The Toronto Raptors will be celebrating their 20th year as an NBA franchise during the 2014-2015 season. If you were a kid who grew up in the 1990s, you probably had or knew someone who had a purple piece of clothing that was acceptable for a young boy to wear because it represented basketball’s newest team. That shade of purple is coming back next season.
The Raptors announced on Thursday that they will be wearing their original jerseys for select home games next year to commemorate the team’s 20th anniversary. Amir Johnson modeled one of the “Jurassic Park” throwbacks on Instagram.
I just might have to bust out my old Starter jacket.
Joakim Noah posted an impressive triple-double in a win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night, but his evening was not entirely stress free. As Noah was heading to the locker room after the game, Hooper the Pistons mascot startled the crap out of him.
As you can see from the video that Sports Pickle passed along, Hooper found a hiding spot that was strategically located after the tunnel. Noah wasn’t expecting a horse to jump out at him, so he reacted accordingly.
At least someone on the 24-37 Pistons is still having a good time.
- Filed Under:
- Joakim Noah
LeBron James looked uncomfortable throughout most of the Miami Heat’s 111-87 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night. The protective mask he has been wearing may have finally started to bother him, as LeBron shot 6-for-18 from the floor and scored *just* 19 points. He ditched the mask in the first quarter, and the night didn’t improve much from there.
“I don’t like it,” James said after the game, via the NY Post. “It’s that simple; just got frustrated with it early on so I took it off. It didn’t help me, taking it off. It’s probably a game-to-game thing.”
LeBron was wearing the protective mask earlier this week when he dropped a career-high 61 points on the Charlotte Bobcats, so that must not have been the issue. How about those short-sleeved “El Heat” jerseys that Miami had to wear?
“I’m not making any excuses, but I’m not a big fan of the jerseys,” LeBron said. “So I have to figure something out next time I have to wear the short-sleeve jerseys. Every time I shoot, it feels like it’s just pulling right up underneath my arm. I already don’t have much room for error on my jump shot anyways, so it’s definitely not a good thing.”
The bottom line is professional athletes like things a certain way. When you shoot thousands of jump shots each year in the same jersey, a slight change can make a difference. LeBron said he wasn’t making excuses, but that’s exactly what he was doing.
- Filed Under:
- LeBron James
Mike Trout has had better overall production than Albert Pujols with the Los Angeles Angels over the past two seasons, but Albert Pujols is still Albert Pujols. The 34-year-old slugger is one of the greatest hitters to ever play. He’s also the only player in MLB history to bat at least .300 with at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI in his first 10 seasons.
Trout, who has been healthier than Pujols in recent years, has established himself as one of the best players in the game. That doesn’t mean he can be compared to Pujols just yet, and Albert was beyond offended when a reporter asked him earlier this offseason if he is motivated to put up the same numbers as Trout.
“Can you imagine someone saying that to me?” Pujols told USA Today Sports when recalling the question. “I felt like saying, ‘Come on, are you serious? Are you really asking me that? Check out my numbers. I know what Mike Trout has done in his first two years is pretty special, but will you look at my numbers. I’ve been doing this for almost 14 years.’
“The only guy in baseball who can match the numbers I’ve put up is Barry Bonds, and someone is actually asking if I can put up numbers like Mike Trout? Are you freaking kidding me?”
While Pujols certainly has a point, the fact that he and Trout share the same locker room makes his reaction a bit awkward. You can understand his not wanting to be compared to a 22-year-old kid, but that kid is his teammate. It’s not like Pujols was compared to some minor leaguer in the Miami Marlins’ system.
“He’s a great kid who always wants to learn and is so humble,” Pujols says. “But if it takes someone comparing me to Mike Trout to motivate me, it’s time for me to get out of the game.”
Relax, big fella. Pujols’ foot injury has scared Angels fans to the point where they are already starting to call his massive contract a mistake. If Trout is still Trout in 2014 and Pujols can get back to being Pujols, the Angels have a chance to make a run in the American League.
H/T Big League Stew
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Magic Johnson has outdone himself this time. The Los Angeles Lakers legend has said some ridiculous things while working as an NBA analyst, but nothing he has ever said on the air can top what he wrote on Twitter Thursday night.
The only way San Antonio or Miami don't win the championship is if neither team makes the finals.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) March 7, 2014
Hey, he’s right. There’s just no possible way the Heat or Spurs are going to hoist the championship trophy this year if they don’t get to the NBA Finals. Some teams may be able to accomplish that seemingly impossible feat, but it’s not going to happen for Miami or San Antonio.
People can rip on Magic all they want, but the man speaks the truth. For that, we applaud him.
- Magic Johnson
Chloie Jonnson was born with a penis but underwent sex reassignment surgery in 2006. According to TMZ, she is legally recognized as a woman by the state of California. Despite that, CrossFit maintains that Jonnson has certain physiological advantages over women since she was born as a man.
“We have simply ruled that based upon [Chloie] being born as a male, she will need to compete in the Men’s Division,” the company wrote in a letter that was obtained by TMZ. The fundamental, ineluctable fact is that a male competitor who has a sex reassignment procedure still has a genetic makeup that confers a physical and physiological advantage over women.”
Jonnson claims CrossFit is violating her civil rights by not letting her compete as a woman. The company does not seem to be feel threatened by the legal action.
“Our decision has nothing to do with ‘ignorance’ or being bigots — it has to do with a very real understanding of the human genome, of fundamental biology, that you are either intentionally ignoring or missed in high school,” CrossFit wrote.
CrossFit added that transgender athletes are welcomed into their gyms with open arms but that they will always remain committed to ensuring fairness when it comes to competition.
I’m no legal expert on this kind of stuff, so I really can’t say who is right or wrong here. Chloie is 5-foot-4 and weighs 151 pounds, so it’s not like she’d tower over the female competition. It will be interesting to see how the lawsuit is settled.
- Filed Under:
- Ethical Debates
- Chloie Jonnson
As if the story of Bob Costas’ pink eye during the Sochi Games weren’t already juicy enough, now there’s a rumor that will blow everything away.
The New York Post’s Page Six reports that a source told them Costas got pink eye from a botched pre-Olympics Botox injection.
Costas is one of the top broadcasters for NBC and was expected to serve as the network’s studio host during the Games’ two-week run, but his reign was marred by a case of pink eye. Costas was forced to wear glasses throughout his entire time in Sochi because of his eye infection. He was even sidelined for six days after the pink eye spread to his right eye.
Page Six’s source not only says the infection was contracted during a botched Botox injection, but they added that it wasn’t Costas’ first time receiving Botox. However, NBC Sports vehemently denied the rumor.
“This has zero truth to this. Zero,” an NBC spokesperson told Page Six.
Page Six is known for embellishing stories — they are the kings of turning a public appearance by two people into a dating rumor — so we are always leery of their reports. We’ll just share that we’re keeping our eye on this one.
H/T Jimmy Traina
- Bob Costas
Oh. My. God.
Nothing could have possibly captured the emotion of the Los Angeles’ Lakers terrible season than this priceless reaction from GM Mitch Kupchak during the middle of the team’s blowout defeat against the rival Clippers.
Up by nearly 50 points, the Clips went for alley-oops on back-to-back plays in the third quarter. The first one failed, but the next one was executed perfectly by Blake Griffin. After Griffin brought down the house, TNT shifted to a priceless shot of Kupchak giving the look of hopelessness Lakers fans have embraced all season.
That was amazing.
Here it is in GIF form:
Video via @cjzero
- Mitch Kupchak
Bill Walton became emotional on live TV while sharing the story of Washington walk-on Connor Smith during Thursday’s telecast of UCLA’s 91-82 win over the Huskies in Seattle.
Smith, a senior from Wenatchee, Wash., was a standout at Wenatchee High School but health issues kept him from pursuing a college basketball career despite having scholarship offers. The 6-foot-9 big man dealt with stress fractures and degenerate disks in high school and was limited to just playing intramural sports in college, according to a story about him in The Olympian.
But after blocking the shot of one of the Huskies’ best players during a pickup game in his freshman year, Smith was convinced he could play at the top level. However, he had a serious health issue during the fall of his junior year.
As Walton related in his “Walton’s World” segment during ESPN2’s telecast, Smith spent 11 days in the hospital in Oct. 2012 to treat an internal bacterial infection in his pelvic area.
After recovering from the surgery, Smith decided to make a run at making the basketball team.
Smith got in contact with the team’s video coordinator and then with a few other walk-ons, and he was eventually invited by coach Lorenzo Romar to be a walk-on for the team. It helped that Smith was 6-foot-9, skilled, and had won MVP at Romar’s camp in 6th grade. It probably also didn’t hurt that his father, Alan, played for Washington during the ’70s.
Smith did not get into Thursday’s game, but he played seven minutes this season and even scored his first basket in a blowout win over Oregon State last month. He and Walton developed a friendship after he shared his story with Walton before a previous Huskies game for which Walton served as an analyst.
“Bill Walton and I, we’re homies,” Smith told The Olympian regarding his relationship with Walton. “Without this whole experience, I wouldn’t have ever been able to talk to people like that.”
As a big man whose career was cut short by multiple injuries, Walton could relate to Smith’s experience. In a 2010 LA Times article, Walton detailed the severe back pain he lived with that put his broadcasting career on hold. The pain was so bad Walton revealed that he contemplated suicide.
As someone who had been where Smith was, Walton knew exactly what the young man had overcome and that’s probably why he became so emotional sharing the great story.
H/T The Big Lead
- Filed Under:
- College Basketball
As Michigan State was looking to inbound the ball from under their basket with less than five minutes remaining, McCabe got tangled with Trice. Instead of unlocking arms, McCabe tossed Trice to the ground with some sort of judo-style move that including him tripping Trice.
Double-fouls were called at first, and McCabe was called for a technical. He fouled out of the game while Trice got to shoot two free throws.
Spartans bench player Russell Byrd was also ejected for coming off the bench.
Was he just frustrated with the way the game was going? That was a pretty dirty play. And with all the cameras around, no way he thought he’d get away with it, right?
GIF via @WorldofIsaac
- Filed Under:
- College Basketball