Lebron To Lakers Changes Up NBA

LeBron's Move to Los Angeles Turns the Tide of the NBA

The league could see a significant change in front runners.

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The NBA is not known for its parity these days. For the past four years, the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers have displayed their dominance over their respective Western and Eastern Conferences, squaring off in the NBA Finals each season. However, the supremacy seems to be ending for Cleveland, as their cornerstone LeBron James has departed for the Los Angeles Lakers via free agency. This move will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the Cavaliers, Lakers, and the rest of the NBA.

LeBron James has established himself as the linchpin of the Cavaliers and the franchise's most important player throughout its history. He helped end Cleveland's 52-year professional sports championship drought as the Cavaliers won the NBA championship in the 2016 NBA Finals, rallying from a 3-1 game deficit to overcome the onslaught of the Warriors. James has already been ingrained in NBA history as one of the greatest players in basketball with his solid play and consistency, as well as a Cavaliers legend for bringing them a championship and making them perennial title contenders with his presence.

However, James' departure to Los Angeles has dealt a severe blow to the Cavaliers organization. They have been a great basketball team over the past four years, but only when James has been on the court. He has been known for carrying the team to relevance, and the Cavaliers are in for a highly uncertain future with their best player gone.

In addition, they had another budding star in Kyrie Irving, but they traded him to the Boston Celtics in 2017 after he expressed his desire to play for another team. Irving reportedly wished to be the leader of his own team rather than stay in James' shadow. However, Cleveland lost a star in Irving, and they will have an arduous time compensating for the absences of both him and James.

With the addition of James, the Lakers may be contenders for the first time in years. The hype has already built in Los Angeles and memories of their dominance with Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant are flooding back to Lakers fans everywhere. Even after their failure to sign Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George, who re-signed with the Thunder on a four-year $137 million contract in free agency, the Lakers look to be a contender in the Western Conference for years to come.

More noteworthy is how this move will likely shake up the rest of the NBA. The Cavaliers will likely regress significantly, clearing the way for other teams in the Eastern Conference like the Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors, etc. to try to take the reins. It will also give Golden State some more competition in the Western Conference along with the Houston Rockets and the aforementioned Thunder.

The fact that the departure of one player from one team to another can impact an entire professional sports league so significantly says a lot about the lack of parity in the NBA, even if that player is one of the greatest of all time. In time, we will see how LeBron James' move to Los Angeles plays out for the rest of the NBA.

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Everything The Student Athlete Loses When They Move On From Sports

Enjoy it while it lasts.

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We used to call it "flipping the switch." You would go through eight hours of school (somehow) and then your mentality would automatically change. The worries and stress from the school day would dwindle as you put on your cleats and begin to warm up. Anything that was going on in your life didn't matter when you hit the dirt. You create lifelong friendships with the girls you spent every day with for months at a time. Teammates who see you susceptible after a bad game and on cloud nine after one of your bests.

You develop a routine and superstitions. Hitting your bat on the inside of your cleat before you hit, chewing a certain type of gum on the volleyball court, how many times you spin the ball before you shoot a free throw, whatever your quirk was, you 100% believed it would make you play better. You practice in your free time with your dad, devote three to five months of your school year to a team, and play all summer long with your travel team as you live off hotel breakfast. Then one day, it's all over.

It is a feeling that nobody can prepare you for. They say enjoy it while it lasts but you never really understand what you'll be walking away from when you play your last game and hang it up for good. You lose a part of yourself when you're no longer an athlete. I forgot what it feels like to be competitive and be a part of something that is bigger than myself. It has been two years since I've played my last softball game and not a day goes by when I don't miss it. I didn't play because I wanted to go pro or even to the collegiate level, but I played because it was an escape and helped me become who I am.

You begin to forget what it felt like to hit the sweet spot on a bat, what it sounded like to have an audience cheer for you as you stand alone on second base and see your family in the stands, to hear the metal spikes of your cleats on concrete when walking in the dugout. It's simple things about the game you love that brought you pure joy and an escape from the world and the thoughts in your head. Batting practice was always mine. Focusing on nothing but the next pitch and how hard I could hit it.

When you have to watch the game from the other side of the fence, you realize how much pressure you put on yourself when you played. It's just a game. Make as many memories as you can and enjoy every inning because when you leave sports behind you have to find your inner athlete in other things. Create a workout routine, joining a club sport or intramurals, or even becoming a coach. As much as I miss the sport, I am thankful for everything it brought me. It taught me how to be a good friend, respect others around me, and to push myself to discover what I was capable of.

So, enjoy it while it lasts.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo And Christian Yelich Have Put Milwaukee Back On The Map

Two small market teams making sure the world knows who they are

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"MVP" is currently being chanted around the city of Milwaukee and the people of Milwaukee aren't just talking about one person. Giannis Antetokounmpo, a forward for the Milwaukee Bucks and Christian Yelich, an outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers. Giannis is on the path to winning this year's NBA MVP and Yelich, who happened to win the NL MVP last year, is showing no doubts on potentially becoming this year's MVP as well.

Both the Bucks and the Brewers have struggled in the past few years. The Bucks finished their 2013-2014 season with a record of 15-67. On top of that, they have been playing in the BMO Harris Bradley Center for the past couple of decades. The Bradley Center was intentionally built for hockey and not basketball so attending games for the Bucks sometimes had you in the nosebleeds barely seeing what was going on on the court. The Bucks struggled after their 2013-2014 season with records of 41-41 (2014-2015) and 33-49 (2015-2016). Now, the Bucks have recently finished their regular season and moved to the playoffs. From 15-67 just five years ago, to now 60-22 which gave them the best record in the NBA, the number one seed in the East and home-court advantage, Giannis has proved himself as potentially one of the greatest players the NBA and the Bucks franchise will ever see.

The Bucks now have a new arena that opened this season, Fiserv Forum, which is built specifically for the Bucks (and Marquette) instead of hockey. Looking back on the Bucks in their previous years compared to now, the Bucks have sold out every single game this season. Something Milwaukee never thought they would see from being a small market team. From my experience, while working for the Bucks, you can see the difference in the crowd and feel their enthusiasm and excitement radiating off of the fans. And this is all thanks to Mr. Antetokounmpo who is making his mark here in Milwaukee. Giannis has won Eastern Conference Player of the Month for October/November, December, February and March/April and even earned his spot as Eastern Conference captain for the All-Star game this year. Giannis may be considered in his prime right now, but he is only 24-years-old which means he has plenty of time to only make himself better.

The Brewers had won the NL Central Divison back in 2011 but lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series. After that, they struggled a bit and haven't won the title since until last year in 2018. He brought the Brewers to the NLCS last season, but unfortunately, they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Yelich had 36 home runs last season and already has eight (as of 4/16/19) this season. He happens to be a great right fielder as well. In last night's (4/15/19) game against the Cardinals, Yelich alone scored three home runs.

Miller Park has been filling up more and more each game of Brewers fans. Being a small market team like their cross-city friends, the Bucks, bringing home an MVP title as well as a division title, it makes everyone aware of their greatness and dedication. The season may have just started back up again, but there is no doubt, if Yelich and his teammates keep playing like they are right now, they will have another shot of making it to the World Series.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Christian Yelich have brought and will continue to bring excitement and greatness to Milwaukee which is something the city hasn't seen in a while. This era of sports will surely be remembered for a long time by the people of Milwaukee and Wisconsin.

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