Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Jabrill Peppers and the drug tests

Uh oh, on the eve of the NFL draft, Michigan player Jabrill Peppers has tested "positive". Per their usual hysterical ways, the talking heads are up in arms over such a drastic development. Holy A-Rod, run up the red flags, form a Senate sub-committee to study the matter, and put all the NFL draft rooms on DefCon 1 status. This is some very serious stuff. Or is it?

A logical question might seem to be -- just WHAT, pray tell, did he test positive for?

Could it be alcohol? Weed? Cocaine? Crack? Meth?  PCP?  LSD? Roids? Human growth hormone?

Turns out, it was none of the above. Oh no. Peppers got on the drug police radar, and will have to enter the dreaded "program", because he submitted a diluted urine sample. A guy that drank too much water, which most every medical professional would recommend to keep an athlete hydrated during intense workouts, or flushing his system recovering from an illness, is now perceived to be some kind of shady character. Horrors!! He could use such a nefarious tactic to "mask" other drug abuse. So sayeth the substance abuse police. Good grief.

In other words, he tested positive for being overly negative. When a guy gets slammed as guilty for being too innocent, the current drug testing protocol is definitely out of control.

Here's an idea. Create a panel of at least semi-sane people to drug test the sadistic lunatics that keep coming up with these insane "heads you lose, tails you lose even worse" rules and regulations. And put THEM in a program. One can't fault the talking heads. After all, they just sensationalize any little thing they can get hold of, until the next "big scoop" comes around in a day or two. Tis merely the nature of the ignorant beasts.

Consuming too much water will get a guy busted these days? REALLY???

On the other hand, perhaps we should be thankful dear Jabrill didn't test positive for something else. Like a pregnancy exam.

Now THAT would have been big news. Especially if Caitlyn was the father. Pretty good thoroughbred athletic blood lines for the kid, but good luck with the little tyke trying to sort THAT out as he/she/it made its way through school growing up. Oh yeah, it could be worse -- a LOT worse.

In other news, the Golden State Warriors seem to be back on another roll. They easily dispatched the Portland Trail Blazers in a four game sweep. But they also showed a disgusting lack of class during the closing game -- in Portland.

Already ahead by 25 points or so with the game hopelessly out of reach, some on the Warriors bench reverted back to primal mode. They were jumping up and down and screeching like chimpanzees on 'roids celebrating a teammate's dunk. This is blatant "rubbing it in your face" stuff, and there is never a need -- or place for it.

They could have acted like the so-called professionals they are, and merely went about their business eliminating an inferior team. But no, they had to get stupid about it.

Well OK. They likely just made 20,000 or so lifetime enemies of those that were in attendance in the Portland arena, and it was all totally unnecessary.

It is curious to note this debacle happened in the first game GS head coach Steve Kerr was out with on-going back problems. Would Kerr have tolerated such a display of blatant childishness? Probably not. But he was replaced by one Mike Brown, an assistant.

Let's not forget this was the same Mike Brown that got ran out of Cleveland a few years ago when he couldn't deliver a championship. Then went to the LA Lakers as head coach, and was quickly fired from there as well. Back to Cleveland for another go-round. Yep, broomed again for incompetence.

And now he's the #2 man on the bench at Golden State? What could their front office POSSIBLY have been thinking by hiring this proven loser?

Maybe somebody should drug test THEM. Or HIM, for allowing the players to act in such a way.

Talk about out of control.....

Couldn't hurt.....





Saturday, April 22, 2017

Respecting the national anthems

Though yours truly is not necessarily a hard-core flag-waving, rah-rah type, I most certainly have always respected the national anthems of not only my country, but others. True, it's only a song and accompanying lyrics, but it means a lot to citizens of various nationalities. And well it should. Much like their flag, this is a symbol of their identity.

The recent Colin Kaepernick brouhaha aside (whereby he has refused to stand for his own country's anthem -- and yes -- he has every right to do so), nobody seems to have carried on the tradition better than the NHL.

For the purposes of this argument, we'll only discuss two anthems, those of Canada and the USA. After all, these are the only two countries that have teams participating in the NHL. There are times when only one is played before a game. If it's two Canadian teams meeting each other, there's no purpose in playing the American anthem. And vice-versa. Yet there are also times when both are played, when an American team faces off against a Canadian one, regardless of which country it happens in. Seems fair enough.

But how much do most people actually know about the history of these anthems and how they came about to be what they are today? Let's start with the Star Spangled Banner.

Most everybody attributes this to Francis Scott Key. They would be half right. Key penned the lyrics in 1814, while watching the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore. This was during the War of 1812, which lasted until 1815. But Key never wrote a note of the music we know today that goes along with it. He was a poet, not a composer.

The accompanying music came along much later, date officially unknown, and is generally attributed to one John Stafford Smith, an Englishman, of all things. The Star Spangled Banner, with Key's words and Smith's music would become the official anthem of the United States in 1931, oddly enough as it was in the depths of the Great Depression. The very fact that Smith was a Brit might likely explain why he has never been given his due credit.

On that note, it could also be argued that most Americans are much more aware of the melody than the actual words. Everybody can hum it, but many struggle with the lyrics. So who was the most note-worthy half of this creation indeed? Key continues to get all the credit, but it hardly seems fair to Smith.

O Canada has even more mysterious roots. A French-Canadian named Calix Lavallee is given credit for writing the music circa 1880. Another F/C named Adolphe-Basile Routhier penned the original lyrics -- in French. The words changed a bit here and there over the years back then. Yet what most folks know as the English lyrics, which have NOT changed, were written by, yep, another Brit named Robert Stanley Weir in 1908.

However, it was not Canada's official national anthem until quite some time later. Being (still) a British Commonwealth, much debate ensued over the decades between O Canada and God Save the Queen as to which should be their national song. This was not officially decided until as recently as 1980. We know which won out.

At that, the NHL stands heads and shoulders above their professional sports counterparts when it comes to renditions of the anthems being sung before games. The hockey folks won't tolerate some of the nonsense that has been witnessed before baseball, football, or basketball contests over the years.

Obviously, this is much more prevalent in America. It seems many of their leagues and teams have trotted out "entertainers" to perform the anthems -- and butchered them something awful. It was always, and remains highly disrespectful.

Who can forget folks like Jose Feliciano and others jazzing it up? Or Roseanne Barr grabbing her crotch? Others have been trotted out that couldn't even remember the lyrics, or were tone deaf. Rock and movie stars, kids of politicians, you name it, and it seems the anthems are up for bids to whoever can make the biggest splash of the day. This is, and has always been, horribly wrong.

The lyrics and musical notes haven't changed one bit in the last few decades. It's just egotistical wannabes trying to show off, while at the same time slapping an entire nation in the face by abusing their national song.

As mentioned above, it continues to happen at baseball, football, and basketball games. But not in the NHL. These people, God bless em, have the sense to be much more respectful.

Earlier tonight, yours truly was sports channel surfing and came upon a game between the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Out came a man named Daniel Rodriguez to sing both anthems. I had never heard of him. But holy cow, did he put on a performance. Without even the benefit of background music, like the organ every arena has, this man did a masterful job. It was like listening to a world class operatic tenor belting out the songs. Not one missed word. Every note hit perfectly, especially the high ones. No jazzing it up, just flat-out nailing them.

As also mentioned above, I'm not one to be easily moved by listening to national anthems. After all, I've heard them thousands of times -- just like most sports fans. But this guy was so good he gave me goose bumps. I wanted to stand up from my familiar couch-tater spot and salute SOMETHING.

Thing is, Mr. Rodriguez just did it the way it should always have been done. He gave a modest smile when he first walked out on the ice, proceeded to do both national anthems proud with his renditions, then another modest smile before he walked off. No muss, no fuss, and no showing off for his own ego. He had a job to do and he did it in a world-class way. Period.

I don't know who ever won that game between Montreal and NY, because I got busy doing other things. But I won't soon forget Daniel Rodriguez singing the anthems. Bravo indeed sir. You were a class act and the sports world could use a lot more folks like you IN it, instead of the rum-dums it and their fans keeps being subjected to.

Currently, Colin Kaepernick remains an unsigned free agent, in no-man's land, as it were. Many have speculated as to why. CK wants to be a starter. That likely eliminates at least half the teams who are already set. Others might be looking to draft a QB this year. Given his recent dismal performances at San Fran, still others might think he's no good any more. And likely more than a few don't want the media circus that would surely come with signing dear Colin. Right or wrong, he's made himself a bit "radioactive" by his anthem antics.

But it's likely that after the smoke has cleared from this year's draft and free agent merry-go-round, some team will give him a shot.

At that point, I would offer them a suggestion.

Before the first game when the national anthem is about to be sung, trot out Daniel Rodriguez to do the honors. Pay him whatever he wants, although a man like him obviously puts style and substance before the almighty buck. This is generally referred to as "class".

And if HE can't get Kaepernick up off that knee with his goose-bump inducing singing, then it ain't never gonna happen. Though CK may have a point regarding certain injustices in the USA, he also forgets it is the very same country that provided him with a venue to become rich and famous as a football star. This would not have been possible in any other nation on earth. Well, OK, maybe Canada, with their CFL, but to a much lesser degree than what America and the mighty NFL has always offered.

Then go ahead and cut him, because anybody with that narrow a mindset is likely only going to be more trouble later......

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Cutting to the Tiger chase

To some, it's big news that Tiger Woods has had yet another back operation. It shouldn't be. The proverbial fork had already been stuck in his pro golfing career. He was as done as your typical Thanksgiving day turkey.

This time he's out for at least another six months, as in the rest of the 2017 PGA season, but it doesn't matter. At his age, Woods has about as much chance of making a miraculous comeback on tour as Bill O'Reilly does of winning a Senate seat in blue states like New York or California. Forget that. Ain't gonna happen.

Here's what nobody seems to have noticed. This is the FOURTH such procedure to fix a disc problem in Eldrick's back. Well then. He just might want to consider getting himself a new surgical team. Good grief, if they've already had three whacks at it and couldn't get it right -- something's obviously wrong with this picture. And hey, we're talking about a golfer, not a mixed martial arts cage fighter. All Tiger has to do is swing golf clubs and stroll on magnificent golf courses while a caddy carries his bag, not get body slammed by an opponent in the Octagon. There's getting in shape, and then there's getting in SHAPE. Quite a difference.

Once upon a time, before he crashed and burned, few would doubt that Woods had the greatest decade in pro golf of all time. He was winning seemingly everything and appeared a lock to pass Jack Nicklaus's all-time major mark of 18. But crash and burn he did. Woods hasn't been even remotely competitive in recent years. Win a major? Pshaw. He was lucky to make a cut.

Though he was certainly a terrific golfer from, say, the late 90s to about the time Obama first won the Presidency in 2008, an argument can certainly be made that he came along at just the right time when the competition wasn't so ferocious. Consider....

The "old guard" of the previous generation was either gone or rapidly approaching seniordom. This would include such players as Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Jack, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Raymond Floyd, Tom Kite, and a few others.

The "next generation" of young guns was yet to appear on the world stage. They currently include such players as Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Rory McElroy, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, and a few others as well.

Through no fault of his own, Woods came into his heyday in the "tweener" years between great generations of linksters.

Had he been born earlier, could he have been as dominant when the old guard was in their prime? Maybe.

Had he been born later, could he keep up with all the young guns currently on tour? Maybe.

Or maybe not in both cases. Granted, it's a moot argument that has no definite answer, and people can debate it forever after, but it's worth noting the timing of his ascension to greatness, and the players that were no longer there, or hadn't yet grown up to become what they are.

The competition out there these days, especially in major tournaments, is absolutely brutal. So many phenomenal players going at it.

So while it's fair to acknowledge Tiger Woods for what he once was, it's also fair to say fate smiled on him a bit regarding timing.

Idle thought --- Dustin Johnson is currently the #1 ranked golfer in the world. He's certainly earned it. He's also married to Paulina (nee) Gretzky, daughter of Wayne, arguably the greatest hockey player of all time.

So here's the deal. That's some pretty serious thoroughbred blood lines going on for whatever kids they might have.

Nobody knows which sports their young-uns may pursue several years hence, if any.

But if they do, the guess here is they'll be REALLY good at it.





Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Hitting on the NBA

Well OK, go ahead and give Russell Westbrook of the Okla City Thunder his MVP award for being the only player since Oscar Robertson to average a "triple double" for the season.

But Oscar's teams never won anything. Nor will the current Thunder. No way are they getting past the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs. Russell can do this and Russell can do that, but one-trick ponies in the playoffs won't get it done, especially when that colt can't be bothered to play any sort of serious defense. Lebron James was "all that" too in his earlier days with the Cavs, but they never got over the hump either.

So give Westbrook a bazillion dollars, a huge trophy, endorsements galore, and tell him to be happy. But he'll never get anywhere near a championship.

Few would have thought it not long ago, but Doc Rivers, head coach of the LA Clips, might just have his head on the chopping block soon. If LA's "other" team can't get past the Utah Jazz in the opening round of the playoffs, and they currently trail, it might just have serious consequences for Old Man Rivers.

Let's remember, this is the same team that former owner Donald Sterling was forced to sell. Enter one Steve Ballmer, he of the fortune made in cyber land. Stevie paid the ridiculous sum of TWO BILLION dollars for a franchise that likely wasn't worth HALF that. Somewhere the other Donald still likely chuckles.

Yet the Clips had acquired some talent -- sort of. Chris Paul was supposed to be a superstar. Blake Griffin another. Let's not forget DeAndre Jordan. Though he gets to the line often, we won't dwell on the fact the latter shoots free throws with a little less finesse than your average blind man could navigate his way around the Indy 500. Not pretty.

Charles Barkley once put it exactly right. When your best player (Chris Paul) is only 6 foot tall or less, you have ZERO chance of winning a championship.

Some might claim Isiah Thomas of the late 80s Detroit Pistons contradicts that theory. He and his fellow "Bad Boys" won back-to-back championships. But though Zeke got most of the press, he wasn't their best player. That was Joe Dumars, his fellow guard, who stood several inches taller, but kept a low profile. And Joe wasn't much into smooching opponents at center court either, like Isiah seemed to have a penchant for with Ervin "Magic" Johnson. What was up with that anyway? Can you imagine Larry Bird and Michael Jordan sharing a little spit? Me neither.

At any rate, look for the Clips to get bounced out of the playoffs pretty quick -- because they always do. They might be the best team in their own building, which isn't saying much given the pitiful state of the LA Lakers, but these guys have about as much chance as making it through the formidable Western Conference gauntlet to the Finals, let alone winning it, as the Detroit Lions do of hoisting the Lombardi trophy as Super Bowl winners any year soon. Forget that. It ain't happening. Period.

Will Doc survive when they do? Hard to say. He's always had a good line of bull and if Ballmer was crazy enough to pony up two billion for this second rate team in the first place -- who knows what he might do next? And he's not exactly helping his own intellectual image by spazzing it up in the stands cheering for his boys. Revenge of the nerds is one thing. But going all Urkel on 'roids in public is quite another. C'mon dude, get a grip.

Idle thought --- Am I the only person that finds the afternoon line-up of ESPN shows as difficult to watch as, say, crunching on a broken glass salad loaded with hot sauce and trying to digest it?

Rachel Nichols and Michelle Beadle yapping away. Hey guys, despite the paycheck, how'd ya like to go home to THAT every night? Brrr. Throw in the Stevie/Max match-up of ranting half wits and my "first take" is that these guys could turn the Pope into a suicide bomber if he watched enough of their daily hyperventilating dialogue over the mundane.

One show features a former scribe from a Detroit newspaper. This dude could fairly be said to have the perfect face for -- radio. Not a pretty sight on big screen HD. Whoa. But he always thinks he's the smartest person in the room. Thing is, he might be, given the co-panelists that are there with him every day. A sorry state of affairs indeed.

C'mon, 4-letter folks. FOX just broomed O'Reilly. Once in a great while he could utter something semi-intelligible. But you keep putting THESE clowns on the air every day? Is that the best you can do? REALLY?

Bottom line. The only thing worse than the obvious stupidity that many ridiculously over-paid professional athletes keep regularly showing us -- has got to be the talking heads and scribes that keep fawning over them with their coverage making them out to be some kind of heroes.

Ah yes, it's the American way. Kind of like evicting a family from their home to build a new stadium for a billionaire team owner, then zapping them with a millage or tax to help pay for it.

Alas.....









Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Paul George gambit

NBA fans know Paul George is a forward for the Indiana Pacers. They're currently in a playoff series battling the defending champ Cleveland Cavaliers. And they've lost a couple of close games at Cleveland. The only surprise should be the games were close to begin with. The chances of the Pacers knocking off the Cavs in a 7 game series? Zero.

But George has been the focus of much news. Maybe he should have taken the last shot in Game One instead of passing the ball to a teammate that missed it.

Now George is calling out his teammates, specifically one Lance Stephenson, for not having enough "mental focus" in Game Two, another close loss.

Bottom line? This series will be over in five games -- max. And George likely knows that.

Yet why would he ruffle the feathers of not only his teammates, but likely the Indy front office as well with such comments to the press? Prez Larry Bird likely isn't too pleased with such publicity.

Turns out, George is a southern California native, so maybe he's angling for a trade to a west coast team, specifically the Lakers. True, the Lakers stink far worse than the Pacers, and he'd have to accept less money playing in LA-LA land than in Hoosierville. But dang, he'd be in the midst of all the glitz, movie stars, rappers, etc., that come along with playing there. And does it really make that much difference whether a hoopster is knocking down $20 million or $15 million a year? It's still a ridiculous amount of money for playing a stupid game. And who not named Mike Tyson can possibly spend that much money every year anyway?

Also true is he'd never get anywhere closer to an NBA championship ring with the Lakers than he will with the Pacers. The western conference is absolutely brutal these days given the likes of Golden State, San Antonio, and Houston. But hey, he'd be back home, where the weather is a whole lot better during the winter months of the NBA season with parties and night life galore to enjoy. Not too much of that is going to happen in Indianapolis.

Is Larry Bird paying attention? Does he care? Will he make a move? All unknown.

But George isn't exactly known for being stupid either.

So it might just be that there's a method (or ulterior motive) to his seeming madness after all.

It will be interesting to see how it plays out when the Pacers' season is over -- which will likely be within the next week.

Stay tuned......













Monday, April 17, 2017

Detroit Tigers. Reality check

At last look, the Detroit Tigers sat atop the AL central division with an 8-4 record. Are they that good? Nope, not a chance.

Some of their local scribes have said the Tigers are getting timely contributions from somewhat unlikely sources. That would be an understatement, to say the least. Let's look a little deeper----

Regarding hitting -- Alex Avila leads the pack with a whopping .700 average. But he's only been to bat 10 times. This is what happens when their "regular" catcher, one James McCann is hitting a paltry .143. Let's not forget that Avila is the son of one-time assistant (now full-time) GM Al Avila. Given his dismal performances in years past, it's questionable whether he'd make the roster of any other major league team. Nepotism, anyone?

Always weak-hitting "utility" player Andrew Romine has a grand total of one home run and 4 RBIs. They came on the same swing, a most improbable grand slam home run that won a game for the Tigers.

Among full-time players, shortstop Jose Iglesias has the highest batting average of .256. But like Oklahoma and tornadoes, or California and earthquakes, you just know Jose isn't going to last the season health-wise. Something will go wrong with his legs, because it always does. And though he's a slick fielder, he's never been much of a hitter either.

On that note, J.D. Martinez has yet to play a single game. He remains out with still ANOTHER injury. The man can hit on the rare occasions he's healthy, but also remains a defensive liability in right field.

Second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the back side of his career bell curve and currently hitting. 222.

Likewise former fearsome slugger Miguel Cabrera. Though a triple-crown winner just a couple years back, his best years are behind him as well.

Victor Martinez is over 40, and can anybody even remember when he was capable of fielding a position? One can time his speed on the basepathes with a sundial. Let's just say he's not exactly fleet of foot. Could he play for anybody else? Hmmm. BTW, he's batting a plankton-esque .195. This is a "designated hitter"? Really? If he's no good at anything else and now can't hit either -- what good is he?

Though locals keep hoping and praying third baseman Nick Castellanos will bloom into a star, he appears destined for long time journeyman status. OK at his position, nothing great, but passable, not much speed, and he's batting .220.

The Tigers still haven't solved their centerfield problem. Tyler Collins appears to be the best they've been able to come up with (though he'd likely be in AA or AAA ball for most teams), and even HE got an improbable key hit to win a game.

Maybe their one-time established "stars" will break out and come through again. Or maybe they won't. Father Time continues to work against them. But counting on offensive contributions from they likes of Romine, Avila, Collins, and Iglesias happening on a regular basis is fool's gold.

Pitching.

One-time ace Justin Verlander is no spring chicken either. Last time out, he got lit up like the proverbial pinball machine. His ERA is approaching .600. Not good. Plus, he's lost a couple MPH on his once fearsome fastball. What many haven't noticed is he's either lost the ability or confidence to throw his once devastating split-finger pitch. Though he can still get it done on many occasions, opposing hitters hardly fear him any more. An average heater mixed in with a cut-fastball (hard curve) are only going to get him so far as opposing hitters continue to figure him out and wait on certain pitches they KNOW will be coming. Things won't get any better for JV as time marches on.

Michael Fullmer had a marvelous season as a rookie. Yet he's now been around the league once and the element of surprise is gone. He's been studied and diagnosed like every other pitcher. Will the sophomore jinx rear up and bite him? Or is he the real deal that has staying power? Nobody knows. It could go either way.

Young Jordan Zimmerman shows some promise, but the jury's still out on him as well. He could rightfully be classified as a "keep your fingers crossed" prospect.

Much the same could be said about Shane Greene, Alex Wilson, and Daniel Norris. Maybes, and maybe nots.

Anibal Sanchez had one truly fantastic year. That's the good news. The bad news is the Tigers signed him to an extension for a ridiculous salary and he's been a bust ever since. Sanchez can't get ANYBODY out these days.

The Tigers keep wanting to believe Francisco Rodriguez is a quality reliever, though most objective pundits strongly disagree. His nickname is K-Rod. Maybe that's because he makes about a thousand bucks for every pitch the throws. The actual results have been a mixed bag.

They tried and tried with fireballer Bruce Rondon, but he appears to be a bust as well. If a pitcher can't throw strikes, it doesn't matter what the MPH is.

They even had a guy names Cuevas on the pitching staff. He pitched a whole third of one inning, getting bombed. His ERA is a mind-boggling 108. That's right, over a hundred. Cuevo, Cuevas, same thing. Too much of that stuff will make you crazy in short order.

Bottom line.

The glass half-fullers will continue preaching optimism, because they're politically correct and that's all they know -- or at least dare to say. The Tigers are a playoff contender and could actually accomplish great things this season if most things go right.

But the reality is, the Tigers are nowhere near as good as their early record suggests. Besides the window rapidly closing on any chances of glory soon, they don't have much help on deck down in the minor leagues either. They traded most of those prospects away in recent years past in the "go for it" mode, but never got there.

"Timely contributions" from unlikely sources leading to wins this year is one way to put it.

Another would be --

Smoke and mirrors.

Don't look for it to last.......

















Saturday, April 15, 2017

You know something's wrong when......

Your not-so-average neuro or open-heart surgeon makes less money than a basketball player. True, these docs are well paid, but not like the hoopsters. Consider -----

To become a neurosurgeon, one has to go through four years of pre-med at a university. If their grades are good enough, maybe they'll get accepted into med school. Four more years of intense study.

Then typically a five year residency where they work ridiculous hours learning their craft even more. Follow that up with at least a few more years of becoming the "specialists" they finally wind up to be. By that time, they're at least in their early to mid-thirties before they're "full-fledged".

On the other hand, many pro basketball players only do one year in college. In the cases of Lebron James and Kobe Bryant, they never set foot on a campus of higher learning. Straight to the NBA from high school.

Enter multi-million dollar guaranteed contracts and lucrative endorsements galore. Cha-ching after cha-ching.

Surgeons typically don't get many endorsements -- like shoe contracts. And you don't see them making moronic TV commercials either hawking some other product or products.

Thing is, a lot of these cagers likely couldn't pass an eighth grade equivalency exam given 10 tries. But dammit, they can shoot, or rebound, or dribble, and lord knows, all hail the almighty dunk. The talking heads can never seem to get enough of it, though most all players can do it. It's like a 6 inch putt in golf. Lots of different ways to go about it, but it's pretty much automatic, and only if one blows it is it noteworthy. The difference? You won't see pro golfers pounding their chests and screaming, much less hanging on the rim of the cup, not to mention dancing and trash talking when they drain a six incher. This is not a big deal.

Another noteworthy difference is potential liability. If a brain surgeon messes up bad, somebody might die or wind up a vegetable. They would certainly be sued for millions of dollars, perhaps even suspended from practicing for a while. Kiss their income good-bye while waiting and hoping on a favorable result from the powers that be. Nothing guaranteed about that.

If a basketball player messes up bad, he might get sat down on the bench for a while, but he'll keep collecting his whopper paychecks, and nobody's going to haul him off to court.

A whole lot of fans know famous basketball players by name. The hoopsters love to tweet and get their mugs on TV. Any publicity is good publicity, right? Unless it involved one of those pesky domestic incidents or had something to do with illegal drugs and/or driving drunk. Then, maybe not-so-good pub.

What do you think would happen to a neurosurgeon if he beat his wife/girlfriend (or husband/boyfriend -- it happens) and got thrown in the slammer? Or got caught with drugs, illegal weapons, or clubbing it up somewhere, crack pipe in hand? This would spell big trouble, and possibly be career-ending.

Not so much for an NBA player. They might get a reprimand from the league, maybe even be suspended for a game or two, but hardly the end of the world as they know it.

We've often seen basketball players "flop", trying to draw a foul. This tactic likely wouldn't work so well for a neurosurgeon in the OR when things didn't go exactly to plan. Having the head doc, pun sorta intended, writhing on the floor twitching and screaming wouldn't be much help to the poor devil lying on the table with his/her skull opened up. His/her nurses in attendance, and later superiors would most definitely not approve of such behavior. And god help the doc if the patient's lawyers ever found out about it.

Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors has been known to deliver thunderous kicks to the groin of a opponent. Can you imagine a neuro-surgeon booting one of his associates in the cajones if they were a bit slow in the OR? Not me. That likely wouldn't play so well.

[On that note,we could discuss starting pitchers that only have to work once every 5 or 6 days and have no other skills other than throwing a baseball. Or designated hitters that can't field a position, run, or throw. Or apish defensive linemen in the NFL who only know two words -- get quarterback. Or a few others. Most of them get paid more than brain surgeons too, but that's a column for another day.]

Fans may be disappointed if the jocks don't come through and their team falls short.

But not nearly as much as they would be if they had a brain malfunction and the neurosurgeon had a "bad game" while they were the ones getting their heads carved open.

So somebody tell me one more time.

Why do basketball players, and lots of other athletes for that matter, often dumber than the proverbial bricks, get paid so much more than highly trained medical specialists?