezing over. Whenever there is a thin layer of ice on our car windshield, we think we're in the movie The Day After Tomorrow. And whenever rainfall lasts longer than twelve hours, we break out the flood warnings. If a snowflake were ever to find its way here, people may just start evacuating the entire Central Valley.
As I sit here in my multiple layers of clothing, wrapped in a blanket, with my heater cranked to 76 degrees, I'm thinking about how eskimos ever existed. Maybe they still exist, I'm not sure. But one thing I do know is that they were fuckin' trippin'. The "mind over matter" was real. The ability to bare the elements and still be able to not only survive, but create a living for themselves, is unfathomable.
The real reason I bring this up is because I'm really just wondering what a real winter is like. Snowfall, zero degree weather, snow tires on my car, all things we will never experience here in the valley. What is it about being comfortable with where we're at keep us from moving away when we get older?
Is it because we don't want to be away from our family and friends that we grew up with? Is it because we're afraid we might fail in a new environment? Is it because we think life will be so drastically different that we won't be able to keep up?
Whatever it is for each individual who stays in the same general area that they were born and raised, it all comes down to one thing. Fear of change. It's the one thing that most of us have in common, the fear of what's on the other side of a new challenge.
Now there's nothing wrong with staying where you're from. You don't need to make a change that drastic to grow. But making one small change for the better everyday could eventually lead to a drastic change in your life. Today it may be deciding to drink one more glass of water a day and tomorrow it may be to read a chapter of a book everyday. And if you continue with your new changes, hopefully in a year or so you'd be drinking nothing but water, and you've had read multiple books and expanded your library.
Regardless of what changes you want to make in life, it all starts will small changes here and there. And once you get into the right state of mind where you are constantly seeking out change, you will eventually find yourself in the position you always imagined you would be. The weather may look bad today, but just look at your forecast and realize that clear skies are coming soon.
Unless of course, you love cold weather. In which case it's only going to get better... or worse? I don't know what you cold weather people like.
This was an ice cold banger...
1. a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.
This image is you looking at your past self, asking why you wasted all those hours living in complacency.
A feeling of quiet pleasure or security sounds like a good thing. Being in your own zone. You’re totally cool, calm, and collected. Yet in life, it can be a dangerous comfort zone.
Living in complacency never gets anyone anywhere. Staying in your comfort zone keeps you from taking chances, and reaching for those goals you’ve been setting for yourself. Unless your goal is to continue working the same job, or having the same boring life, or eating the same boring food, or whatever it is that keeps you telling yourself “Well, this is good enough for me.”
When you live in that state of mind, you are oblivious to the potential danger around you. The definition makes it seem as if the danger is yet to be seen. But it is clear that living this way is dangerous in and of itself. You spend hours complaining that you want your life to be better, yet you don’t put in any effort to actually move forward. You are perfectly fine with feeling sorry for yourself.
Your self-satisfaction with your current situation allows you to trick yourself into thinking you’re actually happy with where you’re at. When people follow up with you about the goals you set for yourself, you find yourself spilling out excuses for why you haven’t accomplished what you said you would. When in reality, you have made conscious choices to avoid your goals as much as possible because you have told yourself you can’t do it. Which in turn, actually makes you believe that you’re right.
A “condition” often is in reference to a state of one’s health. Being in a state of complacency is not a condition, it’s a choice. It is not a disease, a doctor can’t write you a prescription for it. And although it is not airborne, it is extremely contagious.
Look at who you are surrounding yourself with. The friends you have are all just as complacent as you are. They tell you that what you’re doing in life is fine. When you fail to reach your goals, they believe that all your excuses are valid. They too, are living in complacency. And it’s contagious.
You need to realize that you are in control of your own choices. And that you can stop living in complacency, and start living in a constant state of growth. All you have to do is make the decision to stop being comfortable.
Breaking out of your comfort zone is the healthiest choice you can make for yourself right now. And seeing how it’s the beginning of the new year, you might as well add it to your resolution for 2019.
If you have friends who are living in complacency, tell them. If you’re a real friend and you care about the growth of those close to you, tell them that they’re doing themselves a disservice by not reaching higher. Hold them to the standard that you should hold yourself too.
Let’s redefine what living in complacency means. Your comfort zone should be a dangerous one because of the chances you’ll take on yourself. You may sometimes run into failure, but that’s better than not trying to better yourself at all.
Welcome to 2019, where our resolution is one.
Just a man trying to make the most of his time on this planet.