Plea to Raptor Fans, Don’t Boo Chris Bosh!

Chris Bosh released his inner cave man more than a few times as a member of the Raptors

In a quiet, undramatic divorce, not like those ones you see on Divorce Court, Chris Bosh and the Toronto Raptors parted ways after a 7 year long-term relationship. The break up wasn’t messy but it was by no means mutual as the breaker certainly offended the breakee.

GM Bryan Colangelo went as far to say that Bosh didn’t care down the stretch run of the 2009-10 season. “Whether he was mentally checked out or just wasn’t quite into it down the stretch, he wasn’t the same guy,” Colangelo said. “I think everybody saw that, but no one wanted to acknowledge it.” Head Coach Jay Triano further stated that “When you talk about Chris being a leader in the locker room, I think it’s the one thing he wasn’t for us.” Hard feelings much?

Today, Chris Bosh returns to Toronto for the first time since his decision to join Dwyane Wade and Lebron James in Miami. Yes, Lebron James too.

With Bosh essentially leaving fans and most importantly the Raptor organization hanging, it is no wonder why many people expressed their resentment towards Chris Bosh. It wasn’t the first time that their franchise player bailed on them. 3 high draft picks in Damon Stoudamire, Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter that had the possibility to carry the franchise all stated their desire to leave the city at some point in their tenure with the Raptors. Not to mention Hedo Turkoglu who requested a trade after one tumultuous season.

It was all too familiar to Raptor fans. Except in this case, like a good stripper, Chris Bosh teased Canadian basketball junkies into thinking he might just come back. However, like a good stripper, the hope dangling in front of them never materialized.

Even though Bosh gave us Raptor fans a good long tease that only ended in disappointment, I am asking you not to boo the man who gave you seven hard-fought seasons.

I understand your pain, but this time the circumstances are entirely different. Chris Bosh didn’t quit like Vince Carter or cry to his General Manager like Damon Stoudamire. He played out the entire length of his contract like a real man should, and wasn’t making any excuses for his team’s lack of success. Almost every night Bosh put his heart and soul on the floor for the Raptors.

It was also the behind the scenes work that makes Bosh different from previous Raptor defectors. His mid-range jumper is as reliable as anyone’s in the NBA and while his size may still be a problem Bosh he worked his tail off in order to add muscle to his 6”10 frame. The growth of Chris Bosh is a product of his effort as Raptor colour man Jack Armstrong likes to say, “Input equals output.”

It became apparent that Chris Bosh was not a franchise player and building the team around him as your cornerstone was not going to work. Nevertheless, you can hardly blame Bosh for that. It isn’t his fault that he can’t carry an entire team on his back like his new teammates Lebron and Wade. His rebounding may not be that of a top NBA rebounder, but he was still a legitimate 20-10 guy. On a nightly basis you could count on his consistency. He didn’t get his shiny new contract for no reason now did he?

Chris Bosh might not have handled his situation as well as Toronto’s other former franchise player Roy Halladay, but he also isn’t a robot like Roy Halladay. Bosh doesn’t just exhibit human emotions either, he exhibits human emotions that are likeable and entertaining. His passion on the court at times was like none other. He was genuine in his attempt to make the Raptors a true contender.

I think after this divorce Raptor fans have forgotten what a great guy Bosh is off the court, which is part of what made us to fall for the guy. Remember this all-star advertisement?

The situation at hand isn’t about forgiving and forgetting because Chris Bosh has nothing to be sorry for. Bosh doesn’t deserve to get what seems to be the inevitable, a hate filled homecoming. He doesn’t deserve to get booed from the fans that he worked so hard to please for seven seasons. He didn’t Lebron James his city or Carmelo Anthony his teammates. Chris Bosh deserves a cheer and I ask you Raptor fans to give him one.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favor.

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Get Rid of ‘Em

Twin brothers Henrik and Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks were split up for the first time in their lives via the NHL All-Star fantasy draft

I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say that they have got to scrap the all-star games. No applause necessary for the originality.

On what may possibly be the worst weekend this year in sports, we saw two brutal all-star games in which even the highlights were almost unbearable. I think it would have been more fun playing scrabble on family game night. Seriously, I like scrabble.

The Pro-Bowl is as big a joke as Jose Canseco’s boxing career was. There is no reason for the NFL to play this game. Football is a game that is built off of pure intensity and violence, yet in an all-star game there is no way that guys can play with anywhere near the same passion that they do during the season. No one wants to get hurt in an all-star game and nobody wants to hurt a fellow player in something that is essentially meaningless

Might as well make it a flag football Pro-Bowl if you’re going to keep it around because what is put on display each year sure isn’t NFL level football. I mean, at one point it was 42-0 and the first half wasn’t over.

They should stop torturing the players and the fans that waste their time to watch this spectacle. At least they put the game back in Hawaii this year.

The NHL at least tried to do something this year to spice up their all-star game even if it only ever had the potential increase the hype prior to the game. You don’t see hockey as the lead story too often on major American sports sites as it was on Friday evening.

However, as much hype as the fantasy draft caused, it in no way led to the player’s to work harder during the game. If they could find some way in the NHL, as well as the NBA, to force the player’s to play some defence then maybe these games could actually hold some viewers. Alas, there probably is no realistic method for these leagues’s to follow in order to make these multi-millionaires show some effort for one extra game.

The combined goal total of 21 in the NHL all-star game exceeded the Vegas over/under set at 16.5.

Major League Baseball’s all-star game is not enjoyable because it actually means something in terms of World Series home field advantage. In fact, I think it’s stupid to decide something like that in an all-star game. It may create a little extra buzz each and every year, but in baseball there is never a reason not to try. Its baseball, how can you not put in a full effort?

The 3 other major North American sports don’t have that luxury. Moreover, with all the complaining that surrounds each respective all-star game from fans and analysts alike, it would make more sense to just abandon the game’s altogether.

The most intriguing feature of the NBA and NHL all-star games, which in my humble opinion are the skills competitions, have even lost their allure.

Keep the breaks, keep the status, but lose the game.

Maybe they should just make everyone play baseball for the all-star game.

Also, check out The Everyday Man’s Sports blog for his take on this issue http://theeverydaymanssportsblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/29/the-comedy-all-stars/

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Kevin Garnett: From Classless to Shameful

Kevin Garnett slides his foot under Channing Frye

Respect. I guess that’s a word that Kevin Garnett doesn’t understand the meaning of.

Voted the biggest trash talker in the league by the players with a whopping 62 percent, Garnett is known around the NBA for his animalistic, cave man-like intensity.

Our increasing acceptance towards the brash, loud-mouthed athlete has seen us not only accept guys like Kevin Garnett, but admire them. The only people who seem to be denying the changing culture in sports are the guys running the head offices in their respective league. The NFL and NBA go to extreme levels in an attempt to take all emotion out of sports.

There’s nothing wrong with a little trash talking.

However, when you talk about crossing the line, Kevin Garnett is no stranger to the other side. Earlier in the season, without denial, Garnett allegedly called Charlie Villanueva a “cancer patient” in reference to Villanueva’s disease Alopecia Areata that causes him to be hairless.

Classless.

Last night, Kevin Garnett showed all of us that he has no respect for not only his fellow players, but for the game of basketball.

In the Boston Celtics matchup against the Phoenix Suns yesterday, on two separate occasions, Kevin Garnett slid his foot under Channing Frye’s while he was taking a jump shot. The first time, Channing Frye twisted his ankle but was able to shake it off and come back into the game. The second time, Frye was unharmed but the video also catches Garnett taking a shot at Frye’s private area while he is sliding his foot under the jump shooting Frye.

You be the judge, but if you can’t see this as an obvious intent to injure, then please keep the rose-coloured glasses for yourself and Mark Jackson. I’m not too sure what Mark Jackson is saying right now because if he was Garnett’s defence lawyer, I think the jury has already given the guilty verdict, locked him up and thrown away the keys.

Sean Avery has been hockey’s ultimate bad boy for the last few years. Possibly the least classy player to ever lace up a pair of skates. There is no line for Avery to cross, because everything is fair game. Sean Avery doesn’t follow the “code” that nearly all NHLers follow. He doesn’t mind giving the occasional sucker punch that would be unthinkable for most guys.

Kevin Garnett threw his sucker punch yesterday and the way I see it, he and Sean Avery aren’t all that different. Except for one key aspect, Kevin Garnett is a well-respected professional athlete.

Garnett may be a winner in the sense that most of us can understand a winner to be but not where it really counts. MVP, defensive player of the year, NBA Champion, Olympic gold medalist, the list is a pretty extensive one for KG. Heart of a champion? Kevin Garnett has about as much heart as the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz.

I thought mutual respect was something that professional athletes were supposed to have for each other. Maybe Kevin Garnett didn’t get the memo.

The health of an athlete is his livelihood. Without his health, there is no job, and obviously no money. Sticking a foot under another person may only twist an ankle, but it shows us that this is a guy who will do anything to win a basketball game. What’s next?

When you stick a foot under an opponent in the hope that they do in fact hurt their ankle, it is clearly a classless move. But you know what else describes a move like that? Gutless.

Funny, that’s what they call Sean Avery.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favor.

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Whatever Happened to Good Ol’ Rebuilding?

Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony may be on their way out of Denver

In this modern age of internet, smart phones and high definition TV the idea of immediate gratification is one that can be achieved on so many different levels. Up to the minute stats, highlights and scores all in the palm of our hand seem to be leaving people with shorter attention spans and a want for that instant satisfaction.

What we are seeing in professional sports is the thought of building your team through scouting, drafting, developing and shrewd moves now turning into thing of the past.

Of course in all sports, the New York Yankees over the past 30 years have been the leading proponent in this regard, but in light of the Carmelo Anthony trade rumours once again surfacing, we can see that the NBA may be the league that has made the greatest transition to the hope of instant success.

With the best teams around the league sporting star-studded roster through big free agent signings and blockbuster trades the proof is in the pudding that rebuilding is not the road to take if you want to compete in today’s NBA.

However, for team’s putting all their eggs in one superstar’s basket, there is no doubt in my mind that creating the recipe for success from scratch would also allow them to compete with the NBA’s best.

These days franchise front offices are not willing to be patient enough to execute a solid 5-7 year rebuilding process.

Too often we see team’s overpaying for talent that could be found through other means. Very rarely do we see trades occurring without the transfer of expensive expiring contracts that at one point were given prematurely to these players.

After failing to acquire Lebron James this off-season, the New Jersey Nets, with their new billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov, are not willing to wait any extended period of time for their players to develop.

Currently, they are close to executing one of the biggest trades in NBA history where they would give up some of their best young talent in exchange for a fringe franchise player in Carmelo Anthony and a couple of aging, albeit, proven veterans in Richard Hamilton and Chauncey Billups.

If this trade does indeed go through, the Nets would sport a pretty decent roster, but it won’t be at quite the level that it needs to be in order to win, much less, contend for a championship. Although Brook Lopez is a very solid NBA center, for whatever reason his numbers have somewhat declined from last season, and by giving up Derrick Favors and Anthony Morrow they would be losing two potentially important role players down the road.

Prior to the season Chris Paul had expressed his desire to leave New Orleans

Even if the idea behind the deal is to a certain extent future focused, with the theory that getting Carmelo to sign an extension could possibly lead to acquiring one of Chris Paul or Dwight Howard in a couple of years, this school of thought is very wishful thinking and in my eyes is not the best method to go about in building a contending franchise.

The New York Knicks wasted/spent 2 full seasons clearing up cap space just at a chance to obtain the great Lebron James.

They had to settle for Amare Stoudemire. Granted, Amare has been a better acquisition that most people, including myself, had thought he would be. However, the Knicks do not have a roster that is going to contend for an NBA championship anytime soon. What’s even worse is that they do not have a first round pick until the year 2014.

If you don’t lay down a solid foundation then there is no way that you can build a great house.

It really is as straightforward as spending more energy on scouting, drafting and developing.

Just ask the Seattle Sonics/Oklahoma City Thunder who have built contending team primarily out of guys from within their system who they committed to developing. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green, James Harden and Serge Ibaka are all players that have been with the franchise since day one.

Despite these prime examples, GM’s continually focus on spending ill-advised big bucks on certain players when it is clear that their team is not ready to compete.

With his failed Allen Iverson experiment, Joe Dumars decided that paying a lot of money for Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva was going to take his team’s aging roster, with the exception of Rodney Stuckey, to the next level. Good move Joe, good move.

The patience of the Chicago Bulls has paid off as they have built around emerging superstar Derrick Rose. They did sign a marquee free agent this past season in Carlos Boozer, but the signing was warranted because they had the necessary pieces in place. Boozer has only played a bit over half of the season for the Bulls because of injury. Nevertheless they still sit at 25-12, no doubt due to the play of Rose but also his fellow Chicago Bull developed teammates Joakim Noah and Luol Deng.

There is no need for every team to feel like they have to follow in the footsteps of the Boston Celtics or Miami Heat.

Obviously, there is no guarantee that patience, commitment and dedication will be rewarded in a rebuilding process, but then again when are there ever any guarantees in sports?

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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Turn the Heat Around

Dwyane Wade limited Kobe Bryant to 17 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists on Christmas Day.

The Heat, the Heat are who we thought they were.

Remember those championship expectations that veered way off course in the month of November?

Well, they’re back.

Oh, how winning cures all that ails. We are no longer speculating Pat Riley’s seemingly imminent return to coaching or talking crazy about a possible Chris Bosh trade. There is no more talk of Lebron playing too many minutes, Erik Spoelstra not being Wade’s guy, Lebron acting unprofessional or the team not getting enough “chill time.”

The Miami Heat have started winning like so many thought they would prior to the season. Although their 12 game winning streak was snapped this week by the Dallas Mavericks, the Heat have undergone a massive transformation as a team in the last month and on Christmas day the nation saw the force that the Heat can be as they spanked the Lakers 96-80.

The Heat’s biggest problem and the reason that is supposed to stop them from winning a championship was their lack of length up front. They are supposed to be soft in the paint but yesterday their hard team defence made up for what they are short of in the middle.

Yesterday afternoon, the Heat were not giving anything easy to the Lakers and for the most part they didn’t allow easy buckets to the Lakers’ best players. They have two wing men that can play great defence when they put their mind to it and that was put on display yesterday when Wade was able to shut Kobe down to an extent that many other players cannot attest to.

However, Chris Bosh is still blocking shots at the lowest rate of his career by a fair margin and rebounding at his lowest rate since his rookie season. Until Bosh proves that he can continually rebound and block shots at a higher rate he will continue to hold the reputation as that soft as a marshmallow big man. With that being said, Chris Bosh is improving on the defensive end and his rebounding is steadily improving. He did a solid job on Lamar Odom yesterday while also grabbing 13 rebounds, which was made easier by the Lakers missing a massive amount of shots. With regards to the Odom matchup he is able to handle that one better compared to other back to the basket big man. Odom generally possesses a great advantage in his footwork on the perimeter, but that is somewhat negated when facing Bosh as that is a quality that Bosh possesses too. If the Heat do indeed end up facing the Lakers in the NBA final, I believe that the Odom-Bosh matchup will be the one that decides the series.

On the offensive end, the Heat do not look like 5 separate guys on the floor anymore. They have begun to play like a cohesive unit rather than the stagnant isolation, screen and roll team that they were not too long ago. Their offence still revolves around isolation and screen and roll plays, but the difference is the movement that they are creating out of those plays. The ball is moving more out of screen and rolls and players are learning where and how to move without the ball. Moreover, Dwyane Wade and Lebron James appear to have finally made some concessions for each other in sharing the offensive load.

In relative terms Bosh still isn’t seeing nearly the amount of touches on offence as Wade and Lebron, probably for a good reason, but I still think that the offence should be run through Bosh a bit more. Bosh has become the beneficiary in receiving easy baskets off of wing player penetration, nevertheless running a few more plays through him in the offence could add just a different dynamic to their offence.

Mike Miller should be finding himself as part of the Heat rotation in no time

Miami shot a decent percentage as an entire team from deep yesterday but isn’t it just a little scary that other than Lebron they shot 4-19 from beyond the arc as a team?

Sure, Lebron probably isn’t shooting 5 of 6 from 3 on a nightly basis but James Jones also isn’t going 1 for 6 on most nights either. There were a lot of open looks that weren’t hit yesterday and when Mike Miller gets back into the groove the Heat are going to be just that much more dangerous.

Many thought that the trio of players teamed up in Miami to avoid the difficulty and adversity that goes along with winning a championship but as we have all seen the Heat have already faced some real hardship.

It has to be a good sign for the team that they were able to overcome this early difficult and persevere to the point where they are at now. It has sunk in the players that no one is going to hand them a championship and nothing is going to be easy from here on in.

People say that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. At least as a team, things got tough and the Miami Heat have sure gotten going.


Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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