NBA Finals begin tonight: Spurs vs. Cavs. Steak vs. sizzle.
If nothing else, pitting the Team of the Decade against the Player of the Present adds much-needed drama to an otherwise flat NBA season.
That is, right up until the Spurs wipe the floor with the Cavs.
(Wait: Is THAT my prediction? You're going to have to wait. I have put together a stand-alone post/confessional dedicated to the NBA Finals, going up later this morning.)
Meanwhile, as always, I strongly recommend you check out the Basketball Jones' NBA Finals preview podcast. Tas and Skeets raised their game.
Anyway, I saw the stat that they are the first West Coast team to win a Stanley Cup since the mid-1920s. That's crazy, but I suppose it makes sense.
Hockey took a lot of lumps this season -- when it wasn't being mocked, it was being ignored (which is much worse).
But for Ducks fans, there can't be anything sweeter than that first Cup title. Enjoy it, and... Quack! (Wait: Do fans still do that?)
MLB Draft: I am excited about the MLB Draft for the first time ever, entirely because of the novel twist of the draft being held on ESPN for the first time ever. Who is MLB's Mel Kiper? How interesting can a draft be when you have no idea who the players are -- or when they might be improving their team at the MLB level?
THE player to watch: David Price, the Vanderbilt superstar starting pitcher, who will likely be the No. 1 overall pick, going to the Devil Rays, who are desperate for a face for the franchise (beyond Delmon Young and the fact they play some games at
Given the novelty of the TV broadcast, I have high hopes for quality live-blogging. Here's one I've been told about from Rumors and Rants.
More likely, given the high volume of team-specific MLB blogs, the draft will be live-blogged best on a team-by-team basis. (For example: Travis Liles on the Red Sox draft.) Let me know if you'll be live-blogging your team's choices, and I'll try to update the link list. (Rockies.)
Billy Donovan back to
Now Billy D. can get down to the business of rebuilding his two-time champion team with the top-ranked incoming recruiting class (loaded with perimeter players) and one of the best young centers in college basketball (Marreese Speights). For
Magic hire Stan Van Gundy: The Magic moved (relatively) decisively to find Donovan's replacement, the hard-luck Stan Van Gundy, who was so unceremoniously dumped by mentor Pat Riley when Riley figured out he could feed his ego with an NBA Finals run last season. Van Gundy enjoys the same advantages that Billy Donovan would have: Namely, Dwight Howard, the best young post player in the East. Not a bad foundation to build a winner.
MLB Steroids and Jason Giambi: This has taken a wild turn. Giambi's choice (or Selig's threat): Cooperate with George Mitchell's "investigation" and get less of a punishment.
The other interpretation, of course, is: Talk with Mitchell or get MORE of a punishment.
The point is: Giambi's participation (or not) sounds directly tied to how MLB will punish him. (Coercive? Um... yes.)
So Giambi is put in the awkward position of either saving himself or ratting out his peers. It's not an easy choice: What would you do in Giambi's position?
(Here's a funny related link, about the ironic message on the back of an old Giambi baseball card.)
Wie Watch: Did Michelle have a meltdown earlier this week while playing in a pro-am? I refuse to criticize her for withdrawing from that tournament last week, even if she lied about injury, to avoid being banned from future LPGA events this year. But all signs point to her being the next Jennifer Capriati. That's too bad.
Daunte Culpepper says he's on the way out: I'd want to be traded, too. If he's healthy, he would be an amazing addition for half the teams in the NFL. Of course, that's the biggest "if" in the world.
More MLB Steroids: Ozzie Guillen says MLB is targeting Latino players in its steroid investigation. Is MLB just following the trail or intentionally picking on specific minority targets? I suspect a little of both, actually.
Vick Watch: Witnesses apparently say Vick attended the dog-fights. The mountain of evidence (admittedly circumstantial) continues to grow.
NBA Moves: As expected, the Sonics hired Spurs wunderkind Sam Presti to be their new GM. Presti was assistant GM of the Spurs – and is only 30. I said this earlier this week: Great development for the NBA to find younger execs (like MLB has). And I'm SO jealous of him.
Another thing about Presti: He's in an amazing position, because with the No. 2 pick in the draft, he takes whoever the Blazers DON'T take. It's a no-lose position.
Advertising: Have you seen the new LeBron TV ad? I like the simplicity, because that dunk against the Pistons during his 48-point outburst was the signature moment of LeBron's career.
Hot Blogger Bracket update: Thanks to those who have voted already. Have you? This thing has vaulted the Ladies... into rockstar status. (Update: My competition, the 22-seed Five Tool Tool, has gone negative. I appreciate that kind of effort.)
Media: The Big Picture continues his string of amazing interviews with sports bloggers with NBA-blogging standard-bearer Bethlehem Shoals.
United Football League: I'm a few days late to point this brilliant post out, but KSK put together a list of possible UFL franchise names – and it reads like John Hodgman's utterly amazing list of Hobo Names. (What: You haven't read "Areas of My Expertise?" For shame.)
The fastest riser? The Ladies... who, in a half-day, jumped from No. 22 to No. 7 on the strength of their Hot Blogger Bracket initiative, perhaps the greatest marketing play in the short history of the sports blogosphere.
(Fanhouse impresario Jamie "Mr. Irrelevant" Mottram came out with his own Top 10, more qualitative than Ballhype's rankings. I didn't make it, but in a friendly inquiry to Mottram, he indulged me by telling me I just missed the cut. We previously produced a Top 20 list together.)