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More Than A Letter, More Than A Number

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Damien Lillard is quickly moving up the point guard pecking order in the NBA. And his big shot to sink the Houston Rockets Friday night only enhanced his status:

With his smooth shot and explosive leaping ability, he is one of the reasons the Portland Trailblazers have made it back to relevance. But along with the relativity comes a sense of home. If you notice, Lillard wears the number zero on his jersey. But upon further examination, the “number” means much more than meets the eye. Everyone from the casual sports follower to the die-hard sports fan may think that Lillard wears his number because it’s his favorite or he had a favorite player that wore the number. But in all actuality, Lillard does not see the number zero that we all see him wearing. Instead, he sees the letter “O”. And the letter “O” is the first letter of where Lillard is from, Oakland, California.

The second-year point guard has been special in clutch times this season. But considering where he grew up and what odds he overcame, the clutch shots seem like the easy part. Damien was barely a two star prospect after playing his high school basketball at Saint Joseph Notre Dame and Oakland High School. While trying to get better at playing sports, he also avoided the gangs and violence in his neighborhood growing up. He eventually was seen by Weber State University and got a scholarship to play basketball. And unlike a lot of players in today’s NBA, he stayed in college the entire time in order to hone his game. Making it to the NBA after being largely unnoticed on the California high school scene was nothing compared to how he defeated the odds to make it.

So many times in society, we allow the circumstances surrounding us to affect the outcome of where we end up. And while it’s true that some of the circumstances are out of our control, we cannot allow them to dictate to us how we should proceed. Hopefully young men and women will look up to what Lillard overcame to make it. When he wears the letter “O”, it reminds him of where he came from and what he did to make it. He fought the odds and is defeating them every single time he plays. And he does it wearing the pride of his hometown with him at all times.

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The Everyday Mailbag- 1/4/11

The NFL season has come to an end and the second season begins. The NBA is exciting a lot of people as well so far. And just like these captivating sports, the mailbag is full of excitement and interesting questions!

Q: Who has been the most disappointing team in the NBA thus far this season?
-Ryan J., Henning, TN

A: I think that the Mavericks have been very disappointing. With the pieces they have, they should be scoring more points and they should be able to outscore people. Instead, they look like they’re asleep at the wheel a lot. Another team that I would say has been disappointing as well is the New York Knicks. They need to get it together as soon as possible to be considered a legit title contender.

Q: Which “big name” coach in waiting do you see taking an opening, if any which spot?
-Jabbar L., Nashville, TN

A: I know that Jeff Fisher will be the number one choice for a lot of teams and he will be the first coach that’s waiting on a job to be hired. He’s already reportedly interviewed for the Rams, Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers want to interview him as well.

Q: Should a player who gets ejected from a bowl game still win the MVP (ex: Alshon Jeffrey)?
-Ricky K., Syracuse, NY

A: No way a player that gets ejected win the MVP of a bowl game. In my estimation, for as much as you give your team, you also give a lot away and become selfish when you put your own personal agenda ahead of the team.

Q: ‎​What are the Colts doing? They fire their whole team management staff(the Polians). Anything to do with Peyton Manning and the NFL draft?
-Dallah S., Manhattan, NY

A: I think that if you lose one player and your whole team tanks because of one player, then that’s an indictment on the GM and management staff as to what they have or haven’t brought in to make the team complete. I think that’s where this decision comes from, not what they want to do in the raft and Manning’s future.

Q: How well do you think the Tennessee Titans will do in the upcoming draft?
-James R., Nashville, TN

A: I think the Titans will do just fine. Mike Reinfelt seems to pick the right pieces through the draft and I think he will find the safety and offensive line help that he needs in the draft or in the free agent market.

Q: Do you think tht the Colts made a bad move by letting their GM & Vice President go????
-Jason J., Memphis, TN

A: I think the Colts made a good move by letting the Polians go. Its time to turn the page.

Q: The New York Knicks made a nice move getting Tyson Chandler, but he’s not a shooter. Would you say they need someone else to help Melo with scoring?
-Lee L., Chicago,IL

A: I don’t think they need help with scoring. Amare will be back in a few to help that scoring out. Hopefully for Knicks fans, Tyson will get it figured out defensively because the Knicks are getting smacked around on the boards and not playing good defense.

Thanks to all that sent in questions and remember, if you have sports questions, I have answers.


Time For A Flashback

The champs are here! The champs are here! What we thought of the champs at least. This year’s version of the Dallas Mavericks sure stumbled out of the blocks. Can they recover? Possibly. But will they is the question.

The Mavs were always an offensive team before C Tyson Chandler arrived. Chandler, combined with G DeShawn Stevenson, gave the Mavs a defensive presence and made them a tougher team on both ends of the court. The Mavs took the momentum of these guys along with their explosive offense, and rode it to a championship. Fast forward to this year and this team is sorely missing these two guys. Sure, they added Lamar Odom, Delonte West and Vince Carter, but none of these guys are defenders that can bring the intensity on the defensive end that Chandler and Stevenson did. Another guy they miss is JJ Barea, who was their fearless PG who was a key cog in the championship year. He even chipped in with steals defensively. So, how do they get this resolved you may ask?

The Mavs have to revert back to the way they were in the past. The Mavs must push the tempo at people. West, Carter and Odom are at their best when they are in the open court. Another adjustment they will need to make will be to play Dirk and Odom more together. These two are matchup nightmares, so why not put pressure on opposing teams and make them have to give these two guys extra attention.

It’s early in the season so I don’t want to overreact to the Mavs and their struggles. But the fact remains that they have been down 30 twice already, given up 100+ points in all their games and they look lifeless and out of rhythm a lot early. Maybe they get it going, but if they don’t figure it out soon, the Mavs could be in for a long season.


The Everyday Mailbag- 12/28/11

Basketball season is here! The NBA just cranked up. Sadly, the NFL is gearing down. But in between the excitement for the beginning of a new NBA season and the movement towards the NFL playoffs, there are plenty of questions that arise. Let’s see what the Sports World wants to know!

Q: Do you think 35 bowl games is too many?
-James R., Nashville, TN

A: I do think that 35 bowl games are too many. I believe that going to a bowl game has lost its specialness and that eventually, there may be some bowl games cut. I think that’s only right.

Q: What’s the more impressive record breaking season? Marino in 1984 or Drew Brees in 2011? Obviously the year they set/broke passing records.
-Andrew V., Frederick, MD

A: I think that Marino’s was more impressive. Marino played in an era where DBs could hold and grab and physically assault receivers out there and he still put up numbers. Brees breaking the yardage record is impressive, but the game is built more for the offensive to succeed and succeed he did.

Q: What’s your Pacific Division predictions for NBA?
-Bobby C., Sacramento, CA

A: I think that in the Pacific division, its gonna be interesting. The Clippers are good. The Lakers, even though they are not up to their usual level, are also good. The wildcard in this division is Sacramento. They are talented but young. Now that youth can either help or hinder them. It should be interesting to see which it does. And lastly, the Suns are just bad all the way around. I don’t see them making the playoffs this year. As far as the order of the division this year, I have the Clippers, then the Lakers, then the Kings and bringing up the rear, the Suns.

Q: What should the Jets do with Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez?
-Dallah S., Manhattan, NY

A: I think that the clock is ticking on whether or not Mark Sanchez is the future at QB for the Jets. I think that next year is the make or break point for his career in green and white. Also, Rex Ryan’s act is starting to wear thin on the league. It seems to not have as much of an effect as it did to start his tenure. Maybe its time he did more coaching than talking. I think he’s ok right now, but the tide could turn going into next year. Its quite possible.

Q: Who impressed/ disappointed you in the NBA this weekend?
-Kareem H., Chandler, AZ

A: I think that the Mavs disappointed me this weekend. I knew they would lose, but they looked so listless and disinterested out there on the court. They aren’t the same team as last year and it shows. Two straight home blowouts. The Wizards also were disappointing. When you have a big lead, you have to finish a team. They are young, so hopefully they will learn that. As far as impressive teams, I think the Heat were very impressive. They throttled the Mavs. I also would say the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony was impressive. He carried the Knicks to the finish line like a star is supposed to do.

Q: ‎​How do u think the T-Wolves will do this year?
-Joey K., Los Angeles, CA

A: I think the Timberwolves will be better this year. With all that being said, they will still miss the playoffs, but I don’t think they will miss the playoffs by much.

Thanks to all who sent questions and remember, if you have sports questions, I have answers.


The Everyday Mailbag- 12/21/11

The week was certainly entertaining in sports. And I know with all the entertainment, some great questions are also birthed as well. Without further adieu, here is this week’s Everyday Mailbag!

Q: Will Urban Meyer’s successes in recruiting in the south put pressure on SEC coaches?
-James R., Nashville, TN

A: I don’t think that Meyer will put recruiting pressure on the South more than what pressure is already on each and every Southeastern Conference coach already. Sure, Urban will get some kids from the South to go Ohio State, but I don’t think he will get enough of them to threaten SEC schools.

Q: Why hasn’t the head coach of the Chicago Bears, Lovie Smith, been fired?
-James R., Nashville, TN

A: I believe Lovie has done a good job with what he’s been given. I don’t think he deserves all the blame for his team’s production on the field. Also, Lovie doesn’t pick the players on the team, the GM does. But, like always, the coaches get too much credit for wins and too much blame for loses.

Q: What other pieces are needed to make the L.A. Clippers a legit contender?
-Kareem H., Nashville, TN

A: What the Clippers need is good big man to come in off the bench and give them good minutes, rebounding and possibly some scoring. The Clippers also need a backup combo guard/forward that can backup Caron Butler, who is coming off a serious knee injury.

Q: Should rookie Cam Newton be a pro bowler?
-James R., Nashville, TN

A: I think Cam Newton has put up tremendous numbers this season. Definitely Pro Bowl worthy numbers. I don’t think anyone expected the numbers he put up this year.

Q: Who are you for in the East and who you got on Christmas Day, the Lakers or Bulls?
-Jason J., Memphis, TN

A: I think that the race in the East comes down to the Bulls and the Heat again. The addition of Rip Hamilton does help make the Bulls better, but its hard to go against LeBron and D Wade in year two of the Heatles. My heart says Chicago, but my mind says Miami. I think that’s a toss up on whichever team wins the East. And as far as the game on Christmas Day, I believe that the Bulls have the more sound team and they will win in Los Angeles.

Thanks for the questions and remember, if you have sports questions, I have answers!


The Everyday Mailbag- 12/14/11

Its that time again folks! The everyday mailbag is here again. Let’s see what the sports world wants to know!!!

Q: What potential Wild Card team in either conference can you see getting hot like Packers last year and making a serious run?
-Jabbar L., Nashville, TN

A: I think that the team that could be a spoiler if they are to make the playoffs would be the New York Jets. They always look dead and gone halfway through the season and when they hit the playoffs, they all-of-a-sudden become a team to be reckoned with. I’m starting to get that same feeling about them again.

Q: What is your favorite bowl game?
-Bobby C., Sacramento, CA

A: I have to be honest. I really don’t have one game that I absolutely have to watch. I love to watch sports in general, so it could be the smallest bowl game or it could be the BCS championship. I just love watching all bowl games.

Q: How do you think the Memphis Grizzlies will do this year?
-Jason J., Memphis, TN

A: I think the Grizzlies will be good this year, but the thing is, people will expect them to be good instead of the surprise they got last year when they faced them. I still don’t know if the Grizzlies have enough offense to be a top-tier team in the NBA. That’s what will keep them in the bottom-tier of the NBA’s Western Conference. I see them as a six seed at best this year.

Q: Are basketball coaches bullies?
-James R., Nashville, TN

A: I think not only basketball coaches, but all coaches, are tough coaches that not only coach you and instruct you on the court, but also teach you life lessons. They may come across as hardcore sometimes but in the end, most coaches are in it for trying to make the kids better than when they came to their program or when they first decided to play for that coach. Now, what other motives coaches have in coaching is a whole other subject, but no, coaches aren’t bullies.

Thanks everyone for the questions! And remember, if you have sports questions, I have answers!!!


The Everyday Mailbag-12/6/2011

There was plenty of big news this week with the BCS, the Tebow craze and other things as well. And with those exciting events and players, there are also questions. Without further adieu, here are the questions the sports world wants to know!

Q: Who do you think will win the Shortened NBA Season?
-Brandon T., Nashville, TN

A: I think the logical choices for the title will be the Heat and the Lakers, but I also believe its too early to tell right now due to the pending NBA free agent and trade movement coming up. Once rosters are mostly set, then I could probably give a more accurate pick there.

Q: Is Cam Newton a sure pick for Rookie of the year after breaking the QB single season rushing record?
-James R., Nashville, TN

A: I don’t think Cam Newton is a surefire pick for rookie of the year. Even though Cam has broke records, Bengals QB Cam Newton has won games. Simple and plain, he has been one of the catalysts of this team, along with AJ Green and that Bengal defense.

Q: After what we’ve seen in Chicago since Cutler went down, question is does backup QB Caleb Hanie have a future role as a backup in Chicago?
-Lee L., Chicago, IL

A: I think that Hanie is done in Chicago. I understand that he’s a backup, but in this instance, he hasn’t shown he can fill in for Cutler when they need him and to be honest, the Bears need to look for more stability in that position because the backup QB is only one play away. Who knows when this situation could arise again for Chicago.

Q: Why is it so hard for Tim Tebow’s critics to give credit where credit is due? Yesterday, Cris Carter looked like he’d rather vomit than admit tebow is winning.
-JW, Lafayette, IN

A: I actually think that folks are afraid of what they haven’t seen. People haven’t seen a QB like him be successful and I think it bothers the “experts” a whole bunch that someone unconventional as Tebow is winning.

Q: Do the Colts draft Andrew Luck & deal Peyton Manning or do they pay two quarterbacks a lot of money? Or do they deal the rights to Luck & get a lot of draft pick? ?
-James R., Nashville, TN

A: I think the Colts, if they get the 1st pick in the draft (which seems to be a certainty at this point) will draft Luck and possibly keep both QBs. That’s a small possibility, but a possibility nonetheless. In the end though, I think that if Peyton proves he’s healthy, he will be traded. But he has to prove he’s healthy first.

Q: ‎​How will the Giants finish the season?
-Joey K., Los Angeles, CA

A: That depends on which Giants team shows up. If the one that played against the Packers shows up, they could win the rest of their games this year and win the division. If they appear like they did in New Orleans, they are done. I think the Giants will show fight and will make the playoffs due to the implosions of Chicago and Detroit right now.

Q: Do you think Jim Schwartz is on the hot seat in Detroit because of the lack of discipline shown by the Lions?
-Jeremy W., Winnepeg, Canada

A: I think Schwartz isn’t on the hot seat, but what he does need to do is make a statement with this team. A lot of times when these dumb penalties happen, Schwartz doesn’t discipline them about it. I would have liked Schwartz to have made a statement and send a player to the locker room or something. That would get the team’s attention I think that’s what has to happen.

Q: What do u think about the BCS title game?
-Jason J., Memphis, TN

A: I think the title game will be a hard-nosed, physical game and that special teams could make the difference again. On another note, a lot of fans are screaming that Oklahoma State should have been in the title game. To that I have one explanation. I believe they have one person to blame: Oklahoma State. They had their own destiny in their hands and then they lost to Iowa State. When that happened, doubt came into the picture and hope came into the picture for Alabama. In the end, doubt turned into reality for Oklahoma State and hope turned into jubilation for Alabama. I’m not saying the BCS is right or wrong, but what I’m saying is Oklahoma State should blame Oklahoma State first and not the BCS.

Thanks everyone for all the questions. And remember, if you have sports questions, I have answers.


The Everyday Mailbag- 11/8/11

Lots of different sports going on. Lots of different sports questions as well. Without further adieu, here’s what the Sports World wants to know!

Q: What do you think about Lions DT Ndamukong Suh meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Tuesday?
-James R., Nashville, TN

A: I think that it just means that Suh is concerned about his image. Suh actually called up Goodell to make the meeting happen. I think its not that big of a deal.

Q: Who is your Final 4 in college basketball this year?
-Bobby C., Sacramento, CA

A: I’ve got the Syracuse Orange, the North Carolina Tar Heels, the Kentucky Wildcats and the Baylor Bears as my Final Four this year.

Q: How many games will the NBA play this season?
-Joey K., Los Angeles, CA

A: I think we will be lucky if the players take this offer. If they do, we will see 65-72 games. If they do not, I think we will see roughly around 55 games.

Q: Do you think Tim Tebow should be called a athlete playing quarterback ?? I’m not hearing that by the media! Why?
-James R., Nashville, TN

A: Whether Tebow is called an athlete playing QB or not, he is being judged on being a QB. I don’t think that whether he’s called an athlete or not will change the criticism he’s received. To be honest, I don’t think that’s the thing that media looks at in regards to him. That’s why it isn’t mentioned when they talk about him.

Q: Do think a rematch of Alabama and LSU will happen for the National Championship game?
-Kareem H., Nashville, TN

A: No sir. Alabama would have to have a lot of teams lose to get that rematch in my opinion. If Alabama would have won the game, then I would be confident in a rematch because LSU still has to play Arkansas and that would have helped catapult them in the BCS.

Thanks for all the questions. I look forward to more! And remember, if you have sports questions, I have answers!


Is All Hope Lost?

Listening to the NBA talk today between the NBA players and the owners, it seems like all hope is fading away fast. The owners want the players to negotiate with them on the others issues, but only if they agree to a 50/50 revenue split. The players don’t want to do that at all. In fact, they’re looking for a 53/47 revenue split. It sounds like we are going to be losing a season, or at least most of it. As a fan of basketball, this saddens me. I know that the NFL and college football are in full swing, but I was looking forward to seeing that first drive by LeBron James to the rim for a dunk on someone. I was also ready to see the electrifying moves of Derrick Rose as he comes back to defend his MVP trophy.

  Once again, lost in the struggle between the rich and the wealthy that is the lockout, the everyday fan gets punished. It always seems like an innocent bystander has to be the one to suffer when an argument happens. My message for the fans of the NBA, you may as well find some more things to do for a while, because this is going to get ugly. The owners are going to try to strong-arm the players. This is obvious. The waiting game has now reached a new level. Will the players crack or will they continue to stand united? Well, I have some thoughts on how this thing is going to play out.

  The owners are wealthy people. They can afford to lose money in one business and make it up in another business. The average NBA player, on the other hand, does not have the other business ventures, or revenue streams, that a top superstar would have. Sure, there is the option for them of going overseas, but there are rules that go along with going over there. The most important one is that there is a limit of how many American players can be on a team. Because of the limitations of the average NBA player, I believe there will be a breakdown and the players will more than likely accept a deal that they really did not want. Now, that’s just my opinion, but I believe the wealthy will outlast the rich. Now I’m in no way condoning the owners and the way they are being right now, but the reality is that the owners hold all the power.

   The next question I have will be what will the reception be of the players be from the fans that have missed them playing? After all, we’ve already had 2 weeks of the season cancelled. Will we love them? Will we hate the owners? Will we hate Stern? Will we hate the players? It should be interesting to see what happens as this all pans out. Hopefully all will be settled sooner than later.

Mike Patton is a member of  the SportsBlogMovement. You can find us on Twitter by typing in #SportsBlogMovement or going to

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