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Well, illness ladies, the time has finally come. On Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls open the 2014-2015 season against the New York Knicks. There was a lot of talk this past summer over who the Bulls would bring on to replace Carlos Boozer (most notably Carmelo Anthony, who, like Lebron James, decided that “home is where the heart is”, despite the Bulls’ best efforts), it was time to turn to a player on the international level. And that player is sexy Spaniard Pau Gasol, our HAM of the Week.
The 34-year-old Barcelona native is most likely going to be in the starting lineup as a power forward/center, and we honestly can’t wait to see him show off his skills.
He’s no stranger to championships, either. He won two NBA Championships in 2009 and 2010 with the Los Angeles Lakers, is a four-time All-Star and a three-time All-NBA selection. He also earned NBA Rookie of the Year honors in 2002, the only non-American NBA player to win the award.
The 7-foot, 250-lbs Gasol was selected by the Atlanta Hawks with the third overall pick in the first round of the 2001 NBA draft, but was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies soon after. He played seven seasons with the team before being traded to the Lakers in 2008.
Gasol began his basketball career playing for FC Barcelona Basquet, playing with his school team and Barcelona’s junior and senior teams during the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons. He would later pick up two Olympic silver medals with the Spanish national basketball team in 2008 and 2012.
Pau Gasol, http://www.usatoday.com
Gasol also has immense dedication: he played all 164 games in his first two NBA seasons. In 2005, Gasol earned his 5,000th point and 500th block in January 2005 against the Indiana Pacers, the 10th fastest player to reach the feat since the 1973-74 season. He continued to set records in points, rebounds, assists and blocked shots in the Grizzlies franchise, and helped lead the team to three straight playoff appearances. Those stats helped him earn an appearance at the 2006 NBA All-Star game. He also helped Spain win the 2006 FIBA World Championship, where he was named MVP.
Gasol earned his third straight All-Star selection and All-NBA second team honors in the 2010-2011 season and served as co-captain with Kobe Bryant the following season. He also earned the 2011-2012 Community Assist Award for his charitable efforts in children’s education and health, proving that he is a “champion on the court and in the community”.
Pau Gasol, http://www.bleacherreport.com
Following the 2010 NBA Championship win, Sporting News named Gasol one of the 20 Smartest Athletes. Fun fact: he left the University of Barcelona medical school to pursue his basketball career. And he speaks three languages–Catalan, Spanish and English.
He’s very active on social media, and often tweets in both English and Spanish. And while he’s taken (for now!) we can’t help but stare at his amazing features, from his gorgeous brown locks to his soft brown eyes. Plus, he is superior at selfies:
Looks like things certainly run in the family, as Gasol‘s younger (and equally gorgeous) brother Marc is a current forward for the Grizzlies (but was actually selected by the Lakers in the 2007 NBA Draft).
The weather has finally warmed up, sildenafil but we’re still having a mediocre baseball season in Chicago. One sure-fire way to fix those blues? A new HAM of the Week—and this week, we’re putting the spotlight on Chicago Cubs’ rookie Arismendy Alcantara.
After the Cubs designated former Golden Glove winner and second baseman Darwin Barney on assignment, Alcantara, who took over forBarneywhile he was on paternity leave, moved in his place.
If Alcantara’s name sounds like a mouthful (pronounced AIR-ES-MEN-DEE AL-CAHN-TRA), that’s because it is—just look at his stats:
The 5’10”, 170 pounds Dominican Republic native already crushed a homer onto Sheffield Avenue past the bleachers last week in a win versus the San Diego Padres, and has gained experience playing at second base and center field.
He’s given the team some much-needed energy in the second half of the season, with five RBIs in his first five games.
As most rookies are up in the majors for a two-game stint, Alcantara has taken advantage of his time and continues to put on a performance. Since being promoted to the majors on July 9, Alcantara has a .255 batting average, seven RBIs, four stolen bases and two home runs—and he may not be sent back to Iowa just yet. He’s been playing in almost every game, and continues to prove why he deserves to stay in the majors.
Alcantara signed with the Cubs at shortstop as an international free agent in 2008, playing in the Dominican Summer League that summer. He moved throughout the minor leagues starting in 2011 with the Peoria Chiefs in Class-A, followed by the Daytona Cubs in Class A-Advanced in 2012. He played for the Tennessee Smokies in the Class Double-A Southern League with former HAM of the Week Javier Baez in 2013, where he had a .284 batting average, 13 home runs and 46 RBIs. That year, Alcantara represented the Cubs at the All-Star Futures Game, where he had a home run, and a name to be reckoned with.
Prior to his call-up, Alcantara began the 2014 season with the Iowa Cubs in Class Triple-A. But even before the season began, his name was starting to gain buzz. According to the Chicago Tribune, while Alcantara was regarded as a “second tier” behind the “Big Four” prospects (including Baez, former HAM of the WeekKris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Albert Almora), he had a chance to get to Wrigley before them, just to show them how it’s done.
With the second half of the season in full swing, it’s only a matter of time before we see more fantastic rookies come through for the organization.
Even though we don’t have the greatest baseball teams, doctor we are tried and true dedicated Chicago fans—and that was noted by our “Windy City Sweep” in selecting the NL and AL winners, buy cialis the “Fan Vote” that would send White Sox’s Chris Sale and Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo to join the best of the best at the 2014 All-Star Game in Minneapolis on Tuesday. Rizzo’s stellar performance throughout this season (and All-Star cred) is one to be noted, which is why we’ve named him our HAM of the Week.
I made my first trip of the summer to the friendly confines for a beautiful Sunday Funday, and I was ecstatic to see our HAM of the Week in action. Win or lose, the 24-year-old first baseman is definitely one of the stars of the team, and it’s easy to see why he’s such a fan favorite.
Anthony Rizzo, http://www.bleacherreport.co
Rizzo was first drafted by the Boston Red Sox at 17 following his senior year of high school in the 2007 MLB Draft. Theo Epstein was the-then manager of the team, but when Epstein was called in 2011 to be the Cubs’ current GM, he brought Rizzo in with him.
We first profiled Rizzotwo years ago when he was first called up by the organization. Unlike a lot of Cubs prospects, he shined in his rookie season and is one of the club’s most celebrated prospects. During that season, he had three game-winning RBIs in his first five games, the first player in the team’s history. He hit 7 homers alone in July, and was named the NL Rookie of the Month.
So far this season, he’s had 20 home runs and 49 RBIs over 92 games with an average of .277 and is climbing the ranks among the top first basemen in the National League.
He’s the face of an All-American boy: Born in New Jersey and raised in Florida, he seems to have the “boy next door” charm and humble personality. He’s 100% Italian, though, but I’m sure he can make a mean spaghetti with marinara:
Besides his impressive accomplishments, Rizzo is also a cancer survivor. Diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma not even a full year into the minor leagues in May 2008, he was successfully treated with chemotherapy. Rizzo is a big advocate and his charity, the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, hosts annual “Cook-off For Cancer” and “Walk Off For Cancer” events.
What else is there to know about the smiley baseball stud?
Anthony Rizzo, http://www.huffingtonpost.com
According to the ladies of “A Drink With”, he would be willing to trade places with Bears’ linebacker Brandon Marshall for a day, and we think he’s got the skills to mesh with Cutty and the crew.
He’s also revealed he is very much single, and is willing to call girls to ask them out. You heard it first—chivalry isn’t dead!
We already know this year probably isn’t “the year” for the Cubbies (shocking), but maybe Theo and Rick should start bringing up more prospects and giving them a chance to hone their skills in the majors for more than a few days—former HAM of the Week Mike Olt is climbing up the ranks and showing signs of the “Rizzo” effect—who is going to be next?
Catch this hottie with teammate Starlin Castro on Tuesday during the All-Star Game at 7 PM on FOX, and on Friday and Saturday versus the Arizona Diamondbacks.
While we’ve all been caught up in World Cup madness, case both the Bulls and the Blackhawks created some major waves in their respective drafts this past weekend. And though we’ve still got plenty of time before both seasons start, cialis sale we thought we’d kick off the week getting to know one of the newest members of the Chicago Bulls from the 2014 draft: Doug McDermott, our HAM of the Week.
If you look up “Tall, Dark and Handsome” in the dictionary, you will definitely find 22-year-old Doug McDermott’s picture. The 6’8”, 225-lbs Grand Forks, North Dakota native may play at small forward, but we think he’s going to be a huge powerhouse for the Bulls in the 2014-15 season.
Doug McDermott, http://espn.go.com
The Bulls drafted the former Creighton star, as the 11th pick in the first round. At Creighton, (where he was coached by his father, Greg), he led the NCAA in scoring for the 2013-14 season with 26.9 points per game, was a three-time consecutive first team All-American from 2012-14 and a three-time consecutive first team All Midwest Valley Conference from 2011-2013, this year’s Consensus Player of the Year and was awarded the John R. Wooden Award as the most outstanding men’s college basketball player.
McDermott began his career in Ames, Iowa, where he led the high school team to 53 consecutive wins and won consecutive Iowa state titles. Though he was set to attend Northern Iowa on a scholarship, he left to play for his dad. If being the coach’s son wasn’t enough pressure, the younger McDermott seemed to thrive on it, as he became one of eight players in NCAA men’s basketball history to pass 3,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in all four years with the Bluejays.
Doug McDermott knows about the art of scoring, as mentioned in this interview with Fox Sports:
McDermott also has history of playing overseas: following his freshman year, he played for the United States in the FIBA Under-19 World Championship, where the team placed fifth.