Archive | News RSS feed for this section

Keeping Your Eyes On The Ball (@Lavarbigballer) – Egomaniac or good parenting?

29 May

LAVAR-BALL-20170527-USA-DJM-054-91257832

Is Lavar Ball following in the footsteps of Earl Woods and Richard Williams? Or is he an over the top version of a parent’s ego gone wild trying to grab glory through their child?

The Williams and Woods kids were good, really good. Child prodigies.  Each man had no problem letting you know it.  What we really didn’t understand is how these men were grooming their children to dominate their sports of tennis and golf. Places were African Americans had few champions

Richard Williams was ridiculed when he told the world that his two daughters who he raised in Compton playing on rough public courts nearby, would become the best female tennis players in the world. He was one of the few not surprised when BOTH of his daughters took the tough lessons they learned on those rough city courts and used them to help them become queens of the tennis world. Each taking turns being the dominate player I the sport before Serena’s physical and mental strength would launch her assault on the record books and conversation of being the GOAT.

Earl Woods introduced to his son Tiger to the world at just 3 years old on the Merv Griffin show. Even at that age we saw his ability to take command of the moment with the help of his dad.

Later while he was still an amateur there were bold prediction of PGA Tour greatness was there before he had won a PGA tournament. The marketing hype was there too. Remember the ‘Hello World” press conference?  He already had multiple endorsement deals in his pocket at time of arrival on the Tour much to the irritation of those who had labored for years already. We forget the bold statements of pride by Earl Woods because of his well-spoken demeanor and military background. Plus Tiger’s giant smile, and a confidence that grabbed you and made you a believer.

So is Lavar Ball really that much different than Williams and Woods? Maybe this whole way of acting is part of the plan. Ball knows like Richard Williams and Earl Woods that being great requires more mental toughness than physical talent. The ability to excel while under enormous pressure on the field/court, extreme scrutiny off it.  The huge amount of money and power giving to those that excel in sports is mind boggling. Maybe Lavar Ball is showing his son how to deal with some of these things.  In some ways he lso is acting as a shield for him. Much of the attention has been shifted to his father. No matter what happens now he wins in the public discourse. He doesn’t live up to hype? It’s because of his overbearing father. If he meets or exceeds expectations? Then he is applauded for being able to achieve this in spite of his crazy dad.

Lavar Ball may turn out to be crazy…like a fox

There must be something about Cali that produces these strong African American fathers who are brimming with confidence, and the ability teach their progeny to have it as well.  All this while helping them to understand the additional challenges of doing this while being Black in America.

By Minister Jonathan Simmons

 

#Falcons pick of #TakkaristMcKinley – hubris or just following their hunches?

28 Apr

Takkaist McKinley usa_today_10033656.1493351431
Photo from USA Today on BruinsNation.com

The  2017 NFL draft ‘needs list’ for the Falcons wasn’t too much different from 2015 or 2016. Get a good edge rusher, and shore up the offensive line with players who could play right away. In 2015 the pick was fairly obvious. Pundits and fans alike thought Vic Beasley the standout DE from Clemson had shown the speed and quickness to be a good NFL pass rusher.  Even though he was a bit undersized at only 235 pounds, Atlanta drafted him 6th overall.  He has become one of the NFL’s  best pass rushers , leading the league last year in sacks.

In 2016 however the Falcons started with picks that did not seem to address their needs at all.  1st round pick Keanu Neal was a SAFETY, not an edge rusher. 2nd round pick Deion Jones was fast but was a middle linebacker, and like Vic Beasley a little undersized.  Reaves turned out to be a ‘thumper’ who patrolled the Falcons back-end. and dished out punishment to opposing players at will. Deion was a tackling machine and rookie of the year finalist. Another slam dunk for the Falcons.

So here we are in 2017 and again Atlanta surprises us by picking outside linebacker Takkarist McKinley from UCLA.  McKinley appears to be another ‘DQ’ (Dan Quinn) guy. The All Pac 12 DE/OLB is described by NFL.com as “Relentless worker bee on the field” “…and is always charging towards the ball” However on the other side he is considered to be “raw” and a “little stiff in the lower body” He also is coming off shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum.  He was slotted by some to be a 2nd round pick. Why did the Falcons traded a 3rd round and 7th rounder to move from 25th to 31st pick to get him. In a draft which is supposed to be one of the deepest in history it seems they could have stayed put and still got him. 1st round picks should be impact players on your team right away. The fact the Falcons selected a raw, injured, player with big potential, means  Falcons leadership is convinced they have the coaching system and team culture that allows them to get the most from the players they bring on board.

The rest of the Falcons draft has yet to unfold. But if McKinley plays the way last year’s draft group did, the Falcons could back in the Super Bowl again and got another rising star in Takkarist McKinley press conference bad language notwithstanding.

By Jonathan Simmons

#AtlHawks blow last minute lead, lose to #Pacers at home

6 Mar

The #AtlHawks looked like they were on their way to a hard fought victory over the Indiana Pacers. They had a 96-90 lead with less the 2 minutes to go, a 96-94 lead AND the ball with about 30 seconds. But it was all for nought as the Pacers Glenn Robinson III hit a 3 pointer with 0.6 seconds left to give them a stunning 97-96 victory over the Hawks.

This game marked the return of former Hawks PG Jeff Teaugue  for the first time since he had been traded to the Pacers for a second round pick after the 2016 season.

Atlanta took an early 30-19 lead, then Indiana’s All Star G Paul George took over. George scored 24 of his game high 34 in the 1st half to help the Pacers take the lead before Atlanta came back to tie the game at 50 to end the 1st half.

The Hawks continued to have problems with George until they placed Paul Millsap on him in 3rd quarter. He did not score after that. By that time however they had forged a 7 point lead going to the 4th quarter.

The Hawks defense, and the offensive punch by Tim Hardaway, Jr (THJ) finally allowed Atlanta to overtake the Pacers and take a 6 point lead in the clising minutes. That’s when things went horribly wrong.

Paul Millsap has been the Hawks best offensive player all year and over the last 2 months Tim Hardaway Jr has been right behind him. Last night was no different. Millsap had 24 to lead all Hawks, and THJ scored 10 of his 23 in the final period. But when the Hawks looked to seal the win late, both men came up short. AMillsap missed shot, then turnover on consecutive possesion allowed the Pacers to cut the lead to 96-94. Then an ill advised 3 pt attempt by Hardaway set the stage for Robinson’s game winner. (Click here to see video)

This has been a recurring theme for this team. An inability to get consistent clutch baskets/plays from their best players. Until this changes the Atlanta Hawks and their fans will continue to deal with more frustrating losses.

 

Could #Hawks #TimHardawayJr be the next great #NBA Sixth man

4 Mar

The #AtlHawks may have in #TimHardawayJr , the next great #NBA Sixth man. His improved play has been outstading the last two months  He’s been red hot in the Hawks last 10 games, averaging over 17 Pts per contest. This includes 33 in a big road win vs the Rockets and 36 in a tough loss at home to the Cavs. His recent stats compare favorably to 3 time 6th man of the year Jamal Crawford of the Clippers in the years he won. In fact hs current pace of 19 pts per 36 minutes is the same as Crawford when he won last season.

Unfortunately for Atlanta there are 2 problems.

  1. Hardaway wants to start. He mentioned in a Detroit Free Press  article ‘he hopes to become a full time starter’ The numbers seem to agree according to ESPN.com In the 17 games he started he’s averaging 17.2 points per game. In the 42 coming off the bench he has averaged 11.8 . In fairness, this is due more to minutes played per game. 33 per as starter, 22 per coming in off the bench. For Hardaway and the Hawks he is at his best when he plays between 30-36 minutes a game. This year he sits at a bifty 19 pts per 36 minutes played That is the same as the teams leading scorer Paul Millsap He also averages 3 more points per game than starter Kent Bazemore who the Hawks just signed to big deal after last season
  2. MONEY. Hardaway will bcome a restricted free agent next year. His vastly improved play surely has caught the eye of several teams around the league. Hawks mangement may have erred in not signing him to an extension when they had chance earlier in year. Although the team has right to match any offer, Atlanta faces the prospect of paying a lot more for his sevices. This may pur him above the threshold of what Atlanta wants to pay to keep him especialy with having All Star Paul Millsap contract also coming due for a hefty increase

Several years ago the Hawks had an exciting player coming off the bench.  and a multi time All Star on the team becoming free agents. They said they could only pay out one big contract not two. They resigned their All Star guard at the time Joe Johnson, the other player was allowed to be a free agent and he signed with the LA Clippers. That player was Jamal Crawford. He has gone on to win 2 of his 3 Sixth Man of the Year awards since his time there. He won his 1st one in Atlanta the year before he left in free agency.

Being in just his 3rd year, and 24 years old it seems like the career of Tim Hardaway, Jr  is certainly on the rise. Hopefully Atlanta will find a way to keep him here.

#Celtics Al Horford returns to #Atlanta and leaves with win over #Hawks

14 Jan

#Celtics Al Horford returns to #Atlanta and leaves with win over #Hawks 103-101. Horford did not have his best night stat wise. He had 10 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. But teammates Kely Olynyk and Isaiah Thomas had 26 and 28 points respectively. Thomas getting his last with 2.4 seconds left to get the win.

The Hawks were led by Tim Hardaway Jr. and Paul Milsap each with 23 points. Malcolm Delaney came off the bench with 17 points. Newest Hawk Mike Dunleavy, Jr had 2 big 2nd half 3 pointers in his debut.

Click above to watch Al Horford interview. For more Atlanta Sporrts coverage go to ur website www.realtalksports.net. Follow us on all Social Media platforms @realtalksports7

#Clemson wins #CFBChampionship in #Epic Game – Repost from @CFTalk

10 Jan

 

In order to be the champions, you had to beat the champions. Mission accomplished for Clemson. A historic rematch for the ages lived up to the hype thanks to a wild and career-defining fourth quarter that saw the Tigers win the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game in dramatic fashion 35-31 over Alabama. The two…

via Rematch revenge! Clemson knocks off Alabama to win the 2017 National Championship Game — CollegeFootballTalk

In battle of the ‘Birds #Falcons resilience shows in win over #Cardinals

28 Nov

In #ARIvsATL #Falcons  RiseUp for 38-19 win over the visiting Arizona Cardinals.  They looked rested and relaxed in front of a late arriving crowd at the Georgia Dome.

This game between Dirty Birds and Desert Birds, pitted Arizona’s top ranked defense vs Atlanta’s top ranked offense. Falcons were good on both.  The defense limited star Cardinals star running back David Johnson to 58 yards rushing. They turned their attention to QB Carson Palmer who was sacked and intercepted as Arizona only scored 6 points in the 2nd half.

Offensively it was more outstanding play. Once again the Falcons used their ‘Pick your Poison’ approach as Matt Ryan spread the ball around to 8 different receivers. Ryan was 26-34, 269 yards 2 TDs 1 INT, and WR Taylor Gabriel racked up 102 total yards and 2 TDs. The biggest key to the win for the Falcons was the resiliency they showed in responding when the momentum started to shift to the Cardinals.

Arizona cut the Falcon lead to 17-13 right before the half getting a last second FG after set up by an interception when Julio Jones bobbled into air a Matt Ryan pass. They then sacked Matt Ryan 3 times in 6 Atlanta plays to force a punt. However Atlanta forced a 3 and out, then had a 13 play 77 yard TD drive to make the score 24-13. They never looked back after that. That kind of toughness was lacking in last years team. The growing confidence in the Quinn/Shanahan scheme and themselves make this team a playoff contender, and a treat to beat any team they face.

For more Sports coverage check out our website at www.realtalksports.net 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ryan silences critics with record 500 yard passing performance

3 Oct

falcons-vs-panthers-2016-10-02-194

Matt Ryan has heard the grumbling from fans and the press after last seasons 2nd half collapse. The red zone interceptions. Clear discomfort in Kyle Shanahan’s new offense. The clutch QB play that earned him the nickname ‘Matty Ice’ had been replaced by a hesitant error prone imitation of himself. During his limited work in the 2016 preseason he didn’t look much better.

Ryan stoically handled the criticism as the professional he is and waited to the regular season to unleash the new Matt  Ryan aka  ‘Matticulous’. Ryan has been unstoppable for the 1st quarter of the new season putting up numbers that lead the NFL. He won player of the month for Sept. That was followed up by throwing for a Falcon record 503 yard, 4 TD performance vs the Panthers. He easily won the duel with reigning league MVP Cam Newton who was actually knocked out of the game with a big hit by Deion Jones.

He has been utilizing the many weapons he has at his disposal connecting with 8 or more players in each of the last 2 games. But in yesterday’s game the main thrust of the aerial assault came by ‘Jet’. Julio ‘Jet’ Jones had a career best 300 yards receiving on just 12 receptions. A stunning 25 yards per catch. His last one was a breathtaking  grasp and dash 75 yard TD which sent the Dome into a frenzy. It marked the 1st time in NFL history that a QB threw for 500 or more yards, and a receiver had 300 yards receiving in the same game.

The Falcons offense after 4 games lead the league in scoring, passing yards, and total yards. Ryan also leads QBs in passing, is on a pace to throw for over 5,500 yards and 44 TDs. Of course the season is young, and the NFL unpredictable. But for now Matt Ryan and Falcons can sing to the naysayers – “Turn down for what”

By Minister Jonathan Simmons

Stats from NFL.com

Does Ga Tech have what it takes to compete for a championship?

3 Oct

It was a sunny warm day full of sunshine and warm breezes.The Miami crowd covered in orange,  was loud and raucous.after the Hurricanes scored a touchdown . A colorful display against the blue sky made it a great picture of a perfect college football Saturday.  Then I looked around and remembered I was in Bobby Dodd Stadium in midtown Atlanta ,not Hard Rock stadium in Miami Gardens.

This was the case when Clemson came to town too. Even the Mercer Bears fans made their presence known.  Maybe it’s and Orange thing.

There just doesn’t seen to be the same intensity in the Tech fan base.

The buzz(no pun intended) pales in comparison to that which surrounds their arch rivals up the road in Athens. Why? In the last 7 years under Paul Johnson has played for an ACC  Championship 3 times, and played in 2 Orange Bowls. In that same span Georgia has played in 1 SEC title game and no major bowls.  Ga Tech won a national title in 1990. UGA in 1980.

Maybe it’s the lack of player star power. Georgia consistently gets some of the best high school recruits. When is the last time you heard anticipation about an incoming player at Ga Tech? Because of that, Georgia has put significantly more players in NFL than GA Tech over the last 7 years too

Maybe it’s the competition with all of Atlanta’s attractions. There always is a slew of things one can do in metro Atlanta that may take you away from going to the game.

Whatever the cause the GA Tech may have to think about the goals for their football program. Is the fan base and administration willing to to do what it takes to build a consistent winner that can compete again for a National title. There is more parity in college football than ever before. The upsets of traditional power schools is on the rise. The CFB playoff surely will expand to as many as 8 teams in the not to distant future. They play rising SEC contender Tennessee in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff in the new Mercedes Benz Atlanta Stadium to start the 2017 season

Georgia Tech has won 4 national championships in their history. Let’s see if they can add another to the trophy case soon.

 

 

Are the #Falcons too fragile?

18 Sep

 

falcons-vs-jags-9-2-16-018

It is tough to write articles that are critical or seem negative.The Real Talk Sports show tries to ‘accentuate the positive’. But life and truth often are harsh and tough to deal with. When we look at this Atlanta Falcons team it seems to always be dealing with injuries to the body and psyche.

Let’s look that physical side. It’s only game 2 and you have several key players already banged up. 2 rookie starters LB DeVondre Campbell and S Keanu Neal out.LB/DE Brooks may be out too.  WRs Julio Jones, Mohammed Sanu, and RB Devonta Frreman have leg injuries. Recently acquired Dwight Freeney only can practice twice per week.And Vic Beasley still doesn’t appear to be 100% either Hopefully a combination of rest and treatment will get all of them back to full speed.

The mental side of things is questionable too. Game 1 had costly procedure penalties, missed assignments, and poor tackling. There still is a disconnect between QB Matt Ryan and OC Kyle Shanahan. Matt had good stats, but timing was off on several throws causing him to throw behind receivers in critical moments. 1st round pick Vic Beasley had NO tackles or sacks. The mild mannered young also seems out of sorts at times and is rumored not to take tough coaching critique well.

Atlanta’s pro sports teams are filled with nice guys. As a licensed minister I believe that’s a good thing in life to be. However, sports especially at the professional level requires passion, intensity and toughness.

At some point the Falcons are going to have to find some guys with “a little dog in ’em” to give this team the confidence and winning edge they need to get them back to playoffs. Just saying.

By-Minister Jonathan Simmons

 

%d bloggers like this: