Thursday, 26 March 2015
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Madness?! This.Is.The NCAA! This is the month that matters. Forget the month of May. Compared to this the NBA Finals are too far away! The Superbowl? A distant memory! Just like those Oscar and Grammy parties. For this is the real award season. From the big brass bands making music courtside, serving as the soundtrack to the storytelling being played out on court, under coaches' direction. These are tall men tales more epic than your favourite movie. Better than curling up with a good book. Readers digest. Don't believe me just watch! This is out of this world like Bruno's last name. It's all about the ones on the back of these vests. Sold to audiences like they should be paid. From the corridors to the hall. The tears rolling down painted faces to the sweat soaking a victory embrace. Many are called, few receive their basketball graduation. The chosen one life of the draft, or Dolly Parton shifts is a wind whisper of a season of change away. Right now its all about the falling nylon string...and whose holding the scissors. The NBA may be the worlds biggest stage and game, but this is where stars are made...before they become made. They say college years are the best of your life. They certainly are if you're playing ball too. Hooping like your a star. Whether loved like Mike, or like Christian Laettner. Speaking of which the NCAA has made legends before the NBA, whether National Basketball associated this with them, or not. Still, save the individuality for whose coming first and number one in the draft, this college class is all about friends and teammates. Camaraderie and loyalty. Before the big bucks and could give a f####. This time and tide tournament of tales is all about teams. The real stars. And in that celebrity, no group of guys was more famous than the fantastic, fabulous five of the Big Ten.
Top 10 all-time in this sports stories. Through their lakes that run all the way to Chicago, the state of Michigan has given this sport a great deal. We all know about the Chicago Bulls and the Motown motoring, assembly line hard-work of the Detroit Pistons. Michigan State university also gave us the Magic of Earvin Johnson and those legendary battles with the French Lick of Larry Bird, even before these two pulled on Laker and Celtic jerseys and gave the NBA its unstoppable to this day, era of gold. Still nothing shines more than the maize and the blue and white of the pure, hard collar work of the "other" Michigan alumni. The avenging Wolverines have always been something to marvel at. Superheroes like X-Men. Mutant man-children. Today for the last stand of March their claws are still honed and sharp like Hugh Jackman in the weight room with less body fat than a butchers apron...after its been deep-cleaned. Fantastic five, rock solid players, blazing hot, stretching the floor and rendering other teams defences invisible. It's quite a thing! Still no matter the power and victory, nothing beats the glory days of the 90's when the Fab Five pulled up their black socks and brought hip-hop to the Stockton short sport. Public Enemy number ones with a N.W.A. bullet. Whose your top five? I'm asking you like Chris Rock, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle, Kevin Hart. Biggie, Tupac, Jay-Z, Nas and Rakim. Like your Mount Rushmore. Like you're Wilt Chamberlain, Tim Duncan, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and Magic for your starters. Or this game. Whose your picks? Jimmy King, Ray Jackson, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose and Chris Webber.
Ohio State F###-Eyes be warned (Jalen said it not me), this one isn't for you! 1991. This was a year in a class like no other. Two Detroit's sons repping their state, along with Chicago and Texas being honoured to the figures 4, 5, 25, 24 and 21 and the countless number of victories that they wanted to amass. An opener against the University of Detroit as fitting as the time all-five were the only scorers fighting the Irish of Notre Dame. Damn it felt good to be a part of this team that even Ice Cube was a fan of. Cooling opponents with their water, melting everything else like the first rays of Summer days. Or to have the true greatest of all-time Muhammed Ali know who you are...and tell you not to apologise for who you are. A billion served. McDonalds All-Americans to Division State Champions, the buck only stopped with Ed Martin's money. Still what no longer exists in the history books, will always last in the chapters of memory. Legends to the testament as real and raw as it got. Or ever will. Time after time. 30 for 30. Youtube highlight to documentary worthy. Highest rating ESPN docu ever...go figure! Webber told you to get "that f###### camera" out his face. Focus, in more ways than one he put you in your place. These guys where hip-hop and hoop stars whether you liked it not. Somewhere in college credentials and somewhere between the playground and the real thing of the NBA like a kid that skips to your Lou. From the concrete to the hardwood. To the corridors of the hall. They shaved their heads like Mike, hanging that Jordan gold-chain round their necks. Their all black shoes and socks causing more shock than those fined and banned Air Jordan sneakers. Even before they went hard for their trophy cases they where putting the grit and grind, spit shine on their collective legends. The Fab Five going for the Final Four...but winning more. We aren't just talking about the rep of respect either. We're talking about something more than money...and the young, naive mistakes of accepting it off grown men who should know better and instead learn a new way to legally pay these kids a fair days wage, for a fair days play. More than the critics calling time for a costly timeout. We all make mistakes and we all rectify them somewhere down the line. It what the win and lose nature of this game and its metaphor of life is all about.
This famous five went on to bigger, but maybe not more fabulous things as they staked their claim in the big leagues of life as grown men. Still, to this today, no matter what they do their hip and cool, hoop hopping legend and legacy, born and made in Michigan still follows them today like the most epic, entourage that even Jeremy Piven would struggle to employ and enlist. Ray Jackson may have been the only member of the Fab Five not to make the NBA but he was still an integral part however, just like Michigan reserves and former NBA'ers Maurice Taylor and the late, tragic Robert 'Tractor' Taylor (relation, only on basketball brotherhood) were. He still tried out for the New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons and played in the CBA, winning Rookie Of The Year honours there. Now with even more meaning, Ray has formed the Rise Up incorporation. A non-profit charity that lends kids another assist from the basketball court to social and educational experiences. Jimmy King also crowned and capped off two seasons of National Basketball Association basketball. After some expansion time with the Toronto Raptors and the Rockies of the Denver Nuggets, the post-credits, script-type of this film reads that King served as a Wall Street advisor for Merrill Lynch. Now that's one hell of an occupation. Overcoming the daunting shadow of having an NBA father in Jimmy Walker, Jalen Rose became one of the Fab Five's most popular and more identifiable members. In the NBA he was a star who almost shone at the championship top with clutch three hero, come villain Reggie Miller for legend Larry Bird's Indiana Pacers. He also became a Chicago Bulls stampede leader with 'Rose' wrote on his back before the knee comma punctuated tenure of Derrick. Now Rose blooms as one of the NBA's top and most entertaining analyst. Much like fellow most famous Fab Five member Chris Webber who was drafted by Golden State, had a few shots with the Washington Bullets and concluded his career alongside two A.I's in Philly after coming so excruciatingly close to the throne, time after time with the Sacramento Kings. Damn those pesky Shaq and Kobe, purple and gold Los Angeles Lakers for these maize brothers. Still Webber became one of the greatest Power Forwards of his time, revolutionising the position with averages of 20.7 points per game, 9.8 rebounds per game, 4.2 assists per game, and 1.4 blocks across the board of his career. One of the leagues best journeyman of recent generations Juwan Howard rounds out this F.A.B 5, playing for eight teams including the Washington Wizards, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, Charlotte Bobcats, Portland Trail Blazers, and Miami Heat, whom he won an NBA championship with. Becoming the only member of the Fab Five to do so. Proving that no matter what was taken away from this group, the Fab Five still won. In more ways than one. Make that five. Now how fabulous is that?
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Wings spread the hardwood floor like feathers as the ball is flying like an eagle to the courtside, corner pocket perch. Landing in the talons of one of the associations toughest and weathered assured grips we all take a moment for this player like someone was singing "the dawns early light". Everyone is out their seats too. In the time this player takes to spin settle the seams of the ball in the right creases of their hands you could have removed your hat in respect. Someone's about to be put to rest...again. This is the reason everyone got out of bed this morning. To see the purity of this early light. Dressed in green and white and residing behind 22 feet like it was their white picket fence. It may as well be...its put the payments down for that house in the suburbs. You know the colour. You know the creed. The back of the jersey reads; 'Bird' and the goose-neck lets it fly as such. All nylon. Water washed. Still as this Bird of three point perfect prey flies back down court to the honest side of the floor that famous hair is flapping around. But its sleek not scraggily. Brunette not blonde. No french-lick, just a pony-tail. Number 33, but still top ten. Like a Bird in literal name and similar game. But we aren't talking about the legend of Larry...or Nelly Furtado. Though as a player she could be a maneater. Ladies and gentlemen we are talking about one of the greatest players called Bird. One of the greatest shooters this game has seen, regardless of gender or league class. We are talking about Suzanne Bird here people.
Like Larry Bird, Sue Bird is the realest and purest thing to happen to three point shooting since not needing to use the money-ball. Bank that! Now whose coming in second place? No Johnny Cash case of a boy named Sue, but all the worth of the woman's game that's a gold standard off all these players work. No relation in name, but definitely one in game, we'd love to see these two Birds flock together in a shooting competition until the feathers fall off. It'd be like jazz...Charlie Parker. All cash money. Birdman versus Birdwoman in the unexpected virtue of ignorance. And the winner is...The Boston Celtics legend of the National Basketball Association knows how much of a winner and great his sister league star of the green and white is. Today the WNBA cameras may focus on the new star likes of Candace Parker, Maya Moore and Skylar Diggins. Just like from its birth beginnings it was exposed to the legendary likes of Lisa Leslie, Tamika Catchings and Diana Taurasi. But between these big-threes lies the player with the most lethal three in the league. Her three ball! It all looks so beautiful. Making her the biggest part to clutch at in what was once her own Washington states big-three in team. Swin Cash may now have been collected by the debtors of the Liberty bank of New York basketball, but Aussie ruler and the best big woman WNBA basketball has ever seen, Laure Jackson is still here, down low from down under. And of course there is Sue. Ready to add even more rings to those hot hands. To spell championship you need a clutch 'C'. Or three. And B has got it. The Point Guard that goes hard.
Forecasts call for rain. This is Seattle, Washington. And this city is famous for old men snoring like its pouring, just like its famous for Nirvana and 'Frasier'. But listen to this piece of heaven sent heed. Don't worry about Seattle basketball! Reign still happens like a 100% chance of that weather for the next seven days in the city as beautiful, but drenched as long hair straight out the shower. The city hasn't seen this type of downpour since the greatest from downtown since Bird (Larry), Ray Allen shot away the final years of the green and white Supersonics. Before becoming a Boston Celtic legend too, blooming in the garden from a picturesque distance. Take a look from the vivid viewpoint of the Space-Needle and you can still see where the dunking, dynamic, dynamite duo of Supersonic legends Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton used to call home. But to see the Glove and Reignmans old Sonics team in all its throwback colours now you'd have to look all the way to Oklahoma City. Where the Thunder of that city has taken Seattle's rain and reign. Along with Kevin Durant's classic career in the making, one of the most loyal role players ever in Nick Collison and now what could be real championship glory behind the Kemp like, dunking guard dynamo of MVP candidate Russell Westbrook. Even the mistake they made with big three pillar and now Houston Rocket man James Harden doesn't even seem like a fair enough punishment from the basketball God's. This could have all been Seattle's. Now the 'Jurassic Park' visitors center looking Key Arena is extinct and 'Coach Carter', lock on the door non-existent during NBA season. When 90's golden era dinosaurs ruled the earth. The closest you could get is if you walked a few blocks round to the Queen Ann district to visit legend Shawn Kemp's Oskar's Kitchen sports-bar. You could probably use a drink.
Still even without the Thunder, there's still a Storm in Seattle. Even this time of year you can still find more than stray birds flying into the roof of Seattle's arena. You can find Sue in the Key likes big defenders working on making her shot more regular and reliable than the downtown monorail systems schedule. Working until her name 'Bird' reads in those same rooftop rafters like those tweeters, hash-tag trend or not for this association where amazing happens too. Expect and accept great. A few more banners for the forgotten Emerald city of jewels would be more important however, as Sue gets ready to drop more jewels and dimes in this scorching summer of sport that becomes a woman's world. Forget doing it in the park, this old school Point Guard that the playground would be proud of (after all this former first pick queen of Israeli descent, out of legendary UConn runs is from Queens, New York) is worthy of her place in the cement corridors of the Hall. Even more than she's worthy of her State Farm, spectacle secretary, circle of trust, commercial spot next to the Point God likes of Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Damien Lillard and the don, "Guardfather" of legendary points John Stockton. All for the complete game that's made for dream teams from American, Team USA, country duty to that club commitment of rebounding and rewriting Seattle's woken up, nightmare Basketball condition. Waking them up like the original, Seattle's best coffee in Starbucks colorways. From letting it fly like a Bird, to suing defences for big numbers from downtown this woman's bringing it all back like our fond nostalgia. The Storm logo may be reminiscent of Seattle's big basketball brother that left town for the big city likes of OKC, but in Sue Bird you have something even more reminiscent and revolutionary of this cities legendary legacy on the parquet floor. Just look at her eyes-or the fear in her opponents-as she pulls her shorts up and holds her knees for her signature pose on her dominant defence. Fitting like a Payton glove, manning his old spot and trashing opponents whilst letting her game be the thing that's doing the big talking. Its iconic for the purists. It may as well be the WNBA logo its so symbolic of what this underrated basketball city and league is all about. Bringing the name and game of her green and white, Seattle jersey back to where it belongs no one is soaring above all the dark clouds higher than this Bird. Flying high. It's time we all took wing.
Wednesday, 25 March 2015
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
"KING! MVP! KING! MVP"! Reverberations are roaring with the stadium sound, rocking arena chant in the chorus of this whole coliseums communion. "MVP! MVP! MVP!" The King takes it all in as he turns his head round the circumference of these castle walls that could crumble at any second with the decibels of every chord of every vocal that rattles everything from the hardwood-like the ball is bouncing-to the banners above that move in a draft that says; there's space here for another! "KING JAMES! KING JAMES! KING JAMES!" The greatest, number 23 looks as everyone calls his name and title-they should be he's just scored 37-but he looks confused. He hears his royal decree being shouted by what normally are his people-regardless of the arena-but all eyes aren't on him, even if it still somewhat is 'he against the world'. He looks to the man next to him. He has two fewer baskets, but his team has two more points which is one more victory than he. "KING JAMES MVP! KING JAMES MVP"! LeBron James looks to his left...this just doesn't feel right. They're calling for a new heir apparent appointed to the throne. They're calling for King James HARDEN!
We're in Houston, it's last month and apparently there's a new king in town of the sherriff state of Texas. As now the Rockets propelled themselves 105-103 over the Cleveland Cavaliers in a crucial, game and tide changing, mid-season, post All-Star, MVP season. This 'Fast and Furious' nitrous injected Toyota Centre are fuelled by the man next to 'Bron who did more than flagrantly kick him in the groin that game...he grabbed the season by the nuts like he was the man now. Sure the Houston Rockets social media department had their fun trolling LeBron by saying Harden was the real King James on Twitter, but that's all a past hash-tag trend. What's more than the flavour of this month now is that the scoring packet-causing problems for anyone playing Houston-Harden is still a prime candidate for the three letters of M.V.P. In a three horse race outside of the four time players champ LeBron, who gave way to Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and of course the influence of his inspiring mother last season. The Thunder strikes in the wake of K.D's injury now lie with the man getting the whole of the sport, internet and televised world out of their collective slumbers with his power, punctuated plays that are nightmares to reinforced rims and domino defences. Russell Westbrook is the epic entertainment choice. Whilst the Golden State's true Warrior, and Pacific Ocean wet brother Steph Curry with his shot and division championship is your dominant choice. A new era Point Guard, looking too cute to compete, but about to change his position and the game with what he has up his shooting sleeves like Magic. Chef Curry may just be cooking up a championship too. Still for the dimensions those divergent, changings of the guard are bringing, Harden looks to be the one to mirror and shimmer LeBron. A player looking like and taking him. A G.M's fantasy darling, prototype, ready to make the rest of the world look like an assembly line. With only some more defence required to make him complete, before he takes the kind of offence he inflicts everyone else with by the hairs on his chinny, chin, chin.
Whose afraid of the big, bad beard? Well apparently more than Gillette as right now the man with a 5 o'clock shadow this side of next month is making it hairy for everyone else. A cut above the rest and with opponents in his cross-hairs the beard is what stands out right now in this league of extraordinary gentlemen. Apologies to Anthony Davis' mono-brow...but that Pelican kid is right there too, N.O. joke! Houston's high-life skyline may-in the special Sports Illustrated feature last month-reflect a building that looks like a hair clipper...but that beard isn't coming off! No sir! It's his weapon like the Russell Westbrook phantom menace facemask of his latest opera! The tomahawk with the Mohawk! Soaring like the Atlanta Hawks. Like the Spurs of the past it looks like the hairs being grown until the Rockets rise above it all and plant their flag in the NBA's moon (that would be one small snip for James...one giant shave for man-scaping kind). If that would be the case than you might not be so surprised if you saw this thing coming snipped down like nylon nets in the NCAA madness of March...but dates in May will be this man's masterpiece. Lucky 13! Sucks to be everyone else! This Associations Texan triangle becomes a Bermuda when you have to go through the forest that is what you see when you come face-to-face with Harden. The reigning celebrating San Antonio Spurs aren't quite championship clicking yet and the All-Star, high-octane Dallas Mavericks ballclub may have too many cooks for this broth. Right now even Dirk Nowitzki, Rajon Rondo, Monta Ellis, Tyson Chandler, Amar'e Stoudemire and former Rocket Chandler Parsons (at least they have defensive Trevor Ariza, dunking Josh Smith, shooting Jason Terry, scoring Corey Brewer, Patrick Beverly and a maze of talent when navigating the bench) couldn't even outscore Harden when he's in his zone and cooling other teams off like blowing on hot soup. Run a triangle or not, forget three for Texas, this guy is circling the league. Even if its a Mohawk you see in the sea and not a fin.
Blood in the water though and this Rocket red team is raw with the rage against their opponent's fear in this NBA machine. The beard even leaves his men with the "quick-step of death" as his jet quick scoring, gun-slinger teammate Jason Terry dubs it. Guard this guy and one or two quick moves later and you'll be left staggering at your feet like you've been shot. Perhaps you may as well have been. There goes those ankles of yours. Even the Spanish skill of soccer like Ricky Rubio has suffered. If you where a horse you'd be put out to pasture. But this is now the glue that keeps coaches dry-erases together. Play by play. They call it the Eurostep. It's more Dirk than Dwight. Houston Texan rival San An's Manu Ginoboli wears this well like spurs on the back of his sneakers. Its the answer to Allen Iverson for this new generations crossover. They say it originated as recently as the overseas influence that imported it to these shores, but are they sure? Old tape reveals Los Angeles Laker Elgin Baylor mastering teams with this move. Hey! Here's thinking we've just found a legend we can compare the legacy making of this player from Los Angeles, California too. Now the step -back is hitting the numbers of winning formula to the tune of big night after big night. Video game fantasy worthy. The 25 year old who has already-with 25 plus in the consecutive past-broken records by legendary Rocket Moses Malone, is still parting double-teams without the drawing presence of another Houston big-man great in sidekick, now understudy, Dwight Howard. When Superman returns he'll have to make way for Batman and hopefully not fight him like, like Mike, Kobe in this Justice League. As to add someone else's insult to that injury, even candidate LeBron's former Miami Heat teammate Dwyane Wade has Harden's name on his MVP lips like everyone else in this league. Forget Kevin Love's opinion! Durant was awarded it last year, this year maybe Russ, but whether now or later one day it'll belong to the former third draft pick who was once the '3' of the OKC, big three. Which today could have been the biggest three since Holy Trinity, forget a LeBron trilogy. The Thunder can only reminisce and wish they still had their former 'Sixth Man Of The Year' who is now so much more than "Most Improved". The Thunder's incredible loss on a table with no chips now plays into the hand of a Texas trio that's face card and club belongs to a new king. Number one with a beard. MVB? Maurice Podoloff? If you can't count on that then maybe you can count on James Harden's name being associated with another one. One that's record book, infinitely more important! The legend of Larry!
Monday, 23 March 2015
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
"I'm not a woman that's an athlete! I'm an athlete!"-Skylar Diggins.
Beautiful! There you go. Lets get that out the way. We all know how pretty as a Sports Illustrated cover picture this young woman is, but there is so much more to how her basketball game looks than appearances that can be deceiving to those ignorant to what the women's game is really about...the game! Shock value! She's so much more to Tulsa's stock and you thought Oklahoma basketball just reigned with a forecast of Thunder, but even when they stole Seattle's Supersonics they forgot about the Storm. You see some men may sneer or leer but women can ball too like Michelle Wie clubbing with the men's majors in golf. Ever since the WNBA's league inception in the 90's the legendary likes of Lisa Leslie, Tamika Catchings, Chaminique Holdsclaw, Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Candace Parker have been proving with point after point that the lipstick shouldn't fool you. Now with the likes of Maya Moore, Sky is showing the next generation of hoopers that the clouds above the arena aren't even the air time limit. You don't have to be Jeanie Buss to have a dominant influence on this game. Just look at Diggins standing next to Los Angeles Laker, NBA legend Kobe Bryant as a flagship athlete for Nike. Now admit you want these guys to just do it and ball, one-on-one in a new Nike, commercial spot. Diggins on Bean...the most competitive player on the planet. So much to prove...wrong! Right?
Here's a woman ready to give the Atlanta Dream nightmares. Showing the Windy air of Chicago where the real sky lies. All whilst bringing clouds to the Connecticut Sun. Leaving Indiana with an incurable Fever with no medicine. Sparking a fire against Los Angeles. Taming the Minnesota's Lynx and showing New York no Liberty, no matter how proudly that lady stands above the city that never sleeps. Rising like Mercury against Phoenix, to the Stars of San Antonio. Before she shows the Seattle Storm real reign, mystifying the Mystics of Washington. This is why Tulsa is such a great destination spot in Summer. Shocked? You shouldn't be. You may even catch a parade sweeping through on a good day...or week. This team has the talent for the next level...and some want to see Diggins in Hollywood with fellow young, hot star Candace Parker. Hanging around with the big names, like joking with rapper Drake and clowning with comedian baller Kevin Hart at the All Star Weekend Celebrity Game. Still, Diggins resides in the skies of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Until she comes down with the ball through the hoop for another shock to the syndicate system. Like her teams sponsors you can bet on her like Osage Casino to boost her team like the mobile provider. Still in a league whose jerseys have become like soccer ones or Formula 1 ones to the regret of real fans and the fear of NBA ones, the real name on this jersey lies with the number four. Although Skylar will argue rightly that its about the name 'Shock' and the awe of Tulsa. Preaching teamwork is the makings of dreamworks. An inspiring influence like her quotes that make the social media scanning, Pinterest punctuated motivation rounds for female and male, athletes and non such alike. Words of wisdom, so young like, "it's not about how big you are. It's about how big you play"! Now how monumentally soaring is that for anyone trying to reach the rim. Can you dig it?
Dig this! 90's baby, out of South Bench, Indiana, Hoosier State. Only 24 years old, 5 feet 9 and 145 pounds of pure tone and muscle, this is the look of the next generations best type of basketball player. Basketball player period. Man or woman. National Basketball Association or orange and white, ABA like ball. Now this league is having it's moment to rise too. No semi-pro or half-time circus acts. Just tricks on the hardwood trade. No D grade development, just A plus professionalism. The changing of the guard began in Washington High where Sky led her team to two state championship finals and one title on a 102-7 record for one marvel of a Panther run. Keeping them panting with numbers like 29 points per game, along with 6.3 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 5.4 steals and 2.2 blocked shots. The girl sipping Gatorade courtside won player of the year honours for Indy sponsored by that guzzling giant. Soon to become the golden arches of a McDonalds All-American although looking like she would never look twice at a Happy Meal...not even for the toy! Then the Si 'Face In The Crowd' turned down the legendary prestige of Stanford to fight with the Irish of Notre Dame for her freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years of college with her best years and the rest of her Women's National Basketball Association dream life ahead of her. Manning the point this young woman led the brakes of the changing of the guard, pacing the team with 4.8 assists and becoming a number 2, sidekick, secondary scorer all the way to a Final Four performance in just her second season. After years of advancing her team and holding single season steal records of 102 swipes. All whilst picking up Nancy Liberman awards and being considered for Wooden ones this girl wanted her own name to stick out from the plaque and pack. All this success from the college halls to the worlds stage of FIBA gold would eventually earn Skylar Diggins the honour of having her name called third by the Tulsa Shock in 2002's draft wind, season of next gen player change.
Refusing to see the grey like Dre and Diddy collaborators, Skylar's averaged 8.5 points per game, 1.9 rebounds per game, 26.4 minutes per game and a team high 3.8 assists as a rook, Diggins hit highs of 22 building her statistical and professional reputation for the Shock and WNBA. Still however just like in college, Skylar's sophomore year was her breakout year. In 2014 she became an All-Star a game leader in that respect and the WNBA's Most Improved Player. What slump? In the A.S.G. her 27 points where iced by a clutch lay-up leading to overtime. That season also saw her become the runner up in scoring with 20.1 point per contest. Her 5 dimes where good enough for fourth in the league, whilst she was 10th in steals with 1.5. This epic numbers game and her totals in points of 683 even bested the Tulsa Shock season record held by another big guard in Deanna Nolan. All this in not even a quarter century of life and a couple of years graduated to a professional career. Now 2015 looks set to be her year in a scorching hot Summer that will remind parquet purists that basketball never stops, even when Larry O'Brien is lifted to bring in June's sun. From the defensive aggression to the offensive finesse, you really are looking at the next star and great of this game. No matter the time of year. Soon you'll be able to spell the name right. There may even be an 'M' in there with a 'VP'. Still, you know Skylar she won't settle for that little title if its not a stepping stone towards the Big Dance of a championship. Putting Oklahoma on the map like Durant's Thunder. Basketball courtside conversations may bounce from end to end, from everyone from James Harden to Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook to some guy who plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but there's more to consider. The San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls. Anyone in their right state of mind or play could claim themselves NBA champions. But this band of brothers should keep their sister associates in thoughtful consideration too. Players like Diggins prove this game is about individuals and teams, not gender and the battle of the sexes. Showing its about heart and soul, not chromosome. Boys, boys, boys, Dig wants her own place on her own throne. If LeBron is King. Than Skylar will be Queen!