A scientific look at the couple's chances of surviving long distance.
On Monday evening, the Los Angeles Clippers traded star forward and face of the franchise Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons. The deal, as first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, involves eight other players and two draft picks. The merits of this trade will be dissected and discussed for months. Is this a last-ditch effort by GM and head coach Stan Van Gundy to stave off the inevitable hot seat coming his way? Is this the Clippers setting up for the end of the Doc Rivers era in L.A.? Is this the first of many big moves to open up cap space to bring in LeBron and other free agents this summer? All valid questions.
But you don’t care about that. The question on your — and everyone else’s — mind is will Blake and his Kardashian family girlfriend, model Kendall Jenner, make it?
Detroit to L.A. is a five-hour flight, and Kendall and Blake both have the means to travel back and forth as their schedules allow. The life of an NBA player is spent primarily on the road, so maybe this will be like an extended road trip for the couple? Kendall is a successful fashion model and lives a lot of her life on the road as well. This may not be a big deal.
But this is all speculation. There’s a much easier way to know if their relationship will work. Let’s look at the history of the Kardashian women and famous athletes. You know, the family that dates athletes together ... or something like that.
Big sister Kim has been previously involved with Reggie Bush, Miles Austin, Cristiano Ronaldo, and was married to Kris Humphries. These were just her relationships with athletes. Throw in models, rapper/musicians, and other entertainers and it took Kim a while to find her soul mate, Kanye West.
Sister Khloe dated Rashad McCants, Derrick Ward, Matt Kemp, James Harden and was married to Lamar Odom. She is now dating Tristan Thompson and pregnant with their child. We are not counting her relationships with rappers and entertainers, either.
Using our very advanced formula and statistical models, accounting for a variety of factors, the Kardashian sisters seem to need to date, on average, at least five athletes during their lifetime.
Kendall has been linked to Jordan Clarkson, which we’re all but certain was a real relationship. Counting Blake, that’s only two athletes. Given Kendall’s age and her known dating history, things are not looking too good for Blake.
Blake is surely the highest profile athlete Kendall has dated, but there is a level she needs to get to. Khloe dated James Harden and Kim at least went on a couple dates with Ronaldo. Blake is an all-star caliber player but not on the same level as Harden.
Kendall is also a bit of a “wildcard.” Of all the Kardashian women, she is the most likely to strike out on her own and diverge from the family path. Remember, when she landed her first runway show, she didn’t want her family to attend. Something about being taken seriously as a model. Hey, maybe there’s hope for Blake?!
NBA All-Star weekend will be in L.A. in a few weeks, perhaps Kendall will use the weekend to make some new baller friends. In addition, this summer the Lakers and Clippers will be pitching free agents to join their respective squads. The L.A. teams will have some new faces, maybe Kendall will wait to see who lands in Hollywood.
Why this is the Super Bowl nobody wants.
The matchup for Super Bowl LII is set.
The New England Patriots, making their ninth appearance in the big game during the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era, will face the Philadelphia Eagles, a team seeking their first championship.
On paper this looks like a one-sided matchup. The greatest head coach and quarterback duo of all time going for their sixth title versus a team playing its second string quarterback in the most important game of the season. Stranger things have happened, but I wouldn’t bet on a Philly upset. We are not here for game previews and matchup breakdowns, though.
This is a game between the two most reviled fan bases in all of America. So, if you’re not a fan of either team, who you got?
Picking between the Patriots and Eagles has shades of the 2016 Presidential election. People are truly voting for the lesser of two evils. Though to be fair to Hillary Clinton, while she certainly has her many flaws and shady dealings, she isn’t on the same level of evil as the current occupant of the White House.
I digress. The Patriots, for all their winning over the last decade plus, are a fascinating study in the inferiority/superiority complex. Their fans love to tout the greatness of Belichick and Brady and rightfully so, but in the same breath they harp on how the NFL has it in for them (Spygate, Deflategate).
Mind you all situations they brought on by, if not outright breaking the rules/cheating, bending them so far the league had to get involved. New England fans need to choose; be arrogant or be whiny. Not both. You’re either the best franchise in sports or a “humble” upstart that wins in spite of the deck being stacked against you.
Speaking of the deck being stacked, have you ever heard a Patriots fan complain that the officials are always out to get them? Nothing could be further from the truth! In the AFC title game the Patriots were only called for one penalty, while their opponent, the Jaguars, were whistled for six. Now, the Patriots are a very disciplined football team, but no team is that disciplined. There were a number of questionable no calls. While I don’t think the officials meet and collude to give the Patriots the benefit of the doubt in close situations, I will just leave these two videos here for your review.
Official Congratulating Brady
Official After Patriots Touchdown
Part of this inferiority complex no doubt comes from knowing they will always pale in comparison to the cultural capital of the world, NYC. We don’t need to get into all the reasons NYC > Boston/NE, just know that it’s a fact. Perhaps it’s also because deep down New England fans know some of their championships have an asterisk next to them. It is why even with the Patriots' run of success, they can’t just let the victories speak for themselves. Each and every one must be dissected analyzed and trumpeted, while highlighting every miniscule slight along the way.
Boy, that sure sounds like a certain “leader of the free world.” While we’re on the subject, is there a football team more associated with #MAGA than the Patriots?! To be fair, at least half the population in America supports #MAGA, so it would stand to reason that at least half the football-watching public will be rooting for the Patriots. If you loathe everything about #MAGA and what it purports to stand for, you can’t roll with the Patriots, right?! Do you really want to see another picture of the New England triumvirate (Brady, Belichick and Robert Kraft) grinning on the White House lawn with the Vince Lombardi trophy and the aforementioned occupant?! Something about that entire image just seems wrong.
So we’re all on the Eagles right!?
If the Patriots fans have an inferiority complex, Philadelphia Eagles fans have that times a thousand. To Philly’s north, about 90 minutes away, is the aforementioned cultural capital of the world. About 2.5 hours south is the nation’s capital, where all political power resides. That’s gotta be tough. Then of course there is the city’s tortured sports history. While the Phillies have at least won a World Series in the last decade, the same can’t be said for the Flyers or the Eagles. Though the latter did come close in 2005. With that being said, it should be easy for everyone to rally behind Philadelphia and support them in pulling off the upset on February 4 in Minneapolis. But we just can’t; and it’s because of the reputation (mostly true) of the Philadelphia fans.
To say Philadelphia fans have a history of aggression is like saying the Atlantic Ocean is salty. After defeating the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game two weeks ago, Eagles fans were seen pelting the Vikings team bus with beer cans and whatever else they could get their hands on. This was after a game they won, where the outcome was never in doubt. It was a 38-7 blowout.
Wait, there’s more…
Come on! We can’t get behind a team whose fan base does this type of thing before the game and after wins. If you think that incident was isolated, guess again. Philadelphia law enforcement was so in tune with what might happen win or lose, that cops were sent out to grease light poles. That way fans couldn’t climb them. According to an NBC News report, the city also warned businesses owners to “secure their buildings and remove anything that could be broken or thrown. They also asked owners who have security cameras to please have them on."
Philadelphia fans have a history of churlish, vile behavior. Here are some of their highlights or lowlights as it happens:
This is why y'all can’t have nice things, Philadelphia. The country would love to root for you against the Patriots, but I don’t know if they can.
The fact of the matter is, this is the Super Bowl nobody wants, unless you’re a fan of either team. Now, the ratings and social media will paint a very different picture on Sunday. Because the Super Bowl is an American holiday, whether it’s to watch Justin Timberlake’s halftime act, the commercials or pay attention to the scores at the end of quarters to see if you won the pool, it is a huge event. But don’t be fooled, you don’t actually want to watch this game. You detest these two fan bases with passion. According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, prices to get in Super Bowl LII have dropped rapidly. The Monday after the conference championships is usually a high-demand day, not this year. Prices have dropped from $5,000 to $3,800.
A final thought about the fans. There are good fans on both sides and I happen to know quite a few, as I’m sure many of you do. So I don’t want to lump them all in together. For their sake, I hope it’s a good game with the desired outcome. But of course there can only be one winner. So to appease both fan bases, here’s hoping for a tie. Yeah, I’m sure that’ll go over real well.
Heat HC Erik Spoelstra on Hating Term “Dog Days” of NBA Season And Why Trade Deadline & All-Star Break Won’t Affect His Team (Video)Read Now
The Miami Heat are performing better than preseason predictions by the experts. They currently sit in the 4 seed in the eastern conference playoff picture as they get set to take on the Nets tonight in Brooklyn. With a 26-18 record, and the trade deadline approaching (February 8th) the Heat are in an interesting position. They could try an acquire a wing player and look to make a deep playoff run or stand pat and continue to keep an eye on the long-term sustainability of the franchise. Such is the dilemma for President Pat Riley and GM Andy Elisburg. But coach Erik Spoelstra has a different mission. Keeping his team focused on the task at hand, improving and getting better each day. Limiting the noise and resisting the complacency and distractions of the trade deadline and all-star break. All of which precede the “dog days” of the NBA season, a term “Spo” hates.
Prior to tonight’s matchup against the Nets, Spo talked about the team’s improvement. Why, despite their record, the Nets are not a team to be trifled with. He then talked about why the “dog days” is a term he hates, because of the immense privilege and opportunity it is to suit up and play in the NBA.
Spoelstra is a 2X NBA champion as a coach and while casual fans may want to chalk that up to coaching LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh; people that know the game and understand the value of coaching know how good Spo is. This season and last season (Heat had the best record post All-Star in 2017) are clear examples of his value-add.
See Erik Spoelstra’s full pre-game comments below.
Nets HC Kenny Atkinson on D’Angelo Russell Returning to Lineup Tonight Against Heat and Okafor Defending Whiteside (Video)Read Now
The Nets are at home tonight in the Barclays Center getting ready to take on the Miami Heat. Two teams headed in polar opposite directions. The Nets are 3-7 in their last 10 games and 7.5 games back of the last playoff spot in the east. The Heat are 8-2, currently the #4 seed, and 1 game back of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Still in all, an important game for the Nets. They will see the return of their starting point guard D’Angelo Russell who has missed most of the season due to injury, and the continued rotation minutes for big man Jahlil Okafor whom they acquired in a trade from Philadelphia.
Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson met with the media prior to the game and talked about integrating Russell back into the lineup and the increased workload for Okafor. Russell will be on a minutes restriction but will see time on the floor with Spencer Dinwiddie, who has been starting in his place.
Atkinson also said limiting Whiteside will be key and they will use a three-center rotation as they have all season. With Jarrett Allen, Tyler Zeller and Okafor seeing time against Whiteside. Atkinson made a specific point to call out Okafor’s big frame (260 pounds) as a plus in defending the Heat big man down low.
It will be good for Brooklyn to see what they have with Russell and Okafor, the #2 and #3 picks from the 2015 draft.
See Kenny Atkinson’s full pre-game comments.
Who are the violators and who's really being violated here?
The tense relationship between NBA players and officials is coming to a head. Spencer Dinwiddie and Draymond Green are the latest to speak up about refs alleged disrespect towards players, and not treating them like men.
But respect is a two-way street. Should it be automatically given by players to the officials? Do the officials have to earn the players respect and vice versa? Are the officials properly trained to mitigate intense situations when a player is upset? Do players know how to address their concerns without overstepping?
Let’s start with respect: the issue both sides believe is the root cause. Players say officials don’t respect them as men by the way they are treated. Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie, after a string of no calls in a critical loss to the Celtics on Saturday, said the following in his postgame availability:
“We want to treat everybody with respect, because everybody is doing their job. We turned the
ball over, calls are missed, whatever. But when you approach somebody and they ‘shush’ you or they wave you off like you’re not a man or something of that nature, that’s also very frustrating. To already be in a position of feeling like you’re not getting the same respect, whether true or false, it is an opinion. It’s very subjective.”
The referees believe they are not afforded the level of respect they are due as officials of the game. In a recent meeting between representatives for the officials and head of the Players’ Association, Michelle Roberts, the officials' main complaint is their belief that the league office has grown too lenient in allowing players to be aggressive verbally toward the refs.
The NBA has long been a players league, and to that end, a star players league. It’s what the marketing machine of the NBA is built around, charismatic, dynamic talents. You’d have to imagine that’s who the refs are speaking about in particular. A quick glance at the league leaders in technical fouls would confirm that. Among the top 10 are: Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul.
Going even deeper and looking at the league leaders in ejections and there is overlap with Durant, Green, Cousins, Anthony, and even LeBron James.
Curious that star level players are experiencing this level of strife with the refs. Even Steph Curry got tossed from a game this season.
Looks like Dinwiddie has a point. The aforementioned players are all veterans and know the impact of amassing too many technicals and ejections. This can’t be a coincidence. Green, in a conversation with the Athletic, agreed with Dinwiddie and takes it further, saying:
“It's bad. It's horrible. It's really bad. I don't know why it is. But I think it's ridiculous. It's ruining the game. … It should be one of, if not the main priority, to be solved. It definitely should. I look at a lot of stuff and just shake my head. But I'm unfazed by it. Because at this point, it is what it is. They're going to do what they do. A lot of it is personal. When you give someone so much authority and they make it me against you, you can't overcome that.”
If Dinwiddie is a standard hammer driving a nail through wood, Green’s a jackhammer. But that’s Draymond, and that outburst cost him $25,000, per league sources. Can’t say he’s completely wrong, and of course he’s entitled to his opinions. On many occasions the “beef” does seem personal. If it is personal, what can a player do to an official? Nothing, if he wants to remain in the league.
But what is it about respect? The Oxford dictionary defines respect as a noun: due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others. This is where the real crux of the issue lies. Does either side have due regard for the feelings of the other?
Officials need to understand that the game isn’t about them. Despite any personal animus they may have towards a specific player or team, that can’t impact the way they officiate games. Yes, the refs are human and emotions play into it. But part of the responsibility of being an NBA game official is having the ability to rise above that and make the proper calls. These are well compensated professionals* and as such should act in accordance with the officials code of conduct. For their part, players need to understand how difficult the job of an NBA official is. They are human and mistakes will be made and calls will be missed. However, even when enraged over a perceived bad call, a player must afford the official the respect his position demands.
As adults, players and officials should be able to have a healthy exchange, even heated, without venturing into name calling or belittling. If an official doesn’t want to discuss the call with the player, he should advise when they can talk. Next dead ball timeout, in between quarters, etc. There is ample stoppage time in games for a brief conversation to be had. Officials cannot and should never shush the player or dismiss them as though they are not important. Acknowledge the player wants to talk and make a quick comment about when the conversation can continue. For players, when the official acknowledges and says it can be discussed, the matter has to be dropped until picked up at that specified time. Continuing to berate and hammer them after it has been acknowledged won’t help anyone.
This is all easier said than done. In the heat of competition, people get fired up and emotions boil over and things get done and said. Again, there must be a little leeway for that on both sides. But ultimately, both player and official must have due regard for the feelings and wishes of the other.
*Unlike the NFL, NBA officials are full-time employees during the 8-month season and several reports assert that annual salaries for officials range from $150-550K depending on experience. No, they don’t earn as much as the players. But they make more than teachers, policeman, fireman, and all the other professions people bring up when railing on athletes and their multi-million dollar salaries.