Category Archives: General Sports

How Should we Determine a League MVP?

The award for Most Valuable Player (MVP) is always hotly debated amongst diehard sports fans and figurehead experts. The issue in doling out this award to the individual who is supposed to represent excellence in their respective league during the most recent season is how to actually decide who in fact is the “best” player.  Thus, it essentially comes down to deciphering what factors determine one to be the most valuable player out of all eligible players for one specific season. Is it an athlete’s uncanny ability to keep their team competitive and in striking distance of postseason success or is it purely an honor that should be derived from individual stats? This age-old question has constantly been interpreted in different ways throughout each professional sport.

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I believe that while a team’s record should be noted as part of the equation that decides who will earn the MVP award, it should not be a primary aspect.  Russell Westbrook was the first NBA player to average a triple-double in a season since Oscar Robertson of the Cincinnati Royals did so in the 1961-62 season.  While one would think that Robertson would have unanimously won the MVP award for that season, he in fact came in third place behind Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics and Wilt Chamberlain of the Los Angeles Lakers.  Russell and Chamberlain played on championship-contending teams that season, while the Royals barely finished above a .500 record.  Thus, the voters in that era decided that a team’s performance in the standings mattered more than a player’s on-court contributions.  This is not to say that only stats should be weighed as a factor in deciding who the true MVP of that league is, but that one should consider how a team might perform without the player in question. The Oklahoma City Thunder are a lottery-destined team without Westbrook as their point guard.

While triple-double average was the icing on the cake in terms of why voters decided to crown him as the MVP of the 2016-17 season, he made his teammates better and almost singlehandedly won and kept them in games that they would have no business being in if he was not their star point guard.  Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, winner of two MVPs and also a two-time runner-up for the award in his first five MLB seasons, has led the league in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in each season.  WAR is an estimate of a player’s value to date and tracks the question of, if Mike Trout got injured and had to be replaced with a freely available minor leaguer or bench player, how much value would the team be losing?  While WAR is an imperfect system, I am a big proponent of its use in helping to decide MVP races, as I believe that team performance should not be the sole factor in deciding who is truly the most valuable player in a league.

Another player that was robbed of an MVP award due to his team’s poor record is Kobe Bryant, former Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard, during the 2005-2006 NBA season.  Steve Nash, who led the Phoenix Suns to 54 wins and a Western Conference finals berth, averaged a double-double in points and assists and was surely deserving of garnering some support for taking home the award.  However, Bryant was an unstoppable force that opposing defenses could not contain and went on to average over 35 points per game while also grabbing 5 rebounds and dishing out 5 assists a game. Bryant’s Lakers finished with seven less wins than Nash’s Suns and did not make it past the first round (ironically losing to the Suns in Game 7), and because of this, he was penalized for not having as good of a supporting cast in LA as Nash in Phoenix.  Bryant’s best supporting players were Lamar Odom, Smush Parker, Chris Mihm and Kwame Brown.  Besides Odom, a casual NBA fan would have no idea who these players were, while Nash was playing alongside All-Stars such as Shawn Marion and Amar’e Stoudemire.  Thus, the Lakers surely would not have even come close to securing a playoff berth had it not been for Bryant’s otherworldly season. Because Bryant did not have the same talent that Nash had around him, he was overlooked and Nash took home the MVP.

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Team performance is the most important aspect of a successful sports franchise, but in terms of deciding who really is the MVP of any professional sports league, I believe that the question of what would this team be like if a player were not in the lineup every night should be asked.

 

10 Most Inspirational Figures in Sports

Athletes inspire people. Regardless of which team or which country they belong to, they are a beacon of hope, inspiration, and leadership around the world. These are the people who spend their whole life making a name for themselves so they can be recognized by their work, their sportsmanship, and their skill. They tell you how a mere human can create waves of motivation and proud in the hearts of millions.

There is always a list that people have in their heads when they think about ‘the greatest’ and they don’t have to think twice. Some are great because of their skills in sports, some are great because of their leadership skills and how they transformed their teams and the sports they were a part of.

Swimming: Michael Phelps

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First on our list is an American Swimming master who started his career in 2000 and since then, he has won 28 medals and titles in his career including an ultra-impressive finish in Beijing Olympics 2008. He is 32 years old with a great track record and has simply dominated the world of swimming.

American Football: Tom Brady

Tom Brady has spent over 15 years building a career as a leader. He has been with the New England Patriots, taking them to seven Super Bowls, winning five of them. Even if he is surrounded by inexperienced players, he tries to make it all work by being the best at his job. He is a two-time NFL MVP and four-time MVP for the Super Bowl.

Squash: Jahangir Khan

A Guinness world record holder, the former Pakistani squash player is famous for his magnificent 555 games-in-a-row win streak. This kind of history is never to be witnessed again. He was told that he will never become a squash player because he was weak and feeble and he proved everyone wrong by becoming a source of inspiration for the world.

Soccer: Lionel Messi

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His name and fame knows no bounds; he is the epitome of speed and strategy in soccer across the world. Messi is the face of many social organizations and is a human Twitter trend because his daily occurrence of doing something out of the ordinary on the pitch. He has been with Argentina’s soccer team since the early 2000s and he makes every game worthwhile. He is also world’s second most paid soccer player, and constantly butts heads with Cristiano Ronaldo for this spot.

Golf: Tiger Woods

A 15-time world champion, Tiger Woods is a name that everyone knows in the sports world. The American golfer’s techniques, strategy and passion are unmatched until now, even after his career took a turn for the worst. Golf was known to the general public as a boring game until he came along and told the world that it is classy, exciting and fun to watch.

MMA: Ronda Rousey

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She is considered to be the most dangerous woman on earth. She cleared the path for every female fighter across the glove towards combat sports. Ronda Jean Rousey has a 12-2 MMA and 6-2 UFC record that made her a phenomenal woman in sports, with an image that men of the MMA envy. Rousey is currently ranked the number four Bantamweight fighter in the world, but her influence on the sport goes well beyond her professional fighting record.

Basketball: Michael Jordan

The former American basketball player and the most famous name in basketball history is an inspiration to millions. Born in 1963, this 54-year-old legend is considered to be the greatest basketball player of all time. He ruled NBA in the 1980s and 1990s. His scoring average in his career is 32.0, still an unbeatable feat. He has earned hundreds of awards, nominations, and titles along the support and a name for himself that has transcended just the sports world and turned itself into a brand.

Cricket: Ricky Ponting

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He is no doubt the greatest cricket team captain in the world. Ponting stood with the Australian Cricket team from 2004 to 2011 and from 2002 to 2011 in test matches and one-day international matches respectively and his strategy and skill are regarded very highly in the world of cricket. He is also an excellent batsman and his name is taken with Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar and Javed Miandad.

Sprinter: Usain Bolt

He is referred as the fastest runner who ever lived. The Jamaican has achieved so much since 2008 Olympics, where he put himself on the map. He is the only person to hold two records: one in 100 meters and one in 200 meters (both world records), since fully automated time became mandatory. He is now considered to be the greatest sprinter of all time and is called ‘Triple Double’ because of his record of being the only sprinter to win Olympic 100m and 200m titles at three consecutive Olympics.

Boxing: Muhammad Ali

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Anyone who ever picks up a boxing glove knows the name Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer who ever lived. He is known as the fastest boxer on the planet and every good boxer aspires to be like him. Ali is regarded as one of World’s most significant and celebrated sports figures and activists. His motivational quotes are found everywhere and his legacy is said to be holy when boxers address his name.