Tuesday, February 21

SATG's Guide to Football: Player Positions (Defense)

There are 11 players for each team in a regular FIFA-sanctioned football (or soccer, whichever hemisphere you live on) game. Here’s a look at the players who are responsible for the keeping the defensive side alive and kicking.

  • Goalkeeper (GK)
Also: Keeper, Goalie
The guy with the funky colored gloves on who stands between the goal posts, and the only person on the pitch that can use his hands. He is responsible for blocking the shots heading on goal, using his hands, legs, face, or pretty much any other body part needed to deflect the ball, because in essence, he is the last line of defense. In football team pictures, he is the only person wearing a different colored kit. :)

Famous keepers:

Iker Casillas  (Real Madrid, Spain)
Carlo Cudicini (Tottenham Hotspur, Italy)

  • Full backs (FB, RB, LB)
Also: right-back, left-back
They are positioned near their own team’s goal and their main job is to defend the goal against the opposing team scoring against them. Football players in this position have the job of taking return balls from the goalie as well as getting the ball to their midfielders.
Famous full backs:

Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich, Germany)
Maicon (Internazionale, Brazil)
Dani Alves (FC Barcelona, Brazil)
  • Centre backs (CB)
Also: central defenders, centre-halves
The players who guard the area directly in front of the goal. Since they stand right in front of the goalkeeper, they cannot afford to make any mistake; therefore they are often considered to be the the strongest defenders. They are also responsible for man-to-man marking (guard the attacking player directly) and zonal defense (guard a particular area of the pitch).
Famous centre backs:

Gerard Pique (FC Barcelona, Spain)
Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United, Serbia)
Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers, USA)
  • Defensive Midfielders (DM)
Also: Central Midfielder (CM)
The player positioned just in front of their team’s defense (or at the midfield) and often assigned to mark the opposition’s best offensive player.

Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid, Spain)
Nigel De Jong (Manchester City, Netherlands)
Sex–I mean–Cesc Fabregas (FC Barcelona, Spain)
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool, England)

If I May Interrupt: Should the Lakers management say they’re trading Gasol or not?

After the Lakers’ embarrassing and pathetic loss to the Phoenix Suns last night, Kobe Bryant stated in a post-game interview, “I wish management would come out and either trade (Pau Gasol) or not trade him.” Today, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchack has released this statement in reponse to Bryant’s. As a longtime Laker fan, I honestly think that I have a say in this.

I have been a Laker fan my whole life and I understand Bryant’s frustrations with the team — they currently stand 5th in the Western Conference, but 8th ranked Denver is only 1.5 games behind.  Am I suggesting that it is a possibility that the Lakers will not make the playoffs this year?  I tell you I won’t be the one to give up. No. But how did a team go from 2nd ranked in the Western Conference last year to this: struggling to maintain the 5th spot this year?  I just don’t understand how the team has plummeted ever since last year’s 2nd round playoff series against the Mavericks.

Anyways, back to the subject at hand — should management openly declareits intentions to keep or trade Pau Gasol?I’m sorry Kobe, but I think absolutely not!  I think the team should certainly consider trading Gasol before the deadline, but to openly declaresuch would be detrimental to the team.  Gasol certainly isn’t as emotional as Lamar Odom, but if the Lakers organization tells him he’s certainly on the trade block, it would somehow impact his game. However, with the turnout of tonight’s win over Portland, it is safe to say that Gasol might even be inspired with what Bryant has said. But knowing how Gasol flipflops tremendously this season, it won’t be long until his frustrations get the better of him.

Gasol has declared his loyalty and desire to stay with the Lakers on numerous occasions, could you imagine what it would do to his spirits if the team he loves openly states they want him out?  I know what many are thinking — the Lakers already declared their desire to oust him during the CP3-Trade-That-Wasn’t, but I think, for the most part, Gasol has been able to move past that.

At the same time, I feel bad for Gasol.  Yeah, it’s pretty hard to feel bad for somebody making upwards of $18 million per year, but it must really suck not knowing where you’re going to be by the end of the season.  His loyalty to the Lakers, and the fact that he brought two championships to the team, makes me question if the Lakers should let him know (NOT THE PUBLIC) exactly where he stands with the organization.  The NBA is a business, and players are essentially tradeable assets (unless you’re KB24 or Joe Johnson with a no-trade clause), but something about leaving a player like Gasol in limbo just doesn’t sit well with me.

Girls, pardon the interruption.

Thursday, February 16

SATG's Guide to Basketball: The 2012 NBA All Star Weekend

The annual NBA All-Star Weekend is just around the corner. And being the good girlfriend that you are, why don’t you stay in and watch with your honey boy? Here are some NBA All Star essentials you need to know to survive this weekend.

What is the NBA All Star Weekend all about?

It is an annual two-day event held every February showcasing the best of the best NBA players from the Eastern and Western conferences. The usual highlights are the three-point shoot-out, slam dunk contest, skills challenge, and mainly the All Star exhibition game between the players from East and West. A celebrity game is also featured. (Last year, Justin Bieber played. Wonder who is up to the challenge this year?)
Think of it like a benefit concert where all of your favorite artists come together to play in one stage. That’s basically what the NBA All Star is about.

Who will be playing and how were they selected?

 East: (Starters, pictured L-R) Derrick Rose, Lebron James, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwayne Wade (Reserves, not pictured) Luol Deng, Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Paul Pierce, Chris Bosh, Roy Hibbert, andAndre Iguodala.

 West: (Starters, pictured L-R) Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Andrew Bynum, Kevin Durant, and Chris Paul (Reserves, not pictured) Russel Westbrook, Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, Tony Parker, and Marc Gasol.

The starters (the five-man team that plays at the start of the game) are chosen by fan voting, while the reserves (substitution players) are chosen by a vote of the coaches in each conference.

What’s the best thing to watch out for?

Everybody who have constantly been watching the All Stars will tell you that the best thing about it is the Slam Dunk Contest. You’ll surely have fun with that. Things go pretty crazy during slam dunk contests.
The players are graded, 10 being the highest, by 5 judges. Whoever gets the highest points (usually the craziest dunk) wins.

Things you could say while watching the All-Star Game aside from “Their uniforms look great”:

“Frankly, I’d rather see Chris Bosh start than Melo.”
“We could send the West’s line up to the Olympics and they’re sure to win gold.”
“Kevin Love was robbed. Again.”
“This just might be Steve Nash’s last All Star.”
“Mike Brown shouldn’t have allowed Bynum to start! That boy is one sprain away from retirement.”
“I wish the West had a decent center.”
“Deng! He’s good!”
“How Monta Ellis was not included is beyond travesty.”

Key Trivias:

- This will be Kobe Bryant’s 14th All-Star appearance, tying the record with Jerry West and Karl Malone. Also, the most among any of the other players in the All Star roster this year.
- Marc Gasol, Lakers’ Pau Gasol’s younger brother is making his first All-Star appearance.
- The Eastern Conference All-Stars lead the all-time series 36–24.

Things every girl should know about Jeremy Lin

He is all over Twitter. Your boyfriend can’t stop talking about him. Your brother is drowning your Facebook feed with the latest videos of this ‘Linsanity’. ‘What is this ‘Linsanity’ even??!’, you ask yourself. And before you think the men in your life has succumbed to the KPOP phenomenon, here is a crash course on the rising NBA star cutie that is Jeremy Lin.

1. He is a certified God-fearing, varsitarian nerd.

While many college players struggle to balance campus fame, studies and athletic practice, Jeremy Lin is a rare breed; brandishing a degree in Economics from world-renowned Harvard University sans a scholarship (Ivy Leagues do not generally offer athletic scholarships), with a 3.1 GPA (or roughly about 86%). Together with Coach Tommy Amaker, senior Lin led the Harvard Crimson to their winningest season since 1957. And if that is not enough to melt you , Lin is also a devout Christian, heading the Asian-American Christian Fellowship, a bible club, in the same institution. Get I get a collected ‘awwww’?  

2. From zero-to-hero story.

Everybody loves an underdog. And Jeremy Lin is without a doubt one. He is a Hollywood fairytale unfolding right in the middle of Madison Square Garden.

You may have heard that Lin was undrafted when he graduated from Harvard in 2010. Now, what does that mean? It basically means that Lin was eligible to play for the NBA, but nobody signed him up. He later revealed that if maybe he had a different ethnicity, he could’ve been easily drafted, but let’s not go there.

 Lin was eventually signed by his childhood favorite team, the Golden State Warriors. He was subsequently assigned to play in the D-League (a minor NBA league). They eventually waived him off to secure DeAndre Jordan and was claimed by the Houston Rockets. Yet again, the Rockets waived him off in favor of center Samuel Delambert. The Knicks claimed Lin and, again, assigned him to play in the D-League. He was recalled to the big league when injured Baron Davis couldn’t make his debut. He made his first NBA appearance donning the #17 jersey against the Celtics. Although the Knicks lost to the aging team, Coach D’Antoni saw a potential in Lin and gave him playing minutes the following day versus the New Jersey Nets. Lin exploded with 25 points. And the rest, as they say, is history.  

3. He can dunk.

Watch it here.

 4. He is single and can cook.

Yes! The basketball Gods continue to smile upon the female population as 23 year-old Lin is unmarried and seemingly girlfriend-less. Though I strongly believe that is about to be over soon. I mean, really. Who wouldn’t like to date NBA’s newest darling? Kim Kardashian has probably already set her eyes on him. He is cute, smart and funny. Plus, he’s got that really cute head-nod.

So what does it take to be a Mrs. Lin? Alek Blankenau, Lin’s former teammate revealed in a recent interview that Lin had a girlfriend back in their Harvard days who is a devout Christian just like Jeremy. But they mutually broke it off. Blankenau also mentioned about a time when Lin forgot to make reservations on Valentine’s Day once, so he had to keep peace with his lady by making a homemade chicken parmesan. Wasn’t that another ‘awww’ moment? Clearly, Jeremy Lin is exactly the kind of guy you can bring home to meet Mommy and Daddy.  

5. He knows how to dougie.

No. Really. Watch for cuteness overload: