Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Kristaps Porzingis Interview: New York Knicks 1st-Round/4th-Overall Draft Pick

KP6 a.k.a. Godzingis

Interview: New York Knicks first-round draft pick Kristaps Porzingis

We met New York Knicks first-round draft pick Kristaps Porzingis at the Knicks training facility in Westchester recently. Last season, Kristaps, the 7-foot, 1-inch forward, played for Sevilla in the European League.
Q: Has it been difficult to adapt to the NBA's style of play?
A: It's different but I wouldn't say difficult. I watched a lot of NBA when I was a kid. Growing up and wanted to be one of the players. So I kind of know what it's going to be like playing, but for some leaguers it's their first experience and will take some time to adjust. I'll get there.
Q: Is there any way speaking three languages helps you on the court?
A: Sure, for example now my teammate Jose Calderon. He speaks Spanish so we'll be able to speak Spanish with him. The other team doesn't understand us.
Q: What do you want to see the most in New York?
A: I don't know. The city is beautiful. I haven't seen anything yet. I'm just looking forward to see the city and there's a lot of tourism here. Just see everything.
Q: Will you be cheering for the Mets or Yankees?
A: I don't know. I'm not a big baseball guy.
Q: Why didn't you enter the 2014 draft?
A: Because I knew once I signed up for the draft I wasn't going to stay there. They wanted me to stay one more year in Spain. Just to draw more attention. That was it.
Q: On the court is there a lot of trash talk that goes on?
A: In Spain a little bit, but not too much. I think it's more an American thing. In some there's no trash talk at all but maybe during the regular season.
Q: Why did you choose the uniform number 6?
A: Why? Because I played with 6 before. I chose number 6 because my brother used to wear number 6.
— Kristaps Kornrows —
Q: Why did you want to play for New York rather than any other team?
A: It was my dream to play for New York. It's a basketball city, all the fans, they're a little tough sometimes but they want you to play good and if you win games then they love you.
Q: What are your goals for the season?
A: Have a good season, want to win games and earn my minutes on the board. Just play hard and win games.
Q: What did you do after signing for the Knicks?
A: I celebrated with my family. Went out to dinner and that was it. It was a special moment. It was a dream come true for me to sign for the Knicks.
Q: What were your emotions when your fans were booing you when your name was called at the draft?
A: Just try to be calm and have it not bother you too much. You know how fans are. I want to turn those boos into cheers. — Sam Gibbs, Nate Harvey and Jarrett Nagengast (Kidsday reporters) | Sacramento Bee

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/entertainment/living/family/article43159431.html#storylink=cpy

Monday, November 16, 2015

Oscar De La Hoya's Open Letter To Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

Illustration by Peter Strain


This letter, written by Oscar de la Hoya, appears in the December 2015 issue of Playboy Magazine.
Dear Floyd:
You did it. You made it to the 49–0 mark, a milestone that you like to say only the great Rocky -Marciano reached but that was actually achieved by others, including my idol Julio César Chávez—but who’s counting? And now you’re retiring. Again. (The first time was after our fight in 2007.) This time you say it’s for real. You’re serious about hanging up the gloves. On to bigger and better things. So I’m writing to you today to wish you a fond farewell. Truth be told, I’m not unhappy to see you retire. Neither are a lot of boxing fans. Scratch that. MOST boxing fans. Why? Because the fight game will be a better one without you in it.
Let’s face it: You were boring. Just take a look at your most recent performance, your last hurrah in the ring, a 12-round decision against Andre Berto. How to describe it? A bust? A disaster? A snooze fest? An affair so one-sided that on one judge’s card Berto didn’t win a single round? Everyone in boxing knew Berto didn’t have a chance. I think more people watched Family Guy reruns that night than tuned in to that pay-per-view bout. But I didn’t mind shelling out $75 for the HD broadcast. In fact it’s been a great investment. When my kids have trouble falling asleep, I don’t have to read to them anymore. I just play them your Berto fight. They don’t make it past round three.
Another reason boxing is better off without you: You were afraid. Afraid of taking chances. Afraid of risk. A perfect example is your greatest “triumph,” the long-awaited record-breaking fight between you and Manny Pacquiao. Nearly 4.5 million buys! More than $400 million in revenue! Headlines worldwide! How can that be bad for boxing? Because you lied. You promised action and entertainment and a battle for the ages, and you delivered none of the above. The problem is, that’s precisely how you want it. You should have fought Pacquiao five years ago, not five months ago. That, however, would have been too dangerous. Too risky. You’ve made a career out of being cautious. You won’t get in the ring unless you have an edge. Sure, you fought some big names. But they were past their prime. Hell, even when we fought in 2007—and I barely lost a split decision—I was at the tail end of my career. Then later you took on Mexican megastar Saúl “Canelo” -Álvarez, but he was too young and had to drop too much weight.

Me? I got into this business to take chances. I took on all comers in their prime. The evidence? I lost. Six times. After 31 wins, my first loss was to Félix Trinidad, and I learned a valuable lesson that is true both in the ring and in life: Don’t run. I didn’t stop taking on the best of the best. After beating Derrell Coley, I took on “Sugar” Shane Mosley at the height of his powers—undefeated and considered by many to be the pound-for-pound best in the world. Again, I lost. After four wins against more top-ranked fighters I took on Mosley again. We can debate who actually won the rematch, but the judges had me losing that one as well.

Did I go easy after that? No. I moved up to middleweight to win a belt and faced one of the greatest middleweights of all time, Bernard Hopkins. After a body shot that I’m still feeling took me out of the fight, I took on two more guys at the height of their power who, many years later, would finally face each other at the ages of 36 and 38—Manny Pacquiao and you. When fighters do that—when they risk losing—that’s when everyone wins. The mantra of my firm Golden Boy Promotions is simple: the best taking on the best. It’s too bad you didn’t do the same.
You took the easy way out. When you weren’t dancing around fading stars (show idea for you: Dancing Around the Fading Stars), you were beating up on outclassed opponents. A lot of your opponents were above-average fighters, but they weren’t your caliber. You’re a very talented fighter, the best defensive fighter of our generation. But what good is talent if you don’t test it? Muhammad Ali did. Sugar Ray Leonard did. You? Not a chance. You spent 2000 to 2010 facing forgettable opening acts like Victoriano Sosa, Phillip N’dou, DeMarcus Corley, Henry Bruseles and Sharmba Mitchell. There were guys out there—tough scary opponents like Antonio Margarito and Paul Williams—but you ran from them. Were you ever on the track team in high school? You would have been a star.

Boxing will also be a better place without the Mouth. Your mouth, to be precise, the one that created “Money” Mayweather. I know you needed that Money Mayweather persona. Before he—and Golden Boy -Promotions—came along, nobody watched your fights. You couldn’t even sell out your hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Mouth made you money. More money than you could spend in a lifetime. (Wait, I’ve seen those episodes of 24/7. You probably will spend it all.) But the Mouth doesn’t have a place in boxing; save it for the WWE. Unless you’re someone like Ali, whose fights were as scintillating as his banter, the all-talk, no-entertainment model cheapens our sport. Boxers should speak with their fists and with their hearts. They don’t have to say anything to prove themselves. You’re going to have a legacy. You’ll be remembered as the guy who made the most money. As for your fights? We’ve already forgotten them.
Now that you’re stepping aside, attention can be turned to the sport’s real stars: the brawlers, the brave, the boxers who want nothing more than to face the best and therefore be the best. There’s Canelo, Kazakh KO sensation Gennady Golovkin, ferocious flyweight Román González, slugger Sergey Kovalev and a host of up-and-comers including Terence Crawford, Vasyl Lomachenko and Keith Thurman. Want to see what a monster fight looks like? Canelo takes on Miguel Cotto on November 21. It won’t do 4.4 million in PPV buys, but everyone who watches it will be thrilled. And that’s no empty promise.
You’re moving on to a new phase of life now, a second act. I’m sure it will be nice not to have to train year-round. To get out of the gym and spend time with your family. But I’m wondering what you’re going to do. You have a lot of time and, at the moment, a lot of money. Maybe you’ll put your true skills to work and open a used-car dealership or run a circus. Or maybe you’ll wind up back on Dancing With the Stars. It’s a job that’s safe, pays well and lets you run around on stage. Something you’ve been doing for most of your career. — Oscar Dela Hoya | Playboy

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Return Of Jason Pierre-Paul — New York Giant's Comeback

— Return Of Jason Pierre-Paul —
Putting a Giant back together: How Jason Pierre-Paul got back to football
In late August, strength coach Mike Alessi walked into Impact Sports Performance in Boca Raton, Fla., and saw Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul crouched over his size-14 sneakers, using his right foot to hold a shoelace in place so he could tie it with his left hand. By then, Alessi was used to seeing JPP get creative in the gym.

JPP's specially modified-football gloves
The knot-tying routine was just one of the many adjustments the 26-year-old had to make after a Fourth of July fireworks accident that caused the amputation of his right index finger and the tip of his right thumb while also severely damaging his middle finger. Alessi, who started off-season training with Pierre-Paul in March, says every session since the incident had to be modified because Pierre-Paul couldn't hold weights with his right hand."For three to four weeks we only trained his left side," says Alessi. "Then we started manipulating things to get the right side working."
Alessi altered Pierre-Paul's standard upper body lifts by wrapping an ankle strap around the wrist of his injured hand, allowing him to do rows, shoulder presses and other movements on the cable pulley machine. He also did various multidirectional footwork and running drills for agility and pulled a sled that was attached to his waist with a belt and harness—a modified version of the traditional sled push—to build power and leg strength.

— Life After Surgery —

Pierre-Paul did most of the same lower body lifts he was doing before the accident, including leg press and single leg squats with a weighted vest or barbell on the back. “The only thing we couldn’t reincorporate was deadlifts,” Alessisays. “Before he was deadliftingnear 450 pounds but he couldn’t hold onto the barbell in that movement.”
After each workout Pierre-Paul met with occupational therapist and hand-rehabilitation specialist Deborah Austin, who guided him through a multi-stage therapy program based on the healing of his various surgical procedures.
“Jason came in still with open wounds from the explosion injury and pinning for fractures in his hand,” says Austin. “He had several procedures and every time we would have to hold up waiting for the integrity of the skin and sutures to heal.”
Initially Pierre-Paul’s sessions with Austin were focused on wound and scar care as they waited for the fractured bones and stitches to heal. While waiting, Austin was able to work with Pierre-Paul on his wrist and other parts of his hand.
Once labeled/tagged a NFL "franchise" player... 
"The ring and small fingers were just soft tissue injuries, so we were able to strengthen those," says Austin, adding that those two outer fingers are the key to grip strength. "When it was time to use the thumb and middle finger, we were ahead of the game."
Because Pierre-Paul's position requires a lot of pushing, Austin incorporated wall and tabletop push-ups, and used other tools—such as soft putty, hand grippers and pinch pins—to increase upper-body flexibility and dexterity and to build strength. Austin was able to see instant feedback on Pierre-Paul’s progress with the soft putty, a moldable substance like Play-Doh that changes colors as its temperature increases with each stretch, pinch and squeeze. Pinch pins (like clothespins) and hand grippers (also called hand exercisers) offered varying resistance levels to build strength and coordination on individual fingers. Austin even had Pierre-Paul dribble and catch a basketball to apply impact to his hand, and shooting helped with wrist extension and flexion.
"You can miss your pointer finger. [The surgeons] allowed Jason to be where he is today," Austin says. “He has a fully controlled hand. He can hold a football and write with his hand.”
...JPP's NFL career is currently at a crossroads
During his time working with Austin and Alessi, Pierre-Paul also worked on his stance, trying out different ways to lean and place his hand on the ground. Defensive line coach John Blake also came to Florida to work on technique, hand placement and leverage.
Alessi says that Pierre-Paul looks "as good ever." He’s now transitioned to working with the team’s training staff and therapists in New York. On Sunday he played 47 snaps in New York's 32–18 win over the Bucs.
Says Austin, "He exceeded all his goals in therapy, and then some. You would give him an A-plus, and he’s not done yet."
On July 4th, 2015, New York Giants' Pro Bowl defensive-end Jason Pierre-Paul sustained a serious hand injury from a fireworks accident — resulting in his right index-finger being amputated along w/ a damaged middle-finger and a fractured thumb 

Jason Pierre-Paul's hand rehab tools

  • Soft Putty: This moldable substance changes colors as it gets hot, providing visual feedback during squeezing, stretching and pinching exercises.
  • Hand Grippers: While a standard, two-prong tool works well, Pierre-Paul used hand exercisers that can work individual fingers.
  • Pinch Pins: Similar to clothespins, these devices offer varying resistance levels to build strength and coordination.
  • Basketball: Pierre-Paul dribbled and caught a basketball to apply impact to his hand, and shooting helped with wrist extension and flexion. — Jamie Lisanti | Sports Illustrated

Friday, November 13, 2015

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: November 12th, 2015

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: November 12th, 2015 

Count down the top ten plays from Thursday night's action.

Stephen Curry is showing the world why he is — "Numero Uno!"

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: November 11th, 2015

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: November 11th, 2015

Check out Wednesday's top 10 plays from around the Association.

Nikola Vucevic the double-double machine hits a throat-slicing game-winner!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: November 10th, 2015

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: November 9th, 2015

Check out Tuesday's top 10 plays from around the Association.

LeBron James drives baseline and launches in the air — dunking over poor Rudy Gobert!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Kristaps "Putback" Porzingis | Putback Dunk Compilation

Kristaps Porzingis Putback Compilation

Through 6 games Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis has already notched 3 HUGE putbacks.

— Putback Porzingis —

Putback Porzingis soaring for a pterodactyl dinosaur dunk!
Knicks ‘steal’ Kristaps Porzingis is busting his biggest draft myth — New York Post
"Rebel Yell" by Billy Idol — KP6 is a rebel with a cause!

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: November 9th, 2015

Top 10 NBA Plays Of The Night: November 9th, 2015

Check out Monday's top 10 plays from around the association. 

Andrew Wiggins DESTROYS Paul Milsap — who's caught in the crossfire!

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Legend Of The Never-Ending Polo Bear

The Legend Of The Never-Ending Polo Bear

Long before the Polo Bar, there was the Polo Bear.

As the story goes, back in the late ’80s, Ralph Lauren was so taken with a birthday gift he got from his design team — a classic Steiff teddy bear, wearing a teddy-bear-size Polo getup — that he began carrying these Polo-clad bears in his stores. The stuffed animals were a hit, and he decided to stamp them on his clothes: The first sweater, released in 1991, featured a bear looking very much the Buckley sixth grader, sporting a blazer and chinos. Subsequent iterations (of which there have been many) have included the P-Bear wearing an American-flag sweater and jeans; wearing a hoodie and holding a basketball; teeing off on the golf course; and, one of my favorites, channeling Picasso in a beret and a striped Breton shirt. The Polo Bear went on to become a recognizable mascot, a cuddly counterpart to the Polo pony. There is also, legend has it, a mythical sweater on which there is knitted a Never-Ending Bear. Meaning: a bear that is itself wearing a Polo Bear sweater, whose bear is also wearing a Polo Bear sweater, and on and on ad infinitum.

But first, some backstory: In the mid-'80s and early '90s, Polo was indeed popular with the type of people who might actually wear the brand while taking part in a polo match, but one could argue that it didn’t really hit the mainstream in a major way until fashionable young African-American kids from Brownsville and Crown Heights began obsessing over the brand; shirts and hats with the Polo Bear on it were particularly desirable. Those who wore head-to-toe 'Lo (sometimes copping it from stores in Manhattan) became known as Lo-Lifes. “I think that it was all about taking something that wasn’t meant for you and making it yours,” Vintage Gear Addicts founder Victor Ving told XXL for the magazine’s 2010 “Polo and Hip-Hop, an Oral History.” Rapper Raekwon added that if you didn’t have “a good Polo shirt on, or some Polo sneakers, or anything like that, we didn’t consider you really that fly when you came out that day.” In 1993, when Raekwon famously wore a Polo Snow Beach pullover in the “Wu Tang Clan’s “Can It All Be So Simple” video, the brand became synonymous with hip-hop, and soon after, with white people who wanted to emulate hip-hop culture.

Over 20 years later, there are still aficionados who call themselves Lo-Lifes and Lo-Heads (while Lo-Lifes refer to the '80s-era Polophiles, Lo-Heads are anyone who wears full Polo looks) who'll get together to swap their finest gear. Rare vintage pieces go for thousands of dollars on eBay — like the aforementioned Polo Snow Beach shirt (“the holy grail of Ralph Lauren jackets,” according to Mass Appeal) and an extremely coveted cashmere Polo Bear sweater. But among these devoted Lo-Heads, there is one piece that is the most sought-after: the Never-Ending Bear. That is, if it even exists. Polo-devotee and rapper Mayhem Lauren told Vice in 2011 that it’s almost “mythological.” He said: "Well, supposedly there’s a knit out there with a bear rockin’ a knit with himself on it, and he’s rocking a bear, and it just goes on and on forever. Guys will swear they have three of those but they never bring it out, never rock it for flicks, but supposedly it’s there."

Brian Procell, a vintage expert and owner of the eponymous East Village shop, says he doesn’t think it’s physically possible for the Never-Ending Bear sweater to have been made. “It's too complex to render as a knit; it would be too abstract,” he told me. But, he added, it’s possible it exists in other iterations. “The bears are often represented in home goods like ceramics. It's possible that there might be some limited samples of that bear on fine china floating around out there. Maybe even a silk scarf or tie, possibly made for the Japanese market. If that's the case, then it's no surprise that someone is claiming to have the never-ending sweater in hopes to outdo everyone in the game.”

At press time, the folks over at Ralph Lauren had yet to find proof of its existence. Which doesn’t mean it’s not out there somewhere. So, for now, the legend continues. — Alexis Swerdloff | NY Mag

Top 5 NBA Plays Of The Night: November 8th, 2015

Top 5 NBA Plays Of The Night: November 8th, 2015

Check out the Top 5 plays of Sunday's action.

Russell Westbrook w/ a bone-crushing fast-break dunk for the ages!

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