Not Drinking the "Gator-Aid": Washington Wizards 2012 Draft Review and General Fantasy GM Thoughts

I haven't done much of these posts, as I usually feel it's not my style to do so, but as an enthusiastic sports observer, I guess I should do more of these.

The NBA Draft was last night, and I wanted to offer a few thoughts on it. Mainly, on the Washington Wizards, since they are the team that I follow and have the most interest in. I am not going to offer much commentary (if at all) on the other teams, since I don't know each individual team's situation and needs, and I will mainly comment on what the Wizards did, and offer a few thoughts on it. I know the Wizards aren't really "buzz-worthy" or a general topic of national interest, since they have been bad for so long, but since it's my blog, I can discuss this if I want to.

Overall, I would give the Wizards a C-/D+ in the draft. The Bradley Beal pick at #3 overall was just an okay pick for me. I'm not sold on him and not drinking the Orange "Gator-aid" (pun on Kool-Aid) as much as most of the Washington fans and media seems to be about this kid. Don't get me wrong, he does seem to be the best shooter coming out of the draft, and the Wizards was in a desperate need for a scorer when they got rid of one of their "knuckleheads" Nick Young. That's what they are anticipating him to be. But, I'm usually always kind of weary if you're bringing a rookie in to these situations and expect him to carry a full load. Before the draft, the only scorer/wingman they had was Roger Mason Jr (who is a free agent, if I'm not mistaken), so their options at the 2 position is quite limited. This 19-year old kid will be coming in to a situation to bear the expectation that he probably has to score at least 13-15 points a night for this team to be successful. That's not a good situation for a kid to get into. In my opinion, a reason why Wall hasn't developed quite as quickly (though still quite good) as many have hoped, is because from day 1, he was expected to carry a team full of knuckleheads. Sure, a good amount of those players are now gone, and the team has better talent, but the team should've learned that they shouldn't put too much pressure on young kids and expect them to carry the team. This pick seems to be indicative that they haven't learned that lesson.

Another reason why I was weary of the Beal pick was that when he first started in Florida, he struggled with his shot. He didn't really make a name for himself until late in the season, and going into the NCAA tournament when he lit it up and led the team to the Elite-8. The NBA is a different monster, and who's to say that he may get into another slow start (which is likely), and if he does, that this time, since the talent he's going against is on a different level, that his confidence won't be shot?

But, since the Wizards made that deal with New Orleans last week to get rid of Rashard Lewis to acquire Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor, most people who followed this team knew that it was likely they would go with Beal with this pick. This trade was a good trade in that it got took Rashard Lewis' salary out of the books, and we seem to have upgraded the forward and center positions (from 3-5), but I don't think this was the best trade we could've made. This trade made us older on the 4-5 positions, which I feel isn't the positions you aren't supposed to get to get older, since these guys spend most of their time on the paint, and endure most of the punishment of the NBA game. 

If we made a trade, I was hoping we could get a proven 2-guard vet on a deal, who can shoot, that would not only help Wall and the Wizards on the backcourt game, but also directly and indirectly mentor him on how he can be an elite guard in the league. The said player didn't have to be "elite" himself (to most standards), but just good enough to be very complementary to what Wall brings to the table, while at the same time, already was at league long enough to know the rigors of the NBA, and what he brings to the table. If we acquired that same kind of guard in free agency, I would have been good with that as well. Ray Allen is an unrestricted free agent this year, and I believe that the Wizards should have at least put a bid on him, even if it's just for a 1 or 2 year contract. It was highly doubtful that he would've came here, but if they put a serious bid for him to come here, he would have at least considered it, and would have sent a message to Wall (who is a few years away from the end of his rookie contract), that they are serious in winning. Guys like Michael Redd, and Tracy McGrady are also available in free agency. By most, they would be considered "has-beens" who are a shell of what they were in their prime, but I see them as players who knew what it took to be good, and could be great compliments to John Wall, as a player, or as a person.

People would say that the main reason why this trade was made was to get rid of the Rashard Lewis contract. However, if the Wizards weren't able to get rid of the Lewis contract via trading for a 2-guard, they could have resorted to a buyout (which was rumored to be around 13-14 million). I can't speak for Lewis, and although it's a far cry from what the 24 million he was getting due this year, I'm guessing he would have agreed to those terms because it was obvious he didn't want to play there.

Don't think that I was trying to imply that the Wizards didn't get better from the trade last week. They got a lot better. However, as noted, I believed they could have gotten even better than that, ultimately in a longer period, if they made other moves.

As far as who I believed they should have drafted last night, I truly believe they should have drafted the best available player in Thomas Robinson. He is a long term answer in the 4-position, as he is a very pure power forward who averaged a double double in college, and instantly improves that position a lot. Many have told me that the Wizards are very deep in the position, and although they have a lot of players in the 4/5 position, doesn't necessarily make it deep. Trevor Booker is a short, but wide, power forward, who I don't think will come close to the level of Charles Barkley (like many Wizards faithful are hoping for). Jan Vesely, is a long, tall, but lanky power forward, who would rather run than post, and Kevin Seraphin has the bulk of a center, but not the height (6'9" 275 lb), so he's a tweener in that position. The "purest" PFs the Wizards have are Nene and Chris Singleton, who are utilized more in the 5 and 3 positions, respectively. If the Wizards had a player purely designated in that role, who can play good minutes and produce, this team may have taken the next step. I believe Thomas Robinson could have been that player. He ended up being drafted at 5 by Sacramento, and he has competition there with Demarcus Cousins, but if he ends up unseating him as a starter and gets to play, the Wizards will see what they missed out on.

As far as the other pick that the Wizards made, the 32nd overall pick in the 2nd round, it was a typical Ernie Grunfeld/Ted Leonsis pick. Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for Ted Leonsis, as I follow several of his principles from his "Business of Happiness" book, but ever since he's owned the Wizards, the Wizards have overvalued international talent and drafted them, seemingly because they were international, and international diversity seems to be good for a team on the long run (see the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, etc). Every single year since Mr. Leonsis owned the team, it seems an international player was drafted probably higher than he should have been (Seraphin in '10, Vesely in '11, and Satornasky in '12). What happened to taking the best player available? I know they missed out on drafting Ricky Rubio in 2009 (instead, practically giving the pick away for players who only played one year), but this is ridiculous.

But, as usual when I'm more on the negative side when it comes to the DC area sports teams, I am hoping that I am wrong. Maybe Beal will turn out to be the "Ray Allen type of shooter" that many are projecting him to be, and will be a great compliment to Wall, and maybe Ernie Grunfeld will still have a job with the Wizards in 2 years. I do think the moves they made were pretty good, but I don't think they were the best moves, and that they were good enough for them to compete any time soon.

Like I said, I hope I'm wrong. But we'll see.



My thoughts on Obamacare

Earlier this morning, President Obama's affordable healthcare act has been upheld by the Supreme Court, declaring that it is not unconstitutional. This is a significant day in American history, and this issue has seem to have divided the country. I would be remissed if I didn't comment on it, so I shall give a few of my opinions. (And I mean, just a few).

Normally, I would try to stay away from political posts (growing up in the DC Metro area, that is very uncharacteristic of me), but, as an American citizen, this ruling has a huge impact on me, and the hundreds of millions of American citizens nationwide.

I'm normally neutral and moderate when it comes to a lot of issues, whether political or life. In fact, it's a recurring theme in my life is that I usually end up get "caught in the middle" when it comes to a lot of things. This issue is no exception. I love the idea that all American citizens should have health insurance. Everybody in this country should get the kind of care that they deserve, and if people are sick, they deserve to be treated. As far as forcing them to get it, (and if you don't, you'll get penalized on your taxes), I'm not so much of a fan of. In a way, I did feel it was unconstitutional to delegate to Americans that they SHOULD get health insurance, as it's not really constitutional to delegate to Americans to buy something mandatory that the government tells you to get. But, looking from it on the other side of the coin, it's obvious that this country does have a health problem, whether it be the obesity epidemic, terminal diseases such as cancer, as well as the thousands of mutating common diseases each and every single day. So with that, I do see both sides of the coin, and I am pretty neutral about it.

But, I will say I'm slightly more on the side FOR Obama-care. As I said, I don't like the idea of having to pay a penalty on my taxes if I don't get health insurance. I'm still at that age, where I feel that I'm young and healthy enough where not having health insurance will hurt me, seeing as I haven't been treated in a hospital for an illness or injury for years. I also keep myself in decent shape, nor am I an alcoholic, smoke, or do anything destructive. Hell, for a guy my age, I don't even stay out late most of the time (nor do I desire to). But, having mandatory health insurance is like having insurance anywhere else. Sooner or later, you're probably gonna need it. Hell, when 2014 comes (when the tax penalty is supposedly going to be in effect), chances are I probably won't be as healthy as I am now.

One thing I don't like about this, if this law is passed, this would be a huge opportunity for insurance companies to gouge their prices. As someone with a BA in Economics, I do have a bit of an economist in me. If this law passes, and should healthcare become mandatory, this will be an opportunity for the companies to say, "oh, the government is telling everybody to get insurance, so let's charge everyone a high price for it". Honestly, that's the same reason why gas prices are so high today (although it got lower in the past few weeks).

So with that, I will say that I do have a moderate take on it. But, I will be honest and say I don't know too much about Obamacare to fully comment on it, so I'll stop there on the opinions. However, because the Supreme Court ruled FOR Obamacare, doesn't necessarily mean it will become law. The Congress is still full of Republicans, and you know that they will do what they can to repeal this law.

We will see what happens.



A King Gets His Crown - 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat

I'm quite late in this post, as the series ended 4 days ago (although it seems like it ended much longer than that), but I'd be remissed if I didn't offer my thoughts on the result of the NBA Finals.

With my previous blog highly praising the OKC Thunder, it was clear who my favorite to win the championship was. OKC impressed me as a team, and most especially, impressed me the way they played against the whole Western Conference. They played fundamental team basketball, and got key contributions from all of their players.

That was far from the case when they played Miami in the Finals. Up until Game 4, Russel Westbrook didn't do what was expected of him and run the game like he was supposed to, and James Harden never really got into the series, which was a far cry compared to how they played in the rest of the playoffs.

To the Heat's credit, they were the exact opposite. They got huge contributions from role players such as Shane Battier, and Mike Miller. Miller hit 7 3-pointers in Game 5, to get them to pull away and take the series. Plus, having Bosh back in the lineup during the whole series also helped a lot, as his presence was clear in this series, compared to the previous series when he wasn't playing.

You also have to give credit where credit is due, and recognize LeBron James' outstanding play. In games 2, 3, 4,and 5 he was clutch. Game 5, he closed the series and got a triple double. He truly put the team on his back and carried them to the championship. He undoubtedly deserved the MVP.

Now, I will admit, I haven't always been the biggest LeBron fan, but not for the reasons that most people don't like him. But before I get into that, I want to say that I always respected his ability as an athlete, and is questionably, one of the greatest specimens the sport of basketball has ever seen. As far as his character goes, all most people criticize about him is what they see portrayed as in public or by the media, which is a self-absorbed, egotistical, self-entitled jerk. But, for all we know, he probably is a much better person than he is portrayed, so I don't judge him based on that either. But, the reason why I haven't always been a huge LeBron fan, is because, as a Wizards fan, he has continually broke our hearts in the playoffs. But, even then, after watching his performance in the playoffs, however you may feel about him, you have to give him his due. He deserves the championship.

But, now that he has his championship, all the comparisons to Michael Jordan has already started. Although I see why people have to make this comparison, I don't think it's fair, as they are two different types of players with different styles of play, from different eras, with different types of talent to work with. But, if asked the question "do you think Lebron will match MJ's win total, I will answer with a no, simply because in this era of free agency, where championship teams are easily broken up, and where players always go to the best situations, I can't see him winning 6 championships. (You have to remember that during the Jordan era, it was before the lockout shortened season of 1999 (?), so it's unfair to compare that).

With all that being said, congrats to the Heat. Seeing as they are in the same division as my Washington Wizards, I won't want to see them win too many more championships, as we have to get through them, to win the division, and ultimately the title. But, I will give credit where credit is due. This team was clearly the best, and they came to play when it mattered.

They deserve it.



Congrats to the Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings

Just wanted to take a moment to make mention and congratulate the 2012 Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings. They were far from the best team in the regular season (as they barely got in being the 8th seed in the Western Conference), but they were far and away the best team in the whole Stanley Cup playoffs, which I guess is all that matters.

But, just to summarize this playoff run, with the exception of the two games prior to Game 6, this team was DOMINANT. In their road to the final, through their own conference, they went through the 2-time defending President Trophy winning #1 seed Vancouver Canucks, beating them 4-1, they swept the #2 seed St. Louis Blues, and they beat Pacific Division champion #3 seed Phoenix Coyotes. All teams had good to great goaltenders. Fortunately for them, they had a better one in Conn Smythe trophy winning (Playoff MVP) goalie Jonathan Quick.

Honestly, with the way they dominated the prior 3 series, the series against New Jersey should have been a sweep. But, they kind of rested in their laurels in Game 4 and 5, and could have easily let them back in the series. The knockout game is always the hardest to win. However, they took care of business in Game 6, as they pretty much stomped on their throat when they scored 3 goals on a 5-minute major penalty. It was pretty much over.

I would be remissed if I didn't mention how this would relate to my favorite hockey team, the Washington Capitals. Honestly, the Capitals' run this season is somewhat similar to the Kings' (as they were both teams with mediocre records, and just got hot at the right time). Not to mention, they both seemed to be built with the future with a good amount of young stars, and are both set at goal with a young star minding the net. Where the Caps went wrong was that they let Game 5 against the Rangers get away from them (as they lost the lead from that game with 6.6 seconds to go), to ultimately lose that game. And they just didn't come to play on Game 7.

But, if this franchise can win its first championship ever, there's hope for the Capitals. These days, it's hard to repeat championships in sports. However, I wouldn't be surprised if the Kings will be up there again next season. It would be nice if the Caps will join them, but they first have to find a coach that will get them there that can build on what they did this year.

Now that hockey season is over, I can focus my sports attention to the NBA Finals, which begin tonight. Oklahoma City and Miami should be an entertaining series with some must-see action and story lines. I'm particularly looking forward to it.



Why I'm ecstatic that OKC Thunder is in the NBA Finals

I mentioned this in my last entry from a couple of days ago, but now that it is official from Wednesday's win, I will briefly talk about why I'm stoked that the Oklahoma City Thunder is in the NBA Finals.

For obvious reasons, they are an exciting team playing fundamental team basketball. Add that to the fact, that they have one of the best players in the game today in Kevin Durant. If you have no horse currently in the playoff race, you would probably jump on the OKC bandwagon, just based on how this team was built from the ground up, the correct way, and is now, and looks to be, a force in the NBA for years to come.

For many who don't know, this team was practically built from scratch. When the Supersonics moved from Seattle to OKC, this team was in serious rebuild mode. They got lucky and was grateful to land Kevin Durant with the 2nd pick (apparently, not being able to bench 185 lbs, regardless of how good of a basketball player you are, will knock you down a spot), and this team traded or dumped a lot of veterans, and got a lot of young talent. During the years that followed, they drafted significant pieces such as Russel Westbrook, James Harden, and Serge Ibaka, and this young team grew together. A few trades and free agents later (such as Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefalosha), and this team got into contention, with playoff berths, series wins, losses (such as a tough one to the eventual champion Dallas Mavericks in 2011). After all this, they are in striking distance from an NBA championship. Their General Manager Sam Presti did an excellent job building this team. He's definitely a candidate for sports executive of the last decade, in my opinion.

Also, it's always exciting to see a small market team to be in serious contention. (Too bad the Sacramento Kings during the Chris Webber years never got past this point, but I digress). The last time a "small market" team was this close to winning a championship, was the Utah Jazz, in 97 and 98. But, with Michael Jordan on the other side, it was kind of a hard sell that they were a "favorite" and would actually win, no matter how great they were, and despite having Stockton and Malone. But, in my opinion, this OKC team is different, because it looks to be that they will obviously be the clear favorite, no matter who comes out of the East. They've practically dominated the whole playoffs (with the exception of losing the first 2 games of the San Antonio series), and they've done it by beating the most dominant Western Conference teams in the last decade. It's funny, because since that Utah team in 98, the only teams who have made the NBA Finals since then were the 3 teams that they've beaten (Dallas, LA Lakers, and San Antonio).

But, another reason why I'm excited to see a small market team in the Finals, is because it shows and gives hope, that you don't have to be in a huge market to build a team right. With the era of free agency nowadays, it still shows that an organization that is built with strong team fundamentals, will still likely have an upper hand huge over a team over talented (yet over-hyped and over-priced) individuals. Now can you imagine the story lines if the Miami Heat ends up being the Thunder's opponent? With the way the NBA and David Stern seems to find a way for its best matchups of happening, I find it highly likely it will happen.

However, the most significant reason why I am highly excited the OKC Thunder is in the finals, is because the Washington Wizards are currently following this blueprint of building a team. I think I remembered Ted Leonsis saying himself, shortly after drafting John Wall in 2010, that they specifically are following a similar blueprint as the Oklahoma City Thunder. Build the team from the ground up by drafting the right young guys as cornerstones, suck for a few years (by design) if need be, and grow as a team. Since they blew up the team during the 2010 season by getting rid of their solid (some distracting) veterans, like Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, and Antawn Jamison (just to name a few), they seemed to be heading in that direction. The Wizards should get another solid player from the draft this year, which could be a start of the team taking that next step. But that's another blog entry altogether.

I am excited to see what the OKC Thunder will do in the Finals. Like I said, I don't think they will lose in the Finals, no matter who is coming out of the East, even if it's the Miami Heat "dream team", but even if they don't win it this year, this team will be in contention for many years to come if they keep that core together.

No matter who OKC will be playing in the finals, it should be a fun matchup to watch. I am really looking forward to it, and will definitely be watching as much of it as I can. I'll likely occasionally blog about it too.



Something you wouldn't expect a lifelong basketball fan to say...

I have been a basketball fan for a LONG time. I remembered as far back as my days in Valley View Elementary school, that I enjoyed playing in the hardtop courts with my friends Brendan, Troy, and Barry (just to name a few). I've understood the basics of the game, and the rules aren't overly hard to understand nor are they very complicated. Too bad though, that as soon as I got into middle school, I sucked because I was short, nor was I too good of an athlete. I was in 3rd grade when Michael Jordan (my favorite player of all time), won his first NBA championship. I even wrote a biographical report about Michael Jordan in 5th grade. That's how much I loved basketball.

With that being said, I'm about to say something that you wouldn't from someone who has followed basketball for so long. As far as the NBA playoffs are concerned, the NHL hockey playoffs totally OWNS it!

In my opinion, here are the reasons why... I don't think you really have to understand the game of hockey fully, to truly appreciate it. It is so fast paced, that if you over think every strategy, you may get lost. Honestly, I haven't gotten into hockey until probably the late 90's. When the Caps made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 1998, and there was some championship buzz in this area, that's when I really paid attention to it. There's a lot of action, with tons of hits, and physicality. Action never seems to stop in the NHL playoffs, and it's always going 110 mph.

The best part about the hockey playoffs is overtime. Overtime playoff hockey, is the best playoffs there is. It's not even close. You live and die (sometimes literally) with the hockey playoffs. I can't recall how many times my blood pressure seemed to have gone up with every "almost goals" I've experienced in the hockey playoffs.

The reason why I say all this, is that they hockey playoffs (in all likelihood) will end tonight. The Los Angeles Kings are currently playing the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Finals as I am typing this, and it's likely the Kings will end this series tonight with a sweep (they have been dominant). But the NHL playoffs have been exciting these past couple of months, with so much hockey overtime (including the first 2 games of this series). If you've never seen a minute of the hockey playoffs this year, you've done yourself a huge disservice. So your last chance is to catch it tonight.

Don't get me wrong, I still LOVE the NBA playoffs. If the OKC Thunder end up closing out the series tonight against the San Antonio Spurs, I will be ecstatic (as Kevin Durant is one of my favorite current players in the NBA, as he's a local guy). And, the Celtics vs Heat ECF series has been surprising and unexpected (with the Celtics being up 3-2). But even after all that, as a whole, the NHL Playoffs OWNED the NBA Playoffs this year.

The only playoff in sports, in my opinion, is better than the NHL Playoffs, is March Madness. I'll even put it slightly ahead of the NFL Playoffs. The so-called college football BCS is the absolute worst. However, since I do understand basketball more, I could still appreciate the NBA playoffs a lot. If both the Caps and the Wizards are in the playoffs and they are on the same night, it's going to be tough as to decide where my attention will go.

But whatever playoffs you'll be watching, try to enjoy it. But, still, try to catch the Stanley Cup Final game tonight. Like I said, it may be the last game of the season.



Meet Mini-OBE

In case you haven't seen him yet, check out mini #OBE!

I had the little guy made when 2012 began. I used some of the money I received from gifts during the December holiday season. I never wanted to pay more than $100 to get one of these made, but luckily, Groupon ran a promotion for AllBobbleheads.com around Chinese New Year where you can get a customized bobblehead for a much lower price by buying one of their vouchers. (I have a feeling they ran this promotion, because they didn't anticipate getting any sales because their Chinese factories were closed, and they had to still make money despite that they won't be producing any until February). Still, I decided to buy the Groupon, because it was such a good deal, even though I would have to wait a while.

Needless to say, it did take a little longer than expected. I didn't get the little mini-me until after Easter, leaving a total of 3 months in production.

However, I was quite satisfied with what they've done. Because of the few extra customizations (the "DC" hat, and the rubber bands), I had to pay a little extra, but I still didn't pay over $100. They did a fabulous job replicating me, as they got a good amount of the detail correct in the face, such as the nose, smile, and the dimples. Not to mention, it's handsome, and the head is a bit over sized, just like in real life.

As I said, I wanted to do this for a while, it's just the price and timing wasn't right. It would've been great to have this little guy around in the background when I was doing my monthly "message of destiny" video series, or when I was in conferences exhibiting and showcasing. This is a great way to sort of market yourself as a brand, and get yourself out there (no pun intended), regardless whether or not you are actually selling something. Not to mention, it's a great icebreaker! Many times when I check in using Foursquare or Facebook Places, I take a picture of the little guy as to where I am.

But, my brother Angelico swears that I'm copying him by doing this, as he brings his 3" Krillin (a character from Dragon Ball who closely resembles him) and takes pictures of it doing certain things and refers to it as himself. However, I've had this idea planted in my mind well beforehand, as a lawyer from the GKIC conference I attended in January 2010 has been doing this (although he didn't do it with social media), and Yoshi Tatsu (a wrestler from the WWE) has been doing it until his rival Tyson Kidd ripped off his action figure's leg in an episode of WWE NXT. Not to mention, it's not like my brother wears an orange gi, with a turtle kanji on it frequently.

But if you haven't done so yet, feel free to follow me on twitter (@OBECorp), or add me on Facebook (the profile badge is to your left) to find out what adventures mini-#OBE will be up to.But so far, it's been to Philippine Embassy, some Washington Nationals games, a few restaurants, etc (just to name a few). It's great! If you take a picture with the little guy, you could get a prize from yours truly.

This little guy is definitely going places, that's for sure.  Keep your eye out. He may be coming to a place near you soon!



One of the best cartoon franchises in the history of TV... EVER! (And it's currently on air)

Yes, I'm 30 years old, and I still watch cartoons. I'm not ashamed of it. I appreciate great fantasy action, magnificent storytelling, and the occasional humorous quips and allusions every now and then. It isn't really all too different from watching science fiction movies, sitcoms, dramas, or TV shows if you ask me. But I digress...

In my opinion, one of the best cartoons (or shows, in general) on TV right now, is on at 11:00 every Saturday mornings on Nickelodeon called "The Legend of Korra". This show is a sequel to the previous series "Avatar: The Last Airbender", which was regularly shown in Nickelodeon.

I didn't really get into the "Last Airbender" franchise until probably mid-late 2010 (maybe a little bit before I got into my blogging hiatus). The Nicktoons network was showing re-runs of the popular Nickelodeon series "Avatar: The Last Airbender" series after the newly premiered remake of "Dragon Ball Z (Kai)", which was the series I was really interested in (as I was a huge fan of the Dragon Ball franchise). I usually never turn a show off when the show I like is over, especially if there's nothing else on TV that's engaging. But, when I kept it on, I would see that each episode had some nice storytelling, so I couldn't helped be engaged.

But just to brief those who have yet to be familiar with this franchise, the setting is on a fictional depiction of Earth where certain human beings can control (or "bend") the one of the world's living elements; water, earth, fire, and air. And one of these "benders" can control each 4 of these elements, who is known as "The Avatar".

To make a long story short, the first series focused on an 11-year old protagonist named Aang, who was an "Airbender". Long before the events of the series, he ran away from his group of Airbenders because he was afraid of the responsibility of the power the Avatar was supposed to yield. He then got caught in a storm, and unknowingly used his "Avatar powers" to cryogenically freeze himself in a sphere of ice, for a hundred years.

Fast forward to the end of those hundred years, and the series begins. The fictional world has long been overpowered oppressed by the firebenders "aka the Fire Nation" and has been embroiled in a war and struggle of power against the other benders shortly after the hero first freezes himself. During this war, the firebenders have killed off Aang's Airbender race, leaving him as the "last airbender", and as the series begins, two main characters from the water tribe (a waterbender and her brother) finds the protagonist frozen in ice, and begins the adventures of the series, in which the hero has to master the other 3 elements he has to master, all the while, ending the 100 years war, to once again restore the world in balance. 

M. Night Shymalan actually directed and produced a live action movie based on this cartoon series not too long ago (which I DO NOT recommend that you check out, and pass judgement on the franchise based on that). The movie was outright terrible!

But without giving any spoilers, that series alone is probably as great (if not greater) than a lot of the classic cartoons from the late 80's-early mid 90's that I have grown up with. I will put this show up against greats such as Thundercats, Voltron, Batman the Animated Series, X-Men (from the Fox Kids block), and my anime favorites such as Dragon Ball and Ruroni Kenshin, and will expect it to hold it's own. So if you haven't checked out this series, I highly suggest you do so.

The current show on today "The Legend of Korra" is the show that's on now that's the sequel to this series. The setting takes place in a world 70 years after the events of the end of the previous series, in a slightly more modernized world from the last series (a crossbreed of circa 1920's China/New York). Aang, the hero of the previous series, has long since passed, and the new Avatar and protagonist, a waterbender named Korra, must accept the responsibilities of the Avatar, all the while, dealing with more modernized problems.

About only a half dozen episodes in, the series has been great. The series is darker than it's predecessor, and the action is as fierce, and slightly more fast-paced, and the storytelling remains great (as the same writers have also continued on to this series). The cast of voice actors also make the characters jump off the screen (who knew Bud Bundy was such a great voice actor). One voice I am notably impressed with (Steven Blum) voices the main antagonist of the show, who also voiced one of my all time favorite antagonists Makoto Shishio (from the Ruroni Kenshin anime). He does as great making his character in this series as badass as Shishio was.

In my opinion, this series may be on pace to surpass the high expectations it's predecessor brought upon it. The main reason why, is that the main writers are slated to write the whole series, where as they only wrote a good portion of the previous series. So far, it hasn't disappointed.

Unfortunately for me though, I never get to see each episode when it premieres (as I'm usually working on Saturday mornings). I usually catch it On-Demand a few days later (so no spoiler alerts here, please). Even if I have to wait, it's usually worth it.

But, if you're into great cartoons (or great television in general), I do highly recommend "Legend of Korra". And, if you haven't seen the preceding series, "Avatar: The Last Airbender", that should also be checked out. I promise you, if you are into great storytelling (like I am), you will be hooked. And as I recommended earlier, don't use M. Night Shymalan's movie as a gauging tool for this series.

Support Team Avatar. You won't regret it.



Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure 2012

Tomorrow marks the day for Susan G. Komen's annual event here in DC. Komen holds all sorts of these runs all over the country, but it's usually held here in DC in the first Saturday of June.

As many of you who know me, I've been running this race for the past 3 years. My mom was had a lump on her breast on April of 2008, and she had a double mastectomy. She endured weeks of pain, and the side effects of her prescription medicine took it's toll on her. Today, she's a proud cancer survivor, but I would not want anyone to go through what she went through. Ever since, I've done what I could to support the advancement of research of breast cancer. What better way of doing it, than supporting this fine organization, which is the leading non-profit for this type of cause.

Unfortunately, for myself, due to my schedule, I will not be able to run the race this year. Running a full-fledged service business full time (practically, on your own), has several of its drawbacks (especially if your customers specifically ask for you). But, I still decided to sponsor my brother Angelico, who is running this race in behalf of this family.

If you have not done so yet, I encourage you to donate. To donate to my brother's page (on behalf of the Obedoza family), click here. That would be highly appreciated, by myself, and my family. But, to make a general donation to Susan G. Komen, visit their website at globalraceforthecure.org.

To those who have or know someone who has suffered from this disease would know exactly what I'm talking about. So, it is imperative that the fight against breast cancer (as well as cancer in general) must be won. Therefore, I encourage you to do what you can and fight back.

Here is the link one more time!


Bringing the Dose Back

Didn't realize it's been a while since I have blogged. The last time I have was when the Vikings played the Redskins in the 2010 season. That's TOO long. I'm not exactly sure (or remember) why I indefinitely stopped blogging, but I must have had too many things on my mind in between then and now.

Not really going to get too much into what I've been up to in between now and then, but just to briefly elaborate, since then, I have turned 30, I shaved my head, and started running a business in the service industry. My family acquired a failing laundromat at July 2011, and I have been tasked to turn it around and ultimately make it a success. I have been definitely up for the challenge since then, and it is continued until now. I have indefinitely put my motivational ventures on hold to focus on this, but definitely not killed it as my inspirational speaking is, has always has a huge place in my heart as I can pin anything significant in my own life specifically to this. But, I still continue to inspire people daily with great public service, and with everything I do. (Not to mention, I still post the birthday videos that I'm known for, and do a speech every now and then just to stay sharp). But, as of right now, the timing right now really isn't right to go touring and get bookings, as I have other goals, and the world's perception of "expertise" is, in my opinion, wrongly skewed (won't get into that, but just to sum everything up in one word, all I have to say is "Snooki").

Come to think of it, over the past year and a half or so, I have come to realize that "motivation" or "inspiration" isn't really my passion, and never really has been. It's helping people, and overcoming challenges. I was just using speaking as a vehicle to fulfill that passion. Although there's no better thrill than to "work a crowd", the time isn't right and the world is not quite aligned. As I said, I will eventually get back into that, but as of now, I can express this passion in other ways.

As far as the world is concerned, there are way too many things that took place. If I took the time to think about each notable famous person that died, as well as all the major events that took place in news, pop culture, I will waste months on end, just staring in my computer trying to think about what to blog about and how to blog about it. Heck, if I just talk about what's been happening in the DC sports scene (which is inherently my other "passion"), I can fill a sports talk radio show with content for weeks on end.

But, as I was going to bed last night, I had so many thoughts I had to get out, so I had this strong feeling in my gut to bring this blog back. Now, I'm not going to make any guarantees as to what exactly I'll post about, and how frequently I will post, but I WILL post! I know for sure that I will not go almost 20 months without an update.

Also, because I'm bringing this back, why not do it in a somewhat different way? Depending on if I get reactions from my articles, I do want to be more interactive. So, if you see this posted blog on Facebook (facebook.com/Obedoza) or Twitter (@OBECorp), and have a comment about what I wrote, or should write about, definitely get back at me. Or, if I just have a lot of people react to something I have done in or out of cyberspace, I will definitely write about it here.

All I can say is stay tuned to what I have in store. Like I said, I'm not going to overhype anything (like I usually do), but I will do my best to keep it interesting, OBE-style. I will make another post soon, but hopefully, not too soon.