Monday’s Seven Casual Contemplations

It’s Monday, time for some contemplations. Some a bit more casual than others. Starting your work week off right, here are your Monday Morning Casual Contemplations.

Shaq Daddy GM?

I can’t begin to tell you how ridiculous this sounds. It’s even more ridiculous that the Orlando Magic didn’t deny their reported interest in Shaquille O’Neal as their General Manager.

Being a GM is an art. It takes years to learn the ins and outs of the business. Shaq is a sideshow. He is an entertainer. Shaq also doesn’t seem like the brightest individual. Funny, yes. Smart, the jury is still out. I’m sorry that his MBA from the online University of Phoenix doesn’t convince me otherwise. General Manager’s need to be intelligent, dedicated to the craft and savvy. Shaq might be 1 for 3. Although, I’m not sure which one it is.

The desperation is simply pathetic on Orlando’s part. It’s sad to see that they would even consider pursuing an entertaining basketball superstar with ZERO experience in an NBA front office. And don’t tell me that Dwight Howard wants the guy who he allegedly stole the Superman cape from him to be his boss. I don’t think anyone can comprehend this interest on the part of the Magic but thankfully for Orlando fans, Shaq says that he has no interest in the position at this time.

High Rolling

In the latest case of high-profile athletes blowing all their money, former NFL running back Jamal Lewis filed for bankruptcy. Lewis is 3 years removed from football yet this is hardly surprising. It’s another example of a professional athlete’s inability to adjust to life without receiving big fat cheques throughout the year. I understand the temptation of money, especially when so many of these guys come from nothing then suddenly having everything. But for these ex-players to be able to go through so much money so fast is unfortunate.

Guarantees in Sports

The Rangers-Devils series is over. No player on the Rangers pulled a Mark Messier and declared his team victorious before game 6 had begun. Good call, because they lost. The thing is, what would be the point of it anyways?

Sportsnet analyst Nick Kypreos had an attention-grabbing title to his recent article that read “Guarantees a Thing of the Past.” The article fell flat for me though mainly because he believes that no one has the “cojones” anymore to risk their legacy like Messier did. He thinks that this generation of stars doesn’t have the courage to answer a question with the honesty and boldness of Mark Messier in 1994.

Boy, is Kypreos off the mark or what? Guarantees similar to Messier’s in ’94 are a thing of the past but not because today’s stars are unwilling to risk their legacy. It’s because guarantees have become meaningless. The Joe Namath, Mark Messier type assurances don’t happen these days because too many athletes have used the line. There is no point anymore.

With the increased media coverage, guarantees can come from anywhere. They don’t get noticed all that much anymore. It’s hardly a risk to say it in 2012. Athletes don’t even have to worry if they’re wrong because it will blow over in a very short period of time.

Patrick Ewing guaranteed a win in game 6 of 2000 Conference Final playoffs, they lost. Chad Johnson guaranteed a win over the 2-5 expansion Texans back in 2002, they lost. Anthony Smith guaranteed a Steelers win over the Patriots in 2007, they lost.

Nick Kypreos is right, guarantees are a thing of the past. But only because they are as worthless as a Nick Kypreos rookie card.

French Open Coverage

NBC has the rights to the French Open and what a nice change of pace. ESPN does a good job covering Tennis’ other majors but they miss one key ingredient – John McEnroe. He makes watching matches so pleasant. Colour commentating comes so easy to him. He doesn’t need to push personality into his all around exceptional analysis because it is already there. John McEnroe doesn’t force anything. In the booth, McEnroe is like Federer was when he was playing in his prime. It almost as if he isn’t even trying.

The Dominator

At 47, Dominik Hasek is reportedly planning a return to the NHL. The idea of Hasek attempting a comeback at his age is about as preposterous as Shaq becoming the GM of the Orlando Magic. This is a pretty minor story and probably doesn’t deserve all that much press.

However, it gets me thinking about the dominator and how, ah, dominating he was. The fascinating thing about Hasek is how great of a goaltender he was despite how sharply his style contrasts with the current NHL goaltending “stars” minus Martin Brodeur. His mask tells you everything about him. He is as old school as it gets but still was able to be a very solid goaltender into his 40’s. No butterfly, no gigantic pads, no size (he’s was listed at 6’1”, 166lbs by NHL.com).

It’s refreshing to reminisce about a goalie who played the position the way it was meant to be – with pure athleticism and instincts.

TSN 2

I know that much of my readership resides in the U.S. and writing about something exclusive to Canada won’t mean anything to you Americans. But heck, I’m going to write about it anyways.

TSN appears to be the Canadian sports station with the most money as they get the vast majority of the biggest sporting events. They get so many big events that launched a 2nd channel in 2008, TSN2, to complement their original TSN channel.

However, what TSN does with TSN2 is absolutely slimy sometimes. TSN comes with the basic cable package but TSN2 does not. However, what TSN will do on a fairly regular basis is place the bigger sporting event of the day on TSN2 while TSN is showing something on a much smaller scale. They do this in order to force people to buy the package from their TV service provider that includes TSN2. Last night, while NASCAR (not important to Canadians) played on TSN’s regular channel, game 1 of the Spurs-Thunder matchup was placed on TSN2. Their French Open coverage, which starts at 5am eastern every day, is being played on TSN2. These decisions by TSN do not affect me anymore because I now have TSN2, but I know that there must be many people in Canada who don’t happen to have the extra pocket money or have yet to change their television package to include TSN2. It’s unfair to them.

I think it’s wrong that TSN is able to have the rights to these big sporting events but play them on whichever station they choose. In my view, the purpose of a second channel is to avoid conflict if there are two major sporting events on at the same time. The purpose of that second channel is not to suck people in to purchasing your second, mostly useless, channel. TSN should have to play the more important game/match on their regular channel – the one that anyone with basic cable has.

People in Canada have and are going to continue to be missing some must see TV because TSN is willing to compromise all integrity to make a little extra cash. I guess this shouldn’t be too surprising considering this is the station that callously bought the rights to the iconic Hockey Night in Canada theme song.

Western Conference Final

San Antonio is going to lose game 2. You ask, why? This one is too easy to figure out. The Spurs are 9-0 in the playoffs, have won 19 straight games and 30 of their last 32.

Clearly, they are due for a loss.

Bonus (Shameless?) Contemplation!

Now, if you’re enticed by what you’re reading on the blog, just go ahead and subscribe to Painting the Black. You can do it either through the email subscription in the right hand corner or with the RSS feed so you can have immediate access to the latest articles on Painting the Black. If social media is your thing, you should strongly consider giving me a follow on twitter @paintstheblack. The more followers the merrier!

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