Hear my recent interview with legendary sports agent Leigh Steinberg, where we discussed his agency, concussions, franchise relocation and philanthropy at http://thechtonsports.com/cold-hard-truth-sports-radio-show-1242017/
listen to our conversation with author and sports journalist Mike
Carey, as we discussed his latest book "Bad News" about Marvin Barnes
and reminisced about Mike's coverage of the Boston Celtics during their
glory years with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Danny Ainge and Robert
Tiger Done? After last week's withdrawal from the Dubai Desert Classic, it would appear that Tiger Woods may be facing a much more difficult road back to respectability on the PGA Tour. His back spasms that forced him out of the tournament were much less troublesome to me than than his birdieless five over 77 in the first round. I was always a bit perplexed by his decision to play in a tournament that required a lengthy trip, given his back issues and the strain that can put on your body. I traveled internationally for many years, and it's pretty tough to perform at a high level when you're dealing with jet lag and other pressures. But unlike the PGA Tour, the European Tour allows for payment of appearance fees, so there were other motivations at play here. Unlike at Torre Pines and the Hero Challenge before that, Tiger didn't seem to have much focus and showed a lot more rust by failing to make putts and give himself any chance at at decent score. He has a couple of weeks to regroup and get back in the States, but a west coast start followed by one in Florida will test his 41 year-old body, even if he does travel by private jet. From what I've seen so far, I'd have to say it's extremely unlikely for the former world number one to contend for a tournament title this year. But I also hope I'm wrong.
Too Much Drama in the Big Apple: The New York Knicks seem to be farther away from relevance than when Phil Jackson and his eight figure salary took over basketball side of the franchise. His recent denigration of Carmelo Anthony, who Jackson himself granted a no-cut contract extension, is not quite as baffling as one might believe. On ESPN's Mike and Mike Show this morning, the thought was expressed that Phil might be trying to make life so difficult for Melo that he would accept a trade that he might otherwise reject. The rumor that the Cleveland Cavaliers would be willing to part with Kevin Love to acquire one of Lebron James' closest friends is patently absurd. Love has proven to be a valued member of a triplet of players, along with Kyrie Irving and James, that accounts for a reliable 70 points a night, not to mention bushels of assists and rebounds. All Carmelo Anthony brings to the table is the propensity to shoot the ball, and not always that well. He plays no defense and brings no ball distribution skills. Adding him to the Cavs without giving up Love might make sense, especially in the absence of injured JR Smith. If Jackson can't find a home for Anthony, there is almost no way he can rebuild the Knicks. If he can find a home for Anthony, there is almost no way he can rebuild the Knicks. It seems to me the one person they need to move away from isn't Carmelo Anthony, but instead it's Phil Jackson.
Let the Madness Begin: It's barely the second week in February and this past weekend felt like an upset laden first day in the NCAA tournament. Six of the top ten teams lost on Saturday alone. The selection committee will be making periodic releases of where they are leaning for the top four seeds in each region. I recommend that they get a bunch of Etch-a-Sketches because judging from this past week, those seeds will be changing more than the choice of sport coat by the late, great Craig Sager. This just may be the most tumultuous season in recent memory, which speaks to two issues, one positive and one not so much. First, there's incredible parity among the top teams in men's basketball. Talent, for the most part, is spread around regardless of conference or geography. I can't help but believe that part of that is coming from a somewhat diminished desire to play football, with more athletes opting for other sports, primarily basketball. Most high school players compete in multiple sports, with the most talented getting opportunities to make a choice of which one to follow into college and ultimately the pros. Which brings me to the second reason for some unpredictability and inconsistency of some top teams, and that's the one and done rule imposed on the college ranks from the NBA. Top players are barred from advancing directly to the NBA from high school, so they have to go to class for a semester and audition on their college team for a spot in the pros. College coaches are forced, in a way, to promise these top players playing time immediately or run the risk of not signing them. But basketball is a team game, and showcasing an individual at the expense of the team runs counter to the philosophy of the sport. How long did it take Lebron James to become a distributor as well as a scorer? John Calipari has seemed to master both the recruiting and coaching aspect of embracing the rule, but even his teams can be inconsistent as a result. I believe the rule will eventually be challenged in court and changed, but until it is and since football is facing an uphill battle regarding brain injuries, college basketball fans will be entertained with uncertainty and upsets.
Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" at Amazon.com and listen to me Friday's at 8:40 am EDT/ 7:40 am CDT on Lou in the Morning, streaming live on www.WPFLradio.com, 105.1 FM. Also check out www.thechtonsports.com for our podcasts and live broadcast on Tuesday's at 8:30 pm EST. I can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.