Drivers…and Danica

Overview

Jimmy Johnson won the Daytona 500 yesterday, and also destroyed his car in his celebration. Ray Lewis waved the flag to begin the race. Then there is Danica Patrick.  She has had plenty of attention because of advertisements in the past, but she truly deserves some credit after starting from the pole position and finishing the race in 8th place.

Summary and Analysis

Let me start by stating that I completely understand that no other race car driver would get nearly the amount of attention that Danica Patrick has received in the post-race coverage, or even after she earned the right to start first in the race.  I also do not think it is necessary for her to get more attention than Jimmy Johnson.  That said, Patrick deserves a lot of credit after this weekend.

From the beginning of the race, the attention was completely on Danica.  This was partially because she was starting from the pole position, but lets be honest, it was mostly because she is the only woman in the race who was also starting first.  While I do not at all think the Great and Powerful Oz, James Franco, meant it offensively (or possibly meant to use those words at all), this version of “Gentlemen, start your engines” was not the gender-neutral start that was expected…

With all eyes on her, Danica Patrick came through and had a solid race.  Patrick finished 8th and stayed in the top 10 the entire race.  She also led for five laps.  In a post-race interview on ESPN, Patrick seemed disappointed about the race but did point out that she is now one of 13 drivers in history to have led both the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 600.  She was pleased with this because it was about all drivers.

Some say Danica Patrick “matters” because she is a good role model and people are interested in her.  This weekend she proved this is true, but more importantly she showed she can make history as a driver and that there is a lot more she wants to achieve.

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Deadline Doldrums

Overview

Today was the NBA trade deadline.  While there were speculations that some prominent players in the NBA may be changing cities, 3 pm came and passed and not a whole lot happened.

The biggest news is not who was traded but the trades that did not happen.

Summary

Here are the facts:

Dwight Howard remains  the center for the L.A. Lakers.  Despite rumors of Howard going to the Brooklyn Nets or Dallas Mavericks, there was no trade which is consistent with what the Lakers organization has said all along about Howard.  He will finish out his one year contract and possibly be traded after the season.  Howard, who was traded to the Lakers this year from the Orlando Magic, has not had a seamless transition on his new team.  Although he is averaging 16.4 points and 11.8 rebounds in games this season (which is slightly lower than his career averages), his relationship with Kobe Bryant has not appeared to be perfect.  There were high expectations for the Lakers (only missed the playoffs two times in the last 20 years), but at the moment the playoffs are a long shot for this season.  We will find out after the season if Howard is a long-term player for the Lakers.  The team had a big win against Boston last night, so maybe things are looking up for Dwight and the Lakers.

Speaking of the Celtics, there were also rumors that Rajon Rondo, Boston’s point guard, might be traded.  Rondo was averaging career high 13.7 points and 11.1 assists before he tore his ACL the end of January.  There was a rumored Rondo and Howard trade, but none of this happened today.

Kris Humphries (also known as Kim Kardashian’s husband for 72 days), a power forward on the Brooklyn Nets, was also among those who were not traded.  While the Kardashian relationship did not make Humphries the most popular guy last year, he did average a respectable 13.8 points and 11 rebounds (pretty good for fantasy basketball).  This year he plays less time and averages are down to 6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.  Humphries’ rumored trade to the Atlanta Hawks did not happen. On a side note, this advertisement featuring Humphries is worth watching.

There were a few trades. As a result of a multi-player deal between the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic,  J.J. Redick will now be a member of the Bucks.  Also, the Boston Celtics traded for the Washington Wizards shooting guard, Jordan Crawford. Crawford was not fitting with the Wizards and the Celtics needed help in the guard positions.

Sources

http://www.nba.com/playerfile/dwight_howard/

http://www.nba.com/playerfile/rajon_rondo/

http://www.nba.com/playerfile/kris_humphries/

http://www.nbauniverse.com/teams/records_los_angeles_lakers.htm

Kobe Bryant Vs. LeBron James

Overview

There has been much debate concerning Michael Jordan’s statement last week that he would pick Kobe over LeBron because “five (championships) beats one every time I look at it.”

Kobe’s 5 championships trump LeBron’s one championship.  Kobe also backed up MJ’s statement by taking it to LeBron in the All-Star game over the weekend.  LeBron definitely holds his own in this dispute by having higher career averages in every major category (points, rebounds, assists, and steals).

Summary and Analysis

Kobe has played 16 seasons in the NBA.  In addition to 5 championships, Kobe has average 26.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.5 steals.  He also defended his case last Sunday  in the All-Star game, but then again, it was the All-Star game…

MJ made a bold statement choosing Kobe given that LeBron is averaging 27.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 1.7 steals in his career.   Also, the last couple weeks LeBron went on a run of scoring 30 points while shooting over 60% from the field 6 games in a row.  That’s something no one in NBA history has ever done. LeBron has won 1NBA championship and has played in the NBA for 9 years

LeBron also looked impressive against the LA Lakers last month.

Sources

http://www.nba.com/playerfile/kobe_bryant/

http://www.nba.com/playerfile/lebron_james/