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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

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A Summer Sports Article About Nothing – Seinfeld Style

It’s times likes these I pray for writer’s block. I haven’t gotten around to looking up from this glowing computer screen to actually confirm it, but the television behind me just said summer is around the corner. Based on the date showing on my cell phone screen, that would appear to be confirmed. Barring a nuclear winter in the next five minutes, this missive will be seen through to its conclusion.

Recall a time when summer represented a time of freedom from three months of physical education, the gruel served by that seedy-looking fellow who always wore a state-mandated hairnet, and the random detention … Actually, come to think of it, school did seem a little like prison didn’t it? Flash forward to an indeterminate period of time later. Nope no physical activity, unless getting up to use the commode at regular intervals counts as a calorie-burning activity. The guy in the hairnet? Once the butt of jokes among 3rd graders, now comes the realization that he undoubtedly made more money doling out stale Sloppy Joe’s than I do opining about sports. And detention now lasts as long as a seven-game series.

Why miss out on the opportunity to eat one’s weight in barbecue to watch the NBA Finals, featuring the perennially hapless Dallas Mavericks and the overly-maligned Miami Heat, cornering the NBA’s cherished jaded NASCAR fan demographic? A rematch of the 2006 Finals, where the Mavericks famously frittered away a 2-0 series lead to lose in 6 games. The NBA would like you to think that its championship pairings age like a fine bottle of scotch. In this case, it would probably be best to check the expiration date on that boxed wine left over from the Bush administration. Give it time, though, and the story lines will be hashed out (perhaps some hashing would aid enjoyment).

A ring for the King? A smirk for Dirk? Maybe they’ll even throw in clips of the movie Maverick and Heat since we are already going back into the archives. Val Kilmer might be a full Pacino over his playing weight, but to quote the immortal Mark Jackson, you gotta give him credit. Regardless, if I were a betting man, I’d take the Mavericks in seven … years.

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Mark Jackson Does Not Think Brendan Haywood Is Worth a Home Recruiting Visit

The Dallas Mavericks have reached the Finals of the NBA Playoffs, and their depth has been a big reason why they’ve had so much success. Though they only have one superstar in Dirk Nowitzki, their strength is that they have eight other solid-to-good players on their roster. One of whom is backup center Brendan Haywood, who despite playing only 18 minutes per game is extremely valuable because he gives Dallas another sturdy defensive presence in the middle. Apparently ESPN analyst Mark Jackson doesn’t see it that way.

When starting center Tyson Chandler committed his third foul early in the third quarter of Game 1 against the Heat, Haywood checked into the game. Play-by-play man Mike Breen said it’s been a nice benefit to have a guy like Haywood available off the bench. He then related a story about how Heat exec Pat Riley made a recruiting visit over the summer to Haywood at his home in North Carolina. Haywood signed with the Mavs instead, thinking he was going to be their starter until they locked down Chandler.

Upon hearing the story, Jackson was incensed.

“What has this League come to?” Jackson opined. “I’m not going to see Brendan Haywood at his house to recruit him. Come back to me, Coach Riley.”

Jeff Van Gundy asked in surprise, “You don’t think he deserves a visit?” Jackson responded by saying Haywood should have to meet them halfway.

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Tweet from Josh Pastner’s Sister to Recruit Could Get Memphis in Trouble

Josh Pastner’s sister, Courtney Pastner, sent a tweet to high school recruit Rodney Purvis that could get Memphis in trouble (albeit in a minor way). Purvis is one of the top shooting guard recruits in the country and he recently re-opened his recruiting after decommitting from Louisville in early May. He announced on twitter Saturday that he was adding Memphis to his list of schools he was considering.

After losing an AAU game in LA the next day, he wrote “hurts to lose.” Josh Pastner’s sister, Courtney Paster replied to him on twitter “I was at the game. You’re the real deal. I can tell you’re a workhorse.” Rodney then retweeted that message for all his followers to see, bringing to light a potential problem.

Courtney is the sister of Josh Pastner, who is the head coach at Memphis. She has a Memphis Tigers logo as her twitter background (as seen above). It’s pretty obvious she qualifies as a representative of the program the same way Nick Saban and Pat Dye’s daughters did.

Cameron Smith at Prep Rally points out that someone affiliated with the institution making direct public contact with the recruit through social media is a violation of NCAA rules. Sure it’s an extremely minor offense and a rule Courtney’s learning the hard way, but at least she now knows better. And I think we can probably file this story under “why does the NCAA consider this a violation,” again?

Larry Bird Honored to be Compared to Dirk Nowitzki

Entering Game 1 of the NBA Finals, most observers agreed that Dirk Nowitzki had been the best player in the playoffs. During his games, announcers frequently debated his place in history. Coach Rick Carlisle stated he felt Dirk was a Top 30 player all time. Former coach and current analyst Jeff Van Gundy proclaimed during Dirk’s brilliant Game 1 against the Thunder that Nowitzki was a Top 10 player all time.

Inevitably, people began comparing Dirk to Larry Bird, suggesting Nowitzki may be the greatest white player ever. Even though their style of play is different, people thought the comparison was fair because of their skin color. By that logic, we should assume limes and broccoli taste the same because they’re both green. It’s a stupid debate, but it’s resulted in a response from Larry Legend.

“I’ve always admired the guy,” Bird told Marc Stein. “He’s had a great run (in the playoffs), but I’ve always been very impressed with him. His work ethic, his loyalty to his country. It’s really an honor for me to have people compare us.”

Bird added that “I understand (the comparisons). I’ve always felt it’s an honor when they compare anyone to me, because I haven’t played ball for 20 years.”

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Red Sox Move Start Time of Saturday Game to Accommodate Boston Bruins Fans

Boston Red Sox President & CEO Larry Lucchino made an announcement during the fourth inning of the Red Sox-White Sox game Tuesday, letting fans know that the start time for Saturday’s game would be switched.

Instead of playing a night game against the A’s Saturday, the start time was moved to 1:10pm ET. The Red Sox are moving their start time up so Boston sports fans can attend the Red Sox game and still be able to watch the Boston Bruins later in the day. Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Bruins and Canucks starts at 8pm Eastern.

Lucchino says the team consulted the fans on the issue using social media and that over 90% of the responders suggested they move the start time of the game. Lucchino acknowledged “It’s not something we do lightly because we know we we’ll still be inconveniencing some fans,” but he hopes to make it up to them down the line if the conflict is severe.

The reason why we’re making a point to post this story is because it’s just an awesome and considerate gesture by the Red Sox. This is an organization that understands its fan base and is trying to cater to them. Boston fans were rated the most loyal in sports, and Bruins fans are hard core in particular (they’ll prank you or flip you off). Making them choose between the Bruins and Sox really would be difficult, and luckily the Red Sox are doing their best to eliminate the decision.

I can’t tell you how many times in Los Angeles (where I’m based) important Dodgers and Lakers games conflict, making viewers choose between the two. I even remember a Sunday night in the past when the Chargers had a big game on Sunday Night Football while the Padres had an equally important game (I believe the playoffs), and the start times fractured the San Diego audience. Any time an organization goes this far out of its way to work with the fans we want to recognize it. Nice job by the Red Sox, and hopefully other tams take note and follow their lead.

Shawn Marion on Mavericks as Underdogs: ‘I Don’t Give a F***’

If Shawn Marion has hopped on LBS yet today (since we know he does every day), he would probably have a few things to say about our man Patrick’s guide for picking the winner of the NBA Finals.  While the guide is terrific and certainly worth a read, it would appear Marion couldn’t care less about what sports bloggers or anyone in the media has to say about the Mavericks chances against the Heat.

Dallas is currently listed at +155 on the sports betting website Bodog.com, so the consensus in the gambling world is obviously that the Heat should win the seven-game series.  A lot of people aren’t giving the Mavericks the respect they deserve after coming out of the West, but according to Marion the team doesn’t care.

“We really don’t care,” Marion said as told by Hoopsworld.com. “At the end of the day, this about what we’re able to do and what we’ve done. Are all of these people giving us credit? I don’t give a f***. It’s just that simple. We don’t care. What does it matter? We’ve shown what we can do and what we’re capable of, but we’re not finished yet. We made the Finals, but this not what we came here to do. We came here to take the trophy home with us.”

While Marion said the right thing (aside from the f-bomb), he is completely lying.  Do the Mavs think they’re going to lose because everyone is picking the Heat? Of course not.  Do they care that everyone is picking the Heat? Absolutely.  Everyone wants to be the underdog.  With the way he’s been playing, I’m not sure Dirk should be a part of the underdog squad.

Soldier Proposes to Girlfriend at Royals Game on Memorial Day (Video)

Monday was Memorial Day and many baseball teams supported the holiday by wearing tribute caps. Several teams also had soldiers participate in game-day ceremonies such as throwing out the first pitch or singing God Bless America. In Kansas City, the best gesture of all may have taken place.

As I was watching the Angels-Royals game on TV, they showed a soldier who surprised his girlfriend by proposing to her at Kauffman Stadium — only there was a catch; the Royals were in on the surprise. Check out the video brought to us courtesy of Big League Stew:

Congrats to Eddie and Celi on their engagement. It’s never easy doing something like that in such a public forum, but that was a beautiful moment. Kudos to the Royals for helping to arrange it, and I’m glad it worked out much better than this recent ballpark proposal turned disaster.

Mark Sanchez Dating Hayden Panettiere?

The recent news of actress Hayden Panettiere breaking up with heavyweight boxer Wladimir Klitschko has been accompanied by some Dirty Sanchez speculation. No, I’m talking about Mark Sanchez and Hayden now dating.  In typical athlete/celebrity couple fashion, Sanchez denied the rumors in an interview with NFL.com. It’s possible the Jets quarterback is also concerned about getting his face pounded by Klitschko, but in any event we’re happy to see he’s moved on from 17-year-old millionaires to wealthy women who are actually old enough to be granted access to a night club in America.

Rumor Fix via Terez Owens was able to capture a few photos of Panettiere and Sanchez hanging out, albeit at an In-N-Out Burger in Southern California.  As far as we know there was no sign of Tim Lincecum, so the Giants hurler must have been between meals at the time.  Of course, there’s always the possibility that the two are just good friends.  Doubt it.  For all of the pictures of Mark Sanchez with Hayden Panettiere check out Rumor Fix.

Your Guide to Picking a Team in the NBA Finals: Miami Heat or Dallas Mavericks

Tuesday marks the beginning of one of the most anticipated NBA Finals matchups in recent memory. Miami vs. Dallas. The Heatles vs Dirk and The Boys. Pat Riley vs Mark Cuban. The Rematch Series (even though it’s really not much of a rematch considering how much the teams have changed since 2006).

Rarely are championship contenders as easily differentiated as the Heat and the Mavericks. They are complete opposites. Like tofu and steak.

Yes, the Lakers and Celtics had the whole bitter rivalry thing going on last season. But at their core they were more similar than they were different: two talented, versatile teams filled with veterans. Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom against Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo. Pretty even, right?

The same can’t be said for Miami and Dallas. They are different in almost every discernible way, from the way their talent is distributed to the styles of their offenses to their general world views.

This makes it difficult to pick a favorite in this series (personally, I’m going with Dallas in 6) but easy to choose a team to root for. If you’re not from Miami or Dallas and have yet to decide on a rooting interest, here’s your guide to picking a side:

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Rampage Jackson Motorboats Karyn Bryant in Interview (Video)

Rampage Jackson is coming off a UFC 130 win over Matt Hamill Saturday, and he wants Jon Jones’ belt next. Before he gets to belts, he’ll have to unglue his face from chests. Continuing a pattern he’s long established of harassing females, Rampage got a little cozy with Karyn Bryant who interviewed him Saturday evening after his fight. At the end of the interview, Rampage mock motorboated her breasts. Here’s the video:

There are several aspects of this sort of behavior that needs to be addressed.

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