Tag Archives: Deadspin

The best “stupid criminal” surveillance video you’ll ever see. LeBron leaves Cleveland again, this time for L.A. And I’m bummed. And the funniest parent Tweets from those who’ve been there

It’s Monday, it’s 1,000 degrees here in New York, and nobody is thrilled to be at work, or wherever you’re reading this (I’m thrilled today because Wimbledon is starting, but I realize not all of you share my enthusiasm. Roger’s quest for Slam 21 is on!).

My point is, I think we all need to see this video (below). It’s of a couple of not-so-bright criminals, in Alberta, Canada, last week, who originally were just in trouble for trying to use a stolen credit card.

But watch what happens when the man and his girlfriend first get accosted by police, and please, if you’ve ever taken my advice on anything, watch at least until the 2:01 mark, where your humble blogger burst out laughing the first 12 or 13 times I watched this.

Ah, stupid criminals. They make me smile so often.

**Next up today, my wife saw this on Facebook the other day and it was so damn funny I had to share it with most parents I know.

It’s a collection of 37 hysterical parenting Tweets, from the website SlapLaughter.com, that anyone raising kids can relate to.

There are so many brilliant ones, and I highly encourage  you to read them all here, but I’ve pasted three of my favorites below. First up…

Then I also loved this one…

But as good as those were, this one was my absolute favorite and made me laugh the hardest, because I 100 percent believe this to be true:

**Finally today, LeBron James is the greatest basketball player of all time.
LeBron James, this fall, will be playing for the fourth different team in his NBA career.

Something about those two sentences just doesn’t feel right. I know players have the right to play wherever they want, and free agency is a beautiful thing since athletes shouldn’t be forced to compete in a city or franchise they don’t want to, but I mean, really, LeBron?

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Sunday evening it was announced that LeBron had spurned Cleveland for the second time, and was signing with the Los Angeles Lakers.

After all the talk in 2014 about how “Northeast Ohio will always be home,” from LeBron, and how much he talked and talked and talked the last four years about his love for Cleveland, and his family is happy there, and he doesn’t ever want to leave again… he decided to leave again.

I dunno, just seems… weird.
My good friend Tony, though, as big a LeBron lover as I am, saw it different. He told me Sunday night in a text that, look, he’s got a terrible owner in Cleveland, a screwed-up front office, not much talent around him, and he’s tired of carrying the load for them. He goes to L.A., lives the Hollywood life, has some good  young talent on his team like Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, and maybe they get another superstar to come play with him.

In other words, Tony says, you can’t blame LeBron. Guy won a title for the Cavs, and dragged a terrible roster all the way to the NBA Finals last year.

Maybe Tony’s right. But you know, the Western Conference is WAY harder than the East. Golden State and Houston are still damn good, and there are good young teams like Utah and Minnesota coming. And there’s no guarantee the Lakers will be better than Cleveland was this year.

So, I guess we’ll see. As a big LeBron fan, though, I was disappointed to see him move along, inevitable as some thought it would be.

I’ll still root for him, but playing on four teams in one career, for the greatest player ever will always seem odd to me.

 

An awesome 10-hour day at the Open. I make my Deadspin debut. And the Onion skewers CNN brilliantly

VictoriaDuval

Spent 10 hours at the U.S. Open Tuesday, and as always, it was awesome.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The U.S. Open, during the first week of play, is the best value in all of sports. For my $56 grounds pass, I got 10 hours of high-quality tennis, seen up close. In no match that we (my mother, stepfather and wife) watched were we more than 20 feet from the court.

We saw parts of 11 matches; no, I’m not going to recap them all here. Just a few general thoughts from a day at the best tennis tournament in the world:

— Upset of the day was Victoria Duval, a 17-year-old Haitian-American from Florida, who is ranked No. 296, beating former Open champ Sam Stosur, 6-4 in the third. It was one of those electric Open matches where the crowd gets behind the underdog immediately, gets distressed when she falls behind (Duval was down 7-5, 4-2 at one point), and then rallies the underdog to a win she had no business achieving on a normal day.
Just fantastic. And Duval’s backstory is pretty remarkable too; she was held at gunpoint as a child in Haiti for 11 hours, and her father nearly died from an earthquake in 2010.

— Favorite overheard conversation on a day when you sat next to so many strangers in such a tight spot, you heard everything: “Where’s she from? Romania? Where the hell is that? Oh yeah, I’ve been there.”
— Cracks me up how many fans actually dress like they have a match that day. Dude, you’re in the stands, leave the headband and wristbands at home.

— Besides Duval, was very impressed with American hopeful Jack Sock, who won, and a really talented U.S. played named Denis Kudla. Neither will likely win a Grand Slam, but they’re at least capable of making U.S. men’s tennis relevant again.
— As the day gets later fans are able to sneak down to better seats, and for an early-evening match on the Grandstand my wife and I sat third row in the “corporate boxes” behind the players. It truly is terrifying seeing a 130-mph serve coming right at you. Even though I’ve watched tennis forever, the fast-twitch reflexes and reaction time of pro players amazes me.

— Finally, the most exciting match, on and off the court, was one that went to a fifth-set tiebreak, between a Canadian and a Brazilian. You’ve never heard of either player, but it was on an outside court we were near, the fans were crowded around tight like sardines, and the screaming and cheering could be heard all over the grounds. The Canadian guy got a bad call late in the tiebreak and lost the match, and near-fights erupted in the stands between the two nation’s fans. (You know, Canada and Brazil, those traditional enemies.)
Then the chair umpire got booed loudly when leaving the court. Good times.

**I probably should’ve led with this, but I’m not the best self-promoter in the world. Many of you have probably heard of Deadspin, the uber-popular sports website that gets millions of hits a month and has become more and more influential as the years go by (they break many stories, not just ones involving Brett Favre and his you-know-what.)

Anyway, a buddy of mine named Brian Hickey works there, and asked me if I wanted to write something for the site’s “Tuesday Night Fights” section, where a writer watched a random brawl captured on film (the one I wrote about is above).

My piece got published Tuesday night; (I’m the second essay down) Pretty psyched about it. Let me know what you think.

**Finally today, you’ve probably heard about the Miley Cyrus sex show (I mean, performance) she performed at the MTV Video Music Awards Sunday.

Here, the satirical website The Onion brilliantly explains why CNN.com put the Cyrus video on its front page Monday.
This letter is fake, but it absolutely, positively could be real.

Manti T’eo and the most bizarre sports story of all time. Thoughts on Lance Armstrong, suddenly a “truth-teller.” And Obama gets serious on guns

teo

So much to get to today, but I have to start with what has to be, without equivocation, the most bizarre sports story of my lifetime.
If you have somehow missed it in the last 18 hours, star Notre Dame linebacker Manti T’eo was revealed in a Deadspin.com story to either have been in on and planned (seems very likely), or been the innocent victim of (not likely), an incredible hoax wherein a girlfriend he talked about movingly and in extreme detail in the past, a girlfriend who was said to have died from leukemia last September, in actuality never existed.

Yes, that’s right. He told hundreds of media outlets in stories personal details of a relationship with a woman named Lennay Kekua, about meeting her at Stanford in 2009, seeing her in Hawaii on vacations, and how tragic and difficult her death was.

Except, such a person never existed, Deadspin revealed. Notre Dame came out Wednesday defending T’eo, saying he had nothing to do with it, and T’eo said in a statement he’s completely a victim here.

I know this all sounds nuts, because it is. Read the original Deadspin story here, and a CNN update here (with bizarre details toward the end from a T’eo friend who said he met Kekua many times). I truly can’t wait to see where this story goes next.

lancearmstrong

**OK, now to Lance Armstrong, who I’ve tried really hard to avoid reading about in the past few days, once it was “revealed” that he sat down with Queen Oprah and told her that, yes, regrettably, he did all those terrible things people said he did, all those things that there is incontrovertible proof he did: took performance-enhancing drugs, threatened cycling officials, coaches and his own teammates, and basically bullied an entire sport like he was  Corleone family member.

And I’m sorry, but are we supposed to give this disgrace of a person “credit” for coming clean now? It’s not confessing if everyone already knows you’re guilty, and there are mounds of evidence proving so.

Lance Armstrong is a disgrace not just because he cheated, and not just because he intimidated and threatened and ruined the lives of many, many people.

He’s a disgrace because he held himself up as a model of what can be done in the fight against cancer, a disease that ravages and kills millions every year. And with all the success stories and heroes that emerge from the cancer fight, he was held up as the No. 1 hero, the paramount success story.

And he’s nothing more than a fraud, wrapped in bicycling clothes. Good riddance to him, and I hope he loses every shred of credibility and esteem he ever had.

On the plus side, hey, it’s nice to see Oprah being relevant again, huh?

**Finally, a few words on Barack Obama and guns. Despite my initial skepticism, he does seem to really be serious this time. Wednesday he proposed 23 executive actions as part of a sweeping overhaul of some of the nation’s gun laws, with a major focus on closing loopholes about background checks.

I don’t know how much of Obama’s plan will pass Congress, but with the NRA continued to absolutely shoot itself in the foot (pardon the pun) with idiotic TV ads like the one above, he’s definitely going to have the public on his side.

Good for him for making a good-faith effort. But there’s still a long, long way to go on gun control.

An 8-year-old’s fountain of wisdom. And a million free throws for our vets

Since it’s Friday, how about a couple of uplifting, happy stories to take you into the weekend?

First, let me introduce you to the prolific blogger named Calvin. He’s got wisdom, he’s got sass, and he’s got another two years until he hits double digits in age.

Calvin is 8, you see. But he’s got his own blog, called “Calvin’s Tip of the Day,” and I stumbled upon it Wednesday, and well, he puts Huffington Post and Deadspin to shame.

The subtitle of his blog is: “Hard-won wisdom from 8 2/3 years of living.” Here are a couple of his sample posts, to give you a taste, but I highly recommend clicking and reading for yourself:

Calvin on male bonding: When your mom’s out of town and it’s just you, your dad, and your brother, try to do as much fun stuff as you can.  Have a friend over for a sleepover.  Go to a good restaurant for lunch.  Play lots of games.  Get a toy from Target.  Do all the “guy” stuff you can, while the girl in your family is out of town.  If you end up going to a little kids’ birthday party and you’re the oldest one there and you don’t really like birthday cake, it’ll still be okay, because you’ll have had a really awesome time anyways.
And, then, after a while, it’s nice when your mom comes home.  Because, eventually, you really can have a little too much guy time.

Calvin on ketchup blood, pro and con: Faking that you’re bleeding by pouring ketchup on yourself is a bad idea.  You might actually end up in the hospital and that wouldn’t be good. On the other hand, you could use the ketchup on your body to dip the french fries that you buy at the drive thru on the way home from the hospital.

Calvin on wrecking stuff: If you have a big bouncy yoga ball and you’re playing this awesome game with a screwdriver “gun,” you might want to throw the screwdriver gun at the ball to pretend your gun got shot out of your hand.  The problem is that the screwdriver gun is pointy and the ball is full of air.  If the point of the screwdriver gun hits the ball it will probably pop.  And if the ball is not yours, you’ll probably have to pay to replace it . . . or at least pay for half of it.  I speak from experience.

OK, you get the idea. Check out my new favorite blogger when you get a chance. If you don’t have a smile on your face within five minutes, I guarantee you your money back.

**And now let me introduce  you to Dave Cummings. He’s a 42-year-old New Hampshire man who decided, after hearing Barack Obama’s call to action speech on Election Night, 2008, that he wanted to do something to help American soldiers and their families. So, using one of his talents (which he says are few), he’s decided to try to make one million free throws by Nov., 2011 to raise money for Hoops for Heroes, a charity that helps military families.

Do you have any idea how many free throws a million is? To reach his goal by Veterans Day, 2011, (he started on Veterans Day, 2009) he needs to make 1,370 a day for two years. So far, he’s on pace, shooting every day, whenever he gets home from work, or before work. How do we know he’s really making a million shots? He shoots video of every shot and uploads it to his website, and if he doesn’t get it on camera, he doesn’t count it.

It’s a wonderful gesture that’s starting to resonate a little with the public; check out his website here, and if you can spare a dollar or two, this is a good cause.

Here’s how I heard about Dave; NPR’s wonderful show Only A Game did a story on him. Listen to it here.

Friday grab-blog: The power of David Stern, the glory of Kevin Spacey, and the hell of John Sterling

NBArefs

So I think it’s pretty obvious to most fans who the most powerful man in sports is, but just in case it’s not, let me make yet another case for a vertically-challenged Jewish lawyer who works in New York.

His name is David Stern, and he’s the commissioner of the NBA.

David Stern could’ve made Mother Teresa attack someone with a knife. He could’ve gotten Noah to bring the animals on to the Ark one at a time. He could have convinced Thomas Edison: “You know what? People like it dark.”

Stern can do absolutely anything he wants, I am completely certain. His fingerprints are on every decision made by any commissioner in the last 25 years.

And in the last few weeks, Stern decided that there was no way in HIS green earth that disgraced referee Tim Donaghy was going to publish a book further tarnishing his officials’ integrity.

You remember Donaghy: He was the guy who was caught gambling on NBA games, and making calls that affected the point spread in games he bet on and was refereeing. He was disgraced, and he said he wasn’t working alone, and yet, after initial outrage (especially from Sacramento and Phoenix fans, who could finally say “A-HA, I knew we got screwed in the playoffs”) the tumult died down. No more refs were implicated, the fans moved on, and King Stern had his league back to normal.

Only now, Donaghy has written a book. And man, does he spill the beans. In excerpts published on the popular sports blog Deadspin, Donaghy dishes all sorts of explosive details. He talks about he and his fellow striped shirts making wagers on who can go the longest without calling a foul. He talks about noted homer referee Dick Bavetta intentionally trying to let the Lakers win Game 6 of the 2002 NBA Western Finals, and about how Steve Javie had a personal vendetta against Allen Iverson.

Could Donaghy be making all this up? Perhaps. But read that excerpt; this is a guy who has a ton of details in there, details that would be hard to make up.

This book was going to make huge waves in the media and with fans, and David Stern couldn’t have that. And so, curiously, Random House has decided not to publish the book after all.

The NBA says it never threatened a lawsuit. And sure, it’s possible that Random House, after reviewing the final draft, full of uncorroborated accusations, veiled threats, and other possibly-litigious material, decided on its own to yank the book.

But I’m not buying it. This is David Stern’s work. Of course I have no proof, but I have little doubt he and the league brought pressure to bear.

He’s just that powerful.

**Covered a high school volleyball game Thursday night. I really enjoy covering the sport, mostly. The points are fast and exciting, the players are the happiest athletes during their competition I’ve ever seen, and there’s great athleticism on display.

But man, the shrieking. The players shriek. The fans shriek. Everyone seems to shriek at a volleyball match. Admission should come with two Advil.

ali-holmes

***ESPN is now 3-for-4 in my book in its “30 for 30” documentary series, scoring another great one this week with “Muhammad and Larry,” a film about the 1980 Larry Holmes-Muhammad Ali fight. This was the fight that never should have happened, as a way past his prime Ali was just pulverized by the heavyweight champ, Holmes. Great behind the scenes footage from before the fight, and some great interviews from the present day with Holmes and Ali’s friends.

It’s on again Sunday, I think, at 3 p.m. on ESPN.

**Finally, a few thoughts on Thursday night’s World Series game, won by the Yankees (whoo-hoo!)

1. I’ll tell you what one circle of Hell is: Driving home in the car, the only radio broadcast of the game I could pick up was the WCBS 880 feed from New York, with John Sterling doing the play by play. Absolutely the worst announcer of any sport working today; even lots of Yankees fans don’t like him. He’s so pompous he makes James Lipton look humble, he constantly gets his facts wrong, and often blatantly misrepresents the action.

2. Why did FOX hire Ozzie Guillen to be a commentator? The man is pretty unintelligible.

3. It was fun booing Pedro Martinez one more time. As much as I hated the guy throughout his career, I think he’s the best pitcher of my lifetime. Better than Clemens. Better than Maddux.

Well, since I was talking about James Lipton earlier, I stumbled upon a few minutes of genius here, as the great Kevin Spacey perfectly impersonates some fantastic acting voices: