What is the first thing you think about when I say Colin Kaepernick?
Is it this?
Take me back to a time when Colin Kaepernick was considered to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
No? Well, then you are probably new to the NFL, but for those of us who follow the NFL might best remember Kaepernick for his weird but entertaining celebration. You probably remember Kaepernick for this...
Hear that? That's the sound of 49ers fans crying into their Joe Montana pillows. Kaepernick was considered to be one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL. He had led them to two straight NFC championships and a Super Bowl. I find it funny that everyone was hyping him up but forgets to mention that he had a GREAT team. The 49er's defense was considered to be one of the best in the league with stalwarts like Justin Smith, Navarro Bowman, and Patrick WIllis. On offense, they had Mr. Underrated himself in Frank Gore who...well...did Frank Gore things for the 49ers. Kaepernick also had prime Vernon Davis and "prime" Michael Crabtree (though to be fair he has been solid in Oakland). Being the 49ers, they were so happy that they stumbled onto their "best" QB since the golden days of Montana and Young that they then proceeded to gift him an amazing 6 years $114 million dollar contract in 2014, which at the time was the richest contract ever given to a QB.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
What has he done since then? Well, he led them to a Super Bowl win against the Patriots...just kidding. Kap (I will be referring to Colin Kaepernick as "Kap" for fear of misspelling his name) has been an all around dud for them, being plagued by injuries and a terrible team (Thanks Jed York and Trent Baalke). Think about it, how would you do if your best option on offense was Torrey Smith and an old past his prime Anquan Boldin. What happened to Frank Gore and Willis and the defensive stallwarts? They're gone and have been replaced by Carlos Hyde (sounds more like a cartoon character than an NFL RB) and..uh...I do not know. In fact, the 49ers have become so irrelevant in the last couple of years that I actually do not know who is their best player. Hold up one moment, let me go and research this...While I'm gone, you can look at these very pleasant GIF's of Kap...
I'm back. I just checked, and apparently, Navarro Bowman and Joe Staley made the Pro Bowl last year. Hyde got injured and their starting RB was Shaun Draughn (sounds more like a rapper than an NFL RB), and apparently they signed Blaine Gabbert. HAHAHA! They signed Blaine Gabbert. Blaine "Hey I'm just going to throw interceptions all day" Gabbert signed with them. HAHAHA...wait a minute, Gabbert was starting for them? And they won?......Kap, YOU SUCK! Yes, that's right folks, the "best quarterback since Young" lost a quarterback battle to this guy...
How is he still a starting QB?
So, congratulations, 49ers! You shelled out $114 million dollars for a backup QB! Truly phenomenal. That sound you are hearing is of 49ers fans slamming their heads against the wall.
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
This was the 49ers, a fun, irrelevant team that no one took seriously...until now. Colin Kaepernick decided to take a stand for racial injustice and sit for the anthem. Since this is a serious matter, I won't share my thoughts or opinions on his actions. I'll leave it up to you, the reader, to figure out if he is in the right or in the wrong. I will say that almost everybody has gotten into this debate ranging from fellow NFL players to veterans. Contrary to rumors, the 49ers have not released Kap during the preseason. It seems like this controversy and debate is just getting started. Most likely, people will probably start to ignore this since the regular season is starting this week.
CFB Week 1
Houston pulled off one of the biggest upsets yesterday
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
CFB is BACK! Week 1 came along with some (deserving) hype as one of the best opening slates in recent memory. Already, we have some major news in the form of upsets. Two teams in the top 5 (Oklahoma and LSU) lost yesterday to Houston and Wisconsin respectively. Alabama completely annihilated USC behind true freshman QB, Jalen Hurts, and Ardarious Stewart. And we're not even close to finishing Week 1, folks. Ole Miss and Florida State play today in a battle of top 25 teams and potential CFB playoff contenders followed by Notre Dame-Texas, a battle of blue bloods with tons of storylines for both programs. Can Charlie Strong put all his pieces together and help put Texas on the road to relevance? Can Notre Dame show that they are still a top program despite losing a lot of talent led by Jaylon Smith and Ronnie Stanley? Has Texas finally resolved its QB issue? Will Notre Dame find a clear number one between Malik Zaire and Deshone Kizer? I cannot wait, and as a big CFB and Texas fan, I have never been this excited for CFB in a while.
In Other News
Come back to Miami, Wade...please
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Dwyane Wade is one of the newest members of the Chicago Bulls (never thought that I'd write this sentence), but some sad news happened over the weekend as his cousin was a victim of gun violence in Chicago. In the aftermath, Wade gave an interview to ABC News regarding the tragedy and Trump's tweet in regard to the incident.
It's a very moving and powerful speech, and I would like to call attention to one of his quotes in the interview, "I think my purpose at the end of the day is hopefully to come to Chicago and be a part and be the voice that can help bring people together," I found this to be quite moving. While in the beginning, his move to Chicago seemed to be a business move, now this seems like Wade's destiny. How amazing would this story be if the hometown phenom from Chicago comes back and brings actual political change to a story that is nowadays on the news for bad reasons. As a Miami fan, I hope Wade comes back, but as a person, I cheer him on. My deepest condolences to the Wade family for their tragic loss.
THE NFL IS FINALLY HERE! THANK GOD!
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Week 1 of the NFL Regular Season starts this week, and NFL fans all over the world rejoice. And on a side note, that means fantasy football will have their first games this week. I have two killer squads. One is led by Julio Jones and Allen Robinson, while the other is truly amazing with guys like Antonio Brown, Lamar Miller, and Allen Robinson headlining the squad. The first games will be on Thursday with the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers playing each other in a rematch of last year's Super Bowl.
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This is the first of 30 previews discussing each team entering the 2016-17 Season. The stories are all fictitious as well. Enjoy!
Head Coach Mike Budenholzer
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
The first thing Coach Bud heard when he walked into the practice facility was the thud of a basketball down the court. "Who could be here right now?" thought Coach Bud, "It's summer." Looking up he saw that it was none other than prized offseason acquisition, Dwight Howard. "Dwight" said Coach Bud, "What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be out enjoying your summer break?". Howard paused his intense training routine and looked at Coach Bud, "Sorry Coach. I was in Atlanta hanging out with the family and I felt like coming in here to put some shots in. Coach Ham said it was alright." Coach Bud nodded his head and said, "I appreciate this effort, but next time ask me. Is that clear?". The veteran center nodded his head and got back to his routine.
Can Dwight regain his Orlando form?
As Coach Bud walked away, he found himself impressed by Dwight and his decision to sacrifice his free time to better his game. It's that sort of work ethic that wasn't present in Dwight for a while now. "Could he be improving mentally?" thought Coach Bud. It was known around the league that Dwight wasn't the best center in the league as it had been a long time since Dwight was considered to be great. In fact, many wondered why the Hawks had signed Howard to a 3 year $70.5 million dollar contract. The Hawks were derided for taking a chance on a center that had been everything but a top ten center in the league. Howard went from being considered the best center and one of the best centers in the league to a free agency afterthought all in the span of 4 years. A combination of injuries and poor work ethic doomed Howard during his time in Houston.
The Hawks have been swept by the Cavs two years in a row in the playoffs.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Having gone 48-34 the previous year only to lose to the Cavs again, Bud knew that changes needed to be made. He signed Dwight Howard, let franchise stalwart Al Horford leave, and traded away Jeff Teague. "Would that be enough?" he thought, "Could they beat the Cavs with this roster, nay, make this a series against the Cavs?" Widely regarded throughout the league as one of the top coaches in the NBA, Bud is a part of the Popovich coaching tree (one that also includes coaches like Steve Kerr and Alvin Gentry) having spent almost 17 years as an assistant coach for the Spurs before leaving for the Hawks job. In his second year, the Hawks won a franchise record 60 games culminating in 4 members of the starting 5 making the All-Star Game (Teague, Horford, Paul Millsap, and Kyle Korver). However, they were quickly and mercilessly dispatched by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now entering his third year, Bud and the Hawks face a lot of questions. Will they ever be able to beat the Cavs in the playoffs? Is their 60 win season an outlier or the norm? How will new acquisition Dwight Howard fare in his 3rd team in 4 years?
Prediction: 45-37, 5th seed, dispatched in first round by Pacers in 6.
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As most know by now, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder have agreed to a contract extension.
Westbrook was rumored to be departing the Thunder next offseason and was involved in a variety of trade rumors, so this comes as a surprise to many. Though this will be his first year without partner in crime Kevin Durant (*sigh*), he remains committed to OKC. Westbrook's contract is now in the top 3 of average annual value.
For the Thunder, this is a great move by them to ensure that they will have extra years of having a bonafide superstar help their rebuild. Though they are without KD, this Thunder team still has talent. They traded for Oladipo (who quietly was one of their best players behind possibly Vucevic) to strengthen their backcourt. Their frontcourt led by Kanter and Adams is solid. Coming off the bench is young and solid pieces in Roberson and Payne. I could honestly see them getting at best a 5-7 seed (worst case they get the 8 seed). Here are my Western Conference playoff predictions for this upcoming year.
2016-17 Western Conference Playoff Predictions
Golden State Warriors
San Antonio Spurs
Los Angeles Clippers
Portland Trail Blazers
Oklahoma City Thunder
New Orleans Pelicans
As for Russell Westbrook, this is a chance for him to strengthen his legacy and show the NBA if he can live up to being the MAN in OKC. I think he can do that easily. Remember the 2014-15 NBA season where KD played only 27 games due to injuries. Well, the Thunder with Russell Westbrook were a lucky Anthony Davis 3 from making the playoffs. Now with an improved team (relative to 2014-15), the Thunder can make the playoffs in this tough Western Conference. I don't see them winning a ring, but honestly who does with Golden State being in the same conference. This is a win-win for both sides, and if worse comes to wear, then Westbrook can leave after his contract expires.
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