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#pounditWednesday, January 20, 2021

Stories by jasongarcia:

Kobe Bryant reportedly confirms he will retire after next season

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant reportedly plans to play for one more season in Los Angeles before calling it a career.

Bryant, who is out for the season after undergoing surgery on a torn rotator cuff, will only play one more season, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Next season is the last year of his two-year, $48.5 million contract.

The news shouldn’t come as a surprise to Lakers fans, as Bryant has admitted to thinking about retirement even before his season was cut short in January. Bryant’s will was already tested when he ruptured his Achilles’ tendon two seasons ago and injured his knee last year.

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak also indicated in December that Kobe’s career would likely end after his current contract expires.

The Lakers have the second-worst record in the Western Conference at 13-40. Kupchak is hoping the team around Bryant will be vastly improved for Kobe’s 20th and final season.

The biggest question is if Bryant can actually make it through a full season. He’ll be 37 when next season starts, but it would be hard to imagine him finishing his illustrious career without one final playoff run. And another question to ponder is whether he will announce his impending retirement before the season so he can get the Derek Jeter sendoff treatment.

Michael Jordan interested in building his own golf course

Michael Jordan golfMichael Jordan is sick of not being able to play through at Jack Nicklaus’ The Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Fla., so he’s thinking of doing what any other billionaire would do — build his own course.

Jordan has a reputation for being a lightning-fast golfer, even leaving his playing partners in the dust of his sick North Carolina-emblazoned golf cart.

“He just steps up, hits, chews your ear off with smack talk and off he goes,” a source told Josh Sens of “If he knows the guys he’s with, he will not even wait. He’ll drive up to the green as you’re back in the fairway hitting. And if it’s up to him, his foursome will finish in two hours and 40 minutes.”

The Bear’s Club reportedly charges a $90,000 initiation fee and hosts just a few hundred distinguished members, including Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Michelle Wie. The club’s exclusivity led His Airness to build a $12.4 million mansion in 2010 on the club’s private grounds, but the slow play of his fellow members apparently has MJ feeling some buyer’s remorse. Ironically, Jordan’s neighbors never wanted him to move in in the first place.

“Michael likes to play fast and he can’t stand it when people won’t let him through,” said a golf-industry insider who knows Jordan and who has spoken with several Bear’s Club members. “That happens enough out there that he’s gotten fed up.”

Jordan is reportedly eyeing a plot of land in nearby Hobe Sound, and he plans to hire a top-notch designer to build the course. Architect Tom Doak is rumored to be Jordan’s front runner.

Another added benefit of owning your own golf course — MJ won’t have to worry about a dress code. Members will be hand-picked by Jordan so you can bet he’s been keeping a close log of those who have slowed him down in the past. Here’s looking at you, Camilo Villegas, also a member of the Bear’s Club.

Bobby Knight yells at fans to sit down during telecast (Video)

When Bobby Knight is calling a game from the announcer’s table, you do not obstruct his view.

Some young fans at the Temple-SMU game found this out the hard way during Thursday night’s ESPN2 telecast as Knight twice screamed for the offending parties to have a seat during live action. (Video via The Big Lead)

Knight took credit for getting the boisterous spectators “back on their butts where they belong,” but wouldn’t you know it, they were right back in his way during the next possession. He then politely offered one fan to switch seats with him in order to have an unobstructed view of the action.

The fan didn’t take him up on the offer, but he should consider himself lucky that Knight didn’t resort to his old coaching-day tactics.

No word if Knight was also imbibing during the broadcast.


Raiders and Chargers propose joint L.A. stadium as backup


Two NFL teams sharing a stadium is nothing new, but two teams from the same division playing in the same digs?

The Chargers and Raiders released a joint statement Thursday announcing the pursuit of a new stadium in Carson that will be home to the two AFC West rivals with one caveat. The plan will serve as a contingency as both teams continue to work on stadium solutions in their current markets. Both teams have been trying to get new buildings for years and are operating on year-to-year leases in their current homes.

“We are pursuing this stadium option in Carson for one straightforward reason: If we cannot find a permanent solution in our home markets, we have no alternative but to preserve other options to guarantee the future economic viability of our franchises.”

The venue, estimated to cost $1.7 billion, will be privately financed and have a projected capacity of 68,000, expandable to 72,000, according to the Los Angeles Times. One early concept that sounds pretty damn cool — clear seats to reflect the color of the lights shining on them. They could be silver and black for Raiders games and powder blue for the Chargers.

“We’re thinking about the project as a 21st century, next-generation stadium,” said architect David Manica, noting that the venue and renderings are still in the early conceptual stages. “We want it to be the ultimate outdoor event experience, which includes both sports and entertainment. And we want it to be uniquely L.A.”

The Chargers and Raiders have already purchased the land needed to build the stadium. Next they’ll launch a petition drive for a ballot initiative in hopes of getting voter approval for the construction. All signs point to a 2016 relocation target date.

Los Angeles, which has been without an NFL team since the Raiders returned to Oakland in 1995, now has three teams fighting to make the city their home. Rams owner Stan Kroenke proposed to build an 80,000 seat stadium in Hollywood Park in December to bring his team back to Southern California.

Photo courtesy of Manica Architecture

Bronco calls Julius Thomas soft; dad responds with a vengeance

"Julius Thomas" by Jeffrey Beall - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
Judging from the words of one unnamed Bronco, the chances of Julius Thomas returning to Denver are slim. Add in his dad’s recent comments, and you can already see the bridge out of Mile High burning up.

So how did we go from a reported contract offer that would’ve made Thomas the third-highest paid tight end in the league to Greg Thomas torching John Elway, Peyton Manning, and even Broncos fans?

We begin with Julius rejecting an offer of $8 million per year before last season, according to a report from BSN Denver. As part of that report, an anonymous Bronco sounded off that Thomas doesn’t love the game and is basically using his natural ability to get paid and walk away — healthy.

“Julius is here to get his money and get out,” the unnamed teammate told BSN’s Brandon Spano. “That’s just how some guys are. He didn’t grow up playing this game and it’s just not in his DNA to put it all out there.” When asked if Julius Thomas was soft, he said,  “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

Thomas has missed 28 games in his first four seasons and struggled with an ankle injury down the stretch this past season. At one point, Thomas allegedly deemed himself 90 percent healthy, which in NFL circles is almost as good as new. That begs the question — was Thomas legitimately hurt, or just taking it easy to avoid further injury? (Raise your hand if you’re getting Rod Tidwell flashbacks, ya know!)

Now here is where things get even more interesting. A commenter on the Broncos blog Mile High Report went nuclear with a five-point rant, introduced with a scenario of Thomas returning to Denver as an Oakland Raider to “rip the Broncos and their loser fans a new one,” via BSN Denver. After some amateur web sleuthing, Spano concluded that the commenter was indeed Greg Thomas, father of Julius (Greg happened to use the same handle for his commenting name as his Twitter handle).

Here is what the comment said:


Mike Shanahan: RG3 confronted me about ‘unacceptable’ plays

Robert Griffin

Mike Shanahan hasn’t coached the Redskins for more than a year, but he still has plenty to say about his former quarterback and team owner.

Shanahan shed some light on what it was like to work with Robert Griffin III under Daniel Snyder during an hour-long interview Wednesday with ESPN Radio in Washington D.C. Among the juiciest of details was a meeting that Griffin requested with Shanahan after his rookie season in 2012. Shanahan said that RG3 wanted certain plays ripped out of the playbook because they were “unacceptable” and exposed him to injury by running the ball too much. You may recall that Griffin tore his ACL and LCL in the team’s playoff loss to Seattle that year.

The word “unacceptable” actually brought a smirk to Shanahan’s face because the words coming out of his quarterback’s mouth sounded eerily familiar.

Here’s what Shanahan told “The Sports Fix” as transcribed by DC Sports Bog.

“He actually [mentioned] what plays were acceptable and unacceptable, and when he started talking about what plays were acceptable and unacceptable, and that he wasn’t a rookie anymore and wanted to voice his opinion, the term unacceptable is used by Dan, the owner, quite often. So [I had] a little bit of a smile when I heard some of these complaints,” Shanahan said of his meeting with RG3.

Shanahan said Griffin wanted to establish himself as a dropback passer in the mold of Aaron Rodgers. Since that sentiment was also shared by Snyder, it was time to go straight to the horse’s mouth.

“When I went over and talked to Dan over at his house after I talked to Robert [after Griffin’s rookie year], I just told Dan, ‘Hey Dan, I just had a conversation with Robert and I think this conversation is coming from you more so than it is Robert,'” Shanahan said. “I said, ‘If that’s the case, there’s no way, unless your owner, your GM, your head coach and your quarterback are all on the same page you win in the National Football League.'”

Also in his hour-long interview, Shanny said he was not a fan of the Donovan McNabb trade and that he believes it was driven by Snyder.

The fact that RG3 felt emboldened to take this stance shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Griffin allegedly bragged to teammates about his influence over Snyder during Shanahan’s final season in Washington.

Griffin’s antics apparently have continued under Jay Gruden, who seemingly called out his quarterback every week during his first year as coach of the Redskins.

Coincidentally, Gruden told reporters at the scouting combine Wednesday that Griffin will enter camp as the team’s starter. The 2015 campaign will be a make-or-break season for Griffin as he enters the final year of his rookie contract. If he doesn’t revert to his rookie form, he’ll be taking food off his own table.

Alex Ovechkin says Ryan Getzlaf has hair envy (Video)

Alex Ovechkin has a perfectly reasonable explanation for why Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf was incensed after his team’s 5-3 loss to the Capitals on Sunday night. And it has nothing to do with Getzlaf’s accusations of repeated diving. No, it’s all about the hair, or in Getzlaf’s case, lack thereof.

In case you missed it, Getzlaf took issue with what he perceived as Ovechkin’s repeated embellishments on the ice.

“I didn’t know he was going to dive tonight the way he did all over the f—ing ice,” Getzlaf said via Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski. “That part of it’s a little (more) embarrassing, pardon my language. He’s a great player. He’s going to score goals and make plays. That other stuff’s embarrassing.”

getzlafOn Tuesday, Ovechkin explained his side of things.

“Maybe he’s just jealous. All that kind of stuff. I have hair, he don’t have hair,” Ovechkin told reporters with a smile via
 prior to Tuesday night’s game in Pittsburgh.

The photo tells all:

Ovechkin, who scored twice and drew two penalties in Sunday’s win, went on to deny any allegations of diving and chalked it up to Getzlaf’s frustration with Anaheim’s second loss to Washington in 10 days. You can judge for yourself if Ovechkin was putting on a show after taking a slash from Getzlaf.


Ex-mayor of Atlanta Andrew Young backs Danny Ferry return

Danny Ferry Hawks

The last thing the Atlanta Hawks need right now is their general manager getting in the way.

Off to their best record since the days of Dominique Wilkins, the Hawks sit atop the Eastern Conference with a 43-11 record. And they’ve done it with GM Danny Ferry on a leave of absence and a big ‘For Sale’ sign outside of team headquarters.

Ferry found himself in hot water when his off-color remarks about then-free agent Luol Deng surfaced last September. The insensitive comments came just days after owner Bruce Levenson decided he would sell his stake in the team after he self-reported a racist email of his own. The remaining shareholders later decided to give up their stake in the team as well, leaving 100 percent of the team for sale.

While Ferry has not been able to enjoy his team’s success in person, count former Atlanta mayor and civil rights activist Andrew Young as one of Ferry’s supporters. Young has been a mainstay in Atlanta for over 50 years going back to his time as a close confidante of Martin Luther King Jr. When asked by WSB-TV’s Zach Klein if Ferry should lose his job, his response was unequivocal.

“Hell no. He put the guys together and they are winning. They are winning better than the Hawks have won back in the days of Lenny Wilkens and Bob Pettit.”

Ferry may have helped put the team together, but he hasn’t been around the team since taking his indefinite leave of absence in September. If it was up to Young, however, Ferry would have never left in the first place.

“Danny Ferry is too talented a guy and his life is basketball,” Young said. “He’s going to be general manager somewhere. I hope it’s Atlanta.”

While commissioner Adam Silver noted that the sale of the franchise is “moving along on course” during NBA All-Star Weekend, the timing couldn’t be worse for a Ferry return.

The Hawks, who in January became the first team ever to go 17-0 in a calendar month, need to be the center of attention. Any outside distractions could mess up their mojo and have them playing like the Hawks we’ve been used to for all these years.