Early Season NBA Point Guard Report

First things first, it looks like I'm gonna have to change the name of the blog yet again, seeing as how Iverson's makeover was an aberration (he even grew the cornrows back). And while irony can sometimes make for a good name for a blog, this one just makes me and my faith in AI look bad. So I'm open to suggestions, preferably relating to DC sports, and Gilbert Arenas if possible. But I digress...

There are a LOT of stories in the NBA involving point guards right now, of course the most important of which being the return of Gilbert Arenas, so I'll start there.

The Gilbert Arenas comeback tour started off great. Not only was the explosive Gilbert of old in full effect, he had noticeably altered his on-court mentality, giving us a glimpse the player he may finally have become. But after the home opener against the Nets - a game where Gil seemed to really say I'M BACK - everything apparently changed. Just take a look at this intervew. Strange, right? Well recently (I found out about 20 minutes after seeing that video) it has come out that Arenas' wife has been having an affair... with SHAQ. Now, these rumors have hardly been confirmed by more than a source or two, but it would definitely explain the drastic change in both Gil's demeanor and on-court presence. I don't wanna think about what the future holds in store, because I can only be disappointed. If he can somehow pull through whatever shit he has going on in his life in a timely manner, I am still fully confident in him having the best year of his career and the Wizards finishing in the top four in the east. Hopefully that's not just a pipe dream.

Obviously Gil is the biggest story for me, but I've been watching point guards heavily this year. Notably, there are quite a few rookies that are really bringing it. What follows is a list of the notables:

Ty Lawson - I can't say I'm surprised in the slightest, but that puts me in a very small group of people. He's playing with almost the same ease now that he was in his last year at UNC. Which is incredible for anyone, let alone a 22 year old rookie. He couldn't be a better fit for this Nuggets team, and actually plays a lot like Chauncey Billups. As of now he's the best rookie point guard, and really the best rookie. While that won't last, he WILL be a great player, once he figures out how to control his speed and not over-penetrate.

Jonny Flynn - Flynn shares a lot of qualities with another stud Syracuse alum, Carmelo Anthony, outside of the fact that both have all the talent in the world. First and foremost, they both obviously have 'IT.' If you know basketball - and since you're reading this I'm assuming you do - you know what 'it' is. The only rookies from the last decade I can think of who TRULY had it from the jump were Melo, Wade and Derrick Rose (LeBron is still searching...) and maybe Chris Paul (actually Lawson does too). Second, both are highly intense competitors, but strangely enough both rarely go without a smile on their faces. Nothing major (necessarily...) but definitely something of note.

(P.S. Ricky who?)

Stephen Curry - Honestly, this kid looks like Steve Nash II. I'm not sure what else to say about him. I will say though, when Bob Knight called Curry the best passer in all of college basketball I thought he was crazy. I was very wrong. Sucks that the Warriors are a disaster, but Curry will shine regardless.

Tyreke Evans - I'd be stunned if he remains a point guard much beyond this season, but for now he's classified as one, and he's a scary talent. I've seen him described as a "mutant Tony Parker," a statement who's accuracy is only surpassed by it's prematurity. I just can't shake the feeling that he's gonna be one of those immense talents who never quite gets it. I had the feeling while watching what I could of him in high school, at Memphis, and now in the NBA. But he DOES have all the tools to be successful, and he does have mentality of a superstar ALREADY. Definitely gonna be fun to watch.

Brandon Jennings - This was my guy from the first YouTube clip I saw of him. He has a great command of the game, which compliments his breathtakingly expansive skill set. I'd describe him as an Allen Iverson / Steve Nash hybrid. As much as I love Lawson, as highly as I think of Flynn, as gifted as Evans is, I am confident in saying Jennings is going to be the best out of this bunch.

In addition to the rookie point guards, there are quite a few truly great point guards. No more explaining, here are my top five point guards in all the land, IN ORDER.

Deron Williams - The MOST COMPLETE game of any point guard in the league. He can score with anyone, best passer in the league, and most importantly he's a winner, regardless of how often the rest of his team lets him down. And what separates him from Chris Paul is the fact that he's arguably the best defensive point guard in the league. That, and the fact that he OWNS CP3, since their college days.

Chris Paul - As much as I try, it's impossible to overlook how spectacular Paul is with the ball. He has every instinct you could possibly want out of your point guard. The problem is his defense. Yes, he racks up steals, and he's great at playing passing lanes and has exceptionally quick hands. But a point guard's #1 job is to keep the opposing PG from penetrating and Paul doesn't do it. But I tried to convince myself that Paul was #3 and I simply couldn't bring myself to do it.

Rajon Rondo - Like I said, I tried to put CP3 at #3, because Rajon Rondo has officially become a legit superstar. Problem is he still isn't a reliable scorer. But he plays with a tenacity in every facet of the game that is unmatched. He's still very much improving, and once his jumper is at a point that defenders can't sag off of him, he'll definitely have a case for being #1 on this list. If you know me, you know I'm gloating every time I see him play, because I TOLD YOU SO.

Steve Nash - It's hard for me to deny Nash right now, so imagine what it's gotta be like for defenders. If the MVP vote was held now (a ridiculously annoying concept right now, I know), Nash would be the winner. At least he should be. Watching him play is watching up-tempo offense executed to perfection. He's an absolute turnstile on defense, but if they can score like the Suns of 3-5 years ago that won't matter much. Steve Nash is also one of the more entertaining athletes around. Not that it counts for anything in this, I'm just sayin.

Gilbert Arenas - Of course I'm gonna put him here, but I do have a couple legitimate reasons. First, I'm taking the Gilbert Arenas pre-depression (even tho this exposes a major flaw in his mental game...), because the Gilbert Arenas that played in the first 3 games showed off possibly the best Gil there's ever been. The old explosiveness and scoring ability were still very apparent. But he also showed that his newfound down-to-business attitude wasn't just a show; for the first time in his career he was a legitimate Point Guard. His shot selection was on point, he was facilitating the offense rather than being the offense, and he was looking to CREATE shots for his teammates FIRST. I'm praying he gets out of this funk because I promise this will be a special year if he does.

I didn't even mention Derrick Rose's slow start, Louis Williams emergence in his first year as a starter, Russell Westbrook being a BEAST, Aaron Brooks leading a surprising Rockets team, among many others (I'm officially a Mario Chalmers fan, btw). But those are the big ones. So until next time...

Dog Fighting vs Boxing - Mike Tyson

Another controversial topic? Yes. I think I subconsciously search these out. But please don't dismiss this as irrational. I AM intelligent and I WILL make this case. Just watch (read). And learn.

Let's get through the "obvious" differences. Dogs don't have any say in the matter. Dogs are animals, and less than human. The dogs are tortured, and punished when they don't win.

You wanna know what's funny? I'm calling those similarities. And in actuality, it's not funny at all, it's really kinda sad. To prove my point, I'm going to use Mike Tyson as an example, even though this is a lot more prevalent with lower-level fighters than it is for the guys you see on ESPN, Pay-Per-View, etc.

“I never saw my mother happy with me and proud of me for doing something: She only knew me as being a wild kid running the streets, coming home with new clothes that she knew I didn't pay for. I never got a chance to talk to her or know about her. Professionally, it has no effect, but it's crushing emotionally and personally.”

Tyson was a neglected kid with zero supervision in one of the worst areas in the country. The quote tells you about his relationship with his mother (who died when he was 16), and his father left when he was two. By the time he was 13 years old he had done and seen more than most people do in their lifetimes, and none of it would be considered "positive." (He was arrested 38 times in those 13 years). Considering this, how many options did he have? Yes, people can say he should've been stronger, should've overcome all his obstacles and gone to school, made something of himself. Those same people couldn't put shoes on at a Foot Locker, let alone the proverbial kicks Tyson has adorned all of his life. He had no options, and made the best out of what he had.

The other similarities I had are pretty self explanatory. I'm not going to outright say that Tyson is somehow less than human, but he became a commodity first once he started bringing in money (Cus D'Amato's death didn't help matters). It was partially his own fault, but again it is both impossible and unreasonable to expect him to know what he was doing. He was Mike Tyson, the 16 year old Olympian. Then he was Mike Tyson, the 20 year old heavyweight champion of the world. At what point during his life did he really have a chance to be a normal human being? He went straight from the streets of Bed-Stuy and Brownsville, NY to prison, to super stardom. He never stood a chance.

As for the third, discussing torture and punishment for loss, not quite as applicable in Tyson's case, but ties in boxing as a whole. Most boxers don't fight on Pay-Per-View and don't make six figures, let alone seven. Most live from paycheck to paycheck, fight to fight. And when you get to that low a level, you don't make money when you lose. Meaning you are punished with a loss, you don't eat.

When Tyson's mother died Cus D'Amato became his legal guardian. While this was the best thing to ever happen to Mike, it also sealed his fate as a show pony (and yes, I realize how much of an understatement that is, deal with it). I wrote this for a number of reasons, all of them obvious so I won't state them now. I do have to make one thing clear: Mike Tyson is very much a human being, and an extremely wise one at that. My only suggestions would be to watch the Tyson documentary that was recently released, and more importantly to gain a little perspective on how things truly are. That is all. For now.

Golden Age for the NBA?

If you ask me, there's no doubt about it, we ARE heading towards a golden age. To the old timers reading this, deal with it. Accept the fact that the league has changed - for better and/or for worse - and for what it currently is we are seeing an extremely bright future. Below is a list of 34 players and eight rookies who I determined to be particularly golden.

34. Javale McGee (21) - Two reasons for putting McGee on this list. First, I needed a Wizard. But second, and most importantly, McGee is going to be a great player. Think a more athletic Marcus Camby who can handle the ball. Oh, and this welcome-to-the-NBA moment for Blake Griffin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoGRoFz21ho
33. Michael Beasey (20) - Remember this guy? The unquestioned best player in the 2008 NBA Draft? Well I don't wanna say I told you so (I had Rose, Mayo and Westbrook ahead of him), so instead I'm here to remind you that the kid can still play (20.6 and 8.6 in April). I still expect big things, especially when D-Wade bolts for Chicago and he becomes the primary scorer (but even if that's not the case ha).
32. Al Thornton (25) - He's very inconsistent, but at times he can be an absolute BEAST. During those times he's a strong finisher and his athleticism always makes him a threat in transition.
31. Mike Conley (21) - When Conley was finally given consistent minutes, he shined like the top 5 pick he was. I don't know why the Grizz don't want him to start (Allen Iverson? Really?), he could do some serious damage running with Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo.
30. Marc Gasol (24) - He quietly had a very good year last year. He won't ever be as good as his brother, but he'll be a solid center in the league for a while. (By the way, Hasheem Thabeet... why? Talk about benefiting from being the ONLY center in the draft...)
29. Brook Lopez (21) - Brook Lopez seems like an extraordinarily dumbed-down Tim Duncan. Keep in mind though, that IS a compliment, as Lopez is very fundamentally sound. AND he makes free throws!
28. Eric Gordon (20) - Eric Gordon is, simply put, the next Ben Gordon. Too small for the 2, no point guard skills to speak of, beautiful jumper and can go off for 30+ on any given night. I'm a big fan of BG, but I actually think Eric will be better; he's better attacking the basket and is a better passer.
27. Kevin Love (20) - By a show of hands, how many people knew that Love averaged a double doube over the second half of the season? He's probably never going to be spectacular, but he is undoubtedly the type of player that will help a team win a championship.
26. Monta Ellis (23) - I'm not his biggest fan, but he's definitely a dangerous weapon in the right system. If he develops a perimeter shot, or maybe even PG skills (or both), he'll be scary.
25. OJ Mayo (21) - There's no doubt that Mayo has the ability to be a superstar. He's already an extraordinary individual player (on both sides of the ball), and once he gets used to the grind of a full 82 game season he'll be an all-star. The question is if he'll ever learn how to play within a system, as the team concept seems lost on him as to this point. Otherwise he'd be right up with Derrick Rose.
24. Andrew Bynum (21) - I used to have Bynum over Oden, mostly because he's a smoother athlete and (seemingly) more skilled overall. But after his wildly inconsistent recent past, I'm not quite as big a fan. I still think he'll be great, as he's still VERY young, but I'm not as sure.
23. Greg Oden (21) - Conversely, I used to HATE Oden as a prospect. He is an awkward and overall poor athlete and has little offensive game to speak of. But there have been a LOT of things conspiring against him in his young career (injury mostly, leading to a lack of opportunity to put major work in), and now that he's had a full healthy offseason, I'm expecting big things this year.
22. Paul Milsap (24) - I need to see more of him (mostly his offensive game) to make a real analysis of how good he is, but I know this: he IS very good. 16, 10 (including 4 offensive) and 2.5 (assists) as a starter, in his first year of significant playing time, is no joke. He's the ideal blue-collar PF for Jerry Sloan; Carlos Boozer, on the other hand...
21. Rodney Stuckey (23) - This is not based on his body of work, moreso on the flashes he's shown of what he could (and will) become. He just has a complete game, and will be given an opportunity to blossom this season with the roster the Pistons have put together...
20. Anthony Randolph (20) - I had to throw Randolph right here in the middle, because while I haven't seen him play once, everyone seems to be raving about the kid. I'll update this once I get a chance to watch him.
19. Russell Westbrook (20) - I had Westbrook ranked 3rd, behind Rose and Mayo, before he was drafted, calling him Rajon Rondo with scoring capability. While he's never going to have the point guard skills Rondo has (VERY few do), he's got the complete game to be an elite PG. And he will be. Soon.
18. Jeff Green (22) - Green and Westbrook are interchangeable for now in these two slots. Westbrook probably has a higher ceiling, but right now Green is better, and he keeps getting better. He's like the anti-Lamar Odom; swiss army knife game but effort over talent with Green. I'm a big fan.
17. JR Smith (23) - This is probably the most polarizing name on this list. Some might say he's a chucker who can't play within a team and ultimately can't help anyone win. (...) Others will say he's arguably the most talented scorer in the NBA, and his overall offensive game is continually improving. Obviously I'm firmly a part of the latter group. I will concede that his head isn't always where it should be, but he's only 23, and has shown marked improvement in his mental game. Defensively he's very good when he wants to be, but his concentration is sporadic at best. Right now he defines the 6th man role, as nobody provides more of a spark coming off the bench. Obviously he CAN help a team win (see: Denver Nuggets in the WCF), and if/when he matures there's no telling how great he could be; he surely will jump ahead of some of the players on this list.
16. Al Horford (23) - I am not an Al Horford fan, and I expect him to be leapfrogged by quite a few of the players behind him. But for now, he's up here because of his consistency, mostly on the glass. He also seems to be developing a serviceable jumper; which will help, but only in pick-and-pop situations.
15. LaMarcus Aldridge (24) - (On draft day 2006, the Blazers wound up moving Randy Foye and Tyrus Thomas for Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge. Wow.) I like Aldridge a lot, I think he'll be a softer Chris Bosh, which will be fine if and when Greg Oden starts playing like he should. Offensively he's got the ability to be a 23-25 point scorer.
14. Josh Smith (23) - Smith was tough to place. On one hand, he might be the most gifted player in the league (besides LBJ of course), and when properly motivated he's a NIGHTMARE. However, key phrase there is 'when properly motivated,' which isn't anywhere close to being on a consistent basis. I'm rooting for him, because he can be one of the great ones, there's just no way of knowing what's gonna happen. (I'm hoping Atlanta trades him somewhere that has any semblance of leadership when his trade restriction is lifted in August)
13. Rajon Rondo (23) - Rondo is one of my two or three favorite players in the league right now. Nobody brings the feistiness and tenacity that he does. How many sub-6 footers (I know what he's listed at...) can average 5+ rebounds/game? (let alone 7.0 in February!) Throw in the 8+ assists and 2 steals and you have an elite point guard. If he ever develops a consistent jumper he'll be one of the best players in the league; at worst he's on pace to be the next Jason Kidd.
12. Andre Iguodala (25) - I'm actually not the biggest fan of AI9, but it's hard to deny the production. And he's really stepped his game up in clutch situations; he's not a franchise player, but an extraordinary complimentary piece.
11. Rudy Gay (22) - In 2006 I thought Rudy Gay was the best player in the draft. While a few people agreed with that sentiment, a large percentage of fans and "experts" had other names at the top of their board; only one has proven himself better (B. Roy). And while Gay's past three seasons have been unspectacular for the most part, he's poised to have a monster year (you heard it here first).
10. Derrick Rose (20) - Ever since his game against Tennessee I've been 100% positive that Rose would become a star. Everything he's done since then has pointed in the same direction, and more. He WILL go down as one of the best point guards of all time, and if D-Wade decides to sign with Chicago next offseason, he'll get at least one ring very soon.
9. Al Jefferson (24) - To be honest I haven't seen much of Jefferson. But from what I've heard, combined with what I've seen, once I do get to see him play a few times (helloooo NBA Package for '09-'10) he'll probably move way up this list. I've heard he has the best post moves in the NBA! Can't wait to watch him play this year. (And I will NEVER comprehend Ernie Grunfeld's decision to turn down Boston's Al Jefferson-Etan Thomas trade proposal from early '07)
8. Chris Bosh (25) - I'm a Bosh fan, but I just feel like he's missing something, I can't really put a finger on it exactly (and if you can help me out, please do). Don't get me wrong, he's a big time player, there's just a bunch of players I'd rather build my team around - including quite a few ranked below him.
7. Brandon Roy (25) - I am a HUGE Brandon Roy fan; I call him the Tim Duncan of the perimeter. While he's obviously not quite the fundamental machine that TD is, his game is still just so smooth and efficient. (For people with a problem with Roy being this high: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-McSwCxU9q0)
6. Kevin Durant (20) - I won't be surprised when he leapfrogs everyone on this list (other than LeBron) and you shouldn't be either. This guy has all the tools to be an elite all-around player, the likes of which we've never seen. Once he matures physically and puts on about 20 pounds (some big game experience couldn't hurt either), watch out.
*Think about Kevin Durant on the Blazers instead of Greg Oden. Just for a second. GOOD GOD.
5. Chris Paul (24) - Probably the best offensive point guard, tho I'd still argue on D-Will's behalf. But there's no denying CP3's ability and production.
4. Dwight Howard (23) - He still has a lot of room to grow (showed signs of improvement in his offensive post play, but there was nowhere to go but up. And he's still an overrated defender....), but there's no denying his production; he's the best center in the NBA.
3. Deron Williams (25) - Best point guard in the NBA. Something tells me this will be revisited when the NBA season gets underway....
2. Carmelo Anthony (25) - I don't care if you believe me or not, but I saw this "revival" Melo went through coming from a mile away. He's easily one of the five best individual players in the league.
1. LeBron James (24) - Um...

As for the rookies, I realize it's too early to really tell who's gonna be good. But these are the guys I'm putting my money on:

1. Blake Griffin - I try to find ways to hate him, but it's just not possible. He's so athletically gifted and possesses so much skill. If he's not a star I'll be shocked
2. James Harden - I'll admit that I'm higher on him than most... but that's only because most people are wrong; he WILL be a great player. The Brandon Roy comparisons are interesting, but as of now I'd say Harden won't be quite the scorer that Roy will be. However he's a better passer, better rebounder, and better defender, and has the drive and mental makeup to improve and excel.
3. Jonny Flynn - Flynn is another guy who has star written all over him. The Big East tournament sealed it for me, where he averaged about 60 minutes per game (ok, he only averaged a mere 45 minutes; for those of you who forgot a regular college game lasts 40).
4. Tyreke Evans - I was on the fence about Evans for a while, but I'm coming around. He will NOT be a point guard, for the people who foolishly think otherwise, but a productive do-it-all 2-guard? I have little doubt.
5. Terrence Williams - While I don't expect him to be a star, I just feel that he brings so much to the table (rebounding, defending, passing/distributing) that he'll be a major factor on a contending team.
6. Earl Clark - Another guy who I feel I'm probably in the minority on, but I think he's gonna be just like Lamar Odom. People hate him too, but while most people see inconsistency, the truth is he brings something to the table every game. As long as you're not relying on him for much, he'll do a lot for you.
7. DeMar Derozan - Derozan has star potential, no question about it in my mind. He played like a man possessed at the end of the season, making jumpers, attacking the basket, rebounding and making hustle plays. It was evident that his confidence was through the roof. If he can find that in the NBA on a consistent basis, the sky's the limit.
8. Brandon Jennings - This is just a wait and see situation. He's so young and so immature, but what people are neglecting to think about is, there hasn't been a prospect with point guard skills like Jennings has in a VERY long time. I hope he figures it out, because he could be great.

Well that's it. I'm sure this will make people think, and question what I've said. Most likely I'm right, but leave a comment anyway if you have one. NFL divisional previews coming soon.

Donte Stallworth

Double standards exist everywhere, and the sports world is certainly no different. But there's a reason they exist: this is the real world, and issues are only seen in black and white by the ignorant. Because of this, everything is open to interpretation, and an action that may seem fair in one instance can be wholly unreasonable in another.

This will always be prevalent, thanks to round-the-clock media coverage (not to mention all those god awful blogs).

There's a lot of news surrounding a few NFLers in the past couple months; and I'm gonna start with and concentrate mostly on Donte Stallworth. A lot of people are upset with the 30 day sentence he got; when you're facing 15 years and wind up spending 24 days that's a natural reaction. But allow me to offer a little perspective. If you know Miami, and the area at which the incident occurred in particular, you know that only a fool would be running across that street - at any time, let alone early in the morning before the sun is up. Yes a man died, and yes it's unfortunate, but as harsh as it sounds he WAS asking for it. And while Stallworth was technically "under the influence," people who are used to drinking/being in a drunken state - especially if they're a 6' 200 lb conditioned professional athlete (relevant for several reasons) - have the ability to operate a vehicle without difficulty. I realize most people won't be willing to admit this, but it's the truth. Of course he deserved to be punished because he put himself in an unfortunate position, but as far as his criminal responsibility and justice is concerned, the punishment fits more than you'd think.

Ok, I'm done playing devil's advocate (for now). This is where everything really gets tied together and perspective is truly achieved. Let's go back to 1998, when one Leonard Little turned 24. As he drove home from his party, with a BAC of .19 (well over Stallworth's .12, it comes out to a good 5 drinks worth more alcohol), he crashed into a car, resulting in the death of the woman driving it. He received a mere 90 days, more than Stallworth but in this case he was 100% to blame.

The problem is this: six years later, Little was again arrested, this time for doing 80 in a 55 zone, and failed three sobriety tests to go along with his obvious drunken state. You know how many felony charges he wound up facing? Zero. Maybe I'm wrong (I know I am, however this isn't the time or place...) but isn't the "correctional" system supposed to prevent this from happening? I don't know a thing about Leonard Little the man, but I HATE what he represents in this case. So before people jump on Stallworth and forget about him a week later, do a little homework.

On another note, I'm glad to see Michael Vick out of prison.

Yea I said it. On top of that, here's to hoping the Redskins sign him.

I'm not gonna champion Vick's cause, because either you'll agree with me or you won't; there's no healthy conversation to be had on the topic. I will say this though, you better believe he didn't get a fair shake in the matter.

I'd also like to know how Pacman Jones keeps getting bailed out in life; he DEFINITELY sold his soul to the devil long ago.

One final thought: isn't it funny that John Daly is probably the crowd favorite at the British Open now, with Tiger missing the cut?

Steve McNair...

I'm kinda late, both on the story and with the second post in general. No excuses, but I'm back, and here we go again.

Steve McNair's death was shocking. If I had told anybody even three weeks ago that McNair would be shot dead by his 20 year old mistress, they would've had me committed. What makes this most surprising is knowing where he came from. By all accounts, he couldn't have been brought up in a more humble fashion. How many top flight high school athletes (he was drafted 35th by the Seattle Mariners in 1991) decide to go somewhere like ALCORN STATE? Only the ones who don't want to go anywhere big (2600 undergraduates) or too far from home (about 100 miles). There isn't a rarer breed; Kobe would have an easier time finding a shot he doesn't like.

So to come so far in less than 20 years, from the quiet kid who chose D-1AA Alcorn State over the USCs and Michigans of Division 1 to getting murdered by a 20 year old mistress... it's distressing. It feels like we just found out Harvey Dent just killed a bunch of people.

"The Joker chose ME."
"Because you were the best of us. He wanted to prove that even someone as good as you could fall."
"He was right."

Is this true? Are fame and fortune so powerful that it can corrupt anybody? Is nobody really safe? Next we're gonna hear Darrell Green got busted on drug charges, right? Ok, if that happens I will definitely lose all faith in humanity, but you get my point. I just hope that people can do more than just read the news of this in passing and take a lesson. EVERYBODY is human, whether the guy sitting next to you or is a starting quarterback in the Super Bowl. And I won't say gaps can't be bridged, but NEVER forget who you are and where you come from. Because if you do, you will start getting caught up in things that you simply aren't prepared for, and you WILL go down. And you'd deserve nothing less than whatever happens. Rest in peace Steve McNair.

Welcome to AI’s Haircut

This is the third blog I've operated, and I'm very certain that this will be my last change. I'll still be heavily concentrated in the sports world, but I have much more to contribute than to merely report the goings on of the NBA, NFL, NCAA, etc. I also vow to speak up for the underdog as much as possible, even if I'm speaking to four readers. So without further ado, here we go.

Iverson cutting his hair was a HUGE deal, whether he meant it to be or not. Iverson is the godfather of the "gangster" image that David Stern is trying so hard to rid the NBA of; he came into the league with short hair and few tattoos, but something (…) forced him to decide to go out of his way to prominently display his individuality. What came next was over a decade of AI developing an image rife with street flair, both in his physical image and his on-court style of play. And while his impacts in both areas are immeasurably underrated, it just never really seemed to be him. All of his missteps were either overreactions based on this persona he created for himself, or mistakes he made in his personal life that just didn't seem to fit who he really was. And now he's playing for the Detroit Pistons, and not performing like the superstar he always has been. His skills and physical abilities haven't gone anywhere (well, maybe a little bit), considering his age and style of play I'd be surprised if they ever left him (he's a downright freak of nature). I believe that this last change of scenery just took him too far away from who he truly is. And regardless of how the rest of his career plays out, this hairstyle-homecoming represents the restoration of an INDIVIDUAL, back to the man he once was.

A lot of people might scoff at my interpretation of this haircut, but to me its meaning is very significant. Before the tat's, before the 'rows, before the practice, AI wasn't the Answer; he was Allen Iverson from Hampton, Virginia. I admire the man who can break the mold that society has put him in and return to the identity he was born, and bred, with. (And yes, Allen Iverson was placed in a mold. He was just a kid coming into the NBA; you can't expect him – or any of the other KIDS in his position for that matter – to step into the spotlight and be a fully mature individual. In addition, it's really unfair to hold it against any of these young individuals when they can't keep their heads on straight once they're thrust into the spotlight.)

AI has always been one of my favorite athletes and this spoke volumes to me, whether it was meant to or not.

©2009 Allen Iverson's New Haircut | by TNB