Lamar Odom Under Life Support, How Did We Get Here?

have written a lot about identity diversification in basketball and how a lack of this process in career development affects the athletes when they are through with their careers. This week, the world learned about the shocking news of Lamar Odom who was found unconscious at a Nevada brothel. Sources claim that he fell unconscious after using sexual performance enhancing medication and cocaine. Odom is reportedly on life support for the second day and sources claim that not only was he on cocaine, he also took a large amount of herbal viagra. Odom has been battling a drug problem for years now, and this is of no news to the public, who also learned of the death of one of his best friends this year, still from a drug problem.

Reuters reports that “This week in a news conference on Wednesday, Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly said authorities received an emergency call from panicked brothel staff, reporting that Odom was unconscious and had blood and a white substance coming from his nose and mouth.” I can’t imagine how scary this must have been for both his family and his friends, who have had to witness a prior death in their social circle.

lamar odom

Reuters also reported that “The staff told authorities that Odom had used cocaine. And they confirmed his usage on Saturday but were unsure if it had continued,” Wehrly said.

The callers said Odom had taken as many as 10 tablets of a herbal sexual enhancement supplement, Wehrly said.

Love Ranch owner Dennis Hof said during Odom’s three-day stay he had taken large amounts of “herbal Viagra,” a non-prescription product which can dramatically lower blood pressure and interact with other medications. I can’t help wondering how they could have allowed him to get to this level. Maybe if someone had been there to tell him to stop it would not have gotten this far.

The former basketball star has been rumored to have struggled with drug use.

The rise in erratic behavior on the part of Odom has been linked to his failed marriage, losing his career and a prior history with drug abuse. Where would identity diversification fit into this category? Perhaps Odom could have done with owning more businesses or tackling a life outside basketball as soon as his career ended. I hope that things get better for him.

Behind every great man, there’s a great woman.. on reality TV

Basketball players get a lot of flack from the general public. Today they are hated and tomorrow they are loved. It’s hard to see the value in what players do when the fame ultimately catches up to them. We have seen stars rise and fall even while sitting on the throne, and as we also know, the throne is not always open for seating. Kings come today and leave tomorrow. This fluctuation in assets can be attributed to poor money management, generous giving of cash to family and friends and bad habits which plague everyone from time to time.

Players like Allen Iverson and Charles Barkley are famous for being financially irresponsible, squandering money on gambling and poor management. Barkley apparently lost a whooping $10 million to gambling, Jason Caffey who filed for bankruptcy after losing $35 million has also fathered 10 children with eight women, and a failure to pay child support landed him in a hot mess in 2010. Antoine Walker lost $110 million from spending on assets like cars, real estate in bad housing markets and gambling habits. The list is endless when it comes to basketball players who are financially irresponsible.

No truer fall will be forgotten than the fall of Allen Iverson, who’s on and off presence in court, a four month stint in jail and an incredulous support of over 50 members of his family and his friends led him to file for bankruptcy a few years ago. Iverson’s life on the rocks, as highlighted in this article, explains the rise and fall of the star, whose career swung between a heavy past and a an uncertain career on the court.

After the money problems, comes the women problems or so it seems. This pattern of “trouble” for basketball players not only outlines how financial mismanagement or a lack of financial literacy is instrumental in ruining the life and career of athletes, but also the need for identity diversification in sports. If more athletes looked to careers or opportunities beyond basketball, perhaps the fall, when it comes, might not be that hard.

VH1’s surprisingly hit franchise Basketball Wives LA and Basketball Wives Miami, showcases the lives of basketball … girlfriends or divorced wives of famous athletes as they navigate a social circle and it’s nuances together. What one can gather from this show is that the lifestyle of athletes may not always be glitz and glamour. Leaving in their wake, broken hearts, upset wives and girlfriends, superstar athletes seem to have a lot on their plate despite all the money problems . You can take a hint from this video below

You Can’t Shoot The Same Shot Twice

You can’t shoot the same shot twice. I’m sure you might have known this already. I initially wrote on this article and it’s reasoning behind shooting the same shot twice. I however wanted to highlight the idea of shots , more so with shots representing a career rather than a point throw at a basketball game. Many famous people on your TV screens and phones now, have taken multiple shots at their careers. The story of Alexander Graham Bell and his repetitive attempts to invent the telephone is one recounted around the world to build inspiration, affirming the need for perseverance in the face of challenges. So going back to the “You can’t shoot the same shot twice”. It might not be possible to make the same mistakes you made and end up in the same place if you are self-aware and looking to succeed. Here are some athletes who have taken a first, second and even third shot at their career.

This article tells us about famous people who failed at their first career attempt.

Michael Jordan: Most people know this famous quote by Michael Jordan “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Well, Michael said this to reflect on the challenges he faced in building a career as an athlete.


Stan Smith: Used to be a ball bow for a tennis club, and even got kicked out of a tennis match because event organizers felt he was too clumsy and uncoordinated. Smith went on to prove them wrong, showcasing his not-so-clumsy skills by winning Wimbledon, U. S. Open and eight Davis Cups.

Sport, Tennis, All England Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon, England, 3rd July 1971, Mens Singles Final, Defending Champion, Australia's John Newcombe, holds the trophy aloft after winning the tournament by beating USA's Stan Smith 6-3, 5-7, 2-6, 6-4,

Babe Ruth: Most people don’t know that Babe Ruth once had a record number of strikeouts. In responding to an inquiry about this part of he responded, he could be quoted saying  “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”


The goal here is to never give up, or rather to persevere through unfavorable circumstances. You never know what the next shot can do for your career.

Mental Attitude: The Keys To Success in Basketball and The Arts

Becoming a strong athlete or top basketball player is no small feat. In sports, the arts, and even in the military, a lot of the grunt work is dominantly physical and intricately also mental. Mental attitudes shape performance and performance shapes results. Often times the audience approach to basketball performance analysis is limited to what we see on the external, but the battle as they say, is in the mind. When we think of performance we don’t think about how much focus is required to let go of distractions coming from the crowd or even fellow team mates, learning to breath under pressure, to make a foul shot which is predominantly a 90% mental action, How does the mind affect performance? Can being in your own head toy with how you perform on the court? These are questions basketball psychologists try to answer by studying mental attitudes and competitive advantage in relation to performance.  According to this is a list of skills needed to be a top performer in basketball. Not surprising that this list also works with achieving mastery level as an artist . The saying goes that “excellence is therefore not an act, but a habit” and achieving excellence in the world of basketball has been attributed not only to the prowess of the player but also the presence of a mental coach. Mental coaches also serve as mentors, an essential ingredient in developing skill and mastery of game and even self.

Mental coaches provide an accountability structure for players working to develop strong mental attitudes towards performance. It is the mental coach who provides the feedback on mistakes, lack of focus, corrections on play and position. Mental coaches help athletes develop in these areas of focus:







There is no difference between this area of focus for basketball and even what is needed to become a master in the arts. To achieve a level of mastery requires constant skill acquisition, challenging plateaued levels and developing mental toughness. In his new book “Mastery”, Robert Greene the author of  New York Times bestseller “The 48 Laws of Power” released writes about the process of becoming one of the masters, and the skills needed to do so are highly attached to these areas of mental focus.

You can watch this Robert Greene interview to understand his take on Mastery Mentoring + Mastery+ Power = Success by Robert Greene


Robert Greene speaking on Mastery

Hoop Dreams: The Global Future of Basketball

Last year, the world lay mesmerized by the drama and spectacle of the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil. All stars sat at the table before them, and the dramatic wins and loses had their cups running over with home goals, ear biting, weeping Colombian players and so on. It was amazing. For what seemed like a long time coming, many Americans tuned into the sport with as much enthusiasm as their international counterparts, crowding in parks, cheering and mourning the rise and fall of the US national team, who again, surprised the world with their performance. It was a world cup as never seen before. Long time winners left early, and the strongest in the game came out on top.

I often wonder whether in the future, basketball could have a similar audience. In this article, NBA lead writer Josh Martin highlights a similar concern I have with the future of basketball in the global space. Will basketball ever be as successful or appreciated as an international sports, just as soccer, baseball or even the NFL are?

Basketball has not been able to catch up with soccer as an international sport, but it is getting there. The FIBA World Cup, though not as popular as FIFA, has managed to catch up to the world’s most thrilling sports. as this article reports. Basketball is quickly becoming an internationally branded sport, also not void of it’s own theatrics and excitement. The contributing factors to basketball’s rising popularity can be attributed to an increase in revenue after renewals from national television pacts, this is to say that the sport is gaining traction and more people are watching. An estimated $4.75 billion was generated for the league in the 2014-2015 year gap. That’s a whooper! And it looks like “things can only get better”.

The NBA is now one of the most popular brands in China, with a 70 million people follower base on popular blogs like Sina Weibo and Tencent. These are the hoop dreams coming to life outside what we’ve known to be our global scope of the sport, a scope that is often limited to the U.S. With the global expansion of basketball fueled by strong marketing and branding efforts, more countries continue to adopt the sport, but how far can they take this and are the grass root efforts and resources enough to propel developing countries with interest to the top?

What generally sets the USA apart both in soccer and basketball is the availability of resources. We saw team USA’s strength in the world cup, not particularly because this is a sport tailored or grounded in USA tradition as opposed to our european counterparts, but more so the positive effects of investment and financial resources which are highly important factors when it comes to training.

As much as basketball is catching up, soccer is still moving forward, and the gap continues. Soccer’s re-ignition in the US may mean more investment, marketing and branding. As basketball and soccer do not face similar challenges in taking up the game, soccer may continually lead in popularity. My version of hoop dreams do not dictate basketball being on the same playing platform as soccer, but as basketball being an internationally credited sport in it’s own right, meaning more marketing, branding, advertising, viewership and support.

The Latest Around the NBA

It seems like something big is happening everyday in the NBA. In the middle of the summer is generally when the NBA’s free agency period slows down but we continue to see moves made. Let’s take a look at some of the latest moves to happen in the NBA.

Deron Williams Bought Out by Nets; Signs with Mavs

Blake Rubin - Deron Williams

Williams joins the Mavs

Deron Williams has not been the franchise player the Brooklyn Nets had hoped for. Since signing his max contract, he has not given the Nets much of what they paid for. The Nets decided to cut their losses short, agreeing to buy Williams out of the final 2 years and $43.5 million owed to him. Williams has cleared waivers and signed with the Dallas Mavericks for 2 years $10 million.

Enes Kanter Resigns with OKC

Kanter was one of the top prizes in free agency but unfortunately he was a restricted free agent which limited his options. The Trail Blazers however after losing LaMarcus Aldridge put in an offer of 4 years $70 million that the Thunder had the opportunity to match. So Kanter, who averaged a double-double with the Thunder after arriving via trade from the Utah Jazz, remains with the Thunder. Kanter has offensive upside but has been a huge let down on the defensive end.

Cole Aldrich Signs with Clippers

The Clippers nearly lost their prized center DeAndre Jordan to the Dallas Mavericks. Jordan has second thoughts and decided to return home to the Clippers signing a max contract. With the Clippers solidifying their center position and starting 5, they now moved to fill the backup center role previously held by Spencer Hawes. The Clippers signed former 2010 lottery pick Cole Aldrich to fill that role. Although he was drafted in 2010, the Clippers will be the 5th stop for Aldrich in his career. After being drafted by the Thunder, Cole made stops in Houston, Sacramento, and with the New York Knicks.

Who Remains and Where Could They Head?

NBA free agency has been exciting and fast paced. Many players have already found new homes while others have re-upped with their current team. In a shocking move, former Pacers forward David West who opted out of a $12 million year has signed with the Pacers for $1.2 million. Lets take a look at who else is still out there that can help a team today.

JR Smith – Guard

Smith had a JR Smith like year for the Cavs last year. Unfortunately, he didn’t finish as hot as he would have liked to this year thus diminishing his value in free agency. Smith will likely look for a multi year deal with a contender. There is still a chance he returns to the Cavs.

Enes Kanter – Center

Blake Rubin - Jeremy LinKanter was traded at the deadline from Utah to Oklahoma City. He played well offensively but struggled defensively. He still put up good enough numbers to get a good deal. Problem is he’s a restricted free agent and these deals take time. It’s unclear if he fits new head coach Billy Donovan’s system in OKC.

Jeremy Lin – Point Guard

Remember this guy? It’s Linsanity. After the Rockets made him an offer the Knicks could not match 3 years ago, Lin is now back on the market. He has not had as much success since leaving the Knicks and has played backup point guard for much of his deal. Still Lin can provide minutes for a team. The Mavs have been linked to talks with Lin, but I think we all want to see Lin back in New York.

There are many other great free agents out there. Teams have been spending at record pace and may not have much more money to offer players left out there.

NBA Free Agency Rumors

Well, NBA Free Agency is now underway! Many teams wasted no time meeting with prized players at 12:01 AM of Tuesday night/Wednesday morning in order to have a face to face interact and express their interest in these players. There should be a lot of movement and while players can agree to new deals, they ultimately can’t sign anything until July 9th to make it official. With that said, let’s take a look at what has already happened in the first 12 hours or so of free agency.

Brooklyn Nears Deals with Lopez and Young

A big priority for the Brooklyn Nets was holding onto center Brook Lopez and forward Thaddeus Young and it looks as though they have. The Nets have a near agreement with both, Lopez is said to receive a 3 year $60 million with a player option for year 3 while Young is said to have a deal in place for 4 years $50 million. Both Young and Lopez at age 27 represent somewhat of a youth movement and the future of the Brooklyn Nets as the Nets try to rid themselves of aging once upon a time players in Joe Johnson and Deron Williams.

New Orleans Pelicans Extend Anthony Davis

Blake Rubin - anthony davis

Anthony Davis is now has the NBA’s richest deal.

Anthony Davis is a star in the NBA, no questions asked. Now, Davis will be paid like one. The Pelicans wanted to show their appreciation for what Davis has done for their franchise. While they could have been outside some free agents house as the clock stroked midnight, the Pelicans extended their franchise player to the tune of 5 years $145 million, the richest deal in NBA history.

Aminu Agrees to Deal with Portland

The Portland Trailblazers seem destined to lose All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Meanwhile the Blazers met with former Maverick forward Al-Farouq Aminu and have agreed to terms. Aminu will sign a 4 year $30 million, a deal that may insert him into the starting small forward position that has been vacated by the trade departure of Nicholas Batum. Aminu is an interesting player, he’s still just 24 years old despite spending 5 years in the NBA. He stands at 6’9 and can knock down the occasional three pointer.

Players like LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, and Dwyane Wade are still out there. It’ll be interesting to see where the remaining free agents land.

The Golden State Warriors Are NBA Champions

Last night in Cleveland, the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals 4-2. This brings an end to a great NBA season that started with the best player in the world, LeBron James returning home to Cleveland last offseason. Going into Game 6 knowing the Cavaliers could be eliminated, many still believe LeBron James could be crowned Finals MVP despite a losing effort. There has not been a player from the losing team awarded the NBA Finals MVP award since Jerry West in 1969. Ultimately, Golden State Warriors guard Andre Iguodala won the award on a night that saw him contribute 25 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals.

Blake Rubin - Warriors

The Warriors are champions.

The Cavaliers were hampered by injuries all playoffs long. The lost both Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving forcing them to use a shortened rotation that included LeBron James, Timofey Mozgov, Tristan Thompson, JR Smith, Iman Shumpert, Matthew Dellavedova, and James Jones. At times, Cleveland found it hard to score. If it wasn’t LeBron scoring the Cavs had to rely on the streaky outside shooting of Smith, Shumpert, and Jones who more times than not were off than on.

The Warriors deserved this championship as they had a deep roster and great top end talent. Not only did they have the leagues MVP in Stephen Curry, they also had a member on the All NBA 3rd team in sharp shooter Klay Thompson. Forward Draymond Green was also a member of the All NBA Defensive 1st team. The Warriors bench had great punch all season long from now Finals MVP Andre Iguodala, forward/center Marreese Speights, point guard Shaun Livingston, guard Leandro Barbosa, and often times forward/center David Lee who at times had trouble cracking the rotation because he didn’t quite fit head coach Steve Kerr’s system.

The only two players that saw meaningful minutes for the Warriors in the playoffs that are not currently under contract for next season are Draymond Green and Leandro Barbosa. The Warriors will ultimately match any offer for Draymond Green who looks to be a budding star in this league. Barbosa will likely get his walking papers. Golden State can still bring in some good talent to this roster if and when they decide to move David Lee who is slated to make $15.5 million next season. The team holds an option for Speights for next year at $3.8 million. It’ll be interesting to see if the Warriors let him go with the recent development of Festus Ezeli and other young bigs on the roster.

Cleveland Takes Game 3

The Cleveland Cavaliers are defying all odds of putting up a contest to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. After losing all star forward Kevin Love in round 1 of the playoffs and now all star Kyrie Irving in game 1 of the finals, one would think the Cavaliers were done. Time and time again, the Cavaliers have come back stronger.

Irving was lost for the playoffs in game 1 of the finals, a game the Cavaliers would lose. Since then, the Cavs have won two in a row including 1 on the road in Golden State. The Cavaliers now head into game 4 at home with a 2-1 series lead, essentially in the drivers seat of the series.

Matthew Dellavedova has been key for the Cavaliers.

Matthew Dellavedova has been key for the Cavaliers.

LeBron James has been spectacular, as expected. He has consistently put up triple-doubles throughout the series showing he’s willing to do whatever it takes in order to get a win. Another player that has stepped up for the Cavaliers is Australian point guard Matthew Dellavedova. The second year player out of Saint Mary’s is filling in for the injured Kyrie Irving and has been all over the floor and playing stellar defense on Golden State point guard Stephen Curry, the league MVP. Dellavedova, undrafted, has carved a role out with Cleveland having played 21 minutes a night in the regular season. However, he’s now asked to play 32+ minutes a night and guard the NBA’s most lethal shooter. In Cleveland’s game 3 win, Dellavedova had 20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and the game winning free throws.

Tonight is game 4 of the finals. The game will again be in Cleveland and although Dellavedova spent some time in the hospital after game 3 due to cramps, he is expected to play. If Golden State can get both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson going from beyond the arc, this game should look a bit different from games 2 and 3. It’ll be interesting to see if Golden State decides to switch things up and perhaps play more David Lee.