June 3, 2013
Grant Hill retires: In a somewhat expected move, forward Grant Hill retired from the NBA last season. For many, Hill will be remembered for the injuries that ate up much of his career. Injuries again kept him down this year as the forward appeared in only 29 games all season with the Los Angeles Clippers, and at 40, it’s clear he should have retired. But Hill should never be forgotten. He was the 1994-95 Rookie of the Year and a seven-time All-Star. Hill wasn’t always healthy, but when he was, he was one of the NBA’s best forwards earlier in his career.
Rangers coach John Tortorella fired: Shortly after being ousted by the Boston Bruins in the NHL’s Eastern Conference semifinals, the New York Rangers dumped head coach John Tortorella. The Rangers had hopes of reaching the Stanley Cup finals this season, but actually regressed after making the Eastern Conference finals last year. Tortorella had some success in New York, but was rumored to have rubbed some of his players the wrong way. After not advancing past the first round in each of his first three seasons with the Rangers, Tortorella had done better each of the past two seasons. It wasn’t enough to keep his job, but as a former Stanley Cup winning coach in Tampa Bay, he should get another chance down the line.
Steve Smith (the other one) retires: New York Giants receiver Steve Smith (not to be confused with the Carolina Panthers‘ Steve Smith) has decided to hang up his cleats. Smith was a former Pro Bowler and just signed a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason. He was always a bit underrated as a receiver and finishes with seven 1,000-yard seasons under his belt. He nearly had another in 2009 when he finished with 982 yards and there’s little doubt he had something left in the tank. Smith had nearly 2,600 receiving yards over the past two seasons with 11 touchdowns. At 34, he probably still has some football left in him. It will be interesting to see if he changes his mind when training camp rolls around.
Phoenix Suns hire Jeff Hornacek as head coach: Jeff Hornacek, a former shooting guard in the NBA, will head back to Phoenix to serve as the team’s new head coach. Hornacek played for the Suns from 1986 – 1992 and also had stints with the Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz. He helped the Jazz to two trips to the NBA Finals alongside Karl Malone and John Stockton. After retiring, he became an instructor with the Jazz and then an assistant. Hornacek will come in somewhat unproven with only a few years of experience as an assistant. And considering the mess that is the Phoenix Suns right now, that will make it even harder to succeed.
Everett Golson suspended for 2013: Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson was suspended by the team due to ‘poor academic judgment.’ There hasn’t yet been confirmation on what exactly that means, but one thing is for certain – he won’t be suiting up for the Irish this fall. It’s a blow to a team that went to the BCS Championship with him at the helm last year. Notre Dame must now turn to another option – most likely senior Tommy Rees. But Malik Zaire could have an outside shot at the job as he comes in as a highly touted freshman this year. But without Golson, the team’s stock is taking a significant hit.
Kansas City Royals hire George Brett as hitting coach: Stuck in the middle of a long losing streak, the Kansas City Royals have turned to perhaps the best player in the history of their franchise – George Brett. Brett will assume duties as the team’s new hitting coach. Let’s face it – giving the job to a franchise icon who just happens to be one of the best hitters in the last 50 years isn’t a bad idea. But stars generally have a difficult time coaching and often, aren’t able to teach others how to play the game as well as they could. Still, for just taking a shot in the dark on a midseason hire, the Royals could have done worse.
Floyd Mayweather to fight Saul Alvarez: Floyd Mayweather, Jr. recently announced that he would fight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on September 14th. The match will pit a pair of unbeatens as Mayweather is 44-0-0 while Alvarez is 42-0-1. While this is a big deal and surely a fight that Mayweather will trumpet, Alvarez isn’t Manny Pacquiao - the fighter many would like to see battle Mayweather. In the announcement on (where else) Twitter, Mayweather made sure to tell us that he’s ‘giving the fans what they want’ by participating in the fight. Thanks, I guess?
NCAA Golfer penalized for car washing: Yep, you heard that one correctly. The NCAA penalized an unidentified women’s golfer for washing her own car. The reason? She reportedly used water on the campus that technically belonged to the university and was forced to pay the school $20.00 – the approximate value of the water and hose that was estimated by the organization. I’m all for following the rules and I think the NCAA gets a bad rap sometimes. They’ve got a difficult job in trying to police schools and student athletes, and I get that letting smaller things go can easily escalate into bigger problems. But seriously, can’t we have a common sense clause that allows for a warning in some instances?
August 16, 2010
With the recent exodus of LeBron James to South Beach, it got me thinking. It’s a very rare thing for an iconic athlete to spend his entire career with one team. It’s not even a recent trend as we can go back to guys like Joe Namath moving on to the Rams and OJ running the rock in San Fran. These days, changing teams seems to be an almost guaranteed occurrence for the majority of star players out there.
How absolutely lucky are those fans who get to cheer for their favorite player for their entire career? Undoubtedly fans of guys like Kobe, Derek Jeter and Peyton Manning will be able to do so. Guys like that (hopefully) as well as the Walter Paytons, John Elways, Steve Yzermans, Magic Johnsons, Larry Birds, Cal Ripkens, Tony Gwynns and George Bretts of the world are a special commodity for sure.
It’s disappointing to see iconic figures move on from the cities that love them. Sometimes it’s the player’s choice as with LeBron, sometimes not like in the case of Marcus Allen who was run out of the Raiders organization. I remember as a kid who grew up with a tremendous passion for the Milwaukee Brewers just how upsetting it was to see one of my favorite players of all time, Paul Molitor leave town for Toronto. “The Igniter” was one of those fixtures with the Brew Crew who just seemed like he belonged with one team for the rest of his career. Now, Moli may not agree with that since he got to win a World Series with the Blue Jays and later had the chance to play in his hometown of Minneapolis-St. Paul, but he was definitely missed. The fans of the Brew Crew however did get to experience both sets of emotions though as they had their rare 1-team guy in Robin Yount who stayed in Milwaukee his entire Hall of Fame career and became the face of the franchise. There’s a lot of teams and fans who don’t have that.
How strange is it to think back to Joe Montana in a Chiefs uniform, Franco Harris as a Seahawk, Tony Dorsett as a Bronco, MJ as a Wizard, ‘Nique playing for the Celtics and Clippers and Pete Rose with the Expos? It’s happening more and more and like we are seeing with guys like LeBron, it’s even happening before the twilight of a player’s career. Heck, a few years ago, who would have imagined Brett Favre as anything but a Packer? Now Packers fans are trying to remember the great years of the past while seeing their former hero wearing the purple of their hated enemy. Crazy times. If your guy stays with your team, be thankful. For a variety of reasons, it just doesn’t happen much anymore. Enjoy every second!