"I was just so excited to be in the NBA, and to be a part of a team that was more than just a team, it was a family. I saw these guys when they first came and they put their families second, which they shouldn't. But they put their families second because Isiah [Thomas] wanted it so much, Joe [Dumars] wanted it so much. Bill Laimbeer, Vinnie Johnson."
• Female boxer Rola El-Halabi was the victim of an "assassination attempt" before her IBF championship bout in Berlin last night. The alleged shooter: Her stepfather. Yes, the importance of family. [Boxing Scene] (H/T Larry Brown Sports)
• Male college baskeball player Jimmer Fredette has been named the AP player of the year. There are two games in which the AP player of the year won't be playing later today. More on them later. [Salt Lake Tribune]
• Four pieces of Philadelphia-sports news bear mentioning. The Phillies won their Opening Day matchup with Houston, in bottom-of-the-ninth comeback fashion, thanks to some under-heralded members of their lineup [Philadelphia Inquirer]. In battles with teams from New Jersey, the Flyers allowed the Devils to stave off playoff elimination while the Nets enabled the Sixers to clinch a playoff berth [NJ.com; Courier Post]. Oh, and Allen Iverson's Lamborghini done got impounded in Atlanta [AJC].
• Three pieces of Mets-related news bear mentioning, also. They launched their 2011 campaign with the "cold reality" of Mike Pelfrey's 6-2 loss to the Marlins [New York Daily News]. In an unbelievably exciting turn of events, however, it seems as if a few of the guys from "Entourage" are among a group trying to purchase the franchise [New York Daily News]. But it seems as if Johnny Drama is already working for the Amazins, what with a "Family Guy" Mets joke nearly making its embarrassing way into the SNY broadcast. [YouTube, via several tipsters]
• Kale aficionado A-Rod may very well be a slumlord. [TMZ]
• Had Jalen Rose told his ESPN overlords that he'd been popped for a DUI, he might still be on the air. But he didn't, so he isn't. [Fox Sports]
• Rafael Nadal beat up on Roger Federer. Again. This time, it was a 6-3, 6-2 throttling in Miami. With no crying babies to lash out at, Federer has nobody to blame but himself. [Miami Herald]
• After the near-fatal beating of a San Francisco Giants fan by two Los Angeles Dodgers pledges, Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly said he was "disappointed" with an incident that "crosses the line," some questioned whether its time for separate seating, and police are seeking the public's help to close the case. [AP]
• Joe Berton is "a footnote to a footnote to a bit of sports history that never happened," and news-hooked to April Fool's Day, he was featured in a story as the model for the literary pranksmanship known as Sidd Finch. [Chicago Tribune]
• Stoke City vs. Chelsea is on at 10 a.m. eastern; Arsenal vs. Blackburn at 12:30 p.m.; AC Milan vs. Inter Milan at 2:30 p.m.; and Villarreal vs. Barcelona at 3:55 p.m. As of this writing, West Ham is up 2-1 on Manchester United in the 66th minute. It's on ESPN2. (Two first-half PKs; Rooney just bent a special free kick around the wall from about 20 yards out.)
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