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Derrick Rose wins NBA MVP

 
"The way I look at it, at myself, why not? Why can't I be the MVP of the league? Why can't I be the best player in the league? I don't see why [not]? Why can't I do that? I think I work hard. I think I dedicate myself to the game and sacrifice a lot of things at a young age, and I know if I continue to do good, what I can get out of it."

- Derrick Rose, September 2010
 
If you've been following Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls this season, then the above quote may seem as redundant as Rihanna or the Black Eyed Peas on your radio (ayo!). But this bold and confident proclamation (which can be heard at the beginning of the best D-Rose MVP highlight mix I've seen above) comes full circle today when the NBA will officially announce that Derrick Rose has become the league's youngest MVP ever. Wow.

EDIT: Bulls.com has a press conference scheduled at 4pm CT! Watch the live video there.

No matter how much that interview has been brought up already, I still reflect at those words with amazement today. Let's face it: pre-season, Derrick Rose was unlikely to be considered in the top 5 of MVP candidates amongst experts across the league. And on top of that, many people weren't even expecting the Bulls to compete for the top spot in the East, let alone win it and end up with the best record in the league. But here we are today - about 6 months later - the Bulls ended up with the aforementioned top spot in the league, rookie coach Tom Thibodeau just won the Coach of the Year award, and to top off the postseason hardware, Derrick Rose will be presented with the MVP trophy before a rabid United Center crowd tomorrow night - doubling as Rose's brightest career-defining moment to date.

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Derrick Rose is the youngest MVP in NBA history.


Don't get it twisted: this by no means will be the only thing people talk about when D-Rose hangs 'em up many years from now. But for Rose to basically predict he'll win the MVP with a 'why not me? why not now?' swagger and confidence at the beginning of the season, and then to follow through with improved play and leadership throughout the season... it's both gratifying and amazing to me how that intention, that confidence, that talent, led to the MVP while also proving infectious to his Bulls teammates to excel to the league's best record. And I think that no matter how the rest of his career plays out, this season, and this MVP trophy will be one of his most impressive and highly remembered accomplishments.

The MVP is most definitely a testament to Rose, whose game has grown in every facet this season, as detailed perfectly by our friend Doug Thonus at Bulls Confidential. But it is also a testament to the team and to coach Tom Thibodeau, which is what Rose would likely say first himself. That well-documented humility is just one of the main reasons why this city has attached itself to the homegrown superstar, as we couldn't be more proud that he gets to hoist the MVP trophy in front of his hometown fans tomorrow night! There is plenty more to say, but hopefully I can save some of that for June..!

Viewer's Guide to March Madness: Day 2

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Duke's Kyrie Irving returns from injury today

 
After an absolutely great opening day for the tournament (6 of 16 came down to the final shot, wow), day two will have to have something truly special to compare. I am talking a made halfcourt shot to win a game, or a player dropkicking a coach at the very least. Potential exists however, with the great Gus Johnson announcing four games today. So without further adieu, the how to, for watching games on Day Two... (all times ET)
 
12:15 Oakland vs. Texas
After all the drama in yesterday's 4 vs. 13 games, this one became more of a must view. Texas is talented enough team to win it all but is inconsistent at times, and has struggled against good bigs. Oakland brings Keith Benson averaging over 18 ppg, 10 rbg and 3.5 bpg.
Verdict: Must Watch (Texas could runaway with it, but I would want to find out first hand, just in case)
 
12:40 Tennessee vs. Michigan
A game that figures to be competitive and has four worth watching players (Michigan's Darius Morris and Tim Hardaway Jr,, Tennessee's Scotty Hopson and Tobias Harris).  Bruce Pearl's orange suit would make this game watchable even without the talented players though.
Verdict: Should Watch
 
1:40 Notre Dame vs. Akron
ND and baby Hansbrough will remind the Zips the difference between the MAC and Big East conference.
Verdict: Pass (unless you want to see ND run a 3 point shooting clinic)
 
2:10 Villanova vs. George Mason *Gus Johnson Alert*
Villanova comes in having lost seven of their last nine and five straight. Yet they have two electric guards in Malik Wayns and Corey Fisher and guardplay rules this time of year. George Mason won 16 straight until losing in their conference finals. They made that historic Final Four run a few years back and have the talent to do something similar again. However, Nova is possibly the most talented 9 seed in recent memory and were destined for a top 5 seed as recently as early February.
Verdict: Must Watch
 
3:10 Duke vs. Hampton
Kyrie Irving returns for Duke. That begins and concludes the only interesting aspect of this game.
Verdict: Pass (the other stations will let you know if/how he plays) 

Click continue reading for the rest of the Day 2 previews!
 
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Viewer's Guide to March Madness: Day 1

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BYU's Jimmer Fredette

 
And the Madness begins. The NCAA college basketball tournament signals the start of the best 2-3 weeks in sports: the NFL Draft, the NBA and NHL playoff pushes, the start of the MLB season, and of course, the tourney. While CBS for the first time is broadcasting all the games live (hallejuah), the viewer still can only watch one at a time. I am here to let you know what games you must watch, should watch, will be watchable, and those that can be skipped. Out of the "first four", we were treated to two blowouts (Clemson/UAB, UTSA/Alabama State), a gross game that makes you wonder if there really are 68 teams deserving of NCAA bids (USC/VCU), and one good(ish) game (UNC-Asheville/Ark-Little Rock). Despite my recommendations, I will say that if there is under 5 minutes left in a game and the score difference under 5, that game automatically becomes a must watch. 

NOTE: I will also be providing Gus Johnson notification. For those of you who don't know who he is, this is the one announcer who actually seems to relish the fact that he gets paid to watch and talk about basketball games for a living. The basketball gods have rewarded his passion with what seems like an endless amount of close finishes and buzzer beaters, compiled nicely here. If Gus is on a game, it is a safe bet to move the game up one level of watchability. It looks like we'll have to wait until tomorrow's games for Gus, but today, there's an exciting slate of games ahead.

Hit the jump for your game by game guide of Day 1!
 
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Kyle Korver Interview with Gowhere Hip Hop

 
This week we headed over to PHLI Worldwide for the NBA Jam Release sponsored by EA Sports and Complex. There was a lot going on at the event from a DJ, 312's & Vitamin Water, stations to play the game and a Kyle Korver appearance. Check out this interview where we talk about who his favorite team was to be back in the day, his first thoughts about coming to Chicago, his favorite - or should I say, least favorite thing about the Windy City, and of course, his favorite pump up music for workouts and before a game. Compare his favorite artists to D-Rose's when I asked him the same question back in the summer.

Gallery sneak peek (2 images):

View the gallery...

2010-11 NBA Preview & Predictions

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Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant are on a collision course to meet in June.

The NBA is about to begin! If you are not pumped, click here and skip ahead to the 1:20 mark if you don't want to listen to a blonde buffoon ramble (by the way, how great of a sample could this be for hip hop?!?!). If that didn't pump you up you are clearly under 16 and have much to learn about the great NBA on NBC days. 

Also with the NBA season starting tonight, ESPN can now hopefully move away from stories about Brett Favre creepily hitting on very hot 23 year olds, and we can move onto more relevant sports stories... like whether or not LeBron James' newest commercial makes him more or less of an asshole. (By the way, when can we all agree that it is more of a story when an athlete doesn't try to take advantage of his celebrity to get girls?).  

But in all seriousness, the build up to 2010-2011 NBA has been great with the most newsworthy offseason since Shaqobe divorced in 2004 and possibly of all time. Sgt. Tibs and I will go over some key questions and issues that we see for the upcoming year in our special preview for GWHH Sports. Vote in our polls, let us know your thoughts and where you think we went wrong.

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Miami Heat: how many wins?
 
SAGE: I want to say 51 because I have a sneaking suspicion the karma Gods are going to punish the Heat and cause one of their big three to go down with a season ending injury (Miller is already out until January). However assuming generally good health, I think 63 wins is about right (they have to be at least a couple of wins better than the Cavs of last year...right?) . The Heat will start resting their players (I assume) for the playoffs and will sacrifice wins in the regular season much like Boston and San Antonio have done. Even with resting they should be able to land the top spot.

TIBS: 60 wins is a lock if the big 3 are healthy for 95% of the season. There has been a lot of talk in the media about the Heat challenging the Bulls' 72-win record and I think that is absurd. This year at least for sure. A lot of variables have to line up to get to that illustrious mark and the Bulls also had the greatest player in the game, motivated to perhaps the highest degree of his career. But back to the 2010 Heat, I got them plugged right around where the Sage has them - between 60-65 wins. It will take time for the big 3 and the entire team to develop chemistry, no matter what they say. As Sage mentioned, Mike Miller is out already, but my last point is that with a lot of elite teams in the league (plus every other team gunning for them), I just don't foresee the Heat getting past 65.  
 
 
Who are this season's biggest X-Factors?
 
SAGEBaron Davis: 
When B. Diddy is focused, not eating McDonalds twice a day, and limiting himself to only taking 2 bad shots a game (you can never truly get him to stop taking bad shots), this is a borderline top 5 PG in the NBA with a top 5 Center, one the best young 3 point shooters (Gordon) and maybe the leagues third most athletic big (after Amare and Dwight). If Baron is on his game, I think the Clippers find themselves in the playoffs this year. If he is not, his poor shot selection, and shoddy work ethic could poison the young Clips (although an argument can be made that by simply wearing a Clipper jersey you are already poisoned).
 
Hedo Turkoglu: 
He was the second best player on the Eastern Conference Champions two years ago. He is only 31 years old (not completely ancient). While his contract is wretched, that doesn't mean he is a bad player. In Toronto last year he looked lost, confused, sad, and a little bit fat. It is undetermined if these were permanent changes, or just the result of living in America North for a year. However, it seems everyone gets better playing with Steve Nash, and I think Turkoglu has a little of "eff you" building up inside of him. If this happens, Phoenix may be able to delay its drop from the Western Conference playoffs.
 
TIBS: Rajon Rondo: 
I am going to throw one more x-factor into the group: arguably the Celtics' best player, Rajon Rondo. With their off-season acquisitions of Shaquille and Jermaine O'Neal, in addition to the Boston 3 Party of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen, there are a lot of big names that Rondo has to keep happy. With Shaq in the fold, the offense will have to revolve around him for stretches at a time, especially in the first half of the season when he will be starting in place of the injured Kendrick Perkins. That responsibility alone will prove to be significant. In addition, Rondo is coming off an atrocious shooting display in the Finals when the Lakers played D on him like he was the last kid picked on the playground. Can he improve his shooting this year enough so as not to leave the rest of his team playing 4 on 5 in the half-court offense? For the Celtics to make a return trip to the finals, Rajon Rondo is going to have to increase his all-star level of play while juggling the team's increased responsibilities as point guard.

Find out what teams (and players) will make the leap this season, who has the greatest chance of getting suspended, and of course, who will win the NBA Championship, after the jump!

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Join the GWHH Fantasy Basketball League

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Who do you take #1?
 
That's right, the Gowhere Hip Hop Fantasy Basketball League is in full force for the second year in a row! Last year, yours truly took home the first ever GWHH Fantasy Bball Title and I look forward to defending my crown (and destroying the competition again) with the season upon us in just a couple of days. This year, in addition to trying to stop my repeat bid, we will be giving away a FREE Limited G tee for whoever wins the Tibs division, whoever wins GWHH Sports contributor, The Sage's division, and for the 1st place champion. There will also be smaller prizes offered for whoever participates so find out exactly how to sign up below! League slots will go fast so sign up NOW (and only if you can make the live draft tomorrow night at this time - 6PM CT!). Good luck and let's have some fun! (Trash talk is not only permitted, but preferred.)

**Sorry, the league has filled up. Good luck!**

LEAGUE URL (hit this first)http://basketball.fantasysports.yahoo.com/league/gowherehiphop
LEAGUE ID: 102780
PASS: rondosucks

Alternative (Easier?) Way To Sign Up: Hitting this link should take you to Yahoo's Fantasy Basketball homepage. Find the 'Get Another Team' link, hit 'Join Custom', and type in the league ID and password you see above.
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~ Sgt. Tibs

Michael Vick: The Video Game God has Returned

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He's baaaccckk... Watching Michael Vick's resurgence has caused mixed feelings for a lot of people. My goal here is not to engage in a moral debate, but merely to focus on the on-field excitement that his return has caused. We often ask too much of our athletes; they get paid ridiculous amounts of money for their on-field talents and so we assess them the additional responsibility of being a role model (for the record, I am not saying that this is necessarily unfair).

However, while the role and expectations of athletes in America is something that maybe The Sage's first book will be on, I just want to address the excitement that having football's most electric playmaker back on the field has caused. In case you forgot I submit you this, and this, plus that as a quick refresher.

Now if you watched those videos you may notice that the third one is not real. But that is part of what made Michael Vick so intriguing; until him, many believed his combination of talents were unreal. Michael Vick may be the only NFL player ever capable of running of a sub 4.3 40 yard dash as well as throwing a 70+ yard ball. He played the game like a created video game character, and this was part of what made him so popular, especially amongst the younger gamer population. 

If you are not/have never been a Madden fan skip the next paragraph, but if you are not a fan please tell me which of the four categories you fall into:
  1. You are over the age 50 or under the age of 6.
  2. You and your friends could never afford it (aka the poor kid card).
  3. You are a girl. This makes sense because as a girl you are probably bad at video games and/or don't like football. This is not to say that all girls don't like Madden. Many do and are actually a damn lot better than me (I personally don't know any, but I assume there are at least four to six who are).
  4. You hate football (i.e. you're a foreigner) and/or hate video games. This does not include those who simply don't care about football or video games. Madden's greatness is so strong that even the apathetic are overwhelmed by the game's splendor and join the Madden bandwagon. A strong deep seated aversion to video games or football is necessary to override this law of video game nature.
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If you don't fit into one of these categories I am convinced that at least for one year, you had a fling with Madden and will be nodding along as I describe to you the glory of a fast quarterback. It is 3rd and 12 as you drop back to pass. Staying in the pocket is clearly not fun, so you roll out and search for a deep ball. Nothing is open and if you are Carson Palmer, Eli Manning, or Jake Delhomme you are sacked and forced to decide if it is really a good idea to go for it on 4th and 18 from your own 29 (for me the answer to this question was at least 50% yes). But with Vick, you just take off upfield and get what is often an easy first down. If you played Madden from 2002-2008, you no doubt thanked the lord for Vick's talent when you had him, cursed the devil when you played against him, and regardless, respected his abilities.

One thing that extends from Madden to reality is the difficulty in stopping a dual-threat quarterback in these situations. In Madden, a possible solution was to blitz from the edges, but even then Vick would be faster than the blitzers and simply run around them. Tragically for real NFL defensive coordinators, they struggle nearly as much as stoners on XBOX Live at 2:30 AM do when faced with running quarterbacks.

(READ THE REST AFTER THE JUMP!)

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The Bears are Good?!?!

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Hello Gowhere nation, I am the newest member of the GWHH team, Jesse Brosten aka "The Sage". I have been appointed the resident sports authority here at Gowhere Hip Hop. While a Chicago sports fan, my knowledge of sports is global, and I plan on covering sports and stories from all over.

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Before the season began, I think I speak for most Bears fans when I say that there wasn't a giant amount of optimism (nor despair) about the team. After three generally mediocre years (7-9, 9-7, 7-9) following their Superbowl appearance, I feared the Bears were stuck in the hole of mediocrity.
 
While the offseason splashes of Julius Peppers, Chester Taylor and Brandon Manumaleuna sparked headlines, it was due as much to their combined $100 million contracts as to what they could do on the field. That $100 million also didn't even address the Bears weakest point offensive line. The offensive line which sucked so much last year that even Pamela Anderson had to blush. In sports where the mantra is if you are not getting better you are getting worse, I figured the Bears improved enough to stay the same. I expected a .500 team give or take a game.
 
And yet against a popular preseason Superbowl pick, with arguably the league's most potent skill players and pass rush, the defense held strong (despite Tony Romo's 374 yards) and the offense looked... dare I say... potent? Mike Martz, I don't care if you are the standoffish, arrogant ass you have been portrayed to be in the media at times. Your playcalling (outside of your inability to call a single QB sneak inside the one yard line) has been magical. Bears fans have been subjected to the torture that was the playbooks and playcalling of John Shoop, Terry Shea, and Ron Turner over the past seven years. Martz and Cutler as of now have the Bears passing game looking elite despite a still shaky offensive line and so-far ineffective running game.
 
However, a good coordinator is nothing without a quarterback to handle his system, and Jay Cutler is looking a lot like the QB that Bears management deemed worthy of two first round picks, a third round pick, and a starting QB. And by that I mean he looks a lot unlike the fat-faced kid of a year ago who threw into double and triple coverage so consistently that I was forced to believe making bad decisions made him hard (Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton suffer from this disease as well, its called stupiditis).
 
Even more encouraging for Bears fans has to be the poor play of the Vikings and Brett Favre. Forgot the visceral ecstasy that exudes through my body every time that graying old man throws a pick (it is honestly what I imagine heaven to be like), but if the Vikings decline is real, it leaves the NFC devoid of many good teams. The NFC west looks again like the first team to nine wins will win it (and eight may more than likely be enough). Detroit is Detroit (despite their ability to play the Bears close on the scoreboard, the Bears gained four times as many yards as the Lions before the Lions' final drive). While the NFC East is looking fairly strong, those teams have to play each other six times this year. And in the NFC South, Atlanta and New Orleans are the only playoff threats (sorry Tampa fans, look good against Pittsburgh next week and you can join the discussion, but the only thing softer than beating Cleveland and Carolina is Rex Ryan's stomach).
 
Maybe it is my stupid Cubby optimism, but after the first two weeks, the Bears outlook for the first half of the season is pretty damn good. After the Packers this week, the Bears face a favorable 5 game stretch against the Giants, Panthers, Seahawks, Redskins, Bills. In this stretch, 3-2 seems probable, 4-1 seems reachable, and 5-0 seems not completely insane.
 
Having said that... The Bears as of now have only beat winless teams, and despite the Cowboys' preseason hype, 0-2 is 0-2. Bears fans will learn a lot about their team seeing them at home against a good Green Bay team. I just hope in a week this column still holds some truth and I do not have to forcefully remove my foot from my mouth (I leave you now as I find some wood to knock on).
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~ The Sage

Team USA strikes gold!

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NOTE: This is the first post that I will be contributing for a new section on GWHH called GWHH Sports! We will be adding a sports element to Gowhere, since often there are fans, and artists themselves, that have an overlapping crossover interest in both music and sports. I am no exception as I follow sports just as much as I follow music. Basketball is my favorite, while I am also up on baseball, football, and even some hockey. Many of my contributions will come in the form of editorial posts (likely Chicago related) when the inspiration hits, often by current events such as this first piece on Team USA winning gold in Turkey. Without further adieu, the post starts below and can be read in full after the jump.

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The last time the United States won the gold medal at the World Championships, Kevin Durant was 5 years old. I don't know about you, but my memory of five years old was of monkeys at the zoo, and, well, that's about it. So for Durant and many of his young teammates, the memory of the U.S. atop the pack at the World Championships is likely as distant as Ari's wife or even as non-existent as Vinny Chase's sanity. But now, 16 years later, the future superstar has led Team USA to the ultimate prize that has alluded them for a good portion of his lifetime: a gold medal. 

That's right. Future superstar is no longer the proper tag to use on Kevin Durant. The 21-year old forward from the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder was the clear go to guy on Team USA, first established in training camp in July and carried out by an eye-opening performance during the World Championships, specifically when it mattered most. Durant scored 28 points in the final... and that was the low of his last three games of the tournament: 33 in the quarterfinals versus Russia, and 38 in the semifinals against Lithuania, a national record for the World Championships. Time and time again when the U.S. needed a response to an emerging threat from an opponent, Durant was the one to answer. His near 7 foot frame and sweet stroke from the perimeter is a lethal combination in international play where the 3-point line is closer than the NBA. But really, it is simply a lethal combination whether it is internationally, in the NBA, in pool basketball, whatever. Now heading back to the NBA, Durant's confidence has to be higher than Kanye West's, wearing a bright red suit and a chain bigger than his head, and that is a scary thought for anyone who watched his dominance throughout the entire tournament *raises hand*. 

Kevin Durant is not the only guy whose confidence will get a boost with the newly-added gold jewelry. The rest of the team's young guys are going to take this experience and run with it and I would be remiss not to mention the hometown wonder Derrick Rose, who actually might literally run with it. The speedy D-Rose played a prominent role as the starting point guard for Team USA and he had to drastically change his role from the primary scorer and playmaker that he is on the Bulls to being a floor general for the U.S.. While he did not look comfortable all the time, Rose did exhibit a methodical patience that is a great sign of the necessary growth needed for him to become a superstar point guard. Furthermore, he has finally begun to utilize his elite athleticism on the defensive end, hounding defenders near the half court line and jumping passing lanes to start a fast break where he is most dangerous. To get such big-game experience while developing those skills is a fantastic sign of things to come for Rose, who is proving he knows what areas of the game he needs to improve on and is doing everything he can to expedite the process of improvement. Like Durant above, we should be in for a much-improved and still-improving leader for one of the league's most exciting young teams.

After the jump, was this Coach K's best coaching job? Why weren't the Worlds a bigger deal in the U.S.?
 
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