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Top 5 Sports Stories

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TGIF everyone, here's my Top 5 for June 18, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.

1. Quick Hits

* The Lakers make it back to back championships, beating the Celtics 83-79 in Game 7.
* After one round at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, the leaders are Shaun Micheel, Paul Casey and Brendon de Jonge at 2-under par. Tiger Woods is 5 back, Phil Mickelson 6.
* The U.S. is playing Slovenia today in World Cup soccer.
* Colorado pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez beat the Twins yesterday 5-1 to improve to 13-1, the best start by a pitcher since Roger Clemens was 14-0 in 1986.
* So how will Boston fans react when Manny Ramirez returns to Fenway Park for the first time tonight as a Dodger?
* The Giants say the new artificial turf is not to blame for wide receiver Dominik Hixon tearing up his knee during the very first practice in the New Meadowlands Stadium. But you just have to wonder.

2. Hail to the Champs

The Lakers won the championship with their best player, Kobe Bryant, impersonating the Knicks' John Starks in Game 7 back in 1994. But Bryant rebounded and made his free throws, and his supporting cast pulled him through. Ron Artest came up big, and may have set a record in the post game interview. Instead of thanking God, he might have been the first pro athlete to thank his psychiatrist. It seems like the perfect metaphor for sports these days. Just as in past years, some Laker fans celebrated with vandalism. They always seem to set a car on fire. It's not like they've never won before. They need to give Artest's psychiatrist a call.

3. When I'm 68

Here's a little story about today's birthday boy. At Yankee Stadium a few years back, Paul McCartney had a front row seat. They played the Beatles song "I Saw Her Standing There" on the PA, and on the line "I'll never dance with another, whooh" he stood up on "whooh" and hoisted his beer in the air. I used that clip on Spanning the World, and dubbed Paul my "fan of the month." He heard about it and asked to see the tape. What a thrill it must have been for him. Forget his gazillions and his Knighthood from the Queen, he was "fan of the month" on my dopey blooper reel! Does it get any better than that?

4. Friday eMailbag

Top 5 subscriber J.P., a transplanted American living in Wales, hasn't caught soccer fever. "As a sports fan, I am aware that there is important strategic 'stuff' going on during the interminable periods when the ball is being kicked around in the middle of the 'pitch.' There just isn't enough scoring and each match appears boring and pointless."

M.R. isn't a fan of soccer either. He writes, "Instead of watching the World Cup, I painted the back of my house and invited ten friends over to watch it dry."

And from R.B. "After Red Sox rookie Daniel Nava hit his grand slam, his teammates were seen dancing the 'Nava Nagila' in the dugout."
Editor's Note: Well, Kevin Youkilis is Jewish.

5. Spanning the World

This weeks Spanning the World highlight is the U.S. tying England in soccer in Lego-land. Enjoy.

Just like real TV. Too many replays of the same thing!
Have a great weekend everyone.

Happy Birthday: Former Buffalo Bills defensive end Bruce Smith. 47.
Bonus Birthday:The one the only, Paul McCartney. 68.

Today in Sports: With the first pick in the NBA draft, the New York Knicks select Patrick Ewing. 1985.
Bonus Event: Newspapers this morning reported a two-bit burglary that took place in Washington, D.C. It wound up sinking a Presidency. Watergate. 1972.