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Top 5 Sports Stories

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Happy Wednesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for February 20, 2013 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.

1. Quick Hits

  • South African police found testosterone and needles in the bedroom of Oscar Pistorious raising the possibility that the disgraced paralympian was also doping. The defense team claims the substances are legal herbal remedies.
  • The NCAA accuses the University of Miami of a lack of "institutional control." Shouldn't that description apply to the NCAA itself?
  • The Chicago Blackhawks by beating Vancouver 4-3 in a shootout tie the NHL record by starting a season with at least one point in 16 straight games.

2. Topsy Turvy

For years the Clippers and Nets simply served as punch lines in the NBA. Not anymore. The Clippers own L.A. and the Nets have as many wins as the Knicks in New York thanks to Joe Johnson. You'd think teams might want to pay some extra attention to him at the end of close games. Last night the Nets trailed Milwaukee by three in the final seconds. And then in overtime, with the score tied, guess who? It was the fourth time this season that Johnson has won a game at the buzzer. We'll even give the Nets PR department the tweet of the night. From @Nets_PR. "#Nets now 32-0 when outscoring opponent this season."

3. Ladies Day

I don't know where it ranks in the Top 10 of women's sports accomplishments, but Danica Patrick winning the pole for the Great American Race, Sunday's Daytona 500, has to rank right up there. Nothing like one of the girls beating all the good old boys. It's not often that there's crossover in sports. There's mixed doubles, the occasional LPGA star playing with the men and of course Bobby Riggs. People forget he actually beat Margaret Court before going down in flames to Billie Jean King. Then there's jockey Julie Krone who won the Belmont Stakes, the only Triple Crown race won by a woman. Of course if Danica actually wins the Daytona 500, then it has to rank as #1 all-time.

4. Follow-Up

Yesterday I talked about the passage from Mike Piazza's book where he claimed that Dodgers announcer Vin Scully turned the fans against him. Yes, knowing Vin's style and reputation, I was highly dubious. Thanks to Top 5 subscriber J.G. for passing along a link to the L.A. Times. They unearthed the controversial Scully/Piazza interview. Judge for yourself.

Once, when a questionable hit was awarded by an official scorer, I heard Scully call it "If that's a hit, I'm an astronaut." I can hear just Scully now. "If I ran Piazza out of town..."

5. Nick Knack

On the occasion of Michael Jordan turning 50 the other day, the discussion centered on his greatness. Well, Charles Barkley turns 50 today. Should we focus on his weight? How about his nicknames? How many athletes have more than one? He's Sir Charles and the Round Mound of Rebound. Which leads us to today's time-waster. What's the greatest sports nickname? The Babe? The Greatest? The Galloping Ghost? Feel free to take time out from your important game of free cell to weigh-in.

Happy Birthday: Detroit Tigers star pitcher Justin Verlander. 30.

Bonus Birthday: The one the only Sir Charles Barkley. 50.

Today in Sports: 15-year-old Tara Lapinski wins the gold medal at the Nagano Olympics. She remains the youngest individual Winter Olympics champion. 1998.

Bonus Event: Emmett Ashford becomes the first African-American umpire to work a baseball game. 1952.

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