Super Bowl XLI Ramp-Up: Here we go. Save your game predictions (for now). I'm going to have a stand-alone post for game picks, coming later this morning. The three ways I'm looking at it, so you can get ready:
(1) Which team do you think will win, straight up?
(2) Which team do you think will win, against the 7-point spread favoring the Colts?
(3) Which team are you ROOTING to win?
As you'd guess, they aren't necessarily compatible. In fact, I've got a mixed bag. (Will I stick with my preseason pick of Colts-over-Bears or go with my gut?)
Meanwhile, Prince rules. Apparently, Prince provided the greatest Super Bowl press conference of all time yesterday, doing a set of songs, rather than your ordinary "Q&A" format.
(Having covered one of those once, they are brutal. I can only imagine how fun it was to actually be there to hear Prince essentially do a mini-concert for a small room of people.)
Considering this start, Prince has the potential to be the best choice for Super Bowl halftime entertainment in recent memory.
NBA All-Star Game reserves announced. The headlines:
West: Carmelo left out! Perhaps spending too much time on his MySpace page? His new teammate AI made it, along with Dirk, Parker, Nash,
Two dynamics worth noting, both around injury-related issues:
(1) Boozer is injured, but don't expect David Stern to pick Carmelo Anthony to replace him (although there will be HUGE fan and media pressure to. Will this be the sports blogs' big movement?)
(2) Anytime Howard and Amare (who will likely start at center for the West over injured
(1) Why are the Suns so much better this year than last year and why is this the year they topple the Spurs and Mavs for the West title? One word: Amare. And last night's performance is a good representation of why: Amare had 24 points and 24 rebounds and the Suns thumped the Spurs by 16.
(2) Dwyane Wade hit for a franchise-record 24 4th-quarter points (41 overall) to lead the Heat over the Cavs.
UPDATE (2 p.m.): I don't usually read Simmons (I wouldn't want to see any quality analysis that is half-formed in my own head articulated by him before I could claim it as my own original thought), but I just glanced at Simmons' mag column about "Fantanking," and all I could think of was that it was about time he got on the bandwagon. How long have I been talking about the value of tanking? Since the start of the Quickie chat? Longer?There's a very simple hypothetical that I use: Would you trade an 0-82 season for LeBron James, straight up? A single winless season in exchange for LeBron for the next 10 years. Let me make it more enticing by saying that if you turn down the deal, your team will only win 17 games anyway, like the Cavs in 02-03, so it's not like you'll be missing anything by conceding the entire year.
Maybe the cops brought CJ in to work as a profiler: No. 85 certainly has enough experience being around criminals.
(2) Andy Reid's sons are the new Bengals: One is suspected of pointing a gun at a motorist. The other is accused of possessing drug paraphernalia. The Bengals 10-day contract is coming any day.
College Hoops Parity Watch, Pac-10 Edition:
(1) No. 18
(2) No. 5 UCLA avenged a loss to No. 9 Oregon from early January with a 12-point spanking in
UPDATE: ACK! HOW COULD I HAVE FORGOTTEN TO WRITE ABOUT UVA'S AWESOME WIN OVER DUKE? Let me sum up with pith: WOO, HOOS! BOO, DUKE.
(1) Eric Gordon, one of the Top 5 high school hoops players in the country (and Illinois de-commit who went to rival Indiana), had 43 points last night on ESPN2 and simply destroyed national No. 22 Loyola, who – if you missed it (and how could you?) – feature Michael Jordan's sons.
(2) There is justice in the world: A judge dismissed that ludicrous "discrimination" lawsuit that was brought against the Angels for handing out giveaway bags to women fans only – on Mother's Day.
Carmelo-vs-Shanoff MySpace Challenge: From the injury of an All-Star snub to the insult of having me gain on him! Merely four full days into "The Challenge" (as it is now known throughout the MySpace Universe... or perhaps only in my own head):
I have 299 friends (as of 7:15 a.m. today). Carmelo has 31280 friends. The "1 Percent" Goal is 313. I am now merely 14 away, and I suspect we can hit the goal by the end of the day. If you're on MySpace and haven't joined the effort, have at it!
UPDATE (11:25 a.m.): SUCCESS! In approximately 96 hours, my Challenge has been met! After my last check, I was at 322 friends. Carmelo was at 31,398. The "1 percent" goal was 314 -- done! Huge thanks to everyone on this terrific effort. I won't be greedy and look for 2 percent, but instead:
(1) Continue accepting as many friends as want in, and (2) Ask for your help in finding new quasi-celebrities to Challenge. Ideally, they would be athletes. Not A-listers like Melo, but ones a little further down the chain. Send any ideas to my email above (or leave a message on the MySpace page).
Finally, in case you missed it: Yesterday's "Thank-You" post. Or just scroll down two posts.