With money made, Bush et al. don’t care that future players are facing two-year probation

Like a Shakespearan play, USC has fallen by the wayside in college football.

By Gregory Moore

There’s a scene in the movie “The Program” in which Alvin Mack, the middle line backer scolds freshman running back Darnell Jefferson for questioning getting a few dollars from a booster during a recent team dinner, “All you need to know is how to sign an NFL contract… period.”

You may remember that scene.

I know I do and it still is a powerful piece of cinema when you are talking about college athletics, finances and how players use the system and the system uses the players.

Over the years there have been numerous scandals in the collegiate ranks.

In the 1940s and 1950s, there is the infamous City College scandal in which several players ‘shaved’ points for the mob in New York City. Who could ever forget what the SMU Mustangs had done in the 1980s in recruiting top-notch players like Eric Dickerson and Craig James. The program received what is affectionately called the “death penalty” for giving players ‘signing bonuses’ to get top recruits into the Dallas school. How about the famous ‘shoe scandal’ of the Florida State Seminoles?

Recently however schools have been finding themselves in some serious scandals that have rocked their programs to the core. The University of Memphis is still reeling from the entrance exam scandal that embroiled several players and coaches including Kentucky head coach John Calapari and Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose.

Nothing however comes to forefront of what is systematically wrong in collegiate sports as what has been found out by an NCAA investigation into one of the nation’s most premiere of sports departments, the University of California Trojans.

On Thursday, June 9, 2010, the NCAA unveiled a 67-page report that has put the football program on a two-year probation period for violations that took place during the height of the Reggie Bush era. The names of the accused aren’t mentioned but rather referred to as “student athlete 1” and is referred to by the committee as a ‘repeat violator’ of NCAA rules.

That’s nothing to chuckle about and if there was ever such a thing as a ‘death penalty’ in modern times of college athletics, this is pretty darn close.

Yet here’s the irony in all of this: the principles that caused the downfall are already rich and they don’t care about the school or the players, fans and administrators that came after the fact.

Don’t believe me? Read what Reggie Bush said:

“I have a great love for the University of Southern California and I very much regret the turn that this matter has taken, not only for USC, but for the fans and players,” Bush said in a statement.

“I am disappointed by [Thursday’s] decision and disagree with the NCAA’s findings. If the University decides to appeal, I will continue to cooperate with the NCAA and USC, as I did during the investigation. In the meantime, I will continue to focus on making a positive impact for the University and for the community where I live.”

That’s not the sound of someone who is contrite; that reeks of the arrogance that was USC football under Pete Carroll.

As a matter of fact Carroll said he was shocked at the penalties his program violated.

This isn’t a spoof on Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dumb.

This is the reality of what happens when academics is taken completely away from sports at the collegiate level.

At USC it’s the football team that is important; not the fact that the university is regarded as one the best places to get an education.

For many athletes, they look at the school as a ‘stepping stone’ to the big paydays and that is pretty much what this report makes the institution out to be.

O.J. Mayo certainly didn’t think USC was worth a school to at least fully attend and he knew that if he went to a prestigious school, his draft stock would rise.

Well it rose but like Bush, he did it on the backs of others who were playing by the rules.

‘Student Athlete 1’ and ‘Student Athlete 2’ can deny this report all they want and they can say that their reputations are being harmed but the facts are the facts. In this case, the mere fact that every allegation that was brought up in a civil case against Bush has come to light.

Yet no one involved in this case is punished.

Not Bush.

Not Carroll.

Nobody.

Ditto for Mayo and former basketball coach Tim Floyd.

And while they are making their millions, the future of these programs are not in doubt.

This whole scenario makes what Rick Neuheisel did back at Washington seem tame.

The bottom line is that while former players like Bush and Mayo, and former coaches like Carroll and Floyd, can feign their ‘indigence’ of being caught, they are rich beyond belief.

They’re safe from any persecution.

The people who are going to suffer are the young men of the football team and the look they will get from their peers.

Whether those guys understand what happened isn’t relevant.

Do you know what just happened?

In the end, after four years of milling around, the NCAA delivered a blow that was a Grade A haymaker.

They knocked the Trojans on their collective ass and dared them to get back up and fight.

Athletic Director Mike Garrett is going to fight and he’s going to come out bloodied; which doesn’t hurt my feelings one bit.

This program bred arrogance in its highest form and it deserved to be punished accordingly.

However the people who will suffer the most are the current players on the football roster.

What it shows is that these individuals didn’t care about USC in 2004-05 and they sure as hell don’t care now when the school is at its darkest hour.

If this isn’t a Greek tragedy, I don’t know what one is anymore.

Brits should be upset that BP execs don’t have American families in their best interests

Oil spill recovery preparations and procedures off of the coast Venice, Louisiana (© BP p.l.c.)

By Gregory Moore

Skimming through the sports annals this morning I came across an interesting tidbit on the Glazer family.

They are $1.68 billion in the hole from buying the Manchester United soccer team.

Yeah you read that right: that’s BILLION with a B.

As stated in an ESPN web story: “The American owners of Manchester United are $1.6 billion in debt, leaving their control of the club in doubt, the BBC reported Monday.”

“The BBC said its investigation found the Glazer family’s debts are $570 million greater than previously known. Malcolm Glazer and his sons also own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

All the extra debt comes after the Glazers borrowed extensively against their shopping mall business in the United States. The extent of the debt could fuel a further revolt by a group of United fans who oppose the Glazers’ ownership.”

“The Glazers took over United in 2005 in a leveraged buyout worth $1.4 billion.”

As you read the story you find out that the Glazer family is not welcomed owners across the waters and their fan base there lets it be known quite conspicuously with the wearing of colors from an olden time.

And if you keep reading, you find out that the study that the BBC is referring to was orchestrated by Andy Green, a London financial analyst who is part of a campaign by disgruntled United fans to oust the Glazers.

Pretty mundane stuff right?

I mean unless you’re a serious ‘football’ fan, do you really care about how fans of Manchester U feel about an American family?

You should because that perceived anger by a family owning one of Britian’s prized sports’ jewels will be part of the back story of the backlash that British Petroleum and other British companies will be facing in the coming months.

It shouldn’t be a group of soccer fans worried about who owns their beloved Premier league squad that makes headlines.

It should be the fact that very few in Britian understand the importance of BP taking full responsibility for its goof up in U.S. coastal regions.

What should be troubling to every American is the fact that no one from the British Parliament has taken BP execs to task on this issue.

What so many in Britian are worried about is their pensions and value of BP stock where in this country we are worried about whole industries being shut down behind this spill.

Katrina may have been the worst ‘natural’ disaster in the gulf region but this disaster is 100% man made and it is almost ten times worse; despite all of the press briefings coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Right now I could care less about production values and more about how to get this mess cleaned up so that coastal water ways can begin the natural healing process of ‘fixing’ the damage.

We may be hearing that from those in this country but I have yet to read anywhere where BP has understood the severity of this calamity that they allowed to happen.

Right now all I hear from across the pond is how much money this company could be losing and a perceived backlash.

According to the Corporate Counsel website,  “BP told its investors Monday that it has spent over $1.25 billion in costs since April 20 for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster, and that rate of spending “is expected to continue for some time.”

Really?

What doe they expect to happen?

Heck if this happened to a US company where something damaged the Atlantic near England’s shores, you’d be hearing of a massive protests and uprisings.

And the British people would be wanting answers from that US company.

Well guess what?

We want the same darn thing.

And we want some compassion and understanding as well.

Not just from BP but from those high and mighty lords in the British government too.

This is a situation where the President is trying to do every thing he can to help galvanize his country.

Let’s face it, president Obama has a tough road to hoe on this issue and he is going to catch hell from all sides because people don’t already think he’s qualified for the job.

The problem is that in this country, you don’t go to school to become a President or assembly man; it’s serious on the job training.

And right about now we all need to be behind him on this issue because he is trying to get a foreign company to pay for their mistake that has now drifted onto our shores.

But it would be awfully nice if the Brits came on board as well.

One off their companies screwed up not just a coastline but several industries.

There are families at stake here and they deserve to not only be heard but compensated.

Our government can only do so much; it needs the assurance that enough pressure is being put on from BP’s home country that they need to step up their game for all the right reasons; not just to satisfy their bottom line.

And that should mean that thousands of British citizens are as irate as Americans are that British Petroleum is dragging its collective feet on this disaster in all areas.

Firing Brown to keep James in Cleveland dumbest move in Cavs’ history

Daniel Gilbert made a big mistake thinking that firing the Cavs' Mike Brown will keep LeBron James in town. All that did was turn his team into the Dallas Mavericks of the Eastern Conference.

By Gregory Moore

It’s tough to be fired from a job; especially in today’s economy.

What’s worse is being held accountable for something that wasn’t 100% your fault.

For Mike Brown, the now former head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, being let go by an organization that five years ago was not even considered an elite franchise is an insult that no head coach should have to endure.

In any sport.

But firing Brown wasn’t because he had a bad season.

Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert fired Brown because he wanted to keep his Golden Child aka LeBron James.

In my opinion this was dumbest thing that Gilbert could do as an owner and that he’s more worried about his ticket sales than a championship ring.

And his co-conspirator in this case is general manager Danny Ferry.

Now I’ve never considered Ferry to be anybody’s lap dog but not standing up for Brown and standing beside Gilbert as he tries to hold on to James makes him the number one lackey in Cleveland right now.

Here’s the thing: Brown’s firing isn’t going to persuade James one way or the other.

Ferry should understand what it takes to win a championship; hell he came from an organization that took a moment to get it right in San Antonio.

If he forgot that lesson, maybe he should look down at his hand or check his trophy case.

Very few individuals have those championship rings, owners included, and Gilbert isn’t about a championship. Not if he’s going to pick a player over the franchise’s winningest head coach.

But Gilbert isn’t the first owner to be a dumbass when it comes to pining for a ring.

Mark Cuban did it when he fired Avery Johnson.

Jerry Reinsdorf did it when he fired Phil Jackson.

The New Jersey Nets did it when they fired Byron Scott.

Now add Brown to this list.

And what do those history lessons prove when owners make dumb ass decisions like this?

Their franchises either never gets back to the NBA Finals or they simply fade away from oblivion.

And usually what happens is that the franchise player never sniffs a ring in his career.

Want to take wagers on that statement? I’m game.

Jason Kidd has been to the Finals THREE times in his career and has never won one series.

Dirk Nowitzki’s only appearance was in 2006 and it was abysmal.

But James’ fall from grace, three years removed, is by far the worse in recent memory because he is the “Chosen One”. I mean come on; the guy had Bernie Mac preaching in a Nike commercial.

Yet the Chosen One couldn’t lead his team any closer than a five year old learning how to stop a run away train.

When you don’t have the skills necessary, that job is difficult.

But what Gilbert did early Monday morning wasn’t just dumb but enabling the process.

James doesn’t want a headstrong coach; he wants to be the coach himself.

Well sorry LeBron but the player/coach mantle got dissolved in the league a long time ago.

The last guy to have title was Lenny Wilkins.

Ironically Wilkins is reported to want to come back coach the Cavs again.

I’m sorry but what can the winningest and LOSINGEST head coach accomplish that Brown couldn’t do with that bloated roster?

Absolutely nothing.

And that goes for anyone else like a Mike Fratello, Paul Silas or anyone else who thinks that he can get LeBron to where he wants to go.

That’s simply not going to happen.

Not when you refuse to treat James for what and who he is; a player.

Granted he may be one of the best players that franchise has ever seen but in the end that’s all he is.

A bona fide winner?

No.

A leader that guys want to follow?

Doubtful.

Someone who believes in a winning concept and knows he needs a supporting cast to get it done?

Seriously, we’re not going to have that conversation are we?

And the worse part of it all is that Gilbert decided that it is easier to get rid of coaching staff that has given his franchise playoff consistent playoff appearances, back to back sixty win seasons and the best chance at getting back to the Finals than any new staff ever could.

Butt instead of Gilbert truly doing an organizational assessment of his basketball operations, he decided to place the failures on Brown and not on his high priced superstar.

Whether Gilbert wants to accept this reality or not, the fact is that LeBron James doesn’t care about winning titles; he is truly all about the money.

If James was truly wanting to win titles, he would have immediately told everyone within the sound of his voice that ‘his’ coaching staff prepared us for the playoffs by guiding us to a 63 win season and that it was up to him and his teammates to finish the job by winning seventeen playoff games.

If James was truly about winning titles, he would have told Gilbert that I don’t need a new head coach; I need guys who aren’t past their prime and costing this franchise money.

That means that he didn’t need to have an aging Antwan Jamison playing next to him this season.

That means he didn’t need an over the hill Shaquille O’Neal who was five years removed from his prime and costing this franchise a $20 million price tag.

That would mean that he would be wanting a guy like a Caron Butler by his side as Mo Williams ran the show and that he would do everything he could to help his team get a guy like Chris Bosh this summer; even if that meant down sizing his max deal so that more money was available for a three year run at the title.

And that meant him standing up for Brown this week; even when Brown got canned.

But James didn’t do any of that and that’s poor leadership skills and abilities on him.

Gilbert probably figured that out and used whatever leverage he could to make a decision that was as dumb as sticking your wet finger in a live circuit.

So while Brown will quickly get hired by one of the other teams looking for a head coach, Gilbert is going to do everything he can to appease his star and end up with a retread in the organization.

He’s not going to get a John Calapari or a Coach K; those guys have everything they want at the college ranks and that’s total autonomy and control of their job situations.

He’s not going to get a Phil Jackson or a Gregg Popovich because those two guys are going to be with their current teams.

Whoever Gilbert gets will be LeBron’s lap dog and Gilbert’s puppet.

If Ferry and Lance Blanks were smart, they’d bail out by the end of next week and wait for a better opportunity.

They don’t deserve to be a part of this dumb ass move by Gilbert and the more they stay around, the more guilty they look in the grand scheme of things.

LeBron James’ best chance of winning a title was just let go and from this seat on the crow’s nest, both he and Dan Gilbert will never see an NBA Finals event in Cleveland ever again.

Unless both of them are playing NBA Live 2011 on a jumbotron in the Quicken arena.

Stop screaming “my baby, my baby” when your baby does wrong

Thomas Wortham IV was a three year Chicago police officer and a war veteran.

By Gregory Moore

Picture this scenario if you will.

A young man goes to his parents’ house in a new car or on a new motorcycle in his old neighborhood.

At about 11:00 p.m., the young man decides to head back to his own place of residence and in the process a car rolls up and two men get out.

The intentions of these two men aren’t to ask for directions, they are trying to take the car or motorcycle.

Unbeknownst to the perpetrators, the young man pulls out a gun, announces that he’s a police officer and tries to protect his property and himself. During the commotion, the young man’s father comes out with his own weapon to help his son fend off the would be thieves as he is a former officer.

A gun battle ensues.

Pow. Pow. Pow.

One of the perpetrators is critically injured.

The young man who was visiting his parents is killed.

Another would be robber is also killed.

The car speeds off.

In the end, while the car or motorcycle is protected, the parents of the young man have to bury their fallen hero.

Down the street, a woman screams out, “my baby, my baby”.

It is assumed that she is the mother of the now deceased robber in front of the young man’s parents’ house.

Two young men gunned down in a tragic circumstance.

One mother is proud of what her son was trying to do.

Another is wondering why her baby was killed.

This scenario could happen anywhere at anytime.

Ironically and unfortunately in all to realistic fashion, it happened in Chicago.

In the May 20th issue of the Chicago Tribune, a story broke saying the following:

An off-duty police officer just back from Iraq was shot and killed after four people pulled up to his parents’ Chatham home Wednesday night and tried to steal his new motorcycle, authorities said.

Officer Thomas Wortham IV and his father, a retired police sergeant, exchanged gunfire with the robbers, sources said. One of the robbers was killed and another was critically wounded, authorities said.

The two others fled in a maroon Nissan Maxima. The car was recovered but police were still searching for the suspects this morning, police said.

Wortham, of the Englewood Police District, had just finished his second tour in Iraq, according to police sources and Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th). He was 30 and single, and had been on the force for three years, according to Supt. Jody Weis.

Only five days ago, Wortham had attended a memorial at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. for police officers killed in the line of duty last year. He was active in working against crime in his neighborhood and nearby Nat King Cole Park, where he was the Cole Park advisory council president.

That news story touched my heart because it showcased the biggest problem we have in this country: lack of respect for each other.

If you continue on reading the referenced article, you will come across a paragraph in which it is reported that a lady yelled out, “my baby, my baby”. According to the news account, she was put into a squad car and taken to an undisclosed location; presumably either the hospital or the precinct handling this case.

From the comments below the Tribune article, there was no sympathy to this lady and her family because it was supposedly her son who decided to try and steal the motorcycle that the officer had just purchased. The comments of so many readers of this article are being directed at her because they are accusing her of not doing her due diligence in child rearing.

In some instance these readers are right on target.

This mother is well within her right to wail about her loss but she also needs to realize that her ‘baby’ committed a crime that ended with the taking of another life.

Her baby wasn’t the victim; he was one of the perpetrators.

Yet it seems that when mothers of these ‘babies’ speak out, they are only looking at how they have lost a child.

Rarely do you hear a mother of a perpetrator extol any apologies to the true victims of the crime her child may have committed.

How many mothers of these wrongdoers have actively sought out the real victims and pledged to help ease their pain and sorrow?

Will the mother of the 20-year-old who was shot dead on that Chicago street go to the young officer’s parents and give her condolences?

The would be robbers in Chicago who looked at that motorcycle and thought, “we want it” deserve whatever punishment is coming to them and while we may all feel for those parents, I don’t think our hearts are going to be heavier than what it may feel for a victim to lose his or her life over physical property.

Society is all about forgiveness but as we are all seeing, society is tired of being the victim of senseless and baseless crimes.

There was no reason for this young officer to lose his life. He and his father had no control over the situation.

But the son of the wailing mother did have control and he chose to be a part of a crime that turned out to be a deadly one.

And while we all may feel the pain of these mothers whose children commit crimes, we are not going to run to their aid and say they are the victims of a cruel world.

Their children knew the risks when they turned to this criminal element to seed their financial needs.

And society deals with them in a fit that’s appropriate at times.

With harsh talk, tough love and even the occasional shunning in public.

You can’t pick family but family shouldn’t be this type of a burden either

Phoenix Suns' Amare Stoudemire's mom, Carrie, was arrested on Saturday for drunk driving. (Photo courtesy of the Scottsdale Police Department)

By Gregory Moore

We have all been there sometime in our lives.

A family member is in trouble and needs our help.

For some it is just a friendly voice but for others it means keeping Uncle Tookie out of the pokey for the weekend.

And it’s probably very draining to a lot of us.

But no one can be prepared for the onslaught of family problems like what professional athletes deal with; especially the young cats like Amare Stoudemire and LeBron James.

When you’ve made it in pro sports, one would think that life would be so much easier but evidently it just gets more complicated by the second. For these young guys, James and Amare, life can’t get any more crazier than to be reading about the exploits of your mother in the print.

In James’ case there is the rumor floating around that his mom, Gloria, has been doing the humpty dance with Cavs’ teammate Delonte West.

Whether this rumor is true or not isn’t the gist of the storyline; it’s the mere mention of such type of storyline in the first place.

We all want some sense of privacy but for famous individuals, that sense of privacy is thrown out the window by every blogger, vlogger, and want to be Scoop Mirsk of the journalist world.

And while the James story may be nothing more than viral nonsense, the story about Stoudemire’s mom isn’t.

It is being reported by several news organizations that Carrie Stoudemire was arrested Saturday for drunk driving.

According to the Arizona Republic: ” Phoenix Suns forward Amare Stoudemire’s mother was arrested Saturday for failing to have an ignition interlock device on her vehicle, Scottsdale police said. A Scottsdale police officer stopped Carrie Mae Stoudemire, 54, about 3:25 p.m. Saturday near 116th Street and Shea Boulevard, according to the police report. Carrie Stoudemire’s Lincoln Navigator was straddling two lanes and was going about 60 mph eastbound on Shea Boulevard, police said.”

This right here is some serious ‘ish’ and it is undoubtedly very disturbing to the Suns’ star.

For most of his teen life, he has had to deal with his mother’s problems of being in jail for drug possession, drunk driving and even prostitution. And those problems still followed him to Phoenix when in 2006 his mother was in trouble again.

In a 2006 article written by John Dougherty of the Phoenix New Times paper entitled, “Amare’s Burden“, his mother’s troubles are well documented and shed some light as to the burden that the young man is carrying around with him right now.

In this piece, the author talks about the elusive stable family life that Stoudemire wants; especially after his micro fracture surgery that year.

“Not only is the 6-foot-10, 245-pound Stoudemire carrying the hopes and dreams of Suns fans on his prodigious shoulders, he must also deal with another monumental task this spring: He must try to keep his mother out of prison in Arizona. It now appears that Carrie Stoudemire‘s habitual problems with the law have had a direct effect on Amaré Stoudemire’s relationship with the Suns.”

Troublesome childhoods aren’t a new storyline in pro sports.

There are players who have had similar situations happen to them as well.

How can anyone forget the story about Dez Bryant and the allegations that he told a Miami Dolphins official that his mother was a prostitute because his father was a pimp.

And while those stories about these players are indeed tragic, what is even worse is when family members abuse these young men who are trying to help them.

Such is the case of Stoudemire’s mom.

To be given a salary of $10,000 a month from your son to be the ‘CEO’ of his company should be telling someone like Carrie to slow your roll.

But it didn’t and it hasn’t.

Like all well wishing things that rich sons do for family members, it only exacerbated the problem that everyone wanted to squash and makes the rich son an enabler to the habit of that family member.

This latest arrest of Carrie Stoudemire is only one in a long line of arrests that seem to get squashed.

From Dougherty’s piece, here is a recount of a 2003 incident of a similar pattern from this past Saturday.

” Not long after coming to town, she was arrested on February 23, 2003, and charged with two felony counts of aggravated DUI after Phoenix police pulled her over for weaving and erratic lane changes. She was accused of drunk driving with a child under the age of 15 in the vehicle — a felony offense. Her 14-year-old son, Marwan, was in the car. Carrie was found guilty of two felony DUI counts on September 11, 2003, and sentenced to 10 days in jail and five years on probation.”

That happened in 2003 and as you continue to read the story, you will find out that she has been arrested some 23 times in her life in both Arizona and Florida.

Amare’s life shouldn’t be like this.

No professional athlete’s life should be like this.

It’s one thing to be the bread winner of the family but how can anyone expect these young men to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities when you have albatrosses like a mom who has a drinking and drug problem at your feet and about your neck?

You can’t.

And with the playoffs going on right now and with him trying to help his team tie up a series against the vaunted Los Angeles Lakers, this type of problem shouldn’t even be on his radar screen.

But it is and it is probably troubling and bothersome to him.

There is a solution to this problem but Amare probably doesn’t even want to think of that choice.

He could just completely cut his mother out of his life and have other family members do the same.

Yet that’s not who he is and he shouldn’t have to be forced to make that type of decision.

Which is why it is hard to think that his mother would do the right thing for her son.

He’s tried to help her but she won’t even help herself; let alone her child who has given her the world despite her screw-ups.

Amare shouldn’t have to pick and choose his family and who he hangs around with but sadly that is what he and so many other professional athletes and/or celebrities end up doing in the end.

Because sometimes while you can’t pick your family when you’re young; as an adult you can make those decisions that best benefit your house.

Bitching and moaning just typical signs of a mentally lapsed Mavs’ franchise

By Gregory Moore

Bitch. Bitch. Bitch.

Whine. Moan. And Groan.

If it isn’t Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban bitching about Danny Crawford’s officiating, it’s somebody moaning about how the Mavs are disrespected when they play defense.

But then there’s the whining and usually that comes from Eric Dampier and a few others.

In this case, it’s ‘Ericka’ (as Dirk Nowitzki once anointed him) and this time Dampier is moaning about how the Spurs got all the calls and the Mavs didn’t.

“When we play defense we’re under a magnifying glass, but when we’re on offense, there’s no magnifying glasses,” Dampier said. “You’ve got to call it both ways. Dirk Nowitzki drives, he doesn’t get fouled. They drive on the other end and they get the little ticky-tack fouls. So keep it consistent, that’s all. Don’t be one way or the other.”

Evidently Dampier isn’t really at the games he’s talking about because for anyone to say that the Mavs don’t get calls is either smoking the white stuff, snorting the brown stuff, or is simply wearing some very tinted glasses that have Bluetooth receptors beaming subliminal messages into their corneas.

In all seriousness this whining and moaning of the Dallas Mavs is really getting tired and old.

But coming from a team that isn’t mentally tough shouldn’t be that difficult to grasp.

More on in a little bit though because there are some things that need to be addressed so that even ‘Ericka’ can understand the ground he is trying to walk on.

First off, the Mavs got plenty of calls in their first game and got a hell of a lot of calls in their third game.

VIDEO: Game 3 highlights

Camping out in the lane, basically playing a zone defense and let us not forget how Nowitzki tried to do a nose surgical job on Manu Ginobili’s nose. Or maybe we should overlook how a hard foul sent a Spurs guard sprawling into the bank of camera men in front of their bench?

Yeah Dallas got plenty of calls but that wasn’t their issue last night.

Lack of mental toughness was; which isn’t a big shocker to this writer.

As one Dallas columnist put it, and I’m paraphrasing here, the Spurs’ big three delivered; the Mavs didn’t.

Well now there’s a shocker.

Yes Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan combined for 63 points last night.

Granted George Hill chipped in a playoff best 17 points.

But you know what the intangible was for the Spurs?

They didn’t panic when they were up or down in the game; they just kept their mental focus.

Can’t say the same thing for the Mavs.

At the 3:03 mark in the third quarter, the Mavs were up 68-59; a nine point lead that capped a spectacular offensive flourish by Dallas.

And that was their sole highlight moment outside of a three pointer by Jason Terry in the fourth.

From a nine point lead, the Spurs go on a run of their own; a 36-17 flurry that ends the game.

Calls?

What calls?

Defense?

What defense?

Bitching?

Stop bitching.

What happened to the Mavs is the same thing that happened to them in 2006 against the Miami Heat; they wilted under the pressure of winning a meaningful playoff game.

The same thing happening now happened then and I’m talking about the lack of mental toughness and the fact that they griped and moaned all they through their demise.

If it weren’t referee calls, it was the referees calling timeouts when players say they didn’t call them.

The sad thing is that probably the best coach that could take them to where they need to go, they let go in 2008 and brought in Rick Carlisle.

Sure, Rick’s squad has had the Spurs’ number as of late but that doesn’t mean  ish when you’re in the playoffs. How well did they fair last year after beating the Spurs? They got hammered by the Denver Nuggets.

How well did they handle the success of beating the Spurs in 2006? They got squelched in the NBA Finals?

Do you see a pattern here?

And along with the losing comes the whining

Which is typical Dallas Mavs’ flair and pompenstance when things don’t go their way.

Mentally, this team is inept at grasping the reality that if you just go out and play the game, more often times than naught the better team will win the contest.

That’s not how Dallas plays things and it shouldn’t be a surprise to any of us.

Neither should this griping, moaning, bitching and groaning from players and an owner.

Herm Edwards said it best when he was the New York Jets’ head coach: “You play to win the game.”

Not bitch.

Not gripe.

Not complain.

Play.

Maybe if Eric Dampier and his teammates spent more time playing the game and less time arguing calls during the game and bitching afterwards, they would win meaningful series.

Right now however this is what they are relegated to and for the Spurs and others, that is perfectly fine for them to do so.

Mavs’ just don’t get it; one game or one series don’t make you a champion

By Gregory Moore

I’m gonna resurrect Rudy T’s famous quote: Never underestimate the heart of a champion.

Now when Tomjonovich spoke that now famous phrase, the San Antonio Spurs were 62-20 that year and were in the midst of a rough playoff Western Conference series against them that year. As a matter of fact, the team lost to the Rockets, 4-2.

But there is something about how that Spurs team, even way back in 1994-95, were looking to reach the promise land and it had something to do with the continuity of the front office; i.e., Gregg Popovich.

Let’s fast forward 2006 and when the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Spurs in the WCF.

That was one series in which the Mavs beat the Spurs but yet instead of realizing what they had done was nothing to brag about, that team went into the NBA Finals far too cocky for its own good and too immature as to what was needed to win the last one.

It didn’t matter that Avery Johnson was their head coach.

It didn’t matter that the coaching staff had guys who understood what was at stake.

Heck it didn’t matter that even Jason Kidd was there and he had been to the ‘promise land’ and yet he never crossed over to reap the benefits of winning a title.

That 2006 team was hyped beyond belief and they all, to a man, for the most part thought that winning that series was what it took to make you a champion.

In reality, not only has that been proven false by how that 2006 team collapsed in the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, it also became a sort of blue print for how things go with that team when adversity comes into play.

Rudy T’s statement isn’t so much about the hardware that is at the end of the quest but about a mindset that teams must have.

You can tell what kind of mindset an organization has by how it goes about conducting itself in pressure situations.

You can also tell by how their personnel are put together.

San Antonio, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Boston all have individuals who understand the winning of a title and the process that is needed to get there. Upstarts like the Oklahoma City Thunder and Orlando Magic are figuring out the puzzle.

The Mavs?

They are still stuck on the ‘celebrate’ dial from 2006.

Just because you have beaten a team in last year’s series doesn’t mean you have the upper hand now. Just because you destroyed them this year doesn’t mean you have it figured out. And just because you beat them in the first game of the current series doesn’t mean you’re a dangerous squad either.

To have heart of a champion means having the desire to win at almost any cost.

It means that to a man, from the lowest of a ball boy to the owner, you are conducting the ‘bizness’ of winning at title. You are not running your mouth to a camera crew like Mark Cuban did. You are not saying something negative like Joakim Noah did about Cleveland.

You are stepping into a lion’s den, picking up the jawbone of an ass and swinging for the fences.

As a franchise, you are looking for the ultimate prize and that means that hard work, not sound bites of non-sense, is warranted.

It is why a team like the Cavaliers can be mentioned as potential NBA titleholders.

It is why the Lakers will always be the favorites.

It is why San Antonio is still mentioned as an upset winner in the conference even though everyone has got them falling in this series.

It is why the Atlanta Hawks are who they are right now.

When you stop celebrating the one game victories and a series here or there as if you have already won the big one, you become dangerous.

When the Mavs, and I mean from the owner down, decide to stop pussy footing around and trying to talk their way into championship status, that is when people will respect them more.

Until then, talk is cheap and opinions are like rectums.

Everyone has one.

Some just know when to use one or the other and not let them both become synonymous with their personalities.