One of my small indulgences over the years has been rap in languages that I don’t have a damned prayer of understanding. Case in point, “Saker Och Ting” by Petter. He sure sounds angry, but for all I know, he’s rapping about bunny rabbits, rainbows, and smiling. You foreign people with your moonman words!
(This is not an unrelated picture. It’s actually TurkCell’s logo. I don’t know why.)
Now we’ve got an unlikely entrant into the genre, though. Hedo Turkoglu, fresh off his free-agency payday with the Toronto Raptors, decided to cut a commercial for TurkCell, the leading cell phone company in his native Turkey. It’s, uh… it’s interesting.
The NBA is in financial trouble right now. We all know that, right? It’s not even a question, what with the salary cap already going down and threatening to plummet in 2010. The new figures, based on projections by David Stern and the league, are a salary cap around $50-54 million and $61-65 million for the luxury tax floor - anything above that line, and teams are paying a dollar-for-dollar tax to the league. In other words, it’s not financially advantageous to go very far over that figure; eventually you’re paying $8 million for a $4 million player.
(”Hello! I’m here to wreck your financial future!”)
One of the most remarkable aspects of this year’s Orlando-Los Angeles NBA Finals wasn’t that it only took five games for the Lakers to dispathc the Magic, but how very close Orlando was to having their own 3-1 lead going into Game 5. Twice, Orlando had shots to win a game before it went into overtime. Twice, the shots missed, and twice, the Lakers prevailed in OT. Not bad for a team that was given utterly no shot to so much as make the Finals, much less win the whole thing.
(And, ahem, here’s their real MVP of the season.)
So considering the bevy of mostly-young talent in place in Orlando, it seemed like the only thing the Magic really needed to do was get back Hedo Turkoglu (who was absolutely indispensable in the playoffs), then keep the rest of the nucleus together and let them continue to improve. Turkoglu’s an unrestricted free agent, so that means throwing money at him, but considering his performance and how well he complements the team, a good offer seems like a foregone conclusion.
Wait, what’s that? Do you hear something? Good lord… it’s the EPIC FAIL FAIRY! And she’s bringing good news!
Sometimes, all you can ask for is closure. Not revenge or punishment or the eye for the proverbial eye; just enough to begin the healing process.
And so, according to the MIAMI HERALD, the family of Mario Reyes, the man Donte’ Stallworth stands accused of killing in a March DUI accident, have been described by prosecutors as “the primary force” in a plea deal that is expected to be accepted today. And rather than spending years and years in prison, Stallworth may only have a short jail stay:
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth is expected to plead guilty Tuesday to driving drunk when he struck and killed a pedestrian on the MacArthur Causeway in March, The Miami Herald has learned.
Stallworth’s attorney, Christopher Lyons, confirmed that the case was expected to be resolved Tuesday in court. Lyons declined to detail terms of the plea, which are not yet public.
While this is good news for Stallworth and his family, it doesn’t mean his NFL career is back in play; even after the jail stay imposed by the judge, Stallworth will still have to be reinstated by the notoriously unsympathetic Roger Goodell. This will be a remarkably tough decision for the commissioner; no matter what length of suspension he decides on, it’s still going to be met by (not entirely unreasonable) protests of “Oh, so that’s how many games a human life is worth?”
But all the same, the person who’s really going to be haunted by the specter of death here is Stallworth, not Goodell. That he, even accidentally, killed a fellow man is a fact that will saddle him long after he’s gone from the league.
*UPDATE*: Stallworth gets sentenced to 30 days in jail & two years of house arrest.
The milquetoast play-by-play announcer for FOX had put together a decent, meh-but-not-terrible first episode, with appearances by Brett Favre (more on him later), Michael Irvin, Chad Ochocinco, and other famous members of the sports world. And then to close it out, he had on longtime friend Paul Rudd, a practically non-existent Jason Sudeikis, and, inexplicably, Artie Lange.
The audio is ludicrously NSFW, but if you’ve got earphones and/or a door to your office, you’ll want to check out Lange single-handedly derailing the show:
And then yes, Favre. Favre Favre Favre. He was the first guest on the show, and allowed make unironic claims like he’s not looking for attention. While he’s on, y’know, a nationally televised talk show. And to his credit, the fact that this is his first public appearance while ESPN has hammered coverage of his dalliance with Vikings management into viewers’ brains (we think Ed Werder’s been tasked with rifling through the trash down at Favre’s ranch in Mississippi) should be noted. That said, this happens every damn year, and it’s so tiresome. Here we are in June, with training camps underway. Teams want to have their summer rosters in place. So is Favre going to play this year? “Maybe.”
(Here we go again.)
Also, the fact that Favre’s first public comments aren’t to ESPN should be noted as well. So rather than think of Favre as a caricature of an attention whore or drama queen or whatever, perhaps it’s best to - yes, we know this is neither fun nor easy - recognize the shades of gray and think that while he knows how easy it is to attract attention after spending two decades in the spotlight, part of him actually is a country-bred bumpkin from Mississippi who would play football forever if he could.
But then again, we don’t know where the annual retirement charade fits into either side. And how many years in a row is this? Eight? C’mon, man.
Look, this is clearly not the appropriate forum to discuss the ongoing turmoil in Iran. We’re not nearly qualified enough to comment on it, and that’s not what you’re here to read anyway. That said, if you’re wanting to find out more about watching the seeds of revolution occur in real-time, Andrew Sullivan’s blog is a good place to start. So why even bring it up? Only for the most epic picture in tOSU history, via 11W(click here for higher res, pops):
The federal judge in charge of the Phoenix Coyotes bankruptcy case has rejected their sale to Jim Balsillie, the Canadian billionaire who intended to move the franchise to Hamilton. This is a victory of sorts for the NHL and Gary Bettman, who has incredibly poor judgment.
According to the CELTICS BLOG, Boston GM Danny Ainge is reportedly shopping Kendrick Perkins and Bill Walker to Memphis GM Chris Wallace for the #2 pick in the draft. The Celtics aren’t actually that enamored with anybody in the draft; they just want to see first-hand how easy it is to rip off Chris Wallace.
Orlando’s 2010 hopes take a hit as the ORLANDO SENTINEL reports Hedo Turkogluwill opt out of his contract and file for free agency. It’s a shame; Dwight Howard is the “face” of the franchise, but anyone who watched the Magic’s playoff run could tell Turkoglu was the MVP of the team.
I guess it just wouldn’t be a Magic-Cavs game in Cleveland if the home team didn’t blow a 20-point first half lead. And not only did their early 34-12 lead vanish, it went away nearly as quickly as it came about. By the time the Magic had finished scoring the first nine points of the second half, they had a 64-56 lead and it looked like Nike was going to have to commission a Hedo Turkoglu puppet.
(The most impressive part is that LeBron literally carried Wally for the entire second half)
(Don’t worry Orlando, you still have this very calm, collected man running your team)
ABC counter-programmed against the NBA game with the gripping finals of the National Spelling Bee. Fortunately, they had the good sense this year to keep Mike and Mike away from it, instead going to “Dancing with the Stars” host Tom Bergeron, who was joined during the proceedings by Brooks‘ favorite gymnast, Shawn Johnson. The winner was Kayva Shavishankar of Olathe, Kansas, who got bonus points for having a name that was harder to spell than any of the words on the championship list. She spelled “laodicean” right to win the title, taking home the big trophy and $40,000, which will pay for nearly one year of college. This article says she’s a “budding neurosurgeon,” which leads me to believe that she’s actually already done brain surgery. Props to her if that’s the case. The favorite, Sidharth Chand, flubbed “apodyterium” and finished fourth, joining the 292 other spellers who have ultimately just wasted a whole lot of time studying for this. Anyway, this is all just an excuse to post the video of that one girl screaming the last word back in the ’90s again:
• The BOSTON HERALD says that Terry Francona got so upset about getting ejected from yesterday’s Red Sox-Twins game that he received medical attention in the clubhouse afterward for elevated blood pressure. Tito’s only 50 years old, but has been a walking heart attack waiting to happen for several years. Let’s hope he lives to see David Ortiz go deep again.
• Here’s your Stanley Cup preview from USA TODAY. This is the first rematch since the Islanders and Oilers played back-to-back Cup finals in 1983 and 1984. The Isles won in ‘83 (their fourth title in a row) but the Oilers unseated the champs the next year. That means it’s now been 25 years since Gretzky and Messier won their first cup. And what a scene it was when it happened (fans with goofy signs were on the ice before the game ended. They’d be tasered these days):
• Speaking of the Stanley Cup, the first two games will be played on consecutive nights this weekend, the first time since 1955 that Cup games have been played two days in a row. And why? No, it’s not Yanni’s fault this time. It’s actually Conan O’Brien’s fault. DEADSPIN says that NBC wouldn’t air weeknight games because if they go into overtime, they could’ve pre-empted one of O’Brien’s first shows as host of the “Tonight Show.” The finals weren’t orginially supposed to start for another week, by which time the world would’ve forgotten about hockey altogether.
• The World Series of Poker got underway yesterday with a special 40th-anniversary hold ‘em tournament. The buy-in: $40,000. About half of the field of 201 has hit the rail, and this special tourney (a who’s who of pro players) will conclude on Sunday. The $10,000 main event doesn’t start until early July. For now, here’s a picture of Phil Ivey getting an arm massage as he casually leaves a giant wad of $100s just sitting on the floor:
• Could Joe Torre have a bigger horseshoe up his butt? Manny gets suspended for 50 games, and somehow Juan Pierre turns into Ty Cobb (uh, except for the racist part). Pierre, who is widely known to be one of the worst offensive players this decade (stealing bases doesn’t make you good), is hitting .440 since becoming the starting left fielder for the Dodgers. L.A. won again last night, 2-1 over the Cubs in Chicago.
• I have to admit that I never thought I’d see the day when John Salley and Patti Blagojevich would be interviewed together, but GOOD DAY L.A. had them yesterday morning as they promoted their new TV show about getting stranded in the jungle. And YOU BEEN BLINDED has the video, which includes Steve Edwards asking the married Salley about his “girlfriends,” which didn’t amuse John at all. Salley also defends Patti by calling our country “communist.” Good times all around.
• Now that Shea Stadium has been blow’d up, Tom Glavine has decided it’s safe to pitch again. He threw five scoreless innings in a AAA rehab start last night, and may pitch for the Braves next week. Still, expect something to “flare up” if Glavine’s turn in the rotation comes up when the Braves are in New York.
Even with the Orlando Magic leading the Boston Celtics by 17 midway through the fourth quarter in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semifinal, you may have had an uneasy feeling in your stomach that it was a big set-up to a massive, heartbreaking, Stan Van Gundy-firing collapse. Of course Boston was going to make a run - especially with Dwight Howard sitting with five fouls. The only question was how badly would the Magic collapse.
After all, they had blown a 14-point lead in Game 5 of the series, and almost let a 28-point cushion slip away in Game 1, so why not save the “best” for last? And sure enough, after Ray Allen hit a three-pointer with 4:12 to play, the Celtics had cut the lead to 12 and were poised to make something happen. So, of course, there was only one man the Magic could turn to in their hour of need.
That’s right, Mr. Pizza Man himself, Hedo Turkoglu. Maybe the grease on his fingers from his pregame meal of pizza put extra spin on the ball, but he was out of his mind in Game 7, especially when the Magic needed him most. He responded to Allen’s three-pointer with one of his own, and then hit a fallaway jumper on the next possession to get the lead back to 17. Maybe he’s a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, and pizza is his spinach?
After that, it was time for the Celtics to pull Allen and Paul Pierce for a final round of applause, and bring in the scrubs. (Otherwise known as “Gabe Pruitt Time!”) As for the Magic, they haven’t been this far since the Shaq and Penny days, so you can excuse the people of Orlando if they don’t exactly act like they’ve been there before.
So the NBA didn’t get the Cavaliers vs. Celtics match-up they were craving, but their consolation prize is nice: the most dominant big man in the game (Dwight Howard) vs. the most dominant anything in the game (LeBron James). As for Bron-Bron and the Cavaliers, you can see that they were clearly concerned about who they would play:
Let’s see Van Gundy draw up a defense for that.
As the NBA’s reigning champs were dethroned, the current NFL champs get ready to enjoy one of their spoils on Thursday: the traditional meeting with the President in front of the White House. But NFL Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison won’t be joining them. No, he doesn’t have a pressing personal emergency, and it’s not a political protest. His reason is a little more complex than that:
“This is how I feel — if you want to see the Pittsburgh Steelers, invite us when we don’t win the Super Bowl. As far as I’m concerned, he [Obama] would’ve invited Arizona if they had won,” said Harrison.
So let me get this straight: Harrison is upset because he thinks that Barack Obama is playing favorites and only inviting the Steelers because they won the Super Bowl and not because he’s their biggest fan? Apparently he didn’t see the bitchin’ helmet tattoo that the President got before the playoffs, or the new paint modifications he made to Air Force One once he took office:
Finally, the Stanley Cup playoffs started their conference finals on Sunday, and the Detroit Red Wings gave the upstart Chicago Blackhawks a welcome to big time hockey with a 5-2 thumping in Game 1 of their series. But the big story was almost something far darker, as the Blackhawks’ Adam Burish narrowly escaped a Richard Zednik/Clint Malarchuk moment when his neck was clipped by the skate of teammate Ben Eager.
Unlike the other two players, Burish only received a minor nick that didn’t require stitches. Still, he knows how lucky he was:
“I don’t know how my head was still connected there,” Burish said. “I saw his skate. It was like he did a figure skating move. He lifted his skate up and I just watched it go over my neck.”
If only they made some sort of device that could protect hockey players in case a blade happens to catch them in the neck. A “neck protector,” if you will. But I guess that’s just crazy talk.
THE STATE says South Carolina baseball player Casey Rihn allegedly learned the hard way why you don’t keep hitting the back of a police car with your hands when you are walking around drunk at 2 a.m.: you can wind up arrested after the cop in your car turns your face into Hamburger Helper on the ground.
I guess that Usain Bolt’s OK after the foot surgery following his car crash: The AP says that in his first meet back in Manchester, England, he set the world record in the 150 meters at 14.35. Yeah, he even has the world record for a race no one runs now.
Walls? After you’ve been through the kind of hell Josh Hamilton has, walls are nothing. Actually, the DALLAS MORNING NEWS says that the wall was a pretty decent adversary for the Rangers’ outfielder, as he suffered a mild groin strain while making a game-saving catch against the Angels.
Dear Bruno Junqueira: Thanks for qualifying our car for the Indianapolis 500 - we really appreciate it. But we hope you don’t mind that we’re pulling you from the ride and replacing you with Alex Tagliani. It’s nothing personal - it’s just that he’s our main driver and all, and he failed to qualify. Best, Conquest Racing. P.S. Please return your driving suit to us by 5 p.m. or you lose the deposit.
Manchester United wrapped up the English Premier League crown this weekend, but the biggest story might be the plight of former soccer heavyweights Newcastle United. As the TELEGRAPH reports, their 1-0 loss to Fulham puts them on the edge of relegation to soccer’s minor leagues, as they need a win in their final game to stay in the EPL.
NFL fans who don’t get the NFL Network might finally be in luck: SI’s Peter King says that the league is closing in on a deal with Comcast to make the network available on the regular digital cable package. Finally, I won’t have to pay a premium for my daily dose of Rich Eisen.
TROY NUNES IS AN ABSOLUTE MAGICIAN sat down with new Syracuse football coach Doug Marronefor an interview, but not during breakfast if their arteries know what’s good for them. After all, Marrone claims that he once ate “42 pancakes with two sticks of butter…or a stick and half of butter…no, two sticks of butter and a thing and a half of maple syrup. I take pride in what I can eat.”
As if the Colorado Rockies didn’t have enough problems with the Pittsburgh Pirates taking two of three against them over the weekend, BUGS & CRANKS says that they even had to dodge bats kicked at them by the umps.
It was apparently “Dress Like A Banana Day” in San Francisco for the Giants’ game against the Mets, but THE SPORTS HERNIA says that Jon Miller was the only person in the ESPN broadcast booth to get the memo:
What’s more American than baseball? The CHARLOTTE OBSERVER has an answer: beer and baseball. Since a local ordinance was changed allowing them to sell beer on Sundays, the minor league Charlotte Knights have seen attendance for Sunday home games go up by 30 percent.
You had your fun, Red Sox haters, when Boston was 2-6 and looking like a mediocre mess. Now, the Sox have won 10 straight and look like the team to beat in the AL East (can Toronto really keep this up?). The Yankees found three different ways to lose to the Sox over the weekend, and were further embarrassed when Jacoby Ellsburystole home off of Andy Pettite:
Ellsbury’s theft highlighted a three-run fifth inning that led the Red Sox to a 4-1 win on Sunday Night Baseball. It was the weekend in a nutshell for the Yankees, who are now facing mounting questions about their pitching staff, which is ruining things for an offense that’s scoring more than five runs per game (and will get better when A-Rod returns).
So, you’re the Orlando Magic, you’re down 2-1 in the series to heavy underdog Philly, and you just dumped a nine-point lead late in the fourth quarter and find yourself tied in the final seconds. You don’t want this going to OT because the Sixers have all the momentum. So now what? Clearly, it’s time for Hedo Turkoglu to just dribble around for a while and then drain a 26-footer to win it 84-81:
Just how you drew it up, right Stan?
In Houston, the Portland Trail Blazers once again had a chance to steal a game from the Rockets…and once again, gave it away late. The Rockets killed the Blazers on the offensive boards, getting two huge second chances that led to three-point daggers from Shane Battier in the final minutes. Portland still had a chance to tie it with 20 seconds remaining, but Brandon Roy was called for an offensive foul, then Travis Outlaw missed a deep three. The Rockets held on, 89-88, to take a 3-1 series lead. Houston needs just one more game to advance to the second round for the first time since 1997. And, unfortunately for Blazer fans, Tracy McGrady isn’t around to blow this one.
(How does his hair stay behind his ears all the time like that?)
In the NHL’s late game, the Hurricanes blanked the Devils 4-0 to push their series to a deciding game in Newark on Tuesday night. In related news, NHL.COM has told Kevin Smith he can’t blog about the series on their site anymore. Apparently, the NHL wants to be “family friendly” and didn’t realize they had commissioned one of the filthiest mouths anywhere to write about the series. So now, Smith has moved his playoff blog to his own site.
• The Broncos, along with all of the former AFL teams, are going to wear throwback jerseys for the first two games this season. No, not those orange ones we all remember from our youth. It’s this monstrosity that thankfully was retired after only two seasons (according to the DENVER POST, they were acquired secondhand from a defunct bowl game):
• This may not be sports-related, but lets face it, Bea Arthur was twice the man that A-Rod will ever be. So in honor of her sad demise, here’s some grainy footage of her embarrassing performance in the horrible Star Wars Holiday Special: