EL BARRIO, EL FALLS – Happy Monday. I have to admit, I love the football season being over. When you have the Monday slot, you have to talk about Sunday football. With that over, I can get my articles done well ahead of time. Anyway, here is today’s slate, which still involves football, ironically: NBA All-Star Weekend, Eric Bieniemy & Christian Atsu.
NBA All-Star Weekend
The NBA was ahead of all the other leagues in changing their All-Star Game. I know MLB did the whole stupid make it count thing. I am talking about blowing up the traditional structure. They replaced the Old-Timers Game with the Rising Stars Game. They added the Celebrity Game and they changed the All-Star format from conference v conference to pick-up game rules. This weekend I watch highlights (you should know by now, I don’t watch games) and I liked some of it. The Celebrity game looked like they stole the whole set-up from the old MTV version. The Rising Stars has been around for a while and it is consistently good because of all the games, that is the one you see guys playing to make a point. The 3-point shootout, dunk contest and other Saturday competitions are weird. The Classics can be improved and are must-haves, while the new ones are a bit meh… but maybe that is because I am old. Sunday’s main event remained a defense-optional affair. The guy picked last does play harder than most. I think this playground-choose-a-team style should be used by all the big 4 leagues. Team LeBron took their 5-0 record onto the hardwood vs Team Giannis and were defeated 184-175 in Salt Lake City. Winning All-Star captain and Milwaukee Bucks star, the aforementioned Giannis Antetokounmpo, accepted the award and said “Winner, winner chicken dinner.” Oh, and Jayson Tatum was the MVP, scoring a record 55 points.
Eric Bieniemy to the Commanders
This again shows how outrageous the NFL can be. Both the Defensive and Offensive Coordinators for the losing Super Bowl team, the Eagles, got hired to be head coaches. Meanwhile, the KC offensive coordinator who has made 3 Super Bowls in 4 years – winning 2 – and made 4 straight AFC championships, got no such offer. The knock on him – which is absolute nonsense – is he didn’t call the plays. It’s been said that Andy Reid does and Reid is an offensive genius. What’s funny is Doug Pederson was Reid’s offensive coordinator and later left to become head coach in Philadelphia. Matt Nagy held the same position under Reid and left to become the head coach in Chicago. Yet Bieniemy is never good enough. We all know why. So now he is has to make a lateral move from the best run franchise in the league to an absolute disaster of a franchise in Washington, in the hopes that one day he will be deemed worthy. How about we skip the Black National Anthem talk and address the rampant racism in your league, you rat-shagging, no-good fraud, Roger Goodell?
#RIP Christian Atsu
I know most of you have never heard of him, but Christian Atsu was a former Ghanaian international footballer. He died as a result of the earthquake that destroyed Turkey and Syria. The Earthquake has taken thousands of lives, so I am not goning to say Christian’s was more important. His life, however, was the one I knew off and felt connected to, so I am very sad to hear of his death. He was playing for one of the Turkish football clubs and what made Christian so special is that he always remembered how fortunate he was… We often tell pro athletes “You get paid a kings ransom to play a children’s game.” Christian never forgot that. The man donated his time and money to countless orphanages in Ghana, and set up a charity for abandoned, orphaned and trafficked children. He donated thousands of pounds to help destitute prisoners in Ghana, paid for their life-saving operations – with little or no publicity. He paid the fines of 53 men held in prison because they couldn’t afford to and helped them start small businesses. He updated the athletic grounds in the prison. He paid to fly the body of his former teammate home after that man had died in Russia. The list goes on and on.
He was a good footballer, a great humanitarian and just a wonderful human being. Goon way too soon. Good night sweet prince. It is an honor to call you my fellow countryman. See on the other side.
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below. Check out Ben Whitney, who will share his hot stove report or something warm, at least…