Saturday, June 11, 2016

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "If It Isn't Love" by New Edition

New Edition's If It Isn't Love was released as as single 28 years ago, in June of 1988.  It peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard pop charts later that year (at the same time, former band member Bobby Brown also hit it big with Don't Be Cruel).

Something I just learned about New Edition from Wikipedia--the Roxbury, MA group got its name from their manager, who expected them to be a new edition of the Jackson 5.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Remember when Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury wanted an all-nude ESPN The Magazine?

The greatest sign I ever saw a fan bring to a sporting event (Part 2)

When ESPN The Magazine debuted in the spring of 1998, Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury teamed up for one of the funniest commercials the network has ever put together (and that's really saying something)--a playful jab at Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue:

I was a junior at the University of Richmond at the time, and this ad was the coolest thing on campus.  Also that March, our Spiders won the Colonial Athletic Conference tournament to qualify for the big dance (where 14th-seeded and perennial giant-killer Richmond upset No. 3 South Carolina in the first round).

And that's the lead-in for the single greatest sign I've ever seen a fan bring to a sporting event (sadly, I don't have a photo).  One of our games that semester was broadcast on ESPN2, so in order to get on TV, a student in the crowd displayed the following:

2 be tasteful

Brilliant.  From yesterday, here's the runner up.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The greatest sign I ever saw a fan bring to a sporting event (Part 1)

Sadly, I don't have a picture of either of the two greatest signs I ever saw a fan bring to a sporting event--they were both at college basketball games in the late 1990s.  Here's the lead-in to Part 1 (the runner-up), with Part 2 coming tomorrow:

The Celtics worked out Mamadou N'Diaye today, a 7'6" Senegalese center from UC Irvine (the Anteaters, by the way, a spectacular college nickname).

If the name rings a bell (which it probably doesn't), it's because he's the second NBA prospect from Senegal named Mamadou N'Diaye.

The first (not to be confused with Makhtar N'Diaye, who went to Michigan, transferred to North Carolina and was undrafted in 1998) was selected by the Nuggets 26th overall in 2000 and played briefly for the Raptors and Clippers.  Before that, he was a star at Auburn from 1996-2000.  It was at some point during that time that I watched the Auburn Tigers on TV and noticed a sign in the crowd that read the following:

"Your mama can't do what our Mamadou!"

That's the second-best sign I've ever seen at a game.  Check back tomorrow for No. 1.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The 'Kevin Durant will lose a ton of money if he leaves the Thunder' fallacy

I've heard time and time again that Kevin Durant won't leave Oklahoma City because of how much more money he can make staying put, as apposed to signing a max contract somewhere else.  His best deals in each scenario are summarized in the photo above (which is accurate, despite the red line I added), and explained in detail here.

The thing is, that's just his NBA salary:

Forbes' numbers suggest that only 36 percent of Durant's income this year came from his regular day job, with the other 64 percent coming from endorsements--and that's with him playing in OKC, one of the least marketable cities in the league.  It begs the question:

Hmm, that's a pretty good point.  And even if a new locale wouldn't eliminate the salary difference with added off-court income, the $40-million gap over five years seems a lot smaller when you factor in the other $200+ mil he'll make in that time from his sponsors.

In a recent podcast (at the 33-minute mark), Bill Simmons discussed this topic with guest Malcolm Gladwell, who said the following:

"This I think is a fact that's changing sports in a way that's under appreciated. When you have situations when stars are making way more money off the court than on the court, that fundamentally changes the logic of their decision making about where they want to play. 
Hypothetically, imagine you said to Kevin Durant 'If I could give you 100 percent certainty that you could win a title in the next two years, would you accept an NBA salary of zero?' ... He would make so much more money off the court after winning a title that he could rationally accept an NBA salary of zero."

Simmons elaborated on this point by discussing Golden State's current payroll, of which the all-universe Stephen Curry is the fifth highest-paid player at $11.2 million.  The Warriors would never have been able to become the 73-win, defending champion Warriors that they are if they hadn't had the extra money to pay Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, who each signed major extensions in the last two years.  Curry's superstardom and long-term earnings are likely better off because of his smaller salary (I once wrote a similar thing about LeBron James).

"Curry is positioned to make more money off the court this summer, if they win again, than anybody we've seen since [Michael] Jordan," Simmons said.

Durant may or may not be more likely to win a title and become an even bigger icon in Boston than he is in Oklahoma City.  However, those things will have a much greater impact on his total income than the few million more he'll make from the NBA by re-signing with the Thunder.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

NFL Twitter account hacked, how big a deal is this going to be?

So this happened today:

How big a story is this going to be?  As people like to say, the NFL "owns a day of the week."  The account has 19.2 million followers (currently listed as the 63rd most-followed account in existence).  The first hacked tweet, and what I assume was a third hacked tweet, came 10 minutes apart.  I can't even imagine the level of freak-out that was going on in the league offices during those 10 minutes...

Monday, June 6, 2016

A kid from Concord-Carlisle is the next Alberto Salazar?

I saw this story on Facebook today and it gave me a good reason to share my CC Patriots pride.  From Joe Reardon of the Boston Herald:

"Concord-Carlisle’s Tom Ratcliffe captured his first outdoor All-State title yesterday and took down a local running legend in the process.

Racing the 2-mile in oppressive conditions on the Westfield State track, the Stanford-bound Ratcliffe ran his second mile in 4 minutes, 29 seconds for an electronic-timed, meet record finish of 9:00.52. That time put him a blink in front of 1982 Boston Marathon and three-time New York City Marathon winner Alberto Salazar’s hand-timed run back in 1975 when Salazar was a senior at Wayland High.

It’s been an epic week for Ratcliffe, who became the fastest Massachusetts high school miler ever when he clocked a sizzling 4:01.5 at the Adrian Martinez Classic on Thursday. He captured the Division 2 title in the 2-mile last Sunday at Norwell in a meet record 9:03.54."

Plus, this is also a perfect excuse to share a clip from one of the best sitcoms ever, Sports Night

Unfortunately, Casey was mistaken--as mentioned in the quote above, Salazar won three NYC marathons, not four.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Record-wise, the Warriors vs. Cavaliers Finals is like a No. 1 vs. No. 8 first-round matchup

The Warriors went 73-9 in the regular season.  In addition to setting the all-time NBA record for wins (as well as various other marks), Golden State also finished 16 games better than the Cavaliers (57-25).

Sixteen games.

For comparison, do you know who Cleveland was 16 games in front of?  The 41-41 Washington Wizards, who ended up 10th in the Eastern Conference and missed the playoffs (also the 41-41 Rockets, the eighth seed in the West).

The gap between the two Finals participants was equivalent to the difference between the No. 1 and No. 10 squads in the East this year.  By that logic, the Warriors should be a bigger favorite over the Cavs than Cleveland was in its No. 1 vs. No. 8 first-round matchup against the 44-38 Pistons (a sweep).  Obviously it's not that simple--unless this series becomes a blowout, in which case maybe it is.

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