Mamba Mentality

Mamba Mentality

Mamba mentality is a saying that dates back to the Black Mamba himself, Kobe Bryant. It means killer mentality, which Bryant had during his career in the NBA, a killer mentality. On May16th, 2021, Kobe Bryant was recently inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame, and here’s why.

Kobe Bryant celebrates after the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center June 17, 2010, in Los Angeles. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In his long career on the lakers, Kobe was drafted straight out of Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia by the Charlotte Hornets but later traded on the same day during the 1996 NBA draft.

Although his rookie year wasn’t the best, averaging almost 8 points a game, his minutes increased as he went into his sophomore year; not only that, his points, rebounds, shooting percentages, etc., increased as well. Kobe went onto average 15.4 points per game from his original 7.6.

After Bryant’s rookie season, the rest was history. The laker’s front office went on to rob the Orlando Magic in the infamous Shaq trade, Kobe dropped 81 on the Raptors, scored 60 points in his retirement game, and almost tying Micheal Jordan in rings, only winning five NBA championships.

CREDIT: ANDREW D. BERNSTEIN/GETTY IMAGES

Bryant also won four MVPs, selected 12 times for the All-defensive team, 14 times for the All-NBA team,18 times for the All-Star team, and lastly, he was the NBA’s scoring champion twice.

From 2005 to 2007, Bryant went from 35.4 points a game to 31.6 points per game. However, he didn’t win a championship. Instead, he won the scoring title in both years.

Three years after his second scoring title, Kobe went on to win his last ring in 2010 as a laker six years before his final game before his retirement in 2016.

Throughout his career, he’s gone through coaching changes, roster changes, injuries, and controversy, all while dealing with both love and hate from all NBA fans around the world. While some may fold, Kobe still managed to keep his head up and play to the best of his ability.

2001: Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes in for a slam dunk against the New Jersey Nets during the NBA game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice: Copyright 2002 NBAE Mandatory credit: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images Credit: Photos from ÒThe Mamba MentalityÓ courtesy of photographer Andrew D. Bernstein.
Remembering Bartolo Colón’s Impossible Blast

Remembering Bartolo Colón’s Impossible Blast

Photo Credit: calltothepen.com
It is one of those moments that will live in baseball lore forever.  You remember where you were, what you were doing, and maybe even what the first words out of your mouth were.  On May 7, 2016, New York Mets’ pitcher Bartolo Colón stepped into the batter’s box at Petco Park with a .089 career batting average.  What happened next?  Well, let’s just say Colón’s helmet flew off, but not because he struck out.

Except for spending half of the 2002 season with the Montreal Expos, Colón played his previous 16 years in the American League before signing with the Mets in 2014.  Pitching in the American League obviously means you do not focus on hitting because of the designated hitter.  Before joining the Mets, Colón registered only 104 plate appearances, which produced 10 hits and 56 strikeouts.

Colón put on a show in every single one of his at-bats in Queens.  Even though most of his at-bats resulted in his helmet flying further than the ball, Mets fans adored Big Sexy’s hefty swings and misses.  Despite all of Colón’s flails at the plate, he smiled through them all.  More importantly, baseball fans knew that if he ever made contact, Bartolo Colón could provide some serious thunder.

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report
Initially, there was anything but thunder in San Diego on May 7, 2016. A picture-perfect, 60-degree evening saw 41,028 fans in the stands at Petco Park.  On the mound for the Padres was their $75-million-dollar man: James Shields.  “Big Game James” as he was called did not put on a memorable performance, but only if you are a Padres fan.

Yoenis Céspedes opened the festivities with a two-run home run in the first inning.  Little did anyone know; it was not the only two-run bomb they would see that night.  As the game moved to the top of inning number two, the Mets’ lower part of the batting order looked to extend their 2-0 lead.

After Neil Walker lined out and Asdrúbal Cabrera grounded out, Kevin Plawecki doubled to center field.  Most Mets fans were probably happy solely because it brought up Colón, which meant the pitcher’s spot would be cleared and the top of the Mets’ lineup would lead off in the third inning.  No one knew what was about to happen.

A Bartolo Colón at-bat was a roll of the dice.  Sometimes Colón took three fastballs right down the middle and went back to the dugout.  Other times Colón went up there hacking viciously, and this was one of those times.

Colón calmly took the first pitch for ball one and then the second pitch for strike one.  Looking to get ahead in the count, Shields figured there was no harm in grooving another meatball over the dish with Colón in the box.  Well, Colón sent Shields’ poor little meatball flying 365 feet.

Just about as iconic as Colón’s clout was Gary Cohen’s call on PIX11.  The impossible had truly happened.   Colón homering was remarkable enough, but he also became the oldest player in Major League history to hit his first career home run.  At 42 years old, Big Sexy took the record from Randy Johnson.  Johnson was 40 years old on September 19, 2003 when he hit a solo home run off Doug Davis of the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.  

If the night could not get any more memorable, Bartolo’s bomb turned out to be the game-winning hit.  After Colón allowed a three-run home run to Jon Jay in the bottom of the third, he and the Mets’ bullpen held down the fort.  

Runs were not scored again until the top of the ninth inning, when David Wright and Michael Conforto joined the home run parade with back-to-back solo shots.  Jeurys Familia nailed down the 6-3 win for the Mets and Colón with his ninth save of the season.  Big Sexy homered and was the winning pitcher all in the same game.

Photo Credit: theguardian.com
If 2021 is in fact the last year of pitchers hitting in baseball, moments like these will be missed.  It does not happen often, but watching a pitcher leave the yard is memorable whether it is witnessed in person or on television.  

 Bartolo Colón’s at-bats used to be comedy, but like a shooting star, his bat struck baseball.  So next time you watch Bartolo Colón’s hitting highlights, just know that all those flails and flying helmets paid off.  To quote Gary Cohen, “You knew if he ever made contact in just the right way he was strong and enough to do it, and now Bartolo has brought down the house.”

I’M NEVER GOING TO GDANSK AGAIN; WHAT NEXT FOR THE GUNNERS?

I’M NEVER GOING TO GDANSK AGAIN; WHAT NEXT FOR THE GUNNERS?

Getty Images

The Iconic George Micheal song entitled “I’m never going to dance again” has been used to troll English Premier League and former football giants Arsenal as they crashed out of the UEFA Europa League semi-final after an embarrassing performance against Spanish side Villarreal. The final will take place on the 26th of May 2021, in Gdansk, Poland.

In the first leg, Arsenal was reduced to 10 men, as were their opponents, after Dani Ceballos was sent off for the Gunners. They lost that game 2-1 but had that crucial away goal. Needing just one goal, Arsenal floundered by hitting the woodwork three times and having a couple of shots on target, despite having 56% possession of the ball. Villarreal set up with a defensive organization and there was tidiness of the tackling.

This was a hard pill to swallow for the North Londoners as they sit 9th in the league, all but out of the European qualification positions (1st to 7th), which means no extra revenue/exposure for the team. It may be a blessing in disguise, however, with fewer games to be played for the next season.

It has not been the best of time for Arsenal as they were eliminated by Southampton, meaning there would be a new champion as they were knocked out. They also lost to Burnley at home for the first time in over 40 years. They have also been in a bad light as they were a “founding club” of the failed attempt of a Super League, which brought up anguish from their supporters who now want the owner (Stan Kroenke) to sell the club.

All fans are united on the fact of removing the owner, but some fans also want the coach, Mikel Arteta, to be fired/sacked as well. The 39-year-old Spaniard has a 50% win rate at the club in his roughly 15 months in charge, compared to his predecessors, Unai Emery (55.1% ) and the great Arsene Wenger (57.5% ).

Another stat that is worrying is that since he took over (Dec. 22, 2019) no team has accumulated more Red Cards (9) than any other team.

Seeing this season as a write-off, how will they cope next season? Will Arteta still be in charge? Will the Kroenke’s accept Daniel Ek’s bid? I think Arteta will be given until December next season, but you can’t take things for granted. “I’m never going to Gdansk again, guilty feet have got no rhythm, though it’s easy to pretend, I know you’re not a fool.”

Ross Kennerley

Rangers shakeup with Davidson and Gorton out

Rangers shakeup with Davidson and Gorton out

In a shocking turn of events. The New York Rangers have changed the course and have relieved President John Davidson and G.M. Jeff Gorton. A day after a statement was released by the team about how disappointed they were that no action was taken against Tom Wilson, which definitely more should’ve been done, and George Parros the head of NHL Player Safety the Rangers had a release on Twitter expressing disappointment.

Some reports have said JD and Gorton tried to distance themselves from the report and that didn’t sit well with Rangers owner James Dolan. Others have said he didn’t like the results of the last two games vs the Islanders and wanted to speed up the process due to lack of toughness and grit on this team as well, but Davidson and Gorton kept preaching patience. I was ok with letting Gorton go honestly. He’s made nice moves, but hired a flawed coach in David Quinn. Davidson never got a real shot here, but if the first report is true and they didn’t want to be associated with the statement shame on them for not backing the players.

So what happens next? Well reports are Chris Drury will be president and GM of the team. He was the assistant GM to the Rangers, as well as the GM to the USA hockey team. He was a guy who was a finalist for Florida Panthers, and Pittsburgh Penguins jobs, but backed out of them. My guess is taking over the Rangers was his dream job. He seems like a popular guy around the league as well. Will see how this shapes out. What do I think? We can’t say it’s a good idea or bad because we don’t know what Drury is. Do I agree with the move on Davidson, no, but Gorton I am ok with, just as long as Drury puts the right people around him, he will succeed. We will also wait and see if this is an interim thing or full time.

Aaron Rodgers Vs. The Packers?

Aaron Rodgers Vs. The Packers?

Aaron Rodgers reportedly wants out of Green Bay. (APPhoto/Ben Margot, File)

The three-time MVP and Super Bowl champion Aaron Rodgers wants out of Green Bay. Given his circumstances, it makes sense why.

Off the field, there’s ongoing friction with Rodgers and the Packers organization. Rodgers doesn’t want anything to do with the organization and has sent out retirement threats.

On the field, it seems his only reliable wide receiver is Davante Adams, and he’s been his number one target since Adams arrived in the green and gold. Although Rodgers has had plenty of good receivers and tight ends over the years, they’re not what he needs to make another Super Bowl appearance.

By Bruce Feldman, Jan 22, 2021

Not only does Rodgers need another star receiver, but so does Adams. No other receiver or tight end on this team has broken over 700 yards in their careers. That’s why defenses focus on containing Adams. This past season Davante Adams received his second-most targets in a season, recording 149 targets while also having a 77.2% catch percentage. Adams carried this receiving team with 1374 receiving yards and a career-high 18 touchdowns.

Without Davante, Aaron Rodgers can’t do Aaron Rodger things.

The Packers could’ve helped the problematic situation with their Pro Bowl quarterback in the latest draft by drafting a half-decent wide receiver with their 29th first-round pick. Instead, they used their first-rounder on Cornerback Eric Stokes despite having elite Cornerback Jaire Alexander on the roster. They also had another opportunity to draft a receiver but instead drafted QB Jordan Love, who hasn’t taken an NFL snap since getting drafted in 2020.

It made sense why they drafted a cornerback to possibly replace Kevin King after his horrible performance against the Buccaneers. However, they had eight other picks in the later rounds to draft a corner. They could’ve used that first-round pick on Elijah Moore or possibly Rondale Moore despite his size.

The Packers also had their chances to go for big-name receivers such as Kenny Golladay, Curtis Samuel, T.Y. Hilton, Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, or even Sammy Watkins all during free agency.

It’s clear that current Packer’s General Manager Brian Gutekunst doesn’t know what he’s doing nor where he’s going with his team. It’s confusing on whether he wants the team to turn into a Super Bowl winning team or if he’s just fine with a second-round exit team.

Retirement could be a good move for Rodgers, after all.