Category Archives: Sports

ON BLAST PODCAST S3 E10 – I MISS THE OLD NBA (FINALS RECAP)

Kevin Durant won finals MVP as the Golden State Warriors ran over the Cleveland Cavaliers to win another NBA Championship, but did the fans enjoy the NBA season, playoffs or finals? In this episode, Sheldon decides to try something new and “cold calls” his friends asking their opinions on the “New NBA”. Let us know what you think and whether you agree or disagree with the callers.

Let us know what you think and follow us on twitter
@ShelAlexander

#UnpolishedUnapologetic
Hope you enjoy the show and don’t forget to #TellYoFriends

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ON BLAST PODCAST S3 E9 – NBA FINALS & CHILL

In this episode Sheldon and Webster talk about the NBA Finals and the Cavs chances at coming back during this series as well as:

00 – NBA FINALS: IS THE SERIES OVER? IS KD THE BEST PLAYER IN THE NBA?
22:30 – PK SUBBAN VS SIDNEY CROSBY, CARRIE UNDERWOOD AND SMASHVILLE
30:00 – IF THE WARRIORS SWEEP THE CAVS, IS THIS GOOD FOR THE NBA?
36:00 – WHAT SHOULD THE RAPTORS DO THIS OFF SEASON
44:00 – WEBBY IS READY FOR THE NFL & HOW GOOD IS JOSH DONALDSON
48:35 – WHAT SHOWS ARE WE WATCHING?
50:30 – WHY YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING THE CHALLENGE CHAMPS VS PROS

Also for more on LeBron and the NBA Finals:

https://onblastpodcast.wordpress.com/2017/05/31/i-was-going-to-write-about-the-nba-finals-but-then/

And the Toronto Raptors offseason:

https://onblastpodcast.wordpress.com/2017/05/09/masai-ujiri-kyle-lowry-kendricks-and-loyalty/

Let us know what you think and follow us on twitter
@ShelAlexander and @awebster84

#UnpolishedUnapologetic
Hope you enjoy the show and don’t forget to #TellYoFriends

 
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I WAS GOING TO WRITE ABOUT THE NBA FINALS, BUT THEN….

LEBRON KD

My plan was to write about the NBA finals.  To preview the 3rd installment of the Cavs and Warriors.  To break down LeBron surpassing MJ or KD getting his first ring.  That was my plan.  I had it all figured out, I was going to give you all of the reasons why I thought LeBron James and the Cavs were going to upset the Warriors and repeat as NBA champs.  And then this came across my timeline:

Suddenly whoever puts a ball through a hoop more times than the other matters a whole lot less.  Now I’m sure some people read the exact same headline and brushed it off as hyperbole or insignificant because “He’s rich and famous, he should be used to haters” or “It was probably just some random idiot”.   I’m sure it might have been easy for some of you to scroll right on by…and I’m sorry to be this blunt, but…

YOU’RE FUCKING MISSING THE POINT.

If someone who is at the top of his game, at the highest level of success in not only his field, but in life in general…If someone like LeBron James at the end of the day is still looked at by some as simply a “Nigger”.  Then what chance do the rest of us have.  Seriously stop and think about that message for a second.

“Even if you in a Benz, you still a nigga in a coupe” – Kanye West (All Falls Down)

Those words from Mr. West have always stuck with me as a reminder that no matter what I do or what I accomplish, to some at the end of the day I will always just be different.  But not just different, different with a negative connotation.  We both can wear jeans and t-shirts, but my jeans and t-shirts will always be different.  The worst part about this is, we’ve been told all of our lives “that’s just the way it is.  There will always be racist people in the world” And I’m always forced to fire back with, WHY?  Why are we just supposed to accept that some people are just blatantly ignorant and that others are just as ignorant…but only behind closed doors?  Why is that something that we should still be “accepting” in 2017?  Some may not understand this, but again what chance do the rest of us honestly have if that’s how LeBron James is perceived?  Think about it, we talk more about his hairline than we do about the $41 Million that he spent to send over a 1000 kids to college.

Just a few months ago, LeBron starred in a Nike campaign that centered on the concept of “Equality”

It was a powerful ad to some and to others just another attempt to sell shoes.  Regardless of which side of that you fall on, the irony of watching that same man sit in front of a group of media and recite the story of Emmett Till’s open casket was heart wrenching to say the least.

Of course he’s an athlete in the spotlight, but he’s also a human being who no doubt has to be worried about the safety of his family.  On the flip side, he’s also a man that wants to be known for more than what he does on a basketball court.   He’s aware of the platform the sport brings and lately hasn’t been shy about using it to deliver a message.

Basketball and sports in general, are supposed to be an escape from the negativity that plagues us in the real world.  But over the past few years, it’s also been an important reminder of the stage it can bring when explaining social issues.  As much as we debate the role race plays in “Why PK Subban doesn’t fit into hockey culture”….we all know deep down that language is coded at best.  Same thing for LeBron and his “posse” or Colin Kaepernick “disrespecting” the anthem and obviously for Boston fans and their relationship with Adam Jones.   Many people confuse these things with having to be “uber-politically correct” in 2017.  But in reality it’s much more about being honest with ourselves about what’s really going on.  Words have meaning.  Maybe some of us have forgotten that elementary school lesson, but that’s why LeBron James’ words today were so important.

He’s arguably the greatest athlete of his generation and on the eve of one of the biggest games of his life, he’s forced to answer questions about some jack ass spray painting “Nigger” on his front gate.  Again, stop and think about the ridiculous nature of that sentence.  You can hear the pain in his voice and I honestly don’t know how he was able to keep it together, much less articulate so eloquently the importance of the role he now understands he plays, in terms of keeping this discussion in the main stream.  It would be so easy to give a “no comment” or to say something as generic as “the police are handling it”.  But that’s not LeBron James.  At least it’s not person we’ve watched mature into the man who stood on stage with his brothers at an award show last year, to deliver an extremely important message at a very delicate time in our history.

Some will always ask, what is he REALLY DOING?  Or question whether he could be doing more.  But how about we stop and appreciate what is actually being done.  You see, the simple act of acknowledging this pathetic act, forces the media worldwide to discuss the topic of racism, while they promote the biggest basketball games of year.  And that’s the part people often miss.  While racism continues to be a huge problem, the even bigger issue is the reluctance by many to acknowledge the fact of it being a problem in the first place.  Racism can’t go away until we all admit that it still exists.  That’s when we can all demand that it stops.  I know this all seems like a crazy concept, especially when you consider the campaign ran by the current leader of the free world.  But again, until we all understand that it’s a very real problem…nothing will ever change.

So as I said, I was going to write about who was going to win the NBA Finals and then racism reared its ugly head yet again.  Some of you might be thinking “why does race always have to be a thing, let’s just enjoy basketball” and others might be smart enough to realize that some don’t get the chance to have it “not be a thing”.  Of course I could have went ahead and written about the finals and focused on the positives of having basketball as an escape, but to be honest…I’m so tired of being told to “accept it” and that’s what we all do to a certain extent the longer we allow racism to exist in our society.   I don’t have much of a platform, but I’m going to use the little one that I do have to say that I’m fed up and sick and tired of having to explain racism.  But it doesn’t mean I’m going to stop, despite always being worried about how I will be received.  Imagine how fucked up our society is when a segment of the population is made to feel bad about discussing their insecurities.  Insecurities due to things far beyond their own control.  Yes people should be upset about the act of racial slurs being plastered on a black family’s front gate.  But shouldn’t the other people that live around the James’ LA home be even angrier that something of that nature took place in their neighborhood?  Shouldn’t Boston fans be more upset that someone felt they were in a safe enough space that they could yell “Nigger” at Adam Jones?  Do you see where I’m going here?  This isn’t just an issue about how black people deal with racism, it’s about how we as a society will eventually demand that it stops.  You see equality is an interesting concept that many don’t really understand.  It’s not about just having a “token black guy” in your office.  True equality would be getting to the point where someone is a “shitty worker” who just happens to be black….just as I’m sure there are shitty workers in your office who just happen to be white.  Maybe as you look up from your computer screen you’ll get a better understanding of what I’m trying to say…or maybe not.

Maybe a better example of inequality is like that Chris Rock bit where he talks about the rich neighbourhood he lives in….well I’ll let Mr. Rock tell the joke.

They say there’s some truth in every joke and maybe by now I hope I’m starting to make a little more sense to you in terms of opening up the dialogue. Or again…maybe not.  Maybe I’m rambling, because I’m frustrated.  Maybe you’ll just continue to complain about how long it’s taking for the NBA finals to start, so that we can all go back to talking about the games.  But maybe, just maybe… it’s time we all realize the need to start complaining about racism and how that’s the game that really needs to come to an end. Cause if that’s how “they” feel about LeBron….then what do “they” think of me.

“No matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are, no matter how many people admire you, being black in America is tough” – LeBron James 

As always, just my thoughts.  Right or wrong.  Just how I’m feeling at the time.

And oh yeah…Cavs in 6.

@ShelAlexander

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MASAI UJIRI, KYLE LOWRY, KENDRICK(S) AND LOYALTY

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The video below is from TNT’s “Area 21” and in this episode host and certified BEAST Kevin Garnett is joined by his former Celtics teammates to discuss the Eastern Conference playoffs.  I skipped ahead to the relevant part, when they discuss if Masai should blow up the Raptors…ENJOY.

“If I was on the team and the role player that I am, I can’t follow that lead” – Kendrick Perkins

Now whatever you think of Perk and the rest of his 2008 Celtic teammates on what turned into the “Area 21 reunion show”, he does bring up a good point.  Can you be a championship team if you’re led by Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan?

You see we’ve come to the point where Masai Ujiri has to show who he’s actually loyal to.  Is it the point guard that’s led him to the best 4 year run in franchise history?  Is it DeMar DeRozan, who re-signed last year for “the near max” under the assumption the team would keep the core intact going forward?  Is it Dwane Casey who is arguably the best Raptors coach ever, but who is also constantly feuding with his star PG?  Or is Mr. Ujiri ultimately loyal to his MLSE bosses, who would love to keep cashing playoff cheques instead of retooling and possibly starting all over again?  Is it possible to do all of the above?  In a perfect world, yes.  But in this scenario, I don’t think so.

This is Kyle Lowry’s last chance to hit a lick and sign a max contract of 5 years, worth around $200M.  He can only get that money if he resigns with the Raptors.  But if you’re Masai Ujiri are you interested in giving a 5 year deal to a 31-year old that has gotten hurt down the stretch in each of the last 4 seasons?  I’m not sure I’d be so quick to back up the Brinks truck, but this is where the Kendrick Lamar “Loyalty, Loyalty, Loyalty” hook rewinds over and over again in my head.  If you’re loyal to Kyle Lowry and give him a max contract, it’s giving props to the work he’s done in making the Toronto Raptors a legitimate franchise.   Since coming north, Lowry has lead the team to the playoffs in 4 of his 5 seasons in a Raptors uniform.  When you consider, he’s almost doubled the franchise’s playoff appearances as a whole, he becomes an even bigger deal in The Six.  He’s been the Raps heart and soul and the reality has always been that the team would go as far as Lowry, and not DeRozan would take them.

But this my friends is where the beat on the track switches up on because the mood or should I say “Element” is about to change drastically.  This is where I remind you how this era of Raptors success happened by accident.  If not for the dysfunction of James Dolan and the New York Knicks, Masai Ujiri would have shipped Lowry to the Big Apple as the second step of the #TankNation project.  But instead, the Knicks did what the Knicks always do and messed it up. They kyboshed the deal paving the way for Lowry to remain a Raptor.  We all know what happened next, but the point remains, Masai has been playing with house money this entire time.  Think about it.  Getting to keep Kyle, the role players that were swapped for Rudy Gay perfectly fitting in, DeMar’s continued development and Casey’s constant demands at the defensive end all led to Toronto’s recent success.  Most of it happening at a higher rate than anyone would have ever imagined.  So if you’re Ujiri, do you double down on this core or do you accept it for what it was and move on with your kids (that you’ve done a great job in developing by the way #905ShoutOut #Champions #WeOutHere)

Now we all know what Lowry brings, but we also know that what he brings is on the decline and will only get worse.  For Raptors fans it was frustrating to see Lowry sulking in the media following yet another mid-season injury.  It was even harder to watch him on the bench during the two biggest games of the year.

It was a rare sight, as there’s never much of an in-between when it comes to star players and injuries during the playoffs.  Maybe it’s the age old difference between being “hurt” and being “injured”, but for me anyways, I had trouble figuring out how he tried to give it a go in game 2 before ultimately shutting it down in a blowout.  Then appeared to be close enough in game 3 that he dressed, but didn’t play at all….and then was in street clothes for game 4 looking like he was going to a funeral…or maybe he looked like something else?

(well played internet…well played)

If one were to read the tea leaves, one would think that if he REALLY wanted to play, that he could have played.  Obviously not at a 100%, but he could have given them SOMETHING because it’s the playoffs.  I mean, that is….if he really thought they had a chance against the Cavs right?!? But much like with the bum wrist he suffered around the all star break, why try to play through it and risk further injury heading into the biggest off season of your career?

Now I’ll say this, I fully understand Lowry being loyal to himself first and foremost here.  I genuinely do.  But if that is in fact the case, then the team is fully within their rights to be loyal to themselves as well.  Is this who you want as your leader if your ultimate goal is winning a championship?  If you’re going to pay Lowry and DeRozan the max and in turn the same as other max players, shouldn’t you demand the same type of leadership?  I mean it isn’t just the injuries that left a sour taste in the mouths of many Raptors fans, it was some of the quotes throughout the series as well.

“If you can find somebody to stop LeBron in these moments,” DeRozan told reporters, “I’ll give you $100.”

All while letting LeBron do this….

and this….

Oh yeah…and this….

All while the Raptors stars gave very little resistance.  Which brings us back to Kendrick Perkins and the Celtics Rat-Pack on TNT.  They aren’t the only ones that looked sideways at the quotes given by the two Raptors stars.  And so you have to wonder…are they asking the same questions about their leaders inside the Raptors locker room and throughout the entire organization.  We all know beating LeBron is a MASSIVE task to say the least, but are you willing to pay your leaders the same pay cheque as the King, while listening to them basically admitting defeat midway through the series?  If fact, have you ever heard the stars of any team in any sport give such high praise to their opponent DURING a series.  As Kendrick (Perkins not Lamar) said in the above video

“Where you do that at?”

Get past the lingo and realize there’s actually a really great question there.  Which organizations consistently accept playoff mediocrity?  What is the perception that you want for your franchise?  Who are you trying to be?  A team that actually competes for a championship or one that is simply just making the playoffs.  It’s the difference between the San Antonio Spurs and the Atlanta Hawks.  One team has built a winning culture that demands being in the championship conversation year in and year out.  The other, has NEVER been taken seriously despite making the playoffs in each of the last 10 years (its ok, I’ll wait while you look it up.  The Hawks have actually made the playoffs 10 years in a row and you HAD NO IDEA right?).

We know at least publicly which side Masai Ujiri wants to be on after his press conference on Tuesday that focused on a “Culture Reset”.  But I honestly question what answer you’d get as a fly on the wall in an MLSE boardroom that wants to justify raising ticket prices year after year.  I mean they could just fire coach Casey, but that really just covers up what the real issues are.  I guess in the end, Kendrick (Lamar, not Perkins) has the best question for both the Raptors and Kyle Lowry going forward:

Tell me who you’re loyal to…Is it money, is it fame…Is it fans, is it rings?

Ok so I obviously had to change the last two words from “weed” and “drink” to “fans” and “rings” to make it work…but you get the idea right?  Anyways…it’s gonna be another one of those summers in The Six.

As always….just my thoughts.  Right or wrong, just how I’m feeling at the time.

@ShelAlexander

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ON BLAST PODCAST S3 E8 – TORONTO WAVES DON’T DIE

OnBlastPodcast.Wordpress.com for old episodes as well as video content. In this episode Sheldon and Webster talk about Kendrick and Drake’s new albums. Toronto’s playoff wave and Showtime’s Billions.

00- Kendrick’s Damn vs Drake’s More Life
15:00 – The Leafs playoff run and Storytime with Sheldon
36:20 – The Raptors, We the Norm & Can the Raps beat the Cavs?
49:17 – who is the NBA MVP
59:00 – Why you should watch the show BILLIONS

Let us know what you think and follow us on twitter
@ShelAlexander and @awebster84

#UnpolishedUnapologetic
Hope you enjoy the show and don’t forget to #TellYoFriends

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