Tag Archives: Kyrie Irving

1,500 children have been “lost” in the immigration system, and the nation should be outraged. A flying (real) Spiderman saves a dangling toddler in France; and LeBron James is once again amazing.

Happy Memorial Day, and a thank you to all of those who fought and died for the freedoms so many of us enjoy and take for granted.

It is so easy to get lost in the swarm of horrible news that emanates from Washington, D.C. these days, and have so much of it just blow past you.

We can’t keep up. It’s impossible to keep up. And when there’s too much to keep track of, the public can’t keep track of any of it.

But there are stories that deserve to be shouted from the rooftops, atrocities and horrors so un-American, so patently cruel… this is one of those stories.

The current administration, led by a man who is patently unfit to hold the office of dog catcher, has of course stepped up efforts at the border to detain, interrogate, and most cruelly of all, separate parents from their children.

These children, who did absolutely nothing wrong, who are too young in many cases to even know what their parents are doing, are being taken away (ripped away, according to reports) and sent somewhere else and held for as long as the government wants. Many of these people are seeking asylum, fleeing torture or drug gangs.

Babies? Oh, babies are taken away from their mothers, too. And they’re often put in a bus like the one I pictured above, which ought to break the heart of every parent reading this. That’s a bus owned by a company that runs the Karnes Detention Facility in Karnes City, Texas, and it’s a special bus designed just for babies on their way to detention centers. (The bus has been in use for several years, it’s not new and it can’t be blamed on Trump. But the fact that it exists, in America, and is being used…)

That’s right. A prison bus for babies.

So all of that is going on, and it’s all awful and atrocious and not who we are as a people. (I don’t care how you feel about illegal immigration, can we maybe not all agree that a PRISON BUS FOR BABIES means dealing with this issue requires some re-thinking?)

But then it somehow gets worse, when you read this:

“The government program meant to place unaccompanied children taken from the U.S.-Mexico border into the care of a parent or sponsor admitted last month it lost nearly 1,500 of them.

And it said it isn’t responsible for finding them either.

Senate testimony that was released last month but came to light more recently details how the Office of Refugee Resettlement — part of the Dept. of Health and Human Services “was unable to determine with certainty the whereabouts of 1,475 [children].” That was according to Steve Wagner, acting assistant secretary with the Administration for Children and Families.

The ORR was tasked between October and December 2017 with checking on the welfare of the more than 7,000 children supposedly placed into the homes of a sponsor or guardian. Along with the nearly 1,500 missing children, an additional 28 ran away and 52 were living with someone other than their initial sponsor, according to the testimony.”

I mean, COME ON. The federal government has no idea where 1,500 children are. Children who were ripped away from their parents, in a strange country, and know no one. And they’re lost. And no one knows where they are.

Watch this shocking Chris Hayes piece from MSNBC for more details.

I cannot fathom how people at the Dept. of Immigration sleep at night, knowing they have “lost” children and have no idea where they are.

**Next up today, speaking of unbelievable things, this is pretty amazing in a Spider-Man kind of way. A 22-year-old man named Mamoudou Gassama was in Paris and saw a 4-year-old dangling and stuck on the balcony of a building, and within 30 seconds scaled four flights to rescue her.

The child had apparently wandered onto the balcony and was unattended and got herself stuck. Oh and by the way? Gassama is from Mali. So he’s an immigrant in France.

What an incredible physical and heroic feat.

**Finally today, I ran out of superlatives to write about LeBron James about eight years ago, but damn if he doesn’t keep forcing me to write about him.

Sunday night, in a game 7 against Boston, LeBron led a team whose second best player was Jeff Green (Jeff Green! Who stinks) on the road, to an improbable victory and into his eighth straight NBA Finals.

Young Mr. James, at age 33 and playing in his 100th game of his 15th NBA season, only scored 35 points, with 15 rebounds and nine assists to lead the Cavaliers Sunday night.

He is just sensational, and every year he is widening the gap between himself and Michael Jordan as the Greatest Player of All Time. Honestly, the people still clinging to the idea of MJ as the GOAT are just living in the past, and unable to see that James is a better rebounder, passer and leader, and has done it with much less help (the 2 titles in Miami excepted.)

This Cavs team has no business being in the Finals. None. The Celtics, even without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, were the better team.

And yet, because LeBron James plays for Cleveland, it’s still playing. What a time to be alive, to witness his greatness.

LeBron James brings Cleveland a most improbable title. An awesome old movie dance scene remix. And a cute puppy commercial that leaves me perplexed

LeBron.tears

Yeah, I got nothing.

I’m supposed to write coherently about maybe the most improbable sports championship I’ve ever seen? I’m supposed to be coherent writing about the best basketball player I’ve seen in my lifetime, and that includes Bugs Bunny’s co-star in “Space Jams?”

A guy who did THIS last night, in a Game 7 with the score tied and the pressure of the world on his shoulders?

The Cleveland Cavaliers are NBA champions. The city of Cleveland, which has not seen a sports team win a title since another LBJ (Lyndon Johnson) was in the White House, is going crazy today and probably will for the next several months.

Down 3-1 to a Golden State Warriors team that’s an all-time great in history, an Akron native son led the Cavs to their first-ever NBA title. He dominated this series, he humiliated Steph Curry and all the cocky Warriors, and he did what he set out to do when he came home two years ago.

I don’t care what anyone says: LeBron James is the greatest basketball player of all time. To lead his team to this comeback… I mean, he should just announce his retirement at the championship parade in Cleveland. Because he’s never, ever going to top this moment.

Fifty-two years of frustration, of John Elway and Earnest Byner and Jose Mesa blowing Game 7 of the World Series and Art Modell stealing their team and LeBron leaving the first time … it’s all gone. It’s washed into Lake Erie now, replaced by joy.

The joy that Kyrie Irving (Duke!) brought with that game-winning 3-pointer. The joy of Kevin Love, basically useless for the first 6 games of this NBA Finals, coming alive in Game 7 and playing huge defense on Curry. Tristan Thompson, a man among men on the boards. Even Richard Jefferson was tremendous Sunday night.

I’m just so happy for the fans in Cleveland. I know sports isn’t all that important in the grand scheme of things, and I know life as they know it isn’t going to change just because some tall men with “Cleveland” on their jerseys won a championship.

But psychologically, man, what a boost. Just tremendous.

Couple other quick thoughts on a magnificent Game 7:

— So glad we got a nail-biter after six blowouts. It just had to come down to the end like it did.

— Lot of people going to say Curry and the Warriors choked, that a 73-win team couldn’t get over the finish line and was overrated. I don’t know, that Oklahoma City series took a LOT out of them physically, and when jump shooters like Klay Thompson and Curry miss shots like they did, it’s usually because they’re tired.

Also, the Draymond Green suspension for Game 5 was a big blow, and maybe, just maybe, they didn’t take the Cavs as seriously as they should. Curry shot 21-for-60 in the last three games. His reputation will take a while to recover.

— That LeBron block will be in the first 10 seconds of his Hall of Fame induction highlights video. Guaranteed. I mean, look how FAR he comes to block it. The athleticism, the timing, just incredible.

— I really thought LeBron broke his wrist on that fall with 10 seconds left, when Green fouled him. He landed so hard and looked to be in so much pain. And that would’ve been the most Cleveland way to lose, ever: Cavs up by 3, 10 seconds to go, LeBron gets seriously hurt, his replacement misses both free throws, Curry hits a three to send the game to OT, and with no LeBron, the Warriors win.

I guarantee you at least 25 percent of Cleveland fans watching that had that fleeting thought.

— Craziest stat I saw Sunday night: With the Warriors losing, none of the teams in all four major team sports who set records for most wins in a season won a title that year. (2001 Seattle Mariners, 2007 New England Patriots, and the 1996 Detroit Red Wings).

— Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop This Feeling” is everywhere these days, and even me, who hates most current music, finds it infectious.

**Finally, this is a very cute commercial from Amazon that aired in Japan, with a dog and a baby, but the ending leaves me perplexed: Wouldn’t the baby be totally freaked out and scared by what the dog looks like at the end?

Maybe the baby thought the dog was a lion all along.

LeBron back in Cleveland would be 57 kinds of awesome. Penalty kicks are an awful way to decide World Cup games. And Jimmy Fallon and Halle Berry make a human hamster wheel

LeBronshirt

A not-so-little secret, from a former sportswriter: We in the sports media tend to overhype things.
We make way, way too much out of common events, declare games “the best ever” and are quick to anoint heroes and legends all the time, making enormous mountains out of molehills.

But if what happens today with LeBron James is what lots of folks were reporting Wednesday night happens, then the news’ importance would be inelastic: It could not be stretched.

LeBron James going back to Cleveland would be HUGE. Bigger than huge. The biggest sports story in a decade, I think.

Do you realize what an incredible tale this is? Hometown kid, grows up to become the best player on the planet, plays seven years for the Cleveland Cavaliers and is beloved beyond belief by the fans there. They don’t win a title, and then as a free agent he goes on national TV, humiliates the city that loves him and chooses to go to Miami, where he teams up with other stars and of course, wins championships that he seemed destined to win for the long-suffering fans of Cleveland.

His jerseys get burned in Cleveland. He feels rage like few athletes ever have. The Cavs owner writes a scathing letter ripping LeBron to shreds.

And then, four years later … LeBron comes back to Cleveland? It would be epic. That kind of story just does not happen in sports.  You know with Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins, and some other free agents who will soon sign by his side, LeBron would have a great chance to end Cleveland’s 50-year sports championship drought.

Why would he go back to a place that sent so much fury at him? I have no inside information into his psyche, of course, but I honestly think he feels bad about the way he left. I think he knows how he departed, making a spectacle of himself on national TV, was wrong and immature, and he sees this as righting a wrong.

And if he comes back to Ohio and wins a title or two, man, what a story it would make.

I so hope LeBron becomes a Cav again. It would be just a wonderful, wonderful story.

 

**And now, more Jimmy Fallon awesomeness: He got Halle Berry to agree to be a human hamster wheel with him the other night.
Love how trusting these celebs are with Fallon…

**Finally today, a couple words on the ridiculousness of World Cup penalty kicks, deciding games.
I like shootouts in the NHL regular season, because at some point games have to end, they’re exciting for fans, and with 82 games, it breaks up the monotony and never truly impacts who wins the Stanley Cup. If they ever went to shootouts to determine Stanley Cup playoff game winners, I’d be right out there with my pitchfork with all the other hockey diehards, because it would be positively insane to do that.

And yet, in the World Cup elimination rounds, when a country has waited four years to get a chance to win this prestigious event, if the score is tied after 120 minutes of play, they go to a “skills competition” gimmick to decide the winner.

It happened Wednesday in the Argentina-Holland semifinal, it happened in the Costa-Rica-Netherlands game, and the Brazil-Chile game as well. It’s nuts that after working that hard, and putting so much effort into the game, teams watch one shooter and one goalie decide the outcome, one at a time.

Play it out until someone scores, I say. Allow more substitutions if you must, but to have the whole thing come down to PKs seems incredibly unfair to me.

Then again, I’m not a soccer guy. Happy to argue with anyone who is.

The 400-pound marathon runner. A disgusting pageant disqualification. And my Dukies, survive, barely

A couple of weight-related stories caught my eye this weekend, in between staring at the NCAA Tournament for 12 hours on Saturday and Sunday (ah, heaven).

First, my buddy Clay alerted me to the inspiring story of Kelly Gnieting, a 400-pound man whose dream was to become the heaviest man ever to run in, and finish, the Los Angeles Marathon.
Kneiting’s story, told here by the fantastic L.A. Times writer Kurt Streeter, is that of a man who knows he had let himself go, but still believed he was an athlete. He began training, and for the last two years has thought of little else.
Sunday, a 400-pound man finished the L.A. Marathon in 9 hours, 48 minutes, and 42 seconds.
Me, someone who desperately wants to run and complete a marathon one day, who right now can only run 2.5 miles or so at a time, is inspired by Kelly Gneiting. We are all capable of SO much if we try hard enough.
Bravo, Kelly. I’m proud of you.

**And then there was this story from last week, which isn’t quite as uplifting. A 17-year-old woman named Domonique Rodriguez is suing to get her crown as Miss San Antonio back, a title stripped from her because she was allegedly too heavy and didn’t look good enough in photographs.
If this really was why Rodriguez was stripped of the title, it’s remarkably disgusting behavior by the pageant. And it feeds into every stereotype about why beauty pageants in general are so wrong and unhealthy.
I hope she wins, and that the pageant people have to apologize to her in open court.

**Very, very scary game for me and the other Duke fans Sunday. The Blue Devils built a nice comfy lead in the second half of their NCAA Tournament game against Michigan, and then decided to just… stop… attacking. Duke’s offense was slower than Kelly Gneiting’s running (am I allowed to reference something in my own blog post?), and slowly Michigan caught up, until with three seconds left the Wolverines had a terrifyingly straightforward chance to tie the game and send it into overtime. Fortunately for my heart and for Duke, the shot missed, and the Blue Devils survived.
It was a bizarre last 10 minutes for Duke; the newly-healthy Kyrie Irving and best player Nolan Smith both seemed tentative, like each was waiting for the other to take over. Hope they get their act together by Thursday, because this Arizona team Duke plays next is seriously good.

Also, if you didn’t see this the other night, watch it now. A fantastic locker room celebration video from Butler coach Brad Stevens and his team after beating Pittsburgh in one of the best NCAA Tournament games you’ll see:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

A very cool (but scary) video of the Japan tsunami. Kyrie’s back! And the British man abducted by aliens

Sometimes all the words and pictures tell a story. And then you watch a 1-minute clip on YouTube and it becomes so much more vivid.
Saw this on Twitter Friday night; it’s video from a boat taken right before the tsunami that started the incredible mess Japan is in right now.
Truly terrifying video.

**I know most of you don’t give a hoot about college basketball, but Friday was a big day not just because it was the NCAA Tournament’s Day 2 (not a great day of games, frankly; only 2 or 3 really good ones), but for Duke fans it was the long-awaited return of freshman star Kyrie Irving, who’s been hurt for 3 months.

In his honor, I give you the great Mister Mister song and video “Kyrie.” (pronounced differently than the Duke star but hey, who’s counting.) You’re welcome.

(By the way, 1.6 million people have watched that clip. Don’t tell me ’80s music didn’t rule!)

**Some people are just too stupid to live. Others are just really, really confused and gullible. Not sure which category this guy falls into.
Couple weeks ago, the British government released a bunch of documents related to UFO sightings and other alien encounters. In one of the documents, it seems a man in 1998 called police when an entire hour of his life could not be accounted for. He was certain he had been abducted by aliens for 60 minutes, then returned to Earth.
After all, he knew where he was at 9 a.m., then the next thing he knew, it was 10 a.m. and he had no memory of anything! What else could it have been?
Turns out the guy just forgot to set his clock ahead for Daylight Savings Time.

How much fun it must be to get those calls if you’re the police.

My last dance with Harry Potter. A great Duke win. And Adam Sandler’s song, of course

I was late to the Harry Potter phenomenon, coming to the party only when I saw how crazy the world went over the release of J.K. Rowling’s fourth book in the series.
And so I’ve always been behind everyone else. I just finished reading the final book in the series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” last night.
And a minute after I was finished, I was profoundly sad. Because it was over. An incredible journey of seven books, each one a classic on its own, had ended. I felt a thrill reading these books like you rarely feel, the kind of thrill where you can’t wait to keep turning the pages, to see what happens next.
I actually could’ve finished “Hallows” a few nights ago, but I spread out my reading because I didn’t want it to end.

Yeah, I’m a little strange. But I’m sure I wasn’t the only Potter-phile who did that.

Way more talented writers than me have taken a stab at explaining why these books have caused such hysteria. And certainly I don’t think I could convince you, if you haven’t already, to pick one up and start reading.
But there was something special in each of those books, and by reading them, it was almost like you felt you were part of a special club, with the passageway in known only to other Potter fans.

It was an incredible journey JK Rowling took us on, and I for one am pretty bummed it’s over. No more Hagrid. No more Hermione Granger, the smartest girl in the history of books. No more Snape and Dumbledore, Draco Malfoy and Neville Longbottom.
Sigh. I guess I still have the final movies to look forward to. But it’s not the same.
Harry Potter is gone.  But not before leaving an incredible legacy, in my heart and those of millions of others.

**Big-time win by Duke Wednesday night, over a very, very good Michigan State team. It was a great game; I have so much respect for Tom Izzo and the Spartans program. No doubt in my mind Izzo is the second-best coach in college basketball right now.
As for the Blue Devils, geez, Kyrie Irving, good Lord that kid is good. He’s been phenomenal in the two wins over Kansas State and MSU. He’s been too good, really; there’s no way at this rate that he stays at Duke for  more than a year. But hey, I’m not complaining.
Also loving the maturity of Andre Dawkins and Mason Plumlee, two huge keys to the season.
There’s some crazy talk among my fellow Duke fans that they’re going undefeated; no possible way that happens, even with the ACC being as bad its been in a long, long time. No one goes undefeated anymore.
Still, very happy with how the boys from Durham are playing right now.

**And finally today, as it’s the first day of Hanukkah, I feel I am legally required to post this, and listen to it at least twice. Happy Hanukkah to my fellow Jewish-ites out there…