01.31.07

Durant Dominates Tech ; Wisconsin Falls To Indiana

Posted in Basketball at 10:37 pm by

Texas 76, Texas Tech 64

Thought there’s still plenty of conference play to go, for a Texas team starting 4 freshman to be tied for the Big 12 lead is no small accomplishment. Then again, D.J. Augustine and Kevin Durant are no ordinary freshman, and the latter was nothing short of brilliant Wednesday night, scoring 37 points and collecting an eye-popping 23 rebounds. ESPN2′s broadcast crew were effusive in their praise of Durant, calling his performance “the finest in the short history of the Big 12″. Not very big fans of “Knight School”, I suppose.

While No. 3 North Carolina routed Miami and No.1 Florida disposed of Buster Olney University, No. 2 Wisconsin suffered their 2nd loss of the season, a 71-66 defeat at Indiana. Hoosiers G A.J. Ratliff scored 20 points off the bench, and D.J. White (above) had 16, only to be torn limb from limb by an overzealous mob at the buzzer.

Michael David Smith
cites the Buckeyes’ Mike Conley Jr. as the best freshman in the country. Well, other than Kevin Durant and Ohio State teammate Gred Oden.  Ohio State took their time putting away Purdue tonight, but eventually prevailed, 78-60, with Conley scoring 17 and dishing out 5 assists.

The only thing stopping Charlotte’s Gerald Wallace from becoming the NBA’s Most Valuable Player is the league’s reluctance to allow the Bobcats to play the Knicks 82 times a season.  On a night when Jared Jeffries most definetly came back to earth, it was doubly depressing to witness the ice cold Eddy Curry put the “ugggggg” in sluggish.

Has anyone else noticed that if you close your eyes, Kiki Vandeweghe sounds exactly like Reggie Miller?

Jay-Z, Ratner & Barclays : Strange Bedfellows?

Posted in Basketball, Genocidal Tendencies, Hip Hop, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 7:22 pm by

Not only has Bryon Crawford weighed in today on Brandy’s recent traffic fatality (“I figured she might get away with a few hundred thousand in an out of court settlement, since Matthew Broderick once killed way more than two people and only had to pay to have the glass put back in a phone booth,”) but he’s got a (vaguely) sportsy entry that puts imposters to shame.

You’ll recall that Jay-Z is the black cosigner of the group that owns the New Jersey Nets, led by billionaire financier Bruce Ratner. They’re planning on moving the team from wherever it is in New Jersey to a new stadium in Jay-Z’s hometown of Brooklyn.

The other day, it was announced that a British bank named Barclays would pay $400 million dollars for the naming rights to the stadium.As it turns out, this Barclays has somehow managed to be involved in damn near every great crime that’s happened in the past few hundred years (other than the necessary eradication of the Native American Indians). This story in some shit called The Brooklyn Paper links them to everything from the slave trade, to the Holocaust, to Apartheid in South Africa, which is especially ironic when you consider that the two main figures in this deal are a black guy and a Jew. Damn.

Bol Says: Why not just name the place for Josef Mengele and be done with it?

The New York Daily News’ Michael O’Keefe has more on objections to the Barclays deal, while screenings of the “Brooklyn Matters” documentary are scheduled throughout the next month (trailer, quicktime required).

Living The Dream At Clemson

Posted in Lower Education, Racism Corner at 6:39 pm by

“We have a lot of theme parties where you dress up and have fun. We decided we’d have a “gangsta” party for fun. You know, the gangsta’s like the hip hop culture. So we dressed up. We did not know it would offend so many people…and we did. We feel so bad about it. We realize we can’t begin to apologize to all the people we offended.” – From WYFF.com, link swiped from Sports On My Mind.

Given that the persons responsible for said party might face considerable ridicule, if not difficulty finding employment in the future, I’d like to offer just a bit of consolation : there’s always pseudonymous sports blogging.

Who Says Barry Bonds’ Days As Corporate Pitchman Are Over?

Posted in Baseball, The Marketplace at 5:36 pm by

Thank you, Max Burke, for passing along a link to the following item from Network World’s Paul McNamara that was posted earlier today.

Did I stumble into a baseball card show? Or a pharmaceutical industry convention?

Don’t know how else to explain what I am seeing as I type here at DEMO 07: Barry Bonds — the Barry Bonds, baseball’s most controversial/reviled figure — is up on stage (in front of an utterly empty show hall) taking some publicity pictures. Bonds will be back on stage late this afternoon with his Web designer (just another member the entourage, I suppose) and a company called Bling Software. Bling is unveiling an AJAX-based Web client for mobile handsets.

Yikes! Who would imagine that one of the poster children for steroid abuse in baseball would be up there making a pitch instead of hitting one.

Invasion Of The Mooninites!

Posted in The World Of Entertainment, Total Fucking Terror at 5:26 pm by

…or, if you prefer, Meatwad Vs. Homeland Insecurity

From WBZ.com (link courtesy Jon Solomon) :

The suspicious devices which forced bomb units to scramble across Boston today were actually magnetic lights that are part of a marketing campaign for a television cartoon.

The reports forced the temporary shutdowns of Interstate 93 out of the city, a key inbound roadway, a bridge between Boston and Cambridge, and a portion of the Charles River but were quickly determined not to be explosive.

“It’s a hoax — and it’s not funny,” Gov. Deval Patrick said.

All of the devices are magnetic lights which resemble a character on the show “Aqua Teen Hunger Force”, on Turner Broadcasting’s Cartoon Network.

WBZ has obtained a statement from Turner Broadcasting:

“The “packages” in question are magnetic lights that pose no danger. They are part of an outdoor marketing campaign in 10 cities in support of Adult Swim’s animated television show Aqua Teen Hunger Force. They have been in place for two to three weeks in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco and Philadelphia. Parent company Turner Broadcasting is in contact with local and federal enforcement on the exact locations of the billboards. We regret that they mistakenly thought to pose any danger.”

A total of nine devices were found in Boston and Somerville.

The first device was found at an MBTA subway and bus station located under Interstate 93 on Wednesday morning. The device was detonated and determined to be harmless, but as a precaution the station and the interstate shut down temporarily.

Then, around 1 p.m., four calls came into Boston Police reporting suspicious devices at the Boston University Bridge and the Longfellow Bridge, which both span the Charles River, and the corner of Stuart and Columbus Streets and at the Tufts-New England Medical Center.

Another device was found in Somerville under the McGrath Highway Bridge.

The FBI is assisting Boston police in the investigation. F-B-I spokeswoman Gail Marcinkiewicz says the investigation remains “fluid.” She stresses the devices are NOT related to terrorism.

The trailer for the forthcoming “Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie For Theatres” can be found here. The casting of Neil Peart does bring to mind the question, “what about the voice of Geddy Lee?” but I’ll try to suspend cynicism, just this once.

In The Interests Of Equal Time…

Posted in Basketball at 3:34 pm by

….in reference to an earlier post, the above footage documents The Worst Moment In Mankind’s History.

The Nicktator’s Curious Path To Image Rehab

Posted in Gridiron at 2:56 pm by

I’ll let you decide for yourself whether or not ‘Bama’s new head coach utters the phrase “coonass.” (mp3 audio from Pro Football Talk) But Sean Salisbury would like you to remember this talking-into-a-microphone stuff is much harder than it looks.

Shut The (Transfer) Window, It’s Freezing Outside

Posted in Football at 2:24 pm by

With a flurry of activity that makes baseball’s trading deadline seem positively sleepy by comparison, football’s transfer window slams shut this evening and even both Matthew Upson’s move to West Ham (or Ronaldo’s shift to AC Milan) were confirmed, the Guardian’s Barry Glendenning had his live blogging hands full.

9.38am: According to one of the papers, Javier Mascherano (above) may not be the only player to leave West Ham today. The Daily Mail reveals that Teddy Sheringham, 153, could be on the way back to his old stomping ground White Hart Lane, assuming Spurs can offload Mido on loan to Celta Vigo. Then again, the same paper also reveals that most seahorses are promiscuous bisexuals (no, really), apart from the British spiny seahorse which remains faithful to its partner. Do you believe them?

9.44am: “What possible reason can there be for ignoring rules which presumably have some reason and thought behind them so Mascherano can move to Liverpool?” enquires Jamie Perry in Melbourne. “There are no mitigating circumstances other than he’s miserable, are there?” Well there’s that, the famous Scouse wit, 50 years of Anfield tradition and the fact that Fifa rules seem to be more flexible than a Russian gymnast, Jamie. Apparently the official Fifa party line is something to do with the fact that the English and Brazilian leagues do not run parallel.

9.50am: It’s not difficult to see why Liverpool want to sign Javier Mascherano. He’s made seven appearances for the Hammers, against Palermo (twice), Newcastle, Man City, Portsmouth, Tottenham and Everton. West Ham were beaten in every match.

They’re deadlocked at 0-0 (2-2 agg.) after 20 minutes in the North London Worthless Cup Semi-Final.  If I’m not the only person on earth watching the match while listening to Dan Patrick argue with Marshall Faulk on the radio, well, I oughta be.

The Offside links to a story in which Paul Gascoigne extolls the virtues of bargain hunting in Ladbroke Grove’s thrift stores.  At least one of those establishments took possession of various moth-eaten bits of my old wardrobe a couple of years ago….so if anyone spots Gazza staggering around Notting Hill Gate wearing a Mets 1999 NL Wild Card t-shirt, well, now you know the deal.

Oedipus Wrecks (Your Face): More Drama From The Mayweather Family, Avoided

Posted in Boxing at 1:27 pm by

Brendan Flynn writes with a story concerning a near-miss in America’s creepiest public oedipal drama not involving the White House:


A potentially compelling story line of boxing’s biggest fight of the year has been squashed. Golden Boy promotions announced Freddie Roach will likely train Oscar De La Hoya for his upcoming (on May 5) bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr. (above)  Yes,  that same Freddie Roach who’s been guiding James Toney on his bloated heavyweight travails. Oscar has been trained by Floyd Jr.’s father for his past 9 fights. Mayweather Sr. promised he was the only guy who could provide a strategy to dismantle his son and was asking $2 million to train De La Hoya for the fight. To quote Don King, “Only In America.” But alas boxing, a sport basically on life support, blew it again when it came to creating intrigue. It likely won’t matter too much as Floyd Jr.(37-0), unquestionably boxing’s best pound for pound, and De La Hoya, boxing’s best ppv attraction, will still be the must see fight of the decade–a depressing thought in and of itself.

More detail from the worldwide leader here. Apparently this fight set a record for gate revenue by bringing in $19 million after selling out in three hours. Which is impressive, sure, but the Arcade Fire sold out their five New York City shows in 8 minutes a few weeks ago. My point being that the people at Merge, rather than De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, probably should’ve been promoting this one.

Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz

Posted in Sports Radio, Sports TV, The Marketplace at 12:08 pm by

2nd prize : a week with Mike Golic.

Was This The Greatest Moment In Mankind’s History?

Posted in Basketball at 11:02 am by

Price check on posterizing Michael Jordan. (video link swiped from Marcel Mutoni and NBA Fanhouse)

Still fuming over Kobe’s one game suspension for the attempted decapitation of Manu Ginobilli, Phil Jackon has referred to Stu Jackson as “a non basketball person.” Having attended many Knicks games during 1989 and 1990, I would not argue with Phil.

The Tacoma News Tribune’s Frank Hughes catches up with that walking laff riot, the Sonics’ Mouhamed Saer Sene (above).

Earlier this year, the team had a breakfast meeting at the hotel on the road. Chris Wilcox showed up in a robe, so Bob Hill fined him — just for being ridiculous. At a team meeting yesterday, Sene shows up in baggy shorts, a button-up shirt buttoned all the way to the neck, a gold chain and flip flops. Wilcox turns to Hill and says, “If I got fined for the robe, he should get fined for that outfit.” Hill made Sene stand up in front of the team but did not fine him. Embarrassment may have been punishment enough.

I asked Bob if the D-League is a guard-oriented league. He said he asked Sene if they had any plays for him. Sene told him they had one play for him, ran it the first game he played and did not run it again the rest of the time he played there. I guess that means it’s a guard-oriented league.

Fred Ex : Matchmaker To The Stars

Posted in Baseball, History's Great Hook-Ups at 10:35 am by

Having recently signed a monster pact with the Phillies, Chase Utley might want to think about throwing a bone or two in the direction of a certain ex-Iggle. From the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jim Salisbury.

Chase Utley was in town yesterday, and he brought the best catch he ever made with him – his new bride,
Jennifer.

They met as undergrads at UCLA. Freddie Mitchell (above) introduced them.

Yes, that Freddie Mitchell.

“It was Valentine’s Day 2000,” Jennifer explained on the day her man passed his physical and officially signed a seven-year, $85 million contract with the Phillies.

Mitchell, Utley and Jennifer Cooper were all in the same social policy class. In addition to catching passes for the Bruins’ football team, Mitchell, who later became a receiver and cartoon character with the Eagles, played a little baseball with Utley at UCLA.

After class that day, Utley pointed to Cooper and said he’d like to meet her.

“Oh, I know her,” Mitchell said with his typical I-just-want-to-thank-my-hands-for-being-so-great modesty.

Mitchell made the introduction – then hit up Jennifer for a ride home. Before long, Utley had a date with Ms. Cooper, and he even managed to get a second one after calling her Jessica on their first night out.

Utley and Jess… um… Jennifer became Mr. and Mrs. two weekends ago near her native San Francisco. hat was the same weekend his new deal with the Phillies was ironed out.

In other matrimonial news, congratulations to Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, who somehow managed to meet a girl without Freddie Mitchell’s assistance, and marry her without any press hoopla. ‘Tis a shame the blessed event couldn’t have coincided with National Gorilla Suit Day.

Agent : Selig Could Nullify New Bonds Deal

Posted in Baseball, The Law at 4:45 am by

From the AP :

Barry Bonds gave the San Francisco Giants the right to terminate his $15.8 million, one-year contract if he is indicted.

The unusual provision could set off a legal test between the rights in an individual player’s contract and rights under the union’s collective bargaining agreement. The language, included in the deal that was completed Monday night, is designed by the team to protect itself in case Bonds is charged in the federal government’s steroids investigation.

Bonds’ personal trainer, Greg Anderson, is in a California federal prison because he has refused to testify whether Bonds committed perjury when he told a 2003 grand jury he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.

Complicating matters, the version of Bonds’ contract that was sent to the commissioner’s office by the Giants was not approved, Bonds’ agent, Jeff Borris, said late Tuesday. Borris said the team was redrafting the agreement to address the provisions in question and sending him a revised version by express mail for Bonds to review and sign. Borris wouldn’t specify what was at issue.

As part of the agreement, if Bonds is indicted the Giants have the right to terminate it under two sections of the Uniform Player Contract, a baseball executive said Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the team didn’t announce that detail.

Under 7(b)(1), a team may terminate a contract if the player shall “fail, refuse or neglect to conform his personal conduct to the standards of good citizenship and good sportsmanship or to keep himself in first-class physical condition or to obey the club’s training rules.”

Section 7(b)(3) gives the team the right to end the deal if a player shall “fail, refuse or neglect to render his services hereunder or in any manner materially breach this contract.”

In addition, the Giants have the less drastic option of converting Bonds’ deal to nonguaranteed, the baseball executive said. Players with nonguaranteed contracts can be released before opening day for 30 or 45 days’ termination pay, depending on the timing.

With HR no. 756 firmly in his sights, I can’t imagine what would compell the Sultan Of Surly to fail, refuse or neglect to render his services.

On the other hand, it’s hard to hit while wearing handcuffs.

01.30.07

The Resurrection Of Jared Jeffries.

Posted in Basketball at 9:42 pm by

Though an 8 point lead with 2 minutes left turned into a mere 2 point advantage in the closing seconds, the Knicks’ Eddy Curry and Channing Frye hit some key free throws to ice tonight’s 99-94 win, the third straight loss for the Kobe-less Lakers. The Zen Master moaned about Bryant’s suspension before the game, and took special care to compare the accidental smack of Manu with “Raja Bell kicking a guy when he’s down.”

Though Eddy Curry’s 27 points led all scorers are the Garden Wednesday, the much maligned Jared Jeffries (above) had a breakout performance (14 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks) at both ends of the floor. Jeffries fed Curry with a no-look, behind the back pass in the third quarter that the Knicks center might’ve been the last guy in the building to see. In the game’s final moments, Jeffries blocked a Brian Cook jumper that would’ve narrowed the gap to 2 points, and he lost a contact lens in the process.

The ever polite David Lee was the only uniformed member of the club to get down on the floor and look for it. This extra-effort-off-the-bench stuff is a little too much sometimes.

If Andrew Bynum’s showing against Curry tonight is any indication, Mark Aguirre might be a more proficient tutor of big men than Kareem.

Steve Somers has described his pronounciation problems with Smush Parker’s first name as “the worst mistake in my entire career.” This from a guy who once went on MTV and took credit for breaking Huey Lewis.

After negotiating a buyout with the Grizzlies, Eddie Jones is expected to sign with Miami later this week. There’s no followup story about an Antoine Walker buyout, but if you’re a Miami fan, you can always dream.

While the entire sports world is mourning the passing of Sidney Sheldon, perhaps lost in the shuffle this emotional day is Sasha Pavlovic scoring a career-high 24 points in Cleveland’s 124-97 rout of Golden State. The Cavs made do without LeBron, sidelined by an injured big right toe, though I suspect King James’ disappointment over never getting his copy of “The Other Side Of Midnight” autographed left him in no mental state to take on the Warriors.

Blowing Off SBXLI Media Day In Favor Of More Sean Salisbury Bashing….

Posted in Gridiron at 7:01 pm by

….because even if Tank Johnson were a tree, I wouldn’t care which kind. Tuesday’s day late and a dollar short edition of the Salisbury Stake Thru My Heart includes the following items :

1) Gannett Newspapers’ Craig Carton wrote yesterday, “We have to endure another week of the posturing and “Look at me yell and scream with authority about how much I know about the NFL.” It’s gotten so bad I can’t even watch ESPN anymore if Sean Salisbury is even mentioned. I played golf with Sean in Denver and he yelled at me for taking a one-inch gimme putt, quoting the integrity of the game or some other rule infraction nonsense. I didn’t like him then, and I like him less now.”

This isn’t quite news, but I’m always thrilled when someone other than a sportsblogger interrupts normal programing to take a gratuitious shot at someone more successful for personal reasons.

2) Dumptruck’s Seth Tiven alerts Bedazzled to a nasty bit of anti-semitism in the world of board games. Which is good, because I hear Sean Salisbury’s getting weary playing tennis on the Wii.

3) The spendiferous Sean Salisbury Online features an “NFL Women’s Page” (“Women enjoy playing all types of sports and enjoy being fans of many sports that they may never have played; such as football. Research shows that women would enjoy football games even more if they knew more about the rules and nuances of the game.”) Oh, you lucky, lucky ladies.

NBA.com : Even The Blatant Shilling Has Redeedming Qualities

Posted in Basketball, Sports TV at 6:16 pm by

Other than the odd box score or hunting for video highlights, I don’t spend a ton of time purusing NBA.com. And perhaps that’s my loss, because had I not stumbled across the Association’s inhouse site earlier today, I would probably have forgotten to TiVo tonight’s episode of “Tuesday Night With Amhad”. Not only is the legendary Michael Jordan ass-licker Vikings receiver hosting the shy and retiring Damon Jones tonight, but he’ll also be joined by Darvin Ham. Who may or may not be ready to dish the dirt on the arson charges his mother’s facing.

Elsewhere on NBA.com, haiku specialist Flea blames himself for the Lakers’ recent losses to Charlotte and San Antonio (it seems the bassist recently shared a moment or two with Sean May and Emeka Okafor, insisting “meeting those guys was such a great experience,”) but takes exception to the notion there are any gimmes in the NBA.

“Denial and arrogance are not the stones of which a mighty castle is built,” proclaims Flea. You know, when Danny Fortson eventually beats Peter Vescey to death, the Post might have a lead on a new “Hoops Du Jour” author.

Minnesota Bans Gladiatorial Grappling

Posted in Leave No Child Unbeaten, Lower Education, Medical Science at 5:49 pm by

Before any of you smart alecks chime in, I’m pretty sure Chris Kanyon has no comment. From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Roman Augostoviz and Tim Harlow.

High school wrestling has been suspended for eight days because of a skin-infection outbreak, the Minnesota State High School league said Tuesday.

At least 24 cases of Herpes Gladiatorum have been confirmed. Officials first became aware of the outbreak after a tournament in Rochester in December. Ten teams have reported wrestlers with skin lesions involving the face, head or neck since then.

œI think it™s reasonable to suspend and stop skin to skin transmission, said Leslie Baken, an infectious disease doctor at Park Nicollet Medical Center. œThis will give those with active lesions time to heal, breaking the cycle of transmission.

Baken said the skin infection — not to be confused with the more dangerous genital herpes — could be spread by skin contact. Oral secretions can penetrate the mucus membrane and get beneath the skin through cuts, scrapes and the seemingly benign sticking hands in one™s mouth.

Though it™s a common infection, stopping its spread is important because œonce you have it, you have it for life, she said.

The Guillotine, a wrestling newspaper, has a website with a chat site. At 10:30 a.m. the first post appeared with a rumor that a wrestling shutout was coming.

A half-hour later the MSHSL made an official announcement on its website and The Guillotine’s chat site went crazy: 180 posts, nearly 11,363 views by 2 p.m.

“There is a lot of interest in how this is gong to play out,” said Jeff Beshey, owner of The Guillotine. “A lot of people are wondering people if their events going to be rescheduled.”

Sosa Holds Conference Credibility Call

Posted in Baseball at 5:14 pm by

(Sosa, far left,  assures Rangers executives he’s steroid free)

In accepting a $500K one-year deal (should he make the team), Sammy Sosa addressed the steroid issue head-on with reporters and Texas Rangers executives yesterday by, a) not showing up personally for his own press conference to answer questions, b) demanding questioners prove it, and c) not acknowledging that Ranger fans have legit questions. All of which means, imo, that a former Chicago Cub remains the only steroid-free single season home run king in baseball.

When Sosa last played in 2005, the seven-time All-Star hit .221 with 14 homers and 45 RBIs in 102 games for Baltimore. During spring training that year, Sosa was one of several players who testified before a congressional committee looking into steroid use in professional baseball.

There™s a lot of speculation, but no evidence, Sosa said.

He doesn™t think it™s his job to prove he accumulated his statistics without performance-enhancing substances.

I am not going to go to every fan™s home and knock on the door and say to them: ™Believe in me,™ he said. This is not my style.

Then again, how many Rangers fans are there?

Decision ’08 : Byron Crawford On The Issues That Really Matter

Posted in History's Great Hook-Ups, politics at 2:26 pm by

Regardless of your political leanings, realists amongst know all too well that the race for the White House often rests on something as flimsy as the suitability of a candidate’s spouse. Byron Crawford has the situation so well in hand, I might just let him do my voting for me next time around.

One of the main things the Bush Administration has been successful at is keeping Laura “Pickles” Bush out of the spotlight. Every once in a while you might see her getting off of Air Force One or walking across the White House lawn, but that’s about it.

Hence you’d never know that she used to deal weed when she was in college, that she once killed somebody, or that she smokes squares in the White House – all of which, I’ll have you know, are true.


Of course it’s much more difficult when your wife’s flaws are right out there in the open, which is the case with John Edwards. During the last election, I remember people would wonder: how could a man become a multi-millionaire trial lawyer, get elected to the Senate, finally be selected to run for Vice President, and still not be able to keep his wife in decent shape?

The situation is obviously different with Hillary Clinton, since she’s the one running for president. Some have suggested that the fact that she was able to stand by Bill when he was getting his knob shined left and right is a sign of personal strength, but you have to wonder: how come she wasn’t down on her knees that entire time? If Hillary Clinton can’t take care of her own family, why should we trust her to take care of the entire country?

To date, we don’t know too much about Barack Obama’s wife Michelle. Obviously it was a stroke of genius on his part, at least politically, that he went and got him an actual black woman, since his own racial identity is pretty damn questionable. But of course that can also be a liability. We already know she likes to refer to him as “my baby’s daddy.” How long until Karl Rove or somebody figures out that there’s an actual song called “My Baby’s Daddy?” We could be hearing that shit all next year.

UT Paper On Durant : Naive Or Just Full Of Shit?

Posted in Basketball at 2:15 pm by

Congrats to the Daily Texan’s Cody Hale, a previously unheralded collegiate satirist who almost tricked me into thinking he seriously believes there’s any chance whatsoever the Longhorns’ Kevin Durant isn’t leaving school in June.

If Durant had to make up his mind right now about whether or not he wanted to leave college for the NBA, the answer might not be as simple as most expect.

Even Texas’ coach Rick Barnes feels that way. Barnes believes that if the season were to end today, Durant would have a hard time hanging up his Texas jersey. He might want to stay around for another season.

Now, I already know what you’re thinking. We hear stuff like this all the time at this point in the season, because most players haven’t seriously considered their options just yet.

One of the special things about Durant is that he only cares about getting better on both ends of the court. He knows the money is there waiting for him, whenever he decides to leave college. He also knows that Barnes and his staff can help him become an even better basketball player as he spends more time at Texas.

So, while it’s really too early to tell whether or not Durant will stay in college, don’t be too surprised if at the end of this season he comes back for his sophomore year.

In other news, 2008′s next great One & Done hope / Tim Floyd’s meal ticket, O.J. Mayo had a rough weekend. Since I’m having trouble getting the home video of the incident to play, we’ll have to settle for Paul Alcock taking a dive against Paolo DiCanio, instead.

The Knicks will dodge the bullet that is Kobe Bryant this evening, as the Lakers’ no. 8 no. 24 was suspended for one game for striking Manu Ginobili in the face this past Sunday evening. I don’t know if Stu Jackson cited Kobe because he only hit Ginobili once, but you can safely assume Lamar Odom will do most of the heavy lifting at MSG tonight.

The New York Post’s Peter Vescey — along with summarizing the competition to acquire Memphis’ Pau Gasol — drops the following gems in his Tuesday column.

Emma Faust Tillman, the world’s oldest known living person, died Sunday in Connecticut at 114. To give you an idea how long she lived, Ms. Tillman was alive when Benjamin Harrison was in the White House and the Knicks were under the salary cap.

That reminds me – Dikembe Mutombo, the NBA’s oldest (reputedly June 25, ’66) active player, is fed up with our obsession about his age. I’ll never reference it again – after today. How old is Mutombo, you ask? Older than the hospital he was born in.

The Many Charms Of Katie Couric Elude Bob Raissman

Posted in Gridiron, Sports TV at 12:39 pm by

(our Katie tells a penniless Gallagher lookalike where to get off)

Never let it be said the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman is afraid to tackle the biggest names in the world of infotainment, even if it means he runs the risk of morphing into Phil Mushnick before our very eyes.

The Super Bowl is a cross between a promotional weapon and a flea market, albeit an electronic one. The inescapable fact is that reality really has no place in Miami for the rest of the week.

Especially when it comes to television.

Take CBS’ pregame show. According to the network, “Evening News” anchor Katie Couric will be doing a pregame feature. I have no idea what this feature will be about. Still, I can pretty much guarantee what it won’t be about: Any topic, no matter how reality-based, casting aspersions on the National Football League and its Happy Fizzies Party.

CBS already has proven it is more than willing to go in the tank for the league. Who can forget that Twinkie Munch CBS’ “The NFL Today” crew did with the NFL’s marquee steroid abuser Shawne Merriman? Neither James Brown, Dan Marino, Shannon Sharpe nor Boomer Esiason asked Merriman about his four-game steroid suspension.

It’s doubtful the subject of Couric’s highly anticipated feature will be Bears defensive tackle Tank Johnson. In order to travel to Miami, Johnson had to get permission from Cook County Judge John Moran. In case you forgot, Johnson is awaiting trial on gun possession charges.

Perhaps Couric also will steer clear of doing her feature on Bears cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. Last April 23, according to a police report, Manning and a couple of his former UCLA teamates went into a Denny’s restaurant in L.A. and exchanged words with a student, Soroush Sabzi.

Manning allegedly called Sabzi “an ugly — Jew” and used a homosexual slur. Sabzi asked Manning and his pals to leave him alone. Instead, they pummeled him, basically leaving Sabzi unconscious.

Here are some other things that Couric, and CBS, won’t touch.

* – A look at former players now facing severe playing-related disabilities who cannot get help from either the league or the NFL Players Association, because of severe problems with the league’s pension and disability program. An interview with a former Super Bowl participant strung out on Vicodin ain’t a sight TV wants to serve up with your beer, pizza and box pools.

* – A look at Super Bowl gambling. Couric could find some poor schnook whose life was ruined because of an addiction to football gambling. Gee, you think someone like that actually exists?

See, for CBS and Couric, who has dealt with many serious topics during her career, Sunday is more about giving the star anchor a huge viewer platform that might entice a few more eyeballs to watch her daily newscast, which trails both NBC and ABC in the ratings race.

What better place than the Super Bowl for Couric to give her sales pitch?

Though I think Raissman is mostly correct about the fluffy nature of the networks’ pregame shows, there’s something a tad hysterical about attacking CBS for an SB XLI preview none of us have actually seen.

David Wright’s Mom Continues To Dress Him Funny

Posted in Baseball, Video Games at 10:44 am by

Whether he’s shilling for a feces-ingesting televangelist, getting caught with Cliff Floyd’s stroke mags, posing for GQ or just letting the motion-capture crew working on MLB ’07 do their thing, I’ll say this much for the Mets’ fearless David Wright :

He really needs to stop hanging out with Jay Horowitz.

Father Robert Drinan, RIP

Posted in politics at 10:20 am by

Bob Drinan, a U.S. Congressman from 1971-1981 passed away on Sunday at the age of 86. The career of the Massachusetts Democrat wasn’t merely notable for his having been the first Roman Catholic priest to serve in Congress, but rather for his bold stance on many of the era’s most contentious issues, often in stark contrast to his church’s position.

Drinan was one of the Vietnam War’s harshest critics, and the former Boston College law school dean was a prominent thorn in the side of Richard Nixon throughout the Trickster’s 2nd term. Both before and after his tenure in the House, Drinan was a staunch abortion rights advocate, which might’ve had something to do with Pope John Paul II’s 1980 decree that priests must abstain from electoral politics.

From Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift :

In a measure of how much the intersection of politics and religion has changed, Drinan had noted that Nancy Pelosi is the first œmom to become Speaker of the House. The fact that she is also Catholic was a footnote. And nobody was checking with the Vatican to see if it was OK, least of all Drinan. If Rome thought this progressive priest would be silenced once he left Congress, they were mistaken. If anything, he expanded his repertoire of causes, writing extensively and lecturing about everything from his moderate views on abortion and birth control to protecting the rights of political prisoners, even serving for a time as president of the Americans for Democratic Action, a liberal interest group.

Drinan was the first member of Congress to call for President Nixon™s impeachment. It was not the crimes associated with Watergate that drove Drinan to advocate what initially seemed like drastic action, it was Nixon™s widening of the war into Cambodia without congressional authorization. œCan we be silent about this flagrant violation of the Constitution? he asked. “Can we impeach a president for concealing a burglary but not for concealing a massive bombing?

Goony Going Loony Over The NHL’s Woes

Posted in Hockey at 4:06 am by

After an NHL All-Star Game that garnered more publicity over most Americans not knowing who or what the Versus channel is (am I the only person who’d hoped for a 24-7 mix of Baluyut family programming?), Chris at Goonblog doesn’t mince words in accusing Gary Bettman (above) of “systematically ruining the Greatest Game On Earth.” Damning stuff, as I was under the impression he was fucking with hockey, too.

Goals are down almost two goals from last season. Listen, I don™t want to see a 6-5 shootout every night. I like a hard fought game. The boys have figured out how to play in the new rules, and coaches have learned to coach in the new rules. It wouldn™t be a bad thing if there were more up and down hard hitting 2-1 games out there. You know, Old Time Hockey. YGTBSMT says there is a correlation between the drop in attendance, and the 1.6 less goals per game than last year. I don™t see it that way. Look, the honeymoon is over. People came back in droves last year because they missed the game. I think they are staying away in droves this year because the new NHL as it turns out isn™t all that interesting. People would rather have the ability to switch channels during a 7-6 parade to the penalty box new NHL game as opposed to paying a hundo for a decent seat, $25.00 to park, and whatever else to eat and drink.

The other issue in the NHL the YGTBSMT is the rise in head shots, and hard checks in open ice. So, let me get this straight. Guys aren™t allowed to hold anyone up coming out of the zone anymore, and there is virtually no hitting along the boards in the No Hitting League. So when guys get a head of steam coming out with their heads down, or looking back for a pass they get creamed by hard hitting defensemen there is an outcry against this sort of behavior? This is a violent game played by violent men correct? What did they think was going to happen when they took the physical slow up style out? Guys getting creamed never learned to play with their heads up. Ask Eric Lindros. He never had to learn to play with his head up because he was always so much bigger than everyone else. The kids playing now have played the North American style for a long time. To change to a more European style with the speed and less stick fouls is a big adjustment to a lot of these guys. I think the big hitters in the league like Dion Phaneuf should be allowed to play their game as much as the next guy. Hey, keep your head up.

In homage to Chris’ trenchant analysis, here’s some stock footage of P.J. Stock :

Popjocks’ Sean Leahy calls the above sign, “The Best Fan Request Ever”. Who knew Sidney Wicks had so many young fans in Pittsburgh?

01.29.07

AK-47′s Filthy Reading Habit

Posted in Basketball, General at 9:36 pm by

(mos def. the wrong AK-47)

Shortly after owner Larry Miller lit into Jazz F Andrei Kirilenko, the team’s dictatorial staff (fresh off Jerry Sloan imposing a curfew) began a brutal crackdown on AK-47′s off-court behavior. From the Salt Lake Tribune’s Phil Miller and Steve Luhm.

When Andrei Kirilenko met with Jazz coaches 10 days ago to discuss his rapidly diminishing affect on games, it was made clear to him what a bad signal he was sending by reading paperbacks at his locker for more than an hour while his teammates are out on the court, warming up. The Russian agreed to stop, and he now spends several more minutes on the floor, shooting around. But like most veterans, he returns to the locker room at least an hour before gametime.

There isn’t much to do for the next 30 minutes, but Kirilenko is careful not to pull out one of his novels, which he devours at an astonishing rate. And while he seems genuinely willing to go along with the book ban, he also clearly believes it’s a little silly. “Books are bad, headphones are good,” is all he would say when I asked him about it, a reference to some of his teammates who listen to music while waiting for gametime.

I’ve been watching Kirilenko’s time-killing with some amusement for the past week, because he hasn’t settled into a new routine yet, he has the nervous energy of a five-year-old, and without those Russian-language novels, he’s obviously not sure what to do with himself.

Kirilenko has been mostly MIA tonight against the Nets (4 points, just two shots from the field) as Utah, without the services of the injured Carlos Boozer, leads 64-60 midway through the 3rd quarter.

Randy Whitman’s 2nd win as T-Wolves head coach could hardly have been bigger, a 121-112 decision that put an end to Phoenix’s 17 game winning streak, the longest in the Association this year. Kevin Garnett scored 44 points and collected 11 rebounds, while the enigmatic Ricky Davis chipped in with 17 points and 8 assists.

The Freedom Fightin’ Owner With A Boner is aghast at the injustice of a 17 year old serving a long prison stretch for receiving a consensual suck-job.

Bench Renaldo’s Marcel Mutoni reports on the star-studded celebrity roast of LeBron James that took place last night, and provides this illuminating remark from Damon Jones ;

“There’s a lot of great comedians on this list. I’m one of them. So I want to be paid like they get paid.”

I’m sure the Cavs would like to see Damon be paid just as much as this great comedian.

After the Knicks’ ghastly showing in Milwaukee yesterday, Newsday’s Alan Hahn vents over 3 recent New York losses that could’ve been avoided.

The games that stand out are Jan. 15 against the Charlotte Bobcats, Jan. 22 at Miami and Sunday™s loss here to the Bucks. Gotta have ˜em. Three killer losses that will come back to haunt you when the playoff standings are settled.

In each game the Knicks had far more talent on the floor, most especially in Miami, when Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal were out. But in each game the Knicks defense was shredded by high screens that freed up guards to make open shots or blow-by for layps. Matt Carroll. Jason Kapono. Mo Williams. Not exactly the Big Three.

In fact, who the hell is Matt Carroll?

I asked Isiah Thomas about his team’s defense performance, especially against the screens. The was I see it, the Knicks’ interior defenders do a poor job œshowing on the screens to make the guards pause long enough for the Knick guard to get through the screen and recover.

The times the opposing guard does penetrate, another thing I noticed was the Knick bigs rarely, if ever, use a hard foul. Jerome James was in the game early against the Bucks and he actually tried to avoid making contact with Williams as he drove to the basket. This was minutes after he flexed his massive biceps to me and said, “It’s been banned by the NBA. Can’t use ‘em anymore.”

Jerome, you have six, baby. Six fouls. And they’re not there to save up for another night.