Week of April 13, 2015

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When it’s your birthday, Helmet Nachos are acceptable.


Why Charles Barkley Once Gained 19 Pounds in 2 Days (On Purpose)

Unrelated to the above photo, this is a great story about Charles Barkley. We’ll get out of the way and let Charles tell it:

“Back in my day we had a hard salary cap so you could not go over the salary cap like you can today and the Sixers had the No. 5 pick in the draft. I left college after three years and in fairness, I was fat in college. I played at 300 pounds. The Sixers called me a month before the draft and said, “We want you to get down to 285 pounds and come in before the draft.” So I get down to 283 and the night before we fly into Philly my agent said, “You do know if the Sixers draft you they are going to give you $75,000,  right?”  I said, “Dude, I didn’t leave college for $75,000. We have a problem.” He said, “You weigh about 283 now. What do you want to do? You beat their weight limit.” I said, “Let’s go out.”

So we went to Dennys and I had like two Grand Slam breakfasts. We went to lunch and I had like two big barbeque sandwiches. That night we went to a big steakhouse. The next morning I had two more Grand Slam breakfasts and when we flew to Philly, I weighed 302. I was like, Thank goodness, the Sixers are not going to draft me. So when you look at my face when commissioner [David] Stern says ‘With the fifth pick in the draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select Charles Barkley,’ I was like, ‘Oh, sh–.’ When people go back and look at me walking, and they see that awful burgundy suit, everybody else is happy and Charles isn’t happy. But it worked out great. The most important person in my basketball career was Moses Malone and he got me down to under 250 pounds and the rest is history.”

Classic Chuck. -TOB

PAL: If for nothing else, read through Barkley’s transcript to see a dude who can get onto a tangent faster than a dog gets on a dropped piece of steak. In response as to whether he will accept an invitation to the Sloan Conference (an advanced metrics gathering), he said the following:

“They just charge you more calling them analytics but they are just stats. It’s kind of like, if you are black, you are a cook and if you are white, you are a chef. The chef gets paid a lot more than the cook (laughs). But my big rule is if people should be able to take a joke … Everyone knows Muhammad Ali is a hero of mine. So is Dr. Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. I did some research on Abe Lincoln when that movie came out. There are a lot of great men. But when they asked me for some great Americans, I said Colonel Sanders.”

Source: Charles Barkley Talks Fame, Social Media, at SXSW”, Richard Deitsch, Sports Illustrated (04/12/2015)


Curt Schilling Message to Himself at 16: Don’t Chew Tobacco

I’m not a fan of Curt Schilling. He’s a blowhard. But this should be mandatory reading for all people who chew tobacco, and all teenagers and their parents. Curt Schilling chewed tobacco for decades. It gave him cancer. He is still here, but there’s no way to know if the cancer will come back. Here, Curt writes a letter to his 16-year old self, urging himself to never start the habit. It’s a very powerful essay, written by someone who has stared his own mortality in the face. -TOB

Source: Letter to My Younger Self”, Curt Schilling, The Players’ Tribune (04/11/2015)


Bonds on A-Rod…But Really on Himself.

I have always liked Barry Bonds. I have never liked Alex Rodriguez. This makes their new-found friendship a conundrum for me. Barry helped A-Rod during his hiatus and is supportive of A-Rod’s pursuit of home run milestones. So how do I reconcile this? I have mostly ignored it. My dislike of A-Rod has nothing to do with steroids (as I’ve said here before, I don’t care about that). But in reading this article about Barry and his feelings on A-Rod’s return – it’s striking how Barry’s plea to give Alex a chance is really a plea to give Barry a chance. For example: “Why the hate? Why hate on something you’re paying to see? I don’t understand it. He’s entertaining us…I wish life wasn’t like that…This guy is not running for president of the United States. He’s not running for commissioner. We’re not running for political office. We’re just ballplayers. We’re not God. We’re imperfect people. We’re human beings.” Poor Barry. Just elect the greatest hitter of all-time to the damn Hall of Fame, will ya? -TOB

Source: “Barry Bonds on A-Rod: ‘I can’t wait until he hits 660’”, Bob Nightengale, USA Today (04/13/2015)

PAL: First off, I think TOB and I need to have a good ol’ debate about the Hall of Fame (I don’t think Bonds, ARod, Pete Rose, Sosa, Palmerio, etc. should be in). Secondly, I agree with TOB in that Bonds’ support for ARod is a plea for himself. I would also add that Bonds’ support is conditional, in that he knows ARod will never challenge his home run record.


Matt Barnes: Future Sacramento Mayor?

Well, that’s his life goal, anyways. I nearly fell out of my chair laughing when I read that. I’ve never liked Matt Barnes. He’s a punk. He was a punk in high school, and college, and in the NBA. But I read this story, and I’m glad I did. It gives a lot of insight into an athlete that has many layers and wears his emotions on his sleeve. For example:

“We get paid a lot of money to play basketball. But what I want to let people know is that we’re still human. We’re still going through day to day struggles that everybody else goes through, but for two and a half hours, when you see us on TV, we have to act like we have the most amazing life in the world.” He pauses. “A lot of people don’t give a s— and I get that. They’re paying a lot of money to come see us play and we get a lot of money, so f— your human side.”

Matt Barnes may never be the mayor of Sacramento, but I understand him a bit more after reading this. -TOB

Source: The Clippers Polarizing Pariah Who Tells It Like It Really Is”, Chris Ballard, Sports Illustrated (04/10/2015)

PAL: “And being an a–hole, he knows, is what’s kept him in the league.” Matt Barnes is a goon, and I mean that as a compliment. Every great hockey player has had a goon by his side. Teams in any sport need an enforcer, someone to keep the edge sharp. You don’t like these guys, and — guess what — you’re not supposed to like them, but they serve an important purpose. It’s a bonus that he seems to have his priorities straight when it comes to his kids, too. His job in the NBA isn’t glamorous, but it’s a necessity for a team to be great.


It’s Not Yet an Ending, And It’s Not Exactly Happy – But This is Great

As you may recall, Bryan Stow is the Giants fan who was beaten nearly to death, in front of his children, four years ago after an Opening Day Dodgers-Giants game at Dodger Stadium. He suffered traumatic brain injuries as a result. Stow has had a long road to recovery. It’s not over, but this week he provided quite the moving moment. On Thursday, Stow threw out the first pitch at the San Jose Giants’ (the San Francisco Giants’ minor league affiliate) game. Stow needed a walker to get out on the field, and he can no longer throw overhand, but damn if he didn’t get it to the catcher’s glove. Great job, Bryan – and good luck in your continued rehabilitation. -TOB

Source: Stow Tosses First Pitch For San Jose Giants Home Opener”, Jimmy Durkin, San Jose Mercury-News (04/16/2015)

PAL: You know what really sucks about this? Bryan Stow is known by millions as the guy that was beaten into a coma in some pointless, drunken brawl outside a baseball game. No one deserves to be defined by what has happened to him or her. I wish him all the best, and I commend the Giants for sticking by him all these years (especially Tim Flannery), but it pisses me off that he’s known for what happened to him.


Video of the Week

Well, that was ridiculous.


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Before we get to the quote of the week, I want to thank Tommy for being a great friend, a pain in the ass in a debate, and a well of inspiration. This guy is a friend who always shows up, a doting father, and a husband who’s ridiculously in love with his wife. He’s doing it right, and I’m lucky to call him my friend. Happy birthday, buddy!

“Damn you people. Go back to your shanties.”

-Shooter McGavin

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Week of January 26, 2015

kirby

Kirby Puckett says: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PHIL. ALWAYS WORK HARD AND RESPECT WOMEN.

A big birthday shoutout this week to my man Phil, who has just entered his Larry Bird year. 33! If you enjoy our blog, thank Phil as it was his idea.


Beast Mode: Back in the Day

Marshawn Lynch’s refusals to talk during media sessions (as he did last year), has quickly become the biggest story of Super Bowl Week. Today, on Day 3 of the stand-off, Marshawn asked the assembled hoard of reporters, “All week, I done told y’all what’s up, and for some reason, y’all continue to come back and do the same thing that y’all did.” Indeed, it is puzzling. It is unclear why they won’t just leave the guy alone. I guess it’s because they don’t have to. But Marshawn has not always been a closed book. He has opened up to reporters, even this week. As he is the biggest story of Super Bowl Week, eclipsing Ballghazi aka Deflategate, there were a LOT of stories about Marshawn this week. But the two best were these – written this week by writers who got to known Marshawn in the past, and are able to shed a little light on to who the guy is, and why he is so reluctant to speak. -TOB

Source: Marshawn Lynch Resists Easy Media Definition”, Ted Miller, ESPN (01/27/15)

Source: The Misunderstood Marshawn Lynch”, Jeffrey Chadiha, ESPN (01/27/15)

PAL Note: The only people who care about Lynch not talking to reporters are reporters, their employers, and the NFL. Oh, also Skittles and Progressive. They get to make funny commercials based off it. Regular people only care when athletes say something profane, stupid, or funny (hopefully all three at the same time). I’ll go back to one of my old standby lines: these are the types of “stories” that a 24-hour news (sports or otherwise) creates.

TOB: Also, please enjoy this video from Conan, with Marshawn and Rob Gronkowski playing Mortal Kombat.

Rob Gronkowski may not be a smart man, but he knows what love is.


Tom Brady: Profile of a Christopher Guest Character

Tom Brady is successful, and, according to the writer, “anything but a bonehead football player.” Yet, he comes off like a, well, a bimbo in this story. Like the best characters from all of the Christopher Guest movies, he seems to lack self-awareness outside the realm of the football field. I’ll let one quote do the heavy lifting for me: ‘He marched me back into the house, through the kitchen and past a shelf that displayed a large glass menorah. “We’re not Jewish,” Brady said when I asked him about this. “But I think we’re into everything. . . . I don’t know what I believe. I think there’s a belief system, I’m just not sure what it is.”’ There are two types of people that can say something like this and get away with it – really attractive women and Tom Brady. – PAL

TOB: If you’re looking for some laughs, read this story. Phil and I had a great time copy/pasting the best Tom Brady lines to each other as we read. Find a buddy and do the same.

Source: “Tom Brady Cannot Stop”, Mark Leibovich, The New York Times Magazine (1/26/15)


Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon Writes an Open Letter Regarding His Most Recent Transgression

You may not be all that familiar with Josh Gordon. He is a super talented wide receiver on the Cleveland Browns who has been repeatedly suspended by the NFL. Some necessary background:

  • In 2013, his second year in the NFL, he was suspended two games due to a violation of the substance abuse policy. He still had the best stats of any WR in the NFL that year.
  • In 2014, he was suspended the entire year (later reduced to 10 games) for (1) a DUI and for a failed marijuana test – and that was quite dubious. For NFL testing, they take two samples, arbitrarily labeled A and B. The A-sample barely hit the suspendable threshold, and that threshold is far lower than any other sports league, including the IOC. The B-sample was then tested and was below the NFL’s already low NFL threshold. Had the B-sample been tested first, Gordon would not have been suspended. But since the A-sample was tested first, and the B-sample had ANY trace of marijuana, the suspension stuck. Stupid.
  • And just last weekend, news broke that Gordon had failed a drug test again and would be suspended for all of 2015. As a person with Josh Gordon on my keeper fantasy league, I was distraught. Distraught!
  • In the aftermath of that news, many former athletes and current media members, including Charles Barkley and Cris Carter (he a recovering alcoholic who almost lost his NFL career before it started because of it) began pontificating that “we” are dealing with a substance abuse problem and that Josh Gordon needs help before he kills himself. The usual.

And then today I found this story, with very little fanfare. I haven’t seen it all over Twitter. Or ESPN. Or Deadspin. Or anywhere else. And I’m not sure why. Josh Gordon, with great eloquence and passion, defended himself and set the record straight about the nature of his “problem” and the facts behind his suspensions. It is quite persuasive. And, in light of the Marshawn Lynch hoopla this week, it reminds me of why some athletes do not trust the media – the media will publish half-truths and poorly-sourced rumors, and the athletes have very little recourse. I’ve heard media members “diagnose” Marshawn Lynch with a social anxiety disorder. The dude doesn’t have a social anxiety disorder. He just doesn’t want to talk to the media! And while Josh Gordon is definitely facing some adversity and needs to mature, Charles Barkley and Cris Carter and Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless are not doctors and they’ve never met Josh Gordon. Why don’t “we” stop trying to diagnose him (or others) with drug and/or alcohol addiction (or anything else)? -TOB

Source: An Open Letter to Charles Barkley & Co.”, by Josh Gordon, Medium.com (01/28/15)

PAL Note: I have three points to make on this story:

  • Josh Gordon is 23. That’s young. I did a lot of dumb stuff between the ages of 20-23. I did not live like an adult. He can figure this out.
  • Stephen A. Smith, Skip Bayless, and Cris Carter can all go jump in a lake. Also, who watches Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless anymore? Didn’t their schtick give everyone else a migraine years ago?
  • Whether or not it’s fair, Josh Gordon needs to stay away from weed and booze if he wants to make a career in the NFL. His talent will win out if he can do that. It’s not the severity of the incidents, but rather the sum of the incidents that is problematic.

Jay Cutler Has Had It Up to HERE With These Damn Kids

As a new dad, I get the sentiment. I’ve never threatened to leave my child unattended while my wife is out, but on at least two occasions when she has texted to ask how things are going, I responded by simply sending a voice text of our screaming baby. She did return the favor once, though. -TOB

Source: Jay Cutler Is One Fed Up Dad”, Tom Ley, Deadspin (01/26/15)

PAL Note: I feel uncomfortable liking Jay Cutler just a little bit after reading this.


Video of the Week

This week’s video is a fully-serious, not-at-all tongue-in-cheek, six-minute video of some of the greatest archery you’ll ever see. He pulls a Robin Hood! He even catches an arrow and shoots it back at his assailant. Rollerblades make an appearance! Enjoy.


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Email: 123sportslist@gmail.com

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“I didn’t make that! It fell out of your hair that way!”

– Ethan