Should domestic abuse get more attention?

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By Charles Glover, Jr.

I believe that the current US system in place for dealing with domestic violence is broken and needs to be fixed. It is a complex and at times difficult to address domestic violence, but our country goes overboard to address issues it deems serious. Can we honestly say our country is doing the best it can to combat domestic violence?

Unites States Attorney General Loretta Lynch has been vocal about putting an end to domestic violence.

Unites States Attorney General Loretta Lynch has been vocal about putting an end to domestic violence.

The United States Department of Justice defines domestic violence as “a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person.”

The expansive definition of domestic violence should help illustrate the complexity of coping with such a widespread issue. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the concerns regarding the system currently in place to deal with domestic violence seem to be rising.

New York Giants kicker Josh Brown, who was suspended 1 game to begin the season for domestic violence, is having his case reexamined by the NFL after more information surfaced regarding domestic violence against his now ex-wife.

New York Giants kicker Josh Brown, who was suspended 1 game to begin the season for domestic violence, is having his case reexamined by the NFL after more information surfaced regarding domestic violence against his now ex-wife.

Another NFL player, this time New York Giants kicker Josh Brown, is in the headlines following the release of reports of domestic violence claims from his now ex-wife. The NBA regular season will start in a few days, but Sacramento Kings guard Darren Collison will not be available for the first 8 games as he serves his suspension for domestic violence against his girlfriend. And as excited as Chicago Cubs fans are to be in the World Series, it is possible the last outs of the series could be recorded by their closer Aroldis Chapman, who began this season serving a 30-game suspension for allegations of domestic violence against his girlfriend.

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These athletes garner extra scrutiny for their acts of domestic violence but the issue itself is unfortunately still viewed as a task too large to handle. While the question on many people’s minds is how do we put an end to domestic violence, the greater question is why don’t we treat domestic violence the way we treat child abuse and neglect?

Attorneys and law enforcement officials often assert that their greatest challenge in prosecuting alleged perpetrators of domestic violence is lack of evidence or cooperation from the alleged victims. This is an understandable roadblock, however what is incomprehensible is that the federal or state government has not found a way to circumvent this obstacle. We have countless examples in this country of people finding a way to address serious concerns.

Mary Ellen McCormack, showing visible scars of abuse at age 10 in this picture, was the nation's first widely recognized case of child abuse.

Mary Ellen McCormack, showing visible scars of abuse at age 10 in this picture, was the nation’s first widely recognized case of child abuse.

Take for example the case of Mary Ellen McCormack. Mary Ellen was born in 1864 in New York City, but due to her father’s death and mother’s inability to care for her, became a foster child at the age of two. Her foster-mother Mary Connolly, was eventually investigated and convicted for abuse of Mary Ellen which included daily beatings, malnutrition and numerous malicious and neglectful actions. This landmark case in 1874 for child abuse was largely made possible because of laws that existed against the inhumane treatment of animals. That’s correct.

Henry Bergh and Elbridge Thomas Gerry of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) helped ensure that Mary Ellen was removed from her foster home before the trial and handled her legal case as well. After having success with the case, and having formed the ASPCA in 1866, they helped form the first child abuse and neglect agency in the country, the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC).

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This story highlights the struggles America has had in providing systemic protection for those in need in our country. The formation of the NYSPCC in 1874 was a positive step for beginning to deal with child abuse but it would take another century for the federal government to enact legislation on the issue with the passing of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act in 1974.

There is no disputing the difficulties associated with trying to help people dealing with domestic violence but there needs to be greater urgency in the matter. For those brave enough to seek help, they are faced with limited options. A restraining order is not accompanied by around the clock police surveillance or protection. Shelters and hotlines are helpful but they require the victims to assume all of the initial risk in seeking assistance.

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There should be a statewide agency for domestic violence that is modeled after each state’s child protective services to allow the community to be better equipped to assist those in need. These agencies should investigate, monitor, and take action against allegations of domestic violence in the same manner they are supposed to for child abuse. It is clear the criminal justice system alone is ill-equipped to make the strides necessary to drastically reduce domestic violence. The time has come to move past creating awareness and start creating solutions.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a senior writer for OnPointPress.net and aspiring author. Follow me on Twitter @GloverIsGood.

Kobe Bryant, the ultimate perimeter player, signs off

Bryant ended his career on a high note scoring 60 points in the season finale.

Bryant ended his career on a high note scoring 60 points in the season finale.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Kobe Bryant played the last game of his 20-year career for the Los Angeles Lakers amid much fanfare on Wednesday, April 13. Bryant dazzled fans, scoring 60 points as the Lakers defeated the Utah Jazz in the season finale, capping a farewell tour for Bryant that started once he made it clear he was retiring at the end of this season.

"Penny" Hardaway (left) and Grant Hill (right) were two players primed to fill the void of Jordan's departure until injuries severely altered their careers.

“Penny” Hardaway (left) and Grant Hill (right) were two players primed to fill the void of Jordan’s departure until injuries severely altered their careers.

While not accurate, it is often said that Michael Jordan passed the proverbial torch to Bryant.

The similarities between Bryant and Jordan are easy to see. Both are similar in height, position played, disposition on the court, and team success.

However, many forget that there were two superstars who were poised to follow in Jordan’s footsteps but suffered career altering injuries: Anfernee (Penny) Hardaway, and Grant Hill. Both superstars were similar to Bryant early in their careers because they had charisma, exciting talent and marketing appeal.

On the strength of two championships at Duke university, Hill emerged quickly as a superstar leading all NBA All-Star Game players in fan voting in his rookie season and soon afterwards leading the Detroit Pistons to multiple playoff appearances. Hill was a dynamic player with excellent scoring and play-making ability.

While Bryant was carving his niche early in his career, other players like Tracy McGrady (left) and Vince Carter (right) were among the guards that Bryant battled with.

While Bryant was carving his niche early in his career, other players like Tracy McGrady (left) and Vince Carter (right) were among the guards that Bryant battled with.

Hardaway also had quick success, helping to lead the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals in 1995 with Shaquille O’neal. Hardaway and Hill had huge endorsement deals and were well positioned to be pre-eminent perimeter players in the NBA upon Jordan’s second retirement in 1999.

Other perimeter player contemporaries of Bryant who entered the NBA during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s include Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, and Ray Allen.

All of these players helped lead their teams in different ways, while displaying entertaining and captivating styles of play. All of these players were also major faces in advertising, which assisted in bringing extra attention to the NBA internationally.

(I - r) Allen Iverson, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade, are among the list of players Bryant had brief rivalries with during his career.

(I – r) Allen Iverson, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade, are among the list of players Bryant had brief rivalries with during his career.

Bryant might have the highest international profile of all of the previous mentioned players, except Jordan, and his battles with those players helped pave the way for the current wave of perimeter All Stars. Bryant’s 20 year career has allowed him to compete with players already in the basketball Hall of Fame as well as number of players likely to land there as well.

Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, James Harden, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James headline a long list of perimeter players that have carried the torch of exciting the fans and helping fans fill the impending the void created upon Bryant’s retirement.

Bryant had a fond farewell and received respect and admiration from fans and peers throughout the night.

Bryant had a fond farewell and received respect and admiration from fans and peers throughout the night.

As Bryant retires, perimeter play is on the uptick in the NBA. The last several regular season and NBA Finals MVP have been perimeter players. Bryant reminded all spectators that current NBA fans enjoy seeing their perimeter stars score in bundles as he scored the most points by a player this season in his final game. A great ending to an even greater career.–OnPointPress.net–

 

2015 NBA Draft will highlight trades, team-building

Karl-Anthony Towns (l) and Jahlil Okafor (r) are expected to be the first 2 players selected in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Karl-Anthony Towns (l) and Jahlil Okafor (r) are expected to be the first 2 players selected in the 2015 NBA Draft.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have the first pick in tonight’s 2015 NBA Draft, yet the buzz surrounding the event centers on the potential moves that other lottery teams may make this evening. Draft day trades are usually a part of the action, but this year they threaten to upstage the draft as many of the routinely struggling teams seek to use their picks as leverage instead of building blocks.

Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak (l) and Knicks General Manager (r) have the daunting task of making draft day a success considering their teams recent history.

Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak (l) and Knicks General Manager (r) have the daunting task of making draft day a success considering their teams recent history.

The New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers have proven that they are incapable of building a contender through the draft and seem intent on parlaying their high draft picks into already proven players. The Philadelphia 76ers have spent the last several seasons rebuilding with invisible blueprints and still seem years away from contending.

The same could be said for the Sacramento Kings and the Timberwolves. This year teams seem more desperate to forego the ideal that draft picks can sturdy the franchise and gamble on players who have shown promise already in the NBA. It is clear a different tactic for improving these teams is necessary as the teams picking early in the draft have been consistently inept.

Former Ohio State guard D'Angelo Russell has as much potential as any player in this year's draft.

Former Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell has as much potential as any player in this year’s draft.

This offseason happens to pair a slew of regularly struggling teams with high draft picks and perennial playoff teams looking to drastically improve for next year. The lack of  depth in this year’s draft class also helps drive the trade speculation. Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor are the two prospects everyone is sold on with D’Angelo Russell running a close third in terms of expected draft position.

With the level of uncertainty surrounding the draft class, expect at least a dozen trades to occur draft night as teams hope they can position themselves on Thursday night to meet personnel needs in time for the free agency period.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a senior writer and a licensed insurance agent at HealthMarkets. Follow me @GloverIsGood on Twitter.com. Check out www.HealthMarkets.com/cglover for your insurance questions and concerns.

Former NBA player Javaris Crittenton pleads guilty to manslaughter, gets 23 years in prison

Javaris Crittenton accepted responsibility for killing a young woman in 2011 by pleading guilty to manslaughter charges in court on Wednesday.

Javaris Crittenton accepted responsibility for killing a young woman in 2011 by pleading guilty to manslaughter charges in court on Wednesday.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On Wednesday April 29, former Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards guard Javaris Crittenton pled guilty to manslaughter in the 2011 shooting death of Julian Jones, a then 22-year old mother of four. Murder trial proceedings were just under way this week when Crittenton surprisingly changed his plea to guilty and accepted the sentencing of 23 years for manslaughter instead of taking his chances at trial for murder.

Crittenton and his cousin, Douglas Gamble, have both been sentenced for death Jones.’ Gamble was the driver while Crittenton was the trigger man in a drive-by shooting targeting a rival gang member who supposedly stole from Crittenton, days before the shooting. Crittenton gave a tearful apology during his allocution to the court expressing remorse for his actions.

Crittenton's (r) NBA stint may be most remembered for his dispute with Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas (l) that led to guns being drawn in the locker room and the ultimate dismissal from the team for both players.

Crittenton’s (r) NBA stint may be most remembered for his dispute with Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas (l) that led to guns being drawn in the locker room and the ultimate dismissal from the team for both players.

The details that emerged from this case are alarming. Crittenton reportedly joined the West Los Angeles street gang known as the Mansfield Gangster Crips for protection when he joined the Lakers in 2007. Crittenton’s association with gang members will draw comparisons to another athlete recently imprisoned for killing someone, Aaron Hernandez. Crittenton for his part, has acknowledged his gang affiliations though that does not diminish his continuous poor choices.

Crittenton may be infamously recognized for being dismissed from the Washington Wizards along with the team’s star player at the time, Gilbert Arenas, because of having guns in the locker room following a personal dispute between the two. Crittenton, an Atlanta native, played high school basketball with Dwight Howard and was teammates with current NBA players Thaddeus Young (Brooklyn Nets) and Anthony Morrow (Oklahoma City Thunder) in his one season at Georgia Tech.

Julian Jones was 22 at the time of her death and was a mother of four young children.

Julian Jones was 22 at the time of her death and was a mother of four young children.

Hopefully today’s court proceedings bring some closure to the family of Julian Jones, who by all accounts was merely an innocent bystander while this senseless shooting was taking place.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a training/benefits consultant. Follow me @GloverIsGood on Twitter.com.

NBA All-Star Weekend set to torture long-suffering New York basketball fans

New York will be center stage as the best NBA players participate in several events for All-Star Weekend 2015.

New York will be center stage as the best NBA players participate in several events for All-Star Weekend 2015.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

1976 was the year of the bicentennial celebration of America’s independence, Sugar Ray Leonard and Bruce Jenner were celebrated for winning their gold medals in the 1976 Olympics, and the NBA and ABA merged, uniting the best basketball players in one league. 1976 also happens to be the last year a professional basketball team won a championship in New York.

"Dr. J" Julius Erving led the NY Nets past the Denver Nuggets for the last ABA championship in 1976.

“Dr. J” Julius Erving led the NY Nets past the Denver Nuggets for the last ABA championship in 1976.

Julius Erving led the New York Nets, based in Long Island, to an upset victory over David Thompson and the Denver Nuggets. 29 years later, the NBA’s best players will take center stage in New York, with events taking place at both Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden.

Erving (l) and David Thompson (r) not only went head-to-head in the 1976 ABA Finals but also the inaugural slam dunk competition as well. Dr, J was victorious on both occasions.

Erving (l) and David Thompson (r) not only went head-to-head in the 1976 ABA Finals but also the inaugural slam dunk competition as well. Dr, J was victorious on both occasions.

Friday and Saturday will be highlighted by the Celebrity Basketball game and a newly formatted Rising Stars challenge that will pit first and second year players from the US against international players. 1976 was also the year of the inaugural slam dunk competition, won by “Dr. J” Julius Erving. Saturday, will also feature the Slam Dunk competition, as well as the Skills Challenge, and a star-studded 3-point shootout.

The Eastern Conference starters that were voted for Sunday's game. (l - r) Pau Gasol, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, John Wall, and Kyle Lowry.

The Eastern Conference starters that were voted for Sunday’s game. (l – r) Pau Gasol, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, John Wall, and Kyle Lowry.

The Friday and Saturday events scheduled for the Barclays Center will surely be entertaining, Sunday’s All-Star game at MSG should be intriguing. LeBron James will headline an Eastern squad that will feature four Atlanta Hawks and the lone New York representative in Carmelo Anthony.

Steph Curry (l) and James Harden (r) are top MVP candidates this season and will compete in the 3-point shootout while starting together in the backcourt  for Sunday's All-Star game.

Steph Curry (l) and James Harden (r) are top MVP candidates this season and will compete in the 3-point shootout while starting together in the backcourt for Sunday’s All-Star game.

The Western squad will be headlined by this season’s MVP candidates Steph Curry and James Harden. The West will be the favorite in the matchup as their team also includes the best duo in the NBA in Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant as well as talented big men in LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol, and DeMarcus Cousins.

The last time the Knicks went to the NBA Finals was the year after New York hosted the 1998 All-Star game. Larry Johnson's 4-point play against the Indiana Pacers was perhaps the most memorable  shot on that Finals run.

The last time the Knicks went to the NBA Finals was the year after New York hosted the 1998 All-Star game. Larry Johnson’s 4-point play against the Indiana Pacers was perhaps the most memorable shot on that Finals run.

While NBA fans will have the opportunity to enjoy the splendor of New York, weather permitting, and marvel at the best players the league has to offer, Knicks and Nets fans will have to return to a season where both teams have been disappointments. But who knows? The last time New York hosted the NBA All-Star game was 1998 then the Knicks went to the Finals the following year. So there’s a little hope for New York basketball fans.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a training/benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twiiter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.

Recent NBA Finals show good offense, not defense, wins championships

While defense is always important, these champions have used offense to reach the ultimate goal. (clockwise from top left) LeBron James, Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki.

While defense is always important, these champions have used offense to reach the ultimate goal. (clockwise from top left) LeBron James, Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

With the NFL playoffs underway, the old adage “defense wins championships” will be repeated ad nauseam by commentators and analysts. While that may apply to other sports regularly, the NBA has seen a trend of offensive excellence in recent NBA champions. While contributors at sportingcharts.com may have concluded, “Having an efficient defense is more important than an efficient offense,” it seems a great offense is better than a great defense.

The 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs showed true offensive dominance during their championship run last season.

The 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs showed true offensive dominance during their championship run last season.

Case in point, the 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs put forth one of the most dominant shooting displays en route to a 4-1 route of the Miami Heat. According to ESPN Stats and Info, “All four of the Spurs wins came by at least 15 points, outscoring the Heat by an average of 14 per game for the series. That’s the largest points per game differential in NBA Finals history, breaking the record of +12.6 PPG by the 1964-65 Celtics in their victory over the Lakers.”

Both Tim Duncan (l) and Kawhi Leonard (r) have been NBA Finals MVP. They were both excellent defensively but also efficient offensively when they won the award.

Both Tim Duncan (l) and Kawhi Leonard (r) have been NBA Finals MVP. They were both excellent defensively but also efficient offensively when they won the award.

The Spurs had 4 regular rotation players shoot 50 percent or better from the floor and 35 percent or better from the 3-point line for the playoffs. In the NBA Finals their team shooting was even better with 6 regular rotation players shooting 50 percent or better and 6 different rotation players shooting 35 percent or better from the 3-point line.

(left-right) Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, Jeff Teague, and Al Horford have helped the Atlanta Hawks to one of best records in the NBA with their offensive efficiency. Can they sustain this high level into the playoffs?

(left-right) Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, Jeff Teague, and Al Horford have helped the Atlanta Hawks to one of best records in the NBA with their offensive efficiency. Can they sustain this high level into the playoffs?

Excellent shooting has become the deciding factor for NBA champions for the last decade now. Since 2005, every NBA champion has had at least 2 regular rotation players shoot at least 50 percent from the field and at least 3 regular rotation players shoot 35 percent or better from the 3-point line. Efficiency has become essential offensively as teams have transitioned away from the ground and pound style of offense that tended to be predictable to defend.

Could this be an NBA Finals preview? Stephan Curry (l) has the Golden State Warriors at the top of the Western Conference. Meanwhile, Kyle Lowry (r) has helped lead the Toronto Raptors to one of the best records in the East.

Could this be an NBA Finals preview? Stephen Curry (l) has the Golden State Warriors at the top of the Western Conference. Meanwhile, Kyle Lowry (r) has helped lead the Toronto Raptors to one of the best records in the East.

As the NBA season nears the halfway point, a handful of low-seeded playoff teams have become top seeds in the conference. Though it is still early in the season, comparing teams by offensive efficiency might be the best way to determine which teams will have long playoff runs. As of today, only the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors meet the 50 or 35 percent field goal/3-point threshold common in the last ten NBA champions with the Atlanta narrowly missing the criteria.

New York Times writer Rodger Sherman recently stated during last season’s playoffs, “Being the staunchest, stingiest squad on paper does not mean as much as an old saying might make it seem.” As the season continues, it seems efficient offenses, not stingy defenses, will be the best way to determine the next NBA champion.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and training/benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.

Ranking the NFL job openings after Black Monday’s bloodbath

The core of the San Francisco 49ers (l-r) Navarro Bowman, Colin Kaepernick, and Patrick Willis remain intact for the next head coach.

The core of the San Francisco 49ers (l-r) Navarro Bowman, Colin Kaepernick, and Patrick Willis remain intact for the next head coach.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The NFL playoffs start on Saturday, January 3, but the week began with a range of changes on Black Monday. The Atlanta Falcons and San francisco 49ers parted ways with their head coach, while the New York Jets and Chicago Bears terminated their general manager and head coach. Jeff Fisher amazingly retains his head coaching job of the St. Louis Rams despite another mediocre season, but there are five current openings that need to filled.

The next Raiders head coach will have last season's 1st two picks in Khalil Mack (l) and Derek Carr (m) to do a better job than last year's head coach Dennis Allen (r).

The next Raiders head coach will have last season’s first two picks in Khalil Mack (l) and Derek Carr (m) to do a better job than last year’s head coach Dennis Allen (r).

6) The Oakland Raiders have been the model of consistency the last dozen NFL seasons, unfortunately they have been consistently dreadful. The Raiders will not bring back interim head coach Tony Sparano. Raiders rookies Khalil Mack, Derek Carr and second year running back Latavius Murray are some of the bright spots on a roster that needs major changes. The next head coach will not only have to contend with a losing culture but also another season of massive overhaul to the roster. They would be best served in hiring a head coach with plenty of NFL experience.

The Jets will have to decide whether Geno Smith (r) and Eric Decker (l) are part of the long-term solution as the team looks to improve quickly.

The Jets will have to decide whether Geno Smith (r) and Eric Decker (l) are part of the long-term solution as the team looks to improve quickly.

5) The New York Jets pulled the plug on the Rex Ryan/John Idzik era with much fanfare to long- suffering Jets fans. The next GM will have the #6 pick in this upcoming draft and a lot of cap space to try to address a myriad of needs. Second year quarterback Geno Smith and high-priced free agent wide receiver Eric Decker had career days in the last game of the season. The next head coach will have the daunting task of grooming a franchise quarterback, something that has escaped the Jets for quite some time.

The first step  for the turnaround for the Bills is to find a long-term answer at quarterback to throw the ball to last year's first round pick Sammy Watkins.

The first step for the turnaround for the Bills is to find a long-term answer at quarterback to throw the ball to last year’s first round pick Sammy Watkins.

4) The Buffalo Bills and head coach Doug Marrone decided to go their separate ways after two disappointing seasons. The Bills expected Marrone to help their offense grow, instead the defense has been much stronger. There are a number of veteran defensive players that are likely to remain on the roster next season but the team has to solve the issue at starting quarterback. The team started journeyman quarterback Kyle Orton for the majority of last season so it is imperative the Bills address that situation. Their next head coach will have to make the offense as good as the defense has been the past couple of years.

The next GM and head coach of the Bears will have to solve the riddle of how to win with Jay Cutler.

The next GM and head coach of the Bears will have to solve the riddle of how to win with Jay Cutler.

3) The Chicago Bears appear to have enough pieces in place to complete a quick turnaround. However, their defense will require a number of changes to improve, their lousy, hopeless, big money quarterback Jay Cutler seems to have regressed, and they play in one of the toughest divisions. The Bears will first have to find a GM who will determine whether they want an offensive or defensive minded head coach. Ultimately, the next head coach will have to do something that no previous head coach has been able to do, win consistently with Jay Cutler, who is a bust, regardless of his exorbitant contract.

The Falcons feel they have cornerstone players in Julio Jones (l) and Matt Ryan (r). The next head coach has to vastly improve their defense and make the offense more balanced.

The Falcons feel they have cornerstone players in Julio Jones (l) and Matt Ryan (r). The next head coach has to vastly improve their defense and make the offense more balanced.

2) The Atlanta Falcons have been trending backwards since making it to the NFC Championship in 2012. Mike Smith was relieved of his duties in part because the defensive oriented head coach has been unable to put a suitable defense on the field. The Falcons will not only have to make huge strides on defense to turn things around, but their offense is way too dependent on their passing attack. Julio Jones is extremely talented but injury prone and the next head coach is going to have to get more out of quarterback Matt Ryan.

The next 49ers head coach will have large shoes to fill as Jim Harbaugh (l) helped restore the franchise to it's winning ways by helping identify Colin Kaepernick as the next franchise quarterback.

The next 49ers head coach will have large shoes to fill as Jim Harbaugh (l) helped restore the franchise to its winning ways by helping identify Colin Kaepernick as the next franchise quarterback.

1) The San Francisco 49ers ended the season 8 – 8 after going to 3 consecutive NFC Championship games. Head coach Jim Harbaugh’s departure was not celebrated by 49ers fans but anticipated. The team has many positive components in place including quarterback Colin Kaepernick and an excellent defense. All-Pro linebackers Navarro Bowman and Patrick Willis should be healthy returns to the roster that will need to improve at cornerback and wide receiver. The main task for the next head coach is to vastly improve a predictable and largely unproductive offense. The 49ers have the best chance to turn things around next season and return to the playoffs.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a training and benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.

Hip-Hop’s Top Five, inspired by Chris Rock’s movie of the same name

Where do the biggest stars land on this top 5 list? (l - r) Nas, Lil Kim, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z

Where do the biggest stars land on this top 5 list? (l – r) Nas, Lil Kim, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z

By Charles Glover, Jr.

After seeing Chris Rock’s movie “Top Five” it seems fitting to compose my own list of hip-hop artists. There are five different categories of top five lists: solo artist, rap duos, rap groups, rap factions, and record labels. This is a list of my top 5 for each category. What’s yours?:

(l - r clockwise) Ice Cube, KRS-One, MC Lyte, and Rakim, are some of the best hip-hop artists of all time but there is only room for 5 on the list.

(l – r clockwise) Ice Cube, KRS-One, MC Lyte, and Rakim, are some of the best hip-hop artists of all time but there is only room for 5 on the list.

Record Label:

Since the early 1980’s, hip-hop has a range of record labels dedicated to mainly to the genre. There are so many labels that narrowing the list to just 5 is very difficult but here we go:

5) Cash Money – This label makes the list because of its impact financially and cross-over appeal of main stars from the subsidiary, Young Money record label. Notable stars from the label include Juvenile, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, and Drake.
4) Rocafella – This label makes the list mainly because of Jay-Z. The label was also able to eventually add other stars that made hits for years. Notable stars included Jay-Z, Kanye West, Cam’ron, Beanie Sigel, and DJ Clue.
3) Bad Boy – They helped usher in a resurgence of east coast popular hip-hop music. Charismatic owner/producer Sean “Puffy” Combs, was able to assemble a talented cast that made plenty of chart toppers. Label stars included The Notorious B.I.G., The L.O.X., Ma$e, and Craig Mack.
2) Death Row – The emergence of this label as a top company in such a short time of existence is to be celebrated. Led by Suge Knight and Dr. Dre, they were major influences in spreading west coast flavor in hip-hop. Notable stars included Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg (now Lion), Tha Dogg Pound, and Tupac Shakur.
1) Def Jam – The preeminent hip-hop record label for many years, Def Jam has found a way to stand the test of time. Founded in 1983, Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin started a tradition of finding and signing some of the best artists of the genre. Notable stars include, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, EPMD, Ludacris, DMX, Method Man, and Ja Rule.

Rick Rubin (l) and Russell Simmons (r) were instrumental in the early growth of hip-hop at Def Jam.

Rick Rubin (l) and Russell Simmons (r) were instrumental in the early growth of hip-hop at Def Jam.

Hip-Hop Groups/Factions: For the purpose of this article, hip-hop factions refer to groups of artists who worked together regularly but didn’t  record together often as a group. Examples would be the Juice Crew, Hit Squad, the Boot Camp Clik, Native Tongues, and the Dungeon Family. Groups have 3 or more members. Groups that narrowly missed the cut were Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Boogie Down Productions, and Slaughterhouse.

5) N.W.A. – Their influence during the transformative years of hip-hop is undeniable. Group members included DJ Yella, Eazy-E, MC Ren, Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube.
4) Public Enemy – Known for their music about black empowerment, this group made it clear that there was more to them then their music. Group members featured Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Terminator X, Sister Souljah, Professor Griff and DJ Lord.
3) Ruff Ryders – This group had a string of hits in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Not only did the group work together often, but they often collaborated with other top rap acts at the time. Featured members included producer Swizz Beats, DMX, Eve, Drag-On, and the L.O.X..
2) The Fugees – This group featured a talented trio made music with the diversity of R&B at times and hard-core hip-hop at others. Group members were Wyclef, Pras, and Lauryn Hill.
1) Wu-Tang Clan – A large group with each member having a distinctive rap style, Wu-Tang quickly rose to success with hit songs right out of the gate. Though the group has grown to have many members, the original group consisted of 9 members: RZA, GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa, and Method Man.

The surviving Wu-Tang Clan members (l - r) RZA, Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa, Method Man, GZA, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Raekwon the Chef

The surviving Wu-Tang Clan members (l – r) RZA, Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa, Method Man, GZA, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Raekwon the Chef

Rap Duos: For this article, rap duos are two rappers, not a dj and a rapper. The synergy that exists between a rap duo makes their music stand out. Examples are Black Star, Mos Def & Talib Kweli, Tha Dogg Pound, Salt N Pepa, and Kid N Play.

5) Mobb Deep – Havoc and Prodigy make this list slightly ahead of Black Star because they were just young teenagers when their hit “Shook Ones” came out and they continued making hits for quite some time afterwards.
4) EPMD – Erick Sermon and Parish Smith made dollars and hits. They sampled music a great deal and now they are the sampled often as well.
3) Method Man & Redman – What started as a mere collaboration on “How High” turned into a true partnership with albums, a movie, and a television show.
2) Run-DMC – True pioneers in the rap game, Run and DMC opened doors for hip-hop fans with big hits in the 80’s and also starred in the movie Krush Groove as well.
1) Outkast – Andre 3000 and Big Boi rose to hip-hop stardom as unique hit makers with complementary rap styles. They also appeared in a movie together, Idlewild, and have had success as solo stars as well.

Big Boi (l) and Andre 3000 (r) form Outkast, top rap Duo on this list.

Big Boi (l) and Andre 3000 (r) form Outkast, top rap Duo on this list.

Female Solo Artist: Women’s contribution to hip-hop should not be understated, the ladies of hip-hop have had to be creative to carve their niche in the male dominated hip-hip world. Some ladies that narrowly missed the list are MC Lyte, Rah Digga, Left Eye, and Roxanne Shante.

5) Foxy Brown – Foxy teamed up with Jay-Z for a few songs and was part of the group The Firm that included Nas. She had the respect of some of the best rappers during their prime.
4) Lil Kim – Lil Kim was a member of Junior Mafia with the Notorious B.I.G. and was able to emerge as one of the top hip-hop artists after the Notorious B.I.G.’s death.
3) Queen Latifah – The Queen had several hits before rapping the intro to her own sitcom, Living Single. Though she would transition to acting and TV host, her music career should not be forgotten.
2) Da Brat – Her lyrical style made her verses stand out on just about every track she collaborated on. Jermaine Dupri was wise enough to find a way to get his So So Def artist on numerous tracks between the few solo albums of her own.
1) Lauryn Hill – Hill’s dual threat nature as a singer and rapper helped her have one of the most successful hip-hop albums with “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”. Her rap skills are highlighted while she was working with her Fugees brethren Pras and Wyclef.

Lauryn Hill earned the top spot because of her rap lyrics, her singing ability is merely a bonus.

Lauryn Hill earned the top spot because of her rap lyrics, her singing ability is merely a bonus.

Male Solo artist: The argument for best male hip-hop artists can and will go on forever. This is a list of my favorite as I realize there’s no making everyone happy. Some artists that narrowly missed the list were Big Pun, Snoop Dogg, Rakim, LL Cool J, Nas, Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z.

(l - r) Snoop Dogg, and Tupac are two of the best to do it but only one made the top 5.

(l – r) Snoop Dogg, and Tupac are two of the best to do it but only one made the top 5.

5) Joe Budden – Budden may not have a great deal of mainstream success, but he has made quite a name for himself on mixtapes and through freestyles.
4) Busta Rhymes – Busta has been in the game since the early 90’s making hit songs. However, his music videos were influential as they broke the typical mold of hip-hop videos.
3) Tupac Shakur – Tupac’s music is wide-reaching and clearly reflected his mood when he was in the studio. In fact, there’s probably a Tupac song for every mood a hip-hop fan is experiencing.
2) DMX – DMX is entertaining to just hear speak but his flow and constant energy make it easy to listen to his music, even the barking.
1) Eminem – What makes Eminem stand out among the best is add to his repertoire as his career continues. Even if you’re listening carefully you have to go back and listen to the songs again just to catch all the metaphors and wordplay prevalent in his music, which earns him top honors on this list.

Eminem tops this list as he has topped many charts throughout his career.

Eminem tops this list as he has topped many charts throughout his career.

I’m sure there will be major disagreements about the lists so please feel free to engage me on social media.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover Jr. is a management/employee training and benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.

The NBA learned from ‘Malice at the Palace,’ Will the NFL learn from its woes?

Before the brawl headed into the crowd, there was a dustup between Ben Wallace and Ron Artest.

Before the brawl headed into the crowd, there was a dustup between Ben Wallace and Ron Artest.

By Charles Glover Jr.

On November 19, 2004 the NBA was turned upside down with a brawl that eventually changed the view of players and the league itself. Dubbed the “Malice at the Palace,” the brawl between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons erupted into the stands and earned recognition by the Associated Press as “the most infamous brawl in NBA history.”

The brawl spilled into the crowd as things escalated during the infamous night in Detroit.

The brawl spilled into the crowd as things escalated during the infamous night in Detroit.

Ron Artest (now Metta World Peace) was at the center of the brawl that started after Artest and Pistons center Ben Wallace got into a minor altercation. Artest then threw a drink at a fan from the crowd. Artest then charged into the stands and attacked the person that thought was the assailant. Other Pacers like Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O’neal were fierce in their support of their teammate during the melee that spread from the crowd onto the court.

The result was a prolonged stain on the image of the NBA as the fight with fans seemed to justify the concerns by some that the NBA had become too boorish and abrasive to accommodate the upscale portion of their fan-base. NBA’s commissioner at the time, David Stern, decided to institute sweeping changes to bridge the gap between NBA fans and its players. Several players received stiff penalties, highlighted by Artest’s 73-game suspension, which was the equivalent to all games remaining in the season.

David Stern was the commissioner of the NBA during the Malice at the Palace and was at the forefront of major changes that eventually benefitted the NBA.

David Stern was the commissioner of the NBA during the Malice at the Palace and was at the forefront of major changes that eventually benefitted the NBA.

The league also made changes to security measures and alcohol limits at games. Shortly thereafter, the NBA instituted a dress code, requiring the players to dress in suits when traveling for games. The dress code was geared towards changing the perception that too many players were distancing themselves from fans by embracing hip hop culture in their dress and attitude. The NBA became the first of the major sports to have such a requirement.

The four prominent participants in the Pacers - Pistons  brawl (l - r) Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine  O'neal, Ben Wallace.

The four prominent participants in the Pacers – Pistons brawl (l – r) Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O’neal, Ben Wallace.

There were many opponents to some of the changes, specifically the dress code, as the changes seemed to be an overreaction to the “Malice at the Palace.” However, there was no doubt the NBA as facing an image problem. There was also increasing frustration with the NBA as they struggled in their representation of the USA in the 2004 Olympics and 2006 World Cup. These events provided enough of an impetus by Stern to make major changes to the way people view NBA players.

Stern has made a number of questionable decisions but the approach he took to reshape the image of the NBA at that time was a necessary one. The changes were not popular amongst everyone, including many fans. There was also renewed efforts to bring the best players to international competition. This calculated move helped bring national support to the NBA players during their gold medal run in the 2008 Olympics and thereafter.

The NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell (c) could learn from the NBA on how to change league perception following scandals involving Ray Rice (r) and Adrian Peterson (l).

The NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell (c) could learn from the NBA on how to change league perception following scandals involving Ray Rice (r) and Adrian Peterson (l).

The changes to NBA policies and initiatives were reactions to a number of negative incidents that were highlighted by the “Malice at the Palace.” Stern and NBA executives were wise enough to sense that there was enough of the fan-base that desired noticeable changes to some aspects of how NBA players operate. There are times when it is necessary to make forceful changes to make a lasting impact and the NBA was able to shift the perception in their favor.

However, the shift in perception took years to take effect. The lesson NFL commissioner Roger Goodell can apply to the current dismal state of affairs with the NFL with the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson scandal is that it is necessary to make forceful changes that address the problem. There also must be patience that is earned from operating in a matter that demonstrates that the league is as appalled by the troubles of the league and will take exceptional measures to rectify matters.

(l - r) Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James have helped reshape the NBA image with Team USA and by making an impact in their communities as well as for their teams.

(l – r) Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James have helped reshape the NBA image with Team USA and by making an impact in their communities as well as for their teams.

The NBA now has a number of stars like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Chris Paul who are noticed for their great play on the court and positive impact away from the game as well. The NBA has also seen increase in viewership and monetary growth in the 10 years since the “Malice at the Palace.” As the next 10 years unfold, the NBA seems to be miles away from the negativity that surrounded the league in 2004.will the NFL be smart enough to emulate the NBA model, which has improved the league’s image and profitability at the same time? Only time will tell.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindoMES on Twitter.com.

Mysterious NBA coaching criteria surfaces as free agency begins

 

Jason Kidd will join his second team in his second year as a head coach. So does this technically make him an experienced coaching hire for the Bucks?
Jason Kidd will join his second team in his second year as a head coach. So does this technically make him an experienced coaching hire for the Bucks?

 By Charles Glover, Jr.

As NBA free agency begins this July 1, 2014, there are still a couple of head coaching vacancies to be filled. The Brooklyn Nets find themselves looking for a new head coach after Jason Kidd and the Milwaukee Bucks agreed to terms on June 30 as their new head coach. Meanwhile, the storied Los Angeles Lakers franchise is still without a head coach, though they may have narrowed their search to a few candidates by now. The head coaching carousel continues in the NBA while the criteria for being hired as a head coach becomes more mysterious and cloudy than ever.

The Knicks new general manager, Phil Jackson (r), felt comfortable hiring coaching novice Derek Fisher (l) because of system familiarity. Time will tell if this strategy is successful.

The Knicks’ new general manager, Phil Jackson (r), felt comfortable hiring coaching novice Derek Fisher (l) because of system familiarity. Time will tell if this strategy is successful.

A year ago, the Brooklyn Nets were questioned about their decision to hire Jason Kidd as their head coach, directly from his last moments playing in the league. A season later, the New York Knicks followed suit by hiring Derek Fisher, fresh of his final game as a player. The trend of hiring head coaches with no coaching experience did not start with Kidd, however. Just a few seasons ago, Mark Jackson transitioned successfully from announcer to head coach. However, his success was not good enough to prevent the Golden State Warriors from firing him and replacing him with Steve Kerr, another first time head coach with no prior coaching experience.

The last time Lionel Hollins was coaching he led his team to the Western Conference Finals. He is rumored to be a possible replacement for Jason Kidd in Brooklyn.

The last time Lionel Hollins coached he led his team to the Western Conference Finals and he was rewarded by being fired promptly. His success did not earn him another coaching job. He is rumored to be a possible replacement for Jason Kidd in Brooklyn.

Head coaches in the NBA appear to have very little job security and very little indication that their job is even jeopardy. The most recent example would be former Milwaukee Bucks head coach Larry Drew, who was entering year two of a three-year contract and had no idea his job was on the line just a week ago. Other examples from this season would be Maurice Cheeks formerly of the Detroit Pistons and Mike Brown formerly of the Cleveland Cavaliers, both of whom lost their jobs after a year, or less),into multi-year contracts as head coaches.

Those coaches were at the helm of teams that struggled but Lionel Hollins led the Memphis Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals in 2013 for the first time in team history and was abruptly fired immediately afterwards. George Karl was let go by the Denver Nuggets in 2013 after he won NBA Coach of the Year that season.

Phoenix Suns head coach was runner-up to Gregg Popovich for NBA Coach of the Year in 2014.

Phoenix Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek was runner-up to Gregg Popovich for NBA Coach of the Year in 2014.

Ironically, the past typical trend of hiring coaches who have previous coaching experience was successful template for several teams last season. The Phoenix Suns hired Jeff Hornacek last season after he had been an assistant coach in the NBA for a few years, and saw their team win 48 games and greatly improve from the season before. The Charlotte Hornets hired Steve Clifford, who had also been an assistant head coach for years in the NBA, and were pleased with the resulting 43 wins and 7th seed in the playoffs. The Toronto Raptors had success for the first time in many years under Dwayne Casey, who had former NBA head coaching experience. The Portland Trailblazers were another team that saw a nice turnaround with a head coach, Terry Stotts, who had previous experience as an assistant coach in the NBA.

Patrick Ewing has been an assistant coach in the NBA since 2002 and has made his desires to be a head coach clear.

Patrick Ewing has been an assistant coach in the NBA since 2002 and has made his desires to be a head coach clear, yet he is overlooked every time that a head coaching job becomes available.

Teams have the right to make the changes they feel are necessary to improve their team, but it seems there is little merit behind this trend of unproven coaches gaining such prominent positions without prior experience. Several teams have long-time assistant coaches, like Robert Pack, Sam Cassell, and Patrick Ewing to name a few, that are worthy candidates and fit the mold of previous successful head coaches.

Gregg Popovich (l) and Eric Spoelstra (r) have been in the last two NBA Finals and have won multiple championships. Maybe their coaching background should be the standard.

Gregg Popovich (l) and Eric Spoelstra (r) have been in the last two NBA Finals and have won multiple championships. Maybe their coaching background should be the standard.

The teams that win championships do not hire coaches who do not have any coaching experience. The San Antonio Spurs’ head coach, Gregg Popovich, has been coaching since 1973. Eric Spoelstra was an assistant coach with the Miami Heat from 1997. Former coaching legend Phil Jackson was a coach for five years in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) before joining the Chicago Bulls.

It seems that NBA franchises are trying to find out the hard way that there are no shortcuts to success and that the coaches who win championships have one major requirement on their resumes: solid experience, not flash.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.