NBA 2K14 Features – Play as LeBron James, Map Out his Future Career Path

NBA 2K14 Features – Play as LeBron James, Map Out his Future Career Path

It’s no surprise why the NBA 2K franchise of 2K Sports has a stranglehold on basketball video games.  Aside from the realism of the gameplay and the excellent graphics, the series has allowed sports gamers to think out of the box and go beyond what they could usually do when playing a game based o the current NBA season.  For instance, previous versions had included game modes where gamers can play out Michael Jordan’s biggest career moments, some of the NBA’s greatest teams dating back to the ‘60s, and most recently, the chance to pick any NBA player in My Player mode and go throughout the course of a season or a career, may it be a big star like LeBron James or any random benchwarmer.

Speaking of James, he is, as most know by now, the cover athlete of NBA 2K14, and with that established, a lot of the game’s features will be focused on the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player.  One of these features, according to 2K Sports, is LeBron: Path to Greatness, where users can take control of James and guide his career up to the time he retires.  As players go along, James will improve in some areas and deteriorate in others, especially as he ages, but the really interesting elements of this feature are the two choices gamers have for LeBron’s career path.  The first would be the conventional one – James remains with the Miami Heat as he, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh push forward in hopes of being mentioned in the same breath as the 1960s Boston Celtics or the 1990s Chicago Bulls.  The second would have James joining the New York Knicks in 2014 as a free agent, and trying his best to bring a title back to the Big Apple with other big-name free agents.

In an exclusive hands-on test, Yahoo! Sports’ Eric Freeman was able to test the game for himself, and as it turns out, LeBron: Path to Greatness is quite similar to previous legends modes, where players only take control of their team during certain points of the game, or on certain games.  It also shares some affinity with the usual NBA 2K franchise mode, which involves gamers picking their favorite team and playing through multiple future seasons.  Said Freeman in reference to the general feel of the Path to Greatness feature, “The gamer only has so much control and must play to a script, taking specific scenarios and getting rated on a five-star system based on their performance.”

Freeman also observed that the conventional Heat Dynasty option is actually one that offers more chances to see a “bizarre” future for the NBA, despite being predictable at the start.  Some of the situations he encountered included Deron Williams and Chris Bosh, currently with the Brooklyn Nets and Heat respectively in real life, playing for the Dallas Mavericks as they step up as LeBron and the Heat’s latest rivals.  But there may also be a chance of controversy for the second career path.  Said Freeman, “2K Sports representatives repeatedly ensured me that James only signed off on the concept for this feature, with 2K Sports coming up with every scenario from their own imaginations.”

NBA 2K14 is due for release on October 1 in North America for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC (Windows) platforms.  PS4 and Xbox One versions will be out as launch day titles for the respective next-gen consoles on November 15 and 22.

Lindsey Vonn Tried to Stop Alpine Championship Race

Lindsey Vonn wins a World Cup in Switzerland, March 2008. Photo courtesy of Gerwig Loffelholz.

In a teleconference call with journalists on Friday, Lindsey Vonn voiced her concern about safety during championship races after injuring her knee on February 5th in Austria’s World Alpine Championship race.  Vonn told reporters that race jury members should be more mindful of athletes’ safety at major championships.

Vonn went on to say that she doesn’t think the jury made the right call to begin the race, after the slope was engulfed by fog and delayed the start.  For hours, skiers waited for the fog to lift and conditions to improve.

“I skied aggressively, but when I was skiing, I couldn’t believe the conditions.  The snow was too soft. It had broken down.  I didn’t think it was safe”, Vonn told reporters.

Vonn’s mishap came when she lunged into a jump and flew farther than any other skier that day.  But, her right foot landed in a pile of snow which buckled her knee instantly.

While Vonn was lying in the snow waiting for rescue teams, she actually phoned her coach, Alex Hoedlmoser and told him to stop the race because conditions were not safe.  Hoedlmoser was one of the race jurors.

Lindsey Vonn had knee surgery on February 10th by Dr. Bill Sterett, the head physician for the US women’s alpine team.  She’s recovering well and plans to be back on the slopes by November of this year.  That will give her time to get back into shape for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Vonn won the first ever gold medal for women’s downhill in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

References:  USA Today

Wikipedia

US Weekly

 

 

A Bright 2013 for UFC after Stagnant 2012

A Bright 2013 for UFC after Stagnant 20122012 has thus far proved to be anything other than the shining year of Ultimate Fighting Championship its promoters had been hoping for. Upon signing a new and quite enormously lucrative deal with Fox, UFC was expected to take the world by storm and capture the attentions and imagination of millions of new fans with an interest in combat sports.

In reality however, a series of setbacks and unexpected scenarios have seen the year as a whole become a depressingly slow one for UFC at best, perhaps motionless at worst. UFC 152 was an extremely important event for both the organization and the fighters it promotes – all parties will now be looking to use the event’s momentum to ride out the rest of the year and start 2013 off as 2012 should have been.

Barely a week passed over the summer months without another negative report or critique hitting the airwaves with little intention other than to cast aspersions on the future of UFC as a whole. While TV ratings plummeted practically on a daily basis, some of the sport’s biggest events were affected by competitor injuries. It became commonplace for radio networks covering UFC events to sit on the airwaves for hours on end publically complaining about the problems the sport was facing.

And even with UFC 152 serving as a much-needed spark of brightness at the end of the tunnel, it became increasingly difficult to hold out any real optimism.

Now that it has come and passed, UFC 152 proved to be exactly what the sport needed at the most crucial time.

Headlining the event, Jon Jones put on an incredible display and reminded the crowd just what it means to persevere in pursuit of glory. At a pivotal point, his arm was bent in such a way that for it not to break seemed impossible – any other competitor would have ended the bout there and then. Not Jones however, as not only did he find his way out of the impossible, but then went on to run circles around Vitor Belfort for nearly four full rounds and ultimately won by submission.

These kind of UFC moments have the potential to instantly transform a fighter in the eyes of a fan, with villains becoming heroes and inspiration coming from the unlikeliest of sources. True, Jones will still be considered an arrogant and cocky sole by thousands of adamant critics, but at the same time he cannot fail to have struck a chord with thousands more for his quite remarkable escape and ensuing win.

And of course, it doesn’t matter whether fans love or hate the fighters – just as long as they get them talking and bring in the viewers, this is exactly what UFC needs now more than ever.

UFC 152 marked the first in dozens of UFC events that left critics and fans alike without any just cause for complaint. Should this prove to be the start of things to come, 2012 can be brushed aside to make way for the real year of UFC – 2013.

Art Modell, 1925-2012 – Former Browns/Ravens Owner Courted Controversy

Art ModellFormer Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens team owner Art Modell passed away Thursday in Baltimore due to natural causes.  He was 87 years old.  This was confirmed by his son, David Modell, in a statement released after the former NFL executive had passed on.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Arthur Bertram Modell left school at 15 years old to support his family after his father George passed away unexpectedly.  George Modell was a wine sales manager who had gone bankrupt in 1929 following the Great Depression, and with the family relying on Art to make a living, the younger Modell supported his family as a railroad oiler.  A few years after serving in World War II, Modell, now in his early 20s, began work at ABC as a television producer in 1948.  He also worked for L.H. Hartman, a New York-based advertising agency, starting in 1954.  By the early ‘60s, Modell had saved up and borrowed enough money to purchase the Cleveland Browns for $4 million.  Only $250,000 of the money was Modell’s, but in any case, he was the owner of one of the National Football League’s top teams, then led by future Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown.

As a hands-on team owner, it didn’t take long for Modell to make his first bold decision.  Early in 1963, he had fired Paul Brown, who had coached the very team that was named after him since its inception in 1946.  Despite losing a future Hall of Fame coach, the Browns were still a force to be reckoned with in the NFL – the team won the 1964 NFL Championship by routing the Johnny Unitas-led Baltimore Colts, 27-0.  That was, however, Modell’s last championship in Cleveland; it would be almost four decades before a Modell-owned team would win an NFL title.  By that time, the Browns were already known as the Baltimore Ravens.

The Browns’ move to Baltimore for the 1996 season after losing $21 million in 1994 and 1995 is still considered as one of the darkest eras in Cleveland sporting history.  Fans compared him to former Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley, who had moved the team from Brooklyn to Los Angeles for the 1958 season.  Seemingly neutral corners heaped scorn on the Browns/Ravens owner; Inside Sports columnist and former Cincinnati Bengals player Bob Trumpy wrote in the magazine’s 1996 NFL preview, “I wish (the Ravens) high winds and muddy fields.  I wish them empty roads to and from the ballpark.  I wish them cold hot dogs.  I wish them nothing but bad.”

Almost 15 years after the Cleveland Browns became the Baltimore Ravens, even LeBron James’ moving from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami Heat (a.k.a. “The Decision”) wasn’t as vilified as the move to Baltimore.  Modell remained a pariah in Cleveland till the day he died, but was beloved in Baltimore, who had ironically lost the Colts to Indianapolis in a similarly controversial move.  The Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV against the Giants in 2001, giving Modell his first title in 37 years.  Three years later, the Ravens were sold to Steve Biscotti for $600 million.

Modell is survived by his sons David and John and six grandchildren.  David Modell is currently the Ravens’ President and CEO.  Modell’s wife, former actress Patricia Breslin, passed away on October 12, 2011.

NBA Legends Nelson, Sampson, Miller Lead Hall of Fame Class of 2012

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of FameThe Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. opened its doors today to 12 individuals, led off by long-time NBA player and head coach Don Nelson, former Houston Rockets center Ralph Sampson and Indiana Pacers long-range bomber Reggie Miller.  Nelson was inducted to the Hall for his achievement as a coach for several NBA teams, primarily the Milwaukee Bucks and Golden State Warriors.  Sampson and Miller were among six who were inducted as players, the others being ‘70s standouts Mel Daniels, Chet Walker and Jamaal Wilkes and three-time Team USA women’s basketball player Katrina McClain.

Nelson, 72, was first known in the NBA as a key member of the Boston Celtics’ dynasty of the 1960s, where he was often the first forward off the bench.   He began his coaching career with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1976, right after he retired as a player.  As a coach, he stood out for his preference for up-tempo play and his innovative basketball mind; as the Bucks’ coach in the 1980s, he pioneered the use of a “point forward” – having a forward with good passing skills act as the floor leader.  The three-time NBA Coach of the Year winner arguably enjoyed the most success in his two stints with the Golden State Warriors, the first from 1988-95 and the second from 2006-10.  In 2006-07, “Nellie” led the Warriors, then the eighth seed, to an unbelievable first-round playoff upset of the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks.  Nelson also coached the gold medal-winning “Dream Team II” which won a gold medal at the 1994 FIBA World Championship.

The 52-year-old Sampson, a 7’4” center with the athleticism and ball-handling skills of a much smaller man, was the first overall pick in the 1983 NBA Draft.  The Virginia native immediately made an impact, and in his sophomore pro year, he teamed up with yet another top draft pick, fellow Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, to form the Rockets’ “Twin Towers” combo.  At this point, Sampson was now playing the power forward position and introducing a style of play that highlighted his unusual athleticism and shooting range for a man over seven feet tall.  Unfortunately, injuries stalled his career just as he was at his peak; prior to 1988, he had never averaged less than 15.6 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.  Sampson was mostly used as a backup center in his last four NBA seasons, a mere shadow of his once-productive self.  His son, Ralph Sampson III, played college basketball at Minnesota and recently played for the Charlotte Bobcats’ summer league team.

Miller, who played 18 seasons for the Indiana Pacers from 1987 to 2005, joined his older sister and fellow UCLA legend Cheryl in the Hall of Fame today.  A 6’7” shooting guard, Miller was one of the best clutch players in the NBA, and also one of the most notorious “trash talkers”; still, he acknowledged in his Hall of Fame speech that it was always more important to “let (his) game do the talking.”  Despite his standout play in big-game situations, he had only taken part in one NBA Finals series, where the Pacers lost 4-2 to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000.  Miller, 47, averaged 18.2 points in his NBA career, and retired as the all-time leader in three-point shots made, with 2,560.  Ray Allen, who will be joining the Miami Heat this season, broke Miller’s record in 2011.

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