J.V. Club is Drew Toal’s roundup of recent games, controversies, triumphs, mishaps, and other amusements in the world of sports.
The only sports story that anyone wanted to talk about this week was the sports story that was not actually a sports story. As you likely know by now, it seems that 80-year-old Clippers owner Donald Sterling was caught on tape saying some unassailably terrible things about black people to his lady friend. That this guy is certified human refuse—not to mention objectively one of professional sports’ worst-ever owners—has been common knowledge in the NBA for decades. In this light, it felt disingenuous when everyone everywhere, from the players to people who didn’t even realize Los Angeles had a second basketball team, expressed such shock and outrage that Sterling was exactly the man he was known to be.
Instead of the useless mass condemnation (he will still be a rich, white racist, however this whole thing shakes out), we should turn this unfortunate affair into something constructive, like a charity bare-knuckle boxing match between Sterling and Floyd Mayweather. Who wouldn’t pay good money to see that?
Sterling’s fall is doubly unfortunate because it distracted from what has been an absolutely incredible end to the first round of the NBA playoffs. This past weekend, there were five game sevens. Five. And one of the best included Sterling’s soon-to-be former team and the Golden State Warriors.
Having recently moved to San Francisco, I’ve been faced with some difficult bandwagoning decisions. My wife, for instance, wants us to adopt the Giants, but I find myself gravitating more toward the A’s, and ticket prices for 49ers games at their new stadium in Santa Clara ensure that I will be spending football season cost-effectively cursing the Eagles from my couch. The Golden State Warriors, however, are an easy team to like, and I’m happy to have been annexed by “Dub Nation.”
On the surface, the Warriors looked outmatched by the Clips. The latter team features arguably the league’s best point guard in Chris Paul and two bruising man-children in Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. (Combined weight: 516 pounds. Combined charm: infinity.) The Warriors’ best player is Stephen Curry, a 185-pound sprite with a wispy beard and a penchant for making shots that belong in a McDonald’s commercial.
Curry and the Warriors will hoist threes from anywhere on the court, and they jumped out to a quick lead in game seven after burying a few early. Things really got interesting, though, when two Clippers shooters—defensive anti-genius Jamal Crawford and member of Chapel Hill’s terror watch list J.J. Redick—got hot and answered. Both teams had to guard way out beyond the three-point line, because it felt like any of these guys could just pull up from beyond half court. Which is exactly what Curry did as time ran out in the first half, bombing a shot in a split-second after time had expired.
I don’t understand how anyone could watch a series like Clippers-Warriors and say with a straight face that college ball is better than the NBA, or that the NBA is just “all dunking,” or “ lacking fundamentals,” or some other codswallop.
Everyone is pretty impressed that this professional basketball player can regularly make a jump shot.
NFL Hall Of Fame running back Jim Brown fought off alien invaders and dropped grenades on the Nazis, and now he has set his sights on what he calls “the most reprehensible organization God ever created”: the NCAA.
In a recent roundtable discussion, Brown decried the governing body of college athletics for its long-standing exploitation of unpaid “student-athletes.” In 2013, the NCAA’s revenue came in at a cool $913 million. The organization has been running a sizable surplus for years, and like the NFL, it does not pay taxes due to its dubious status as a non-profit. It’s not really up for debate that the NCAA makes millions on the backs of unpaid teenagers, and there is no way this would be an acceptable situation in any other industry. Lacking recourse, football players at Northwestern recently held a vote on the question of forming a union, and others will probably follow suit.
So yeah, the NCAA is awful. But the “most reprehensible organization God ever created”? I think, Mr. Brown, that you might be trafficking in hyperbole, because I have it ranked just outside my top five. In no particular order:
- Goldman Sachs
- The Heritage Foundation/Skinnygirl Margarita (tie)
- The Dallas Cowboys
The NFL’s 2014 schedule is now official. In a piece of good news for long-suffering Eagles fans like myself, it looks like Chip Kelly’s flying circus opens on September 7 with the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, who are led by likable everyman quarterback Chad Henne. With the departure of running back Maurice Jones-Drew, the Jags don’t have a lot of weapons, even if you count official “Offensive Weapon” Denard Robinson (which you shouldn’t).
Apparently, Jacksonville will also be without the services of talented but troubled wide receiver Justin Blackmon. Blackmon was summarily suspended for the last half of the 2013 season for undisclosed substance-abuse violations, and Jaguars GM David Caldwell has said he thinks it unlikely that Blackmon will play at all this coming season. It’s surprising that a team so evidently in need of help would so completely write off a player of Blackmon’s skill, but it’s also encouraging for Jacksonville fans. After taking over in 2013, Caldwell quickly put his stamp on the franchise by resisting calls by certain misguided fans to bring in God’s punt protector, Tim Tebow—so he has a talent for knowing which players shouldn’t be on an NFL team.
Speaking of Tebow, Skip Bayless just wrote a thing that I made the mistake of reading. The first line reads, “I was right about Tim Tebow and I will be right on a much higher level about Johnny Manziel.” If Bayless’ theory is correct—and we have no reason to think it won’t be, besides empirical evidence—then Manziel is destined to become a kind of Super Tebow, a Kwisatz Haderach for the God-fearing NFL set. Like Paul Atreides, Manziel will harness the latent power of the Houston Texans, a team whose home state greatly resembles the desiccated wasteland of Arrakis, and lead them to overthrow the Roger Goodell’s corrupt, non-profit empire.
This past Saturday night, Floyd “Money” Mayweather successfully boxed a guy who is not Manny Pacquiao—specifically, a guy named Marcos Maidana—to remain undefeated. It’s hard to deny that Justin Bieber’s new best buddy Floyd is the best fighter of his generation, but his bouts tend to be technical clinics rather than Rocky-style slugfests. They’re boring as all get out, is what I’m saying. Now, I don’t blame Floyd for fighting defensively and protecting himself from present and future brain damage, but there’s no way I’m going to fork over $65 to watch him not get hit for 10 rounds. You know who I would pay to see? This guy:
The Reds’ speedy youngster Billy Hamilton runs too fast while trying to steal second base, rips a hole in space-time, and gets caught in an infinite loop of small-ball larceny.
We learn how to pronounce “Lecavalier.”
We ask French economist Thomas Piketty to examine the economics of “Dollar Dog Night.”