Did Barkley Get Newton NBA Seats? ‘Kiss My A–’

A bit of a dustup broke out on the web last night and this morning after Cam Newton was interviewed on the ESPN and local Los Angeles KCAL 9 Lakers-Suns telecast Wednesday night.

Charles Barkley and Cam Newton on NBA Tickets

During the game, prominent Birmingham TV personality and WJOX-FM radio host Jim Dunaway Tweeted, “Hanging at Lakers-Suns… Pugh and most Auburn players in upper deck…Cam in lower bowl. Thanks Barkley for the tix.”

That Tweet along with courtside interviews that Newton did during the telecast was part of a chain reaction on Twitter and message boards across the country of people wondering if Newton had indeed gotten special treatment at the game that might amount to an NCAA violation. Read more…

ESPNer: NBA Will “Force (NBA) Kings To Move”

ESPN 710 host and Lakers broadcaster John Ireland said yesterday that “people close to the team” told him that it “isn’t in the cards” for the Kings to stay in Sacramento and that the team eventually is “going to be forced to move” by the NBA. Ireland made his comments on the Mason and Ireland Show before he broadcast the Kings-Lakers game in Vegas last night.

Sacramento Kings To Move To Kansas City

(NBA’s soon-to-be newest throwback line?)

Ireland on KSPN-AM in Los Angeles:

“The people I have talked to in the NBA have told me that the Kings are going to be forced to move. They are not, especially in that political climate, going to get a new arena. No matter what the mayor says, no matter what the Maloofs say. Most of the people close to the team have told me they will try everything humanly possible to stay in Sacramento but that it’s not in the cards.

Read more…

Phil Jackson Cleared To Only Coach Home Games

In the wake of his Lakers’ championship and his own 10th NBA title, Phil Jackson gave an interview with Mychal Thompson and John Ireland with ESPN 710 today. Thompson decided to float an idea to Jackson that in light of his physical struggles near the end of the season, Jackson should skip the travel and only coach home games. One problem: the Lakers beat Thompson to the punch.

Phil Jackson book
(Might this actually be true, finally?)

In response to Thompson’s question, Jackson responded that the Lakers had actually already greenlit the idea for Phil’s sake.

Read more…

Speed Read: Unholy Isiah Thomas/Clippers Union

I’ll be blunt: End Times may be upon us. Sources have told ESPN.COM that the Clippers have had discussions with Isiah Thomas about bringing him into their front office. While the two sides have apparently only had “informal yet substantive” conversations, the thought of arguably the worst executive in NBA history joining forces with perhaps the most sad-sack franchise in all of pro sports should be enough to make anyone tremble in fear.

Isiah Thomas, Clippers and the Rapture

(A sign of things to come?)

One source within the Clippers organization (in between bouts of crying and failed suicide attempts, I’m sure) said that the discussion of bringing Thomas or Randy Pfund into the front office to “help” Mike Dunleavy is just “a smoke screen to defray the criticism of the franchise” about the lawsuit filed by former GM Elgin Baylor. I don’t know if that’s true or not; what I do know is that even throwing the idea of Thomas and the Clippers linking up is tempting fate.

Mike Dunleavy

(Why is this man smiling? Seriously, help me here - I have no idea.)

Because make no mistake, this is bad news on an apocalyptic scale - the Staples Center area might be turned into a giant vortex of suckage that it would collapse into itself, taking the majority of downtown LA with it. Those little yippy dogs that celebs like Paris Hilton carry in their purses would turn into blood-thirsty savages. Hollywood Boulevard might become a river of molten lava, carrying away the homeless and Japanese tourists there to see “Grease” starring Taylor Hicks to a fiery death.

I’m sure as hell leaving at once if this happens, and I’m bringing enough cyanide pills for the family in case we don’t get out in time. Perhaps I’m being a bit too panicky, but you have to plan for these things: I just have a feeling that more than the Clippers’ salary cap is going to explode if Isiah Thomas joins the Clippers.

Also making plans: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who is significantly more together than either Thomas or the Clippers. His latest plan, according to USA TODAY: expanding the regular season to 17 or 18 games, and eliminating one or two preseason games in the process. Imagine that…actually trying to give fans more meaningful games and eliminate season-ticket holders having to pay for lousy games featuring star players for one series and then a bunch of scrubs for the remainder of the game.

Of course, the union hasn’t approved the plan yet, and they are sure to not be pleased about their players having to play two more competitive games a season. (And if there’s an 18-game season, you can pretty much wipe out things like a 1,000-yard season as being any sort of benchmark for success.) And is certainly interesting that the league would consider putting the players through more wear and tear a day after announcing new rules to “protect” them.

Of course, Goodell has other things on his mind, like the fact that he might need to rule on Michael Vick’s status sooner rather than later. Vick left a federal prison yesterday for a bankruptcy hearing in Virginia, but the day was hardly successful. The AP reports that U.S. Department of Labor has filed complaints accusing Vick of illegally spending about $1.3 million in pension funds from one of his companies for personal reasons, including paying restitution in his dog fighting case.

This should close any debate about who the stupidest person in America is. I wonder if the Clippers have room on their staff for him?

Some other sports news from last night that you might have missed if you were in Brussels waiting in line to use the restroom…and waiting…and waiting…

  • Our economy might be going down a drain, but that doesn’t mean we as Americans are too broke to engage in the American Dream: going to a baseball game and eating a hamburger the size of a kitten. The GRAND RAPIDS PRESS reports that the West Michigan Whitecaps will be debuting The Fifth Third Burger, a 4,800-calorie, four-pound behemoth that includes a one-pound bun, five patties and five slices of cheese. And a cup of chili for good measure.
  • The Fifth Third Burger

  • BALL DON’T LIE salutes Wizards forward Dominic McGuire, who scored on a dunk last night to break a streak of 116 minutes played without a point.
  • Los Angeles TV and radio personality John Ireland made a hasty bet with James Worthy: if his UCLA Bruins didn’t advance as far as Worthy’s North Carolina Tar Heels in the NCAA Tournament, Ireland would sing the UNC fight song on TV. Bad idea, after the Bruins tanked against Villanova. Here are the unfortunate results - it’s like the drunk guy at karaoke who gets pressured into singing by his friends and spends his whole time on stage planning ways to kill them.
  • YAHOO! SPORTS takes promoter Bob Arum to task for encouraging American fans to attend a fight card in Tijuana this weekend, despite the U.S. government’s warning on travel. Something about armed drug violence turning into a civil war. Bob, I think I’ll catch it on TV instead.
  • Scary stuff for Olympic gymnastic hero Shawn Johnson: NEWSDAY reports that a nutjob armed with two guns and duct tape tried to break into the set of “Dancing with the Stars” and “get to” Johnson and her dancing partner. To be fair, if she wasn’t interested in him, she shouldn’t have been sending subliminal messages to him through the TV and through ESP. Women.
  • Of all the things I would think to impersonate in a scam, a youth soccer referee wouldn’t be one of them. But DIRTY TACKLE says that’s just what some fake ref did in Northern Ireland, convincing three teams to give him a “match fee” before games he never reffed.
  • Apparently the NHL doesn’t like it when a goaltender pushes a referee and then shoots a puck at him: the TORONTO GLOBE AND MAIL says that Martin Gerber of the Toronto Maple Leafs has been suspended three games after going nuts Tuesday against the Washington Captials.
  • The Boston Celtics death spiral continues as the BOSTON GLOBE reports the Magic beat them 84-82 to edge closer to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Is it too late to give last year’s MVP to Kevin Garnett since we know now just how much he means to this team?
  • I think it’s fair to say that the Dallas police officer who stopped Houston Texans RB Ryan Moats from being at his dying mother-in-law’s bedside - at the hospital parking lot, over a red light - should not just be suspended or fired, but drawn and quartered. SPORTS RUBBISH has the awful, infuriating details.
  • For some players, spring training is a chance to get in shape; for others, it’s a chance to hit the free buffet in the locker room every day. THE LOVE OF SPORTS looks at the Top 10 Overweight Baseball Players. Maybe they’ll win a free Fifth Third Burger for making it on the list?

Who was the worst former player turned sports executive?

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Speed Read: Devin Harris Miracle Shot Sinks 76ers

You know who had a good night on Monday? Devin Harris of the New Jersey Nets. Not only did he score 39 points, but he sunk a game-winning half court shot as time expired to lift his team to a 98-96 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night. The entire play was about as nutty as you can get in the NBA, with Harris having his initial shot blocked before recovering to sink the game-winning basket a fraction of a second before time expired.

Devin Harris

As BLACK SPORTS ONLINE points out, Harris’ shot raised a whole host of questions: was he fouled in the act of shooting; did he travel after recovering the initial blocked shot; and did he really get the shot off before time expired.  Take a look for yourself and be the judge (and please pay attention to Violet Palmer, who emphatically waved off the shot, probably because she’s an awful referee):

As for the 76ers: as THE 700 LEVEL points out, this loss was a microcosm of their season: for the sixth time, they lost a game they were leading with ten seconds to go. So the next time you complain about a close game your team lost, keep in mind that it could be worse - you could be a 76ers fan.

If Devin Harris had a good night on Monday, then the New York Knicks’ Nate Robinson continued his great month of February. Not only did he win the NBA Slam Dunk title by (literally) leaping over Dwight Howard, but he’s been a beast on the court as well. Besides blocking Chris Bosh, Robinson has been on a scoring tear. His 41 points against the Pacers marked the fourth time in the last six game he’s scored 30 points or more, helping lead the way to a 123-119 victory.

Nate Robinson

Meanwhile, not having such a great day or month is Marvin Harrison. It’s hard to imagine the possibly second-greatest wide receiver in NFL history playing for another team than the Indianapolis Colts, but that’s the real possibility after the INDIANAPOLIS STAR reports that Harrison is all but certain to be cut by the team, barring a last-ditch effort by team owner Robert Irsay. Then again, if Jerry Rice can play for the Seahawks…

After Jerry Rice, who is the second-best receiver in NFL history?

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Brooks Live On Los Angeles’ 710 ESPN Today

Brooks joins Mason & Ireland on 710 ESPN Los Angeles @ 3:25pm PT

ESPN 710 Mason & Ireland Brooks Los Angeles

Listen Live. Audio Archive. Show Page. Mason’s “SMOG”.

Brooks Live On Los Angeles’ 710 ESPN Right Now

Brooks joins Mason & Ireland on 710 ESPN Los Angeles @ 3:25pm PT

ESPN 710 Mason & Ireland Brooks Los Angeles

Listen Live. Audio Archive. Show Page. Mason’s “SMOG”.

Brog: Parents Buying Athlete Seed For Offspring?!

Tuesday ESPN’s “E:60″ will examine the lengths some people will go to have more athletic kids.

Jose Canseco as a baby

ESPN: “E:60 correspondent Tom Farrey exclusively reports the story about the ultimate effort to buy athletic advantage – the purchase of sperm from anonymous donors who are college athletes. He visits the world’s largest sperm bank, California Cryobank in Los Angeles, where the seed of Division I football, basketball and baseball players sells fast. Farrey also speaks with families who purchased the sperm of a former tight end, and he addresses the question: How do expectations change when parents know their child is born with the DNA of an elite athlete?”

So what type of down-and-outer person, athlete or no, is selling their sperm?

Jose Canseco sticks out tongue

Exactly.

Farrey also has a book out on the subject, and appeared today on KSPN-AM’s “Mason & Ireland” show in Los Angeles today to talk about the ESPN piece.

John Ireland to Farrey: “How many people are breeding kids specifically to be athletes?”

Farrey: “I’m not sure they’re breeding to create elite athletes. They’re folks who are lesbians or same sex couples or mothers who never found mister right or it’s a heterosexual couple who can’t have kids on their own. So, they go to the sperm bank and they go through the catalog. And inevitably, when you’re like, ‘OK, what are we going to pick?’ … you end up picking the stuff you prioritize and you value and there are a lot of people out there who want their kids to have athletic traits.”

The main ethical question when it comes to this game of offspring roulette is if prospective parents should be allowed to know the identity of the sperm donator. So long as they don’t, I don’t see anything wrong with knowing the occupation and/or athletic history of the contributor. Problem is, if someone is donating sperm for money, what’s the odds that individual has a current occupation? (See Todd Marinovich.)

Yes, we’ve all heard over the years about Warren Sapp being a social cripple. Not to mention a man of questionable personal hygiene. So with that, I was delighted today at his selection to the latest lineup of “Dancing With The Stars”. Though I would love to see him plague survive the entire competition, that might be a little too much to ask, considering he’ll be dragging around a hazmat-suited partner.

Warren Sapp Dancing With The Stars

In all seriousness, one media source close to the Raiders told me today that Sapp has always been known for raging, 100-yard halitosis. In particular, one veteran defensive lineman for the Raiders used to bark out “Breath!” whenever Sapp walked into a room or on the team plane.

That eventually lead to the team’s primary rallying cry last season: “BREATH! BREATH! BREATH!

Sapp thought it was funny, but didn’t know the joke was on him and would bark it out too.

Coincidentally, when Marinovich was quarterbacking the club, the team’s rallying cry was, “METH! METH! METH!

OK, I made that last part up. Read more…

The Reax Of Announcer Makes This Oh-So-Postable

Over the weekend Candace Parker of the L.A. Sparks became, apparently, the second player in WNBA history to dunk:


More fun is listening to the highlight call by KCAL’s (and KSPN’s) John Ireland, who normally is a fixture on Lakers TV broadcasts. You can tell just how excited he is about switching gigs.

Kobe Comes Clean Over Snake-Soaring Slam Dunk

More Kobe Bryant news? Hey, we’re just giving the people what they want.

Anyway, we all fondly remember Bryant’s death-defying jump over a moving Aston Martin. And our good buddy John Ireland from KCAL-TV caught up with Kobe to get an explanation about his awesome aerial.

Kobe Bryant John Ireland

Now, Kobe Knievel has done it again - this time soaring over a pool full of snakes to make a super slam dunk. And Ireland once again finds a pot o’ gold, as he gets the latest story from the aspiring Lakers stuntman. But John didn’t get the same answers as before. Read more…