LiAngelo Ball and LaMelo Ball Both Turning Pro to Play Together in Lithuania

ESPN – LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball have reached an agreement to sign professional basketball deals with Lithuanian club Prienu Vytautas, the team’s coach/GM Virginijus Seskus and Ball family agent Harrison Gaines told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. After ESPN reported on the seriousness of the talks between the Ball brothers and the European team on Monday afternoon, the two sides finalized the agreement hours later.

This week in LaVar Ball’s continued efforts to ruin his kids lives, dad is sending his kids off to go play professionally in LITHUANIA! Ball in the Family season 3 is going to be fucking must watch TV. You got LiAngelo going to Chinese prison for shoplifting only to be saved by Donald Trump, LaVar pulling LaMelo out of high school and then pulling LiAngelo out of UCLA, and now both of Lonzo’s brothers with questionable basketball talent will be going pro and playing together in Lithuania.

Real talk though, I understand LaVar’s want to turn all three of his sons into NBA players, but at what cost?

This is not UCLA. To quote a morbid scene from the movie 300, this will not be over quickly, you will not enjoy this.

“Prienu Vytautas, or BC Prienai as it’s often called, is a low-level club from a small, non-English speaking village of roughly 10,000 people in southern Lithuania. The team has been grappling with financial issues and started the season losing eight of its first 12 games in the Lithuanian league…The club plays in a 1,700-seat arena; 500 of those seats are reserved for team sponsors and their friends. Tickets cost around 5 euros. The team has no general manager and doesn’t practice regularly due to the poor financial situation.”

Oh this should go swimmingly.

By all the reports I’ve read from the heavy hitters like Woj, LiAngelo is not considered an NBA prospect. Dan Wetzel said scouts told him LiAngelo’s best bet was to transfer to a mid-major and stay for four years, not burn every bridge and go play in a third world country. LaMelo may have a shot at the NBA, but he’s 16. Going from high school to playing against grown ass men in Lithuania does not seem like the smart route.

As Dan Wetzel put it on Yahoo:

“[LaMelo] will be eligible for the 2019 NBA draft and there is plenty to lose playing against grown men in the Lithuanian and Baltic leagues. LaMelo is 16. The two point guards currently on the Vytautas roster are 28 and 32. This isn’t the Nike AAU Peach Jam tournament…LiAngelo is not considered an NBA prospect at this time, no matter what LaVar says.

These kids grew up rich and pampered in sunny California with every advantage, raised by an overbearing father who controlled everything for them. Now these two are going overseas to a country where they don’t speak English to play for a team where they’re not even guaranteed playing time, let alone success. These two kids quit high school and quit UCLA after things didn’t go their way. Quitting this time would probably be a death knell to any serious NBA aspirations. Its sink or swim time boys.

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Patriots Drop an Ugly Game to the Dolphins with Steelers Looming

Last night the Patriots lost 27-20 to the Dolphins in a shitshow of a game. They didn’t have Gronkowski who was out due to suspension from the people’s elbow he dropped on a guy last week, but Miami hit em hard, shut down their receivers and even pretended to deflate the football (I guess?) after a TD.

It was ugly. For all the people saying this loss doesn’t matter, it’ll sure as shit matter if the Pats lose a tight one to the Steelers next week. Then the Patriots are facing the prospect of opening the playoffs on the road in fucking Jacksonville. Not like the Jacksonville is this powerhouse that you should fear, but the Patriots could very easily slip from the No. 1 seed with home field advantage to having to hike down to Florida for a playoff game in front of those diehard fans watching from goddamn swimming pools.

If we learned anything from this game its that the Patriots can lose one of Edelman or Gronk and still manage, but they absolutely cannot lose both. They won the Super Bowl last year without Gronk, but Edelman balled out all year and made all-time catches in the SB.

This year the Pats have been surprisingly fine on offense without Edelman because Gronkowski, Amendola, Cooks, Hogan, and the stable of runningbacks have shared the load. But without both Edelman and Gronkowski? Well without both the Patriots went 0-11 on third down last night. An absolutely absurd stat for a team that routinely moves the chains on offense. Without that horse of a man to draw double coverage and make big plays when you need em most, the Pats offense looked strikingly like their defense last night; a bunch of JAGs.

This was a game I worried about going into for the sole reason that dirtbag Ndamukong Suh gets off on hitting Brady late, low, and hard. And the delusional Dolphins fans that defend him.

The Dolphins have a legit defensive line with him and Cameron Wake, and Jordan Phillips, which we all know is the one thing that seems to disrupt the Pats. Throw in the fact that they ALWAYS seem to struggle when playing down in Miami late in the year and this had all the makings of a trap game with Pittsburgh looming next week.

So the Pats get down early for the first time in about a month of football and now facing a 17 point deficit, Suh and the boys are able to just pin their ears back and tee off on Brady. Not ideal.

Granted they almost came back and they probably would have if not for a ton of uncharacteristically sloppy plays. Not converting late in the 4th on 1st and goal from the 1-inch line is unexcusable. The Patriots did not look themselves at all with James White drawing an illegal motion penalty, Solder taking a holding penalty, and a couple of busted plays later the Pats are kicking a 35 yard FG. Granted they still would have had to recover an onside kick either way to have a chance, this series was a microcosm of the entire game. Bad execution, some poor throws by Brady, not enough time to throw, and just overall sloppy football.

Its for those exact reasons that I fully expect the Patriots to blow doors in Pittsburgh next week. Those guys are marshmallow soft and are feeling themselves just a bit too much for a team that has had to squeak out wins over dog shit teams. Over the past month the Steelers have beat the Colts by 3 points, smoked the Titans by 23, barely beat a Brett Hundley led Packers team by 3 points, beat the Bengals by 3 points, and the Ravens by 1 point. Not exactly the class of the AFC there. Sure, the Pats haven’t played the hardest schedule either, but before last night they weren’t just squeaking by like Pittsburgh. They were fucking demolishing teams, or tomato cans as Shanks likes to put it. Over the same period of time New England has blown out the Broncos by 25 points, the Raiders by 25 points, the Dolphins by 18 points, and the Bills by 20 points.

Don’t be surprised when they take the Steelers to the woodshed on Sunday.

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Red Sox Twitter Needs to Stay Calm

The Yankees acquiring Giancarlo Stanton is obviously huge news and not great news for the Red Sox. The Yankees have acquired the reigning National League MVP for pennies on the dollar because they can eat salary better than any other team in professional sports. That’s tough for Red Sox fans to stomach, but it’s nothing new for fans of the other 28 teams in Major League Baseball.

The Yankees have obviously gotten [much] better while the Red Sox are still looking for their power bat, but can we stop the histrionics? I get it, it’s frustrating to see the Yankees payroll go up every year at a faster rate than college tuition, but can we stop talking about the Yankees like they’re going to hit 300 home runs next year and win 130 games? Last time I checked, Stanton doesn’t play nine positions.

I’m old enough to remember the last time the Yankees swung a trade to pick up a reigning MVP. In early 2004 Alex Rodriguez, like Stanton today, was a reigning MVP entering his age-28 season. I remember Bob Lobel holding a town hall meeting on Sports Final with Steve Buckley (or maybe it was Tony Massarotti) to calm down Red Sox fans. If my memory serves me well, Buckley (or Mazz) said that it all comes down to pitching and that the Yankees pitching staff didn’t get any better after they picked up A-Rod.

Whoever it was, they were right. On the backs of Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez and Keith Foulke it was the Red Sox who hoisted the commissioner’s trophy in October of 2004. It took the Yankees six years to win their first (and only) World Series with A-Rod. While still a good player, A-Rod’s best playing days were behind him by 2009. That 2009 World Series title really had more to do with CC Sabathia being a stud than it did with A-Rod anchoring that lineup. Honestly, 35-year-old Johnny Damon had as much to do with that title as A-Rod did.

I’m also old enough to remember when the Red Sox had two perennial MVP candidates in the middle of their lineup. Hell, in 2003 the Red Sox had Manny, Oritz AND Nomar in their primes and all three finished in the top ten in AL MVP voting. We all remember how that season ended.

Adding Stanton definitely gets the Yankees closer to a tile, and closer to a tile than the Red Sox, but let’s not cancel the season. As was the case in 2004, the Red Sox still have the better pitching staff. Next year the Red Sox will have two former Cy Young Award winners on the staff, and that doesn’t include six-time all star Chris Sale. And like in 2004, there’s still the Wild Card. It’s not 1987. So what if the Yankees win 130 games? The Sox can still win 95 games and get into the tournament. If that happens, much like in 2004, we’ll see you in Game 7 of the ALCS.

PS – I don’t know who came up with this first, but this tweet won Twitter over the weekend.

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We’ve Been Pronouncing Bill Belichick’s Name Wrong This Whole Time And I For One Am SHOOK

 

Wellllll this is awkward. You mean to tell us for the last 17+ years we have been mispronouncing the football savior of New England’s name? There is just so much to this to address, to dissect, to apologize for. Hard to even pick where to begin.

I guess first and foremost we have to admit this is the most egregious and disrespectful error ever right? Here this guy is delivering a downtrodden, teased fan-base a dynasty laden with 5 titles in 17 years and how is he repaid? By being refused the basic human dignity of having his Goddam name pronounced the right way. And I mean “Belichick” is by no means “Smith” but good Lord, we’ve had how long to get this right?

Next is the fact that Belichick has seen this occur; which means he is either the most graceful, gentle of leaders on that level of power or, on the other hand, possibly the most Snape-like – showing utter contempt for a group of people but never giving even a hint as to the completely intangible reason why. On the gentle side of the coin, I know of another leader with as much consolidated power as Belichick, a Dear one in fact, who if faced with such lazy nomenclature would execute every last one of us via anti-aircraft gun. Sound fun? Didn’t think so. Which makes BB that much more of a saint for putting up with our butchery. On the quietly vindictive side, this could be why he has treated any and all public inquiries directed his way as something between an annoyance and an enraging betrayal or attack on his very existence. Maybe if we just pronounced his surname right once, just once, he’d be happy as pie to tell us what is exactly wrong with Tom Brady’s achilles or why didn’t put in Brian Hoyer at the end of the Buffalo game. (Just kidding).

Last, and the most puzzling, and somewhat disconcerting, aspect of this whole revelation, is, while hearing this occur repeatedly, Belichick never really did correct us all these years. I say never really because I’m half expecting a dusty artifact of Boston sports media to excitedly prmulgate a quote they got from Belichick in the wee 00’s, correcting our pronouncing of his house name, as if they are Charlie finding the last fucking golden ticket. But it’s 2017 and no one remembers now nor cared then about your quarter-page, slow-Tuesday piece in the thicket of the Herald sports section. It stands that in the age of hyper-advanced and social media, through 2 late-stage Belichick/Brady Super Bowls and all the press conferences that came with it, the greatest football coach and football mind of all time (Shut the fuck up, fine, at least of this era) never even bothered to correct the pronunciation of his shallowly regarded last name. I guess it does makes sense, and is almost poetic in a way. His name has nothing to do with who should be the left side gunner when punting from our 41 or where Pat Chung should be lined up on 3rd and 3 just outside of our red zone with the opposing team running 22 personnel, so it really doesn’t matter. However the aforementioned disconcerting aspect is that this could be all part of a diabolical plot of Bill Belichick’s: let them shit on my family tree for 20 years and then I’ll take Tom, go back to Cleveland, and win titles year after year until he’s in his 60’s and I have an oxygen tank on the sideline.

God help us all.

 

 

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┻┳|•.•)    Massholes mispronounce everything so this is kinda much ado about  nothing.
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Sean Payton Was Mad As Hell On Thursday Night

CBS Sports – It’s not often that an NFL coach gets called for a pivotal penalty, but that’s exactly what happened to Sean Payton on Thursday. 

With just 65 seconds left in Atlanta’s wild 20-17 win over New Orleans, Payton got called for a controversial unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that gave the Falcons a first down and killed any chance the Saints had of winning the game. 

You could be forgiven if you didn’t stay up until almost midnight for the end of a Thursday Night, NFC South, Color Rush spectacle. But if you did stay up for the end of it, you saw just the latest example of why Bill Belichick is the best coach in the league and why it’s not even close.

Belichick is like the card counter at the blackjack table. It doesn’t mean he is going to win every hand or game, but he’s never going to do something stupid to hurt his chances of winning. Like split 10’s. Or run on to the field like a jerk and get flagged for a 15-yard penalty.

Even if the Saints got the ball back around their 30-yard line with 18 seconds left to play they probably weren’t going to win the game. But if Brees could get lucky on one sideline pass the Saints could have attempted a long-range field goal to tie the game. Assuming they could line up right. Then who knows what happens in overtime. Instead of getting to play one more hand, though, Payton essentially called the dealer an asshole and got bounced from the table.

Thursday Night Football goes to Indianapolis next week when the 3-9 Colts will host the 3-9 Broncos. If that doesn’t excite you right now, just wait. SKY CAM WILL BE BACK!!!

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Seattle Approves $660 Million Stadium in the HOPE an NHL Team Will Come

SI – The Seattle City Council approved a plan Monday to renovate the aging Key Arena with the goal of attracting an NHL or NBA team. The $660 million project and any cost overruns will be covered entirely by the Los Angeles-based Oak View Group. The company claims it can reopen the arena by the fall of 2020. Seattle has tried numerous times to build a new arena for a potential pro sports franchise but previous efforts have been unsuccessful.

Holy shit, I know people on the west coast are a lot more optimistic than my brethren here in the Northeast, but even this is wild. I’m sure there have been some wink, wink agreements, but I ain’t putting a goddamn dollar down unless I have something in writing about a pro team coming to town. Otherwise you’re going to have the nicest facility in the country that Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran can play at once a year. Props to the city for getting a private equity group to cover the costs. As Miami will tell you, saddling a city with the bill for an entire arena is a goddamn disaster that residents end up paying off for 30 years. If the Boston Red Sox themselves threatened to leave town unless the city paid for a new stadium with the public’s tax dollars, I’d drive them to the airport myself.

The Supersonics leaving Seattle remains one of the all-time great screwjobs in sports history. Especially because they had JUST drafted Kevin Durant and you saw how great he was going to be.

Then they up and moved to OKC and formed the Thunder. I would be so goddamn bitter if that happened to me. Like if the Celtics just moved to Milwaukee, I’d probably never watch the NBA again. Which is probably why they’re shooting for an NHL franchise. If you get dumped you don’t go crawling back to your ex asking them to take you back. No, you find a chick thats twice as hot and flaunt that shit. AKA a shiny new stadium with a new NHL team for a ravenous fanbase.

I hope it works out for ya Seattle, I truly do, because there is nothing I want more than to eat sushi in the bleachers at Safeco Field. Combine that with a little Starbucks brewery tour and an NHL game? Now thats a pretty sweet little trip.

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Breaking Down Polygon’s Top 500 Video Games of All-Time

So the VOX Media gaming site Polygon just released its Top 500 Games of All-Time. I’ll save you the scrolling, but I guarantee you’ll be disappointed with No. 1. You’ve been warned. With so many classics making the list though you’re sure to have some serious nostalgia dopamine dumps here. So take a look at the list highlights and then dive into what I think are some of the most glaring omissions from the Top 100. Throwing a pity ranking in the 200’s doesn’t count. If these games aren’t in the Top 100 then someone is asleep at the wheel.

  • No. 70 – Final Fantasy 7 – Never played it myself, but considered by many to be the best game ever.
  • No. 66 -Madden NFL 2005 – EA changed the game forever with the introduction of the Hit Stick. No more needs to be said.
  • No 60 – Goldeneye 007 – The first first-person-shooter that everyone got together and played for hours on end.
  • No. 50 – Mass Effect 2 – One of my personal favorites. Mass Effect was one of the first games to master the concept of making choices and having those choices affect the game’s story and eventual ending.
  • No. 43 – The Sims – Everyone built a pool without a ladder so your character would drown. Man, kids are sick.
  • No. 42 – Halo: Combat Evolved – If you were like me and didn’t have an Xbox when Halo dropped, you soon became best friends with a kid who had an Xbox.
  • No. 39 – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Epona is my spirit animal.
  • No. 26 – NBA Jam – Still play this game to this day when back home for the holidays with my brother. Nothing like a Best of 7 series over an 18 pack of Rolling Rocks.
  • No. 25 – Metal Gear Solid – Incredible franchise with the best storytelling of any game ever made.
  • No. 21 – Super Mario Brothers – Its what got us all into video games. Should probably be No. 1 itself.
  • No. 16 – Super Mario 64 – This is when I realized I wouldn’t just be playing video games as a kid. This is when I first understood that video games could be something special.
  • No. 12 – Grand Theft Auto 3 – And this is when I understood how games would keep me entertained at any age; open worlds where you could do whatever you wanted, incredible story telling, and a great way to blow off steam by racking up a 5-star rating.
  • No. 7 – World of Warcraft – Not for me, but hey you gotta respect the legends.
  • No. 6 – Ms. Pacman – Get the FUCK out of here with this. The 6th greatest game of all-time is Pacman’s wife?
  • No. 5 – Pokemon Red/Blue – The first game I played non-stop. I still have my cinder block game boy with scotch tape and cardboard on the back to keep the batteries from falling out. Realistically I must have logged 80 hours in this game over the years. I even have Pokemon Red stashed away in my drawer so no one accidentally deletes my file because I have all 151. Thats right, I got that sonofabitch Mew at a South Shore Plaza giveaway when I was like 11.
  • No. 2 – Super Mario Brothers 3 – Mario dominating this list for good reason.
  • No. 1 – Tetris – Really? Reeeallly?

Not surprisingly a lot of Mario in the Top 100, the most popular gaming franchise of all-time. But you got duds like Ms. Pacman and Tetris dominating the Top 10? Wrong.

Omissions from the Top 100:

        • Mario Kart 64 (#197) – In fairness, the SNES version of Mario Kart made the Top 100, but the N64 version is the GOAT. Probably the only old game I still routinely play with friends. Its evolved over the years to a pre-game staple while drinking with buddies before going out. Not many games can say that after 25 years.
        • Sonic the Hedgehog (#191) – One of my favorites growing up, Sonic is what kept SEGA in business. The fast as lightning blue hedgehog is one of the most iconic characters in gaming history. Its the reason the opening is forever etched into my brain….”SEEEGAAAA”
        • Mortal Kombat 2 (#146) – How Mortal Kombat didn’t make this list is outrageous. The single greatest fighting game of all-time. Terrible oversight here.
        • Fallout 4 (#430) – As you get into your twenties and start having to work a real, adult job for 40+ hours a week, you naturally have less time to devote to massive open world games. Which is why Fallout 4 was such a pleasant surprise for me. It was my first entry into the series, but the trailer sold me. Some 40 hours later I had traveled across the post apocalyptic world, made alliances, friends, and enemies all while building up my arsenal to go from just some guy who woke up from a cryogenic freeze like Austin Powers to becoming the most powerful being in the world. Pretty cool trip. Not to mention reviving that absolute banger “The Wanderer” after all these years.
        • Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (#331) – Zelda had 3 other entries make the Top 100 so its hard to be too upset, but Majora’s Mask is what made that franchise legendary in my opinion. One of the few games to adopt the concept of time travel effectively without just confusing everyone.
        • GTA Vice City (#105) – Incredibly this franchise had 4 entries in the Top 100, but I routinely go back and forth which is the best GTA of all time. Is it 3 or is it Vice City? Can’t go wrong with either, but both are better than San Andreas. Vice City is only one of a handful of video games that I actually bought the soundtrack too.
        • Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 (#102) – Revolutionary game that the industry has been unable to replicate to this day. It made skateboarding and big air for everyone, not just the kids ripping cigs outside your high school. Another game with an all-time classic soundtrack that whenever I hear any of the songs from it like “The Impression That I Get” by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, it instantly transports me back to my parents basement and that old Playstation.
        • Star Fox 64 (#484) – Used to play this game so much growing up that it got to the point that I would wake up, blow through it, and smoke Andross from the back entrance all before leaving for school. Way too low on this list.
    • Sonic Adventure (unranked) – Another game that gets virtually no love because it was on the Dreamcast, which was a very underrated system. It was the first to incorporate interactive memory cards. For whatever reason (probably the immense competition with Playstation, SEGA, and Nintendo) it never took off. Which is a shame because Sonic Adventure is one of the best Sonic games of all times. It was the first one to really tell a coherent story and you got to play multiple characters across a huge world.
  • Shenmue (unranked) – This is one of those games that most of my friends never actually played. In fact I accidentally stumbled into it as a byproduct of Dreamcast never really having a huge library of games, but it was one of the first open world games with incredible, cinematic storytelling. In fact the game was so beloved, that the originally cancelled third and final game in the series is set to be released in 2018 after being entirely crowdfunded by fans on Kickstarter. Polygon dropped the ball on this one for sure.

Obviously everybody will have their own personal favorites based on what they grew up playing so what do you think? What games did they miss? What should have been ranked higher?

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