What we're watching (all times EST): First round of Northern Trust Open (Golf Channel) at 3. Blackhawks at Rangers (NHL Network) at 7. Wisconsin at Michigan State (ESPN), Virginia Tech at Florida State (ESPN2), and Iowa at Penn State (ESPNU) in men's college basketball at 7. Celtics at Bulls (TNT) at 8. West Virginia at Pittsburgh (ESPN), Vanderbilt at Mississippi (ESPN2), Brigham Young at San Francisco (ESPNU), and Arizona at Washington State (Fox Sports Net) in men's college basketball at 9. Clippers at Trail Blazers (TNT) at 10:30. Gonzaga at Santa Clara (ESPN2) and Arizona State at Washington (Fox Sports Net) in men's college basketball at 11.
Tom Scocca on basketball and race "One late-winter evening in 1987, I had the misfortune of witnessing American mythology in action. My high school was hosting a basketball playoff game against another school from our county. I wouldn't call it a rival school; we had too little in common to be rivals. The county school system was unofficially segregated-not into white and black schools but into all-white schools and integrated ones. The visitors came from the boom suburbs, from the newest, richest, and whitest school in the system. Our school, like our town, was old, poor, and integrated. Need it be said that we were good at basketball? We were the best at basketball. I use the plural here even though I myself was terrible at basketball. There is a kind of school spirit you get from having a balky heating system and no doors on the bathrooms. Every game I would stand in the bleachers (which collapsed two years later) and bear witness, whooping at our collective excellence, hollering abuse at our hapless foes. So: we were very good. We had a sure and graceful six-foot-four point guard, Monroe Brown, who could pin a shot to the glass and who went on to play in the NCAA tournament with Penn State. We had a resourceful little shooting guard, Ron Green, who once caused pandemonium in the gym by pilfering the ball from an overmatched farmboy, breaking free, and rising, all five-ten or -eleven of him, for an unexpected dunk. Nobody was NBA material; the one future pro I remember passing through the gym, a guy named Bobby Hurley who was even pastier than I was, lit us up for 28 points. Most nights, though, we were in complete command." [Transition]
Jeremy Lin's grandmother is being chased by Taiwanese paparazzi: "On Wednesday night, Lin Chu, now 85, went to a sports restaurant to watch a delayed broadcast of her grandson's latest heroics, a last-second shot against the Toronto Raptors that propelled the Knicks to their sixth straight victory since he emerged out of nowhere and took charge of the team. Lin Chu's face lighted up every time her grandson came on the screen. But each time he fell or was knocked down or elbowed by the Raptors, who played a pugnacious, battering defense against him, her face froze.'I don't know too much about basketball, but this is not how it should be done - why do they do it?' she said with dismay. 'I know nothing about basketball. I only know when Jeremy puts the ball in the basket he has done a good thing.'" [New York Times]
Ok, maybe it was four neck surgeries. Now how about that $28 million?: "While the decision-making process regarding Peyton Manning's future in Indianapolis continues to unfold, new details about his problematic neck issues and his attempts to deal with them have surfaced. SI.com has learned from NFL sources that Manning actually underwent a fourth, unreported, medical procedure in the past two years, not three as has been widely known. While it cannot be determined exactly when the unreported procedure on Manning's neck took place, it was at some point after his May 23 surgery in Chicago to correct a bulging disk, and before his Sept. 9 one-level cervical neck fusion surgery in Marina Del Rey, Calif. The same doctor who operated on Manning's bulging disk in May did a follow-up procedure last summer in Chicago, as a result of the original surgery. Both of those operations came while the NFL and its players were still engaged in their protracted labor fight, with clubs having very limited medical contact with injured players. At the time of Manning's September neck operation, that surgery was reported to be his third neck procedure in 19 months. In reality, it was his fourth." [Sports Illustrated]
Your New Zealand DIY Commercial Interlude:
Cuuubes: "Parade officials contacted Cuban about helping them out of their financial crunch and foot the bill to make the parade happen. Cuban was more than happy to oblige. ‘I just thought it was fair that more people should be able to kill as many brain cells on Greenville Avenue as I have in my life,' Cuban said. ‘I passed out in many of booths there. I said if I have lost enough brain cells there everybody will get that opportunity, too.'' [Star-Telegram]
Josh Hamilton talks makeovers with Glenn Beck: "Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton said Wednesday that he's committed to figuring out why he had another alcohol relapse and is undergoing what he called a 'Josh Hamilton makeover.' Hamilton appeared on Glenn Beck on GBTV.com with guest host Dr. James Robison, Hamilton's pastor with LIFE Outreach, a Christian ministry based in Euless, Texas. The slugger, who told Robison he's going to 'one-on-one' counseling sessions, said when he had his last relapse, in January 2009 in Tempe, Ariz., that he thought things would be fine and that he'd get on with his life. 'This time it's not just, OK, it happened, we'll move past it and maybe it won't happen again,' said Hamilton, who said he's also attending counseling sessions with his wife, Katie. 'We want to find out why it continues to happen. Whether it's things in my life—stress, home things, whatever the case—those things might be a trigger.'" [ESPN Dallas]
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