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Archive for May, 2014|Monthly archive page

Wendell Scott Enters The Hall of Fame

In All Kinds of Sports on May 26, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Wendell Scott NASCAR

This past Wednesday, NASCAR honored Wendell Scott by announcing that he will be inducted into their hall of fame. Scott was the first African American driver to race full time in NASCAR’s top series. He won only one race in his career in 1963 in Jacksonville, a victory that was originally not credited to Scott because the track promoters did not want a black man standing next to a white trophy girl. Scott did finish in the top 20 in 80% of the races he competed in, with 147 top 10 finishes from the years of 1961-1973.

Scott should have been elected to the Hall of Fame a long time ago. He was pioneer in the sport and battled extreme prejudice and received numerous death threats throughout his career. He did it all with hand me down parts from other teams because he was not afforded the big time sponsorship deals that his white counterparts had. To quote Scott’s son Frank is father was “a mechanical engineer without a formal education”. Not having an ownership group like say a Hendrick Motorsports makes all of his accomplishments in the sport even more amazing.

Wendell Scott 2

I would love to tell you that Scott’s accomplishments led to the great legacy of black drivers that we have today but unfortunately they did not. The elite level of stock car racing maybe the least integrated sport over the last 40 years in the United States. Professional sports like hockey, golf and tennis have all made major strides in diversity. There is still an environment where lots of minorities do not feel comfortable attending races where the Confederate Flag still waves strongly in the stands.

Today there is not a full time African American driver in the Nationwide or Sprint Cup Series. The race car game is about access and still appears to subscribe to the good old boy network. To be fair NASCAR has made some efforts recently to get more potential minority drivers a chance with the A Drive for Diversity campaign that it started 11 years ago. All of this makes Scott’s accomplishments even more amazing. For all of the lack of progress that has been made, Scott faced even greater obstacles during his time. Not being serviced at restaurants while being on the road traveling to races trying to support a family and living with the constant threats against his life. His fearlessness and determination should never be forgotten.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

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What Does The Sterling Sale Mean?

In Basketball Stuff on May 25, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Donald Sterling Sale

This week in the ongoing Donald Sterling saga, there was some news made. Sources report that Sterling has commissioned his wife to look for suitors in which he can sell the Los Angeles Clippers. After that new release there were a few people out in the media who looked at this as a win for the NBA and the rest of us for getting rid of Sterling. Really it’s not any kind of victory for anybody except for maybe the NBA and Sterling.

Now I am not saying we as a society will not be any better for Sterling remaining the owner of the Clippers but his sale will not force any kind of social change. The NBA would love for him to get rid of the team and not go into a long legal fight. The other owners don’t want to spend the money for courtroom judo it will take to snatch the team. The NBA needs to get rid of the public relations nightmare and remove what they want you to believe is the last racist in their ranks.

For Sterling all of this is a win for him. He may want to sell right now because have the Clippers ever been hotter. They have Doc Rivers under contract as a coach and superstars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul to compete for a title for the next few years. They are the hottest team in the 2nd largest television market in America. The Milwaukee Bucks sold for 550 million dollars and they suck and don’t even have an arena at the moment. A team that Sterling purchased for 12.5 million dollars 33 years ago can now sell for over 1 billion. That may very well be the one of the greatest profits in the history of business.

There are no shortages of suitors who want to purchase the Clippers. Rumors have floated around with names like Oprah, Magic Johnson, David Geffen and Grant Hill putting together teams to purchase the club. That does not include how many non-celebrities who have money to burn that wants to invest in professional sports, which might be one of the safest business deals going right now. That will give an 81 year old man a lot of more cash to buy buildings that minorities can’t live.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

Don’t Mess With The Playoffs

In Football Stuff on May 21, 2014 at 3:37 am

Playing Football

This week at the NFL owners meeting in Atlanta the heads of the franchises decided to hold off the vote to expand the playoff. They instead will take up this discussion at the fall meetings. It’s an idea that is gaining popularity and one that Commissioner Roger Goodell is heavily trying to make happen. They would like to take the current format of 12 teams and expand it to 14. That would provide an extra playoff game in each conference and give another team a shot at the postseason.

This makes sense from a business side if we are looking strictly at the bottom line. One more playoff game would provide extra revenue for league and maybe would allow them to squeeze a few more dollars out of their current TV contracts. That being said as a fan I would hope that they leave what is the best playoff in professional sports as is. The current format lets 12 teams in and leaves 20 teams sitting outside wanting to get better. Unlike the NBA or NHL where over half the teams make it to the postseason.

The NFL is the king of all professional sports but this maybe one of the first steps in flirting with over exposure. One step was the insistence on having a Thursday night game that has turned out to be a less than stellar representation of the product. The playoffs did not need an extra team and the AFC would have had to push a 2nd team with an 8-8 record into the playoffs if these rules would have been in effect at the end of last season.

More than likely the owners will vote to expand the playoff because they all think that there is one more chance for them to get their team in. This would be the first expansion of the playoffs since 1990 and some people in the NFL feel its overdue. Owners are salivating at the idea a possible extra home game of revenue. I just hope that is the last playoff expansion for a while.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

New NBA Sheriff’s

In Basketball Stuff on May 17, 2014 at 4:17 am

Coaching

The NBA is deep inside of the playoffs. For the other 26 teams that are not playing anymore the off season has officially begun and for some that means it’s time for new leadership. There are 2 vacancies that have recently been filled and 5 jobs as of right now that are still available. We here at Kind of Like Sports will talk about how the proceedings have went so far.

Steve Kerr gets the Golden Ticket

Steve Kerr

Easily the most talked about name in this summer’s coaching vacancies was Steve Kerr. Kerr is a former player with a few championship rings to his credit. He has never been a head coach or an assistant but with the success of guys like Mark Jackson and Jason Kidd kind of eased team’s fears of that lack of experience. Kerr’s relationship with Phil Jackson and the speculation of him going to the Knicks may have driven the price up.

Kerr has taken what is seen to be the best available job in the coaching market with the Golden State Warriors. A playoff team with a superstar sharp shooting guard leading the way, they may be only a move or two away championship contention. With a 5 year deal worth 25 million he will definitely get his chance to grow in a market that is not as intense as New York.

The Pistons Roll With Van Gundy

Stan Van Gundy

The Pistons hire their 1st post Joe Dumars coach in Stan Van Gundy. The former Orlando Magic head man will also have Dumars old position as Head of Basketball Operations. So the coach will get shop for his own groceries. Not have the trigger happy Dumars over his should, Van Gundy can get a chance to settle in mold a team in his image. He inherits strong piece in the middle in Andre Drummond but unfortunately he also gets Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith with the deal too. Van Gundy will also have to decide what to do with the talented Greg Monroe who seems to be good trade bait. He is 20 million under the cap and has a lottery pick in this year’s draft so he has all the opportunities in the world to succeed.

Minnesota Timberwolves
The Wolves were 40-42 last year and have one of the top players out there in Kevin Love. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Kevin Love is a free agent in 2015 and may want to spend the rest of his good years with a contender. The Western Conference is already stacked up. They do have some pieces with Ricky Rubio at the point and maybe an impact scorer away from getting into the playoffs. They also have a lottery pick in this year’s draft. May not be a great spot for a veteran coach but maybe a great proving ground for an up and comer.

The Knicks On The Clock

New York Knicks

The Knicks are one of the two vacancies that are the most intriguing and high profile. A storied franchise in the world’s biggest market will definitely be a pressure cooker. The job of bringing New York’s premier basketball team back to prominence is one of high risk and high reward. Here is the good news Phil Jackson will have your back and you have an owner who is not afraid to cut the check. The major obstacle is that roster that even with Melo gone next year would over the cap. So the first year or two there will be some growing pains. The Knicks do not have a lottery pick to come in and make an instant impact either. Tim Hardaway Jr and Iman Shumpert are the young bright spots on an otherwise aging roster with big contracts.

This job is definitely for the strong willed who can take the scrutiny of the New York media market. That being said they are in the Eastern Conference where getting in the playoffs doesn’t even require a winning record. A coach with strong name recognition or a solid background as an assistant would be ideal for this spot.

Oh Cleveland
The good news for Cavalier fans is that there are only 30 of these jobs in the world so somebody will take it. After firing Mike Brown for the 2nd time Cleveland is looking for another coach. Let’s look at the tape here. You got a an owner who writes sensitive letters when a player leaves and Cleveland doesn’t really have the free agents breaking down the door. There are not too many people who volunteer to live in Cleveland. Kyrie Irving is there but his contract should be coming due soon so that maybe another departure also.

Getting Jazzy in Utah
The Jazz are a small market team with a lot of potential. This might be one of the sleeper jobs out there that is available. They have some solid young pieces in guys like Derrick Favors and Trey Burke and they have a lottery pick this year’s loaded draft. Not sure if the ownership is ready to spend big but the money is there, the Jazz will have about 30 million dollars in cap room. The downside is that they are in the loaded Western Conference but for a young hire energy coach this might be a dream job.

Showtime in LA

Kobe LA

You only get a few shots at jobs like this one. How many times do you get to coach the Yankees in baseball or the Cowboys in football? Well this is one of the 3 marquee jobs in the NBA with the Celtics and Knicks being the others. The good news is that Kobe Bryant will be back for the next 2 years and the bad news is that Kobe will be back for the next 2 years. The world does not know exactly what a Kobe in his mid-30s recovering from a major injury will provide. The Lakers never see themselves as rebuilding but more retooling.

They do have 30 million in cap space and will have 40 million in the 2015 summer and generally don’t have a hard time attracting free agents. The downside is that this job comes with high pressure and the last 2 guys who had this job didn’t last too long. Their fans expect championships and they are not used to waiting.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

The Last Gladiators – Sports Doc

In Sports Docs on May 14, 2014 at 6:38 am

Last Gladiators

Director: Alex Gibney
Writers: Jim Podhoretz, Larry Weitzman
Stars: Donald Brashear, Marty McSorley and Chris Nilan

Today’s sports documentary suggestion is “The Last Gladiators” which can be found on Netflix streaming. The film takes a look at some of the last enforcers in the National Hockey League (NHL). The story is centered on Chris “Knuckles” Nilan a former enforcer for the Montreal Canadians. There are other players known affectionately as “goons” who are mentioned but the story always makes its way back to Chris.

Chris Nilan

“Gladiators” tells the story of men whose main job was to fight and protect their teammates. Nilan’s story is a complicated one that we see play out in sports all the time. He was raised in a tough hardnosed household. Nilan suggest that his upbringing followed him to the role he would go on to take in his hockey career. We get to take a look at the life of man who is pushed to the limit on the field of play but struggles to turn off that engine when he is off it.

The film paints a narrative of these enforcers whom more than a few have hard life after their playing days were over. The film is mostly about Nilan but it does a good job of using his contemporaries to give some perspective on what the era was like in the NHL. The meat of the story comes with Nilan’s struggles off the ice with drug addiction and his in ability to adjust with life post playing. It speaks to a tragic tale that is seen in all sports after the fans stop cheering and they have to live their lives.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

Should The Braves Panic

In Atlanta Area Stuff on May 11, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Braves 2014

The Braves are less than one fourth of the way through the season and they have some issues. Now it may seem a little premature to start ringing the alarm this early but if this seems like a repeat of the end of last season. I am sure some of the fans out there would say “hey we are in 1st place”. Yes you are by a half a game in a mediocre at best division. The question is can you hold that spot for the entire season?

The biggest problem that is glaring at the Braves is their inability to find consistent hitting. When the long ball is hitting the Braves are fine but that only gets you by the Houston Astros of the world. Throughout all of the injuries Atlanta has found their way to some really good pitching so far but nothing else to support it. Right now the Braves are 29th in the league in runs. They have the 25th worst batting average and 27th worst on base percentage. Even if they do win the NL East this is a perfect recipe for being swept in the 1st round again.

A big part of their woes is the struggling of Dan Uggla and BJ Upton. These are two guys with monster contracts who are not producing up to the standards of their deals. Upton batting .202 and Uggla at .184 does not sound like everyday lineup material. Add Jason Heyward’s .204 as a leadoff hitter and you have a recipe for disaster. I am not saying that Frank Wren needs to explore some trades now but he and Fredi Gonzalez are going to have to look at some options. This team was expected to compete for the World Series this year. The Braves may not need to panic yet but they should keep their eyes open.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

KLS NFL Mock Draft Part 3 Picks 21-32

In Football Stuff on May 2, 2014 at 1:33 am

Draft Day 3

We have reached the third portion of the 1st Round of the draft. This is about the time some of the guys who were supposed to go in the top 10 will get close ups from ESPN asking them how they are feeling. These are also the teams who for the most did okay last season and want to make that jump to the Superbowl or in the Seahawks case march to the repeat.

21. Green Bay Packers – CJ Mosely (Alabama) LB
One of the leaders of Alabama’s tough defense, Mosely will be a nice get this late in the draft. An athletic guy who can make plays will go right alongside Clay Matthews. With the free agent acquisition of Julius Peppers and already having BJ Raji in the fold the Packers defense will be pretty tough to deal with in the front 7.
Other Possibilities: Ryan Shazier LB, Jimmie Ward S

22. Philadelphia Eagles – Marqise Lee (USC) WR

Marqise Lee USC

Pac 12 coaches love drafting players they couldn’t stop in college. Marqise Lee fits that bill to come to Chip Kelly’s Eagles. With the recently departed DeSean Jackson there is room a playmaker on the outside. With the high speed offensive that returns Jeremy Macklin, Riley Cooper and LeSean McCoy would only be bolstered with the addition of Lee.
Other Possibilities: Brandon Cooks WR, Cody Latimer WR

23. Kansas City Chiefs – Xavier Su’a-Filo (UCLA) OG
Chiefs coach Andy Reid will be looking for ways to improve on last year. One thing he will do is make sure that he solidifies his offensive line. Su’a-Filo fits the bill as a day 1 NFL starter at guard. They have a spot open spot at right guard and could also use an upgrade at the left guard spot.
Other Possibilities: Brandon Cooks WR

24. Cincinnati Bengals – Ryan Shazier (Ohio State) LB
We know Marvin Lewis loves linebackers and is looking to bolster an already strong defense. The Bengals will not even have to leave the state because Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier will be there for them. The hard hitting linebacker will be a nice fit for the Bengals.
Other Possibilities: Jason Verrett CB

25. San Diego Chargers – Louis Nix (Notre Dame) DT

Louis Nix ND

Nix is a large frame 340 pound defensive tackle, who will clog up the middle in the Chargers 3-4 scheme. The Chargers are looking to make a move in a division that two playoff teams above them. Dix will be a solid disruptive option.
Other Possibilities: Bradley Roby CB, Kelvin Benjamin WR

26. Cleveland Browns – Bradley Roby (Ohio State) CB
With 4.39 speeds in the 40, Roby provides elite speed that makes him ready to jump right in the NFL. The Browns already have one star corner in Joe Haden, so the pick here would give the Browns a dynamic duo.
Other Possibilities: Derek Carr QB

27. New Orleans Saints – Dee Ford (Auburn) DE
The Saints are in a division with some pretty good quarterbacks. Dee Ford is an athletic end that will provide pressure for Rob Ryan’s defense. His versatility maybe he will switch to outside linebacker in Ryan’s scheme.
Other Possibilities: Kony Ealy DE

28. Carolina Panthers – Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt) WR

Jordan Matthews Vandy

Cam Newton needs a new number 1 target now that Steve Smith is on to Baltimore. Jordan Matthews can be that top receiver for the future. At 6’3 he has nice NFL size and will be a nice visible target. He has had over 1300 yards receiving in his last 2 years and Vanderbilt and did not shrink against top tier SEC competition.
Other Possibilities: Kelvin Benjamin WR

29. New England Patriots – Ra’Shede Hageman (Minnesota) DT
Hageman seems like he will fit in a three technique lineman in the Patriots scheme. With Vince Wilfork getting older and coming off a major injury Hageman will move right into the rotation and maybe the heir apparent in New England.
Other Possibilities: Jason Verrett CB, Cody Latimer WR

30. San Francisco 49ers – Kony Ealy (Missouri) DE
Not only the 49ers love standout defensive players but a need may have presented itself. With Aldon Smith in and out of trouble they will need a solid answer for pass rush. Also at 30th pick Ealy is too good to pass up.
Other Possibilities: Stephon Tuitt DT, Cody Latimer WR

31. Denver Broncos – Joel Bitonio (Nevada) OG
This season it’s time to do one thing in Denver and that’s win the Superbowl. Elway opened up the bank in free agency adding DeMarcus Ware and Aqib Talib. Now he has to make sure that Peyton Manning stays upright and there are some holes for those running backs. Clady should be healthy at tackle so they will need a guard. Joel Bitonio looks like he can start in this league and the Broncos hope he can be a piece to the championship puzzle.
Other Possbiliites: Teddy Bridgewater QB, Kelvin Benjamin WR

32. Seattle Seahawks – Cody Latimer (Wisconsin) WR
The Superbowl champs are reloading this offseason. Already resigning pass rusher Michael Bennett and most of their team intact for this season they are playing with house money. Losing Golden Tate the Seahawks will look at Cody Latimer from Wisconsin. At 6’3 he would make a nice target on the outside along with Sidney Rice to put pressure on opposing defenses.
Other Possibilities: Kelvin Benjamin WR, Jace Amaro TE

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr