Author Archives: Michael Montgomery

Michael Montgomery

About Michael Montgomery

My name is Michael Montgomery, and I am an intern at AZNow.Biz in Phoenix Arizona. I was born and raised in Southern California, and two years ago moved out to Tempe to finish my undergraduate degree in Communication at Arizona State University. I will be graduating in May 2011 with an Bachelor of Science in communication/Minor in Media Analysis, and hope to pursue a career in multimedia production for television, film or internet. Media has always been my passion, and the opportunity to make it my job is what inspires me to continue to work. GO DEVILS!!!

Arizona Centennial Series - 10 Top Headlines Spotlighting Arizona

10 Top Famous And Infamous Arizona Alumni

10 Top Most Famous and Infamous Arizona Alumni

Since 1885, both the University of Arizona and Arizona State have graduated hundreds of thousands of students — many of which have gone on to lead successful lives utilizing their education and experience. From the two largest schools in the state, alumni include those involved in wide range of professions from members of Congress, to Hall of Fame sports figures, to Hollywood producers.  Of those which we researched, these are what we found to be the 10 Top Most Famous and Infamous Arizona School Alumni:

David Spade – Arizona State

10.

David SpadeA television and film comedian, David Spade graduated from Arizona State University in 1986 with a degree in business and would later go onto to Saturday Night Live and Just Shoot Me! He would be most known for his sketches with Chris Farley and went on to appear in several other movies and television shows throughout his successful Hollywood career after leaving SNL.

Barry Bonds – Arizona State

9.

Barry BondsArguably the most famous former Sun Devil MLB player, Barry Bonds played baseball for Arizona Statein the mid-80s and was later drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1986. Bonds has been voted to the All-Star game 14 times, was recipient of the Slugger Award 12 times, and hit the most home runs in a season (73).A lefty with power, Bonds holds the record for the most home runs hit in a career (762), in a season (73), and On-base percentage in a single season (.609) .However, despite his talent, in the early 2000’s he would become the infamous poster boy for the steroid scandal that plagued the game, as known as the BALCO scandal. Bonds has since been convicted of perjury and faces jail time for his use of steroids and cover-up that ensued.

Terry Goddard – Arizona State

8.

Terry Goddard - Image Provided by FlickrPhoenix mayor from 1983 to 1990, Terry Goddard graduated from Arizona State Universityin 1976 with a degree in law, after his graduation from Harvard.Serving as Attorney General for Arizona from 2002 to 2011, Terry focused much of this attention on internet crime, immigration and was a strong opponent to the polygamist Jeff Warren.Ultimately leading to his arrest, Goddard’s strong stance on the issue became his stamp on the office until controversy of illegal “blackmail” activity arose in 2011.

Al Michaels – Arizona State

7.

Al Michaels - Image Provided by FlickrAn American sportscaster, Al Michaels graduated from Arizona State Universitywith a degree in radio and television, minoring in journalism.One of the most prominent in sports history, this New York Native’s resume includes everything from Monday Night Football commentary with John Madden, the 1980 “Miracle on Ice”game against the Russian Olympic team, and game 3 of the 1989 World Series that was halted due to the massive San Francisco earthquake.A legend in all aspects of broadcasting, Al Michael’s career spans nearly three decades of television and radio. An instantly recognizable voice, he has been an influential force in anyone seeking success in the entertainment business.

Jerry Bruckheimer – University of Arizona

6.

Jerry Bruickheimer - Image Provided by FlickrA famed producer and director in Hollywood, Jerry Bruckheimer graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in psychology. He would later begin producing films in the 1970’s, and he later developed into one of the most successful producers of all time – with an overall net worth of 13 billionin revenue over the course of his career.In the past 30 years, his resume has included such films and television shows such as Armageddon, Black Hawk Down, Pearl Harbor, Pirates of the Caribbean, Beverley Hills Cope, CSI, Cold Case, and the Amazing Race. His success is undoubtedly mainstream.

Bob Dole – University of Arizona

5.

Bob Dole - Image Provided by FlickrA politician and attorney, Bob Dole graduated from the University of Arizona’s Washburn University School of Law in 1952 and would later go on to be the governor of his home state of Kansas.In addition, he ran as Gerald Ford’s vice presidential candidate in the 1976 election and later won the GOP nomination in 1996. However, he would later lose to Democratic Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton.Throughout his political career in the Senate, he was named Chairman of the National Republican Committee in 1971, leader of the Agricultural Committee in 1975 and Chairman of the Financial Committee in 1981. Despite his loss in the presidency, he still has lasting affect on the country’s political sphere.

Stewart Udall – University of Arizona

4.

Stewart Udall - Image Provided by FlickrAn American politician, Stewart Udall was born January 31st, 1920 in St. Johns, Arizona. A Democratic congressman, Udall represented Arizona for three terms and later as Secretary of the Interior for both John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.Graduate of the University of Arizona, Udall was highly influential in Arizona’s economic and social growth in the 1960’s, as Secretary of the Interior, and he was responsible for passing numerous environmental bills which helped build the national park system.Udall helped oversee the addition of 56 natural wildlife refugees, four national parks, six national monuments and 20 national historic sites including California’s Redwood Forest.  In addition, he initiated several Water Quality and Clean Water Restoration Acts/Amendments, and the National Trail System of 1968.

Carl Hayden – Arizona State

3.

Carl Hayden - Image Provided by Google ImagesAn American politician, Carl Haydenwas the first Senator to serve seven terms and had a lasting influence on numerous irrigation, highway, power and reclamation acts in the early century.Born October 2nd, 1877 in Hayden’s Ferry, Arizona Territory (renamed Tempe in 1878), Carl Hayden attended Arizona Normal School (now Arizona State University), and later went to study economics and law at Stanford University.From the 1920’s to the 1960’s, he was responsible for much of the southwest’s growth, including the Hayden Cartwright Act for highway funding, the Arizona vs. California water rights case, and eventually the Central Arizona Project in 1968.

Barry Goldwater – University of Arizona

2.

Barry Goldwater - Image Provided by FlickrA Phoenix native, Barry Goldwaterserved five terms in 1950’s and 1960’s, and later won the Republican nomination for the 1964 presidential election.Known as “Mr. Conservative,” he has been credited for much of the American conservative rejuvenation in the 1950’s, and what would later be coined the Libertarian partyof the 1970’s.However, despite his long resume of publicly supported policies, he ultimately lost the presidential election to Lyndon Johnson, and was attributed to his opposition to the monumental Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Pat Tillman – Arizona State

1.

Pat Tillman - Image Provided by FlickrA decorated Army Ranger, Pat Tillman played football at both Arizona State University and for the Arizona Cardinalsuntil his unfortunate death on April 22nd, 2004 in Afghanistan.Drafted in 1998 to the Arizona Cardinals, he would later give up his position in the NFL to serve his country in the aftermath of September 11th, 2001 and serve in the Army.  On his final of many tours in Afghanistan, he was killed by what at the time was decided as enemy fire.However, as evidence emerged in the coming months, it was later determined he was killed by friendly fire, and there had been a widespread cover up of the story. From millionaire NFL Linebacker to decorated Army Ranger, Pat Tillman is recognized every year with Pats Run,” commemorating the honorable life he lived and his sacrifice to our country.

 

Let us know of your Top Arizona Alumni on our Facebook Page or Twitter

Dallas Mavericks advance to the next round of the NBA Playoffs. Image Provided by MEMPHISOS from Flickr.com

Defending Champion Lakers Are Swept By Mavericks’ Jason Terry

They lost, and they lost bad.

For the first time since 1999, the Lakers were swept in the playoffs on Sunday, dismantling any hopes of a three peat.  Down 3-0 in the series, going into Sunday’s game, the Los Angeles Lakers had been playing anything but spectacular this post season.  Their only hope stemmed from a statement made by Kobe Bryant in a press conference after Friday’s loss saying that he believed they could come back.

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers.  Image provided by MEMPHISOS on Flickr.comNow, coming back from a 3-0 deficit is not just difficult,  it’s near impossible.  No team in the history of the NBA has ever rallied back from a 3-0 record in the post season.

Winning all four games by an average of 14 points, the Dallas Mavericks fired on all cylinders for all 48 minutes of those four games, creating a points-scoring machine that the Lakers fell far from stopping.

On Sunday, the sliver of hope that Laker fans had entering the arena was all but nonexistent as the Mavs came out swinging.  With 20 three pointers, 9 of which coming from Jason Terry alone, game four provided Laker fans a strikingly similar experience to the 2008 blowout loss to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals — a frustrating series where they were out-scored, out-hustled and out-played in nearly all aspects.

As the clock inched closer to zero, those at the Lakers bench and fans sprinkled throughout the sea of white and blue Maverick fans at the American Airlines Arena looked angry.   Both Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum would be ejected off cheap shots later in the game, and Phil Jackson looked as if he had checked out early in the third quarter.

However, as much as Lakers fans will hate Dallas, the Mavericks played like a championship team.  The Lakers did not.  Dirk Nowitzki, who was a vital figure in the previous three wins, was merely a spectator in the game, however, not in a bad way.

His service was called upon on a need basis, as the Jason Terry and JJ Barea carried the team to victory, scoring a collective 52 points off the bench.

So what now?  Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks had 17 points Sunday.  Image Provided by Outside the NBA on Flickr.com

Phil Jackson will be gone next year, and the hopes of a successful final season as coach in the history books will be one skipped over by future Lakers fans.  Lakers Nation isn’t used to watching teams like Memphis or Chicago dominate the spotlight of NBA Live or talks about future seasons without their zen master in Phil Jackson.

But what does the future hold for L.A.?

Brian Shaw, former Lakers and now assistant coach, is the rumored front runner to replace Phil.  What will happen to Artest?  Trades?  Management issues?  Team chemistry?  These are all questions teams face as the summer months roll around, but for Lakers Nation, its one that they’re used to facing in June, holding a trophy and smiling on the front page of the L.A. Times.  But not this year.  Not this time.

Let us know what you think and your predictions of the remaining NBA Postseason on Facebook or Twitter.

Osama bin Laden was killed by US Forces, Obama announced on May 1, 2011

Al-Qaeda Leader Osama Bin Laden Killed By U.S. Forces In Pakistan — Timeline

President Obama announced to the world Sunday, May 1st, 2011 that the mastermind behind the terrorist attacks of September 11th, the London transit bombings, the USS Cole bombings of 2000, and leader of al-Qaeda is dead.

After a 40-minute firefight in Abbottabad, Pakistan, according to the New York Times, Osama bin Laden was killed and recovered by U.S. Forces. On Monday May 2, the body was disposed of in the Arabic Ocean and given a proper Arabic burial.

Facts about Osama bin Laden:

  • Born to a wealthy family, bin Laden’s father owned a successful construction company and was granted a large inheritance after his fathers death.
  • One of 50 children
  • Founded al-Qaeda in 1988 and has been linked to dozens of terrorist attacks across the globe
  • Placed on America’s Most Wanted at #1 with a $25 million bounty placed on his head — dead or alive; that was later raised to $50 million
  • Has been the primary target of U.S. military forces spanning three U.S. presidencies

Over the past two decades, bin Laden and his followers have been responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent lives and plots to undermine US and allied forces in stopping terror; here are some events we found significant:

 

Osama Bin Laden onDipity.

rock-climbing

Rock Climbing In Atlantis, Queen Creek

A couple months ago, several friends and I traveled up to Queen Creek for two days of camping and rock climbing – and the experience couldn’t have been better!

Ryan Snow, ClimbingAs we made the hour drive from Tempe to Queen Creek on the 60, our departure made for perfect timing to a gorgeous sunset over the desert.  Reds, oranges, purples and yellows painted the desert sky, and reminded me that Arizona has the some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever experienced.

The four of us in the car arrived first, and began unpacking our equipment that we would need for the quick two day excursion– tent, food, water, and a sleeping bag.  As 8 o’clock rolled around, the rest of our group finally arrived and the camp fire talk began, in what was then a VERY cold February night.  As others were talking and socializing, I took time to adventure off into the desert a bit, and noticed how much clearer the stars were only an hour outside of the Phoenix.  It was so quiet and peaceful, that I must have stayed out there for an hour alone – just enjoying the serenity of the Arizonan desert at night.

Upon my return, we continued eating, and talking about everything that anyone had on their minds – school projects, after graduation thoughts, etc…As we continued grilling hot dogs and roasting marshmallows, neighboring campers began making their way over to our spot and chatting with the group.  As the night turned frigid and moon was glaring down on the dwindling fire, we decided to call it a night and get rested for some morning climbing.

As 7 am rolled around, I found myself awake, and noticed that a stray cow had made its way into a neighboring site – apparently a normal event for the area.  After a bit of exploring, I returned and we were off to do what the camping trip was for – rock climbing! Matt Hasson, Climbing

Being from Southern California, the most climbing I had ever done were the stairs that led down to the beach.  He let us know that we would be going to “Atlantis”, a climbing spot just down the road and one that was crafted for beginners.  With much of my nervousness eased, we drove no less than 10 minutes down the highway until we pulled to the side of the road, parked, and hiked down a short hill to set up.

As I looked up the 40 foot inline, I noticed quickly that there were dozens of other routes, marked by predrilled hooks.  After a short lesson in climbing technique, my buddy “led the climb”, and I nervously followed after – flash forward a few minutes; I reached the top with an enormous grin on my face and feeling of accomplishment, fingers hurting from the tight holds as I caught a glimpse of a gorgeous Arizonan afternoon in Queek Creek’s “Atlantis” area.

After a few hours of climbing, and watching my experienced friend climb seemingly impossible routes, we packed up and started our return to Tempe.  As we drove back, I felt that the weekend was a success.  Bonding with friends by the campfire, and climbing for the first time made for an awesome experience – one that I would advise to anyone seeking an outdoor experience exclusive to the beautiful nature of Arizona.

For more information on this climbing spot and others in the area, check out  Queen Creek’s “Atlantis”

87664142(2)

NBA Playoffs: Top 5 Moments In History

That time of the year is upon us again – the NBA Playoffs.

Despite the Suns’ absence from the post season, the playoffs began last week. The the best teams from each conference battle it out amongst their conference rivals and eventually leads us to the Finals in early June.

Injuries, nervousness, controversy, and buzzer beaters have defined this season, but once playoffs begin, everyone is back to zero.

From Jordan to Fisher, and last minute sky hooks, basketball’s fast-paced style attracts millions of worldwide fans and displays some of the greatest athletes performing at their peak.

With all the hype of the postseason and continuous replays on SportsCenter many fans will see in the coming months, I put together a list of the Top 5 NBA moments in Playoff History:

5.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs

Game 5 of the 2004 Western Conference semi-finals

4.

Chicago Bulls vs. Utah Jazz

Michael Jordan hits a game winning shot in the 1998 Finals

3.

Chicago Bulls vs. Detroit Pistons

Game 5 of the 1989 Playoffs

2.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics

Game winning baby hook from Magic Johnson in Game 5 of the 1987 Finals

1.

Boston Celtics vs. Detroit Pistons

Larry Bird steals the inbound pass with just seconds left in the 1987 Conference Finals

 

With the excitement of the NBA Playoffs, what are some of your favorite NBA moments in history?

Lets us know on Twitter or comment on our Facebook page

Dance flash mob at NYC Grand Central Station - Image provided by Dan Nguyen/Flickr.com

Top 5 Viral Flash Mobs On YouTube

YouTube has anything and everything a viral junkie could hope for — and flash mobs are no exception.

Flash mobs are a collection of people, organized with the intent to perform a synchronized action, and then quickly disperse.

It sounds pointless, and that’s exactly the appeal it has for millions that have stumbled upon them on the Internet.

Here’s our Top 5 list of flash mobs we found on YouTube:

5.

The Great Trafalgar Square Freeze

4.

Freeze Flash in Paris

3.

Frozen Grand Central Station

2.

Sound of Music in Belgium

1.

T-Mobile Dance

Know of a flash mob that went viral in your hometown, or you really want to share one that isn’t listed here?
Share with us and comment with the link, or post it on our Facebook!

Street Talk Logo, AZNow.Biz video series

Street Talk: Where Do YOU Get Your News? [VIDEO]


For this installment of Street Talk, Emily Horne and I visited the Arizona State University Downtown Phoenix campus to ask students where they get their news as well as their opinion on credibility, timeliness, etc.



Interested in knowing others’ opinions about a specific topic? What do YOU feel we should cover in our next installment of Street Talk? Let us know!

Arizona State Univeristy Packard Stadium - Image provided by wheelo28 from Flickr.com

Top 5 Arizona State University Baseball Players

As the Sun Devils return from their three-game road trip against Cal,  Arizona State University now needs to focus on finishing the second half of the season strong.

They will hopefully muster up the necessary bits of strength and continue battling through the spring in hopes to make their 23 appearance in the College World Series this summer.  The Omaha tournament is the best of the best in NCAA Baseball; it’s March Madness in June for those that prefer dirt and pine tar to hardwood floors and sneakers.

With five National Championships under their belt, Sun Devil baseball has been a long and rich tradition in Arizona.  Baseball at Packard Stadium is unique to Tempe and something that isn’t present in any other sports at ASU.

With that said, here are my Top Five Former Arizona State Baseball Players:

5.

Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia - Image Provided by Keith Allison from Flickr.com

Winner of the 2007 American League Rookie of the Year and 2008 AL MVP, Pedroia attended Arizona State — never batting below .374 in all 185 games.

This California native currently plays second base for the Boston Red Sox, batting .305, 54 home runs, 253 RBI’s, and was an All-Star selection for three consecutive years (2008 – 2010).

4.

Bob Horner

Bob Horner - Image Provided by Baseball Images from Flickr.com

Chosen in the first round of the 1978 draft by the Atlanta Braves, Bob Horner was a first/third baseman who went on to have a great MLB career, despite beset with numerous leg injuries.

He continued to be a successful player who consistently hit well and averaged his 10-year career with a .277 batting average, 218 home runs, and 685 RBI’s. He was later inducted to College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006, with others including Dave Winfield and Rob Ventura.

3.  

Sal Bando

Sal Bando - Image Provided by Ll Phil from Flickr.comMaking his professional debut with the Kansas City Athletics in 1966, Sal Bando was a third baseman for both the Athletics (Kansas City and Oakland) and Milwaukee Brewers.

Over his career he had a batting average of .254, racked up 242 home runs, and 1039 RBI’s. He was selected to the All-Star team four times and won three consecutive World Series from 1972-1974.

2. 

Barry Bonds

Barry Bonds - Image Provided by studartlioff fro Flickr.com

Controversy aside, Barry Bonds is undoubtedly one of the most talented MLB players to emerge from Arizona State, and possibly in MLB history. With seven MVPs,

14 All-Star appearances, most intentional walks (688), and both the all time record for most home runs in a season (73) and career (762), numbers don’t lie. However, with his success came the controversy of steroid use in late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

He would eventually become the poster child for all steroid accusations that have since plagued Major League Baseball, and been the source of much heated debate in the sports world.

Nevertheless, all nay saying and drug banter aside, Bonds carried his amazing play as a Sun Devil into the professional field of play, staking out his mark in history.

1.

Reggie “Mr. October” Jackson

Reggie Jackson - Image Provided by Ll Phil from Flickr.comCoined “Mr. October“,  Reggie Jackson spent his early years as a Sun Devil before moving on to several other teams from 1967 – 1987, until he left the game with five National Championship (three with the Oakland Athletics and two with the New York Yankee’s).

With a career batting average of .262, he also tallied up 563 home runs, 2,584 hits, and 1,702 RBI’s.  He was the definition of clutch and had a certain inability to fail when the time called for it.  While with the Yankee’s, he was an unstoppable, home run machine — one that seemed to have the uncanny ability to blast a home run at will.

 

Check out Arizona State’s schedule for the rest of 2011 season

Arizona Diamondbacks vs Colorado Rockies - Image provided by Salvatoredbacks from Flickr.com

Diamondbacks Start Off Season Right

The Diamondbacks have a better record than the 2010 World Champion San Francisco Giants.

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Colorado Rockies - Image provided by salvatoredbacks from Flickr.comComing off a dismal 97 loss season in 2010, I’d be inclined to believe that any player in their right mind would be frustrated – and that’s exactly what Arizona baseball needs to fuel a successful season.

There still may be 154 games left in the regular season, but the D-backs are  4 – 4, just behind the Dodgers and ahead of the Giants at – something Arizona fans are not used to saying.

Yes, we’ve barely seen two weeks of baseball, but management has taken an aggressive attitude concerning on field play which fans hope will continue throughout the season.

Several weeks ago I wrote on the Diamondbacks as Spring training began in the Valley, and praised them on their Kirk Gibson’s preparation for the new season.  With his style of play, it was my hope that they would embrace his toughness and stay focused come April – and it’s happened.

With a tough loss to the Reds on Saturday, they took their revenge on Sunday – going 6 for 15 and displaying moments of magnificence.  With a clutch play in ninth, fielder Chris Young made an amazing catch that  could have been a disastrous for the D-backs.  With that, they eventually held the Reds, defeating them 10 – 8.

His type of play is something that the D-backs need, but it’s up to the players if they can sustain that kind of fire for an entire season. As bad as a season 2010 was, it may have been the spark that they needed to wake up.

In recent years, they’ve become complacent with losing.

As they were down 5 – 0 in the third, it look like just another Sunday blowout of the D-backs.  But it wasn’t.  It wasn’t the same team I’ve seen in past years, and that’s a good thing.

Since their historic 2001 season, Major League Baseball in Arizona has been little more than a blip on sports fans radar.  If the focusArizona Diamondbacks vs. Colorado Rockies - Image provided by salvatoredbacks from Flickr.com that was evident in Sunday’s comeback win can withstand the brutality of the regular baseball season, then I believe they have a chance.  Being down 5 – 0 early in the third, they found a way to win on Sunday and gathered momentum when the time called for it.

So, my intent is not to regurgitate game facts, but to pose the question to Diamondback fans out there – will 2011 be different?

They’ll stay home and take on the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants this week- possibly two of the best teams in the league, and we’ll truly see if their grit and focus pays off.



Let us know at AZNow how you think the D-backs will play by posting it to our Facebook page.

VCU, Butler, UConn and Kentucky will play in Houston this weekend for the NCAA basketball Final Four. Winners continue to the National Championship game

An Unlikely Final Four Travel To Houston

Who would have thought?

President Obama, a few weeks back, offered his annual bracket to ESPN, in the Oval Office, with Kansas defeating Ohio State in the National Championship, neither of which even made it to Houston this weekend.

This Final Four will mark the first time in the history of collegiate basketball that no No. 1 or No. 2 team will play:

Butler, UConn, Kentucky and VCU will battle it out this weekend in Houston for the NCAA Final Four – a strikingly unusual ending to a historical tournament. But is it really that unusual? This March has been, and continues to be, the fundamental appeal of sports to the sports-minded upsets.

Two months ago, the bracket layout was completely different. Had I even mentioned the idea that VCU would have beaten Kansas in terrific fashion to move ahead to the Final Four, your first reaction would have most likely been, “Who is VCU?”  Virginia Commonwealth University is hardly a basketball staple but neither was Butler in 2010 or George Mason in 2006, which were both 11 seeds.

Domination by schools like Duke, UConn, Kentucky and UCLA have been drilled in the sports fans’ minds as given appearances to the final weeks in March and their position atop the hierarchy of basketball elites for the past 40 years. But like anything else in life deemed a certainty, nothing is definite; it’s merely waiting to be defeated.

Butler made it all the way to the final game last year, only to lose to Duke by a mere two points. Although a feat unto it self, collegiate basketball is becoming increasingly more unlikely.

VCU had a modest season but still won their induction to the tournament as the fourth seed in the Colonial Athletic Association. With schools like Towson University, University of Delaware and Hofstra University, they’re anything but a sports powerhouse.

And maybe that says it all.  2010 – 2011 has been a year of unlikelihood.

Who is to say that certainty and predictability makes for the best outcome or even the best performance? The simple fact remains that success is never a guarantee.  And if you think it is, you’ve already lost.

In 1779, Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated as VCU’s home state Governor of Virginia and was quoted as saying, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”

So if the scrutiny of VCU is that they’re “lucky” to be in the tournament against the “big boys,” then I would have to agree with the criticism. They’ve been luckier this season than any other season in their history, and they’ve worked hard for it.

Top 5 Buzzer Beaters NBA Season

Top 5 NBA Buzzer Beaters Of The Season

5. Derek Fisher

A professional by all definitions of the term, Derek Fisher has seen, heard and experienced everything that defines the NBA.  Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Fisher was selected 24th in the 1996 draft — just behind legend and partner in crime Kobe Bryant.  Five Championships and nearly 200 playoff appearances later, he continues to dominate the court alongside Kobe on the Lakers and is loved by anyone who calls themselves a Laker fan.

Popular on SportsCenter highlight reels, statistical records and maintaining an all-around work ethic for over 14 years of professional play, it’s no surprise that this season would be any different — and this buzzer beater against the Clipper earlier in the season proves why.


4. Manu Ginobli

Manu Ginobli was taken late in the second round of the 1999 NBA draft to the San Antonio Spurs and is a veteran to the sport.  Alongside teammates Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, Manu has shown the sports world his ability to not just make 3-pointers but drain them when the seconds on the clock matter the most.

After his years in the Argentinian League in the mid 1990′s, he has come to be loved by Spurs fans and a staple to Gregg Popovich’s game plan.  At his peak, the Spurs have had significant runs at the title, establishing their own dynasty of winning in the mid 2000′s. Manu has always hit necessary 3-pointers — and this night was no different.

3. Derrick Rose

Chicago native Derrick Rose emerged as the No. 1 draft pick from Memphis in 2008 and an-all star college player, Rose has done nothing short of the same in the NBA, putting up staggering statistics and composing himself at a championship level. His skills hardly go unrecognized by basketball enthusiasts, and his December 4th tying buzzer-beater showcases this very talent.

Within his rookie year, he took the Bulls to the Eastern Conference Finals (scoring an astounding 36 points against the Boston Celtics), earning the Rookie of the Year award.  With skill, Derrick Rose is giving the Windy City its first glimmer of hope since Jordan.

2. Kevin Durant

A freak of NBA nature, Kevin Durant is no joke. The shooting guard out of Texas was selected second overall in the 2007 draft by the Seattle Supersonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder), and he exploded onto the scene as a rookie, quickly earning the leagues points leader.

Earning Rookie of the Year in 2008, All-NBA First Team in 2010 and selected to be on the All-Star team in 2010, Durant has earned the reputation of being a legend. This season alone he’s shown not just his ability to play at an amazingly high level of competition but lead his team to victory.

1. Tyreke Evans

Selected 4th overall in the 2009 NBA draft from Memphis, Tyreke Evans leads the Sacramento Kings this season in points per game and brought entertainment to a dismal record. A season that started off bad and has gotten worse for Sacramento, Evans gives the fans a work ethic and entertainment that makes ticket prices less of a sacrifice. Responding to a shot by O.J. Mayo, Evans launches a half-court shot with just under two seconds left in the game to tie it — and his is what happened.

What do you think of our list?  Which moments did you think were the best?
Check us out on Twitter @AZNow.biz, or “Like” us on Facebook and tell us what you think!

iPad connection to computer

Apple’s New iPad 2 ~ A Faster And Efficient Upgrade

The iPad 2 — It’s thinner; it’s lighter, and it’s faster.iPad 2, released March 2011, Flickr: Robert Scoble

Apple’s new toy was released to the public in early March and with it came several much-anticipated features that makes its predecessor look like a relic.

So what are some of the differences in Apple’s newest project?  Is the hype deserving of the product? Yes, and here’s why:

Size

Slimmer than the previous iPad, the iPad 2 dropped from 13.4mm to 8.8mm — a 33 percent drop in weight, making it significantly lighter and easier to manage on the go.  Its flatter back design makes carrying it an easier task and mobility of it as easy as possible for those who enjoy the ease of online news feeds with your morning cup of coffee.

Battery Life and the Case

Running off the same style of lithium-polymer battery, the new iPad gets an astounding 10 hours of life!  That’s 10 hours to surf the web, check sports scores, edit video from your family vacation, FaceTime with friends, and the endless fun that applications provide you with.

As an optional feature, Apple is offering a new magnetic case. This new case offers valuable protection to a fragile product while doubling as a fold-able stand for viewing.

Processor

In addition to larger RAM capability, Apple offers arguably its most significant upgrade in the iPad – a Dual Core.

Applications and screen resolution have taken much of the spotlight when judging a tablets value by consumers, but the addition of a Dual Core A5 chip to the iPad is something that has been considerably underrated. Aiding in nearly all aspects of the iPad’s performance, processing will run faster, smooth, cleaner and more efficiently than any competing product by far.

Cameras, HDMI, and FaceTime

FaceTime was a major selling point for the iPhone 4 – as it is for new iPad.

With the addition of two cameras (one rear facing and one front facing), the iPad 2 allows users to access FaceTime and video chat at blazing fast speed.

Back Camera: Video recording, HD (720p) up to 30 frames per second with a 5x digital zoom
Front Camera: Video recording, VGA up to 30 frames per second

In addition to being able to record and stream HD video, the iPad 2 offers an HDMI output for your home television.  HDMI allows the iPad to connect and play any recorded or online video in high definition – a must-have for those Netflix addicts out there.

Conclusion

This powerful new addition to Apple’s arsenal provides for an amazing look into emerging mobile technology.

It seems that just a few years ago the iPhone was a marvel unto itself, and now with the second edition of the iPad, HD video recording, mobile video conferencing and multitasking online interaction is easier than ever.

Apple's iPad 2

Apple is notorious for its sleek style of user-friendly products and machines that make navigation an ease.  Multitasking, apps, pictures, video/music editing, and FaceTime will all occur at mind-blowing speed and make the mobile online experience with Wi-Fi and 3G quicker than ever.

With several important and significant upgrades, Apple is dominating the tablet industry (by no surprise) and is continuing to push for an increasingly mobile device with powerful user capability.

There seems to be a notable trend in technology to become faster, sleeker, mobile and overall more efficient than its precursor – and the iPad 2 is no exception.

 

For information on the iPad 2, check out Apple’s website www.apple.com.

Phoenix Suns will try and make a playoff appearance, without Amare

Suns Look Forward To An ‘Amare’-less Postseason

Amare was a diva – there’s no questioning that.

Amare Stoudemire from a home game on the Phoenix Suns, December 21, 2008

Amare’s exit from Arizona to the Big Apple created a firestorm of excitement last year that has soared expectations. Madison Square Garden has been rejuvenated, and likewise, thousands of “anti-Amare” feelings flooded Facebook posts from Phoenix at the same time.

It’s given life back to New York City basketball, the likes of which it hasn’t seen a since Patrick Ewing and their 50 – 32 season in 2000.  Since then, Spike Lee and those who adorn blue-and-orange jerseys have had years of frustration to say the least.

The 2010 – 2011 season has been rough at times, and even close wins against teams like the New Jersey Nets (17 – 43) February 28th 104 – 103 has generated mixed emotions.  Nash and team drove just a few hundred miles northeast to Boston the following night to revisit their once center in Shaquille O’Neal, but ended their stream , falling 115 – 103, and remaining double digit games behind division leader San Antonio Spurs..  The Celtics, and similar west coast rivals Los Angeles Lakers, posses nearly all the intangibles the Suns don’t — an experienced and ferocious center, a dangerously passionate audience and slew of post-season victory banners. But it’s never worried the Suns before.

Grant Hill’s recent 34-point game and Chaning Frye’s two recent buzzer beaters have sparked youth into an older team and given them life.  It’s given needed momentum to a team that, historically, struggles in post-season play and breaks down in the minutes that matter.

Although they’ve had runs this season and gelled well together in spite of Nash’s pick-n-roll partner, extended survival in the playoffs will most likely evade them for 2011.  They may enter the first round and struggle, but they will most likely realize that Nash’s signature offense requires mind-reading ability — one that took Amare years to perfect.

In times of sudden-death contests against post season legends Lakers and Spurs, good players like Hill and Frye must exhibit statistical greatness.

Western Conference Finals - Suns at Lakers - Game 2 on May 19

Current West Coast rivals, Los Angeles Lakers, aren’t at their championship caliber performance, but that’s nothing new.  For a team pelted with scrutiny of inconsistency, the 2010 NBA Champs may not be in first in the West, but they know the science behind winning championships.  As much there is an expectation of winning the Southern California, there’s also an expectation of meeting the Suns in Phoenix.

Even if they make it past the first round, they’ll meet Kobe come mid-April, as they infamously have for what seems like a million times in the past decade.  Lakers vs. Suns and Nash vs. Kobe has long been a staple in NBA post-season play, and for Phoenix fans, it will hopefully continue this April.

My question is — was it really Nash vs. Kobe or was it Nash/Amare vs. Kobe?  We’ll see in six weeks.

Cactus League - Spring Training is Back

Cactus League Baseball Is Back In Arizona

February in Arizona means two things – gorgeous weather and spring training baseball.

What initially began as minor league exhibition game in the early 1900’s has evolved into Major League Baseball’s conglomerate of Spring Training stadiums within the Phoenix area.  A long-­standing tradition for the Grand Canyon State, MLB’s Spring Training begins again later this month as the Cactus League kicks off its 65th season in Arizona.

Salt River Fields, Colorado Rockies - Image Provided by Flickr

As spring reveals itself, so do players from a four‐month baseball hiatus. More than 15 teams will compete within the coming months in 10 local fields — drawing over 1.5 million spectators, according to a 2009 study of the games.

2011 has the same expectation of past years and brings out potential  collegiate and minor league players the opportunity to showcase their skills, in hopes of generating talk around Major League management for upward promotion to the “big leagues.”

RBI’s, home runs, batting average, chin music and injury reports reenter the vocabulary of sports talk radio hosts and give vitality back to baseball geeks nation.

With several stadium locations throughout the Phoenix area, it’s easy to catch at least one of these 15 teams at a fraction of regular season ticket prices. With lawn seating available from $5, it’s a perfect excuse to call in sick from work and plan a family picnic in Arizona’s weather.

Diamondback News

Coming off a dismal 65 – 97 season, the Arizona Diamondbacks enter 2011 with hopes to compete with NL West rivals, 2010 World Champions San Francisco Giants.

Recent management addition and legendary Los Angeles Dodger Kirk Gibson has full control of the team this year and brings a sense of urgency to the Diamondbacks office.

Reds Pitcher Aroldis Chapman - Image Provided by Flickr

Flashback to 1988; the Dodgers won their fifth title in the City of Angels and have yet to repeat since as the Dodgers later went on to defeat the Oakland Athletics 4-1 in the series. Gibson and the 1988 Dodger team were underdogs to say the least, disproving the expectation of failure.

Professional sports, now more than ever, demands pure physicality in a 162 game season.

Since the D-Backs World Series run in 2001, D-Back fans have been subjected to playing and management decisions far below par. It takes as much a mental toll as a physical one — and Gibson encapsulates experience in both. Gibson’s presence in Diamondback management will hopefully spark the same inspiration as it did in 1988.

Everyone begins the season undefeated and has the ability to prove sports analysts and naysayers wrong. Near rock bottom at all-statistical production, the D‐Backs need inspiration and who better to give it to them than manager Kirk  “Gibby” Gibson. Let’s hope Gibson can effectively command his troops  — or at least clean off the shame of 2010.

For more tickets and schedule information on Spring Training in the Valley, visit cactusleague.com

Lynne King Smith, CEO of TicketForce

TicketForce Jumps Ahead Of Competition With Facebook App

For all you concert junkies, Facebook now meets concerts as TicketForce has just made purchasing tickets online even easier, joining forces with said social media platform.

Lynne King Smith, CEO of TicketForce, announced they will be merging ticket sales with the social media powerhouse in hopes to create an all-inclusive process for potential concert goers.

“We push the mark,” Smith said. “[We] take it a step further and have everything right in front you – [a] buy tickets tab.”

TicketForce acknowledges the impact of social media, as Facebook has jumped to the No. 2 spot in all U.S. Internet traffic in 2010 — just behind powerhouse Google, according to Alexa.com.

ConcertTicketForce’s website advocates to “Take your ticketing Social,” and that’s exactly what they’re doing with Facebook. The social media giant Facebook has crossed borders other social media sites such as Myspace and Friendster never have.  Facebook — in comparison to Myspace and Friendster — provide users a more professional and legitimate medium for online marketing and sales.

Smith strongly acknowledged the influence of the social media explosion in recent years, which allows TicketForce to be “very fluid and flexible…the company is able to respond [to customers] instantaneously.”

Smith said TicketForce initially developed the idea a year and a half ago but just recently gathered the company and developers together to make it a reality.  As this Mesa-based company continues to grow, they recognize the downfall of many ticketing agencies.

Smith made the point of minimal processing fees, which over the years Ticketmaster has increased.

However, TicketForce utilizes white label ticketing solutions, which in effect removes private agencies from the purchasing process and “makes the ticketing process more relationship based,” Smith said.  This allows for minimal fees, usually between $.50 and $2.00.

TicketForce offers an all-inclusive website where customers can utilize a user-friendly guide to shows playing nearby, a live Twitter stream and links to various other social media sites including Facebook.

“Our approach to business is to stay out of the way,” Smith said, and she stresses how important positive customer relations is for their business.

TicketForce has truly expanded their influence in the ticketing world far beyond Maricopa County.  They offer tickets in 48 states and Canada, and show no signs of slowing down.

TicketForce

For more information, visit www.Ticketforce.com, or check them out on Facebook.

Image Provided by Flickr

ASU Cancels Study Abroad Program In Egypt

On January 25th, Egyptian citizens erupted in violent revolution against corruption, extensive poverty, enormous national unemployment and numerous governance problems of autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak — and two Arizona State students were caught in its crossfire.

The students were studying abroad in Cairo at the time political unrest hit its threshold in late January; and with ASU’s Study Abroad Office’s help, they were pulled out of the area.

Image Provided by FlickrASU has had a long-standing relationship with the American University of Cairo (AUC) where the previously mentioned students had been studying, but as CNN reported attacks on American journalists in the area, concerns arose from families of the students involved.

“We feel confident that both students will be back in the U.S. by this weekend, weather permitting”, said Amy Shenberger, director of the Study Abroad Office at ASU.

Their decision in the cancellation was met with widespread agreement by both the U.S. government agencies involved and university partners in Cairo.

In result from years of political turmoil, Egypt reached its tipping point of strong government rhetoric from Mubarak.  Headlines of bloodied civilians and anti-riot police have scattered newspapers nationwide, giving American news affiliates reason for concern.

According to the Washington Post, the White House is aiding in the extraction of news reporters in the area, as many have been savagely beaten or detained by the Egyptian government.Image Provided by Flickr

iJet, a travel intelligence that monitors international activity for ASU’s study abroad office, has maintained communication with Shenberger to give live updates on the situation.

Shenberger also strongly advocates the continuation of its program in Egypt in future years but believes the current political atmosphere presents a clear and present danger to the students.

“We have had a partnership with AUC since 2004, and it’s our intention to maintain that going forward,” said Shenberger.

The program plans to resume once the dust settles in Egypt, according to Shenberger, and ASU will continue to monitor the situation with the students’ best interests.

“The safety and security of all of our students is our primary concern, [and] any time the danger in a location outweighs the benefits of the academic program, we take the steps necessary to ensure our students’ safety,” said Shenberger.

4156535452_9f2ee39b7e_z(2)

Top Five Superbowl Commercials of 2011

1.

Volkswagen:  “Use the FORCE, young car owner”

A wildly popular commercial, Volkswagen’s Darth Vader was a huge success.  It was funny, well made and had iconic references to Star Wars — what more could you ask for?



2.

Eminem & Chrysler:  “Detroit’s two biggest names”

It starts with an intro of “Lose Yourself” from his hit movie 8 Mile; it’s simplistic, serious view of the Detroit life for which Eminem has become famous gave the viewer a chilling, honest feeling.  A perfect example of how being simple can be most effective.




3.

Doritos:  “Finger lickin’ good!”

The past two Superbowls, Doritos has had hit or miss commercials as it attempts to implant itself as an NFL staple.  This one, in particular, was arguably the best they’ve created.  Funny and weird makes for an interesting take — like a Jim Carey film.



4.

Bridgestone: “REPLY ALL”

Bridgestone has been fairly quiet in the Superbowl commercial world, but this year they stepped it up.  An interesting, unrelated way to present car tires, it’s an office nightmare!  “REPLY ALL” can only lead to trouble.



5.

CareerBuilder.com:  “Monkeys!”

Careerbuilder.com delivered a laugh with an unusual take on employee relations in the parking lot — using monkeys.  With success in the past, Careerbuilder delivers another laugh, and let’s be honest…nothing’s funnier than monkeys in suits!



Provided By Flickr

Five Monopolies, Methods of Communication Losing Their Hold

1.

Landlines

According to CITA, an International Wireless nonprofit organization, 91% of Americans carry a cell phone as of 2009, and those numbers have continued to expand.  Now more than ever, with the growing popularity of the iPhone and Droid, cell phones have become both a necessity and an addiction.

In past decades, landlines were an essential part of the home, but with cell phone giants like Apple, wireless communication is quickly eliminating the need for both a home phone and cell.  Now, phones do much more than dial, and let’s be honest — landlines don’t have Angry Birds or Restaurant Finder Apps.

Landline Phones No More

2.

“Snail” Mail vs. Email

Once a monopoly on long-distance communication, mailing letters to friends or loved ones has been virtually phased out of everyday conversation and proven to be the least efficient means of interaction.  What was once a necessity for love notes, bank statements, and college acceptance letters, “snail” mail is quickly becoming replaced with the popularity of social media platforms and widespread use of email.

Since cell phone’s and the internet explosion in the early 1990’s, this generation’s lack of composition skills have been harshly scrutinized.  In 2009, The United States Postal Service stated that 177 billion pieces of mail were delivered in the US, compared to 14.4 trillion by email.  Now, young people rely heavily on a keyboard, 140 characters and auto-correct spelling.

"Snail" Mail Replaced by Email

3.

Newspapers

Electronic tablets, such as Apple’s iPad, Samsung’s Galaxy Pad, Amazon’s Kindle or the BlackBerry Playbook, have been 2010’s newest toy.  According to the Washington Post, “average daily circulation of all U.S. newspapers has been in decline since 1987″ and “has hit its lowest level in seven decades.”

Newspapers have been undoubtedly hit hard — as major stations are reporting record losses, cuts and even closures across the country.  Despite the change in the medium which news is delivered, there will always be a desire and need for the public to be informed and educated on current events.  It’s just that now news is viewed on a 9 x 5 LED screen — not paper.

Physical Newspapers Moving Online

4.

Video Rental Stores

Some of my fondest childhood memories include “Power Rangers:  The Movie” and the newest Nintendo 64 game — both of which were rented from the local Blockbuster.  Video rental stores, like Blockbuster, have been slowly declining in business over the past 6 years as online sites such as Netflix and RedBox have stolen much of the business which these stores once had.

Having closed over 600 stores in just the past three years and reported record losses in the hundreds of millions, it’s no wonder Blockbuster is struggling to stay afloat.  According to an article by MSNBC.com, “Blockbuster Inc. may close as many as 960 stores by the end of next year,” primarily in response to appeal and ease of online streaming — in a society glued to their computer screens.

Video Rentals Like Blockbuster Replaced by Nexflix, Flickr, Scott Clark

5.

In-Person Classrooms

As a current student at ASU, I recognize that most classes still meet in a physical room with a paper syllabus and wooden desks from the Jimmy Carter administration.  However, as technology of educational tools increases, so does the medium with which it is taught.

Arizona State University offered over 700 online classes this spring, which range from Managerial Economics to History of Hip Hop.  It’s not just ASU, but virtually all major universities across the country offer online classes and degrees, and sites like Blackboard allow professors to post assignments and readings for the week online.

Classrooms Moving Online