Behind the scenes and on the road with Money Mayweather prior to his latest victory over Canelo Alvarez:
Via ESPN Magazine
HE IS STANDING in a jewelry store that caters to the top sliver of the top one percent, wearing nearly $3 million in platinum and diamonds around his neck and wrist, surrounded by at least 20 of his associates, one of them hugging a Nike duffel that contains ziplock bags filled with forearm-thick knots of $100 bills and enough jewelry to satisfy the sartorial whims of its owner for an 11-city press tour. There are people outside on the New York City street with their faces smeared against the windows of the store, standing a few feet from a seven-deep black-Suburban-and-Escalade motorcade. There is a Gulfstream IV and a Gulfstream V gassed up and waiting for him and his entourage on the tarmac across the Hudson at Teterboro.
He has, in the past 20 minutes, spent close to a quarter of a million dollars on earrings and a necklace for his 13-year-old daughter, Iyanna, and he has sent some of his people out to buy so many chicken strips and fries that the place smells like a vat of burning oil, and at this moment he is haggling with the jewelers over a $3.5 million watch as a member of his security detail — the one summoned into action by the lyrical command “Jethro — sanitizer!” — is pouring so much Purell on his hands that it cascades through his fingers and creates a puddle on the white marble floor.
And it is here, at this moment, amid the self-inflicted chaos of his life, that Floyd Mayweather Jr. demands the attention of everyone in the room Read the rest of this entry
The New York Times investigates league TV partner ESPN’s’ sudden exit from Frontline’s NFL Concussion project, after intense pressure from league executives:
ESPN was involved with a hard-hitting television series that delivered an unsavory depiction of professional football players. The N.F.L.’s commissioner was so perturbed that he complained to the chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, ESPN’s parent company. Not long after, ESPN stopped promoting the show, then decided to end its run after one season.
The year was 2004, and the TV series was a fictional drama, “Playmakers,” which did not even include the words “National Football League.” Nearly a decade later, a strikingly similar set of circumstances — though this time with a more serious topic — has left ESPN, the multibillion dollar sports behemoth, again defending its dual existence as a sports platform and a news organization.
On Thursday, ESPN, which has spent heavily in recent years to build its investigative reporting team, abruptly ended its affiliation with “Frontline,” a public affairs television series that was weeks from showing a jointly produced two-part investigative project about the N.F.L.’s contentious handling of head injuries. The divorce came a week after the N.F.L. voiced its displeasure with the documentary at a lunch between league and ESPN executives, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.
USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt on USA Basketball’s new talent pool of young, emerging players hoping to join 2016 Olympic Team:
LAS VEGAS — USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo’s plan to infuse the men’s national team with new talent moves forward this week.
Forwards Paul George of the Indiana Pacers and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Hornets and guards Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers and 2012-13 rookie of the year Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers are among the 29 players, including two college players, invited to Team USA’s four-day camp, which begins Monday and concludes Thursday with a scrimmage.
The camp is the first step toward preparations for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup (formerly the world championships) in Spain and, beyond that, a very early look at candidates for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Via Sports Illustrated’s Point Forward:
Canadian basketball. Any time history is made, that’s a good place to start. When the Cavaliers shocked the basketball world by drafting UNLV forward Anthony Bennett, our neighbors to the north registered their first No. 1 pick. Canada’s program has been on the rise for a number of years, highlighted by the first-round selections of Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph in 2011. Joining Bennett in the lottery was Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyk, who was born in Toronto and raised in Kamloops.
This growing youth movement could well pay off in full if Andrew Wiggins, arguably the best wing prospect since Kevin Durant, is selected first in the 2014 draft, as expected. Imagine if someone had told you as recently as 2010 that Canadians would go No. 1 back-to-back in 2013 and 2014. Kaboom — mind blown.
The only disappointment for Canada? Texas’ Myck Kabongo, a high school teammate of Thompson’s, went undrafted.
Anthony Bennett. There will be plenty of time for the pressure and expectations to sink in and the doubters to crow at full volume. In this moment, it surely must be an amazing feeling to have shocked the world.
“I’m just as surprised as everybody else,” Bennett admitted.
It’s not yet clear how he will function in the same frontcourt as Thompson or if the roster will get a freshening up now that Mike Brown is back in the saddle. Before worrying about those questions, Bennett need only concern himself with savoring the most pleasant of surprises before getting himself 100 percent healthy.
Kings fans. It’s hard to imagine a greater joy than the one Sacramento’s diehards felt when the Kings were saved from relocation, seemingly at the last possible moment. Getting a top-three talent and a possible future All-Star in Ben McLemore at No. 7 should rank right up there, too.
NBA Finals: LeBron and DWade combine for 60 points in Game 7, proving too much for a Spurs team who collapsed during Game 6:
Via (AP): Victory in Game 7 brought more than another crown for LeBron James and the Miami Heat. It validated the team and its leader, forever cementing their place among the NBA’s greats.
For the vanquished San Antonio Spurs, it simply compounded the misery of a championship that got away.
James led the Heat to their second straight title, scoring 37 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in a 95-88 victory Thursday night in a tense game that was tight until Miami pulled away in the final minute.
Capping their best season in franchise history – and perhaps the three-superstar system they used to build it – the Heat ran off with the second straight thriller in the NBA’s first championship series to go the distance since 2010.
Two nights after his Game 6 save when the Heat were almost eliminated, James continued his unparalleled run through the basketball world, with two titles and an Olympic gold medal in the last 12 months.
“I work on my game a lot throughout the offseason,” said James, who was MVP for the second straight finals. “I put a lot of work into it and to be able to come out here and (have) the results happen out on the floor is the ultimate. The ultimate. I’m at a loss for words.”
- Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez facing numerous legal issues surrounding Boston area murder investigation:
Via FoxBoston.com — Patriots’ TE Aaron Hernandez drove his SUV to Gillette Stadium before taking a trip past the FOX 25 studio in Dedham Thursday as investigators continued to look for clues in the death of one of his 27-year-old associates.
Police confirmed Wednesday that the body of Odin Lloyd, of Dorchester, was found in an industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez’s home in North Attleboro. Lloyd’s death has been deemed a homicide.
Thursday morning Hernandez left his home in a white Audi SUV at about 11 a.m., drove to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, parked in the player’s lot and entered the facility. Just after noon he left the building, drove to a Gulf gas station and fueled his car up.
FOX 25′s Ted Daniel approached Hernandez at the gas station and described their interaction as “all business.” Hernandez who often speaks to the media at his locker had nothing to say.
From the gas station Hernandez drove to Dedham, passing the FOX 25 studio. He drove through Jamaica Plain into Boston and into a parking garage at the Prudential Center where he was seen meeting with a group of people believed to be attorneys at the prestigious law firm Ropes & Gray.
NBA.com’s David Aldridge on the Kings staying in Sacramento after the NBA Board of Governors meeting denies Seattle:
Sacramento pulled it off.
Capping an unprecedented rally to keep its team, the city convinced the NBA’s Board of Governors to reject the potential move of the Kings to Seattle for next season. In a 22-8 vote, the full Board voted against ratifying the $625 million sale of the team to a Seattle-based group led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, meaning the Kings will remain in California’s capital city for the foreseeable future.
NBA Commissioner David Stern said he hoped to convince the Kings’ current owners, the Maloof family, to enter into a sales agreement within the next 48 hours with a group led by software magnate Vivek Ranadive that would keep the team in Sacramento, and that has committed to building a $447 million arena in the city’s downtown area.
NFL Draft just days away; looking at some of 2013′s top prospects:
After months of preparation, the 2013 NFL Draft is finally hours away.
And as we make final preparations before the commissioner steps to the podium, my top-100 draft board is finally set. There haven’t been too many changes over the past few months, but minor tweaks to narrow down my top 100 players in this year’s draft.
Final 2013 Draft Board
1. OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan (6-7, 306, 4SR)
Fisher proved in the Senior Bowl and at the combine that he could hang with the big boys and not just dominate MAC competition. He has room to grow, but the upside is undeniable.
2. OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M (6-6, 306, 3JR)
He’s a three-year starter, and the game seems to come easy to Joeckel. He is smooth in his movements with a stout base, winning with both quickness and strength.
3. DE Dion Jordan, Oregon (6-6, 248, 5SR)
A rare athlete for his size, Jordan needs to show he can stay healthy and add good weight. His fluid feet and range make him a versatile asset for any defense.
4. CB Dee Milliner, Alabama (6-0, 201, 3JR)
Although he doesn’t have elite speed, Milliner makes up for his lack of quick-twitch athleticism with smooth hips, natural instincts and very good read/react skills.
5. OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma (6-6, 303, 5SR)
A personal favorite, Johnson moved to the offensive line in 2011 and is still growing at tackle, but he flashes all the necessary skills to develop into an NFL starting LT.
Sports Media World in San Antonio for Showtime’s Austin Trout vs Canelo Alvarez bout, ESPN’s Kieran Mulvaney with a preview:
No professional prizefighter can ever truly be said to have had it easy. The adjective simply doesn’t belong in a trade that involves athletic human beings pummeling each other on the body and head. But while each and every pugilist must ultimately carry himself or herself along the path to glory, the path that is laid out for some can be more conducive to success than those faced by others.
A Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., for example, by dint of being the son of his near-deified father, might be headlining pay-per-views in his teens, with barely a recognizable name on his résumé. Conversely, an Ishe Smith, having labored to overcome doubters and self-inflicted wounds, might find himself so moved upon finally winning a title belt at age 34 that he is unable to prevent himself from shedding convulsive tears afterward.
For a while, Austin “No Doubt” Trout must have felt his path was destined to be more like that of Smith than Chavez. An accomplished amateur, he fell just short of a shot at Olympic glory, losing to eventual champion Vanes Martirosyan in a box-off to reach the 2004 Games. He turned professional the following year, but his hometown of Las Cruces, N.M., is no boxing hotbed, and his arrival among the paid ranks went relatively unnoticed. He fought in Topeka, Kan., and Auburn, Ind. He traveled to Canada, Panama and Mexico.
CBS Sports NBA writer Ken Berger on the aftermath of the Kobe Bryant Achilles injury and its implications during his recovery:
Kobe Bryant emerged from the Lakers’ locker room at 10:55 p.m. Pacific Time with his family. He climbed into the back seat of a golf cart, his left foot in a walking boot, dangling off the side.
Someone said, “You’ll get through this, man,” and Bryant replied, “Yessir.” And he was off, driven to the loading dock at Staples Center after tearing his left Achilles’ tendon — in the 3,013th minute of the 78th game of his 17th season of this remarkable career.
“I made a move that I’ve made a million times,” Bryant had said at his locker earlier Friday night, “and it just popped.”
And so much popped with it. The pursuit of a playoff berth that Bryant had so heroically –and now, tragically — fueled was rendered pointless in the wake of this vapid, 118-116 victory over the Golden State Warriors. These 48-minute nights, this stubborn battle to push past limits of pain and exhaustion that should’ve long ago conquered him –- over.