It's Radio Wednesday!: They haven't fired me yet, so I'm back in-studio with the Dan Le Batard Show today from 3 to 7 p.m. on 790 and 104.3 The Ticket, 4-7 on ESPN national radio.
1) It is WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 18. Click on Random Evidence for the latest Sunday notes-column package, leading with Heat-Pacers II. 2) To the several e-mailers who are asking: I have bunch of back-loaded vacation days I need to use before end of year. That's why I have had fewer columns lately. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beat Patriots, DSM poll, Incognito news & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird), Vine (Greg Cote) and Facebook (Greg Cote).
LeBron questionable for Pacers game Wednesday: James missed yesterday's light Heat practice with a sore ankle and is questionable for the game vs. Indiana here tonight.
Dolphins will clinch a playoff spot this coming Sunday if...: ...Miami wins at Buffalo, Baltimore loses to New England, and Cincinnati loses to Minnesota. All three must happen.
SOCHI OLYMPICS: THE SHAME AND OPPORTUNITY: [Update: U.S. Olympic delegation at Opening and Closing ceremonies will include gay athletes, Billie Jean King among them]. The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are less than two months away. By degrees the world's sporting eyes will turn there, and what will be seen won't be all
pleasant, despite the Russian government's wishes and attempts at propaganda. Click HERE for a story about the Sochi governent's recent crackdown and harrassment of local activists protesting the Olympics' negative impact on the environment. The group Human Rights Watch has become involved to condemn the actions and accuse the government of treating activists like terrorists. Of course, the broader spotlight the Olympics will shine on Russia will help expose the country's human rights violations when it comes to gays. Pictured: The official Sochi Games logo, and a protest poster. Vladimir Putin sign into law a ban on "homosexual propaganda," seen as an umbrella law tantamount to criminalizing gays. Elton John, performing in Moscow this month despite protests, dedicated his concert to a young Russian who had been murdered because he was gay, and John spoke out from the stage against the law, calling it "inhumane." President Obama does not plan to attend the Olympics; the presidents of Germany and France already have said they will not. Soon Olympic athletes can make a statement of their own, one more literal. An Olympic torch of sorts will be handed to them. Skier Bode Miller already has called Russia's anti-gay law "absolutely embarrassing." Olympic athletes from here will have a unique worldwide platform, voice and opportunity to speak up for human rights. Perhaps it is generally impolite to criticize one's hosts, but if there is an exception to that, a Winter Olympics in Russia may be it.
THE FIRST 2014 MOCK DRAFT!: It begins. ESPN's Todd McShay beats the crowd with his 1.0 Mock today, and it has UM bowl foe Teddy Bridgewater, the Louisville QB, going No. 1 overall. Also notable: UCF's Blake Bortles No. 3, Johnny Manziel No. 4, Florida D-lineman Dominique Easley 21st, FSU defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan 22nd -- the the Dolphins -- FSU receiver Kelvin Benjamin 27th and Florida cornerback Marcus Roberson 29th. No Canes pegged 1R. As for the Dolphins top-picking a defensive tackle? Doubt it. A lot.
HEAT TITLE, DOLPHINS' BULLYGATE DRIVE 2013 SEARCHES: Google released its annual info on 2013 searches, with some interesting stuff from a Miami vantage. No surprise that LeBron James was the most-searched NBA player or that the double-champion Heat were the most-search NBA team. But the usually under-the-radar Dolphins are the third-most-searched NFL team, with Bullygate the obvious impetus. You want further proof? Richie Incognito turns up No. 7 among overall top athlete searches. Top searches by category:
Top overall athlete searches: 1. Aaron Hernandez, Patriots accused murderer (pictured); 2. Adrian Peterson, Vikings; 3. Kevin Ware, Louisville guard who broke leg in NCAA Tournament ; 4. Jason Collins, NBA player who came out as gay; 5. Oscar Pistorius, "Blade Runner" charged with murder; 6. Lamar Odom, Kardashian-involved basketball player; 7. Incognito, Dolphins' accused bully; 8. Ray Lewis, Ravens champion; 9. Colin Kaepernick, 49ers; and 10. Lindsey Vonn, skiier and Tiger Woods' squeeze.
Top NFL searches: Players--Lewis, Peterson, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Kaepernick. Team--Ravens, Seahawks, Dolphins, 49ers, Falcons. Top NBA searches: Players--LeBron, Jeremy Lin, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard. Teams--Heat, Pelicans, Warriors, Spurs, Rockets. Top MLB searches: Players--Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Cabrera, Bryce Harper, Yasiel Puig, Derek Jeter. Teams--Red Sox, Pirates, Braves, Indians, Rays.
DOLPHINS' PLAYOFFS CHANCES PUT AT 56 PERCENT, BUT...: That's the good news. Makenflplayoffs.com computers say Miami has a 56.39 percent likelihood to make the playoffs. The bad news? That still ranks seventh in the jockeying for six AFC spots. Colts, Broncos and Chiefs already have clinched, then it's Patriots 98.46%, Bengals 79.78, Ravens 63.21 -- after last night's win -- then Dolphins. Miami clinches by winning its last two games, but that eventually hardly is a slam dunk.
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, ARTIST: Multi-talented George Zimmerman, who shot Trayvon Martin to death, has an original painting (pictured) for sale on eBay, and it mortifies and saddens me to say the bidding is around $100,000.
NFL PIX 'N FANTASY / WEEK 15: STAYING HOT ON PICKS, TOO LITTLE TOO LATE IN FANTASY: Cut to the chase... NFL predix: I went 10-6 overall this past week and a buoyant 9-6-1 against the spread (with one game off the board when I picked it). Nailed the Dolphins' upset win. Also bull's-eyed my Upset of the Week with Steelers over Bengals. "Aaawwwk!" Fantasy: Greg's Lobos won big in our consolation-round playoffs, 157-81, fueled by Dez Bryant and the Seahawks defense. That 157 was more than anybody in our championship round scored. Which is what losers say, I know.
Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...