The Easy Way Out

By Yusuf Gadlin

Make no mistake about it. Kevin Durant took the easy way out.  I understand why the nine-year veteran made the decision to leave his former team (Oklahoma City Thunder) and join forces with the Golden State Warriors, but that doesn’t mean it was a respectable one.  

There is a unwritten rule in all sports that any franchises Superstar player is supposed to do everything in his power to deliver a championship to his/her respective city. When it comes to the NBA, the superstar player is driven by the championship ring. If that superstar player fails in that attempt, that superstar becomes possessed, works tirelessly and ferociously in the offseason , comes back the following year, and tries it all over again.  Some NBA superstars never win the ultimate prize but the fact that they gave their blood, sweat and tears in pursuit of a championship is why those players are respected and forever remembered for their heroic efforts.

Kevin Durant said “The hell with all that.”

This summer Kevin Durant joined a Golden State Warriors team that not only won a NBA record 73 games out of 82, but also had the NBA’s first ever unanimously voted most valuable player in Stephen Curry. To make matters worst, The Golden State Warriors were responsible for eliminating Kevin Durant in the Western Conference finals  after Durant was up 3-1 in a best of seven series. After nine years and no championship, Kevin Durant quit. He didn’t want to be a superstar anymore. He didn’t want to bear the responsibility of putting an entire franchise on his back and propelling them to prosperity any longer. 

He didn’t want to work tirelessly and ferociously another year.the pain of losing didn’t drive him anymore, it forced him to take the easy way out. Kevin Durant has won an NBA Most Valuable Player Award, four NBA scoring titles, the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, and two Olympic gold medals. He has a 27.4 career scoring average and is a 7x NBA All Star.  A payer of Kevin Durant’s caliber is  supposed to beat them not join them.

Imagine if Michael Jordan quit on the bulls and said i’m joining the bad boy pistons[a] of the late 80’s early 90’s. Jordan and the Bulls lost to the Pistons for  three consecutive years before finally beating them in 1991. 

Imagine if  Utah Jazz legends Karl Malone and John Stockton joined the Chicago Bulls in ‘97 after losing to the Bulls in the 1996 NBA finals because they wanted a championship by any means necessary. Stockton & Malone never won a championship, but the fact that they remained loyal to Utah and that burning desire to keep trying never dissipated makes them champions in the eyes of many.

Former  Superstars and hall of fame legends like Philadelphia’s Allen Iverson, New York’s Patrick Ewing, Indiana’s  Reggie Miller never hoisted the Larry O’brien trophy but they damn near died trying, never gave up, and never took a short cut to glory. Its why those guys are forever respected. They never cheated the process.  They never took the easy way out.

Kevin Durant may very well win a championship this year. To question the validity of it is something only he can do. When that final  buzzer sounds and the confetti drops that’s when Kevin Durant will realize he took the easy way out.

#NBAPlayoffs #NBA

We Need Legendary Wade

by Yusuf Gadlin

Nobody expected the Chicago Bulls to be within one victory of clinching a playoff spot. Maybe the diehard Bulls fans did, maybe the Bulls players themselves, but not the casual NBA fan.
As the clock continues to tick towards the Playoffs, all of the lights in Chicago will be on Dwyane Wade. After suffering a fractured elbow, Wade initially  was declared out for the rest of the season. But with the Bulls surging and looking formidable, Wade has decided to jump back in the game.
On the season Wade is averaging 19 points only appearing in 57 games. His return to Chicago has been forgettable. simply put, Dwyane Wade has left the city of Chicago with a lot to be desired.
Insert the playoffs.
What better time to remind the basketball world who really run things? This is the perfect opportunity for Wade to add to his already legendary career. This Bulls team as constructed is scrappy while being led by a borderline superstar in Jimmy Butler. For every offensively challenged player that the Bulls have, they counter with Rajon rondo to mask those deficiencies, the perfect point guard for that reason alone.
Dwyane Wade is the missing ingredient.
while the Chicago faithful hope this is the playoff run that Jimmy Butler finally ascends to superstar status, Dwyane Wade already is. Wade is not a sidekick this playoff run, he is the leader and must play like it. I’m looking forward to a statement game from Wade in the Bulls final three games that proves my theory. After all, Chicago doesn’t want “Father Prime” we just  want Dwyane Wade.
#chicagobulls, #dwade, #jimnybutler, #NBA

Lavar is a Box of Chocolates

By Yusuf Gadlin

Lavar Ball is basking in his glory. He is a father with three talented sons, all with a chance to go to the NBA. For some parents that chance alone is enough for them to stay quiet in the background and hope/pray that their child’s dream will come to fruition.

Not Lavar Ball, who is a interesting fellow.

When Lavar talks about others, he comes off as delusional, rude, cocky, or flat out stupid. You guys already know how he strokes his children egos or dare say he can beat Michael Jordan in a game of one on one. You know how he wants billion-dollar endorsement deals for his own sons, while at the same time almost wanting a 12-year-old Lebron James, Jr. to fail at emerging from his father Atlantic Ocean shadows.

Then you step back further from Lavar Ball.

Is this guy a marketing genius? Do we congratulate him for shattering that nasty stigma that black boys don’t have black fathers as back bones? Charles M. Blow of the New York Times provided facts to the last question in a article he wrote two years ago. ” In fact, a C.D.C. report issued in December 2013 found that black fathers were the most involved with their children daily, on a number of measures, of any other group of fathers — and in many cases, that was among fathers who didn’t live with their children, as well as those who did”.

Let’s step back even further.

Some wish Lavar Ball was a tad bid classier with his criticism or critique of others. Some wish he would just return to his hole and patiently wait for his sons to throw millions of dollars in it. But Lavar Ball isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. He’s here now, and we have to be selective when we pay attention to him as he is now his own separate entity, intentional or unintentionally so.

The only explanation is Lavar Ball is a box chocolate, you’re never know what you going get.

The New York Let Down

by Yusuf Gadlin

New York Knicks fans are tortured yet again.

The Knicks entered 2016-2017 season as a team on a mission. But they are about the leave the disastrous season having pressed the abort button.

You could point to a multitude of reasons as to why this season turned into a nightmare from hell. There’s the lackadaisical coaching, an inept owner, a old prick for a team president, or the fan favorite”Blame Melo” if you want to force yourself into some sort of false sense of closure. Ultimately, you must look at the players who refused to commit to one another.

Former Knicks guard Brandon Jennings entered the season clamoring to bring the Knicks back to its glory days. 60 games later Jennings noticed everyone’s pride and ego refused to budge, and he got the he’ll out of town. Now with the second seeded Washington Wizards, Jennings gushed “I’m in the same position I was in New York, but just in a better system for me personally and with a team that actually plays together.”

The Derrick Rose saga continues to get stranger by the seasons. Kicked out of Chicago in a contract year, the Knicks traded for the former MVP hoping he could help guide them back to the playoffs while being financially motivated. While the playoff part back fired, Rose has shown teams around the league he still has the juice, but only on the offensive end of the floor. This by far has been Derrick Rose worst defensive season. The only thing worse than Rose defense is when he disappeared on the Knicks organization January 11th, failing to let everyone know about his whereabouts. Rose cited a family emergency for the weird disappearance, but there was his coach, Jeff Hornacek trying to shield for Rose. “We’re all in this together, “We all think of ourselves as a big family.”

Lies, all lies.
Again, if your looking for closure, tell yourself Carmelo Anthony should have sacrificed more. Tell yourself Kriptas Porzingus is soft and needs to toughen up. Tell yourself it’s the out dated triangle offense , or that damn broken down Joakim Noah. Tell yourself if only Charles Oakley never showed up that night or if Phil Jackson never tweeted.

But the fact is , selfishness and ego destroyed your 2016-2017 New York Knicks

#NBA #DerrickRose #NYKnicks #JoakimNoah

Houston: We Have A Finals

James Harden

by Yusuf Gadlin
There is something special about the Houston Rockets this year. They are currently the third seed in the NBA’s Western Conference with a 30-9 record trailing the Golden State Warriors 2.5 games for the overall seed in the Western Conference.

Do we thank James Harden or Rockets coach Mike D’ Antoni? Seriously.

I’m really feeling this free flowing offense spear headed by James Harden who is thriving tremendously (28ppg, 8.2 reb, 11.8 ast) basically reenacting the great Steve Nash Phoenix Suns days. Nash won two most valuable player awards playing in coach D’Antoni Ak47 style like Offense (shoot,shoot,shoot.) Nash and D’Antoni made two back to back Western conference finals (2004,2005) losing in both appearances.

Similar circumstances may play out in 2017, but then again, nobody feared Steve Nash the way some, if not most, fear the beard(James Harden)in today’s NBA.

The left handed Two-God not two guard cannot be stopped with the basketball in his hands, period. Just watch YouTube highlights if you don’t believe me. Where I start to raise my eyebrows, yes both, is that James Harden is leading the league in assists at 12 dimes a night.

I love the roster construction of this team too. The veteran sharp shooting of Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon both averaging 14ppg and 18ppg respectively. The experience/inexperienced physical toughness combination of NeNe Hilario and my favorite, Montrezl Harrell. The gritty and grimy thug life defenders in Patrick Beverly , Trevor Ariza (NBA champion) , and Corey Brewer (NBA champion). And to top it all off, a nice solid athletic x-factorish center in Clint Capela (11ppg, 8rebs.) Theres no doubt about it, this Rockets team is oozing with talent .

The key for the Rockets making the NBA Finals is a premium on health, hunger, and chemistry. Sounds cliche, but if this team can be as silky smooth as those 2004, 2005 Phoenix Suns, NBA Finals here they come. The difference is those Phoenix Suns teams couldn’t, didn’t, acted, or probably was instructed not to play defense. This Houston team has the defensive Dogs to make enough stops even though anything remotely close to Defense was shredded in the coaching book of Mike D’Antoni years ago. Just a small inference on Defense should be implemented in the game plan and I’m picking the Rockets to go the NBA Finals.

#HoustonRockets #JamesHarden #NBA

Bad Bad Fit, For Rajon Rondo


by Yusuf Gadlin

CHICAGO —  The Chicago Bulls organization faces another tough decision. This time with one of thier”prized” free agents, ironically, bull-headed Rajon Rondo.

The creatively imprisoned guard is on his way out of the Windy City, it’s just a matter of time. After being suspended for throwing a towel at an assistant coach, and being told he looked old and slow by Bulls second year head coach Fred Hoiberg,  Rondo now finds himself glued to the bench and reduced to an angry cheerleader.
Rondo says he was told the team would play a certain way and that he would be able to create , improvise, and unveil masterpieces on nightly bases with the basketball in hands. Twenty-nine games in with the bulls who currently sit as the eight seed , the relationship s over before it ever really started.  Rondo is currently shooting a career worst 36% from the field while averaging peanuts, 7 points and 7 assist.
This was just a bad fit.The cool , laid back, high I.Q,  extremely cerebral point guard doesn’t  mesh well with orders or being told how to create with a basketball in his hands.  ESPECIALLY FROM FRED HOIBERG  who has no clue as to what an NBA coach is. Every coach , in any sport, on any level, needs to be able to compromise with any and all  of their players . You have to be so secure, so self assured and understanding enough  as a coach to realize your player is not defying your authority when challenging your philosophical principles but yet wanting you to be flexible and work to their strengths Coach Hoiberg doesn’t  understand this, at all. That is why he chose to flex his muscles and bench a talented player like a Rondo rather than relinquish some power or take the simplistic route and just compromise with a player that has an NBA championship on his resume.
This inst the Rick Carlisle situation in Dallas even though the ending will be the same for Rajon Rondo, a untimely and a relief-like exit. those were two champions butting heads.Here in Chicago , there is a coach who doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing. Everyone knows it, but somehow Rondo will be made the scapegoat.
Rajon Rondo needs a championship coach that is willing to compromise and confident in his coaching abilities . That is clearly not Fred Hoiberg or with the Chicago Bulls.
#NBA #ChicagoBulls #RajonRondo #FredHoiberg

Happy New Year!


Here’s wishing all of Yusuf On Sports readers and subscribers a wonderful new year. Since becoming the sports editor of Blackhawk News, I’ve been on a hiatus from posting sports updates here. But I plan to be back in the coming weeks with my unique perspective on sports! #2017 #HappyNewYear