I don’t have any way of independently verifying this, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that last night’s Knicks-Lakers game at Staples Center saw an NBA first. And it wasn’t anything that happened on the floor. Well, it happened close to the floor, I guess. Look who showed up, as a “fan”:
Yup, Stephon Marbury, who is being paid $21 million this year to stay away from the Knicks, bought his own courtside ticket to the game and showed up to watch. Steph, of course, can certainly afford the seats. But how comical is this whole thing getting? The Knicks contend they’re still working on a buyout with Starbury, but he seems to be pretty content to just be chilling, doesn’t he?
Anyway, there was a game, and it was a pretty good one. The Lakers overcame the absence of Pau Gasol — who has strep throat — and a 15-point halftime deficit, to beat New York 116-114. Lamar Odom, battling the flu himself, had season highs with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
The lamest all-star game had its participants announced yesterday. Get used to seeing a bunch of guys from New York running around Honolulu in February. The Jets had a league-high seven players named to the Pro Bowl yesterday, while the Giants are sending six players to the game, including 44-year-old kicker John Carney and 42-year-old punter Jeff Feagles.
Both Mannings made their respective teams, and are the first pair of sibling quarterbacks named to the game in the same season. Peyton will start the game for the AFC, while Kurt Warner, who looked completely done three years ago, will start for the NFC. The Gunslinger made the AFC team (but why?), as did Mario Williams, who was once considered a bad draft pick over Reggie Bush and Vince Young. You can see full AFC rosters here, and full NFC rosters here.
Joe Paterno, who has said in the recent past that he’d probably die if he stopped coaching, was given a three-year life extension yesterday. However, the door is open to shorten or lengthen the contract as necessary. So, basically, the announcement just served the purpose of assuring recruits that JoePa will at least be back next year. Of course, I don’t think Paterno’s known the names of any of his players for a decade now, so that might not make any difference.
(”Who the f*** are you? Where’s Woody Hayes?”)
Alright, let’s hit the links:
• Padraig Harrington only won two golf tournaments this year, but since they were consecutive majors that was good enough to get him voted as PGA Player of the Year. ESPN’s Jason Sobel explains why Paddy won the award over Tiger Woods.
• THE WIZ OF ODDS says Turner Gill would rather hang out for another year at Buffalo than take over Iowa State’s flailing program. That’s the shape your team is in, ‘Clone fans. Gill probably should’ve taken the job, though, considering that winning five games in two years there qualifies you to coach in the SEC.
• There’s just no words to explain the following photo, so I’m not even gonna try. Big thank you to TMZ (which has more pictures like this if you’re so inclined):
• Sean Avery has been kicked to the curb by the Dallas Stars because of the “sloppy seconds” incident. I’m still completely baffled by the level of outrage this brought out. US MAGAZINE says Avery checked in to a voluntary treatment program (for what? Crude humor?), but TSN says that’s not true.
• OVER THE MONSTER says that Peter Gammons believes that Mark Teixeira is choosing between the Red Sox and Nationals and may make his decision in the next 24-48 hours. The Yankees, Orioles, and Angels are all supposedly still in on Tex as well.
• UAB’s basketball team lost four players yesterday, according to the BIRMINGHAM NEWS. Two players decided to leave the team, and another two were disqualified for the rest of the year because of poor academic standing. Things are going very well for Mike Davis.
• A lot of sports franchises have fallen on hard times, but the Chicago Blackhawks are undergoing a rejuvenation. The CHICAGO TRIBUNE’s Chris Kuc talks about how the Hawks have gone from barely drawing 10,000 fans a game to leading the NHL in attendance in one season. The resurgent Hawks are averaging 21,475 fans per game (outdrawing the Bulls), and are one of the best teams in the NHL’s Western Conference.
• The IDAHO STATESMAN says that a former Boise State football player has arranged for four copies of this billboard to be placed around the San Diego area advertising the team, which will play in the Poinsettia Bowl next week:
They’ll probably win the game, considering they’re bringing two sledgehammers onto the field with them.
• GM is not renewing its contract as official automaker of the Yankees, says XM MLB CHAT. Toyota and Audi will take over that distinction. GM also left a similar situation with the Pirates, and is reviewing deals with six other MLB teams that expire in 2009.
• More from TMZ: Vince Young contends that three guys, including ’70s baseball player Enos Cabell, “stole” the nicknames “VY” and “INVINCEABLE” from him, which is somehow preventing him from getting endorsement deals from Reebok and video game makers. Not being very good at NFL football is apparently much less of a factor.