By Jeremy Fitch
Chris Broussard is moving on from ESPN after 12 years of breaking news and insider insight that will never be forgotten.
Fox Sports 1 and Broussard are teaming as has been rumored over the past few days.
Over the past 12 years with ESPN Broussard has been a role model not only for his reporting and inside knowledge, but also for his faith.
I caught up with him last month when he came to Liberty University.
Former ESPN NBA analyst and founder of K.I.N.G. ministries, as his website put it, a leader of men, Chris Broussard brings his faith center stage. In a mainly secular business he says he hopes to inspire the next generation of Christian sports broadcasters.
“Don’t just say, ‘I’m a believer. God is going to bless me in broadcasting.’ You have to work hard. I believe Christians should be among the hardest working people in the world,” said Broussard.
Being in a business surrounded by athletes and broadcasting colleagues, it is not always a time to speak out on your beliefs, but when the opportunity arises Broussard does not shy away from the chance to share.
“We want athletes and others to speak out…when we agree with them, but if you do disagree with them then we don’t want them to speak out or public figures to speak out. So people can be intolerant towards certain things, but…look I believe that God is always watching over me and He is directing my steps. As long as my heart is in the right place and I’m really trying to follow him, when the door is opened I should share and just trust the results to him,” says Broussard following Liberty University’s Convocation.
Broussard said God was not always first for him, but his lifestyle and beliefs changed in his senior year of college.
“Whatever you are doing, you are representing Christ, and so I want to be the best reporter, the best journalist, the best analyst I can be because it is a reflection on Christ and I am doing it unto the Lord,” said Broussard.
The public sees Broussard on TV and K.I.N.G. as he is the founder, but just like he came and spoke to the Liberty University student body, he is so much more than someone that sports fans see sitting in front of the camera on a daily basis.
“One of the great things, to me arguably the greatest thing about being in the public eye, whatever it is whether you’re an athlete, whether you’re a broadcaster, a person known publically, is that people want to hear from you. So I go speak at churches, I speak at colleges, I speak at high schools and other venues and people want to hear what I have to say. I really have a great opportunity to impact people,” says Broussard on how uses his public platform and K.I.N.G. to help raise up the next generation.
During the NBA season and traveling so often, Broussard said how he keeps himself accountable while being on the road for an extended period of time.
“I would say Romans 8:28. ‘All things work together for good for them that love the Lord and them that are called according to his purpose.’ So even if on the surface it appears to be going bad, you can know that somehow this is going to work out for good and that can…calm you down and let you relax,” said Broussard.
Known for breaking NBA news all year long, he utilizes his sources to break stories before others in the industry. He elaborated on why sources are so important in today’s reporting.
“The news cycle is endless, it’s 24/7. Sources are how you get your information…It’s unfortunate that a lot of it is anonymous, I would prefer it to be more out in the open,” said Broussard.
He described this with an example of an NBA general manager wanting to trade a player, but that the GM cannot just come out and say those kinds of things because it would cause disgruntle around the organization, so Broussard said that is part of the reason why so much of what is reported with sources is anonymous.
Christian faith is the center piece of his life, but most people know him to be a sports analyst and personality, and he gave advice on how the next generation could be the person in his shoes someday.
“Don’t despise small beginnings…The best way to get to an ESPN or a Fox or CBS, whoever is to excel and dominate where you are at. If you start at a small newspaper, then own that beat…write good stories, report great stories, break stories, be great on camera…make people take note of you,” said Broussard.
By Jeremy Fitch
In recent days Carmelo Anthony has been in the news because of Slam Magazine ranking him the 15 best player in the NBA before the 2016-2017 season begins.
Melo responded to the article with a comment on websites Instagram page saying this:
He doubled down on the Instagram comments after practice saying, "I just looked at it and it was disrespectful."
Anthony has always been questioned for his defense, but what has never been questioned is that he is a top five scorer in the NBA. Coming off a quiet, but a solid season there is no reason for him to be this low in the rankings.
In the Slam's rankings since 2009, Melo had not fallen out side the top ten until last season when he was ranked the 13 best player in the league.
While the Slam has yet to release the top 10 players, I am among many that are shocked that you could name 14 players better than Carmelo Anthony, including Blake Griffin ranked just ahead of him at 14.
By Jeremy Fitch
The days of not having basketball are finally behind us as NBA media day is officially in the books for the 2016-17 season.
Did you see that? What you need to know from media day:
There was many breaking stories out of media day, but forgetting about the super team out West was simply not an option.
The Bay Area began the its era of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and newest edition Kevin Durant.
Via The Mercury News, “I wouldn’t say it’s strange. It’s new and fresh,” Durant said of beginning his new journey.
After the Warriors blew a 3-1 series lead in the NBA Finals last June, by adding Durant, it was a message to the rest of the league that, they are hungry to finish business. That was all the Warriors had on their minds as well coming into media day.
“I don’t want to walk in the door thinking about Game 7... “Nobody should be thinking that way. But you should remember how you felt when you were walking off the floor. You should remember all that you did all summer to get yourself in a better position individually and collectively,” Curry said via The Mercury News.
By Denton Day
In case you have not heard, former NBA MVP Kevin Durant has decided to open up a new chapter in his life. For a move that challenges him to step outside of his comfort zone and allows him to grow as a player and person, Durant will join the Golden State Warriors, the team that beat him in the playoffs.
Durant announced his decision in a letter penned to the Players Tribune and twitter absolutely lost it. Fans and media personnel alike either bashed him for being “weak,” some understood the decision, and others applauded him for making a move to help him win championships. Regardless of how you feel about his decision, Durant gave the NBA fans exactly what they wanted and something they have not truly had in about three or four years: Durant became the villain.
NBA fans love to have someone to root against. Fans tried to turn Durant’s newest teammate, Stephen Curry, into the bad guy in the NBA Finals this past season. That ended up failing because it is very difficult to hate a guy who looks like a teenager.
LeBron James was the last big villain after making a similar decision to Durant’s back in 2010, ditching his hometown team to win championships. Durant did not grow up in Oklahoma City, but in his letter he recognized that the city helped raise him and it is the franchise (though, in Seattle at the time) that drafted him.
Seeing him leave has to be a kick below the belt for the Oklahoma City Thunder fans. Durant truly gave his all to that city and was loved for it most of time and labeled “Mr. Unreliable” at other times.
Leaving now gives Durant the title of villain in the NBA. Just like James did in Miami, it might be crucial for Durant to embrace the role of villain. James said that the first year he tried not to be seen as a villain, and the Heat lost in the Finals to the Dallas Mavericks. The following year, James embraced it and he won his first championship, ironically defeating Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
That was Durant’s first and only appearance in the NBA Finals.
The Slim Reaper, as Durant is known, is simply following the path that James trail blazed half a decade ago. Durant wants to win championships and the decision he made was to win championships.
Durant does not play the game of having the nicest things said about him on the Internet; he plays basketball, and his goal is to win championships. If that makes him a villain, then it is time for him to be a villain.
It worked with James, who won two championships in Miami before returning to Cleveland, and James is no longer viewed as the villain. In time, Durant will once again join the likes of LeBron James as the hero of the NBA. We do not live in a giant comic book; the villains do not always stay evil. Give it two or three years and Kevin Durant will not only have at least one or two NBA championships, but he will have millions of fans back in his corner because he is too good of a superstar not to like.
By Jeremy Fitch
Tim Duncan announced retirement Monday after what can only be called, 19 legendary NBA seasons individually and as a teammate. Duncan won five NBA titles, two NBA MVP’s along with being named to 15 All-Star teams.
As rare as it is for a player to be consistent over a 19-year career, it is even harder in today’s game to do it all with one franchise. Duncan and the Spurs were a match made in heaven right from when he was drafted No. 1 overall in the 1997 NBA Draft out of Wake Forest. Winning NBA Rookie of the Year and then leading the Spurs to an NBA championship in his second season, set a standard that most athletes cannot reach the rest of their career.
Duncan was unique though and now goes down as one of the greatest power forwards to ever pick up a basketball. “The Big Fundamental,” as every has called him over the years, was nothing short of consistent on the stat sheet, but also as a team player.
Ending your career averaging 19.0 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.2 blocks per game is a stat line most players aim to average for just one season. Duncan was able to average that from his 20’s and now just turning 40.
Although, one of the most under appreciated superstars in the NBA, Duncan was never a self-promoter, but many players he went up against each night for the last 10 plus years took notice of his greatness.
A legend forever, and there has been a place waiting for Tim Duncan in Springfield, Massachusetts for quite some time at the Basketball Hall of Fame.
By Chris Madden
For the NBA faithful, the Summer League is the teaser that gets every fan through the off-season. All of the greats come through the NBA Summer League, and frankly it’s a showcase of a franchise’s young talent.
After a draft that some said was “lacking in talent”, the Summer League is full of potential for players looking to make a name for themselves. While some of the top tier teams are set in relation to their starting lineups, as well as rosters, others are banking on finding some of their future talent in the Summer League games.
So far, several Summer League games have been played. We’ve seen D’Angelo Russell hit a game winning three, and rookie Kris Dunn demolish a defender’s ankles. There are many players who were taken in the 2016 Draft that are expected to make immediate impacts in the league, but there is one in particular everyone is looking for:
We’ve heard all we can about the comparisons of Ben Simmons to LeBron James. Now that Simmons is gone from LSU and officially part of the Philadelphia 76ers, the real question will be: can he live up to the hype?
So far Simmons’ game has been a little shakey at best. After four games, Simmons is averaging 10.5 points per game and 7 rebounds per game. Now let’s be honest, it is his first four games in the Summer League, he still has plenty of time to develop. But the real issue may not be how much time he has to develop, rather the method Philadelphia may have to use to help him develop:
After watching Simmons’ four Summer League games so far, it is evident that Philly is letting him “shoot at will”. That is a great tactic; if he was a shooter. Simmons wasn’t known for his jump shooting (in his one season of LSU basketball), however, he does have the ability to get the open looks needed for the shots. It looks as though in order to help Simmons develop a dynamic jump shot, he will be given the “green light” all season to shoot as many shots as he can.
One announcer during the game against Chicago said, “It’s not like Philly is going to be focused on wins just yet, they should just award him for taking as many shots as possible in the hopes that his jump shot develops this season”. This could be a great tactic; if Ben Simmons develops a jump shot that is consistent from 18 feet, it could be what turns the Philadelphia franchise around. If it doesn’t pan out, it could be another stretch of struggling years for what once was a legitimate NBA contending franchise.
By Jeremy Fitch
ESPYS week is a special time all around the sports word, not just a night to honor some of the greatest athletes to ever come into the public eye, but each year we get the chance to witness the giving of the Arthur Ashe award, Jimmy V perseverance award among so many other great honors.
Wednesday night, ESPN celebrates the 24th annual award ceremony at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. This year the spotlight will be on host John Cena, as fans can tune in at 8 p.m. ET to see if their favorite athletes raise a trophy.
As everything in sports is a competition, these are my predictions on the winners of the fan-voted categories this year.
ESPY Award Categories and Predictions
Best Male AthleteLeBron James
Best Female AthleteBreanna Stewart
Best Championship PerformanceLeBron James – NBA Finals
Best Breakthrough AthleteJake Arrieta
Best Record-Setting PerformanceStephen Curry – single-season three-pointers
Best UpsetHolly Holm knocks out Ronda Rousey
Best GameWarriors vs. Cavs – NBA Finals Game 7
Best TeamCleveland Cavaliers
Best coach/ManagerGeno Auriemma
Best MLB PlayerBryce Harper
Best NHL PlayerSidney Crosby
Best FighterConor McGregor
Best NFL PlayerCam Newton
Best NBA PlayerLeBron James
Best WNBA PlayerElena Delle Donne
Best DriverKyle Busch
Best JockeyMario Gutierrez
Best BowlerJason Belmonte
Best MLS PlayerSebastian Giovinco
Best International AthleteCristiano Ronaldo
Best Male GolferJordan Spieth
Best Female GolferLydia Ko
Best Male Tennis PlayerNovak Djokovic
Best Female Tennis PlayerSerena Williams
Best Male College AthleteBuddy Hield
Best Female College AthleteBreanna Stewart
Best Male Athlete with a DisabilityRichard Browne
Best Female Athlete with a DisabilityTatyana McFadden
Best Male Action Sports AthleteGus Kenworthy
Best Female Action Sports AthleteChloe Kim
Best PlayMSU Punt BlockA few awards I recommend to give your full attention to tomorrow night, because they will be speeches and images that will be played over and over again for years to come are the Jimmy V perseverance award (Craig Sager), Arthur Ashe courage award ( Zaevion Dobson), and the Icon award which will be presented by Justin Timberlake and for the first time, will be awarded to three athletes. Those three athletes, were once in a generation talents that retired this year, Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning and Abby Wambach.
Now we cannot go ahead to another year of the ESPYS without looking back at some of the best speeches in ESPYS history.
These rankings are my own:
Favorite ESPYS Speeches:
3. Pat Summit: “I’m going to keep on keeping on, I promise you that”
This year we remember the Legend Pat Summit who lived by those words each and every day, and preached that to each person she had the opportunity to meet.
2. Stuart Scott: “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live”
A sportscaster that changed the game of sports broadcasting forever. He is remembered as one of the best ESPN broadcasters, but known by colleagues as an even better man.
He was known for his quotes and that is the only way I can end it, “He will always be cooler than the other side of the pillow”
1. Jimmy Valvano: “If you laugh, you think, and you cry, thats a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special”
Jimmy V had one of the greatest ESPY speeches ever and is ranked number one on my list, for many reasons.
Jimmy V lived by that quote and his spirit lives on today as The Jimmy V Foundation continues to raise money for Cancer research.
My favorite person to host an ESPYS Award Show?
Drake in 2014
By Denton Day
We have entered the home stretch of the NBA regular season. With less than 10 games left for all the NBA teams, the top dogs in the Western Conference have been able to distance themselves from the rest of the pack. The Golden State Warriors, who are still chasing an NBA record 73 wins in a season San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers have all clinched playoff berths.
Five teams will be battling it out for the final four playoff spots:
Wins Losses Games Back
5. Memphis Grizzlies 41 32 __
6. Portland 38 36 3.5
7. Utah Jazz 36 37 5
8. Houston Rockets 36 38 5.5
9. Dallas Mavericks 35 38 6
A two and a half game difference between the sixth seed and the ninth seed is going to make for a crucial final few games of the season.
The Grizzlies have a six game lead and are a few wins away from clinching their spot. However, in their final stretch of games, they play the Warriors twice, the Spurs, the Clippers, the Raptors and the Mavericks once each. Out of the five teams still looking for the playoff spot, the Grizzlies easily have the toughest road to the finish.
The Trail Blazers also take on the Warriors and they have had success against Golden State, handing them one of their seven losses earlier in the season. Oklahoma City, Miami and Boston are the only other teams with a winning record that the Trail Blazers face. Guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have been sensational since the All-Star break in February. Expect them to grab up a playoff spot.
Utah also will take on the Warriors the Spurs and the Clippers. However, the game to look out for the most on the Jazz’s schedule is on Monday April 11, when they take on the Mavericks. The game will be played at Utah and could be the deciding factor on who gets the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The fact that the Rockets train wreck of a season still has playoff possibilities is a win in itself, but obviously a playoff spot would be a lot more rewarding. Houston has a tough four game stretch consisting of the Cavaliers, Bulls, Thunder and Mavericks. Like Utah, the game against the Mavericks is possibly the most important game, although at this point, every game matters. Following the Mavericks game, the team takes on all teams with losing records; the Suns, Kings twice, Lakers and Timberwolves.
The Mavericks have the most favorable schedule in the sense that they play multiple teams that they are battling with for a playoff spot. Taking on the Grizzlies, Jazz and Rockets gives them the opportunity to not only win a game for themselves, but also steal one from those three teams. This stretch will be a test of what Dirk Nowitzki has left in the tank. Let’s face it, at 37, he’s not getting any younger.
The Grizzlies, Trail Blazers, Jazz and Mavericks make the playoffs and Rockets’ disaster of a season comes to an end.
By Adam Fornwalt
Being 19 years old is difficult. Most teenagers at this age are just fitting into the college scene or breaking into the work force at the bottom of the totem pole.
But Devin Booker isn’t most teenagers. At the ripe age of 19, he’s carving his path as one of the NBA’s up and coming stars.
"I don't think anyone envisioned him doing this as the youngest player in the NBA," said Phoenix Suns GM Ryan McDonough. "We saw him as a traditional shooting guard. To see him run the pick-and-roll, and make plays at this level -- that has surprised us."
No one though Booker would rise so quickly at Kentucky either. The Wildcats would go 38-1, including and 18-0 record in SEC conference play, before falling to Wisconsin in the Final Four. Booker would take home the SEC’s Sixth Man of the Year award and All Conference Second Team honors. Despite never starting a game, Booker would finish third on the team in points per game. Despite his success at the college level, some NBA scouts and general managers claimed Booker only had one dimension to his game.
"I think he's gotten caught up in Calipari's reality-distortion field," one GM said. "No one saw him in high school or in the early scrimmages for Kentucky and said 'lottery pick.' No one…He's hit a bunch of shots this year and there's always value there. But what makes him that much better than Tyler Harvey or Joseph Young? You think if those guys were at Kentucky they'd hit shots too?"
The Suns would take a chance on him at 13, and it’s safe to say so far they haven’t regretted it. Despite the early season firing of head coach Jeff Hornacek and injuries to Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight, Booker had shown an ability to carry the team on the offensive side of the ball. He’s averaging just over 21 points per game so far this month, including a double-double in a close lose to the Golden State Warriors.
"Some people in the media might see (Booker) as a 'good stats, bad team' player," said Suns interim head coach Earl Watson. "But us basketball teachers, we can see skill."
The future of Suns is bright with Devin Booker. If he can continue to grow as an all-around player and the team can stay healthy, big things could come out of Phoenix next year.
By Tim Cockes
Dwyane Wade reached a career milestone in their last game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Wade scored his 20,000 career point during the third quarter of the Heat’s 122-101 victory over the Cavs. He is the ninth active player to reach 20,000 points and the 41st player in NBA history to reach 20,000 points. It was all the more fitting that this milestone came against Wade’s former partner in crime and best friend, Lebron James. This is just another milestone of many for one of the greatest guards in NBA history.
Dwyane Wade has had a legendary 11-year NBA career. He has been named an all-star 10 times, won a scoring championship in 2008-2009, and has won three NBA championships, including one finals MVP. Wade has developed a vast array of offensive moves over the course of his career. He is a consistent threat from the midrange including several types of stepbacks and fadeaways. Even when you know the move is coming he still gets you in the air, it is truly a masterful style of play. He is a dangerous shot maker despite early in his career not being extremely effective from three-point range. Wade always relentlessly attacked the basket, and while that was very effective early, his body took a beating over the years. Wade is one of the best finishers at the rim the game has seen.
This combined skillset is what helped Wade dominate in the 2006 NBA Finals. Wade has played with two top 15 all-time players (Shaq and LeBron) and has been a consistent star for the Heat his whole career. Having so much talent and dedication to the game, he may go down as the third best shooting guard of all-time behind Jordan and Kobe. Wade will continue to climb the all-time scoring list as long as he continues to play and add more milestones to his already extraordinary career.