THE BLOG
04/29/2013 10:27 am ET Updated Jun 29, 2013

Top 5 Sports Stories

Happy Monday everyone, here's my Top 5 for April 29, 2013 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.

1. Quick Hits

  • San Antonio swept the Lakers out of the NBA playoffs. Ditto Miami to Milwaukee.
  • The NHL playoffs begin tomorrow night.
  • Quarterback Tim Tebow has been released by the Jets. But the Jets quarterback circus remains in town.
  • Surprise, through 25 games the Boston Red Sox have the best record in baseball (18-7). No surprise, the Miami Marlins have the worst (6-19).
  • Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan got married for the second time in Palm Beach. Among those attending were Tiger Woods and Patrick Ewing.


2. Positioning

Something Casey Stengel never said, but might have. "You can't play football without a center. How ya gonna start the game?" Something everyone says, "It's a quarterback's league." So after the first three rounds of the NFL draft which were the two positions with the fewest draftees? Quarterbacks: three, centers: one. The position with the most players drafted? Cornerback. Is everyone looking for the next Darrelle Revis? By the way, here's something else Casey never said. "Without a quarterback you're gonna have a lot of fumbles after the snap." I'm not trying to make light of the NFL draft as clearly it dictates the fortunes of teams. It's just that we have no idea what it all means until a couple of years down the road. By the way, I'm rooting for Manti Te'o to be a success in San Diego. Really.

3. Changing of the Guard

Will it still be the NBA Playoffs without the Lakers and the Celtics? L.A. is gone, and Boston is one game away from elimination. By the way, did you happen to catch the Bulls/Nets game on Saturday? Depending on your perspective it was one of the all time great comebacks or collapses in NBA Playoff history. The Nets blew a 14-point lead in the final minutes of regulation and lost in the third overtime. At critical moments in the game, Brooklyn was firing up long-range jumpers, and Chicago was smartly working the ball inside. My old broadcast buddy Bob Cousy used to say, "I'll trade you layups for jump shots all night long." It was as true half a century ago, as it was Saturday afternoon.

4. GOAT

What a crummy acronym, GOAT, Greatest of All Time. Heading my list is the Hall of Fame Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown, the greatest player I ever saw in person. Did you know he lettered in 5 sports at Manhasset, Long Island High School? Football, lacrosse, basketball, track and baseball. Some tidbits: He still holds the Long Island high school basketball scoring record at 39.6 points per game. The Yankees offered him a contract to pitch. Contrary to public belief he did not go to Syracuse on a lacrosse scholarship. He didn't go on any scholarship. Local Long Island sponsors paid his way. He got a football scholarship after his freshman year. Why do I mention all this? Today he returns to Manhasset High School to deliver a plaque from the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of their Home Town Hall of Famer Program. At the same time he'll be inducted into the Manhasset Sports Hall of Fame. A long overdue honor for the greatest of all time.

5. Helen Berman
1913-2013


There was no Top 5 last week because my mom passed away six months shy of her 100th birthday. The year she was born the New York Highlanders changed their name to Yankees, there was no NFL or NBA or even radio. How many mornings as a kid did I bound into the kitchen for breakfast asking her "Did the Mick hit one last night?" She knew if it was time to go visit the relatives we might have to wait half an inning because Mickey was due up. I bought tickets for my parents to attend the first "Mickey Mantle Day" at Yankee stadium on September 18, 1965. Her first NBA game was Game 5 of the 1976 NBA Finals at Boston Garden. The Celtics beat Phoenix in a wild triple overtime thriller. She must have thought all NBA games were like that. When I was doing the TV news she would watch religiously. Invariably she'd say "You made a mistake." I would answer, "Great, only one?" The mistake was always grammatical. For years I'd never use "who" or "whom" on the air because I was afraid my mom would catch me screwing it up. I haven't begun to scratch the surface of a life that lasted nearly a century. Rest in peace, mom. And thanks for everything.

Happy Birthday: Bob Bryan, half of the world's top-rated tennis doubles team, and coincidentally his twin brother Mark. 35.

Bonus Birthday: Not that there's anything wrong with that but Jerry Seinfeld is 59.

Today in Sports: Congratulations! The Baltimore Orioles set a Major League record by losing their first 21 games to start the season. 1988.

Bonus Event: What's another word for bonus or event? Well now we can find out. Peter Roget comes out with something called a thesaurus. 1852.

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