Tag Archives: NBA

End the all-star games!

Here’s a thought, and I admit it’s not an original one … but the National Basketball Association needs to end the annual all-star game.

The same for the National Football League and the National Hockey League. End ’em! Don’t bother putting on these charades where the athletes play zero defense.

The NBA’s latest disaster this past weekend had one of the teams scoring 211 points. 211 points! What the hell?

This is preposterous! I get that the athletes don’t want to get hurt. I don’t blame them for that. I do believe that the NBA is doing a disservice to them and to the fans who show up to watch these guys perform. Same for the NFL, which too often has players going through the blocking and tackling motions. Oh, and the NHL, which often produces all-star games with scores like 12-10.

OK, that all said, Major League Baseball should continue its all-star contests, which because of the nature of the sport can produce actual competition featuring players working hard to win the game.

Perhaps the most famous — or infamous — MLB all-star moment came in 1970 when Cincinnati’s Pete Rose sought to score a run and crashed into Cleveland catcher Ray Fosse who was guarding the plate. Rose was running full tilt down the third base line. The crash injured Fosse so seriously that he never was able to play the game at a high level; the event essentially ended his playing career.

The rest of the major pro sports leagues, though, need not bother to stage these idiotic exhibitions. They aren’t worth watching.

Sing it out loudly?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick got his underwear tied up in knots when Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban announced he wouldn’t allow the playing of the national anthem before NBA games at the American Airlines Center.

Then the NBA intervened and declared that, oh yes you will, Mr. Cuban, play the anthem, because it’s league policy that we hear “The Star Spangled Banner” before pro basketball games.

Patrick, though, was so angry he announced he would push for “The Star Spangled Banner Protection Act” in the Texas Senate, over which he presides.

The act is quite fascinating. The Texas Tribune reports about the bill: It hasn’t been filed yet, but it would require the playing of the anthem at all events that receive public funding. Presumably, that would include sessions of the House and Senate, which start with prayers, and pledges to the U.S. and Texas flags, but no anthem.

Analysis: A Star-Spangled culture war in Texas | The Texas Tribune

Let’s play this out. Do we play the anthem before we commence, oh, city council or school board meetings, or before counties’ commissioners courts meeting? They’re all open to the public. They receive public money, too.

I have the pleasure of attending Farmersville City Council and school board of trustees meetings as a freelance reporter for the Farmersville Times. I do not believe we are going to sing the anthem before the governing bodies start their meetings.

This, I submit, is a typical example of government overreaction that offers a so-called solution to an alleged problem.

Mavs owner agrees to play the National Anthem

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Stop the presses!

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has backed away from his plan to forgo the playing the “Star Spangled Banner” at Mavericks home games at the American Airlines Center.

Huh? Hey, it’s OK with me. So, too, was his prior decision to skip playing the National Anthem.

But now the NBA has restated its pro basketball league policy that involves playing the Anthem. As The Associated Press reported:

The league’s initial reaction to Cuban’s decision was to say teams were free to conduct pregame activities as they wished with the unusual circumstances created by the coronavirus pandemic. Most teams don’t have fans at home games.

But the NBA abruptly reversed course with Cuban’s decision reverberating around the country, including a question put to White House press secretary Jen Psaki during her daily briefing. Athlete protests of social and racial injustice during the “The Star-Spangled Banner” became a flashpoint between then-President Donald Trump and various leagues during his administration.

“With NBA teams now in the process of welcoming fans back into their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy,” the league said.

Mavs’ Cuban relents on anthem after NBA reiterates policy (msn.com)

Are we clear on that? My hope now is that Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, whose shorts got all twisted up because of Cuban’s decision to skip the Anthem, can concentrate now on legitimate legislative business, rather than pushing the Texas Senate — over which he presides — to pass a Star Spangled Banner bill that makes playing the Anthem mandatory at all sporting events in Texas.

Play the Anthem at these events

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This is an item that likely shouldn’t give me much of a reason to get upset, but in a strange way it does bother me.

Mark Cuban, the flamboyant and mouthy owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, has decided to no longer allow the National Anthem to be played at the start of Mavericks games at the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas.

I guess Cuban is tired of fighting the ongoing battle over whether athletes should be allowed to “take a knee” to protest police brutality — chiefly against people of color — in cities across the nation. The NBA has issued statements in support of players’ actions when the Anthem gets played.

Perhaps the decision by the Mavs’ owner to no longer allow the Anthem to be played and sung at the AA Center is his way of cutting his losses, or seeking a path of lesser resistance.

Make no mistake about this: I am highly unlikely to attend a Mavs game any time soon. It’s too expensive for little ol’ fixed-income, retired me. Plus, I live about 30 miles north of the arena and parking downtown can be a hassle; I’m too old for that kind of grief, you know?

However, I do enjoy the sound of the Anthem at sporting events. It’s a bit of Americana played out in real time.

Am I nuts about the athletes’ protests, their “taking a knee” while the Anthem is played? Not really. It’s not the way I would express my displeasure over government policy. However, I respect that form of protest as a peaceful expression of disagreement. Thus, I am conflicted somewhat by the entire matter.

Whatever …

It’s Mark Cuban’s team. He has all the money he can ever spend and his face can be seen all over the place, given his role on a broadcast network TV reality show and his penchant for making a spectacle of himself.

Cuban’s decision to ban the National Anthem at Mavericks games irks me … but I’ll get over it.

It’s ‘phony patriotism’

If the National Football League and the National Basketball Association are able to get their seasons started, we should prepare ourselves for another round of what I call “phony patriotism.”

It will come from those who object to players “taking a knee” while they play the National Anthem. Americans will object to the demonstration of peaceful protest against police brutality. They will assert that kneeling during the Anthem disrespects the flag, the men and women who fight to defend it as well as our way of life.

Donald Trump says he will turn off football games the moment he sees players kneeling. No doubt he will wrap himself in the flag, perhaps even hugging and kissing the cloth stitched in red, white and blue. He’s going to pitch for legislation making flag-burning a violation of federal law.

Except for this bit of history: The U.S. Supreme Court has stood firmly behind what the flag represents. The court has ruled that burning the flag is a form of political protest, which the Constitution protects in the First Amendment.

I want to stipulate once again that I revere the flag. I stand proudly for it. I went to war in defense of what that flag represents. No one who ever seeks to make a political point by burning that flag should do so in front of me.

But the return of pro sports may well be upon us. Major League Baseball has begun — more or less — and yes, players have knelt during the Anthem. The NFL and the NBA seasons are scheduled to begin soon.

I will await the phony patriotism and will dismiss it for what I believe it is: a demonstration of cheap showmanship.

Waiting for the escape hatch to open

I believe I understand why the current worldwide health crisis is so unprecedented and devastating in its scope.

Let me say first that I totally understand the illness and death it has caused, creating untold misery, heartache and mourning. Its victims die alone, as hospitals cannot allow loved ones near them to hold their hands, whisper their love into their ears or just to act as comforters in time of pain and peril.

The unique quality of this coronavirus pandemic rests in the absence of any escape hatch for us to get away from the onslaught of bad news we are being forced to consume from our news networks.

Professional sports? College sports? Any sort of entertainment that allows us to sit among crowds of people who are cheering at the same performance? That’s all been put on ice.

Pro basketball and hockey has been shelved. Major League Baseball’s season has been delayed until only God knows when. The Summer Olympics in Tokyo has been postponed for an entire year … maybe even longer than that. College football is supposed to start later this summer, but they might not kick it off until much later.

New York’s Broadway theaters are closed. Movie theaters everywhere are closed, too.

So, we’re stuck. At home. Our governor asks us to stay put. He’ll get back to us soon to tell us where we might be able to go.

Some of us are going batty looking at the same walls for weeks on end. To be honest, we’re doing OK in our home. My wife and I happen to like each other’s company; at least I can speak for myself anyway on that matter.

This pandemic, though, is unprecedented simply by virtue of all the activities it has been on the back shelf. We are waiting now for an escape hatch to open.

March Madness now becomes March Slumber

You can rest assured that I am not a college basketball fanatic who lives, dies, eats and sleeps according to the bracket I might fill out for the men’s college basketball tournament.

However, the cancellation of March Madness — the men’s and women’s tournaments — is a big, big deal.

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed a gigantic “victim” in the form of these two major sports and entertainment events.

Disneyland has closed its park in Anaheim, Calif., the NBA and the NHL have suspended their seasons until further notice; Major League Baseball has delayed its opening day for two weeks (but I’ll bet real American money it’ll last longer than that); colleges and universities are canceling “face to face” classes; school districts are closing for two weeks.

Major disruption anyone? Hmm?

Meanwhile, the Trump administration seeks to restore some semblance of order to the chaos that has enveloped the nation. Its strategy ain’t working. Donald Trump’s speech last night from the Oval Office was meant to quell the stock market turmoil, but it made matters worse; what’s more, the White House issued a “correction” two minutes after Trump’s speech to “clarify” what he had just said in announcing the travel ban from some or most of Europe … whatever the case may be.

So, lots of public institutions that rely on men’s and women’s basketball teams to make money for them are going to do without. Professional team owners that rake in millions every day when their teams performing against each other are watching the turnstiles remain quiet. Same for the Disney Corp.

Oh, how I wish this wasn’t happening. Wishing it, though, won’t solve this problem or end this crisis. Patience and prudence are the rule of the day … and likely beyond the foreseeable future.

This medical crisis is starting to alarm me

I am not about to push any panic buttons.

However, I am about to change my daily routine while the world responds to the coronavirus outbreak that the World Health Organization has determined to be a pandemic.

I have been walking this good Earth for a little more than 70 years. I do not recall ever living through a medical crisis that has prompted the president to declare a travel ban from virtually an entire continent; nor do I remember sporting events that banned crowds of screaming fans; nor do I recall a time when we ran out of certain supplies such as hand sanitizer and — this is rich — toilet tissue!

And this just in: The NBA is suspending the remainder of its season after tonight’s game until further notice. Holy cow, man!

The coronavirus has gotten our attention. By “our,” I mean my wife and me. We are now wiping down shopping carts and fuel pumps with sanitary wipes. We now are going to restrict our daily travel through our North Texas neighborhood. We’re planning an excursion in our recreational vehicle to points along the Gulf Coast but we are going to stay away from large gatherings of fellow human beings; being the social animal that I am, this is going to drive me a bit nuts, but I certainly understand the need for extreme prudence.

Donald Trump tonight could have declared a national emergency, but he didn’t. He imposed a travel ban for virtually all of Europe to the United States. He exempted the United Kingdom. Why? The UK has a greater per capita infection rate than the United States.

The president is canceling two campaign events. So are Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. They’re all exercising what’s been called an “abundance of caution.” I get it.

So are we in our household.

I am getting alarmed.

Kobe Bryant’s death has robbed world of future greatness

It is beginning to sink in.

Kobe Bryant’s death this morning in a fiery helicopter crash — along with the demise of his young daughter and seven other people — has brought tears to the eyes of grown men.

They are crying over the memory of Bryant’s remarkable basketball skills, which elevated him to “legend” status over a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Although I appreciate the amazing talent he exhibited for virtually all that span of time, I was not a giant Kobe fan. I have cheered other contemporary NBA stars more fervently.

Kobe Bryant’s death saddens me nonetheless.

What is sinking in, though, as I listen to commentators offer various perspectives on this young man is the sense of a future realm of greatness that was yet to be built.

I have heard most of the evening about all the projects he intended to pursue. They involved his daughter Gianna’s desire to be a pro basketball player. Gianna, tragically, was among the victims in that helicopter crash. His projects involved working with inner-city youth to show them the path out of despair. Bryant wanted to parlay his good name to do good for others.

Bryant played his last pro season in 2016, just three seasons ago. He won his share of pro basketball championships; he won many individual honors; he achieved all he could possibly could during a career that began straight out of high school, as he chose to forgo a college education before getting paid big money to play pro basketball.

However, I am feeling increasingly saddened by the loss over this great athlete’s accomplishments not yet achieved.

So very tragic.

UVA declines invitation to visit White House … what gives?

The list is now up to three.

The University of Virginia won the NCAA men’s basketball championship with a stunning victory over Texas Tech University. Then the White House invited the Cavaliers to be feted by Donald Trump.

The Cavs’ response? No can do, Mr. President.

They now join the University of North Carolina and Villanova University in declining to take part in what most of us thought was a part of D.C. normalcy. Teams win national championships, then travel to the nation’s capital to be honored by the president of the United States.

That was until Donald Trump became president of the United States. Now we find the president politicizing these events, criticizing pro football players for kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem. He infuriates players, who then balk at coming to the White House. The Golden State Warriors this past year won the NBA title, chafed at going to the White House and then the president disinvited them.

Now the third straight men’s college basketball team has said “no thanks” to the White House, citing what school officials called “scheduling conflicts.” Sure thing, man.

When you think about it, what we’re seeing is an ongoing trend involving this president.

Donald and Melania Trump haven’t attended a Kennedy Center Honors event that pays tribute to artists who contribute to the world’s culture. The president refuses to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, I presume because of his antipathy toward the “enemy of the American people.”

These once-pro forma events have become news in and of themselves because of the president’s clumsy relationships with national institutions.

So the drama continues.

The UVA Cavaliers won’t break bread with the president. I fully expect Donald Trump to say something inappropriate — if not downright stupid — in response to the NCAA men’s champs’ decision to stay away.