The Mamba Effect

Sports have this power in our society that allows them to bring people together like nothing else. Whether you’re watching, playing, or even reminiscing, there is a sense of unity that cannot be explained, only experienced, and we must never let this feeling slip away from us.

As fans and supporters, we get lost in the love for our favorite teams and athletes at times, supporting them to the fullest, while also shutting down their rivals and opponents. This is something that comes with the competitive nature sports were born with, there will always be a ranking, there will always be winners and losers. These aspects of sports will, and should, never go away, as they’re what make sports as great as they are. The issue, which many of us forget, is that these athletes are people too. Once they step off their field, court, pitch, or whatever it may be, the athletes go home and live their lives as we do, as people do, so we must always remember to treat them as such.

On January 26th, 2020, Kobe Bryant passed away. I don’t need to get into who Kobe was, what he did on the court, or what he planned on doing, if you know you know, he was a legend in all aspects. I’m here to talk about the legacy Kobe left behind.

Kobe Bryant, in my eyes, is the greatest basketball player to ever step on the court. His will to win and his work ethic were not only unmatched, but they were something to admire. Anyone who had the opportunity to watch him play knew that at any given moment in time, Kobe Bryant had the capacity to singlehandedly win the game for his team. It did not matter who he was playing with or against, if he was on the court, his team had a chance to win. I grew up watching Kobe, and supported him to the fullest throughout his career, and what I came to learn was that Kobe Bryant instilled so much fear into his opponents and his opponents fanbase, that people really didn’t like him. Kobe was the type of athlete you either loved, or you hated, there was no in between, but he was always respected. Growing up, I found myself in countless debates about why Kobe is the G.O.A.T (Greatest of All Time), and countless times I found myself losing those debates, especially to those who give more weight to stats and counting numbers than what actually transpires on the court, and let me tell you, when Kobe Bryant was on the court, he was a sight to see.

What Kobe Bryant did, not only for myself, but for an entire generation of people and kids growing up is something we can only dream of doing. The impact he left on not only basketball, but all sports, is unmatched. From yelling, “KOBE,” while throwing something away, to looking up to him and trying to match his unmatchable work ethic, Kobe Bryant inspired people around the world. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, what you do, or even what you have done, becoming a little bit better everyday is something everyone should strive for. From becoming a better person, to becoming better at your craft, or even just being better at brushing your teeth or washing the dishes, bettering yourself everyday is essential to our personal growth. Kobe Bryant epitomized this. He was the definition of hard work. I could get into the endless stories people have shared about his strive for greatness, but Kobe never did it for the publicity or for the recognition, he simply wanted to be great.

Kobe’s nickname was, “The Black Mamba,” cool as hell, I know, but what made his nickname stick was what came out of his persona along with this nickname. I’m talking about the ,”Mamba Mentality.” The mamba mentality is a phrase Kobe himself termed to describe the approach, focus, and work ethic he applied to his lifestyle. It can be interpreted in different ways by different people, but at its core, mamba mentality is a relentless will to be great and better yourself.

Kobe Bryant inspired people all over the globe to follow his mamba mentality and to be the best version of themselves they can be. It’s not something that is easy to do, it’s not supposed to be. Kobe himself knew that there was no end goal, there was no stopping point he could reach where he could eventually relax, Kobe Bryant knew that every day he was alive was another opportunity for himself to become better.

When Kobe passed and news broke, it was devastating. People all over mourned and remembered him, and what I saw was unity. It didn’t matter if you loved him, if you hated him, if you didn’t even watch basketball, the news hit everyone in some way. People came together, people saw what Kobe Bryant meant to the world, and we may never see a person like him again. In remembrance for Kobe, we must never let his legacy die. Keep yelling “KOBE” whenever you shoot anything, but more importantly, with anything you try to do in life, apply the mamba mentality, go into mamba mode, because that’s what Kobe Bryant would’ve wanted.

Kobe Bryant was not only my favorite athlete of all time, he was a role model. He was someone who we watched grow up in front of our eyes, while we were doing the same. He was someone I looked up too, and will keep looking up to no matter where I go and what I do. I wouldn’t be who I am today without Kobe, I wouldn’t be where I am today without Kobe, and I will never forget what Kobe did for me, without him even knowing me.

Thank you Kobe, your legacy and impact will live through us forever. #MambaOut

PlayerProfiles: Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson is electric.

The Baltimore Ravens selected the dynamic dual-threat quarterback with the final first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and I think it’s safe to say they couldn’t be happier two seasons into his career.

Image via YouTube

Jackson played his college ball at Louisville, leaving a legacy like no other. The 2016 Heisman trophy winner started all three seasons at his alma mater, putting up video game stats along with highlight-reel plays night in and night out. Excluding his freshman year, Jackson put up 7,203 passing yards, 3,172 rushing yards, 96 touchdowns, and carried Louisville to a 17-9 record through his final two seasons with the team.

Lamar Jackson is one of, if not the, most dynamic players I have ever watched in college football. He was must-see TV, the type of player that can turn nothing into something, and have the potential to score on any given play. He was a nightmare matchup who will put any given player on the wrong side of a viral highlight play.

Coming out of college, Lamar Jackson had many doubters. Some said he didn’t have the arm talent to make the necessary throws required in the NFL, while some even went as far as saying Jackson would be better off switching positions for a better NFL chance, such as wide receiver. These doubters were justified by the fact that Jackson completed his final season with a 59% completion percentage, coming in at 71st overall in college football that season, but Jackson possesses a quick release, along with arm strength that can sling it with big downfield play potential. Jackson could’ve switched to receiver, and even played it pretty damn well, but he bet on himself, even denying to run the 40-yard dash at the combine to make the statement he is indeed a quarterback, and the Raven’s took the chance.

Just as a side-note, Jackson denied to run the 40, but he claims he’d run a 4.34 if timed. That’d be one of the fastest in the league.

Lamar Jackson isn’t an elite thrower, but he is an elite athlete, and can extend and make plays with his legs like no other, providing the team that drafted him an opportunity to create a dynamic offense. The Ravens have done exactly that.

CBS Sports

Jackson got the starting nod at quarterback last season during week eleven, leading the Ravens to a 6-1 record in his time, along with a 17-23 loss to the Chargers in the AFC Wild Card game. He finished his first season with 1,201 passing yards, 695 rushing yards, 11 touchdowns along with only 3 interceptions in 7 games started. Heading into the offseason, the Ravens were committed to Jackson as the starter but knew he had to improve on his 58% completion percentage. The Ravens made some moves, bringing in safety Earl Thomas on defense, and running back Mark Ingram, rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown, and rookie tight end Mark Andrews on offense, while coach John Harbaugh seemingly improved his offensive playbook to cater towards Lamar Jackson’s abilities.

Season two has exceeded everyone’s expectations. Lamar Jackson, although still needing improvement, has elevated his passing ability to a respectable level while the Raven’s and coach Harbaugh have put Jackson in the perfect situation to prosper. Through week seven, Jackson has 1,650 passing yards, 576 rushing yards, and 14 touchdowns, while increasing his completion percentage to 63% and leading the Raven’s to a 5-2 record, putting himself in the MVP conversation in his first full season.

Lamar Jackson is electric. I personally believe he will become the best quarterback out of the loaded 2018 draft, and has the potential to change how NFL offenses work. He lights up scorecards and highlight tapes, he silences doubters, he works on his game, he isn’t afraid, and plays with heart. That, to me, is a recipe for success, and danger (in the good way). Jackson is ascending fast, and so far it not only looks like the Raven’s have their franchise quarterback, but that the rest of the NFL has a new problem.

Trevor Bauer Traded to Reds in Blockbuster 3-Team Trade

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Trevor Bauer is headed to Cincinnati.

The Cy-Young caliber pitcher was just one piece involved in a three-team deal that saw the Cleveland Indians acquire OF Yasiel Puig from the Reds, along with OF Franmil Reyes and P Logan Allen from the San Diego Padres. Prized prospect, OF Taylor Trammell, is headed to San Diego as well.

More pieces are involved as well.

The Indians made a bold move with this deal, with each team obviously having different motives for the trade. Cleveland’s intention in trading Bauer was to bring in major-league level talent to assist in what some may call a disappointing year offensively. They did exactly that, and more.

Bauer will give the Reds another ace in what has been a surprising starting rotation with the likes of Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, and Anthony DeSclafani, as they try to make a playoff push. Bauer still has one more year of team control, giving the Reds the luxury of allowing themselves to now focus in on the offense going into the 2020 season.

The deal shakes up the league, as Bauer goes from the AL to the NL, and the Indians suddenly seem like World Series contenders. There may be no clear-cut winner, but the deal will have an impact as we approach October baseball.

Marcus Stroman Headed to the New York Mets

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Toronto Blue Jays star pitcher, Marcus Stroman, is headed to the New York Mets.

Stroman, 28, is heading to New York after having his name in trade rumors all year. After a down year in 2018, Stroman has rebuilt his value this season with a 2.96 ERA and the second highest ground-ball rate in the MLB.

The Mets add another quality arm to an already loaded rotation, with Stroman being added to the likes of Jacob DeGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zach Wheeler, and Steven Matz. New York is likely to move one of these arms, expected to be Syndergaard or Wheeler, but nevertheless have an excess of talent at the starting pitcher position.

No one knows if the Mets are contenders or not, or whether they’re attempting to become one or not, but this move is nonetheless an upgrade for them.

Astros Acquire Zack Greinke

Image via The Richest

The Houston Astros have assembled the best rotation, by far, in the MLB.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are sending six-time All Star, Zack Greinke, to the Astros in exchange for four minor league prospects.

Houston is going all-in, rightfully so, giving up four prospects in the deal, but Greinke, 35, is having an excellent year himself going 10-4 through 22 starts with a 2.87 ERA. Although age may catch up to Greinke, he has been pitching like an ace, yet in Houston he will slot in as the number three starter. This allows the Astros to take the risk on Greinke, as even minor decline keeps him as a top #3 option, and allows Greinke an opportunity to take some pressure off of himself.

Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Zack Greinke. Good luck to the rest of the MLB, a new World Series favorite has been crowned.

2019 MLB All-Star Game Preview

Image via AP Photo/Tony Dejak

The 90th annual MLB All-Star game will be held Tuesday, July 9th, and as the week approaches, we update you with the rosters, selections, starters, and event times.

American League Starting Lineup

  • Manager: Alex Cora, Red Sox
  • Catcher: Gary Sanchez, Yankees
  • First Base: Carlos Santana, Indians
  • Second Base: DJ LeMahieu, Yankees
  • Shortstop: Jorge Polanco, Twins
  • Third Base: Alex Bregman, Astros
  • Outfield: Mike Trout, Angels
  • Outfield: George Springer, Astros
  • Outfield: Michael Brantley, Astros
  • Designated Hitter: Hunter Pence, Rangers

American League Pitchers

  • Starting Pitcher: Justin Verlander, Astros
  • Starting Pitcher: Gerrit Cole, Astors
  • Starting Pitcher: Lucas Giolito, White Sox
  • Starting Pitcher: Mike Minor, Rangers
  • Starting Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi, Twins
  • Starting Pitcher: Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays
  • Starting Pitcher: John Means, Orioles
  • Starting Pitcher: Charlie Morton, Rays
  • Relief Pitcher: Ryan Pressly, Astros
  • Relief Pitcher: Shane Greene, Tigers
  • Relief Pitcher: Brad Hand, Indians
  • Relief Pitcher: Aroldis Chapman, Yankees

American League Reserves

  • Catcher: James McCann, White Sox
  • First Base: Jose Abreu, White Sox
  • Second Base: Tommy La Stella, Angels
  • Shortstop: Francisco Lindor, Indians
  • Third Base: Matt Chapman, Athletics
  • Outfield: Mookie Betts, Red Sox
  • Outfield: Austin Meadows, Rays
  • Outfield: Joey Gallo, Rangers
  • Outfield/2B: Whit Merrifield, Royals
  • Designated Hitter: J.D. Martinez, Red Sox
  • Designated Hitter: Daniel Vogelbach, Mariners

National League Starting Lineup

  • Manager: Dave Roberts, Dodgers
  • Catcher: Willson Contreras, Cubs
  • First Base: Freddie Freeman, Braves
  • Second Base: Ketel Marte, Diamondbacks
  • Shortstop: Javier Baez, Cubs
  • Third Base: Nolan Arenado, Rockies
  • Outfield: Christian Yelich, Brewers
  • Outfield: Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
  • Outfield: Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves

National League Pitchers

  • Starting Pitcher: Mike Soroka, Braves
  • Starting Pitcher: Jacob deGrom, Mets
  • Starting Pitcher: Max Scherzer, Nationals
  • Starting Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
  • Starting Pitcher: Hyun-jin Ryu, Dodgers
  • Starting Pitcher: Walker Buehler, Dodgers
  • Starting Pitcher: Zack Greinke, Diamonbacks
  • Starting Pitcher: Luis Castillo, Reds
  • Starting Pitcher: Sandy Alcantara, Marlins
  • Relief Pitcher: Will Smith, Giants
  • Relief Pitcher: Kirby Yates, Padres
  • Relief Pitcher: Josh Hader, Padres

National League Reserves

  • Catcher: Yasmani Grandal, Brewers
  • Catcher: J.T. Realmuto, Phillies
  • First Base: Josh Bell, Pirates
  • First Base: Pete Alonso, Mets
  • Second Base: Jeff McNeil, Mets
  • Second Base: Mike Moustakas, Brewers
  • Shortstop: Paul DeJong, Cardinals
  • Shortstop: Trevor Story, Rockies
  • Third Base: Anthony Rendon, Nationals
  • Third Base: Kris Bryant, Cubs
  • Outfield: David Dahl, Rockies
  • Outfield: Charlie Blackmon, Rockies

Event Times

  • MLB All-Star Celebrity Softball Game, July 7, 2019
  • All-Star Futures Game, July 7, 2019
  • Home-Run Derby, July 8, 2019
  • MLB All-Star Game, July 9, 2019

Yankees, Red Sox Play First MLB Series in London

Image via Max Schreiber/USA TODAY Sports

The MLB hosted its first ever London series, starting June 29th, 2019, and the first game did not disappoint. The Boston Red Sox played the New York Yankees and the two teams combined for a whopping 30 runs, 37 hits, including 10 doubles and 6 home runs. The game lasted 4 hours and 45 minutes, missing the record for a nine inning game by 4 minutes, which was also set by the two teams in 2006. The final score was 17-13 Yankees.

The second game did not match or eclipse the run count of the first, but it did not disappoint. The Yankees won 12-8, sweeping the short two game series, with both teams combining for 28 hits.

The series was great for Major League Baseball, and the show the two teams put on only made the game more appealing to the international audience as the MLB attempts to expand its borders.

See you next year London!

Klay Thompson Tears ACL

Image via Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Klay Thompson has torn his ACL.

Golden State Warrior’s star, Klay Thompson, left Game 6 of the NBA Finals with what turned out to be a left knee ACL tear.

With 2:22 seconds left in the 3rd quarter, Klay Thompson went down with what appeared to be a knee injury, got up and went to the locker room, and jogged back onto the court and the proceeded to make his two free-throws. Thompson finished with 30 points and 5 rebonds in 32 minutes in the Finals loss to the Raptors.

The news comes less than a week after the Warrior’s, Kevin Durant, was diagnosed with a ruptured achilles himself. Thompson is projected to miss the typical timeline for a torn ACL, 7-10 months.

The Warriors team will look very different in the coming season, but we can hope and expect Klay to be back better than ever.

Get well soon Klay.

Kevin Durant Ruptures Achilles

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Kevin Durant has ruptured his achilles.

Early in Game 5 of the NBA finals, Kevin Durant (coming off a calf injury he sustained in the same playoffs) looked like the unstoppable hooper he is, dropping 11 points and 2 rebounds in 12 minutes. Then he went down. Durant made a move with the ball and as he came down, suffered an injury known to change careers for the worst. He ruptured his achilles in the same leg he injured his calf on and confirmed the worst on Instagram.

Durant is the best basketball player in the world in many people’s eyes, and he was expected to hit free agency this offseason, but with the injury, that decision and process may be affected drastically.

The injury isn’t anyone’s to blame, Durant wanted to help his team come back from a 3-1 deficit to claim the NBA championship and to become part of a select group of teams to claim they were able to three-peat, but an unfortunate incident happened and all we can do now is pray that one of the best basketball players the world has ever seen will come back better than ever.

Get well soon KD.