Giannis Promotes Community

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The image is taken from greekreporter.com.  greekreporter.com

 

Reigning MVP Giannis Antentokounmpo has a heart that matches his talents. He believes in giving back to the community as his family struggled with finding food when he was younger. He revealed this during a video recorded by the NBA as part of its #ActsofCaring during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He talked about how there were community-based programs that helped low-income families. This made it important for him and his main motivation for helping community-based programs now.

You can view the video here

High School Basketball Prospects Changing College Paths

NCAA sports do not pay their student-athletes. A topic that has been up to debate the last few years. The argument that NCAA profits off its players, but players can be punished for making money off their talents. Arguments include that elite players already have a free scholarship. One of the sports that comes into question is basketball. Over the years, the NBA has put rules in place that players have to go to college for at least one year, before being drafted. Now, there are ways around this. Players can go play internationally, like LaMelo Ball. However, a new opportunity is presenting itself here in America.

The NBA G-League, formerly known as the D-League, before Gatorade became an official title sponsor. The G-League is now a minor league that farms athletes for NBA teams. The concept is similar to minor league baseball. The G-League has become more prominent in the last decade, with now every NBA team being affiliated with a G-League team. Contracts are around $30,000 to $40,000.

Jalen Green is the top high school recruit and the first to sign with the G-League. The image is taken from NBA.Com. All rights reserved to NBA.com.

However, that is being changed. The league can now offer up to $120,000 for select prospects. The prospects in question? The top high school players. Three of the top players in high school, who would have spent next year in the NCAA, before being drafted into the NBA, have decided to sign with the G-league.  Jalen Green, Isaiah Todd, and Daishen Nix have all signed with the G-League.

Todd had committed to Michigan. Nix was signed by UCLA. Both decided to negate their commitments to sign with the G-league. Nix is highly considered to be the top point guard for the 2021 draft after his one year NCAA eligibility. Todd is a big athletic power forward. Green is the cream of the crop. He is expected to be the number one draft pick in 2021.

This changes the landscape for players in basketball to become professionals and enter the NBA. Complaints about the huge turnover due to NCAA basketball players of elite talent going to the NBA after a year is ruining college basketball. Now, with the G-League offering higher contracts, college basketball might lose the opportunity to even signed elite high school players.

Duke’s coach Mike Krzyzewski was interviewed about it on NBA.Com. ““It’s affected our game,” Krzyzewski said. “Really, anybody can win. I’m not saying that’s bad. I’m saying that’s what happened. … If you look at this as a business, the amount of guys going (to the NBA), the amount of guys testing (the NBA waters), the amount of guys transferring, whoa. Whoa. It’s a lot. It’s a lot.”

Recently, the NCAA has decided to have each division write their own rules on how to allow college athletes to make money off their names and talents.  The president citing that times are different and they [NCAA] have to change with it. The NCAA will have to wait on each state legislature before moving forward with it, but this is a win for college athletes, who bring in millions for their schools. For college basketball, this is an important change that needs to happen as the rise of the G-League continues to become a threat.

The Lakers Returns Loan

Lakers Logo Stock Photos & Lakers Logo Stock Images - Alamy
Image taken from https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo/lakers-logo.html.

On April 27, the NBA reported on its website that the Los Angeles Lakers return the $4.6 million they received from the stimulus loan program. The program was meant for small businesses but was depleted by large businesses like Shake Shack.

The Lakers are worth $4.6 billion according to Forbes in a February report by azcentral.com.

Small Businesses, often consider to be the heart of the economy, were not able to receive the loan they desperately need because of corporations like the Lakers and Shake Shack being able to draw upon the package.

To note, as of the writing, it appears the Lakers were the only NBA team to apply for the loan. The Lakers organization is one of the biggest markets in the NBA. In 2019 their operating income was $178 million dollars. They average around $54  in revenue per fan. They spend $120 million on player expenses.  Their revenue is 434 million. They are also sponsored by the likes of American Express, Delta Airlines, Nike, Staples, Toyota, and Verizon Wireless, amongst others.

Although the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting every company, especially those of the entertainment variety like the NBA. The Lakers is an organization that doesn’t need to take part in a small business loan program.

However, the Lakers issued a statement on Monday, saying that they qualified for and received the loan under the Payroll Protection Program. When they heard the funds were depleted, they felt the financial support would be directed to those most in need.

According to NBA.com, the Treasury Department issued further guidance for the loan program, asking larger companies not to apply if they don’t need the money for survival.

One of the reasons the Lakers qualified is because they only have 300 employees, but are the NBA’s second most valuable franchise. No one has been fired at the time of this writing.

For more on the story, visit the NBA website.

Jameis Winston Signing

Jameis Winston has signed with the New Orleans Saints. He will be a back up to Drew Bress and possibly Taysom Hill. After a lackluster three seasons with Tampa Bay, Winston has the chance to learn from Drew Brees, one of the most accurate passers in the NFL last year.

According to his interview with Jeremy Bergman, writer of Around the NFL, he seems excited about the opportunity. Winston considers Brees to be someone he has always looked up too and admired. He views this as preparation for the next phase of his career.

Las Vegas Raiders Draft Results

The Raiders finished 4-12 two seasons ago and improved to a 7-9 last year in John Gruden’s sophomore year as head coach. They had glaring positional needs this year, chief among them being is improving the wide receivers and corner-backs.position. In the 2020 draft, the Raiders impressed with their picks and look ready to take another step towards their division rivals and reigning Super Bowl Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.

Henry Ruggs III - Football - University of Alabama Athletics
Henry Ruggs III making a play in college. Image is taken from https://rolltide.com/sports/football/roster/henry-ruggs-iii/5465

In the first round, the Raiders chose with the 12th pick wide receiver Henry Ruggs III from Alabama. This reunites Ruggs with the Raiders running back and college teammate, Josh Jacobs. Ruggs dedicated the night to his dead friend who encouraged him to pursue football. Ruggs is a speedy receiver that will compliment Tyrell Williams. With Williams’s questionable durability, Ruggs could be primed to become Derek Carr’s number one choice. He stretches the field which will allow newcomer Nelson Agholor to play slot receiver and open up Williams more.

With the 19th pick of the first round, they chose Damon Arnette from Ohio. A physical cornerback that helps improve their defensive backs. He seems to have a chip on his shoulder, from the answer he gave Coach Gruden on draft night, about not being the first cornerback chosen in the draft. The Raiders made the most out of this pick that came from Chicago.

The Raiders had three third-round picks at number 80,81 and 100. They drafted versatile Lynn Bowden Jr., from Kentucky who can play wide receiver and running back, giving the Raiders more flexibility to their offense and helping Josh Jacobs who had to carry the ball most of the time. Then they drafted Bryan Edwards a wideout from South Carolina. Edwards is a big, strong target that again gives Carr more weapons on the offense. Tanner Muse, a safety from Clemson, promises to make an immediate contribution to the defensive backs and special teams.

In the fourth round with picks 109 and 139, the Raiders drafted John Simpson and Amik Robertson. Simpson is a big guard that will be groomed to take over for the aging Richie Incognito. Giving the offensive line a younger, more dynamic future. Robertson broke into tears when he received the call from Gruden. Robertson is a cornerback from Louisiana Tech and will help improve defense and has great instincts.

The Raider’s improvement last year is thanks to a highly talented rookie class led by running back Josh Jacobs and defensive end Max Crosby. The Raiders improved both their offense and defense with their picks this year as they try to win the division from the Kansas City Chiefs.

WWE Crown Jewel Results

Crown Jewel

Brock Lesnar vs Cain Velasquez

Crowd booing Cain, pops for Brock? Cain is a striker, Lesnar s more a grappler. Cain kicks to the midsection and goes for the knockout. Brock puts Kimora on and wins by submission. He refuses to let go, Mysterio uses a chair and slings him out the ring. 10 years since his loss to Cain. Continues to hit chair shot. F-5 to Cain. Mysterio unleashed chair shots to Lesnar who retreats.

Promos from the Smackdown Tag Team Champions, The Revival and Raw Tag Team Champions, The Viking Raiders.

Tag Team Turmoil. A gauntlet match.

Roode and Zigler (who won the last one on Raw) vs the Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik and Dorado). Dorado with Lucha libra hits a stunner. Tag to Metalik tag team offense on Roode. Near fall. Back and forth with Roode and Zigle cutting off the ring. Hot tag to Metalik who launches offense on Roode. These are awesome changes. Roode distracts the referee as Zigler hits a superkick, followed by Roode hitting the Glorius DDT for the win.

Ryder and Hawkins come to the ring. Ryder hits rough rider on Zigler. Former tag team champions hit a double team move Zigle super kicks Hawkins and then Ryder. Roode holds Ryder for the Zig Zag. Roode wins.

Heavy machinery arrives. Roode and Zigler cut Tucker off for a while until a hot tag to Otis. In short order, they hit the trash compactor to eliminate Roode and Zigler.

New Day comes out and announcers talk about how Kofi is frustrated. Naiver Woods is recovering from surgery. Big E and Tucker go back and forth. Both tag in Otis and Kofi. Otis goes for the caterpillar for a near fall. Kofi counters double team and hits Trouble in Paradise. Tags in Big E who is duplexed by Tucker. Big E tags Kofi and they hit midnight hour to eliminate Heavy Machinery.

B-Team (bo Dallas and Curtis Axel former champions, come down.  Curtis and Bo work over Big E. Big E hit finisher to eliminate Axel.

The Revival. Dawson and Wilder single out Kofi. New Day goes back and forth, but New Day defeats Revival. After their loss, they attacked the New Day.

The OC runs out after the attack. Kofi fights out of the magic killer. Big E is back on the apron. The OC hits the magic killer to eliminate New Day.

The Viking Raiders walk to the ring. During the last turmoil match, both teams were disqualified. The match was long enough, but the OC hits magic killer to win the match becoming “The Best in the World” and one can assume that they will now have a shot at the Raw tag team championships.salt

Monsoon vs Cesaro. The match was entertaining as Moonsoor was over being from Saudi. The match went about 10 minutes with many near falls for Monsoor. Cesaro counters most of the high flying offense. Monsoor hits a moon-sault for the upset victory and cut a promo after the match.

Tyson Fury vs Braun Strowman, the match moved very slow as expected from heavyweights. Tyson did some wrestling moves. Braun hit his signature moves. Tyson knockouts Braun and wins by count-out.

AJ Styles defeated Humberto in a rematch from Raw. Styles was aggressive and there were plenty of near falls for Humberto. Humberto tweaked his leg and AJ tried to win by submission when he applied the calf crusher. Humberto reached the ropes and they went back and forth. Aj then hit the phenomenal forearm to win the match.

Natalya and Lacey will put on the first women’s match in Saudi. Natalya and Lacey both receive pops.  The crowd looks really happy.  Both women keep smiling in the match. Emotion must be overwhelming. The match receives awesome chants from the crowd, but the match is slow. Lacey counters sharpshooter and then sent to outside. Springboard dropkick to down Natalya from outside to inside the ring. The match started to pick up once Lacey went into character. Natalya wins by a sharpshooter. Afterward, both women embrace and cry in the ring.  Fans were really supportive and appreciative.

Team Hogan (Rusev, Ali, Shorty G, Roman Reigns, and Ricochet) and Team Flair (Randy Orton, Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley, Shinsuke Nakamura).

The crowd really pop for Nakamura, Orton, and Flair.  They also pop for Hogan, Rusev, and Reigns.   Heels work over Ali for a bit until he is able to tag Ricochet. Crowd chants NXT. The heels kept the referee distracted and tag Oron in. Ricochet makes a hot tag to Reigns who comes in and takes down Team Flair. Drive-by to Orton and Lashley.  Reigns hit an immortal leg drop on Corbin. Randy tags in and Reigns counters RKO with a superman punch. Everyone hits their finishers. Heels gang up on Reigns, but Rusev comes in and cleans house until he gets his hands on Lashly. Reigns superman punches Lashley and launches himself over the top onto Team Flair. Reigns pulled Orton into the ring and he counters with a kick into an RKO, but Reigns kicks out. Crowd chants for another RKO. He sets up for a punt. Faces take out Team flair as Reigns hits a spear on Orton for the win.

Universal Champion Seth Rollins and The Fiend Bray Wyatt had their rematch and again The Fiend no seller Rollins’ finishers. Rollins hit The Fiend with the sledgehammer twice, but The Fiend wouldn’t stay down. The fight went to the entrance ramp where The Fiend fell into a pit and was electrocuted. The Fiend emerged to put the radicle claw and sister Abigail to win the Universal championship.

For more head to WWE

 

NBA Suspends Embiid and Anthony-Towns

Last night altercation between Philadelphia 76ears Joel Embiid and Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl Anthony-Towns has led to both of them being suspended for their scuffle.

Embiid and Towns have been talking trash to one another for years on Twitter. Last night Embiid and Towns were caught together after a play and Towns took offense to Embiid’s hold. The two brawled to the ground before teammates and other officials broke them up. Towns, visibly angry, was escorted back to the bench while Embiid joked with teammates.

Both players will be suspended for two games.

Washington Nationals Win World Series

There are so many stories that surround this year’s World Series. For Washington, it’s their first World Series. They are also the first road team to win each road game. During the offseason, one of their franchise players, Bryce Harper, decided to leave and signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. The Houston Astros going for their second World Series in three years. They also finished as the top-seeded team in the league. Again, stories all around.

The most important story, though, has to be winning their first. They took the first two games in Houston. Houston fired back by winning three games in Washington, D.C. at Nationals Park.  With a 3-2 lead, Houston looked poised to take home their second World Series title in their third appearance. The Nationals wouldn’t let that happen.

The Nationals, complete underdogs in this match, came back to Minute-Maid Park in Houston to win game six with a score of 7-2 to tie the series. Then last night, they won 6-2. Keeping the scoring three runs in the seventh inning, one in the eighth inning, and two runs at the top of the ninth.

The Nationals, whose season was 12 games below .500, became the second team to do so after the 1914 Braves. They were the unlikely underdogs heading into the playoffs. They fought their way to the championship and gave it their all to hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy for the first time in their 51 year history.

 

 

Wrestling Points: Smackdown Preview, AEW, Hell in the Cell

Tonight WWE starts their draft to split their talented, but under utilized roster, between the USA and Fox networks. Fox is now home to Smackdown and USA will still have Raw. It comes to no surprise that Smackdown is now the show that Vince McMahon wants to succeed the most. With AEW beating them in ratings on Wednesday against their other tv show NXT, you can bet that Smackdown’s roster will be focus on talent and star power. One of the request that was allegedly reported was that Fox wanted more latino wrestlers, some of them trained in Lucha Libre.

My predictions for Smackdown and Raw? Well we already know that both shows are going to have the following:

-Major title: Universal Championship (Raw) and WWE World Champion (Smackdown) I don’t see those changing since the Universal championship is Red. This would mean unless a title change or vacancy happens. Seth Rollins will remain of Raw and Brock Lesnar will be on Smackdown if that is the case.

-Minor title: The Intercontinental Champion (IC) which is suppose to be a Raw title and is currently held by Shinsuke Nakumura. United States Champion (US), AJ Styles, is suppose to be a Smackdown title. Over the past couple of months it was hard to tell where the titles were suppose to be. If Smackdown is the “A-show” the IC title will most likely go, meaning Nakumura will be going. The only downside to that would be that AJ Styles is the bigger draw between the two due to bad booking of Nakumura and the IC title itself. I’m betting on AJ Styles and U.S. title will go to Smackdown.

-Women’s title: Raw Womens champion Becky is arguably the most exciting thing on WWE tv (sans The Fiend). Smackdown women’s champion Charlotte Flair is the best heel (bad guy) in the women’s division. They both teased another feud with one another last Monday. Becky needs to be on Smackdown, so I would guess that she will lose the tilte tonight or vacate it once she is drafted. Charlotte is also the the golden girl of the whole division so she will remain on Smackdown.

-Tag Titles: Raw champions Bobby Roode and Dolph Zigler will be facing the Viking Warriors soon if not tonight, so I would expect that both teams will remain on Raw. The Smackdown Champions The Revival will most likely stay on Smackdown (although they were a Raw team). The Women tag team champions, the Kabuki Warriors, will be going from Smackdown to Raw.

Here are some of my predictions

Raw (sports entertainment focus):

Major: vacated championship. Kofi Kingston, Baron Corbin, Shinsuke Nakumura, Rusev, Cesaro, Alester Black, Bobby Lashley, Buddy Murphy, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton (only becasue of the lack of “star” power, he most likely will be Smackdown too.) Samoa Joe,

Minor: Shinsuke (yes he will most likely be a major player once he drops the title.), Cedric Alexander, Pete Dunne,  Bobby Roode, Sami Zayn

Women: Sasha Banks, Bayley, Ruby Riott, Natalya, Sarah Logan, Ronda Rousey (since Brock, Lesnar, Becky, and Charlotte will be on Smackdown, strong chance she could also be on Smackdown though.)

Tag: The New Day (attached to Kofi), Viking Experience, Lucha House Party (if broken up they will all be on Smackdown for Lucha Libre showcase),

Smackdown (wrestling focus): Most of the bigger superstars

  • Major: Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins (after vacating universal title or losing it tonight.),  Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns, Cain Velasquez, Bray Wyatt, Drew McIntyr, Shaemus.
  • Minor: AJ Styles, Apollo Crews, Ricochet, The Miz, Dolph Zigler, Rey Mysterio, Andrade, Elias, Shorty Gable
  • Women: Charlotte, Becky, Naomi, Natalyia, Lacey Evans, Liv Morgan, Carmella
  • Tag Team: The Revival,  The Usos, Authors of Pain, Heavy Machinery

 

What are your predictions? Let me know in the comments.