STEPH CURRY APPROACHES JORDAN TERRITORY

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Even for those who do not regularly follow regular season NBA regular season basketball, the Golden State Warriors should be considered appointment television. I am not asking anyone to watch the Bucks against the Pistons.

On Saturday night I switched the channel to see the Dubs miraculously tie the Oklahoma City Thunder at the end of regulation time. The rest was left to Stephen Curry, who hit a miraculous three-pointer from another area code to give Golden State a 121-118 win.

Curry finished tying a single-game league record with 12 3’s and broke his own single-season record of three-pointers with 288, with 24 games left in the regular season. Video-game numbers

Or to coin an Al Michaels phrase, he has ‘Gretzkied’ the record.

You may have seen a stat earlier in the weekend that had Curry shooting 35 for 52 67.3 percent from between 28 and 50 feet, more efficient as a player with a 100 percent rate with just two-pointers would be.

Some have reasoned that teams should foul Curry as soon as he crosses half-court, like pitchers always intentionally walked Barry Bonds in the early 2000s.

In theory that would not work over a full game, Curry’s sample-size from 28-plus feet remains small, for the year Curry has made 288 of his 615 three-point attempts, a mere .468 percentage, or a mere 1.4 points per attempt, as opposed to the 1.8 average he gets with two free-throws.

But hypothetically, say the Thunder or Spurs have an 8-point lead with a couple minutes left in a playoff game, or lead by 5 with about 30 seconds remaining. Those can be situations where Curry could be fouled well before he even thinks of hoisting a three. It goes against the adage on not to give the trailing team points with the clock stopped, and would lead to a endless parade of Curry and opposition shooters exchanging free throws. But Gregg Popovich or Billy Donovan just might think about it.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban also mused about moving the 3-point line back, as the current distance has become too easy at the NBA level. Such a change would likely separate Curry and Klay Thompson even further from other shooters. The only way to ‘Steph-proof’ the NBA would be to completely eliminate the three-point line. If that happened (it won’t ), that would make Curry like Pete Maravich, he would still be an All-Star but not as dominant.

Finally, with a 30.7 scoring average (previous career high 24.0), does Curry now deserved to be mentioned as Michael Jordan in his prime?

The first answer would likely be to ask again when Curry has five more championship rings. This is also the first year Curry’s FG percentage has exceeded.500 (.515). In his early years MJ exceeded 35 points per game, shot above 53 percent from the field and averaged three steals. MJ’s shooting percentage and points per game fell some what as the supporting cast jelled and the titles came. Jordan only made one three-pointer per two games per the course of his career.

But Curry has no doubt entered the high-rent district, as good as Kobe Bryant at his peak at surpassing narcissist LeBron James.

If Kevin Durant can be reeled in during the off-season, the Warriors will officially become a dynasty.

 

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ON CHEESEBURGERS, FRIED CHICKEN AND ORANGE SODA

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Last weekend a mixed marital arts event aired on Spike TV that pitted Dada 5000 (age 38 in just the third sanctioned bout of his career) against Kimbo Slice (age 42), two combatants supposedly familiar with each other back from their street fighting days in Florida.

  • Dada 5000 sounds like an off-road race in the desert
  • Kimbo Slice sounds like something one might order from the food court pizzeria.

By all accounts Dada and Slice stumbled like Democratic presidential candidates before Slice was awarded the win via TKO in the third round.

The comical nature of the event with both fighters clearly out of shape made for good social media banter until news broke that Dada 5000 had been rushed to a hospital.

It is all fun and games until someone collapses with severe dehydration, renal failure and cardiac arrest.

As Dada recovered at a Houston hospital, comedian/television analyst Joe Rogan appeared on a podcast for another MMA event. As part of a general rant on the lack of quality of the fight, Rogan suggested that Dada’s heart stopped due to ‘cheeseburgers, fried chicken and orange soda’.

Rogan should have upgraded to bacon cheeseburgers and Mountain Dew.

The expected backlash came through various blogs, and Yahoo Sports shortened its headline to ‘Fried Chicken and Orange Soda’. Meanwhile Dada 5000’s camp called out Rogan for ‘overt racism’.

Rogan can be too intelligent and potty-mouthed for his own good. With 765 episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast floating around, there are literally thousands of hours worth of off-color comments to Rogan’s name.

This firestorm will pass, Rogan might have to sit out a telecast or two but whatever unwanted mainstream attention he may have garner will disappear with the next controversial statement in sports or politics. And as it stands the lines of colorful commentary become blurred in the world of MMA and stand-up comedy.

On Tuesday a director producing a documentary elaborated on Dada 5000’s preparation as he lost 40 lbs. He noted that Dada went without water so he could make weight (265 lbs) and his potassium level became elevated due to a diet of eggs and bananas.

There goes the PC buzzword food alarm again..

 

REPORT: LANE GRINDLE EXPECTED TO JOIN BREWERS RADIO

From information I have received from sources in Lincoln.

Lane Grindle is expected to join the Milwaukee Brewers radio broadcast team in the coming days. He would take over the number three position as a fill-in announcer on road trips and other selected games Bob Uecker takes off. Grindle will also have a social media presence and appear on other new media outlets.

The Brewers opening occurred last month when Joe Block left to become the Pittsburgh Pirates lead announcer and promoted Jeff Levering to the number two position alongside Uecker. Others who have served on Brewers radio over the years include Pat Hughes (Cubs radio announcer since 1996), Jim Powell (Atlanta Braves lead radio announcer) and Cory Provus (Minnesota Twins lead radio).

Grindle has served with University of Nebraska athletics for the past decade. He appears as a sideline reporter on football games along with other Huskers programming. He works alongside football play-by-play man Greg Sharpe on baseball broadcasts and also worked as PA voice at Memorial Stadium for the 2015 season. He was pressed into duty after the previous PA announcer was released over a legal issue and his successor removed after social media comments criticizing the university’s firing of football coach Bo Pelini came to light.
Another previous PA voice at Nebraska, Rick Allen, became lead play-by-play for NASCAR on NBC in 2015.

If the report proves accurate, Grindle’s broadcasts talents will be missed in Nebraska but welcomed on the Brewers Radio Network.

 

DALE EARNHARDT DID NOT HAVE TO DIE

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Thursday marks the 15th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s death on the final lap of the Daytona 500. At the time of the accident Earnhardt ran third to two cars Dale Earnhardt Inc. owned, Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Today the tragedy still shakes the very foundation of the sport. FOX Sports telecast of the race marked the start of a massive contract FOX, NBC and TNT signed with NASCAR which brought the majority of races to broadcast TV for the first time.

NASCAR returned to Daytona for the July 2001 race where Dale Earnhardt Jr. won in dramatic fashion and what some considered a psy op. The sport boomed for much of the 2000s and rivaled ball and stick sports in popularity. Tracks expanded capacity and still easily sold out.

Fans who attended races for years afterwards could buy framed photos from the backstretch from the fateful final lap at Daytona at souvenir stands – Waltrip’s number 15 followed by Dale Jr. and Dale Sr. Diecast models of the no. 3 car still outsell those of most current drivers.

The NASCAR bubble popped along with the Great Recession of 2009. Many sponsors left, fans stayed away in droves and although NASCAR now has even more lucrative television contracts, mainstream interest has not returned.

15 years later many wonder where NASCAR would be if Dale Earnhardt did not die – the worst part is that it did not have to happen.

The 2000 NASCAR season was rocked by three deaths, one in each of the three major series. 19-year old Adam Petty, racing’s first fourth-generation driver, died after a stuck throttle caused his car to crash full-force into the wall before a Busch Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway. Just two months later Cup driver Kenny Irwin died in nearly the exact same spot at the same track under the same circumstances. Later that year Truck Series driver Tony Roper died due to a crash. All three drivers, along with ARCA driver Blaise Alexander the following year died from basal skull fractures, basically an internal decapitation.

Safety rules are often written out of blood. The 2000 off-season would have been a good time for NASCAR to proactively think more of mandatory head-and-neck restraints and SAFER barriers. But instead they waited until the sport lost the one person they could not afford to lose the most.

Steve Park suffered serious injuries in a freak accident later in the 2001 season and Jerry Nadeau retired after a near-fatal accident at Richmond in 2003. Other than that NASCAR has had a spotless safety record with no deaths in the Cup, Nationwide or Truck Series since Feb. 18, 2001.

20-year-old Chase Elliott sits on the pole position for the 2016 Daytona 500, his father Bill Elliott sat on the pole 15 years earlier. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is in the field and Michael Waltrip has entered and will attempt to earn a starting position in the Thursday qualifying race.

Other than that, only two drivers from the 2001 race still compete at NASCAR’s top level, Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch, legend says the rookie driver was flipped off by Earnhardt in the 2001 race.

The Daytona 500 is still proclaimed as the Great American Race and the one time mainstream sports media follows stock car racing. But fans past and present still wonder what direction NASCAR would have gone if Dale Earnhardt were still alive.

NBA ALL-STAR GAME ALL-BLACK

As a historic blizzard bore down on the East Coast a few weeks back, a New York tabloid proclaimed the upcoming weekend to be ‘As White As The Oscars’.

Well the forecast tonight will be as dark as the 2016 NBA All-Star Game.

That would get an ESPN employee a two-month suspension.

Out of the 10 starters chosen by the fans and 14 reserves selected by the coaches, all 24 of this year’s original All-Star participants chosen happen to be U.S. born and African-Americans.

The NBA has been overwhelmingly black for a couple generations now, a simple result of the sport’s demographics and something African-Americans should be proud of. Just like next week’s Daytona 500 will be contested by mostly white participants (The NASCAR Cup series does feature a Cuban-American and Japanese-American driver).

The breakdown is still surprising in context of the NBA’s worldwide diversity, and Spain’s Pau Gasol and Dominican-born Al Horford wound up in the game as injury replacements for Chris Bosh and Jimmy Butler.

Still, for the NBA to go 24 for 24 with U.S.-born players serves as a reminder that America still dominates the sport. I am also amazed that with tonight’s game in Toronto that the NBA did not find a way to squeeze a Canadian player such as Andrew Wiggins onto the roster, although two representatives of the Eastern Conference second-place Toronto Raptors will play.

For those who score at home:

  • Dwyane Wade – Chicago
  • Kyle Lowry – Philadelphia
  • LeBron James – Akron, Ohio
  • Paul George – Palmdale, California
  • Carmelo Anthony – Brooklyn
  • Chris Bosh (inj) – Dallas
  • John Wall – Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Paul Millsap – Monroe, Louisiana
  • DeMar DeRozan – Straight Outta Compton
  • Jimmy Butler (inj) – Houston
  • Andre Drummond – Mount Vernon, New York
  • Isaiah Thomas – Tacoma, Washington
  • Steven Curry – Akron, Ohio (grew up in Charlotte)
  • Russell Westbrook – Long Beach, California
  • Kobe Bryant – Philadelphia
  • Kevin Durant – Washington, D.C.
  • Kawhi Leonard – Los Angeles
  • Chris Paul – Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • LaMarcus Aldridge – Dallas
  • James Harden – Los Angeles
  • Anthony Davis – Chicago
  • DeMarcus Cousins – Mobile, Alabama
  • Clay Thompson – Los Angeles
  • Draymond Green – Saginaw, Michigan

LSU FOOTBALL SHUTDOWN? NOT HAPPENING

John_Bel_Edwards

The State of Louisiana obviously has serious budget problems, supposedly from the leadership of previous administrations.

Newley elected governor John Bel Edwards (D) took to the airwaves yesterday to address possible ramifications should proposed tax increases not be passed in an upcoming special legislature session.

Should no action be taken by April 30, basic services such as medical care would be cut, state universities would shut down and current students receive incomplete grades, and athletics at LSU and other state-run universities suspended.

He got everyone’s attention – mission accomplished.

And followers of the University of Alabama and other Southeastern Conference schools have already begun to circle like buzzards for the crack at getting Heisman Trophy candidate Leonard Fornette and other student-athletes to transfer.

Myself, I suck at poker – but this points to classic saber-rattling and a bluff.

Some who weighed in on the issue yesterday suggested Edwards would be recalled in an instant if he comes close to disbanding athletics at LSU (and other state institutions).

It would likely be worse than that – like an overnight coup at the State Capitol.

Reasonable Louisiana residents should be more concerned about elimination of medical services,TOPS scholarships and students who have spent tens of thousands not able to graduate much more than the loss of simulated warfare next fall.

And it is hard to see how the loss of 90,000-plus fans at Tiger Stadium for seven Saturdays each fall would fix anyone’s budget.

As a lifelong Wisconsin resident, I saw the same movie five years ago about a state who cried broke. The solution had the newly elected governor targeting state workers along with the elimination of collective bargaining and a significant increase in university of tuition.

Thousands of schoolteachers and others in public sector raised hell and Scott Walker faced a recall election, only to defeat his opponent by the same margin he did in the regular election and Wisconsin’s ‘budget repair bill’ became reality.

But that is a polarizing Republican who excels at the game of divide on conquer and had support to fend off the detractors.

Governor Edwards sounds like the polar opposite. But somehow I  imagine a new budge hammered out at the 11th hour, like many things wait until the last minute.

Meanwhile the University of Wisconsin just rolled out ticket information for LSU v. Wisconsin at Lambeau Field on Sept. 3.

Something says that game will be played.

 

KACSPORTS 3.0 IS HERE!

I am back!

Over the past 15 years I have existed on the internet in various forms. In 2000 I developed a site I called KACSPORTS.COM, for lack of a better or available name.

That site existed for about nine years until I no longer had time to continue to arrange HTML and other things needed to keep the site fresh. I simply provided sports news and later on accompanied the site with a blog.

In 2010 I became a writer for a site known as Midwest Sports Fans, which lasted until 2014 when the site owner handed off the reigns to one of his University of Indiana buddies, who promptly drove the site into the ground. I am thankful though that my tenure with that site ultimately led me to my current full-time job in journalism.

And like most people, I have had a presence on social media in recent years, a platform that I have gradually became tired of.

Which leads me to today. What will you find on the new KACSPORTS?

  • On many occasions sports, after all I put down sports as my subject matter to WordPress. What you will not see is me jump on a trendy breaking story covered by numerous blogs run by Fox Sports, USA Today, etc., etc., etc.
  • Fantasy sports, in particular evil daily fantasy sports. I have tips to help you win, or at least make a small profit.
  • Politics – Warning, I am not one who sides with either the Democratic or Republican Party. I do follow some of the geopolitical scene.
  • Religion – Another warning, I am somewhat secular – although Atheists drive me just as nuts as bible thumpers. I have my own religion:)
  • Travel/Food – My favorite places to visit, favorite restaurants, fast food joints etc. (clue: McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s not on my list)
  • And – Radio/TV/Internet Social media and what pisses me off about it. And anything else not covered above I feel a need to rant on.

So there you have it. I do not do this for profit, and different from ESPN garbage. It is now open season, enjoy!