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It’s Coming Back to Cali!

Warriors 2015 NBA Champs

Warriors win NBA Finals in character, being themselves, EXPLOSIVE!

By Johnni Matthews

The scene at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio after Game 6 of the NBA Finals was a somber one for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ fans as they watched the Golden State Warriors celebrate and hoist the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy on their court.  The Warriors outlasted the Cleveland Cavaliers 105-97 to win the series 4-2.  It is the first championship for the Warriors since the 1975 Warriors team led by under hand free throw player and sharp shooter, Rick Barry accomplished the goal against the Washington Bullets led by Wes Unseld.

Forget the statistics on this game, just know that Stephen Curry, Finals MVP, Andre Iguodala, splash brother, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, Shawn Livingston and the rest of the team were focused, on point outstanding in their road to this NBA Championship!

For the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron was LeBron simply GREAT, but fatigued, J.R. Smith showed up with some timely three pointers, Triston Thompson making his presence felt on the boards, but Matthew Dellavedova was spent out of energy forcing Coach Blatt to play Shumpert on Curry most of the game as he did in Game 5.  The Cavaliers simply couldn’t match the energy, speed and depth of the Warriors without a healthy Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.  NBA fans will never know if having the two All-Stars on the court with LeBron James would have helped the King crown the city of Cleveland with their first NBA Championship!

NBA Rookie Coach, Steve Kerr made all the significant adjustments to out coach Cleveland’s Head Coach, David Blatt who stuck to a short rotation, never playing former NBA Champion and All-Star Shawn Marion who announced his retirement after the conclusion of this season.

What a night to remember for all Warriors’ fans and the Cleveland Cavaliers as the Cavs found themselves out of gas!  It was evident by Game 4 that several players on the Cavaliers squad was just simply out of gas, but still continued to play scrappy enough to murk up the game to give themselves a chance to win.  It was simply too much of the Golden State Warriors being themselves, running, bagging threes from all over the perimeter, and playing just enough tough defense to capture the beautiful gold Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

The jingle by a famous rap/actor artist, “I’m going back to Cali, Cali, Cali…I’m going back to Cali, Cali…Well the NBA Championship Trophy is coming back to Cali, a state where Mr. Larry O’Brien feels right at HOME!


Love: A Father’s Legacy

black-fatherBy Ruth L. Stevens

The words I was hearing rang familiar, I listened in awe: The words were flowing, he was saying, “I was so confused, my life seemed to have turned upside down. Where could I turn for direction? To Daddy! I had to see him! He could make things right for me”. Arriving home, I packed a few things and got into my car for the eight hundred mile drive. I drove all night and when I arrived home the following morning, mother met me at the door. She did not know I was coming and was clearly surprised. Almost at once I asked, “Where is he Daddy?” She said, “He is over in the back field doing some planting”. I headed for the back, he saw me coming and headed toward me and instantly I knew he would know the solution! (This was brother Bo-Jay).

On another occasion, I heard words from another’s voice saying, “I could do anything if he were there”. “I remember him teaching us boys to dive, and he would say ‘Jump’ and I would sail through the air like a bird without fear or doubt because I knew there was no way anything could happen to me with him there”. (Brother Ruben we call Jabow).

He fathered twelve children and he has twelve separate rooms in his heart. Each child left a love so deep and binding that he/she thought, “I am the special one”.

Only once did I see him in real pain, when he lost his first-born son John Charley! He was like the old oak tree with all its leaves stripped from it, standing stark and bare against a stark and cold sky. He dwelled in a space only the two of them could shard! HIS GRIEF WAS SO INWARD NO ONE DARED TRESPASS! The only time I can remember him leaving us totally!

Then one day the word came, someone saying to me, “Ruth, I have to tell you something, be strong, your father has made his transition”. I could not contemplate it. No! No! I felt myself falling, it seemed into a dark bottomless pit of nothingness—I hear another voice speaking, “I had only two friends and Daddy was number one. I look out the kitchen window and I see him and he’s gone”. (Brother T. Warren G.). The voices go on and on, all eleven of them. “Daddy said this, Daddy said that. Daddy did this, Daddy did that”. Every experience uniquely different, yet so similar.

I hear his voice early mornings, “Baby Ruth, rise and shine, the early bird gets the worm”. The joy in his voice, the sparkles in his eyes watching a new day break forth. I certainly thought I was his favorite, the special one of his brood that is until I started to listen.

My buddy, my buddy, so kind and true, My buddy, your buddy misses you.

Oh, mine papa, you were so wonderful. Oh mine papa, you were so grand!

LA Sparks in a Storm Lose Home Opener

Photo credit: Nick Koza

Photo credit: Nick Koza

By Johnni Matthews

Home openers for the Los Angeles Sparks bring back a lot of memories at Staples Center over the past 18 years of coverage.

The Sparks just as many WNBA teams are rebuilding their organizations to maintain their role as one of the marquee summer attractions for female professional sports.

Photo credit: Nick Koza

Photo credit: Nick Koza

The LA Sparks had great fan support for the 2015 Home opener against the Seattle Storm at Staples Center.  Owner, Earvin “Magic” Johnson and his wife, Cookie were sitting courtside with another Laker legend, Kobe Bryant at Staples Center to support the LA Sparks.

Season ticket holder, Producer/Actress Vivica Fox was also at courtside supporting the LA Sparks in the home opener against the Seattle Storm.

The Sparks started the game with a lot of energy feeding off of the Staples Center fans.  New Head Coach, Brian Agler who was the Storm’s Head Coach for seven WNBA seasons is very familiar with the players, but was unable to get a victory against his former team dropping the second game in eight days 60-54 to them.

Playing without star player, Nneka Ogwumike, and welcoming back home veteran, Temeka Johnson a former LA Spark fan favorite and feisty point guard!

With all the new faces on the Sparks team, it may take a few more games before the team gels the way Coach Agler expects.

The Sparks were in control of the game most of the first half shooting nearly fifty percent from the field while the Storm shot a low 33% from the field.  The Sparks took a ten point lead into halftime while holding Seattle Storm’s All-Star, Sue Bird scoreless.  The 34-24 halftime lead dwindled in the third quarter as the Sparks began to turn the ball over and take tough shots leading to a poor second half performance.

Photo credit: Nick Koza

Photo credit: Nick Koza

The Sparks finished the game shooting 38.6% while the Storm didn’t burn the nets shot 38.9% from the field.  The slight field goal percentage in the second half proved to be enough to squeak out the 60-54 victory.

Sue Bird didn’t score until 6:50 seconds left in the game, but she was able to bring the Storm within two points before taking the lead at 4:43 mark on back to back baskets by Abby Bishop who led the Storm with 18 points and the team was able to secure the victory.

Veteran, Alana Beard said, “We just lost our focus in the second half and we came up short tonight.”  Beard also noted there were several positive times the team executed properly and stuck to the scouting reports, so there are things to build on and correct in order for the team to be better the next game.

Sparks forward, Jantel Lavender led the team in scoring with 12 points while Alana Beard and Erin Phillips added 10 each.

Well, the next game is a short turn-around when the Sparks welcome the Minnesota Lynx to Staples Center on Tuesday, June 16th.  The game tips off at 7:30 p.m.