|LeBron James nearly loses finals MVP trophy||06.28.12 at 3:00 pm ET|
During the hysteria of winning his first NBA championship last week, LeBron James came to a stunning realization when he entered the Heat locker room for their celebration: he couldn’t find his finals MVP trophy.
From Lee Jenkins’ piece on James in this week’s edition of Sports Illustrated:
[After] James retreated to the locker room, where teammates bathed him in a Budweiser–Dom Perignon cocktail, he caught a scare. He couldn’t find his finals MVP trophy.
“Where’s my trophy?” James hollered, rummaging through his locker. “I left it right here!” He rushed through the tunnel back to the court, where he had to give an interview, but the moment it ended he asked, “Have you seen my trophy? Who took my trophy?” On the way to the press conference, where the MVP trophy was waiting all along, he relaxed a bit. “It’s just an individual award, anyway,” he says. “It’s not the one that matters.” He took the Larry O’Brien trophy from the podium and cradled it like a third son, and when friends offered to help carry it down a hallway, he waved them off.
|Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Hockey players unimpressed by cramping LeBron James||06.21.12 at 7:59 am ET|
THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Marlins at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)
MLB: Rockies at Phillies, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA finals: Thunder at Heat, 9 p.m. (ABC)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ LeBron James might have won over some fans for fighting through leg cramps in the final minutes to help the Heat defeat the Thunder in Tuesday night’s Game 4 of the NBA finals, but some hockey players were not impressed.
Tweeted Ducks center Nick Bonino: We get it Lebron, it doesn’t hurt when you’re running around but it looks unbearable when the cameras are close up during the timeouts.
Added Capitals minor leaguer Ryan Potulny: Lebron James is embarrassing himself and the NBA or actually all athletes.
Predators minor leaguer Scott Valentine tweeted with sarcasm: If Lebron somehow manages to pull off winning a ring after fighting through a thigh cramp.. it will be a story I tell my children’s children.
James, whose Heat look to close out the series Thursday night in Miami, hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:51 remaining and finished with 26 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds.
“I had cramps. I had it before. It’s not a pleasant feeling,” he explained. “Basically, your body shuts down. Your legs shut down and there is nothing you can do about it.”
♦ A day after Rays manager Joe Maddon called out the Nationals for exposing Tampa Bay reliever Joel Peralta‘s excessive pine tar on his glove and getting him ejected — Maddon called the move “cowardly” — Washington manager Davey Johnson responded. Johnson insisted he was just following the rules when he asked the umpires to check Peralta’s glove, and he offered his opinion of Maddon.
“I didn’t know [Maddon] that well, but I thought he was a weird wuss, anyway,” Johnson said. “I understand where he’s coming from. His job as a manager is to protect the players. Striking out at who ever he thinks is causing your players any grievance. So I understand where he’s coming from. But he doesn’t know me from a hole in the hill. Or I him, for that matter. But I do know the rulebook, and I do try to follow it.”
Maddon, meanwhile, implied that the Nationals would have trouble attracting free agents because of Tuesday’s actions. Peralta pitched for Washington in 2010, so he apparently was sold out by a former teammate who tipped off Johnson.
Said Maddon: “To utilize information based on the fact that the guy had played here, I don’t know if that is a form of cheating or what, that is really underhanded I believe to use that kind of information.”
♦ Knicks guard J.R. Smith is going after the Chinese team he played with last season for more than $1 million that was withheld from his $2.8 million salary for missed practices. The team, Zhejiang Chouzhou, produced a four-page list of offenses, including Smith skipping team meetings and practices to travel around the country and Europe, and blamed Smith’s sister, Stephanie, for being the root of the problems. Stephanie was involved in some incidents in the stands at games, including one in which she allegedly choked a Chinese fan.
Smith claims that he did not miss as many practices as the team alleges, and he noted that he played in all 32 games and led the team in scoring (36.4 ppg).
FIBA will rule on the dispute, likely next week.
♦ Former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs made good on his promise to reward the New Jersey boy who sent him $3.36 in hopes of keeping him in New York. Jacobs, who signed as a free agent with the 49ers, took the boy out with his own son to a facility with inflatable bounce houses and gave him a $5 bill.
“He had some interest in there just for being a good kid,” Jacobs said. “He’s worth a lot more than that $5 bill I gave him.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On June 21, 1916, which Red Sox hurler pitched the first no-hitter in Fenway Park history, a 2-0 victory over the Yankees that included three walks? Hint: The player shares a name with an outfielder from Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine of the 1970s.
|Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Thunder’s Serge Ibaka not impressed with LeBron James’ defense||06.19.12 at 8:00 am ET|
TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Marlins at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)
MLB: Braves at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cubs at White Sox, 8 p.m. (WGN)
NBA finals: Thunder at Heat, 9 p.m. (ABC)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ League MVP LeBron James received the most votes from the league’s coaches for the NBA All-Defensive team, but Thunder forward Serge Ibaka isn’t impressed with his performance in the finals.
“LeBron is not a good defender,” Ibaka said. “He can play defense for 2-3 minutes but not 48 minutes.”
Kevin Durant scored 36 points on 12-of-20 shooting in the Thunder’s Game 1 win when he was primarily being guarded by Shane Battier. Since James switched to him, Durant is still shooting well (23-of-41) but isn’t getting as many looks, averaging 28.5 points as the Heat have won the last two games. That didn’t convince Ibaka.
“LeBron can’t play [Kevin Durant] one-on-one,” Ibaka said. “They’re playing good defense like a team.”
♦ Adidas announced Monday it will stop selling its JS Roundhouse Mid sneakers after protests about its design. The sneaker includes a plastic chain that critics say evokes images of slavery or celebrates the criminal element of society. Adidas initially tried to defend the designer but eventually caved.
Said the company in a statement: “The design of the JS Roundhouse Mid is nothing more than the designer Jeremy Scott‘s outrageous and unique take on fashion and has nothing to do with slavery. Since the shoe debuted on our Facebook page ahead of its market release in August, Adidas has received both favorable and critical feedback. We apologize if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available in the marketplace.”
♦ In light of Lance Armstrong‘s latest problems, Real Clear Sports has a list of 10 championships stripped because of rules violations. No. 1 is USC football’s 2004 BCS championship. No. 2 is Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson‘s 100-meter title at the 1988 Olympics.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On June 19, 1970, which Red Sox pitcher had a no-hitter against the Yankees going into the ninth inning before surrendering four runs until Sparky Lyle came on in relief to finish off the 5-4 victory?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’m very thankful. It’s been a hard five years.” – Roger Clemens, after being acquitted of all obstruction and perjury charges Monday
STAT OF THE DAY: 42 2/3 – Consecutive innings in which Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey has not allowed an earned run, following his second straight one-hitter Monday vs. the Orioles
‘NET RESULTS: Guillermo from “Jimmy Kimmel Live” attends media day at the NBA finals and annoys the players with questions about facial hair.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Sonny Siebert
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Paula Abdul turns 50 Tuesday.
|Monday’s Morning Mashup: Referees continue to make key calls for Heat in NBA finals||06.18.12 at 7:27 am ET|
MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Braves at Yankees, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
MiLB: Pawtucket at Syracuse, 7 p.m. (NESN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ The Heat have won the last two games in the NBA finals to take a 2-1 series lead, and both games featured controversial calls that benefited LeBron James and left the Thunder frustrated.
In the closing seconds of Thursday’s Game 2, James escaped a foul call despite clearly making contact with Kevin Durant as the Thunder star attempted a game-tying shot. In Sunday’s Game 3, James was the beneficiary of a generous foul call with 16 seconds left that allowed him to essentially put the game away with a free throw.
Durant, meanwhile, was whistled for a fourth foul that forced him to the bench in the third quarter, despite the fact that he never made contact with Dwyane Wade on the play. It was during the time when Durant was on the bench when Miami made the game-changing run and rallied from 10 points down to take the lead.
“I try not to concern myself with the officiating,” Durant said afterward. “They’re going to make their calls, and there’s nothing we can do about it. We can’t change it. Just got to play through it. There’s going to be some calls they may miss. They’re human.”
♦ Argentine tennis player David Nalbandian, competing against Marin Cilic in the final of the Queens Club tournament in London on Sunday, vented his frustration after missing a shot by kicking a sign. Unfortunately, there was a line judge behind the sign, and the official’s knee took the brunt of the force. Nalbandian, who was winning in the second set, was disqualified.
Despite an ATP that states any violent action will result in an automatic default, the 10th-seeded Nalbandian questioned the ruling.
“Sometimes you get very frustrated on court and it’s tough to control that, and sometimes I do a mistake. So it’s very tough to end a final like that,” he said. “But sometimes we feel so much pressure from the ATP to play a lot of tournaments. They don’t do anything [for] us, and today I do a mistake and I have to pay like that.
“I agree I do a mistake but sometimes everybody do a mistake and I didn’t feel it had to end like that, especially in a final.”
♦ Russia’s soccer association was fined Sunday for the second time at the European Championship in Poland, this time a $37,800 penalty for “improper conduct” by fans during last Tuesday’s match against Poland. Russia previously was fined $150,000 after fans attacked stadium staff at the nation’s first match against the Czech Republic.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On June 18, 1953, the Red Sox scored 17 runs in the bottom of the seventh inning of a 23-3 victory over the Tigers. Which Sox outfielder had three hits in the inning?
|LeBron James wishes Bulls’ Derrick Rose a fast recovery||05.30.12 at 12:10 pm ET|
LeBron James doesn’t have Derrick Rose‘s number, but that didn’t prevent the Heat forward from wishing the Chicago star the best on his path to recovery.
On Tuesday James used the media to deliver the message to Rose, who had surgery for a torn ACL he suffered on April 28 against the 76ers. James said he has never had a long conversation with Rose but enjoys the way the 23-year-old plays basketball.
“I don’t know what he’s going through,” James said. “I’ve never had that type of injury, knock on wood, so I can’t imagine what he’s going through. I just hope he comes back 100 percent, 110 percent, because I am a fan of his. I love the way he plays the game of basketball and what he brings to the game.”
James wasn’t the only Heat player who offered a wish for Rose’s speedy recover as Dwyane Wade did the same. Wade, who has dealt with his own injuries, said he wished Rose and his family well.
|Heat stars tired of Danny Granger’s antics||05.22.12 at 3:03 pm ET|
LeBron James called out Pacers forward Danny Granger for his behavior in the Eastern Conference semifinal series, saying that he thought Granger was trying to bait the Heat. James even called it “stupid.”
Granger has received a technical foul in each of the last three meetings between the teams, backing up his assertion that he wasn’t going to back down from the Heat. In Games 2 and 3, the Pacers star confronted James, and then in Game 4 Granger took issue with Dwyane Wade after Wade was fouled by Roy Hibbert.
James said that if Granger was seeking some sort of altercation, he wouldn’t get a reaction from the Heat.
“Nobody is fighting on the basketball court. Come on,” James said. “I’m not going to fight because I mean too much to our team and I can’t afford to be suspended for a game or do something stupid to get thrown out of a playoff game.”
Granger said that he is playing with a chip on his shoulder, and that’s the reason behind his actions.
“There’s a line and I’m tiptoeing it. That’s a product of the chip on my shoulder and we have on our shoulder as a team of not being respected,” he said. “That goes not just for this series, but all year. We had the fourth or fifth best record in the NBA and I think we only had one televised game.”
Wade also took issue with Granger’s confrontational mentality.
“I’m all for standing up for your guys, but certain things you just can’t keep doing,” Wade said. “My message to Granger was that you just can’t keep running up into people’s faces for altercations. We’re not fighting on this basketball court, so let’s not act like we’re going to fight. We can be physical and do all that, but certain things got to stop. Are you out here to play basketball or are you out here to be a tough guy?”
|Dwyane Wade, LeBron James recruit Peyton Manning||03.08.12 at 12:25 pm ET|
The Manning to Miami movement gained more support Thursday when two of the Miami Heat’s star players voiced their desire for Peyton Manning to take his talents to South Beach.
Heat star LeBron James knows about moving south from the Midwest in a spotlight, as he left the Cavaliers after the 2010 season and announced he would sign with the Heat in a live ESPN special, The Decision. James now wants Manning to do the same, as he told the media after Wednesday night’s win over the Hawks that Manning would fill a void for the Dolphins.
“I’m just sayin’,” James said. “Dolphins need a quarterback, and Peyton’s available. … I gave my pitch, my one and only pitch. We’ll see what happens. … I want Miami sports to be great: The U, the Dolphins, the Marlins, the Heat, of course.”
James’s teammate, Dwyane Wade, was also on board with the idea. On Wednesday night, Wade (@dwyanewade) tweeted: I’m just gonna put it out thr..peyton that number 18 wld look gr8 in a dolphins uniform..steve ross let’s go.. marlins & heat style..All in.
Wade proceeded to reply to tweets suggesting other cities for Manning such as Baltimore and New York with a definitive: that’s OUT. An Illinois native, Wade responded to a tweet wondering about Chicago as a destination for Manning by saying he likes Jay Cutler as a quarterback and that the Bears have other problems.
James, Wade and the rest of the Dolphins fans may get a response from Manning soon. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Manning will make a decision on where he plans to play within a week. Schefter also reported Manning prefers to stay in the AFC, and one of the 12 teams to reach out to Manning was the Dolphins.
|Monday’s Morning Mashup: Kobe Bryant has nasal fracture from All-Star Game foul||02.27.12 at 7:10 am ET|
MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
College basketball: Notre Dame at Georgetown, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Kansas at Oklahoma State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Texas Tech at Baylor, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Devils at Rangers, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Kevin Durant scored 34 points and was the MVP of the All-Star Game as the West held off the East in Orlando Sunday night, 152-149, but the lasting image was that of Kobe Bryant suffering a nasal fracture after a hard foul from Dwyane Wade in the third quarter.
Bryant, who scored 27 points to become the All-Star Game’s career leader in points with 271 (passing Michael Jordan), finished the game after wiping away some blood. He skipped the postgame press conference after reportedly experiencing headaches and is expected to see a specialist.
The game almost turned into a blowout, but the East rallied from an 18-point deficit to make it an exciting finish. With a chance for the East to tie in the final seconds, LeBron James‘ pass was picked off by Blake Griffin. “Definitely wish I could have that one back,” said James, who scored 36 points to lead the East while Wade recorded a triple-double.
For the Celtics, Paul Pierce played 11 minutes and scored three points on 1-for-8 shooting. Rajon Rondo had two points in 15 1/2 minutes.
♦ Mavericks guard Delonte West has become a punch line since rumors that he had an affair with LeBron James’ mother when both players were members of the Cavaliers in 2010. During a long interview with Dallas Morning News writer Brad Townsend, West talked about how much respect he has for Gloria James and how disappointed he has been to hear the joking about something he said never took place.
“If we want to continue to grow as a human race, what are we teaching our kids if we try to make humor and fun out of stuff like that?” he said. “Number one, something like that never happened. I don’t know where they got that from.
“For a strong black woman like that, for people to try to tear her down, that’s terrible. That’s terrible in so many ways.”
♦ Tim Tebow had his coming-out party in Hollywood over the weekend, and he was a hit with the Academy Awards crowd. Tebow signed with the William Morris agency for personal endorsements and charity dealings, and the company put the Broncos quarterback front and center at its pre-Oscars party, where he was greeted by stars of the big screen, TV and music.
♦ When Canucks pest Alex Burrows ended the Red Wings’ 23-game home winning streak Thursday by scoring a shootout goal, he mimicked breaking his stick over his knee in celebration. Asked about Burrows’ antics, Wings goalie Jimmy Howard wasn’t very complimentary.
“I don’t even pay attention,” he said. “They’ve got a bunch of idiots over there. There are only several good guys on that team, and they know who they are.”
The Canucks acknowledged the win meant a lot, not just because the two teams are in a race for the best record in the league.
“Yeah, it was [special],” goalie Roberto Luongo said. “The Boston one was nice, too. Those are emotional games and we’re used to those. They’re always fun to be a part of.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Feb. 27, 1983, which Bruin recorded two goals and an assist in a 4-3 victory over the Whalers in Hartford and in the process became the sixth player to score 250 goals in a Bruins uniform?
|Continuing Linsanity: Jeremy Lin reportedly set to land lucrative Nike deal||02.23.12 at 12:03 pm ET|
It has been three weeks since the start of Linsanity, and the phenomenon is showing no signs of fading. On Wednesday night, Jeremy Lin‘s 17 points and nine assists helped the Knicks to a 99-82 win over the Hawks. Since Lin’s emergence three weeks ago, the 23-year-old has played big minutes in his last 11 games and is averaging 23.9 points over that span. Meanwhile, the Knicks have gone 9-2, rising past the Celtics into second place in the Atlantic Division.
Once Lin became a national sensation, it was only a matter of time before a big company signed him to a multimillion dollar endorsement deal. Nike plans to do just that, multiple news outlets reported. The international sportswear company — which signed Lin before last season but is said to be negotiating a much bigger deal — reportedly will release a shoe in Knicks’ colors that has “Lin” printed on the back of the heel. Nike also plans to launch a promotional campaign for Lin that would help the company grow in China and Taiwan.
“You can expect he’s going to be their No. 2 poster endorser to LeBron James in China, and they may promote him as the top guy [there],” Marc Ganis, owner of sports consulting firm SportsCorp Ltd., told the New York Daily News.
Ganis estimates Lin’s new deal could earn him between $2 million and $4 million.
♦ Lin’s value extends well beyond a deal with Nike. A Lin rookie card was running for over $21,000 on eBay Thursday. Yair Rozmaryn, the card’s seller, bought it a week ago on eBay for $1,000.
“I got lucky,” Rozmaryn told The New York Times. “I bought it a week and half ago from another collector who had it before the Linsanity really began. I bought it right after the Jazz game. At the time, Lin cards were selling for $180 and now they are over $2,000.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Friday’s Morning Mashup: LeBron James would consider return to Cleveland||02.17.12 at 7:48 am ET|
FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Jets, 8 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Mavericks at 76ers, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Suns at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Columbia at Princeton, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Valparaiso at Loyola Marymount, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
NBA: Hawks at Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Drexel at Cleveland State, 11 a.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Marquette at UConn, noon (ESPN)
College basketball: UCLA at St. John’s, 1 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: Florida State at NC State, 1 p.m. (WSBK)
College basketball: Wake Forest at Miami (NESN)
College basketball: Missouri at Texas A&M, 2 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech, 3 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: Clemson at North Carolina, 4 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: St. Mary’s at Murray State, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Florida at Arkansas, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Ohio State at Michigan, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Notre Dame at Villanova, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Penguins at Flyers, 1 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL: Capitals at Lightning, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NBA: Celtics at Pistons, 6 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI)
NBA: Mavericks at Knicks, 1 p.m. (ABC)
NBA: Magic at Heat, 3:30 p.m. (ABC)
NBA: Nuggets at Thunder, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Duke at Boston College (ESPNU; WRKO)
College basketball: Syracuse at Rutgers, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: South Florida at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
NHL: Bruins at Wild, 3:30 p.m. (NBC)
NHL: Penguins at Sabres, 12:30 p.m. (NBC)
NHL: Devils at Canadiens, 6 p.m. (NBCSN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ LeBron James, back in his home state for Friday’s game against the Cavaliers, said he would not rule out returning to Cleveland later in his career, despite the messy breakup two years ago.
“I don’t know. I think it would be great,” he said. “It would be fun to play in front of these fans again. I had a lot fun times in my seven years here. You can’t predict the future and hopefully I continue to stay healthy. I’m here as a Miami Heat player, and I’m happy where I am now, but I don’t rule that out in no sense.
“And if I decide to come back, hopefully the fans will accept me.”
James said he has no bitterness toward Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, but he said he has not spoken to Gilbert since James last met with the team’s management before he made his decision to sign a six-year contract with Miami as a free agent. Gilbert famously went on a rant after James’ announcement and blasted the star forward.
“I don’t have any hard feelings. He said what he said and I’ve moved on,” James said. “But there’s been no attempt to patch things up.”
Added James: “I don’t hold grudges. I hold them a little bit, but I don’t hold them that long. He said what he said out of anger and he would probably want to take that back. But I made a mistake, too, and there are some things I would want to take back as well.
“You make mistakes and move on.”
♦ Former All-Star Allen Iverson reportedly would consider playing in the minor leagues in an attempt to return to the NBA. Iverson, who recently had some legal and financial issues in Georgia, is said to have ignored offers from the Lakers’ D-League affiliate, but now he would entertain the option if it leads to an NBA opportunity. Iverson also apparently has been in contact with representatives from leagues in Puerto Rico and Venezuela.
♦ Seattle native Christopher Hansen announced on Thursday a proposal for $290 million in private investments to build an arena in the city, in the hopes of luring an NBA and NHL team. The plan calls for $200 million in contributions from the city and county.
Seattle lost the SuperSonics to Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008, and the lack of a new arena was a key reason.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Feb. 17, 1972, Phil Esposito recorded a hat trick in a 4-1 victory over the Flyers in Philadelphia and became the second player in team history with 250 goals. Who was the first?
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