ESPN Milwaukee Blogs - Steve Haywood
By STEVE HAYWOOD
It's finally over.
I can start expressing my points and nonsense again. I speak of the NBA Lockout of 2011, which caused unwanted heartache and agony for NBA fans. Yes, there still are a few of us out there, although if you read comments on websites, you might conclude otherwise. Just wondering -- why do so many people waste time expressing indifference. If you claim 'Nobody cares,' and then take time to tell us that you don't care, it usually means that you do care. So, all you NBA haters out there, stop telling us how much you don't care. We don't care. If you belabor the point, you come off disingenuous.
Now that I've vented, I will start slowly. First, the Packers are undefeated and have a legit shot at being that way going into the postseason. Anybody that watches or covers this team can see major flaws on defense and in the running game. That being said, they are good enough to overcome those glaring shortcomings. Keep enjoying the greatness of my colleague, Aaron Rodgers, who is killing everything that NFL defensive coordinators are throwing at him. Let's enjoy the ride and remember that the main goal is to hold up the Lombardi Trophy at the end of another season.
The Brewers let me down, I could taste the World Series and enjoyed the great postseason run they treated us to, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Great run aside, they were still a runner-up. Now everything in the hot stove is focused on what P-Phunk Fielder is going to do as a free agent with his super agent, Scott Boras. Everybody thinks Fielder has played his last game in Brewers uniform. Chances are he has, but before you sell him off to the highest bidder, trust me there is more to it than money. The Brewers will get a shot to keep him; what they do with it is what will define the whole situation. No matter what, Fielder is one of the 10 greatest Brewers to ever wear the jersey.
I said I would start slowly. I've got so many thoughts on so many things that I'm going to roll slowly, so that is enough for now...It is good to get back at it!
By STEVE HAYWOOD
I wanna (yes, I wrote 'wanna') give a big "Thank you" to my hometown and the region for blessing me with great memories and hard times, but mostly for teaching me lessons in my experiences at various venues.
Where do I start? I guess I start with my first memories of going to sporting events here in Milwaukee, from wrestling matches at the Auditorium with my grandfather to being a kid and going to Mecca and seeing the Bucks run teams off the floor in the late '70s.
I remember the first time I went into South Stadium and how I felt like I was in a museum, but they play football there. Thank you for all the high school basketball games at Milwaukee Trade and Technical High School. Man, those Friday nights in the City Conference were do or die as the are today. I enjoy all those games when the crowds bring that "amped" and a "Let's go get it" flavor to those gyms.
The old County Stadium deserves thanks, especially in the late '70s and early '80s, when I was just starting to get into baseball. Sitting in those left field bleachers when teams like the Yankees, Orioles, A's or especially the White Sox would come to town was a treat.
A special thanks to all the good times I have been blessed to enjoy as I grew up and got the rare chance to cover teams in my hometown. From all the nights I have spent in the Bradley Center, covering everything from basketball to arena football to actually heading out to State Fair Park to watch a race every now and then.
Thanks you for letting me create divots at some of your local golf courses and play pickup ball at some of the best parks around.
More important, thank you for all the memories and memories to come in the future.
Well my friend, it has been fun.
It has been a lot of highs, and there have been a fair share of lows. We really grew up together in "The Association" at the same time, I have watched you start out as a second round draft pick who was passed over by teams that could use your skills. Teams didn't respect your success in college helping your hometown team to a Final Four. I watched you sit your rookie year and learn behind Ray Allen & Sam Cassell and learn how to play the pro game from George Karl, who is not the easiest coach to get along with that ego. I gave you the nickname "The Left-handed bandit" watching you make Ray work so hard in practice and busting his ass, to the point now that the team traded him to give you his job. I remember when you finally started to play how you showed you could really shoot he ball from the arc, you were not a one dimensional ball player
I remember when the coach decided that Tim Thomas was ready to be the star of the team and you never said a word about you role during that process. You just did your thing to the point that by that All-star break Tim Thomas was a New York Knick and you were being introduced last as the star of the team. Then there was all-star selection which was well deserved and put your name in upper ratings of players in the league. Just like when you told me you were going to the Olympics that spring of of 2008, and you came into the studio at least once a year when I did my own show and would hang out the whole show.
You remember when you had to make that career choice in the summer of 2005, Cleveland was pushing hard to get you to come home and play with LeBron. I talked to you one time after that season and you said you wanted to bring a winner to Milwaukee, a city you have always respected, never bad-mouthed and loved playing in and playing for Bucks Fans. I also remember the lows of the losing, how you never complained in public about some of moves made by management, or once you signed that contract turn your back on people that turned on you, because you as the signature player you never got the help to win on a consistent basis.
I watched from afar how you bought you dad his own church, how you and your wife embraced charities in Milwaukee and never seeked the publicity, how you came out of your own pocket to make sure people had better Thanksgivings and Christmases. How you really live up to the expectations of your faith and not preach one thing, then live another. I watched you rehab yourself back from not just one potential career ending injury, BUT suffer the same injury and do it all over again.
Now it may be all coming to an end on a April Monday night at the Bradley Center against the Toronto Raptors. Your career will take on a path that may not involve being a part of the Milwaukee Bucks anymore and if that is the case thanks for all the highs and lows my friend. You always handled yourself with class and dignity.
You hear it all the time...
"He's not ready, he needs another year to improve his draft stock, he can get bigger and stronger". Blah blah-blah-blah-blah.
Let me tell you something, if you have the option of being blessed and fortunate enough to make a living in aprofessional sport don't let these folks who have the nerve to pretend that they care about you have a major impact on that decision. This is about your best interest, no-one else's. This is about the possibility of Wisconsin Badgersrunning back John Clay who as a red-shirt sophomore and has had a great season capped off with offensive player of the year in the Big Ten. Clay has had an up and down career in Madison, but has put himself in a position that he may be worthy of being drafted in the 2010 NFL Draft in April. He is going to have the Badger coaching staff as well as others in the field of draft research look into where he would project out.
This is standard procedure for Division 1 players of his productivity and talents to do, but you already hear the pundits suggesting he come back to school because of the reasons cited above and a few others that I feel are not fair to Clay that have been inference by fans, media and sources within the Badger football program. If he is all the things I have heard said about him the football program shouldn't want him back as bad as they seem to want him. For an alleged lazy, out of shape, not grasping the playbook student-athlete he seems to have done ok...wouldn't you agree.
It's not a simple decision to make, but it seems pretty simple in terms of how you make the decision. If you believe in your talent and there is somebody out there that believes in your skills and you want to go...then go! If you have doubts or believe that you are better served by staying in school then stay. Ask , Dominic James in basketball or the guy that held the spot before you P.J. Hill if they could do it all over again would they do it different. Don't trust those folks who have a conflict of interest when it comes to the choice you make at "ole state U." Have faith in those that help get you to this crossroads with no underlying motives or incentives but care about you, and what happens to you. Now that is the way to run John run.