Sunday State of Mind: May 9th-May 15th

Photo: New Atlas

We were drowning in series-deciding games in the NBA Playoffs this weekend. Eliminations and game sevens were flying everywhere this week, and SSM is here for it.

Got started on Thursday night, Heat and 76ers
Joel Embiid came back but could not be Philly’s fixer
Jimmy Butler showed up, James Harden disappeared
Both teams said things after the game that were kinda weird

For the Memphis Grizzlies, Friday night was it
The Warriors are back to being the absolute shit
Klay and Steph were back up to their old splash brother ways
Going to the conference finals, hitting threes for days

Sunday was a big one, two game sevens on the slate
Bucks and the Celtics were the first game on our sports plate
This one was at The Garden, and Boston held their ground
With the win the Celtics, are now Miami bound

The finale of the weekend, Suns and the Mavs
Dallas is full of grown up cows, no more baby calves
A tough matchup awaits them, the Warriors are no joke
With Luka and J. Brunson, this team is far from broke

Sunday State of Mind: April 25th-May 1st

Photo: CNN

A jam-packed sports schedule lends itself to a few reminders here and there. That’s what SSM is for, you’re welcome.

The picking of the prospects, the NFL Draft
Fans getting new players finding out how their roster’s staffed
Draft grades make no sense, have to give these guys some time
To see if they’ll be good or bad, substandard or sublime

Round two NBA Playoffs are starting today
Eight teams left, four East four West, still able to play
Injuries aplenty, still plenty guys to see
Best time of the year NBA fans will all agree

Major League Baseball dropped the damn hammer
Threw out pitcher Trevor Bauer in the baseball slammer
A two year suspension, for some bad off field stuff
Search it at your own risk, it is pretty rough

Sunday State of Mind: April 18th-April 24th

Another week come and gone, another Sunday State of Mind.

An always touching tribute, a statue was revealed
This week in Oklahoma this one should have stayed concealed
Poor Baker Mayfield, guy can’t catch a break
If I were him that statue would have ended up in a lake

Big loss in Chicago, Eloy Jimenez
Out for up to two months, so the doctor says
Add another name to the White Sox injury list
Tough break for a good team, that bat will be missed

A happier baseball note, it’s Miguel Cabrera
Joined the 3k hit club, maybe the last in this era
Only 32 other players have reached that career mark
Miggy one of the greatest to do it at the ballpark

NBA playoffs are here, and some teams are in trouble
Raptors, Bulls, Nets and Nuggets are all on the bubble
Mavs and Jazz, Grizz and Wolves both sitting at 2-2
We get action everyday as the games continue

If you’ve ever read this blog, you know we love NASCAR
Driving for 500 miles but not going far
The most famous track in all of motor sports
The Talladega Speedway, running today of course

Sunday State of Mind: February 21st-February 27th

We’re in a thinner time in the sports schedule then we’d all like, but that won’t stop us from enjoying what we can and waxing poetic in this week’s Sunday State of Mind.

Bad faith negotiations in the MLB
The lockout continues, something you hate to see
The owners and the players are way too far apart
More and more looking like Opening Day late start

Moving to basketball, James Harden holy shit
First two games in Philly, seems like a real nice fit
Double double Friday, triple dub today
Joel Embiid’s new teammate certainly came to play

Some major scoring weekends in the association
Ja, Bam, Joel, Kyrie, numbers full of inflation
46, 36, 37, 38 are point totals we saw
Offensive performances leaving fans in awe

Georgetown Hoyas basketball, program’s a dumpster fire
For head coach Patrick Ewing this was a job that he desired
Eighteen straight losses, haven’t won since 2021
Two more games for the Hoyas and the season’s finally done

Sunday State of Mind: November 29th-December 5th

Photo: Wallup

Why isn’t the weekend five days, and the work week two days? Who knows, but we know this week’s SSM is now live.

Conference championship weekend in college football
Some teams show up, and others just fall
Utah, Bama, and Michigan were among the winners
The amount of football left keeps getting thinner and thinner

Our long national nightmare has ended, my friends
The Detroit Lions losing streak ends
A squeak out win over Minnesota
The Lions have now met their season win quota

Minshew mania, back and better than ever
Taking over Philly, Gardner’s new endeavor
A good start for him, but maybe hedge your bets
His first start and win was against the Jets

We’ve got a lockout in the MLB
Owners and players could not agree
On a new CBA, no baseball for now
Between the two sides, who will kowtow?

Best game of the season, in our opinion
OKC versus Memphis, and the Grizz went in
A record setting blowout, 73 point win
When you watch that game tape, where to even begin?

Who Wore it Best? 9-0

Photo: Dr. Odd

What a long, strange journey it’s been. We started all the way at 99, and have now arrived at our final edition of “Who Wore It Best?” Single digits can be tough, but we’re up for the challenge.

9 – Gordie Howe

Photo: Pinterest

I mean, “Mr. Hockey” has to make the list, right? Howe’s career spanned nearly 40 years, in which he won four Stanley Cups, six Hart Trophies, and appeared in the All-Star game 23 times.

Honorable Mentions: Ted Williams, Drew Brees, Bobby Hull, Mike Modano

8 – Kobe Bryant

Photo: Newsday

Maybe the closest we’ll ever get to MJ. We all know Kobe ended his career rocking 24, but he was great enough to take the eight cake. He spent his entire 20 year career with the Lakers, in which he won five NBA Championships, the 2008 MVP, and made 11 All-NBA First Teams.

Honorable Mentions: Joe Morgan, Carl Yastrzemski, Cal Ripken Jr., Yogi Berra, Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Alexander Ovechkin

7 – John Elway

The greatest player who was a doppelgΓ€nger of their team mascot. But that’s not the only reason Elway makes our list. He held the “couldn’t win the big one” tag his entire career, until he shut everyone up and won back-to-back Super Bowls his last two seasons in the NFL. Even if he wouldn’t have won the two Lombardis, Elway racked up an MVP, nine Pro Bowl selections, and passing title in 1993.

Honorable Mentions: Mickey Mantle, Phil Esposito

6 – Bill Russell

Photo: Photos.com

The man who ran out of fingers for all of his championship rings. Russell won five MVPs, was a four time rebounding champion, and a member of the NBA’s 25th, 35th, and 50th Anniversary Teams.

Honorable Mention: Stan Musial

5 – Albert Pujols

Photo: LA Times

We’ve shown our appreciation for The Machine on this blog before. Pujols’ first 11 years in St. Louis were enough to get the guy in the Hall of Fame. His time with the Angels and Dodgers, while not as great, hasn’t done anything to diminish that. His approximate career numbers have him as a .300 hitter, closing in on 700 home runs, and well over 3,000 hits.

Honorable Mentions: Joe DiMaggio, George Brett, Johnny Bench, Kevin Garnett, Donovan McNabb

4 – Lou Gherig

Next to Babe Ruth, Lou Gherig was the best player on the Yankees during their incredible run in the 20’s and 30’s. Gherig was a part of six World Series championships, was a two time MVP, and won the Triple Crown in 1934.

Honorable Mentions: Brett Favre, Adam Vinatieri, Bobby Orr

3 – Babe Ruth

Keeping it young and fresh with back to back 1920’s Yankees. This one’s a no doubter though; Shohei Ohtaini before Shohei Ohtani. At the plate, The Great Bambino hit 714 home runs, slugged .690, and ended his career with an 1.164 OPS. On the mound, The Colossus of Clout went 94-46, with a 2.28 ERA, and threw 107 complete games.

Honorable Mention: Allen Iverson

2 – Derek Jeter

Christ, enough with the Yankees already. Jeets is an easy choice in a not extremely tough field. The recent Hall of Fame inductee wrapped up an illustrious career with a very succinct five World Series rings, Gold Gloves, and Silver Slugger Awards, as well as 14 All-Star appearances.

Honorable Mention: David Akers, Brian Leetch

1 – Ozzie Smith

Photo: MLB

The best defensive shortstop of all time, and possibly best overall defender ever. Smith won 13 Gold Gloves in 19 seasons. Along the way, he was a part of the 1982 World Series Championship Cardinal team, made 15 All-Star games, and was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2002.

Honorable Mention: Warren Moon

0 – Russell Westbrook

A nice, easy choice to get us to the finish line; not a whole lot of competition at the zero spot. The 2017 MVP is a nine time All-Star, two time All-NBA First Teamer, and is essentially a walking triple double.

Honorable Mention: N/A

We made it, friends. All the way from 99 down to 0. We laughed, we cried, and made some friends along the way. This was a fun project to complete and remember some names that haven’t been brought up in a while. Hopefully this was as interesting to read as it was to write. Who knows what our next series will be…stay tuned.

A Tradition Unlike Any Other – NBA “City Edition” Jersey Analysis

Look at all those beauts.

A great start to the week for all of us uniform analysts out there. The NBA dropped their 2021-2022 “City Edition” jerseys on Monday. One of our favorite traditions around here is being completely uninformed fashion critics. As we did last season, we are here once again to provide commentary that no one asks for or needs.

Atlanta Hawks – pretty clean. Yellow sucks as a main color but the “Atlanta” font has a nice throwback feel.
Boston Celtics – these looks like a team whose uniform budget ran out of white thread to fill in the letters and numbers.
Brooklyn Nets – always a good idea to throw back to the Jason Kidd/Richard Jefferson/Kenyon Martin era. Turns out the Nets Big 3 in the early aughts might end up being better than their current Big 3.
Charlotte Hornets – if you are privy to migraines, don’t dig too deep into these bad boys.
Chicago Bulls – the throwback font on “Chicago” is cool, but the basic number font doesn’t pair well, be better Bulls.

Cleveland Cavaliers – at time of writing, the Cavs have yet to post about their City Edition jerseys; simply shocking that an organization so well run would miss something like this. If you really want to get an idea, go watch Hoosiers.

Dallas Mavericks – not a bad effort here. Just surprising that the player they chose to model is never healthy enough to wear any of their uniforms.
Denver Nuggets – not only are these fun, but educational! I liked that Denver incorporated the ABA ball, and had no idea before today that their old logo was a miner. Also, the rainbow/mountain look always plays for the Nuggets in the uniform game.

Detroit Pistons – aren’t these pretty much just…their normal uniforms with the colors flipped? Only redeeming quality here is a that hint of Grant Hill era green/turquoise on the shorts.

Golden State Warriors – same vibes as the Pistons here for me. These are basically jerseys we’ve seen before, with one saving grace: the “splash” feature is awesome.
Houston Rockets – these are slick. I always liked the Barkley/Pippen/early Yoa Ming era Rockets jerseys, and it’s a nice touch incorporating that with their current logo on the shorts without it looking dumb.
Indiana Pacers – my answer to the above tweet? That these are only temporary.
Los Angeles Clippers – wowzers these are clean. Nothing crazy, crisp letter & number font, great shade of baby blue. Not many wins for the Clips so far this year, but this is one.
Los Angeles Lakers – “lost” is an appropriate word the Lakers used in the above tweet. I get what they were going for here, but I think it’s a miss. If you’re one of the most storied franchises in NBA history and you City Edition jersey looks like the Charlotte Hornets Starter pullover jacket we all had in the 90’s, you missed.
Memphis Grizzlies – anytime you have the opportunity to lean into some of the greatest uniforms of all time, you need to take it. Opportunity squandered.

Miami Heat – year in and year out, the Heat are at the top of any type of alternate uniform list, and nothing changes here. The ability to pull off all of the neon blues, pinks, etc. puts them at an unfair advantage. Excellent as usual.

Milwaukee Bucks – kind of cool, I guess. The side panel with all of the greens and purple works, but another weird letter/number font combo.
Minnesota Timberwolves – Kevin Garnett would be proud, and so am I. Nice and easy look, the accent trees on the belt and shorts, with the throwback font as a cherry on top.
New Orleans Pelicans – looks like the Pelicans and Pistons share the same design team. This is just their normal jerseys, right?
Oklahoma City Thunder – “Welcome to Create a Team on NBA2K22, this is the first screen where you start designing your team’s uniforms!”
Orlando Magic – one of life’s most intriguing questions; what is with the Orlando Magic’s infatuation with the color orange?

Philadelphia 76ers – nice 70’s ABA vibe here. The multi-colored side panel gives off a little Nuggets/rainbow feature as well.

Phoenix Suns – the Suns haven’t posted about their City Edition jerseys at time of writing. But, it doesn’t appear they changed anything from last year. Those were perfect, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Portland Trailblazers – not a huge stray away from their normal threads, but this still plays. How about the argyle-ish side panel, when was the last time we saw that on an NBA uniform?

Sacramento Kings – the lion logo is above par, the rest is fine. I’m going to use my joke from last year’s review (because it was so hilarious), I can see thousands of bros at Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza rocking these bad boys solely because is has β€œsac” on it, which is approval enough for me.

San Antonio Spurs – all in on these. Bright colors really work when teams try to think outside of the box on uniforms, and the Spurs’ color history works perfect for this.

Toronto Raptors – the Raptors kind of have a Magic/orange obsession with gold; very random. But you have to give some points here for the old school logo. A dinosaur dribbling a basketball, how absurd.

Utah Jazz – no social media post, and based on the picture above it doesn’t look like the Jazz put too much effort into their City Edition jerseys this year, sad!

Washington Wizards – ending with a winner here. Fairly basic design, love the font from the Washington B*llets days. Well done in our nation’s capital.

Another year, another mediocre City Edition jersey review. This is a fun thing the NBA does every year, and while I’m sure they love the conversation and extra dollars that come with it, the misses are almost always as good as the hits.

An Ode to Joakim Noah

Photo: NBA.com

Joakim Noah, the Bulls newest ambassador and one of the NBA’s most interesting men on and off the court, will be properly honored Thursday night in Chicago. The son of a professional tennis player and Miss Universe contestant will get his due at The United Center for his efforts and contributions during his 13 years in the NBA. The Knicks come to town to play the Bulls in a matchup of two of Noah’s former teams for “Joakim Noah Night.”

The Bulls put together a great (long) thank you video outlining what Noah meant during and after his time with the organization.

For anyone who appreciated the Noah/Rose/Boozer/Thibodeau era of Chicago basketball, this whole week has been a nostalgic blur. The Bulls Twitter account has been full of content and pictures that will bring any fan back to an incredible time.

Here at UDS, we would like to join the party in heaping praise on Joakim. Some of his greatest career highlights (in our opinion) are below.

Draft Day

One of the GOAT pictures in NBA, if not all of history.

Where do we even start?

Every single aspect of this picture brings joy. The tan pinstripe suit, the draft day hat barely containing the glorious hair, the gap-toothed infectious smile, the oversized bow tie.

The overall complete contrast next to David Stern makes Noah’s draft day picture one of the greatest of all time.

It’s so perfect.

Photo: Pinterest

Too Lit

After his time in Chicago, Noah signed with the Knicks in 2016.

An unfortunately unsuccessful tenure that only lasted three injury-filled seasons.

In an interview with Chris Vernon, Noah admitted: β€œI can look back at it and say I was ready for New York City…[b]ut I wasn’t. Not just the pressure. I remember after the first game I had 60 people in my house. I’m too lit to play in New York City.”

The blunt honesty is something so rare we get as fans, and Noah should be applauded for being so sincere on such a public failure.

Photo: Celebs First

Celebrations

That guy on the left looks like someone who loves to celebrate, no?

Joakim always showed his emotions, and was never scared to acknowledge a dunk, basket, or defensive play.

From his college days at Florida, to random intramural soccer matches, Noah is here to enjoy his time.

We miss him, and we love him for it.

Photo: Pixels

So Jo, Sticks, Mr. Noah, Stickity, and any other loving name we can use, thank you. Your energy, openness, and general vibe made you one of the most entertaining players the NBA has had in its history.

Steal and Score: 18 NBA Players Caught In Healthcare Scam

Photo: 1000 Logos

Eighteen former NBA players were charged and brought into custody Thursday after authorities discovered an insurance fraud plan aimed at the league’s Health and Welfare Benefit Plan.

The charges allege that the group of retired players attempted to defraud the plan of approximately $4 million dollars in awards. The plan allegedly involved submitting fake invoices for medical services or equipment needed by players after their service in the NBA had ended.

Pretty serious shit. The list of all 18 players can be found in the link above. The three biggest names in the list of fraudsters was Tony Allen, Glen “Big Baby” Davis, and Darius Miles. Allen played 14 seasons between the Celtics, Grizzlies, and Pelicans. Davis was in the league for nine years with the Celtics, Magic, and Clippers. Miles was an eight year veteran with the Clippers, Cavs, Trail Blazers, and Grizzlies.

This had to have been the biggest steal in all three of these guys’ careers, right? According to basketball reference, Allen averaged 1.4 steals/game in his career, Davis 0.7, and Miles a shade under a full steal per game at 0.9.

No individual stats were immediately available on how much each of these three received from the scam before being caught. But, if we’re going by pre-retirement compared to post-retirement careers, all three are right around their playing days’ stealing average.

After today, all three of their post-retirement numbers sit at 1.0 steals/retirement. Compared to their on court careers, Allen dips a bit, but marked improvement by both David and Miles.

You often hear that even though professional athletes bodies may break down during their playing careers, their competitive drives never leave. Props to these three for continuing working on their stealing ability post-career.

Who Wore it Best? 99-90

Photo: Dr. Odd

We’re kicking off a new series; and we’re going by the numbers. This countdown is dedicated to the best players of all-time by each jersey number. No concrete formula here, just career stats, impact on the game, and some good old fashion opinion. Let’s hop right in.

99 – Wayne Gretzky

Photo: LA Biz

He’s called “The Great One” for a reason. Hard to pick a favorite stat to demonstrate Gretzky’s dominance, but one of my favorites is that if he never scored a goal, he still would have had 11 straight 100-point seasons and won four scoring titles.

Honorable Mentions: Manny Ramirez, George Mikan, Warren Sapp

98 – Casey Hampton

Not a widely popular number, so not our largest name on the list. Appropriately nicknamed “Big Snacks,” Hampton made five Pro Bowls as the Steelers nose tackle in the early aughts.

Honorable Mentions: Jason Collins

97 – Jeremy Roenick

Maybe not the best guy, but a pretty good hockey player. The eighth overall pick in the 1988 NHL draft scored 1,216 points in 1,363 games played.

Honorable Mentions: Bryant Young, Cam Heyward

96 – Cortez Kennedy

Kennedy recorded 58 sacks in his 11 seasons for the Seahawks. He recorded 569 tackles and 11 forced fumbles.

Honorable Mentions: Metta World Peace, Tomas Holmstrom

95 – Richard Dent

A bonafide Hall of Famer who was a part of one of the greatest defenses of all time, the ’85 Bears. What more can you ask for?

Honorable Mentions: N/A

94 – Charles Haley

The defensive centerpiece of two all-time franchises in the Cowboys and 49ers.

Honorable Mention: Demarcus Ware

93 – John Randle

Anyone who goes undrafted in their respective sport and go on to become a Hall of Famer is good enough for this list. Randle made seven Pro Bowls and was a six time first team All-Pro selection en route to Canton.

Honorable Mentions: Pat Neshak, Metta World Peace

92 – Reggie White

Photo: Quotes Gram

“The Minister of Defense” was one of the greatest free agent signings of all time, when he left the Philadelphia Eagles in 1992 and signed with the Green Bay Packers. He finished his career with 198 sacks, two NFL defensive player of the year awards, and a Super Bowl ring.

Honorable Mentions: DeShawn Stevenson, Gabriel Landeskog

91 – Dennis Rodman

An obvious answer for a surprisingly strong number. But Rodman’s five rings, seven NBA All-Defensive first selections, and nearly 12,000 career rebounds puts him on our list.

Honorable Mentions: Kevin Greene, Sergei Fedorov

90 – Ndamukong Suh

Suh has had a late-career number change to 93, but he donned 90 early in his career for the Lions when he was arguable at his best. During his time rocking the big 9-0, Suh was the NFL Rookie of the Year, made four Pro Bowls, and was a three time NFL First Team All-Pro.

Honorable Mention: Ryan O’Reilly

High numbers, a lot of hockey players and defensive lineman, to be expected. Will we have some different sports and positions represented in our next set of jersey numbers, 89-80? Only time will tell.