Boy Beats Cancer, Gets Cut From Basketball Team

The Eagan (MN) Traveling Basketball Association has a funny way of rewarding the brave. One of its participants, young Conor Smith, was 11 when he was stricken with a brain tumor in 2007. During his treatment, doctors also diagnosed Conor with Leukemia. Obviously, basketball was out of the question as he received chemotherapy for the rest of the 2007 season, but he returned to play in 2008.

Conor Smith Basketball Leukemia
(Sorry, Conor, but you’re going to have to learn that life is full of unreasonable people sooner or later.)

Fast-forward to 2009, and while tryouts were going on, Smith was in the midst of a 3-week stint where he needed casts on his legs to ease stiffened calf muscles. From the chemotherapy. Because, you know, he was a child recovering from cancer. Well, regardless of the fact that he’ll be out of them soon, the lowest division of Eagan Traveling Basketball has decided to axe him from the ranks of players. Really.

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Super Bowl Smiths Both Battle Through Adversity

Get your hankies out, folks, it’s time for a couple of touching human-interest stories from this week’s Super Bowl. The Steelers and Cardinals aren’t just going head-to-head on the field this week, they’re also matching up to see which teammate named Smith has endured the most recent terrible hearbreak.

Terelle Smith and Aaron Smith

In Arizona’s corner, there’s fullback Terrelle Smith, whose mother raised not only he and his five siblings but also as many as 22 other foster children at the same time. Smith’s selfless mom died last month after a long battle with breast cancer, just before getting to see her kid play in the Super Bowl. In Pittsburgh’s corner, there’s defensive end Aaron Smith, whose five-year-old son is battling leukemia as we speak.

Prepare for your heartsrings to be pulled after the jump.

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Danica Patrick Gets A Little Racy For SI Photo Op

Our off-the-cuff comments never need defending. (The 222s certainly help.)

• Racer Danica Patrick gets ever racier by posing topless for SI:

Danica Patrick photo SI

• While the mag convinced the delectable driver to show some skin, it won’t be covering Tiger Woods as Jesus.

John Rocker says he & A-Rod got steroid advice from the Texas Rangers.

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Report: Vikes Starter Kenechi Udeze Has Leukemia

The MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE tips us to a very sad report from KSTP-TV in Minneapolis that “Kenechi Udeze of the Vikings has been diagnosed with a form of leukemia.”

Kenechi Udeze Diagnosed With Leukemia

Doctors are not sure yet of the severity of his blood-based condition. Udeze, a starting defensive end for the Vikings, “is at Fairview Southdale Hospital undergoing tests.”

Vikings Coach Brad Childress acknowledged Udeze’s condition - without getting specific - in a statement out today: “With reports surfacing about Kenechi Udeze’s condition, we respect the privacy of Kenechi. The thoughts and prayers of the entire Minnesota Vikings organization are with Kenechi and his family.