Lions Around the Dorm

This week in Around the Dorm we debate the NBA all-star snubs, African-American head coaches and Barry Bonds. Our contestants are Signal sports editor Brandon Lee, Signal nation & world editor James Queally and Signal managing editor Lauren Kohout. Signal sports assistant Justin Jez takes over as the judge for this round.

1) Missing from the starters in the upcoming NBA All-Star game are reigning MVP Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki. Also, Shaquille O’Neal and Tracy McGrady were voted in despite missing much of the season. Who should be in and who should be out? Should the fans still vote for the starters?

BL: No, the fans should not vote for the starters; either sports writers or coaches should. That is the reason why a two-time MVP is not starting and why injury-riddled Tracy McGrady is. The fans just vote for their hometown players instead of those who actually deserve to be there. My starters for the Western Conference would be Nash, Kobe Bryant, Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan. For the Eastern Conference: LeBron James, Gilbert Arenas, D-Wade, Chris Bosh and Dwight Howard. Each one of those starters is the MVP of his team and deserves to start.

JQ: The All-Star game is a showcase of the NBA’s best and brightest; a spectacle to entertain the fans before everyone has to get serious and worry about the playoffs. Unfortunately, this year’s injustices are too much to tolerate. How do you justify starting O’Neal, McGrady and Yao Ming when all three have spent a majority of the year on the injured list? How do you place Amare Stoudemire on the bench when he’s playing amazing basketball only one season after the type of surgery that can turn players into mere shadows of their former selves? How do you leave Carmelo Anthony out of the mix when he’s currently leading the league in scoring with 31.3 points per game? While I wouldn’t have fan voting eliminated altogether, I do believe the NBA needs to set a minimum number of games played to be eligible for the All-Star game. This way, inactive players will be kept off the rosters, while deserving players like Stoudemire and Anthony don’t end up on the outside looking in.

LK: I was never a fan of fans voting for the starters just because politics get involved. That’s why my hero, Cal Ripken Jr., got into the MLB All-Star game in his last season when he had subpar stats. O’Neal and McGrady don’t deserve to be there. When it comes to who should be in the NBA All-Star game, a few important players are missing, besides Nowitski and Nash. What about Marcus Camby? He’s leading in blocks and is second to Garnett in steals. How about Michael Redd? He’s averaging more points than LeBron. Ray Allen and Vince Carter are about the same when it comes to assists and rebounds, but Allen is scoring more points and Carter is starting. Stop letting the fans decide and let the pros do it. If you ask me, Brian “Shaggy” Halligan should get some kind of mention.

JJ: 3 points for Queally for not eliminating fan voting. Despite oversights by the voters, the All-Star game exists solely for the fans’ enjoyment and they should have a say. Kohout gets 2.5 points for mentioning Camby’s dominance and putting LeBron in his place. I also believe professionals voting would be the distant second option for voting on a team. Good answer Brandon, but not enough snubs mentioned – 2 points.

2) With the Super Bowl featuring two African-American head coaches and other teams, like the Cowboys with Mike Singletary, interviewing African-American coaches, what is the future for African-American head coaches in the NFL?

BL: In the near future, there will be no such thing as an African-American head coach or a white head coach – just head coaches. It seems like there are more African-American coaches each year. Eventually, as coaches like Bill Parcells retire, assistant coaches and former players will be hired as head coaches and assistant coaches. There will be so much diversity that this will not be an issue in the future. Think I can make it as the first Asian coach? That will definitely break the barrier.

JQ: Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith’s coaching battle at Super Bowl XLI was not only a strategic war of offense versus defense, it was also the first time two African-American head coaches went head-to-head in the Super Bowl. What does this mean for the future of black coaches in the NFL? It means they obviously have a bright one. Well, except for Dennis Green. Yes, apparently the Bears “are who you thought they were,” since Smith has taken them to the big dance. But I digress. Mike Singletary is interviewing for the head-coaching job in Dallas, a team that can make themselves into a perennial NFC Championship contender once Romo matures. In the AFC, Marvin Lewis fell a few special teams mishaps short of steering the Bengals to a 10-6 record and a playoff appearance. If coaches like Singletary and Lewis continue to be given opportunities with teams on the bubble like the Bengals and Cowboys, then matchups like Dungy versus Smith in the Super Bowl will become the rule, rather than the exception.

LK: Before this Super Bowl, I never realized it was an issue. Singletary was interviewed because of the Rooney Rule, which is pretty much affirmative action. The one thing I’m unsure about is if this is the case, who else did they miss out on interviewing? I don’t understand why people still separate colors in the game of football. The future for African-American head coaches in the NFL? They should thrive. Now every franchise is going to take a second look at what they have in front of them despite what color the person is. If the best person for the job is African-American, then that is who should get the job. It’s sad that this guy’s career was based on the fact that they had to interview him just to fill a quota.

JJ: Brandon gets 2.5 points for saying race will not be an issue in the future, and yes, he can be the first Asian coach. 2 points go to Kohout for mentioning the Rooney Rule. I do not condone any Dennis Green bashing. Queally gets 1 point.

3) The San Francisco Giants recently reached a 1-year deal with Barry Bonds for up to $15.8 million. The contract took 53 days to negotiate and includes a clause that could allow the Giants to terminate Bonds’ contract if he gets suspended by the MLB. Was it a good idea for the Giants to re-sign Bonds? Will he get the 22 home runs needed to break Hank Aaron’s record?

BL: As much as I hate to say it, Barry Bonds is the face of that franchise. The Giants needed to re-sign him because that team is full of aging players that are past their prime. As a necessity, it was a good signing for the Giants. Without Bonds, the Giants are nothing. However, it was not a good signing for the MLB. I believe that Bonds will get the 22 home runs he needs, which will make Bud Selig wish he wasn’t commissioner anymore. Bonds will be in the MLB until he passes Aaron’s record – that’s the only thing left he’s willing to play for. As long as Bonds can still hit for power, he will be in the MLB.

JQ: Steroid issues aside, Bonds is still useful to the Giants. Is he going to scare opposing pitchers into intentionally walking him every time he steps into the batter’s box with runners in scoring position? Probably not. Is he still a viable clean-up hitter? Yeah, I’d say so. Bonds had 26 home runs and 77 RBIs with a .277 batting average and a .454 on-base percentage in 2006, which isn’t too shabby for a guy entering his 20th season. If he’s going to get on base hitting out of the No. 4 spot, he’s going to get your runs. It doesn’t really matter if he gets them by playing “small ball” (drawing walks and hitting dribbler singles) or by hitting them into the cheap seats. Will Bonds hit the 22 he needs and surpass Aaron? Personally, I don’t care, because the record is going to be under the magnifying glass no matter what happens. The steroid controversy has permanently tarnished the home run chase, and there is almost nothing Bonds could say or do to reverse that.

LK: I think it was a horrible idea. Take a man who everyone in the country is mad at and give him $15.8 million. Are the Giants crazy? I know, I know; they’re thinking about all the money they will bring in for people wanting to see Bonds get closer to Aaron’s record. I’ve been hoping for years that he wouldn’t ever get this close. Bottom line is that he doesn’t deserve it. Sure, the Giants will make most of the money back if everything goes according to plan, so it probably isn’t the worst idea of the century. But the worst part is, not only is he involved in this steroid scandal, but he isn’t even a nice guy – he’s a jerk. When he gets 22 more, give him the asterisk.

JJ: Brandon gets 3 points. Good observation that Bonds brings fans to the Giants, but it is better for the MLB to keep Aaron’s untarnished record. Kohout gets 2.5 points. An asterisk is exactly what Bonds deserves. He has already admitted to “unknowingly” taking steroids. Sorry Queally, but you never really answered either of the questions – 1 point.

With a score of 7.5-7-5, this week’s ATD title goes to Brandon.

Queally’s Phoenix-like streak (two wins) comes to an end.