Sixers forward-guard Andre Iguodala is about as talented a player one can be without being a superstar.. He’s played, and played well, for USA Basketball in the FIBA World Championships. Including this season in which he’s missed some games due to injuries, Iguodala has played in all 82 games five times in his seven years in the NBA. He’s long, athletic, and he finished second in the NBA Dunk Contest in just his second season — a contest many believe he deserved to win. But Tuesday night against the Hawks, Iguodala had an embarrassing moment on a break away dunk attempt:
What might be better than the miss is the play-by-play guy’s pronuciations of Iguodala and “embarrassin’.” I realize there are differently levels of broadcaster, but shouldn’t a basic requirement be an ability to speak well?
Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was named The Associated Press 2010 NFL Comeback Player of the Year on Saturday night. The voting was basically a no-contest, with Vick receiving 29.5 votes, 21.5 ahead of second-place finisher, Seahawks receiver Mike Williams. The award seems to indicate that Vick has redeemed himself in the eyes of AP writers, as credible a journalistic organization as there is, but I can’t bring myself to agree with them. I can’t even agree with them on Williams in second-place.
This award should go to a player who estasblished themselves in the league before some sort of onfield or personal tragedy beyond their control — not self-inflicted as in the case of Vick — put their playing future in question. Overcoming such obstacles and returning to play well should be the criteria. Williams himself is on record as saying he didn’t deserve the award because he never established himself in the NFL. He told The Seattle Times the only thing he might qualify for is the “Comeback Couch Player of the Year.” If there’s a prison version of that award, by all means give it to Vick, but Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson, who received just 3.5 votes, should have won this one.
Clippers forward Blake Griffin has developed a reputation around the league as a guy who plays all-out, all the time. In most environments, especially sports, people are commended for giving 100%, but this is the NBA, where Chris Bosh can talking about wanting to chill with little reaction from his peers. Most of the criticism of Griffin is the result of the barrage of incredible, and often embarrassing, dunks he’s thrown down this year. Veteran guys apparently don’t appreciate the rookie’s swagger. At the end of Friday night’s game against the Hawks, Griffin may have added more fuel to that fire when he was called for a flagrant foul on Hawks forward Al Horford:
It was obviously a foul, and obviously hard, but I think the refs reacted more to Horford hitting the floor than the contact itself. Griffin appears to be going for the ball and it’s nothing like the obvious flagrant Devin Harris committed on Griffin earlier this season. Luckily for Griffin, Horford was able to get up and it didn’t appear the injury was too serious or Griffin would have taken even more flak. Unfortunately for the Clippers, Horford knocked down both free throws to give the Hawks the 101-100 win.
Rapper Lil Wayne has been seen court-side at NBA games a lot lately, to the point where he complained about Dwyane Wade and LeBron James stiffing him. There are plenty of YouTube videos of Wayne celebrating and apparently yelling at opposing players during games, but Friday morning I got my first glimpse of exactly what Wayne is yelling during those games. The rapper was about to appear on ESPN First Take and the network teased the appearance like this:
How did ESPN let this get on air? Someone has to be responsible for screening the video and it’s not like it’s unclear as to what he is saying. It seems very clear to me what Wayne is saying; “p***y a** n***a.” I’m not sure who he’s yelling at, but while Wayne might have some street cred, I’m fairly confident he wouldn’t fair too well in a fist fight with about 95% of NBA players. ESPN is a subsidiary of Disney and I’m sure that’s not the type of content Disney would endorse. I’m not personally offended by it, but I’m sure someone will be. In any case, I can’t imagine someone not losing their job over this.
Combat Zone Wrestling, based out of Philadelphia, provides what it calls “ultraviolent entertainment.” The company tag line, “like nothing else,” is definitely appropriate considering the content of this video that has recently gone viral of a wrestling match that includes hypnosis and break dancing. We don’t say this very often, but this is must-see stuff:
The two masked fighters are the tag-team duo known as Osirian Portal. The people of Philadelphia are world-renowned for their class, class, class, and this video is another example of that quality. You’ve got to love the announcer’s comments on the “rack” of the fat guy in the Superman underwear and his mangling of the word hypnosis with “hyp-na-tosis.” This just furthers the image the rest of the world has of us as stupid Americans.
On Wednesday, several TV networks offered essentially an entire day to coverage of college football’s National Signing Day. Top recruits from all over the country were asked to announce on national TV where they would be playing college football and far too often it becomes a spectacle of self-indulgence. These are kids — generally huge kids, but still kids — and many don’t seem to have the maturity necessary to handle the big stage.
While some handle it as well as can be expected and have a little fun with it, others handle their announcements like spoiled children. Some, like highly-rated offensive lineman Cyrus Kouandjio, announce they will be attending one university (Auburn) before reconsidering and refusing to sign their letter of intent. Obviously, Kouandjio should go where he wants and is allowed to change his mind, but it’s not like he didn’t know this day was coming. Jadeveon Clowney, widely-considered the No. 1 recruit in the country, refused to announce his decision with everyone else, instead choosing to make his announcement on Feb. 14, his birthday.
Much of the talk this week has been about the bad weather — cold and ice — that has descended upon Arlington and Super Bowl XLV. The weather is rough, but will have little to no effect on the game itself. Jerry Jones will close the roof and the conditions will be no different than if the game were played in Arizona or New Orleans. In three years, when the game is held at the New Meadowlands Stadium, there will be no roof to close.
It happens to be colder in Arlington right now than it is in East Rutherford, but this year is the exception, not the rule. According to The Weather Channel, it’s 14 degrees in Arlington but feels like -2 degrees. The real feel in East Rutherford is 29 degrees. Historically, East Rutherford’s average high for February is 40 degrees compared to 60 in Arlington. Making matters worse, East Rutherford averages nearly nine inches of snowfall in February, while Arlington averages about an inch.
Weather might be the story leading up this Super Bowl, but that won’t mean anything come game day. The ESPN personalities who are outside freezing this week — not sure why ESPN couldn’t have found somewhere for these guys to work indoors — will likely be doing their shows knee deep in snow three years from now. Regardless of the weather, fans in Arlington will enjoy the country’s biggest sporting event in the temperature controlled oasis that is Cowboys Stadium. Fans attending Super Bowl XLVIII, or Super Bowl XLVII depending on what happens with the CBA, won’t be so lucky.
Aaron Rodgers’ celebration where he mimics wrapping a “championship belt” around his waist has received a lot of attention recently. ESPN recently did an entire segment about how the celebration started and progressed. Rodgers says in the piece that it actually started when he was behind Brett Favre on the Packers’ depth chart as a way of making practice a little more interesting. Nowhere in the piece does anyone mention that former Eagles receiver Freddie Mitchell did the same celebration while Rodgers was still at Cal.
Remember this from Mitchell?
The play of course is the famous — or infamous depending which side you’re on — 4th and 26 conversion which led to a game-tying field goal and ultimately, an Eagles victory after a (surprise) Favre interception. The irony here is that Rodgers adopted the move from the guy responsible for one of the most heart-breaking plays in Packers history. Rodgers’ career surpassed that of Mitchell even before this run to the Super Bowl, but Mitchell at least deserves a little love for pioneering the move that Rodgers has made famous.