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Sports Watching & Wondering

African American news from Pasadena - Sports - Commentary on NFL, NBA, NCAA Championship and moreThe Mayan Calendar predicted that the world would end in December 2012. They may have been onto something, since we have undergone some dramatic changes. It is almost unbelievable to consider that the Clippers are now the best basketball team in Los Angeles, and that UCLA has a better football team than USC. What has happened to upset the normal order of events, or to disrupt life as we knew it?

Since time began, we, the little people, had joined Jack Nicholson to watch the Lakers contend for the championship each year. This was something that always happened, and we took it for granted. The Clippers, on the other hand, were usually last, or very close to the bottom.

Unbelievably, the Clippers, who are currently 27-8, have the best record in the NBA. The once invincible Lakers are in the middle of the pack with their 15-18. In addition, the Lakers are also looking up at the Warriors, whose record is a surprising 22-11. Maybe the world did end!

It now appears that the Lakers did not just want to win the championship this year, but that they were desperate to do so. This may have led them to have made some decisions that they would not ordinarily have made. They have a number of extremely talented players, but so far, they have not found the correct blending of their skills. Whenever a team gets the right players, along with the right coach, the results are usually positive.

The Lakers do have enough talent to earn a spot in the NBA Playoffs. However, sad to say, this is not a championship team. It is a good one, but if Jerry West was still here, I don't think that this is the team that he would have assembled. The Lakers have a good Management Team, but West is unique in his ability to analyze the talents of NBA Players. He is now a paid Advisor to the Golden State Warriors, and they are having their best start in over 20 years.

Most of the longtime sports fans do not expect their teams to win championships every year. Part of the joy of winning, comes from the fact that they have suffered through several years of losing. They learned what "Wait till next year", really means. Many of the celebrity fans will lose interest in attending, if a team is not winning championships. To my way of thinking, there is wrong with that approach. Every fan has the right to do what he or she chooses to do. You do not, and should not, have to take a loyalty oath to be a fan of any team. The way that anyone enjoys any particular sports should be entirely up to them. Play ball!

Robert Griffin III came onto the scene, and he was the best young quarterback that I had ever seen. He was brainy, had a powerful arm, and Olympic class speed. I also thought that playing in Washington DC, for the Redskins was a good career move for him. Football is a dangerous sport, and everyone who plays it, risks a career ending injury on every play. The NFL has tried to reduce the risks for the quarterbacks, and they are allowed to slide in order to avoid being tackled, and it also encouraged them to run out of bounds whenever possible to avoid being hit. So, you can imagine my shock, when RG III ignored his opportunity to simply step out of bounds, and charged recklessly into two defensive players. He suffered a severe knee injury, which may limit the amount of success that he has in his career. It now appears that he may need knee surgery. What a shame!

Like many of you, I was so focused on RG III that I overlooked Seattle's Russell Wilson. This relatively unknown quarterback was not drafted until the third round, and he was not expected to even make the team. Everyone was impressed by his athletic skills, but at 5'11", he appeared to be too short to play in the NFL. Unbelievably, he won the starting quarterback job for the Seattle Seahawks, and he will be playing against the Atlanta Seahawks on Sunday, as he tries to get his team to the Super Bowl. Wilson is a football general in every sense of the word. So far, he's been able to find the weak spots in his opponent's defenses. He also has a powerful arm and tremendous speed. After this coming Sunday, we will know if that was enough to get him to the Super Bowl.

HBCUs are now playing basketball on television. These teams are underfunded, and they are at a great disadvantage when compared to some of the powerhouse teams that they have to play. Any assistance that they can get from NBA Stars and Teams and organizations like Nike will help them to become more competitive. The sooner that happens, the sooner we will see Howard, or Prairie View playing Duke for the NCAA Championship.

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