Archive for July, 2012
Teen swimming sensation Missy Franklin hoped to win gold in the 100m backstroke. Missy Franklin is just a High School student that happens to be one of the best swimmers in the world. She has been approached by numerous brands hoping that she would endorse their products for a handsome sum. But, Missy has declined all the offers because she wants to maintain her status as a High School athlete competing in swimming competitions around the country. Plus, she wants to be able to be a collegiate athlete, and you can’t do that if you take money. She just loves swimming and was very easy to root for. And in her race, she started out neck and neck with the others, but in the end, she put out that extra hand length to capture the gold.
Elsewhere in swimming, Ryan Lochte hoped to capture another medal in the 200m freestyle. Lochte had high hopes for these Olympics, ideally aspiring to become the new face of swimming for the U.S. (over Michael Phleps). But to do that, you have to win medals. In the men’s relay, Lochte had the anchor position, but lost at the very end to the ultra-fast Yannick Agnel from France. Unfortunately for Lochte, Agnel was in this event. Lochte got out to a decent start, but started to fade a bit. And down the stretch, Agnel turned on the juice again and surged past the crowd to an easy gold medal victory. This guy is simply amazing. Bummer for Lochte, but he still has some more races to go.
And in men’s gymnastics, the United States were hoping that they could pull it together and take home gold in the team competition. That’s when they do all six men’s events, with their top 3 in each event. This wouldn’t prove easy, as the Chinese and Japanese were heavy favorites for the gold, but you never know what can happen. Unfortunately for the U.S., the team just couldn’t keep it together. They seemed rattled all night, and were losing their balance and even falling in some events. Tears were shed by the team — it just wasn’t their night. Even the Japanese hero Kochi Uchimura made mistakes, slipping off the pommel horse. The Chinese performed marvelously and took home the gold, the Japanese the silver, and Great Britain performed brilliantly, and miraculously grabbed the bronze in front of their home crowd.
Get ready for Day 4!No comments
It has finally begun: The 2012 Olympics.
The first notable story came from swimming in the 400m medley. Michael Phelps won an incredible 8 gold medals in 2008. He was an American hero for the next 4 years, picking up countless endorsement deals and being renowned as one of the world’s best athletes. But, this year, there’s a new U.S. swimmer right on his tail hoping to unseat Michael Phleps as the world’s best swimmer. And that is Ryan Lochte. In the 400m medley he took on Phelps, and while it was an intense competition, Lochte won the event… by a lot in the end. Phelps finish didn’t even warrant a medal. Is there a new hero on the horizon?
Given Lochte’s immediate new status as the best swimmer out there, the U.S. decided he should anchor in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay. In lamens terms, that’s when the top 4 swimmers swim as fast as they can — freestyle being the easiest form of swimming that we all learned as kids. So it’s always interesting to see who the best freestyle swimmers in the country are. Lochte would anchor, and Phelps would go second. But, even though the Americans are the reigning Olympic champions in this event, the Australians were the favorites in this relay. The Americans led the whole way, and then Lochte got in the pool and in the final lap, France pushed ahead in alarming fashion (something only possible with extreme adrenaline) and won the race by less than a second. The Americans got silver — disappointing, but not bad.
And, in basketball, Team USA finally took the court in their first official Olympic game. They would have to take on Tony Parker and Team France. France is a formidable opponent, but when they’re going against a team that has LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant… that’s not gonna be easy. Kevin Durant led the way with 22 points, and LeBron James didn’t even have to try his hardest. Team USA looks quite good, and their most difficult competitor will likely be Argentina (which has Manu Ginobili and Luis Scola). But, as of now, Team USA looks rather sharp out there. Team USA 98, France 71.No comments
In college football, after Penn State was handed their harsh penalty, many were curious why they didn’t put up any fight. They accepted every single thing that was handed to them without one complaint. Many thought that this was their way of owning up to a deep wrong. And while this may be true, it’s hard to believe this was all about morals, especially the morals of an entire university… at once. Well yesterday’s report sheds light on all of this, as they had two choices — take their punishment (the one we know about) OR… face an unprecedented 4-year death penalty. That would mean that the entire program would be shut down for 4 years. That would have had a horrible economic impact on the staff and many businesses in the small town of State College that relays on the football program for their livelihood. It will still be a tough road for Penn State, but at least they will have their football.
And in the NBA, the Dwight Howard rumors have slowed down a bit in the past few days. After speculation that he was going to Houston, and then to the Lakers (with the Lakers shipping Bynum to Cleveland), it appears that we’re back at square one: Dwight Howard is still on the Magic. Recently, the Magic said that they may intend to keep Howard on the team, play him for the first half of the year, and then see what team wants him most come the trade deadline (thinking they would have a bargaining chip if one team desperately needed his services to win a title). But yesterday, Howard reminded Magic management that he definitely wants a trade. He does not want to be on the Magic for the start of the season. It’s likely he will get his wish, and most people would probably bet that Howard will be a Laker in the next few weeks.
Finally, in some interesting news out of the college football world, the Washington Huskies have recruited and received a commitment from one of the best young football players in the nation. But here’s the thing: he’s only 14 years old. Yep, that’s right, San Diego resident Tate Martell has committed to the Washington football program 4 years from now. When he gets there, none of the players on the current squad will be there. This is certainly abnormal. His reason is that he gets to go to school where one of his idols played: Jake Locker. Martell must know that Washington, while not always good, does produce quality pro players. And hey, he’s not bad: Check out his reel from 7th grade:No comments
WATERCOOLER CHAT: TEAM USA EYE ON THE PRIZE, TOMLIN INKS DEAL, PENN STATE ATHLETES NO PENALTIES FOR TRANSFER
In the NBA, Team USA took on Spain in what was supposed to be a close match. Remember, these two played for the Gold medal game back in 2008 (where we saw a young Ricky Rubio). This team is without Rubio, and for this game, was without Marc Gasol. But they did have Pau Gasol and Serge Ibaka. Spain gave it their best effort, but U.S. was just too much for them to handle. They got 27 points from Carmelo Anthony off the bench, and won big. Going forward, Spain will still likely be Team USA’s biggest foe in these Olympics, but Team USA also has to make sure they don’t get cocky. They need to play together, and keep their eye on the prize. Remember, however, that these teams aren’t giving their best effort just yet. Team USA could get upset. Team USA 100, Spain 78.
And in football, after going to two Super Bowls and winning one, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was looking for a long term deal. In the NFL there aren’t exactly long-term deals, as it’s more about ‘what have you done for me lately’. But Tomlin has proved that he knows how to coach a professional football team, and has maintained the integrity of the Pittsburgh Steelers football program. These guys are in contention every year, and even though they’re getting older, it’s likely they will return to the playoffs. With that said, the Steelers have inked Tomlin as their head coach until 2016. That takes a lot of pressure off a head coach and allows him to solely focus on coaching. So when it’s all said and done, will Steeler fans view Tomlin a better coach than his predecessor Bill Cowher?
Finally, in college football, another one of Penn State’s penalties is actually good news for its players. The NCAA has said that it is ok with Penn State players transferring to other schools WITHOUT penalty. Usually, when a player wants to transfer, they have to sit out a year (as to dissuade them from doing it). But now players can go anywhere they want and play right away. According to sources, Penn State is doing whatever it can to keep its existing talent so they at least have a passable product to show this season. But it’s been said that the Univ. of Georgia is going to pick them for talent to fill in some holes. Georgia is a team trying to get over the hump, and with Alabama and LSU slightly weaker this season, the Bulldogs might have a shot. We’ll see whose left standing at Penn State when the season starts.No comments
The biggest story of the day was out of the baseball world. Ichiro Suzuki came to the Seattle Mariners at the turn of the century. He was a phenomenon in Japan, and practically the entire Japanese media followed him to Seattle. Ichiro was an instant success. He made the all-star team almost right away, and was a key factor in leading Seattle to tie the all-time wins in a season record. Now, more than a decade later, the Mariners were forced to part ways with Ichiro. Yep, like many stars before him, Ichiro will be wearing Yankee pinstripes the rest of the year. The Yankees are currently in first place and need a bat like Ichiro to gain clutch hits if they want to stay atop. Seattle fans will miss Ichiro.
And in the NFL, it looks like it’s the end of another era. Chad OchoCinco has entertained us for about a decade now with his arrogant touchdown celebrations and off-the-field antics and funny lines. He’s out there playing a character… a character he called ‘OchoCinco’ after his jersey number 85. He created almost an alternate identity. Last season, the Bengals finally let him pursue free agency and he was signed by the New England Patriots. Bill Bellichick had a reputation for giving former superstars a second chance to show their glory, but OchoCinco had trouble learning their offense and had a very lackluster season. Now, he signed a 1-year deal with the Miami Dolphins, and in an effort to switch things up, he legally changed his last name back to Johnson. Johnson said he wanted to do it so he could reconnect with himself and focus on just playing great football (and not the OchoCinco character). This is good news for Dolphins fans, as they might get a surprise, highly productive season out of Mr. Johnson.
Finally, in college football, the NCAA finally passed the punishment against Penn State University for covering up a serious crime. This was their biggest offense in sports history and there was no precedent as to what to do to the school. So here’s what they settled on. A $60 million dollar fine, a 4-year bowl ban, the eradication of wins dating back to 1998 (moving Joe Paterno from most wins ever to 12th most wins ever), but more notably a complete loss of scholarships for the next 4 years. Basically, the program won’t be able to recruit quality players for 4 years, and their program should just about finish last in all 4 of those seasons. Then, to get back on track, they will need another few years. This pretty much means that the program will be non-existent competitively for the next 7 or 8 years. Many thought they would impose a ‘death penalty’ and fully shut down the football program for the next few years (meaning no football at all). But the economy of that town depends on football games (e.g. hotels, restaurants, etc…), and they need to at least bring in the faithful in the alumni to spend money there. Penn State is definitely paying for their crime, but no punishment could ever make it right for what Sandusky did.No comments
In the NBA, The Lakers may still be trying to land Dwight Howard, but in the mean time, after adding Steve Nash to the mix, they decided they were going to try and land more help. Also, in the event that they don’t land Howard, they want to get some scoring help at the small forward position. After all, they already lost Lamar Odom to the Clippers. That’s why the Lakers went out and nabbed Antawn Jamison. Jamison is a solid veteran in this league — someone who rose to prominence on the Warriors, then helped the Wizards with their playoff run in the mid-decade, and finally wound up in Cleveland as a means to help LeBron (except LeBron left). Now, Jamison will be an integral asset to a Laker organization determined to get back to the finals while they still have a relatively healthy Kobe. Adding Nash and Jamison is a good start to building their arsenal against the Thunder, Spurs, Mavs, and Grizzlies.
In the NFL, the Redskins are super high on their top draft choice Robert Griffin III. He has been delighting at mini-camps, and they are ready for him to be the future and face of the franchise in Washington. However, with the real NFL camps about to get under way, RG3 was still unsigned. This is something they needed to take care of right away, as the Redskins traded a lot to get that pick and make Griffin the image of the franchise. With that said, they want him in training camp right away so he doesn’t even miss one practice snap. RG3 signed a 4-year deal worth $21 million, will all the money completely guaranteed no matter what. Sounds like a lot, but just a few years ago if you were highly touted as a top QB draft pick, you could get contracts worth between $50 and $60 million. Bad timing for RG3. Either way, the pressure is on him to make the Redskins a contender.
Finally, in the NFL, Steelers superstar free safety (and Head and Shoulders advocate) Troy Polamalu hit the radio circuit yesterday wanting to tell the truth. He says that during his career he has frequently lied about “not” having a concussion so he can get back in the game. He says that football is all about camaraderie and toughness and getting back out there on the field no matter what. It practically puts him in a peer pressure position to play hurt just to keep morale up. However, this is very unsafe. It comes to the forefront of the discussion, because so many experts are now saying that football might be… too dangerous, and that suffering concussions can lead to shorter life spans. The NFL has taken measures to try and reduce the amount of ‘hard hits’, but bottom line is, regardless of penalties or personal fines to players, it’s very hard to control what happens on the field out there. How many more players will come forward about playing through concussions?No comments
In the NBA, with just a few hours left on the clock to decide whether or not to match the Rockets offer, the Knicks ultimately decided NOT to match the money for Jeremy Lin. $25 million is a lot of money, but for a guy like Jeremy Lin, a player who has galvanized a fan base, and shows promise of being a good role player in this league, it may seem surprising, but it really just depends on whom you ask. They got Raymond Felton in return. Jeremy Lin is officially a Rocket, and many Knicks fans are very sad to see him go. He was a ‘good guy’ they could root for, but now they will have to hope that the nucleus of Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire can give them some success. Jeremy Lin will be sorely missed by New Yorkers.
Elsewhere, in the NBA, with Steve Nash joining the Lakers after a long career with the Suns, there were reports that he was trying to lure 40-year old super athlete Grant Hill to come to LA as well. After all, even though he’s 40, Hill was a former superstar and can always come in and nail down the big shot when you need him. It looks like Nash’s courting of Hill worked — Hill is coming to Los Angeles, except… not as a Laker. Nope, Hill decided that the better option was to join the up-and-coming Clippers. While the Lakers are always in the running for a title, there’s something exciting about playing with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and a rising Clipper team that everybody roots for. This is likely the best move for Hill. But, let’s take just one last look at it — HE’S 40 YEARS OLD AND STILL PRODUCTIVE IN THE NBA!!!! There are 22 year old guys who can’t even make a practice squad. Hill is incredible!!
Finally, in the NBA Summer League, some scary news on the court. Nolan Smith, former Duke point guard stand out, was hoping to prove himself worthy in a standard Summer League game. But, yesterday, Smith was fouled pretty hard, took a few steps, and then collapsed to the ground. His teammate Wesley Matthews immediately came to his aid, and said that he saw Smith’s eyebrows twitching. It looked pretty serious — so much so that they decided to take Smith off the court on a stretcher (very rare for basketball). However, according to Matthews, Smith was still breathing and talking while on the ground, and it’s likely that he suffered a concussion (and not something much more serious). Hopefully, the doctors will give him a go ahead to keep playing, allowing him to continue trying to make a name for himself in this league. Good luck, Nolan Smith.1 comment
In the NFL, it was a good day for some of football’s top running-backs. Both Chicago’s Matt Forte and Baltimore’s Ray Rice were holding out for big contracts this off-season. These guys have done a lot to help their respective teams and wanted long term contracts. In the NFL, it’s all about staying healthy, and if you don’t, teams will throw you away like trash. Additionally, the position of running-back is changing. The days of playing the position for 10 seasons as a starting running back are over. Teams like to stock 2 if not 3 starting running backs to keep them fresh and throw off defenses. With that said, it’s hard to lock up a lucrative long-term deal — which is way Matt Forte and Ray Rice are smiling after they nabbed both. Forte got $32MM and Rice got a 5-year $40MM deal. Congrats to both guys, as they will both be instrumental in getting their teams to the post season this year.
And in the NBA, a free agent move. O.J. Mayo was one of the most touted players coming out of High School EVER! He played one year of college ball at USC, then jumped to the NBA, being drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies #3 overall. But, in Memphis, Mayo didn’t even start. He was very helpful coming off the bench, but he never quite played up to his potential there. He was a free agent this off-season, and he felt it was time to move on. So OJ Mayo is headed to Dallas. The Mavs will need his outside shooting, and are hoping that he can take his game to the next level. The Mavs are kind of in rebuilding mode. They’re not bad, but they’re getting older, and definitely need some younger legs. Mayo will help with that.
Finally, in some disturbing news, it appears that this Jerry Sandusky Penn State scandal won’t end. In fact, it keeps getting worse. Sandusky was found guilty recently on many counts of sexual abuse towards young boys. Most of the claims were from the 1990s, and Sandusky’s defense said that “People do not just become pedophiles in their 50s. Just yesterday, two more people accused Sandusky of abuse, and they date back to the 1970s. That puts the defenses very weak argument to rest, and shows that Sandusky’s monstrous activities have been going on his entire life. This is just a horrible story, but at least it appears that some justice is being done.No comments
In the NBA, the biggest story from free agency surrounded the Knicks Jeremy Lin. When Lin came onto the scene, he was one of the best underdog ‘Rocky’ stories in sports in a long time. An Asian kid who went to Harvard, went undrafted, got cut by TWO NBA Teams and eventually wound up starting for the New York Knicks and becoming an international sensation. Plus, he led the Knicks to a jaw-dropping 8-game win streak out of nowhere. SO… everybody expected that Lin would definitely be back in New York. He’s a merchandisers dream, and fits in perfectly in a major market. But the Houston Rockets, who also have a very large Asian fan base, gave him a sweet deal to come play for them. Most thought the Knicks would match the offer, but paying $25MM for Lin, a good player, but not a great player, could cripple their cap room.
The Knicks are faced with a 3-day window to match the Rockets offer. Bringing Lin back would be a good ‘business’ decision, but not necessarily a good basketball decision. Plus, there’s a very good chance that his novelty could wear off. Once that happens, what value does he have? And, when Lin played the Heat, LeBron and friends showed him that he wasn’t at the top level just yet. Then, on Saturday, the Knicks traded for point guard Raymond Felton — a guy who fit in very well when he was there two seasons ago. That pretty much signals that they plan to move on from Lin. It was a good run for Mr. Lin, and you can be sure he’ll get a standing ovation when he returns to New York next year.
And, in some other free agency news, the Houston Rockets, still trying to make room for Dwight Howard, decided to waive their rising star forward Luis Scola. Scola is a solid player and other teams were chomping at the bit to get him. The Mavs were particularly very interested. So who won? After losing rising star Eric Gordon back to the New Orleans Hornets, the Suns landed a winner in Luis Scola. After Steve Nash decided to jump to the Lakers, the Suns needed to rebuild. They drafted UNC guard Kendall Marshall, brought back Goran Dragic, and snagged Michael Beasley. Getting Scola can only help. They will return to the playoffs soon enough.
Finally, the Timberwolves have offered $46MM for Nicholas Batum. Snagging Batum would give Kevin Love some serious help in the front court. Allowing him to relax a bit on the defensive end and to focus on his offensive game. Now the Trailblazers have 3 days to match. The Blazers are also rebuilding, and $46MM might be too much to keep Batum around. Plus, they just drafted big man Meyers Leonard in the draft. It may take the Blazers some time to get back to the playoffs, but they’re always a fun team to watch.No comments