The Atlanta Hawks’ animal mascot (as opposed to its mall & car dealership mascot) couldn’t get settled for Wednesday night’s Game 2 against the Miami Heat. Before each home game, Spirit the Hawk usually swoops across the arena and land with its handler.
Instead, the (Del?) Harris hawk became confused last night and wandered Philips Arena, landing in the stands, above center court, and on a stanchion.
For reasons unclear, they started the game while Spirit stayed loose. However, the game came to a screeching halt a few minutes in when Spirit landed on the backboard camera and Josh Smith excused himself due to winged predators in the field of play. Eventually, Spirit returned to his handler and play continued.
The rest of the Hawks followed suit in avoiding airborne objects for the remainder of the game, allowing Dwyane Wade to divebomb them with 33 points (including six three-pointers) in a 108-93 win to pull even with the Hawks at a game apiece in the seven-game series.
After the game, Hawks management offered Spirit the scorekeeper job; at least he knows where to look for the ball.
In other NBA games last night, Philadelphia lost to Orlando 96-87, New Orleans lost to Denver 108-93, and the Detroit Pistons lost their ability to care.
A flyby of the NBA may be all that underclassmen college basketball players will get next season when they wish to dip their toe in the NBA Draft. The NCAA has taken steps to limit the time non-seniors can even bat an eyelash in the NBA’s direction by declaring for the draft to the length of an eye blink.
Instead of getting approximately six weeks to consult with NBA teams, speak to trusted advisors, and draw out the decision into key segments of the news cycle, players would get around a week’s time, usually during finals. The NCAA wants to protect their franchisees by encouraging the players to stick around longer to increase their marketing value.
Therefore, no one should show surprise when a young man chooses to skip the NCAA for Europe as Brandon Jennings did. Perhaps we should also not feign indignance when the best high school junior in the country, Jeremy Tyler, packs his extra-long jammies (for his 6′11″ frame) and heads to Europe before his senior year of high school.
Long-time watchers of tall young men will recognize the puppeteer behind this latest stress test on the basketball pipeline. Sonny Vaccaro has his hand in this year’s Atlantic leap, just as he did for Jennings last year. Tyler turns 18 in June and will be eligible for the 2011 NBA draft.
We have a suggestion for Tyler to consider when he selects an NBA agent:
The Bird of Prey himself, of course.
And now the hail of bullet points that you successfully survive thanks to your bra …
- A note to Jamaal Tinsley’s family: he’s still alive and collecting paychecks from the Indiana Pacers. However, don’t expect him to receive a uniform any time … ever.
- On the other hand, four CHICAGO TRIBUNE sportswriters can only claim half that Tinsley formula as they’ve been laid off.
- Also, FORBES claims one-third of MLB teams lost value in the last year while the Yankees and Mets gained value in the double-digits. Thus, the lesson MLB has been trying to teach us for thirty years now has been reinforced: The best way to improve franchise value is to convince the locals to give hundreds of millions of dollars for new stadiums. (Oh, except in D.C., which lost 12 percent. Maybe the answer is to bench Elijah Dukes again.)
- Dennis Eckersley wants you to know that Brad Penny’s “a little gay with his cheese”. Depends on what he does with the cheese, Dennis.
- The second death from being struck by a softball/baseball in the Midwest in three days has been reported. First, a 24-year-old Indiana man was hit in the neck by a thrown ball; now a 14-year-old Chicago boy has also died after being struck in the chest.
- Grasshoppers invade Chase Field and demand senior citizen discounts at the gift shop.
- While still in Arizona, it’s nice to see the old Bidwell competency shining through; no one thought to tell the NFL that scheduling their last home game on the last day of the regular season might get them in hot water with the Fiesta Bowl, which kicks off one day later.
- Jason Tyner got traded from the Milwaukee Brewers to the Detroit Tigers for nothing. No cash, no players, no PTBNL. Zilch. Not even a collection of baseball bats, which might be a good thing.
- The Manny Pacquiao bobblehead. Of course.
- The MMA onesie for your newborn. Of course.