The NBA playoffs and how different they are this year

Image taken from: NBA playoffs and how different they are this year

By: Charlie Fragassi

If you have tuned into the NBA playoffs at all this year, you’ll see an entirely different look then last year. Last year, COVID-19 stopped the season for a little while and the top teams were forced to play the playoffs in an NBA bubble, in Disney World, in Florida.

This year, the NBA had few COVID complications except that they started the season later, but they were able to finish the regular season normally and go into the playoffs.

This year’s playoffs have been really fun because they had a play in tournament for the bottom seeds, to see who made it into the playoffs, and who didn’t. This is a new feature that was different from last year.

Teams were also able to travel to each other’s stadiums for games and pretty much all NBA teams had some sort of fan capacity so there are fans at all the games, which is good for the players, team, and the fans.

Last year was a pretty crazy year for the NBA, but it’s good to see things get back under control and for them to have a somewhat normal playoff, and hopefully they have no COVID complications.

Some NBA fans even say that last year’s NBA finals winners, the Los Angles Lakers, win shouldn’t even count due to the fact that the season was cut short and the teams played in a bubble. But overall, it doesn’t matter where you play, the winners are going to win and it’ll stay that way forever.

The end of J. Cole’s basketball career

By: Alexandra Rimbu

Rap star, J. Cole, has ended his short-lived pro basketball career in light of a “family obligation”.

During his time with Rwanda Patriots BBC, of the Basketball Africa League, he scored 5 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, and tallied 3 assists in 45 minutes, in three appearances – an extremely sub-par performance. This has prompted many to mock Cole’s career. Others, however, are more focused on the fact that his career should never have begun.

As Cole has previously expressed, his two dreams in life were to pursue music and basketball. Cole focused more on music however, and he is now a mainstream rap star.

Basketball has always remained as one of his hobbies though, and it is for this particular reason that many argue he should never have been given a chance to play pro, because the fact remains that basketball is just a hobby for him.

Cole told ‘SLAM Magazine’, “The main parallel that I always draw between music and basketball is like, ‘Yo, it’s just a matter of hours. The difference between the pro guy that sits on the bench and the superstar, it’s just a matter of intentional hours”. Cole has put in these intentional hours for music, but he has not put in the intentional hours for basketball. 

Many label Cole as being selfish in this respect. He has not put in the effort the way others have, to build a career for himself in basketball, rather he was served it on a silver platter. He used his celebrity to take part in his favorite hobby, contradicting even himself. How can he claim that in order to make it big you need to put in the hours when he himself has not done so?

Cole has robbed more deserving athletes of a chance. Athletes who make it based on their skill, not their name. Athletes who sacrifice their lives to make it. Athletes who have put in those intentional hours.

So, it comes that Cole’s finished basketball career is, in fact, a blessing. For his spot can now be given up to someone more deserved, who will be able to accomplish the dream they have so long strived for.

NCAA men’s programs vs. women’s programs

men vs women weight rooms
Image taken from: s-unequal-orig-mg.cnn.

By: Charlie Fragassi

As some people may know, the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament just finished up a couple weeks ago. Both men and women athletes were quarantined in different states and were playing in “bubbles” to ensure player safety. Athletes were given all the basic necessities, which included access to the weight room.

About a week into March Madness, pictures surfaced of the men’s weight room, which was spacious and had all the basic needs a weight room should have. Days later, a picture of the women’s weight room was posted to the public, and all they had was a rack of dumbbells and some yoga matts.

As you can imagine, this stirred up a ton of controversy with the NCAA and how they treat male versus female athletes. Many celebrities spoke on this matter, including Lebron James.

The NCAA received much hate for this and ultimately ended up giving the women not only a bigger weight room, but also better meals and the same amount of gear as the men’s teams were getting.

The NCAA needs to do a lot better job of treating their athletes, who bring in millions of dollars, and they need to give them a fair shot to perform as well as they are able, regardless of gender.

This is an example of how women’s sports can be treated as inferior to men’s sports. Although women’s basketball doesn’t bring in nearly as much money as the men’s teams, they should still be supplied with the necessities and equipment to stay healthy and get better, because at the end of the day they’re still athletes and they’re working hard everyday to get better at their sport.

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March Madness

By: Charles Fragrassi

If you follow college basketball, then you surely are aware of March Madness. March Madness is a 64 team tournament, with the 64 best college basketball teams. The teams are ranked one through 16 based on their record, strength of schedule, and overall talent.

This year, the teams are in a “bubble” which is a bunch of hotels where the players are quarantined and not allowed to leave to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A common part of March Madness is filling out a bracket; anyone can fill out a bracket on who you think is going to win the tournament.

If someone were to fill out a bracket and have it be perfect, they would win the Warren Buffet One Million Dollar Challenge. Warren Buffet says he would award anyone one million dollars a year for life if they were to fill out a perfect bracket. Filling out a perfect bracket is nearly impossible, in fact the odds are 1-10 billion.

March Madness is also a huge event for gamblers as the AGA (American Gambling Association) estimates 10.4 billion dollars will be gambled, while only 3% of that money will be gambled legally.

In my opinion, March Madness is one of the exciting, fun times of the year. I love filling out brackets and watching games with my friends. March Madness is expected to have record breaking numbers in viewers this year due to the fact that they couldn’t even have the tournament last year due to COVID.

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The Timberwolves’ coach change

By: Alexandra Rimbu

The MN Timberwolves lost to the New York Knicks on Sunday, Feb 21, reaching a league-worst of 7-24 this season. This loss was ultimately what caused management to fire head coach Ryan Saunders, whose replacement, Chris Finch, was named shortly after on Monday.

Saunders’s association with the Timberwolves first began in 2019 when he took an assistant job and was later named interim coach after the firing of Tom Thibodeau. Next season, he took on the job permanently, and at age 33, he became the youngest head coach in the league.

The Timberwolves went 43-94 under Saunders, in a little less than two full seasons. They finished with the third-worst record in the league last season and had the worst record so far before his firing.

CBS Sports claimed that Saunders was stuck in “an impossible situation” on some level. They went on to state there was almost “total roster upheaval during his tenure” and that more games were “lost to injury” than you could have counted. And, of course, the absence of star player Karl-Anthony Towns from a majority of the games did not help the situation.

However, with results like that, the coaching change came as no surprise. Finch was a frontrunner for numerous jobs this offseason, and Rosas, the Timberwolves president, said “Chris brings a wealth of basketball experience from his time in the NBA, G League and Internationally. He is one of the most creative basketball minds in the NBA, has success maximizing players, and I am excited to see him bring our team to the next level and beyond.”

The future looks promising for the Timberwolves, and we’ll have to see if Finch lives up to everybody’s expectations.

Editor’s Note: Since this writing, the Timberwolves have yet to get their 1st win under coach Finch.

Who’s ready for the 20-21 NBA season⁉

By: Khadar Greer

Here are some players to keep an eye on in this upcoming NBA season:

Rookies: The NBA has upcoming rookies like: LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, and Cole Anthony. They are all very gifted young talents that have worked very hard to get to where they are now. I cannot wait to see what they do playing against the best of the best in the NBA.

Sophomore season: We have some rookies from last year that are looking very, very good, like: Ja Morant, Zion Williamson, Tyler Herro, and Coby White. These are all great young talents that are looking really good down the road in the future. Can’t wait to see what they have in store in the 2021 season.

Returning Players: The NBA also has players coming from very career threatening injuries like: Kevin Durant coming back from a torn Achilles, John Wall coming back from tearing his ACL, DeMarcus Cousins coming back from a torn ACL, and more. They’ve all been playing so far so good in the preseason, looking very good. Can’t wait to see what they’ll actually do in the regular season.

Veterans: And we also have some veterans who could really be passing down knowledge to the upcoming generation before they retire. We have veterans like: Chris Paul, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Marc Gasol.

Be sure to watch the best of the best battle to win a NBA championship ‼️

By Khadar Greer

The playoffs have been amazing so far with a lot of shocking upsets and endings that you never would’ve seen coming. Especially to East; the East was full of surprises.

I mean, look at how the Miami Heat eliminated the number one seed in the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks, in the semifinals with the reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo on that team.

Also, the Heat eliminated their rivalry team, the Indiana Pacers, in the first round with key players like Jimmy Butler, averaging 19.9 points per game in the playoffs, and and Bam Adebayo averaging 17.8 points per game.

They also have rookie Tyler Herro averaging 13.5 points per game in the playoffs and it’s only his rookie year⁉️ And, they have great role players coming off the bench.

At the time of this writing, the Eastern Conference Finals had the Heat with a 3-1 lead against the Boston Celtics (who had also been on an amazing path eliminating last year’s NBA champions, the Toronto Raptors, and what a fantastic battle they had).

The Celtics and Toronto Raptors went to game 7, with only one team coming out on top. The Celtics also eliminated their rivals the Philadelphia 76ers, which was a squashed series because the Celtics dominated that series 4-0.

The Celtics have some incredible talent too with 2 All Stars on this team: Jason Tatum, averaging 25.2 points per game, and Kemba Walker, averaging 19.9 points per games.

A lot of people thought that the Milwaukee Bucks we’re going to be winning this whole thing, or at least make it to the finals, but now since that’s out the picture, this series should be interesting.

Will the Miami Heat beat the Boston Celtics 4-1 or will the Boston Celtics come back from a 3-1 lead to overcome the Miami Heat? Who Ya Got? 

*Note: We obviously know how that one played out now.

Now, let’s talk about the Western Conference with the Denver Nuggets shocking the world with defeating the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Nuggets came back from the Clippers having a 3-1 lead, and also came back from a 3-1 lead by the Utah Jazz. This left them as the only team to come back from a 1-3 deficit twice to win both series.

This is why NBA fans feel that the Nuggets are very underrated. It is a very crazy day to be the number 2 team in the Western Conference.

But now they have an even tougher challenge.

Right now (at the time of this writing) let’s see if they can come back from another 1-3  deficit. Though now, they’re playing the number one team in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers, and that team has LeBron James (the debatable greatest of all time everyone says that he’s a goat but it’s hard because he’s very debatable) and they also have five All Stars that have played the Lakers.

I mean, they even say LeBron is better than Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, so this series has to be tough, and and I’m pretty sure everyone’s going with the Los Angeles Lakers, but with the Nuggets being the underdogs, we can’t sleep on the Denver Nuggets. Especially with the intensity and energy they’ve been playing with so far in the playoffs. Can the Nuggets dethrone the Lakers, or will the Lakers beat them? For only one can advance to the finals: who you got?

*Note: The finals are now set, and it will be Heat vs. Lakers.

Gender pay gap between the NBA and the WNBA.

Image taken from: ttps://

It’s no secret that the NBA has a larger fan base than the WNBA, but why? People have shown that they don’t really care about the WNBA, and they have been given many opportunities show that they care. According to Sports Illustrated, “In 2007, the WNBA and ESPN reached an eight-year television agreement, thus assuring high-impact exposure.” Even with that exposure, the WNBA is still less popular. Another reason why this is is that they play in the summer and play about half as many games as the NBA teams will play in a season.

Another argument against the WNBA is that it is simply not as fun or interesting as the NBA; you are more likely to see somebody dunk or fly over an opponent in the NBA. Most of that is just genetics and the fact that most women physically are unable to dunk. 

The WNBA started on April 24, 1996 when the NBA board of governors approved the idea of the WNBA to start playing in June of 1997. This year they are celebrating their 23rd season.

They have 12 teams, with either 11 or 12 players on each team, meaning that they have a total of 144 roster spots available. The NBA has 15 players per team with 34 teams, this leaves them with 510 open roster spots. The WNBA has less spots so they are a more exclusive organization, but they still have a smaller fan base. 

The largest difference between the NBA and the WNBA is the pay gap. The average salary for an NBA player is $7.7 million, according to CNBC. The rookie salary for the #1 draft pick, Deandre Ayton, is set at $6.7 million dollars, the #2 draft pick will start at $6 million. Comparatively, the average salary for a WNBA player is only $75,000. The rookie salary in 2019 was $41,965. The WNBA has decided for the 2021 season that they will have a maximum salary of $130,000. 

Some people argue that the WNBA players are overpaid as it is. Others believe that they deserve their pay because in 2017 the WNBA made $25 million in revenue and the NBA made $7.4 billion that same year, according to GrandStand Central. It’s obvious that male sports are generally more popular than their female counterparts playing the same sports. 

Sports schedule for: Mar 2-7

MONDAY DATE:   March 2nd
3:15 p.m.   Badminton Practice Begins    
4:30 p.m.   Adapted Hockey PI vs.

Dakota United

at Humboldt High School  
TUESDAY DATE:  March 3rd
7:00 p.m. 5:30 / 8:20 p.m. Boys Basketball Sectional vs. South St. Paul at South St. Paul

High School

THURSDAY DATE:     March 5th
FRIDAY DATE:    March 6th
SATURDAY DATE:    March 7th
1:00 p.m.   Boys Basketball Sectional TBD  


Sports schedule for: Feb 24-29

MONDAY DATE:   February 24th
4:00 / 5:30 / 7:00 p.m.   C-Squad / JV / Varsity

Boys Basketball vs Central

TUESDAY DATE:  February 25th
WEDNESDAY DATE:   February 26th
5:30 p.m.   Adapted Hockey PI vs. Rochester at Rochester Friedell

Middle School

7:00 p.m.   Girls Basketball Section vs. Henry Sibley at Henry Sibley

High School

THURSDAY DATE:     February 27th
5:30 / 5:30 / 7:00 p.m.   C-Squad / JV / Varsity Boys Basketball vs. MPLS Roosevelt HOME  
6:00 p.m.   Class AA State Meet:

Boys Diving Prelims

at U of M Aquatic Center  
FRIDAY DATE:    February 28th
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

4:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

  Wrestling Individual State Meet

Class AA:

First Round & Quarterfinals


at Xcel Energy Center

6:00 p.m.   Class AA State Meet:

Boys Swimming Prelims

at U of M Aquatic Center  
SATURDAY DATE:    February 29th
9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

4:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

  Wrestling Individual State Meet Class AA:

Semifinals & Championship


at Xcel Energy Center

6:00 p.m.   Class AA State Meet:

Boys Swimming & Diving Finals

at U of M Aquatic Center