Miracle Canes win again!; plus LeBron schools Jordan, Battier tops Wade, Giancarlo's smart play, Robbie Rogers' gayness & more
[1) It is SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 17. Ex-Heater Tim Hardaway (pictured), eligible for first time, is one of 12 finalists for Basketball Hall of Fame. I had doubts he was a first-ballot guy but think he'll make it because only Gary Payton (who ended his career with Miami) outshines him on ballot. 2) I get the feeling these allegations against Ryan Braun are going to end badly for him. His previous test-positive for PEDs, though overturned on a technicality, makes it tougher to believe his link to Miami's Biogenesis clinic is innocent. 3) Note: Our Heat Big 5@50 feature will appear as play resumes following the All-Star break. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): LeBron vs. Michael poll, UM hoops, Dolphins logo, D-Wade's socks, Marco Rubio, kangaroos. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]
Click on Random Evidence my today's latest Sunday notes column, leading with (what else?) the wonder of LeBron.
Soon-to-be No. 2-ranked Miracle Canes win again!: Tonight it was a 45-43 last-minute triumph at Clemson, a tough place to play, and the nature of the win underlined the fateful feel of this season for the No. 3-ranked Canes. Miami needed a late three-point shot from Kenny Kadji and a beneficial/debatable charging call against Clemson to rally from four down. UM is now 12-0 in the ACC with a 13th straight win. Amazing. Canes will rise to No. 2 in the polls on Monday.
ALL NET: LEBRON SHOOTS DOWN THE RING OBSESSION: Michael Jordan has won six championships. If you don't believe it, just ask him. He apparently is the mayor of the rings-are-the-thing wing of judging
who's the best in sports. Thus he said Kobe Bryant trumps LeBron James because five (rings) is better than one. "Right on!" agreed Magic Johnson in a Tweet, or words to that effect. Well, it's nonsense and the only people who don't seem to know it are the athletes whose self-worth seems fundamentally rooted in the number of rings they possess. Miami is particularly unreceptive to this thinking, in that we are home to perhaps the greatest player in any sport to not have a ring (Dan Marino), and are somewhat resistent to the idea that, say, Trent Dilfer is in any way greater because he does. LeBron gave voice to this lunacy Friday from NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston, in addressing Jordan's statement. He noted, reasonably, fairly, that Bill Russell's 11 rings does not mean he is "greater" than Jordan. He noted, with a bull's-eye, that greats like Charles Barkley never won a ring while passengers such as Jud Buechler (a miniscule reserve on Jordan's Bulls) did. Rings do not or at least should not define an athlete. All-round individual excellence and dominance in one's era should. By that standard, LeBron stands with anyone, anytime.
Poll result: Surprise! Take LeBron now over Jordan in his prime: Few of our poll results surprise me, but this did. A clear majority of 64.1 percent said they'd rather have LeBron James on their team right now than Michael Jordan in his prime. Yes, Heat fans surely read this blog in greater number than other teams' fans. Yet the percentage favoring LeBron was only slightly higher (66.4%) in the state of Florida, where a greater percentage of Heat fans might be assumed.
BATTIER BEATS WADE AT SOMETHING: ESPN.com lists its Top 75 Players in NCAA Tournament History to mark that event's 75th anniversary, and the Heat's Shane Battier (Duke) ranks 34th to Dwyane Wade's (Marquette) 65th. Battier averaged 22.5 points/10.2 rebounds for the 2001 champions and was Final Four MVP; Wade had a triple-double vs. Kentucky in the regional final to get his team to the Final Four. The list's top five: Lew Alcindor (UCLA), Bill Walton (UCLA), Christian Laettner (Duke), Bill Russell (San Francisco) and Magic Johnson (Michigan State). Other notables include Glen Rice (Michigan) 20th, Isiah Thomas (Indiana) 22nd, Joakim Noah (Florida) 47th, and Michael Jordan (North Carolina) 57th.
STANTON'S SMART GRACIOUSNESS: As Marlins players reported Friday for the full start of spring training Giancarlo Stanton had his pulpit to rehash his disappointment if he chose. To decry the latest fire-sale as he had when it happened a few months ago. Instead Stanton showed maturity and leadership, said he had "turned the page" and would not be "pouting." Traded-away Jose Reyes, now a Blue Jay, regurgitated his disappointment on Friday and said he "felt sorry" for Stanton, but Stanton had the perfect response. "Why?" he said. "I'm in the big leagues. I play a game for a living." Stanton's stance serves him well as the face of the franchise. Nobody wants another Hanley Ramirez in terms of attitude. Pragmatically, Stanton's professional approach also will impress other teams who'll try to pry him from the Marlins. Here's hoping they fail. It's a long-shot that Miami and Stanton would agree on a long-term contract extension, largely because of Jeffrey Loria, but that hope is a lot of what Marlins fans have to hang onto right now.
ON CRISTOBAL'S UM FUTURE: Newly hired Hurricanes assistant Mario Cristobal interviewing for Alabama's O-line job surprised no one at UM, least of all Al Golden. A source on the staff tells us Cristobal made it very clear in taking the job that he wants another head-coaching position as soon as possible, and knows that won't be at Miami if Golden's committment is as solid as it seems. Cristobal seeks a stepping stone, and being on Nick Saban's championship staff is about the best place for any upwardly mobile assistant to be.
ROBBIE ROGERS LEAVES SPORTS STILL WANTING, AND WAITING: Former U.S. National Team midfielder Robbie Rogers said this week he is gay and that he is retiring from soccer, at age 25. Good for him for his honesty. The essence of a person, which includes one's sexuality, is bigger than one's occupation, and a person should come out on his own terms and timetable. Sports is still waiting, though, for the first major American team-sport athlete to reveal himself as gay while still an active player. Particular bravery will be required. To make the revelation in a post-career autobiography or upon retiring is fine, but the first athlete to take this stand in mid-career will be heroic in terms of breaking down barriers and fomenting acceptance. Who will it be? And when?
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