05/24/2012 10:25 am ET Updated Jul 24, 2012

Top 5 Sports Stories

Happy Thursday everyone, here's my Top 5 for May 24, 2012 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • The Devils beat the Rangers 5-3 and lead three games to two heading back to New Jersey. The same scenario as 1994 when Mark Messier made his famous guarantee for the Rangers.
  • NBA: Philadelphia forces a seventh game in Boston Saturday by beating the Celtics 82-75.
  • According to ESPN, the Orlando Magic will meet with their former star Shaquille O'Neal about their general manager's job.
  • Are the Yankees for sale? According to the New York Daily News they could be, in the light of the Dodgers fetching so much. The Yankees deny it.

2. Safety First

It seemed like a good idea: NFL owners voting to make thigh and knee pads mandatory for players in 2013. Safety's a good thing right? Well some of the players don't see it that way. As I mentioned yesterday, some players feel the extra "hardware" slows them down. San Diego Charger cornerback Quentin Jammer says he won't wear the stuff and he'll absorb the fines. He thinks offensive players should wear them because they're the ones who get hit. I don't know if I buy that argument since defensive players do the hitting. But anyway, Jammer said "You play this game because you want to play this game, and the risks you take are the risks you take. If you don't want to wear hip pads, knee pads or thigh pads, you shouldn't have to. It should be a choice." Sounds like Jammer should be playing rugby where they don't wear helmets either.

3. Rick Dean

I don't expect you to know the name, but Rick Dean was "my first center." When I started announcing basketball games as a student at Syracuse, Rick was the guy who played in the pivot for Dave Bing and Jim Boeheim. He seemed big at the time, but the likable burly guy from Cherry HIll, N.J. was only 6'6". I remember sitting next to him on a plane during takeoff. He would say "feel that raw power, I love it." All I knew was that even though he was drafted to play pro ball he was in ROTC so he went off to Vietnam after college. There were rumors he didn't make it. Well he not only made it, he won a silver and bronze star. He then worked for the FBI before becoming a minister in the Methodist Church. Rick Dean died the other day at the age of 67. Vietnam didn't get him, it was cancer. RIP Rick.

4. Thursday eMailbag

In the ongoing argument about DH or no DH, G.B. came up with this tidbit, "Matt Cain pitched a one hitter vs. the Pirates earlier this year. Who got the hit? The opposing pitcher. (James McDonald.)"

C.D. doesn't ask for much. "I have always wanted a spring with a Triple Crown winner and a Danica Patrick win in the Indy 500. What are the odds?"

Editor's Note: There's no line. Patrick is skipping Indy this year.

As for the cow fighting competition in Switzerland where the winning cow becomes valuable at auction, G.A. writes, "I think a $50,000 price tag for the winner is just another way of milking the sporting public dry."

And from H.K. "And when the winning cow drops to one knee, what do they call it? T-bone-ing?"

5. Spanning the World

This week's Spanning the World highlight comes from Korean baseball. They thought it was a good idea to have a Korean pop star named Jessica throw out the first pitch. Go to the 1:10 mark and judge for yourself. Nice windup, eh?

Spanning the World appears monthly on NBC's Today Show. Next up: Thursday May 31 in the 8:30 a.m. half hour.

Happy Birthday: Two-time Super Bowl champ with the Giants, offensive lineman Kareem McKenzie. 33.

Bonus Birthday: Bob Dylan. 71.

Today in Sports: This might catch on. The first Major League night game was played in Cincinnati. The Reds beat the Phillies 2-1 at Crosley Field. 1935.

Bonus Event: It took 14 years to build at a cost of $16-million. They opened up the Brooklyn Bridge. 1883.

Oh man. The Top 5 was opened in Oman this week.

The Top 5 resumes Tuesday May 29. Enjoy the Memorial Day Holiday everyone!

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