Goodbye Lance Parody

Today marks the final day that my All-Time favorite sports talk host takes a break from sports talk radio.  I’ve been listening to my man Lance Zierlein for over 20 years like a lot of other sports talk enthusiasts in the greater Houston area have been.  LZ, as he is commonly referred to as, always gave me a lane to express my love for music and sports by playing my goofy sports parodies over the airwaves.  So here’s my swan song for my boy(Even though we’ve never actually chilled or met) LZ.

 

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Episode 1 of The New Corner Store Sports Talk Podcast

It’s the middle of the night young world and yes I’m still loitering at my favorite corner store cuz I ain’t got no life.  But really I just came up here to invite u to check out how we popped our proverbial podcast cherry last Friday morning.  Speaking of my boy DC and myself.  It’s just the beginning for our weekly show and we got big plans for that thang.  So if u have an hour to spare give it the once around and get back with us with ur Ish(Shit) Talk or Props. Just get back at us.

https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/cornerstoresportstalk/episodes/2017-04-22T08_37_41-07_00

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James Harden Plays With The Craftiness of a Throw back White Player

I must admit that this headline is my first attempt at a click-bait style title.  Not really my bag.  I just like to lay it out there and have a sensible rap session about whatever’s on the table to discuss.  These days journalists and bloggers have twisted the game up so bad that you have to say the most outlandish things just to get anyone to pay the slightest bit of attention to the submission.

The title of this article is my attempt at playing up the outdated stereotype that black players are the more athletic while the white players are more cerebral.  Of course this is foolishness based off of racial generalizations, but the generalizations are based in a bit of truth.  The problem is that most people based the blanket statement on race and race alone when it’s more about the physical make up of the individual player.  This year’s NBA MVP race proves this point to me more than any other topic that I’ve encountered in recent memory.

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Former Teammates Harden and Westbrook are still the front runners for the 2017 NBA MVP award

The 2017 NBA MVP race is nearing a head but there’s no clear cut favorite up to this point.  Lebron James and the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard have been strong candidates this entire season, but the main two names that continuously come up are OKC’s Russell Westbrook and Houston’s James Harden.  These two players have differing styles that bring my point home.

Westbrook is an explosive athlete who drives to the hole with no damns given.  He has been criticized for being “out of control” in many occasions.  I’ve even said that during his early years he played “dumb” like he didn’t know or cared about what was standing in front of him.  He just knew that he was gonna go.  Harden on the other hand is much less athletic than Russ.  He’s not a high flyer or speedster, but he has learned how to manipulate the flow of the game so that it moves at his pace.

Back in the days, especially after the integration of the major professional sports leagues, the white players were considered nonathletic but smart while the black players were considered great athletes but unable to think on a critical level.  These days it should be apparent that it’s really more about a person that knows they’re physically gifted verses those that know their physical deficiencies.

Athletes that are simply more talented tend to ignore the fundamentals of their respective sport because it just comes to them easily.  I like to say that they just come out of their mamas that way. Then you have the players that are more talented than the normal Joe and Jane, but when it comes to competing at the highest level they just don’t have that “quick twitch” that the superior athletes have.  Those are the ones that spend countless hours perfecting their crafts so that they can find the little advantages that will keep them competitive or even give them a good shot at winning.

I’d like to name a few examples from both sides of the argument from different sports.  The Houston Texans’ Jadeveon  Clowney is that freak athlete who ran in the high 4.4’s in his 40 yard dash even though he weighs over 260 lbs.  This young man gets off the line of scrimmage faster than most opposing offensive lineman can come out of their stances.  His strength is apparent in the way he sets the edge against much bigger men when he’s defending against the run, but his lack of refined pass rush moves have caused him to have low sack numbers in many analysts’ opinions.  Once he develops those techniques he’s going to be an extremely dangerous man.

Jadeveon Clowney

RAC and Vrabel will tighten up his technique

Steve Largent wasn’t the fastest wide receiver in the NFL, but he retired as the all-tine leader in the major statistical categories because he knew how to get separation by running precise routes and use defensive backs’ momentum against them.

Benard Hopkins was never known to have the quickest or heaviest hands, but he ruled boxing’s middleweight division for a decade because very few people in boxing history was better at the tactical side of ring generalship.  He made a career out of making younger more athletic fighters look foolish.

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On the other hand, Adrien Broner has that wow factor at times.  He’s a former four division champ and the reason he remains a former champ is because he refuses to take the science of boxing seriously.  He seems content with losing to hungrier, more focused, less talented fighters.

Atlanta Braves legend Greg Maddux was known as the professor because he could school any bad-ass with a bat on any given night.  He didn’t blow batters with velocity, but could could place that ball where he wanted which was exactly where the batters couldn’t hit it.

Tom Chambers, Rex Chapman, and Birdman Andersen were all very athletic NBA players who happened to be white, but neither was on Kevin McHale’s level when it came to basketball footwork.  Neither one of them could pull a Bill Laimbeer and psych out an entire Portland Trailblazers roster in the NBA finals.

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The late Tony Gwynn didn’t have the body of a Greek or African god, but he perfected the art hitting the baseball.  Gwynn is universally recognized in the baseball world as one of history’s greatest hitters.

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I remember reading where former NBA star Nick Van Exel said that his friend Steve Francis only relied on his athleticism and never learned how to play basketball.  He went on to say that once Steve experienced a few injuries he no longer had the explosiveness that was his trademark which caused his NBA career to come to a premature close.

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Some athletes learn how to combine the physical and mental aspects of the game and go on to become the Michael Jordan’s, Larry Bird’s, Serena Williams’, JJ Watts, Muhammad Ali’s, Derek Jeter’s, Jerry Rice’s, Willie Mays’, John Stockton’s ,Steve Nash’s and Floyd Mayweather’s of the world.

So to close this thing out, even though I’m not the biggest supporter of Harden’s style of play, I have to give him all of the props in the world for being in the position he’s in.  He’s developed a style of play that highlights what he does well, and compensates for where he lacks.  He’s proven, though far from the first to do so, that being a crafty cerebral player isn’t exclusive to white athletes.  There are only a few games left in the 2017 regular season so lets see if he can prove to the voters that he deserves the MVP over his former more athletic teammate Westbrook.

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Ali IS My Hero

What it is world? 12 coming atcha again from a somber place in my mind. A few hours ago one of modern history’s most revered human beings closed his eyes on this side and woke up in the land of the ancestors. At least that’s how an African traditional spiritual practitioner like myself would phrase it.

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Muhammad Ali didn’t die because he constructed an impregnable legacy that can’t be swept away by something as petty as time. As a matter of fact time is his legacy’s ally. I believe that he will become one of those historical figures that become mythological tribal gods after so many years pass.  Look up Imhotep and Saint Nick and you’ll see where I’m going with that point.

Anyway, I didn’t want to write this article about the many exploits or the countless accolades that The GOAT tallied up in his seemingly fictional life. There are literally hundreds of thousands of literary works that cover nearly every single moment of his life. If I did that, then I’ll just be taking bits and pieces of every other story that was written about him. That ain’t real.

I instead chose to write about me. Sounds narcissistic I know, but nobody can tell my tale like me. It’s not really about me, but it’s more about the part of Ali’s journey from the Louisville Lip to World icon that I am able to apply to my journey and make it better.

Muhammad Ali IS my hero. Being an African traditional spiritualist I don’t subscribe to the concept of death as we’ve been taught in the European Christian western hemisphere. There’s physical death and spiritual death. Physical death is only a transitional point. It’s like he rode a bus to a transit center and got off to get on another bus. Spiritual death is worse than the damnation of The Abrahamic faiths because it means you cease to exist period. In ancient Egypt you could go on to be one with Asar aka Osiris and have eternal life or suffer the turmoil of being cast down to the monster Ammit which is the equivalent of the the Christian hell somewhat. The difference is that you have the opportunity to repent while in “hell” and eventually have everlasting life. The real bad folk are just erased from existence. No coming back from that. Ali will never cease to exist. So he IS my hero.

I saw most of the movies and documentaries that were produced about him, even the one he starred in himself entitled The Greatest. I know most of the trivia about his life. Here’s a question. What was the first piece of Nation of Islam ideology that a young Cassius grasped on to? Answer… A song that Louis Farrakhan wrote entitled A White Man’s Heaven is a Black Man’s Hell.

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Told you I knew the trivia, but again I want to touch on a different subject. I want to highlight how his imperfections made him perfect. People get perfect and mistake free confused all of the time. Being perfect means to behave according to your design. Humans were not designed to be mistake free. If we were then we wouldn’t make any mistakes. We have the ability to reason and rationalize. If we mess up,then we do better next time if we recognize our wrong doing. At least we have the ability to.

Ali messed up all of the time. What made him perfect in those instances is that he recognized his mistakes, called himself out on those mistakes, and went about the business of correcting those mistakes. That’s perfect according to the design of a human being in comparison to other animals.

He looked flawless in many of his in ring battles like the time in the Houston Astrodome when he made Cleveland Big Cat Williams look like an inanimate punching bag, but he wasn’t as pristine as his bravado portrayed.

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He was really insecure in his younger days. He admitted that he wasn’t a very good student in school. In fact he failed his draft test miserably. He was classified 1y. He even got on camera and said “I said I was the greatest not the smartest(more trivia). He cheated on his wives which he admitted that he was very weak in that department. He taunted Joe Frazier unmercifully, but he didn’t even know how that effected Joe and his family until years later. He thought it was all in fun, but Joe cried decades later about it on camera. Ali apologized several times to Joe and his family for his selfishness and inconsiderate behavior and they made up before Joe passed from what I read.

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There are many more examples of fallible living that I could dig up for a man who lived for 74 years, but I think I’ve made my point. Now on to me. How do I use these things to better my life?

Ali came from being a young black man in pre civil rights Kentucky to being a rich and world famous heavyweight champion by the time he was 22. He’s been in the public eye since that time. So the world saw him grow from a boy to an iconic elder. He fell short right before the people’s eyes like any person would do. I choose to emulate his strength to admit my faults, admit that I’m weak when I’m weak, admit I’m scared when I’m scared, admit I’m wrong when I step out of line, and then have the fortitude that it takes to correct my short comings.

I choose to remain steadfast in my pursuit of my ultimate goals no matter what the world throws at me. Obstacles don’t make me change my goals they only make me find another path to them. Like Ali when he was banished and lost his title without being beaten in the ring, I’ll continue to fight the smartest fight possible in order to have my hands raised at the end of it all. Even if my skills aren’t the same as they were before the obstacle knocked me down I’ll find and employ a strategy that works for me so that I can be victorious.

ALI VS FOREMAN KINSHASA

Challenger Muhammad Ali raises his arms in victory after defending champion George Foreman is counted out by referee Zack Clayton, ending the WBA/WBC championship bout in Kinshasa, Zaire, on October 30, 1974. Ali regains the crown as the undisputed heavyweight world champion by KO in the eighth round of their fight dubbed ‘Rumble in the Jungle.’ (AP Photo)

That’s all that matters. Ali IS my hero and I’ll continue to draw from his spirit and legacy as I move forward along my path. #RhymeInParadise Champ.

#12 will be in touch

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Styles Make Fights, Not Names

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What up world? It’s March 26th ,2016 according to the Corner Store calendar and if you look at the above fight poster you’ll see that supremely talented and former world champion pugilist Andre S.O.G. Ward will be facing off against little known Cuban boxer Sullivan “El Más Talentoso” Barrera.

Like I said , Ward is an elite talent , but Barrera’s nickname alludes to his confidence in his own skills. El Más Talentoso translates to “The Most Talented”. As I’ve become accustomed to do, if I don’t know much about a fighter that’s squaring off against someone I’m more familiar with I like to watch some of their previous fights to get a feel for what they’re bringing to the ring.  Here is his most recent bout.

I’ve watched three of Barrera’s fights and what I saw made me say that he may not be the Most Talented fighter that I’ve ever seen, but he damn sure has the goods. His professional record is a bit misleading, because at 17-0 it would appear that he is a youngster with a padded record and very little experience.

On the contrary, Sullivan is 34 and like most Cuban born boxers he has an extensive amateur background with over 300 bouts to his credit. He also won the gold medal in the 2000 Jr Olympics in Budapest as a middle weight prior to turning pro in 2009.

From what I can tell Sullivan Barrera has a solid concept of punch placement and he throws a high volume of punches per round. He works the body consistently and effectively and he finishes his punches with a nice amount of pop. Basically, he has been coached well and he seems to know his way around the ring.  He knows that fighting Ward will be a challenge on multiple fronts. I found this Barrera quote from boxingnews24.com

“Andre Ward has his name and I’m fighting in his hometown (Oakland,Ca.) so I have to have the knockout,” said Barrera to fightnews.com. “I would have to even if we were fighting in Las Vegas. More than anything, I am determined to overcome this challenge.”

El Más Talentoso hasn’t squared up with a fighter in Ward’s class so he’s taking a step up in competition level, but Ward has his own stepping up to do. This will be his first fight in the light heavyweight division. He’s coming up from his super middleweight class to fight against a true light heavyweight in Barrera that can box and punch.  According to RingTv.com here’s what Ward had to say about the size difference.

“Though he may look bigger and may have bigger muscles, I think he’s going to realize that he’s not stronger,…And I think he’s going to have to deal with speed that he never dealt with before and conditioning that he never dealt with before so there are adjustments that are going to have to be made on both sides.”

We also can’t gloss over the fact that Ward has been extremely inactive over the last few years due to injuries and legal battles.  Boxing is just as much a muscle memory sport as it is a mental chess game so ring rust can most definitely be a factor.

Looking at them standing next to each other at the official weigh-in face off Barrera is slightly taller and appears to be naturally bigger.

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So what I’m saying is, don’t get it twisted and think that The Bay Area native Ward will have an easy tune up fight against a no name hot shot up and comer on his way to match up against heavy handed Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovolev.  Just because you may not have heard of Sullivan Barrera don’t assume that a no name has no skill or no chance.

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Two undefeated fighters going at it to see who gets to challenge Sergey Kovalev for all the marbles.

I believe that Ward is just too fast and skilled for Barrera and ultimately his talent will overshadow the talent of The Most Talented.  Ward wont be a stationary target like Murat, Campbell, and Lacy were. I don’t think it will be a knock out like the legendary Benard Hopkins predicted, but I think Ward will come away with a hard earned W. Winning this bout decisively may or may not work out in Ward’s favor when it comes to a future match up against Genady “GGG” Golovkin.  If Ward dominates Barrera and  happens to beat Kovalev, then I don’t see GGG risking his zero loss record against a fighter that’s bigger and faster than him, and also put the hands on legit light heavyweights.

Andre “S.O.G.” Ward says he’s moving up in weight because he’s more concerned about being great than fake.  He wants to be a multi divisional champ like Manny, Floyd, Jones Jr, Ray Robinson, Hitman Hearns, Ray Leonard etc.  I’m looking forward to seeing if he can achieve this goal.  As good as he is, it’s definitely not out of the question, but 1st he’ll have to get passed a hungry, skilled, powerful, crafty, nothing to lose attitude, Most Talented Cuban by the name of Sullivan Barrera.

12 is putting the Beer on ice 4 tonight.

Discount Double Standard

My video covered much of what I wanted to say on the topic, before my phone froze up on me, so I won’t elaborate any further on the topic.  I’ll just post a few videos that relate…

This is a portion of a letter that Joe Louis wrote about his relationship with Jack Johnson…

“Jack Johnson, after decades of boasting and white-womanizing and running from the law, thought he was going to bring his fat old ass into my championship camp and take center stage. I told Johnson what my people told him: get the hell away from us. We don’t like your style, we don’t like your mouth, we don’t want your problems and you’re not going to give us any. When he realized he was back on the street, Johnson began calling me Uncle Tom and saying I had a glass jaw and he’d have killed me. I would’ve given him the Schmeling treatment if he’d been around. I really didn’t need to, though. People on Harlem streets more than once punched him for insulting me. I loved hearing that.

Unlike Johnson I wanted a clean image. And I had one. I kind of kept it, too

And I was right.  Joe was born in Alabama.  He’s listed as a Detroit fighter so I was a bit confused when I recorded this video about that particular subject.

Here’s another video about Muhammad Ali confronting a white woman about wanting an arrogant nigger to stay in his place.  I don’t think that this particular woman was going there but when he heard her say something about him being arrogant it set him off.  I think he heard all of those other white people from past experiences coming out of her mouth.

Bottom line is that most white people don’t understand or give a damn about Black/African heritage and they want all of us to live according to their cultural perceptions.  That’s where the “good negro” concept came from. The bigger problem is that most black people don’t know or give a damn about our own heritage and so we can’t refute the ignorant statements that come our way.  As I said in the video, it’s mostly an older generational thing and the white people that grew up in the hip hop culture are much less likely to have these types of feelings because they have interacted within the cultural framework and see how it goes down. Like Stephen A said, nobody got a problem with Aaron Rogers doing his choreographed “Discount Double Check” move after he scores or psycho Tom going crazy after a celebration so the double standard is absolutely in effect.  As for the “stay in your place and be a good negro” mentality goes I have three words for you….”FUCK THAT SHIT”.

12 says Do U Caaaaaaaaammmmm!