A Few Answers To Questions You Always Wondered About

June 21, 2017 | 1 Comment » | Topics: Answers, Interesting

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What was it like to play LeBron James in High School?

I played against Lebron a handful of times when he was a Freshman, so I have a little experience in this area.

I’ll relay my thoughts about the game I remember the most.

I was 18. A senior, decent athlete, a few D3 offers, a few “preferred walk on” for some D1 schools. I was 6’3-6’4 and 180-190 pounds. He was 13-14 years old, and and near the same size as I was.. but enormous feet, long arms, but lanky. Probably weighed… 170?

I’ll try to keep it somewhat short… I could hold my own against him, only because he was very, very raw. I feel my game was as polished as it could be, while he was still just getting things figured out. We both ended the game with similar stat lines, but the X factor was just the raw explosiveness and athleticism… something you honestly can’t account for when talking about size, weight and even age.

I’m sure alot of you have played basketball, maybe even lately.. but you know that first few possessions of the game? Sizing things up.. who can move, who can shoot, how are they guarding us…. Lebron was already on a different planet in terms of just sheer velocity. He could just get off of his feet, make a cut, or grab a rebound while I’m still flat footed. He didn’t have springs in his legs.. he had trampolines. I had played against alot of tier 1 talent at that point at 5-Star and Blue Chip camps, but the odd thing is.. I knew IMMEDIATELY that this guy was something different.. and that isn’t just hindsight.

Anyway, we lost that game by 6. Which ended up being their closest game of the year (applause? kappa)… Lebron got a steal in the last 5 seconds to close the game.. and traveled the length of the court for the final “nail in the coffin” dunk. I was so pissed of.. he wasn’t going to dunk on our home floor… I’m going to chase this FRESHMAN down and foul the hell out of him. Now.. I could jump, could dunk fairly easily.. so I figured… I can do this.. plus we are the same size.. what could go wrong? So I get to him (he sort of took a wide approach angle), jump… andddd he’s clearly a foot above me at the apex. Easily a foot. I felt like Isiah in that Celtics series this year. I quickly decided to just do what I could, and just wailed on whatever part of his arms or head I could reach. The dunk failed, so I guess it was a success… but it was just another lesson I realized that game. This man is far superior, and he hasn’t even hit puberty yet. This is also one of those days when I decided to not play basketball in college. A rude awakening to just how good you have to be compete.

Anyway.. back to your question… St. V was good that year with alot of studs, so Lebron was considered “the next big thing”, but everyone knew he was different. I first heard about him when he was around 11 years old, and I know he was beating people up at the courts since at least that age. It’s also important to realize that Lebron had absolutely NO “puberty” stage of being uncoordinated, or ‘weak’, or anything of the sort. Maverick (Lebron’s cousin / business manager) used to say that “he’s the one to watch out for”.. back when we were maybe 15-16 (Maverick was trying to steal my girlfriend, who went to St.V….. Mav if you are somehow reading this… what’s good man?)…

..so that being said.. all I can say is.. athleticism and that ‘god given’ freak-of-nature, all-worldy talent is just something you have to ‘witness’ to fully comprehend.

– xdawsonsic

 

 

 

Is Bo Jackson the Greatest Athlete To Ever Live Or Is He Overrated?

Before the hate mail comes in I’d first like to clarify that I greatly respect Bo Jackson and think he’s an incredible athlete. However, sometimes pure athleticism doesn’t directly translate on the field or in the stat sheet. I always enjoyed watching Jackson play and marveled at his strength and speed, but sometimes there’s more to becoming an all-around player at your sport.

Somewhere along the way Bo turned into a mythic hero, instead of simply a gifted athlete. ESPN went so far as to crown him with the Greatest Athlete of All Time award. Pretty surprising considering he only played 8 seasons in the MLB and 4 in the NFL.

I’d also like to point out I don’t analyze or give much weight to statistics gained below the top level — the pros. Therefore, arguments stating college numbers don’t really mean much to me. Using that logic you can say Tim Tebow, Vince Young, or Maurice Clarett are some of the greatest football players of all time.

Baseball

Player A: 32 homeruns, 105 RBI, 26 stolen bases, .256 batting average, .495 slugging percentage.

Player B: 33 homeruns, 108 RBI, 14 stolen bases, .285 batting average, .493 slugging percentage.

Player C: 27 homeruns, 99 RBI, 22 stolen bases, .283 batting average, .483 slugging percentage.

A quick glance and these players all had pretty comparable seasons, especially Player A and B. Ok, enough with the suspense, Player A is Bo Jackson’s best season in 1989 which resulted in his only All Star appearance. Player B is Adam Jones’ 2013 season. Though Jones is a very good player and one of the young stars in the league, I don’t think anyone would be quick to label him G.O.A.T. As an avid baseball fan, and tortured San Diego Padre fan, I’d prefer for players to have a higher batting than more steals — but that’s just me.

I also left out Bo’s 178 strikeouts in 1989, which led all of baseball.

To put it into perspective, Player C is the popular Hunter Pence and his stats last year. Though these players were carefully chosen because of their similarities, there were still a handful of players who had better seasons last year than Bo Jackson’s best year.

Football

Admittedly, Jackson never played an entire season in the NFL and the lowered statistics reflect that. However, there are typical season thresholds we create to separate the “elite” running backs — often, 1000 yards rushing, 10 touchdowns, and averaging near 100 yards per game.

Spoiler Alert: Bo Jackson never crossed any of those thresholds.

Bo’s best season, again in 1989, he rushed for 950 yards and 4 touchdowns in 11 games. Fairly unremarkable numbers, even for a mediocre running back. It’s also important to note that football was a different game than it is today, often relying more heavily on running than passing.

This NFL season, which isn’t even over yet, 5 running backs have already rushed for more yards and 16 have more touchdowns.

In 2012, Adrian Peterson ran for a near record-breaking 2,097 yards. In Bo Jackson’s entire career he ran for 2,782 yards.

I didn’t write this to knock an athlete or intentionally slander a great name. I wrote this as an attempt to ground some people’s mythic perceptions of an amazing talent. Playing two major professional sports still remains one of the hardest things to do, and we may never seen another two-sport athlete again.

– Kevin Goldberg

 

 

 

 

What did it feel like to be inside the World Trade Center at the time of the 9/11 attacks?

I arrived for work that morning on the 77th. floor of World Trade Center tower 2 (WTC2) around 8:00AM. It was a bright beautiful morning, and you could see seemingly forever out the floor to ceiling windows of the building. My company had offices on the 77th. and 78th. floors. My office was on 77 facing WTC1 (the north tower).

I was standing in the hallway outside my office talking to a co-worker, when I heard a tremendous explosion at 8:46AM. I looked into my office (office wall was floor-to-ceiling glass) and saw a gaping hole in the South side of WTC1. We had no idea what had happened. No part of the plane was visible (it had hit WTC1 from the North–the opposite side from where my office faced).

Eventually word filtered in from somewhere that it was a plane that hit the building. We didn’t know whether it was a commercial jet or a private plane like a Gulfstream. It also didn’t occur to me at the time that it was a terrorist attack. I just assumed it was a terrible accident.

At some point I saw people appear at the edge of the gaping hole. Smoke was pouring out, and while I don’t recall seeing much in the way of flames, it was clear that there was a raging fire going on inside the building. I saw a number of people jump to their death, desperate to get away from the heat/flames.

It’s hard to express what I felt at that point, because I can only describe it as shock. Your mind cannot really comprehend what is happening–almost an overload state. You see it with your eyes, but you are somehow mentally detached from it at the same time.

I called my wife to let her know what was happening. She was just walking out of Penn Station on her way to work. I quickly apprised her of the situation, and told her that within a few minutes there would probably be pandemonium as people learned what had happened. I assured her that I was OK, and my building was not impacted. I told her I’d call her again when I could.

Many of my co-workers began to leave the building immediately after the plane hit. For various reasons, I decided to stay. This was partially because I believed that it was an accident and I was in no immediate danger. I was head of technology for a financial information firm at the time. Based on what I was seeing, I figured it might be days or weeks before we could return to our offices, so there were many things I needed to attend to so that operations could be moved to an off-site location.

At some point, I left my office and took the escalator in our space up to the 78th. floor. We had a large conference room there with a projector and cable TV, so I wanted to get the news on to see what was happening. I turned on CNN. Information looked pretty sketchy, but I decided to return to 77 to inform my remaining co-workers that I had TV coverage on upstairs if they wanted to come up.

I returned to my office and decided to call my mother. A few seconds after hanging up the phone at 9:03AM, I felt a violent jolt, and then a falling sensation. I remember thinking that the building was coming down and it was the end. The impact caused the building to sway heavily. It was actually designed to sway to a certain degree as the towers have to withstand high winds on a regular basis, but this was far beyond anything I’d ever felt before.

Eventually the building stabilized. Much of the ceiling had come down, and I could feel the breeze from blown out windows on the other side of the floor. This felt oddly disconcerting since none of the windows were designed to open in the WTC.

At that point I honestly didn’t know what had happened. Strangely enough, my first thought was that WTC1 somehow exploded and what we experiencing was the impact of that.

I found myself outside my office with a number of co-workers. There was tons of dust and debris in the air and the electricity was out. While I was covered in dust and other particles, I was not injured. We (about 10 of us) made our way to the stairwell on the NE side of the building.

Upon arriving at the stairwell, we ran into some people who had apparently just come down from the 78th floor. One woman had a severe laceration on her arm. While the wound was quite serious, it did not appear to be life threatening. There was some brief discussion about going up (I cannot recall why), but the injured woman or someone she was with mentioned that everyone was dead on the 78th floor.

I later found out that United Airlines flight 175 had slammed into the southwest face of the tower, creating an impact hole that extended from the 78th to 84th floors. Apparently the conference room that I had been standing in just a few minutes before was now obliterated. Had I decided to stay up on 78 instead of returning to my office when I did, I would not be alive today.

Tragically two co-workers who I considered personal friends, took an opposite path that day, making their way from the 77th. floor to their offices on the 78th. floor just before the impact. I never saw them again.

Seemingly insignificant decisions a person made that day determined whether they lived or died. It’s still something that’s a bit hard to fully come to terms with.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, my wife had arrived at work at the midtown financial firm where she worked, right around the time my building was hit. The WTC towers were clearly visible from the trading floor of her firm. While we’d spoken earlier and she knew I was OK, that was before the second plane hit WTC2. She knew I was still in the building at the time, and she knew what floor I worked on, so at that point, she had no idea whether I was still alive.

Once we got into the 77th floor stairwell, I recall jet fuel pouring down the stairs. I mentioned previously I was definitely in some form of shock at that time and not thinking rationally. Having worked as a baggage handler at JFK airport for a summer (ironically for United Airlines of all companies), I knew what jet fuel smelled like. Still, I could not put one and one together and make the connection that a jetliner had just crashed into the building only a few feet above my head and split open, spilling the contents of its fuel tanks into the building core.

We slowly made our way down the 77 flights of stairs. A woman there who worked for me at the time was about 6 months pregnant, so we went slowly in order to stay with her and help her down.

At some point, I remember passing a number of firefighters heading up the stairs. They had a full set of gear on, and they looked weary and frightened, yet they continued up past us. It’s hard to put into words what I feel for the firefighters who sacrificed everything that day in order to try to help others. Reverence is about as close as I can get.

Eventually we exited the stairwell and made our way into the mall connecting the WTC complex. I recall thinking that we were still alive and basically were out of danger. It was then that I saw police officers or firefighters yelling and waving at us frantically to get out of the building, and we quickened our pace.

We exited the mall in the NE corner near the Millennium hotel. We were standing on the street and it was chaos. I was with a colleague and my boss at the time. There was debris falling off the building, and my boss suggested we get out of the area.

We began walking North. We had gotten maybe 5 blocks away when we heard a large rumble and saw a massive dust cloud to the South of us from the direction we came. Word eventually filtered up through the crowd that WTC2 where my office resided, had just fallen. It was a strange and surreal experience. Thoughts flooded through my mind like, how many people just lost their life? Do I still have a job? Even a mental inventory of the things that were in my office that no longer existed.

Words with my co-workers which I cannot recall were exchanged, and I decided to set off on my own to try to get home and reach my family to let them know I was OK. I eventually walked over the Williamsburg Bridge, caught a bus in Brooklyn heading for Queens, and then flagged down a gypsy cab in Queens to take me to my home in Port Washington, Long Island.

I eventually got through to my family via phone to let them know I was safe. I also spoke with the president of the company who was down in Florida at the time. He later told me that I was speaking very quickly and not making much sense. I guess the events of the day had taken their toll on me.

I made it home a number of hours later. My mother-in-law was there with my daughters, but my wife was still trying to make her way home. I walked in and hugged my two daughters like I had never hugged them before.

The rest of the night was mostly a blur. I spent most of it on the phone trying to account for every employee in the company. It was emotionally draining, but necessary work. I think I collapsed for a couple of hours, and then was picked up by one of the guys that worked for me to head to Philadelphia where my company had a smaller office.

I recall driving down the Brooklyn Queens Expressway and passing the downtown area, seeing a massive plume of smoke still rising from the WTC site. I can only describe it as surreal.

At some point during the trip I received a phone call from a relative of an employee who had not yet been heard from. I tried to remember where and when I had last seen the person. It was one of the most difficult and emotional conversations I’ve ever had in my life.

We arrived in Philadelphia later that morning to ensure that we had accounted for all of our employees to the best of our ability, and then to set about the task of trying to resurrect a business that was basically in tatters.

I still had not had a chance to really process what had happened, but I realized that unless we immediately got to work, hundreds of people were going to lose their jobs.

It wasn’t until later that night when I checked into my hotel, about 36 hours after it had all begun, that I had a chance to turn on the TV and watch a full account of the events. Sitting there in front of the TV, it was like a floodgate had opened, and my mind finally had a chance to deal with the tragedy and all the emotions that went with it.

I lost four friends and co-workers that day who will forever be in my heart. I try to live every day to the fullest, to honor their lives, and the lives of others who perished that day.

Jonathan Weinberg

 



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