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Articles on this Page
- 06/27/12--15:06: _The Strongest Woman...
- 06/28/12--08:18: _The BCS Is Dead. Wo...
- 06/28/12--08:19: _The 2012 NBA "Mock"...
- 06/28/12--08:54: _NBA Player Thinks O...
- 06/28/12--09:46: _Why NFL Players Dri...
- 06/28/12--11:45: _Watch Elton Brand K...
- 06/28/12--13:47: _The 5 Most Awkward ...
- 06/28/12--13:02: _The Last Pick In Th...
- 06/28/12--14:21: _The Dude Who Beat N...
- 06/28/12--15:03: _Moe Harkless Needs ...
- 06/28/12--16:32: _Jared Sullinger Has...
- 06/28/12--16:41: _David Stern Is Lust...
- 06/28/12--16:49: _Strange Grooming Is...
- 06/28/12--17:08: _The Most Adorable K...
- 06/28/12--18:59: _Youth Hockey Coach ...
- 06/29/12--07:31: _A 27-Year-Old Iraq ...
- 06/29/12--09:26: _The 10 Funniest Mom...
- 06/29/12--13:24: _NBA Mock Draft Scor...
- 06/29/12--14:10: _Mike Tyson, Evander...
- 06/29/12--15:08: _Twitter Has Made Th...
- 06/27/12--15:06: The Strongest Woman In America Lives In Poverty
- 06/28/12--08:18: The BCS Is Dead. Woo Hoo, Whatever.
- 06/28/12--08:19: The 2012 NBA "Mock" Mock Draft
- 06/28/12--08:54: NBA Player Thinks ObamaCare Ruling Makes America Communist
- 06/28/12--09:46: Why NFL Players Drive Drunk Even Though They Could Afford A Cab
- 06/28/12--11:45: Watch Elton Brand Kick A Soccer Ball At Mike Dunleavy's Face
- 06/28/12--13:47: The 5 Most Awkward Moments From The Steve Nash Showdown
- 06/28/12--13:02: The Last Pick In The NBA Draft Always Sucked
- 06/28/12--15:03: Moe Harkless Needs A New Phone Number
- 06/28/12--16:32: Jared Sullinger Has Bulging WHAT?!
- 06/28/12--16:41: David Stern Is Lustily Booed At The NBA Draft
- 06/28/12--16:49: Strange Grooming Isn't New To The NBA Draft
- 06/28/12--17:08: The Most Adorable Kid At The NBA Draft
- 06/28/12--18:59: Youth Hockey Coach Purposely Trips 13 Year-Old, Breaks His Wrist
- 06/29/12--07:31: A 27-Year-Old Iraq War Vet Was Selected In The NBA Draft Last Night
- 06/29/12--09:26: The 10 Funniest Moments From The NBA Draft
- 06/29/12--13:24: NBA Mock Draft Scorecard: No One Knows Anything
Sarah Robles is ranked higher than any other American weightlifter, male or female. She's the best hope the U.S. has at an Olympic medal in the sport — but she struggles to pay her rent.
Sarah Robles at the Olympic trials. Photo courtesy of Robles.
Weightlifter Sarah Robles is an incredible athlete, but outside the world of squats and snatches, barely anyone knows her name. And even though she's the U.S.’s best chance at an Olympic medal, she'll never get the fame or fortune that come so easily to her fellow athletes — in part because, at 5 feet, 10.5 inches and 275 pounds, she doesn't fit the ideal of thin, toned athletic beauty.
“You can get that sponsorship if you’re a super-built guy or a girl who looks good in a bikini. But not if you’re a girl who’s built like a guy,” she says. The 23-year-old from California became the highest ranked weightlifter in the country last year after placing 11th at the world championships, beating out every male and female American on the roster. On her best day, she can lift more than 568 pounds — that’s roughly five IKEA couches, 65 gallons of milk, or one large adult male lion.
But that doesn't mean much when it comes to signing the endorsement deals that could pay the bills. Track star Lolo Jones, 29, soccer player Alex Morgan, 22, and swimmer Natalie Coughlin, 29, are natural television stars with camera-friendly good looks and slim, muscular figures. But women weightlifters aren't go-tos when Sports Illustrated is looking for athletes to model body paint in the swimsuit issue. They don’t collaborate with Cole Haan on accessories lines and sit next to Anna Wintour at Fashion Week, like tennis beauty Maria Sharapova. And male weightlifters often get their sponsorships from supplements or diet pills, because their buff, ripped bodies align with male beauty ideals. Men on diet pills want to look like weightlifters — most women would rather not.
Courtesy Sarah Robles.
Meanwhile, Robles — whose rigorous training schedule leaves her little time for outside work — struggles to pay for food. It would be hard enough for the average person to live off the $400 a month she receives from U.S.A. Weightlifting, but it’s especially difficult for someone who consumes 3,000 to 4,000 calories a day, a goal she meets through several daily servings of grains, meats and vegetables, along with weekly pizza nights.
She also gets discounted groceries from food banks and donations from her coach, family and friends — or, as Robles says, “prayers and pity.” Robles could save cash by moving into the free dormitories at U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado, but she refuses to leave her coach, Joe Micela, who’s become a father figure to her: Her own father died of a blood vessel disease when she was 17.
Robles grew up in Desert Hot Springs and San Jacinto, Calif., where she became a top-ranked shot putter who earned scholarships to University of Alabama and later Arizona State University. She was self-conscious about her body from a young age, until middle school, when she first got into sports and discovered she could use her large frame to her advantage.
“When she got into sports, she came home one day and she said, ‘I finally feel accepted.’ That's when she just kind of settled into herself,” her mom Joy Robles says.
Coach Micela began working with Robles in 2008, when she was attending Arizona State and began lifting weights to improve her shot-put throw. Within just three months of training with Micela, Robles had qualified for weightlifting nationals and decided to forfeit her scholarship. She began competing across the country and the world — beating every other American at the world championships last year. Then, in March, Robles and fellow super heavyweight competitor Holley Mangold qualified for the U.S. Olympics team. (Robles beat Mangold by four kilograms.)
Because of her financial troubles, Micela donates much of his time and pays to travel with Robles to competitions. Most Olympians make money through their governing bodies, as well as sponsorships, endorsements, speaking engagements, and the like. These endorsements can be worth six figures or more — like Michael Phelps’ $1 million deal to be a spokesman for Mazda in China — or they can compensate athletes with free equipment or products. PowerBar is Robles’ only product sponsorship and her name isn’t yet big enough to land her any big special appearances.
“It’s simple,” Robles says. “If a company wants to advertise their brand, there’s no benefit in sponsoring you if you’re not getting any exposure.”
The worst institution in big-time college sports has been put to sleep , but that's only important if you already like college football.
Image by SEAN GARDNER / Reuters
Rejoice: the BCS Championship — a hieroglyphically complex, idiotic kingmaking tango in which two SEC football teams are arbitrarily anointed candidates for a championship — has belatedly been replaced with a four-team playoff. NCAA football is finally joining modern society, but they're doing it in the feeblest way possible. And without further moves by the NCAA, the real effect of what seems right now like a monumental change will be slim.
The reason that the BCS Championship scenario has lasted this long isn't so much a matter of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" as it is "if it's making you rich, keep letting it make you rich." Last year, the REGULAR SEASON matchup of Alabama-LSU got an 11.9 rating, which is World Series/NBA Finals level, and a large part of this is because, considering the way the BCS works, most people thought of that game more or less as the national championship. The assumption was that the loser wouldn't be able to endure the gauntlet of the SEC and make it to the championship without dropping another contest; it was an all-or-nothing scenario. And because of the uncertainty involved in an establishment that takes teams to the guillotine after some losses but not others, this same feint plays itself out ad nauseam. There's no structure; it's one constant fall from a precipice after another. The stakes are never clear, and it's hard for anyone who isn't already a fan of a big football school (count me in this group) to get a grip on what they're supposed to be paying attention to.
Instead, what the BCS Championship game did was limit accessibility to the sport and its virtues. The whole point of athletic organizations like the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and NCAA — aside from making money, of course — is to structure and organize the experience of following sports. But with college play, unless you have the steadying anchor of a favorite team, the personnel turnover and the enormous number of schools makes it an tricky thing to get a grip on. Aside from the most obvious threads that emerge, like the Heisman Trophy races or wild-card teams like Boise St. and TCU, it can be difficult to pinpoint what deserves your attention. And to get emotionally invested in underdogs makes no sense; you'd come to like a streaking team only to see it arbitrarily shut out of the final game.
What playoffs do in other sports is focus fan attention in a crowded sports market. The thing is, even with the four-team playoff, college football isn't there yet. As great as it is for the overall level of justice in the world that the BCS has been put to pasture, a three-game postseason is not going to narrow college football's storylines far enough for unattached fans like me, the ones who went to schools with god-awful football teams and grew up in states with god-awful football teams. That's especially true considering that college ball is an inferior form of the NFL. Admittedly, the same can be said of college basketball vis a vis the NBA. But in college basketball, transcendent players can stick out (it's a sport that spotlights individual success), becoming folk heroes and phenoms, their games can't-miss events. In the massively complex, dynamic environment of football, individual majesty still exists, of course, but not to the same degree, and not with that sort of lightning-rod clarity (there are exceptions to this rule, of course, i.e. Cam Newton). And, most importantly, college basketball has March Madness, a month-long, 68-team bonanza of narrative creation.
In sports, the longer the narrative, the more fans get sucked in. No one does stories better than NCAA basketball. When you have Western Kentucky and George Mason and Davidson making epic runs against top-notch competition, or Northern Iowa knocking off Kansas via the heroism of Ali Faroukhmanesh, or even conventional powerhouses like the University of Connecticut, a multiple-time championship winner, triumphing seemingly entirely because of the swerve of Kemba Walker's undefendable step-back, the sport opens up to viewers in a way that it never could otherwise. These stories emerge the NFL as well: just last year, the 9-7 New York Giants came in as major underdogs and clawed their way through a host of superior teams — Eli Manning's "put-upon cipher who makes good" triumph wouldnt've existed if the NFL season ended with a championship game between the Patriots and the Packers. So while a four-team, three-game tournament will in almost all seasons keep an undefeated team from getting egregiously shut out of the chance to play for a title, it won't develop stories. And let's face it: crowning the "best" team king is not what makes sport great.
An eight-team playoff, which is enough to ensure the inclusion of at least one or two unusual teams, would be superior. It wouldn't be so monumental an undertaking as to put unsustainable pressure on the schools — if the schedule seems too long, cut one of the rote massacres from the beginning of the season. All the major bowl games would have a (financial and logistical) place, and there could still be the other bowls for the non-tourney teams. Most of the big-time conferences would be represented, and, if so desired, we could even move away from the human element of selection committees — or the computer element of an algorithm — toward permanent spots for conferences. An eight-team bracket would goose an egalitarian and fun-as-hell blossoming of college football into something the whole country could rally around. And — dare I say it? — a New Year's football bracket might even help the NCAA eclipse the NFL.
BuzzFeed Sports breaks down the first round with jokes. Tons of jokes.
1. New Orleans Hornets — Anthony Davis
Jack: It's not just that he has a unibrow. It's that he has a unibrow that looks like the Hollister logo. The fifth season of Tremé is going to be about the city dealing with having to look at his face.
Ben: Incorrect. Chauncey Billups also looks like a Muppet.
Image by Gerald Herbert / AP
2. Charlotte Bobcats — Harrison Barnes
Jack: Wait, you mean Michael Jordan might reach on a player who played basketball at University Of North Carolina? I'm shocked. Shocked, I say.
Kevin: Harrison Barnes revealed his college decision to the COACHES via a public Skype session. Dick.
Ben: I split Knicks season tickets with a bunch of people and I somehow ended up seeing the Bobcats in two of the five games I went to this year. I'm not the world's greatest negotiator.
Image by Chuck Burton / AP
3. Washington Wizards — Bradley Beal
Jack: I love how everyone is so quick to compare Beal to Ray Allen when he shot 34% from 3. 122 players in the NBA shot better than that last year (at least 50 attempts) . One of them was DJ Augustin. That's not a good sign.
Kevin: More like Bradley MCBEAL. That was a show.
Ben: The Wizards' own nickname always seems like it's mocking them. As in, "who were the basketball wizards who came up with THAT idea?"
Image by Bob Leverone / AP
4. Cleveland Cavaliers — Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Jack: MKG is exactly the kind of player that Michael Jordan the player would have loved. So of course Michael Jordan the owner hates him. As a Cavs fan I'd be ecstatic to get him here.
Kevin: Kidd-Gilchrist is an NBA-quality name, at the very least. Plus, he had the benefit of being "that great freshman on Kentucky who doesn't look like an exotic bird."
Ben: Expected to improve as a scoring threat once someone tells him he doesn't have to play every game on his hands and knees.
Image by LUCY NICHOLSON / Reuters
Because when you think analysis of American politics, you think Philadelphia center Spencer Hawes .
Spencer Hawes plays center for the Philadelphia 76ers. He's also the only NBA player who has chimed in on Twitter about the Obamacare ruling, as far as I can tell.
It seems so stupid. They're making so much money! But closing time for a football player has its own unique pressures, as one former Bronco explains here.
As a football player, my life was mostly spent in captivity. I essentially lived at the facility and under the banner of my team. Often I didn’t go out on my own for days or weeks. To and fro I shuffled in sweats and a tee-shirt with my playbook in my hand. I didn’t speak with anyone who wasn’t affiliated with the team. I rarely saw a woman. I was in constant pain. And I was edgy. Every day I flipped the switch to summon my absolute best athletic performance. After practice I sat in a chair and listened to the reasons why it wasn’t good enough. Once a game was over, or a camp, or a season, they said: “Now don’t go out there and get yourself in trouble. Be smart. Represent yourself and your team. Don’t do anything stupid.”
Of course this is a form of “good parenting”. But like the well-intentioned admonitions of good parents and bad lovers everywhere, it often produces the event it was intended to prevent. Well, shit, if you think I should stay out of trouble, I should probably go find me some.
And I’d venture out to find it. But my life was narrow. My social skills were bad. I wasn’t equipped for normal interaction. When I went out, I felt awkward. What could these people possibly be talking about? The only thing that bridged the gap was alcohol. It brought me closer to the humans I had lost contact with as a pro athlete. It allowed me to let my guard down. And I desperately needed it.
The booze greased the squeaky wheel in my meathead brain. Pretty soon I was having actual conversations. And not just about football! Then people were handing me shots. Girls were grabbing me. The bartenders pulled us behind the bar and let us pour drinks. Everyone was singing and smiling and life was good. It was a great party. It was always a great party. Because there was so much pent up. But time got away from us. We were drunker than expected. Then the lights came on and the bar closed. So where to now? And how get there?
We were downtown, a 30-minute drive from the suburban family home I lived in alone. That’s the norm in the NFL: buy a place out in the burbs where rich people live. Players are encouraged to live in these areas and discouraged from living downtown with their peers. Too many distractions. But living in the burbs made it tougher for me to get home when I was drunk, and increased the likelihood that I’d end up driving. It's no problem leaving your car downtown and taking a cab if its easy to come back and get it the next day. But when you’re 30 minutes from home with a meeting the next morning, well then, there’s a choice: Do I risk getting a DUI or risk being late for meetings? It seems easy. But If I wake up without my car, I may be late. Nearly an unforgivable mistake in the NFL.
One of my old teammates was driving home drunk and got pulled over. Instead of pulling right over, he took a few sharp turns, screeched the car to a halt, threw open the driver’s side door and jumped across the console into the passenger seat. When the cop ran up to the door, he told the officer that the friend who was driving him home jumped out and ran. And he got away with it. Twice. That’s a bravado you don’t learn in a cubicle. And it translates beautifully onto the football field. Coaches love that approach to life, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the football plan. And that starts with punctuality. If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. And if you’re late, don’t even bother.
Guys are cut every day for not playing by the team’s rules. But DUIs? They don’t get cut for that. (Not unless they get multiple DUI’s and get game suspensions. Then it cuts into the football plan and they gotta go.) Low-level offenders go into the NFL’s substance abuse program where they can be monitored. DUIs, positive drug tests, arrests: all that stuff puts you on probation. 10 urinalysis tests a month. Two or three a week. All year long.
I was randomly selected for a steroid screening during my first off-season as a pro. The Pee Man came to my parent’s house in San Jose and stood in the bathroom while I urinated, my shirt off, my pants below the knees, making sure the pee was coming out of my actual penis, and not some prosthetic. When the Pee Man calls, the urethra must open. He comes to you wherever you are in the country and you have four hours to produce a sample. He’ll sit outside in his car and wait. And if you can’t produce, for any reason, it's considered a fail. Dead battery on your phone? Fail. Go on vacation and don’t get approval for it? Fail. Drank responsibly the night before and got a ride home? Fail. Because once you get put in the program, you can’t test positive for alcohol either. But the DUI will make you a “better football player” because you’ll be more “accountable for your actions” and you’ll have fewer “distractions”. Whatever the digression: test his piss. Now test it again!
Somewhere Roger Goodell is furrowing his brow between Bountygate punishment hearings, considering his options in the wake of these DUI arrests. Ever the reformer, he’ll come up with something soon. (More piss!) But that won’t change much. Players will still be getting drunk. Just like everyone else in America. And trying to figure out how to get back home to the burbs. Now if they’ll only limit their reckless bravado to the field, where it's a virtue.
Nate Jackson played for the Denver Broncos for six years and is currently writing a book about life in the NFL, to be published by Harper Collins.
And in one moment, Brand earned his insane, exorbitant contract.
Personified albatross and sometimes power forward Elton Brand played in yesterday's Steve Nash Showdown, a celebrity charity soccer tournament held annually in New York. Now if you've watched Brand on a basketball court over the last few years, you know that he's still capable of ocasional brilliance, but as he's aged those moments have become few and far between. But last night, something amazing happened. The stars aligned. The fates conspired. And a soccer ball left Elton Brand's foot and smashed directly into Mike Dunleavy Jr.'s smug, smug face.
By all accounts, Dunleavy is a perfectly nice guy, but he just has one of those faces that... how do I put this. He looks like every person who's ever gone to Duke. So in this moment, it's not that Elton Brand hurt Mike Dunleavy (who was fine by the way), it's that he smashed all of Krzyzewski-ville in the face. And that is something worth celebrating. Thanks Elton.
Watch the video here:
When NBA players and soccer stars meet on the pitch, things get funny.
On Wednesday night, Steve Nash held his annual soccer game in Chinatown. It raises money for his foundation and also draws hundreds of soccer and basketball fans to a small park to watch the comically terrible play. Our theory: Nothing is more awkward for soccer pros (of which there were many) than trying to pass the ball or direct non-soccer players (i.e. Danny Green, Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Elton Brand). Here's some of our favorite awkward moments.
1. Danny Green, In General
Green stood out as the most awkward basketball-er turned soccer player of the group. During the game, Green:
--Kicked the ball 15 feet straight into the air. And stared.
--Stopped throughout the game to talk to fans
--Got nutmegged while playing defense
--During one play, tried to pass to ESPN’s Marc Stein – only to have the ball go about six feet behind him. Green, frustrated, put his arm out to signal where it was supposed to have gone. Sadly, his foot position on the kick told the ball otherwise
“I think it needs a lot of work,” he told BuzzFeed after the game, when asked about his skills. “I played a little bit of defense, I can run. I can run. But other than that there’s not much going on there.”
Until last year.
Image by Rich Pedroncelli / AP
In the 2011 draft, the Sacramento Kings made waves by taking BYU sparkplug Jimmer Fredette with the 10th overall pick. In addition to Fredette, they also took 5'9" Washington point guard Isaiah Thomas with the draft's 60th overall pick, making him Mr. Irrelevant. Contrary to expectations, it was Thomas who evolved into an impact player for the team in 2012, putting up an impressive line of 11.5 points per game on 45% shooting, with 4.1 assists and a 17.6 PER. (Compare that to Fredette's miserable 7.6 points on 39% shooting, with 1.8 assists and a 10.8 PER.)
But more importantly, how does Thomas' performance compare with that of other Mr. Irrelevants since the draft was reduced to two rounds in 1989? Simply put, it was the best season of any last pick ever, and it was only Thomas' rookie year.
Of the 22 players who became the draft's final selection, only nine ever played a minute in the NBA: 1990's Sean Higgins; 1994's Zeljko Rebraca; 1995's Don Reid; 1998's Macceo Baston; 2002's Corsley Edwards; 2003's Andreas Glyniadakis; 2005's Alex Acker; 2006's Will Blalock; and 2008's Semih Erden. (Erden is the only player currently on a roster.) And from these nine guys, only one has started more games in their career than Isaiah Thomas did last season — that would be forward Reid, whose PER was only 11.8 over the course of his career. Besides him, Rebraca and Higgins are the only guys who have started more than 20 games, with 22 and 27 respectively.
Thomas' success as a last pick is even more unprecedented because he's a guard. The only Mr. Irrelevants who have played guard were Blalock and Acker, and the pair never started a single game between them, both washing out of the league over the course of a few years. The guys who managed to stick around appeared to do so because they were big bodies and effective per-minute rebounders, like Semih Erden, who currently plays for the Cavs and averages 7.4 boards per 36 minutes.
Moral of the story here: the Los Angeles Lakers shouldn't get their hopes up with that 60th pick. And the Kings should consider themselves very, very lucky.
Lukas Rosol, the world's #100 player, wasn't shy about expressing how big of an upset it was when he beat Nadal in five sets.
Image by Clive Rose / Getty Images
And here are some pictures of Nadal looking frustrated, which is something you don't see very often. (Nadal made Wimbledon's finals in 5 of the last 6 years.)
Image by LEON NEAL / Getty Images
Image by MIGUEL MEDINA / Getty Images
Image by Clive Rose / Getty Images
The St. John's player isn't even one of the top players in the draft. But he's learning all about being an NBA player already.
Apparently, playing in the Big Apple for the past year hasn't truly prepared St. John's Moe Harkless for all the attention from his suddenly infinite "friends."
Andy Katz makes the oldest sportscaster mistake in the book, when talking about former Ohio State star Jared Sullinger.
And the commissioner encourages it like a WWE heel.
Look at these many totally real examples.
Giant Foam Hand is BuzzFeed Sports' weekly cartoon series.
If you aren't charmed by Thomas Robinson's sister, I don't want to know you.
The winning coach. Police are investigating.
In this footage from the arena at the University of B.C. (UBC), a victorious Martin Tremblay trips up an opposing player while the teams shake hands after the game. The 13-year-old suffered a broken wrist.
Kids, remember that coaches usually aren't wearing shin pads. Next time you play his team, one of yous just casually give him a nice two-hander.
Read more about it here.
Prior to winning an ACC Tournament at Florida State, 6'7” forward Bernard James accomplished something a little more important: three tours of duty in the Middle East with the United States Air Force.
Image by Bill Kostroun / AP
The NBA Draft often plays host to the stories of surprising professional athletes, but Thursday's 2012 version saw the capping of a particularly unlikely narrative. 27-year-old Bernard James was selected by the Dallas Mavericks with the 33rd pick of the draft, having just spent four years with the Florida State Seminoles. James' age would make him special enough — he's the oldest player to get picked in the last 20 years.
But the real story behind James is his previous job: he served six years in the Air Force, starting at age 17. His stint included three tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Qatar, serving as military law enforcement. Even though he only started playing at 14 or 15, he says, FSU coach Leonard Hamilton spotted him at an Armed Forces tournament in Las Vegas and gave him a scholarship. Of his past life, James told USA Today:
"I think there's a huge difference between me and other players, right down to my mindset and how I approach things every day. A lot of these kids haven't seen a whole lot in their lives. For many of them, all they know is basketball. They've been playing since they were about eight years old and they don't realize what it's like in the real world, having a real job and working for $30,000 or $40,000 a year. I've definitely learned not to let a single day go to waste."
When James was selected, the Draft crowd erupted in a "U.S.A., U.S.A." chant:
It was a weird night. It was a funny night. These are the highlights.
This Kid's Reaction To The Nets Picking Ilkan Karaman In The Second Round
David Stern Being Booed, Turning Into A WWE Villain
Jared Sullinger Has Bulging What?!
Just how good are NBA “experts”?
Image by Chris Graythen / Getty Images
If you like the NBA and you have a working Internet connect, there's little doubt that you spent some amount of time over the last month devouring various mock drafts. But have you ever gone back to check on the experts? To see who was right and who should be avoiding eye contact? Well now you can.
We checked the latest mock draft from each of these sources (including our own) against what actually happened when the teams started calling in their picks. Here's what we learned:
• No one knows anything.
• The easiest picks to predict (outside of Anthony Davis, who was a lock at #1) were Bradley Beal to Washington at #3 and Damian Lillard to Portland at #6 (8 of 11).
• Also somewhat predictable (6 of 11) was Austin Rivers to New Orleans at #10.
• The hardest pick to predict was a 17-way tie between #8, #14, #15, #16, #17, #18, #19, #20, #22, #23, #24, #25, #26, #27, #28, #29, and #30.
• Seriously. No one knows anything.
On the left is the actual draft order. Correct predictions are marked with a dot. Oh and we only did the first round, because not everyone did a mock second round.
•CBS's Jeff Goodman - 8 Correct
•The Basketball Jones - 5 Correct
•BuzzFeed Sports - 5 Correct
•CBS's Matt Moore - 4 Correct
•Bleacher/Report - 4 Correct
•ESPN's NBA Player Mock - 4 Correct
•Fox Sports - 4 Correct
•Yahoo/DraftExpress - 4 Correct
•Sports Illustrated - 4 Correct
•Sporting News - 3 Correct
•ESPN's Chad Ford - 3 Correct
Those are some rough-looking numbers. I mean, when Andre Drummond has the worst free-throw percentage that anyone can remember (29%) and he's still better at shooting foul shots than any of these people are at predicting the draft, that looks bad. But it's important to remember that correctly predicting picks is a far more difficult task than shooting foul shots. One of those only has two possible outcomes, while the other has a mind-blowing number of possibilities. (If you've ever watched Andre Drummond shoot free throws, you might be confused here, but it's the draft that can go in more different directions.) This is all to say that nobody listed above is stupid, except maybe for the NBA players. They had Bradley Beal slipping to 19! That's really stupid.
What's become of one of the most intense rivalries in the history of sports? BBQ sauce.
Earlier today, Mike Tyson managed to take that time he bit Evander Holyfield's ear off in the ring and turn it into a product endorsement. For Holyfield's BBQ sauce.
One would think that Holyfield might be a bit sore (lololol) about this. But it turns out:
Then Holyfield started retweeting.
He definitely ate just one.
And maybe that means ESPN will have to step its game up.
To endure the contemporary NBA Draft is to sit through four hours in which only 60 truly important sentences are said, with the gaps in between filled by the incessant babbling of talking heads and brief interviews with overwhelmed 20-year-olds.
Before you jump down my throat, I love the draft. It's an event that's perfect to be enjoyed with a bunch of friends, all providing running commentary. "Was Dion Waiters a good pick?" "Why did Samaki Walker wear that hat?" "Man, David Stern has a tyrannical smile." When an event has so little substance to it, you get to fill the holes with your own material.
But that's how we watch it. It's not why. We watch the draft because it has a major impact on our favorite teams. We know that the 60 picks that will be announced over those four hours will quite literally change the league. We watch because we want to learn how.
But this year, the experience of the draft fundamentally changed, thanks to Twitter. Watching the first round Thursday night, I knew every pick before David Stern called it out from the podium (the only exception being the Bulls at #30 — Chicago tends to keep mum, from what I've heard.) So did most of the people I follow on Twitter. It got to the point where Ty Lawson, Denver Nuggets point guard and a real, live NBA player, tweeted that confused missive shown above: "how y'all kno"?
Between CBS' Ken Berger, Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc Spears, and ESPN's Chad Ford, each selection was capably reported out one, two, or, at least once, three spots ahead of time. And though the reporting presence at the Draft is nothing new, the instantaneous functionality of Twitter means that as soon as Woj or Spears or Ford or Berger knew the Suns were taking Kendall Marshall, they could convey that information straight to their combined ~500,000 followers. Following any one of these four guys meant having a Minority Report—esque access to the Draft mechanism; the rest, like poor Ty Lawson, were left to wonder what was going on.
Twitter has made watching the Draft superfluous; ESPN is no longer the source of the information, instead becoming a flashy sidecar to the real action taking place online. And if the broadcast isn't even that much fun, what's the point of watching on TV at all? By stripping the suspense away from an event that trades in suspense makes the draft telecast basically a fashion show, or a sort of basketball-as-religion ritual; at any rate, it makes it inessential. This is an exciting development from a fan's standpoint. If ESPN loses its chokehold over draft information, they'll have to move the emphasis of the show from announcing these picks to actually doing something entertaining and informative. It's too bad the same thing couldn't happen to the Oscars.