Frankly Frankel: June 7, 2014

07 Jun

Did the Spurs turn the AC off on purpose? Rashad McCants drops a bombshell on college athletics, Radio City Music Hall makes themselves unavailable for next year’s NFL Draft, and more. This is Frankly Frankel coming to you on this Saturday, June 7, 2014. It’s also my dad’s birthday. Happy Birthday Dad!

  • I have to start with game 1 of the NBA Finals and Air Conditioning Gate. Prior to the start of the game, the air conditioning at AT&T Center malfunctioned and the Heat and Spurs had to play in “extreme” conditions (for this day in age) with temperatures at court-level reaching above 90 degrees. The Boston Celtics used to play without air conditioning all the time at the old Boston Garden, and dominated. Boston won 17 NBA championships there before moving to what’s now called “TD Garden” in 1996. They’ve won just one title since.
  • As a matter of fact, the Celtics were so dominant at Boston Garden, the team went 40-1 there during the 1986 season. That included the post-season where Boston never lost en route to the title. In a 2-year span from 1985-1987, the Celtics were an other-worldly 79-3 at home, and a lot of that is credited to playing in an arena without air conditioning.
  • That’s what makes this story so intriguing. While I don’t want to believe for a second the Spurs shut off the AC on purpose, a part of me think that maybe, just maybe, this was no accident. What better way to throw your opponent off than to do what the Spurs did?
  • What I find truly baffling is the only player that’s play appeared to be affected by the warmer temperatures was LeBron James. It got to the point where he couldn’t even walk he was so dehydrated. Of all the players in the Finals for this to happen to, it happened to LeBron. Sounds like a plan well executed to me.
  • Just to clear things up. Anyone criticizing LeBron for sitting out the majority of the 4th quarter is full of it. The man couldn’t walk and him being on the floor in that state is the equivalent of playing with 4 men instead of 5, not that it mattered either way because the Spurs took over.
  • Today is the day the world has been waiting for since California Chrome won the Preakness 3 weeks ago. It’s the Belmont Stakes from Queens, New York and California Chrome is one win away from winning the first Triple Crown since Affirmed accomplished the feat in 1978. Horse racing needs California Chrome to win today. That’s how irrelevant this sport has become, and a Triple Crown would absolutely help bring it back. That being said, my gut tells me Chrome comes up short. Here’s to hoping I’m wrong.
  • The Stanley Cup Finals got underway on Wednesday night and Doc Emrick unfortunately had to miss the game with a death in the family. That meant Rangers radio announcer Kenny Albert filled in. I have no idea why NBC goes with Albert here. He is such a bland announcer, the drop off between him and Doc is so massive it makes the broadcast so so much less enjoyable, and to top it all off, he’s a Rangers homer. All I could think about while watching the game is imagining Albert’s personal reactions anytime the Rangers did something good.
  • News out of New Jersey yesterday said that Martin Brodeur isn’t likely to be back with the Devils next season. He wants to play one more season with another team. The NHL’s all-time winningest goalie is 42, and let’s face it, he’s finished. As great a legacy as Brodeur has, he’s really sticking around way too long. At what point is enough enough? Brodeur should just hang it up and move on.
  • Former North Carolina Tarheel basketball player Rashad McCants dropped a bombshell yesterday on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines”. McCants described how he probably would have been academically ineligible if he did not receive assistance from the school, and how he took classes where he did not have to show up to a classroom. All he had to do was submit one paper at the end of the semester for a grade.
  • As you can see, this paper could have been written by a Kindergartner. This is the kind of work being seen at a prestigious academic institution like the University of North Carolina and is probably the type of thing Rashad McCants did while at the school. You can read more of McCants’s story here.
  • What this exposes is a major flaw in college athletics. That being the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate (APR). It’s the reason why UConn was banned from the NCAA basketball tournament in 2013. (You can read more about the APR here). Instead of embracing the rule, school’s are taking major advantage of it. These schools basically have two choices. One is to take the rule seriously and risk their athletic programs being banned from post-season play which would result in millions of dollars of lost revenue. The other is to make fake classes that are essentially impossible for athletes not to fail so that the school’s don’t have to worry about being banned just like UConn was.
  • The result is what you are seeing unfold at UNC. The bottom line is this rule needs to be changed. The premise is good. If student athletes don’t do well in the classroom, they don’t get to play in the post-season. Makes sense. The problem is school’s are making a mockery of the rule which helps no one and nothing.
  • Here’s what I think should change. Athletes, especially aspiring NBA prospects, should not be forced to go to college just because that’s the protocol. Just let them go pro to avoid this mockery.
  • Speaking of mockery, the New York Mets were riding high after taking 4/5 from the now lowly Philadelphia Phillies. It’s amazing how quickly their mood changed. After Philly, the Mets traveled to Chicago to take on the team with the worst record in the bigs, and a team that has not swept a series all season, that is until the Mets showed up. Chicago took all 3 games from the Mets, 2 of which came in walk-off fashion. Mets fans, there’s always next year (said by every fan from 1987 onward).
  • Radio City Music Hall made themselves unavailable for 2015 NFL Draft. I really hope this is a joke. The NFL Draft belongs in New York City, the media capital of the world. Radio City is the grandest stage of them all, and the Draft was flourishing there. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?
  • Be sure to tune in next Saturday for another edition of “Frankly Frankel” and make sure to follow me on Twitter @lucasfrankel.
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