Slanted Sports Episode 2

In this week's installment, Shannon fills Eb in on the NBA Draft because she missed it do to the sudden death of Michael Jackson. They also talk about some major trades that went down in the NBA the past week. Check it out!

Dont forget to check out the bonus clip of the week where we talk more about our memories of Michael Jackson at the bottom of the page in the featured video section.

Tennis grunts distracting?

Former No. 1 women's tennis pro Chris Everet was recently interviewed by Reuters saying that the grunts by the tennis players today are becoming a bit much. According to Reuters, Everet said, "It comes before they hit the shot. That's the first thing you hear and you are kind of like thrown off guard as a player and then before you know the ball gets past you."
Is it just me or has Everet admitted to letting the other players throw her off her own game? Tennis, for the most part, is an individual sport. Everything starts and ends with you. The coaches can't even coach you while you're playing. It's up to you to take what they have taught and put it into practice.
As a former athlete of mostly team sports, when there is a loss, there is enough blame to go around. Somebody didn't rebound, somebody else had an off shooting night and somebody else wasn't covering their man. My point is, in team sports, there's always some one else to blame. In individual sports, there's just you and the opponent.
I said that to say, if the opponent gets you off your game, it's your fault. It's your job to practice game like situations. What's to stop you from having someone grunt at you while you practice? If you ask me, Everett is like the chick who stands up for her solo on Sunday mornings sayings she has a cold and asking the church to pray with her as she does the song. What they're really saying is "if I eff this up, it ain't my fault!"
When I was throwing shot and discus, if I didn't place well, it was MY fault. Not the big chick who could throw the damn things a mile. It was all mine. Maybe I didn't train hard enough or maybe I just sucked, but it was no one's fault but mine. So, Everett, accept it, you suck under pressure. Move on, start to commentate. Get a real job, just make sure you're not under pressure.
You'll suck at it!


Michael Jackson the athlete?

Michael Jackson is known for so many things, and although not an athlete in the traditional sense, the energy and dedication it takes to put on the performances he did, takes being an athlete to the next level. Sista Sports wanted to take a moment to share this classic footage of Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan playing a little 1 on 1.



Is Manny Manny without help of PEDs?

Manny Ramirez has been a consistent double-digit home runner for most of his career with his peak performance between 1998 - 2005. Now he's coming off a 50-game suspension for violating the league's drug policy. In his past two outings, he's 0 for. Doesn't matter what that last number is, he hasn't hit anything with speed or flight on it.

You either love him or hate him. Some baseball fans aren't impressed with his selfish attitude. Some have put up with it because of his numbers and his contribution to the teams he's been a part of. He may run his mouth but he could at least back it up... until we found out there was something behind that talent. Now, I doubt anyone will have tolerance for anything Manny Ramirez does. What I'm wondering is will he be able to repeat his performance without the help of PEDs or has Manny run his course?

Another question to ponder...

Will Manny continue to be the same "uncooperative" Manny or does he know he doesn't have a leg to stand on with that attitude now he's been busted?


Everybody Loves A Winner

Everybody loves a winner.

That's an old saying in sports.

It is very true. As long as you're winning...things can be easily forgotten. These thoughts came to mind last week as I watched Kobe Bryant celebrate winning an NBA championship with his Los Angeles Laker teammates. Kobe stood on the stage and accepted the MVP trophy after finishing off the Orlando Magic. He was beeming. Even those of us who aren't fans of Kobe (like me)...could not help but see the happiness on his face.

In 2003, Bryant made headlines when he was accused of sexual assault at a hotel in Edwards, Colorado by a hotel employee. Bryant admitted an adulterous sexual encounter with the accuser, but denied the sexual assault allegation. In September 2004, prosecutors dropped the case after his accuser informed them that she was unwilling to testify. Bryant's accuser brought a separate civil suit against him that was ultimately settled out of court. I don't know what happened between Kobe and that woman. Neither do you. The two of them are the only ones who really know what happened. Nevertheless, I won't pass judgement on Kobe. Back then, the future looked bleak for Kobe. Even though the case was settled, he was no longer one of the most marketable faces of the NBA. Avertisers could not afford to market and promote him the way that they once did. Not only was he trying to overcome public opinion, he was playing without Shaquille O'Neal.

Time heals wounds. Winning cures all. That's what Kobe would quickly learned. He elevated his game on the court and off the court. Kobe became more personable with his teammates as well as the media. Slowly, people began to see Kobe in a different light. On the court, he was winning the fans back. He helped the Lakers reach the NBA Finals last year vs the Boston Celtics. Despite losing to the Celtics, the Lakers had the best record during that season. The Lakers had more nationally televised games than anyother team in the NBA. From a marketing standpoint, Kobe was back. Although he lost in the Finals, he played for the 2008 Olympic Team and led the team to a gold medal. In my opinion, that team would NOT have won it without Kobe.
This year, Kobe played some of his best basketball as he enters the prime of his career. I noticed that after Laker games, you'd see Kobe kissing his wife in the tunnel near the locker room. Their intimate moment was always caught on camera. Why? It's marketing 101. It's the re-branding of an athlete. Anytime an athlete falls...it gives a chance for the the fans and the public to pick them back up. By winning a championship, Kobe has come full circle. Along the way, he's made more fans. He has made people like me...who didn't care for him before...secretly root for him and really appreciate his talent.
Kobe's story is not unique to just him. We've seen this before. In 2000, Baltimore Raven linebacker Ray Lewis was facing a murder charge following a fight between his friends and 2 men after a Super Bowl party in Atlanta. Two men were left dead on the street. Lewis proclaimed his innocence. He was eventually charged with obstruction of justice and served no time. The following football season, Lewis led the Ravens to the Super Bowl where they defeated the New York Giants. Lewis was named the MVP. He is often called the best linebacker of his generation and is regarded as on of the best players to ever play the game. Ray Lewis is one of the premier faces of the NFL.
We all go through trials and tribulations in life. Athletes are no different. Anytime an athlete falls from grace, most of us want to see them rise back to the top. Why? Because everybody loves a winner. Guys like Kobe Bryant and Ray Lewis are winners. Winning makes things better. If you get into trouble, adapt to your new situation, then overcome.
Hey Mike Vick, are you listening?


WNBA: I love this game!

And you will too if you're susceptible to subliminal messages.

No really, I do. You should too.
Basketball is one of the most beloved sports in this country. Americans buy up these replica jerseys that bear the names of their favorite players. We stand in ridiculous lines to buy overpriced shoes endorsed by these guys and cats have been following the corn row, tattoo trend for years all set by these basketball players.
If that's not enough, this year's playoff games set record highs for viewership. Most of us tuned in, what seemed like every night, for weeks to see LeBron, Kobe, Carmello and Dwight battle to edge out their competition in points, rebounds, assists and of course wins.
Now that the championship series is over and Kobe & Co., have emerged as victors, basketball fans everywhere have packed up their gear and started the slow, agonizing countdown to November until they can see a great game. But do they?

I say they don't. I say, they have all summer long to watch great basketball games if you live in ATL, ChiTown, L.A. NYC, Minneapolis, Seattle, Sacramento, San Antonio, Phoenix, Indianapolis or Washington, D.C. And yes, you have to be in the vicinity of these cities because you WON'T see the WNBA games on TV, cable or otherwise.
It's sad, really. In the 12 years they've been in existence, at least four teams (Cleveland, Charlotte, Houston and Miami) have folded two have moved and I'm about five hours north of my nearest team. These women go out there every practice, every game and everything in between to give their all and it's not good enough - not for American sports fans. At least not until the Olympic games, anyway.
Every four years, 15 of these women become America's Sweethearts because they have been the ONLY team, women's or men's, in American Olympic history to win the gold medal four times in a row. Look it up!

Now these ladies are still struggling to fill even the bottom half of the stadiums they play in, you can't find their merchandise anywhere and they still make virtually NO money. They're forced to play professionally overseas, where they are treated like basketball royalty, in the off season to make their ends meet.
You'd be hard pressed to find any of them, other than Candace Parker, on the cover of any magazine or as the subject of any sports story or talk show. Why not? Why not? Why the hell not?!
I'll tell you why, there's no dunking. They don't run fast enough. All the girls don't fit America's standard of beauty. And the women are actually covered up. I'd bet my rent check that if these women were wearing tight, form-fitting clothes where you can see their all assets bouncing about this would be the highest rated sport outside of football!
Look at the talk Serena Williams got from that cat suit she wore a few years back. Folks weren't talking about her athletic prowess, they were talking about how good she looked in that cat suit. Her being seen in that outfit had people tuning in to watch what she'd wear next. In the process, they saw that she is actually a great athlete and, pardon my expression, but she be slaying bitches on the court!

Should they resort to such measures to draw in a crowd? What about actually enjoying the sport and the SPORTSMANSHIP? What about applauding these women who use teamwork and defense to win ball games without relying on the one star on the team? How about we use this to encourage the little girls and young women who are into sports more than they are hair and make up? Don't they deserve to see images they can identify with?
Please, for the summer, take out of your mind that these are "women ballplayers" and just see them as ballplayers - period. Take a couple hours, watch a game. You might actually enjoy it! I know I do.


Allow Me To Introduce Myself…

Hi, I’m The Jaded NYer, and I’m a baseball-aholic.

Hi, Jaded!

With that out of the way, I wanted to take the opportunity, before I get into full swing with post after post about how the Mets are making my blood pressure go off the charts, to explain to you my obsession with the sport. The following is taken/revamped from a previous blog post, written during the 2008 post-season after my team CHOKED yet again, that should clarify it all for you:

My love of baseball has nothing to do with the home team or the stats or even the players that make me swoon (I see you Johan!).

It's the stolen bases, the double plays, the grand slam home runs, the outfielder diving to catch the not-so-easy out, and then playing the rest of the game with a stained uniform- a badge of honor that stain, a reminder of his heroic feat.

It's the crowd booing the umpire, it's the coach getting kicked out of the game, and it’s the empty-dug-out fights on the pitcher's mound.

Shut out games, no-hitters, extra innings, 3 men on 2 outs and 2 strikes in the bottom of the ninth... you hold your breath, and the man at bat knows it feels it and the fate of his team rests........on..........this..........next........pitch

The crowd follows the ball... will the outfielder catch it or will he let it fall? Will it leave the park or bounce off the wall? Fans keep watch with hearts stuck in their throats...

It's watching the older guys pull miracles out of aching bodies, and the young’uns making themselves known

It's the peanuts & crackerjack & hot dogs and beer

It's the 7th inning stretch

It's wearing your favorite player's jersey proudly on your way to the game, and for me and mine...

...it's being able to pass down your love for the game to the next generation.

I love you baseball, whether my team wins or not.

MetsWatch '09: W33-L34-GB2.0
Next game: 6/22/09 VS. STL @ Citifield, Tim Redding (#44, 0-2 for the season) pitching


Meet Sports Agent, Rob London

Any true sports fan is not only a fan of what happens on the field, but the entire sports industry intrigues us. An industry that has a high amount of African American players, but a scarce amount of African Americans that manage their careers. I was excited when I was introduced to Robert London, VP Sports and Entertainment at Dow Lohnes over twitter and was able to get him on the phone to pick his brain about the agency side of sports. Listen to the full interview here and key points are transcribed below.

Eb- What does being the VP of Sports and Entertainment entail?
RL- Wow do you have all day? No uuumm...Basically its making sure that all of our NFL Client's brands are protected. We have to create his brand and create his persona, so we do a lot with trying to match certain companies up with players that meet his personality, his style, and meets his look. Every brand has a specific look and we try to make sure each client has a branding look.

Eb- Who are some clients you represent?
RL-Jackson Jaguars starting RB Maurice Jones-Drew;

Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte, total we represent about 25 NFL guys.

Eb-How do you go about pitching a new client? Is it based solely on talent?
RL- I don't like to sign guys or deal with guys who I'm going to have to get a call from at 2 in the morning. I don't like the whole "hey can you come pick me up from jail." I'll do anything I need to do for my clients and they know that, but I approach certain types of guys. For instance, guys that have a solid family background, you know what you're going to get with some of those guys. You find out who players really are when you give them a whole bunch of money. You see a player that's drafted in the 1st round several years ago that played CB, he had gotten into some trouble in college and since he went in the 1st round he got 13 million dollars. He's the same person. Now you see who he really is, he thinks he's above the law, thinks he's better than everybody else, he gets in trouble, he's throwing up money in the strip club, and stuff like that. That's who that person is. Those aren't the type of people that I attract. I attract players and clients who understand that the NFL is a means to a greater end.

Eb- Who are some top African American agents besides yourself?
RL- There are a couple of them out there but you don't hear about them because for the most part a lot of agents stay behind the curtain. You don't see most of them in the limelight. Without mentioning their names, players like Larry Fitzgerald, I believe he has a black agent. Donovan McNabb has a black agent. So you don't hear about those guys, but you look at the players, and you say wow, these players are well behaved, these players are very business savvy, and they know the opportunity that they have in front of them. Then you say and they are represented by some African American business men and that's impressive.

Eb-Having a dream job there are still challenges you have to face that the world doesn't know. They only show the glory side of the biz, what are some challenges you face?
RL- Yeah people see the red carpet stuff, and that's a culmination of hours and hours of hard work in the office. Tons of phone calls, tons of negotiations, tons of hanging up on people and getting hung up on. There is so much that goes into deals and representing these guys. There isn't enough time in the day to get through everything we need to do to represent these players so I work 24hours a day. Whether I'm in my office, or on the plane, or on a commercial shoot, its a 24 hour a day job and it never stops.

Eb-Regular people have access to celebs and athletes that they never had before because of mediums like Twitter. You and a couple of your clients are on twitter so how do you as an agent try to make sure they are using those mediums to their advantage because what they put out there can make or break them?
RL- I let my guys know hey, everything that you say can and will be held against you. So use some judgment and some common sense with everything you say. If you use that as a rule of thumb no one can ever attack you. People can always twist your words around in the media but if you're doing the right thing to begin with, no harm can really come of it. You have the myspace thing, you have facebook, the twitter, all these outlets are to benefit these athletes and even me. If I need a message to get out about my client, its easy to put out amongst the millions of people on twitter. Everyone can get the truth versus something that a media source heard about these guys.

Eb- What kind of advice would you give someone that is trying to break into the business?
RL- I would tell them don't do it, it ain't worth your time. (Laughs)I don't need anymore competition in this business. (Laughs) No but what I would tell them to do is to go to Law School and learn about contracts. Learn the nuances of business. It's great to have an undergraduate degree but you have no experience in work or business at all, you really need some more backdrops so maybe go get a MBA. Then try to break into the field by interning with somebody. This industry is so competitive and people want to get into it so much that internships aren't paid. So you have be able to say I don't care if I have a 3month internship and I won't get paid because its the experience that I'm getting that is my payment. Also be ready to work 12-15 hours a day because that's what it's going to take.

To get more on the day to day of what its like to be a sports agent follow Rob on twitter:

Video: Clyde Frazier in-store

A couple months ago, I attended an event in Michael K in NYC where Clyde Frazier did an in-store for his classic puma shoe. Of course I got a flick with the legend.Then surfing the internet I found video of the event and I made a cameo...lol, so I had to post it.


Dirk Wants his Baby!

It is reported that Dirk Nowitzki wants sole custody of his unborn child. He filed a petition in a Dallas County Courthouse last week that he wants Crystal Taylor (if that's really her name) to give up the baby the minute she delivers if he's proven to be the father.

Her lawyer said to the Beaumont Enterprise, "Our only focus in this case is to ensure the laws of the state of Texas are complied with to protect any and all rights Taylor has in delivery and her rights as a mother." Interesting. It's quite unusual how this woman didn't follow any of the laws of the state of Texas before she got arrested but wants to comply with the laws now that the father wants the baby.

However, I have to give it to Dirk. Even though he has problems stepping it up on the court when the Mavericks need him, he did manage to step up to his role as a father when it became apparent he was going to be one. Kudos to you Dirk.


Stallworth's Verdict=Dogs>People

I was watching SportsCenter, and I heard the news that Donte' Stallworth pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the killing of 59 year old Mario Reyes who was waiting on the bus. His sentencing, 30 days in jail.

Are u kidding me?

He was wasted and took another man's life and all he got was a month in jail? Michael Vick got 23 months over dog fighting, which they still don't have any hard evidence he was involved other than the house where his family lived was in his name. Now I'm just as happy as the next person when a Black man beats the system, but what that says to me is the justice system values a dog's life over mine. Or maybe it's just me......


Slanted Sports Debut

Today was the debut episode of Slanted Sports with Eb and Shannon. An edgy sports vlog that we'll post every Saturday where we discuss hot topics in the sports world. The raw, uncut, crossing all lines sports perspective. All the crazy things relating to sports that you always think, but never say, we are going to lay them all on front street. Both sports critics in our own right, we can't do anything but give it to you straight.

Each week we will also give out a Slanted Slap of the Week award to a deserving athlete that we feel needs to be slapped. We will also feature a short hilarious clip in the "video of the day" section at the bottom of the home page.

In this debut webisode, Eb and Shannon discuss the NBA Finals, Michael Vick, 4th & Long, and the Slanted Slap of the Week Award goes to Brett Favre. Enjoy!

Don't forget to check back every Saturday for new webisodes!

You know you can check Eb out right here at Sista Sports on the daily but also make sure you check Shannon out every Saturday from 9am-12noon for Sports Saturday with Bomani Jones on 620 the Bull in Raleigh, NC. If you're not in the area they stream online HERE.