A Must Read Piece on Michael Jordan

Because ESPN doesn’t really talk about anything serious, they have provided for us a month-long special on Michael Jordan.  He turned 50 this past Sunday (Feb 17).

MJ was my hero when I was a kid.  I literally had everything MJ.  When I was 9, I even went to the store and purchased his #45 jersey with a bunch quarters, nickels, and dimes, the day it was released.  I had over 300+ MJ cards.  I had the posters.  I had the wardrobe.   I had the shoes.  In my opinion, there is no question he is still the greatest basketball player ever to play.  Will Lebron be better?  I honestly don’t think so.  There is only one MJ.

ESPN’s, Wright Thompson, released a pretty impressive long-form piece on MJ’s basketball career, business endeavors, and current mental psyche.  I have to admit, I felt absolutely empty as I read it.  As I finished the article, I felt extremely sad for MJ.  In a way, my childhood heart aches for him.

I mean, this guy has everything.  But, really, he has nothing.

If you are a child of the 80s and 90s, then take 30-minutes and read this article.  I bet your childhood heart breaks too.

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Jeremy Lin opens up about Leaving the Knicks

On Tuesday night, Linsanity acquired a $25.1 million contract from the Houston Rockets.  A year ago, this guy was sleeping on couches and signing 12-day contracts to fill spots on rosters.  After being cut from the League twice, everything changed when he dropped 30+ in several of his first couple of starts with the Knicks this past season.  Then, his Twitter blew up.  He was all over ESPN.  And Linsanity become a part of everyday nomenclature.  Lin put the Kicks back on the map, and I can’t believe how they treated him.

Here’s a little synopsis:

At 11 p.m. EST on Tuesday night, one hour before the New York Knicks needed to decide whether to match the Houston Rockets‘ three-year, $25.1 million contract offer to keep Jeremy Lin, the point guard’s cellphone rang at his parents’ home in Palo Alto, Calif. The call was from New York general manager Glen Grunwald and the conversation lasted no more than 30 seconds. Grunwald’s message, Lin told SI.com, was simple and direct: “We wanted to keep you, but it couldn’t work out. Tell your family I say hello, and good luck the rest of the way.”

That was it. One of the more intriguing and publicly debated personnel decisions in NBA history ended in half a minute. No questions were asked, no pointed comments were uttered and no animated feelings were expressed. Lin, the undrafted 23-year-old who rose to global stardom in his first 25 starts after being cut twice, politely told Grunwald, “I just want to thank you. Best of luck in the future.”

Carmello cried like a little drama queen about not getting enough shots.

Mike D’Antoni resigned because of it.

Glen Grunwald made a 30 second phone call to Lin and told him they were not bringing him back.

Here’s the SI story in full.

I know one thing for sure, it’s going to be hard for me to keep rooting for the Knicks.

Can this USA Basketball Team Win Gold?

I am blown away by the roster that was just announced.  It reads:

Kobe Bryant, Lakers
James Harden, Thunder
Chris Paul, Clippers
Russell Westbrook, Thunder
Deron Williams, Nets
Carmelo Anthony, Knicks
Kevin Durant, Thunder
Blake Griffin, Clippers
Andre Iguodala, 76ers
LeBron James, Heat
Kevin Love, Timberwolves
Tyson Chandler, Knicks

Tyson Chandler?  Andrea Iguodala?  Kevin Love?  Is this all we have?  Don’t get me wrong, these guys can ball, and I realize that this short season was plagued with injuries as players played multiple back-to-back-to-back games, but I don’t think I would’ve ever imagined Tyson Chandler and Kevin Love holding a spot on the USA Olympic squad.

Do you think this “Present-Day Dream Team” can pull it off?  I don’t know, but I’ll be rooting for them, while possibly sporting a Kevin Love USA jersey.

20th Anniversary of Michael Jordan’s 1992 NBA Finals Against Portland

Yesterday (the 2nd) marks the 20th anniversary of one of the greatest performances MJ put on during a NBA Finals game.  This post is more than appropriate with the NBA Finals currently happening, and it kills me to see star players refusing to take big shots (cough cough… Lebron).  Enjoy this video of the best of all time.

Lebron VS MJ at Age 27

 

Could Lebron be the best ever when it’s all said and done?

Kobe is Still the Best Player in the World / Meta World Peace Should Never Play Again

Magic Johnson said this today during the pre-game show for the Lakers/Thunder game:

“The closest thing we’ve ever seen to Michael Jordan is Kobe Bryant. I would still take him today at 33 years old over anyone.  No one can beat you mentally, physically, on the ball, off the ball, etc like Kobe.”

I love to hate to admit it, but Magic is right.  No one, and I mean no one, is better than Kobe Bryant.  At 33 years old, Kobe is still the best player in the world.  Well, at least one person is better than Kobe, but his Airness no longer laces them up anymore.  What’s more, if I had the number one draft pick today, and I could pick any player in the world to try to win a championship for one year, then I would still pick Kobe Bryant.  Enough said!

Digressing a little bit, I cannot believe the elbow that Meta World Peace through in today’s game.  What a disgrace to this game I love!  In my opinion, he should never be allowed to play a basketball game for the NBA ever again.  This guy could straight up in someone’s career one day.

REVIEW: Act of Valor

As promised, here tis’…

Act of Valor has made me want to become a Marine.  Well, in my mind, at least.  From beginning to end, this movie was full of mind-blowing scenes that left me on the edge of my seat.  A quick side note on that phrase:  I actually had a conversation with someone this week where they asked me if I was on the edge on my pants whilst reading The Hunger Games.  I responded by saying, “Yes, I took my pants off, laid them on my seat, and sat only on the edge of them; back-pocket-side, of course.”  And let me tell you, if I could have gotten away with taking off my pants and then sitting on the edge of them in the theatre during Act of Valor, then I would have been in action movie Utopia.

Without giving away plot scenes or talking about how this or that scene was jaw-dropping, I’m going to focus on a few themes that this movie harked upon.

First of all, it was definitely military propaganda.  I mean, I’m ready to give up my life in small town Maryville, TN and join the ranks of the big, bad military.  And here’s why:

1.  Courage.  

The act of courage sings to the hearts of men quicker and faster than any other action.  The courage it takes for men and women to step into uniform and go into battle for their country is awe-inspiring.  Especially those whom face the realities of death in their missions.  As biblical men, we are called to have courage.  Maybe we aren’t called to become expert snipers, but we are called to lead, provide, and protect, and each one of these traits takes courage.  What’s more, standing up for what you believe in takes courage.  Defending the gospel takes courage.  Asking a girl to marry you takes courage.  Living a life of holiness according to Scripture takes courage.  Sharing the gospel takes courage.  Preaching the gospel takes courage.

Courage is born not from uncertainty but from conviction.

2.  Leadership.

Leadership  is viewed in a bright light in the military.  In this movie, leadership is portrayed in this bright, redemptive light just the same.  We see superiors lead their subordinates with boldness and courage, carrying themselves in such ways that their subordinates do not respect them out of rank alone, but because of character and service.  As men who love the gospel, should this not be said of us in our homes, jobs, communities, and churches?  We are given leadership not because of our position but because our character and service has proven our position of influence.

3.  Family.

This theme kept echoing through my head the entire movie.  This group of soldiers, neigh warriors, that made up their platoon (or squad or whatever it is called) treated each other like they were family.  Their bond was so tight that they called themselves brothers.

I long for this in the church.

4.  Discipline.

Fourthly, the discipline it takes to be in the military compares with no occupation in the world.  The discipline in their training, practice, execution of orders, structure, and lifestyle is par none.  It takes discipline to be healthy.  It takes discipline to work out.  It takes discipline to love and serve your wife.  It takes discipline to love your children and lead them spiritually.  It takes discipline to spend time with Jesus daily.  Discipline, in my opinion, could easily be said to be the framework of a man who practices biblical manhood.

5.  Sacrifice.

And finally, sacrifice.  This is evident throughout the entire movie as men put their lives on the line for their fellow warriors, as well as their country.  Sacrifice takes discipline.  It takes courage.  It means giving yourself to something greater than yourself — maybe an idea, a dream, a person, a family, an ideology, a belief, a hope, a conviction.  Every time I see sacrifice in a medium of our culture, I picture the gospel, and I pray that this theme would point people to the greatest sacrifice in the history of our world — Jesus himself.

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And finally, something funny… before the movie, I was eating at Buffalo Wild Wings with a student of mine, named Andy.  As I was praying out loud before our meal, I heard Andy begin to chuckle.  As I said, “Amen,” and looked up at him, he proceeded to say, “Who is Chip?”  “What are you talking about?” I said.  You said, “Thank you, LORD, for his friend, Chip,” Andy said.  At that point, I laughed out loud, almost spewing my Diet Coke all over the table, and gently corrected him, saying, “No, I was thanking the LORD for your friendship, not your friend, Chip.”  Hilarious!

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