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Sports Watching and Wondering

African American news from Pasadena - Sports - Dwight Howard, Serena Williams, Sloane Stephens and moreDwight Howard is a large man who plays professional basketball in the NBA. He is a good player, not a great one and he will probably never be much better. He is currently being bagged by about five NBA teams to sign a long-term contract with them. For example, the Lakers are dangling a five-year contract under his nose that would pay him around $30 million a year. Not only are they offering it, they are actually begging him to take it. He is also being pursued by the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, and the Atlanta Hawks.

With all of that interest in him, you would think that he had already won several championships. However that is not the case, he has not won any. Unless there is a dramatic increase in his level of play, he is unlikely to ever be on a championship team. As indecisive as he is, it is not his fault that he is receiving even more media attention than the Kardashian's. Though I suspect that he is enjoying every moment of it.

My own feeling about Howard is that he is not nearly worth the time and attention that is being given to him. He does have some talent, but he is not a dedicated athlete. He used to be kind of hosting his way through life, and he can get away with that, because others look at him and see his potential. He is kind of the second coming of Lamar Odom, who many thought was the second coming of Magic Johnson. Odom is a Could Have Been, and Howard looks like he may be the next one.

It seems to me that the Lakers organization is pandering to their most rabid fans. These are the ones who expect them to contend for the championship every year. There are 32 teams, and they all have salary caps. In addition, the weaker teams have the first opportunity to get the best players in the NBA draft every season. In an ideal world, each team would win a championship every 32 years. In the course of events, it may be necessary for a team to get really bad, before it can get good. In my opinion, this is where the Lakers are today.

The pieces of the team don't fit together, and the new head coach does not seem to have a clue as to what is really going on. Howard or no, this is not a prescription for success. The fans will complain loudly if the Lakers have a couple of weak seasons. However, they will still sell out Staples Center for every game and they will have high ratings whenever the team is on television. So, not to worry.

As for Howard, he needs to understand that the criticisms come with big markets. Most people in Orlando may be too polite to criticize his play. In Orlando they are happy with anything that they can get. In California and New York, they demand the best, and even that may not be good enough. So, if you cannot stand the heat, then these other kitchens that you want to avoid. The Lakers also have the question of Kobe Bryant hanging over their heads. He is determined to attempt to play as well, or even better, than he did before the injury. Maybe he will be able to do that, and maybe he won't. Maybe Bryant will be able to play at a high level of performance for at least three more years. Then again, maybe he won't be able to do that. If he is not playing well, is there anyone in the Lakers organization will have the nerve to tell him that to his face? He has been calling the shots, for about the last five years.

Aside from their injuries, great athletes have always thought that they could ignore Father Time. They hope that the enormity of their will power would keep him at bay. It may earn them a temporary reprieve, but he will not be long deterred. At some point, he will show them that their careers are over.

Serena Williams was shocked by an unexpected defeat at the hands of Sabine Lisicki, who was a 23rd seat. Williams is very talented, and she is often able to intimidate her opponents, so they did not play well. That was not the case yesterday. Twenty year old Sloane Stephens is left to carry the flag for the USA.

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