The Year Of The King

The Year Of The King

Why LeBron James will finally fulfill his promise to the Cleveland faithful.
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With the NBA playoffs in full swing, one question is on the mind of every basketball fan: Is this the year LeBron James delivers the city of Cleveland its first ever championship? Cavalier fans sure hope so, but even I, a so-called “LeBron hater,” can’t help but believe that 2016 is the year of the King.

As is the norm, LeBron has saved his best play for the championship push, but for once during his time in Cleveland, his supporting cast is healthy and playing better than ever. Kyrie Irving is leaving opposing guards in the dust with his lethal crossover, Kevin Love is scoring inside and out, J.R. Smith is hitting big shots, and Tristan Thompson has once again taken up the role of garbage man.

It doesn’t stop there, however. The Cleveland reserves have been crucial to the Cavaliers’ 10-1 playoff start. Matthew Dellavedova, Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye and the rest of the bench brigade have done a stellar job holding down the fort while the starters catch their breath.

Although the stars have aligned in Cleveland, the Cavaliers are by no means shoe-ins to walk away as the NBA’s top team. With a record 73 regular season wins and arguably the best shooter ever to set foot on earth in Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors present a major challenge in Cleveland’s quest for a championship.

The Warriors are without a doubt a sight to behold, but they have had their share of misfortunes this playoffs. They ousted both the Rockets and the Blazers in five games, but the Blazers, a team that most expected to be one of the worst in the league after losing four starters this past summer, fought the Warriors unlike any team this season. Yes, I know Stephen Curry missed the first three games of the series, but if I’d expect any team to maintain utter dominance without their leading man, it would be the Warriors. Despite a 1-1 series tie against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Warriors still have little margin for error. If they do make it to the finals, which I believe they will, it will not be without another long, hard fight

Meanwhile in Cleveland, the Cavaliers are trouncing the Toronto Raptors while working on their handshakes. Some say not being tested in the earlier rounds will come back to haunt LeBron and company against the Western Conference champions, but last year’s playoffs served as ultimate test for the Cavaliers. After losing Kevin Love in the first round and Kyrie Irving in Game 1 of the NBA Finals to injury, the Cavaliers still took the Warriors to six games. Coming so close despite the odds being stacked against them has the Cavaliers locked in more than ever this time around.

So will King James reclaim his throne? Will the people Cleveland, loyal fans deprived of a professional sports championship since 1964, finally have a reason to dance in the streets? Despite the events of this NBA season, I can’t help but say yes. Of course, there are a lot of games to be played and anything can happen, but in the words of the great Charles Barkley, “I may be wrong, but I doubt it.”

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Andy Ruiz Jr. May Not Look Like The Typical Boxer, But It Doesn't Make His Victory Any Less Deserved

Andy Ruiz Jr. just proved that dreams can come true.

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On June 1, boxing fans witnessed something special as Andy 'Destroyer' Ruiz Jr. defeated Anthony Joshua via TKO after going seven rounds in the ring at Madison Square Garden in New York City to become the first ever Mexican-American heavyweight champion of the world. Ruiz Jr. (33-1) was a heavy underdog (+1100) heading into the match-up with Joshua (22-1) but ultimately flipped the script to hand the British fighter his first professional loss ever. Surely the fight will go down as one of the greatest moments in sports history.

Some members of the media and fans have been quick to label the fight as a 'fluke' and 'rigged' which in the end is no surprise to me. That always happens in the sports world. Many did not believe we would get this result yet failed to remember the one rule of sports -- expect the unexpected. Over the past week, I've been coming to the defense of Ruiz Jr. in the wake of others choosing to call him a joke.

I was shocked and surprised to hear two of my favorite sports analysts, Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe, make fun of Ruiz Jr. and frame him as just a guy that looked like 'Butterbean.' When I viewed their tweets on social media it honestly made me upset. Sure, Ruiz Jr. may not have fit the mold of what a professional boxer should look like, but they simply should not have just judged a book by its cover.

Personally, I thought it was disrespectful for Smith and Sharpe to throw shade at Ruiz Jr. in the way they did. I felt like they should have done a better job of acknowledging the winner considering the result of the match. Yet choosing to bash someone because of their physical composition appeared like a low blow. The very foundation of sports allows people of all shapes, sizes, genders, races, and backgrounds to compete -- that's why most people follow them in the first place.

Smith was open behind his reasoning for his tweets in which I'd like to shed some light on. Smith was upset about how boxing time after time contains elements of corruption with fans having to wait years until promoters schedule big fights. He along with other followers of the sport were looking forward to the highly anticipated yet potential future match-up between Joshua and fellow heavyweight Deontay Wilder. Smith believes that by Ruiz Jr. beating Joshua it essentially diminished the chances of that fight ever happening with the same amount of buildup, but that still doesn't provide any excuse for mocking the new heavyweight champ.

Ruiz Jr. was there for a reason and ultimately seized the opportunity that was right in front of him -- that's not his fault for getting the job done. Just because someone doesn't look like the part doesn't mean they don't possess the same qualities and characteristics as their counterparts. The following pair of videos display the amount of talent Ruiz Jr. does have in the ring. Even fellow boxer Canelo Alvarez and former UFC lightweight/featherweight champion Conor McGregor acknowledge that and have come out to say something on their behalf.

Unfortunately, I don't expect much to change because most will stand their ground and continue to behave the same way. All I'm saying is I did not enjoy some of the top figures within sports media stereotyping Ruiz Jr. based on his looks. I would think that we would be better than that and recognize that anyone can accomplish something great in this world. It all just starts with a simple dream.

I understand and respect other people's takes on this subject, maybe I'm looking into things deeper than what they are, but it struck a chord with me and I felt the need to say something about it.

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