|Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Clippers coach Doc Rivers says surprising loss to Lakers ‘a good lesson for us’||10.30.13 at 8:10 am ET|
WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
World Series: Cardinals at Red Sox, 8:07 p.m. (Fox; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Celtics at Raptors, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Nets at Cavaliers, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Lakers at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
NHL: Bruins at Penguins, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
College football: Cincinnati at Memphis, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
AROUND THE WEB:
• There’s been a lot of talk about the Clippers taking over Los Angeles from the Lakers. It will have to wait at least a little while. Despite playing without the recuperating Kobe Bryant, and sitting starters Pau Gasol and Steve Nash in the fourth quarter, the Lakers spoiled the debut of new Clippers coach Doc Rivers with a 116-103 victory Tuesday night at Staples Center.
“We were not ready tonight,” said Rivers, who before the game talked about a championship parade route for his new team. “[The Lakers] have heard for probably the last two months how good [the Clippers] were going to be … so you knew that they were going to play like this was the world championship — with that type of energy. And I thought we never matched it. Everything they did was harder than us and more physical than us. They destroyed us on the glass and destroyed us in turnovers. So it was a good lesson for us.”
Xavier Henry scored a career-high 22 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter as the Lakers scored 41 points in the period and used a 28-8 run to pull away.
“We’re a deep team, and people don’t think we’re that good,” Henry said. “That always fuels us. People are saying we’re going to finish 12th or whatever, but we have a great group of guys who go out there and play hard. We’re young. We’re athletic. We get after it.”
Added Jodie Meeks, who scored nine of his 13 points in the fourth quarter: “It’s not a bad thing to be the underdog sometimes. No expectations. We go out there and play hard. What’s the worst that can happen? We lose, and people say we’re no good?”
• Meanwhile, prior to the game, Lakers legend (and former part-owner) Magic Johnson said he isn’t sure how the fans will respond to the team if the season plays out as expected.
“Laker fans are spoiled. I don’t know how they’re going to react now, because this is going to be a tough season,” Johnson said Tuesday in an interview on the “Max and Marcellus Show” on ESPNLA 710 radio. “This is going to be one of the roughest seasons that the Lakers have ever faced. You’re waiting on Kobe to see if he can get healthy. Nobody knows if he can be what he was. Then you’ve got Gasol – who I think is a premier big man — but he plays better when he has talent around him.
“You’ve got guys who are all on one-year contracts, and all were journeymen on other teams. Laker fans are not used to that. I don’t know if they’re going to buy into that. We’re going to see. If you want the Laker fans to really buy in and be involved, you’re going to have to win right away. I don’t see that happening. The West is tough this year.”
Johnson said he thinks Bryant can return to his “dominant” form, but he’s not sure there’s enough support on the roster.
“I’m hoping that they at least make the playoffs,” Johnson said. “But that’s going to be tough, especially without Kobe. We have to see what Kobe we’re going to get. Is he going to be that same Kobe or is he going to be hurt a little bit?”
Added Johnson: “Kobe can get 30 or 40,” Johnson said. “But you have to remember, you need at least three guys who can score. Right now I’m looking at that roster and going, ‘Who else is going to get you 15-20 a night besides Gasol and Kobe?’ ”
• At The Atlantic, Ryan Roderberg conducted a study to determine if there’s any substance to accusations of referee bias in the NBA — specifically related to Heat executive Pat Riley, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Spurs center Tim Duncan.
His result? Whining by Riley and Cuban, and fallout from Duncan’s famous run-in with veteran official Joey Crawford in 2007, have yielded no apparent signs of bias.
Wrote Roderberg: “I found no systematic evidence of a referee’s personal animus negatively impacting the performance of the team in question.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Oct. 30, 1954, the Celtics lost to the Rochester Royals, 98-95, in a game that marked the debut of which two NBA rules that had a big effect on the way the game was played?
|Friday’s Morning Mashup: Thunder’s Kendrick Perkins faces assault charge stemming from incident outside nightclub||10.11.13 at 8:11 am ET|
FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB playoffs: Dodgers at Cardinals, 8:30 p.m. (TBS; WEEI-AM)
NBA preseason: Celtics at 76ers, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA preseason: Cavaliers at Magic, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
NHL: Islanders at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. (NHL Network)
College hockey: Western Michigan at Notre Dame, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
College football: Temple at Cincinnati, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: World Cup qualifier, Ireland at Germany, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: World Cup qualifier, Montenegro at England, 3 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: World Cup qualifier, Panama at Mexico, 9:15 p.m. (ESPNews)
AROUND THE WEB:
• Thunder center Kendrick Perkins faces an assault charge stemming from an incident in July in which he allegedly punched a man and woman in an incident outside a Houston nightclub.
According to KHOU.com, the case initially was dismissed but was re-filed, leading to a misdemeanor assault charge for the former Celtic and his brother-in-law, Quincy Alpough. Perkins posted $1,000 bond Thursday morning.
Miketta Cotton told police she and her brother were leaving the club when their car and one in which Perkins was a passenger “backed into each other.” Tensions escalated, and Cotton’s brother, Ja’Keenan Cotton, told police that Perkins eventually got out of the car and punched him in the head, knocking him to the ground. Perkins then punched Miketta Cotton in the face with a closed fist, knocking her to the ground, she said.
A third person who was in the car with the Cottons, Catherine McGrue, said she was struck in the throat by Alpough, knocking her unconscious. All three victims said they then were kicked repeatedly by a group of people while on the ground.
“We were made aware of the allegations and take this matter seriously,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a statement. “We are in the process of gathering more information and have no further comment at this time.”
In a previous incident, Perkins was arrested in 2011 in his hometown of Beaumont, Texas, and charged with public intoxication and disorderly conduct after a fight outside a bar, but those charges apparently were dropped.
Perkins, 28, averaged 4.2 points and six rebounds in 78 games last season in his second full season in Oklahoma City since being traded from the Celtics late in the 2010-11 season.
• Heat forward Michael Beasley reportedly required medical treatment after punching himself in the head during Thursday night’s game against the Pistons, angry about making some mistakes in his first game of the preseason.
The oft-troubled Beasley, who signed a one-year, non-guaranteed contract with Miami in September after being released by the Suns following his arrest in August on marijuana charges, was running back on defense when he started hitting himself so hard that he left himself with a swollen eyebrow and needed treatment from the team’s trainer.
Beasley, who was drafted by the Heat No. 2 overall in the 2008 draft but saw his career derailed by myriad issues, said he was “just trying to teach myself to do everything hard.” The 24-year-old told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that he was disappointed about getting a quick foul, missing a defensive rotation and then failing to come up with a blocked shot.
However, Beasley said that overall, the experience was a positive one.
“It was fun,” he said, after finishing with nine points and two rebounds in nine minutes. “I didn’t think I was going to play. It was the first time back. I’m trying to find my way.”
• Magic Johnson announced Thursday that he will not return to the ESPN/ABC studio as an analyst due to his myriad commitments, including his ownership of the Dodgers and other business ventures.
“I love ESPN. Unfortunately, due to the nature of my schedule and other commitments, I don’t feel confident that I can continue to devote the time needed to thrive in my role,” Johnson said in a statement. “I will always feel a strong connection to the ESPN family and I enjoyed working with them very much.”
Johnson joined ESPN’s “NBA Countdown” crew in 2011.
“We appreciate Magic’s contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors,” ESPN executive vice president of production John Wildjack said in a statement. “We are in the process of determining our NBA commentator roles for the upcoming season.”
The network also announced that longtime basketball analyst/sideline reporter Doris Burke (a Providence College Hall of Famer) will work one day per week on “NBA Countdown.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Oct. 11, 1967, the Impossible Dream Red Sox forced the World Series to the limit with an 8-4 victory over the Cardinals in Game 6. Which unheralded Sox rookie from New England started the game and pitched 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball but did not get the win?
|Monday’s Morning Mashup: Female kicker comes up short at NFL combine||03.04.13 at 8:05 am ET|
MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Heat at Timberwolves, 8 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Texas Tech at Kansas, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Cincinnati at Louisville, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Savannah State at UNC A&T, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Baylor at Texas, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Lightning at Penguins, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Predators at Kings, 10:30 p.m. (NHL Network)
World Baseball Classic: South Korea vs Australia, 5:30 a.m. (MLB Network)
World Baseball Classic: Australia vs. Netherlands, 11:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
World Baseball Classic: Brazil vs. China, 3 a.m. Tuesday (MLB Network)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Things did not go well Sunday for the first female to participate in an NFL regional combine tryout. Lauren Silberman came up embarrassingly short on two kickoffs before seeking medical assistance and then leaving in tears.
The 28-year-old Silberman, who said she is a former University of Wisconsin club soccer player, kicked the ball about 19 yards on her first try and a few yards less on her next.
Silberman did not take any warmup kicks before the event, which featured 38 kicking prospects hoping to attract the attention of an NFL team. She later explained that she injured her quadriceps earlier in the week and was hoping she could kick through it.
“I suffered a quad injury. I tried staying off it and waited for today. I didn’t even take kicks in warmup,” she said, according to New York’s CBS TV affiliate. “It’s pretty hard to know that you’d be in pain and wanted to work through it, and I certainly tried to, but I couldn’t do it today.”
Added Silberman: “I tried to work through the pain. The distance wasn’t there, but hopefully the scouts noticed my form.”
Silberman was not evaluated prior to the workout, signing up by paying a a $275 fee. She added to speculation that she was an unqualified publicity-seeker by being evasive when asked how far she kicked the ball in practices. “It’s hard to tell,” she said.
NFL regional combine director Stephen Austin offered no verification of Silberman’s ability.
“Our job is to evaluate talent and leave no stone unturned,” he said. “Until they get here, we don’t have any idea of how any of them are going to perform.”
♦ LeBron James said Sunday that he’s considering an offer of $1 million by Magic Johnson to participate in the dunk contest during All-Star Weekend.
“I don’t have a response yet,” James told ESPN’s Lisa Salter, adding: “Tell [Johnson] I’ll get back to him.”
James has never taken part in the dunk contest, although he said Sunday, “I think about it every year.” He recently received some criticism for saving his highlight-reel dunks for pregame warmups and said he considered changing his warmup routine because of it. However, he decided to continue it.
♦ Following a tweet from Randy Moss on Saturday night, there is speculation that the receiver will not return to the 49ers.
Tweeted Moss: Wished we could’ve finished the job!!thanks for the opportunity an good luck in the future 9ers.
Moss, 36, ended his brief retirement in 2012 and recorded 28 receptions for 434 yards and three touchdowns in helping the 49ers reach the Super Bowl. He caught two passes for 41 yards in the Super Bowl loss to the Ravens.
The onetime Patriot has 982 catches for 15,292 yards and 156 touchdowns in his 14-year career.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 4, 1984, which standout Red Sox catcher from the 1930s was chosen for the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee?
|Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Manny Ramirez homers on first pitch in Dominican debut||11.15.12 at 7:54 am ET|
THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics at Nets, 8 p.m. (TNT; WEEI-FM)
College basketball: Boston College vs. Baylor, 3 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Providence vs. UMass, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Oklahoma State vs. Akron, 10:30 a.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: UNC-Asheville vs. Tennessee, 12:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: N.C. State vs. Penn State, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: St. John’s at Charleston, 5 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Alabama vs Oregon State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Villanova vs. Purdue, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
NFL: Dolphins at Bills, 8:20 p.m. (NFL Network)
College football: North Carolina at Virginia, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Manny Ramirez still is trying to get back into baseball, and the former Red Sox slugger made his case on Wednesday when he hit a home run on the first pitch he saw from Escogido Lions right-hander Daniel Cabrera in his debut for the Los Aguilas Eagles of the Dominican winter league.
A packed house estimated at 22,000 turned out to see Ramirez return to play in his home country for the first time since the winter of 1994-95, and the fans went wild when Ramirez drilled a fastball over the right-field fence to give his team a 1-0 lead.
“I’m not thinking about the big leagues now,” Ramirez, 40, said upon joining the team. “Right now, I’m thinking of helping the Eagles to win games and then, if any offer, then I’ll think of baseball.”
♦ Magic Johnson spoke out against his old team Wednesday, saying the Lakers’ decision to hire Mike D’Antoni over Phil Jackson was another error in judgment by executive vice president Jim Buss, son of longtime owner Jerry Buss.
“I love Dr. [Jerry] Buss. I don’t believe in Jim Buss,” Johnson said on ESPN’s “NBA Countdown.” “He’s made two critical mistakes already. To me, they made two critical mistakes. First, hiring Mike Brown — he wasn’t the right coach. He’s a great coach but not the right coach for the Lakers. And I don’t feel Mike D’Antoni is the right coach for the Lakers. Especially when you have Phil Jackson sitting out there, who wanted to be the Laker coach. Jim Buss decided he didn’t want Phil Jackson, he wanted Mike D’Antoni. And that’s OK, but why didn’t you just say that? But the fans were cheering for Phil Jackson two nights in a row.”
Earlier in the day, Johnson ended two days of Twitter silence, writing:
The reason I haven’t tweeted in 2 days is because I’ve been mourning Phil Jackson not being hired as the Lakers head coach. My mother always taught me that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
A day earlier, general manager Mitch Kupchak insisted the decision to go with D’Antoni over Jackson was a unanimous one between he and the Busses, insisting that D’Antoni is a better fit for this roster.
“Without going into great detail, some of our guys I don’t think would be very successful in the triangle [offense],” Kupchak said Tuesday. “Some of our newer players might take a long time to learn the triangle.”
♦ The Texas A&M football team is coming off an upset of No. 1-ranked Alabama on Saturday, but the team’s excitement was tempered when freshman wide receiver Thomas Johnson went missing Monday night. Johnson, who has 30 receptions for 339 yards and a touchdown in 10 games this season, was found safe Thursday morning, with more details expected later in the day.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Nov. 15, 1967, Carl Yastrzemski, winner of the American League’s Triple Crown, was named MVP. However, the vote was not unanimous. Which Twins player received one vote?
|Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Amar’e Stoudemire fined $50,000 for offensive tweet||06.27.12 at 6:52 am ET|
WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Blue Jays at Red Sox, 1:35 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)
MLB: White Sox at Twins, 1 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Indians at Yankees, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Tigers at Rangers, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: European Championship semifinals, Portugal vs. Spain, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 7 a.m. (ESPN2)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire apologized Tuesday after he was fined $50,000 by the NBA for using a homosexual slur in a tweet to a fan who had criticized him.
“I am a huge supporter of civil rights for all people,” Stoudemire said in a statement. “I am disappointed in myself for my statement to a fan. I should have known better and there is no excuse.”
Stoudemire used an expletive and the slur Saturday when tweeting the fan, identified by the New York Daily News as Brian Ferrelli, who had tweeted that the All-Star “better come back a lot stronger and quicker to make up for this past season.” Stoudemire, who averaged 17.5 points and 7.8 rebounds, his lowest marks since his rookie season in 2002-03 with the Suns, tweeted back: [Expletive] you. I don’t have to do any thing [slur].
Ferrelli then posted a screen shot of the offensive tweet on the web. That was followed by Stoudemire tweeting an apology, which Ferrelli accepted.
♦ Former Trail Blazers star Clyde Drexler spoke candidly about Magic Johnson for a book about the 1992 Olympic Dream Team. In “Dream Team” by Jack McCallum, Drexler said members of the team pitied Magic because they thought he would die after testing HIV positive, and he said Magic “couldn’t play much by that time. He couldn’t guard his shadow.”
“But you have to have to understand what was going on then. Everybody kept waiting for Magic to die,” Drexler said. “Every time he’d run up the court everybody would feel sorry for the guy, and he’d get all that benefit of the doubt. Magic came across like, ‘All this is my stuff.’ Really? Get outta here, dude. He was on the declining end of his career.”
Drexler also commented about Magic’s performance in the 1992 NBA All-Star Game in Orlando. Magic, named as a special 13th player to the West roster, was named MVP after finishing with 25 points, nine assists and five rebounds. Drexler also played very well, recording 22 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
Said Drexler: “If we all knew Magic was going to live this long, I would’ve gotten the MVP of that game, and Magic probably wouldn’t have made the Olympic team.”
♦ LaDainian Tomlinson, who retired this month after a stellar career at running back with the Chargers and Jets, had an interesting and honest response when asked if he would rather win a Super Bowl or be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
“Hall of Fame player without a ring, because you’ve got to sacrifice so much individually just to be good,” he said. “They draft you individually and you’ve got to back them up and make them right. I think at the end of the day, even though I didn’t win a Super Bowl ring, I felt like I backed them up for drafting me. I backed up the San Diego Chargers for picking me with the fifth pick.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On June 27, which Red Sox player tied a major league record by recording three hits (single, double, triple) in one inning — the 14-run first inning of a 25-8 rout of the Marlins at Fenway?
|Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Brandon Jacobs critical of former Giants teammates||04.12.12 at 8:01 am ET|
THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL playoffs: Capitals at Bruins, 7:30 p.m. (NESN, NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Senators at Rangers, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL playoffs: Blackhawks at Coyotes, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Heat at Bulls, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Mavericks at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
MLB: Rays at Tigers, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Marlins at Phillies, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Running back Brandon Jacobs won a Super Bowl with the Giants two months ago, but now that he’s signed with the 49ers, he’s not showing a lot of respect for his former teammates. During an interview on San Francisco radio station KNBR, Jacobs said the New York offensive line deserved more criticism for his lack of production last season.
“We had issues. When I was with the Giants, we had issues down the line,” he said. “Of course, I took the blame for those [because I was] holding the ball. But ultimately, at the end of the day, it is my fault because I do have the ball and that’s what people see. But there’s a lot more than that going on.”
As for why he decided to leave New York for San Francisco, Jacobs said: “At the end of the day we go out and play this game for it being football, what we all love playing. But after you’ve been in the business a certain amount of time, and know that they’ve turned it into nothing but a business, that what-have-you-done-for-me-lately-type attitude comes. And that’s what we turn it into as players, and that’s when things happen.”
♦ Former NFL executive Charlie Casserly admits in an article for NFL.com that he used to use certain media members’ mock drafts to get a better idea of what other teams were thinking in the days leading up to the draft. He also writes that he used the media to determine teams’ needs and player visits, paying special attention to what team personnel told reporters. Somewhere, Bill Belichick is smiling.
♦ On the heels of the Magic’s Dwight Howard-Stan Van Gundy controversy, Real Clear Sports has a list of the top 10 coach-killers. The list includes Michael Vick, Reggie Jackson, John Elway and, at No. 1, Magic Johnson for helping to put in action the dismissal of Paul Westhead in 1981 and usher in the Pat Riley era.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On April 12, 2000, which Red Sox player recorded a sacrifice fly for the 1,341st RBI of his career in what would be his final major league game?
|Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Jeremy Lin offers support to Kris Humphries||02.22.12 at 7:51 am ET|
WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics at Thunder, 7 p.m. (CSNNE, ESPN; WEEI)
NBA: Lakers at Mavericks, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: West Virginia at Notre Dame, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Kansas at Texas A&M, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
NHL: Bruins at Blues, 8 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Kings at Avalanche, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Even after a loss, the legend of Jeremy Lin continues to grow. Nets forward Kris Humphries, who is regularly booed at NBA arenas following his separation from reality TV star Kim Kardashian, said Lin offered support to him after Lin’s Knicks lost on Monday to New Jersey.
“I saw him in the tunnel outside the locker room after the game,” Humphries said during an appearance on Tuesday’s “The Scott Van Pelt Show” on ESPN Radio. “He’s a really nice guy. He just said, ‘Hey, I don’t know why they boo you, but I think it’s crap, and you’re playing really well.’ That was nice of him to say. He’s a really nice guy. … It’s nice to see great things happen for nice people.”
Humphries had 14 points and 14 rebounds in Monday’s game and appeared to enjoy quieting the Madison Square Garden fans.
“I love the hostile environment,” Humphries said. “There’s nothing better than sending 19,000 people home upset [Monday] night at the Garden. We love that. People are getting rowdy — whether they’re booing me or not — but to get a win like that felt great, and sometimes you’ve just got to mess with the crowd back.”
Meanwhile, Lin is on the cover of Sports Illustrated for the second week in a row, becoming the first New York athlete ever to have that distinction.
♦ Broncos backup quarterback Brady Quinn is reaching out to Tim Tebow after unflattering comments Quinn made about Tebow appeared in a GQ article. In the Michael Silver story, Quinn was quoted as saying the team “had a lot, I guess, luck, to put it simply,” and that “the fans had a lot to do with” Tebow getting the starting nod over Quinn.
“There was a big calling for him,” said Quinn, who is an unrestricted free agent. “No, I don’t have any billboards. That would have been nice.”
After the article came out Tuesday, Quinn went on Twitter and insisted the comments do not reflect his true feelings about his “great teammate.”
♦ Lakers legend Magic Johnson is starting his own cable television network, called Aspire, set to debut June 30. It’s the first of 10 new independently owned channels Comcast promised to launch by 2018 as part of an agreement with the FCC and Department of Justice to diversify the cable landscape.
“This is so exciting for me, I’m pinching myself,” Johnson told The Los Angeles Times. “This is big for myself, for the African American community and the African American creative community. I wanted a vehicle to show positive images and to have stories written, produced and directed by African Americans for our community. Aspire — that’s how I’ve been leading my life.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Feb. 22, 1934, which Bruins defenseman played his final game and then became the first NHL player to have his number retired?
|Magic Johnson: David Stern isn’t racist||11.09.11 at 11:22 am ET|
NBA legend Magic Johnson defended David Stern, saying recent suggestions that the commissioner is racist are “ridiculous.”
Johnson’s comments were in response to NBA players association attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who said in The Washington Post that the owners are treating the players like “plantation workers” in negotiations during the NBA lockout.
Kessler’s comments came on the heels of similar sentiments from Bryant Gumbel, who said on his HBO show that Stern “always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer treating NBA men as if they were his boys.”
But Johnson pointed to the fact that the league’s front offices have more racial diversity than ever under the leadership of Stern. Johnson said that it is fine to disagree with the commissioner, but that you “can’t attack the man and what he stands for.”
“This league is more diverse than any other league and has more minorities in powerful positions than any other league,” Johnson said during a phone interview. “That’s all about David Stern and his vision and what he wanted to do. He made sure minorities had high-ranking positions from the league office all the way down to coaches and front office people.”
Johnson also said many of those who are criticizing Stern have jobs in the NBA because of the commissioner, and that it was Stern who took the NBA and made it an international brand. The former Laker recalled that it was Stern who gave him a spot in the 1992 All-Star Game, a year after he had retired because of his battle with HIV. Stern also put Johnson on the Dream Team that won an Olympic gold medal, and the commissioner called Johnson during his public feud with Isiah Thomas.
“He always is looking out for the players and what’s best for the league and I disagree with anybody who says he’s trying to be a plantation owner,” Johnson said. “It’s ridiculous we’re even talking about it.”
|Monday’s Morning Mashup: Colts boss Bill Polian complains about ‘rats who lie about people’||11.07.11 at 6:35 am ET|
WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY MONDAY:
NHL: Islanders at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN/Versus)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Cheer up, Patriots fans. As rough as the last two weeks have been, at least your team is far better off than the once-proud Colts. Not only did Indianapolis fall to 0-9 with Sunday’s 31-7 loss to the Falcons, team vice chairman Bill Polian went on a short postgame rant about those who are critical of his club. It’s speculated that Polian was angered by a Sunday story from Indianapolis Star writer Bob Kravitz that quoted unnamed former Colts employees as questioning the competence of general manager Chris Polian, who happens to be Bill’s son. “Some people are just rats who lie about people,” Polian said, adding that it’s the team’s job to “throw the rats in the sewer.”
Responded Kravitz on Twitter: Just head about Polian’s postgame — dunno if he was referring to me as a rat or my sources — or both — i’ve been called worse.
♦ Former NHL star Mark Messier completed Sunday’s New York City Marathon in 4 hours, 14 minutes, but he needed medical attention after crossing the finish line. Messier was wheeled into the medical tent and kept briefly for observation, but he was fine after receiving some fluids. “I just got filled up with inspiration,” the 50-year-old told the New York Daily News Sunday night from his Manhattan home. “I feel great now.”
♦ It was exactly 20 years ago when Lakers legend Magic Johnson announced that had contracted HIV and was retiring from the NBA. In The Los Angeles Times, Bill Plaschke looks at how Johnson has become an inspiration in a much different way in those two decades.
♦ Raiders fans have log had an image problem, but at least some of them are working to improve it. Members of the Black Hole Fan Club hired a public relations firm, set up a new website, donated money to area causes, and started a campaign to “black out the violence.” “We are tired of being the whipping boy of the Bay Area and people thinking we are a bunch of criminals,” Black Hole Fan Club president Rob Rivera told the San Jose Mercury News. “We are not.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Nov. 7, 1950, which Red Sox player beat out Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford to be named American League Rookie of the Year?
|Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Dwight Gooden says he missed Mets’ 1986 parade due to drugs||10.19.11 at 7:15 am ET|
WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY WEDNESDAY:
No games scheduled
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Dwight Gooden, ace pitcher on the 1986 Mets, said he missed the team’s World Series parade because he was in a drug-induced haze in the projects on Long Island. In an interview set to air on ESPN’s “E:60″ Wednesday night, Gooden explained that he left a team party following the Mets’ Game 7 victory over the Red Sox for a drug fix and didn’t make it back to the city on time for the celebration. The team had said Gooden simply overslept.
“When the party started winding down, for myself, a lot of times I get to a certain point of using drugs, the paranoia sticks in,” said Gooden, who added that 1986 was the first year he tried cocaine. “So I end up leaving the party with the team, going to these projects, of all places, in Long Island. Hang out there.
“Then you know what time you have to be at the ballpark to go into the city for the parade, but I’m thinking ‘OK, I’ve got time.’ And the clocks, I mean the rooms are spinning. I said, ‘OK, I’ll leave in another hour. OK, maybe in 30 minutes I’ll leave. Well, maybe 15 more minutes I’ll leave. Then the next thing you know, the parade’s on and I’m watching the parade on TV. … Horrible, horrible feeling.”
♦ According to a report in The Miami Herald, Eric Mangini consults regularly with Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to give input on coaching and other areas. However, the report emphatically states that Mangini is not a candidate to take over the team should Tony Sparano be fired.
♦ Magic Johnson joined the chorus of people teasing LeBron James for his lack of clutch play in the NBA finals. During a paid appearance at the University of Albany Saturday, Magic was asked which of his accomplishments meant the most to him.
“That’s easy: Putting people to work in minority communities,” he replied. “There’s going to always be great players in basketball. There’s going to always be guys who win championships in the NBA, except LeBron …”
Added Johnson: “Everybody’s always asking, ‘Who is better between Kobe [Bryant] and LeBron?’ I’m like, Are you kidding me? I’m like you’re kidding me … Kobe, five championships; LeBron, zero. … I love the young man, though. I know he’s going to get better in the fourth quarter this year.”
Perhaps not coincidentally, Johnson this summer became an investor in Detroit Venture Partners, which is run by Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Gilbert famously feuded with LeBron following the player’s decision to leave Cleveland for Miami last offseason.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Oct. 19, 2004, the Red Sox evened the American League Championship Series at three games apiece behind Curt Schilling and his bloody sock. The Red Sox scored all four of their runs in the fourth inning for a 4-2 victory. Which Yankees pitcher (who outdueled Pedro Martinez in Game 2) took the loss?
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