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Top 5 Sports Stories

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Happy Monday everyone, here's my Top 5 for May 23, 2011 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.

1. Quick Hits

  • In the NBA playoffs, Miami beat Chicago 96-85. They lead two games to one.
  • The Bulls Joakim Noah was caught on camera yelling an anti-gay slur at a fan. The same slur last month cost Kobe Bryant a $100,000 fine.
  • In the NHL Playoffs, Vancouver now leads San Jose three games to one.
  • Los Angeles police have made an arrest in the brutal beating of a Giants fan opening day.
  • Something to look forward to: boxer Bernard Hopkins said he won't retire until he's 50. Saturday, at age 46, he became the oldest boxing champ when he won the WBC light heavyweight title against a 28-year old.

2. The Kid

It's stunning news. Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter has four "very small" brain tumors. He'll learn more later this week. Carter was one of those sports personalities that the media loves. He was always accessible. Always helpful. Loved to talk. Maybe too much. Some teammates would wonder if he was being a bit phony with his upbeat nature, but I always thought he was genuine. And yes it got him in trouble. Famously when he said he wouldn't mind managing the Mets. At the time the Mets had a manager, Willie Randolph. He said he got the nickname "Kid" in his first spring training. The veterans named him that because of how hard he tried. He was trying to hit every ball out of the park. Don't stop now, Gary.

3. Lance Armstrong

It was one of the most remarkable stories in sports history. Lance Armstrong, overcoming testicular and brain cancer to win the Tour de France a remarkable seven straight times. But now the noose is tightening. Some of his racing partners have reportedly told a grand jury that Lance used performance-enhancing drugs. The final dagger may be George Hincapie, one of his closest friends. He reportedly spilled the beans as well. We've been conditioned as sports fans to be disappointed in our heroes. But Armstrong is a little more complicated. He has helped raise hundreds of millions for cancer research. But despite our legal system, in the court of public opinion he appears to be guilty, with no clear path to how he can be "proven innocent."

4. Crime Wave

Here's a pleasant thought. None other than that noted crime expert Ray Lewis, the Baltimore linebacker, has issued this dire warning. If there's no NFL football, crime will go up. He knows something about crime. Lewis himself pleaded guilty to a charge of obstruction of justice in a 2000 double murder in Atlanta. Why will crime go up? He tells ESPN, "There's nothing else to do." He's just not referring to the players. Here's a suggestion if there's no football. Read a book. Help your fellow man. Maybe he's really taking a shot at the owners? If crime goes up, it's on their hands. Players have spent their whole lives pointing the finger elsewhere.

5. Less is More

None other than Jack Nicklaus thinks that golf might be better for kids if it were 12 holes instead of 18. Kids these days, don't have the time or patience for four- or five-hour rounds. He points out that kids learn basketball on shorter hoops with smaller balls, so why not ease them into golf? I think Jack's onto something. But why stop at golf? Why not make baseball six innings? NBA three quarters? NHL, two halves? In this 140-character Twitter world, let's get a move on. Six innings of baseball would be just about right. Of course that would make a quality pitching start around two innings, but that seems to be the case these days anyway.


Happy Birthday: Aussie tennis great John Newcombe. 67.
Bonus Birthday: Price is Right host Drew Carey. 53.

Today in Sports: A walk is as good as a hit? Seattle's Rickey Henderson walks for the 2000th time, joining Babe Ruth and Ted Williams as the only 2K walkers. Barry Bonds has since eclipsed all 3.
Bonus Event: Bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde meet their demise. 1934.

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