Humble Lion vows to take case to CFU

first_imgHumble Lion Football Club and their president, Mike Henry, are up in arms with a recent Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) ruling fining the club $25,000 and deducting three points.Portmore United claimed Humble Lion used an ineligible player, who was registered to Portmore United, in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) game between the teams on January 24 at the Effortville Community Centre. Humble Lion won the game 3-1.Humble Lion maintain that the player in question, 18-year-old Ricardo Dennis, has not played for Portmore in five seasons, which automatically makes him a free agent.Portmore United, on the other hand, produced documents indicating that the player represented them in the St Catherine Under-17 tournament in 2014.Document withdrawnSince, according to Henry, Portmore asked for that document to be withdrawn because of irregularities and requested that investigations into the matter be postponed.Consequently, Henry, who is also the member of parliament (MP) for Clarendon Central, is demanding that the scoreline and points be restored, and the $25,000 fine rescinded.Anthony Pringle, one of the club’s founders, said they met all criteria to register the player, while Portmore are yet to produce one piece of legal evidence that the player belongs to the club.”Where a player has not performed in an official match for 30 months, a transfer certificate is not required. He (Dennis) last played for Portmore at U15s in 2011 and he has not played for five years.”We will find a way to take it to Caribbean Football Union (CFU) and FIFA. We are also expressing the community feeling, and I am willing to pursue it as it is not a decision that should be supported on the integrity of how we should operate,” he added.”The player said he has not played for Portmore at the Under-17 level. He gave us that in writing and his family has said so. But the important element is this document here (St Catherine U-17 competition match card). This document they are using is the one Portmore said was improperly dealt with,” Henry said, while issuing copies of a match card of a St Catherine Under-17 competition from 2014, at a press conference hosted by the club in Kingston yesterday.Dennis’ name was on the match card as a substitute.”In that context, even Mr Jackie (Patrick) Walters’ name is used. I asked Jackie Walters if he was present on this day, and he said no. He was not even on the ground,” Henry revealed of the match card, which also had Walters’ name written on it.”So we are saying this is a fraudulent document and does not prove Dennis played for them. So I will not stray from the illegality of the document,” Henry said.The Clarendon club appealed the decision initially.However, it was upheld by the Professional Football Association of Jamaica.Henry believes the process was compromised, as instead of the three-member appeals panel, only two were present to make the ruling.”I question the integrity of some of the decisions. I asked Mr [Winston] Dawes, ‘So why were you not at the meeting?’. He said he only saw it on the TV and only two members of that body met, and he was never invited to the meeting.”last_img read more

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St George’s march on

first_imgSt George’s Brass Band keep time at the matches played at the historic St George’s Park in South Africa’s “biggest little city”, Port Elizabeth. With a repertoire ranging from orchestral pieces, calypso and jazz, they are, says band leader Jonathan Africa, unique in the cricketing world.The St Georges Brass Band is about the music and cricket. “As long as you remember that, everyone is welcome to join,” says Jonathan Africa. (Image: Jonathan Africa)Sulaiman PhilipIt is a few hours before the first ball is bowled at St George’s Park. The sun shines, the city buzzes with excitement. In one corner of town a group in matching shirts warms up. Fingers are made limber, deep breaths are exhaled into mouthpieces. Pursed lips blow into reeds. The parps of trumpets and trombones rise.Deep brassy clangs and high-toned hissing rise into the air as the St George’s Brass Band warm up at the home of band leader Jonathan Africa. Africa will lead his musicians to the stadium to soundtrack the day’s game, just as they have done for 20 years.“In those 20 years the most memorable game, for all of us, was in 2010 when the Warriors won the (domestic) double. For us in the band, we were an important part of that win.”Historic St George’s Park cricket ground in Port Elizabeth hosted the first Test played outside England or Australia. South Africa’s final Test before isolation was played here in 1970. Today its renovated Victorian eaves ring with the equally old school sounds of a brass band.Where fans in other grounds listen to piped music, local favourites or a seamless blend of hits, those at St George’s Park are treated to the vibrant, joyous noise of the St George’s Brass Band. “Our first game was a Benson & Hedges game. Eastern Province versus Border. That was 1994 and now, years later, we’re still here,” says Africa.The first movement for the band was in 1994, when musicians from Cape Town played during a game at St George’s. Africa takes up the story: “After the game, (Eastern Province) Cricket decided they wanted a similar vibe at games. We got the nod from the late Phillip Potgieter and Malcolm van Eck. Once we got the nod, the band grew quickly and we became the St George’s Band in 1996.”The difference is the Band. The St Georges Brass Band make cricket in Port Elizabeth different and memorable. (Image: Jonathan Africa)Twenty years later, the St George’s Brass Band is a uniquely South African institution. Newlands, in Cape Town, may have the mountain as a backdrop. But Port Elizabeth has the band – and the atmosphere that makes watching cricket there different.The band puts to bed the image of Port Elizabeth as a quaint, sleepy little town. This is the city the locals know, full of people who do innovative things, who believe they can change the world and the way their city is viewed, with a loud, joyful, celebratory noise.“We have grown. We do not just play at the cricket. We’re very active in our community. We are a community organisation aiming to develop our youth through music. Everyone can take part, every gender and race is welcome to take part in our training and development programmes.”Musicians come from all over the northern suburbs of Port Elizabeth and from Zwide Township. Some split their time between the Band and the SAPS Eastern Cape Band. Some have gone on to be teachers. “We also take part in the Coon Carnival during Cape Town’s Klopse Festival. We’re part of the Heideveld Entertainers; look out for us.”The late author and legendary athlete Dr George Sheehan described sport as theatre, a space where heroes were born and memories and hopes fuelled today’s passion. Sport was, he wrote, “singularly able to give us peak experiences where we feel completely one with the world and transcend all conflicts as we finally become our own potential”.St George’s Park has given members of the band an opportunity to fulfil their potential while filling their lives with heroes. Men, and yes it is just men, who have given them memories to be passed on to their children and their children’s children are fondly recalled.Africa reels off heroes: “Yoh! We had a number of them (heroes) over the years, like Hansie ‘Jou lekka ding’ Cronje, local boy Davy Jacobs, Basher ‘Big Bash’ Walters, Makhaya (Ntini), Lonwabo (Tsotsobe), AB (de Villiers), (Hashim) Amla and JP (Duminy). The international we remember was Shane Warne. And all the West Indies players always enjoy the band.”Give me Hope Johanna was the band’s first song, a favourite still despite their diverse repertoire. The band arranges and plays selected orchestral pieces, calypso and jazz. It is a range of music that celebrates what cricket means to its members.Like cricket, music packs together a lifetime of emotions in a few strokes. Music, like cricket, allows the band to suffer and die and rise again. So it was heartbreaking when they were refused permission to play. “That was our lowest point. We were not allowed to play in 2003. During the (Cricket) World Cup. In our own backyard. We could never understand why, and the cricket administrators never felt a need to tell us.”The Warriors, their fans and the members of the band are tied together. They exist to remind cricket fans of the warmth of the region’s people and the passion they feel for their team. The band celebrates what the city already knows: Port Elizabeth is the biggest small city.Hard work, sweat and ingenuity have made the band famous beyond the boundaries of the city. Their existence, their influence have extended beyond the few hours of a game of cricket. They are, as far as Africa knows, unique in the world of cricket. “Twenty years not out, and more to come.”The Band is a community organization developing youth through music. (Image: Jonathan Africa)last_img read more

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Infographic: South Africa’s small businesses see growth ahead

first_imgA survey by South Africa’s National Small Business Council reveals that the country’s entrepreneurs are upbeat about the health and future success of their companies.        Small business remains the engine of growth in South Africa. They created 50% of all new jobs and contributed 45% of GDP. (Image: Brand South Africa)Words by Sulaiman PhilipDesign by Sandile KhumaloSouth Africa’s National Small Business Council recently released its survey of entrepreneurs’ take on the country’s business environment. Despite tough economic times, 90% of respondents were optimistic about the health and future success of their companies. Other findings from the survey of almost 18 000 business owners were:• 56% of small business owners thought trade with Africa was the way to growth for any small business• Most thought marketing was the skill they lacked the most• 69% of small businesses did not have business insurance• Access to funding was the biggest challenge for businesses younger than five yearsAccording to NSBC founder and chief executive Mike Anderson, small business can unlock job opportunities – to make a positive and lasting impact on South Africa. The NSBC encourages entrepreneurship through regional workshops and support services for small business owners. With campaigns like campaigns like Small Business Friday, the council also encourages consumers to choose local small businesses over large companies.Here are some of the findings from the NSBC study.Click on the image for a larger view:last_img read more

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Wet pattern holding into October

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Jim Noel, NOAAThere is no change from last week as an overall wetter than normal pattern will persist into the October harvest season.The one thing that has changed is that temperatures after last week’s hot weather do not look as warm into October. Temperatures are now more likely to be normal or maybe a degree above normal.It still looks like the first freeze is on track with a near normal arrival. Most places tend to be in the October 10-20 range in Ohio from northwest to south.Looking further ahead in November, indications are for a warmer and not as wet period. Rainfall will likely be normal or possibly slightly below normal.Rainfall over the next two weeks will average 2-5 inches. Normal is about 1.5 inches.last_img read more

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Stats: Ravichandran Ashwin overtakes Harbhajan Singh with 26th Test five-wicket haul

first_imgIndia off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin reached yet another milestone on Saturday as he bagged his 26th five-wicket haul in the ongoing second Test against Sri Lanka at Colombo.In reply to India’s first innings total of 622-9 declared, Sri Lanka resumed on 50-2 and lost their remaining eight wickets in the extended morning session to concede a 439-run first innings lead. Niroshan Dickwella top-scored for the hosts with a breezy 51.Ashwin ended up with figures of 5/69 in 16.4 overs. Fast bowler Mohammed Shami bowled superbly for figures of 2/13 while left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja returned 2/84. Fast bowler Umesh Yadav also bagged a wicket.Most 5 wkt hauls after 51 Tests26 R Ashwin20 Waqar Younis19 Ian Botham#SLvInd- Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) August 5, 2017Most wickets after 51 Tests284* – R Ashwinnext best: 269 – Dennis Lillee* one more inns remain#SLvInd- Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) August 5, 2017It was Ashwin’s 26th five-wicket haul in his 51st Test match and he has now gone past compatriot Harbhajan Singh, who took 103 Tests to complete 25 five-fors. Anil Kumble, with 35 five-wicket hauls, leads the list of Indian bowlers.Ashwin has most number of five-wicket hauls and also has more wickets (284) than any other bowler after 51 Tests.Most times 5 wkt hauls for India in Tests35 Anil Kumble (132 Tests)26 R Ashwin (51)25 Harbhajan Singh (103)23 Kapil Dev (131)#SLvInd- Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) August 5, 2017Ashwin’s spin-bowling partner Jadeja also went past a significant milestone in this match as he took his 150th wicket in the longest format when he dismissed Dhananjaya de Silva in the 35th over. The left-arm spinner is the second quickest to reach the landmark behind Ashwin. Jadeja is playing in his 32nd Test match while Ashwin achieved the feat in just 29 matches.advertisementFastest to 150 Test wkts by spinners28 – C Grimmett29 – H Tayfield/S Ajmal/R Ashwin31 – S McGill/S Warne32 – Ravindra Jadeja#SLvInd- Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) August 5, 2017Fewest Tests to 150 wktsby Indian left arm spinners…32 Ravindra Jadeja40 Vinoo Mankad41 Bishan Bedi78 Ravi Shastri#SLvInd- Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) August 5, 2017Overall Jadeja is the fourth quickest bowler to take 150 scalps while Ashwin is joint-second with Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal and South Africa Hugh Tayfield. But Jadeja is the quickest to reach the mark among left-arm bowlers.150 wickets for Ravindra Jadeja in Tests. Among ALL left-arm bowlers Jadeja is the quickest to reach this mark (in 32 Tests).#SLvIND- Rajneesh Gupta (@rgcricket) August 5, 2017Jadeja’s first wicket of Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal was his 100th under (in 19 Tests) Virat Kohli’s captaincy. Ashwin has taken 163 wickets in 27 matches with Kohli as skipper.last_img read more

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10 months agoRiver Plate midfielder Juan Quintero: Man City talks makes me proud

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say River Plate midfielder Juan Quintero: Man City talks makes me proudby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveRiver Plate midfielder Juan Quintero has revealed contact with Manchester City.Quintero, on-loan from Porto, has just helped River win the Copa Libertadores.He told Goal: “My agent had a meeting with Manchester City, which made me very proud. “If I go back to Europe, it must be in everyone’s advantage and not just a financial issue.”Along with City, Real Madrid are also interested in the Colombia international. last_img read more

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23 days ago​Sterling wants Man City teammate Foden in England squad

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say ​Sterling wants Man City teammate Foden in England squadby Freddie Taylor23 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester City star Raheem Sterling would be delighted to see teammate Phil Foden in the England setup.The teenage midfielder is being linked with a call up to the full England squad for their October Euro 2020 qualifiers.While he has struggled for game time in the Premier League this season, Foden is rated as one of the most promising English talents in his age group.Foden netted for City against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League on Tuesday.”Players that we have here, you have to read the game and the goals will come,” Sterling told BT Sport about City not scoring until late in the game.”I am buzzing for Phil and I want him in the national team, if he keeps going he will be there.” last_img read more

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Photo: Notre Dame Sent Mail About Its High School Prospect Camps To A Starting Offensive Lineman At Rutgers

first_imgNotre Dame accidentally sends recruiting letter to Rutgers OL.Chris Muller is a rising redshirt junior at Rutgers. He has appeared in 26 games for the Scarlet Knights the past two seasons, making 25 starts at right guard. One of those starts was actually against Notre Dame in the 2013 Pinstripe Bowl. Apparently, the Fighting Irish staff either didn’t remember Muller from that game, or were so impressed that they are attempting to recruit him over a year later. Tonight, Muller tweeted that he received mail from Notre Dame about its upcoming 2015 summer high school prospect camps, a curious delivery considering Muller is entering his fourth year at another program. Well this is awkward… #CHOPNation pic.twitter.com/OsQLwniVCK— Chris Muller (@Chris_Muller70) February 21, 2015Not sure if this is an actual NCAA infraction but either way Notre Dame should probably update its recruiting mailing lists. More: The Only 13 Teams That Can Win The Playoff In 2015last_img read more

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New Englands NonReceiver Receivers May Be The Greatest Threat To Philadelphia

Washington15.9198.874.4 16LA Chargers84.476.5+7.9 23Minnesota76.775.0+1.7 The Eagles have the fourth-worst differential between how they defend wide receivers (71.2 passer rating allowed) versus how they defend tight ends and running backs (100.5). And this deficiency has played a significant role in their infrequent struggles this year. In Philly’s lone low point in the NFC Championship, it was tight end Kyle Rudolph who Keenum found for a 25-yard touchdown on the game’s opening drive. In the regular season, three of the Eagles’ four worst games in terms of passer rating allowed when guarding running backs were in the team’s three defeats, including a 144.1 passer rating allowed on RB/TE targets against the Seahawks (including two touchdowns), and 134.3 on 13 targets against the Chiefs. While they allowed a 100.0 rating on eight targets in an otherwise sterling defensive effort during a 6-0 loss to the Cowboys in the final week, many starters were sitting for large stretches of that game.1The Eagles also allowed a 143 passer rating when defending RB/TE in a Week 7 win over Washington.But there’s also statistical evidence that passer rating may be underselling Philadelphia’s efficiency in defending targets to running backs and tight ends. When we focus only on yards per attempt on these targets, the Eagles defense ranks as the fourth best (6.18 allowed per attempt). Similarly, the Eagles rank fifth-best in Raw Quarterback Rating (Raw QBR) because that statistic is based on expected points and makes an adjustment for yards after the catch.But before any jubilant Eagle fan starts scaling the “Rocky” steps in a dune buggy, consider that the Eagles didn’t play many teams this season that excel at passing to non-WRs. The Patriots’ offense is No. 1 not just in total yards on passes to RB/TEs but also in Raw QBR on passes to those players, and the only offenses the Eagles faced that ranked in the top 10 in both of those statistics were Kansas City, Washington (twice) and the Los Angeles Chargers. So let’s isolate those games: 1Baltimore100.860.4+40.4 8Detroit98.677.1+21.5 2Jacksonville95.155.9+39.2 30Houston101.6106.9-5.3 Passer Rating Against 15Dallas102.493.9+8.5 28Oakland102.6105.5-2.9 4Philadelphia100.571.2+29.3 32Seattle72.288.0-15.8 5Buffalo96.169.7+26.4 LA Chargers44.7199.126.1 11Cleveland113.097.4+15.6 This is all well and good until you consider that the Patriots pass like no other team. No team in the NFL needs to worry less than the Patriots about a defense like Philadelphia’s taking away their wide receivers because no team in the NFL does more damage on throws to running backs and tight ends. Top threat Rob Gronkowski at tight end (health permitting), along with pass-catching running backs James White and Dion Lewis, can consistently abuse vulnerable linebackers and safeties that opposing teams typically try to hide in pass coverage.So will the Eagles be able to slow the non-receiver receivers of New England? The regular-season evidence looks damning for Philadelphia. The traditional measure of NFL passing efficiency is passer rating. So let’s look at how opponents’ passers fare when the Eagles defend running backs and tight ends in coverage versus when they defend wide receivers. Passes to tight ends and running backs cause problemsRegular-season difference in passer rating allowed when the opponent threw to wide receivers vs. when it threw to tight ends or running backs 9LA Rams92.472.4+20.0 On paper, the Eagles seem well constructed to stop the Patriots’ fearsome passing game. Like most teams that can defend in this league, the Eagles built their pass defense around edge rushers and cornerbacks in order to keep teams from beating them on deeper passes outside the numbers to wide receivers. This approach paid huge dividends in their upset victory over the Vikings in the NFC Championship, as Minnesota quarterback Case Keenum simply didn’t have the time to find his elite wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, who also were given less cushion to operate. 13NY Jets102.889.6+13.2 19Carolina99.795.3+4.4 TeamTight ends/running backsWide receiversDifference Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group 20New Orleans84.980.5+4.4 21Atlanta96.993.9+3.0 22Tampa Bay98.896.5+2.3 Average vs. all other teams5.70.3386.339.1 7Cincinnati99.376.3+23.0 29Green Bay102.2107.2-5.0 25New England92.592.3+0.2 OpponentWeekYd/AttPass TDRatingRawQBR 18Chicago95.389.8+5.5 17Tennessee95.988.9+7.0 26Kansas City82.685.1-2.5 31Pittsburgh81.387.9-6.6 Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group Kansas City210.11134.383.1 The Eagles had trouble with teams that pass well to TE/RBsHow Philadelphia’s pass defense did in the regular season when it faced teams that ranked highly in passing to non-receivers vs. teams that didn’t 6Miami110.485.7+24.7 27San Francisco96.098.8-2.8 24Arizona87.085.7+1.3 14Washington90.679.0+11.6 Washington78.83143.092.7 10NY Giants108.389.2+19.1 Average7.41.50118.869.1 12Indianapolis103.890.6+13.2 3Denver113.381.7+31.6 Their average Raw QBR allowed to these teams was 69.1, which is 30 points worse than their average in all other games. And that 69.1 Raw QBR against would rank sixth-worst in the league. Similarly, the Eagles allowed an average of 7.37 yards per attempt to these opponents versus just 5.72 to teams that are not nearly as prolific in throwing to non-WRs.So when you adjust for tendencies of opponent, all three statistics (rating, Raw QBR and yards per attempt) converge and it’s clear that, on paper, the Patriots have a decided edge against an otherwise sound pass defense. Of course, all this largely evaporates if Gronkowski, who suffered a concussion 10 days ago, is not recovered and can participate in Minnesota. While he’s returned to practice, he’s still in the concussion protocol and has to be cleared to play by an independent doctor. The team’s backup tight end, Dwayne Allen, caught just 10 passes all year and wasn’t even targeted by Tom Brady in the AFC Championship game, though Allen played over two quarters after Gronkowski’s injury against the Jaguars.If Gronkowski does play, the Patriots will be in an unusual spot for a game of this magnitude. The Patriots have long been famous for their a chameleon-like offense — the team will find your biggest weakness and design a fresh game plan around exploiting it. But based on the Eagles’ defensive splits, the New England offense may not have to morph into something else this time, but instead may be able to simply play to its greatest strength. read more

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This Is The First NBA Finals In 9 Years Without LeBron A

When Lamar Odom heaved the ball down-court to drain away what seconds remained between the 2010 Los Angeles Lakers and a championship, few realized that it marked the start of a new era. The period that followed was defined by who wasn’t in L.A. that June night: LeBron James. For each of the next eight seasons, a James-led team would make the NBA Finals — a streak of contesting the championship that won’t technically end until Thursday’s Game 1 between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors.As the confetti filled the Staples Center air, there was little sense of just how profoundly the game was about to change — some changes because of James himself, others just moving on a parallel track to the game’s biggest star. With the benefit of hindsight, then, let’s take a look at exactly how many huge developments have transpired across the league since the last time we had an NBA Finals without LeBron James.From ABC News: In many ways, it’s fitting that these 2019 finals would pit two of James’s longtime foils — the Raptors (who could never beat him in the playoffs) and the Warriors (whom he could seldom beat) — against each other. James’s shadow hangs over the series in absentia, if not simply for what his vacancy signals. He may return to the championship stage again sooner than later, particularly if the Warriors’ hegemony is threatened this summer. But for now, this series marks the end of an era — and the culmination of all the many changes that have remade basketball since the last time we weren’t debating James’s chances of adding another ring to his collection.Check out our latest NBA predictions. LeBron’s GOAT turnGoing into the summer of 2010, James’s future was as uncertain as it would ever be. He had just suffered the most high-profile failure of his career, inexplicably struggling as his Cleveland Cavaliers were bounced from the second round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics. He faced a looming free-agency “decision” — would he betray his hometown Cavs? — and persistent questions about whether he could lead a championship team. Statistically, James’s career was off to a stellar start, but by the NBA’s ring-obsessed standards, his path toward GOAT status was wobbling.Nearly a decade later, James is still not universally hailed as the greatest ever. (Michael Jordan’s shadow looms large.) But he is generally placed right in the conversation with MJ. He answered postseason critics with eight straight conference titles and three rings, including one that involved: a) one of the greatest NBA Finals comebacks ever; b) upsetting the winningest regular-season team in history; and c) ending Cleveland’s 52-year championship drought. At the same time, James has climbed up the all-time statistical mountain in countless categories, including passing Jordan on points in March. If James isn’t the GOAT, he has at least become the defining player of his generation — and in some ways, he even redefined the role of a superstar and the criteria we use to judge all-time greats.The rise of the WarriorsThe 2009-10 Golden State Warriors won only 26 games and got their coach, Don Nelson, fired. (The team would go through two more coaches before finding current boss Steve Kerr.) Few vestiges of Nelson’s 2006-07 “We Believe” Warriors — the franchise’s high-water mark for postseason success since the early 1990s — were still on the roster anyway. Newcomer Stephen Curry finished second in Rookie of the Year voting but gave scarcely any clues that he’d eventually become a transformational player. Klay Thompson and Draymond Green were still 20-year-old college kids. From these not-so-promising beginnings, the single greatest dynasty in basketball history1If not all of sports history, if you compare their run to those of greats from other leagues. would be formed.Every dynasty requires a series of unlikely breaks to fall its way, but it’s difficult to overstate just how surprising it was that Golden State would barge into an NBA championship club that included just eight franchises (the Celtics, Bulls, Pistons, Rockets, Lakers, Heat, 76ers and Spurs) hoarding the 31 titles up for grabs from 1980 through 2010. Before they added Kevin Durant in free agency, the Warriors were a testament to the power of drafting home-grown stars and locking them up on team-friendly contract extensions. After inking Durant, they became the scariest collection of talent ever assembled. And it would all come completely out of the blue, from the perspective of a neutral observer in the summer of 2010.The superteam craze gets crazierIn conjunction with James’s emergence as arguably the best player ever (see above), he also helped usher in an era of star players dictating the direction of the league on their own terms. The Age of the Superteam had already gotten underway with the 2008 Boston Celtics’ title-winning team-up between Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. But James pushed the trend even further when he joined forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to form a trio of prime-age superstars on the 2011 Miami Heat. Ever since, most of the game’s highest-profile moves have been designed to either counterbalance or mimic James’s original flight of fancy made good.The league’s power balance, of course, has almost always been about an ever-escalating arms race between Big Twos and Threes. The difference this decade has been about who gets to choose both how and where those combinations form. Encouraged by a salary structure that prioritizes nonmonetary benefits and empowered by what strange quirks of the system do arise, superstars (and their agents) have become every bit as powerful in team-building as general managers. You can’t fault them for it, either: Rings are how players are judged, and star recruiting is the most sensible path to a title in the NBA. This was bound to happen eventually — and the past decade has only solidified the trend.Pacing and spacingThe Warriors didn’t just break the mold of dynasty-building — they helped redefine how a championship team plays the game. Before Curry and Co., the conventional wisdom was that a team who lives by the 3-pointer would eventually die by it before the playoffs ended. During the 2015 playoffs, former Lakers coach Phil Jackson famously tweeted a critique of jump-shooting teams during the 2015 playoffs; Charles Barkley voiced the same sentiment around the same time. The Warriors’ title that summer felt like a retort, invalidating any preconceived notions about what kind of great team could successfully win a title.Although the rise of the 3-point shot was set in motion long before Golden State formed its dynasty, the Warriors became its symbolic standard-bearer — even after they shifted away from small-ball lineups a bit and were surpassed by many other teams in their actual use of the 3-pointer. Whether influenced by Golden State or not, the league’s obsession with speed, spacing and shooting has intensified greatly over the past decade. Pace factor is up 8 percent since 2010, and 3-pointers per game are up 78 percent. (Huge dinosaurs still roamed the paint back in 2010; today’s game looks very different.) Offenses are the most efficient they’ve ever been, and the range at which players can reliably make threes is expanding constantly. James’s own development even mirrored these changes: Once criticized for a lack of shooting touch, he improved to eventually become one of the game’s best deep 3-point bombers by the end of the decade.The evolution of tankingIn addition to the LeBron-influenced spate of superteams, one of the league’s other primary off-court concerns this decade has been how to prevent teams from tanking — deliberately building bad (and often dirt-cheap) rosters in order to get high picks in that summer’s draft. The tactic is nothing new, but back in 2010, it still hadn’t been fully explored to its cynical conclusion — that wouldn’t truly come until Sam Hinkie took over the Philadelphia 76ers in 2013.2Perhaps the SuperSonics/Thunder of the mid-to-late 2000s could also be seen as a precursor to Hinkie’s Sixers, but even those teams were not as brazen in their tanking efforts as Philadelphia would become.Hinkie’s “Process” — designed specifically to acquire a franchise-altering talent like James — left a controversial legacy. It helped Philly eventually acquire many building blocks for their current contending squad, even after missing on a number of their high picks. It also produced some of the worst basketball ever along the way, and the results underscored the complete lack of certainty inherent in hitching a franchise’s fortunes to a randomized lottery system. Neither of this year’s NBA Finalists were built by tanking — in fact, Toronto methodically built a solid team until a superstar (Kawhi Leonard) fell into its lap. And the league readjusted its lottery odds this year anyway, flattening out the rewards for poor records and further discouraging intentionally bad roster construction. Unlike the dreadful 2002-03 Cavaliers team that drafted James, the next LeBron might not even enter the league with a team that lost on purpose to get him.The end of ‘Lakers exceptionalism’?Perhaps the starkest contrast between 2010 and the present is in the state of James’s current club, the L.A. Lakers. With a core of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Odom and young center Andrew Bynum, coached by Jackson, Los Angeles had just won its second consecutive title — and they appeared poised to contend for even more over the next few seasons. But Jackson retired from coaching in 2011; Bryant and Gasol got older; Bynum couldn’t stay healthy; Odom was traded; and the front office struggled to upgrade the supporting cast.An attempted superteam of Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Bryant and Gasol failed miserably. It also represented the last time the Lakers made the playoffs. Ever since, the team has tried desperately to replenish its once-endless supply of Hall of Famers, whether through the draft or in signing James, the game’s biggest star. But at the same time, L.A. has been hamstrung by ineffectual management, a story that extended to this week’s ESPN report about dysfunction between Magic Johnson, former president of basketball operations; general manager Rob Pelinka; James’s agent, Rich Paul; and the rest of the team and its staff. The Lakers still figure to aim for another huge star acquisition this offseason, but the era of what SB Nation’s Tom Ziller calls “Lakers exceptionalism” — the idea that L.A. is entitled to always dominate the NBA — is over, difficult as that would have been to believe in 2010. read more

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