Don’t Call it Luck and Don’t Blame the Heat

The Mavericks hold their own fate

The real reason the Mavericks won Game 2

Coverage following the Maverick’s victory in Game two of the 2011 NBA Finals gives several reasons as to why the surprising Mavericks win took place. Although most of them aren’t correct in my opinion, it’s worth taking a moment to discuss them before we get to the truth.

Reason 1-4: The Heat totally fell apart in the final minutes leaving the door wide open for the Mavericks to win. Let’s go ahead and add that Chris Bosh was guarding Dirk, there was no double team, and what were the Heat thinking not to foul Dirk and make the Mavericks rethink another plan after inbounding?

Reason 5: If you don’t hear those reasons, you are sure to hear that the Heat players enraged the Mavericks bench during their “celebration” after Dwayne Wade scored what seemed like a game deflating three-pointer to give the Heat a 15 point lead with well-under half a quarter left to play. With that kind of performance from the Heat, the Mavericks coming back to win could only seem like luck.

However, if you’ve been watching the Mavericks and have seen their performances throughout the playoffs you should know they deserve more credit–especially Dirk and even the Mavericks bench which stepped up in this game. Yes, the Heat did commit what their coach must now think is the ultimate defensive meltdown, but perhaps that’s not the only explanation. The Mavericks have pulled comebacks before this season against the Lakers and the Thunder in multiple games which makes the Heat’s more excusable (these things happen). While the eventual defeats of the Heat had something to do with tremendous meltdowns, the Mavericks victory came from the mental toughness and strong desire to win. Dirk all but plainly said the Mavericks were not going to lose Game 2, even if he had to play through an injury and dominate the last few minutes of the game, which he did. Now that’s my first reason. I only need two, so now to the second.

Additionally, the Mavericks played the entire game and Dirk wasn’t out there by himself this time which is reason two. Don’t forget that Shawn Marion scored 20 points and other teammates from the bench showed up big time in ways they didn’t in the previous game. Sure the Mavericks might have been upset by the “celebration or lack of “celebration if you listen to D-Wade and Lebron, but that’s just another storyline.

The Mavericks had to score baskets that they weren’t able to make in the first game or the majority of Game 2 and block shots that the Heat were supposed to make. They had to believe they could win and play all 48 minutes: otherwise nothing else mattered and the Heat would have been right to celebrate.

Instead somewhere on that court late in the fourth quarter, the Mavericks realized they were down tremendously looking their chances of winning a Championship in the eyes before it slipped away unless they stepped up. That motivation didn’t come from any other outside factor, be it obnoxious banter from the opposing team, media who wrote them off after one game, or their star player being a trending topic on Twitter. That motivation came from within and that’s where they will have to find the rest of their momentum to win this series and the Championship.

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Being a Dallas Mavericks Fan Again

If the Dallas Mavericks are Ready for Another Playoff Year, I guess I am too

I feel sorry for this year’s Dallas Mavericks, I really do. For a team that sits only behindSan Antonioin the number of consecutive 50-win seasons (10), has made it to the playoffs for multiple seasons and boasts one of the best players in the league and of all-time, the Mavericks can’t seem to buy respect.

 As much love as I have for the hometown team, I can’t say that the critique is all unjustified. Let me have a moment to air my grievances. Every time I think about the year 2006, I can’t help but feel a tinge of regret as to what could have been for the Mavericks. The kind of disappointment an entire city feels from beginning to plan a Championship parade to watching as the Dwayne Wade steal what was supposed to be our championship is still hard to get past. My personal biases allow me to call this both one of the biggest upsets and meltdowns of all time is. Next year’s season for the Mavs was wrought with more disappointment for the Mavericks. Their league-leading win season and position as the number one seed ended in an unpredicted first- round loss with a string of losses to the eighth- seeded Golden State Warriors that.

The 2006 Finals for the Dallas Mavericks seems like a lifetime ago and a reminder of what could have been.

 Stellar seasons since then haven’t taken away the sting all of us felt from being wrong about the Mavericks and their ability to win big. These days everyone seems to keep their distance from the Mavericks not wanting to give them the credit they deserve out of fear that they could be wrong and most importantly disappointed again. This year for the first time after four seasons I can finally admit why I claim to dislike the NBA playoffs so much and I turn to baseball this time of year. The playoffs come for the Mavericks every year and no sooner has it come is it over. I admit it– I had become complacent in being a Mavericks fan.

 However, this year something inside me changed; this year I had the unwavering urge to cheer for my team when the playoffs started no matter the outcome. I’ve been anticipating for the game to start and even emerged from my blogging hiatus to blog for my team. Perhaps it was the numerous tweets, Facebook posts and commentary, or my new infatuation with basketball and March Madness. I like to think that I just couldn’t tolerate sitting aside as everyone cheers for their team no matter the outcome and I figured since I was a Cowboys fan last season it’s only fair.

 I’m fortunate to be a Mavericks fan and proud of what they have done so far. They have turned a franchise that lacked identity into one of the most consistent and winning-est teams in the NBA. This year I encourage fans and commentators alike to throw away their complaints against the Mavericks and let them play basketball. Let’s cheer for our team wholeheartedly and live with whatever happens. Enjoy the next 40 days and 40 nights and hope at the end of them our team is playing on our television screens or at least watching along knowing they played their best games this season.

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Hip-Hop, Social Media, and Young People in the Workplace

Human Resources Perspective from Guest Blogger Tyesha Simmons

Do hip-hop and social media, two important factors of today’s generation, affect young workers in the workplace?  Is hip-hop so influential that people have a hard time separating it from their work lives? 

According to an article on Monster.com titled, “The Hip-Hop Workplace:  Cultural Clash or Generational Transition?,” the answer is yes. Many people believe that hip-hop affects today’s generation in many aspects of their lives such as how they dress, communicate with others, and conduct themselves in the workplace.  Bruce Sherold, president and CEO of Diversity Search Group, believes that young hip-hoppers are not as conservative in the workplace as their elders. Sherold asserts that clothes and hairstyles are the two most prevalent ways that show this difference and the influence of hip-hop in the workplace.  Sherold states “[Young adults] don’t seem to think their appearance has any impact on an interviewer, and they talk in rap slang.” 

It is true that some people lack guidance from parents or positive figures, so they enter the workforce without the appearance and soft skills needed to get a job.  Many factors contribute to this problem such as growing up in certain environments, and a culture that is geared towards encouraging lifestyle that consist of the newest cars and clothes, similar to what is seen in music videos. The focus on material things makes it seem that it is more acceptable to seek these things than focus on getting a higher education as a stepping stone to making steady money in the long run.   

Not all of today’s youth let hip-hop or their culture affect their chances of advancing in the workplace, but they are prone to conducting themselves in a less conservative manner than our workforce veterans.  There is definitely a generation gap between today’s youth and older generations, but is hip-hop the only factor that causes the gap in the workplace?

We live in a world today where social networking sites and other electronic communication, i.e. texting, is taking over how people express themselves.  Just like hip-hop, social media is an influential part of people’s lives.  The art of formal communication is becoming lost because people tend to text or Facebook a friend what their plans for the weekend are instead of calling.  Furthermore, today’s generation is so used to communicating electronically because it is faster than picking up the phone; and along with that comes “text language” such as “lol,” “u,” or “@.” 

Text language has been shown to affect young adults in the professional world.  Studies show that those who use text language have more of a hard time with formal written and spoken communication than those who do not use text language.  This poses a problem in interviews and at the office because older CEOs or decision makers do not converse in the same way as young adults nowadays.  Some people are able to hone those professional communications skills at work and leave the text language at home, but there is still a few who are not able to make the transition. 

 Many people learn at an early age how to dress for an interview, what a resume looks like, or how to conduct themselves at an interview and after they get a job.  However, some people are not able to rid themselves of their hip-hop influence or their dependency on electronic communication. Both factors are not by any means the only blame for the generational gap in the workplace, but they do play a role in the said gap. 

Tyesha is a recent graduate of Louisiana Tech University and currently a HR Coordinator / Recruiter Assistant at V Platinum Consulting

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March Madness Isn’t the Only Thing Crazy About This Week

March Madness isn’t the only big thing happening in the sports world. This has been a crazy week in sports for so many reasons. Let’s do a recap.

  1. Texas Rangers’ manager Ron Washington admits to using cocaine last season. Washington later admitted that he used marijuana while he was a player, but he said he only used cocaine once. Luckily for Washington  Major League Baseball and his team are forgiving and he will be back for the 2010 opening day.
  2. During their game versus the San Antonio Spurs some of the Orlando Magic players had their arms wrapped around each other (what a visual). Even though the Magic were already winning big, perhaps this was some sort of good luck ritual. Here’s the picture of what team comradery is all about! http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/photos?gameId=300317019&photoId=525612
  3. # 1 overall seed Kansas loses to underdog Northern Iowa and thousands of brackets are destroyed(except for that one person in the office who guessed all of their picks). Sure college basketball faithful are a little perturbed, but even more excited because everyone knows big upsets like this are what March Madness is all about. Besides the #1 overall seed has never won since the ranking was started in 2004*
  4. Tiger Woods announces he is making his return to golf at Augusta after nearly a four-month break from golf. It was certain Woods was going to come back, but no one knew when so the golf world has been on the edge of their seats. Questions to ask now are: what will be the response to Tiger’s return and will any other player get camera time?
  5. The New Jersey Nets continue to lose. While the Nets losing season isn’t surprising anymore, an entire season that only consists of seven wins out of 69 games played should be.
  6. Just a reminder, North Carolina is not in the running for the NCAA national championship game and yes the Tar Heels did win it all last year.
  7. Michael Jordan is now a majority owner for the Charlotte Bobcats. Give Michael Jordan credit he really lives by the NBA slogan “I love this game”, even if he isn’t playing anymore.

Consulted:

http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/8316/day-3-ncaa-tournament-roundup

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What This Trade Can Prove for the Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks After Their 2006 Loss

A nine game winning streak gives the Mavericks enough ammunition for now to prove that the trade with the Washington Wizards was a good idea in theory and in practice. The additions of Caron Butler and Branden Haywood have been praised by commentators, coaches, players and new teammates. The Mavs, who seek to add new dimensions to their team, hope that its new players can be part of a new formula that will yield big results and prove that this year will be different.

 For the last few seasons the Mavericks have consistently been a good, solid basketball club that can basically guarantee a place in the playoffs, but unfortunately the Mavs have also grown used to early departures from playoff contention.

Even though the Mavericks know that this year’s acquisitions and the acquisition of Jason Kidd has put them in a great position for the NBA championship quest, the Mavericks still remain very humble. The Mavericks know how it feels to create the best record in the league and get sent home in the first round, the Mavericks know that it faces some tough competition in the West from the Los Angeles Lakers (among many others), the Mavericks know that a player like Caron Butler can add some grit to a team often accused of lacking toughness, and the Mavericks also know its fans have not forgotten how close its home team came to winning it all after a catastrophic meltdown in the summer of 2006 that left them without a NBA Championship.

 The nine game winning streak has done a lot to convince everyone that seeking Butler and Haywood was a good idea, but postseason wins in the future will do even more to prove that the Mavericks have found a way to rebuild and redeem themselves to become a team that can win big. In the meantime the Mavericks have gracefully and conspicuously been constructing a good campaign for the 2010 playoffs and beyond that can lay all worries to rest, for now.

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Running Out of Steam: The Release of Key NFL Running Backs

LaDainian Tomlinson’s release from the San Diego Chargers has to leave us thinking. Brian Westbrook’s release from the Philadelphia Eagles has to leave us thinking even more. At the age of 30, Tomlinson and Westbrook are considered young men but the future ahead seems uncertain for both players. ESPN reports, the number of yards posted by running backs dwindles so drastically as age increases, that by the age of 31 only 18 percent posts 1,000 or more yards in a year.

In a new football model throughout the league that calls for multiple running backs, one back (usually the older one) is constantly being replaced by a younger back. For example, in Dallas Julius Jones shared the workload with Marion Barber; Barber eventually replaced Jones. Currently in Dallas Barber shares the workload with both Felix Jones and Tashard Choice; it might be only a matter of time before Barber is replaced as well.

As far as the immediate future is concerned, Tomlinson and Westbrook are both prolific players who are nearly guaranteed the opportunity to play for another team in the 2010-2011 season. What is not as certain is what kind of success either back will have statistically.

If either back fails to have as much success as he did with his former team after being released or traded, it unfortunately will not be a new trend. Do these names ring a bell: Edgerrin James, Emmitt Smith and Shaun Alexander? All three names are as respected at the running back position as Tomlinson and Westbrook, but all three were also released by their respective teams because of declining rushing numbers, increasing salary prices, injuries and the competition from increasing talent at the running back position.

For running backs that have been the faces of their organizations, being cast aside and forced to find a new home has to be quite a sobering part of the business but at least there is consolation for those who do not get to walk out on the game like Barry Sanders did. Emmitt Smith was able to retire a Cowboy and LaDainian has been promised to retire a Charger—perhaps there is something as equally promising from other organization for other players who have given so much to their team for the majority of their careers.

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Too Soon to Talk Mavs Success Yet: Full Story Coming Soon

Mavs Trade Starts an NBA trend and the Mavs might not be done

Mavs Trade Teaser: This trade is too important to say nothing!

The Dallas Mavericks should get all of the credit for igniting what has developed into a very busy trading carousel after the All Star Break and some teams are even finished. By the time the latest trade deadline is over there will be even more major names relocating to different cities and perhaps a completely different outcome to the postseason for some teams. However, even with talented players such as Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood on the roster, that gives the Mavericks team a new dimension, it might be too soon to call the trade a success (even if it turns out to be one). There are two crucial reasons why:

1. Some contend the Mavericks have a few tricks up their sleeve before the trade deadline’s completion.

 2. A record of 1-1 with their new team in place and a tough schedule ahead that includes both teams from last year’s NBA championship means the Mavericks have  some hard work ahead and a lot to prove.

So there’s the teaser for now, but there of course will be more to come!

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