If you’re a regular reader, this gimmick is not a knock on ESPN, but a look at the top stories of today in a sporting world without football. And at the end, I determine if there is life in the world of sports at the midway point of this week. So from ESPN.com’s homepage, the top stories of the day…
Player of the year Griffin entering the NBA draft. Oklahoma’s Naismith Award winner decided not to return to school in favor of probably being the number one pick in the upcoming NBA draft and the fortunes that come with that. And the thought of returning to college where he most certainly would have averaged something like a 29-20 was most likely a little boring. This season, Griffin terrorized post players across the country and Midwest by putting up 30 double-doubles, averaging 22.7 points and 14.4 rebounds a game.
I was in attendance for his Sweet 16 game against Syracuse in Memphis and got to see this actually happen:
I suppose it’s only fair to the rest of college basketball players not playing at Oklahoma that he leaves, since he would probably unhinge his jaw and eat all of them, but I would have thoroughly enjoyed watching him dominate and destroy for another year. But as Red from Shawshank once said, “I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. Still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone.”
Aikman: Owen’s cut OK; Williams must step up. “Well, what you’ve got right here is a problem that needed to be solved. And you’re exactly right, Terrell needed to leave Dallas. He was really a problem that needed to be solved. And that’s what the Cowboys did, they solved a problem that needed to be solved and got rid of him, which is what they should have done for that problem.
Now, as for Roy Williams. He needs to step up. You’re exactly right when you say Roy didn’t perform well last season. He really didn’t. And he’s got to step up. Because if he doesn’t step up, then the trade for him really wasn’t a very good one. So Roy has to step up this year.”
Pedroia, Beckett lift BoSox by Rays. The Braves are now 2-0 after beating the defending World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies. Yes, there are 160 more games, countless pitching injuries and a dozen Chipper Jones oblique strains to go, but after last year’s 72-90 showing, I’m enjoying any signs of hope this early in the year.
Hornets win, in playoffs. This win over the Heat also ended my five-game winning streak on ESPN’s “Streak for the Cash,” which everyone should be playing if you aren’t. It’s free, highly enjoyable and could possibly give you a reason to care when Real Madrid and Juventus face each other the in the UEFA Cup. Look for it on ESPN’s homepage.
Flyers clinch; Panthers fall. Someone in the NHL office just woke Gary Bettman up from his nap to let him know his league made it on ESPN’s homepage. The commissioner responded by calling Versus to demand more money from their TV deal and also checked in with Kansas City, Little Rock and Topeka to see if they were interested in expansion NHL franchises.
Yao, Rockets edge Magic as Landry returns. Bettman also tried to provoke a dispute between the player’s union and owners to see if a strike or lockout would do anything positive for the league. And he called Montreal to see if the Canadiens were interested in moving to Battle Creek, Michigan, as the mayor of Battle Creek confirmed they would support an NHL team.
Coach: Cousins decides to follow Calipari to UK. Well, it seems as if Calipari’s recruitment of Memphis players to Kentucky while he was still “deciding” between the two schools has paid off here. Remember when he spent a day and a half considering his options? He wasn’t considering anything. He was calling all his Memphis recruits and convincing them Kentucky was the new place to be. But remember, he loves Memphis so much.
Woods to tee off Masters with Cink, J. Singh. In honor of Masters week, I present a sign that is acceptable to hold up since it is full of well-crafted mockery and/or spite. This is from the year Martha Burke (I think that was her name) led a protest for women’s rights at The Masters. She apparently didn’t monitor her protest group too closely.
Joba pokes fun at N.Y. drivers, Berra in video. Yes, the video from his DUI arrest last October. He rambled about some other things and told the arresting state trooper that he really loved him. No, like really loved him, man. Such a good guy. Doing a great job. He loved him. You don’t understand. He loved him. Like really.
Rumors: McNabb to Ocho Cinco in 2009. How irrelevant has Chad Johnson become? It wasn’t until the third time I read this I remembered the whole Ocho Cinco thing. I’m not sure what I thought Ocho Cinco was (perhaps an upstart Mexican football league), but it wasn’t Chad Johnson.
PULSE VERDICT: Dead.