Happy Thursday everyone, here's my Top 5 for February 21, 2013 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
- After a moment of silence in L.A., the Lakers crowd chanted "Jerry, Jerry" for late owner Jerry Buss. The Lakers then beat the Celtics 113-99.
- The lead detective in the Oscar Pistorious case is himself charged with murder in connection with a 2011 shooting.
- Lance Armstrong refuses to tell all to USADA.
- In golf, the Match Play Championship was halted by snow yesterday in Tucson.
- Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton was beaned by Jose Fernandez during batting practice. That's not supposed to happen in spring training.
- 28-year-old Lauren Silberman, who played soccer in Wisconsin, will be the first woman ever to try out for the NFL at their regional scouting combine in New Jersey.
2. Swap Meet
The NBA trade deadline is today at 3 p.m. Houston kicked things off last night by making a six-player trade with Sacramento. So you say that NBA trades are no big deal? How about in 1956 when the Boston Celtics swapped Easy Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan to St. Louis for Bill Russell? Was that the best trade in NBA history? (Or the worst if you're St. Louis?) Some of the biggest names in NBA history have been traded: Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O'Neal and Kareem Adbul-Jabbar to name three. This isn't to say that a monumental trade will happen today. But this isn't to say it won't.
Former U.S. national soccer player Robbie Rogers admits that he's gay. At the same time he says he's not playing soccer. That comes as a disappointment to those who would like to see the "last taboo" broken, the first active gay male participant in a major league team sport. Common sense tells you gay men have played big time sports, so it's only a matter of time before somebody comes out. As Jim Buzinski of Outsports.com told the New York Times, "It just shows that sports is the final closet in society."
4. Joe G.
Joe Garagiola officially retired from broadcasting yesterday. And what a career it was from baseball announcing to the Today Show. He even filled in for Johnny Carson. He was still doing some Arizona Diamondbacks games. As I mentioned on his 87th birthday the other day, he was the guy who "invented" sports bloopers. He would take them on the Tonight Show to the delight of Johnny and millions of viewers. The rest of us just ripped him off. And I've stolen his joke a million times as well. "At a country fair baseball game, a guy hits a line drive down the line into foul territory and the ball gets eaten by the prize winning hog, what's the call? An inside-the-pork homer." Enjoy retirement Joe, and bask in the glory of a wonderful career.
Yesterday for Charles Barkley's 50th birthday I asked about great nicknames since he has two: Sir Charles and the Round Mound of Rebound. I was stunned by how many of you answered and there wasn't even a prize involved. I think you hit all the big ones from The Say Hey Kid to the Splendid Splinter to the Gipper. Two of you came up with Death to Flying Things, which apparently was hung on a couple of 1800s ballplayers who were known for their defensive skills. Here are some of the others you like.
*Nelson E. The best nickname in sports is The Man (Stan Musial), who recently passed away.
*Bill C. When I was a kid the Orioles had the great Don Stanhouse, better known as Stan the Man Unusual.
*Buddy C. Boxer Chuck Wepner -- "The Bayonne Bleeder."
*Garry E. Arnold Palmer -- "The King"
*Jack S. The Duke of Flatbush may not get rave reviews from far outside Brooklyn but Duke Snider was king to me.
*Geri M. I don't know if it's the "greatest" nickname but I always have enjoyed "Joltin' Joe" Di Maggio -- especially since it crossed pop culture into the classic song by Simon & Garfunkel."
*Ned L. Mike "The Human Rain Delay" Hargrove.
*Douglas V. Darryl Dawkins -- "Chocolate Thunder."
*David S. Hefty former quarterback Jared Lorenzen. The Pillsbury Throwboy.
*Rich F. The goalie on my fraternity hockey team was nicknamed "Red Light." Needless to say, we did not do very well.
Happy Birthday: 1984 World Series MVP Alan Trammell. 55.
Bonus Birthday: Juno actress Ellen Page. 26.
Today in Sports: A bonanza. The minimum baseball salary is upped to $10,000. 1968
Bonus Event: Let your fingers do the walking. The first phone book is issued in New Haven, Conn. 1878.
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