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Thursday, October 30, 2014

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Byron Scott not sure if Dwight Howard is that serious about winning championships

Kobe Bryant Dwight HowardKobe Bryant and Dwight Howard clashed during Dwight’s only season with the Los Angeles Lakers. Most of the clash had to do with the difference in personality between the two; Kobe is very serious, while Dwight is more playful.

Ahead of Tuesday’s season-opening game between Kobe’s Lakers and Howard’s Rockets, new Lakers head coach Byron Scott was asked about why he thought the two stars clashed.

“My outside perspective – Kobe is a real serious guy,” Scott said via the Houston Chronicle. “He wants to win championships. I don’t know if Dwight’s that serious about it. I know No. 24 is. I think that probably was the clash.”

I think there is a difference between not being serious and not being serious about winning championships. For instance, Gilbert Arenas was a big goof-off during his playing career, but he was also one of the hardest-working players in the league. Howard, despite liking to goof around and joke, also works very hard. I bet he is very serious about wanting to win championships.

There isn’t just one way to lead and one mentality to have to win a championship. Not everyone has Kobe’s personality. But that doesn’t mean those people aren’t serious about winning. Scott should know that, and Kobe should recognize it, too. The Lakers also made a mistake keeping Kobe over Dwight; they should have made Howard their franchise guy.

Cameron Wake got his name by accident

Cameron Wake Dolphins

Cameron Wake has become a well known name among NFL fans because of his great play with the Miami Dolphins, but many other people know him by a different name.

Cameron Wake’s full name is Derek Cameron Wake. For most of his life, he was known as Derek.

SI’s Ben Reiter wrote a good feature on Wake for the Oct. 13 edition of Sports Illustrated, titled “Wide Awake,” where he shared the story of how Wake ended up going by Cameron.

Because of his size, Wake was viewed as a tweener after his college career at Penn State; he was considered too big for linebacker and too small for defensive end. He was signed by the Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2005 but cut in less than three months. Wake began working for a mortgage company while still keeping his football dreams alive by working out before and after work. He was known at that time as Derek.

Before settling on a 9-to-5 job, Wake decided to go hard at football one last time and took a job as a trainer at Bally Total Fitness, which would allow him more time to work out and train. According to Reiter’s story, that’s when he started being called Cameron.

From Reiter’s story:

When Wake arrived in Canada, he did so with a name that Penn State fans wouldn’t have recognized. Coworkers at Bally’s had begun calling him Cameron due to a clerical mix-up, and he let it slide. “It sounds corny,” he says, “but it represented a new chapter, a fresh start.”

His life really did start over anew after that change.

Wake ended up signing with the BC Lions in the CFL and led the league with 38 sacks over two seasons. After working out for eight NFL teams, he signed with the Dolphins in 2009 and made his NFL debut in the fall. Since then, he has gone on to become one of the best defensive ends in the NFL.

And we would all know him as Derek Wake if not for a clerical error at Bally Total Fitness.

Photo: Twitter/Cameron Wake

Michael Vick to start over Geno Smith

Michael-Vick-Jets

As many of us expected, Michael Vick will make his first start of the season for the New York Jets on Sunday when they travel to take on the Kansas City Chiefs.

Rex Ryan announced on Monday that Vick will start against the Chiefs, but he was quick to stress that nothing is guaranteed beyond Week 9. Ryan said that Smith will maybe “get a different perspective” by watching from the sidelines.

The way Rex and the Jets have tried to protect Smith’s ego borders on pathetic. While still very young and only in his second season, Smith has thrown a whopping 31 interceptions in 24 career games. He has 10 interceptions and just seven touchdown passes this season and has reportedly lost the support of his teammates.

Has Vick been better? Not by much, but he has only come off the bench. It remains to be seen if he’ll look sharper with a full week to prepare as the starting quarterback. The Jets already know what they are going to get if Smith starts, and it’s downright ugly.

The problem is New York is a bad team all around. Vick will need to find a way to motivate his teammates if he wants them to play well enough to allow him to keep the starting job. Making his first start of the season at Arrowhead Stadium will be no easy task.

Anderson Silva reportedly signed new UFC contract for 15 more fights

Anderson Silva

Anderson Silva is 39 years old and recovering from a broken leg suffered against Chris Weidman in his last fight, but his UFC career is far from over.

Silva told Combate.com that he met with the UFC bosses last week, tore up his previous contract for which he had seven fights remaining, and signed a new deal that called for 15 more fights.

“I had seven fights on my contract (not including the Diaz fight),” Silva told Combate.com. “I met Lorenzo (Fertitta) and Dana (White) on Thursday and that contract was cancelled.

“We signed for another 15 fights. To make Dana crazy, I signed for 15 more fights. And to make my family crazy, too.”

Some people just love fighting and have a hard time giving it up. That appears to be the case for Silva.

Will he actually fulfill his 15-fight contract? Not a chance. 15 would have been a ridiculous amount if he were 35 and not coming off a broken leg. Given that he’s nearly 40 and recovering from a major injury, there’s no way he can reach that target.

H/T MMA Weekly

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Kevin Durant creates Washington Wizards buzz with tweet

Kevin-Durant

Kevin Durant grew up just outside of Washington, D.C. The Oklahoma City Thunder star will be a free agent after the 2015-2016 season, and there has already been speculation that one of the frontrunners to sign Durant will be the Wizards.

On Monday, Durant got the Twitter world buzzing when he responded to a tweet from ESPN’s Britt McHenry about wanting to see him back at Montrose Christian, where Durant went to high school.

Durant was probably hinting that he is going to film a commercial similar to the Beats by Dre one LeBron recently did. But of course, the response was enough for Twitter to come to the conclusion that Durant is planning to come home like LeBron did.

Yes, there is a difference. Durant is still two full seasons from free agency. Anything can happen between now and then, and his decision will likely come down to whether the Thunder have won an NBA championship and where their roster is at. He hasn’t ruled out returning home to play for the Wizards, but why would he? The more teams interested in your services, the better.

H/T Deadspin

Bills players were ‘bummed’ when Geno Smith got benched

Geno Smith Jets

How bad is Geno Smith? When the New York Jets quarterback got benched in favor of Michael Vick — the team’s backup — on Sunday, some of the Buffalo Bills defenders were sad to see him go.

One member of the Bills organization told the New York post that the Bills were “bummed out” when Rex Ryan pulled Smith following his three first-quarter interceptions. Linebacker Preston Brown, who picked off one of Smith’s passes, didn’t seem surprised by the poor performance.

“He was just eyeing down receivers,” Brown said. “We saw it on film that he was just staring guys down. When we know if you do that we’re going to jump on guys’ routes, and we got some picks in the back-end with just reading his eyes.

“We had Geno rattled and we tried to stay after him.”

The Jets are a mess, and Sunday quickly turned into a feeding frenzy. They are one of the few teams in the league with a starting quarterback that opponents would prefer to face over their backup. That’s not to say Vick would make New York a good team, because he has struggled just as much as Smith.

It’s going to be a very long remaining two months of the season for the Jets. There’s no two ways about it.

Jameis Winston with crab legs is awesome couples Halloween costume

Jameis-Winston-crab-legs-costume

If you want a sports-related couples costume that will be a big hit this Halloween, this is the way to go.

Over the weekend, we saw a perfect example of what not to wear to a Halloween party. Dressing up in “Blackface” and pretending to be Ray Rice and his battered wife is really not funny. Dressing up like Jameis Winston and having your girlfriend dress as a crustacean is.

If you don’t understand the photo above that I’m Shmacked shared on Instagram, you need to brush up on your Winston history.

That’s probably the best couples costume we have seen since Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon unveiled this act last year.

H/T For the Win

Alabama boosters paid off Nick Saban’s $3.1 million mortgage

Nick Saban Alabama

There are many perks to being the head football coach at Alabama. One of them is having your $3.1 million mortgage paid off for you, with some of the funds coming from people you don’t even know.

According to Kent Faulk of AL.com, the Crimson Tide Foundation paid off Saban’s home in March 2013 — 10 weeks after the coach won his third national championship at Alabama. The home was purchased by Saban and his wife Terry in 2007. It now technically belongs to the foundation, but the Sabans are still living there.

Scott Phelps, the assistant secretary of the Crimson Tide Foundation, noted that the University of Alabama owned both homes legendary coach Bear Bryant lived in while he was coaching the Tide.

“It’s not all that unusual in the world for universities to provide the housing,” Phelps said. “We want to keep (Saban) happy. We think he is the best coach in America.”

The Crimson Tide Foundation is a nonprofit group that was founded in 2003. Its purpose is to raise private funds to provide “necessary resources to achieve success.” Making sure the team’s head coach is as happy as possible and doesn’t want to leave to take a job at, say, a place like Texas certainly falls under the foundation’s mission statement.

The NCAA confirmed to AL.com that a coach’s compensation package is between the coach and the university and that funds can come from a university foundation.

H/T ESPN

Charles Barkley weighs in on Russell Wilson ‘not black enough’ report

charles-barkley

Charles Barkley has never been shy about expressing his opinion on race-related issues. On Friday, Barkley was asked for his thoughts on the reports about the Seattle Seahawks not thinking Russell Wilson is “black enough.” He did not hold back.

During an interview with Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis on WIP Radio in Philadelphia, Barkley ripped “unintelligent” African-Americans who feel that being successful in school and staying out of trouble make you less of a black person.

[Previously: Here's the report Barkley was asked about]

“When you are black, you have to deal with so much crap in your life from other black people,” Barkley said, as transcribed by The Big Lead. “It’s a dirty, dark secret, I’m glad it’s coming out. … I say, you know, with young black kids, you know when they do well in school, the loser kids tell them, you are acting white. The kids that speak intelligently, they tell them, you are acting white.

For some reason, we are brainwashed to think if you are not a thug or an idiot, you are not black enough. If you go to school, get good grades, speak intelligent, and don’t break the law, you are not a good black person.”

Barkley also said one of the reasons black people will “never be successful as a whole” is because of other “unintelligent” African-American people and their preconceived notion of what makes a “good black person.”

After his team’s win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Wilson was asked about the adversity the Seattle Seahawks have faced and some of the things that have been written about him.

“There is no doubt that we are more together than ever before And so, in terms of me, not black enough thing, I think you are talking about, I don’t even know what that means,” Wilson said, per Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times. “I don’t know. I believe that I am an educated young male that is not perfect. That tries to do things right, that just tries to lead and tries to help others and tries to wins games for this football team, for this franchise. And that’s all I focus on.”

If you remember, Barkley also said he felt the decision in the George Zimmerman case was the right one. He also said he doesn’t want “White America” dictating how the N-word should be used. Sir Charles never disappoints when asked for his opinion on a racial issue.

H/T Mediaite

Marcus Vick critical of brother Michael Vick

Marcus-Vick

Marcus Vick has a reputation for saying some incredibly dumb things on Twitter, but at least he tried his best to be objective on Sunday. Rather than focusing on the New York Jets coaching staff or criticizing the team’s wide receivers, Marcus actually said something negative about his older brother Michael.

He meant “easy” throws, of course. Michael Vick took over for Geno Smith on Sunday after Smith threw three first-quarter interceptions. The 34-year-old veteran was hardly an improvement, as he threw a pick of his own and lost two fumbles.

But don’t worry, Marcus still made excuses for his bro.

Vick could very well draw the start against the Kansas City Chiefs next week. He’d be wise to prepare in practice this week like he is going to be the starter — something he admitted he failed to do the first time Smith was benched this season.

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