Let me start off by saying this is not an editorial on the NBA free agency period and the subsequent popularity of the NBA’s rule formally known as “the Larry Bird exception” which permits teams to exceed the salary cap to re-sign one of their own free agents.
No, this is about the exception to the “other” Larry Bird rule that no one wants to talk about. Political correctness has run rampant in mass media. There seems to be certain edge when anyone tries to make a joke involving anything about race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, personal politics, ethnic affiliation, national origin, age, and on and on and on.
Have we really become that sensitive?
The short answer is yes. I’m not going to give the long answer, but I will say this: A conservative attitude towards social issues in mass media has hindered any discussion or analytical thinking on why there are so few American born white NBA players of significance in today’s game. The elephant is in the room, he’s blocking the TV, yet no one says a word!
The mid-to-late ‘80’s era of basketball had its fair share of icons like Michael Jordan. However, as effortlessly as I can run off names like, Charles Barkley, Isaiah Thomas, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Magic Johnson; Larry Bird, John Stockton, Chris Mullin, Kevin McHale, and Mark Price also come to mind without much difficulty.
In this day and age, American born white players have not only taken a back seat to their foreign teammates and adversaries; they are no longer in the same vehicle. White American players serving as stars of the game have virtually become extinct over the last fifteen or so years. The NBA’s initiative to grow its game globally has harvested star players from other regions of the world, including Germany’s own 2011 Final’s MVP Dirk Nowitzki, Canada born and 2-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, Argentine Manu Ginobili, and a handful of other great players from Europe and South America.
Did their global outreach create a domestic crisis, a scorched earth policy on its own soil?
There have been countless comparisons and anointments for the next Michael Jordan with the consensus choice being Kobe Bryant, and experts have stated on numerous occasions that LeBron is closer to Magic than Michael. Everyone has their heir apparent, except undoubtedly the third best player of his era in Larry Bird.
“Larry Legend” was a 12-time NBA All-Star, 9-time All NBA First Team, 3-time NBA MVP, 3-time NBA Champion with 2 NBA Finals MVP’s, 1980 Rookie of the Year, 1982 All-Star MVP, and 3-time Three-Point Shooting Champ. Now, I understand those are lofty credentials for any player regardless of race or nationality to achieve during a career, but it has been 20 years since Bird retired and in that span there have been a total of 18 All-Star appearances by American born white players, with 6 of those coming from Hall of Famer John Stockton.
Where is the next Hick from French Lick?
Could it be Kevin Love? His 51 point outburst in a double overtime game against the OKC Thunder put everyone on notice that he’s Got Game. He was named the 2011 Most Improved Player as he led the NBA in rebounding (15.2) and established career highs in 8 different categories including points (20.2), free-throws (85%) and three-point shooting (42%). Love became the first player since Moses Malone back in ’82 to average 20-plus points and 15-plus rebounds in a season.
He just notched his first Three-Point shooting title and has become the face of the Minnesota Timberwolves. It’s still too early to put him in the Bird conversation, but he is a bright spot in the league to be sure. Can he lead? Does he have the clutch gene? These are all questions only time can answer, but hopefully he can lead a cast of other up-and-coming ballers that can carry Bird’s torch.
The summertime has traditonally been regarded as 'ballin' season. This is the time of year the big boys bring out theit big toys. On any given day a simple visit to your local mall or plaza can seem like you've entered a car show. Check out the latest models from Jaguar, Aston Martin, and Bugatti as we tempt you with the coldest whips of 2012.
Carbon is the nonmetallic chemical element with the Atomic Number six and hails from Group Fourteen on the Periodic Table. When you bond together carbon atoms with fiber, the breakthrough metabolic engineering process results in a high-strength and decreased weight material that has a heightened tolerance for resistance, temperature and thermal expansion. Of course, carbon fiber is extreme in pricing and is utilized appropriately in aerospace, military and automotive motorsports fields. Aston Martin uses it fittingly for style, grace and performance in its nearly $300,000 DBS Carbon Edition.
If beauty resides in the eye of the beholder, then everyone that laid sight on the Carbon Black DBS (also available in Flame Orange and Ceramic Grey) must have been under an intense British spell because they stared at it like a resurrection. The British 2+2 Coupe’s charismatic intent, posh hand-stitched cabin (70 hours to complete), available power, and quantity of carbon fiber energized my conscience with a minor bit of impetuous arrogance knowing this “beauty and the beast” could electrify a crowd and simultaneously embarrass the majority of myopic sports car owners on the road.
Specifically, carbon fiber comprises the side view mirrors, front chin spoiler, rear diffuser, door trim and pulls, sill plate, and the center stack. A hand-built 5.9-liter V12 engine with 510 British raised steeds allows 0-60 mph to come in a scant 4.3 seconds.
Now, the DBS isn’t the fastest sports car I’ve ever driven (that goes to the Bugatti Veyron), but it does do a lot of things well like braking and cornering. It’s not necessarily always about the pure number of horses under the hood. More important is the weight-to-horsepower ratio, which affects acceleration and braking. To my point, the aluminum and magnesium DBS felt so light and fluid that 510 horsepower can easily equate to 600 horsepower in a heavier vehicle.
When you prefer to drive the vehicle in a more relaxing manner, simply put the gearbox in automatic mode, connect your iPod, and turn up the volume to the 1000-watt Bang & Olufsen BeoSound audio system. Passengers consistently asked what the two raised, mini towers were from both ends of the dash. These tweeters add style and presence to the DBS.
DBS Carbon Edition prices start at $287,576 for the coupe and $302,576 for the Volante (convertible) and achieves 12 mpg city and 18 mpg hwy. There’s a reason James Bond chose an Aston Martin DBS for his latest installment.
COST: $287,576 FOR COUPE
$302,576 FOR CONVERTIBLE
You can always find a good reason to fly across the pond to attend the International Geneva Motor Show. Whether it’s to catch up with industry colleagues for networking, to witness history firsthand, or study international automotive design schemes, the intimate Geneva Motor Show is one to put on your annual Bucket List. For the 82nd presentation, one of the main attractions was Bugatti’s up to 1,200 horsepower Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse, which has entered a new stratosphere of drop-top performance.
After a few drives in the base 1,001 horsepower Grand Sport, we at Automotive Rhythms can officially attest to its performance dominance and entitlement as the greatest high-performance vehicle of all time (GOAT). So we can only imagine what the Vitesse will do to freshly paved asphalt. Visually attached to the Veyron Super Sport, which holds the current world speed record, the Vitesse shows off with consistent dynamic driving characteristics.
Bugatti’s engineers have developed the current GOAT into an even more powerful vehicle with a maximum torque of 1,500 Nm. The increased power of the new roadster’s 16-cylinder engine is made possible by four distended turbochargers and intercoolers and its chassis has been tuned to handle the added power. “The rapid success of the Super Sport convinced us to increase the performance of the Bugatti roadster. Once again our engineers worked hard to demonstrate that Bugatti is able to constantly redefine the boundaries of what is technically feasible,” reveals Bugatti President Wolfgang Dürheimer.
COST: APPROX $2.5 MILLION
In the animal kingdom, Jaguars are a rare breed almost to the point of extinction. For that matter, people confuse them with Leopards and Panthers. Well, in the automotive world the British “cat” is far from extinct and for 2012 has redefined the kitty kingdom with a new high-performance XKR-S Coupe and Convertible. The latest member of the family is undoubtedly the most authoritative and the quickest production vehicle Jaguar has ever built. To prove their case as to why this rendition of the XKR is so fierce, the team allowed me to personally speed test the beast.
The XKR-S is so eloquent and so tamed, but so fierce when you get on it. Both the XKR-S Coupe & Convertible feature Jaguar’s 5-liter AJ-V8 with 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque. That’s an 8% and 9% respective increase from the performance of the XKR. It darts from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and shifts power through an automatic 6-speed transmission with steering wheel embedded shifters. An all aluminum body, chassis and engine; a wider and lower bumper intake; and a massive rear wing and carbon fiber diffuser combo add additional performance enhancements to the XKR-S.
So why did Jaguar have a need for the XKR-S when they have a 510 horsepower XKR and will not make money on the project with so few cars? Well, they state it’s more than a car from Jaguar and is a brand ambassador. They want to deliver and showcase the vehicle as a symbol of the revitalization of the brand, and to manifest new emotions and life from their customers.
With six colors available, the Coupe will retail for $132,000 and the Convertible will run $138,000. For 2012 all 100 coupes and 25 Convertibles are sold out. A balance of 100 Coupes and 100 Convertibles are planned for the 2013 model year and in 2014 100 Coupes and 75 Convertibles will be available. So maybe this breed of performance cats will become just as extinct as the Jaguars in the wild!
COST: $132,000 FOR COUPE
$138,000 FOR CONVERTIBLE
One of the most frustrating feelings is looking forward to baseball season all year, going to the first practice session, and then waking up the next morning unable to move your shoulder because of pain!
Every year, about this time, I hear that exact story from patients. In most cases, I have found that the participants didn't prepare themselves properly for the rigors of throwing. It happens at every level, and we are reminded of it this past spring training with the new Yankee acquisition
Michael Pineda. He showed up overweight and out of shape, and his arm speed was down. After only 2-3 weeks of spring training, he is out indefinitely with a rotator cuff injury.
The shoulder joint is one of the most complex in the body, and it is by far the most mobile one.
A freely moving shoulder can move almost 360 degrees and unlike your hip joint, that is a real ball and socket, the shoulder is almost suspended in its place by about 8 major muscles. All of these muscles need to be ready to throw effectively.
The easiest way to explain the mechanism of throwing is to break up the act of throwing into three phases: cocking the arm, acceleration, and the follow through.
The cocking the arm phase begins when you bring your arm back behind your body. To do this you use your bicep and triceps muscles as well as a group of three muscles, known as the rotator cuff muscles.
The three major muscles that make up the rotator cuff are the supraspinatus, the infraspinatous, and teres major. All of these muscles are located behind your shoulder, specifically above and below the shoulder blade.
The acceleration phase of throwing can be broken down into two parts. First, while your forearm and elbow remain still, your body moves forward with your shoulder, and the second part when your forearm and elbow whip the ball forward to release it. The main muscles needed for the acceleration phase are the pectorals or chest muscles and the latissimus muscle, commonly called the “lats”.
The follow through phase begins when the ball is released, and it is during this phase that the arm is forced to decelerate.
The most common injury that occurs during the cocking phase is the rotator cuff strain. The symptoms are an inability to raise your arm up and back, and the pain is usually at the top of your shoulder just under your collar bone, and sometimes right behind it.
Injuries occurring during the acceleration phase are usually associated with inflammation of the pectorals muscle and its tendon. The pain is usually found at the front of the shoulder and it is difficult with your arm at your side to reach back without pain.
Almost all the injuries from the follow through phase occur at the back of the shoulder. This area becomes stressed when the arm has to decelerate from the throw.
From evaluating these three phases of throwing, it is easy to put together a weight lifting and stretching program, to condition and maintain the shoulder before and during the season.
Your program should emphasize building your pectorals, biceps, triceps, latissimus, and rotator cuff muscles. This weight program should be performed three times a week, and on alternate days you should be stretching these same muscle groups.
During practices and before games it is imperative that you warm up your shoulder before throwing. You should stretch the major muscles of the shoulder and then perform short tossing using looping over hand throws about 15 feet away from your partner. Gradually increase your distance to 30 feet and start to throw the ball harder with the ball parallel to the ground and throw at 75% speed. If you are a pitcher, keep track of the number of pitches thrown, and for all players, ice your shoulder up for 15 minutes after the game. All this preparation is imperative for a healthy season, no matter if you play at high school or college level or if you are a weekend warrior.
Bansky -- the largely anonymous but highly renowned London-based street artist -- recently revealed on his website some Olympics-themed works ahead of the London 2012 Games.
And he's not alone. Numerous street artists have adorned London's walls with their Games-inspired pieces. Some are satirical, like Banksy's. Some are celebratory. But all might be in danger of being erased, or at least covered, as widely reported by the British press.
That's why the elusive Banksy, as of this writing, has not revealed the location of the above piece, nor of this one:
photos courtesy Bansky.com