Tags Posts tagged with "NBA players"

NBA players

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Lorenzen Wright, NBA, Memphis Tennessee
Lorenzen Wright was a fixture in the community in Memphis Tennessee and was an ambassador of goodwill in the community. RIP Lorenzen Wright. Photo: Shutterstock

Lorenzen Wright was shot and killed last week by multiple bullet shots in a wooded area of Tennessee.  Authorities are working on the case. This was some of the saddest news that I could possibly hear.  I was never on the same team with Lorenzen, but I’ve played against him for years and had a great respect for his intensity and the way he conducted himself as a professional.  Whenever there is tragedy in the NBA family, everyone feels it and everyone grieves for the loss and the family.

The last time I talked to Lorenzen Wright was two seasons ago when he was playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.  He had been brought in as an experienced player to help them make a deep push into the playoffs.  As much as Lorenzen contributed on the court, it was his locker room leadership and presence that also made him invaluable.  Both Lorenzen and I were on the injured list at the time so we were both in the weight room before tip-off at Quicken Arena in Cleveland.  Ben Wallace was in there as well doing core training and his pregame workout routine.

I was on the exercise bike trying to get a workout in and Lorenzen came right over to say hello and to get the update on what was going on with the Timberwolves.  When you think about someone who is intense on the court and a gentleman off the court, it was Lorenzen.  One of his longtime friends recounted that “He was a people person; he never met a stranger.”  We talked for 5-10 minutes and he told me about a recent flight when LeBron James had the everyone on the plane laughing so hard by getting on the plane’s loudspeaker system and doing impersonations of everyone from players and teammates to the Cleveland strength coach.  Lorenzen also said it was extra funny because it was about 2 A.M. and everyone was groggy.  When I left the weight room that night I thought to myself, Cleveland is lucky to have such a great player and great person on their team.

Deepest thoughts and condolences to the family and loved ones of Lorenzen Wright.  Memphis and Mississippi and everyplace that LW went is going to miss him.

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Twitter, NBA Players, Expression, It's Public, Communicate with people
Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read short 140-character text messages, called "tweets". Photo: shutterstock
Last weekend I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal talking all about the new website: Twitter.com. NBA players are constantly in hotel rooms resting and sometimes watching CNN, Foxnews, or NBC. As a group, I must say that NBA players are *extremely up on current events and what’s going on in the world. Even in the training room, it seems like CNN is always on! So recently, on a lot of these news shows, there’s been mentions about Twitter.com. For example, after a feature about foreclosures or something there might be three websites listed on TV, including a Facebook page, a MySpace page and now a Twitter.com page!

 

I had no idea what Twitter was and so I decided to do some research and really figure it out. As I was checking on it I found someone’s blog who pointed out that a bunch of NBA players have Twitter accounts. Then on my own I found some other NBA players with accounts. Some of the players are listed below.

Rashad McCants
Fabricio Oberto
Brian Cardinal
Chris Bosh
Andrew Bogut
Danny Granger
Steve Nash
Shaq
Charlie Villanueva
Tyson Chandler
Jalen Rose @jalen rose
Dwight Howard @dwight_howard
Baron Davis @baron_davis
Alvin Gentry @alvingentry
Jason Richardson
Troy Murphy
Mark Cuban

So I signed up for Twitter myself to try to figure it out. After about three weeks of trial and error I feel that I finally understand what Twitter is all about. Here are some of the things Twitter is good for:

1) Expression: Twitter is a way for people to express themselves in 140 characters or less. For those of us that use Facebook, it’s almost like a Facebook ‘status update.’ For example, I just looked at Tyson Chandler’s Twitter account: Click Here, and it says: “Time 2 run off another 7.8.9.10.11 in a row.” This message is broadcast to anyone who is “following” Tyson Chandler on Twitter.

2) It’s Public: You can request that your Twitter updates are only shared with people approved by you. But most athletes have their Twitter accounts open to the public so that anyone can see what is going on with them. Not only are these Twitter.com pages public, but they also are indexed by the Google bots, which effectively open up their posts to the Google search engine as well.

3) Communicate with People: Through Twitter, if I am “following” someone, then that someone is able to send me a direct “private message” or basically an email that is 140 characters or less. If they are “following” me, then I can also send that person a private message.

4) You know what people are seeing and thinking around the world: This is probably the coolest thing that I like about Twitter. As the Wall Street journal article points out,

“During the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November, people scoured Twitter for postings from eye witnesses. When US Airways Flight 1549 landed in the Hudson River, one of the first pictures was posted as a link on Twitter.”

So basically Twitter is a great way to get up to the minute info on events and ideas that are out there.

So basically you can search all of these public 140 character mini blogs to see what is going on in the world. I tried to figure out how to do this, but I couldn’t figure out how to search Twitter.com. Then on an obscure blog, someone indicated that there appears to be a “beta” search page that is not very well known to the general public. It is www.search.twitter.com.
For example, try going to the search.twitter.com page and typing in “stimulus package.” You can then see what other twitter users around the country are thinking, wondering, and talking about as it relates to the stimulus package.

As far as the NBA players listed above, it’s unclear to me if the athletes themselves are updating their status or if they have a friend doing it for them. I update my own twitter page: www.twitter.com/madsen_mark, but I also know of another player who has an account, but his agent or someone else updates his status for him.

I think Shaq writes his own Tweets personally, but I haven’t asked him about it yet. Twitter allows you to write a brief bio about yourself on your Twitter page as well so that people can figure out a little bit about who you are. Andrew Bogut’s Bio reads: Pro Athlete Living in Milwauke,WI. Grew up in Melbourne,Australia!

Here is what Shaq’s Bio read: VERY QUOTATIOUS, I PERFORM RANDOM ACTS OF SHAQNESS.

I’d be interested to know if MLB or if the NHL or even the NFL players are out there on Twitter the same way some of the NBA players are! We’ve got Steve Nash and Shaq on Twitter. Between the two of them, that’s several MVP awards and four championship rings, and these guys are out there sharing their NBA experiences with fans and supporters on Twitter.com. How many other professional athlete blogs can rival the creativity and fearlessness of the Gilbert Arenas blog?

There’s been a lot of talk about the new collective bargaining agreement coming up for negotiation in two years time in the NBA. When I see players like Charlie Villanueva and retired players like Jalen Rose reaching out to the fans via Twitter.com, it tells me that guys in the NBA are out there wanting to connect with fans. These players love the game of basketball and want to continue to make our league one of the most fan friendly leagues in the world. Remember Chris Bosh posting his video on Youtube campaigning for him to be sent to the All-Star game? That was a classic! As the playoff inch closer, I’m amazed by how great and passionate NBA fans are. And at the same time, you gotta love they way great players like Shaq, Steve Nash and others are out there sharing their personality and their thoughts about this game we all love.

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old leather ball, Phone Call, Kevin Garnett, Michael Curry, Michael Curry, Minnesota, NBA Players
I got the phone call I have been waiting for all season long this morning!! about old leather ball Photo: shutterstock.com
I got the phone call I have been waiting for all season long this morning!! Michael Curry of the N.B.A. administrative offices called me on my way to practice and told me that the old leather ball is coming back…..THIS SEASON!! He asked me to go into the locker room and find out how long it would take the guys to adjust back to the leather ball. Troy Hudson said it would take him “one practice” to re-adjust to the leather ball. Kevin Garnett said, “Let me practice with it (The old leather) three or four days and I’ll be ready to go again.” I can’t tell you how happy the guys on the team were! It was a great day.

The additional good news is that the NBA is going to form a committee including a wide range of NBA players getting a cross-section of superstars and role players to be part of any ball decisions in the future. I think what the league is saying is that if we do away with the leather ball down the road, let’s work together to find a solution that works for everyone. Michael asked me to approach Kevin Garnett to see if he would like to play a major role on the committee. When I told KG about it, he was excited and regardless of whether or not he is able to make every meeting, I think he is going to be giving a lot of input on the ball situation in the future whether he chooses to do it formally or informally.

Lastly, I’m waiting for the A.I. situation to be resolved. This morning in our locker room, we were all kind of aware that if the longshot odds come true and A.I. comes to Minnesota then some of us might be packing our bags.

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Russian spy, Dallas, Mark Cuban, Ivanka, Donald Trump,
Mark Cuban is an American businessman, investor, and owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks,Landmark Theatres, and Magnolia Pictures. Photo: shutterstock.com
Some of the conversations on the team bus are pretty interesting. On our recent trip to Dallas, while we pulled into the American Airlines arena, I was pretty interested by the topics. The first topic was the former Russian spy who died from plutonium 200 poisoning in London. The next topic was a bit more out of People magazine.

You see, when you get 15 athletes on the road physically exerting ourselves at away games and away practices we get really tired. So when we get to the hotel we flop down on the bed and watch a little TV to unwind. So we all become current event junkies.

So after the Russian spy situation was analyzed, the conversation turned to a recent interview by Donald Trump. I must say that I have come to LOVE the interviews that Donald Trump gives. In the last two years, I’ve seen two different interviews with Trump on Larry King live–Trump is a great personality and a brilliant business person. Forget the Real Estate business Donald, you should be an entertainer! I used to be totally indifferent to Donald Trump but now I love listening to him because everything he says is so full of conviction and so opinionated.

So going over on the bus to the Dallas game, it was KG, Ricky Davis, Trenton, Troy Hudson and me in the back. The guys were re-hashing the Trump interview. Here’s what they were saying on the bus. Apparently Trump said a few things of interest including the following:

1) Mark Cuban (Dallas mavericks owner and founder of many companies) is not a “real billionaire.” But somehow I guess Trump later recanted this statement or said he was mis-quoted. [After all, it is tough to argue with Forbes magazine]

2) His daughter Ivanka (Currently single) who is a model turned Wharton School of Finance graduate (top MBA school in the world) “should date a winner” according to her father. Maybe someone who is a professional athlete like Tom Brady. (New England Patriots quarterback). [I have to admit, I feel like I know the entire Trump family from the various interviews that I’ve seen on late night TV over the years!]

It’s cool to sit there are hear KG talking about what Donald Trump said on TV or what Trenton has learned about the British-Soviet connection in the Spy’s death. Of course within the world of the NBA when someone from the outside world goes at one of our own, (We consider Mark Cuban one of our own), we always stick with our guy and even though I love Donald Trump, Mark Cuban is well-loved in the NBA fraternity and he’s our guy. Once Trump buys the New York Knicks he’ll be on par with Cuban within the circles of NBA players.

We almost won the Dallas game that night. Once again, we saw Randy Foye come inches away from leading us to the promised land in the 4th quarter. After the we lost the game by a few points and we were crossing the court to go to the tunnel Mark Cuban came up to me and said “Hey, come to my blog anytime and post another comment!” www.blogmaverick.com

I had posted a comment on one of his posts about the new NBA ball a few weeks ago.

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Training Camp, Craig Smith, Randy Foye, NBA Players, Glen Taylor, Newcomer
We have just finished day #2 of training camp and how good our two new rookies are. Photo: shutterstock.com
We have just finished day #2 of training camp and most of us are exhausted. The biggest surprise so far to me is just how good our two new rookies are. Randy Foye is a scoring guard who seems to be able to go around anyone on the perimeter at will. Craig Smith is a beast. Craig is about 270 pounds and he is really light on his feet and he scores really well inside with both hands. It’s hard to think of who you might be able to compare Craig Smith to. Part of me wants to compare him to Charles Barkley, but I think a comparison to Elton Brand could be a good one too. As far as Randy Foye, I would compare him to Baron Davis or Chauncey Billups. Both of our rookies are extremely strong and continue to impress everyone.

Our first day here in Mankato started with having an awesome dinner at our team owner’s house (Glen Taylor) in Mankato. Glen has really done a lot of interesting things with his life. The one thing he told us at our meeting was that if we ever wanted to just crash and get away from our hotel in Mankato that we could go over to his house anytime and crash, watch TV, play video games, etc. I’ve never heard of a team owner giving an open invitation to his home to his team of NBA players but it was well received by the team. The only problem is that none of us has been able to take him up on it because we are going two practices a day and we mostly just try to recuperate at the hotel between practices.

During our first team meeting, newcomer, Mike James told the entire team something like, “We’re all grown men here….if somebody has a problem go to the person directly and say what’s on your mind and let the repurcussions follow.” Mike is a GREAT guy to be around and has been playing really well.

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Training Camp, Craig Smith, Randy Foye, NBA Players, Glen Taylor, Newcomer
We have just finished day #2 of training camp and how good our two new rookies are. Photo: shutterstock.com
We have just finished day #2 of training camp and most of us are exhausted. The biggest surprise so far to me is just how good our two new rookies are. Randy Foye is a scoring guard who seems to be able to go around anyone on the perimeter at will. Craig Smith is a beast. Craig is about 270 pounds and he is really light on his feet and he scores really well inside with both hands. It’s hard to think of who you might be able to compare Craig Smith to. Part of me wants to compare him to Charles Barkley, but I think a comparison to Elton Brand could be a good one too. As far as Randy Foye, I would compare him to Baron Davis or Chauncey Billups. Both of our rookies are extremely strong and continue to impress everyone.

Our first day here in Mankato started with having an awesome dinner at our team owner’s house (Glen Taylor) in Mankato. Glen has really done a lot of interesting things with his life. The one thing he told us at our meeting was that if we ever wanted to just crash and get away from our hotel in Mankato that we could go over to his house anytime and crash, watch TV, play video games, etc. I’ve never heard of a team owner giving an open invitation to his home to his team of NBA players but it was well received by the team. The only problem is that none of us has been able to take him up on it because we are going two practices a day and we mostly just try to recuperate at the hotel between practices.

During our first team meeting, newcomer, Mike James told the entire team something like, “We’re all grown men here….if somebody has a problem go to the person directly and say what’s on your mind and let the repurcussions follow.” Mike is a GREAT guy to be around and has been playing really well.

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Fred Hoiberg, Assistant General Manager, Jason Collier, TimberWolves, NBA, NBA Players,
Fred Hoiberg gets promoted as Assistant General Manager. Photo: shutterstock.com
Fred Hoiberg is now assistant GM! It has been a tumultous past year for Fred Hoiberg. Ever since he had major heart surgery last summer he has been dying to return to his playing days as one of the best shooters ever to play in the NBA. A few days ago, the Timberwolves announced that they were formalizing his employment with the team as Assistant General Manager along with our old friend Rob Babcock.

I think because of Fred’s experience along with the tragic death of fellow NBA player and former teammate, Jason Collier, the NBA has made mandatory cardiovascular testing a requirement for all NBA players. I will have to get on a treadmill with all of the cables attached to my chest next Tuesday in order to determine if I have any heart irregularities along with the rest of the NBA. Trenton Hassell did his testing yesterday along with a few other of the guys.

Well, I promised I was going to write a little bit more about Randy Foye, but he has been off at “Rookie Transition Camp” so I’m going to wait until he gets back. Rookie Transition camp was a very interesting experience for me. Every single incoming rookie in the NBA has to attend or get fined $10,000.00. When I was there, they brought in accountants, image consultants, financial advisors, and conflict resolution people who try to teach us how to stay calm when things get heated. Overall it was good. I remember when David Stern came in to talk to us about the NBA. He was really cool to all of the guys and actually gave out his email address to all of us and said that if we ever had any concerns, complaints, or questions, to email him directly. The one area that I have communicated directly with the league on is rules for cheap shots. During a game, all of us can handle unintentional elbows to the head, throat, back, etc. What really gets most NBA players mad though is when they get hit with a cheap shot. I’m going to report back to all of you when they read us the new rules for the coming year, and if I don’t like what I hear I am going to protest to the league and through our liason, Billy Hunter.

Lastly, I wanted to let you all know that Daniel Santiago has been working out with us and he’s been looking pretty good. Daniel is a longtime friend of mine as we played a lot together in LA and we are the same age. Daniel is about 7’1″ and he can shoot. He is from Puerto Rico and has had huge games in international competition against guys like Tim Duncan, and the rest of the US team. I think Dan brings a very intelligent, and tough big guy to mix.

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Fred Hoiberg, Assistant General Manager, Jason Collier, TimberWolves, NBA, NBA Players,
Fred Hoiberg gets promoted as Assistant General Manager. Photo: shutterstock.com
Fred Hoiberg is now assistant GM! It has been a tumultous past year for Fred Hoiberg. Ever since he had major heart surgery last summer he has been dying to return to his playing days as one of the best shooters ever to play in the NBA. A few days ago, the Timberwolves announced that they were formalizing his employment with the team as Assistant General Manager along with our old friend Rob Babcock.

I think because of Fred’s experience along with the tragic death of fellow NBA player and former teammate, Jason Collier, the NBA has made mandatory cardiovascular testing a requirement for all NBA players. I will have to get on a treadmill with all of the cables attached to my chest next Tuesday in order to determine if I have any heart irregularities along with the rest of the NBA. Trenton Hassell did his testing yesterday along with a few other of the guys.

Well, I promised I was going to write a little bit more about Randy Foye, but he has been off at “Rookie Transition Camp” so I’m going to wait until he gets back. Rookie Transition camp was a very interesting experience for me. Every single incoming rookie in the NBA has to attend or get fined $10,000.00. When I was there, they brought in accountants, image consultants, financial advisors, and conflict resolution people who try to teach us how to stay calm when things get heated. Overall it was good. I remember when David Stern came in to talk to us about the NBA. He was really cool to all of the guys and actually gave out his email address to all of us and said that if we ever had any concerns, complaints, or questions, to email him directly. The one area that I have communicated directly with the league on is rules for cheap shots. During a game, all of us can handle unintentional elbows to the head, throat, back, etc. What really gets most NBA players mad though is when they get hit with a cheap shot. I’m going to report back to all of you when they read us the new rules for the coming year, and if I don’t like what I hear I am going to protest to the league and through our liason, Billy Hunter.

Lastly, I wanted to let you all know that Daniel Santiago has been working out with us and he’s been looking pretty good. Daniel is a longtime friend of mine as we played a lot together in LA and we are the same age. Daniel is about 7’1″ and he can shoot. He is from Puerto Rico and has had huge games in international competition against guys like Tim Duncan, and the rest of the US team. I think Dan brings a very intelligent, and tough big guy to mix.

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Blog, Football Pad, Nick Collison, Supersonics, NBA Players, Miami Heat, Kevin Mchale, Wally Szcerbaik, Fred Hoiberg, Kevin Garnett
It's been tough with losing lately and so tonight, now that we just won, I can be happy and return to the keyboard. Photo: Shutterstock.com
I’m sorry that I’ve been away from the typewriter for so long……it’s been tough with losing lately and so tonight, now that we just won, I can be happy and return to the keyboard. I played our game tonight with some sort of football pad on the right, lower part of my back. It’s a little strange to play a game so strapped up, but I had really bruised my back two days ago and I needed some kind of protection. The funny thing is that the opponent knows when you are hurt from their own scouting report and from the fact that when you’re on defense, you constantly touch your man’s back to feel where he is so that you can watch the ball. Tonight on the court, Nick Collison from the Supersonics asked me how my back was during the game. He said he had watched the tape and saw me fall. He was really nice about everything as most NBA players are.

I must say that two years ago I had a hurt back (broken bone) and I was playing with the injury and someone from another team purposely hit me there. (I’m not going to give a name). By and large, most NBA players don’t try to dirty stuff like that, but there is always a few people out there who try stunts like that.

If any of you have seen our schedule, you will know that we will be in Miami on Dec. 31st. We play the Heat on Jan 1. I’m hoping the Miami Heat players really enjoy the new year and stay out as late as they want! 🙂 I’m probably going to be in the room kind of early but let me let you guys in on a little secret. I have NEVER been on an NBA team with a curfew. That’s the honest truth. I think it may be against the collective bargaining agreement of the NBA or something. Actually I think most of the guys on our team are very responsible when it comes to getting enough rest and understanding that rest is important. Most of the guys on this team don’t really go out late at night and Coach Casey and Kevin McHale let us police ourselves as we’re all grown men.

Wally Szcerbiak has been on fire lately. It’s almost 1am and I just read the ESPN.com AP story on our game against Seattle. I always like to see the media’s perception of things and then compare it to the inside. When I read the article two quotes jumped out at me. The first quote came from Wally when he said:

“My philosophy is any open look is an open look.”

Comment: Anyone who watches our games knows this is true. If wally has even one inch to shoot, then the ball is going up. Wally and Fred Hoiberg are the two best shooters I have ever seen in my entire life.
Said Casey: “Kevin and Wally are playing at an All-Star level.”

Comment: I really believe that both Wally and KG deserve to be invited to the all-star game.
I thought I would just share a quick little update on Fred Hoiberg. I played a three-on-three game with Freddie last week and the guy looked great. He may be the first player ever to play in the NBA with a pacemaker. It’s a little unusual because when he does practice he’s got this protective cover he puts over the pacemaker that looks like a little box under his uniform. I truly believe that Fred will be back in the NBA as a player if that’s what he and his wife decide on and if the doctors give their OK. I know that Fred has a very important test coming up on Jan 3rd down in Rochester so let’s all pull for him!

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Cleveland, Minneapolis, Rashad McCants, Eddie Griffin, Troy Hudson, Trenton Hassell, Wally Szczerbiak, NBA
We win against Cleveland and we're flying back to minneapolis on our charter plane.

We just beat Cleveland by a few points and it’s midnight and we’re flying back to Minneapolis on our charter plane. I normally sit a few seats behind K.G., so I can hear him laughing a little bit with Rashad McCants and Eddie Griffin about some of the things that the other team was saying during the game tonight. To my right, Troy Hudson is reading a music magazine and Trenton Hassell is playing a PS2 game of tennis. Directly behind me, Wally Szczerbiak is playing PS2 football against our video coordinator.

As for me, I’m still recovering from the nutrition pep talk that Wally just gave me. On Saturday we arrived in Cleveland at 2:00 a.m. and I was hungry, so I popped open the mini-bar and downed about 1,000 calories-worth of caramel corn. I confessed this nutrition sin to Wally (I will remind you that he was featured in Men’s Fitness magazine last season) and he chastised me and gave me a talk comparing one’s body to a bonfire. “If you throw a big log on the fire, it will almost put the fire out at first. But if you put a lot of little pieces of wood in, the fire burns constantly throughout the day. Your metabolism is the same thing” Wally wants me to eat five meals a day instead of three. Every time I eat anything that’s not oatmeal, egg whites or whole wheat bread, he sounds the alarm. Hey, I’m trying to keep some weight on to be able to bang around with the big men in this league. I need to make sure I stay right in my comfort zone of 252 pounds. If I get too light, they’ll hammer me in the paint.

As we jet back to the Twin Cities, I’m reminiscing with Troy about the first trip we were on together in June of 2003. It was on a 747 bound for Kuwait and we were on our way to visit the U.S. Military through an organization called the USO. The USO, made famous by Bob Hope, was conceived to build the morale of the U.S. Military overseas through entertainment. Through the USO, five of us from the NBA volunteered. Normally only the superstars would likely have been invited, but because there were some security concerns at the time, the opportunity trickled down to a role player like me. We were joined by a few NFL players, Kid Rock, rap groups, country music singers, the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, Alyssa Milano, and a bunch of other famous people I didn’t know. Troy reminded me that “there were a lot of egos on that plane, but everyone came together like family” in an effort to show the U.S. troops how much folks at home care about them.

One of the first things we did as NBA players was go to three different bases and put on basketball clinics with the soldiers. At one of the bases in Kuwait, the soldiers beat Shawn Marion, Cherokee Parks and Troy in a three-point shootout. The gym got so loud it almost felt like a playoff game. Another day we split up and I went with a group to the former Saddam Hussein International Airport in Baghdad. Kid Rock was in the same group and he got up on the makeshift stage and sang “Sweet Home Alabama” to 5,000 troops in a hanger with tanks and helicopters in the background. Everyone there went crazy and loved it, despite the 110+ degree heat.

I think seeing the U.S. Military in action was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. Words can’t describe the respect that I have for the men and women of the armed services. I know a lot of you may have loved ones in the military serving here at home or overseas. May they have a great holiday season and most importantly, may they come home quickly and safely.

Have a great week.

Thanks,

Mark