There is so much to talk about today. It's loaded. If you don't want to hear more about Billy Donovan, I totally appreciate that. Just scroll down the page a little bit to get past it and move on to "A.B.B.D." ("Anything But Billy D.")
Billy Donovan Saga, Cont'd: I say this about marriage all the time:
It's more publicly painful, but you're better off breaking up the day before the wedding than the day after the wedding.
In Donovan's case, he is better off quitting the day after the contract is signed than, say, a year later, which would screw over his new team AND his old team.
Billy D's rep HAS taken a hit. But it's temporary. How temporary? It will last until next year's recruiting results are announced. Or when he wins his next title, whichever comes first.
I always like to consider the following question of any name in the news: Will this incident be in the first paragraph of the person's obituary?
In Donovan's case, I think nothing but an "O.J. moment" can dislodge "won back-to-back national titles" as the top highlight of his career, particularly if he racks up a few more titles before his career ends (or his obit is written).
However, given the magnitude of this flip-flop, I could easily see this making the second or third paragraph, the less-than-positive "And yet..." details that accompany most major figures.
Career-defining? No. Permanent scar? Yes.
The latest is that the Magic want Billy to break the contract; they won't do him any favors. Actually, they are still trying to convince him to keep the job. He won't, but this might drag out a few more days than expected. (via Orlando Sentinel)
Also: I have no problem with a settlement deal-point that Billy not be allowed to accept any NBA coaching offers for five years. After all: Isn't he returning to
A.B.B.D.: THE REST OF THE DAY'S TOP STORYLINES:
R.I.P.: Bill France, the impresario behind NASCAR. You can have Lamar Hunt (NFL), Red Auerbach (NBA), Branch Rickey (MLB) or anyone else. For my money, the single most influential sports executive of all time – relative to his power over a single dedicated sport – is
(In honor of Bill France, a little rare mid-week NASCAR note: Congrats to Martin Truex, who earned his first-ever NASCAR victory, winning the Autism Speaks 400 at
MLB Stud: Mark Ellis, who hit for the cycle (in extra innings!) in a win against the Red Sox, apparently the first time a player has hit for the cycle against
MLB Dud: Lou Piniella, who was suspended for four games for his weekend tirade. "I will serve it and I will learn from the experience," he said. If "learn from the experience" means: "I now have even MORE effective techniques to kick dirt with my feet."
College World Series (Men's): Vandy shocked and ousted! The No. 1-seeded Commodores lost to
NFL: Tank Johnson suspended 8 games. Give Roger Goodell credit for consistency. (And even leniency: Johnson can have his suspension reduced by 2 games – to 6 total – for "good behavior." Carrot AND stick...)
NFL: Brady Quinn holding out? Interesting item on Pro Football Talk from the inimitable and indefatigable Michael David Smith about the prospects of Brady Quinn being a Browns holdout, which would be an even WORSE decision than his decision to be part of the NFL Draft green room. He has mountains of goodwill from
NFL Good News: Given that all we seem to hear about is bad news from the NFL, it's nice to have something good to talk about for a change. The Texans gave RB Samkon Gado some time off from practice to finish up an MCAT prep course. A player with "do-good" aspirations and a team willing to look beyond their own short-term priorities? How refreshing.
NBA Draft: Kevin Durant couldn't bench-press 185 pounds once at the pre-draft physical? That doesn't surprise me. His wingspan is, like, 7-foot-5? Even a quick glance at him shows he's probably never lifted weights in his life.
(I am surprised, however, that he wouldn't have been in some kind of aggressive strength program between the end of the college season and the pre-draft physical. Attention, Durant-Slurpers: If he's a weakling, it won't matter how good he is.)
Wow, OK: Read this blog post from the Oregonian's Jason Quick, then save yourself the trouble of worrying AT ALL which player should be taken No. 1 overall in the draft. It's Oden. Oden is a bigger freak than you ever thought he was. (h/t: MDS at Fanhouse. I told you: He's indefatigable!)
NBA Finals Update (Varsity Dad mash-up!): LeBron would skip the birth of his second child if it conflicted with playing in an NBA Finals game. We're talking about it over at Varsity Dad. Feel free to drop by and weigh in.
NBA Execs: Are the Grizzlies really going to hire
Kobe Watch (also filed under "Sneaker Watch"): According to Darren Rovell (who is a daily must-read),
Vick Scandal Update: Can things get stranger? How about the fact that Vick's alleged dog-fighting house was burglarized a few weeks ago?
NHL Stanley Cup: Ducks up 3-1 after Game 4 win in
MiLB: Phil Wellman suspended three games. Perhaps I'm late to the party, but have you seen the YouTube video of Braves minor league manager/nutcase Phil Wellman from Friday? Everyone else has, but I was late to it until yesterday. Here's the link.
The embarrassment isn't Wellman. The embarrassment is that the umps didn't have security haul his ass of the field earlier.
I appreciate that managerial freak-outs are part of the "charm" of baseball, but one of these days, someone's going to get hurt.
The funny thing is that Bobby Cox chalks it up to a quirky buddy. And John Schuerholtz doesn't seem to mind much either. How classy.
(Seriously: How does Wellman get a three-game suspension, but Lou Piniella get a four-game suspension?)
Olympics: Have you seen the newly unveiled London 2012 logo? It's awful. And it's designed to appeal to "the young people." Well, I'm kind of a young person, and it sucks.
Politics: Today's Must-Read is Deadspin's interview with Republican presidential candidate Tommy Thompson. When the presidential candidates are talking with sports-bloggers, things are looking very good for us. Next up: Barack Obama taking up my challenge for a game of H-O-R-S-E.
Today's "Danwagon" Bandwagon: Sam Presti, current assistant GM for the Spurs, likely new GM for the Sonics.
Why? Because youth rules, and Presti is 30 years old, which would make him the NBA's youngest GM by 5 years. Who WOULDN'T be jealous?
(Watch for the NBA to take an MLB-like turn toward the younger execs with the fresher perspectives. That's a great thing for the league.)
Sports Memorabilia: Normally, I'm not much of a memorabilia fan, but earlier this spring, I bought something because I figured I'd never get a chance to buy something like it again. Yesterday, it finally arrived: A piece of the floor from the GeorgiaDome that
Comment Question of the Day: Do you own any sports memorabilia? If so, what is your most prized possession?