30,000 Point Club

30,000 of anything is a lot.  You can have 30,000 animals, 30,000 people, $30,000, or 30,000 points.  I assume you get the point?  On Tuesday, LeBron James accomplished this feat.  He became just the 7th player in NBA history to do this.  He was also the youngest to ever reach this mark.  I wanted to take a look at the other 6 players in this club and see where LeBron stands among them.  Does he have a chance to climb the ranks?  Does he have a chance to to become the all-time leader in points scored?

There are 6 other players that have scored 30,000 or more points in the NBA.  All of them are legends of the game.  The all-time leader is Kareem Abdul Jabbar with 38, 387, Karl Malone is next with 36,928.  Kobe sits in third place with 33,643 while Michael Jordan has 32,292.  The next two spots are held by Wilt Chamberlain 31,419 and Dirk Nowitzki with 30,808.  Dirk is still active so his number will continue to climb although I do not think he will play after this season.  All of these players have historical significance of some sort.  Some changed the game entirely and others just played at the highest levels possible.

Where will LeBron end up when his career is over? Obviously, that is just a guess.  However, I think you can make an educated guess.  These projections are being made based on LeBron not suddenly retiring and him being able to stay healthy and avoid major injuries.   He should end this year with roughly 31,000.  I think based on his career average of 27.1 points per game he will pass Nowitzki and Chamberlain next year. He would then need 1,300 more points to pass Michael Jordan.  If he scores 25 per game next year he will be in the neighborhood around the 50 game mark.  Passing Jordan, Chamberlain, and Nowitzki in the same year is some kind of progress.

He would be sitting in 4th place after next year.  In the 2019-2020 season he would pass Kobe Bryant. He would then have another large gap to catch Malone and then Jabbar.  Can he do it?  Here is a great graph showing the career lines of James and Jabbar.  As you can see they both reached the milestone in their 15th season.  However, LeBron is a few years younger because he did not attend College like Kareem did.  It looks like LeBron needs to play 4.5 more seasons and average around 25 per game to get to Kareem.  Based on his skill set and they way he seems to be plowing along it should not be an issue.  However, Father Time will catch up to him.  Take a look at the end of Kobe Bryant’s career.  It was filled with injury and in his last year you could see that he had hit the wall.

I think barring any major injuries and thinking that LeBron will want to continue chasing titles he can pass Kareem and get himself to the #1 position.  If you are a fan of LeBron or not, you have to admit that it is an awesome accomplishment and it would certainly place him in the Mt.Rushmore of basketball legends.  Even LeBron managed to congratulate himself on his accomplishment the other night.  That seems a little weird!  How long will his record stand?  Maybe not that long because Kevin Durant is hot on his tail.   That will be a different article though!

 

—Victor Mandalawi

Pyeongchang 2018!

You may be asking yourself what is Pyeongchang 2018?  Pyeongchang, South Korea is the location of the Winter Olympics.  The 23rd Winter Olympic Games will begin on February 9th and will conclude on February 25th.  I am more of a fan of the Summer Games, but I will certainly be watching the Winter Games.  I usually speak of the drama surrounding sports and I honestly can not think of more potential drama than an Olympic Games.  Of course you have the built-in drama of competition, you have all of the stories of perseverance, and this year we will have Political drama. Let’s take a look at what is in store for us!

On the first day of the Olympics, we will be treated to ski jumping and curling.  In total there are 15 sports including ice hockey, luge, alpine skiing, and many more.  In the 15 sports there will be a total of 102 events that a medal can be won.  There will be 4 new disciplines in sports that already exist.  One of them is called big air snowboarding, it sounds like it will be awesome!  A difference on the other side will be that Ice Hockey will not have players from the NHL involved for the first time in 20 years.  That will clearly effect the quality of play on the ice, but there will certainly be games that are down to the wire and exciting.

At every Olympics there are stories of courage and perseverance.  I can guarantee these games will be no different.  Think back to the 2016 Olympic games in Brazil.  Controversy presented itself in many ways.  The ongoing zika virus scare, the outdoor water sports location was heavily polluted, and of course there were plenty of bribes and money laundering issues.  These games will be different in certain ways and I am sure they will be the same in certain ways.  I would think corruption is standard throughout the process.  I would love for the controversies to go away and have the athletes create all of the memories produced by these games.

Since the games are in South Korea this year, we certainly can not overlook the fact that our President has been in a war of words with the North Korean Dictator.  That alone has a chance of upstaging the games and I hope that does not happen.  There are two political stories that are worth looking at.  First, it has been determined that the Russian team will not be allowed to compete because of a major doping conspiracy. Clearly, that is a major disappointment for the clean athletes.  The IOC has determined that clean athletes can participate, but they will do so under the blanket of the IOC.  The Russian flag will not be displayed and if an athlete wins an event they will not play their anthem.  They will also not be listed in the record books as having won a medal.  That is a stern punishment, but probably a necessary one.  The games need to be clean!  These games are also noteworthy because North Korean athletes will cross the demilitarized zone and compete in the games.  They will also join forces with South Korea in certain events.  This will mean they are marching under a unified flag.

As always, the Olympics will be must watch television for me.  Being in the digital age and halfway across the World will make it hard for NBC to televise the events with any type of secrecy on the event outcomes.  The last few Olympics have been that way, but it has not slowed my viewing.  The tension and drama caused by sport is always powerful.  This year will not be different.  We will also be able to key in on the partnership of the two Korean nations.  When all of this takes place in a 2 week span, it will certainly cause plenty of excitement and I will be watching.  How about you?

—Victor Mandalawi

 

The Playoffs are Set!

The NFL playoffs will begin this coming weekend.  Six teams from each conference make the playoffs and the winner of each conference will play each other in the Super Bowl on February 4th.  The next three weeks will determine those participants.  Many fans, including myself find the next three weeks to be the most exciting time of the season.  Let’s take a look at the match-ups and see who the “experts” are picking.

In the AFC the Patriots and Steelers are the top 2 seeds and they will be receiving a bye this weekend.  They have automatically advanced to the divisional round.  This weekend will be the wildcard round which will have two games.  They are the Jaguars vs. the Bills and the other game will be Chiefs vs. Titans.  In the NFC the Eagles and Vikings are the top 2 seeds and they are also receiving a bye this weekend.  The other 4 teams will have match-ups like this with the Rams vs. the Falcons and the Saints vs. the Panthers.

As mentioned before, in my opinion, the next few weeks are the best football has to offer.  You will have 4 games this weekend, all of them will be on National television.  These teams have made it through the gauntlet of the regular season and deserve to be here.  The drama will be evident from the opening kick.  All it takes is for one or two players to have a bad game and it could cost your entire team.  You can also play to your ability and get beat by a player that just happens to have an “all-world” game.  It happens every year and that is one reason why the playoffs are so great.  I think the Jaguars and Chiefs will win in the AFC.  I believe the Falcons and Panthers will both win in an upset, according to their seed.  The experts agree with me in two of these games. It is worth mentioning that the NFC South was able to place three teams in the playoffs which is the most any division have advance.  I personally think that any of the three teams could get on a hot streak and win the conference.

The NFL has been under fire over the last few years for various reasons. This has caused much discussion based on head injuries, kneeling during the National Anthem, and violence/crime outside of the game.  Many would argue that this has led to a ratings decline.  The regular season numbers are in and they are down almost 10%. That is a pretty staggering number considering they were down last year as well.  However grim it seems, the NFL still has a stranglehold on the ratings war.

No matter how the ratings are dropping, I consider the next few weekends to be absolutely must watch TV.  Some games will be last second finishes and some will be blowouts, but that does not change the fact of the game being must watch.  It only changes how long you watch the game! The NFL has been on for 4-5 weeks of preseason and now 17 weeks of regular season.  We are finally at the point you wait for all year, so enjoy it. I know I will!

—Victor Mandalawi