Tag Archives: sports

The 2015 NBA Draft: The First 5

By: Dallas J. Short

This year’s NBA Draft kicked off Thursday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. As the masses filled the stands, watched on tv or followed along on social media, the fan’s Christmas was about to go down. Would they get everything they wanted?

Here’s a quick look at the first five selected. The top four picks are all 19 years old, and number five turned 20 just a few months ago.

With the first selection of the draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves chose Karl-Anthony Towns, the former University of Kentucky center makes history by being the first Hispanic player to ever be the top pick. He’s 6 feet 11 inches and weighs 250 pounds, so the size is legit and like I had mentioned he is only 19. The T’Wolves are rebuilding nicely and while I’m unsure he’ll be a big impact player next season. This kid could be something special in the years to come.

Second up, after a shockingly disappointing season, the Los Angeles Lakers took D’Angelo Russell, from Ohio State. Another young choice, this year’s theme? With Kobe’s end in near sight, could he be their guard of the future? The Lakers better hope so or figure something out soon. I’ve been seeing a lot of purple and gold magically turn into red and blue. Good luck to the Laker Loyals as they work to reclaim their top spot in the West.

Three is the magic number. My Philadephia 76’ers picked up Jahlil Okafor, another big man at 6 feet 11 inches and weighing 270 pounds. I was surprised Okafor made it down to the third choice and a bit surprised the Sixers picked him up. We have two big guys already, Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid. I guess if we’re unsure if/how Embiid will play next year, then we might need Okafor. Plus, Okafor is great, lead Duke to the National Championship. However, before I start raising my 2016 NBA Championship banner, I remember that…we’re the Sixers and we will probably end up trading away anyone who starts to shine.

The Knicks, the Knicks, the Knicks. Easily one of the most passionate fan bases in the NBA. So when things didn’t go their way their way and Okafor didn’t fall in their lap and the team drafted Kristaps Porzingis, a Latvian forward, saying the crowd erupted into boos is an understatement and yep, the internet exploded too. Frank Kaminsky might have been a better choice, just off name recognition. Knicks fans are hating Porzingis, most with knowing nothing about him. The last time the Knicks had a draft pick this high, it was Patrick Ewing. The frustration is beyond real in the Big Apple. This kid will not end up with his jersey retired, but I think he will fit in and add to the Knicks.

Orlando Magic also went overseas for their selection, Croatia’s Mario Hezonja. I don’t know too much about him, except the Magic have been watching him develop for a while, he supposedly tiptoes that cocky/confident line and is a beast on the court. I haven’t watched the Magic (on purpose) since they got rid of Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick. I am a Nik Vucevic fan though, so hopefully this new addition helps him and Orlando out.

With all the reactions and overreactions to this year’s selections, the saying “time will tell” rings loud and true. Don’t jump off the bridge or plan a parade just yet. Believe in your team through the ups and downs.

Here are some social media reactions from NBA players, sports writers and fans.

http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/post/_/id/13150030/joel-embiid-was-rather-amused-76ers-selection-jahlil-okafor-other-draft-reaction

http://www.oregonlive.com/nba/index.ssf/2015/06/nba_draft_2015_fans_media_reac.html

I know I have a lot of friends who had strong opinions about what their team did or didn’t do in the first round. How are you feeling about your squad’s picks and next season?

As always, if you like what you read, please be social and share.

Advertisements

The Credibility Killer

By: Dallas J. Short

Everyone knows that buying followers on social media is not a good idea, right? You would think by now, with all the facts, all the stories and the programs out there, this would be common knowledge. It still appears though, people will falsely increase their followers without concern of the consequences. So, let’s take a quick refresher course on why it’s a no no, not a win win.

Keep it Real. The followers you are buying are not real people, they do not have real interests, they do not even have real profiles and they will never be real customers.

Mid (social) Life Crisis. Ok, you have been on social media for a while and you are not getting as many numbers as others. You begin doubting yourself. You think having as many followers as your business peers will make you seem young and hip, but just like buying a Corvette or Mustang at age 50, you might go from zero to a hundred real quick but you will be in the same situation. Have confidence in your product and concentrate your efforts on being authentic. Yes, business is competition, but this is not the way to win. These inflated numbers are not liking or sharing your information. From a marketing perspective, you are purchasing a bunch of unqualified leads. If you were cold calling, you just bought a phone book of disconnected numbers. In business terms, the ROI on buying fake followers is $0.

The Man Behind the Curtain. This is not the Wizard of Oz and people will pay attention to the man behind the curtain, which is you and your brand. Your actual fans and followers will see this number boost and no increased interaction, this is not impressive to them and will be a huge turnoff. People do not like to find out someone or something they believe in is cheating, this goes for both online and offline activities. Facebook now only shows your post to a small percentage of your followers, a false increase in your audience dramatically lowers the chances that the people who actually care about what you have to say will be able to see it. So if you are paying for those fake numbers, you are risking having to pay even more money per update to make sure your legit fans see your posts and announcements.

High Diving Off the Wrong Platform. There are many different social media platforms out there on the internet but that does not mean you have to be on everyone. Research which platforms work best for your industry or which ones you can actually devote your efforts and energy too. If your company is not as suited for Twitter (or Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, etc.), spending money on followers is not only a waste of money, but even being on there as much as you are could be a waste of time.

Numbers That Matter. When you purchase fake followers, you are losing the relevancy of your demographic information. One of the most important things of being on social media is being able to know your audience, so you can figure out more ways to appeal to and engage with them. This will also hurt your sponsorship proposals as well as most of your marketing efforts.

It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye. You have all these faux followers now and you want to get rid of them? This is going to cost you even more time and money. You will have to go through and block or delete all of those you paid for. You might have to even end up hiring someone to do it for you. There goes more money out the window.

If the urge to buy followers arises or you have someone in the office telling you that you should, you shouldn’t. It is unethical and it is bad business. Social media, still new and growing, does not come with a cheat sheet for success or skip to the front of the line card. It takes work, it takes trial and error and it takes honesty and authenticity. Be creative and courageous, come up with new ways to engage your audience, build your digital community and allow them to grow with you. Those are the type of people that are truly worth having associated with your brand.

Have you seen a company buy fake followers? Has it changed your opinion on them? Did you buy fake followers and regret it? As always, if you like what you read, please be social and share.

Grammar Game

By: Gina Mason

Word traps…there are a lot of them out there and you would be surprised how often people fall victim to common grammar mistakes. (We are all guilty of it!) Whether it’s something as simple as the misuse of a homophone such as “their, they’re or there” or mixing up the definition of a word such as irreverent or irrelevant, it is important to make sure your grammar game is strong (especially, when writing a big email or working on a presentation). For some grammar snobs, the misuse of a pronoun or verb can send them through the grammatical glass roof and may cost you that big deal.

I recently read a great article in Forbes that had a useful breakdown of some of the most common grammar missteps in business. Here are some common words and some easy-to-remember tricks to ensure (see example 1) we stay on the right grammar track:

“Ensure vs. Insure

You insure a car or a house. Think: insurance.

You ensure the company will be a fit for you by doing your research.

Capitol vs. Capital

The Capitol is a building in Washington, DC. Do note its proper noun status.

Capital is money, as in a venture capital firm. It’s also what you’re referring to when you ask someone to stop emailing in ALL CAPS—and the spelling you’d want to use if asked to list all of the state capitals.

Perspective vs. Prospective

You have a unique perspective, or take, on events.

Prospective means potential, as in, the prospective candidates are impressive.

Gauge vs. Gouge

You’ll gauge your client’s reaction to the new slogan (i.e. take his or her temperature).

You’ll gouge out your eyes if you have to stare at your presentation slides much longer.

Moot vs. Mute vs. Moo

The point is moot—or, in other words, it doesn’t matter.

The TV is on mute.

And if you think the point is moo, you’ve watched too much Friends.

Prosperity vs. Posterity

Prosperity means wealth, so if you’re toasting to prosperity, you’re celebrating your fortune.

Posterity means future generations. You could toast to posterity as well, so long as you know you’re raising a glass to your descendants.

Principal vs. Principle

You went to the principal’s office when you misbehaved in school.

Principal can also mean main, as in principal investor.

And a principle is a tenet you believe in.

Tenet vs. Tenant

While we’re on the subject, a tenet is a rule.

A tenant is a renter.

Rein vs. Reign vs. Rain

You rein in your tendency to overreact, much like you use the reins to control a horse.

Meanwhile a monarch reigns over his or her empire, while rain falls from the sky.

Solidarity vs. Solitary

You show solidarity by joining or supporting a cause or social movement.

If you’re the solitary member on a project, you’re the only person working on it. (Note: Solitary often includes a connotation that means lonely or isolated.)

Weary vs. Wary vs. Leery vs. Leer

Weary means tired. It can also mean jaded, which is why some people confuse it with…

Wary, which means suspicious. You’d be wary of a candidate with terrible references.

Leery also means suspicious. You would be rightfully leery of a hiring manager who never showed up for your interview.

Finally, to leer is to stare in an inappropriate way.

Accept vs. Except

You accept an offer from your dream company.

You would go to the upcoming event, except you already have plans.

Broach vs. Brooch vs. Breach

You’ll broach the subject tomorrow, while wearing your grandmother’s lucky brooch.

Neither of which has anything to do with a breach of contract.

Fleshing vs. Flushing

You flesh out the findings by going into more detail.

You flush something down in the restroom.

Banal vs. Blasé

The topic is banal, a.k.a., boring.

He’s known for his blasé attitude—meaning he’s never flustered and seems generally unconcerned.

Skim vs. Scan

When you skim a document, you’re glancing at pretty quickly.

Scan can be used as a synonym for skim, but it also can mean reading something in detail (much like the oft-misused peruse). Scan can also be used in a medical context, e.g., a full-body scan.

Underserved vs. Undeserved

Underserved communities suffer from a lack of resources.

Undeserved means something was not merited, like an unwarranted dismissal.

Proceed vs. Precede

If someone says, “let’s proceed,” he means “let’s get started” or “let’s continue.”

Something that precedes something else, comes first (e.g., winter precedes spring, spring precedes summer).

Intents vs. Intense

Your intents are noble.

But your intense gaze is creeping the interviewer out.

Squash vs. Quash

You might eat squash after a game of squash in which you squashed your opponent like a bug. (What an eventful lunch break!)

On the other hand, you’d quash a merger that you’ve reconsidered and decided is a bad move.

Irreverent vs. Irrelevant

You might think irreverent just means colorful, but it often connotes something that is disrespectful, rude, even blasphemous.

While something that’s irrelevant doesn’t relate to the matter at hand.

Amused vs. Bemused

If you’re amused, you’re enjoying yourself, whereas…

If you’re bemused, you’re confused.

Farther vs. Further

Farther and further both measure distance. But farther is more often used for a distance you can actually measure. So, my favorite lunch spot is farther from the office than the sandwich spot up the block.

If you don’t want to go there, we don’t need to take this conversation any further.

Elicit vs. Illicit

If you’ve read this far, you deserve to know that elicit means provoke, as in elicit a response.

Illicit means illegal or forbidden—illicit activities have no place in the office (or, really, anywhere).”

I’m sure most of us have all fallen into these grammar traps and the best advice that I have for those who are unsure of the proper use of the word is USE GOOGLE! Google can pretty much tell us everything these days and if not, use two of my favorite grammar websites are Grammar Girl and Grammarly for quick and dirty grammar tips. I hope you found this post to be helpful and this will help us all step up our grammar game.

As always, if you like what you read be social and share.

We’re Still Talkin About Practice

By Dallas J. Short

May 7, 2002, a day that will forever be remembered as the greatest NBA press conference in history or least the press conference that created a timeless quotable. The date when Allen Iverson questioned “Practice? We’re talkin about practice, man.”

(Full disclosure, the Sixers are my favorite team and I believe Allen Iverson is one of the greatest players of all time.)

Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d29VsG35DQM

Thirteen years later, we’re still talking about practice. This is a quote I use on a regular basis, as recently as Monday night I used it at my kickball game. I used it in a blog a few months ago. It has taken on a whole life outside of that press conference, been parodied by comedians, referenced by other athletes, paid homage to on t-shirts and much more.

If you’re reading this, you probably have already done your Allen Iverson “practice?” impersonation out loud or replayed it in your head. So, now that we have got that out of the way, let’s talk about a few social media practices. Don’t worry, I didn’t click bait you with the Iverson story. I really wanted to talk about it, but this is, after all, a professional blog and I figured it was a good tie-in.

Here are five social media practices, which while known, often seem to slip through the cracks.

  • Questions are a great way to engage your community. It makes your fans and followers feel involved. Do not just talk at them, talk with them. Keep your questions short, simple and to the point. “Are you talking about practice?”
  • Asking for a retweet, this is a practice which I know a lot of people say they are against, but when used right, it’s effective. If you have a strong opinion or emotional photo, this could be the time to rally your troops. Use sparingly, otherwise it will be like crying wolf and will have negative effects.
  • You have a story to tell, get it out there. Make sure you sure you have options for people to share your blog posts or articles through other social media platforms. It lets your story grow outside of your own site and increases readership.
  • Your social media voice should be the voice of your company, not an employee. Define it and ride with it. If the person handling your social media ends up not working there anymore, it should not be obvious to your readers. If the ball is ever dropped, it should be able to easily and seamlessly be picked up by anyone on your team.
  • You can never take your online community for granted. You do not need to fawn over them, but you need to make sure to thank them and make them feel appreciated. They are an extension of you. Online and offline, you want them cheering on your side.

Are there any memorable sports quotes you find yourself bringing up at work? What other social media practices do you think people sometimes forget or should try to improve?

As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

Yes, practice.

Zero Dark Thirty: Step Away From Your Cell Phone

By: Dallas J. Short

The NBA Playoffs are back and I’m sure you are just as shocked as I am that my Philadelphia 76’ers somehow did not make the cut. While many are convinced this year’s champion will be from the Western Conference, that has not stopped one of the league’s best from continuing a tradition that has helped him #StriveForGreatness.

LeBron James is once again on his “Zero Dark Thirty” social shutdown. No phone, no Facebook (21.5 million), no Twitter (20.7 million), no Instagram (9.6 million), it’s radio silence from the 4-time MVP. He started this in 2012 postseason, one year after he and the Miami Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals. He says he only needs to talk to his family and his teammates. He’s locked in and focused on bringing the trophy home to Ohio.

Forbes.com has an article “30 Reasons to do a Digital Detox” and #19 “because it’s a challenge” is also one of the reasons LeBron gave. I’m sure King James’ bigger reason is to avoid distractions, trolls and negative comments, but who doesn’t love a good challenge every now and then.

Though I probably have as much chance of getting an NBA Championship ring as my Sixers do, I think a digital detox can be beneficial for anyone. That break free moment of ceremoniously throwing your phone into the ocean, taking a deep breath and inhaling the beauty of the world around you. At least, that’s how I picture it in my head. In reality, I make deals with myself. “I’ll only use my phone as an alarm clock.” “I’ll only reply to texts.” “I’ll just check it for e-mails.” “I’ll do it next weekend.” There always seems to be something that stops the disconnect. We focus on captioning the moment instead of capturing it. LeBron’s won back to back championships and continues to make the finals, so it’s definitely working for him. The super busy, super productive and super successful Arianna Huffington is also big on digital detoxes.

Here are a few other reasons Forbes listed on why to do a digital detox.

  • To give your brain a break from digital processing. Information overload is a serious issue. Recharging is healthy.
  • To see things clearly, make better decisions, and find a more productive way to do things when you return.
  • Once you switch off, time seems plentiful (compared to the version we tend to race against most days).
  • To have in-depth conversations that meander and make you think and bring up questions that aren’t answered by the Internet.
  • You’ll carve out space to think deeply, connect to yourself, and connect to the people around you.

So let’s do it this weekend. I’m in and up for the challenge.

Are you addicted to your smartphone and social media? Have you ever tried a digital detox?

As always, I welcome or comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

Bryan Price Takes on the Media

By: Gina Mason

Professional sports have changed in many ways over the last few decades. From instant-replays to pace-of-play and heads-up tacking rules, all aspects of pro sports are now under a microscope and aggressively dissected by their respective leagues, officials, media and the public. Thanks to the invention of fantasy sports and our tech-savvy culture, the way we consume and talk about sports in general has changed drastically. The media and the public now expect a lot more out of coaches and players than ever before and coaches especially are put in the hot seat all of the time and forced to provide reasoning for every decision that they make.

From my experience working with a professional baseball team, I have witnessed this firsthand and truly applaud the players and coaches (and the staff that media trains them) who have been able to maintain their composure and confidence in the spotlight. For those of you who don’t really know much about baseball, the media gets an incredible amount of access to the players and the coaches behind the scenes. There is usually a press conference before and after each game with the manager, reporters are allowed in the locker room before batting practice, allowed on the field during batting practice and back into the locker room after the game. From a media standpoint, this is fantastic and it at allows reporters to get a great deal of insight from the team and provide fans with the insider scoop that they crave. However, this constant access can also put a lot of pressure on the players and the coaches as they constantly have to be ready to face a media firestorm.

Last week, the media scrutiny became all too much for Cincinnati Reds manager, Bryan Price. During a pre-game interview, Price unleashed his welled up emotions on the media after a reporter wanted to know why All-Star catcher Devin Mesoraco was not with the team for a game in St. Louis. Price blurted out 77 “f-bombs” during the five-minute, 34-second expletive-filled tirade and he targeted the media for breaking a story about the catcher the night before. “I don’t know what the importance is for everyone to know if we have a player that’s not here,” Price said. “We don’t benefit at all from the other teams knowing we don’t have a player.”

Call it pent up frustration or a moment of insanity, Price went on questioning the way in which the media behaved and why they have to always know everything, “I don’t get why it’s got to be this way. Has it always been this way where we just tell f****** everybody everything? So every f****** opponent we have has to know exactly what we have. Which f****** relievers are available, which guys are here and which guys aren’t here, when they can play, and what they can do. It’s nobody’s f****** business. It’s certainly not the opponent’s business. We have to deal with this f****** b*******.I like to talk — and I have spoken as candidly as I can with you people, if that’s not good enough, I won’t say a f******thing. I’ll go, ‘yes sir, no sir.’ And I can do that. But f***, I’ve been as candid as I can f****** be about this team and our players, and we’ve got to deal with this s***, every f****** team that we f****** play has to know every f****** guy that’s here and what they can and can’t do? F*** me. It’s a f****** disgrace. I’m f****** sick of this s***. It’s f****** hard enough to f****** win here to have f****** every f****** opponent know exactly what the f*** we bring to the table every day. It’s f****** horse****. I don’t like it. It’s what I’m saying. To make it very clear, I don’t like the way that this s***’s going — at all. I don’t like it. I don’t think you guys need to know everything. And I certainly don’t think you need to see something and tweet it out there and make it a f****** world event. How the f*** do we benefit from them knowing we don’t have Devin Mesoraco? How do we benefit from that? They benefit from it. I just want to know how we benefit from these f****** people know we don’t have a player here. Can you answer that? How is that good for the Reds?

Price definitely struck out with his delivery and I am sure the Reds PR team stood there in horror witnessing a verbal car crash in slow motion. However, many are saying that despite his foul language, Price’s message was not that outlandish. The necessity of knowing everything at all times in real-time may be taking away from the game and is putting too much pressure on the players and coaches, not only in baseball but in all sports. While some feel that as a professional athlete or coach, you waive your right to privacy and must address your critics daily.

I tend to agree that the public doesn’t need to know every single thing that is going on with each and every player at all times and that he does have a point that it can somewhat take away from a team’s competitive edge. However, I will say that as a manager of a professional baseball team, addressing the media is part of his job and he is getting paid a lot of money to do so. I would highly suggest that he should consider a few more media training sessions after that fiasco.

What do you think of Price’s rant? Do you think it was justified?

To hear all five minutes of Price’s rant, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wROe2dzJDqY

As always, I welcome your like comments and if you what you read be social and share.