Sunday State of Mind: December 6th-December 12th

Photo: SteemKR

We are in full blown holiday season, and the gift of sports keeps on giving. We recap the past seven days of presents in this week’s SSM.

NFL afternoon slate, full of overtime
Bucs and Bills, Niners and Bengals, teams all in their prime
San Francisco, Tampa Bay, both teams with the dubs
All four teams might make the playoffs, none of them are scrubs

Another great week in Jacksonville
For Urban Meyer, dude is not chill
He called his staff losers, things not going well
Looking to move to Florida? Urban may be ready to sell

Big COVID outbreak for the Chicago Bulls
Nine players in quarantine, protocol list is full
Hard to keep momentum going with a thing like this
Hopefully all get well soon or Bulls fans will be pissed

7 Uses for the Next Life of the “Staples Center” Sign

Photo: @LegionHoops on Twitter

A sad day for Lakers, Clippers, Sparks, and Kings fans.

On Monday, pictures surfaced of the famous red blocked “Staples Center” signage being removed from the arena in Los Angeles. The de-signing took place after it was announced the venue would undergo a name change to Crypto.com Arena, with an official name change marked for Christmas Day.

We’re talking Hollywood here, land of entertainment and retreads. So, there has to be some kind of creative venture for these now-homeless letters to stick around LA, right?

What kind of next life could be in store for our old friends S-T-A-P-L-E-S-C-E-N-T-E-R?

Escapees

Escape rooms have really come on in popularity in the past few years. If you’re looking to get into the industry, what better way to get some foot traffic through your doors than naming your business “Escapees,” all while flaunting the caveat that the letters came from Staples Center?

Etcetera

Can we be done with the phrase “Thrift Shop?” For what is indeed a great business, it sounds so degrading. Donators always have more in their closets than they need…some would go as far as to call unmentioned, extra items “Etcetera,” correct? What if those looking for some cheap second hand clothes walked into “Etcetera,” the hottest new co-op downtown?

Pacesetters

Lot of runners out there. Those psychopaths who knock out marathons like it’s their jobs. Doesn’t “Pacesetters” sound like a bar that these physically-gifted freaks could gather and talk about shin splints, nipple chafing, and whatever else happens when you run for extended periods of time?

Caprese

Upscale salad bar, enough said.

Actress

I’m no big time Hollywood agent, but I do know that our entertainers in the TV and movie industries do these things calls “head shots.” If I’m an aspiring actress trying to stand out from the crowd at an audition, I’m buying the Staples Center sign, posing right in front of “Actress,” and watch the bank account overflow.

Teen Crap

Zodiac rings, BTS posters, Tik Tok ideas. Everything you need for your favorite youth all in one place. Come on in to “Teen Crap” and let your favorite 13-19 year old max out your credit card on totally worthwhile stuff!

Relapse

This absolutely sounds like an insensitive name to call a bar in LA. We wouldn’t make that joke though, totally tasteless.

Los Angeles, there you go. Your homework is done for you, you’re welcome. It’s up to you now to make sure the letters of “Staples Center” do not fade into memory as a worthless and out of date member of society…kind of like the actual store Staples.

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.

Sunday State of Mind: November 15th-November 21st

We are on the brink of Thanksgiving break. Thanksgiving football is one of our greatest traditions. But we’re not here to look forward, but back on the week that was in this week’s SSM.

Jonathan Taylor, leading the way
For the winning Colts, five tuddy Sunday
The losses are piling up for the Bills
A bit of a shocker, team usually kills

A real strange league, this NFL
Often leaves us wondering, “what the hell?”
After winning six straight, and facing Houston
The Titans lost, and their win streak is done

We’ve got new MVPs in the MLB
Bryce and Shohei, unanimously
Neither of these studs made it to the postseason
Baseball’s a weird game, for many strange reasons

It took 17 games to get our first ax
Of the NBA season, Luke Walton’s been sacked
The chronically bad Sacramento Kings
Seem so far away from competing for rings

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.

Sunday State of Mind: October 25th-October 31st

A spooky, after dark edition of SSM this week. We take a scary hayrack ride through the week that was in the sports world.

Those scrappy bad guy Astros, just keep hangin’ ’round
The Braves could have been World Series champs, no king yet has been crowned
Atlanta still up 3-2, one more win on the way?
They’ll get a chance to become champs this coming Tuesday

The Jets have won a game! What a New Jersey dream
Even more impressive, they beat a first place team
Tough loss for the Bengals, hopefully a minor stop
In what would be a great season while rising to the top

Sticking in the AFC East, but opposite result
Dolphins lose their seventh straight, total football insult
The Bills bounce back for a win, after a Monday loss
Come playoff time, Bills Mafia will not be crossed

The NBA is in full swing, the sports world has no lulls
The Eastern Conference has been surprising: Knicks, Hornets, and Bulls
Out in the Western Conference, Clippers are 1-4
Hope it will get better, a start the Clips ignore

Got an in state battle, down in East Lansing
Sparty came out, beat big brother, totally did their thing
A tough loss for Michigan, but they’re still top 10
Another ranked opponent beating Jim Harbaugh again

A really tough two weeks for Iowa football
Number two two weeks ago, since then been all fall
After losing to Wisconsin, another unranked foe
Hawkeyes fall to number 19, there their playoff dreams go

Caleb Williams and the Sooners, rolled up Texas Tech
Six touchdowns through the air, Red Raiders saying “what the heck?”
Incredible start to a career, the young man is a battler
Continues to be special and play over Spencer Rattler

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.

Put Another Shrimp on the Barbie in the Ben Simmons/76ers Feud

Photo: CBS Sports

Crikey! This has gone from bad to worse.

On Tuesday, the heavily reported rift between the Philadelphia 76ers and Ben Simmons reached a new level. After previously leaking he was done with the 76ers, the point guard reported unannounced, practiced with his phone in his pocket yesterday, and then got kicked out of practice today for being unwilling to participate.

After saying “g’day mate” to his teammates on the way out of practice, Simmons was subsequently suspended for the team’s opening night matchup against the Pelicans. Woof.

Simmons will now have a some time away from the team. With all of the strange offseason moves in the past few months, what he’ll do with this time, no one knows.

He would presumably have time to enjoy all the Vegemite he desires. Or maybe practice his free throw shooting? How about trying to get back in with the Kardashian family? While his old fling Kendall Jenner is currently with Devin Booker, Simmons has already shown that he follows the “just because there’s a goalie, doesn’t mean you can’t score” mantra in life.

After a tumultuous offseason and a seemingly broken relationship between the 76ers and their point guard, all you can hope for is that this thing doesn’t get any uglier than it already is. If both sides can sit down and talk over some cheesesteak and meat pies, maybe they find some middle ground. Until then, the saga continues.

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.