Tag Archives: Miami Heat

Good News Friday: A tobacco company says no smoking in the office. The iPod turns 13. And Dwyane Wade goes 1-on-1 with a 90-year-old

And a Happy Friday to you, as we close in on Halloween I’m trying to decide if my son, not even two months old, is too young to celebrate. The boy has no teeth yet, how can he eat candy, right? Course, his mother and grandmother have already been in cahoots and made him a little costume, so I’m losing this battle.

Anyway, first story in GNF this week might not seem like a big story, but it struck me as wonderful and fairly amazing.

R.J. Reynolds, the second-largest cigarette company in the world, has announced a ban on smoking in their offices.

That’s right: A company who makes billions of dollars every year selling cancer in a stick to the American public is telling its employees that it can’t use their product at work.

I mean, this is incredible news, don’t get me wrong: But can you imagine Smith and Wesson telling their workers they can’t carry a gun at work? Or Coca-Cola saying no sodas at your desk? R.J. Reynolds is admitting its product is gross and they don’t want their employees subjected to it during work hours.

How much more evidence do we need that selling cigarettes is a disgusting, dirty, unethical thing to do, and that it kills millions every year, when the company that makes and sells them is telling its own people “Eh, don’t do this around the office, OK?”

Until I take my last breath, it will confound me how cigarettes are legal in America but marijuana is criminalized.

**Next up, a really cool gesture by Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who’s got to be awfully lonely in South Beach these days with his buddy LeBron all the way up in Cleveland.

A Florida woman named Illuminada Magtoto said her biggest wish on her 90th birthday would be to play 1-on-1 against Wade.
And so she did. Wade was generous and sweet with her, and clearly made Illuminada’s year.
Very, very cool gesture.

ipods5_2040_verge_super_wide

**And finally, let us all celebrate the 13th birthday of a product that has truly changed the world: Yep, on Oct. 23, 2001 Apple announced the introduction of a device that stores and plays your music. They called it the iPod, and this is how it was hyped in an Associated Press story:

“Apple Computer Inc. unveiled a portable digital musical device that is the size of a deck of cards, but holds 1,000 digitally recorded songs.”

Yeah, that’s a bit of an understatement in hindsight, huh? Completely revolutionized the music biz, opened up new music to so many listeners, and gave people like me something to listen to on the subway, while exercising, and anytime else. (Sure, we used to talk to each other before but who needs that?)

Got a kick out of the old photo of the original iPod (above), man was that thing huge…

 

LeBron and the Heat survive in an NBA classic. A Spanish town figures out the public dog-poop problem. And introducing Rib Stain camo gear

lebron8-single-image-cut

What. A. Game.

I’m not a fan of either the Miami Heat or San Antonio Spurs. I used to have a man-crush on LeBron but now I just admire his incredible talent, and I’ve always appreciated the lunch-pail work ethic and greatness of Tim Duncan.
But really, it didn’t matter much to me who won Tuesday night’s epic Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

And still, I was on the edge of my seat, screaming and pulling my (limited) hair out with every twist and turn.
That was a phenomenal NBA Finals game Tuesday night. I have no idea how the hell the Heat pulled out a 103-100 overtime win, when it looked for so long like the Spurs were headed to yet another NBA title.
LeBron, after being mortal all night, tosses his headband aside in the 4th quarter and became superhuman again. Duncan, great all night, could do nothing in the 4th quarter and overtime.

And poor Chris Bosh, who gets way too much blame when the Heat lose, came up with a couple of huge blocked shots in the final minute of OT.
Couple other thoughts:

– How good is Tony Parker? Imagine what would’ve been if the Spurs had traded him for Jason Kidd back in 2003, like they almost did. Would they have more titles, or fewer?
– The officiating was, predictably, awful, though I think the basketball might be the hardest sport to officiate. The Spurs’ Manu Ginobili absolutely got fouled at the end of overtime on his drive to the hoop, but he traveled also, so I guess it’s a wash. So many missed calls in this game.
— Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy are really an outstanding announcing team. I’d listen to them call anything.
– I haven’t seen much of this series, having been on the honeymoon, but it sounds like last night was the first “great” game of the Finals. I have no idea what’ll happen in Game 7, but I’m not betting against Tim Duncan. I say Spurs win by 3, even after that crushing loss last night.

**Time for our regular installment of “There’s no possible way this product could be real, except it is.”

Do you have a problem getting stains on your shirts while eating ribs? Well worry no more, my friend (By the way, this would’ve been a perfect Father’s Day gift for my dad if I knew about it before Sunday.)

**Finally today, I love what the Spanish town of Brunete is doing about a problem we all encounter every day: dog poop on the streets.
When Brunete police officers catch a dog-owner allowing the feces to stay on the sidewalk and forcing the rest of us to avoid stepping in it, they’ve come up with a novel solution:

They’re mailing the poop back to the owners.
How are they doing this? Get the full details here, but basically it involves spying and some good ole’ fashioned detective work.

I love it. Would love to see the careless owners’ faces when their “package” arrives in the mail.

Then again, I do feel pretty badly for the postal workers who have to deliver it.

This Miami Heat win streak is nuts, and I don’t even care about the NBA. A man refuses to share ice cream with his woman. And the NYPD, “heroically” fighting pot

lebron-james-single-image-cut

Today, the Madness truly begins. These next two days are sports nirvana for me, as I plan to watch hour after hour of college hoops at one of the many fine watering holes here in New York City. If you hear on the news reports of a man thrown out of a bar for screaming too loud for a 14 seed to upset a 3, you’ll know it’s just me happy my Davidson over Marquette pick has come through. Enjoy the madness…

I care very little about the NBA mostly, except at playoff time and in those rare years my Nets (now the Brooklyn Nets, of course) are any good, like this year.

But I have to say, this Miami Heat 24-game winning streak has captured my attention like nothing else in pro hoops the last 10 years. I find myself checking NBA.com every day to see if they kept it going, not because I love the Heat (though I have gotten over hatred of LeBron over “The Decision”, and Miami does employ my all-time favorite Dukie, Shane Battier) but because a streak that goes on this long is just so improbable in pro sports.

I don’t care how good you are, and clearly the Heat are the NBA’s best: In a long 82-game season, filled with long road trips to Cleveland and Detroit and Milwaukee, every team is going to lose once in a while. It’s just inevitable; your top players have a bad night, the bench guys can’t bail you out, and the opposition and their fans are fired up to take down the champs.

And yet every time it’s looked like the Heat were going to tumble, they somehow pull the rabbit out of the hat. Wednesday night at Cleveland was their most Doug Hennig-esque trick yet (look him up, kids, he was a famous magician in the 1980s).

The Heat were playing in Cleveland, which of course still has all kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings toward LeBron, and despite the Cavs playing without its top two stars, they amazingly led the Heat by 27 points in the third quarter.

Pretty much an insurmountable lead in 95 percent of NBA games. But because this streak has magical powers now, apparently, Miami came back and won.
They’ve now won 24 straight games, nine short of the all-time record.

It’s hard to not root this streak, or at least not be in awe of it. And oh yeah, this happened during the game, too; I hope this guy enjoyed his few minutes of fame.

**Next today, I thought this was pretty funny. Former NBA star Chris Webber, and the man all Knicks fans love forever, Isiah Thomas, used their analysis skills to explain how this fan at a recent game refused to share his ice cream with his lady friend. Pretty funny…

**Finally, yet another disturbing story about the ridiculousness of America’s war on marijuana, perhaps the stupidest “war” ever fought in U.S. history.

A recent report discovered that the NYPD spent one million hours making 440,000 marijuana possession arrests in the last 10 years.

Think about that for a minute: Think how much better and more effectively those 1 million hours could’ve been spent. Think about the REAL crimes that could’ve been prevented, or investigated, if officers weren’t arresting people for the victimless, mostly harmless crime of smoking pot.

Just ridiculous. The only upside is this story also says that Andrew Cuomo is talking about reforming New York’s drug laws, and decriminalizing marijuana in small amounts.

Wish the rest of the country would do the same.

The Trayvon Martin shooting sparks outrage (and great writing). Final Four field is set, and I’m not happy. And tennis gets some love on “60 Minutes”

It seems like every day, this Trayvon Martin shooting story gets bigger and bigger.
I’ve been as interested in it as anyone else, partly because I used to live very close to Sanford, Fla., where a 28-year-old white man named George Zimmerman shot and killed a 17-year-old African-American boy.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much outrage has been sparked, from professional sports teams like the Miami Heat (who took this fantastic photo, above, in support of Martin, who was wearing a hoodie when he was killed), to ordinary folks all across the country who are sick and tired of our gun culture, and racial prejudice, combining to cause so many innocent victims.

I think the police acted way too slowly in this case, and I fear that there are far too many people who seem to think any white male who, for any reason, feels threatened by a member of a minority is totally within their rights to start shooting.

I read two excellent articles about the case over the weekend that I wanted to share: Here’s Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts with his take on the case, and David Simon, the brilliant creator of “The Wire”, talking about our gun culture and how destructive it is.

**The Final Four is now set, and I don’t think many people had their brackets right on this one. Kansas, Ohio State, Louisville and Kentucky all survived their first four games and get to now play on the biggest stage in college basketball.
Some quick-hit thoughts on the weekend’s games:
– That Kentucky-Indiana game Friday night was so much fun to watch; easily the most entertaining game of the tournament. So many great athletes in the game, such excellent shooting, and really, really solid team basketball. It was a joy to all of us who love the sport.
– I dislike Rick Pitino quite a bit, and think his ethics leave much to be desired. But damn, the guy can coach his fanny off. This Louisville team in no way seemed good enough to reach the Final Four a few weeks ago, but they got hot at the right time, and they’ve got a masterful leader who knows how to get the most out of his players.
– Can’t wait until John Calipari has this Final Four appearance vacated for cheating, just like the last two times he’s gone there (with UMass and Memphis). The trifecta will be beautiful for this soul-less ethically-challenged jerk.
– I hate UNC as much as any Duke fan, but I did feel a little sorry for them that they lost their floor leader, Kendall Marshall, for the regionals due to injury. Carolina may have been the best team in the country, but I would’ve liked to have seen ‘em get beat at full strength.
– Oh, to be in Kentucky this week. I can’t imagine much work will get done in the state. The Wildcats and Cardinals rivalry is pretty intense already, but now they’re playing each other in the Final Four? Two coaches that hate each other, two fan bases that hate each other, playing for a spot in the title game? It’ll be madness from Bowling Green to Paducah.

**Finally today, it’s rare that my beloved sport of tennis gets mainstream media attention. So I was thrilled to see current world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who has a remarkable life story and genuinely seems to be a good guy, profiled last night on “60 Minutes.” If you’re a big tennis fan, there’s not a lot of “breaking news” here, but it’s a great look at the Serbian star, where he came from, and how he’s become so dominant.

Well done, “60 Minutes.”

In praise of 25 years at the Church of Oprah. A quick Lebron thought. And Darth Vader entertains senior citizens

“The Oprah Winfrey Show” ended Wednesday. Maybe you heard something about it.
If you’re already sick of the hype about the ending of a television talk show, you might want to skip this post.
But I just wanted to say a few words about maybe the most powerful, influential woman in America.
It’s easy to mock the “cult” of Oprah; the millions of people who hang on her every word, do exactly what she tells them to do, etc.
But I won’t do that. Because let’s take a look at what Oprah has been telling people to do for the last quarter-century:
Believe in yourself. Take control of your life. Don’t allow people to mistreat you. Don’t mistreat others. Strive for greatness. Live your dreams. Help other people achieve theirs.
Make yourself a better person. Make the world better.
Through 25 years, through all the shows she did, that was pretty much her mantra.
And is it so bad, then, if a person like that has millions and millions of followers?
I didn’t watch Oprah every day. But I watched her show plenty; sometimes with a family member, sometimes with my wife, sometimes just by myself.
Usually, you learned something from Oprah and her guests. You learned about courage, about wisdom, about overcoming obstacles. Or you just learned in a small way, how to make your life better.
Oprah Winfrey was at tremendous force of good in the lives of so many others. And beyond all the other hype and criticism you may find of her, that’s as good a legacy as anyone could ever hope for.

**Watched the 4th quarter of the Bulls-Heat NBA playoff game Thursday night. Damn, LeBron James is good. Much as I hate the 180-degree turn in his attitude since before “The Decision,” he reminded me again Thursday night why I loved him so much in the first place.
A phenomenal 4th quarter performance. Just cold-blooded, cutting the heart out of the Bulls.
All that said, go Dallas in the Finals!

**And now, for something completely different. Found this clip on Andrew Sullivan’s blog, which I love for many reasons, but one of which is, he always seems to post random clips of joy. And I LOVE random clips of joy.
So here is a man, dressed as Darth Vader, entertaining people at a senior citizens center in New York.