Archive - June 2015

1
The 2015 NBA Draft Sparks Hope for Franchises
2
A-Rod Hits 3,000!
3
The Chicago Blackhawks Add a Third Stanley Cup to Impressive Dynasty
4
Fanatics Authentic Brings Biggest Names in Sports to Boston
5
American Pharoah Wins 2015 Triple Crown!
6
Father’s Day Gift Guide

The 2015 NBA Draft Sparks Hope for Franchises

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With the completion of first round of the 2015 NBA Draft, dreams are coming true for young hopefuls as NBA teams used their early draft picks on the nation’s best players looking to enter the league. The highly anticipated 2015 NBA Draft started off with a thrill, as the Minnesota Timberwolves chose Karl-Anthony Towns, a highly decorated collegiate power forward and center out of the University of Kentucky, with the first overall pick.

As Towns heads to Minnesota, many NBA enthusiasts are expecting the Timberwolves to have a much improved year in the upcoming season after their not so memorable 16-66 record for 2015. Joining the Timberwolves from the highly competitive SEC, Towns posted an average 10 points per game with 6.7 average rebounds per game, which should take Minnesota’s offense to new heights in the future. With the first pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves could be on their way out of last place in the Western Conference and on their way to the top of the league.

With the 2nd overall pick, the Los Angeles Lakers added a truly talented guard to their roster with D’Angelo Russell from the Ohio State University. Awarded the Jerry West Shooting Award in his last season with the Buckeyes, Russell is projected to add some much needed shooting skills to Kobe Bryant’s struggling team. After a 21-61 record in the previous season, Russell’s 19.3 PPG is sure to help the Lakers at least break 500 next season.

2015 NCAA Champion, Jahil Okafor from the Duke University Blue Devils was selected with the 3rd overall by Philadelphia 76ers. As another team that can use a fresh face to improve their poor 18-64 record from last season, Okafor is a tremendous incoming asset to the Sixers. Possessing a raw talent at center, the Sixers added a much needed asset to their roster with Okafor shooting 7.3 PPG in just one year with Duke.

Kristaps Porzingis from Latvia signed with the New York Knicks as the 4th overall pick of the draft to bring his power forward/center skills and hope to the struggling franchise. Standing at 7’1″ and full of skill, Porzingis, along with other future New York draft picks, will bring a drastic improvement to the 17-65 Knicks. As a team that has had a rough recent history, the addition of Porzingis to the Knick is something that will be greatly appreciated by New York basketball fans everywhere.

5th overall pick Mario Hezonja is taking his Croatian-born, Barcelona-played talents to the Orlando Magic for 2015. Although he may not be a household name, it won’t take long for this upcoming small forward to emerge as a powerhouse in the NBA. Don’t count out the Magic as they add the early draft pick to their roster and sneak up as one of the league’s top talent in the future.

The Denver Nuggets snagged Emmanuel Mudiay with the 7th overall pick and immediately took their roster’s talent to the next level. After a 30-52 record in the 2014-2015 season, selecting the talented young point guard might be one of the best decisions Denver has made in quite some time. The scoring-fiend is sure to help the Nuggets pull themselves up by their bootstraps and rise up as a great basketball franchise once again.

Frank the Tank Kaminsky snuck into the top ten selections of the NBA Draft as the 9th overall pick by the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets have struggled in recent history, but their newest head coach Steve Clifford is bringing new talent to their roster might be just what Charlotte needs to break 500 in the upcoming season. With skill that led the Badgers to the NCAA Championship finals, Kaminsky could be the x-factor that the Charlotte Hornets have been missing.

Finishing off the top ten picks of the 2015 NBA Draft is final selection Justise Winslow, who is certain to prove to be unforgettable. After just one season playing for Duke University, the All-star ACC player emerged as a key player to Duke’s success in the NCAA Championship game and became a fan-favorite nationwide. Selected as the 10th overall pick by the Miami Heat, this shooting guard is expected to bring huge ups, massive skill, and much needed heat to a roster that unperformed in the 2014-2015 season.

As the excitement of the 2015 NBA draft continues, only time will tell which franchises will come out with on top with their newest players. Basketball fans worldwide can revel in the anticipation of the upcoming NBA season, as new and rising stars join the rosters of their favorite teams.

A-Rod Hits 3,000!

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Formerly known for his record-breaking accomplishments and success,  New York Yankees‘ Alex Rodriguez was once dubbed an MLB icon alone, but he’s also become very familiar with scandal over his twenty year career. On June 19th, 2015 Alex Rodriguez added to his lengthy resume and became the 29th player in baseball history to record 3,000 career hits. Reaching a feat that is something every major leaguer dreams of is an incredible accomplishment and puts the third base power hitter among several all-time greats, but it is also something that the baseball world is torn over.

This controversy didn’t emerge over Rodriguez’s skill, but instead, it comes over the fact that not all of those 3,000 hits were “legal”. After being suspended for a season, A-Rod is back and trying to prove his talent to the world without steroids. He served his punishment, ended the use of performance enhancing drugs, and returned to the field legally, but with a vengeance. Since his return, Alex Rodriguez has been racking up home runs like they’re base hits and relentlessly proving his talent. Despite his steroid-free success, spectators would like to take away his prestige for earning 3,000 hits. Many have question if a player who “cheated” his way to the top should be allowed to keep his statistics. Some critics have even suggested the idea of placing an asterisk next to the accomplishment to signal that his record came partially from the notorious Steroid Era. That would also that any other player who used PEDs and were among the best would also have some of their accomplishments stripped of merit and downplayed, including many all-time greats, such as Barry Bonds or Mark McGuire.

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Although some MLB fans and players may think this 3,000 record is entirely a fraud and needs to be removed or altered in order to be fair, America’s favorite pastime has had many different periods through its history and has grown with the nation. The Steroid Era is one of these periods. It was an upsetting time for millions of baseball fans, but once trials took place and punishments were had, the MLB organization cracked down on PED use and things improved greatly on the diamond. Moving forward, there hadn’t been a steroid controversy as large as A-Rod’s for nearly a decade, but when it hit, there was a massive wave of disappointment, anger, and confusion for MLB fans everywhere. Time has passed, a punishment and fine were implemented, and Rodriguez was welcomed back to baseball. While he wasn’t given a warm welcome from the majority of the baseball world, A-Rod took the right steps to change his ways and made his come back doing the one thing he knows best. The past cannot be changed and baseball fans can only accept A-Rod’s return, 3,000 career hits and all. While cheating is not being promoted, the large looming question is, will A-Rod be remembered as a league great or a disdained cheater, despite his clear talent? Only time will tell if the MLB keeps his stats as is, but  100% yes, Alex Rodriguez should be memorialized as a talent that many could not touch, with or without steroid.

There is no denying that A-Rod makes it look easy every time he steps up to the plate, and his 3,000th his was no exception. Rodriguez’s 3,000 hit soared into the stands, showing this player has an undeniable gift. With form that is close to perfection and a swing that any other MLB player would for, truly make A-Rod a power player. These aren’t things steroids create, they are the raw skill he possesses that cannot be taken away or downplayed. Alex Rodriguez is talented without a doubt and maybe it’s time to accept his taken and skill that were previously overshadowed by controversy.

The Chicago Blackhawks Add a Third Stanley Cup to Impressive Dynasty

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Whether you’re a die-hard NHL fan or a casual spectator, it’s guaranteed you at least know about the recent hockey powerhouse known as the Chicago Blackhawks. After the strange and somewhat oxymoronic occurrence of a Florida team being their opponent in the 2015 Stanley Cup, the Blackhawks took home their third championship in the past six years.

In the nail-biting 2015 Stanley Cup Finals, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning played an unforgettable six game series. Although Chicago took the lead quickly, winning the first game of the series in Tampa Bay, it quickly became tied with the Lightning clinching Game Two. While Chicago lost Game Three on their home rink, they bounced back to show dominance winning the next three games and the series 4-2. There are few things sweeter than winning a Championship title at home in front of your fans, and that’s just what the Blackhawks managed to do for the first time in 77 years on Game Six. With Duncan Keith scoring the first goal, the Blackhawks began to set themselves up for victory. When Patrick Kane shot one into the net in the third, Chicago could taste the victory already, but the team worked for that championship every second of the game. With this win, the Chicago Blackhawks began to hear the words “dynasty” circle around as they proudly hoisted up the shiny coveted Stanley Cup for the fans to see.

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What the Blackhawks have built in the past decade is something not many Hockey teams can claim. With six Stanley Cup titles in franchise history, Chicago is tied with Boston for second most titles won by an NHL organization. Even more impressive is the turn around during the 2015 Stanley Cup series when the Blackhawks miraculously came back to win the cup in what looked like a series that the Tampa Bay Lightning was going to take with ease. But the bigger story here is the titles they continue to bring back to The Windy City since 2010. They have won three titles in the last six years (2015, 2013, and 2010); an remarkable feat for a franchise in any sport. Can sports fan truly call this the start of a dynasty or is it just luck? Can the Blackhawks make Chicago a Championship city?

After the Blackhawks brought home the Cup to Chicago, it was back to work for the champions. What makes them so strong are not just their Stanley Cup appearances or their come from behind attitude to win it all, it’s something more impressive and hard to deny. During the regular season, the Blackhawks average over 50% of score adjusted even strength shot attempts, something that consistently leaves them in the top five teams yearly, and serves as further proof of the power and skill this Chicago team has. During the 2014-2015 season alone, the Blackhawks scored 150 goals and allowed just 129 goals. This in partial to standout goalie Corey Crawford, but he alone is not carrying the team. The entire Chicago Blackhawks roster seems to have this winning thing down and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight as the team will resign at least five of their key performance players.

Considering all of Chicago’s glory in recent years, is this truly a dynasty? If it were up to the heads of the NHL, I think they would already be calling this power team the next greatest dynasty. But putting such a big title on a team could be disastrous, as has been noticed in other teams throughout sports. Could this dynasty just be luck? Could it be a similar situation to the Miami Heat’s short-lived dynasty that crumbled when players began to be traded to other teams? Perhaps it is, but only time will be able to tell. Until that time comes, Chicago will bask in the glory of being a Championship City, something it hasn’t been able to do for any other sport for quite some time. They have a powerhouse hockey dynasty in their presence and no city can take that away from them just yet.

Fanatics Authentic Brings Biggest Names in Sports to Boston

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The Fanatics Authentic Sports Spectacular returned to Boston for a second time with one of its top line-ups in the collectibles show’s history. With appearances by more than 40 athletes, Fanatics Authentic took up residence at the Royal Plaza Trade Center in Boston on the Weekend of June 5th to bring sports fans three days of exciting autograph signings and events.

A star-studded lineup brought athletes from across all major professional sports to Chicago to meet with sports fans, sign autographs, and pose for unique photo opportunities. In addition to headliners Malcolm Butler, Dan Marino, David Ortiz, and Pedro Martinez, the Fanatics Authentic show featured appearances by a range of premier athletes, including Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, the legendary Bo Jackson, and Dallas Cowboys Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith. The Boston collectibles show also hosted the 40th Anniversary of the 1975 Red Sox with appearances by more than 15 former Boston stars, including Carlton Fisk, Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, and Dwight Evans, as well as roll back pricing for “Today’s Stars at Yesterday’s Prices” with discounts on autographs from  Steve Grogan and Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd.

Take a look behind the scenes at the action from the 2015 Boston Fanatics Authentic Sports Spectacular below:

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American Pharoah Wins 2015 Triple Crown!

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On June 6th, 2015 at the Belmont Stakes, American Pharoah made sports history crossed the finish line first overall to become the first Triple Crown Winner in 37 years. This symbolic victory was American Pharoah’s seventh consecutive first place victory and made him the twelfth horse ever earn Triple Crown honors. Since the last horse to win the three iconic races that result in the Triple Crown Award was Affirmed in 1978, American Pharoah and jockey Victor Espinoza finally put an end to horse-racing’s 37-year drought.

After four straight race victories from September 2, 2014 to April 11, 2015, American Pharoah made his first appearance at the Kentucky Derby under the lead of Victor Espinoza. Entering the race, American Pharoah was considered the favorite to win from the eighteen horses in the competition. American Pharoah went on too take first at the 2015 race with ease, giving Espinoza his third career victory at the Kentucky Derby. Winning back-to-back Kentucky Derbies, the horse racing world should have expected a thrilling spring for Victor Espinoza and rising horse American Pharoah. Despite the heavy downpour on the day of the Preakness Stakes, American Pharoah persevered for the win and being the only horse with experience racing in such weather conditions. American Pharoah won first place by seven lengths and the hype of a potential Triple Crown winner began. Prior to riding American Pharoah, Espinoza had two other opportunities to win the Triple Crown, but failed to do so with War Emblem in 2002 and California Chrome in 2014. Both of these horses took first at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, only to fall short at the Belmont Stakes. Falling just short of the Triple Crown twice before, Espinoza long desired for that last victory at Belmont Stakes and to write his name in horse racing history among previous greats.Once Victor Espinoza took over, American Pharoah has gone undefeated since and he became the oldest jockey to ever win the Triple Crown.

As the 2015 Belmont Stakes approached, American Pharoah was once again a heavy favorite to win. On race day, American Pharoah certainly didn’t disappoint, while displaying his true dominance on the track and won by 5 ½ lengths. Coming in first place within a record 2 minutes and 26.65 seconds, American Pharoah became the first horse in 37 years to win the Triple Crown and the 12th ever. Completing the Triple Crown is a remarkable accomplishment and there is no horse more worthy of the title than the unforgettable American Pharoah.

Don’t forget to take home a piece of sports history and shop the 2015 Triple Crown Memorabilia Collection!

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Father’s Day Gift Guide

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Every year on Father’s Day, neck ties and watches are predominant and overdone, so why not show Dad how much you truly care with a unique gift this holiday? For the dad with a passion for sports, you can’t go wrong with authentic autographed sports memorabilia. Whether your father is the ultimate sports fan or a dedicated collector, you can’t go wrong this holiday by shopping our Father’s Day gift guide below for the top ten sports gifts for men.

Top Sports Memorabilia Gifts for Father’s Day:

  1. Signed Photos – Give your dad a gift that preserves all of his favorite sports moments for life by shopping autographed sports photos. You can even build a personalized Father’s Day gift with a customized frame for a signed photo to create a present that’s as meaningful as your relationship.
  2. Autographed Baseballs – A signed baseball is a classic gift to any fan of the major league. A baseball signed by your father’s all-time favorite MLB player, whether it be rising star Clayton Kershaw or the iconic Derek Jeter, is a present that Dad will always treasure.
  3. Signed Jerseys – Show dad he’ll always be number one on your team with an autographed jersey for this Father’s Day. Thank the man who cheered you on through life by giving him a sports jersey to celebrate his favorite athlete on game day.
  4. Display Cases – Preserve the everlasting relationship with your father and the quality of his most-prized sports possessions with the gift of a display case. A display case is also a thoughtful present for the father that’s already a collector and supports his hobby.
  5. Autographed Mini Helmets – Pass on buying the “World’s Greatest Dad” mug, and give your father a gift he’ll actually want to show off at the office with a signed mini helmet. Autographed mini helmets are a Father’s Day gift that looks great displayed anywhere and will always bring back his most love NFL memories.
  6. Autographed Footballs – Express your loyalty to the man that always has your back by shopping for a signed football for this Father’s Day. You can’t go wrong with an autographed football in honor of one of the NFL’s top players to make Father’s Day special.
  7. Signed NFL Helmets – Whether you’re shopping for the sports fanatic or the office executive, an autographed helmet is a great gift for every dad. As an awesome display for the home or office, a dad that’s love the NFL will always think of you fondly when he sees at his signed football.
  8. Autographed Hockey Pucks – For the vivacious father with a passion for the NHL, a signed hockey puck is a gift that is sure to excite on Father’s Day. A puck with the team logo and a star player’s autograph from your dad’s favorite team will give him the gift of reliving all of hockey’s most thrilling moments this holiday.
  9. Signed Basketballs – Score big with dad on Father’s Day by giving him an autographed basketball to commemorate his favorite NBA All-Star. Purchase a ball signed by a retired sports icon, such as Michael Jordan, or current star, like league MVP Stephen Curry, for a gift that will please any father that’s an NBA fan.
  10. Autographed Trading CardsTrading cards are among the most popular sports collectibles on the market and are a timeless gift for dads with a longtime love for sports. Prove the love you have for your father is as everlasting as the career of a sports superstar, such as Peyton Manning, with a trading card signed by his biggest sports hero.

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