Posts Tagged ‘Praise’

Far from just acquiring a star in his prime in Jimmy ButlerPhiladelphia 76ershead coach Brett Brown believes the organization has obtained a player that fits perfectly both with the team and the city.

“I mean, where do you begin?” Brown said, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “I think that, defensively, and with the physicality that he plays with … he mirrors the spirit of Philadelphia.

“He is a fierce competitor, and there is (a) toughness that he plays with. It’s who he is. He wears it on his face. It’s seen in his game. It’s confirmed by multiple All-Defensive teams, and it’s a perfect fit for our city and our program defensively.”

The 76ers lost a couple of important pieces in the deal to acquire Butler with the Minnesota Timberwolves, trading away starting forwards Robert Covington and Dario Saric. However, Brown believes he’s now equipped with a roster that can take the next step after a second-round appearance last season and years of struggle during the “Trust the Process” era.

“Maybe (Butler is) the first move in the new reality that our goal is to build for a championship, and play in the NBA Finals, and continue to be an annual – and that’s always the hardest thing – contender,” Brown said. “I think we are building a core, truly, with their ages, that is going to have the ability to do that. We are going to have the ability to do that for a while now.

“We’ll be amongst royalty for a while now. So if you refer to that as sort of the first phase of the legitimate process, I think that’s fair.”

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WWE Hall Of Famer Steve Austin recently participated in a fan Q&A session on The Steve Austin Show. During the podcast, Austin discussed his relationship with fellow WWE Hall Of Famer Jim Ross and the tremendous impact that Ross has had on Austin’s legendary professional wrestling career.

On the subject of Ross, Austin said he grew up a fan of ‘Good Ol’ JR’ from watching Mid-South Wrestling and NWA. Interestingly, Austin shared that Ross helped the former ‘Stunning’ Steve get signed to WCW and that the pair always got along famously.

“Now, as I am trying to recall the first time I met Jim Ross, I almost can’t remember, but you have to understand I was a huge Bill Watts Mid-South Wrestling fan, so, man, I grew up with JR.” Austin remembered, “and he’s not very much older than me, but JR was the man. And then, when he went to NWA, that’s when I was watching Jim Ross. He was the man. And all-of-a-sudden, I get a chance to be called up to WCW. He’s one of the guys that lobbied for me and we hit it off. Jim loves football. He knew that I played college football. I wasn’t at Ron Simmons’ level. I wasn’t major college good. I was just good enough to get a scholarship and be on the team. That’s as good as I was. But Jim being in Oklahoma and that Texas/Oklahoma kind of bond, relationship, rivalry, whatever it is, Jim respected and liked football players. He liked guys that were athletic, salty, easy to work with, not people that are toxic or that are trainwrecks, or divas, or hard to work with. So, man, me and Jim always hit it off and we became the best of friends.”

Austin divulged that he and Ross would travel together, drinking wine and fantasy booking the territory.

“Me and Jim would ride down the road and we’d have a bottle of wine.” Austin recalled, “I don’t know how we started drinking wine. I used to drink wine like a son of a b—h way back in the day, but we’d drink a bottle of red wine between the towns. It’s only about 120 miles. We’d book the territory, tell stories… If I ever went to a football game I would go stay with him and Jan when she was still with us. And Jim’s out doing his own thing now, but, man, nothing but respect for him.”

According to Austin, Ross is the best commentator of all time and the two are still close today. Moreover, Austin suggested that JR was important to the success of the ‘Stone Cold’ character.

“Jim Ross, to me, with his range, with his storytelling… he paid his dues. I mean, he learned from the ground up. And his inflection and his ability to watch a match, tell a story, get the talent over with the credibility that he had, he was the shining diamond on top of everyone, so always a good experience with Jim. We continue, to this day, to be the best of friends. We don’t talk as much as we used to because we’re going and blowing in different directions. But he was a key, key part of my entire [pro] wrestling career like so many people were, but as far as the recruitment to WCW, the recruitment to WWF [as WWE was known] at the time, so there’s a lot of history there.

“Again, if ‘Stone Cold’ would’ve took off like it did and Jim Ross had not been on commentary, I do believe I still would have been successful; however, I think I had the success that I did because of the work that we put into it. This is on the [WWE] end, my end, the synergy, the chemistry, the writing, Vince [McMahon] was a huge part of it, especially when we were going up against each other, but without Jim Ross calling that with the emotion and just yelling, that passion driven style that he had, I don’t think it would have been the same. He was the voice of that ‘Attitude Era’.” Austin added, “I can’t imagine my career because it is so far removed now, but I cannot imagine my career without the iconic voice of the one and only Jim Ross.”

Charlotte Flair recently spoke with Sport Bible at this link. Flair said her Last Woman Standing loss to SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch at WWEEvolution was her best performance yet.

“It was a culmination of learning, us being best friends and it being the all-women’s pay-per-view,” Charlotte said of Evolution. “It’s a chance for all the women to show what they have and say, ‘No, I’m the best!’ – it just raises the bar. That’s why I like having two brands; Smackdown wants to be better than Raw, Raw wants to be better than Smackdown – it creates competition and you have to have competition. I think [the] Last Woman Standing [match] has been my best performance so far.”

Flair admitted she was nervous going into the Evolution match as it tested her abilities because of how different it was.

“I was actually nervous about the Last Woman Standing match match because not having a count or a pinfall, I’ve never had one of these,” Flair said. “At least with the Falls Count Anywhere you’re still getting a count! I think the last women’s standing match has to be the most challenging but I wish I could go back and redo my Hell in a Cell match because I wish I was the talent back then that I am now and I would have done so many things different and better.”

Flair went on about how she and Becky went into Evolution wanting to steal the show with a match that would stand the test of time, and she thinks they did just that because of how much emotion was put into it. She also said she feels like she’s getting better at connecting with fans.

“If you look at the Last Woman Standing match, it was the storytelling, the emotion, the psychology and the selling,” Flair said. “Just in the last six months I feel like things are clicking. I’ve been able to be a bad guy and I’ve been able to be a good guy so I see what each side needs but once you figure out it’s all about having a connection with the audience, it’s not about the moves – you just put the moves where you want.”

Charlotte also talked about how she continues to lean on her father, WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair for advice. The Nature Boy keeps his daughter updated with RAW happenings, regularly attends her big matches and is always there to offer help.

“I remember walking out at Hell in a Cell and I asked what if they don’t buy it and he said, ‘Oh, just call it out there, feel it’ and I’m just like, ‘WHAT?!’. He helps me more with confidence, just when you first walk out of Gorilla that’s the most important moment because if you believe in yourself no matter whether you are a good guy or bad guy, the audience is going to believe in you,” Charlotte said. “He helps me with presence and believing in myself because I feel like that’s half the battle; having the confidence in the ring. You can have all the moves in the book but if you don’t take a moment to really soak in, embrace and really demand that attention. It’s something you can’t teach.”

San Francisco 49ers third-string quarterback Nick Mullens was the star of the show Thursday night, lighting up the hapless Oakland Raiders in his first career start and propelling his team to a dominant 34-3 win.

Mullens put up record-setting numbers, throwing for 262 yards and three touchdowns on 22 attempts for a near-perfect passer rating of 151.9, the highest mark for a debuting quarterback since 1990.

Kyle Shanahan was the mastermind behind Mullens’ huge night, and the 49ers head coach wasn’t surprised the bright lights of prime time had no effect on the 2017 undrafted free agent.

“You never know until you see someone,” Shanahan said about Mullens, according to NFL.com’s Austin Knoblauch. “He didn’t surprise us in terms of, the game’s not too big for Nick. He’s very poised. He is always locked in. The guys, they respect him. He earned a lot of respect in the preseason, them watching him play. Both years, last year and this year.

“The way he handles himself in practice each week. He didn’t really know for sure whether he was going to start today, until today, and just the way he handled the two days of long walkthroughs and stuff.

“He’s a machine in there and I was happy for him.”

Despite the performance, Shanahan didn’t say if he will continue with Mullens as the starter. C.J. Beathard – who started the previous five games – was forced to act as the backup as he dealt with wrist and thumb injuries that made him unable to properly grip the football.

“We’ll consider it,” Shanahan said. “Definitely not thinking about that right now, but our whole team played very well. Nick definitely did. … It’s good to get a win today and hopefully it can lead to some others.”

Quarterback Deshaun Watson is excited about the Houston Texans‘ outlook for the remainder of the 2018 season following Tuesday’s trade-deadline acquisition of wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.

“Nothing, really, should stop the train,” Watson said on Wednesday, according to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle.

The Texans acquired Thomas from the Denver Broncos in exchange for a fourth-round pick and swaps of seventh-rounders. He’s expected to suit up alongside DeAndre Hopkins when the Texans face his former club on Sunday.

Thomas, a nine-year veteran who caught 36 of 56 targets for 402 yards and three touchdowns with the Broncos this season, will help fill the void Will Fuller‘s season-ending torn ACL left behind.

The Texans are 5-3 through eight weeks and occupy first place in the AFC South.

When news first broke in September that Jimmy Butler had requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves, teammate Andrew Wiggins‘ brother Nick reacted with joy. And given the reported tensions between Butler and some of his young teammates, it was believed the feeling was shared by Andrew.

Yet, with Butler seemingly stuck with the Wolves for the time being, Wiggins is spinning the current situation as a positive.

“All I know is, when we start playing the real games, Jimmy is someone you want on your team,” Wiggins said Sunday, per the Star Tribune’s Kent Youngblood. “At the end of the day, people can say what they want to say.”

Wiggins has reportedly been a target of Butler’s ire since last season due to his work ethic and defensive lapses. It’s a cloud that’s hung over the Canadian throughout his four NBA seasons, as many believe Wiggins’ passivity has kept him from making the leap into the league’s elite.

Butler himself told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that the 23-year-old Wiggins is the most “god-gifted player” on the Timberwolves, but then essentially questioned his drive.

Whether the Butler saga can light a fire under Wiggins remains to be seen. They’re expected to start together on the wings when Minnesota opens the regular season Wednesday in San Antonio.

“He’s a winner,” Wiggins added of Butler. “I feel like, no matter where he is, he’s right here now. He’s going to give it all, because that’s all he knows.”

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner has earned the support of his quarterback during his time filling in for Le’Veon Bell to open the season.

“I think James has done some amazing things and deserves to be on the field,” Ben Roethlisberger said Wednesday, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. “We also know what Le’Veon is and what he brings to the table. I guess we’ll cross that bridge if and when it happens.”

Conner, a sophomore, has rushed for 342 yards and five touchdowns on 84 carries over five games. He’s added 239 yards as a receiver while catching 22 of 28 targets.

Meanwhile, Bell remains away from the team as he refuses to sign a franchise tag initially valued at more than $14.5 million. Bell has been fined for every game he’s missed as a result of not signing the tag, bringing the current value down to $10.3 million for the remainder of the 2018 season. The two-time All-Pro reportedly plans to return to the Steelers during their Week 7 bye.

Roethlisberger was sure not to take anything away from what Bell’s potential return would mean for a Steelers team with Super Bowl aspirations, but he believes Conner has done enough to retain some work in the Steelers’ offense.

“If you look at the overall picture of what we’ve asked him to do every week, I think it’s been going up every week,” Roethlisberger said. “I think that’s what gets lost in what a running back (does) and what he’s been doing – pass blocking, picking up the blitz, catching out of the backfield. I don’t want to jinx anything, but he’s catching almost everything I’m throwing to him, and he’s in the right spot all the time quickly.”

Conner had a season-high 75 receiving yards against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5, hauling in all four of Roethlisberger’s intended passes. His 21 carries were his most since the Week 1 tie against the Cleveland Browns.

Roethlisberger ranks second on the team with 12 carries this season.