Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Can The New York Knicks Be Fixed?

The New York Knicks have problems.

It is very easy to pounce on a team that underachieved in the playoffs, bowing out in the second round to the Indiana Pacers. But it runs a lot deeper than just a poor showing in the postseason.

The Problems

Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire are set to make $35 million combined over the next two years. Marcus Camby is set to make $8 million over the next two seasons. That is a ton of money for three players who were non-existant over the last thirty days of the Knicks season.

Surprisingly, Chandler had one of his better rebounding season, averaging over ten rebounds per game for just the second time in his career. But injury/flu/fatigue led to a laughably poor showing against Indiana as Roy Hibbert completely dominated him. Chandler will be entering his 13th NBA season and I expect some decline. But ultimately, he's going to be their center and should bounce back.

Camby's contract -- albeit not crushing -- is a gigantic waste unless he retires. It wouldn't shock me if that happens, but I'm sure he'd love to be paid to sit at the end of the bench.

Then there's Stoudemire. What the hell do you do with this guy? Sure, he could come back and be a key piece next season, but how can you trust that? Even when he was healthy (let's use February as his peak), he averaged just under 15 pts/gm and 5.6 rbs/gm. $44+ million for that kind of production is not going to get it done.

The Asset

Iman Shumpert is the Knicks most valuable player. He's young, he's due very little money, and he's coming off a great playoff run. Don't let the points fool you (a shade over 9/gm); Shumpert was the second-best player on the Knicks' roster. He's ferocious defensively and has continued to show signs of getting better.

The worry with Shumpert is the ACL he tore last postseason. It took him a few weeks to play in an NBA game, and arguably a half of a season to get back to how he played last year.

The Leader

I'm going to just come right out and say it. Carmelo Anthony is not an elite NBA player.

Melo is one of the most prolific scorers in the league. He is outstanding in isolation and can get off any shot at any time. But I'm starting to worry if he can single handedly carry a team on his own.

Melo's wanted to be a Lebron James for years, but at some point, the NBA world has to accept that he is not that. He's only made it out of the first round twice. And while his numbers have either equaled or improved, the continuous seasons of underachieving has finally made me believe that he needs better talent around him rather than just being "the guy".

The Solution

There aren't many moved the Knicks can make. I highly doubt any team is going to take Stoudemire straight up. Obviously they aren't trading Melo, so how can this team be fixed? I think the answer is trading the Knicks one true asset in Shumpert.

Listen, I love Shumpert and absolutely think he'll be a very good NBA player. But you have to win now and this team is setup for that.

The Knicks can kill two stones by packaging Shumpert with Amare or Chandler. Trading Chandler might not be the most popular opinion, but the possibility exists that with the amount of games he has played, he could be heading towards the downside of his career. One thing history suggests is that NBA centers fall very quickly.

But let's say they can get by with keeping Chandler. That leads Amar'e. I really believe a team will take Amar'e and the two years left on his deal to also acquire Shumpert. It's about finding the right trade partner.

The Possibilities

Paul Pierce: Pierce has one year left on his deal. He can still score and would be a perfect compliment to Melo. But age is a BIG factor and Pierce had plenty of moments this year where he looked worn down. If Pierce were a year or two younger, I think it would make sense, but I think it's a bit too late to explore this option.

Rajon Rondo: This one is a bit more interesting. There's been rumors that the Celtics might be intrigued with trading Rondo. This type of deal would have drawbacks from both sides. Do the Celtics want to be saddled with Kevin Garnett/Pierce/Stoudemire with no point guard? Do the Knicks want to take a risk on Rondo coming back healthy? Would the Knicks also take on Brandon Bass's contract (The Celtics would also need to throw in a middle-tier contract and Bass makes the most sense)? The idea of having Rondo is nice, I just don't think both sides could make this work.

Joe Johnson: The Knicks could probably do a Johnson/Stoudemire deal straight up, but I really don't think they want to be saddled with Johnson until 2016. I'd consider this a very last resort.

Dirk Nowitzki: See Paul Pierce (plus Nowitzki has a no-trade clause AND the Knicks would probably have to take on Vince Carter as well). Just don't see this happening.

Pau Gasol/Steve Nash: Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. This would be quite the shake up. It's due-able if the Knicks give up Stoudemire/Shumpert/Raymond Felton. We've heard Gasol's name in potential deals for years. And I really think the Lakers are fully ready to give up Nash, who has one-year left on his deal. But this means the Lakers would have to take a small step back. And I think the Lakers focus is going to be on how to deal with the Kobe Bryant issue. This trade feels more like fantasy land than real life.

Chris Paul: And here's one of the more interesting "what ifs". Knicks give up Stoudemire/Shumpert/Felton for Paul/Caron Butler. There's a lot of things that need to go right with this trade but it absolutely is a consideration. Paul would have to decide he doesn't want to be a Clipper. The Clippers would have to be sold on Stoudemire (and probably find a suitor for DeAndre Jordan). Imagine a Knicks lineup with Anthony and Paul? The naysayers from the Knicks end are doing to say that Paul has fizzled in the playoffs early and will wonder if his legs can hold up through the length of his new deal. But stars win in the NBA. And this could be the game changer.

The Result

Ultimately, I think the Knicks stand pat. Stoudemire's health is just too much of an uncertainty and I really don't know if another team would want to take on the risk. Both the Knicks as well as (insert trading partner) have to ask themselves "What will Amar'e Stoudemire be giving me in the next few years?"

I didn't even touch on the coach, but I'd give it a 50/50 chance Mike Woodson is fired.  If he is let go, it might be even more of a realistic opportunity that the Knicks explore trades so that whoever the new coach is can almost start new.

But the future of the Knicks is going to fall on their star and how the team can build around him.

As a fan......I am definitely worried.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

When a Video Game is More Than A Video Game

I wrote this blog post a long time ago for another site, but since I love it so much, I figured I'd re-post it here (Cop out, right? I've just had nothing noteworthy to write about in a few days). But to be fair, I added a few additional notes in this one. Enjoy!

We all played them growing up. Sports games were a part of our lives. The thrill of rushing home to start up the new release of a game was a feeling like no other. All of us didn't just play the game. We lived the game. There were two in particular that set the video game bar in my life.

The NHL Series (The Sega Genesis): If you watched the movie Swingers, you have an even better understand of why these games were great (Especially NHL '94 and '96). What was better than playing on ice that was too small and with players that were too quick?

The best features of this game were the little ones. I loved the Spin-O-Rama move that they instituted later on (I think in 1995, don't quote me). I found it hilarious that you can do a little ballerina twirl and get by three players. Best of all, the Spin-O-Rama was the Start button. How stupid is that? Somehow, it worked.

What also worked was the wrap-around goal. You can have a player go behind the net, come around and score. The goalies were always too slow to react to this. They did make it a little harder in NHL '96 to pull the move off, but if you were down 4-3 with 5 minutes left, it was your best bet.

Now I don't know if this was just a glitch or it was just my game, but anytime I popped in my game after a long period of not playing and tried to load up my season as the Rangers, it would always vanish. It was like the game was punishing me for not playing. It was telling me "You ignored me for so long? You will pay for this!"

The older NHL games didn't really have a franchise mode. You could play a whole season but once it ended, it ended.

One of the more underrated features is the moment after the Stanley Cup is won. A random player will come out holding the actual cup with the team surrounding them. I thought that was beyond cool.

I just loved getting a quick game with my buddies and just playing to see who allowed the most goals. I can go three years without playing it, pop in my Sega Genesis, and my night is fulfilled.

The NHL series was simple and to the point. It was money and everyone knew it.

The Madden Series (Any system): I could spend about 25 posts just on the Madden series by itself. I mainly went the Sega to Playstation route, with a little Dreamcast and XBox thrown in there. I don't know one male under the age of 25 who did not have a Franchise mode that lasted less than three seasons. Not only could you play a season, but you could draft and scout players, building them up into future superstars. My teams became grouped into my favorite teams. If I lost a game, I'd be miserable the rest of my night.

One of my favorite all-time athletes (Right below Derek Jeter and Patrick Ewing) was my RB in Madden '02: Doug Hamilton. He was an absolute beast and was about 90% of my offense. With Ogden Traylor manning the QB position, my team would dominate any level (Yes, his name was Ogden. A hilarious feature of Madden is the made-up player names, which would just shuffle first and last names of existing players). When Madden '03 came out, I felt just a little sad getting the new game, because that meant I had to start a new franchise (I haven't played Madden in about six or seven years, but I think they allow transferring of rosters from one game to the next. If they don't, then that is just stupid).

I was also one of those losers who played online when if first came out (PS2 in 2004 or 2005, forgot the year). I could pop in your game and play against someone from another country. My ultimate goal was to beat the top players. My claim to fame was beating the 9th player in the world. I felt proud than getting into college.

I also loved the players that were great in Madden but awful in real life. I could make a list of guys who had 98 Speed or 95 Throwing Accuracy but were fourth stringers rotting on the bench of a real team. Trung Candidate had the skills of Barry Sanders. Michael Bishop had a cannon of an arm. Jerome Mathis had about a 99 in everything (Coincidentally, it's probably the amount of receiving yards he amassed as a pro).

Were there plenty of bugs? Of course there were. You could run the same curl route with a big WR and he'll catch it 9 out of 10 times. Ten years ago when Michael Vick was on the cover, he could run around all day and find a way to get 20 yards. I was able to routinely kick 59-yard FGs as if my kicker had the leg of Pele. My biggest issue with the whole online thing was people would cheat. There was some weird bug where if someone toggled their Internet connection and if it was done just right, the player could disconnect from their game and not suffer a loss. It was absurd and happened against me a ton of times (I'm STILL getting fired up over this).

But even the flaws is what made the game unique. Madden became its own sport.

This was part of my life growing up. Unfortunately, when you grow up, you are too busy to play video games. But there's always that one rainy Sunday afternoon when you can pop in that old video game and remember the days of your childhood.

Everyone had a franchise that lost the Super Bowl two years in a row or a Jari Curri who scored 65 goals in your season. If you could go back in time to play one more season as the St. Louis Rams, you'd do it in a heartbeat.

Everyone has a story.

But now the most pressing question. Do I draft Pete Welker or Hardy Barnes with my first-round pick?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Stock Investing for the Non Investor

If you have any money stashed away, invest it in the stock market.

I've been following for as long as I remember. As a ten-year old, I'd take The Daily News, flip to the sports section, then just as any normal kid would do (not!), turn to the stock pages. I'd look at companies which I knew (Nike, McDonald's) and see their current stock prices as well as what they did the day before. My dad turned me onto his favorite stock, Philip Morris (now known as Altria). Almost two decades later, I still learn each and every day.

There are plenty of people out there who couldn't tell what a dividend is. But I'm going to do my best to help give some basic tips to get you started on your investing journey. If you stick to these notes, you'll be well on your way.

Keep It Simple

My fiance is a huuuuuuuuuuge fan of Costco. She'll come home from shopping and comment on how amazingly juicy the Costco fruit is. Her, her mom, and my parents have been avid Costco shoppers since last year. And since Mr. Costco has come into our lives, the stock has jumped from $80 to $110.

Point is, companies that are a big part of your life are usually good places to start investing in. Don't worry about random companies you've never heard of. I'll bet you have not a clue what Baidu does (Just for fun, they are the Chinese equivalent to Google). But they were an extremely popular stock pick in the last few years. Had you bought Baidu in July of 2011, you would have lost half of your investment today.

For every Baidu, there are stocks that I'm sure would've given some big gains. But it is not worth the risk. Stick to the companies that you know and love. My advice would be to track stores and products you buy on a daily basis. Assuming you follow public companies (companies can also be private, but you cannot publicly invest in them as a stock), I bet they would be far valuable five years from now then they are now.

Simple Investments: Nike, Disney, eBay.


A lot of stocks payout a dividend. A dividend is a portion of a company's earnings that are handed right to it's shareholders.

Not every company pays a dividend, but usually strong companies not only pay out dividends, but also raise their dividends every year.

Let's take Johnson and Johnson for example. Back in 2003, JNJ (their ticker symbol) paid our a 24-cent quarterly dividend. Today, they payout a 61-cent quarterly dividend. Combine that with the fact that JNJ was $51/share in 2003 and now over $80/share, and you have yourself a very nice return.

You'll probably hear the term "Dividend Reinvestment". Some people choose to take their dividend and just keep the money. But the shrewd investor will reinvest that dividend into the company and buy more shares of the stock. Imagine taking that JNJ dividend and buying more stock each quarter?

Dividends can come in all shapes and sizes. My rule of thumb is to look for stocks which have a track record of raising dividends each year and yield anywhere from 2.5% to 5.5% (Yield is the yearly dividend divided by it's stock price). What's better a stock paying that to you every year, or the money that makes less than 0.75% in your savings account?

Dividend-paying stocks aren't going to net you crazy gains, but the long-term investor will be rewarded nicely.

Safe Companies: Verizon, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Pfizer

Read, Read, Read

The ten-year-old me picked up on this early. But try to get a hold of as much information as humanly possible. The beauty of public companies is that they have to disclose all of their quarterly and yearly finances. If Nike lost $300 million last year, the information is right there.

I'd say the service that has helped accelerate my knowledge is Twitter. Most of the stock gurus are not just posting every hour, but some will even give their own trades.

The one drawback to Twitter is it seems like no one ever loses money. People will gloat about their victories, but never even hint at a defeat. My rule of thumb is to trust A) People I have heard of or B) People with over 10,000 followers.

But I guarantee you that the more you read, the better grasp you'll get on the stock market. It's all free (well not all, but most of it is) and just a click away.

Free Information:, Motley Fool, CNBC, CNNMoney, Forbes, AOL Finance

Earning Power

One of my favorite indicators to look at is P/E, which stands for Price-to-Earnings. A company's P/E is the stock price divided by their yearly earnings. So if the stock price is $200 and a company made $20/share, their P/E is 10 (people refer to this as their Trailing P/E for their past earnings). There's Forward P/E as well, which is the stock price divided by it's future earnings. So if that same company has future earnings of $25/share in 2013, their Forward P/E is 8.

My general rule is to focus on companies that has a P/E in the 12-18 range. That range is considered valued to undervalued, but there's plenty of other factors.

You might find a company like Dell with a lower P/E than most and think it's undervalued. The problem is if a company's earnings are shrinking, then the P/E can be deceptive, because they are not growing. On the opposite end, a company like Netflix has a P/E of 500, but because they have extremely high growth potential, they are valued much higher.

Every stock and sector utilizes a much different baseline P/E. There a current cycle where technology has a lower average P/E (Figure the 10 to 13 range) because people fear those companies are lagging in growth. Those fears are probably overblown, but it's something to keep in mind when evaluating a stock.

Overall though, if you focus on P/E's in the highlighted range for growing companies, you'll end up finding value.

Undervalued P/Es: Apple, Chevron, IBM, Wells Fargo

Penny Stocks For Dummies

Just stay away from penny stocks. Far away. I'm sure you've seen or heard proclamations that a stock can make you 10000% if you buy it.

There's a reason why a penny stock is a penny stock. They are nothing more than a sucker bet. Sure, a penny stock could get you short-term gains. But in the long run, those stocks are $0.

The ONLY time I'd recommend taking a chance is on a company you know. Kodak is currently in penny stock land, but the possibility exists that another company buys them out or they make a grand comeback. Pier One was heading to it's death in 2009 but made some huge changes. Now, the stock is $24/share. It's a small possibility that these type of companies make a comeback, so you have to tread with caution.

Penny Stocks to Avoid: Companies with "Q" in it's name, Stocks on the OTCBB exchange (When these two things happen, it's considered the equivalent of stock death)

Other Tips

-Don't chase stocks: Stocks don't go up forever. If there's a company you like, be patient and buy it at a price you feel comfortable at. Remember, there's thousands of stocks to choose from, so if you miss out on a move in a stock, there are plenty of others.
-Taxes: If you sell a stock you've held for less than a year, any gains are taxed at whatever tax bracket you are in (usually 25% to 30%). Stock gains from ones you have held over a year are taxed at 15%. You are only taxed when you sell.
-Write-Offs: If you lose money, you can write off those losses on your taxes up to $3,000. Any losses over $3,000 can be carried over into following years.
-Be Patient: Don't refresh your screen every five seconds hoping for your stock to go up. The very best stock investors still have stocks that go down. If experts can't find the very bottom price, how do you expect to?
-Diversify: Don't put all of your eggs in one stock. Spread it around to 5-10 stocks in different sectors.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Nickelodeon Game Show Rankings

Come on, admit it. You've spent about two years of your life watching Nickelodeon.

You'd run home from school, pop on Channel 22 (or 25 or 51) and jump for joy as Stick Stickly popped on the screen.

My personal favorites were the game shows. Who wouldn't want to win a lifetime supply of beef jerky or a $10 Gift Card to Foot Locker?

But which were the best? In my continued series of analyzing some childhood favorites, I bring you the Top-5 Nickelodeon Game Shows!

Honorable Mention: Figure It Out
The Good - Summer Sanders; Amanda Bynes right before her prime; The Secret Slime Action; Prizes included props from other Nick game shows;
The Bad - Lori Beth Denberg; Any joke the little kid from Pete and Pete said; E-List celebrities no one knew;
Fun Fact - Julius Erving was a guest panelist on the show. Really? Dr. J??!?!

My Take: Think of Figure It Out as the stale bread that they put on a table when you first come into a restaurant. You'll eat it. It serves it's purpose. But only because you are hungry. The basic principle of the show is kids coming on as celebrities try to guess their secret talents. And when I say celebrities, I mean recycled stars of other Nick shows.

As host, Summer Sanders definitely added some major points. But there were far better shows out there.

This show completely over killed on bad jokes and fake laughter.

One of the issues with bringing kids on a show is that you don't know if they'll love being on television or if they'll look absolutely frightened. And after analyzing the data, about 95% of the kids had the deer-in-the-headlights look. Luckily, Summer was there to make everything better.

Probably a crazier fact? This show is still on the air! Nick decided to bring it back last year. There's clearly five other shows that were better, and they chose to bring this back? Honorable Mention feels right for this one.

5) Wild and Crazy Kids
The Good - Omar Gooding; The cool shirts; Dizzy Bat Home Run Derby; Human Battleship; Gigantic game of Twister; Slow-Motion replays.
The Bad - The brunette host who had no personality; Voice-over color commentary by the hosts; Terrible athletic performances from the kids.
Fun Fact - Jessica Gaynes (the red headed host) was 14 when she began hosting. Her IMDB hasn't been updated since 1999. She's Lebron James except the complete opposite.

My Take: Wild and Crazy Kids is a show that everyone watched yet is some of the least memorable television. Has anyone ever said "Remember that episode when.....?" Just never happened. I feel like one of out every five kids has been on WCK at some point. Every episode had 100-on-100 relay races, so odds were in your favor.

Stunningly, WCK launched two careers. Omar Gooding became a mildly successful star while Donnie Jeffcoat has been casted in a number of things (Most notably, he was on One Life To Live. I have absolutely no idea if he is still on it. Around ten years ago, he was at our local supermarket being promoted as "Soap Star Donnie Jeffcoat!").

The games were pretty dumb. Never really cared about "Pop Balloons so That Cream Can Fall On Your Head" or "Pin The Tail on the Donkey So That Someone Gets Dunked in a Dunk Tank." Without a doubt though, my favorite game was Dizzy Bat Home Run Derby. I'd come home begging the show to have it. You know how hard it is to spin around ten times then try to hit a ball? Feel like someone needs to call the Olympics and add it as an event.

WCK had some impressive technology. I thought they used the slow-mo instant replays to perfection. They knew exactly when to show a kid pressing a button to blow up a toy car.

WCK had some meat on the bone, but to this day, I just don't feel completely satisfied with the end product.

4) Double Dare
The Good- Marc Summers; Opening of the show jumps right into a game; The Obstacle Course; The Music.
The Bad- Harvey the announcer; Marc Summers' outfits (You host a game show that has slime everywhere and you wear suits?); Spending 45 seconds on one station in the obscale course.
Fun Fact- If you ever had aspirations of being on Double Dare, Orlando has the next best thing. Check out Double Dare Live. And yes, I am absolutely doing this if I ever venture near Disney.

My Take: Ranking Double Dare in this spot is going to cause some controversy. There's a very strong camp that believes Double Dare was the best of the best and that it paved the way for other game shows. The supporters will point to the degree of difficulty in winning Double Dare. You have to answer questions about Presidents and events from the 1800s. I mean, how does an eight-year old know Lincoln's mother's sister's occupation?

The Physical Challenges scared the crap out of me. I couldn't blow up balloons and then sit on them. I would've gotten absolutely creamed.

Then there was the Obstacle Course. The thing that bothered me the most about the course was a kid would get through the first two obstacles with ease, and then get up to looking for a flag in a nose and spent 3/4ths of their time picking the nose. I wanted to throw my Juicy Juice boxes through the screen. Just find the damn flag!

Marc Summers probably was the best host you can find on television. Better than Alex Trebek, better than Wink Martindale (Side note: Please Google Wink Martindale. The guy never ages. I'd include a picture, but it's more fun to have you Google the name Wink Martindale). Summers completely controlled every aspect of Double Dare. I knew when things got messy, Summers would have it all figured out.

With all that though, Double Dare was missing something. The replay value was "meh" at best. I know I couldn't watch more than one episode. I also thought there was just too much going on. You had Summers screaming, Harvey the announcer screaming, the 16 members of the studio audience cheering, the music, the lights, the slime, the goofy set. It was just this giant mess. Double Dare should have combined with Summers other show What Would You Do? (Which was unfortunately omitted from this list due to the fact that it wasn't a game show. Sorry, it just wasn't) and I felt like it could've been one great show.

DD set the bar, but there was better out there.

3) Nick Arcade
The Good- Mikey; Every second of sound effects; The host singing to the sound effects of Mikey walking around town; The round where Mikey travels around the mall; The final round;
The Bad- Mikey getting pied in the face; Unknown video games; Boring questions;
Fun Fact- N'Sync's own Joey Fatone was a contestant on the show. YouTube it. He does a really weird handshake with his partner too.

My Take: This was far and away my favorite show. Sorry to everything else. But a show about video games? I'm just kicking myself for never sending an application in to be on the show. I would've done a Ken Jennings and win like 239039040 straight weeks. Probably racked up about $55 worth of prizes in that run. You don't understand. I played about eight hours a day of Sonic and Ghouls and Ghost as a kid. Maybe Nick knew this and didn't want me to completely own everyone.

Point is, Nick Arcade was fantastic. It revolutionized the gaming industry. To this day, there's really nothing that actually allows you to play inside of a video game. But Nick Arcade's final round did just that.

I thought the host was pretty spectacular. His name is Phil Moore. You knew what he looked like, but no one knew his name. One of those super over-the-top hosts that you couldn't be around for more than 7 minutes. Here's a jaw-dropper: Phil Moore is 51 years old. 51?!?!?!? It took me an hour, but I found a picture of him: Phil Moore = Now

I write for the people though, and I know that there's two other game shows that people liked better. But Nick Arcade SHOULD be No. 1.

2) Guts
The Good- The Aggro Crag; "Let's go to Mo for the scores, Mo"; Global Guts; Nicknames; The video game for SNS (I bet no one knew a video game of Guts existed)
The Bad- Mike O'Malley; Prizes; The Point System
Fun Fact-The Aggro Crag's height was 28 feet. The Super Aggro Crag height was like 150 feet, minus 120 feet. That's right. It was only two feet higher than the regular Crag. Not so super?

My Take: ABC can have Wipeout. NBC can have Splash. The 90s' was all about Guts. They had me at the theme song "Do do do do you have...Guts!" The show spawned a nation of kids to work out with one goal in mind: to win a piece of the Aggro Crag. I was one of the smart ones though. I knew early on that the piece of the Crag was a fraud. It was a piece of plastic that had a light bulb in it. It wasn't a crazy valuable item. It was a piece of plastic! It wasn't even from the Crag itself. They probably used their recyclables from the previous week's garbage to make it. Having said all that, if I ever won a piece, I would've framed it and hung it on my front door.

Out of all of the Nick game shows, host Mike O'Malley has probably had the best career. He was nominated for a freakin' Emmy. This is Mike O'Malley we are talking about. I thought he was the weak point on the show. Him and Mo should've switched roles.

Speaking of Mo, she was awesome. Straight to the point. You jumped over an out of bounds line, bam, Mo gives you a penalty.

I thought the games were pretty spot on. Always wanted to do the bungee cord basketball game. I'm sure some amusement park has something like this. If not, I'm building one in my non-existent backyard.

I wanted to go back to the Aggro Crag for a second. I'm shocked it was only 28 feet in height. I thought the thing rivaled the CN Tower and it took players forever to get up there. Watching it now, a lot of the "obstacles" during the Crag run weren't exactly tough. You had to face elements such as glitter, plastic rocks, and steam. Not exactly climbing Mount Everest.

Whatever, in reality, we all wanted to be on the show. It tested you mentally and physically. The best players won on Guts. And the worst, well...Worst Guts' Player Ever?

1) Legends of the Hidden Temple
The Good- Olmec; The shirts; The gear; Orange Iguanas; The temple
The Bad- The half pendants (This is in my book of my All-Time Great Rants); Olmec's mouth not in sync with voice
Fun Fact- Olmec's voice was played by the same guy (Dee Bradley Baker) who did the voice of Daffy Duck and Tazmanian Devil in Space Jam.

My Take: Okay, let me get my rant out of the way and then we can get to the good stuff. In my head, this makes perfect sense but it might be completely confusing. So in the "Temple Games" round (the round before you enter the temple), there's two teams left. You play three games against each other and the winner goes to the temple. Pretty simple stuff. The first two rounds are worth a half of a pendant and the final round is worth one pendant. Once in the final round (the temple), if a temple guard comes out and nabs you, you can save yourself by using a full pendant or a half pendant. (Both are worth the same value) Great. So let's say a team wins all rounds and gets a full pendant and two half pendants. Rather than allow teams to use three lives (Full Pendant, Half Pendant, Half Pendant), they combine the halves into one full pendant. This would be fine, except let's say a team winds up entering the temple with two lives (Full Pendant, Half Pendant), the half pendant can be used exactly the same as if you had a full pendant. What a freaking scam. This should've been bigger than the MLB steroids controversy. Except seven-year olds were watching this show. And that rant sounds horrendously confusing on paper. Good luck understanding how my brain works.

Besides Pendantgate, this show was flawless. It had the perfect combination of learning (Olmec tells some awesome stories), suspense, action, and heartbreak (I shed tears when teams come so close to winning).

Legends was probably the toughest game out there. Think about a 12-year old during the following: Swim across a lake with a rope in a plastic boat. Then, answer questions about a made-up story. After, go through a series of challenges. And after all that, find your way through a temple filled with guards, swings, a multi-piece silver monkey (Impossible to put together) and jumps. Google should use the temple during their interview process.

Kurt Fogg was fine as a host. There was a period where I actually thought he lived in the temple. And then I see him now and realize he probably just ate the temple: Kirk Fogg Now.

To this day, if someone is spotted on the street wearing a Legends shirt, you'll get at least two comments and three high fives.

Luckily for us, they re-run all episodes on one of the random Nick channels. How amazing is that? It was the king of the Nickelodeon game shows.

And after writing all of this, I miss being a kid. But at least for a few minutes, I was able to relive my childhood.