first_imgONCE a year, the best and most marvellously overpaid basketball players engage in a high-profile show of talent.  Today is the start of the All-Star festivities and will climax on Monday with the most expensive practice game in the world.  Without the threat of defenders, players display their God-given skills with some guys doing things that simply can’t be erased from memory.  We see them get exceptionally scorching during the 3-point shootout and likewise soar and air-sit over mascots for a dunk.  This year’s group are legitimate stars although the cast, as always, is a debatable issue.  The West side had won the last two All-Star games with Russell Westbrook winning the MVP honors of both games.  Because he’s on the second unit, Russ will do everything in his power to get a third consecutive ASG MVP and join Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal in the ASG triple MVP club.The NBA ASG is not only about pride, it is also about money.  If memory serves me right, players on the winning team get $50,000 each, losers take home half of the amount.  The winner of the long distance shootout gets $50,000 and the slam dunk king receives $100,000.  Of course, there are other monetary considerations stipulated on their contracts dependent on their All-Star performance.Converted to Philippine peso, about P15,000 can get you a seat nearly touching the roof of Smoothie Kings Arena at New Orleans.  Your favorite players will be looking like two-colored ants running around a matchbox.  Of course, there are the courtside seats, the feel-and-smell section, if you’re willing to throw away close to a million pesos.The ASG is supposed to be the launch of new sneaker collections but Nike said there will be no ASG-specific releases this year.  Instead, players will be wearing the latest from Nike’s Black History Month collection.  It’s a bit of a surprise because sneakerheads anticipate the event for new variations of models worn by their marquee endorsers.Adidas on the other hand will be releasing new 2017 All-Star models for James Harden, Damian Lillard and Derrick Rose.  Rose and Lilliard are not playing but it did not stop the brand with the three stripes to make AS variants for their signature Dame 3 and DRose 7 Primeknit.  The Beard will be wearing on Monday his Harden Vol. 1 in gray with orange and purple blends.Meanwhile, Under Armour’s billion dollar investment will rock New Orleans with a new AS-related colorway.  Playing on his fourth All-Star, Stephen Curry will razzle-dazzle the crowd with his new Curry 3 Brass Band model.  He returns to the place where he played his first AS game.  The East is playing small with 5 point guards (Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas, John Wall, Kemba Walker, and Kyle Lowry) and shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, three small forwards (Jimmy Butler, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Paul George) and three power forwards (LeBron James, Kevin Love and Paul Millsap). Love is injured but the games must go on and someone has to replace him.  Joel Imbiid could be a good fit but he also has health issues.  Shooting guard Bradley Beal was a favorite sub.  Also considered were Kristaps Porzingis, Andre Drummond and Hassan Whiteside, if only to beef up the East frontcourt.  But the league opted for a scorer and in comes Carmelo Anthony for his 10th All-Star appearance.The West is more balanced and will most likely prevail with two real centers (Marc Gasol and DeAndre Jordan), four power forwards (DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard and Draymond Green), two small forwards (Gordon Hayward and Kevin Durant), two point guards (Curry and Russell Westbrook) and two shooting guards (Harden and Klay Thompson).  For comparative purposes, I have my own all-time all-star lineup composed of players from the early 80s up to the present.  This will beat, IMHO, any AS line-up formed.  Of course, my selection is open for contradiction and that is where the fun starts.Starting backcourt for the East will be Michael Jordan and Isaiah Thomas of the Bad Boys era.  The frontcourt will have Patrick Ewing, Larry Bird and LeBron.  The reserves will include Charles Barkley, Moses Malone, Dennis Rodman, Kevin McHale, Allen Iverson, Ray Allen and Penny Hardaway.Four Laker greats are on my West team with Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson as backcourt starters.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tim Duncan and Karl Malone starts up front.  The second unit will have Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kevin Garnett, Durant, Dirk Nowitzki, John Stockton and Curry.        So, what is your all-time NBA All-Star selection?/PN [/av_textblock][/av_one_full] [av_one_full first min_height=” vertical_alignment=” space=” custom_margin=” margin=’0px’ padding=’0px’ border=” border_color=” radius=’0px’ background_color=” src=” background_position=’top left’ background_repeat=’no-repeat’ animation=”][av_heading heading=’The 2017 NBA All-Stars’ tag=’h3′ style=’blockquote modern-quote’ size=” subheading_active=’subheading_below’ subheading_size=’15’ padding=’10’ color=” custom_font=”]BOBBY MOTUS[/av_heading][av_textblock size=” font_color=’custom’ color=’#0a0a0a’]Saturday, February 18,  2017[/av_textblock][av_textblock size=” font_color=’custom’ color=’#0a0a0a’]last_img read more

Honouring those past Presidents

first_imgDear Editor,Recently, President David Granger, along with some senior People’s National Congress (PNC) members and former Working People’s Alliance (WPA) Executives, who have since returned to their PNC fold, have been clamouring for all past Presidents to be recognised.This is good – even excellent – but why only now? What has it taken them so long to realise that this must be done? Or, have they now found their long last love and loyalty for their past Presidents, who once belonged to the PNC party?Former President LFS Burnham passed away since 1985 and the PNC remained in power until October 1992 under President Desmond Hoyte. It begs the question: why didn’t Hoyte and his PNC party recognise Burnham then?Then, after the 1992 elections, Hoyte became Leader of the Opposition. However, during his lifetime and up to this day, no one did anything for him.In fact, the only thing the PNC did for those past Presidents was to turn the beautiful Botanical Gardens into a burial ground with all the paraphernalia.Bear in mind though, the cremations that were done for former Presidents Dr Cheddi Jagan and his wife Janet Jagan were at a burial ground in Babu John – not a violation of any beautiful tourist or historical site or a place where parents would take their children for outings on weekends.Now that the PNC has awakened and learnt from the People’s Progressive Party how to show respect and recognition to their leaders, they want to play ‘follow pattern’, and in their spiteful, covetous and vindictive ways, they want to get rid of the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre.Yours sincerely,Chandra Shekar Azadlast_img read more

OAS evaluates gangs truce in El Salvador

first_imgSAN SALVADOR – OAS Secretary of Security Adam Blackwell met with Salvadoran officials Friday to discuss a gang truce agreed to in March that officials say has led to a decrease in violence in the Central American country.Blackwell met with Foreign Minister Hugo Martínez to discuss maras (gangs) and the Central American Security Strategy, a plan outlined in June 2011 in Guatemala, Edith Portillo, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, told AFP.The regional strategy seeks to reduce high levels of violence caused by drug trafficking and gangs, especially in the Northern Triangle  countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.Blackwell, who visited El Salvador in May to discuss the truce, is also scheduled to meet with Justice and Public Security Minister David Munguia and other officials.According to official estimates, some 10,000 gang members are in prison in El Salvador and another 50,000 actively operate there. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more