City Sports Report

June Has Been a Great Month in Sports by Marc “Razz” Rasbury

Serena Williams is a Katy Perry fan
Serena Williams Has Struggled in 2014

Serena Williams Has Struggled in 2014

This is the time of the sports year that I fret. The NBA season is over. The dog days of the baseball season are a few weeks away. Football camps will not open for another couple of weeks and it is even too early to predict which college team will be tabbed as the best team in the nation. Traditionally, this is time when most sports fans get a chance to exhale. However, this year is different.


When you consider the drama associated before and after last week’s NBA Draft, the World Cup, Wimbledon, and the return of Tiger Woods to the links, one cannot keep up with all of the breaking stories, even with all of the 24-hour sports networks we have at our disposal. There is so much going on, even the Yankees and Mets can hardly crack the tabloids’ back pages, despite being within striking distance of playoff spots.


Basketball fans can usually catch their collective breaths after the annual draft. However, that will not be the case this year. There were a number of questions regarding who was going where leading up to draft. Some questions were answered on Thursday when Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid were taken with the first three picks. No surprises there. While I sat in the media dinning room at Barclays Center on Thursday, there was more talk about the pending free agency movement than the young studs that were moments away from joining the NBA. Will the Big Three remain in Miami? Will Melo take his talents to the Windy City or H-Town? Where will Kevin Love end up? That was buzz surrounding the draft and the Class of 2014 was a mere after thought Thursday.


And if the free agency sagas were not enough, we had the drama developing in Brooklyn. I walked pass Nets General Manager Billy King’s office and the door was closed. There was no activity in there despite the organization hosting the event. The Nets did not have any picks that night so one would think that King would have an easy night, with the exception of trying to make some less-than-spectacular trades. Not so fast my friend.


During that time, King must have been dealing with the Jason Kidd bombshell that was about to explode. After the season, Kidd went to the organization and requested, no demanded, more power, especially when it came to personnel decisions. He wants the type of position that Doc Rivers and Stan Van Gundy have in Los Angeles and Detroit, respectively. In essence, he not only wanted to coach, but he wanted King’s job as well. Well, King, along with Principal Owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, told him “Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya!” They even gave the Milwaukee Bucks permission to negotiate a new contract with Kidd while he was still under contract with the Nets.


Kidd has a history of being a coach killer or a locker-room cancer even as far back as his college days. Many believed that he got Byron Scott fired despite the ex-coach taking the Nets to two NBA Finals, and let us not forget what Kidd did to his good friend Lawrence Frank. The Nets stuck by their first-year coach even when he was struggling at the start of the year and this is how he repays them. Based on his track record, the franchise should have seen this coming.


After the Rangers run captured the city’s heart and attention, the country has been engulfed with World Cup Fever. The USA advanced to the round of 16 for the second consecutive time and they accomplished this without their best player Joy Altidore. They upset Ghana. They should have beaten Portugal in a game that ended in a 2-2 tie. Then they lost to Germany, 1-0. The Portugal tie felt like a defeat, as we gave up the tying goal with less than a minute to play. The Germany loss felt like a victory, as we advanced out of group play. That just lends to the intrigue of this event.


The host nation, Brazil, has not lived up to their anticipated hype, but they are still alive after narrowly escaping an upset bid from their South American neighbor Chile. Costa Rica and the United States have been the biggest surprise thus far. Very few thought the US team would survive their group and advance to the round of 16. Costa Rica has been the darlings of the event. And who would have thought that England would be sent home early? It just goes to show you that this year’s version of the Cup has been “Must See TV!”


It was hard to watch Tiger Woods in his return to the circuit this weekend. The once undisputed King of the Links didn’t even make the cut going into the third round. Granted, he is returning from back surgery and hopefully, can recapture the form that once made him the most feared man with a nine-iron. Even an ailing Woods still commands our attention. Lets hope that he is able to rediscover his game and put his physical issues behind him.


It was also hard to see the Williams Sisters being bounced from Wimbledon. Venus and Serena have not made it to the quarterfinals of any major tournament in almost a year. Can age be creeping up on them? They usually do well at the All England Club and I just hope they can regain their form in Queens in less than two months.


June was one heck a month. It was a precursor of things to come. Can Team USA advance to the World Cup quarterfinals? Who will replace Kidd on the Nets bench? And where will the Big Three and Melo up? If June was this exciting, just imagine what the rest of the year will be like, as all of these questions are answered?

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