[Notes: 1. Thanks to all who tapped into Live Chat Wednesday. Do it each week from noon to 1. Click HERE to join live or to post questions any time. 2. Follow at Twitter.com/gregcote. It's like one big happy family, other than nobody knows each other. 3. Tiger Woods poll still accepting votes in blogpost directly below this. 4. A happy, reflective Ramadan to all our Muslim friends. Get right with your Allah. Fast!].
KING JAMES GOES OLD TESTAMENT: Verifying that the mega-rich are just looking for ways to spend silly money, Heat star LeBron James today paid Rabbi Yishayahu Yosef Pinto -- "Rabbi to the Business Stars" -- a six-figure sum to serve as his spiritual guide for upcoming business decisions. (Better the rabbi than Bernie Madoff. OY! Remember when the clergy ministered quietly to their flock? Off-camera and with scant renumeration?) Meeting took place on a yacht off the coast of New York, according to TMZ.com, which broke this important story and from whom we relay the telling photo. Couple of interesting notes. 1) Rabbi Pinto is 37 but looks 87 because of the fantastic, funky beard. 2) The rabbi speaks only Hebrew, so hopefully LeBron also sprung for an interpreter. 3) The Heat's pregame ritual this season just prior to tipoff will include players sharing a bottle of Manischewitz and chanting Hava Nagila. OK I made up that last part. But not the rest of it. Postscript: For your multicultural enjoyment, I present the phrase "Heat win it all" in Hebrew:
חום זכיה שזאת כל
RONNIE VS. RICKY, RICKY VS. RONNIE: Ronnie Brown. Ricky Williams. Two good backs, one solid tandem. Together they are one of the Dolphins' strengths. But only one can start. Every team has a No. 1. Somebody is going to play more and carry more. There is little doubt that will be Brown. But should it be? Who would you prefer to have the bigger role and most carries, Dolfans? And why? Take a dip in our poll.
'MADDEN 11' PLAYER RATINGS FOR DOLPHINS: Guys rating 90-plus are WR Brandon Marshall (96), LT Jake Long (96) and FB Lousaka Polite (91). Just missed: DT Randy Starks at 89. Surprisingly no love: LB Karlos Dansby.
CANES RANKED 10TH BY ESPN: ESPN.com's spankin' new preseason college football rankings have Miami's Hurricanes a rather robust No. 10. Sports Illustrated's collball preview issue, on newsstands now, has Canes No. 15, with defensive Allen Bailey getting some nice ink, and CB Brandon Harris making the mag's preseason All-America team.
CARLOS ARROYO SINGS!: The Heat guard (near right) has released a song on iTunes. Click here.
BRETT FAVRE'S DONG: You might know by now that perpetually undecided Vikings QB Brett Favre is accused of texting photos of his private parts to a woman who worked for the Jets when Favre was there in 2008. Of course this has spawned the inevitable YouTube treatment: "See My Dong," to the tune of Lionel Richie's "All Night Long." Click here for the vid.
ON JEFF VAN GUNDY'S MOTIVE: I was parts amused and skeptical to read that basketball commentator Jeff Van Gundy of ABC/ESPN (pictured right with sinister, creepy lighting) had come out and pretty much predicted the 2010-11 dream-team Heat should be the greatest team, well, ever. JVD said Dwyane, LeBron & Company would break the all-time record of 72 wins and never lose even two in a row. He all but called Miami unbeatable, saying, "The other 29 teams better hope the lockout gets moved up a year." Two thoughts: 1) I generally like Jeff's TV work. He's smart and candid. 2) In this case, I don't trust his motivation for saying what he said. He used the media. It seems clear to me he is purposely turning up the pressure on Erik Spoelstra and the Heat on behalf of his brother, Stan, who happens to coach one of the teams, Orlando, now chasing the Heat. A conflict of interest is apparent when Announcer Bro says something expressly designed for Coach Bro to utilize as bulletin-board material.
'SEXIEST SEVEN' HEAT GAMES: NBA released its full NBA schedule today and here are my Sexiest Seven Heat games, chronologically: Oct. 26 at Boston (regular-season debut of Dream Team); Oct. 29 vs. Orlando (home opener); Nov. 2 vs. Minnesota (return of Michael Beasley); Nov. 11 vs. Boston (Shaq's back); Nov. 13 vs. Toronto (Chris Bosh ex's); Dec. 2 at Cleveland (rage awaits LeBron); and Dec. 25 at L.A. Lakers (holiday event as possible NBA Finals preview.
BOOK OF ISIAH ADDS ODD NEW CHAPTER: [Wednesday evening update: Isiah rescinds Knicks job after determining it violated NBA bylaws. Thanks to all involved for making my below-referenced column seem brilliant and influential whether it was or not!] FIU basketball coach Isiah Thomas hired by the Knicks while continuing as college coach is a conflict of interest that the NBA and/or NCAA should strike down. Or so I say in this column online and in today's pulp edition.
AWARD DART LANDS ON NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: I drew NL rookie of the year in the annual rotation of awards up for BBWAA vote this year, meaning the fate of Marlin Gaby Sanchez is partly up to me. Gaby (pictured left) is a very strong candidate, but the next few weeks will tell in a tight race. My radar currently also includes Jason Heyward of Atlanta, Ike Davis of the Mets, the Cubs' Tyler Colvin and pitcher Jaime Garcia of St. Louis. Vote is due prior to start of playoffs.
BALLCAP MANIA HITS NEW LOW: The baseball cap, formerly worn mostly by baseball players and self-consciously balding men, has become a fashion statement now worn most everywhere. But it's like the old saying goes, "At least the Pope doesn't wear a baseball cap!" .
THE LIST: LOCAL WINNING, LOSING STREAKS: Longest winning and losing streaks for our Big Five (four pro teams and UM football):
Years Team (Seasons)
17 UM football (1980-96)
9 UM football (1998-06)
7 Dolphins (1997-03)
6 Dolphins (1970-75)
6 Heat (1996-01)
5 Dolphins (1981-85)
7 Panthers (2001-08)
5 UM football (1969-73)
5 Heat (1989-93)
5 Marlins (1998-02)
4 Dolphins (1966-69)
4 Marlins (1993-96)
Check back. Might be adding updates and new stuff to this blogpost later...