Six Tips to Improve Tennis

And Get More People to Watch

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on June 27th, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

Tennis is a great sport. A warrior sport. I think it could and should be more popular. Theses are my tips to improve the game and make it more marketable.

6 — Allow coaching: Unlike team sports, there are no timeouts and players are on their own. But even boxers get to talk to their corner-men between rounds. Every change over might be too much, but how about allow coaching between sets? It could make for better matches and improved play. It gives announcers more to talk about and second-guess and it adds personalities to the game and post match press conferences.

5 — Expand replay: This is a joke. The speed of the technology is such that calls can be instantly corrected but the powers that be like to get the crowd buzzing in anticipation so they drag out the time it takes to show the replay. It is grossly unfair to the players to make them focus on the calls and play at the same time when the technology exists to where it doesn’t have to slow down the game and we can get it right. As it stands a player can run out of challenges late in a set or be hesitant to use one early in a set. Consequently, bad calls can still needlessly affect an outcome frustrating players and fans.

4 — Play through let cords on serves or make it a fault: As it stands now, if a serve hits the net and lands in, it is a let cord and they replay the serve. I heard John McEnroe years ago suggest playing through it and I agree. It would create some exciting points. True it is not skill demonstrated by the server but it is part of the game.

They don’t re-kick field goals that hit the crossbar and go through or bounce out. The other option I like better than replaying the serve is to call it a fault and go on to the second serve. The server’s job is to get the ball over the net and within the service line, if you’re not going to play it, than it should be a fault.

3 — Eliminate grunting or let the crowd make all the noise it wants: For years we have been told that tennis is a gentleman’s game. I’ve also heard tennis players say you need to hear the sound of the ball off the racket. Well the grunting, bellowing, sodomizing, screeching and all the other noises coming out of player’s mouths these days disputes that theory.

I am just one fan but there are matches and players I can’t watch because of the exaggerated and needless harmonic dissonance spewing from their mouths after every shot. Do they think it is cool or intimidating? Fine, let them moan like a dying Zebu on their serve. Anything more than an extended natural breath during a point is a violation.

First time it is a warning. Second time it costs them a point. Each time thereafter a game.

2 — Reschedule the U.S. Open Finals: One of the issues tennis has with gaining traction is when it competes against more popular sports and thus minimizing the coverage and attention it gets the next day. The U.S. Open finals is played on a Sunday, the opening weekend of the NFL season, and that is brutal. Schedule the tournament so that the final is either played on Labor Day on a Monday afternoon, (to avoid going head to head with Monday Night Football) or in prime time on Tuesday night.

This way you have a better shot of getting more coverage the next day in the 24/7 sports news cycle and going viral on twitter. You can have a great final on Sunday but the next day, sports radio, ESPN, twitter, they don’t care about it, you’re not water cooler conversation. Maybe, just maybe if the final is five sets and is the top five matches of all-time, you’ll get a little blurb at the end of PTI or a mention in fourth down on First and ten. Otherwise they’d rather talk about what Terrell Owens said about his latest new quarterback or Chad Johnson’s new name.

Tennis, I think you deserve better, but right now you’re like a great indie film about talking robots coming out the same weekend as the next Transformers movie. You have to market better and around the giants.

Oh and would it kill Wimbledon to start its tournament on a Sunday instead of Monday and play on the middle Sunday, you know when people are around to watch? Let the middle Monday be the down day to give the burdened villagers a break from all of the Wimbledon traffic.

1 – Pay Tiger Woods to play Tennis: Okay, not Tiger, but the point is do more to market your stars. You have two of the all time greats in Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. You have great challengers to the throne with Novac Djokovic and Andy Murray. A young rising star in Juan Martin Del Potro returning to form and a fiery veteran fighting for one more slam in Andy Roddick.

The bee swarm over U.S. Golf Open winner Rory Mcilroy proves the star doesn’t have to be an American to get attention.

Now that tennis has made a deal with the evil empire of sports coverage, ESPN, (I say that lovingly, please hire me!) its Q rating should go up. Tennis also has a great ex champion and ambassador in John McEnroe who will seemingly do anything to help the sport, get him out there even more. Get him on Sportscenter, have him debate Skip Bayless on First and Ten. Do the same with Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. Use your assets and they will make a difference.

Sprinkle fresh, innovative changes into the game, get your personalities out there and you will get more attention, and attention will help spread this great game.

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in-depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…

Why Phil Jackson Would Be a Better Coach for the Miami Heat Than Pat Riley

It is All About the Zen

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on June 16th, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

With respect to current Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, after the Heat loss in the NBA Finals, there are calls in the media for Pat Riley to take back the coaching reins. If Spoelstra is going to be replaced, Riley should stay where he is and he should do whatever it takes to bring in the Zen Master.

For years many critics of Phil Jackson pointed to the fact that he coached great players such as Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant and used that to minimize his accomplishments as a coach and question how good he was. Pat Riley coached a few good players himself in Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, James Worthy, Dwyane Wade and Patrick Ewing and yet Riley seemed to dodge the, “you were successful because of who you coached charge” to the level extolled upon Jackson.

Upon further review we see that whereas none of Jackson’s players won a title prior to his arrival, (talked about in more detail here), it was Riley’s Lakers who had won a championship before he arrived. Further, Riley lost in the playoffs to lower seeds several years in a row as head coach of the Miami Heat, including losing as a number one seed to a number eight, before he quit just before the 2003-4 season.

If a superstar player had a stretch that bad in the playoffs the media would suggest that it is and should be an indelible part of the player’s legacy. And so it should be with coach Riley.

However, many in the media have always liked Riley more than Jackson. Further, they conveniently leave out certain facts about the 2006 Miami Heat championship team that Riley coached after the Machiavellian maneuver he employed to replace coach Stan Van Gundy.

Riley lovers such ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser and Skip Bayless have repeatedly stated that Riley brought that Heat team over the top and that Stan Van could not have coached the team to a championship. Lets remember that Van Gundy brought the Heat to the conference finals in 2005.

What Bayless and Kornheiser leave out when they say Riley made the difference between the Heat losing in game seven of the conference finals in 05 and winning in 06 are two key facts.

  • One, Shaq was healthier in 06 than he was in 05. Maybe you can dismiss that one as “The Daddy” was already past his prime and it was D. Wade’s team.
  • Two, Bayless fawns over Wade’s game. Understandable, the man has skills and is clutch. Okay, in that 2005 conference finals, Wade got hurt and missed game 6, and played hobbled in game 7, and they still almost won this series!

When comparing Riley to Van Gundy and who could have done what with which team, don’t you think its fair to bring up those little tidbits? With a healthy Wade (and Shaq) the Heat beat Detroit, without a healthy Wade, the Heat do not win in 2006.

Back to the present. The biggest issue facing today’s Heat is the mind of Lebron James. Clearly he has the talent. Since the end of this year’s finals on Sunday there have been fair comparisons of Lebron to baseball’s Alex Rodriguez and what he went through trying to win a World Series with the New York Yankees.

Further, the calls for Lebron to see a sports psychologist, I think is a good idea. Despite what I said about Riley above, I do think he is a great coach, but he requires players with a thick skin who are on the same page and can withstand and thrive under his intensity. Riley is old school and I don’t think he is the man for the psychological mess Lebron appears to be. Further, James already gets fast break, “showtime” style basketball. It is when the game slows down and is in the half court that he needs help.

Contrary to Riley, the Zen Master, with his books, movies, meditations and alternative approach is what might help heal Lebron off the court and Jackson’s triangle, share and move without the ball offense, might be the thing that redeems him on it.

Jackson has led tormented superstars to the promised land three times. Jordan, Shaq, Kobe, and Kobe a second time after Shaq and Jackson left the Lakers and they fell off the map and failed to make the playoffs. It is a road Jackson has traveled and succeeded on over and over again, more so than Riley.

When they win, Pat still gets the credit for being the executive that brought all the talent together and for having the ego strength to bring in Jackson. For all the unrest in Heat land right now, imagine the instant calm that would ensue if it were announced that Phil Jackson was putting his fishing rod down and taking his Zen to South Beach.

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in-depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…

Time to Update the List of the 50 Greatest Players in the History of the NBA

Would Scottie Pippen Still Make the Cut?

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on June 14th, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

In 1996 a panel of players, media and coaches selected the 50 greatest players in the history of the NBA. Fifteen years later would that list be the same? Without question, no.

Scottie Pippen was on the list in 96, a fact we have been reminded of a lot recently when the sports media, in conjunction with Pippen’s bewildering comment that Lebron James could be better than Michael Jordan, brings it to our attention.

According to the original Robin, Scottie Pippen, Jordan was probably the greatest scorer whereas James is an all-around player. Just yesterday a former teammate of Pippen and Jordan, Steve Kerr, weighed in saying that Lebron is more like Scottie than Michael.

Before I get to who would make it to an updated list of the 50 greatest over Pippen, lets remember that Jordan won a defensive player of the year award and made the all-defensive team in ten seasons. And while what we may see over and over again is Jordan’s game winning shot in the NBA Finals against Utah over Bryon Russell, that would not have been possible if Jordan didn’t steal the ball from Karl Malone at the other end of the floor.

Further, while the dynamics of those Bulls teams required Jordan to be a scorer to be successful, Jordan was a great passer as well, and he did find Steve Kerr for a game winner in that Utah finals too.

One thing to keep in mind about assist numbers and totals are that in part they are based as much on finishers as they are on passers. For example, how many assists did Magic Johnson get by lobbing a ball into Kareem Abdul Jabbar (the all time leading scorer and six-time MVP) and watching him make his patented skyhook? Conversely, if Jordan were to lob a ball into Stacey King, Bill Wennington, Luc Longley or an aging Bill Cartwright, (centers that played with Jordan) he was not as likely to get an assist. There, I got that out of my system.

On to the 50 greatest players update. My way of answering this question is to create a fantasy draft where all of the players are 20 years old and I ask myself who would I take if I were starting a team. Who would I want to build around?

Here is a list of those I would take before Pippen who either came into the league after the 50 greatest list was created or whose careers were still in progress: Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, Dwight Howard, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, Gary Payton, Alonzo Mourning, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Paul Pierce, Steve Nash, Tony Parker, Manu Ginoboli, Jason Kidd, Chris Paul, Pau Gasol, and Baron Davis — A couple of debatable players are Ray Allen and Pau Gasol… And some young players that could possibly bump Pippen in the future depending on how they continue to play are Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo, Andrew Bynum, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, and Russell Westbrook.

Now you can debate some people on or not on this list, and you can debate which players from the 1996 top 50 players would get bumped to accommodate any new additions. I would like to see a panel, similar to the one in 1996, weigh in on and do an update. Sorry Pip, don’t think you’d make it. You’re still great Scottie, but Dude seriously, don’t be dissing Michael.

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in-depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…

Bill O’Reilly Asks: Should Politicians Be Role Models?

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on May 23rd, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

This past Thursday and Friday on Fox News Bill O’Reilly spent time talking about  and his affair with his maid and the resulting love child. O’Reilly is concerned with the pervasiveness of social media and the internet and the implications for good people who make mistakes and their ability to run for office.

To be fair, Mr. Bill was not making light of Arnold’s or John Edwards’ infidelities. He questioned what if any impact the stress of the Governator’s personal situation might have had on the escalating California debt under his tenure.

But then O’Reilly veers off into the role model question and how false rumors, misinformation, or past mistakes can run rampant on the internet and prevent good people from running for office.

He goes so far as to mention the flaws and mistakes of some of the founding fathers, like Thomas Jefferson, who had an affair with his slave, and how they couldn’t get elected in today’s culture.

First, let me say Bill, that sounds like you’re justifying bad behavior of today with bad behavior of the past; something you frequently dissuade your guests for doing. Second, I think we have to make a distinction between false rumors and past mistakes. I think good people of all political persuasions can agree that there should be no place for false rumors and lies.

Past mistakes or questionable moral decisions should be vetted, owned up to and left up to the American people as to how much they want to let it affect their vote. After all, we are talking about the most powerful and important positions in our country. I once had to go through a ten-year background check to get a job in retail at a department store. It should be harder to get a job in government than it is at Macy’s.

The role model question: If as a society we can place this kind of pressure and responsibility on our star athletes and our entertainers, (See the scrutiny TNT analyst and retired Hall of Fame basketball player Charles Barkley received for his, “I am not a role model”, commercial in 1993) we can do the same or more for those who would be Commander-in-Chief and leaders of the free world.

However, our collective differences, cultural, religious and so on make it impossible for any public figure to live up to what everyone’s definition is of what makes a good role model. The axiom, you can’t please all of the people all of the time applies here. What we have a right to expect is honesty, consistency, integrity, loyalty, leadership, and qualities that evoke respect and trust.

Further, how politicians respond to the mistakes that we all make says as much or more about their character than the mistake itself. As your ilk has said on many occasions Bill: The cover up is worse than the crime.

From the perspective of a politician, the risk of covering up a mistake has been worth the reward of political advancement and the power and prestige that comes with it. So they lie, cover up and compound their errors or questionable judgment.

Today’s media, the internet, the bloggers and digital technology does make it harder for one to cover their tracks. I say that is a good thing. Let the politicians of tomorrow beware; your mistakes will follow you. Mistakes, or arrogance, immorality, corruption and so on. So don’t make them, but if you do, deal with them in a responsible way with integrity.

You see the flip side is Americans are a very forgiving and understanding society. George W. Bush was elected despite a DUI. Bill Clinton, was elected even though he claimed not to inhale and was reelected despite extra marital activity.

Further, the possible candidates have increased over the years which runs counter to the inference that social media is making it harder. For example, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, and President Obama are examples of those that would not have made it to the primary season as viable candidates when I was growing up:

  • Newt, with his three marriages and affairs.
  • Rudy and his affair/divorce.
  • Hillary being a female, Mitt Romney being a Mormon.
  • President Obama, with Sean Hannity, yourself, and others on the radio, internet et al inundating the public with his association with Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers.

Of course not to suggest that any or all of these things are mistakes, I’m just making the point that the voter is more open than ever before and is not so quick to eliminate possible candidates for reasons they would have in the past.

Gary Hart for example decided not to run, even though he was leading in the poles, for the democratic nomination in 1987 due to an extra marital affair that he lied about. In 1987, long before Twitter, Hart was in a lose- lose situation based on the mores of the time.

Today, a viable candidate can overcome an affair, if he (or she) is honest about it when confronted and deals with it in a way acceptable to the electorate. And if a potential candidate doesn’t run for office because he is afraid that a past situation may come to light and he doesn’t want to be honest about it, than that is not on social media, it is on the individual.

Whether it is counteracting the swift boating of John Kerry, or the mainstream media’s assault on President Bush’s National Guard service record, the independent blogger not only brings a new level of accountability to politicians but to the mainstream media and lobbyists as well.

Those are good things. Lying, smearing and character assassinations are among its flaws, but lets not pretend (which you don’t) this doesn’t go on in every other form of media already. It takes a huge amount of money and fundraising to be a viable candidate (which is a problem in and of itself) and it is up to politicians to adapt to the growth of the media and its social arm and as always have the fortitude to see a campaign through.

Despite the growth of the media the pundits seem to agree that: jobs, the deficit, gas prices and real issues will decide the next election and not what some right-wing radical or left-wing loon says on his facebook page.

One of the best lines I have ever heard in a political add is, “character is defined by what you do when people are not looking”. Again, everyone makes mistakes, but it is fair to evaluate candidates based on how they deal with them.

More than just a right to know, the public has a right to expect candidates to be willingly vetted and honest about their record, their behavior and why they did or do certain things. In dealing with past mistakes, crimes, or decisions of questionable moral certitude with honor, instead of deception and cover up, that is how a politician can model good behavior. That is a reasonable expectation for us to have of those who would be our leaders.

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in-depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…

Hey Lakers! Give Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a Statue

He is an All Time NBA & Laker Great. What Are You Waiting For?

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on May 19th, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

When I first heard retired basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar talking about the slight of not receiving a statue by the Los Angeles Lakers it seemed unseemly to me. A statue is not something you should have to lobby or campaign for. I can’t imagine Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. complaining or campaigning for an award. But the truth is, is that many times if you don’t speak up for yourself you will get overlooked, and upon further review if you’re going to be giving out statues then Jabbar is worthy of and should receive one.

Currently there are five statues on display at the Staples Center, with the honor being bestowed to: Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Wayne Gretzky, Oscar De La Hoya, and Chick Hearn.

I can see erecting a statue for West and Magic before Jabbar. Jerry West is the logo for the NBA and post playing days became one of the games best general managers and was instrumental in putting together the talent that lead to more championships for the Lakers.

Magic was and is one the nations most charismatic athletes we have. His business accomplishments in Los Angeles, and his handling of HIV combined with being an all time Laker/NBA great make him a transcendent figure. Further, both played their entire careers with the Lakers and there is something magical about having a great one from the beginning of their career to the end. Alex Rodriguez will never be as much a New York Yankee as Derek Jeter or Don Mattingly.

However, it is the next three getting statue’s without Jabbar getting one that makes me go Hhhmmm (That is all you Arsenio Hall). Similar to what Jabbar has said, it is not that these men don’t deserve the honor but what about Kareem? Lets look at them and compare to Jabbar.

Wayne Gretzky may be the Michael Jordan or Babe Ruth of his sport but he didn’t start his career in Los Angeles and he didn’t end his career there either. He was still a great player with L.A. who did make hockey more relevant in the states, and L.A. in particular, but he was not playing like The Great One of his Edmonton Oilers days. I thought the NHL retiring his number was a great touch, I thought the NBA should have followed suit and done the same with Michael Jordan. But — Hold that thought.

Oscar De La Hoya. The Golden Boy. A great Olympic and boxing champion who was the first boxer to win championship belts in six different weight classes. Further, he was a local hero to many. However, as a boxer the Staples Center was not his home like it was for Jabbar. And — Hold that thought.

There are a handful of legendary announcers that do become a part of their team’s lore and history. They often span many generations and touch the heart of the viewers and their fans. They may drive some people crazy but there is no denying their imprint. Such is the case with Chick Hearn. He was one of a kind. However, outside of L.A., a local icon like Hearn is not as known as an all time great player. The jell-o is still jiggling Chick. Rip, but —

Now lets talk about Jabbar. Even though West and Magic were Laker lifers, Jabbar played as many seasons with the Lakers as West, fourteen. And one more then Magic’s thirteen. By comparison, Gretzky played eight in L.A. and ten in Edmonton. Jabbar played on five championship teams with the Lakers. Gretzky did not win a championship in Los Angeles.

For those late to the party Jabbar is the all-time leader in scoring in the NBA. He scored more points than Michael Jordan and more than twice as many points as Magic. He played on six NBA championship teams (five with the Lakers). He won six MVP’s, three of which were with the Lakers. He won a finals MVP with the Lakers and for extra credit as far as his overall L.A. impact, he played on three NCAA winning teams for UCLA.

In fairness to the Lakers, they do not own the L.A. Kings or the Staples Center so if those entities want to honor Gretzky and De La Hoya that of course is their right. Further, it was apparently the death of Chick Hearn that expedited his statue. Still for a player like Jabbar who is in the argument for top five best player of all time, who accomplished so much as a team and individual in the sport and for the Lakers, who played for so many years alongside Magic Johnson, wouldn’t it have made sense to put up their statues together? Magic, who at the time he retired, as the all-time assist leader in the NBA throwing one last pass to the all time leading scorer? That would have been special indeed.

Outside of Michael Jordan soaring through the air, if ever there was a pose that lent itself to being immortalized in a statue it is the skyhook of Kareem Abul-Jabbar. Chick Hearn didn’t get to live to enjoy the moment of his statue, why wait if it is inevitable for Jabbar?

It wasn’t out there before, so I’m glad you brought it to light number 33. But now the rest is up to Lakers to do it and the media to spotlight it or find out why if they don’t. For the record, without an indication of when, the Lakers are on record as saying they will.

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in-depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…

Barry Bonds, Tim Duncan, Alex Rodriguez, Peyton Manning and the Skip Bayless Double Standard?

Does Bayless Flip Flop on the Criteria He Uses to Judge Who is Best?

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on May 11th, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

When asked on ESPN’s First and Ten on May 6th who is the best baseball player of all time Skip Bayless answered Barry Bonds. He discounted Bonds’ alleged steroid use. He sloughed off that Bonds ” — wasn’t that great in the postseason”.

Here is what Skip has had to say about other great athletes:

On Peyton Manning – He calls him the greatest regular season quarterback of all time but eliminates him from the greatest of all time QB discussion because of his postseason performances.

On Tim Duncan – Includes Tim Duncan on his list of top ten greatest basketball players of all time, and the first factor he mentions as to why is because of the four championship rings he won with the San Antonio Spurs.

On Alex Rodriguez – Before Rodriguez wins a World Series with The New York Yankees, Skip dubs A-Rod as A-Fraud, because of his poor playoff performances.

Now follow me Skip:

  • If Peyton Manning has won a Superbowl MVP…
  • If four NBA championships put Duncan in the conversation…
  • If A-Rod was A-Fraud in your eyes before winning a World Series…

Since Barry Bonds did not win a World Series than how is he not a fraud when his postseason numbers are not any better than A-Rod’s in the same sport? Or comparable with Manning’s for his sport? Not to mention how you discount Lebron James in basketball for what you call his lack of clutch gene.

By your own logic and past arguments how can you rate Bonds the best? Further, it is a gross understatement when you say Bonds was not that great in the postseason. Pre what the consensus was for Bonds’ PED use, he was terrible in the playoffs in his Pittsburgh Pirates days, especially when you apply the stringent standards that you do Skip when talking about superstars in any sport.

At best, if you do want to discount PED use (which I wouldn’t) I can see how you would reach the same conclusion with Bonds that you do with Manning and call him the greatest regular season player you ever saw. Because I don’t discount alleged PED years, I would take Ken Griffey Jr. as my best from Bonds’ era.

For all-time greatest? I’m sticking with The Great Bambino, Babe Ruth. Ruth would have probably hit over 900 home runs but he was too busy accumulating more complete games and shut outs than Pedro Martinez.

Look at it this way, when their careers are done I can see a modern-day debate between Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriquez for who is better. Now imagine one of them pitching and winning over 90 games and having a World Series pitching e.r.a. of under one. Who ya got under those circumstances?

What Babe Ruth accomplished would be like Tom Brady intercepting more passes and running back more punt returns for touchdowns than Deion Sanders.

Ruth is in the “who is the greatest discussion” with just his hitting. His pitching ends the debate for me. It’s to prisoner of the moment to say never as far as what we will or won’t see again in terms of an athlete. But the Babe, and a baseball player that dominant as a pitcher and a hitter tops the list of least likely to ever see again.

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in-depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…

Who’s the Batman? Who’s the Robin? Who Cares?

A Better Way for NBA Superstars to Co-exist

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on May 10th, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

An annoying trend that has developed in the NBA is whenever two superstars like Lebron James and Dwyane Wade are on the same team the media is in a rush to dub one of them as “The Batman” and the other as “The Robin”. Batman being the main star and Robin the subservient side kick.

Most recently on ESPN’s Pardon The Interruption, MichaelWilbon and TonyKornheiser were talking about this with the two stars on the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. With the consensus in the sports world being Westbrook must accept his role as the Robin. So far this is seemingly creating tension and confusion.The problem is, aside from maybe Richard Simmons and the guy who played Gunther on Friends, nobody grows up fantasizing about being Robin. Batman, Superman, or Green Lantern, sure. You want to go Marvel? Spiderman, The Human Torch, maybe Ironman. But not Robin.

To make matters worse, of all the major sports, basketball markets its stars more than any other. In football it’s the Dallas Cowboys against the Washington Redskins. In baseball, it’s the New York Yankees, vs. the Boston Red Sox. In basketball it’s Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers versus Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs.

These young kids coming up want to be the alpha dog. They got the game, they’re making the money, they want top billing and they want to be the man. The game sells the individual and then is surprised when the individual great players don’t buy into the team concept or supporting role. (Which of course they should).

Back in the 80’s when the game began to take off to the next level in terms of viewership and media, nobody was saying Magic Johnson was going to have to be the Robin to Kareem Abul Jabbar’s Batman or vice versa.

When the Philadelphia 76ers acquired Moses Malone no one said okay Julius Erving you’re now being demoted to the Robin.

Scottie Pippen wasn’t asked to be the Joe Dumars or the Robin, as some players are now described as the Scottie Pippin/Robin, with the connotation being the Scottie Pippen/Robin is of lesser stature.

Hyper coverage includes bean counting who takes more shots and making it a daily topic of conversation especially when one player has a bad game and or their team loses. This only adds more unnecessary pressure and tension to the situation.

Supposedly when the New York Knicks acquired Carmelo Anthony he was to be the Batman and Amare Stoudemire the Robin. So spoketh the media. But a funny thing happened in their first playoff game against the Boston Celtics. Stoudemire was on fire in the fourth quarter and when Anthony forced up a shot at the end and missed, even though he is the “Batman”, there were questions of why Robin (Stoudemire) didn’t get the touch.

Forget the dynamic duo, offenses should have a flow that is built game to game based on match-ups, game situations and who is hot. Michael Jordan had no problem passing to Steve Kerr to make the winning shot in an NBA finals game against the Utah Jazz because that is what the situation called for. Mature adults ought to be able to figure it out.

I like what they do in football. For the most part, gone are the days where one running back handles the entire rushing load. Two back sets are fairly standard now but instead of Batman and Robin we get nicknames like Thunder and Lightening, Earth and Wind, and so on.

One running back inevitably gets more carries than the other but there is equality to the nicknames. The running backs know their roles, and they accept and get recognized for them. That is the answer here. Unique cool nicknames for all!

It is also unoriginal to call every duo in the NBA the same name (Batman and Robin). Why not use the player personalities to come up with what they should be called? Magic and Jabbar? I’d call Magic Captain America and Jabbar, Mr. Fantastic. Michael Jordan would be Superman, Scottie Pippen, Spiderman, Dennis Rodman, Wolverine and Phil Jackson? He’d be Dr. Strange. See you can apply it to coaches too!

Diversifying nicknames can be fun for the players and the fans and make it easier for players to embrace their role within the team. And it can be a marketing coup! Are you listening David Stern?

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in-depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media

Jeff Chadiha Said What to Jim Rome About Phil Jackson?

The Zen Master Can’t Motivate and Just Rolls the Ball Out?

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on May 8th, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

So I’m watching the ESPN show, “Jim Rome is Burning”, and I’m about to doze off when Jeff Chadiha says some of the most ill-informed things about Phil Jackson I have ever heard. How a coach can win a record eleven NBA championships and still be this underrated by some is astonishing.In response to the Los Angeles Lakers being down 0-2 to the Dallas Maverick Chadiha, on Friday, said this, “There in a place that is not very good when you have Phil Jackson as your head coach. Things are falling apart, there are trust issues, there are chemistry issues — He’s not the guy you want on your sideline because he is more of a let the veterans work it out, let my leaders take charge.”

Now down 0-3, odds are the Lakers will lose this series but are you kidding me with this? Lets look at Phil Jackson’s coaching career . When Jackson took over in Chicago, Scottie Pippin was not a veteran and was considered soft. Jackson had to convince Jordan to trust the triangle offense and allegedly there were all kinds of trust and chemistry issues between Jordan and his teammates, as is written in the book, “Jordan Rules”. The Bulls overcame the bad boys in Detroit and won two tittles. Then down 0-2 to the New York Knicks in 1993 they came back to win in six games to make it their first three-peat.

When Jordan retired the first time, it was supposed to be open season on the Bulls. All of the Jackson haters (I’m guessing you too Chadiha?) were salivating about how he and the Bulls were going to be exposed.

Except a funny thing happened on the road to humiliation, they won two fewer games during the regular season than they did the year before with Jordan. They lost in-game seven on a phantom foul call to the New York Knicks in the playoffs.

Had Jackson quit when Jordan retired and someone else came in and led the Bulls to that identical season you can bet that coach would have won coach of the year and we would have heard how impressive that was.

The Bulls second three-peat: If Jordan’s first year back after retirement was his true rookie year he would not have gone down as arguably the greatest of all-time. He still would be great but his athleticism was clearly diminished. Jackson coached a new cast of characters to another three-peat. He tamed Dennis Rodman (enough) and kept his team focused to win a regular season record-breaking 72 games.

Back to the Rome/ Chadiha interview — When Jim Rome says to Chadiha, “I thought the guy (Jackson) was a brilliant motivator — ” Chadiha looks at Rome as if to say “Child please” and responds with, “He’s a front-runner — ”

Jackson’s third three-peat: Now with the Los Angeles Lakers. Now with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. The year before Jackson’s arrival, the Lakers got swept out of the playoffs by San Antonio. The year before that they got swept out of the playoffs by Utah. Kobe was not yet the superstar he thought he was but would later become. The historic soap opera and battle for alpha dog supremacy between Shaq and Bryant was underway and threatening to break up the dynasty before it had a chance to begin.

It is safe to say there was trust and chemistry issues galore Mr. Chadiha. Issues that would have split up the team if not for the Zen Master leading them to a championship in his first season. PJ motivated Shaq to play defense like we had never seen him play it before and got Kobe to defer to Shaq.

Continuing with Rome when he asks Chadiha, “What are you saying that he just rolls the ball out?” Chadiha’s response, “Basically, yeah that is what he does — but when it comes to motivating people when times are down he is not your guy.”

After a year out of coaching, PJ returns to the Lakers who are now a team in a state of flux. Shaq is gone and the Lakers did not make the playoffs in Jackson’s absence. Not exactly a front running situation.

Despite writing a tell all book that hung Kobe out to dry, Bryant welcomed Phil back with open arms because he knew the dude could coach! This team clearly had work to do and similar to the salivation the Jackson haters had after Jordan retired that first time, people were lining up to see Jackson fail.

This time winning didn’t come right away. On the journey back to winning championships Jackson would have to:

  • Integrate a rookie out of high school named Andrew Bynum.
  • He would have to repair trust issues and build Bynum up after a camera/cell phone caught Kobe Bryant in public complaining that the Lakers didn’t trade Bynum for Jason Kidd.
  • Jackson had to integrate foreign plays such as Sasha Vujacic, and Vladamir Radmanovic.

Further, there was another rookie named Trevor Ariza, the acquisition of Pau Gasol and he had to get key veteran Lamar Odom to accept losing his starting role to come off the bench.

For money reasons, budding star Ariza was let go and the enigmatic Ron Artest was brought in. No matter, Jackson coached them to another championship with both players.

If you look at the state of Jackson’s teams before and after he arrived and the fact that they never won a championship or even made it to an NBA finals without him, his contributions should be unquestioned.

The loyalty he inspires from stars and role players alike provide further testimony to things like chemistry, trust and motivation. The man has more championships as a head coach then Pat Riley, Gregg Popovich, Doc Rivers, George Karl, Jeff Van Gundy, Stan Van Gundy, Jerry Sloan, and Don Nelson combined.

Pat Riley took over a Laker team that already won a championship. Gregg Popovich had a dynasty in San Antonio but never was able to repeat or make it back to the championship the following season. Doc Rivers coaching record prior to Danny Ainge making a great trade for Ray Allen, being gifted Garnett from his friend in Minnesota Kevin McHale, drafting Rajon Rondo and adding all of this to Paul Pierce, was average at best, Jerry Sloan, never won with Stockton and Malone.

Lets face it Jeff, for whatever reason, Jackson could never satisfy the haters. Had he won with Stockton and Malone, or the current big three (really four) in Boston, or back when Seattle had Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, the Ewing led Knicks, Dwight Howard in Orlando — You would always write off his winning and attribute it to the talent. Well guess what, it does take talent to win in the NBA yo.

But prior to Michael Jordan only once in the history of the NBA had a team with the leading scorer won a championship. Jackson motivates, he gets the most out of his players and just because he doesn’t call time outs when he is supposed to doesn’t mean he is not coaching.

Criticizing Jackson after an epic record-setting run of 11 championships and for not coming back from 0-2 after losing the first two at home (something only done three times) would be like criticizing Joe DiMaggio after game fifty-seven when his hitting streak ended.

PS And just for good measure, Jackson won a championship in the Continental Basketball Association back in 1984. I guess he must have had the Michael Jordan of the CBA on his team and just rolled out the ball for him too.

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in-depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…

Dear Rashard Mendenhall: I Encourage YOU to Think

Your Reaction to American’s Reaction to the Death of Bin Laden is Laced with Judgments

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on May 5th, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

Rashard, considering the timing you’ve posted some stirring tweets regarding the reaction to the death of Osama bin Laden. Since one of your tweets is, “I don’t have an ignorant bone in my body”, you cannot use the excuse that these are your personal feelings that you posted on a private page. As a star running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers you are a celebrity and you know that what you post on Twitter is for public consumption.

Regarding 9/11 you tweeted: “We’ll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style.” Ignorance is the absence of knowledge. Is that what you are claiming to be regarding 9/11 or are you implying that you are a truther who believes the U.S. did 9/11 to itself? If so, to what do you base that judgment?

Regarding God you tweeted: “I believe in God. I believe we’re ALL his children. And I believe HE is the ONE and ONLY judge.” I respect your religious beliefs Rashard. Ultimately God offers the final judgment. However, we humans still have to hold each other accountable for our actions and behaviors. Don’t we? Besides any opinion in the absence of absolute facts is a judgment of some kind.

YOU apparently are judging the NFL when YOU compare it to or say it “parallels” slavery. Which you did when you tweeted: “Anyone with knowledge of the slave trade and the NFL could say that these two parallel each other”.

YOU are judging President Clinton, Bush, Obama the U.S. government and everyone who has served over the last fourteen years when you say we don’t know what really happened on 9/11 and infer a possible U.S. involvement and thus a massive cover-up.

On OBL’s death itself you tweeted: “What kind of person celebrates death? It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side…”. I didn’t celebrate it because his death won’t bring back the thousands of people whose deaths he is tied too. However, not only is OBL tied to the deaths of thousands, he declared war on this country, your country, and if he had his way he would have killed millions more.

This war on terrorism has cost us a significant amount in blood and treasure. Given what he has done, what he has said and claimed responsibility for, and what he would have done if given the chance, the fact that he can no longer harm us is cause for celebration.

As for hating a man we never heard speak, well unless you think it was someone from Saturday Night Live dressing up as him, we did hear him speak in those videos he released. And since these videos were authenticated and also presented by the Arabic network Al Jazeera, than if it’s not him they must be in on the conspiracy too.

Another tweet on judgment: “Those who judge others, will also be judged themselves.” Judge me all you want Rashard, since I never plan to murder anyone, commit any acts of terrorism, or commit any crimes, I fear no judgment. It is the guilty, and the hypocritical who should beware. And if I err in any capacity or can benefit from an accurate judgment, and such is bestowed upon me, then hopefully I will have the ego strength to accept, learn and grow from such a judgment. This too, I do not fear.

On the sentiment that OBL should burn, you tweeted: “For those of you who said you want to see Bin Laden burn … I ask how would God feel about your heart?”

On its own this could spark an interesting philosophical debate. In the context of your other musings it is tinged with judgment and with the intent to make people feel guilt or regret.

In evaluating (a precursor to judgment) others’ reactions to the death of OBL, is not any conclusion, positive or negative, a judgment? For better or for worse, isn’t judging part of the living, growing, and the evolutionary process of human consciousness? We could spend hours debating the judgment of behavior versus judgment of the person but judgment, to some degree, is it not inescapable?

Let me ask you Rashard, when the towers went down what were you tweeting then? What have you tweeted about Al Qaeda? About OBL? About radical Muslims when they burn the American flag, drag soldiers in the street? What is in your heart about your country that you tweet this way about it and its people? What do you tweet about her enemies? Or, do you view her as your enemy?

Another tweet of yours: “There is not an ignorant bone in my body. I just encourage you to think.” This can be interpreted as an arrogant statement Rashard. We are all ignorant on one thing or another. Me? I’m ignorant about a lot. There is no shame in that. To be ignorant of nothing is to know everything about everything. Is that what you are saying about yourself?

Now that I think about it, I don’t encourage you to think, I encourage you to get some therapy. I say this not with hate in my heart, rather with compassion for a talented, thoughtful athlete who sounds like he has some noble but perhaps misguided spiritual beliefs and unresolved issues towards his own country and the people in it.

Good luck to you sir — peace on the journey.

####

Update: Rashard Mendenhall issued an apology yesterday that you can view here: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=6478438
(This article was originally published on May 3rd. Date change is a reflection this update)

 Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in-depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…

What Facebook and Twitter Taught Me About Osama Bin Laden’s Death

Another Call for Civility

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on May 2nd, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

Last night was a good night to be an American. After about ten long years, the families of the victims of 9/11 and all of the others who suffered or died by the hand of Osama bin Laden received justice. Americans received justice and we felt good about it.

President Obama made a good speech hitting the right notes along the way. In the beginning he highlighted how united we were as a country in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attack and at the end he tried to inspire us to come together like that again.But then I went on facebook and twitter, and while most of the comments I read were a combination of proud sentiments, wishes for the victims families, and jokes about Osama, there were still partisan comments that were anti Bush, Donald Trump and even cynicism towards Obama for the timing of OBL’s death. Really? All of this occurring within an hour of the announcement.

This reminds me that it hasn’t been that long since the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. After which, there was a call from many corners to tame down the rhetoric. Slandering your opposition, hate filled speech and labeling your opposition’s motives as nefarious were being spotlighted as potentially endangering lives and contributing to the growing divide in the country. Giffords’ gunman may have turned out to be a lone nut without political motive but the righteous calls for civility remained. Those calls didn’t take then, and after last night I am left to wonder if they ever will.

I see good people on both political sides. People that you can trust and count on. People that are good sons and daughters, husband and wives, and that are philanthropic. Fair-minded most of the time, yet when it comes to politics some sort of brainwashing takes over, the fair-mindedness dissipates, and the mind closes. Their words become hate filled, condescending, and or antagonistic. Their judgment of those who would disagree becomes harsh and impaired. They can’t even agree to disagree, for the opposition is either brainwashed, stupid, evil or crazy.

I thought we would get a complete break from this last night. That it would be a coming together moment. And in fairness it was for many. For those people I hope it lasts longer than it seems to have after Congresswoman Giffords was shot. We need it as country to come through these hard economic times and when terrorism is still a threat. Facebook and twitter taught that we may have even further to go than I thought.

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in-depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…