When you think about the baseball Hall of Fame, you think about the incredibly high threshold that’s set for an inductee. You don’t just have to be great, you have to keep it up for a long time.
Usually, any discussion of Hall of Fame credentials starts in earnest after a player is well into his career. But it’s always fun to consider the Hall of Fame potential of young superstars, particularly when they set the league on fire right off the bat.
Craig Kimbrel definitely fits the profile of a young superstar who at the very least can be in the conversation this early in their career. This National League Rookie of the Year and two-time All-Star has been consistently dominant right from the start. As we said, Hall of Fame discussions start with numbers, and the numbers are there for Kimbrel. He’s posted 46 and then 42 saves in his first two seasons with the Atlanta Braves. His ERA numbers were an impressive 2.10 and then a dominant 1.01. His WHIP is even more impressive, starting with 1.04 and then going to an eye-popping 0.65. He’s also a strikeout machine with 127 and then 116. In 2013 he’s continued with the impressive stats.
Kimbrel comes across as even keeled and soft spoken in his interview above, but he also has the “wow” factor given how hard he throws. He’s consistently in the high 90s with his brutal fastball and sometimes tops out over 100 MPH. Flamethrowers always grab the attention so that’s another factor in his favor.
Of course all of this is only a start. Longevity is critical for Hall of Fame candidates, and the bar is very high for closers when it comes to the Hall. With Mariano Rivera finishing up his spectacular career, the bar may be raised even higher. So Kimbrel of course has a long way to go. Also, as a power pitcher, keeping it up over a long period of time can be even more difficult. Not everyone has an indestructible arm like Nolan Ryan. But the dominating performances are starting to become routine for this guy, so he’s definitely a youngster to keep an eye on.
I don’t mind listening to to Chris Broussard give his thoughts on the NBA, but frankly I’m really not interested in hearing his silly interpretations of the Bible on ESPN in response to the Jason Collins story.
If you want to excel consistently, you have to have a team philosophy and know how to execute it year in and year out. That’s why teams like Pittsburgh and New England keep making it back to the Super Bowl.
The New York Giants are one of those teams. On offense everything revolves around clutch quarterback Eli Manning, and on defense it’s all about their front four. By putting pressure on the quarterback with their four down linemen, the Giants can neutralize quarterbacks like Tom Brady while other teams can barely slow him down.
With that backdrop, I was very impressed when the Giants were able to grab defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins in the second round and then Damontre Moore in the third round. This New York Giants fan blog has a great post breaking down both picks. Hankins in a beast who helps plug up the middle against the run, but Hankins is also very quick and mobile for a big defensive tackle. He reminds me of guys like Michael Dean Perry and Warren Sapp who were quick off the ball and could rush the passer up from the interior line position. On the Giants, where the defensive ends pose real problems in pass protection, Hankins will have even more opportunities to get sacks. He clearly has first-round talent so the Giants got great value here.
The value was even better when they were able to grab Moore in the third round. He dropped like a rock with poor performances at the combine and on his pro day, so there’s some risk here. But given his talent, Moore is a steal in the third round. And while the bright lights of New York City could be a problem for this guy, he’s going to the perfect team for his talents, and the guys in this locker room should keep him in line.
The NFC is loaded with media favorites San Francisco and Seattle, along with teams like Atlanta and Green Bay. The Giants slipped last year, but if these two guys pan out, you can bet the Giants will be in the mix for the NFC title.
Basketball players and fans all over the world always look up to the players in the National Basketball Association (NBA). It is the ultimate goal of any basketball player to play for this prestigious basketball league. Slowly, more and more international players are making their names in NBA. There have also been a few Muslim players in the league. Here are the three best Muslim basketball players ever to play in the NBA.
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, was born Ferdinand Alcindor Jr. He is another Muslim NBA player and holds the most points scored in the league. Kareem was raised as a Roman Catholic, but converted to Sunni Islam in 1968 and changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He is the NBA’s all-time leader in most statistics and categories: scoring, blocked shots, games and minutes played, field goal attempts and made, defensive rebounds as well as personal fouls. He has six NBA titles, with two NBA finals MVP, six NBA MVP and was a 19-time All-Star.
2. Hakeem Olajuwon
Hakeem Olajuwon was another dominant center in the NBA who played for the Toronto Raptors and the Houston Rockets from 1984 to 2002. He fronted the Rockets continuously during 1994 and “95 championships. Moreover, he has been inaugurated into the NBA Hall of Fame. This man is a Nigerian native known for finesse and power as a center in the NBA. Hakeem is also part of the 50 Greatest Players of NBA. Hakeem was a two time NBA MVP and NBA Finals MVP. Currently, Hakeem is still active in the basketball scene, but in the background training NBA players like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Amar’e Stoudemire and many more in polishing their games at the post.
3. Shaquille O’Neal
Shaquille O’Neal is one of the most dominant big man in the NBA. A center, he started his career on 1992 and played with six different teams until he retired in 2011. He is most known for playing with the Los Angeles Lakers. He has four NBA titles under his belt, with three NBA Finals Most Valuable Player and one NBA Most Valuable Player. He was selected 15 times as an All-Star. Shaq now works as an NBA analyst. He is considered as one of the greatest 50 players in the NBA.
The Jets unceremoniously released Tim Tebow the day after the NFL draft. The timing sort of sucks for Tebow, but who can blame the Jets for trying to get something in return for Tebow?
It will be interesting to see if anyone is willing to give this guy another shot. For the Jets, I think they took a major gamble grabbing Geno Smith. Don’t get me wrong, Smith has some talent and could develop in the right situation, but he seems immature as hell, and throwing him into the New York media circus seems like a huge mistake. Smith is very inconsistent and really needs to sit on the bench and learn for a while, particularly considering that the Jets will now run the complex West Coast Offense. If they throw him in too early, Mark Sanchez will look like a rock compared to Geno Smith.