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Sunday, February 26, 2017

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LeBron James in response to Larry Bird: I’m an easy target

LeBron James is having a very LeBron James week. By that I mean he has found himself having to answer some tough questions and has not handled it as well as he might hope. First, LeBron was criticized for tweeting about Blake Griffin’s dunk on Kendrick Perkins. He said he would not apologize for that — which he really doesn’t have to — and that it was just a way to connect with his fans. Then, Larry Bird said he would take Kobe Bryant as a teammate over LeBron if he wanted to win. James didn’t seem overly offended by Bird’s remark, but did some whining about it on Wednesday anyway.

“It’s simple. Kobe has five rings and I have none,” James said. “It’s easy to say that. If I (had) five rings and Kobe had none then it would probably be the other way around.

“I’m an easy target — let’s say that. When someone wants to get a point across, just throw LeBron’s name in there. If you’re watching cartoons with your kids and you don’t like it you say, ‘Blame it on LeBron.’ If you go to the grocery store and they don’t have the milk that you like you say, ‘It’s LeBron’s fault. I’m an easy target and I understand that. It doesn’t get to me at all.”

Are you sure? Because it kind of sounds like it does. Bird’s comment was not meant to bash LeBron in any way. If you were an NBA owner and they told you you could go back to the beginning of Kobe’s and LeBron’s careers and have one of them, would you take the guy who you know is going to win several championships or the one who has not hoisted an NBA Finals trophy after eight seasons.

Call the whambulance.

The Rock swears three times on Sportscenter, says ‘bulls***’ (Video)

The Rock — a.k.a. Dwayne Johnson —  is set to make his WWE return this April in a highly anticipated match with John Cena at Wrestlemania XXVIII. Apparently wrestling fans are super excited. The event also happens to be set in Miami, where Johnson played college football. Knowing this, Sportscenter decided to have The Rock on for a promotion on Thursday afternoon. Either he has never watched a live edition of Sportscenter before, or Johnson just felt like ruffling some feathers. He swore a total of three teams in a segment that lasted a few minutes. Check out this video of The Rock swearing on Sportscenter. Obviously, the language is NSFW.

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Kobe Bryant says if he could pick one teammate it would be LeBron James

Kobe Bryant desperately wants a sixth championship ring and he’s not getting any younger. Neither are some of the players around him, so he is hoping the Lakers will make a move or two in the near future that will once again make them the favorite to win a championship. That move was supposed to come in the form of a certain superstar point guard, but we all know how that turned out. The potential for Dwight Howard to come to Los Angeles is still out there, but there have been mixed rumors about whether or not Kobe would embrace that. Surprisingly, Bryant says he would embrace LeBron James as a teammate.

“It’s a tough question because I’ve played with a lot of great players being on the Olympic team,” Bryant told ESPNLosAngeles.com when asked who he would most enjoy playing with. “I think that the player I would probably play with the most where the pieces would fit would be myself and LeBron (James), believe it or not, because he’s more of a facilitator and I’m more of a scorer. … He’s a modern version of what Oscar (Robertson) was. He just puts up genius numbers.”

Perhaps Kobe is just saying that since we all know it’s not happening. If Kobe and Shaq couldn’t coexist, I doubt he and LeBron would be able to. We’re talking about the two biggest superstars in the game. LeBron may share the ball a little more than Kobe, but he still likes taking games over. Kobe enjoys the nights when he scores more than 50 points, and I doubt that opportunity would be available if King James was his teammate.

That being said, it is interesting to hear Kobe mention LeBron and not a more realistic Lakers possibility. In all likelihood, he is frustrated by all the rumors surrounding Howard and wanted to give a safe answer.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

Terrell Owens still thinks he can make an NFL return

Terrell Owens can’t still be thinking about playing in the NFL, can he? He can. Now that T.O. has officially signed with the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League — which I had never heard of until a couple weeks ago — most of us assume he has accepted the fact that he will never wear an NFL uniform again. In his mind that is not the case.

“I have no answers as for why I’m here,” Owens said according to the Star-Telegram. “I know God works in mysterious ways. It was an opportunity for myself and my family. It’s a way for myself to keep in shape. I haven’t retired from the NFL. I want to play a couple more years. I know I’m physically fit to play the game still.”

It is also an opportunity for Owens to make $500,000. Although he made around $35 million during his NFL career, T.O. sounds like he could use the money.

“I allowed people to tell me they were taking care of my situation, (and for me to) go out and focus on football,” Owens said. “I am partially at fault for that. It was an eye-opener for myself and my family. … I feel like I have been put on this platform to tell these guys, ‘Be on top of your finances.’ Because they say they are doing one thing and they’re not.”

As for furthering his NFL career: I highly doubt it. There is always an outside chance that a team in desperate need could take a chance on a guy like T.O., but he is 38 years old and a year removed from football. I don’t know much about the Indoor Football League, but I doubt it helps a receiver keep his skills sharp for the NFL. Don’t hold your breath.

Jalen Rose says Rob Gronkowski was ‘white boy wasted,’ then apologizes

A lot of adjectives and phrases have been used to describe the Rob Gronkowski dancing video over the past several days. People say Gronk was acting irresponsible, immature, and careless among other terms. One former Patriot said Gronk needs to grow up and learn that there’s a time and a place for everything. ESPN analyst Jalen Rose took it a step further, describing Gronkowski as having been “white boy wasted.” He issued an apology a little over an hour later.

“Forgive this term because I didn’t make it up: He was having a good time. He was white boy wasted,” Rose said on Mike and Mike Thursday morning according to Pro Football Talk. “He was having a good time.”

Just before the program ended, Rose delivered a half-hearted apology.

“You guys got me in trouble,” he said. “Earlier in today’s show we were talking about the Patriots’ post-game party and I made some comments that other people — some people — took as insensitive remarks, so for those that took it that way I definitely apologize. Pretty sure I always say things that upset people, get under people’s skin. I guess today was no different. So I’m sorry for the pushback.”

Sounds like somebody got a prompt slap on the wrist after making the remark. Rose obviously didn’t mean anything by it, but you can see how that would tread the line of racism even if he was joking. Is it acceptable for everyday conversation? For me, yes. For a radio show, probably not.

LeBron James not apologizing to Kendrick Perkins for tweet about dunk

When Blake Griffin posterized Kendrick Perkins last week with one of the dunks of the year, LeBron James felt the need to tweet about it. As we found out earlier in the week, the tweet annoyed Perkins a great deal. Despite the fact that Perk ripped LeBron and said players like Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan would never do something like that, LeBron offered no apologies when asked about it on Wednesday.

“From day one, that’s why I got to Twitter, to connect to my fans,”James told the South Florida Sun Sentinel according to FoxSports.com. “I would never apologize for anything like that when I’m connecting with my fans.

“I can see why he may have felt embarrassed. (But) I don’t think I was the only one that reacted to that unbelievable play by Blake, and that’s what it was all about, me acknowledging how great of a play it was. If Kendrick Perkins had dunked on somebody else on the other end, I would have done the same thing.”

The tweet wasn’t exactly the end of the world, but there are plenty of other ways to connect with your fans than by showing up a fellow player. When someone gets dunked on, there is going to be plenty of stuff all over Twitter from fans and analysts. Heck, even T-shirts start being printed. Other players around the league don’t have to add to the embarrassment — especially the superstars.

Brandon Jacobs apologizes for saying Gisele should shut up

Brandon Jacobs is a man of many words. In case you have forgotten, this is a guy who wanted out of New York a few short months ago. He wanted nothing to do with the Giants and admitted he was only worried about driving his “fast ass car.” Super Bowls seem to have a way of fixing everything, don’t they? Now that the G-Men took home the Lombardi trophy, Jacobs has focused his attention on running his mouth to opponents’ wives. It may be hard to believe, but he actually apologized for telling Gisele to “stay cute and shut up” on Wednesday.

“Given the fact that it’s a colleague of mine’s wife, I do apologize for saying that, because I shouldn’t have said that,” Jacobs said on ESPN Radio’s Doug Gottlieb Show according to Pro Football Talk.  “It’s his wife and I should respect that just as much as anyone else.”

Gisele should not have said what she did about the Patriots’ receivers, but Jacobs was also out of line. We had wondered if he would issue an apology for those comments in the same way he did with his decapitation remark, and it looks like he decided that was the best choice. Regardless of how inappropriate Gisele’s comment was, it was not directed at Jacobs and was none of his business. He either realized that or — more likely — someone had to tell him.

Rory McIlroy once posed as a photographer to follow Tiger Woods

Teenagers do some crazy things. Just ask their parents. Whether it’s coming in past curfew or sneaking out to meet a girlfriend or boyfriend, we have all been there at some point. When Rory McIlroy was a teenager, he did some sneaking around of his own. As he prepares for his sixth straight Dubai Desert Classic, McIlroy recalled an interesting story from the 2006 tournament when he missed the cut by a stroke.

“I remember I played on Thursday morning, and then on Thursday afternoon Tiger Woods was playing,” McIlroy said according to ESPN in the U.K. “I came out in the afternoon and took one of the photographer’s cameras off of him and was able to follow inside the ropes, which was pretty cool. That was my first real taste of Dubai, and I’ve been coming back every year since.”

Remember when Tiger was so good that teenagers would pretend to be photographers just so they could get a look at him? Perhaps that guy is on his way back, but it is interesting to see how far McIlroy has come in just six years.

Back then Rory idolized Tiger. Now, he’s one of the best golfers in the world and and is oftentimes compared to Woods. On top of that, he is dating a Tennis star and has a hot ex-girlfriend who still pines for him. It’s amazing how quickly things come together.

High school basketball team gets a technical for wearing pink uniforms for cancer research

The topic of paying tribute with uniforms and accessories at the professional level has taken on a life of its own in recent years, and apparently it’s an issue in high school as well. On Monday night, a Nebraska high school girls basketball team received a technical foul for supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation. As part of a fundraising effort, the Burke High Bulldogs wore light pink uniforms for their game against Columbus. They were given the tech at the start of the second half.

According to the Omaha World-Herald, Columbus coach Dave Licari brought the issue to the officials’ attention at halftime. Technically, the home team is supposed to wear predominantly white uniforms. Since Burke had not informed anyone of the uniform change before the game, they were breaking the rules.

“It was a total mistake by me,” Bulldogs Athletic Director Kyle Rohrig said. “We had good intentions, but we made a mistake, and then there were consequences.”

The idea for the pink uniforms was the work of Burke assistant coach Tom Law. The uniforms were to be auctioned off after the game with all proceeds benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“If they thought there was a problem, it should have been addressed before the game,” Burke head coach Luke Lueders said. “To have that happen at halftime caught us all off-guard.”

To have that happen at all catches me off-guard. This is a high school basketball game. At the professional level, players know they are going to be fined for choosing to wear patriotic gear or rocking lucky orange cleats. This was a group of high school students who got together to raise money for cancer research. If the officials caught the rule violation and had no choice but to penalize Burke, that would be one thing. The fact that their opponent brought it to the officials’ attention — during halftime of a high school game — is despicable.

H/T SI Hot Clicks

Jeremy Lin, Landry Fields share nerdy, bookworm pregame handshake (Video)

What do you get when you pair a Harvard grad with a former Stanford student-athlete? One of the nerdiest pregame handshakes of all time. Yup, Knicks guards Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields have developed one of the most unique pregame shakes you will see. Their routine features Lin flipping through pages of a book, the two taking off glasses, and placing them inside pocket protectors. Here it is in all its glory:

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