Happy Tuesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for April 30, 2013 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
- Washington Wizards center Jason Collins announces that he's gay.
- In the NBA playoffs both the Houston Rockets and the Brooklyn Nets staved off elimination.
- Good news for Sacramento, it looks like the Kings are staying put and not moving to Seattle.
- The NHL Playoffs begin tonight.
- Game of the night, six and a half hours. Oakland beat the Angels 10-8 in 19 innings when Brandon Moss hit his second homer of the game.
2. Jason Collins
Washington Wizards center Jason Collins writes in Sports Illustrated, "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay." He's received nearly universal praise. He tweeted last night "All the support I have received today is truly inspirational. I knew that I was choosing the road less traveled but I'm not walking it alone." So there you have it, the first active team player in a major American sport to come out. End of story. There are others in the various sports who will surely follow suit. I fervently hope that sports fans will feel the need to stifle a collective yawn.
Tim Tebow did nothing wrong. He showed up ready to play and didn't do a thing to offend anyone. But his signing by the Jets was a colossal mistake, which they rectified yesterday by cutting him loose. Of course the Jets feel as if they still have 20 or 30 quarterbacks on their roster. I hope Tebow signs with another team and is hugely successful. Not as spite for the Jets, but because that's what he deserves. Go get 'em Tim.
4. What the Market Will Bear
It can't be overstated how hockey-mad Toronto is. The Maple Leafs are a religion, a religion that fell on hard times. When they play Game 1 in Boston tomorrow night it'll be their first postseason appearance in 9 years! Their last Stanley Cup? 1967. Thanks to their rabid fandom they have they highest ticket prices in the NHL. So how will their fans be rewarded in this lockout shortened season? An increase in home playoff ticket prices of 75 percent. Canada's other iconic franchise, the Montreal Canadiens, is "only" increasing tickets by 50 percent for the postseason. Hey, look at the bright side Toronto fans. The 75 percent increase will look like a bargain if the Leafs actually win a round or two.
5. Do You Know Me?
Yesterday I mentioned that the great Jim Brown was being honored at his old high school in Manhasset, New York. I went to the ceremony and it was terrific. Many of his football teammates were there, 60 years later. Jim told the students, "You probably don't know who I am." If true that is sad. As I wrote yesterday, he's the greatest athlete I ever saw. Here are some of your thoughts.
D.S. He is fading from public consciousness with the passage of time and he was a little before my time, but what a giant he was. Your description of his prowess in multiple sports is eye opening.
M.S. Met him at a hotel in Kingston, Jamaica when his daughter Jennifer was about 2 1/2. Kingston was hosting the Black Film Festival while we were there -- and Jim Brown was one of the featured actors present. He took a liking to Jennifer, hoisted her on his broad shoulders and carried her around the pool. He was more than a star... he was a true "All-Star." Nice that he is being honored for what many already know.
D.L. Jim Brown is indeed the greatest of all time. He used to move downfield with five defenders hanging on him. Also, after every carry, he'd get up looking like he'd broken every bone in his body and limp back to the huddle. Next play, he was off in a flash.
R.R. In my opinion he was the greatest athlete I ever saw. He was a man playing with boys. I think you should have mentioned that he never missed a game in his NFL career. Really quite remarkable, especially since he didn't wear the equipment that is now available. In his autobiography, he said that he actually wore as little protective equipment as possible because he didn't want to be restricted in any way.
So let's start a discussion, The Top 5 athletes of all-time. Go for it. (But you have to humor me and include Jim Brown on your list!)
Happy Birthday: Everyone's favorite former Knicks coach and executive Isiah Thomas. 52.
Bonus Birthday: Willie Nelson. 80
Today in Sports: Willie Mays hit four homers in one game (Hank Aaron only hit two in that game) as the San Francisco Giants beat the Milwaukee Braves 14-4. 1961.
Bonus Event: The original George W. took the oath of office as America's first President. 1789.
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