Miami Dolphins Celebrity Owner Club Gets Bigger

One of the most unusual side stories of the upcoming NFL season has been the spectacle that ownership of the Miami Dolphins has become. While it’s thought that Stephen Ross is still the majority owner, this summer has seen a spate of celebrities join into minority ownership.

Williams Sisters
(”Dolphins would look so good on these plates.”)

While we couldn’t have anticipated it at the time, Gloria Estefan’s decision to buy into the team (with husband Emilio Estefan - not to be confused with “Mr. Mighty Ducks” Emilio Estevez) was just a harbinger of bigger announcements to come. Soon afterward, the naming rights to the stadium were sold to another famous Miami resident, one Jimmy Buffett, and Marc Antony joined Estefan as owners shortly thereafter.

But if you’re foolish enough to scoff at that collection of names, scoff no longer, as the team is being joined by, legitimately, one of the top 20 brands in sports today.

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Speed Read: Is Rubio Dissing Wolves For Europe?

The Clippers’ selection of Blake Griffin with the first pick in the NBA Draft last night was a forgone conclusion, so most of the draft drama was centered around Spanish point guard sensation Ricky Rubio. Over the past couple of weeks, Rubio became one of the most fascinating prospects in draft history — he doesn’t want to play in a small market or a cold city, his agent didn’t let him work out against other humans (which led to the strange one-on-none workout in Sacramento), he still has a huge buyout in his European contract, and nobody can really agree about how good he really is (he could be the next Steve Nash or the next Dan Dickau, and neither scenario would be surprising).

Ricky Rubio

His uncertain status was too much for OKC and Sacramento to put up with, to the point that the Kings decided they’d rather deal with the guy who was driving when his cousin shot someone. The Wolves were thrilled when he fell to them at #5, but because we all know that nothing good can happen to Minnesota, fans in the great white north might want to hold off on burning that Bassy Telfair jersey: Ricky’s dad is already telling people that he’s now thinking about staying in Europe for another year or two.

In other words, Ricky seems to be rejecting Minneapolis as his future home. Any threat to not come to the NBA isn’t really financial leverage, since his contract is slotted based on his position in the draft. But he could be pulling this stunt to try and force a trade to a city that’s more to his liking, such as New York. He might also be wondering (like a lot of other people) why the Wolves took another point guard (Johnny Flynn) with the #6 pick. Here’s what Mr. Rubio told MARCA (via FANHOUSE):

“We are going to speak with the [staff] of Minnesota and see what’s happening, because, in some hours, we may be in Minnesota or in another place.”

Ricky Rubio

He’s either expressing confusion over the Wolves’ intentions of keeping his son, or he’s basically telling them they better trade because there’s no way Ricky’s coming to play there.

After being drafted, ESPN’s Mark Jones asked Ricky to compare his game to that of a current NBA player. To which he simply replied: “I’m Ricky Rubio” (to the amusement of the MSG crowd). Scroll to the 3:20 mark of this video:

Surely I’m not the only person who thought of this when I saw the interview:

After Minnesota picked Flynn, it looked like Stephen Curry might fall to the Knicks, and it was no secret that he wanted to call MSG his home. But the Warriors didn’t get the memo and picked him, sending the Knicks fans on hand into depressed hysterics. It was only fitting that the boos rained down on Jordan Hill, who had no chance to win over the New York crowd in such a short period of time. At least he’s probably better than Renaldo Balkman.

The other strange development of the night was Brandon Jennings‘ last-minute decision to not attend the draft at the advice of his agent, who seemed uneasy about letting his client end up like Rashard Lewis, who famously slid way down the draft board while TV cameras watched his every emotion. Well, as it turns out, Jennings went 10th to the Bucks, then decided to show up a few picks later to get his photo op with David Stern. Now, if Jennings turns out anything like Lewis, he wouldn’t have cared when he was drafted.

HOOPSHYPE has a good recap of the draft up, and Kings fans are going to need to steer clear of hairdryers and bathtubs after reading that they’ve got the next Larry Hughes on their hands. The suit of the night, without a doubt, belonged to James Harden:

James Harden

(Mustard suit + bowtie = smooth)

There were some other things going on in the sports world last night, including the resolution to one of the stupidest athlete spats in recent memory. With the Yankees heading to Queens for a weekend series with the Mets, the tensions between Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Bruney once again became back page news. But the NY DAILY NEWS reports that it was all settled last week, when Bruney sent a clubhouse attendant over the Mets clubhouse to apologize to K-Rod on his behalf. I was accused of some anti-Yankee bias in my original post about this matter, but really, c’mon, sending an attendant to apologize for you? How lame is that? I would’ve loved to see that exchange at K-Rod’s locker.

Brian Bruney

A lot of major league pitchers struggle, and a lot are sent to the minors to work through their troubles. But few actually go to their team and ask to be sent down, like the Pirates’ Ian Snell has done. Snell is 2-8 this year with a 5.36 ERA and awful 1.624 WHIP. He had actually been throwing better as of late, but said he thought it was best for the team to be sent down because he was bringing too much negativity to the team. I can’t decide if this is an alarming lack of confidence and perseverance on Snell’s part or a refreshing selfless decision done in the interest of helping his team and his own career. Regardless, Snell has actually been slightly better this year than last, when he had a 5.42 ERA and even more god-awful 1.765 WHIP, and he threw a full slate of 31 starts. Here’s what Snell told the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE’s Dejan Kovacevic:

“I don’t want to point fingers and make excuses. I just made a better decision for myself, my career and my life.” I asked what he needs to do: “Nothing. You guys don’t understand it unless you played baseball. You don’t understand it, and the people at home don’t understand it. I’m just going down there, get my thoughts together and do well.”

I think he just needs a hug, not a stint in AAA.

Before we get to today’s links, I feel like taking a few minutes to watch the “Smooth Criminal” video again. There’s no doubt that Michael Jackson was a weird dude, and possibly a perv on such a level that he doesn’t deserve our grief. But is it so bad to spend a day remembering why we loved the guy? All that other stuff will come back around soon enough.

Now let’s get on with those links:

• Ever wonder who that lady is who gives the draft picks their hat before they walk over to meet David Stern? Wonder no more.

Darko Milicic has been freed by the Grizzlies…and is going to the Knicks in a swap for Quentin Richardson. It’s crazy to think that Darko’s still just 24 years old, and Mike D’Antoni thinks he can resurrect Darko’s career (well, his career was never really alive).

• First, the Dolphins sold their stadium naming rights to Jimmy Buffett, and now Gloria Estefan has bought a piece of the team. I’m told there are currently no plans to start calling the team the “Sound Machine.”

• The Portland Trail Blazers are going to host a preseason game at Seattle’s Key Arena in October. As if Seattle fans needed more reasons to hate the Blazers.

Vijay Singh attempted to bail accused swindler Allen Stanford out of jail, but was told he couldn’t because he isn’t an American, according to CNBC’s Darren Rovell. This is like the first time I’ve ever heard about Vijay being a really generous guy, and it’s to someone who probably stole a bunch of money from him.

• According to this AFP story, “Gay clocks wind-aided 9.75″ at the US Track and Field Championships. Miss California is unimpressed.

• Admitted PED user Alex Rodriguez tied current Yankee advisor Reggie Jackson on the all-time homer list last night, which Reggie isn’t exactly happy about. Awwwkwaaard.

Frank Thomas says he’s “close” to retiring, which will be news to the one person in the universe who doesn’t already think that Frank Thomas is retired. That person being Frank Thomas, of course.

• A man has now been arrested in connection with Karen Sypher’s plan to extort cash from Rick Pitino. Why was Lester Goetzinger so willing to help out in this scheme? Were sexual favors involved or something? Oh, actually, they were.

• Wimbledon’s in full swing, and a rising star you might want to keep an eye on (or both your eyes on, really) is Caroline Wozniacki out of Denmark. She’s the #9 seed and has advanced to the third round. Here she is enjoying some time off the court:

Caroline Wozniacki

And looking good on the court:

Caroline Wozniacki

Who’s going to be the bigger NBA star?

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Speed Read: End Of The Road For Chris Chelios?

In case you hadn’t noticed, and after these many years it’s okay if you hadn’t, Chris Chelios has been around forever. For-eh-vur. The 47-year-old has literally spent a majority of his life as a player in the NHL, breaking into the league with Montreal during the 1983-84 season. Yeah, back when “Jump” was the hot new sound from Van Halen. That’s how long dude’s been around.

Chris Chelios Weightlifting
(Of course he stuck around this long because of hard work. What did you expect? Prayer?)

And while injuries and the unrelenting assault of time on an aging man’s body have kept Chelios from the legendary Gordie Howe’s all-time record in games played and other marks of longetivity, Chelios is still a colossal freak of nature. Look no further than at (it bears repeating) the age of 47, Chelios is finally being released by the Detroit Red Wings. As the DETROIT NEWS reports, though, he still might not be done:

General manager Ken Holland met with Chelios Monday afternoon and, as expected, gave him the news Chelios will not be re-signed.

“It was kind of understood last summer, after Cheli signed, that the 2008-09 season would be the last one for Cheli as a Red Wing,” said Holland, noting the need for the Wings to bring in younger players. “He wants to play another season and I believe he can still play.”

Perhaps Chelios has a year or two left in him as a swan song in Chicago, or maybe he wants to see if he can hit 50 in an NHL uniform, a stunning accomplishment that really has zero bearing on the world at large. Don’t get us wrong, most guys don’t make it to 30 in the league, much less tack two more entire decades on the odometer, but at no point is Chelios ever going to be a catalyst for great things anymore.

Which is fine, of course. Guys stick around in professional athletics for a few years too many on a regular basis, and few (if any) have earned the privilege as much as Chelios. It’s just that at this point, the list of teams who might pick him up are those who really don’t even need the help to begin with.

Speaking of Chris Chelios (WARNING: this segue makes no sense), let’s talk about women fighting each other. You might remember last week where Cris “Cyborg” Santos choked out a reporter who foolishly questioned her ability to finish a submission move against a fighter, y’know, like how real men do. Well, being that Santos is going to fight SbB favorite Gina Carano in Carano’s post-EliteXC return to the Octagon, one display of lady-on-gentleman brutality can’t go unreturned before the fight, right? Right:

Nighty nighty, talker man. The question isn’t where are you, as Santos’ victim asked when he came back to Earth, but what are you: that would be lucky as hell, lucky that someone strong enough to turn the lights out with such ease also possesses the capacity for mercy, which is pretty much the only thing that has saved your brain’s regular functions.

If ladychoking is the next salvo fired in the War on Equality, then so be it, because strong women are clearly capable of winning that fight against weak men. And sure, a man can still probably choke out a woman, but anyone willing to make that case, even hypothetically, probably isn’t someone worth your time in conversation. Avoid accordingly.

Last, speaking of choking, let’s talk about USC. In the wake of Tim Floyd’s shame-splattered resignation and allegations of selective rule enforcement in the case of Reggie Bush, former Heisman hero and current athletic director Mike Garrett demands to be judged by his record and his legacy. For example, he hired Pete Carroll. Also, he hired, um… uh…

Pete Carroll USC Song Girls
(The Song Girls aren’t really hired, per se, so that doesn’t count. The white-haired guy in the middle does, though.)

Turns out, as the LOS ANGELES TIMES points out, he doesn’t exactly have a track record of success to fall back on, despite his boasts. So while Carroll’s hire is to Garrett as the Emancipation Proclamation is to Abraham Lincoln (seriously, Abe, what else did you accomplish, other than monopolizing the top hat?*), the rest of the resume seems to be, ahem, lacking. The worst hire, in retrospect, seems to be Floyd, who may have crippled the Trojans’ basketball program for years to come in order to secure one year of service from O.J. Mayo. And let’s hope that mistake doesn’t happen again…

Who’s the next big star from O.J. Mayo’s family?

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So above all else, Garrett’s resume suggests that success is but a random decision away, a call to be made by livestock choosing to address one of several piles of food, each festooned with a different logo. Blew it on that up-and-coming coach from Southwestern State back in 2003? Hey, what can you do; Ernie the Carnivorous Pheasant clearly indicated he was due by way of which chum pile he devoured, and in any case, we saved the $12 million a barely-competent would have demanded over those same six years.

Some extra links to consider while you keep the horse off the launchpad…

  • J.R. Smith and Eddy Curry were apparently webcasting online as they were pulled over for the all-too-common D.W.B., as INSIDE HOOPS reports. No charges were filed and no video seems to exist, which is precisely why you’re reading about it here and not blaring at the top of a morning post. [UPDATE: Smith’s unequivocally calling bullfeathers on the story, though it seems so oddly specific we’re not sure why they would make any of that up.]
  • OPPOSITE DAY: The worst GM in at least the last 30 years, Steve Phillips, is allowed to make assertions about baseball that go routinely unchallenged. This is like giving Karl Rove his own political column… oh wait.
  • A word to Texas baseball coach Augie Garrido: there are many, many opportunities for somebody to make self-deprecating jokes to the press. A recent DUI arrest and your mugshot, for example would probably not be the best opportunity to do so. Just something to keep in mind going forw–well, I see we’re too late.
  • Joakim Noah will join Mickael Pietrus and Jean-Shaquille L’Oneal (we made up the last one, of course, but not the first two) on the French national team for upcoming international play. Vince Carter was seem chuckling, sizing up Noah’s dimensions, and dialing his time machine back to 2000. It’s been a while since he abused a giant Frenchman, you see, and these desires just never seem to go away after you indulge them once.

  • Tony Hawk got to visit the White House, then skateboard through it. And you know what? You can do the exact same thing if you spend 20 years getting famous for being better at one thing than anyone else in the world, and no, we’re not talking about what you do three times a day whenever the wife’s not around. In that case, practice makes pervert. Now pull up your pants and keep reading.
  • No, University of Illinois, Ron Santo was not trying to get into med school (not as anything but a discount-level test dummy; get some toes, then we can talk full price).
  • Bet you don’t know who just beat out Jason Jennings for the franchise lead for most victories. Did you guess Aaron Cook? Well, you probably cheated.
  • Some eight-grader does a flip and throws the basketball in a hoop from almost a full court. This is actually less related to competitive basketball than dunk contests, which we didn’t even think was possible.

(What’s next, trying to shoot it out of a cannon into a hoop? What does this have to do with actual basketball? God, we’re old.)

*We’re addressing him in the first person because we have it on good authority that Abe Lincoln and other dead Presidents read SbB with astonishing regularity in the afterworld. Heaven has great wi-fi. Which seems appropriate, if you think about it; how good could heaven really be if the wireless sucked?