KBL rookie RJ Abarrientos is flying high in Korea after winning the Korean Basketball League’s Rookie of the Year award on Thursday.

The former FEU product was thankful for the recognition during the ceremony. He said during the ceremony that he loves playing in Korea and is grateful for the support he received from the fans. He also thanked his teammates for their support during his first year there.

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Players enthusiastically cheered him on as he walked to the stage to claim his award. Among those cheering for him were SJ Belangel and Rhenz Abando, other collegiate standouts who chose to play in Korea.

“Thank you to my coaches, especially my Mobis team, to all my teammates for helping me get through a lot on and off the court,” the 23-year-old said.

During his rookie campaign, RJ Abarrientos provided a great spark for Mobis Phoebus, averaging 13.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.4 steals in 50 games.

OkBet fans will continue to watch his journey in the Korean basketball scene with great interest. While it’s a miss that he’s not playing for the PBA, his outstanding achievement in the KBL showcases his value as a basketball talent.

Abando, Anyang Win KBL Regular Season

While Abando couldn’t compete for the KBL’s top rookie honors, he was a solid contributor to Anyang KGC’s KBL regular-season victory.

His team secured its second title after a narrow, albeit meaningless, 76-71 triumph over Wonjuy DB Promy at Anyang Gymnasium. The former UST Growling Tiger and Letran Knight was a solid performer off the bench, scoring eight points on 3-of-5 shooting in only 11 minutes of play.

Anyang secured the top spot before the game, so the game became a formality before the awarding ceremony.

The Santo Tomas, La Union cager was a terrific pickup for Anyang. He provided 9.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 0.9 blocks in 38 appearances.

Read More: When Michael Jordan Decided to Play Baseball

When you hear Michael Jordan, you usually think of one of the most dominant basketball players of all time.

You imagine his high-flying dunks with his tongue out. His iconic games and moments for the Chicago Bulls could also come to mind. You would also probably think of when he returned as a Wizard, but no one likes to discuss that.

Even fewer people remember the short time he played as a baseball player. For many Chicago sports fans, it was a weird time when the greatest basketball player of the time started lining up to hit fastballs and sliders.

On this day, Michael Jordan became a member of the Chicago White Sox farm system to try and fulfill his late father’s dream. While the result of his baseball adventures is far from desirable, this OKBET Sports article will look at this interesting time for basketball and baseball fans.

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What Made MJ Quit Basketball?

Michael Jordan had everything he wanted in 1993. His Bulls just won their first three-peat after putting away the Phoenix Suns in six games. The Bulls dynasty ran smoothly as every man in the rotation knew their role and performed well.

However, everything changed that summer when Jordan’s father, James R. Jordan, Sr., became missing. The Jordan family spent three weeks looking for the patriarch privately before publicly announcing his disappearance.

He would eventually be found dead and become the center of a murder case. Two young men murdered Air Jordan’s father while he was sleeping on the side of the road and stole everything of value in the car.

MJ’s most ardent fans understood how close he was with his father. People close to Jordan understood that he was closest with his father and talked to him about giving baseball a try.

Given these facts, it was understandable when Jordan suddenly called for a press conference to announce his retirement from the game on October 6, 1993.

The Baseball Sabbatical of Michael Jordan

It didn’t take long for the public to know what Michael Jordan would do next. When he finally decided to try professional baseball, Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf convinced MJ to join the White Sox, the MLB team he also owns.

Jordan joined the White Sox’s spring training as a part of their roster and made decent plays there. He was assigned to the Birmingham Barons, the White Sox’s AA team. Since he’s the greatest basketball player of the time, fans naturally gravitated to Birmingham games to see him play.

Jordan played average during his time with the Barons. In his only season in the Minor Leagues, he finished with 88 hits, three homers, 51 RBI, 30 stolen bases, a .202 batting average, and a .290 on-base percentage. He was struck out 114 times and walked 51 times.

After a decent start in the minors, he joined the dugout of the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League. Like his stint with the Barons, eyes were naturally drawn toward the team and the league.

His stats for the Scorpions were better than his time with the Barons. He had a .252 batting average during his time there, which shows significant progress for his short time back in organized baseball.

Jordan eventually left baseball to return to the Bulls. He then won three more championships before heading to his second retirement.

Was Jordan’s Baseball Stint a Failure?

Many would point to Jordan’s low numbers as enough reason to call his short year with baseball a failure. After all, it’s hard to make it to the show if you have nothing to help you stand out on the field.

However, context is usually forgotten when his stats are brought up. These numbers are awe-inspiring for someone who didn’t play organized baseball in over a decade. The fact that Jordan hit at least one of every five pitches he faced shows that he still has the stuff.

Moreover, his supreme athleticism in basketball also showed on the diamond. His 30 stolen bases testify to his elite sprint speed and instinct to get a good start to complete the steal.

His AA teammates also had nothing bad to say about his work ethic. Teammates who played with Jordan in 1994 noted that he was eager to work to improve his craft. They were also happy that he filled seats wherever they were playing.

Jordan could have made the Major League if he had stuck with the sport for two more years. However, it’s clear to everyone that choosing to return to basketball was the right call for him.

A Weird, Productive Year for Michael Jordan

The baseball career of Michael Jordan may have been short and unfulfilling, but it was something he needed to do for himself. After losing his father, MJ may have felt that playing organized baseball would be the perfect tribute to the man who was his best friend.

That odd year in Michael Jordan’s storied athletic career also probably gave him the hunger that he lost in 1993. It’s evident during his second three-peat that his competitive fire returned after taking a shot at the diamond.

Read more: 5 Exciting Sports That You Should Start Watching Today

People naturally love seeing athletes at their peak compete with others in their chosen sports. Seeing athletes who spent most of their lives perfecting their craft show off incredible feats is a delight.

However, there will come a time when watching the same sport over and over will become repetitive. If you’ve always been a basketball fan all your life, you may not always feel like watching slam dunks and three-pointers the time.

If you’re looking for something new to tune into, you’ve come to the right place! This OKBET Sports piece will recommend five sports that promise exciting action and a thriving sports betting scene that will fascinate you for years!

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Ice Hockey

It makes sense why ice hockey isn’t a more popular sport in the Philippines. The country doesn’t have a temperate climate, so icy lakes and ponds don’t naturally occur. The only skating rinks Filipinos can use are in air-conditioned malls.

However, the lack of a Filipino winter doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good ice hockey match! Hockey is one of the fastest team sports you can watch, and its frenetic energy is one of the many reasons people love the game.

Another reason why ice hockey is exciting to play is due to the skill level required. Playing on skates requires athletes to learn how to move while sliding on ice. This unique mechanic also makes the game more fascinating to watch.

Finally, it will always be fascinating for the neutral fan to watch two professional hockey players brawl it out on the ice.


It may not seem like it, but tennis is one of the most popular sports in the world. One of this sport’s biggest appeals is that spectators can quickly learn the basics by watching the match develop in real time.

A tennis match can take a long time to complete, but the sport combines cerebral gameplay with athletic feats, making it one of the most fascinating sports you can watch live or through your screen.

This sport’s other appeal is that it offers interesting varieties. There are men’s and women’s singles and men’s and women’s doubles. Things get interesting in mixed doubles as men and women pairs have to navigate between power and finesse to get their points.

Finally, there are multiple ways you can play the game. The best tennis players of all time had different approaches to winning a match. This wide variety of styles always makes this sport fun to watch.


Filipinos may not have the time or patience for slow-paced sports. However, learning to appreciate these games will give you new perspectives as a spectator. One of the most worthwhile sports you can start watching is baseball.

It’s a slow game, but don’t let its pace fool you into thinking it’s boring. It’s a sport where every millimeter and every second can determine a hit or an out. It requires highly specialized athletes who are good at doing one thing.

While baseball has rarely changed for over a century, certain players can turn the game on its head with their superior play. Los Angeles Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani is the latest player transforming the MLB’s and the sport’s future.

Ohtani is the first two-way player the league has seen in a while, and he’s very successful in what he’s doing. He’s even thrown his fastest pitch recently. He’s bringing an air of excitement to a game that long needed it, and this is the best time to start tuning in.

Formula 1

Racing has been a part of human culture, and modern technology has pushed these sports even further. If you’re looking for a sport that satisfies your need for speed, Formula 1 is the way to go.

F1 is a perfect union of precise engineering and artful driving. Teams of talented individuals do their best to create the fastest car that will leave opponents in the dust. The sheer adrenaline you’ll get from seeing these cars fly on the track is a spectacle you should see for yourself.

Moreover, F1 is exciting because changes can happen almost instantaneously. A team that was struggling at the start of the season could easily climb to the mid-table spots with tweaks on their cars.

The drivers also take the driver’s seat in the F1 story. Men like Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton create plenty of buzz for F1 media and fans to cling onto.


Do you like American football but don’t fancy its slow, systematic approach to its game? You might have a great time watching rugby instead.

When you watch a rugby game, you may think that it’s a dangerous sport. The hits are solid, and the players wear little to no protective equipment. However, rugby players must implement specific tackling techniques to make it as safe as possible.

Rugby is mainly played in two forms: 15s and sevens. The two significantly differ in personnel deployment and roles, among other things, but they all share the same objectives as their American counterparts. The game’s primary goal is to bring the ball past the defenders to the tryzone.

Skills you see in American football can be applied to rugby,  but its frenetic pace may make it seem like the players are running a marathon. Moreover, every player’s speed and power on the rugby pitch are incredible athletic feats.

Finally, seeing rugby haka is an exhilarating experience for first-time fans. Whether you see your first haka live or on your mobile phone doesn’t matter. It will give you chills and adrenaline to power through almost everything.

Start Enjoying More Sports Today!

These are only five of the newest sports that you can watch. There are plenty more sports that we didn’t cover, but it’s recommended that you start with one of these five as they have large fanbases worldwide.

If you become passionate enough about one of these sports to bet on them, you can go ahead with OKBET. The Philippines’ leading sports betting provider has excellent odds on the sports we covered today.

Read more: Ironman 70.3: Local Athlete Dies During Race

A seasoned swimming coach from Davao lost his life during the swimming section of the Ironman 70.3 race in Davao City yesterday.

According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the race organizers revealed that the athlete was given medical attention during the event and was taken to a nearby hospital. However, medical professionals failed to resuscitate the athlete. They also extended their condolences to the athlete’s family and friends.

Various local reports identified the victim as Jerry Kasim, a 49-year-old swimming coach who has provided swimming training to swimmers in the area. Kasim lives in the Island Garden City of Samal. He was buried today following a 24-hour customary Muslim burial.

Kasim came from a family of swimmers who represented his city and region in several Palarong Pambansa and National Prisaa Games. He became a swimming coach for age-group swimmers after graduating.

Sanita Kasim Soreny, his sister and former national dragon boat team member, said they weren’t aware of his brother’s condition before the race. She also described her older brother as kind and willing to help despite his financial limitations.

He is survived by two children, the eldest a coach for the DMMA College Southern Philippines swimming team.

OkBet extends its most sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Kasim.

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International Athletes Win Davao Ironman Event

Despite the tragic loss, Ironman 70.3 was still a resounding success. Nearly 1,700 athletes from 49 countries participated in the race.

Two athletes stood on top of the large pool of triathletes yesterday. Filipe Azevedo of Portugal and Australia’s Sarah Crowley were crowned race champions after establishing their grip during the bike leg.

The 30-year-old Azevedo managed to keep up with Serbia’s Ognjen Stojanovic and Taiwan’s Tuan Chun Chang during the swim. However, his strong performance on the bikes allowed him to finish first. He finished with a 3:51:09 time under the city’s sweltering conditions.

Meanwhile, Crowley had to fend off Lauren Brandon of the USA and United Arab Emirates athlete Lottie Lucas to win. She crossed the finish line at 4:20:14, almost three minutes faster than Brandon.

Read more: Embiid vs Jokic: Who Will Win the 2023 MVP Race?

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Read more: OKBET to Give Away a Car in a Super Jackpot Win A Ride Promo

The 2023 NBA MVP race continues to be unpredictable as multiple players continue to put up incredible numbers throughout the season. However, at the top of the race are two big men, Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic.

The two centers have become unsurmountable juggernauts in their respective conferences. Many agree that this season’s MVP plaudits will most likely end up with either one of these incredible stars.

With the MVP race looking as tight as it’s been in recent memory, hoops fans wonder if Embiid has what it takes to stop the Joker from getting his third-straight MVP award. Philly’s passionate fanbase believes he should get the nod, but we’ll look at the stats to determine whether that’s the case.

This OKBET Sports piece will discuss what many think of the current MVP race, how Embiid became the process, and whether he has what it takes to lead the Sixers to their first basketball title in 40 years.

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Embiid Finally Makes the Jump Over Jokic

Sports fans who follow what’s happening in the NBA this season understand that Jokic is playing incredible basketball now. A quick look at his stats immediately clarifies why he’s been the frontrunner for the MVP race this entire time.

The Joker is putting up incredible numbers this season at 24.8 PPG, 11.8 RPG, and 9.9 APG. Opponents also cannot stop his shot, as evidenced by his 64% shooting and 39% FG from three. 

Anyone who watched the Nuggets play this season understands how valuable Jokic is to the team with his orchestration of the Denver offense. There are already half-hour-long YouTube highlights from the Serbian big man for this season alone.

However, recent developments turned Embiid into the newest MVP award favorite. While Jokic remains dominant on the floor, the Nuggets have lost five of their last six games. The Joker already sounded the alarm and asked for better defensive efforts from his teammates.

Meanwhile, Embiid is having a career season of his own. The Process’ crown jewel is averaging 33.5 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 4.2 assists a night on 55/36/86% shooting splits. His stellar play is critical to the Sixers’ stellar win streak during the final weeks of the 2022/23 season.

He’s blossomed into an unstoppable force that few teams can properly gameplan against in a busy 82-game schedule.

Why Is Embiid the Sudden Favorite?

The 29-year-old center is the rock that is the foundation for the Sixers’ success. His two-way dominance and incredible athleticism make him the most dangerous player whenever he steps onto the hardwood.

His performance throughout the win streak is also helping his case. From March 2 until March 18, The Process netted an incredible 36.1 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 4.6 APG, and 2.3 BPG on 63% shooting, 46% from deep, and 83% from the charity stripe.

Fans who haven’t watched enough Sixers games may not fully understand why the Twitter-loving big man is suddenly the leading horse in this race.

However, the highlights above showcased how well Embiid has blossomed as a playmaker. His vision has improved significantly, and he’s since become a willing passer to open teammates. He’s not at Jokic’s level, but defenses have become warier whenever he handles the ball.

His improved passing was probably caused by playing with James Harden. Embiid calls him the league’s best floor general. Being around such a fantastic passer probably taught him to see passing lanes better.

However, the quality that got him ahead of Jokic is his defensive qualities. His agility allows him to stay in front of faster players, and his blocking prowess makes him one of the league’s most feared rim protectors. His energy on the defensive end also sets an example for the rest of the team to follow.

Is Giannis Being Ignored for Embiid?

Embiid is putting up incredible numbers this season, but he’s not the only person providing MVP numbers daily. Multiple superstars are also worthy of the MVP nod with how they’ve played this year.

At the top of this list of underrated MVP candidates is Giannis Antetokounmpo. The two-time MVP is showing off with his per-game averages of 31.4 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 5.5 assists while shooting 54% on the floor.

While these numbers are worthy of the MVP nod, he’s been eliminated from many MVP conversations. Like many NBA fans, the Milwaukee Bucks star is confused with how these rankings were determined.

He expressed his frustrations with the media. According to Sports Illustrated’s Zach Koons, the Greek Freak inadvertently cursed to emphasize how confusing the metrics are.

“Like, I believe—and I know—that people are dominating,” Antetokounmpo said. “So what is the MVP? Is it the guy who scores the most points? The guy who’s the most efficient? Is it the guy who is the most dominant? Is it the guy who is the most valuable?”

We’ll unlikely get any clear answer from the press on how they vote for the prestigious award. However, Antetokounmpo’s point is undeniable.

Will Embiid Finally Get the MVP This Season?

This season isn’t the first time Embiid was nominated for an MVP. However, this is the closest he’s been to taking home the award. If the Sixers consistently thrive under his leadership, this season’s top individual honor is as good as his.

However, everyone can tell that this isn’t Embiid’s biggest priority. The goal for the big man is still the Larry O’Brien trophy. He will be okay with not winning the MVP if it means his team will make it all the way in this season’s playoffs.

Read more: Johan Cruyff: The Man Who Transformed Football

Throughout the many years football has been around, only a select number of players have been immortalized. While Diego Maradona and Pele are widely considered the greatest ever to play the game, Johan Cruyff stands on his very own podium in the footballing pantheon.

The Dutchman isn’t only known for his dominant on-field performances for Ajax and the Netherlands. He laid the foundation for the outstanding form FC Barcelona enjoyed during the turn of the century.

Since today is the legendary Dutchman’s death anniversary, this OKBET piece will commemorate his contributions to the Beautiful Game as a player and a tactician. We’ll discuss his playing achievements.

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A Stellar Career Started at Home

Johan Cruyff was never far from the game. He was born on April 25, 1947, and his home was only a couple of blocks away from Ajax’s home. His football-loving father interested him in the sport, and the young Cruyff played it with his brother and friends whenever he could.

Even when he was younger, he immediately showed signs of brilliance with the ball. It didn’t take long for Ajax to notice him. He was eventually added to the team’s academy when he was ten.

His father’s untimely death was the first life-changing event in the future footballing star’s life. He admitted in 1997 that he thought he would also die at the same age as his father, which explains his incredible drive when playing matches.

This attitude eventually saw him debut for his boyhood club at 17. The young attacker started making his mark at the club and became a favorite player for Lucky Ajax and its Total Football era. By the time he left the Netherlands in 1973, he had 193 club goals in 245 appearances.

Spain, the United States, and Back to the Netherlands

He joined Barcelona for what was then a world-record transfer fee and immediately made his impact felt. He was vital in helping the club win its first league title in more than a decade. He made 143 club appearances with the Blaugrana, netting 49 goals.

He retired from the game in 1978 but eventually returned after losing most of his money to terrible investments. He played in the United States, suiting up for the Los Angeles Aztecs and the Washington Diplomats.

He returned to Spain to play for Levante for a season before returning to the Diplomats again. He spent the final years of his playing career back in the Netherlands. 

He played two more seasons for Ajax. He then spent his final professional year with the club’s rivals, Feyenoord, where he won the league title again.

He won nine Eredivisie titles, one La Liga triumph, and three European Cups. He also thrice won the Ballon d’Or, one of the greatest individual footballing awards a footballer could get.

Johan Cruyff, the Dutch Talisman

Aside from his stellar club career, Johan Cruyff is also known by football purists for his incredible performances for the Dutch national team.

Cruyff was a vital figure for the Oranje, scoring 33 goals in 48 matches. One of the most impressive tidbits about his international career is how the team never lost a game where Cruyff scored.

His most defining performance for the Netherlands shirt came during the 1974 World Cup. He was nothing short of talismanic as he led the team to a finals appearance against West Germany.

While they didn’t win the biggest prize, even the opponents knew Cruyff was the best man on the pitch.

Many fans expected Cruyff to return for the 1978 World Cup. However, a kidnapping attempt in Barcelona convinced the man to call it quits on his international career.

Johan Cruyff, the Innovative Coach

The man didn’t veer away from the game when he decided to retire as a player. He immediately got into management, with his first job as Ajax’s head coach. He didn’t relent from the total football his mentor Rinus Michels introduced.

Ajax was competitive during Cruyff’s run with the team as its head coach, notching the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1987 and the KNVB Cup. It was with Ajax that he first established the Cruyffian system.

It’s a system that featured three mobile defenders, a holding midfielder sweeping the lines, two controlling midfielders setting the pace, a shadow striker, two explosive wingers, and a central forward. It’s a system so effective that Ajax won the 1995 Champions League using this coaching philosophy.

The latest stop in Cruyff’s managerial career was another familiar club. Barcelona got him to coach for the side in 1988. He then tweaked his system in Ajax to better suit the players he had at Barca, which resulted in a 3-4-3.

Cruyff was the mastermind behind Barcelona’s Dream Team and the dawn of tiki-taka football. His possession-centric system was so effective that Pep Guardiola, one of his former players, used his tactics as a base for his approach to the game.

What Johan Cruyff Means to Football

Johan Cruyff may not have the most incredible trophy cabinet out of all the players and managers the sport has seen. However, he’s undoubtedly one of its most influential.

He was the talismanic player that teams were built around. He’s the mind whose possession-focused passing helped transform the game. He became the face of a footballing movement that dramatically changed the game.

This is who Johan Cruyff is. Football fans who aren’t aware of his impact on the game should look him up.

Read more: Tenorio Announces Cancer Diagnosis, No Plans to Retire

The Memphis Grizzlies are among the most exciting teams in recent memory. Ever since they drafted Ja Morant second overall in the 2019 Draft, they’ve been reaching new heights every year.

One of the reasons for their success is their star man. Morant is one of the most electric players in the NBA, and his high-flying dunks put people in seats. The rest of the team is also like their leader: young, talented, and hungry.

However, this team is also making headlines for all the wrong reasons. The team is getting involved in altercations, physical and verbal. Their latest antic—Desmond Bane practically targeting Kevin Love’s groin—is the latest of their scuffles.

They have been involved in more feuds than any other NBA team recently, which gets us to the meat and potatoes of this OKBET Sports piece.

We’ll discuss several fights Grizzlies players find themselves involved with. We won’t limit this to their trouble with other NBA teams, though; we’ll also throw a beloved sports media personality into the mix!

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Memphis Grizzlies vs Andre Iguodala

Surprisingly, the first sort of beef this Memphis Grizzlies had was justified.

The team traded for Iguodala in the 2019 offseason but wasn’t planning to build a contender around him. They wanted the first-round pick that came with picking up his contract. They would also probably trade Iguodala for more assets.

The 2016 Finals MVP understandably didn’t want to join a rebuilding effort and asked to be traded immediately. Iggy would eventually get his wish when he was traded to the Heat, but he claimed he was still willing to suit up for the young upstarts.

Iguodala may have missed out on a fun season, as Morant immediately made his impact felt on the team. They finished ninth in the West behind the Murray State product’s incredible rookie season, instantly making them the season’s best feel-good story.

Dillon Brooks made it clear to everyone that his refusal to play with the team back then still stuck with them. He brought it up after the Grizzlies won a regular-season game against the Golden State Warriors in 2022-23.

However, Iguodala got the last laugh as his team walked away with the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Memphis Grizzlies vs Golden State Warriors

Speaking of Brooks, he is at the heart of some of the tensions involving the Grizzlies recently. This exciting team has plenty of things to say about the Warriors, and they aren’t shying away from it.

The trouble between the two Western Conference powerhouses began in earnest last year when Jaren Jackson Jr. tweeted a not-so-subtle jab at the Dubs after beating them in the regular season.

Tensions rose further when the two squads met in the second round of the playoffs. The Dubs won in six, but plenty of fiery statements were shot by both sides in the middle of it all. The series became even sweeter after they won against the Boston Celtics to win the 2022 Championship.

Klay Thompson had something to say about Jackson’s tweet after winning his fourth ring:

Memphis also used what Draymond Green had to say about them as fuel during the offseason:

When the two teams met at Christmas, Thompson didn’t hesitate to let Brooks know who he was:

And most recently, Steph had something to say about all the heated moments happening between the two sides:

Not one to be outdone by his opponents, Brooks had something to say after the Grizzlies beat the Warriors in their most recent game, 133-119:

Dillon Brooks vs Donovan Mitchell

Brooks isn’t afraid to get up close and personal with another player, and he’s more than happy to be aggressive with his defensive approach. However, there are times when he takes it a bit too far.

The latest example is during the most recent game between the Grizzlies and the Cleveland Cavaliers. During a drive to the basket, Brooks failed to make his layup. Mitchell was able to grab the rebound and was about to make a bullet pass to a teammate.

The Canadian looked at the former Utah Jazz guard’s location and made a cheap shot to his groin.

Mitchell told everyone after the game that cheap shots are a part of who Brooks is as a player. He also believed that the former Oregon Duck did it because he’s been beating him on the court for years.

Fans can definitely expect the next meeting between the two players to be a fiery one.

Memphis Grizzlies vs Shannon Sharpe

The final entry on this list is one of the most eyebrow-raising feuds the Grizzlies had. It involves NFL Hall of Fame tight end and Undisputed host Shannon Sharpe.

After the first half of Memphis’ January 21 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, Sharpe (a known LeBron fan) shouted at Brooks that he couldn’t guard the future Hall of Famer. Brooks replied with expletives, and things started getting out of hand.

Steven Adams, one of the nicest guys in the NBA, got involved. Ja Morant came over with a confused look on his face. Ja’s father, Tee, even had a bit of a shouting match with the sports media personality.

Both Brooks and Sharpe exchanged barbs after the altercation. The Grizzlies’ wing player called the 6’2”, 228-lb former tight end a blogger and a pedestrian, while Sharpe claimed that nobody on the Grizzlies wanted problems with him.

Sharpe eventually apologized on his show for his on-court behavior.

Will the Grizzlies Grow Out of Their Bad Boy Phase?

It’s important to clarify that the Memphis Grizzles aren’t the Bad Boy Pistons. Nothing the Isaiah Thomas-led Pistons of the eighties did then would fly under modern NBA rules.

However, they are also not shying away from their roughhousing persona. As Morant spends time away from the team to focus on himself, it may be time for the rest to re-evaluate their actions. Is it really worth antagonizing fellow NBA players this way?

The fans love it, though. Nothing is more effective than a heel when it comes to bringing buzz and interest into the NBA.

Read more: Sergio Perez: Unsung Hero Out for Formula 1 Glory

The success Red Bull is enjoying over the past three seasons can be attributed to multiple things. Max Verstappen and the engineers will likely get most of the credit for the fantastic work they’ve put in. Unfortunately, Sergio Perez won’t likely get the plaudits he deserves for his contributions.

The Mexican driver has been one of the most underrated performers in Formula 1 over the past decade. He’s spent years driving for midfield teams, but it’s only with his move to Red Bull that he finally got the opportunity a driver of his caliber needs.

Thankfully, he finally has a long-standing relationship with an outstanding team and a strong car that will help him win more races. His teammate and rival is now the only thing standing in the way of his pursuit of F1 immortality.

The Formula 1 fans of OKBET should expect to hear more of Checo in the near future. This is why this piece will examine his career and how he reached this point.

A Humble Start Across the Atlantic

Sergio Perez was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, on January 26, 1990. It was natural for Checo to be drawn to racing as the country has a long history with Formula 1. The Mexican Grand Prix started in 1963 and has been revived multiple times due to its popularity.

The racing bug naturally got into the Perez family as one of his older brothers is a retired stock car driver. It didn’t take long for Checo to get into racing, kickstarting his karting career at six. It was apparent to people around him that he had the potential to become special after finishing his debut campaign in second place with four race wins.

His next karting seasons saw him put up impressive performances. He eventually won Master Kadets, Shifter 125cc, and became the youngest driver to win a race in the Shifter 80cc class.

It didn’t take long for Escuderia Telmex, one of Mexico’s auto racing teams, to notice his talents and offer him a sponsorship. The team opened the door for Checo to try his fortunes abroad.

A Daring Jump Across the Pond

It didn’t take long for Perez to realize he had a good shot of making the biggest stage in motorsport. He was 14 when he decided to take the plunge and try to drive his way into Formula 1.

It was Perez himself who revealed that the first few years of his European journey were some of the toughest moments of his life. He told The Athletic’s Luke Smith that homesickness was one of his biggest foes during those years. His poor English and German at the time didn’t help things.

However, he was able to survive in his first few years abroad. After two solid seasons for Team Rosberg in Formula BMW, he eventually jumped to Formula 3. One of his big highlights was his dominating performance in the British Formula 3 Championship, where he won two-thirds of his races.

Sergio Perez continued his superb form as he entered GP2, the feeder series to Formula 1. He kept his head down for the next couple of years before Sauber became impressed with him enough to offer him a seat at the pinnacle of motorsport racing.

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The F1 Journey of Sergio Perez

Perez ended Mexico’s 30-year F1 driver drought when he lined up in the 2011 Australian Grand Prix for Sauber. Unfortunately, he couldn’t race despite placing 13th in the qualifiers due to his car’s illegal wing. He was able to start on the grid for the Malaysian Grand Prix, but electrical problems stopped him from finishing his race.

His first two races unknowingly became a premonition of what Perez’s career would be like until he joined Red Bull in 2021. He was a great driver, but something was always stopping him from reaching the peak of the sport.

When Lewis Hamilton departed McLaren to join Mercedes, Checo was the driver tapped to drive alongside Jenson Button. The Briton was surprised with how well the Mexican drove on certain tracks, but the team was on a downward turn since then. They struggled to fight for places, so Perez had to look for another team.

Sergio Perez joined Force India for the 2014 campaign and immediately shone with the team. He snagged their second-ever podium in Bahrain. He continued to be a driver to be reckoned with among the midfield teams, but no big team moved to acquire him.

By the time the 2019 season came, Force India had taken on the name Racing Point. This team became special for Perez as it was with them that he got his first Grand Prix win.

The 2020 Sekhir Grand Prix is the type of race you want to win if it’s your first-ever victory. It had every element of a movie: a come-from-behind win, pure driving skill, excellent tire management, and luck from various places.

Unfortunately, Perez was about to lose his seat after Lawrence Stroll bought Racing Point and gave his seat to Sebastian Vettel.

The Start of a Beautiful Partnership

Fans and pundits wanted Checo to stay in Formula 1 for his incredible driving, but Checo was ready to spend a year away from the sport if Red Bull decided to stick with Alex Albon.

Fortunately for him, Christian Horner decided to pair Verstappen with the more seasoned Perez for the 2021 season. This gave the Mexican, who showcased his class for much of his career, a chance to drive one of the best cars in Formula 1.

The 2021 season became a revelation for Perez. He finished fifth in his debut Red Bull race and started second at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the first time he ever got to start an F1 race at the front.

The rest of the season saw him provide excellent support for Verstappen as he won his first championship. He also experienced great success on the track, finishing first in Azerbaijan and placing third in France, Turkey, the USA, and Mexico.

The 2022 season became a continuation of 2021 for Red Bull, but Checo began winning more regularly. He became a fixture at podiums for much of the year, winning the Monaco and Singapore races.

It was clear to everyone that he’s become instrumental in their team’s dominance nowadays as a terrific driver and teammate. Save for their scuffle in Brazil, the relationship between the two has been harmonious.

Why Is Sergio Perez So Good At Driving?

One of the biggest reasons behind Perez’s success on the track is his aggressive driving. He isn’t afraid to take the race to anyone, whether facing an opponent or a teammate. His fearless driving style allowed him to get podiums with Force India/Racing Point and win races with Red Bull.

Another secret to Checo’s success is his tire management. He’s one of the few Formula 1 drivers who deeply understand how tires work. The Mexican driver understands when he needs to push the tempo and when to let off the gas to save his tires.

Finally, he doesn’t have an ego. The Red Bull cars are engineered with Verstappen’s driving at its core. The fact that he can get podiums on a car to which he has to adjust his driving style is a testament to his skill and team-first mentality. Throughout the past two seasons, he’s also shown how willing he is to take team orders to secure the win.

What’s Next for Sergio Perez?

Now that Perez has proven his quality as a driver, it will be interesting to see how the current season plays out. While it’s unlikely that he’ll win the 2023 season against Verstappen, he can definitely put up a fight.

After all, his career has been testimony to how his sheer driving skills compensate for any disadvantages his car may have. If there’s anyone who can stop Verstappen at this point, it’s Sergio Perez.

Read more: Saudi Arabian GP: Can Anyone Stop Red Bull’s Rampage?

The hype surrounding the Formula 1 season continues as the race day of the Saudi Arabian GP approaches. As Jeddah prepares to host another exciting race, the storylines that emerged during the Bahrain GP will be scrutinized more than ever.

The biggest narrative in the paddock will be Red Bull’s convincing one-two finish in Bahrain. It’s clear to everyone they’ll be the team to beat in Saudi Arabia, but the podium’s top spot will likely be reserved for an exciting duel between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

However, there’s more to this Grand Prix than Red Bull’s strong start to the season. Ferrari fans are worried after the Prancing Horse failed to make a podium slot. Mercedes is nowhere near the strong contenders they were during much of the 2010s. Fernando Alonso is the best feel-good story for the neutral F1 fan.

This OKBET Sports piece will look into these narratives and predict which player will cross the finish line first.

Which Red Bull Driver Will Finish First?

It’s hard not to root for Red Bull Racing to pull off another one-two finish after the performance they showed in Bahrain. It’s clear to everyone that they are the heavy favorites to walk away with the top honors of the 2023 F1 season.

However, Verstappen will be the first to tell you that complacency is far from the cards for this team. After copying what his team did last year, the two-time F1 champion revealed that he expected their advantage to dwindle.

“And if you see that one car, particularly, is doing quite well over a year, you’ll try to copy some things and that’s why naturally everyone is getting closer and in general understanding the car bit better,” Verstappen told Motorsport.com.

However, the difference didn’t matter as he was still the fastest on the track. He finished 11 seconds ahead of teammate Perez, while Alonso came in more than half a minute later.

Perez will also be eager to steal Verstappen’s thunder. While the car is made with the Dutchman’s driving style in mind, Checo has shown his quality plenty of times this season. With Christian Horner backing the Mexican to push the tempo, expect tough competition between the two at the front.

Other Notable Saudi Arabian GP Stories

Red Bull may be the strongest F1 team, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones worth discussing. There are plenty of fascinating narratives that could transform entirely after this race.

Will Jeddah Be Leclerc’s Final Straw?

Many still consider Ferrari as the likeliest team to stop Red Bull’s two-year reign. However, their terrible start to the season shows that they still need to sort out before they can seriously compete for F1’s summit.

The biggest talking point for Ferrari fans is Charles Leclerc’s disappointing exit in Bahrain. His car’s engine failed in the race’s latter laps. He’s reportedly frustrated and demanded more out of the team.

However, it doesn’t help that he’s facing a ten-place grid penalty as the team had to replace the electronics power component a second time. If Leclerc wants to win in Jeddah, he must finish qualifying at the pole position to even have a decent shot against Red Bull.

Aside from reliability issues, there’s also the problem with Carlos Sainz struggling to keep up with Red Bull and Aston Martin. We haven’t even touched on the impending exodus of talent from the Prancing Horse.

Jeddah will be a tough test for Ferrari. It already has the potential of a make-or-break season for them. If they don’t sort their issues out, Leclerc could be out the door by 2024.

Mercedes’ Pace Issues Continue

Mercedes hoped their off-season innovations would help close the gap with Red Bull. However, Lewis Hamilton and company were left helpless as no Silver Arrows car finished in the top three.

Hamilton expressed frustration at the team’s lack of competitiveness, and rumors of his departure are constantly swirling. Should the seven-time world champion leave after this year, Mercedes will find itself in a tough spot.

Team principal Toto Wolff promised significant changes for the W14 moving forward, and fans can expect them to pull off something huge in the Saudi Arabian GP. However, it’s questionable if Hamilton and George Russell can pull the rug from under Red Bull and Ferrari with their current car.

Was Alonso’s Hot Start a Fluke?

The oldest man in the Formula 1 grid has been the talk of the town for the past two weeks.

When the Spaniard announced his move from Alpine to Aston Martin, many thought it was a move that didn’t make sense as Sebastian Vettel struggled to carry the team in 2022. Some thought he saw something in Aston Martin’s plans that convinced him to join them for two years.

Alonso proved these thoughts right when he finished third, making fantastic overtakes against Hamilton and Sainz.

It’s easy to ask if Alonso’s podium finish was a matter of luck. However, Lance Stroll also performed well in the first race of the 2023 season. He was just four seconds behind Hamilton, showing how well their car is performing this year.

There’s no reason to doubt Alonso making another podium finish in the Saudi Arabian GP after the team’s solid showing in Bahrain.

Saudi Arabian GP Predictions

Plenty of adjustments have likely happened between Bahrain and Jeddah, so it’s within the realm of possibility to see improved performances from the rest of the grid. Ferrari and Aston Martin will be the likeliest teams to make the podium should things go their way.

However, the Saudia Arabian GP is still Verstappen and Red Bull’s to lose. They were clearly the fastest car on the track, and it will probably take more than a couple of races before the rest of the playing field could catch up.

If Verstappen and Perez can finish Q3 at the front, it’s reasonable to expect them to win the entire thing again. While they might be behind Ferrari regarding straight-line power, they have the more reliable car.

It’s a costly mistake to underestimate Mercedes, though. Hamilton could finish at the top if they manage to get their act together.

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Saudi Arabian GP Betting Odds

The bookies also see Verstappen as the favorite to win the Saudi Arabian GP. The two-time champion has the lowest outright odds at OKBET at 1.40. Perez is a close second at 6.50. Unless an unfortunate mechanical problem happens mid-race, they’ll likely run away with the most points again.

Alonso (9.00) and Sainz (15.00) are the next big favorites to snag the win. Leclerc (19.00) and Hamilton (26.00) are outside favorites compared to the other four, but a great race could easily turn the tide.

The driver with the most surprising odds would have to be McLaren’s Lando Norris (901.00). He finished last in Bahrain, which is surprising given the team’s solid performance last year. It will be interesting to see if the Englishman can bounce back with a podium in Jeddah.

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