Wednesday, February 26, 2020
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Mike Mpofu

NBA Finals – Warriors are one win away

At the risk of jinxing it before it’s confirmed – it is safe to say Golden State Warriors may well be the NBA Champions of 2017.

The Warriors defeated Lebron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in game 3 of the seven match final series on Wednesday night with 118 to 113.

A season after setting the NBA record with 73 wins in a regular season, Golden State became the first team in the four major professional sports leagues to go 15-0 in the postseason.

Wednesday night’s victory means also the Warriors are just one win away from being the NBA champions of 2017, they would win the series 4 – 0.

Of course there is always the possibility of a come-back by the Cavaliers – this is not new terrain from them.

Last year, in the same finals series, they came back from being 3 – 0 to the Warriors, levelled the series, and eventually winning it.

However, things are slightly different this year.

The Warriors have the additional fire-power of former MVP – and potential finals MVP – Kevin Durant, who has been putting on an impressive show so far.

Durant has proven to be almost impossible to guard – making some of the most difficult shots while being guarded by arguably one of the greatest players to ever play the game, Lebron James.

KD has added a different dynamic to this year’s finals. He led the charge in game 3 with 31 points.

His presence has taken the pressure off Steph Curry and Klay Thompson to keep delivering on the scoreboard.

Meanwhile much of the discussion in this finals series has been whether Lebron James is experiencing some level of fatigue.

Commentators in Game 2 pointed out that towards the end of the game, Lebron looked tired. Of course he denied this going into Game 3, but his nemesis Draymond Green immediately countered James’ response after Game 3. In Draymond’s words: “I caught Lebron walking off at the end of the third quarter and you can just tell that he’s exhausted…he was letting Kyrie go to work, trying to catch his breath”.

In truth, if James is feeling the pressure of playing against this team with “the most firepower I’ve played against in my career,” as he put it, it may not be enough for him and Kyrie Irving to counter.

Game 4 will be played tomorrow night Saturday (10 June 2017) – and if the Warriors play the kind of ball they’ve been playing, they will be the new NBA Champions!

House of Cards Season Five – Review

Claire and Frank Underwood will make you love and hate politics at the same time. That is what the latest season of House of Cards will do to you.

Perhaps it is a slight generalisation that all politics can be ‘loved’ or ‘hated’ – but you get the point, television adds an element of sensationalism to keep us locked in.

The latest offering from the Underwoods, who now occupy the White House, opens into a world of chaos – created in part because they cannot live outside of it due to the office they occupy, and the other part because, chaos is what is keeping them in office.

With their trusted aide and Chief of Staff, Douglas Stamper, the Underwoods plot how to hold on to power – at all costs.

This season is rather interesting because for the first time one sees a heightened level of distrust between the two forces – Claire and Francis.

They have obviously had their disagreements and points of departure, but this time one is not sure if they actually trust each other as we would have seen in times gone by.

An interesting thing about season five is that the more you watch it, the more parallels you can draw up actual current real-time events under the new presidency of Donald Trump.

There are a few opinions out there about the Trump White House in comparison to the Underwood White House. They make for some interesting reading.

Despite ageing a little, the Underwood characters are portrayed brilliantly.

Frank maintains his posture of authority, power and instilling fear in those who oppose him.

While Claire employs her charm, but remains firm in trying to establish a brand of her own outside of the “Underwood” banner.

It remains unclear if Season 6 will be released this year or if there even will be another season. Judging by the public sentiment on social media, the people definitely want more.

NBA Play-offs are finally here

The 2017 NBA play-offs are finally here – and it’s just what many fans predicted it would be.

The Cleveland Cavaliers – led by Lebron James – will be looking to defend their title against last year’s runner-up Golden State Warriors – led by Steph Curry.

Golden State will have a score to settle after losing the series last year – having come so close to taking it. They had initially led 3-0, but the Cavs’ made a historic come-back to snatch away the coveted title.

At the time of writing this, the first game is set to take place at the Oracle Arena in Oakland at 03:00 CAT.

This year things are different – the Warriors have Kevin Durant as part of their arsenal. KD – as he is known – left Oklahoma City Thunder at the end of last season to join the Warriors at the Oracle arena.

His presence has proven to be effective, especially at times when the splash brothers – Steph and Klay Thompson – were misfiring.

At the same time, Lebron has carried a team which has had a few hiccups this year.

It is no secret that Cleveland hasn’t had a smooth ride this year (not that they’ve ever had). They have had to contend with the “depth” that Lebron has long been calling for, off the bench. For a while, during a particularly tough losing streak for the Cleveland, Lebron bemoaned the lack of another Guard to assist Kyrie Irving with the workload.  We believe that this is going to be an issue going into this series. (NBA Finals are played in a series of seven games – if it gets to it).

Lebron and Kyrie have proven more than capable in “clutch” moments, but will they be able to counter the fire-power that Golden State Warriors possess, not only in the starting five, but off the bench.

Given the high calibre of players on both ends, it will make for good basketball.

As I fan, I look forward to this time of the year, every year.

Let’s play ball!

Don’t sleep on Hasan Minhaj

He is well-known for his role as a Senior Correspondent on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah, but I’m sure it won’t be long until Hasan Minhaj commands a set of his own.

At this point we ignore Minhaj at our own peril.

The comedian has recently released his Netflix Special Homecoming King performed in his hometown of Davis, California.

His set in this latest offering is nothing short of spectacular.

Minhaj draws on his personal experiences growing up in America as a recently immigrated Indian-born boy who was mainly raised by his father for this first seven years of his life.

He details the struggles of growing up in a predominantly white community during his high school career – which involved his first heart-break.

Hasan is hilarious. There is no question about it, but what separates him from the pack is the way he uses his comedy to discuss some of the most pressing issues in the United States, and the world over.

Minhaj may offend you, but you will laugh at the same time.

He is somewhat of a ‘comedic activist’. Which one would assume has something to do with his involvement with the Daily Show.

Hasan also recently did a set at the annual White House Correspondents Association Dinner – which Donald Trump, and the rest of his administration decided to boycott.

During that set, Hasan did not hold back, going after the Trump administration as one would expect.

Some of the more controversial news agencies, like Fox News, among others also received their fair share.

Mr Minhaj is definitely one to watch going forward.

Check out his latest Netflix special here.

And watch his full set at the White House Correspondent’s dinner here.

Drake makes history at the Billboard Music Awards

Rap superstar Drake made history at the recent 2017 Billboard Music Awards.

“Drizzy” walked away with 13 awards, surpassing Adele‘s mark as the artist with the most BBMA wins in one night.

The Canadian-born musician was nominated 22 times in 19 different categories and won 13 of them.

His accolades included Top Artist, Top Billboard 200 Artist, Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Streaming Artist, Top Rap Artist and Top Male Artist, among others. Adele’s record of 12 wins, was set in the 2012 BBMA – and had not been exceeded until now.

As he accepted his last accolade for the evening, Drake remarked:

 “I got my whole family up here, look at my dad looking all sharp! I got the man responsible for being here, the love of my life…Hold tight Adele!”

Overall it was a solid evening for Drake who has been delivering some incredible music in the last while.

His latest offering More Life, continues to do well, while many are still bopping their heads to the hit singles: Controlla and One Dance, among others from the album Views.

Billboard was kind enough to do a wrap up of the BBMA 2017 in a video, you can check it out here.

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Travis Pastrana to ride in South Africa for the first time

Nitro Circus Live fans have something to look forward to later this year. Travis Pastrana has officially confirmed that he will be riding in South Africa in October.

It will be Pastrana’s first time in South Africa.

His visit to South Africa is a big deal for action sports, especially the Nitro Circus Live team because Pastrana is considered the “fearless leader” of Nitro Circus movement.

In 2006, Pastrana became the first person in the world to land a double back flip on a motorcycle during the Best Trick event at the X Games. This is a big deal.

Nitro Circus Live showcases an all-star international lineup featuring multiple X Games medalists.

It features some of the best riders in action sports’ biggest disciplines, including freestyle motocross (FMX), BMX, scooter and inline.

This is however not the first time that Nitro comes to South Africa.

According to Nitro Circus Executive Chairman and Global Head of Creative, Mike Porra,

“the shows in 2014 were unreal, the fans were incredible… Now to have an opportunity to come back with Travis riding and with an all new show, this tour is going to be epic”.

It will start in Cape Town (21th), then head to Durban (25th) with the grand finale in Johannesburg at the FNB Stadium on the 28th of October.

Tickets for the different venues are already available on the bigconcerts.co.za website for all the action sport fans.

In a statement released by Nitro, Pastrana expressed his excitement at the opportunity to ride in South Africa for the very first time:

I am so excited to finally have the chance to go to South Africa and ride for our fans there,” said Pastrana. “I was so disappointed that my broken leg sidelined me last time. I kept hearing how awesome the shows were and that the crowd energy was off the charts. It’s where some of our all-time greatest moments happened and I can’t wait be there this summer!

For more info on the Nitro Circus and Pastrana, check out their page here.

Master of None – Season Two is everything and more!

Master of None season two is finally here – and it is everything!

Aziz Ansari and his team have taken this series to a new level. In fact, it would be remiss if they failed to produce a third, fourth and so on, after this.

Season Two picks up with Dev – played by Ansari – in Italy, where he pursues his passion for pasta, wine and other cuisine while trying to get over his heartbreak.

The first few episodes are actually shot in Italy. The beautifully cobbled streets, the bicycles and the quaint coffee shops, are the perfect backdrop for the young adult trying to find love, heal from heartache, meet new people and redefine his future.

Dev eventually makes his way back to New York, where his journey continues.

Master of None season one was exceptional, but season two is really the next level.

This time, they have used music as such a powerful tool in conveying so much emotion.

And in other scenes, there is no music or sound for that matter – the audience is just left to ‘feel’ for themselves by the actions of the characters at play.

We are going to go out on a limb and say, Master of None Season Two is currently some of the best television of 2017.

It is going to take a lot to unseat Aziz Ansari and his gang from that throne.

This season does well to continue with key themes that formed part of the pilot season – race, religion, gender, family and love as the central theme that holds it all together.

It is almost impossible to watch it and not feel some form of emotion. It feels like a millennial is making television for millennials and they are connecting with it – I know I did.

Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

The show is currently out on Netflix – where you can also find Ansari’s other Netflix comedy specials.

Trevor Noah Wins MTV Award

South African born comedian Trevor Noah has added to his list of accolades after winning an MTV award at the recent 2017 ceremony.

Noah – who hosts the Daily Show on Comedy Central – won the award for Best Host, taking home the Golden Popcorn trophy at the annual Movie & TV Awards.

In his acceptance speech, Noah dedicated his achievement to his mother:

There is one person I aspire to be every single day… and that is my mom: a powerful, strong black woman who never listened when people told her she couldn’t be more.

Since moving to New York to take over from Jon Stewart, Noah has clearly been hard at work to not necessarily fill Jon’s shoes, but build his own brand.

Meanwhile, last year he released his book Born a Crime where he details his journey to date – growing up as a mixed race child in apartheid South Africa.

Earlier this year, Noah also released his first Netflix special Afraid of the Dark – performed in his new home City – New York.

Noah’s win at the MTV Awards should do well to silence critics who did not believe he had what it took to perform on bigger platforms – like the one he enjoys on a daily basis.

Check-out Noah’s acceptance speech:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFCsLwGXIpU

Prince Philip retires from public life at 95

The Duke of Edinburgh – Prince Philip – has decided that he will no longer appearing in public for official business.

An official announcement was made from the Buckingham Palace Press Office stating the DoE’s decision.

Prince Philip (95) will however fulfill his outstanding commitments before his retirement from public life in August this year.

The announcement came after a special meeting of all the royal staff was called at Buckingham palace – presumably to break the news to them first, before hitting the press.

Prince Philip’s retirement comes as no surprise as he had recently suffered some setbacks in his health.

It is also reported that the Prince will endure one more public tour – to say his farewell.

Meanwhile there is no indication of slowing down on the part of the Queen, who is 91 years old.

She will continue in her service to her country and the commonwealth.

We wish the DoE well as he hangs up his boots.

One wonders what he will do now? Perhaps spend his days in PJ’s catching up on all the telly he has missed!

As expected there were tributes from various political and public figures:

 

(Video) What Barack Obama had to say to students

Former US president Barack Obama has made his first official appearance since leaving office.

Obama addressed a group of students at his alma mater – the University of Chicago, where he taught Constitutional Law – on a wide range of issues.

Despite the hour-long engagement, Obama was very careful to avoid making any pronouncements about the current President Donald Trump.

Obama talked about coping with failure:

“With respect to failure – it’s terrible.

But sometimes it’s necessary. If you are trying to change something.

Some of you talked about your own businesses – you will go through failures.

I think the most important thing – and this is a bit of a cliché – is to have resilience. And examine: what did I do not to succeed? How can I do better?”

The former president also gave a little insight into the book he is currently working on:

“I am writing a book now, about my political journey. And when I think of that race, I am reminded: that was about the sole time in my career I was running because it was just the next thing. Not because I want to accomplish something.

So I always tell young people – worry less with what you want to be, and more with what you want to do.

Worry less about wanting to be a senator, or congressman, or rich.

If you are worrying about improving education in low-income neighbourhoods. Or climate change.

Then it puts you in a position to have an impact”.

He also spoke about various other aspects affecting American society and the world at large.

It was good to have the former POTUS back, but don’t take it from us, you can watch the full speech here – or the video below:

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