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Monday’s Morning Mashup

03.22.10 at 6:40 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.

New Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan wrote an open letter to the community Sunday promising fans he will be dedicated to improving the Bobcats and essentially stating that will be more visible a presence than his predecessor, Bob Johnson. Meanwhile, Johnson gave a speech to African-American business owners the same day, and he had some parting shots for the North Carolina city.

“Charlotte is a very, how would I call it, close-knit, arrogant, sometimes incestuous town,” Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, told the Urban Leadership Institute, according to the Charlotte Observer. “It’s close-knit, and if you come to this town, and you look like you’re one of those people that might break some glass … it’s going to be tough for them to relate to.

“The thing that concerns me is that I’m just surprised that the city doesn’t do more for African-American small businesses,” added Johnson, who is African-American. “And I don’t really understand that.”

Johnson’s comments have, unsurprisingly, created a divide in the city. Many people are blasting Johnson, both for his management of the team and his parting criticism, while others are saying there is truth in his words.

BASEBALL: Jonathan Papelbon struggled in the Red Sox’ loss to the Astros. Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched in a minor league game. Eric Gagne asked for and was granted his release from the Dodgers. Joe Mauer agreed to an eight-year, $184 deal to remain with the Twins. But there also was bad news in Minnesota, as Twins closer Joe Nathan will miss the season because of a right elbow injury that will require surgery.

FOOTBALL: Overtime is the key issue at this week’s NFL owners meetings.

BASKETBALL: Here are your NCAA tournament recaps. Kalin Lucas was injured in Michigan State’s win and might not return. Houston coach Tom Penders is expected to resign.

The Rockets rallied past Tracy McGrady and the Knicks. The Pacers surprised the Thunder. The Hawks beat the Spurs in overtime.

HOCKEY: The Bruins picked up a rare home win, beating the Rangers. Here’s the Hat Trick analysis. Former Bruin Chuck Kobasew scored twice to lift the Wild over the Flames. The Coyotes beat the Stars for their ninth straight win.

Four New England teams are in the NCAA tournament.

MISC.: Tigers Woods gave two interviews and admitted he’s a little nervous about the reception he’ll get at the Masters. Mike Bellotti quit as Oregon athletic director to join ESPN.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 22, 2001, the final beam was hoisted into place on Gillette Stadium, which began hosting events the following year. However, it was not called Gillette Stadium until the Boston company took over naming rights in 2002, shortly before the building’s opening and after the withdrawal of another sponsor. What was the stadium’s original name?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “At least we didn’t get booed out again.” — Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, after Sunday’s win over the Rangers

STAT OF THE DAY: 31 — Years since an Ivy League team reached the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16, with Cornell ending the drought Sunday by beating Wisconsin in Round 2

‘NET RESULTS: Rockets forward Chase Budinger soars in to finish off this rebound vs. the Celtics on Friday night.

High school player shatters a backboard.

TRIVIA ANSWER: CMGI Field

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Jeremy Clyde of Chad and Jeremy is 69 today. Here’s the duo making an appearance on “Batman.”

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