Greetings sports fans. It hasn’t been a particularly warm spring just yet, atleast here in the hills of West Virginia, but the sports calendar has been full so there are lots of little nuggets to ponder. Let’s do that.
I was never a big Kobe Bryant fan. He always seemed like kind of an arrogant punk to me, and his…adventure…in Colorado several years ago did nothing to endure him to the masses. Talk of him being on the same level as Michael Jordan is ridiculously laughable and he is barely even one of the Top 10 best Los Angeles Lakers of all time (he’s behind Magic, Kareem, West, Chamberlain, Shaq, Elgin Baylor, Worthy, “Hot Rod” Hundley, & Mikan in my book). Having said all of that, it is a rarity to see a guy play 20 years of any professional sport, and for him to have played his entire career with one team is remarkable. I am a sucker for good farewell stories, so it was with rapt attention I watched Bryant’s final game. Yes it was a meaningless contest, especially for a Lakers team that hasn’t even been close to the playoff hunt this season, but watching 37 year old Kobe summon up a wellspring of energy that he hasn’t displayed in probably 5 years and hang 60 points…SIXTY points…on the Utah Jazz was great TV and left a positive final impression. Well played sir…well played indeed.
Congratulations to the Villanova Wildcats for winning the 2016 NCAA basketball national championship. The tournament overall didn’t seem to have as much theatrical impact as usual, but the title game, in which ‘Nova defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels, featured two fantastic three point shots in the final five seconds and more than made up for the abundance of chalk and tedious blowouts.
- The Chicago Cubs look as formidable as the pundits predicted. Maybe Back to the Future II was only a year off with its “prediction”.
- The Baltimore Orioles are going to be tough as well.
- As of this writing the Minnesota Twins are 2-9 and the Atlanta Braves are 1-9. The success of the 90’s seems to be in the rear view mirror for both clubs.
- My Pittsburgh Pirates were expected to take a step back this season after making the playoffs the last couple of years and so far that seems to be the case. I hope their ownership & front office knows what they are doing, but I can’t say my confidence is high.
- Wouldn’t a Cubs-White Sox World Series be fun?? I’m not going out on a limb to predict it…I’m just suggesting it looks like a possibility.
The NBA Playoffs have begun and the first round matchups look like this:
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Detroit Pistons
Toronto Raptors vs. Indiana Pacers
Miami Heat vs. Charlotte Hornets
Atlanta Hawks vs. Boston Celtics
Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets
San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Dallas Mavericks
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Everyone is expecting the Eastern Conference to come down to Cleveland and Toronto, with the Cavaliers easily walking into their first Finals appearance since 2007. I think it’s possible that the Miami Heat might sneak into the conference finals over the Raptors, but other than that I expect no surprises. In the Western Conference it would be a huge disappointment for the Golden State Warriors…the defending NBA Champions who just set a new regular season wins record with 73 victories…to not get back to the Finals. However, don’t be surprised to see the venerable San Antonio Spurs give them a battle. The Western Conference finals might end up being more entertaining than the NBA Finals.