Monta Ellis Finally Grasping Don Nelson’s Offense

Fabulous trick shot by Monta Ellis of the Golden State Warriors:

Monta Ellis Trick Shot

Or as Don Nelson calls it, an “open look you have to take.

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Mark Cuban and Don Nelson Feud Over $7 Million

It’s been well-known that Mark Cuban is an unconventional owner whose fandom and fervency borders on obsessive. That’s fine, and a welcome respite from the Donald Sterlings of professional sports, but it becomes problematic when he finds himself rewriting the record books on fines levied by the league.

Mark Cuban owned - CUBOWNED? Developing...
(And now there’s so many new layers of poetic justice in this.)

It also appears that the enmity that sometimes boils over has also targeted former Mavs coach (and current Warriors head honcho) Don Nelson. At stake is deferred compensation that Cuban, well, just isn’t going to pay, judges’ rulings be damned.

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Speed Read: Sleazy Vick, Caylee Dolls Draw Suit

I think I’ve found the world’s worst person: his name is Jaime Salcedo, and he’s the owner of Showbiz Productions in Jacksonville, FL. He first made a name for himself by selling the “Vick Chew Toy,” which is not related to the one the St. Paul Saints gave away. In fact, if you read the fine print at the toy’s Web site, it’s not even Michael Vick at all. Crazy how someone could get that idea, right? Check out the promotional video for yourself:

So while the toy and it’s cutting-edge “dog material” might be an overpriced, one-note joke aimed at making a quick buck, it’s not really horrible. Now, creating a doll based on a toddler who was gruesomely killed by her mother, that would be hideous. Folks, let me introduce you to the “Sunshine Caylee Doll,” also a creation from the monstrous kitchens of Showbiz Productions, meant to be a “tribute” to slain Florida two-year-old Caylee Anthony.

Caylee doll

Of course, as Salcedo told Fox News, he wanted to be sensitive to Anthony’s memory, so he made sure the doll had little resemblance to her - even if it did play her favorite song “You Are My Sunshine” when you pressed its stomach. After all, making the doll look like Anthony would be “too morbid.

But Salcedo wanted to make sure everyone knew he wasn’t a heartless slime trying to make money exploiting dead toddlers and mangled dogs. He was also a philanthropist, pledging to donate portions of the sales of the Vick Chew Toy to local animal shelters and $5,000 from the sales of the Sunshine Caylee Doll to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Well, Salcedo did make a donation to that last group: for a grand total of $10. And it seems evident that no donations were made to local animal shelters from sales of the Vick doll. So not only was Salcedo making money off of products in horrible taste, but he was pulling a big grift by using charity donations that never happened to support sales.

Finally, someone is doing something about it: the JACKSONVILLE TIMES-UNION says the Florida Attorney General’s office is suing Salcedo for $20,000 for making false advertising claims, and seeking an injunction against further sales of the dolls. Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said that using a respected organization such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as a front makes things even more reprehensible:

“Any company that intentionally misleads innocent consumers to believe they are contributing to worthy charitable causes is absolutely reprehensible,” he said. “It is disgusting that a company would exploit a tragic situation for personal gain.”

Of course, when you consider that Salcedo himself estimates that he sold at least 200,000 Michael Vick dolls at $7.77 each (grossing more than $1,500,000), a $20,000 fine feels like a slap on the wrist. I know times are tough, but the people of Jacksonville can’t band together and find the time and money to get the supplies needed for a good old fashioned tar and feathering? I’ll even chip in and by the first barrel of tar.

Crowds at the Masters

Meanwhile, there wasn’t much going wrong on Thursday during the first round of The Masters, unless you consider the appalling traffic. Despite assurances by government officials that the kinks that led to significant traffic snarls at the beginning of the week had been worked out, the AUGUSTA CHRONICLE says that traffic was even worse for the opening round, leading to headaches such as a local doctor having to run three-quarters of a mile to make a speaking engagement at the course.

At least it was perfect weather for a run, and also for shooting a low score: it was the second-lowest scoring first round in tournament history. The Day One leader is Chad Campbell, who set a tournament record with birdies on his first five holes and flirted with history before back-to-back closing bogies left him at 65, one stroke ahead of Hunter Mahan and Jim Furyk.

How crazy was the scoring on Thursday? If Phil Mickelson had shot 73 in last year’s first round, he would have been tied for 29th, five shots off the lead. Instead, he starts today tied for 51st, looking at an eight shot deficit. Even the over-50 crowd was getting into the scoring act: Larry Mize sits in a tie for fourth after a 67, while the group at 70 includes Greg Norman and Bernhard Langer.

Also firing a two-under: Tiger Woods, who probably could have been near the top of the leaderboard if one of five or six putts go in instead of burning the lip of the cup. The other main contender we previewed yesterday, Padraig Harrington, also had a quietbut efficient round, going one lower than Woods. Even Gary Player, in his final Masters, shot a respectable 78. In fact, every player broke 80 except for New Zealander Michael Campbell, who must feel great that even Craig Stadler’s portly butt beat him by three shots.

Finally, Andrew Bynum’s comeback from a knee injury might not be on par (get it?) with Tiger Woods’, but it couldn’t come at a better time for the Los Angeles Lakers. The LOS ANGELES TIMES reports that Bynum looked comfortable and healthy in his return after missing 32 games from a torn MCL, racking up 16 points and seven rebounds in just 21 minutes as the Lakers blew past the Nuggets, 116-102. Which begs the question: Could his injury actually have been a break for the Lakers, as their center is now rested and not worn down by the rigors of a long regular season?

  • A few weeks ago, we told you about the Fifth-Third, a 4,800 calorie, four-pound burger that is the new entry at the concession stands at West Michigan Whitecaps games. CNBC says that the gut-buster made its debut last night, with 107 of them being sold. Of the 32 people who tried to eat the whole thing, 17 were successful. Lord, I don’t want to know what the toilets looked like around the seventh inning stretch.
  • darren rovell fifth third burger

    (CNBC’s Darren Rovell ponders the glory of the Fifth Third Burger)

  • LOCKDOWN CORNER says that former Green Bay Packers lineman Syd Kitson is trying to create the world’s most environmentally-friendly city somewhere in Florida. In true Green Bay style, everything is either powered by sharp cheddar cheese, or the light shining off of the still-brilliant aura of Brett Favre.
  • Syracuse basketball looks to take a bit hit next year, as the AUBURN CITIZEN says that Jonny Flynn, Eric Devendorf and Paul Harris will all enter their names into the NBA Draft. Also looking to flee for the pro game: UCLA’s Jrue Holiday, Wake Forest’s James Johnson and Miami’s Dwayne Collins.
  • Speaking of drafts, about the only thing the WNBA does right is take advantage of the one-week period right after the NCAA title game when people still remember that women’s basketball exists to hold their draft. The No. 1 pick? Louisville’s Angel McCoughtry, to the Atlanta Dream.
  • Remember the kerfuffle caused when Teresa Earnhardt refused to let her stepson Dale Earnhardt Jr. take his No. 8 with him when he left DEI to go to Hendrick Motorsports? I guess karma really is a … you know. FOX SPORTS says the No. 8 car will be permanently parked, as DEI has had to shut down operations on Aric Almirola’s team because of a lack of sponsors.
  • The person I would least expect to be in a Twitter controversy is Joe Paterno, who probably thinks that’s what happens when your pacemaker gets to close to a microwave. But ESPN.COM says his son Jay might have inadvertantly spilled the beans that the Big Ten is banning night games in November, meaning the Penn St./Ohio St. tilt will be played in the afternoon.
  • Yesterday’s least-surprising arrest had to be that of volatile former NBA guard Vernon Maxwell. The GAINESVILLE SUN says he was arrested in Florida Wednesday morning and charged with a probation violation stemming from failure to pay child support.
  • BALL DON’T LIE has the gripping story not coming to Broadway next fall: “Nellieball: The Musical.” Much like Don Nelson’s teams, it starts off promising but runs out of steam by the final act and falls apart.
  • Last time we heard about Nebraska tight end Hunter Teafatiller, he was having a party thrown in his “honor” as he was preparing to go to jail on a DUI charge. I guess it’s time to make another keg run in Lincoln, because the AP says he’s been arrested again, this time for driving on a suspended license.
  • Dan Hawkins wants you to know that not only is Colorado football not intramurals, brother, but it’s not a place for your cell phones and cameras. The COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE says the school has closed practices because of too much information floating around the Internet.

Which 2008 cellar dwellar has the best chance to be this year’s Tampa Bay Rays?

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Warriors Win NBA’s Most Screwed Up Team Award

A team of headcases. Every league has to have one. Where the players’ antics are bound to grab the front pages as often as the back. Where the front office competes with the players to see who respects the coach less. Where every fan of a losing team can look, and say, “at least I’m not a fan of those guys.” But with Isiah Thomas gone and the Knicks actually looking like they have a plan, who inherits the title of the NBA’s problem child?

Don Nelson

(This is how Don Nelson looks when he wakes up every morning.)

Quietly, but surely, the ridiculousness has been mounting in the Bay Area. The Golden State Warriors are an absolute train wreck right now, with the team making up injury reports, threatening their own players to opt out of contracts, and at least four players missing tonight’s game with dubious — or no — excuses.  Click to after the jump to find out why, as bad as your squad might have it, at least you’re not a Warriors fan.

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What The? Nelly Once Didn’t Have That Gin Belly?

Great, goofy commercial featuring the 1974 Celtics that you haven’t seen:

Boston Celtics 1974 Bradlees Commercial

Bradlees, the Mervyn’s of the New England (both way out of biz), was the chain that paid for  Dave Cowens, John Havilicek and Don Nelson to look extremely white in their store. The video will be especially shocking for some of you who are used to seeing Nelson smuggling an underage Honduran child under his faux turtleneck all these years.

Don Nelson Gin Belly

As an aside, Nelson wasn’t the third-best player on that Celtics team (Jo Jo White, anyone?). I wonder why Bradlees picked him for the commercial over White? Maybe Pumpsie Green can help me with that one.

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Speed Read: Manny vs. Sox In WS? Don't Fight It

Okay, sure. There’s a Tampa Bay and Philadelphia in the way of this World Series matchup. But it’s a sports reporter’s dream, and the closer we come to living it, the more we have to grin and bear the cold reality that Manny Ramirez will probably return to Fenway Park, not in some dumpy Interleague series, but in the World freaking Series. The sooner you come to accept it, the less painful it will be to watch the myriad of sports columns be churned out surrounding Manny v. Boston, a Supreme Court case which will set dangerous precedent on how much one perplexing superstar can overshadow a baseball team. (Especially one with Nomar Garciaparra.)

Manny Ramirez (and Dodgers) vs. Red Sox?

The Los Angeles Dodgers got to sit on their laurels and watch the Boston Red Sox clinch their side of the ALDS with a dramatic 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, thanks to midseason call-up Jed Lowrie driving in midseason pick-up Jason Bay in the ninth inning on a seeing-eye ground ball. It could have been the play of the game. Or maybe Bay’s double two batters earlier was the play of the game. Or maybe…

Mike Scioscia arguing

…it was Jason Varitek tagging out Reggie Willits, then dropping the ball. Here’s what happened. Willits pinch ran for Kendry Morales, who smashed a leadoff double in the ninth. Willits then advanced to third as the potential go-ahead run. But Erick Aybar’s missed bunt resulted in Cpt. Varitek chasing down Willits, tagging him off the base, falling to his knees, falling to his side, and having the ball dislodged from that big glove of his. Poor Mike Scioscia. All the arguing in the world won’t solidify that guarantee.

Hmm. How can we smoothly transition from controversial calls in late games to this man?

Ed Hochuli

It is guaranteed, unfortunately, that a certain referee and accentuator of abs and cloits will be scrutinized week-to-week. NFL whistleblower Ed Hochuli was at it again on Monday Night Football’s Vikings-Saints showdown. THE CRITICAL FANATIC notes that Hocks didn’t flag down a face mask penalty inflicted on Reggie Bush — a mask grab that resulted in a fumble and change of possession.

It’s really gotten to the point at which Hochuli & Co. will have all their calls sifted through with a very thin and thorough comb, while high school football referees run wild and free. By contrast, the nation probably hasn’t met Bill Carollo the way they’ve met Hochuli, but Carollo was the center of a controversial call, the BALTIMORE SUN reports, on the Ravens’ Terrell Suggs that partly led to the Titans’ 13-10 win over the Ravens. Carollo’s not getting much heat, but namely because he didn’t whistle dead Jay Cutler non-fumble fumble. (Even though Carollo’s call, like Hochuli’s, did help an unlikely undefeated team stay undefeated.)

So here’s another sentiment you can throw onto the pile to ensure that Hochuli is fairly and critically graded exactly like the rest of his peers. Meaning: they should ALL get beer bottles thrown at them.*

Hopefully Hochuli doesn’t get downgraded all the way down to officiating games in the Lingerie Football League. Actually, is that necessarily a bad thing?

Lingerie Football League (LFL) tryouts

  • 1190 KEX reports on the LFL tryouts: things seem to be going … um … good?
  • And now for an excitable report on the Washington Redskins from YOUTUBE and owner Daniel Snyder: WE BEAT PHILLY! WE BEAT DALLAS!” They sure did, Mr. Snyder. They sure did.
  • BASKETBAWFUL isn’t just about the Web. Oh no. They also scour the print edition of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES and found WNBA agate placed near massage parlors and strip clubs.
  • Colombian soap opera star Elisa Sanchez was shot down by soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, because she thought he was gay. Know what this means? You have a better chance at her than he does.
  • Know what we haven’t had in a while? Lyrical poetry on Lawrence Phillips’s recent sentencing. Ah, there we go.
  • Connecticut football might be out of the Top 25, but UConn lineman Rob Lunn is still ranked among hilarious college football bloggers, notes USA TODAY’s GAME ON.
  • Mentioned in yesterday’s SBB SPEED READ, Regan Smith’s DQ in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race could be the straw that broke DEI’s back, reports SPORTSTICKER.
  • THE EXAMINER talks with Golden State Warriors coach Don Nelson’s wife Joy about October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
  • THE SCORES REPORT makes a good connection. 32 teams in the NFL, 32 reasons to love the season so far. One for each team? Well, sorta. The Lions, Rams, and Raiders share one spot, because combined, they are one hell of an NFL team.
  • THE GREENVILLE NEWS leaves no fact out of the story. Two South Carolina high school football players were arrested after a Waffle House skirmish, but the lede is buried by sharing their season stats to date.

Tonight is the second US presidential debate, a town hall format. What would you ask of Sens. McCain and Obama?

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Blog-O-Rama: Matt Leinart Learns To Save Lives

• MJD of YAHOO SPORTS gets the kiss of life, as Matt Leinart learns CPR.

Matt Leinart CPR

(”You kiss better than Paris Hilton!“)

• Matt Mosley of ESPN’s HASHMARKS finds their Favre-ite tribute to the retired Green Bay QB with this Ode To Brett.

• JOE SPORTS FAN feels bad for ESPN’s Pedro Gomez being bounced from the Barry Bonds beat.

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