Category Archives: sports

THE 16th MAN!

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ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary series is one of the best sports programming on TV since the YES network(NY Yankees Channel). This week was no different with the film, “The 16th Man” directed by Clifford Bestall & narrated by the one and only, Morgan Freeman! South Africa has been laced with the framework of apartheid for 50 years. It wasn’t until 1994 that the firm grasp of Apartheid finally collapsed under the spirited & persistent leadership of their President, Nelson Mandela. Can you believe the leadership of the Afrikaner’s (Whites) under Apartheid reign for these 50 years summoned laws for the blacks without their vote or voice in the matter? The blacks out numbered the whites in South Africa 6 to 1. Enforced segregation is so blatantly ignorant & shows such a tremendous insecurity with the groups that are trying to dictate it. I still can’t fathom that my country with the red,white,& blue encouraged slavery, & segregation not too long ago in our relatively young history. Black South Africans have endured a lot in those 50 years of segregation from being discriminated against in their own native country while grossly outnumbering their supposed Afrikan counterparts. To add insult to injury, the blacks did not have a vote or a voice. Sad to say, but that sounds quite familiar.

But, how does this film relate to ESPN & sports you say? “The 16th Man” was in reference to rugby & the 15 players in the game + one dynamic influence, Nelson Mandela = 16 players. You see, rugby in South Africa was king. The local professional team, the Springbok’s were idolized by the whites. Rugby was outlawed for the blacks & the colored under apartheid reign so of course the non-whites despised the sport. Rugby symbolized discrimination & segregation under Afrikaner rule. Blacks were treated worse than 2nd class citizens in their own native country in Africa, nonetheless! When the New Zealand team played the Springbok’s, the blacks cheered secretly for the New Zealand team. The South African team got their ass handed to them on a “barbie” that day! The New Zealand team which ironically were named the “All Blacks” beat the all white team to a bloody pulp, literally! The tide of the water started to flow a bit differently when Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison in 1990. Mandela helped South Africa transition to a democratic nation as he took the bullhorns as President of his country in 1994. The South African blacks were slowly trying to heal & regenerate themselves from the years of anger & frustration from being mistreated. There were still obvious separations with the whites & blacks in this nation, especially with mindsets. In 1995, Nelson Mandela took the opportunity to make rugby as the vehicle to unite his country of all colors & races in the Rugby World Cup which was hosted in his divided but recovering nation of South Africa. The underdog Springbok’s had made it to the last dance with New Zealand’s “All Black team” for the finale! The journey to the final game vs New Zealand was not an easy feat. The semifinals vs France proved to be a great obstacle because of weather. The game was almost canceled because of torrential rain & if this was the case, France would of won by default because of the total points won in the tournament. However, with divine intervention in mind for South Africa’s sake, the skies started to clear & the rain started to subside. The game was finally played as the Springbok’s shocked France by beating them down with a baguette of hard play! They were one game away from glory vs the “All Black’s” of New Zealand. The Championship game in Johannesburg generated electricity like this country has never seen. The stadium was full of color, mostly in black & white with the South African flag wailing in the wind! This was a game & day that the people of South Africa stood side by side together no matter race nor color to cheer their new country on! Before the game started, Nelson Mandela made a surprise & uplifting appearance in his Springbok uniform to greet the players & shake their hands to wish them luck. Two national anthems were played to honor South Africa before the slugfest began! In the movie, a few Springbok players said they had to bite their lips to prevent a few strands of tears from flowing when Nelson Mandela came out to meet them & then again when the anthem was unleashed! It was a touching & unprecedented moment for South Africa! To make a long fought game short, the Springbok’s were victorious as they took home the title of being the Rugby World Cup Champions! More importantly, the interaction between the whites, colored, & blacks under one nation, under one stadium with one goal in mind to will their countrymen to victory sparked a transformation in their everyday mindsets for the good! Nelson Mandela had envisioned to unite all the South African’s together in peace & to create a new beginning for their country! Mandela’s peace making efforts utilized a sporting event instead of politics to help change the karma of their torn up nation. Mandela’s message was well taken. Why fight each other, black, white, or green? Let’s learn & respect each others culture & unite our forces to make a happy & sustainable South Africa! We cannot change the past, but let’s heal the wounds, & try to learn from the mistakes. I really enjoyed watching “The 16th Man” as this serves as a reminder that humanity can be cruel but we must be courageous & persistent to fight for our rights as a human or a martian for that matter. We should all strive to be more color blind in this galaxy in general, but not in respects to traffic signals of course! Big props for ESPN for promoting these thought provoking films! Words for thought, professional sports are usually color blind in terms of players at least because the ultimate goal is winning. We are fairly certain that if you have exceptional talent in your professed choice of sport, owners nor coaches would care less if you have a greenish hue or 2 heads & 3 eyes for that matter.

–Mr. C

Motorcycle Show in NYC

The annual motorcycle show in NYC’s Jacob Javitz Convention Center on 1/23/10 hosted by Cycle World had a great turnout this year! There was an awesome display of crotch rockets, cruisers, custom choppers, & vintage harleys. The graphics, artwork, & paint jobs on some of these beasts were off the chain! My favorites include the bikes designed by New York’s own, the great Indian Larry(RIP) from Gasoline Alley in BK especially the bike with the twisted chain frame! Indian Larry’s vision of bike fabricating always incorporated the 1960’s style in mind with the smaller gas tanks, high handlebars, no front fenders, no front brakes, & high rake is always a classy look in my opinion. My 2nd favorite were the bikes that were designed by Confederate Motorcycles! The Confederate bikes looked like modern style streetfighters with a badass stance designed from another galaxy far…far away! Hey, that sounds like a description of Planet Chocko!! hehehehe!
–Mr. C

NEW JERSEY NETS!

Woe is me…the NJ Nets got slaughtered like a lamb last night against the Boston Celtics. I keep telling myself they have good players with lots of upside in them with horses like Devon Harris, Brook Lopez, Yi, Chris Douglas Roberts, & Courtney Lee, but I’m beginning to lose firepower defending them. The Nets record to date is 3-35. Though, the NJ Net Dancers haven’t lost a beat! As “Debarge” said…”Feel the beat of the rhythm of the night, dance until the morning light, Forget about the worries on your mind you can leave them all behind…”
–Mr. C

Yankees & Rocco Baldelli?!

The Yankees are still in the hunt for a left fielder! We pretty much know a thumper type, high salary tenured left fielder is out of the question now, but what about taking the chance on Rocco Baldelli? He has power, great speed on the bases, & plays a savvy outfield, but his caveat is being injury prone in the past. Baldelli signed a $500K contract last season with the Red Sox so the Yanks can sign him with similiar numbers & still probably have enough to sign Jerry Hairston,Jr . With the platooning of Hairston, Baldelli, & Gardner, this trio would seem to make a decent 8th or 9th option in the lineup with speed all around. Maybe, the off season training & the reflection of times has made Rocco Baldelli into a more hardy player. I’m just trying to be optimistic here, kids! Personally, I hope Brett Gardner gets a chance to start in left field indefinitely until he shows signs of struggling at the plate. I think Brett Gardner’s hard nose, get your uniform dirty, formula 1 – style of play would add another dimension to the Bronx that other teams would have to contend with.
Spring Training in little more than a month, folks!
–Mr. C

Gang Green!

The NY Jets entered a dance of playoffs that they weren’t supposed to be in! Now, these unwanted mofos are crashing the party in an ugly dress! The Jet’s don’t have anything to lose & are playing like a loose goose ready to lift off like a swift Hawk to elude the lightning from the Chargers! Can the Gang Green clan fit those slippers on to play the role of a hideous looking cinderella? I might be eating my words in less than a week, but I’m feeling sky high right about now! J E T S…Jets Jets Jets!
–Mr. C

Nick Johnson to the Yankees?!

Heard some rumblings last night that the New York Yankees are close to signing a 1 year deal with their former prospect & Yankee hand, Nick Johnson. I was a big proponent of Nick Johnson when he was coming up through the ranks in the minors with the Yankees playing for the Columbus Clippers, but being injury prone was the major ‘achilles heal’ (no pun intended) of Nick’s career up to this point. Nick really reminded me of Don Mattingly with his style of play both defensively & his batting style. Even Donny baseball made the comment that Nick J has the makings of being a batting champion if he can remain healthy. Johnson also has great baseball chromosomes in his family with his uncle being Larry Bowa. NJ was supposed to be the heir to Tino Martinez but Jason Giambino soon took that role if you can remember or forget, I should say. What Nick presents to the Yankees at this current time is great on base percentage, a familiarity in donning pinstripes, & being a crafty hitter that sprays his hits to all fields. Wouldn’t Johnson make a great 2nd hole hitter behind Jeter? With the on base percentages of Jeter,Johnson, & Nick Swisher, TEX & Arod would have a field day with RBI’s! Nobody can ever replace the man from Japan in the clutch as Matsui, but Nick Johnson sure does make it sound interesting on paper. Now, let’s hope Nick Johnson doesn’t sneeze the wrong way or else, he might crack a few ribs & call it a career!
–pcimprezz

Paulie "the magic man" Malignaggi vs Juan "the baby bull" Diaz in CHITOWN on 12/12/09

pic taken @ the Miguel Cotto-Manny Pacquiao showdown @ Yankee stadium

Paulie Malignaggi @ the Miguel Cotto-Manny Pacquiao showdown @ Yankee stadium


Planet Brooklyn’s own, Paulie “The Magic man” Malignaggi successfully revenged his JR Welterweight bout (140lbs) against Juan “the baby bull” Diaz in ChiTown on 12/12/09 by unanimous decision. The 1st fight in August between these 2 combatants led to a controversial win going to the Baby Bull. This sequel on 12/12 was well worth the wait as the contrast of styles could not of been any more entertaining. These two pugilist exemplified one style of the nitty gritty-well adapting concrete jungle of NYC, all about speed, clowning, & showboating at it’s finest versus the no non-sense baby bull charge aggression akin to the mexican aztec warrior. Juan Diaz was 35-2(17ko’s) before the fight with his most notable loss to Juan Manuel Marquez & his most recent loss to Madeina, which was stopped because of the severe beating Baby Bull took witnessed by his ballooned face. Paulie Malignaggi was 26-3(5 ko’s) before the fight. Paulie’s losses came by the hands of the Baby Bull, Ricky Hatton, & Miguel Cotto. Despite his losses, the magic man looked very relaxed & confident throughout this fight in ChiTown & his lyrical footwork of freestyle magnifications were the manifestations of a different Paulie at peace with a new trainer. Buddy Mcgirt & the Magic Man departed ways a few fights before, as Paulie believed his real flow in fighting relied on all footwork & speed as opposed to being sly & flat footed. Paulie showed great speed, rhythm, & flow as well as keeping good distance from the bull charger. The Magic Man did try to rumble with the Baby bull a few times but those exchanges were short lived as Diaz usually excelled at that range. Juan Diaz was cut from a blow by the magic man in the 2nd round. Paulie showed glimpses of doing ‘mano y mano’ a few more times, but that strategy was to try & lure Diaz in. Paulie’s confidence seemed steady & streamlined for the whole fight as his footwork, speed, & distance was just too much for the mexican american. Malignaggi even ‘shook’ Diaz with a right cross @ the end of the 6th round, but was unable to finish him because Pauli was too busy showboating & acting silly. Perhaps, Paulie did not know how to ‘finish’ him as that seems to be unchartered grounds coming from a fighter with only 5 KO wins in his history. In round 10, Malignaggi scored a knockdown over Diaz, but after instant replay, the knockdown looked more like a slip & being a “Mr. Magoo” which of course scored a 10-8 round for the Brooklyn magic man. Nevertheless, the win was fairly an easy one for the Magic Man! Who’s next for Paulie? Who knows? The magic man wants revenge against Ricky Hatton or maybe a rumble with Juan Manuel Marquez. Either of these ‘fist a cuff’ warriors, would be real entertaining as Malignaggi seems to always bring his showboating ‘A’ game on stage!
–pcimprezz
Paulie @ the Miguel Cotto-Manny Pacquiao showdown @ yankee stadium (pic by pcimprezz)

The Magic Man @ the Miguel Cotto-Manny Pacquiao showdown @ yankee stadium (pics by pcimprezz)

Amir Khan beats Dmitriy Salita to defend WBA-Light Welterweight Title

Not a post that I was looking forward to writing, but Amir Khan (21-1 before the fight) defending WBA-Light Welterweight champion beats our local NYC hero of the Planet Brooklyn galaxy, Dmitriy Salita (30-0-1 before) in 76 seconds. Amir Khan came out with a thunderous right cross that stunned & knocked down Salita in the 1st 10 seconds of the fight & he never recovered. Salita went down 3 times in 76 seconds that resulted in the referee putting a halt to the fight. Salita’s 1st title shot went unsuccessful as his 1st loss shocked us all. Guess who was the trainer for Amir Khan?….Freddie Roach. The true heart of a boxer will be revealed with the fight after a devastating loss. We hope Dmitriy can recover & continue on with a successful career. I’ve been following Dmitriy & his story for a few years now evidenced by my article on his “Orthodox Stance” documentary @ https://planetchocko.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/orthodox-stance-documentary . Dmitriy has been a gracious competitor & seems to have a gentle heart with a killer instinct in the ring. All these combinations make for a great story & we hope there is a “to be continued” segment. See below for a youtube video of the fight courtesy of “Rhinostampedes” –pcimprezz

Orthodox Stance Documentary

This is my 2nd time watching “Orthodox Stance” , a boxing documentary following the trials & tribulations of an orthodox jew named Dmitriy Salita. Salita is a throwback boxer-jew from the crown heights section of Brooklyn-NYC originally from the Ukraine.  Amongst the city & hip hop elements of Crown Heights – Brooklyn, Salita practices Judaism & does not fight on the Sabbath or Jewish Holidays. He is a very soft spoken young man with religious beliefs of the orthodox way of Chabad. Despite, the quiet ways & calm waves of this young man, Salita has a roaring fire burning inside of him when he steps into the ring. Salita is not a devastating knockout specimen, but a definite throwback boxer with relentless proportions armed with speed & great timing.  Salita often enters the ring being serenated with the energy & sounds of reggae performer of judaism proportions, ‘Matisyahu’. Salita is also a New York Golden Gloves champion to boot.  He trained in the legendary Starrett City boxing club @ the age of 13 under the tutelage of the great Jimmy O, amongst Salita’s training mates  includes Zab Judah & Luis Collazo.  Due to an aging Jimmy O, Oscar Suarez took the reigns in training Salita.  In the documentary, check out a brief cameo of a young Miguel Cotto & an already boisterous Floyd Mayweather. Dmitriy is currently 30-0-1 with a scheduled bout against Amir Khan on Dec.5th,2009. Represent NYC boxing & get a copy of “Orthodox Stance”, its a knockout or at least a TKO, anyway!

Harlem Hellfighters documentary

I finally had a chance to catch up on some movies on my hit list & watched a really entertaining sport documentary. “Harlem Hellfighters” was about a High School football team based in Harlem, NYC which is run under a program hosted by the NFL. Head coach Duke Fergerson stepped up to the plate to take the challenge of teaching & being a mentor to these young kids in NYC. Coach Duke played in the NFL as a wide receiver for 4 or 5 seasons with the Seahawks & the Bills. He was very passionate about being the “foster parent/coach” for the Harlem Hellfighters who’s main purpose in his mind was to prepare these city kids for the next step up in adulthood, to make the right decisions, & to use football as a catalyst to go to college. The Harlem Hellfighters is a NYC based high school football team which ANYBODY that is going to High School in New York that does NOT have a football team in their own high school can try out for. Of course, the documentary shows a lot of bumps, flaws, & downfalls of the protaganists in the film, mostly pointing to the head coach. Coach Duke should be commended in his efforts in being a role model to these kids on his team, but there were a few instances in the film that made you scratch your head. One was for the ‘no mercy’ attitude of blowing out a team from the South Bronx. His excuse was that he lets his players call all the plays on the field despite them already blowing out the other team. This excuse was appalling! Players might call their own plays, but the coach should set the mood & has the final say with any doings on the field. Bad bad sportsmanship! The 2nd downfall seemed to be a lack of organization & planning of his own team. The NFL brasses who ran the high school program had to consul the coach a few times. The third & most critical seemed to point to the lack of communications between his players and himself. The coach seemed ‘out of touch’ with his players & did not seem to make himself available in terms of being human. The movie also portrayed the coach doing a horrendous job in judging talent on his team, almost giving his players false hope for some of the seniors playing in Division 1 colleges when in reality their football skills were marginal at best. All in all, Coach Duke had good intentions to uplift these kids to another level with the catalyst being football. If anything, this football program gives the kids another vehicle to ride out to better pastures. If you get a chance, watch the ‘Harlem Hellfighters’ documentary!