Today is the Lil Ms. 5-at-10's 4th birthday. Happy Birthday, sweet girl.
Hey, it's a short week, but remember the mailbag. Great back and forth yesterday. Well-played all around.
From the "Talks too much" studios, believe and achieve.
The melodrama that has become the NBA playoffs has myriad of players and faces and storylines. It's part Chuck Barkley, part Greek tragedy, part social implosion and culture experiment. Sadly, the title "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" was already taken.
Wednesday, as brilliant as the play of the Thunder was on the floor, the continued distraction of Donald Sterling resonated across the league.
Russell Westbrook was simply dominant, giving arguably the best individual performance of the playoffs with 40 points, 10 assists and five steals, as the Thunder evened the Western Conference finals at 2 with a thumping of the Spurs. Westbrook not only looked like the best player on the floor — which is saying something when the league MVP and the best power forward ever were also in this game — he looked like arguably the second-best athlete in the NBA.
He was quick and powerful on each end and made erstwhile playoff nemesis Tony Parker look small. In fact, in a matter of two games in OKC the Western Conference Finals storyline has switched from the experience and balance of the Spurs to the youth and athletic ability of the Thunder. This one has the feel of Game 7 back in San Antonio.
(Side note, No. 1: Hey NBA, we know you are distracted and have a lot on your plate, but for the love of everything decent can we please excuse Joey Crawford from the rest of these playoffs in general and every Spurs game in particular. There is a well known issue there considering Joey C once bounced Timmy Duncan for laughing. C'mon, this needs to happen.)
As for the Sterling matter, despite reports that the racist ogre was looking sell the Clippers after his controversial remarks were caught on tape by his mistress, the attorney team for Sterling has now said they will fight this to the end. Here is the response from Sterling.
(Side note, No. 2: Raise your hand if you're shocked by this. Of course your not. We knew this was going to be the case and even if Sterling was wavering, the attorneys stand to make eight or nine figures in billing considering this thing could take years and the reported value of the Clippers is rising beyond $1.5 billion and beyond.)
Of course his wife of 58 years Shelly has said she is cooperating with the NBA rather than her husband and his hooker.
In other news, LeBron and the Heatles are headed to Indianapolis looking to secure their fourth straight trip to the NBA Finals. No word yet if Lance Stephenson has insulted LeBron's wife or D-Wade's kids yet, but the day's not over either.
As our UT ace Downtown Patrick Brown tells us here, Riley Ferguson appears to be no longer part of the Big Orange Universe.
And with that reported decision, it looks the quarterback mess in Knoxville has one fewer option. That could be a good thing in a matter of deciding who the man will be and it could be a very good thing in the court of public opinion.
This now is a two-guy race with Justin Worley and Josh Dobbs. After Nathan Peterman's performance at Florida — we call it that Swamp Thing, and it's not a compliment — these have to be the guys.
Ferguson never grabbed the job — and we all know that no one had a firm grab on it to be begin with — despite the reports of the strongest arm and the competitive streak and the rest. Hey maybe Ferguson transfers and finds Cam Newton type success somewhere else (not holding our breath on that one) and join the list of Tajh Boyd and Bryce Petty and the rest of the 'former' UT QB commits/players who found success in other pastures.
That said, Ferguson, who was the only one of the four that did not see action last year during a redshirt season caused in part by a leg injury, had found a mythical status within the UT fan base. He had become Paul Bunyon meets Sasquatch meets the Loch Ness monster arm, and that storied reputation was the classic, "We've seen the other guys stink, so Riley has to be better."
If Ferguson was left in the back-up role come fall — which seemed to be the case since the senior Worley appears to be in line for the QB 1 spot by most accounts, at least to start the year — the howls for him to play would come as soon as the first three-and-out.
So it goes and so it happens. God's speed Riley and say hello to your big blue ox Babe.
Investment or money pit
Two drastic differences in approaches to events and venues that are strangely connected.
Four cities have voted against hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics after the debacle that was the Sochi games that cost Russia in excess of $51 billion to host. Yes $51 billion.
There appear to be only two candidates left — cities in Kazakhstan and in China, places where the people do not get to vote in such matters — and the future from there is unknown and far from certain.
Hey, hosting an Olympics is a lot of coin for a flash in the pan exposure, so short-term jobs and the pat on the head from the IOC. Hooray.
Think about the money spent and the lasting images of the 1996 Atlanta Games. It's been less than 20 years and other than the spring board it became for Billy Payne and the whole Richard Jewell fiasco and Michael Johnson's gold shoes, what's left.
Which brings us to the vote in Cobb County last night — hi, hometown — and the 5-0 approval from that county commission to budget almost $400 million to build the Braves a new stadium just north of 285.
The Ted was the hosting venue of the Olympics and 20 years later it is dated and it's tenants are looking to move to the suburbs. At least the Cobb Commission made the Braves sign a 30-year contract.
Now image the leftover images of the luge track or the downhill skiing venue. Not exactly multi-use facilities, you know.
This and that
— The Cowboys lost linebacker Sean Lee to a torn ACL on day one of OTAs. Ouch-standing. Somehow this will be Tony Romo's fault.
— C'mon Curtis, what was that? Curtis Jackson, aka rapper 50 Cent, threw out one of the worst first pitches ever. Man, we expected Carly Rae Jepsen to be challenged, but 50 this hurts.
— A paper in Australia owned by Rubert Murdoch published a photo of Kate Middleton's tush. There could a riot in England — or the interweb may melt. One or the other.
— Jim Thorpe would have turned 126 today. And even at that age, he still would have been on the short list of best athletes around.
— Wow the Williams sisters both fell at the French the morning. Maybe it was the BoP curse and they each got a late start because they needed an extra Moon Pie or some pudding from the Southern Star? Is this the worst state of American tennis ever?
We have a few today, so feel free to pick and choose.
• As TFP SEC ace David Paschall shares here, http://timesfreepress.com/news/2014/may/28/fcs-foes-to-remain-part-of-sec-scheduling/, the SEC will continue to schedule FCS foes. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? We'd have to believe UTC is happy with that decision.
• Anyone have any suggestions on what we should ask Dale Jr. during the Q&A at Thursday's Best of Preps banquet? Discuss. (P.S. The best suggestion — be it here or on today's Press Row on ESPN 105.1 and right here on timesfreepress.com from 3-6 p.m. — could win two tickets to tomorrow night's event.)
• Heatles-Pacers tonight, who you got?
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...