Barca defender Gerard Pique is currently dating Shakira, hence the invite on stage. In case you live under a rock, Barcelona defeated Manchester United this Saturday in the Champions League Final, which is basically the Super Bowl of soccer, only if every country in the world had football and they decided their champion through a brutal tournament that invites only the best teams from each country.
Is this a sport? If so, what is it called? It’s like if you crossed the gymnastics floor routine with a poms squad and then sprinkled in some Harlem Globetrotters on top.
Somehow, this is a metaphor for the Baylor football program.
Watch him here accuse Chris Broussard of selling his soul to LeBron James. Eddie and I have long speculated on this (remember: it was Broussard who “broke” the news about LeBron going to Miami) and it’s nice to see that other people have figured it out as well.
So the sweater vest is gone and you can color me shocked. I thought there was no way the Ohio State University was going to let him go and it appears they only did so after catching wind of this upcoming story in Sports Illustrated this week which details at least eight years of scandalous activity taking place under the Vest’s reign as head coach. The story is fantastic and I highly recommend you place it at the top of your reading list this morning.
However I can’t help but think of a logical “next step” when I heard about the story on Mike and Mike thanks to an interview with its writer and lead investigator, George Dohrmann. My conclusion is this: why aren’t magazines and papers across the country doing this kind of work on every major football program? Why are they only taking a reactive stance once they learn about the story? Would it not benefit some declining newspaper out there to send three sports writers on the trail of a major program like say, Texas, Oregon, or Alabama and to go make the story themselves? Does that not sell you tens of thousands of papers? Am I making any kind of sense?
The journalism done in this piece is great, great work and it fully led to Tressel’s resignation yesterday, which, if you ask me, is a good thing. A man with that kind of power having that much ignorance about the people he is in charge of is quite frankly terrifying. However, when discussing this issue at Ohio State, isn’t the one universal theme that always comes up that, and I quote, “this is going on everywhere?” Get out there and prove it you journalistic hacks!
Unfortunately the reason this will never happen and the reason newspapers are going to continue to write their own death certificates is something Dohrmann brought up in that same interview on Mike and Mike this morning. Papers and websites have become so dependent on athletic departments and coaches for “inside” information that they dare not EVER bring about negative press about the institutions they cover so religously. Speak out against the head coach of a football program in the SEC? High treason in the world of college football in the south.
It’s a slap in the face to the very essence of what newspapers and journalism originally set out to accomplish and most importantly, it’s a slap in the face to the people who read the content. The only problem?
We’re the ones who perpetuate it.
Generation Y, where despite our one day delay, we want to be sure to express our gratitude for all the troops that make this country and websites like this possible. Happy Memorial Day (+1).
Okay so this may not be as electrifying an example of sports writing at its finest, however I’m picking this selection for selfish reasons. Why is that? I happen to think this upcoming Dallas/Miami Finals is the evolutionary version of the 1977 NBA Finals where the Portland Trailblazers defeated the mighty Philadelphia 76ers behind the superb play of Bill Walton and all of the fundamentals of team basketball at its finest. Take a look at some of the parallels:
-both Dallas and Portland are/were lead by revolutionary big men in Dirk (first seven footer to consistently spread the floor and knock down long jump shots) and Walton (considered perhaps the greatest passing center ever, analysts swear there was no one better at starting the fast break than the big red head).
-It was considered a miracle that Portland was able to achieve what it did and most especially how it did it. Blazers head coach Jack Ramsey was praised the rest of his career for the “miracle” of getting modern athletes to play within his rigid system and buy into his strict discipline. Coaches now speak of the ’77 Blazers season as if it were some myth that might never come true again. Portland didn’t have all the talent of some it’s counterparts in the NBA but everyone bought into the system and, most importantly, they had Walton. Dallas is doing the exact same thing: playing within the system, executing flawlessly, overcoming huge odds for the most improbable of NBA Finals runs, and, most importantly, they have Dirk.
-Both Miami and Philadelphia are/were considered juggernauts of athletic talent, the likes of which have never been seen. LeBron, D-Wade, and Bosh speak for themselves, and by the same token you had that Philadelphia team with Dr. J (basically the patriarch to the style of basketball LeBron thrives on), Doug Collins (perhaps the best shooting guard in the league at the time, much like D-Wade), George McGinnis (a tremendous big man known for his scoring and rebounding, McGinnis famously choked severely in the ’77 Finals. Chris Bosh anyone??) and others like Lloyd “World B.” Free, Henry Bibby (Mike Bibby’s dad) and Joe “Jelly Bean” Bryant (Kobe’s dad).
Go back in time and read why exactly the Blazers were able to overcome an initial 2-0 series deficit and come back to trounce the Sixers over the next four games to win the NBA title. Pay particular attention to the comments by Dr. J and his overall attitude toward the game/series. It’s scary how much he sounds like LeBron. Also take notes on Walton’s comments and how much his approach to the game is similar to Dirk’s.
What this all says about the upcoming finals and whether Miami is really the spiritual descendant of this Sixers team though, well, you’ll have to draw your own conclusions. From Sports Illustrated:
But with eight seconds remaining, the Doctor shot from straightaway behind the foul line and missed. (“As a rebounder and defender I assume everybody’s going to miss,” said Walton.)
With five seconds to go, Free shot from the baseline, but he was sandwiched between Hollins and Gross. His shot didn’t go in either and Gross knocked the ball out of bounds.
With one second left, McGinnis, driving to the right, pushed up one final funny shotput jumper, but this one bounced off also. After Walton leaped to knock the ball away and secure the NBAchampionship for Portland, he whirled, ripped off his shirt and heaved it in the general direction of where he’d been swatting the Sixers’ shots for a whole week: right into the heart of Blazermania.
“If I had caught the shirt, I would have eaten it,” said Lucas. “Bill’s my hero.”
Not to mention the hero of everyone who has ever set foot on the Oregon Trail. “Did I plan the shirt?” Walton laughed at the question as people tried to shower his red hair and beard with champagne, beer and other wicked libations. “I only planned on winning,” he said.
“Dr. J is incredibly tough,” he added, “but we are not into stardom here. The 76ers played with their guts and their pride today and they didn’t try to star. That’s why both teams played close. But once we learn how to beat a team, we can do it and keep doing it.”
Then Walton asked, “Where’s my fruit juice?”
Happy Friday everyone. Enjoy the long weekend.
1) NHL – Game Seven Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Boston Bruins – Friday 8:00 ET (Versus)
This is sports at its absolute finest. No one gives more and performs better in a game seven situation than hockey players. Someone will walk out of this game a hero and someone will likely be reduced to tears afterward. The best part of all? They shake hands afterwards. Here’s an excellent preview to get you pumped for it. [Puck Daddy]
2) Champions League Final – Barcelona vs. Manchester United – Saturday 2:00 ET (Fox)
Some people are calling Barcelona the greatest club team ever assembled. Some people are saying this is Manchester United Coach Alex Ferguson’s greatest achievement ever as manager of the legendary English side. Everyone agrees this is going to be an all-time great matchup featuring the two most famous soccer clubs (it’s not even close) in the world in a dream matchup David Stern would be proud of (think: Yankees meet Lakers, if that makes any kind of sense). This will be soccer at its absolute best and at a time when we’re likely headed for no NBA and no NFL next year, get a head start on the sport you’re going to be watching instead next Fall. Here’s an excellent preview to get you pumped for it. [SI]
3) Auto Racing – The 100th Running Of The Indianapolis 500 – Sunday Noon ET (ABC)
Okay so we probably won’t be tuning in for this but is there anything more American than car caing on Memorial Day weekend?? No way. If you do care, here’s the best preview we could come up with for you. [ESPN]