Category Archives: Opinion

Are ‘super teams’ good for the NBA?

By Adam Riley II, Staff Writer 

The National Basketball Association has had a long history of “super teams” since even before the recent addition of NBA forward Kevin Durant to the already high-powered Golden State Warriors.

And for those of you who don’t know what a “super team” is or what is classified as one, allow me to enlighten you on the subject. In the world of sports, a super team is when a team already has MULTIPLE potential Hall of Fame candidates and one or more of them have come from another team. Also, the super team in the making has already achieved a certain level of success prior to adding another superstar player to the roster.

Finally, following the newly acquired superstar player, this team poses a potential “threat” to the equality of competition of the other teams in the league/association.

As previously stated above, this trend dates back to even before my time: starting in  1968 to be exact, with Wilt Chamberlain and his move to the Los Angeles Lakers along with other super star players that were also acquired by the Lakers, Wilt is just one of many. Other super teams soon developed after that. For instance, the 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks with the additions of Lew Alcindor and Oscar Robertson; and we can’t forget about the 1982-83  Philadelphia 76ers having Julius Erving and Moses Malone.

Over the first 30 years since the league’s existence we see this “super team” trend with just three teams. Some of the most recent super teams of  the 21st century include the 2007-08 Boston Celtics when the organization conjured up trades for both Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, when they already had stardom in the 1st round draft pick Paul Pierce aka “The Truth” and Rajon Rondo.

One of the most famous super teams includes the 2010 Miami Heat, when they acquired Chris Bosh and Lebron James to join Dwyane Wade, which they went on to win back-to-back NBA titles. We have to throw in the Cavs when Lebron went back to Cleveland to join forces with Kevin Love and the immaculate Kyrie Irving. We all know about the most recent super team in the Golden State Warriors with Steph Curry, arguably one of, he greatest shooters in NBA history — if not the greatest — with Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. And this past season they added the former league MVP and 3-time scoring champion Durant.

All this talk about super teams is exciting to hear and everything, but is it really worth the watch?

Is it really worth watching the NBA Finals, supposedly one of the most competitive championship games in sports history, if you already know who’s going to win before the game starts? Or rather you give it the benefit of the doubt in hopes of a really good Finals series that goes to Game 7 where it’s do or die, but instead you get a blowout?

Both of those of those scenarios sound like a waste of time, well at least to me it is. What I’m trying to get at is that all these “super teams” in the league are really making it hard for fans to enjoy watching the game of basketball. Don’t get me wrong —  a lot of fans love the idea of super teams, especially if their team is one or is in the making. I’m just saying as an athlete and fellow sports fan in general, it kind of takes away the fun of the game. Winning is cool and all, but it gets to a point where it becomes boring because of the lack of competition, which will inevitably make winning effortless. And there is a distinct line between beating a team(s) that you’re supposed to beat and just flat out beating EVERY single team.

I love a close game! I love the feeling of knowing you can potentially come back from a deficit and win the game, when all odds are against you there’s still hope; if you still end up losing you lost giving your best and that’s all a coach, player, GM, anyone really, can ask of you.

As you can see, the NBA is no stranger to the super team phenomenon and this isn’t just something that recently occurred. It’s been going on for quite a while, and as you can see if you pay attention to sports news, more teams now are beginning to follow suit and jumping on the “Monstarz” bandwagon (“Space Jam” reference!). I personally don’t agree with it, but hey I’m just one guy and for some players it may be about the money and others about actually winning NBA Titles. Who knows?

 

Video Game Review: Titanfall 2

Which game is better?

Danny Stueber, Staff Writer

              Titanfall 2 improves on its predecessor on all fronts so much so that the first game does not even matter anymore. In my mind, this is the first game in the series and it’s amazing. Everything from movement, gameplay, unlockables, story, etc. are improved upon completely and it’s the game I have not been able to put down.

The biggest improvement is the story since the first game did not even have a campaign mode. It had some lose dialogue here and there in multiplayer matches but that was it so if you didn’t like playing with other people you were out of luck.

This time you have an entire campaign where you play as a soldier and his robot. The whole gameplay premise of Titanfall is that half the time you are a ground soldier who can wall run, double jump, and many other things that every shooter has ripped off these days since the original and the other half of the time you’re in a giant robot fighting other giant robots. Its every little kids fantasy and it always feels good to do so.

In the story, you take control of the mech you know as BT and are ordered to finish a mission a dead squad mate has already started. In the beginning, it starts slow and feels like any normal shooter but about an hour in the gameplay is cranked up to an 11 and it never stops there.

Amazing set pieces, level design, and humor abound in this 6-7 hour campaign and I enjoyed every second of it. Normally shooter campaigns can be pretty lazy and just reuse maps from the multiplayer but this campaign was built from the ground up with its own themes and levels where you are never doing the same thing twice.

There is a part mid-way through the game that I can’t spoil here but when a button prompt pops up saying “press LB to ___” it was the coolest thing I have done this year in video games.

All the boss fights are fun, the collectables are worth getting since it tests your skills with the controls, and the story (while not the best) has a great set up and ending to where you can’t wait for a Titanfall 3. BT really is the shining light as a form of Optimus Prime and through the campaign his dry robot humor really gets a laugh out of you many times.

My one complaint is that it is kind of short and I feel like they could have added more but that just gives me hope for the next one. Also, the characters do not look too good even if the rest of the game looks stunning and it’s probably because this game is not as big budget as EAs other shooter which just came out, Battlefield 1.

The multiplayer is just as much of a shining star as the single player. It ramped up everything from the first one and as a result it has still kept my attention these past few weeks unlike the first one. We now have 6 titans to choose from instead of 3, we can customize our players and titans with skins and art when you couldn’t do that last time, there are more weapons and abilities than last time, and now skills that don’t run out instead of dumb one use cards for equipment during each battle.

They essentially doubled everything that was in the first game and it’s all for the better. You move so smoothly and fast that it’s hard not to be mesmerized by the character when you hit a good pace but you never feel cheated in death like other shooters. If you die you can see how you messed up and can plan accordingly next time.

I also fairly enjoy the level up system which instead of experience points like every other game you are rewarded merits after each fight. 10 merits normally get you a level and your rewarded for things like having a good match, being helpful to the team, getting creative kills, etc. you are rewarded for playing and improving instead of just how many guys you shoot and that’s a breath of fresh air for a shooter.

My biggest surprise was that all the titans are pretty balanced compared to one another. A few stand out to me (the Tone which can stay far back but cause a lot of damage and the Ronin which is a quick shotgun mech that’s hard to hit) but all in all every titan fight is fun and fair. That’s the best thing about this multiplayer is its fun yet fair. I do not see myself stopping anytime soon with it.

The good news is that Titanfall 2 succeeds on all fronts from fantastic single player to fun, hectic multiplayer with only a few small hiccups here and there. The bad news is that it did not sell well as a result of it being put out so close to the studios other shooter Battlefield 1.

As a result, the servers do not have many people playing that often. On Xbox One, the most people I have seen at once is 10,000 nationwide and about 2,000 on the east coast I could connect to. Those are abysmal numbers for a multiplayer game and hopefully it picks up soon because of the 3 shooters released in the past 3 weeks, this one is the best.

The cherry on top is that all future DLC for the game will be free unlike Battlefield and Call of Duty. No $50 season pass but instead normal free drops of maps and weapons through the games life span which is a giant A+ for me. I love this game and I plead with you all to go buy it and show we still support good single player and free DLC instead of always having to pay extra. Buy Titanfall 2 and you will not be disappointed.

Titanfall 2:   9/10

Edited by: Sara Gunter

Video Game Review: Battlefield

Students takes an in depth look at a Video Game

Danny Stueber, Staff Writer

              The last two Battlefield games, Battlefield 4 and Battlefield Hardline, were missteps in the franchise with shoty online play and bugs galore that really left a sour taste in the mouth of many fans. Then, earlier this year, EA announced the next game would be Battlefield 1, a war game taking place during World War 1 respectively.

Many people were skeptical if something considered to be the worst war in history could be made into a game with respect and dignity while still being fun. After many hours with the single player and the multiplayer, I can say that the people over at Dice who made this game did an excellent job on all those fronts.

The campaign, while short, really shows the respect the war deserves. You play as five different people all living out different situations throughout the war. It shows how normal everyday people were thrown into this horrible event and how they had to cope with it.

You see the struggles of a man who used to be a chauffeur now being made to drive tanks, an experimental technology at the time and you play as a woman trying to stop the invasion of her home by enemy forces wanting to drill for oil in the first time in history for all their war machines.

You never feel like the time period is being disrespected or if anything is a joke. You feel for the characters and the situation they are all thrown into. The campaign also serves as a tutorial of sorts for the main attraction, the multiplayer.

You learn how to drive the tanks, fly the planes, wear the body armor, ride the horses, shoot, and stealth all from the different stories and with how demanding some of those things are it was a smart way of doing so.

My one complaint is that it was really short. Each story is only around an hour long and as a result you never can get to invested with any of the characters. When each story ended I was left wanting more and to know what happened to them which is never a good feeling, especially 5 times in a row.

The multiplayer is as strategic and fun as ever for the battlefield series and unlike Battlefields that came before it, this one had no bugs and bad connections through my hours of play. The massive maps all feel different and allow you to try any of the classes till you know what fits you best.

The old weapons of World War 1 are still fun to use compared to today’s and because a lot of them were experimental it shows even more strategy along the lines of not being sure if you should try to reload now or not, if you should throw the mustard gas to run the enemy out of hiding, etc. it is fun while being true to what I feel the battles were like at the time.

My one complaint for the multiplayer function is the unlock and progression system is just bad. Sometimes when you level up you get some war bonds which can be used to buy new weapons and equipment but it’s never enough from one or two levels. Even after you buy a weapon, you have to make sure your class is a high enough level to use it which is separate from your player level.

I was level 5 and bought a shotgun to use with the assault class but I needed that class to be level 3. Because I like all four classes even after many hours of play, the assault class was not even level 2 yet so I was stuck with wasted money and the same weapons for even longer. It’s very disheartening and does not feel like you are accomplishing anything as a result.

Battlefield 1 is my favorite in the series. The gameplay is fun, it feels good to play, the stories are a great learning tool as well as appropriate for the time period the game portrays, etc.

I will mention however, that if you buy this game on an Xbox One, it is slightly darker for some reason than the PS4 version. I tried it on a 1080p tv and a 4K monitor and it was always darker than the other console for some reason. The PS4 version looks better but the online components handle better on the Xbox so, whichever is more important to you should help in your purchasing decision.

Battlefield 1 is not my favorite shooter this year but it was my biggest surprise. If you’re sick of every shooter being the same these days, pick this game up and I promise you will have fun.

Combatting Police Brutality

Commentary

How can we make a change?

Anthanee Doyle, Staff Writer

The Law Dictionary defines police brutality as, “the use of excessive and/or unnecessary force by an officer when dealing with civilians.” This means a force well beyond what would be necessary in order to handle a situation.

The media has been capturing more cases of police brutality against specific communities. Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner all fell victim to unnecessary police brutality.

Micheal Brown was a victim of police brutality. There were several stories when it came to how police handled the situation between themselves and Micheal Brown. Officer Wilson was the first officer to come into contact with Brown. Wilson stopped the Brown on a street in Ferguson, Missouri.

Some witnesses say Brown reached into the car and hit the officer. While others state that the officer grabbed Brown by the neck and pulled him towards the car window.

Brown was shot in the hand multiple times during the altercation. He then ran at least 180 ft from the officers car, this is where he was shot at least 4 more times.

Brown was unarmed when he was killed. The officer admits he shot Brown out of self-defense.  Looking at this case some may agree that shooting an unarmed suspect is not just.

Mappingpoliceviolence.org shares a disturbing number of statistics on police violence in 2015 and 2016. African Americans are 3 times as likely to be killed by a police officer than a white male or female.

69 % of the African American victims who died at the hands of an officer were unarmed and nonviolent. One of the biggest statistics to the African American community is that 97% of the officers did not get charged with any crime and walked away free.

Apex North Carolina’s Police Department Captain Jacques Gilbert had some opinion to this issue. Mr. Gilbert has been a police officer for over 25 years and recently became Captain.

Captain Gilbert stated that, “police brutality has always been happening, but it is becoming more exposed due to the many different media outlets.”

Captain Gilbert also stated that, “there are many reasons to why police brutality happens.”

A study done by AlterNet Civil Liberties states that officers admit to having close to no supervision and guidance from the department or division to help direct them to the correct way of performing their job.

Some officers complained saying that there was a lack of training and supervision. The study done by AlterNet also showed the lack of training when it came to calming down a situation in order stop a dangerous situation.

Captain Gilbert also said there are certain qualities that can officer must have in situations such as these.  “Leadership and accountability are all important, no matter if you are a captain or a regular officer. Immoral acts won’t be tolerated. If someone does something wrong within the department we report it and don’t worry about the repercussions.”

He even said there is a website through every police department that people can go to report any bad incidents dealing with an officer. The department will really look into the issue and determine if the officer needs to be reprimanded. Most police departments also conduct routine checkups on officers to make sure all of them are doing their job right and are being held accountable.

Captain Gilbert believes community relations can help shape peoples reaction to the department. Captain Gilbert said, “We have 2 black officers out of 75 and that just isn’t enough. We cannot expect to become closer to our black community without black officers helping pave the way and if we do not change something we could easily be another story for the news.”

The moral of the story is to get to know your local police department, realize that they are people too. The officers deserve respect. Some may be out of line and say things that are unnessesary. Be sure to file a complaint with your local department if something like that happens.

Learn more about Wingate’s Police Department: http://www.townofwingatenc.gov/departments/police/

Edited by: Sara Gunter