Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Top 10 NBA players as of current

The NBA is currently in a lockout, prompting ESPN to run a top 100 list of players. Myself and most of my friends were outraged at the list as it was flawed even by the casual NBA fan's standards. One of my friends (and NBA enthusiast) Jesef Williams, constructed his own list less than 24 hours later. After a long weekend where my other friend, Rashad, got married and I was feeling tired, I've compiled my own list. For those that know Jesef, the list consists of the same players, just in a different order.

1. LeBron James

Yes he doesn't have a championship ring yet, and he is not a clutch player in crunch time (like Peyton Manning and John Elway both were before they finally won championships). However, he is hands down the best athlete in the game, and makes his teammates around him better. He can score, play above average defense, and he has his own unique game. He has already been to two NBA Finals. He will not be denied a ring forever.

2. Dirk Nowitzki

It's hard to ignore arguably the best all around big man in the game right now who can hit the 3, gets his teammates involved and finally got a championship of his own, beating LeBron's Heat. The Mavs contend every year for one simple reason: Dirk. An awesome player and defender that's soo hard to contain.

3. Dwight Howard

Superman has to make the top 3. He's a great big man far as blocks and rebounds, and being a game changer. Like LeBron, his legacy will be incomplete without a ring. However, like Dirk, he is so dominant and hard to contain. Dirk's jump shot and championship ring, puts him above Howard though.

4. Kobe Bryant

Although he's aging and has dropped off a little, he's still a dominant player, and the person you want having the ball in the closing minutes with the game on the line. He's the most accomplished player on this list, from scoring to defense to even championships (appeared in 7, won 5). Say what you will about his character, but his legacy, ability, and game play are not issues.

5. Chris Paul.

CP3 is easily the best PG in the game right now. He's never seen the NBA finals, but his fortitude and beastly statistics assure he can get there with the right teammates around him. He can score, steal, dish the ball off to set the offense,and his rebounding and foul shots aren't bad.

6. Derrick Rose

Many folks, including Jesef, would flip flop D Rose and CP3. Derrick Rose is phenomenal, and has a great team around him. He has resurrected Chicago, a team long down since Jordan's departure. However, he is not as polished, nor does he have the ability and experience of Paul. He cannot be dismissed though as a prime time player.

7. Kevin Durant

Another awesome player, best swingman in the game. He scores, hits the 3, and with PG Russell Westbrook, have given the Thunder quite a reputation. No one wants to face KD35 or OKC in the NBA playoffs. This team, of which Durant is the centerpiece, is only a couple of playmakers away from being like the Mavs, Heat, or Bulls

8. Dwayne Wade

I realize he is ranked low, especially for someone who has an NBA ring (albeit earned when Shaq was with the Heat). However, he is top 10 worthy because of his skills, and his ability to gell with a superteam in just 1 season. He has flaws in his game, such as his shooting, that keeps him from being ranked higher.

9. Carmelo Anthony

I'm biased in this choice being a Knicks fan. Melo is awesome and can drop 25-30 points on a given night. However, he is not multi-dimensional, and doesn't play a lot of defense. He has also proven that is almost useless without a healthy, dominant big man.

10.(tie) Deron Williams and Amare Stoudemare

One player is a PG that's only a 2nd tier compared to CP3 and D. Rose, another is a NY Knick who is dominant and makes his teammates better. Both players, however, haven't been anywhere near the finals. They are great at their position, including Stoudemare, who can play either C or PF with ease like Dirk. Stoudemare may get a slighter edge because he's more dominant and has more talented teammates, while Williams is more explosive.

I wish the NBA season would start already, so we can see how good these guys really do!
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pizza Inn: Another one bites the dust

It seems Pizza Inn restaurants everywhere have been closing. I remember when the one in Rock Hill closed years ago. And today, the one in Gaffney that I mentioned in my very first blog, closed its doors today.

Now there are still at least 5 Pizza Inn franchises within driving distance that are still open. However, the one in Gaffney had character, history, and some of the best all around cuisine around!

My mom once told me she first took me as only a toddler. I didn't really remember going until I went on a high school field trip and ate there. Years later when I lived in Rock Hill, I got attracted to the Pizza Inn in Rock Hill. I would sometimes eat there twice/week. When I started working in Gaffney around 2003, I didn't start eating there much. But then I started eating there once or twice per month.

Many folks don't realize what made the Pizza Inn in Gaffney special. It was more than the dessert pizzas, especially that chocolate chip and Oreo pizza, or even the salad bar and the wide variety of regular pizzas. The Gaffney Pizza Inn was one of the last restaurants anywhere to brew their delicious sweet tea fresh and the old fashioned way. Many restaurants now use machines, which are very effective, but do not give you the same taste.

I've heard Pizza Inn closed for financial reasons. Makes me believe someone was misappropriating funds because that place was always packed, especially whenever Gaffney High was having Homecoming. It was soo packed then they had police on duty and you had to pay in advance to dine, rather than at the register.

I can remember those larger corner tables, seeing most of my co-workers, classmates, etc in there. It was easily one of the best buffets in all of Gaffney. I'm soo sad over this loss.

I felt very similar when Ryans and Shoneys restaurants began closing. Although the Gaffney location was separate from the corporate realm, it has suffered the same fate as many others. And this was a complete shock to nearly everyone.

The economy is awful right now, and this is an obvious by-product. Although I don't eat buffets often, I did indulge at Pizza Inn frequently. I will go and visit one of the other locations in the near future.

It's sad to see Pizza Inn go, almost like a dear friend. I only hope Papa Johns doesn't close again.
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Monday, October 10, 2011

Cheap v. Economically Sound: More Tips on Spending and Saving Wisely

Ok after a week off from blogging, slight burnout, and being under the weather, I'm back and talking about one of my favorite subjects: saving money.

Now I'm no Dave Ramsey, but I am becoming adept at saving money, and I learned years ago how to make a dollar out of 15 cents. Therefore, that's why I refer to myself as the "Economically Sound Brotha" . I don't consider myself cheap, which is what many consider me. I buy nice things, but in moderation and in timely fashion. Here are some examples of the differences between being economically sound and just cheap.

Cheap: Only buying shoes when your good ones are all worn down.
Economically Sound: Buying a good pair of shoes when they're on sale, or during holidays, birthdays, or tax season

Cheap: Never eating out and/or always eating mac n cheese and Ramen Noodles
Economically Sound: Using coupons, Living Social specials, and other restaurant specials and offers and eating then

Cheap: Taping movies onto DVD from your DVR to avoid paying the full price (or even burning the DVD)

Economically Sound: Buying movies when Wal-Mart marks them down, joining Columbia House to get several movies for cheap, or taking advantage of the thousands of movie stores closing nationwide

Cheap: Buying everything generic. You don't have to be brand loyal to understand that for certain sproducts, only the name brand can do the job

Economically Sound: Knowing which brands are effective but affordable. For example, Claritin v Zyrtec, Wal-Mart Dickies v. Belk Dickies (they're the same, trust me)

Cheap: Holding onto your 2006 Razr phone because you don't care for another phone or don't wanna pay for it.

Economically Sound: Waiting until the hottest phone has been out for a while, and bundle the discount with your rebate. One can earn a top notch phone at an affordable price.

Cheap: Trying to do car or home maintenance yourself when you're not much of an expert on either

Economically Sound: Going to a mom and pop repair shop, or paying a trusted friend or family member who's good at repairs and maintenance

Cheap: Going road tripping for your vacation week

Economically Sound: Saving a few bucks out of each check for a year, plus any extra money or windfalls, to have a real, top-notch vacation

Okay I hope you all get the point now. Yours truly does spend his money, just wisely. You can't take it with you when you die, but you should understand how to handle it while you're alive.
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