As I wrote this, my favorite NFL team, the Chicago Bears, was playing on national television against their fierce rivals the Green Bay Packers on a Thursday night. It’s one of the oldest rivalries in football and even though the Bears are bad this year, I still support them throughout the struggles. I’ve spent the majority of my life rooting for a team who mostly won 5-7 games each year, save a few. That’s what being a fan is all about. While I’ll always support and root for them, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to watch every game.
Instead of that game, I watched the Chicago Cubs face off against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game five of the NLCS. So why did I choose that game over my favorite football team on national television? It seems like an increasing number of people are beginning to follow that trend.
I was looking through pictures from the Cavaliers championship parade and rally in downtown Cleveland, and after seeing 1.3 million people jammed like sardines in the city, I wondered something. What is it about sports that is so powerful? Why is this such a magical moment for the Cavaliers and a celebration of the city of Cleveland itself? Why did my usually calm and reserved father give me the biggest hug with tears streaming down his face after the clock hit zero in game 7 of the 2016 NBA finals?
You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather, much like you can plan a trip to the U.S. Open final, but you can’t predict who you’ll be seeing.
When Serena Williams won at Wimbledon in June, tying Steffi Graf with 22 career Grand Slam titles, I decided to grab a pair of tickets to the U.S. Open final in New York City. Given Serena’s recent run of fantastic play, I figured I’d have a really good chance to see that record eclipsed live.
Fast forward to Thursday, September 8th, three days before the U.S. Open Final. Serena Williams was coming off of an intense three set victory over fifth ranked Simona Halep, but only needed to get past a seemingly easier foe in tenth ranked Karlonia Pliskova to reach the final.
Pliskova won the first set decisively, and won an incredibly close second set that was capped off by a Williams double fault. The U.S. Open Final was set. (2) Angelique Kerber vs. (10) Karolina Pliskova. The chance of witnessing history was all but gone. Despite my great disappointment, and despite knowing very little about either participant, I made my way down to Flushing Meadows to soak up as much of the U.S. Open as I possibly could.
The three point shot in the NBA seems to have taken over the game over the past few seasons. With the emergence and success of the playing style of the Golden State Warriors, many teams are looking to replicate their success in any way possible. Teams have always looked to sharpshooters, such as Reggie Miller, Ray Allen, Steve Kerr, Kyle Korver, and plenty others. But now, NBA teams are looking to build a roster full of guys who are capable of shooting from distance, not just one or two shooters.
While the three point shot can be entertaining, it can be just the opposite when teams are overly inefficient with it and when players who can’t make the shot frequently enough still attempt it regularly. There is not much more frustrating in basketball than watching a team struggle to make threes, yet still attempt nearly 20 threes per game. It seems like a wasted possession every time, and in a way it is if you’re making less than 30% of your three point shots. What can the NBA do to ensure that the three point shot doesn’t envelop the game?
The 2016-17 NBA season is upon us already! With the help of the Olympics, the time spent without basketball seemed much shorter, and the NBA preseason is already underway.
As usual, the NBA offseason was not without its storylines. Players switch teams during free agency, and as a result, new rivalries form, old rivalries are rekindled, and established rivalries strengthen. Teams are heading into camps with a sense of optimism as the 82 game regular season approaches in just a matter of weeks, and they’re trying to get a feel for new faces in the locker room as well as new competition around the league.
Throughout the preseason I’ll break down each division, team by team, in the order in which I think they’ll finish. I’ll review their offseason and look ahead to the 2016-17 season and what may lie ahead, starting in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.