Saturday, October 24, 2009

Trying to climb back up the ladder

Isaiah "J.R." Rider. Once a man with a promising NBA future is now struggling to catch on anywhere for one last shot at glory. Drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the fifth overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft, his career started with so much promise. Capturing the slam dunk title at All Star weekend as a rookie seemed like a prelude to bigger things.The problem was he couldn't stay out of his own way. Frequent tardiness, run ins with coaches, and various legal problems derailed his career.I remember when he played with the Lakers, where he did win a championsip ring, but left off the playoff roster, he was suspended for a home game against the Indiana Pacers for what else, being late. Craig Sager interviewed him after the game and asked him "with his family and friends watching wasn't he embarrassed by not playing that night.His reply to Sager was "aren't you embarrassed by your clothes". To me, that moment and the east bay funk dunk that won the slam dunk championship were my favorite memories of him. Now he's trying to catch on overseas or anywhere right now.He's playing for the North Texas Fresh of the American Basketball Association.For more on his trials and tribulations you can follow this link.

Ringside thoughts

Last week i took in a couple of good boxing matches from the super six tournament for supremacy of the super middleweight division. To those who aren't familiar, i'll tell you the names of the contestants.Some you might recognize, some you won't.The tournament consists of the top six fighters in the super middleweight division.Mikkel Kessler(Denmark), "King" Arthur Abraham (Germany), Carl Froch (England), Jermain Taylor (USA), Andre Direll (USA), Andre Ward (USA).From the looks of it, it almost looks like a US vs. Europe format, but its far from it.
  The first fight was "King" Arthur Abraham vs. Jermain Taylor. I'm not a boxing expert, just one that recognizes a good fight when they see one.This was a good fight, although i'm sure Abraham had the fight won on points even if it was a close decision since the fight was in Germany.Abraham put together a fine performance and he would've won on points against the outmatched Taylor.The fight went to the 12th round when Abraham came up with a dazzling knockout of a tired Taylor.More thoughts on Taylor later.If i were a betting man, i'd put it on Abraham to win the tournament.The second fight was more entertaining as it pitted Carl Froch vs. Andre Direll. Direll was clearly the more skilled of the two, but it was Froch and the "will not skill" that won out in a slightly controversial 12 round split decision. I thought Direll put together a fine performance as did Froch, but i think the home "ring" advantage helped Froch in the end. Froch was outskilled as I stated earlier, but as the fight went on I could see Direll was frustrated by Froch trying to turn the fight into a brawl. There was a point in the fifth round i believe where Froch had a point taken for hip tossing Direll to the canvas. Direll also had a point taken for what reason i don't know and neither did the commentators. Personally i thought Direll should have kept fighting his fight and stopped waiting for the referee to either disqualify Froch or take points from him.It happened after every clinch where Direll would look at the ref. He should've kept fighting and he would have pulled out the win. I thought he did enough to win, but when fighting the champ, on his home turf no less, you have to be thoroughly dominant to take a decision, or win by knockout.
  As for Jermain Taylor,i really don't know waht's become of him.It wasn't that long ago he came away with two decisions over the legendary Bernard Hopkins. I do think other fighters found a chink in his armor during the two Hopkins fights. He got tired in the later rounds.When he went against Kelly Pavlik he punched himself out early and it cost him.He always seems to get tired in the later rounds.Check out the fight against Carl Froch and you'll know what i'm talking about.He's still young and talented, but he's had too many big fight losses recently.I hate to say this, but i think he'll become the "name" opponent for young up and comers to get a big win against.Like a steppingstone of sorts.I hope he can get it together and string together some impressive wins. 

How the mighty have fallen

I'm sure some of you may be familiar with former University of Michigan hoops hero and NBA player Rumeal Robinson.Twenty years ago he was the toast of the college basketball world and a first round draft pick.Fast foreward to today and he is claiming to be broke and penniless.From what i hear he also said he had a 15 year addiction to strip clubs.Also i hear that he scammed his adoptive mother and lost her house.  I don't claim to know what went on in this case and won't try to act like i do.Living here in the Detroit area, i'm familiar with his basketball career and some of the tough times he had to go through, as he was one of the first Prop 48 cases in college sports.Its sad to see him go out like this, but perhaps another cautionary tale to other professional athletes on how to not blow through every nickel and dime and make wiser investments. For more on this story click this link to get the lowdown on how he has fallen so far.