McGregor Inside Your Head

Over at The 42, Paul Dollery on Conor McGregor’s 2012 fight with Dave Hill:

Since his subsequent rise to the top in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, much has been made of Conor McGregor’s apparent ability to break his opponents mentally before the fight has even begun. Not only is he an immensely talented fighter, but he’s an expert at mind games too.

One wonders how psychological warfare can become such a key component of a contest between two professional fighters. Regardless of whether mind games have been involved, the story always culminates with the athletes settling their differences by locking themselves in a cage and trading blows.

How do words and actions beforehand manage to make that a more intimidating prospect? Hill mentions that he felt “overwhelmed” by McGregor, both at the weigh-ins and during the fight, but how has McGregor managed to master that?

“I think it’s his inner confidence. He’s obviously such a confident bloke. I cleared my head after the weigh-ins but then during the fight he started talking again. He was saying: ‘I’ll go all day with you, you look soft, I’ll go five rounds if you need to.’ Then I started wondering if I should say something back, because I’d never been in that position before.

“So you start thinking of how you’re supposed to react and that kind of messes with your head as well. It’s definitely his confidence and that shows in the way he fights. He’s constantly moving forward, pushing you back and inflicting his game on you, so you don’t get a chance to inflict your game on him.”

Talk all you want about how much you may hate McGregor’s cockiness but he’s the champ and for good reason.

“It was always Tim Duncan.”

Laredo Lloyd on Tim Duncan:

Shaq won three titles with Kobe, one without him, was All-NBA 1st Team eight times, and was the most dominant presence in the game. Kobe, of course, won those three rings with Shaq, two without him, was All-NBA 1st Team 11 times, and was the best post-MJ wing in the game. Ultimately, the greater basketball universe just kind of collectively shrugged and agreed Kobe was the one, and the “best players of their era” cannon was then complete: Bird and Magic, then M.J., then Kobe (and now LeBron).

Alas, we were wrong. Kobe wasn’t the one. And neither was Shaq. It was Tim Duncan.

It was always Tim Duncan.

I find this piece interesting, and I barely follow sports (although I used know a hell of a lot more about basketball in the 90s when I was in high school).

Sochi Sounds Insane

Over at Grantland, Kate Baker on [just how bad it is in Sochi](Just How Bad Is the Scene in Sochi?):

I had yet to eat my breakfast this morning when someone regaled me with a story about a guy staying up in Sochi’s mountaintop media hotel cluster who turned on his faucet and watched as sewage spilled out. Last night, a colleague returned to her room after a long day of work to find the door swung open, a set of keys still dangling from the lock. Nothing was stolen, but a TV had finally been installed. It could have been worse: The door to one guy’s room was supposedly kicked down by workers trying to put in a cable box.
I can’t help but imagine if a young Hunter S. Thompson was alive today.
Imagine the stories he’d bring back.

I always try to create danger.

NYTimes: Lionel Messi: Boy Genius

Tall and lean, Busquets jogged languidly from the circle into the space between Madrid’s central midfield and defense. Messi’s return pass was sharp and direct. Busquets received the ball, pivoted and tapped it lightly. What seemed unthreatening a few seconds earlier now became a menacing give-and-go.

“I saw some options,” Messi said. “I always try to create danger.”

During the careers of the greats to whom Messi is most often compared — Pelé of Brazil and Diego Maradona, a fellow Argentine — the pace of the game was slower, with more space to operate and more chance for flamboyant playfulness in the flowing dribbles known as gambeta.

Today, soccer increasingly relies on size and muscle and speed. The best players must be able to operate in claustrophobic spaces. That is the mesmerizing skill of Messi, slithering through these airless openings in top gear, changing direction, providing as well as scoring, his left foot tapping the ball on each stride with blurred and evasive touches. At such moments, the ball becomes an extension of his foot.

I need to start watching more soccer.

This is a GOOD TRADE

A big congratulations to my team at Roundarch and the team at Bloomberg Sports on the new Trade Analyzer 2011 app for iPad – especially my design colleague Silvia Brown for the beautiful work she did on the interface design.
With that said, what makes this application great isn’t just the great interface design but all the technology and databases and algorithms working behind the scenes. It’s the transitions between screens, the reaction of buttons to your touch. It’s about all the data getting pulled from MLB for the player cards.
Details, details, details.
As Steve Jobs has said, design isn’t just about how it looks, it’s about how it works.