Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bloopers and Blunders: You F***ed Up.



Raise your hand if you enjoy watching people make asses of themselves! Now, keep it up there if you enjoy seeing athletic blunders lead to immense pain!!!

Now, put your hand down because you look ridiculous.

And enjoy this video, the Top 50 Sports Bloopers (according to the guys of the Best Damn Sports Show Period).


Friday, July 30, 2010

Countdown Friday: The Top 10 Bone-Crushing Hits



Every sport has its own distinct version of the collision. In football, it's a powerful tackle by a defender or an incredible truck by the ball carrier. In hockey, it's an open ice hit when a guy has his head down; basketball, it's a defender sliding in to take the charge; soccer, a slide tackle or a 50-50 challenge; baseball, an exciting play at the plate.

So today, we celebrate the big hit. Because there's nothing like a little adrenaline rush to kick off the weekend. Cue Chris Berman: "He just got JACKED UP!"

Let's begin.

Honorable Mentions:





Continue on for the Top 10...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Christ Air



I flipped on ESPN today and was pleasantly surprised with what I found: the X-Games (you know it's a tough time for sports when the X-Games is the best thing on). I enjoyed the BMX biking for a little while, but in about 5 minutes I realized why I never watch the Summer X-Games: because I played Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. A lot. Like, every day for at least a year. And when you put real skating, or real biking, and compare them to the video games, they aren't nearly as cool.

Tony Hawk taught us to believe in lies: you can grind on anything for extended periods of time. You can do a 900, no problem, as long as you have enough special. And - my personal favorite - any pro skater can do a kickflip over a moving car.

I could talk about the X-Games right now. But I think we can agree, it'd be much more fun to take a look at the things that made Tony Hawk's Pro Skater awesome. So close your eyes, feel that N64 controller in your hands, and join me on this journey. (But then, open your eyes, because this journey requires some reading.)

The 5 Best things in Tony Hawk:

5. Getting Tons of Points - Landing that big trick is quite the adrenaline rush.


4. Bucky Lasek - The coolest character in the game. Honorable mention to Bob Burnquist for his fedora.


3. Christ air - Left, right, C-right. Because all things are possible through Christ. Undoubtably the coolest trick in the game.


2. Finding the secret tape - If there's a greater ecstasy than finding a secret tape (without cheating!), then I don't want to know about it.


1. Superman - If my first 12 (OK, 19) years of existence had a soundtrack, this tune might just be the single.





Oh my god no way I never knew this before! Check it out!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Where Are They Now?: Bill Buckner


There's a little roller up along first, behind the bag! It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight and the Mets win it!

That clip sends shivers up and down every spine in New England. What's the first thing you think of when I say "Buckner"? It's got to be that costly error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. It perpetuated the Curse of the Bambino, and in doing so became one of the most infamous moments in baseball history.

Most people don't know anything else about Bill Buckner. He wasn't some dopey scrub who had a penchant for letting slow rolling balls get past him. He played 22 years in the major leagues for the Dodgers, Cubs, Red Sox, Angels, and Royals. He made an All-Star game, won a batting title in 1981, amassed over 2,700 hits, and had a career fielding percentage of .991. Not too shabby. However, despite all of this, he was never able to overcome that one slow roller down the first base line. It's been almost 24 years, and I thought that it was about time that we find out what ever happened to Mr. Buckner.

After the 1986 World Series, Buckner started the 1987 season at first base for the Red Sox. Due to pressure from the fans, Buckner was mercifully traded to the Angels, where he spent the remainder of the '87 and the '88 seasons. He played the 1989 season with the Royals, coming to Fenway Park for the first time as a visiting player. He recieved a standing ovation, and went 1 for 2 with a walk off of Roger Clemens. The Red Sox signed Buckner as a free agent for the 1990 season, which he retired halfway through.

After his retirement, Buckner moved to Idaho with his wife and three children. His son Bobby is currently attending the University of Texas where he is studying business and playing baseball for the Longhorns. Bill became a real estate investor, more specifically working in housing subdivisions. He named one of these "Fenway Park".

One of Buckner's more recent investments didn't pan out. When his boss asked him "Bill, how could you let that one slip through?" he replied, "Um, hello? I'm Bill Buckner."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Love 'Em Or Hate 'Em: Superstars



We're back for round 2 of "Love 'Em Or Hate 'Em." How exciting! In this edition, we'll take a look at a handful of superstar athletes. After a brief discussion, the ultimate decision will be made: is this a guy you should cheer for? Should you add him on Twitter or buy his throwback jersey on Ebay? Or is this a guy you should despise, taking pleasure every time he winds up in the news for being an idiot? Only one way to find out: ready go!


Kobe Bryant - I'll be honest: I wish Kobe was found guilty back in Colorado. He's an arrogant SOB, and I can't stand to watch him play (let alone watch him win). Kobe is largely responsible for the NBA's pathetic shift from a league that's "all about teams" to a league that's "all about me." And he gets EVERY call. Hell, I bet if he bumped into his kitchen counter, Joey Crawford would be right there to call a blocking foul. You probably guessed from this Kobe-inspired rant, I hate 'im.


Tiger Woods - On the rare occasions when I used to watch golf, I rooted for Tiger. But even without considering the whole sex scandal - you're free to make your own judgments about that - I can't stand him anymore. I'm just so sick of hearing about him. He took over ESPN, all day every day, for at least a month. And for that, I hate 'im.


Albert Pujols - It's been a long time since a player like Albert Pujols has come to the MLB. Pulols is an absolutely incredibly hitter. He posts amazing stats year after year, and, in this day and age where everyone is using performance enhancers, he has yet to be tainted by the word "steroids." Maybe I'm naive, or maybe he's the real deal. Pujols has received a multitude of awards, perhaps even the most esteemed honor in all of baseball. The only thing to hate about him - unless you're a Cardinals fan - is that he doesn't play for your team. I hope he does someday, because I love 'im.


Peyton Manning - Peyton Manning is an unbelievably talented quarterback. He throws with velocity and accuracy, making every WR on the Colts' roster look good. There are only good things to say about Peyton Manning, the football player. But there are some bad things to say about Peyton Manning the person: #1 - he's brothers with Eli. Gross. (How can you stand it??) #2 - he does wayyy too many endorsements. And finally #3 - I hear he's kind of a douche. In summary, I hate 'im.


Derek Jeter - Pro: a classy gentleman. Con: plays for the Yankees. It's so easy to hate everyone on the Yankee's roster. But if I had to pick one guy that I can stand, maybe even root for, it would be Derek Jeter. He's a talented player, and quite the leader as well. And who can forget the flip play vs. the A's. It pains me to say it, but I love 'im.


Tom Brady - If you follow the "celeb drama," you might not like Brady too much. But it's hard not to be impressed by his accomplishments. After going at pick 199 in round 6 of the 2000 NFL draft, Brady has hoisted the Vince Lombardi trophy three times. Not bad for a former practice squad player. And he's always good for a solid highlight reel. I hate Tom Brady's pretty boy demeanor, but as a quarterback, I love 'im.


Lebron James - Never have I seen an athlete go from hero to villain as fast as Lebron James did. He went from a talented, budding superstar, to a cocky, egomaniacal jackass. If James had won a championship in Cleveland, I wouldn't have been happy, but I sure would have respected him. If he wins a ring in Miami, I'll hate him even more. As it is, I hate 'im quite a bit, and I hope he never wins a championship.


Brett Farve - Hmm...Do I love Brett Farve? Do I hate him? I'm not sure. I'll tell you once training camp is over. Kidding aside, no athlete has ever annoyed me more than Brett. Shut up, Meg. I hate 'im.


Landon Donovan - Donovan is the closest thing American has to a "soccer superstar." The goal he scored to push the U.S. into the knockout round was the most important goal in U.S. soccer history, and it will be remembered for decades to come. Wherever you were, it was incredible to watch. I hope, for Donovan's sake, the MLS lets him finish his career in the EPL. He deserves it; I love 'im.

That wraps it up for this edition of "Love 'Em Or Hate 'Em." Next time, we'll take a look at...something else. Remember: whether you love 'em, or you hate 'em, we keep on watching 'em.



Monday, July 26, 2010

Schadenfreude At Its Best

I'm having car trouble today - something's wrong with the coolant. I wanted to feel better about myself, so I watched this video. It worked. I feel fantastic.



Sunday, July 25, 2010

Casual Sunday: This Week In Sports



With baseball back, soccer games all week long, and plenty of news every day, it wasn't a bad week to be a sports fan. Hell, it was even a great week to be a NASCAR far, minus all the horrible things that come with being a NASCAR fan. But I digress. Here are this week's Winners and Losers.


Winners
Soccer Exhibitions - This week was a great week to go to a soccer game in the U.S. There were 44,213 fans at PPL Park in Philadelphia to watch the Union play a friendly against Manchester United (Philadelphia kept it close, losing 1-0). Over 20,000 went to see Thierry Henry make his debut in another MLS exhibition. And 32,000+ flocked to Fenway Park to watch Sporting and Celtic battle through 90 minutes of regulation and penalty kicks.

Terrell Owens - Hard to believe any team would be willing to sign the past-his-prime, team-destroying egomaniac. But reports surfaced this week that both the Rams and the Bengals are interested in wasting a few million dollars on extreme mediocrity. Let's play pick 'em - bigger number this season: Owens' TD total or the number of idiots who tune in for the season finale of The T.O. Show?

Dawson, Herzog, and Harvey - Two former Major Leaguers and one former umpire were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Dawson gave an eloquent speech and rocked a sweet tie. When Herzog took the podium, he summed up the tremendous honor succinctly: "It feels like going to heaven before you die," he said.



Losers
Andy Schleck - After losing the lead in the Tour de France because his chain fell off, Schleck looked for his vengeance against Alberto Contador. Proper cycling etiquette calls for other riders in a group to wait if a fellow biker is suffering mechanical problems, and Schleck was disappointed (I love this question from an interviewer) when Contador failed to obey the unwritten rules. "I wouldn't want to take the jersey like that," Schleck said after the race. "My stomach is full of anger and I want to take my revenge in the next few days." I don't think losing to Contador for the 2nd year in a row was what Schleck had in mind.

Detroit Tigers - As baseball heats up after the All-Star break, contenders - like the Detroit Tigers - are looking to build towards a playoff push. That just got a lot harder for the #3 team in the AL Central. The Tigers are 3 games back of first, but had to place Brandon Inge, Magglio Ordonez, and Carlos Guillen on the DL this week. Talk about some bad "breaks" (ha ha!).

Hasheem Thabeet - NBA D-Leaguer (and former #2 overall pick) Hasheem Thabeet finally made his way back into the highlight reels. Unfortunately for "HasheemTheDream," the aforementioned highlight belongs to Tyler Wilkerson. Check out the Spurs' undrafted power forward posterize the 7' 3" Thabeet, summer league style.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dropping the Ball

I felt bad about forgetting to blog about sports today until I came across this video. The Top 10 Career Defining Mistakes in sports. At least I'm not these guys.

 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Countdown Friday: The Top 10 NFL Draft Busts


It's always fun to look at the players who should have been but never were. So here are the top 10 players in the NFL who couldn't quite hack it. Enjoy.

10. Blair Thomas (RB, Penn State)
Thomas was drafted second overall by the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets in 1990. He played 5 seasons, during which he was hampered by several injuries. He finished his career with 2,236 yards and 7 TDs. The next running back that went in the 1990 draft was selected fifteen picks later by the Dallas Cowboys. You've probably heard of him - some guy named Emmit Smith.

9. David Carr (QB, Fresno State)
I feel bad putting Carr on this countdown because he never had a chance. Carr was the face of the Houston Texans in the franchise's first few years of existence. Unfortunately, that face spent most of it's time buried under defensive players. He was sacked 76 (!!!) times in his first season with Houston and it didn't get much better than that. (He's been sacked a total of 265 times.) But with a career record of 23-56, Carr has to be considered a draft bust. A former #1 overall, Carr is now bouncing from team to team as a 2nd or 3rd string guy.

8. Akili Smith (QB, Oregon)
Smith was the third overall pick in 1999. The Bengals had been offered 9 total picks in exchange for pick #3, but the Bengals turned down the offer and selected Smith. He missed most of training camp his rookie year over a contract dispute and was unable to grasp the playbook. He put up 5 TDs, 13 INTs, 2,212 yards, and a QB rating of 52.8 in 4 years, at which point he was cut by Cincinnati. He then bounced around NFL Europe and the CFL before retiring.

7. Tony Mandarich (OT, Michigan State)
In the first round of the 1989 draft, the top 5 picks were: #1 Troy Aikman, #2 Tony Mandarich, #3 Barry Sanders, #4 Derrick Thomas, and #5 Deion Sanders. Once of these things is not like the others.  Mandarich was the highest rated OL prospect of all time. He was 6’5” and weighed 300 pounds, ran a 4.65 40-yard dash at the combine, had a 30” vertical, and recorded a then-record 39 reps at 225 lbs on the bench press. Mandarich was touted as “The Incredible Bulk," but he later admitted to years of steroid use while at MSU and with the Packers. He once challenged Mike Tyson to a fight, and often missed interviews because he was too drunk or hung over. He was cut after 3 seasons of underwhelming performance and injury.
6. Charles Rogers (WR, Michigan St.)
Rogers went second overall in the 2003 draft - after Carson Palmer and before Andre Johnson (oops). He recorded 22 catches for 243 yards in his rookie year before breaking his collarbone. He missed the rest of the season. In his second season, he broke his collarbone again on the third play from scrimmage. In his third year, he was suspended for the first four games after violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. He had, it later surfaced, failed a drug test every year at MSU. He played 9 games, starting 3, and had 14 catches for 197 yards with 1 TD. He was cut after his third season.
5. Tim Couch (QB, Kentucky)
Drafted first overall by the Cleveland Browns. Enough said. Oh yeah, and he wasn't very good but got some serious cash ($12.25 million signing bonus).
4. Rae Carruth (WR, Colorado)
Carruth played 4 years at University of Colorado before being drafted 27th overall by the Carolina Panthers. He signed a 4-year deal for $3.7 million and caught 44 passes for 545 yards in his rookie year. He was tied for the rookie lead with 4 TDs and was selected to the NFL's all-rookie team. So why was this guy a bust? The way his career ended. In his second season, be broke his foot in Week 1 and missed the entire year. And midway through his third season, he planned and participated in an attempt to kill his pregnant girlfriend. Not cool. Carruth was convicted of conspiracy to commit first degree murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle, and using an instrument to destroy an unborn child. His biggest statistic? How about a 291-month-and-25-day jail sentence.

3. JaMarcus Russell (QB, LSU)
Russell was the 1st overall pick in 2007. He signed a deal that included $32 million guaranteed, the largest amount of guaranteed money at the time. JaMarcus reported to training camp at 295 pounds, which was 30 over his playing weight at LSU. His career stats include 18 TDs, 23 INTs, 15 fumbles, 4,083 yards, a 65.2 passer rating, a 52% completion percentage, and a record as a starter of 7-18. The Raiders cut Russell after the 2009-2010 season, and he has since been in the news only for his arrest. Apparently, you're not supposed to have codeine syrup without a prescription.

2. Ryan Leaf (QB, Washington St.)
Taken second overall by the Chargers in 1998 after Peyton Manning, Ryan Leaf was one of the most highly touted QB prospects of all time. The Chargers traded 2 first round picks, a second round pick, and pro-bowler Eric Metcalf to get Leaf. He received an $11.25 million signing bonus, the largest ever at the time. In his 4-season career, he managed to muster an extremely disappointing 14 TDs, 36 INTs, and 3,666 yards. He also had a career completion percentage of 48.4 % and a lifetime QB rating of 50. Even though I don't really know what a QB rating is, I know that sucks. And oh yeah, Leaf was recently convicted of illegal possession of painkillers and was removed from his position as QB coach at West Texas A&M.

1. Steve Emtman (DL, Washington)
Emtman was a #1 overall pick, and edges Leaf as the #1 draft bust of all time for that reason. If you're going to take a defensive lineman at #1, you'd better get it right. And the Colts didn't.  Emtman played three seasons in Indy and had a miserable 5 sacks, with 1 INT. He blew out his left knee after nine games during his rookie campaign. In his second season, he tore his patellar tendon after five games. He miraculously came back from that injury, but in year three of his career ruptured a disc in his back after colliding with a teammate. He managed to play in three more games but was then forced to undergo season ending surgery. He ended his career in Washington after 5 years a total of 8 sacks. Compare that to the most recent DL taken #1 overall - Mario Williams (4 years, 39.5 sacks) and you've got yourself the #1 NFL draft bust. (Good to know: Quentin Coryatt, the #2 overall in the same draft also went to the Colts. Yeah, I've never heard of him either.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Athlete of the Week: Jeremy Lin

 Jeremy Lin: Athlete of the Week

Jeremy Lin was a no-brainer for our new column, "Athlete of the Week". The Harvard grad made a splash at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas last week, and the undrafted guard wound up getting a one year contract with his home town Golden State Warriors, with an option for a second season.

Hailing from Palo Alto, California, Lin was a team captain and standout at Harvard. Last season he averaged 16.4 points, 4.5 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game. He was a unanimous All-Ivy selection at point guard, and was a finalist for both the John R. Wooden Award (Best D-1 player in the country) and the Bob Cousy Award (Best D-1 point guard in the country).

His breakout performance came on July 15th, when the Mavericks squared off against the Wizards. Lin was matched up against #1 overall pick John Wall. He scored 9 points in the fourth quarter alone, and also played excellent defense. Lin's summer league performance drew interest from the Lakers, Mavericks, and Warriors. He eventually decided on the Warriors, his favorite team growing up.

At 6'3" 200 pounds, Lin definitely has the size to play in the NBA. The major concerns are his inconsistent jump shot, and adjusting to the deeper NBA 3-point line. He has the aggressive attitude and ability to be a good penetrating guard. He also seems to work well off of pick-and-rolls. Lin may not be the biggest, strongest, fastest, or most highly touted player, but he's a great story and he's fun to watch. And hey, if basketball doesn't work out, he's got a Harvard degree to fall back on.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

NHL Koval-chuks That Deal Out The Window


On Monday, my esteemed colleague offered his commentary on the Devils' 17-year, $102 million deal with Ilya Kovalchuk. The "thesis" of his argument? The deal was absurd. And it seems the NHL has agreed.

I don't mean to give the wrong impression - the NHL can't throw out a deal just because the terms seem ridiculous. This contract was rejected because it is, according to the NHL, in violation of the salary cap.

SALARY CAP 101: Every sport has different rules - some subtle, some overt - regarding the manner in which the salary cap functions. In the NHL, the "cap hit" (the amount of money that counts against the salary cap) each year is essentially the average annual salary of the entire contract. Basically, take the total dollar amount of a deal and divide it by the number of years the contract runs, and you've got the annual cap hit.

So back to Kovalchuk's deal, which was structured like this:
Years 1 and 2: $6 million each year
Years 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7: $11.5 million each year
Year 8: $10.5 million
Year 9: $8.5 million
Year 10: $6.5 million
Year 11: $3.5 million
Year 12: $750,000
Years 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17: $550,000 each year

A total of $102 million over $17 years means a $6 million cap hit each year. But the NHL declared that the Devils were circumventing the cap. The six years at the end of the deal ($750,000 for one year and $550,000 for five years) drag the average down. Without those six years, the cap hit would be over $8.95 million per year. Kovalchuk makes $98.5 million of the total $102 million in the 11 years (roughly two-thirds) of the deal. And no one really expects Kovalchuk to play the last few years of his contract, when he'll be over 40.

The National Hockey League Players' Association has 5 days to file a grievance. We can expect the NHLPA to do so. Deals like this, though sneaky, have been accepted by the NHL in the past. Take a look at the most recent "frontloaded" contract, Marian Hossa's deal with the Blackhawks.

If you give a team a salary cap, they'll ask for a way to get around it. Without an established rule, it's hard to say which frontloaded contracts are permissible and which ones are not. Look for the NHL to come out with a definite set of rules, if not this year then at least in the not too distant future. Who knows, they might even name it the "Kovalchuk Rule."

But if they don't, I guess I'll look like a chuk-ing idiot.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How Eli Manning Ruined The St. Louis Rams




With a record deal in the works between Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams, I can't help but think the obvious: Wow, the Rams front office is full of idiots. Ever since they lost Super Bowl XXXVI, the Rams have been careening on a downward spiral. And this upcoming Bradford deal will have them scraping the bottom of the NFL barrel for years to come.

Peyton Manning was drafted first overall in 1998. Since then, quarterbacks drafted at #1 are: Tim Couch (1999), Michael Vick (2001), David Carr (2002), Carson Palmer (2003), Eli Manning (2004), Alex Smith (2005), JaMarcus Russel (2007), Matthew Stafford (2009), and Sam Bradford (2010). There's lots to say about draft busts - and don't worry we'll countdown the top draft busts on a Countdown Friday in the near future. But even if Bradford turns out to be a solid player, the Rams still made an enormous mistake.

Why? Today's post has nothing to do with skill. It's all about straight dolla's.

Up until 2004, the first overall pick received about $10 million dollars in guaranteed money. There were some fluctuations, but this number never exceeded $12.25 million. So what changed? Enter NFL crybaby Eli Manning. "I don't wanna play in San Diego! Trade me!" Somebody call whine-1-1, we need a whambulence.

But I digress. Eli changed everything. Not because he's good at football *cough* but because of his contract: six years, $54 million, with $20 million guaranteed. It was double the guaranteed money of Carson Palmer, the #1 overall from just one year before. And since Eli's deal in 2004, guaranteed money has continued to increase at an alarming rate. Bradford is expected to sign for approximately $50 million guaranteed.

I don't think Bradford will be a bust. I think he'll be a decent player who'll win 4 or 5 games this year and 6 or 7 next year. But even if he turns out to be good, the Rams have shot themselves in the foot. How are you supposed to build a team around a quarterback when there's no money left to buy a decent player? You can't. The best teams in recent years are the ones like the Patriots and the Steelers and the Saints, who built a solid foundation and then found talent later in the draft or in free agency.

The moral of the story? Don't draft #1 in the NFL. Ever. I can see why the Devils gave Kovalchuck a deal worth $102 million. And I can almost see why the Atlanta Hawks paid Joe Johnson. But to give a guy who's never played in the pros $50 million in guaranteed cash? I'm stupefied.

Monday, July 19, 2010

What the Kovalchuk?!

Smile, you just got heinously overpaid.


Sources have reported that highly touted free agent LW Ilya Kovalchuk has agreed to terms with the New Jersey Devils. The contract is reported to be 17 years and worth up to $150 million. Hold on, let me repeat that for emphasis. 17 YEARS!!! $150 MILLION!!! How does this happen?! He's 27 years old right now. Kovalchuk is now signed through his 44th birthday, and is going to average getting $8.8 million over the length of his deal. This is ludicrous.

Props to Kovalchuk for getting paid, but the real champ here is his agent, Jay Grossman. This guy somehow was able to convince an organization that his client would not just be productive until he was 44 years old, but be one of the most productive players in the league for almost 2 decades. Next time I'm about to do anything, I'm hiring Mr. Grossman to negotiate my terms. Who knows? Maybe next time I mow the lawn I'll get $90,000 guaranteed with weed whacking incentives for up to another $50,000 and an opt-out clause half-way through the yard.

Somebody's Got A Case Of The Mondays

...but these guys have it even worse. See what happens when fans get involved where they shouldn't, crossing players who aren't in the best of moods to begin with.


And you thought you were having a rough day at the office.



Looking to the Week Ahead

As the summer rolls along, we move into sports limbo, a time between meaningful and entertaining sporting events. With the NBA and NHL seasons behind us, and the NBA summer league reaching it's conclusion, we have to wait another 3 months to see the season start. The NFL is a month and a half away from kicking off the season. Now that the British Open and Wimbledon are completed, there isn't much to look forward to in terms of classy sports until the PGA championship or US open, but those aren't until August. So here's all I could find to watch for in the upcoming week:

Cardinals vs. Phillies / Braves vs. Padres
These are some mid-season match ups that we could be seeing again come October. There is a pretty good chance that at least 3 of these teams will be representing the NL in the postseason. These series could give us some insight on who should be the favorite, and how these teams match up with one another.

NFL Camps Start
This week, starting on the 23rd, the Browns, Cowboys, Chargers, Patriots, Ravens, and Broncos will begin their quest for Super Bowl rings as preseason camps finally begin. Everyone else starts next week. This is an exciting time for Football fans, because it gives us a chance to see our teams, and what they could become. There is hope for all, because at this juncture, anything is possible.

Tour de France
It's happening. I heard Lance Armstrong was in it again.

And that's all I got.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Casual Sunday: The Week That Was


It certainly wasn't the most exciting week of sports. The World Cup was over, baseball took it's midseason hiatus, and golf was still golf. Still, there were a few bright spots. Here are the big stories from the week that was in sports:

NL All-stars def. AL All-stars, 3-1
It was the NL's first midsummer classic win since 1996, and it followed the theme of the year in baseball: pitching. The league's best hitters combined for just 13 hits against Major League Baseball's finest pitchers. Great if you like low-scoring duels, hard to watch if you like a good slugfest.
What it means: The NL will have World Series home field advantage. So, when the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Tigers, or Rangers win the AL, that team will get to finish a World Series sweep at home. Because the NL can't hold a candle to the AL, plain and simple.

Louis Oosthuizen Wins The Open Championship By 7 Strokes
I didn't watch it, but ESPN told me so it must be true.
What it means: The recent trend of lesser-known players winning on the pro circuit continues. Not only was this Oosthuizen's first major championship, it was the second time he'd made the cut in a major in 9 tries. Ultimately, it means we're headed for an era of relative parody in golf. Don't be surprised if Tiger fails to win a major for the next several years.

New York Red Bulls Sign Thierry Henry
The Red Bulls have brought the French superstar to the MLS. He'll debut for the team on Thursday in an exhibition against English team Tottenham Hotspur. Henry's signing is highly reminiscent of the L.A. Galaxy's acquisition of David Beckham several years ago.
What it means: Sadly, not much. Henry will be marketed much like Beckham was, and he sure will increase jersey sales. But the guy is past his prime. The MLS is in danger of become a place where good careers go to die, and until the league lands a high-profile player still in his prime, deals like this one will ultimately proceed from hype to disappointment.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Whoops

So I forgot to blog today, and it's late and I don't feel like doing a real post, so here's a video of Vince Carter dunking on some people. Enjoy

Friday, July 16, 2010

Countdown Friday: The Greatest Sports You've Never Seen



There are already plenty of great sports to watch. Basketball, baseball, hockey, football, and - more recently - soccer have all become popular professional sports in America. But what about those of us who want to explore deeper into the world of sports? Sure, the traditional American lineup provides us with hours and hours of entertainment, but there are lots of other great sports out there. We've combed issue after issue of Obscure Sports Quarterly, scoured the intraweb, and even - it hurts to say - watched Versus in order to bring you the top 10 sports you've never (or barely) seen.


10. Underwater Hockey / Octopush - Underwater hockey is exactly what it sounds like. This video makes me nauseous, much like the thought of playing hockey underwater. But I'm still intrigued.


9. Swamp Soccer - If you've ever played soccer in the rain, you can image how fun swamp soccer might be. It certainly is entertaining, even if it looks like the first 30 seconds of a Tide commercial.


8. Rugby - Sure, you've heard of rugby, and you've probably seen it. But raise your hand if you actually understand it. Rugby makes this list because it's one of those sports that's very exciting, but only if you comprehend what's going on. It hasn't gotten big in the U.S. because there's no glamor, no room for "superstar" images. But it sure is fun to watch, especially when you want to see grown men beat the crap out of each other and bleed a lot.

7. Wife Carrying - The man runs over hurdles, through water, and up hills while the woman holds on for dear life. It sounds as boring as it seems bizarre. And yet somehow, I love it.


6. Cheese Rolling - Occasionally featured on ESPN's Not Top 10, cheese rolling looks like one of the worst ideas in the history of man. But it sure is fun to watch. The rules are simple: a wedge of cheese is rolled down a steep hill. Be the first to pick it up. And oh yeah, try not to die.


5. Rock, Paper, Scissors - Sure you know the game, but did you know there's actually a league? What I'm wondering is how the rules can be longer than three lines: rock beats scissors, scissors beats paper, paper beats rock, duh. My favorite term from the RPS glossary? The "peace out, bitch."


4. Bossaball - If you've ever thought to yourself, "I want to like volleyball, but it's just so boring" then you're not alone. Lucky for you, there's bossaball. It's volleyball with soccer juggling skills mixed in played on a giant inflatable court with trampolines in the middle. Yep, that's pretty much the only way to describe it.


3. Chess Boxing - Because it's hilarious. Players begin with a four-minute round of chess, which is followed by a three-minute round of boxing. To add to the excitement, the form of chess used is "speed chess," in which each player only has 12 minutes to complete the game. The match lasts a total of up to 11 rounds. The ways to win are by knockout, by checkmate, by judges' decision, or by a timeout (if your opponent goes over 12 minutes in chess).


2. Team Handball - Handball has not yet become popular in America, but it has all the necessary ingredients: a fast pace, highlight reel plays, and lots & lots of scoring. Even more fun than watching handball? Playing.


1. Slamball - Everyone who has ever owned the two most fun recreational objects - a trampoline and a basketball hoop - has had the same brilliant idea: what if we combined them?!?! Well, Mason Gordon had the knowhow and the entrepreneurial skills to turn this backyard idea into a professional league. Slamball is a full contact sport that combines basketball rules with hockey attitudes. And oh yeah, 8 trampolines. My favorite part? There are no free throws. When an infraction occurs, the player who was fouled goes up against the guy who fouled him in a face-off, a 1-on-1 showdown that almost guarantees a mid-air collision in front of the hoop.



Honorable Mentions 
Extreme Ironing - Yep, it's a thing.
Bikini mud wrestling - Because we're men.
Mindball - Players are connected to brainwave machines and try to move a ball by being as relaxed as possible. OK, sure.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Something Funny Happened At The ESPYs?

The scene is an ESPN board room. A group of men in suits sit around a giant table. The tension in the room is palpable, as a deadline races closer and closer.

Director: We've got a problem. There is literally nothing to air Wednesday night. No MLB, no NBA, not even a World's Strongest Man episode.

Producer: Can't we just show a WNBA game? The Liberty are playing.

Director: Get out.

The producer leaves, ashamed.


Director: Now, where were we?

Workplace D-Bag: I've got an idea! What if we made an award show, for sports!

Director: That sounds miserable. But it's the best we've got.

And thus, the ESPYs were born.


But hey, it can't be all bad if you include Paul Rudd and Steve Carell.

Why the World Cup Won't Help Soccer in the US



As many of you may know, on July 11th a little tournament called the World Cup wrapped up in South Africa. With over 1 billion viewers, this is the most popular event in the world. With increased ratings here in the US, there was speculation that soccer may finally be ready to take off. You know the last time that claim was made? 2006. And before that? 2002. What about before that? 1998. Every time the World Cup happens, everyone thinks, "This is it! Finally! The US will embrace the world's game and it will change the landscape of professional sports in this country!" I'm going to tell you why this will once again fail to happen.

Last night I attended a SuperLiga game between the New England Revolution and Pumas UNAM of the Mexican professional league. This is supposed to be a big deal. It wasn't. The fan turnout was minimal, as Sam's Army couldn't even fill their section. The majority of the stadium was closed off because otherwise it would appear embarrassingly barren. At least 40% of the fans at the game were donning the Pumas or Mexican national team jerseys. When you can't even draw enough fans to have the significant majority at a home game against a team from another country, how am I supposed to believe that this game is on the rise? Here are the major reasons why this year will be no different than any other World Cup year here in the States

Low Quality of Play
Watching the World Cup for a month and then being subjected to the MLS was like sipping on Patron for years and then being forced to funnel 3 PBR's. Painful, sickening, and ultimately depressing. There were so many bad passes I thought JaMarcus Russel was out there. The shots were rarely on net, and neither team could construct a strong attack. Revolution keeper Bobby Shuttleworth could not have done less as he watched a Pumas strike from outside the box ring off the crossbar. Here in the States we are used to watching the best of the best compete. Why pay to watch a low level of competition?

Lack of Connection to Teams
One of my buddies at the game said "I'd rather watch our old high school team play, because at least I'd know the kids and feel some sort of a connection." When our nation's best, our team's heroes, are off competing abroad, who are we left with? I can't blame them for going; there's more money, larger fan bases, and a stronger level of competition overseas. However, why would we watch soccer here, or care at all, if we didn't have the opportunity to watch our best players?

Too Many Choices
One of the benefits to living in the greatest country in the world is the freedoms which we are allowed. We have more opportunities here than most people can even dream of. We should be incredibly thankful for that, but it has hindered our relevance on the world stage in soccer. Many countries play soccer because it is easy to play, and it is so cheap. The low cost is an incentive to nations that don't have the capital to invest in basketball courts or hockey rinks. With so many choices of sports to play, our best and brightest young athletes choose games that are more financially sound than soccer. Why would any young teen choose the MLS when he could get a multi-million dollar deal from the NBA before his 20th birthday?

Once the hype has died down, this year will be no different than any other. Soccer is still waiting for it's big break here in the states, and I wouldn't hold my breath.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Mighty Wombats


As I was watching pitchers hose down baseball's "best" hitters last night during the MLB All-Star Game, I couldn't help but wonder: Are the other six people watching this game right now as bored as I am? I tried to think of the last time I really enjoyed a baseball game, but I couldn't quite put a finger on it. And then it came to me.

It was a classic playoff showdown at Steele Stadium between the Mighty Wombats and the Humungous Melonheads. With the score tied in the bottom of the sixth, Amir Khan rung the roof of the barn in straightaway center to give my Wombats the victory. This Backyard Baseball thriller, and hundreds if not thousands of others, were a staple of so many childhoods. So today, we pay tribute to perhaps the greatest sports game ever created with The Backyard Baseball All-Star Lineup. Because "Ages 5 to 10" is just a recommendation.

There is, of course, no bench, so the lineup consists of 9 kids. Players are selected based on skill, versatility, and of course my own personal preferences.

Pitcher - Angela "Sugar Pop" Delvecchio
Angela's got the best fastball you can find, and her off-speed stuff is equally impressive. She can even help herself out from the plate with her very powerful bat. You'd better hope she puts it out of the park, thought, because Angela was not blessed with any speed.

Catcher - Mikey "Nugget" Thomas
Mikey is often underestimated as a player, but the kid sure can hit. He's as slow as molasses, though, so it's a good thing he can put a charge into the ball. Few people know about his impressive arm. He makes a great catcher because he's got an absolute hose. Put him behind the plate, and he'll gun down would-be base stealers all day long.


1st Base - Achmed "Axeman" Khan
Every team needs a clutch hitter, and Achmed Khan is one of the game's best. With a tremendous amount of timely power, Achmed reminds me of a David Ortiz (during the steroid era, of course). Achmed's not the best fielder, but hey, he's good enough to play first.


2nd Base - Luanne "Lulu" Lui
Luanne is the classic 2nd baseman - undersized, but very quick. She plays very well in the field and is an excellent number nine hitter. She has perfected the "swinging bunt" and is a base-stealing aficionado. She's also an outstanding pitcher and serves as the #2 in my 2-man Backyard Baseball pitching rotation.

3rd Base - Stephanie "Bubbles" Morgan
Stephanie rides her fielding ability into this lineup. Always ready for anything, she's a natural in the hot corner. Stephanie can also serve as a useful middle reliever to chew up innings if Angela is out of juice. Not known for her power at the plate, she can still make solid contact with pitches and is a consistent singles hitter.

Shortstop - Pablo "Secret Weapon" Sanchez
Hands down the best player in the game, Pablo can do it all. He bats in the .700 - .800 range every season while still hitting for power. He can come up big in the field too, and can even be called upon in the late innings to take the mound and close out a game.


Left Field - Kiesha "Flash" Phillips
Kiesha is a solid all-around player. She gets job done at the plate, covers lots of ground on the field, and runs with surprising speed on the base-path. She doesn't quite have the power to be the marquis bat in a lineup, but she's always a threat for extra bases. And every now and then, she puts one out over the wall.


Center Field - Pete "Wheelie" Wheeler
Known almost exclusively for his speed, Pete is undoubtably the fastest player in the game. Anytime you need a hit, he can drop down a bunt and beat the throw to first. He makes a great center fielder because he can track down everything. (Whether he catches it or not is another matter entirely, however.) Don't expect Pete to play with solid fundamentals - he certainly isn't the sharpest crayon in the box. Just expect him to run, Forest, run.

Right Field - Amir "Sticks" Khan
Amir is a key player and an "unsung hero" type. He goes deep almost as often as his brother, Achmed, and plays very well in the field. A 3 for 5 day is the norm for this kid, and don't be surprised if he hits for the cycle every now and then. His pitching is often underrated, as he is a more than capable reliever, and a southpaw too.

Batting Order
Pete Wheeler, CF
Amir Khan, RF
Pablo Sanchez, SS
Achmed Khan, 1B
Kiesha Phillips, LF
Mikey Thomas, C
Angela Delvecchio, P
Stephanie Morgan, 3B
Luanne Lui, 2B

Most Valuable Hitting Power Up: Aluminum Power. Duh.

Most Valuable Pitching Power Up: Elevator. How the hell are you supposed to hit it?? It's a bit of an upset over Big Freeze and Fireball, but I've been taken deep on a Big Freeze before and the Fireball is too quick to be satisfying.

Snubs: Jocinda "MVP" Smith, Kenny "K-Man" Kawaguchi, Tony "Vec" Delvecchio


If you want to be shocked and depressed, you can go here to check out what the players now look like (they even have incredibly complicated backstories, seriously WTF). You can also head here for a complete list of players, including the ones they discontinued (!!!) in 2009.

That's For the Fan to Decide

Sometimes, but definitely only sometimes, we want to hear the opinions of the Sports Casual follower(s). Did baseball make a mistake by ending the steroid era? Is soccer ever going to catch on in the U.S? Which one of us is better looking?


My friends, that's for the fan to decide.


Here are today's best knowledge drops:


"Zydrunas Ilgauskas is following LeBron James to the Miami Heat...Is this more of a slap in the face than LeBron's departure?


To add insult to injury, the Indians won't get home field advantage in the World Series."


-"Big Daddy" Dave Fernandez


"Fun fact: John Kruk is 0 for 7 in his last 7 all-star game picks."

-Mike McCarthy


If you have a thought, fun fact, or other tidbit of goodness that you'd like to contribute, you can email us at sportscasualblog@gmail.com. Alternatively, you can just say something funny around one of us and we'll steal it from you.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

George Steinbrenner dies at age 80


This morning at 6:30am, New York Yankees majority owner George Steinbrenner died of a massive heart attack. Steinbrenner's health had been declining in the past couple years. He was one of the most iconic and influential figures in the history of American sports. In 1973 he bought the Yankees for $8.7 million and turned them into the third most valuable sports franchise in the world, with an estimated value of $1.6 billion. He turned around a team that had fallen from its status as world champions and brought them back to relevance. He won 16 division titles, 11 AL pennants, and 7 World Series as an owner. He changed the way teams were build and run not just in baseball, but across the board. His fiery and confrontational attitude was notorious. That, combined with his hands on methods of running his organization, got him into frequent arguments with his rotating cast of managers and the media. There was another side to Steinbrenner though. He was known for taking care of his employees and their families, even after they parted ways. He would often keep staff members on the payroll as "scouts", paying them well past their tenure so that they could support their families or put their child through college. He is a legend of the game, and his legacy will never be matched. Rest in peace, George.

"Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing. Breathing first, winning next" - George Steinbrenner (1930-2010)

Monday, July 12, 2010

March Madness Surprise

The NCAA announced the new 68-team format. And yes, there's a twist.

Earlier this year, the tournament committee declared that it would be expanding from a 65-team field to 68 teams. This was certainly a much better alternative to extreme expansion; there were rumors that 96 or even 128 teams would be invited to next year's tournament.

But the incorporation of these new teams had not yet been decided. Until today. The tournament will kick off with a "First Four" round, with 8 teams playing preliminary qualifiers. Instead of having these games decide all four 16 seeds, two games will consist of the lowest 4 seeds and two more will include the last four at-large bids.

So what does this mean? Well, we'll see two games that are highly reminiscent of this year's Arkansas-Pine Bluff vs. Winthrop showdown (instead of just one). But in addition, instead of watching Joe Lunardi whine about the "first four out," these four teams will be trying to play their way in. The lowest seeds are typically reserved for mid-majors, so the two winners will likely wind up with 10 seeds.

Personally, I like this idea. The NCAA chose it because it is a fair compromise between mid-majors and at-larges. But compromise shmompromise. I like it because it will create more drama for the fan. Imagine if we got to see Arizona State vs. Illinois or Virginia Tech vs. Mississippi State for the last spot in the field of 64. Would've been nuts.

Of course, you can expand the field as large as you want, and there will always be a "first four out." But at least this way, some decisions get made on the court, not in a boardroom.

Welcome to Sportsville. Population: Not Much.

Here are all the games, events, and various other happenings that I'm looking forward to this week:

(Cue the tumbleweed)



See, "it's a metaphor for a crap [week in sports]." That's right, the next few days are as barren as the Gobi. I think I'm in withdrawal. My remote control thumb is twitching. If there's one thing Tiger Woods taught us this year, it's that sex rehab exists. I mention this because I'm hoping that's sports rehab is a real place too. If it is, sign me up.

So let me phrase the opening a different way. Here are things that are happening in sports this week that I may or may not pay attention to:

The Tour de France - If I had to choose between watching professional cycling or NASCAR, I'd choose death. But hey, the winner pockets 450,000 euros ($566,000+), so I guess somebody cares.

The MLS Regular Season - It's certainly no World Cup, but at least American soccer fans have something to watch during the "World Cup hangover."

The MLB All-Star Break - If you've never watched the annual celebrity softball game, I highly recommend it. But that's about the only event in Anaheim worth watching this week. The Home Run Derby is fun for about 30 minutes. Watching players take swing after swing is, in the words of Mitch Hedberg, like pancakes - "all exciting at first, but by the end you're fucking sick of them." And as far as the actual game goes, I'm sure we're in line for another 3-2 barnburner.

An MLB All-Star Game Aside:
The "This Time It Counts" rule (World Series home-field advantage goes to the all-star game winner) is one of the dumbest ideas in the history of sports. The MLB all-star game is treated like an exhibition in every other way possible (just look at guys like Ty Wigginton and Evan Meek making the team because every club has to be represented). Imagine if the Boston Celtics had home court in game 7 against the Lakers because the East edged the West by 2 points in Dallas. A championship could eventually be decided by this rule. It's an absolute farce, yet almost what we'd expect from incompetent commissioner Bud Selig.

The NBA Summer League - Every summer, the NBA executives use this "league" as an excuse to go hang out in Orlando and Las Vegas. If I were an NBA exec, I'd do that anyway. No excuse necessary.

A golf tournament - I forget which one, but chances are it won't be exciting.

One thing that never gets old? Twiggy the waterskiing squirrel. Perhaps the highlight of the week.




Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Week in Review

This past week has been quite a wild one for sports, with plenty going on all across the board. Here were the highlights:

Soccer
Germany took down Uruguay 3-2 as expected in the third place game. They were able to come back from down 2-1 with a couple nice goals in the second half. In the championship, Spain survived a dreadfully boring first half and was able to pull out a win over the Netherlands 1-0 in extra time. Iniesta scored in the 116th minute after earlier blowing 2 nice opportunities by refusing to shoot with his left foot. Luckily for Spain, he finally got the ball on the right hand side.

Baseball
The final spots for the All-Star game were filled, with Reds first baseman Joey Votto taking his much deserved spot on the NL team, and Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher beating out Kevin Youkilis in a close race for the final spot on the AL roster. Also, due to staggering numbers that support the idea that participating in the home run derby will ruin the rest of your season, Yankee manager Joe Girardi pulled Robinson Cano from the spectacle. Cano said he agrees with the decision, and he is definitely a player whose production the Yankees can't afford to lose if they want to repeat as World Series champions.

Hockey
Ilya Kovalchuk is continuing to taunt his suitors as he goes to visit the LA Kings once again on his free agency tour. Rumor has it that the deal he is looking for is in the ballpark of 6 year, $60 million. Now I understand he is a prolific goal scorer, but that's an awful lot of money for someone who is reluctant to cross back over his own blue line to play defense.

Basketball
As free agency comes into full swing, some major moves have been made. David Lee went to the Golden State Warriors as part of a sign-and-trade resulting in a 6 year, $80 million contract. Also, there's a rumor that SG Tony Allen is close to signing a 3 year, $10 million deal with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Douchebaggery
LeBron James has become public enemy number one after going through with the most ridiculous, selfish, grandiose, and downright stupid TV special in recent memory. LBJ held an hour long show on ESPN during prime time in order to tell his home town that he is leaving for greener pastures. It has drawn comparisons to "Instead of proposing to your girlfriend, dumping your wife on the Jumbotron. At the Super Bowl." What a Douche. And yes, he gets a capital D.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

World Cup Final Preview: Netherlands vs. Spain


Goalkeepers: In net for Spain will be captain Iker Casillas. Only 2 shots have gotten past him all tournament, and 4 of Spain's 5 wins have been shutouts. Even though the Netherlands' net-minder Maarten Stekelenburg made arguably the best save of the tournament, his play has not been nearly as consistent as that of Casillas. Advantage: Spain


Defense: Spain's back four hasn't allowed a goal in the knockout stage, while Netherlands' defense hasn't kept a clean sheet since the second group stage game (vs. Japan). Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, and Sergio Ramos provide Spain with a star-studded backfield that the Netherlands simply don't have. Advantage: Spain.


Midfield: The Dutch love to blur the lines between "midfield" and "striker," playing several superstars in an attacking midfield position. The most notable are, of course, Sneijder and Robben. Compare them with Spain's most impressive midfielders, Xavi and Xabi Alonso, and you've got yourself one close matchup. This game will be won or lost in the midfield. And it's virtually a toss up. I give Netherlands a slight edge because of their goal-scoring firepower. Advantage: Netherlands


Strikers: When it comes to offensive tandems, it's hard to beat Spain's starting duo of Villa and Iniesta. Still, Spain has been underachieving on offense, never scoring more than 2 goals in a game (and they've only done that twice). Van Persie and Kuyt bring a lot of talent to the Netherlands, so I wouldn't be surprised if they outshine Spain's strikers this game. Still, I'm going by the numbers and giving the Villa/Iniesta (and maybe Torres??) combo the edge.  Advantage: Spain


Intangibles: Netherlands is 6-0-0 in the World Cup and (obviously) the only team to win every game in South Africa. And we all remember that they ousted the tourney favorites, Brazil. Couple that with the fact that Spain has eked out some very close victories, and you've got a recipe for an upset. With Spain's lack of scoring, they're one mistake away from losing this match. Advantage: Netherlands


Prediction: I'm sticking to my guns on this one. Netherlands 2, Spain 1.





Why I Miss Football



As the dog days of summer quickly approach us, all we can do is crank up the AC, hit the beach, and rock some seriously intimidating SPF.

And of course, we can count down the weeks, the days, the hours until September.

Why, you ask, would anyone in their right mind want summer to be over??? Because the weather gets cooler? Because Labor Day is such a bangin' holiday? Because I can't wait to go back to school???

Of course not. I can't wait for September for one simple reason: because on September 9th at 8:30 p.m, the Saints and the Vikings will kick off another NFL season. And I miss football. I miss football so much, I'd almost be willing to watch an entire preseason quarter.

Here are the reasons why:

I miss football because the World Cup is about to end - Soccer spoiled us with games almost every single day. When it's over, what will fill the sports vacuum left in its wake? Professional arm wrestling? (It's a real thing, that's the joke here.)

I miss football because I have no excuse to stay on my couch all Sunday long - And I love my couch. But not your couch.

I miss football because baseball sucks - Just ask George Carlin.

I miss football because LeBron James is a douche - Yes, I watched the TV special.

And finally, I miss football because it's been so long since I've seen anything like this - Get some.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Countdown Friday: The Best Throwback Jerseys in Sports


Everyone is always looking for a sweet throwback jersey that will impress. The keys are to find a combination of great colors, an extinct jersey, and a player that was really good, but might slip out of our minds until we are reminded how awesome they were by seeing you walk by in their jersey. So, I have compiled a list of the 10 best throwback jerseys in sports. There are 5 basketball, 3 hockey, 1 football, and 1 jersey from baseball. Here we go, starting with:

10) Oscar Robertson - Milwaukee Bucks (1972-1973)
The Big O was one of the best players in NBA history, but is rarely in the discussion when we talk about the greats. Combine that with a forest green jersey with red trim and the fact that he played in a minor market like Milwaukee and you have yourself a nice throwback jersey


9) Jackie Robinson - Brooklyn Dodgers (1955)
Jackie Robinson is one of the best players of all time. He also played for the relocated Brooklyn Dodgers. Talent + historic significance + team no longer existing = Sweet throwback.


8) Ron Francis - Hartford Whalers (1988-1989)
Ron Francis was the best player in Hartford Whaler history. He was the captain, and got to rock these awesome green jerseys with the whale tail on the front. This is a great throwback for any hockey fan from the northeast.


7) "Pistol" Pete Maravich - Atlanta Hawks (1973-1974)
Retro design? Check. Colors that the team doesn't use anymore? Check. Nickname on the jersey? Check. Good white basketball player? Check. This passes every test.

6) Shawn Kemp - Seattle Supersonics (1995-1996)
Affectionately nicknamed "Reignman" due to his thunderous dunks and the fact that he was drafted out of community college, Shawn Kemp was a 6-time all-star. He was a star on a now-relocated team, and this jersey will certainly turn heads.


5) John Stockton - Utah Jazz (1988-1989)
John Stockton is one of the greatest point guards of all time. He was a better Steve Nash before Steve Nash. Stockton and Karl "the Mailman" Malone made a dynamic duo in the NBA for years. Combine all that with these shockingly purple jerseys, and you have a great throwback.


4) Joe Thornton - Boston Bruins Alternate (2002-2003)
While this jersey may be relatively young, it is no longer used by the Bruins. It is also a very loud yellow, and has a giant bear on the front that should probably look more angry than it does. Thornton was the franchise player, and won an MVP award the year after this jersey came out. For the San Jose Sharks. It still hurts.


3) Warren Moon - Houston Oilers (1993-1994)
Warren Moon was a true journeyman. Between his time in the CFL and NFL, he has the most passing yards in football history. He was one of the few black QBs that had gotten an opportunity and found success in the NFL. He was a transcendent player on a team that no longer exists. The powder blue jerseys are pretty cool too.


2) Wayne Gretzky - Indianapolis Racers (1978-1979)
This jersey could be #1 based on its obscurity alone. Before Wayne became the greatest player in the history of hockey, he spent some time in the WHA playing with the Racers, because they didn't have a minimum age limit. He was able to play against a high level of competition at age 17. This team is long gone, and finding a replica jersey like this one is nearly impossible.

And the best throwback jersey of all time is....



1) LeBron James - Cleveland Cavaliers (2009-2010)
Too soon?