The Wild Wild West

The Wild Wild West

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The UtahJazz during a game against the Portland Trail Blazers,at VivintSmart Home Arena, on Wednesday, May 12, 2021.

The opening weekend for the NBA playoffs in the western conference is coming to an end. Yet what’s happened in the west is quite unusual.

The Memphis Grizzlies finally washing out their four-year playoff drought, the Jazz as the first seed, the Suns as the second seed, and the defending champs as the 7th seed.

What’s surprising is to see the Pheonix Suns in the playoffs again after ten cruel years. After going 34-39 last season, the suns had their sudden breakout in the bubble, proving that they will be a threat in the future. Especially with how young their team is, last year’s bubble, in a way, showed their true potential. The sudden addition with the Chris Paul trade gave the Suns a veteran starter at point guard, which this team has struggled with finding in previous seasons. This team has improved their record tremendously with their recent moves and is now 51-21.

Joe Camporeale – USA TODAY Sports

Another shocker in this bracket is the 8th seeded Memphis Grizzlies. After beating the Jazz 112-109. The Grizzlies had momentum after playing two games in a row. As the 1st seed, you’re expected to handle the 8th seed like they were nothing. Not only are the Jazz the 1st seed inarguably the most challenging conference in the league, but they’re also the number one ranked team in defense while the Grizzlies are ranked 14in scoring.

Although it’s unfair to judge a series by the first game, what the Suns and Grizzlies displayed, they’re the teams to watch on the west.

Top Four Race Going to the Wire

Top Four Race Going to the Wire

Photo Credit: Getty Images
Chelsea, Leicester City, and Liverpool are fighting for the right of playing in the coveted UEFA Champions League next season, and the race will go on until the final day of the season, Super Sunday. Chelsea currently sits 3rd in the table with 67 points from 37 games after a horrid time earlier in the season. Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea, sacked the club legend and then head coach Frank Lampard with the club sitting 9th in the table after spending close to 300 million euros in a corona-restricted summer. Chelsea then appointed former Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-German head coach Thomas Tuchel, who prioritized working on the defensive structure of the team. Since Tuchel was appointed, no team has gotten to 10 clean sheets quicker, in about 13 games, and then the UCL qualification became closer to reality. Chelsea now needs to better or equal the result of Leicester’s game against Tottenham, and Liverpool’s game against Crystal Palace. A win sees Chelsea qualify for the UCL via the domestic route seeing as they face Manchester City in the finals at Porto, Portugal on May 29. Either way, their destiny is in their hands with TWO chances. 2016 Premier League winners Leicester City are in a similar position as they were in last season. In the previous season, the foxes spent nearly the entirety of the season in the top four before embarrassingly crashing out at the final hurdle, losing to Manchester United who finished third, while fourth-placed Chelsea defeated Wolverhampton to relegate Leicester to the Europa League Group stage. Now it is a bit more difficult. They sit 5th on 66 points, behind fourth-placed Liverpool on goal difference with a big clash against a disappointing Tottenham at the King Power Stadium in Leicester. The foxes would need to win, and hope results go against one of Chelsea and/or Liverpool as well. Outgoing champions Liverpool had an abysmal start to the season losing their star player Virgil Van Dijk (pronounced dike) to a leg injury after being charged into by Everton goalie Jordan Pickford. It then got worse when Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, and captain Jordan Henderson were all ruled out for the season with injuries. Manager Jurgen Klopp had to design a makeshift defense with his midfielder Fabinho as a centre-back. No other team had more defensive combinations (26) than Liverpool this season. With Liverpool, the ball is in their half. They hold their destiny. Win at Anfield against Palace, you’re in. Moving into the game, there is no room for error as they, as well as Chelsea, began the season in a torrid time, with only 5 weeks ago they were on a losing streak that stretched for 4 home games and a positive was not to be seen. The pinnacle of European football, the champions league, where every child desires of reaching for their boyhood club. Leicester has been disrupting the top six for the last five years and is ready to make the step of being a champions league team. Chelsea, four months ago was nowhere to be seen; but the season wasn’t over yet as Thomas Tuchel designed a defense that Dikembe Mutombo would be proud of. Liverpool, what was was then and what now is needed. Champions League football for extra revenue and the allure to other players to improve on the average defensive set-up. Tune in for Sunday at 11 am to see how it all on folds in Britain.
Photo Credit: Sky Sports


Photo Credit: Jamaica Gleaner
The image above shows Petersfield High School athlete Antonio Watson (left) and Bryan Levell of the Edwin Allen High School. In Jamaica, around the final week of March is the ISSA Boys and Girls athletic championships. However, because of the pandemic, it was canceled in 2020 but was back in the month of May this year. The five-day event showcases the best and most talented teenagers in the country, competing for records and the fame of winning an event at champs in front of the ecstatic crowd of over 35 thousand.

Antonio Watson, the youth 400-meter champion, is the center of controversy as he made a gun gesture at opponent Bryan Levell of Edwin Allen High while coming back to win the class one 200-meter finals at the National Stadium in Jamaica. Watson won the event in 20.74 seconds, with Levell second in 20.83 seconds. Even though he put in his routine run-from-behind strategy, what is being spoken about is the gestures he made.

Watson shaped his hand in the form of a pistol and figuratively, discharge one round at the opponent. When doing his post-race interview he stated that he meant nothing by the gestures as he respects Levell and touts him as a really good athlete and competitor. Even then the uproar from onlookers and media personnel encouraged a negative light on the 19-year-old, thereafter he released a statement, publicly apologizing for his actions after the race.

Photo Credit: Tim Layden
Some people have come out and join Watson’s side, such as sprint superstar Usain Bolt. The 8-time Olympic Gold medalist and World Record holder in the 100 and 200 meters went through similar treatment after pounding his chest while he was 60 meters out from the finish line with the gap he had. He was chastised by many journalists calling him “showboat”, “showoff”, “arrogant”, and even “immature”.

Bolt said to rather than condemn the youngster, he should be nurtured and molded to become the talent he can become. Personally, the gesture had not a lot wrong with what the Petersfield athlete did, but for aiming the gesture on the opponent Lavell. We have seen gestures like that on the world stage by the United States female relay team, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Justin Gatlin so the gesture has been somewhat accepted.



On Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers will face the Golden State Warriors in the play-in tournament to decide who becomes the 7th seed in the Western Conference. The Lakers, led by an undoubted hall of Famer Lebron James, finished the season on a five-game win streak at 42 wins and 30 losses. The Curry-led Warriors won 8 of their final ten games, closing the season at 39 wins and 33 losses.

Looking into this you will have the early season MVP Lebron James, and late-season MVP Stephen Curry. King James, as he is affectionately called, is a very huge piece of the puzzle for this Laker team to win a championship. Both players have been a part of dynasties, with Lebron winning 4 championships and Steph winning 3.

It may be a tightly contested game with the form both teams are in, even though both are short-handed without their superstars. Without Lebron, the Lakers would have a losing record, even with Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroeder. Curry averages under 20 PPG against the Lakers in his career, the only team that has him at that average. Without him on the court, or playing at all, the Warriors considerably lose about 28-44 points a night, hence players like Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins would have to pick up the slack.

The struggles both teams and superstars, face were challenging. Lebron injured his ankle and said in an interview that he may not be back to his best again. With Curry, he broke his arm last season and damaged his tail bone in this season. Now both are on the comeback trail, some sooner than others, and are looking to make their team go all the way to the finals.
The Lakers have the better squad no doubt, but the Warriors’ cohesion has become so much better over the last few games. As I stated before this will be tightly contested, maybe a moment of magic from Curry, some slick play by James, or even an unlikely source taking the game to the opponents. I believe the Warriors would win, 113-106, and I am gonna say why. Steve Kerr knows that Schroeder is the person to defend Curry and he will stick tight so Steph might get him into foul trouble and get him off the court.

Draymond will be his regularly aggressive self and go at the out-of-form Andre Drummond. With those key players off the court, more emphasis will be placed on the injured Lebron James and Anthony Davis.The winner takes the 7th seed and the loser goes into the other play-in final against the winner of the other play-in semi. It’s all to play for, Lakers vs. Warriors. Lebron vs. Steph. 7 vs. 8.

Photo Source: Getty Images

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.


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.