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FC Harlem proves inner city youth are committed to soccer in new mini-doc

Men’s soccer in the United States has a great deal of room to grow. Poor results have accumulated in recent years, most exemplified by the USA’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

As many have propounded, perhaps it is time to change up the way we look at youth soccer and develop the sport in this country. Maybe it is time to go down a different avenue in identifying and cultivating top-tier talent.

UNINTERRUPTED, the media company co-founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter, has produced and premiered a new documentary titled “BECOMING MORE: FC Harlem.”

The mini-doc follows inner-city soccer program FC Harlem on its path to competing in its first major tournament.

The upstart football club from New York City, fields players from all five boroughs, from all different ethnicities and backgrounds. The players push the boundaries of what is possible off the field just as much as they do on it.

“The soccer world probably views FC Harlem as keeping kids off the street,” bluntly states Irv Smalls, Jr., FC Harlem Executive Director.

“Our kids are not thinking about drugs or crimes or breaking into cars or anything. They want to get better at soccer. They want to be empowered.”

Outside of training these kids at a high-level FC Harlem also focus on their L.I.O.N.S. – Leaders In Our Neighborhoods.

The specialized program is designed for talented and committed youths of color who often do not get opportunities to pursue soccer development at the highest levels.

Their development model consists of licensed, competent coaches who use the small spaces of the inner cities, immigrant culture, and creativity of the neighborhoods to develop dynamic soccer players.


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There is a problem in the U.S. where many of the most competitive and illustrious youth clubs require families to pay for their children to play for the club.

The players that cannot pay, often ones from inner cities, are left out from the best trainers the country has to offer, the best competition, and the eyes of the top soccer scouts.

“Pay-to-play system absolutely leaves out inner-city kids, specifically black and brown kids. That’s what I want to solve,” said Smalls, Jr.


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FC Harlem is aiming to change the narrative, and UNINTERRUPTED’s doc is giving the club a platform to make this a reality.

“This is something much bigger than us,” said center back and captain Kaloka.

The players understand that they represent themselves, their club, and their communities. They represent New York, and they are so unabashedly true to their city.

“It felt like I wasn’t just playing for myself, it felt like I was playing for New York City itself,” said goalie Azul.

Seen in the doc is the parking lot where many of the players started playing soccer. Mo, an FC Harlem midfielder, stands outside of a Chinese cornerstone, eating a snack.

“This is fries, with chopped cheese, put pepper jack cheese, and you know white sauce/ranch and barbecue. I love this right here,” said Mo.


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New York is the melting pot of different cultures and different stories. While often renowned for being a basketball town, New York is deeply passionate about soccer, the most globally-recognized and beloved sport in the world.

“I’ve been in New York long enough that I’ve seen the players. The talent is there. The team that we have is not like any other team that we’ve had in the years that I’ve been here,” explained Smalls, Jr.

He continued to speak about the route FC Harlem took to enter the tournament, “And I just said, ‘You know what? Let’s find the top tournament in the country, and let’s go for it.'”

FC Harlem was invited to the most prestigious youth soccer tournament in the US: The Dallas Cup. “It is exposure, college scouts, professional scouts,” said Andy Swift, Executive Director of the Dallas Cup.

This exposure is what fuels an individual player’s chance to keep moving up the ranks of soccer in this country, and hopefully, one day play professionally. This truth is not lost on the FC Harlem players.

On a more macro level, the chance for these inner-city kids to be seen by top scouts in this country has the ability to change the pay-to-play system, and ultimately switch up the top youth players that are seen and then funneled up the pipeline to become professional footballers.


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“They deserve this exposure. They deserve this level of competition, ’cause they’ve worked hard to get to be the players that they are. But also that should just be the access that players have at that level, and it doesn’t happen often enough,” said Caetano, FC Harlem’s head coach.

The build-up to a soccer game is unlike any other. For 45 minutes straight you run, you slide, you battle, and there are no set prolonged stoppages.

You are out there with just your team, and the build-up to the first whistle is a very thrilling one.

FC Harlem lost its first match in the final few minutes, 3-2 to Liverpool Football College. The team showed extreme resolve in their next game, winning 2-1 against FC Tigres. In its final game, Harlem lost 2-0 to FC Dallas, sending the team home.


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Even though the team did not win like they would have liked, the entire club understands that success is measured in different ways.

Being scouted, supported, and proving that they belonged at this prestigious cup are respectable and significant milestones.

“I think they understand the bigger picture,” said Smalls, Jr.

He continued, “I personally believe the inner cities can help change soccer in the United States for the better.”

Why we seriously can’t wait for Netflix to drop Naomi Osaka’s doc

Naomi Osaka is a superstar that impresses with her ability on the court and her maturity off of it. The Japanese tennis phenom is one-of-a-kind, and her story represents more than just athletic expertise.

Through a collaboration between Netflix and UNINTERRUPTED, audiences will get an inside look into Osaka’s life in a documentary that is sure to be as touching as it is thrilling.

The doc follows Osaka’s pivotal year, from the US Open in August 2019 to present-day as she prepares for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Where she’ll represent her country on the biggest stage, under the brightest lights.  


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Osaka was born in Japan to a Haitian father and a Japanese mother, but moved to the United States and was brought up in New York when she was three-years-old. With this multinational identity, Osaka had the option of which country to compete for in the Olympics.

Under Japanese law, those with dual nationality must choose one before turning 22 years of age. And when her 22nd birthday came in October 2019, Osaka chose Japan.

According to Japanese public broadcaster NHK, Osaka said it gives her “a special feeling to try to go to the Olympics to represent Japan.”

“I think I will be able to put more of my emotion into it by playing for the pride of the country,” said Osaka.

Naomi Osaka Sport GIF by Australian Open - Find & Share on GIPHY

Osaka has been ranked as the number one women’s tennis player in the world by the Women’s Tennis Association and is the first Asian player to ever hold the top ranking in the singles division. She won her first two Grand Slam singles tournaments back-to-back at the 2018 US Open and 2019 Australian Open.

In the former, Osaka defeated her idol Serena Williams, the superstar that inspired Osaka’s father to teach his daughters tennis, and claimed her first major title. This resulted in increased international attention for Osaka. Additionally, she became the first Japanese woman to win a singles Grand Slam title.

Osaka’s father watched Richard Williams and how he raised and taught his daughters Venus and Serena. Richard set the bar high and from him, Osaka’s father looked to emulate this for his daughters, born 18-months-apart, Mari and Naomi.

“The blueprint was already there,” Francois told the New York Times. “I just had to follow it.”

Osaka is only 22, yet her career is already teeming with accolades and iconic victories. In the 2019 Australian Open, Osaka entered the tournament as the fourth seed, but defeated her opponents, including Hsieh Su-Wei and Petra Kvitová, to win the tournament and claim the number one seed.

This documentary (the name of which has not yet been released) follows the Japanese ace through the rigorous training process required for top tennis talents as the Olympics approach.

It captures Osaka in her most intimate moments, explores her roots and her passions, and culminates with the end of an intrinsic journey that simply opens up another one.

“To be able to tell my story and let people in during this big year, working with a team that really understands me, has been a rewarding experience. It won’t look like a traditional sports documentary, and I’m so excited to share it with everyone,” said Osaka.

The doc, produced by Film 45, is directed by Garrett Bradley, whose short film “Alone,” made with the New York Times OpDocs, was shortlisted for an Academy Award. Bradley also won Best Director at Sundance 2020 for her US documentary feature in competition “TIME.”


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Osaka is a global tennis superstar and the face of Japan’s athletic field. Traveling with Naomi in Japan, the audience will be treated to a journey of a woman just coming into her self.

We’ll get to see her interests outside of tennis, her connection to her country and multi-cultural identity, and her path towards self-discovery as the clock ticks towards the biggest sporting event in the world.

How 13-year-old football phenom Bunchie Young stole the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is a bit of a national holiday, and for the majority of us that peeped the festivities, we were witness to a very unique commercial starring a young man.

That young man, of course, was 13-year-old athletic sensation Maxwell “Bunchie” Young, a boy who plays football in LA and gained national attention when he broke the age-10 world record for the 100-yard dash with a time of 12.4 seconds.

In the commercial sponsored by the NFL, Bunchie catches a football, spins and dashes past defenders, runs across fields and city streets, through the parade of Mardi Gras and other cities that are the home of iconic NFL teams. Bunchie sprints past NFL legends like Jim Brown and Ray Lewis, and current stars like Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey.

“Oowee” Brown remarks upon seeing Young running. “Take it to the house kid.” This phrase is repeated by the other legends and stars in the video.

Finally, in a neat twist, Young finishes his run by emerging through the actual tunnel into the live Super Bowl stadium, much to the delight of the fans.

“It was just so loud,” said Bunchie later. “And the players were looking up to see my Super Bowl commercial and it was really crazy,” he concluded.


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Bunchie may still be a mystery to many, but with each passing year, his talent and gravity becomes more and more evident. Bunchie Young has an undeniably bright future ahead of him, and the NFL put him on full display with their commercial on Super Bowl Sunday.

Young had to make several trips between New Orleans and Chicago for the shoot.

“I couldn’t tell nobody. Everybody and their mom had to sign a (non-disclosure agreement.) It was so secretive. You couldn’t tell nobody,” he said.

Bunchie was named the 2017 Sports Illustrated SportsKid of the Year and garnered attention from colleges across the nation. Still, the young man has to be more concerned with where he is going to high school and passing all of his classes before he worries about college and the NFL.

But Bunchie sees a bright future for himself, and with his tight-knit family backing him, he has all the resources to succeed.

“…really, since I was a little kid, I always wanted to play football, go to the NFL, but who knows?” said Bunchie.

UNINTERRUPTED Live proves there’s more to being a football player

Cam Newton, NFL star and quarterback for the Carolina Panthers once said,

“I’m a continuous work of progress.”

Newton spoke from his platform at UNINTERRUPTED Live: More Than A Football Player, an exciting event that took place Friday, January 31, in anticipation of the Super Bowl.

Along with Oakley, UNINTERRUPTED hosted the event in honor of NFL players that are so rarely seen, mainly because of the helmet covering their faces on the field.

Along with Newton, star cornerback Jalen Ramsey and upcoming NFL draftee Tua Tagovailoa spoke at the storytelling event.

“Everyone who’s had a part to do with my success, it’s their success at well,” said Tagovailoa.

Speaking a lot about the love he has for his big family, Tagovailoa joked that whatever team that drafts him should expect, in their city, a rise in the Samoan population.

The night’s theme was an extension of UNINTERRUPTED’s Glass Helmet campaign, or, “They Will Be Seen,” in which NFL players put on a transparent glass helmet and are able to be seen as the three-dimensional human beings they really are.

Each player also filled out a draft card, detailing their human attributes instead of their physical ones.

On Friday, three of the biggest names in football shared deep and intimate stories about who they are as people, enabling the public also to see football players for who they are without a helmet and pads on.

While their stardom sets them apart from us in some ways, on the inside they are just like any of us. They hold family dear to them, they have aspirations outside of their field (like Ramsey wanting to learn how to play the piano), and they are cognizant of the airflow on social media.

Newton says, “And I’ll be the first person to tell you, lotta times I may go down Instagram, Twitter… and I have to say ‘Damnn… I wore that.'”

But Newton is firm in the stance that he is not bashful or shy about anything. His demeanor — the way he talks, the way he presents himself — is “unapologetic, but most importantly, it’s unique.”

As an MVP, someone who has been at the very top of their field at a point in time, these words are inspirational.

Uninterrupted live 2
Photo Courtesy: UNINTERRUPTED | Right to Left: Tua Tagovalio, Cam Newton, Nate Burleson

Also present at the event were UNINTERRUPTED’s Maverick Carter, the evening’s host Nate Burleson, Yankees star Aaron Judge, veterans Spice Adams, Emmanuel Acho, and James Lofton and UNINTERRUPTED Live veteran Taylor Rooks.

Uninterrupted Live 1
Photo Courtesy: UNINTERRUPTED | Right to Left: Taylor Rooks, Jimmy Spencer Maverick Carter, Aaron Judge

Former football player and hip hop artist Tobe Nwigwe also showed out with a musical performance for the night.

UNINTERRUPTED Live is helping pave a path for football players to be seen as “More Than An Athlete.” Friday’s event was the latest step in this effort, and it was a joy to hear the stories told by some of the most unique faces in sports.

Photo Courtesy: UNINTERRUPTED | Left to Right: Tua Tagovalio, Cam Newton, Jalen Ramsey

Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Mentality lives on through women athletes

Legend Kobe Bryant passed away this Sunday, January 26, 2020, aged 41, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna (Gigi) Bryant, and seven other people.

For hours upon hours, the Earth seemed to stand still. Fans looking from afar could not comprehend that their beloved superstar had passed, and close friends of Kobe similarly could not make any sense of the tragedy.

After retiring from the NBA in 2016, Kobe transitioned into his next chapter of life seamlessly.

The questions of how such an obsessor of basketball would fair in a world outside of it were put to bed almost immediately. Kobe got to spend more time with his lovely family.

He wrote a basketball/wizardry book in the same vein as Harry Potter. He even won an Oscar for his short film based on a letter he wrote, titled, Dear Basketball.

And as a man with three daughters and an expected fourth (who has since been born), Kobe became a figure that in the past may have been impossible to predict: a champion for women and specifically women’s athletics.

Kobe initially expected to take a step away from basketball when he retired.

The Laker legend would be welcomed with open arms to any game he wanted to attend, but instead, Kobe found himself happier just being at home, surrounded by his family.

It allowed Kobe to take part in other activities that he has always been interested in and excelled at like reading, writing, learning different languages.

But then his daughter Gianna started to show an even bigger interest in basketball. She wanted to go watch games and her favorite players playing. She wanted to sit with her dad, enjoy the beauty of the game, and listen to her father’s wisdom.

@kulturehubto all the wisdom we’ll miss out on 🙏 🙏 🙏 #ripkobebryant #kobebryant♬ original sound – kulturehub

Kobe opened up the Mamba Sports Academy, a place where his daughter and kids like her could play basketball and train with the Mamba Mentality.

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He taught Gigi and her teammates that winning was a mindset, and you should always push yourself beyond the limits of what you thought was attainable.

Kobe was always a present father, but after retirement, he took it to another level.

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Kobe was a frequent attendee of Oregon’s women’s basketball team. Along with Gianna, Kobe would visit the Ducks, sign their shoes, complement their games.

Kobe also spoke very highly of the WNBA, a sport he said Gianna wanted to play in “for sure.” The mamba went so far as to say certain WNBA players Diana Taurasi, Elena Delle Donne and Maya Moore could play in the NBA.

Kobe’s high regard for the league did not go unnoticed.

The Commissioner of the WNBA, Cathy Engelbert, said in a statement Sunday,

“Kobe’s support for the WNBA and women’s basketball along with his passion for helping young girls and boys follow their dreams made him a true legend for our sport.”

It wasn’t just women’s basketball that Kobe spoke out on behalf of. He was a longtime fan and friend of the star-studded women’s national soccer team.

The team that still doesn’t earn the same wages as their male counterparts, even though they out-perform the men in every accolade and identifiable metric.

U.S. Forward Carli Lloyd had this to say after Kobe’s passing:

“Kobe’s been out to many of our games. He’s been a huge supporter of our team over the years. Just a huge female athlete supporter. It’s just heartbreaking, it honestly is.”

Only three years after retiring, Kobe was already doing so many great things and inspiring so many people. It is disheartening to know his life was taken so soon and we won’t be able to witness what else was in store for him.

And what else was in store for Gigi, a sweet young girl with her whole life ahead of her. A girl who was confident in her basketball skill, and beloved by everyone she came across.

But we must not be disheartened for too long. We must not succumb to the haunting depths of despair. The whole message of the Mamba Mentality is to push through adversity, fight beyond where we thought we could.

We must let love lead the way, which, before Sunday, seemed more absent recently than in a very long time. We must stick up for the disenfranchised, the underappreciated, which is so often women athletes.

By supporting women’s athletics, you are supporting Kobe. You are supporting Gigi. There is no doubt about it, this is part of Kobe’s legacy.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif could be the first doctor to win a Super Bowl

One goal or ambition in life does not have to come at the expense of another.

For Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, starting right guard for the Kansas City Chiefs, this realization wasn’t just enlightening. It served as fuel for his lifelong goal: becoming a doctor in medicine.

“My goal and my ambition was to be the first ever football player in the NFL to graduate in medicine from a prestigious university like McGill,” said Duvernay-Tardif.

In May 2018, he did just this, becoming the first active player ever to become a medical graduate. Duvernay-Tardif graduated from McGill University Faculty of Medicine with a Doctor in Medicine and Master in Surgery (M.D., C.M.).

“I really try to give myself 100% to everything I do,” said Duvernay-Tardif, citing his desire to achieve an adrenaline-rush in everything he does.

Duvernay-Tardif was born in Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, and grew up in Montreal. He started playing football in his teenage years, and then attended McGill University, where he played as a lineman for the McGill Redmen.

Duvernay-Tardif was named an all-Canadian for his junior and senior seasons, and in the latter, won the J.P. Metras Trophy, awarded to the most outstanding lineman in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (now U Sports) system.

The McGill graduate was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the sixth round (200th overall) of the 2014 draft. The Chiefs, a first-class organization that has often been very good but not great, is headed to its first Super Bowl in franchise history.

Duvernay-Tardif will have the responsibility of protecting star quarterback Patrick Mahomes from the ferocious San Francisco 49ers’ defensive line, headed by defensive ends Solomon Thomas and Nick Bosa.

“This is the only time … I have a chance to finish the season winning. You’ve reached the top,” Duvernay-Tardif said. “It gives me goosebumps thinking about it.”


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Duvernay-Tardif is not just protecting his franchise’s star player, but most people’s pick for the best player in the entire NFL. With Mahomes as the leader, the Chiefs offense is as dynamic and electric as we have seen in the last half-decade, and Duvernay-Tardif is part of the line that protects it all.

The Canadian spread his curriculum over eight years, because of the lofty training schedule required as an NFL player.

Every offseason he would study, amidst the constant pressure of keeping his body and mind fit for the upcoming season. When 2018 finally came around, it was time for Duvernay-Tardif to pass the final exam, and pass he did.

“I’m really a guy that thrives in stressful environments, and that’s why I enjoy so much the emergency room,” explained Duvernay-Tardif.

Duvernay-Tardif’s story is inspiring; he is a physical embodiment of hard work paying off and a reminder that physical and mental progress can occur at the same time. But more than all of this, he proves that we can all pursue several passions and perform them at the highest level possible.

Bonne chance dans le Super Bowl Laurent, we are rooting for you.

Why we shouldn’t mind Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s drip

Is it remotely hyperbolic to say that we’ve never seen a player like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander?

Last night, after recording a stat line of 20 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 assists, SGA became the youngest player in NBA history to notch a 20-rebound triple-double, passing The Big Aristotle himself, Shaq.

The Kentucky product is a 6’5″ combo-guard, and in his sophomore season, is already showing signs of becoming one of the best guards in the league.

SGA, the son of Charmaine Gilgeous, a former track star who competed in the 1992 Olympics for Antigua and Barbuda, was born in Toronto, Ontario.

His father, Vaughn Alexander, coached him as a boy. Gilgeous-Alexander made his way through the ranks of high school ball and eventually became a highly-sought-after four-star recruit.

He declared for Kentucky, and after coming off the bench the first half of the season, SGA earned a starting spot and helped bring Kentucky to the Sweet 16, before bowing out to Kansas State.

The Toronto-born guard was selected with the 11th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets, and then quickly got dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers.

In his freshman season for a scrappy, underdog Clippers team, SGA played all 82 games, putting up 10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game.

But even in his ultra-impressive first season at age 20, outside forces were out of his control. That was exactly the case when Kawhi Leonard essentially forced the Clippers’ hand to trade for Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Thunder were not going to trade their star forward without receiving promising youngster SGA in return, and so the deal went, along with a haul of draft picks and Danilo Gallinari to the Thunder.

SGA has not withered under the change of scenery. Instead, he has embraced it, relished the new opportunity, and under the tutelage of one of the greatest point guards of all time in Chris Paul, shown hints that he was the prize of the deal, not Paul George.

Chris Paul and SGA together in the backcourt form a tandem that is savvy defensively, brilliant on the ball, and are leaders of a team that is outperforming expectations.

Paul is the wise leader who, in a year many thought he would show increased signs of age, is leading the league in clutch buckets.

SGA is the motor, displaying his crafty skills at getting to the basket and opening up shots and opportunities for his teammates.

The two guards complement each other perfectly, and as the Thunder stare at Chris Paul’s lofty contract and have the incentive to trade him, instead they might look to keep him on the books as he is a perfect mentor for their young superstar SGA.

A 20-rebound game is outrageous for a guard, but to put up that feat in a game where he also scores 20 points and dishes out 10 assists, at the age of 21? This man is special.

SGA lowkey also is exceptionally fly in his downtime and as he pulls up to arenas to play. In a league full of players making fashion statements nightly, SGA, much like his game, has drip that goes under the radar.


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BIG FIT❕BIG WIN❕… new year same me🤷🏾‍♂️ #dontmindmydrip

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Shai’s game is so crafty it is truly a joy to watch. He has an uncanny ability for a young player to get to his spots, delicately slinking his way through the defense to get to the rim or pull up for a jumper.

As the 11th pick, it was clear not everybody knew about Shai and his potential. They are surely rueing that decision now. Keep eating Shai, we definitely #dontmindthedrip.

An underdog story: Put some respect on Sergio Aguero’s name

Sergio Kun Aguero passes the ball to the top of the box. He finds space among a sea of defenders, a tight-knit space only a player of his stature and wisdom could sniff out. He receives the give-and-go pass from his teammate.

In the box now, in stoppage time of a game his team is losing, Aguero takes one touch past a defender and rifles the ball into the back of the net. The stadium, and commentator Martin Tyler roar.

Vincent Kompany had a few words to say about his teammate:

“What a legend he is. You take away the fact he has scored that many goals, I’m grateful for one goal. But when he scored against QPR and everyone said ‘Agueroooo’, you take that goal and he is always going to be a legend to me.”

This goal is perhaps Aguero’s most iconic goal in a career teeming with them. It was the last game of the season, and Aguero’s club Manchester City was losing 2-1 to opponent Queens Park Rangers (QPR). Without a goal, Manchester City does not win the trophy, and to make matters worse, their rivals Manchester United are the ones to win it.

But a stroke of brilliance from the boot of Argentinian Aguero secured the tie for City and the trophy thereafter. This goal presented us soccer fans with a moment we will never forget, especially due to Martin Tyler’s ridiculously excited call.

In Aguero’s debut season for City, he wins them the Premier League trophy, embodying Aguero’s career; consistent, brilliant, and always having a knack for putting the ball in the net.


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Fast forward seven years and Aguero is still tearing up the English Premier League. On Sunday, in a 6-1 rout of Aston Villa for Manchester City, Aguero scored a record-breaking 12th hat-trick in the league.

Aguero’s three goals also put him ahead of one of the greatest players ever, Frenchman Thierry Henry, for most goals by a non-English player, and level with Brit Frank Lampard with 177 Premier League goals and fourth all-time. Aguero’s feat of 177 goals in 255 appearances outpaces all non-English players.

After passing Henry, Aguero’s manager Pep Guardiola spoke with Sky Sports about his star player’s feat.

“Henry is one of the most incredible players that I have seen in this league, but I think he would be happy that Sergio is the guy who breaks his record. He was a legend and Sergio is the same,” said Guardiola.

Since moving to Manchester City in 2011, Aguero has been a consistently dominant force in one of the best leagues in the world. Production sometimes wanes from top strikers (see Fernando Torres), but with Aguero, the goals and productivity just keep on coming. His continued production begs the question as to why Aguero is not more-talked-about as one of the greatest strikers of all time.

Behind Aguero on the City bench lies Gabriel Jesus, an absurdly-talented 22-year-old Brazilian who deserves playing time. It is important for top clubs (or any club for that matter) to have depth, but if both players are fit, the manager can be in a difficult position to distribute minutes.

Luckily for Guardiola, both Aguero and Jesus have been dynamite this season, and the pressure does not seem to be getting to either of them. Aguero is scoring a goal every 77 minutes he plays this season. Blimey.

After Aguero’s record night Sunday, he was asked how he feels.

“I’m very happy to be breaking records. It’s always nice to receive awards. I want to thank my teammates for helping me to score them in all these years. After this, I want to keep going and keep scoring more goals, but the most important for me is that the team keeps winning and winning,” he said.

“I don’t know what will happen from now until the end of the season, but it’s a moment to enjoy.”

Aguero’s contract is up at the end of next season. By then he will be 32 and has always said at the end of his career he wants to return to his childhood club, Argentine Independiente.

Aguero represents Manchester City, and more than that, he represents City’s golden age. The club has never experienced a greater run than it has had during Aguero’s tenure, and it’s not over yet. A UEFA Champions League medal this year would further solidify City and Aguero’s place in history.

The lack of buzz around Aguero can be chalked up to him being 5’8″, City consistently having a collection of superstar players, or being from the same country as GOAT Lionel Messi. Whatever the case, the lack of recognition for Aguero’s career is unfair.

Aguero is going to go down as one of the top five Premier League strikers, and top 10 strikers in any league of all time. Remember his name.

The NBA’s old heads are running the league and it’s type fire

Past their illustrious primes or not, veterans win in the NBA. Young guns may be flashier, more durable, and more exciting at times, but experienced veterans win in this league.

Last night was a clear indication of this. It was a night that showcased the all-stars of old, and illustrated the resurgence of the once-forgotten or doubted players of this generation.

Melo is in full effect

A year ago, Carmelo Anthony was sitting on his couch at home, fielding no offers from NBA teams and questioning whether or not his career was over. The Houston Rockets waived Melo after a slow start to the season, ostensibly blaming him for their troubles.

Other teams took notice, and general managers wondered if Melo could work in the modern NBA, with catch-and-shoot 3s, defending all positions, and the ability to swallow his pride if he didn’t get the minutes he wanted. Melo was in basketball purgatory.

Fast forward to last night, when Melo made a game-winning jumper against the Toronto Raptors in classic Melo style, a play emblematic of Melo’s successful comeback this year for the Portland Trailblazers.

Anthony told The Athletic earlier this season,

“It’s deeper than basketball. It’s a mentality of not giving up and staying in the fire when you’re going through it.”

He continued, “Showing people that I’m going to stand for what I believe in. I’m going to stand for myself. I know me. I had to get the opportunity to know myself more.”

Carmelo wasn’t the only star of old to have a highlight play in the midst of a strong season last night. Remember Derrick Rose? 2011 MVP? The guy who was going to revitalize Chicago and be the possible successor to Lebron James as the face of the league?

Well, we know he went through it, and that last part didn’t hold out to be true. Through catastrophic injuries that affected his mental state possibly as much as his physical one, Rose had a lot to overcome.

It wasn’t a hot take before last season to say his career might be over.

Derrick Rose the knee up

Now, Rose is the second or first best player on an NBA team, and while their talent isn’t very deep, Rose makes the Detroit Pistons fun to watch. Derrick Rose’s comeback makes him one of the biggest fan favorites in the league.

CP3 brings the noise in the midwest

The list doesn’t even begin to stop there. Chris Paul was shipped to the Oklahoma City Thunder this offseason for Russell Westbrook, and fans laughed at the floor general being dropped off in American obscurity in OKC.

Paul has an enormous contract which the Houston Rockets wanted to get off of, but Westbrook is on an even bigger one, and the Thunder received extra first-round draft picks just to take on the Paul deal.

Instead of sulking for being shipped to OKC where the biggest nightlife is a 24-hour Hooters, Paul has embraced his veteran role on a team full of youngsters and has been absolutely balling as of late.

Fans and even people within the deeper circle of the NBA believed Paul might be going to OKC to die.

But with a resolve that can only be seen as commendable, Paul has willed his Thunder teammates to wins and showed that he never “fell off.”  He’s been a winner his entire career.

Even with the beautiful story of Melo’s comeback, Rose’s tireless efforts to recreate himself and play the game he loves at a high level, and Paul’s resiliency, the best revival of this young NBA season might not fall to these bright men.

Enter Dwight Howard.

Howard was well-documented as being immature and a bad teammate for the past several years. His first stop in LA didn’t work out, and then the same results occurred in Houston, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Washington.

The Lakers took a flyer on Howard this offseason after Boogie Cousins went down, signing him to a non-guaranteed contract. Lakers’ fans groaned and the opposition laughed at the Lakers’ desperation and futility.

Since then, however, Howard has been one of the best backup big men in the league, has played his role to perfection, and has been a consummate professional and voice of reason in the Laker locker room. And he’s hitting 3’s?

Howard reshaped his body over the offseason, and with a perfect dosage of minutes off the bench, has been a force on the glass and in the paint. But the even more surprising aspect of Dwight’s turnaround is his positivity and leadership for the Lakers.

With Melo and Rose hitting game-winners, Paul willing his team to a win, and Howard hitting a three and becoming a Laker fan favorite, last night was truly special.

The stars of the beginning of the ’10s listed doesn’t even include Lebron James and the absolute show he is putting on at age 35. He is set to lead the league in assists, a feat he has never accomplished, in his 17th season.

Also, Dwayne Wade might be retired, but his entry into work off the court has been as seamless as his work on it was.

Wade is a role model husband and father, and though he is no longer playing, there is no player in the last 20 years of the league that commands more respect than Wade.

The young guns of the NBA (Giannis, Luka, Ice Trae) may be deservingly getting a lot of the shine right now, but it is clear, the old heads still run the league.

Kyle Kuzma trade talks are in the air: Is his lack of focus to blame?

After a promising rookie season and then sophomore campaign where he often played second fiddle to LeBron James, in his third year Kyle Kuzma aka Kuz finds himself in a small state of uncertainty.

Kuzma is a talented on-ball scorer, cutter, and has shown the ability to shoot well from the outside and defend at a high level when called upon. Taken with the No. 27 pick of the 2017 Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers, Kuzma has been just about everything the Lakers could have asked for.

Better yet, he is cool with LeBron James and has a great relationship with owner Jeanie Buss (the ultimate shot-caller).

Yet while Kuzma’s skill set fits well with the Lakers and the team’s superstars James and Anthony Davis, the holes in the Lakers squad beg for a different kind of skill set.

While a good-shooting, slashing, tall forward is great for the team, a guard who can get to the basket and an elite wing defender are both more of a necessity. This has led to the Lakers reportedly becoming willing to include Kuzma in trade talks.

This season, Kuzma has been wildly inconsistent.

While much of this can be attributed to his ankle injury keeping him out of the preseason, and needing some time to get his legs under him, Kuzma’s play is inconsistent in general.

For his rookie year, Kuzma put up 16.1 points per game on 45 percent shooting and 37 percent shooting from three. Last year, Kuzma scored 18.7 points per game on 46 percent shooting and 30 percent from three.

This year, Kuzma is scoring 11.8 points per game on 42 percent shooting and 35 percent from three. Last night in a win over the Pistons, Kuz scored four points on two for eight shooting.

As the third option of a championship-contending team, that is just not going to cut it.

His indecisiveness game-to-game is frustrating. There will be nights where he struggles, and next to two dominating forces like James and AD it can be hard to find a rhythm. Still, there will be nights where Kuz needs to play big if the Lakers want to win it all, and so far he has not shown the world that he is a lock to do so.

All of the question marks surrounding Kuzma’s status with the team were further compounded when Kuzma’s trainer went on social media and called out Lebron James’ lack of work ethic.

The comments came out of nowhere, and James and Kuz were forced to address the comments to the media.

“Anytime someone wants to get some notoriety, they can throw my name in and people are gonna pick it up,” said James.

Kuzma spoke to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin about his trainer’s comments, saying he told James he “can’t control what another man says.”

Kuz also added, “Obviously I don’t feel that way. Everybody knows… me and Bron have a great relationship. And I left it at that.” To be honest, it is not Kuzma’s fault his trainer has a big mouth.

The Lakers star surely wants to stay on a championship-contending team and live in LA. Kuzma is a talent, but it is not crazy to say that a large chunk of his popularity comes from the fact that he plays for the Lakers.

His five-year, $20 million deal with Puma is at least in-some-part related to the franchise he plays for and the notoriety that it comes with.

Kuzma is on his rookie deal, and so is making less than $2 million a year. That makes it incredibly difficult for the Lakers to move him and get back equal value, along with the fact that any other contract the Lakers could pair with Kuzma would be from a player with which they do not wish to part ways.

There have been whispers of Kuz being traded since his rookie year, so he should know how to handle it and not let it affect his game. Becoming more of a consistent player and scorer should be his complete focus right now.

After all, most of what the Lakers need out of him is scoring the ball with the second unit, a role he has not yet shown he can do night-in, night-out.

The Lakers have legitimate title aspirations; in fact, they are many respected people’s pick to win it all. This fact should not scare Kuzma, only excite him. As Thanos says,

“Dread it. Run from it. Destiny arrives all the same.”

Don’t be afraid to be a high-volume, aggressive scorer, Kuzzy, lean into it. You have the capabilities to put this team over the top, you just have to show the world you can consistently do it.


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