Serge Ibaka’s Return Brought Energy in Raising Oklahoma Thunder’s Intensity


Theme:–The Year of ‘Brandemonium’
Where Hopes & Dreams Become Real on Breakout Teams” (Old-School Flava)

Who’s ‘the man’ for OKC? Well, it depends since Russell Westbrook is their leading point guard. It may be Kevin Durant who recently won the award as NBA MVP. Then there’s Serge Ibaka, their dominant power forward. Ibaka surprised many in game 3 where he brought energy in raising OKCs intensity.

He suffered a calf strain earlier in the playoffs. It didn’t seem like he’d be back in time. But with the help of doctors and his own determination he was back with major impact. Ibaka used this to leverage a turning point into winning points. His injury proved to be a make-or-break moment and a plus even in game 4.

Ibaka brings passion and energy with a ‘hustle and flow’ style. For him this usually shows up in blocked shots. He’s a league leader in protecting the basket from easy scores. In sports, they say defense drives offense. In life, hustle and flow means channeling your strengths and passion to elevate your game.

He uses street-game smarts to outplay opponents. Ibaka started playing basketball in Africa as a child. He might have seen a few pick-up games on less-than-ideal playgrounds. Street-game smarts aren’t learned in a classroom or formal setting. It’s the stuff you just can’t teach as practice gives you an edge.

Ibaka has basketball in his blood. Both of his parents were star-players in their day. That might have something to do with firing-up his game. But he also plays with ‘fireplace energy.’ From the outside, an unlit fireplace appears dull and dormant. But when lit, there’s heart-warming beauty and a raging inferno.




Theme:–The Year of ‘Brandemonium’
Where Hopes & Dreams Become Real on Breakout Teams” (New-School Flava)

Who’s ‘the man’ for OKC? Check the stats, don’t ask me. Could be Russell Westbrook leading the fast-break. Or Kevin Durant raising his NBA stake. Then there’s Serge Ibaka the big man upfront. His power forward play is no stunt. Surprised us in Game 3 with his energy. Helping to raise OKCs intensity.

A calf strain his earlier setback. Lots of questions about a playoff comeback. With the help of doctors and self determination. Making impact and rising to the occasion. Ibaka used this to leverage a turning point. With solid play as fans rocked the joint. A make-or-break injury for sure. To setup a resounding game 4.

Ibaka checked his passion and energy file. To bring his own ‘hustle and flow’ style. Usually shows up in blocked shots. Can happen from various court spots. A league leader in protecting the rim. From easy scores and offense rhythm. In life, hustle and flow is channeling. Your strengths and passion into winning.

He shows his street-game smart. To outplay others from the start. Playing basketball in Africa as a child. Squashing the perception of people-gone-wild. He’s been to a few pick-up game compounds. With less-than-ideal playgrounds. Street smarts not from the classroom. It’s genius like that from the upper-room.

Ibaka’s got basketball in his veins. Staying true to his defensive reigns. Both parents came-up as star-players. Might be the secret to his talent layers. He plays the game with ‘fireplace energy.’ Adding value to team synergy. An unlit fireplace looks dormant and dull. Once lit it’s like breathing fire from your skull.

Tip: Your passion once lit, might have you looking like you’re breathing fire from your skull.

Talkback: Who’s ‘the man’ for OKC?

Lebron James Delivered High Five’s and Low Three’s by end of Game


Theme:–The Year of ‘Brandemonium’
Where Hopes & Dreams Become Real on Breakout Teams” (Old-School Flava)

The Miami Heat evened the series with the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals. This game could be seen as the turning point if they go on to win the series and advance to the NBA finals. It really was anybody’s game. Maybe that’s why Lebron James gave teammates high five’s at the end.

TV analysts and sports fans alike might say the game was scrappy. There weren’t lots of break-away scores or memorable fast-break moments. Norris Cole was one of the bench players who stepped-up big for the Heat. In order to win they had to work through the early struggle of James and Bosh.

They also had to work through the ugly, not in their faces but in their play. The box-scores might not tell it all but both teams seemed out of sync. Isn’t it interesting how sports can provide such great life lessons? Sometimes you have to work through the struggle and the ugly to get to where things are pretty.

James hit on only one 3-point shot. So did Bosh. The high-point scorer for the Pacers was Lance Stephenson who was on fire. But that fire wasn’t enough to overcome the Heat and the hate. Both teams don’t have much love for each other. Maybe with the Heat it’s about love for the game and hate for losing.

Throughout the game things weren’t always clicking. The last quarter came down to James and Wade. They provided much of the scoring and defense for the Heat when it counted. A one-man Stephenson show was good for the highlight reel. But it took a tag-team effort between Heat aces to chalk-up a win.


Theme:–The Year of ‘Brandemonium’
Where Hopes & Dreams Become Real on Breakout Teams” (New-School Flava)

Heat and Pacers evened the score. Eastern Conference Finals set for more. Series talked about since last year. Pacers hope to shift their playoff gear. Heat win in game two might be turning point. Could have been anybody’s game in the joint. James gave high five’s at the end. Game three is just around the bend.

Analysts and sports fans might say. It was a scrappy game in team play. Few break-away points to remember. Loss could haunt Pacers through the summer. Norris Cole came off bench like a lion. Bringing heat like iron sharpening iron. James and Bosh struggled from jump. As they started out in a slump.

Players had to work through the ugly times. Not in their faces or that they committed crimes. The box-scores might not tell it all. But team chemistry was in a stall. Interesting how sports can be a great teacher. From the field, court to the bleacher. Struggle and ugly as new best friends. Get to pretty covers all ends.

James’s 3-point shot went cold. Long-range shooting was in the fold.  Bosh didn’t do much better. Pacers’ Lance Stephenson was the go-getter. Hitting from everywhere had him on fire. Pushed by his free-agent contract for hire. Not much love between these teams. Maybe Heat hate more to lose in their dreams.

Throughout the game things weren’t clicking. James and Wade came together with the clock ticking. Doing much of the scoring with strong defense. Not stuck in first-quarter past tense. Stephenson’s play made the highlight reel. But tag-team play by James and Wade gave Heat the win as a steal.

Tip: Getting a win or living your dreams isn’t always pretty, but at the end there’s the thrill of victory.

Talkback: Who wants it more, Heat or Pacers?

Kevin Durant Stepped to the Mic Just Like He Stepped-up His Game


Theme:–The Year of ‘Brandemonium’
Where Hopes & Dreams Become Real on Breakout Teams” (Old-School Flava)

The NBA playoff is when more amazing happens. We see incredible plays as teams compete for the crown. The second round is underway with a few players and teams making noise. The LA Clippers hung in there through their first round storm. And yes, OKCs Kevin Durant stepped-up his game all season.

Durant was named league MVP for the first time in his career. He gave an emotional speech during the ceremony where he thanked his teammates, trainers and coaches for their support. He left his most tearful words for his mom. He believes she’s the real MVP for all she did as a young single mother.

He looked back over his journey to recognize her sacrifices. But NBA fans looked back over his season to see Durant stepping up to the challenge. When teammate Caron Butler was signed to OKC he put a note in Durant’s locker that said “KD MVP.” Durant turned the words on that note into a personal challenge.

When asked about Durant’s rise to MVP status, Lebron James said Durant was deserving of the honor. James said Durant was a more consistent player this season. James knows something about something having been MVP multiple times. He knows that MVP is more than a title. It’s a testament to consistency.

Durant must be especially happy because his teammates say he and as his game have become more complete. He showed more court vision, movement into open spots and better ball management. Durant shows in sports and in life, it takes challenge, consistency and a complete game to score like a champion.




Theme:–The Year of ‘Brandemonium’
Where Hopes & Dreams Become Real on Breakout Teams” (New-School Flava)

NBA playoff in full swing. Teams are on point doing their thing. Sure to see some incredible plays. As teams compete for the glory days. Second round action has teams showing poise. Sports talkers like Steven A. making a lot of noise. LA Clippers are still in the hunt. OKCs Kevin Durant is the man out-front.

Durant named MVP in the league. Showing no signs of fatigue. First time coming in his career. He had some extra votes to spare. Gave emotional speech during awards program. Thanked teammates, trainers and coaches for the honorarium. Most tearful words left for his mom. She’s the real MVP and then some.

Recognized her for her sacrificial love. Is like giving thanks to the “man above.” NBA fans say Durant stepped-up his game. It’s as if the word ‘challenge’ became his middle name. Teammate Caron Butler wrote “KD MVP” on a note. So Durant took that as a challenge and that’s what history wrote.

When asked about Durant’s MVP status. Lebron James said Durant was deserving of the fuss. Durant’s a more consistent player says James. He should know with multiple MVP seasons of games. LJ knows MVP is more than just a title or bragging rights. It’s a testament to consistency and extra practice nights.

Durant must be real happy beating James as a Heat. His teammates say he and his game became more complete. As seen on TV in more court vision. Plus movement on the court and passing precision. Durant shows us in sports and in life. It takes challenge, consistency and a complete game to overcome strife.

Tip: In sports/life it’s not so much where you start as much as how you make your skills sail to the top.

Talkback: Could this year’s NBA final come down to OKC and Miami?