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Unpopular Opinions- Volume 5
(Photo courtesy of NBA.com)

Unpopular Opinions- Volume 5

Ab Stanley

Here we are again with another edition of unpopular opinions, where you can scratch you head and be pissed off at the same time. Get ready to experience feelings of being perplexed, angry and wowed at the same time!

 

“Teams should concentrate more on building their running game compared to their passing game.” – Damian Adams

There was a time, not too long ago, where multiple running backs were the faces of their respective franchises. Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, LaDainian Tomlinson and Marshall Faulk, among others, were running backs that carried that the offensive load.

Those days of the bell-cow running backs are mostly over outside of the few exceptions like Derrick Henry and Christian McCaffrey. The fact that we have a lack of running backs that carry the load on their own has lead to the position and results of a consistent running game becoming under valued.

The passing game runs the check book but the running game leads to winning. Last season, only three of the top 10 passing teams made the playoffs, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints and the New England Patriots. The quarterbacks for those teams are the Super Bowl MVP, Patrick Mahomes and two future first-ballot Hall of Famers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady.

If you don’t have those guys then running the rock is the best bet in trying to win the big one.

Seven of the top 10 rushing teams that made the playoffs last season. The teams with the best running games are more likely to have a successful season. Having 25 carries for 120 yards isn’t as sexy as a 400 yard passing day but that time of possession, balance in play calling and rest for the defense will lead to more rings.

 

“I am not a big fan of Michael Jordan.” – Ab Stanley

The fact that you could be an NBA fan close to the age of 40 and utter any bad words towards Michael Jordan could be deemed as blasphemy. Well I’ll be a blasphemous bag of wind because I am not in any shape, fashion or form of a Jordan fan. Not only am I not a Jordan fan but this recent swing of “MJ” hooplah is almost nauseating to me.

I’m sure the neophyte LeBron James fans agree with me but I’m not speaking for them. I’m speaking for the fans of teams where most Jordan memories are nightmares. I’m speaking for the guys that just wanted to pick up a sports magazine in the 90s without seeing his picture and the ones who want to watch a sports highlight show without seeing his face.

I’m speaking for Atlanta Hawks fans in 88′, New York Knicks fans in 93′ (and like ten other years) and Utah Jazz fans in 98′. Everybody is not interested in seeing this guy plastered all over the place everyday then or now. Reliving the past might be nostalgic for some but for a small group of people and myself, this is like reliving a stab wound.

 

“Kwame Brown was a bust, but it wasn’t his fault.” – Alex Bab

Kwame Brown is often viewed as the biggest bust of NBA No. 1 overall picks. First off, that honor belongs to Anthony Bennett (2013). Brown, picked first by the Washington Wizards in 2001, was set up for failure.

Brown was part of the slew of bad “straight from high school” lottery picks. Although we got guys like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Garnett straight from high school, there’s countless others that never reached their potential by entering the league too soon. Brown is the poster child for this.

Brown was barely an adult and suddenly had very high expectations on him. It didn’t help that Michael Jordan (who pushed to draft Brown) came out of retirement for the Wizards his rookie season. Jordan, who hadn’t dealt with players so young during his Chicago Bulls’ tenure, was highly demanding of the young rookie and it shook his confidence and broke him.

Once Jordan retired after 2003, Brown saw career highs in points and rebounds per game in 2004. Brown would eventually get away from Jordan and become a Los Angeles Laker, where he got the same treatment from Kobe Bryant. After being injured most of 2005, he regressed playing with Bryant.

Brown was a bust but it’s almost tragic, not comical. Circumstance dealt him a terrible hand with bad organizations and teammates who didn’t know how to help an overwhelmed young kid. So make fun of Brown all you want but remember, part of what failed him was the man who drafted him: Michael Jordan.

 

“Hakeem Olajuwon is the best center in NBA history” – Raphael Haynes

Usually when you hear Hakeem Olajuwon’s name, you think of the “Dream Shake” but you should also think best center in the NBA.

Of course, people will throw Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Shaquille O’Neal’s name in there as the best of all-time but everyone of those players had a Hall of Fame teammate if not multiple HOFs on their squad. Olajuwon didn’t play with a formidable HOF until 1995 when Clyde Drexler was traded to the Houston Rockets (Ralph Samson got in mostly because of college).

Keep in mind, “The Dream” won a championship in 1994 with not only a team without any HOFs but he was the only player who made the All-Star team. He also was the only Rocket to make the All-Star roster in 1995, which includes Drexler, who didn’t make it as a Portland Trailblazer either. Yes he won a chip that year also.

The two-time Finals MVP offensively, is the most skilled center in history. His game showed no weakness and he was great at everything. He could extend to 20 feet as far as his jumper, he had the best post game, he could take you off the dribble, had multiple counter moves and arguably had the best footwork ever.

Defensively, he has the most blocks recorded in NBA history with 541 blocks over the next player and he was only 6’10” (although he’s listed at 7’0″). When he retired, he was in the top 10 of all-time in steals (all-players, not just centers). If he had to switch out on the guard, he was able to defend the perimeter as well.

To put it all in perspective, he played against Moses Malone, Abdul-Jabbar, Robert Parrish, O’Neal, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Dikembe Mutombo and Alonzo Mourning, which all are in the HOF. Yes, he gave them all the business.

Photo courtesy of Sporting News

 

“Bo Jackson was overrated as a player.” – Danny Thompson

The legend of Vincent Edward “Bo” Jackson will always come from him being the most athletic in sports history. Physically, there has not been a player in the history of sports that had his physical tools, but when you look at his career, it was not as special as you would think.

His feats on the baseball field was all based on things that you see on highlights, a rocket arm, outstanding speed and long home runs. However, Jackson never lead the league in home runs (finished in the top five once) and only batted over .260 twice in his career.

He struck out 841 times in 694 career games including a league high 172 in his 1989 All-Star season. He rarely walked because he had 641 more strikeouts than walks. In the 1988 season, he had 25 home runs and 25 walks for the entire season.

On the football field, we remember Jackson for having breakaway speed and being hard to tackle (play Tecmo Super Bowl and you will understand that). Jackson rushed for over 100 yards in only eight games in his career.

There has been 80 times a player has rushed for over 100 yards in more than eight game in a single season. Jackson played 38 career games in the NFL, his team lost 20 of them and in those games, he averaged 50.7 yards rushing in those games. Jackson will always be a superior athlete but he was just really an average player in both professional baseball and football.

 

“WWE should NOT go back to the Attitude Era.” – Eric Urbanowicz

Wrestling fans always clamor for WWE to bring back the “Attitude Era” because of the edgier content and it would bring back older fans. The big issue is, it wouldn’t work in today’s society.

While edgier content could compete with UFC and open up WWE creativity to doing more, just think about that era for a moment. Women were viewed more as sex objects than wrestlers, racist gimmicks such as Kaientai and probably worst of all, chair shots and other attacks to the head weren’t protected, which could lead to possible Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

Edgier could help, however, a full-on return to the “Attitude Era” would reverse the course on a lot of the good WWE has done since. Plus be real, who goes back when you can go forward?

 

“NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is the Manchurian candidate.” – Mike Patton

When decisions are handed down in the NFL, there is always one person that’s blamed and his name is Roger Goodell. Now by all means, I am not standing up for him but he is the only Manchurian Candidate.

For those that aren’t sure what the Manchurian Candidate is, let me give you a brief movie history. The newest version of this movie dealt with a Manchurian group controlling powerful politicians in an attempt for a power grab and if anything went wrong, allowing those who they were controlling with implants to take the blame.

Roger Goodell doesn’t have an implant like Denzel Washington did in that movie but he is controlled by the NFL owners. When he gets up there and makes those speeches, he is under there control, where they pay him a pretty penny to be.

Essentially, every decision he makes is from what the owners want him to say and none of them are ever his words. Which reminds me, why is it that people take shots at the commissioner more than the owners who gave him the commands to say what he felt he had to say?

The Manchurian Candidate is alive and well and his name is Rogers Goodell. Make sure those checks don’t bounce while you are taking shots for the owners.

 

 

About Ab Stanley

Atlanta, GA

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