1) It is THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27. This week's Sports Illustrated national cover, U.S. skier and slalom gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin (pictured), reflects slim pickings. No one American athlete truly captured hearts and imagination at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Nobody is Wheaties box-worthy. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Clay-Liston and Ali 50 years later, the N-word, Marlins win projection, Hiassen/Pitts & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote and also on Instagram, Vine and Facebook.
"Marlins president David Samson was the first of 18 contestants voted off CBS' Survivor series. Who knew Marlins fans had a vote?" --Greg Cote
UPDATE: LEBRON PICKS SCARY MASK, FRIGHTENS KNICKS WITH 31: It's black, it's carbon fiber, it's scary looking, and the man wearing it scored a game-high 31 points tonight to lead a 108-82 Miami rout of the sad New York Knicks.
LEBRON TO REVEAL FACIAL PROTECTION IN LIVE TV SPECIAL, 'THE MASK DECISION': After missing one game recovering from a broken nose, Heat superstar LeBron James is to return to action in Miami tonight wearing a protective mask against the visiting New York Knicks. Sources tell us LeBron considered four styles, including the
standard clear mask pictured top left, the "Bane look" from the Batman movie pictured middle left, and the classic "Jason" hockey-mask style pictured bottom left. Ultimately, though, sources say James tonight will unveil a Nike-engineered protective Freddy Krueger-style mask presented by Samsung and Beats by Dre, pictured right. The ensemble will feature a radical departure, with LeBron's customary white headband replaced, sources say, by a terrifyingly sauve wide-brimmed Freddy hat. Hey, I said sources. I didn't say reliable sources.
JOJO NICOLAS, R.I.P.: We lurch from ridiculous to unfortunately serious in offering our condolences to the family and friends of former Miami Hurricanes football player JoJo Nicolas, who died yesterday, just shy of his 25th birthday, from injuries sustained in this week's auto accident. The U football family has endured more than its share of tragedy over the years, of the type that lends perspective and reminds us a loss isn't a disappointing result on Saturday. This is a loss.
INCOGNITO VANDALIZES OWN CAR: TMZ reports that Richie Incognito's $300,000 black Ferrari was vandalized with a baseball bat while parked outside of his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. We immediately presumed Jonathan Martin had a proper alibi. Now, according to cops, Incognito admitted taking the bat to his own car. Reasons are yet unknown, although Incognito's past anger-management issues hardly make it the most shocking thing we've heard. Thaaaaat's Richie!
GOLFER STEVE ELKINGTON, BY ALL INDICATIONS, ISN'T VERY SMART: Steve Elkington @elkpga this week Tweeted this since-deleted morsel: "ESPN reporting Michael Sam is leading the handbag throw at the NFL combine..." Some defended it as needling ESPN's over-coverage of the event, but most took it as a homophobic jab at the man likely to become the NFL's fiorst openly gay player. It wasn't the Aussie's first time playing Twitter foot-in-mouth. Just this past December, after a fatal helicopter crash into a Glasgow pub, he outraged many by Tweeting, "Locals report no beer was spilled." Dear Steve: You haven't won a PGA Tour event since 1999. Less Tweeting, more practicing. (Elkington is pictured left, waving goodbye to his reputation).
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