The Golden State Curries are in China (well, accompanying the Los Angeles Non-Bryants/Non-Howards, truth be told) to expand the NBA brand in the world’s most populous gymnasium, but most of that trail has already been blazed by . . . wait for it . . . Stephon Marbury.
Oh, sure, there’s the odd Yao Ming here and there, but Yao’s shortened career and the non-starter of Yi Jianlian has caused the Chinese market to turn back inward toward its own league, and Mark Dreyer of Global Times tells us all that Marbury is part of that. He just signed a three-year deal with the Beijing Ducks (and no, no cracks about Peking Duck, you hyenas) after guiding the mallards to the Chinese Basketball Association championship. He would have won the MVP award if foreigners weren’t proscribed from winning it, is heading toward a coaching career in the country, and has a statue of himself in the city. A statue. Of Stephon Marbury. In Beijing. Just like you bet it would when he was drafted.
Yes. Stephon Marbury has found happiness, and it only took an 8,000-mile flight and years of stateside mockery.
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The 49ers are 4-2, their next three games are against Tennessee, Jacksonville and Carolina, and their defense has become the full-on bear it was two years ago, but football analyst Bill Barnwell of Grantland is completely confused by them.
“What if the passing attack never shows up? What if Colin Kaepernick is consistently inconsistent, Michael Crabtree is never healthy, and Mario Manningham is irrelevant? And what if the pass rush doesn't come back until Aldon Smith comes back? Then you have an anachronism, a team that can run and stop the run with little aptitude for the passing game in 2013.”
Well, if there’s a better place for being an anachronism than San Francisco these days, I defy you to find it.
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Jack Clark is striking back – if legal clowning is your idea of a day at the circus. He is offering to take a lie-detector test if Albert Pujols, whom he accused of being a PED-estrian on the radio, does the same. The offer was made in a letter sent today from Clark's attorney to Pujols' legal team.
This will, of course, go nowhere, but in a battle that looks mostly like a lowdown showdown for the sake of publicity, but Clark is going down swinging like . . . well, like a guy who played the game and regarded the strike zone as a suggestion rather than a true guide.
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Senseless violence for show and amusement isn’t just for yobbos any more. The U.S. and Canada’s women’s teams got together for an exhibition match this past weekend to prep for Sochi and decided to drop gloves en masse. As in, “Line Brawl.”
It was sparked by American forward Jocelyne Lamoureux steamrolling Canadian goaltender Shannon Szabados as she made a save to help preserve the Canadians’ 3-2 win, and no doubt made old-time hockey types yearn for their younger days. On the other hand, it isn’t the first time the two nations reached across their borders to go after each others’ throats.
“We had a similar scrap in 2010, so I guess we have one every Olympic cycle to get it out of our system,” Team Canada captain/icon Hayley Wickenheiser said later.
Somewhere in Toronto, Don Cherry smiles and wishes for his long-gone youth.
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The makeup of the college football playoff committee has been completed, with Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long as chairman, and it is a triumph of inside-the-building thinking – almost. There has much complaining among the troglodytic community about Condoleezza Rice being on the committee (how she could have allowed Utah to beat Stanford over the weekend is, of course, inexcusable), but the fact that nobody has complained about the seemingly less connected Lt. Gen. Michael Gould, who is retired but in his working life was an Air Force Academy superintendent, or worse yet, former USA Today sportswriter Steve Wieberg.
No idea on Gould, but I know Wieberg. Swell fellow, as noble as the day is long. I bet they make him in charge of the beer runs.
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Noted anarchosyndicalist, ballroom dancer and master of the must-read site Every Day Should Be Saturday Spencer Hall on the newest innovation in stupid television graphics – the field goal line:
“The field goal line is utterly useless, because field goals are evil, and a celebration of failure. ‘Look, everyone, stop, let's mark the exact point where your aspirations died, and you had to take life's consolation prize.’ This is the football equivalent of marking the day on the calendar where you passed into a 50% mortality rate for cancer by demographic.’”
Forgive him. He is a Florida fan.
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And finally, this is what happens when you screw around and score against your hometown team. You stumble around in the dark, disoriented and dehydrated.
Tajikistani footballer Ahtam Hamroqulov scored twice for Regar-Tadaz against Vakhsh (and yes, we know you bet Vakhsh and gave a half-goal). Vakhsh is Hamroqulov’s former team, and he still lives in the town, so his reward was to have his electricity and water cut off by local officials.
According to Hamroqulov, men came to his home and introduced themselves as representatives of the city mayor's office and claimed he had failed to pay his utility bills for a couple of months, owing more than $600 to the local authority. “I always pay my utility bills, 100%, and I keep the receipts,” Hamroqulov told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “so I told them to take their bills and leave.” They did, and took the power and water with them. They also reportedly stole the meters.
And with that, we give you a hearty, “Go unpronounceable team with 30 consonants and one vowel!”