If there’s one sport most closely connected with the art of trash-talking, without a doubt, it’s basketball. Cripes, the And 1 Tour gives a guy a microphone and puts him on the court to yap at the players. So it’s frustrating to see the David Stern NBA now populated by mediabots, personified best by notorious hothead Rasheed Wallace’s epic “Both teams played hard” interview.
(To Jennings’ credit, he’s just eating the basketball. That’s incredibly poor technique.)
Fortunately for all of us, Brandon Jennings has not been drafted by an NBA team, so nobody has beaten the will to speak candidly out of him yet. Jennings, already something of an iconoclast for his decision to spend his year between high school and the NBA in Europe rather than in college, was asked by the Sacramento media about fellow lottery prospect and European Ricky Rubio and how he compares. The result, as seen on the videos at the KINGS BLOG of the SACRAMENTO BEE, was good, old-fashioned playground smack talk:
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
So where were you when one of the greatest college basketball games of all time was played? For those of you on the east coast, the answer is probably “asleep.” Unless you were at Madison Square Garden, where, at 1:22 a.m., the buzzer sounded for the final time as Syracuse beat UConn 127-117 in six overtimes in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament.
It was the longest game in Big East history, and came up just one overtime short of tying the longest game in the history of college basketball. And it was nearly over an hour and a half earlier. Eric Devendorf buried what appeared to be the winning three-pointer at the regulation buzzer, sending the Orange into a frenzied celebration. But then came the review, and a long review it was. And after talking it over the refs decided this shot didn’t count:
So on we went to a second overtime. And a third. And a fourth. And so on. UConn led in each of the first five OTs but couldn’t close it out. Syracuse finally took the lead in OT number six and pulled away.
To put the whole thing in perspective, the game lasted three hours and 46 minutes. There were 70 minutes of basketball, and Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn played 67 of them. Flynn had 34 points, 11 assists, and six steals. UConn had five players in double figures…in rebounds. Four guys on each team fouled out, so guys who don’t even normally play were in the game for the final OT. Astonishingly, Jim Calhoun didn’t keel over at the three hour mark.
The previous longest game in the Big East Tournament was the 1981 final, which went to three OTs. Syracuse beat Villanova 83-80, and the game featured Leo Rautins, whose son Andy was the key to Orange’s win last night. Andy Rautins hit a three with 10 seconds left in the third OT to tie it up yet again, then hit another early in the sixth OT to put Syracuse up for good. Somehow, the Orange have to recover and play tonight against West Virginia.
The busiest day in conference tourney action saw some other big names fall, and some bubbles burst.
The best finish of the day prior to the SU-UConn battle was earlier in the day at MSG, when Villanova blew a huge second-half lead to Marquette but rallied to get a buzzer-beating layup by Dwayne Anderson to crush the Golden Eagles 76-75:
• Your daily economic downturn update: Posh Spice Beckham has, shockingly, been spotted by GABBY BABBLE wearing the same outfit in public … TWICE. This follows news that hubby Dave has had to come up with $3 million of his own cash to pay the Galaxy part of the loan fee owed by AC Slater…err, Milan. Are the good times over?
• Buried in this story about Johan Santana throwing a couple of good innings for the Mets today is the revelation that Tim Redding, who the Mets have guaranteed $2.25 million to this year, can’t get anyone out. He gave up nine runs and three home runs in two innings against the Marlins yesterday, after failing to complete a full inning in an outing against the University of Michigan on Sunday. (He gave up five runs in that game, including back-to-back jacks. To college players.)
• Jason Richardson had a bad 20 seconds in the Suns’ loss to Cleveland last night. First, he attempted a 360 dunk that was blocked by LeBron James. Second, the refs didn’t call a foul even though Bron Bron clearly hacked him. Third, he got a T for complaining. LeBron had a triple double, with 34 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 calls nobody else in the league would get. Video of the play:
• UNPROFESSIONAL FOUL has the story of Danny Mountain, an up-and-coming soccer star whose career was cut short by a tragic injury. But he picked himself up off the deck and got it together … in porn. Now he’s “acting” six days a week and is married to porn starlet Eva Angelina. And yes, Danny Mountain is actually his real name. Here’s one of the few pictures of Ms. Angelina we could actually run on this site:
• WALKOFF WALK implores you, adult fans of the (Devil) Rays, to not wear this replica AL Champion ring in public. Apparently, every fan at the April 14th game will get one. And, since it’s still April baseball in Tampa, they’ll only be handing out 47 of them: