Good Luck to Michael Sam - Former University of Missouri football star Michael Sam has publicly announced that he is gay. He made this announcement, because he wants to play in the NFL. He knew that the NFL scouts were checking into his background, and that they already knew all about him. So, he figured that he might as well publicly announce what they already knew. Count me among those who respect him, and wish him well. I strongly believe that in any free society, everyone has the right to live as they choose, as long as they are not breaking the law, or harming anyone else. Some NFL officials have made anonymous statements that they would not draft him for their team. I think that Pete Carroll will draft him, if he gets the opportunity to do so. I also think that Sam would thrive with the Seahawks - and in Seattle.
Blake Griffin Has Become the Man - It may have taken longer than expected, but Griffin has finally become an irresistible force. He has worked hard to improve all facets of his game, and he is now a more complete player. He is still a Dunking Machine, but he has also improved his free-throw shooting and his rebounding. Coach Doc Rivers is working hard to get this team to be tough enough to contend for the NBA Championship. They will have to be at their best, to even have an outside chance. Waiting for them in the playoffs will be the Miami Heat, the Indiana Pacers, the Portland Trailblazers, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the San Antonio Spurs. In my opinion, the team is improving, but they are still at least a year away from being a real championship contender.
The Lakers - How did this team go from being so great to being absolutely pathetic? When they were winning championships year after year, it seemed so easy that most of the local fans took their victories for granted. The Lakers became a brand, much like the old Boston Celtics and the New York Yankees. They just seemed to do everything right, and they did it all the time. We now realize that these organizations were being run by very smart people. They knew what they had to do to win, and they did it. They out fought and out thought their competitors most of the time.
The demise of this team could not have come at a worse time. The Clippers, who were a national joke for 25 years, have taken over the city. All of their games are sold out and local fans are going gaga over Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. They are winning regularly, and often by huge scores.
Put me in charge of this team, and I would make Steve Nash retire, trade Pao Gasol, and bring in Derek Fisher to coach next year's team. Mike D'Antonio is not a bad coach, but he is not a great one. He is standing around watching this team, as if he was just a spectator. This team needs a leader who is a driving inspirational force, and a disciplinarian who demands the best of them. Fisher has all those qualities, plus he understands the culture of this team and of the city. Mark Jackson and Jason Kidd have shown that experienced point guards and quickly become great coaches. I would also take control of the team away from Kobe Bryant, and give it to Fisher. Although, that would not be necessary, since it if he is given the opportunity, Fisher will run the show.
UCLA & USC - Neither team is living up to the preseason expectations. The Bruins are having some success, and the Trojans are just awful. However, there is some good news, Pat Haden, USC's Athletic Director, is doing an absolutely fabulous job as a broadcaster.