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March 12, 2013

Charles Barkley on Suggestion of Shorter NBA Season: “That’s a great point but these owners are greedy pigs”

SI media critic Richard Deitsch was in attendance for an event promoting CBS/Turner’s coverage of the NCAA tournament, which starts next week.

Charles Barkley, who will appear in one of the networks’ two studio shows, was, unsurprisingly, candid.

From Deitsch’s story, here are some of Barkley’s other interesting soundbites:

  • Can the Knicks make noise in the Playoffs? “They can’t get past the second round.”
  • How do you feel about Dwight Howard? “I wish he would tell Kobe to shut the hell up and get off [his] back”
  • Could the NBA benefit from a shorter season? “That’s a great point but these owners are greedy pigs…If we started the season around Christmas and played, say, 70 games, we would stay from football and college football. I think if we played 70 games and started later we would benefit.

Though the compressed season caused more back-to-backs, it was nice last year when the NBA started as football was winding down. Barkley’s probably right that the League would ultimately benefit, especially if you measure success in terms of quality of play, player health, and fan happiness as opposed to purely in dollars and cents. But, because of NBA owners’ propensity to focus on the latter in the short-term — something that’s clearly not lost on Barkley — he’s probably also right that it will never happen.

Via SI


February 11, 2013

50 Greatest Michael Jordan Commercials of All-Time

On Sunday, Michael Jordan turns 50 years old.

Recently, Lakers forward Antawn Jamison speculated that Jordan could still play about 15 minutes per game and score in double figures. With his will and determination, does anybody doubt that he could contribute mightily to a contender if he put his mind to it and were willing to embrace a role?

While LeBron James has been on a historic tear recently, there is little argument as of now that Michael Jordan has been the greatest of all-time. (LeBron does, however, have a chance to make it a legitimate discussion before it is all said and done.) Jordan’s Bulls won six NBA championships and likely would have won one or two more had he not retired in his prime, in between three-peats, to pursue a career in baseball. (And make Space Jam.)

MJ did not merely want to win. He had an insatiable desire to rip your heart out.

Much of this came from insecurity. He harbored grudges forever. His coach cut him in high school. Dean Smith didn’t play him as a freshman. He was still bitter about all of this in his Hall of Fame acceptance speech, bringing every perceived slight that he could think of up on a night that was supposed to be a joyous celebration of all he had accomplished.

Although Jordan was ruthless on the court (and perhaps not so pleasant off of it), he cultivated a gracious and eminently marketable public persona. Since Nike debuted his Air Jordan I’s in 1985, Jordan has been the face of countless ad campaigns, appearing in commercials for Nike, McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Rayovac, Hanes, Gatorade, MCI, Wheaties, Ballpark Franks, Chevrolet and many more.

Some of Jordan’s commercials show him accomplishing the impossible. In a Coca Cola ad from the early 90’s, he jumps over the moon to grab a Coke. In a Nike commercial, he dunks on a 100-foot rim. In the iconic McDonald’s commercial, he and Larry Bird try to outduel each other with impossible HORSE shots in an attempt to win a Big Mac.

Others portray MJ with a chip on his shoulder, on a burning conquest to silence the haters. “Disrespect me. Tell me I’m older. Tell me I’m slower. Tell me I can no longer fly,” he says before triumphing in an Air Jordan ad from the late 90’s.

Though Jordan retired from basketball for the final time in 2003 after a disappointing two-year stint with the Washington Wizards, Forbes estimated that he still pulled in $60 million in 2011, a vast majority of which came from his endorsement deals.

Even now, you’d be hard pressed to go a day without seeing a Michael Jordan commercial. Here are his 50 best:

Continue reading 50 Greatest Michael Jordan Commercials of…


February 8, 2013

Here’s a Pretty Awesome Mix of Kyrie Irving’s Highlights This Season

Can we all take a minute to be thankful for those who make these Youtube clips? This must have taken, like, 10 hours to put together, right? I know these clips have only existed for like eight years — max — but I really can’t imagine what my life would be like without them.

Irving is the best NBA player that you’ve heard of, but didn’t quite realize that he might actually be one of the league’s 10 best because football just ended. (Though perhaps that’s not you, just me.) He’s averaging 23.9 points and 5.4 assists per game. His 23.02 PER is 13th-best in the NBA (insider subscription required) and 30.1 usage percentage ranks him 4th, just ahead of LeBron James and Kevin Durant. As a quick reminder, Irving is 20 years old and in his second season in the league. What happens if LeBron goes back to Cleveland and Irving stays? Would there be a good reason to have a season?


January 30, 2013

Here’s a Funny New Foot Locker Commercial Starring James Harden and Kris Humphries

A few quick takeaways:

1) Major props to Kris Humphries for taking one for the team here.

Not that he’s a superstar or anything but there aren’t too many professional athletes who would play a self-deprecating role like this. Not only that–how many regular people do you know who would be down to play themselves as losers for the sake of comedy and I guess lots of money? When the whole world can see it and knows it’s you?

2) While we’re on the subject, why is it so uncool that Kim Kardashian divorced him after like 38 seconds? (This may be a slight exaggeration, but I’m too lazy right now to Google exactly how many days their marriage lasted for.)

Isn’t it cool — superficially, at least — that he got to be married to her in the first place? If it got that far, they must have smushed at least like five times, right? Otherwise, why would he go along with the sham? So he could play a loser in Foot Locker commercials? The odds are exceedingly high that no woman anywhere near as attractive as Kim Kardashian will ever let me sleep with her. Most people would probably sign up for Humphries’ deal, especially since it probably wouldn’t be too much longer before we tired of Kim’s vapid personality.

What I’m really trying to say: if he’s looking to put more people on the payroll, I’d be thrilled with the opportunity to look in the mirror with him and tell him he’s awesome.

3) Are we really supposed to wear new shoes every day now?

I’m pretty happy that my groups of friends wouldn’t ostracize me for wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row. I’d love to rock new sneakers every day, but a fresh pair of kicks costs at least $50 and gets as high as $2-300. As a 26-year old blogger, a closet with two dozen (or much more) pairs of Nikes isn’t exactly in the budget these days. Unless I embark on a dramatic career shift or get extremely lucky — and I’d probably need both — it’ll be awhile (if ever) before it’s in the cards. By the time I could theoretically afford to ball out, I’ll hopefully be having kids. At that point, fresh shoes will be the last thing on my mind.

I say this with a heavy heart, but I feel like I’ll never be a part of James Harden’s entourage. As such, I’ll never know what it’s like to experience nights like these. Life’s not fair.

 


January 3, 2013

Classic Sports Book Review: Drive by Larry Bird and Bob Ryan

Unfortunately, I don’t read as many books as I’d like to. This isn’t to say I don’t read enough — I spend more time reading online than I realistically would have spent combined on newspapers, magazines, and books a generation ago. However, as we devolve further and further into our screens, we will continue to consume less and less longform writing.

It was therefore refreshing for me to spend last week poolside at a resort in Punta Cana, almost entirely away from the Internet. This brief respite from eight browser tabs, six GChats, a constant Twitter stream, and a phone that buzzes every few minutes gave me the chance to read two outstanding books: Marvin Miller’s A Whole Different Ball Game (which I hope to review in the next week or two) and Drive: The Story of My Life, which Larry Bird wrote with Bob Ryan in 1989. (Bird retired in 1992.)

You can find Drive used for $.01 and the cost of shipping on Amazon.

I was born in 1986, so I didn’t get to see much of Bird’s career. I certainly missed his prime, which included three MVPs and three NBA championships. (However, my dad tells me I had floor seats at a scorching Boston Garden for the Celtics’ Game 7 victory over the Pistons in which Adrian Dantley and Vinnie Johnson collided heads. I’ll have to take his word for it.)

Drive does a tremendous job framing the significance of Bird’s career and how he and Magic Johnson ushered us into the period of basketball history with which I am familiar.

Throughout the book, Bird’s genuine folksy charm stands out. A discerning reader who has seen Sarah Palin’s farcical insincerity or Brett Favre’s calculated attempt to woo commentators can be skeptical at first. But, the tone is so consistent and so understated that you have to believe it’s real. Bird regularly uses phrases like, “Boy, they’re good,” “What a competitor,” and “I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about.”

Bird did not grow up a basketball fan — he had no idea about the Celtics’ illustrious history until he started playing for them. He believed in his coaches’ authority and used their guidance to get better. He deliberately chose to shoot less free throws than he could have because he believed that openly seeking to get fouled was the wrong way to play the game.

The only thing really missing from the book was tales of his supposed ability to drink Budweiser.

Continue reading Classic Sports Book Review: Drive by…


November 16, 2012

NBA Investigating Zach Randolph/Kendrick Perkins Altercation

Yesterday, we saw Zach Randolph and Kendrick Perkins get ejected for verbal posturing as the bull told the gargoyle, “I’ll beat your ass.” There were reports of a backstage altercation and police investigation. Later, there were reports that there was no altercation and no police investigation.

I’m not gonna lie. I was pretty devastated. The idea of these two behemoths in a no holds barred brawl with each other brought me back to the days when pro wrestling was real. In my head, Jim Ross was announcing the match and couldn’t believe the turn it was taking. “GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY, THEY CAN’T FIGHT BACK THERE! THERE’S NO REFEREE!!!!!! SOMEBODY WILL GET SERIOUSLY HURT!!!! AND RANDOLPH LANDS A SHOT TO PERKINS’ SPINE!!!!! KING, ONE OR BOTH OF THESE MEN COULD END UP IN THE HOSPITAL TONIGHT!!!!!!”

“That certainly could be the case, JR. These are too very BIG men. You just hate to see this transpire,” Jerry “The King” Lawler would say.

Should have known it was too good to be true. Can’t have anything nice. Not even a backstage brawl between two crazy NBA big men. It’s a cruel world.

Or is it?

Continue reading NBA Investigating Zach Randolph/Kendrick Perkins Altercation


Zach Randolph to Kendrick Perkins: “I’ll Beat Your Ass”

In last night’s Grizzlies-Thunder game, Zach Randolph and Kendrick Perkins exchanged words and both got ejected with about two minutes left play. About five seconds in, you can hear ZBo saying, “I’ll beat your ass.”

And then, I saw perhaps the two funniest sentences in the English language.

Can you IMAGINE a fight between these two behemoths? Randolph is a bull and Perkins is a gargoyle.

After I saw that tweet, I played out the scenario thousands of times in my head. Police investigating. There were endless possibilities. If God exists and He is just and He likes basketball, video of said altercation would trickle out onto the Internet in no time. Woj would be on it like the New York Times exposing the messy bedrooms of teenagers. If WWE can have cameras in the back, can’t the NBA?

Unfortunately, it was all too good to be true:

Oh well. We’ll just have to hope these teams meet in the playoffs.

Update: The NBA is investigating the altercation that the police captain said did not take place. I pretend that Jim Ross announced the backstage brawl and have nine burning questions that I DEMAND answers to.

 

Video via TheBigLead


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