What we watched: We watched Taj Gibson jumping out of his shoes and probably Tom Chambers's shoes, too. And then we rewound and watched it again and then again and then again. Seeing Gibson's dunk live, I pointed and shrieked and probably looked and sounded a lot like this, and it took an hour to scrape the cat off the ceiling. At which point Taj Gibson decided to jump out of Shawn Kemp's shoes. The Bulls thoroughly discombobulated the Heat on a night when Derrick Rose played some of his most tentative basketball of the playoffs, and a lot of that had to do with Gibson's efforts to re-enact every dunk videotape I owned in the 1990s. (Tommy Craggs)
What we're watching: The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry has, over the years, adopted at least some karmic qualities. Boston's three-game sweep in New York (their first since 2004) this weekend, which got them to .500 for the first time all season and after the worst start in franchise history took it a tad further. But beyond the stupid symbolism there — because of course the Sox would eventually get to this point, and that it happened in the Bronx is only due to opportune scheduling and tantrums — the Yankees are in the midst of their own team breakdown. On Saturday, Jorge Posada removed himself from the line-up, Joe Girardi was ejected; beyond that mess, A-Rod and Jeter aren't hitting, and everyone seems extra-old. The Yankees have lost five straight now, the worst streak of the season, and the Post points out that they've also dropped 12 of their last 20 games.
"It seems like when things are going bad, they're going bad," Girardi said yesterday, before expressing some optimism that things are "going to turn around." How refreshing, right? He almost sounds like a Sox manager. The Yankees, now 20-18, take on the first-place Rays tonight. (Emma Carmichael)
Phil Jackson's snowclone situation: "He has an almost-comical attachment to the word 'situation,' which he inserts frequently and haphazardly into sentences. An untimely turnover was 'a turnover situation.' Foul trouble became 'a foul situation.' Shaquille O'Neal's notorious shooting struggles were, of course, 'a free-throw situation.' Kareem Rush looked good in practice, but Jackson wanted to see him in 'a game-speed situation.' The N.B.A.'s elimination of illegal-defense rules created 'a zone situation.' Signing the 35-year-old Horace Grant was 'a stop-gap situation.'" [NYT]
Vancouver takes its ice stick very seriously: "Fifty-six seconds left. Game 1 of the Western Conference final. In a bind, in a pressure situation, Alain Vigneault called time out. The Vancouver Canucks had been caught without a centerman on an icing call. That meant the coach couldn't put out a player experienced in taking faceoffs for a draw in the defensive zone, with the Canucks clinging to a one-goal lead in the biggest game this city had seen since 1994. What to do?" [Yahoo!]
Olympic Marathon champ Samuel Wanjiru jumps from a balcony and dies.
"Wanjiru won the Olympic marathon title in Beijing in 2008 with an Olympic record performance of 2:06:32....After winning last October's Bank of America Chicago Marathon in a thrilling sprint finish over Ethiopian Tesgaye Kebede, Wanjiru faced several difficulties. Last December, he was arrested at his home in Nyahururu and charged with threatening his wife, striking a security guard, and possessing an illegal AK-47 rifle. Wanjiru was released on bail, and his wife later withdrew her charges against him, but he still faced the weapons charge, however." [Race Results Weekly]
...Someone like me: "It's an incredible honor to be a part of tennis history in some way and part of an elite group of players — Federer, Nadal, McEnroe, [Ivan] Lendl, guys who were winning so many in a row," Djokovic said. "I don't know how much good it brings to tennis, but it's good that someone else is able to win other than just Federer and Nadal. It makes it more interesting." [ESPN]
This is what it's like to come out to David Stern: "Last month, in a Midtown office adorned with sports memorabilia, two longtime friends met for a private talk. David Stern, the commissioner of the National Basketball Association, sipped his morning coffee, expecting to be asked for career advice. Across from him sat Rick Welts, the president and chief executive of the Phoenix Suns, who had come to New York not to discuss careers, but to say, finally, I am gay. … 'He was supportive but didn't ask questions,' Mr. Welts recalled, adding, 'And the litigator in him was already directing a response.'" [NYT]
OK, Jose Bautista might really be this good: "The are no words to explain just how it is that Jose Bautista is doing what he is currently doing. I can sit here, type up glowing remarks, and still, I'm left wanting to write more. Even my wife, who is no baseball fan whatsoever, came away impressed by what she saw as he kept popping balls over the fence. Of course, when I explained the significance of the pace at which he is hitting HRs and getting on base in general, she understood that what we are all witnessing is quite incredible. Perhaps even historic!" [Jays Journal]
Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable: And that's actually the name of his new ESPN radio show, which will debut in September on weekday afternoons on ESPN2. [Miami Herald]
Tom Thibodeau is clever: "With 5:30 left in the fourth quarter in game one against the Miami Heat, the Chicago Bulls were looking to extend their twelve point lead and put the game away. To do so, the Bulls went to a play/set that they just don't run often, a Derrick Rose/Kyle Korver pick and pop. So why would Tom Thibodeau run a play in the fourth quarter of the Eastern Conference Finals when he hasn't ran it all postseason and ran it just three times (0.5% of Korver's total possessions) during the regular season? Because he saw a situation where he could exploit the Heat's defensive strategy." [NBA Playbook]
Carlos Santana rips Georgia at Braves game: "Santana on Sunday used the occasion of baseball's annual Civil Rights Game at Turner Field in Atlanta to excoriate those states for passing legislation aimed at illegal immigrants. The 63-year-old native of Mexico, on the field to be honored with a Beacon of Change Award, said: ‘The people of Arizona, and the people of Atlanta, Georgia, you should be ashamed of yourselves.' On Friday, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed an immigration bill that was meant to crack down on undocumented immigrants in his state, much in the vein of a law signed last year in Arizona..." [Politico]
The Emeritus declares Jose Reyes his favorite NYC athlete: "When Reyes is healthy and engaged,he carries himself with a joy that reminds you why you started watching sports in the first place. When he smacks a line drive into the left-center-field gap at Citi Field, streaking around the bases, limbs flying everywhere, it's baseball as it should be shown off to alien beings, the Jerry West logo of what the game can be. Reyes is one of those players everyone can agree on, from the old-school baby-boomer hustle fetishist to the new-school sabermetric vorp slide-rule crowd. If you don't like watching Jose Reyes play, you're not much of a baseball fan." [NY Mag]