Jackie Robinson Didn’t Shut Up and Play Ball, so Why Should Today’s Athletes?

In America, April 15 is known as Tax Day. In America’s national pastime, it’s Jackie Robinson Day.

In this current sports era—a historic moment filled with protests and calls for athletes to “shut up and dribble,” it is especially important to remember the Jackie Robinson who was determined to use his platform to fight for civil rights. And the Jackie Robinson who embodied the message: “A life is not important, except in the impact it has on other lives.”
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Some black-and-white photos and cinematic scenes from 42, starring Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa himself) as Robinson, would lead us to believe Jackie was a mild-mannered character who quietly tipped his hat to crowds yelling racial slurs at him—because for the early part of his career, he had to.

“They’re waiting for you in the jungles, black boy!” and “Hey snowflake, which one of those white boys’ wives are you dating tonight?” Phillies manager Ben Chapman jeered, per Robinson’s autobiography, I Never Had It Made. Confrontations like these caused Robinson to bury his hostility and go home to his wife, Rachel, “tense and irritable, keyed up because [he] hadn’t been able to speak out.”ac518c79f9709de1e1b3b6ee920247e5_crop_exactcheap nfl authentic jerseys

Robinson wrote in the book that he was always careful about being publicly critical, because he knew “the minute I began to answer, to argue, to protest—the minute I began to sound off—I became a swellhead, a wise guy, an ‘uppity’ n—-r. When a white player did it, he had spirit. When a black player did it, he was ‘ungrateful,’ an upstart, a sorehead.”cheap nfl jersey

This wasn’t easy for Robinson, “a black man who never tolerated affronts to his dignity” prior to the major leagues. Not because Robinson wanted to get revenge, but because, as he later admitted, “I wanted to be Jackie Robinson,” the more authentic Robinson who emerged in the 1949 season.

Rachel Robinson said his shift in attitude wasn’t tied to any pledge, but to Jackie’s confidence in his standing and in the integration of MLB.nfl jersey cheap

“He had purchased the right to speak his mind many times over,” President Barack Obama said in Ken Burns’ 2016 documentary Jackie Robinson.

Robinson became more vocal regarding off-field issues like juvenile justice, communism and police brutality in African American communities.

He used his platform to advocate for black youth on the issue of juvenile delinquency. He hosted numerous sports camps at the Harlem YMCA, wrote various New York Post and New York Amsterdam News columns on the problem of youth crime and regularly called on athletes and celebrities to be more involved with organizations seeking to steer kids down the right path.

NBA Power Rankings: How All 30 Teams Stack Up at the End of 2017-18

How good are all 30 NBA teams?

That’s a more complicated question than you’d think because answering it means pricing in whatever extra gear we believe each team has while also taking into account its entire body of work from the 2017-18 regular season.

Mostly, we’re ranking on the usual basis: stats, recent play and health are the key factors. But since this is the last set we’ll publish ahead of the playoffs, we’ve also got to account for the more nebulous idea of switch-flipping.

That doesn’t mean these will read like a rundown of who’s got the best title odds, but there will be more “OK, deep down, how good do we know this team to be?” thinking than in previous editions.

Six months of power rankings highs and lows have led us to this.

It’s been emotional.

30. Phoenix Suns (30)

The Phoenix Suns closed out their season with a 124-97 win over the Dallas Mavericks that represented, easily, their largest margin of victory all year. In that contest, a gentleman named Alec Peters scored 36 points. Admit it: You’ve never heard of him.authentic nfl jerseys cheap

Phoenix finished last in offensive and defensive efficiency and will hit the lottery with the best odds of getting the No. 1 pick.

Congratulations, Suns. You were the worst team in the NBA this season. Mission accomplished.

29. Memphis Grizzlies (28)602908e419aaf807d25d7f5717b891a1_crop_exactnfl jerseys for cheap

The Memphis Grizzlies also logged a victory this week, which would normally have been enough to get them upward momentum. But if this final edition is to be reflective of the season as a whole, the Grizzlies can’t be any better than second-to-last. They had two double-digit losing streaks in 2017-18, the longer of which spanned an incredible 19 games.

Bring on Luka Doncic!
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28. Chicago Bulls (26)

If not for that ridiculous 10-3 stretch to close out December, the Chicago Bulls would have handily won the race to the bottom. But because Nikola Mirotic led them on that improbable spurt before getting traded to the New Orleans Pelicans on Feb. 1, they wound up with 27 wins and in a tie with the Sacramento Kings for sixth in the lottery odds.nfl jersey cheap

If we acknowledge the roster that accumulated that 10-3 streak doesn’t resemble the one that finished the season, it’s fair to drop the Bulls this low. Especially since they concluded the year with a minus-7.8 net rating, tied for second-worst with the Kings.

Pat Shurmur on Odell Beckham Jr After WR Reports to Giants: He Wants to Be Great

New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur complimented wideout Odell Beckham Jr. for being in minicamp Monday despite not having a long-term contract and being the subject of trade speculation.

“I really believe Odell is a professional. He wants to be great. He understands the importance of the authentic nfl jerseys cheap offseason. He’s a competitive guy…I’m glad he’s here today,” Shumur said Monday.

Beckham, 25, has been featured in trade rumors in recent weeks, due in part to his contract status. The three-time Pro Bowler, who is coming off a season-ending ankle injury, can be an unrestricted free agent next year.hi-res-79d08da025a187f9497d4531e90db7f0_crop_north

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported March 29 the Giants would be open to trading Beckham for two first-round picks.nfl jerseys for cheap  Two days prior, Giants general manager Dave Gettleman told NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones, “You don’t quit on talent” when discussing Beckham.

“Bottom line is, as Ernie [Accorsi] taught us, you don’t quit on talent,” Gettleman said. “… He’s on our team.”

Beckham is undoubtedly one of the best receivers in football. He had at least 90 receptions, 1,300 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in each of his first three NFL seasons. Only Antonio Brown and Julio Jones have averaged more receiving yards per game than Beckham since he entered the league.cheap nfl jerseys

However, there have been near-constant questions about his attitude. Beckham has been criticized for multiple sideline outbursts, nfl jersey cheap though he made the point in December that his competitiveness is viewed differently than Tom Brady’s.

There have also been other questions about his maturity following his fights with opponents and off-field endeavors. Though he has never been in trouble off the field, his celebrity lifestyle has drawn some ire as the Giants have slipped in the standings.

Villanova Tops Kansas in Final Four to Set Up 2018 Championship vs. Michigan

The No. 1 Villanova Wildcats own the most efficient offense in men’s college basketball by a wide margin, and the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks learned that the hard way on Saturday.

With a spot in the national title game on the line, the Wildcats throttled authentic nfl jerseys cheap  the Jayhawks 95-79 behind a three-point shooting barrage of historic proportions at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Villanova, in a performance reminiscent of its dominant 2016 Final Four win over Oklahoma, set a new Final Four record by drilling 18 threes, including 13 in the first half to tie the previous high mark. hi-res-dae80802fd93665754dec375ca49b2dc_crop_northnfl jerseys for cheap

The junior, who didn’t make a three in the Elite Eight against Texas Tech, finished with a season-high 24 points on 10-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-5 from three.

Jalen Brunson (18 points, six assists), Omari Spellman (15 points, 13 rebounds) and Donte DiVincenzo (15 points) also easily worked their way into double figures.

With the Wildcats firing on all cylinders, Kansas alum and Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid—who’s recovering from surgery for a fractured orbital bone—expressed his dismay in a series of predictably hysterical tweets:
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The Jayhawks did their best to keep pace, shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 7-of-21 from three, but a 15-point halftime deficit proved too steep to overcome despite Kansas’ 16-5 scoring edge at the free-throw line.

Devonte’ Graham led Kansas with 23 points and Malik Newman, fresh off a 32-point eruption against Duke in the Elite Eight, managed 21 points as his breakout campaign ended with a whimper.

The Jayhawks will now make a short trip back to Kansas, while the Wildcats will extend their stay in cheap nfl jersey San Antonio for a few more days as they prepare for their second national title game appearance in three years.

Next up for Villanova: A meeting with the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines and their third-ranked defense nfl jersey cheap  following a 69-57 win over No. 11 Loyola-Chicago in the evening’s first semifinal.

LiAngelo Ball Declares for 2018 NBA Draft; Played with LaMelo Overseas

LiAngelo Ball declared for the 2018 NBA draft Tuesday, according to Ball’s agent, Harrison Gaines, per Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

Charania noted Ball has already submitted early-entry paperwork with the NBA.authentic nfl jerseys cheap

After leaving UCLA in December, Ball played alongside his younger brother, LaMelo Ball, for Vytautas Prienu this season in the Lithuanian Basketball League.

After UCLA suspended him because of a shoplifting incident in China, nfl jerseys for cheap Ball signed with Vytautas in January.hi-res-2b08517000d1647d8121cb57c5a92a5a_crop_north

His stay in Lithuania has been productive, as Ball is averaging a league-leading 15.7 points per game while shooting 45 percent from beyond the arc, according to Charania.

The 19-year-old Ball reportedly plans to take part in May’s Pro Basketball Combine at IMG Academy in Bradenton, cheap nfl jerseys Florida, in an effort to impress NBA talent evaluators.

The 6’5″ Ball was rated by 247Sports as a 3-star prospect coming out of high school, and he was ranked as the No. 226 overall player and No. 50 shooting guard in the 2017 class.

Ball will look to follow in the NBA footsteps of his older brother, Lonzo Ball, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.nfl jersey cheap

In December, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported LiAngelo had “no chance” at being selected in the 2018 NBA draft.cheap nfl jersey

Metrics 101: NBA Rookie of the Year Watch

Last year’s NBA rookies combined to earn 54.2 win shares, paced by Malcolm Brogdon’s 4.1 for the Milwaukee Bucks and Willy Hernangomez’s 3.4 with the New York Knicks. Even though we’re not yet to the end of the 2017-18 season, this campaign’s superior crop has totaled 75.6. authentic nfl jerseys cheap

That’s a world of difference, and the individual excellence is even more impressive. Ben Simmons (7.5), Jayson Tatum (6.4), John Collins (4.9) and Donovan Mitchell (4.3) have already topped the mark earned by the reigning Rookie of the Year, and Bam Adebayo (4.0), Kyle Kuzma (3.7) and Jarrett Allen (3.6) still have a chance to get cheap nfl jerseys there. 3165f8498d0c46e6ecfcf0c7653e189c_crop_exact

But that’s only one metric. Win shares alone won’t tell us how nfl jerseys for cheap the standout members of this remarkable class stack up.

To objectively determine how this year’s premier first-year players measure against one another, we’re turning to a modified version of the formula for Player Score used in previous articles.

For every player in the NBA who’s logged even a single minute, we pulled scores in five different overarching metrics: NBA Math’s total points added (TPA), ESPN.com’s real plus/minus wins (RPM Wins), player efficiency rating (PER), win shares (WS) and minutes per game. The first two look at volume/efficiency combinations, while the third focuses on per-possession effectiveness and favors offensive production. The fourth element rewards those whose individual merits lead to more victories.cheap nfl jersey

The last—a new addition for this particular countdown—is intended to reward the rookies who have earned larger roles during their inaugural campaigns. Volume and time on the court matter more than they might in other evaluations.

To standardize between five metrics that operate on drastically different scales, we found the z-scores in each category and summed them to find a player’s total nfl jersey cheap  score for each of the 55 rookies with at least 200 minutes recorded. Those cumulative z-scores are all that matter for these selections, which focus entirely and exclusively on work in 2017-18.