It’s time for Lavar Ball to be quiet


If you’re a college basketball fan, you saw the tremendous skill set of freshman Lonzo Ball this season at UCLA.

Ball was one of the best players in the nation and has already declared for the 2017 NBA draft and is currently projected to be a top three pick.

However, it isn’t Lonzo who is making headlines for his play on the court.

His father Lavar is taking the spotlight from his son and running with it.

Day after day, Lavar is on talk show after talk show, makes appearances on ESPN and other sports outlets just talking up a storm making preposterous claims.

The news media keep gobbling it up like it were turkey on Thanksgiving Day.

News media outlets love having Lavar Ball talk on their shows because he brings a controversial opinion, which generates viewers. However, enough is enough. I understand it is a business, but this is bad journalism.

Ball doesn’t bring any relevant sports topics to the forefront. He just makes claims about how his sons are the greatest in the world and that he could beat Michael Jordan 1-on-1.

Anyone’s dad would say their son is the best, why do you need to put an arrogant man on the air?

It baffles me that media outlets would rather have that man on the air or as the lead stories rather than an top line analyst grade talent. Putting Lavar Ball on the air cuts into the content sports fans are looking to see.

Lavar it is time for you to be quiet and let your son play ball.

The debacle that is the New York Knicks


Carmelo Anthony has been the face of the New York Knicks since being acquired from the Denver Nuggets in 2011. However, times have changed.

Although the Knicks were never contenders to win the NBA title, they were playoff contenders. Anthony and the Knicks had been a team that battled for a bottom spot in the Eastern Conference making the playoffs in Carmelo’s first three seasons in New York.

Since then, diddly squat.

While Melo has aged and the supporting cast around him has diminished, there has been one other clear change: Phil Jackson.

Yes, the former 11-time NBA champion head coach stepped into a front office role for the first time in his career as the new president of the New York Knicks in 2014.

However, this experiment has failed. Jackson has introduced his trademark triangle offense. An offense that has worked with some of the greatest players of all-time, has been a case gone awry since he took the helm in 2014.

The Knicks had their worst year in franchise history finishing 17-65 in the 2014-15 season and haven’t looked all that much better since.

New York has already been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention and are on their way to another losing season.

This power struggle between Carmelo Anthony and Phil Jackson has been well documented by the New York news media.

A story that the journalists in the big apple have eaten up and chewed out multiple times over.

Jackson and the Knicks have made front page headlines numerous times after being one of the worst teams in the NBA something that wouldn’t happen in a market like Portland and Minnesota.

The New York news media continue to grill the Knicks and rightfully so.

I think the news outlets in the city that never sleeps is doing a good job from a journalistic standpoint because they are covering stories of a somewhat comedic franchise as it burns to the ground something that creates a lot of views from readers that generates a lot of cash for these news organizations.

Rodriguez, media clash off field


On March 23, the Watsco Center field house was packed with some of the brightest minds in the sports industry.

Inside the glass doors, the 2017 University of Miami Sport Industry Conference was underway.

The event drew 305 top sports businessman and women, students aspiring to become successful in the sports industry and a middle-aged man named Alex Rodriguez.

Although Rodriguez was known for his towering home runs, boisterous attitude and PED use late in career, since his playing days, ARod has developed into a business pioneer.

Rodriguez is the CEO and founder of a company called ARod Corp.

ARod Corp. ventures in real estate, auto dealerships and high-end fitness centers in Mexico and The United States.

While there was plenty of knowledge in the room, news media coverage was lacking.

Only two news media outlets were on hand; CBS Miami Channel 4, and UMTV. After Rodriguez delivered a talk to the attendees and participated in a question-and-answer session, ARod spoke to the two TV stations.

After a short interview with UMTV, Rodriguez spoke to sports anchor Jim Berry from CBS Miami. This is where it spiraled downhill.

Rodriguez, who had recently been seen with celebrity Jennifer Lopez, was asked a question about it. Thrown off guard, Rodriguez gave a vague answer and concluded the interview.

Not only were very few outlets in attendance to cover a sports celebrity giving a local talk, but then a question that had nothing to do with the event was asked.

First off, I think more news media organizations should’ve covered the event because Alex Rodriguez is a prominent sports figure especially in the Miami community. Secondly, a very unprofessional question having nothing to do with the conference and Rodriguez’s business ventures should not have been asked.

ACC in Brooklyn a smart choice


The Atlantic Coast Conference is in the midst of holding its men’s basketball tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn this week. The move might seem strange for the Tobacco Road-centric league, but the league has good reason.

Besides a return to the ACC’s roots, the conference moved the event out of North Carolina as a result of House Bill 2.

HB2 is best-known for requiring visitors to schools and other government facilities to use the bathroom of the gender that appears on their birth certificates.

The ACC felt it was best to move the event out of North Carolina because of the complications politically.

I agree with the move and so do many of the head coaches and players.

First off, moving the event to a city/state that allows individuals to use the bathroom of their gender identity is right in my opinion. No one should be restricted.

Now basketball-wise, the move to a major city like Brooklyn/New York City that has so much going on builds excitement in the news media. Fans, not just of the ACC, but fans of college basketball are invested in the tournament because of its location. Located in the heart of nation’s news media capital now builds attention for the best conference in college basketball.

Lastly, many of the head coaches and players love it because it is in the mecca of basketball.

Miami Hurricanes Head Coach Jim Larrañaga praised the conference and thinks it should always be in Brooklyn because he feels that basketball was born in New York.

Syracuse’s veteran Head Coach Jim Boeheim agrees that the tournament should be held in New York or another major city because there is zero reason to hold it in Greensboro.

No matter which way you slice it up —politically, athletically, or news-media wise — the move out of Greensboro to a major city outside the state of North Carolina is a positive one.

Canes outfielder fights off a curveball


To many Hurricanes fans, opening weekend was just a normal start to the baseball season with hopes of reaching the College World Series come June. However, for University of Miami junior outfielder Michael Burns, this year means so much more.

For Burns, playing on the fresh-cut grass and the smooth, orange clay paving the 90-foot base paths at Mark Light Field seemed improbable just one year ago.

During his sophomore season at Cisco College, a junior school in Texas, Burns developed a “bump” on his left leg. Burns didn’t think it was anything serious and kept playing, hitting .363 in 30 games. A visit from his parents would change the course of his season and life.

Miami outfielder Michael Burns.

Last March, Burns was out to dinner with his parents along with fellow Cisco transfer and best friend Jeb Bargfeldt.

Bargfeldt brought up the bump on Burns’ leg to his mom. Anita Burns’ instincts told her something was wrong and the next morning, she took her son to the hospital.

Burns underwent surgery to remove the abnormality in his leg. At first glance, doctors were unsure what it was, but ultimately, they diagnosed the bump as myxoid liposarcoma – a rare form of cancer.

Following the procedure, Burns underwent 37 radiation treatments running through July 2016 and now has a 17-inch titanium rod running down his left femur.

While the odds seemed almost insurmountable at one point, Burns overcame the disease with a hard-fought battle. He credits his friends and family for helping him through the difficult time.

“The people in my life – I try to surround myself with the best people I can,” said the Littleton, Colorado, native. “That’s why I came here. I feel like I’m surrounded by people who keep me going. The people in my life kept me going.”

Burns, who committed to UM before the procedure, feels right at home in this Hurricanes lineup.

“I’m 5-foot-9 and a buck-80,” Burns said. “I try running it out of the yard, but I don’t think a lot of them are leaving, so that’s kind of my game. That’s exciting that there are eight other guys that play the same game as me.”

Burns started in right field for Miami opening weekend and picked up his first hit as a Cane against Rutgers on Saturday night. He finished with a two-hit, three-RBI game as the Hurricanes won 8-4. The victory was nice, but to Burns, just playing baseball again was more than enough.

“It’s like a dream,” Burns said. “I’m floating on a cloud at The Light.”

Burns is also enjoying the experience of playing in Miami’s historic home turf.

“The Mark Light magic,” Burns said. “At Cisco, there weren’t a lot of people. It’s exciting to see how the fans are about this team.”

Burns and the Hurricanes will host Dartmouth this weekend as they look to extend their winning streak.

Will blockbuster NBA trade pan out?


It is almost a forgone conclusion that the Cavaliers and Warriors are going to meet in the NBA Finals come June. However, other teams are still trying to upend the previous two NBA champions.

Most notably, all-star center DeMarcus Cousins was traded to the Pelicans to pair up with Anthony Davis, giving New Orleans the best front court in all of basketball. However, the Pelicans sent an overhaul of average players including Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway, Tyreke Evans, a top-three protected 2017 first-round pick and a 2017 second-round pick.

While many analysts and news media members expect the now powerhouse of Cousins and Davis to lead the Pelicans to the playoffs, the trade could be a waste. New Orleans sits three and a half games out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference, but even if it lands that last spot, that sets them up with a date with the Golden State Warriors in the first round. Good luck playing a team that had the best regular season in history one year ago.

What’s even worst of all, will a team with a selfish Cousins jell together?

In night one, clearly not. The Pelicans got annihilated by the Rockets, 129-99, and the first appearance of Cousins in a Pelicans’ uniform was spoiled.

But look at history. Most blockbuster trades take some time for adjustment.

When the Knicks paired superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, most news media members felt that New York was going to have a championship caliber team. Wrong.

The Knicks struggled because the two all-stars butted heads and couldn’t figure out how to be the No. 2 scoring option on a team. Additionally, there was no supporting cast. The Knicks lacked talent because they gave it all up for Anthony, similarly to the Cousins’ trade, and soon found out that basketball is a five-person game, not just two.

Expect the Pelicans to struggle. Yes, New Orleans now has the best two front court players in the NBA, but they don’t have any other above average role players. There’s 10 others seats that can fill the bench next to Coach Alvin Gentry and that is something that is going to show.

So while the news media think that Cousins and Davis could be a team that might contend, think again given the top dogs like the Warriors, Spurs and Clippers.

Time to sit back and relax until Golden State and Cleveland meet in the NBA Finals.

Baseball’s fundamental roots in danger


The beautiful season of baseball is upon us. With pitchers and catchers reporting for all 30 teams, it’s almost time for days at the ballpark filled with Nathan’s hot dogs and Cracker Jack.

While it is a very exciting time for the history of baseball with the Cubs coming off their first World Series Win in 108 years, the integrity of the game is in jeopardy. Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke about a few rule changes that could be present this year in baseball.

Manfred, who is in his third season as commissioner, pushed a series of potential changes that he hopes will create more action and less dead time.

Of these possible modifications, Manfred has emphasized reducing the time managers are allowed to challenge a call, altering the strike zone to the top of the knee, potentially putting pitchers on a pitch clock and experimenting with starting extra innings with a runner on second base in rookie level baseball.

The only change of the proposed ideas that would help the game of baseball would be limiting times for challenges. It is ludicrous that they’ll be a significant halt in action because a manager will take time (what feels like an hour) to make sure the play is right before they challenge the call.

Other than that one change to a modern rule, baseball needs to remain the same.

The luscious sport that bonds fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, should not be altered. It’s a heavenly sight to see greats like Clayton Kershaw throw a no-hitter or a perfect game. Perfect games are already once in a blue moon considering there have only been 23 in the history of baseball.

To ever put a timer on baseball is absurd. Baseball is unique that it is the only one of the four major sports to not be under a constricted time. Don’t put pitchers on a pitch clock that isn’t baseball. Don’t start extra innings with a runner on second base. That is just ugly. Imagine saying in football we’re going to start overtime with first down on the 5-yard line. Or just playing half court in basketball.

Baseball is a sports where anything can happen and it’s magical and unique for that very reason. Robert Manfred, please leave this beautiful game untouched.

Is Tom Brady the greatest of all-time?


Most sixth round draft choices fail to make a team in the NFL. But in 2000, a gangly looking kid from the University of Michigan secured a spot on the depth chart as the No. 3 quarterback on the New England Patriots.

Fast forward 17 years, that man is now the most-decorated quarterback in NFL history and possibly the greatest player of all-time. After leading the most historic comeback ever, Tom Brady became the first quarterback to win five Super Bowls, he is a four-time Super Bowl MVP (more career Super Bowl MVP awards than any other player in NFL history), holds the record for most career wins by a quarterback (208), and the list of accolades goes on and on.

Yet, people still argue that Tom Brady isn’t the greatest quarterback let alone greatest player of all-time. Numbers speaking, Tom Brady is far and away the greatest postseason player in NFL history, but what about the regular season?

Yes, Peyton Manning holds the regular season record for most career passing yards and most career touchdown passes, but how many rings has Manning won? The first overall selection in the 1998 draft won two Super Bowl championships.

“Hey, but Tom Brady has better talent around him than Peyton Manning,” some people may claim. False.

Peyton Manning played with Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison and soon-to-be Canton shrined Reggie Wayne.

Tom Brady just won a Super Bowl with a wide receiving core of Julian Edelman (college quarterback), Danny Amendola (undrafted free agent), Chris Hogan (four-year lacrosse player at Penn State) and rookie Malcolm Mitchell.

When you talk about doing it with a near-anonymous cast, look at Brady. Outside of Randy Moss, you won’t find a Hall of Famer in the bunch. And when he did play with Moss, he threw 50 touchdown passes and went 16-0.

Nobody has done it better. For 15-plus years, Brady has played with no-namers making them heads and shoulders better. Extremely better. And now he stands as the most decorated QB in NFL history and has done so in an era that strives to wipe out dynasties. Defying the odds and all the challenges laid in front of him, including Roger Goodell, Tom Brady has secured himself as the greatest player in NFL history. Period.

Canes’ late-game struggles continue


For the third time this season, the Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball team dropped another game after holding a second half lead.

Up 34-31 at the break against rival Florida State, the Canes gave up a 16-2 run allowing the Seminoles to take a double digit advantage. FSU outscored the Canes, 44-23, in the final 20 minutes and won, 75-57.

The Hurricanes were in grasp of another signature victory to pad their NCAA tournament résumé.

At home earlier this season against No. 20 Notre Dame, Miami was up 61-57 with 2:46 remaining in regulation. The Hurricanes turned the ball over three times, failed to hit a field goal, and only registered one point, allowing the Fighting Irish to win 67-62.

On the road visiting No. 18 Duke, Miami came out strong taking a 36-25 lead into the intermission. However, the Blue Devils clawed all the way back with a 20-2 run that was insurmountable for the Hurricanes to overcome at the deafening Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke went onto win 70-58.

Now the question is: why are these second half struggles continuing for Miami?

Unlike the 2015-16 season, Miami lacks experience and depth to contend against high-caliber teams for 40 minutes.

The Canes only returned two starters from a season ago and welcomed four rookies. Aside from co-captains Davon Reed and Kamari Murphy, no other Hurricanes on the current roster averaged over 24 minutes-per-game a year ago. Not having experience to knock down crucial free throws at the charity stripe when the pressure is on has shone bright for this Miami team. The Canes have constantly missed freebies and turned the ball over allowing opponents to take control of the game.

A depleted bench has been a major factor for Miami. The Hurricanes, who only have nine scholarship players, can’t afford foul trouble. When guys like sophomores Ebuka Izundu and Anthony Lawrence Jr. pick up multiple fouls, the already thin roster becomes narrower. Additionally, lack of depth has led to fatigue as five Hurricanes are averaging 24 minutes-per-game. Balls have slipped out of Hurricanes players down the stretch and missed free throws have doomed Miami.

In a transition year for Miami, the Hurricanes are going to have to weather the storm and find their way into the big dance at all costs. The Canes will have to hold serve and upset one big-time opponent in order to earn the right to play for the national championship.