SportsNet - May 2012
The NBA playoffs have been filled with dominating performances by superstar players. Lebron James and Dwayne Wade for Miami. Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo for Boston and Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili for San Antonio. However, the most riveting single performance thus far has been that of San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker. I recently wrote that Chris Paul was the best point guard in the NBA. I now amend that and place Paul and Tony Parker on equal footing, with a slight edge going to Parker. Parker's three championships rings separate the two.
Due to his speed and quickness, Parker is a difficult cover for any defender. He has given Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, one of the most athletic guards in the NBA, fits while Westbrook tries to defend him in the Spurs pick and roll offense. Parker is great at using a teammate's pick to allow him to separate from his defender. He is then able to make a basket by shooting a jump shot or taking it close to the basket and finishing with an array of floaters or runners. He is adept with both hands and can finish with either. He is also a master dribbler which allows him to get anywhere on the court he would like.
Who is Eden Hazard?
Eden Hazard is Belgian International who plays for French Club Lille. Having played as a young prodigy in Belgian clubs, Royal Stade Brainois and Tubize, he was taken up by Lille in 2005. He made his French Ligue 1 debut at a mere 16 years of age. He gradually went from being a substitute to a star who ran the show last season, scoring 20 goals and providing 16 assists in 38 games last season. He collected the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year award and was named the Ligue 1 Player of the Year, thus rendering his transition from a precocious talent to an established star complete.
Why is every top club after him?
He has all the qualities that a top footballer today has. Sudden burst of pace, amazing trickery and supreme play making skills make him the kind of player that every top European team would want to have in their squad.
Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City wanted to sign the 21-year old Lille youngster. His age explains the behaviour which many irate football fans in England and the world over have termed petulant.
There is currently an aura around the Heavyweight Division in Mixed Martial Arts. The division is generally populated with poorer athletes than other divisions, and the fights tend to involve less skill, yet still there's a certain sense of wonder that's associated with it. While other divisions keep the playing field fair by dividing fighters by size, and we can argue endlessly about the best pound-for-pound fighter, the Heavyweight Division takes a bit of the sporting element away from Mixed Martial Arts and exists to answer one question: Who is the most dangerous unarmed man on the planet? Right now, it's Junior Dos Santos.
Dear John......Don't take the fight out of the old liver bird...
If all football clubs were run in line with the Barcelona model, it would be the fans that choose their leaders, not the other way around.
Imagine, just for a moment that the Barcelona model was in place at Liverpool FC, and the fans as owners, were selecting a new team to run the business. Now, answer this one question. Could you see the Liverpool fans voting for John W. Henry and Tom Werner? The answer is no. The unavoidable lack of footballing experience is one thing but given recent events at Anfield, if the votes were tallied, Liverpool's current ownership group would be cast out to sea.
There are two people alive in the world right now of whom it can be said that everything that could have been said has in fact already been said. Bob Dylan and Roger Federer. There was a time when it was hip to write about a Swiss tennis player who was obviously going to conquer the world.
But now that he has, the adulation tends to get repetitive. You can of course talk about the way he moves his body while hitting a forehand down the line, which for a tennis fan is akin to a dancer watching MJ perform the Moonwalk for the first time.
Or the tiniest amount of frustration that owes its quasi-existence to a point won without putting to use some superhuman shot that for a moment removes him from the court and puts him squarely inside your head. You start imagining that what just happened was just your imagination.