5-at-10: Title tilt set, NCAA athletes get coin, L.A.-bound and R.I.P Alice

5-at-10: Title tilt set, NCAA athletes get coin, L.A.-bound and R.I.P Alice

June 2nd, 2014 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

Hope your weekend was as good as you deserved - or in Spy's case, way better.

From the "Talks too much" studios, when did June get here.

NBA Finals

The Spurs and the Heat will play for the NBA title. You know this.

How will it play out? Hard to know, unless point guard Tony Parker's ankle continues to be a problem because the Spurs will struggle without Parker, a mercurial quick point guard, which is the type of player that has give the Heat trouble in the past.

San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) shoots against Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka in overtime of Game 6 of the Western Conference finals NBA playoff series in Oklahoma City on May 31, 2014.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Miami's top two are better than the Spurs top two, but San Antonio's Nos. 3 through 9 are exceedingly better than Miami's.

It's the modern roster debate in salary-capped sports. Pay two or three top stars and hope that they can lift a bad roster or assemble the deepest team in the league and win in waves and with balance.

We saw roster depth over star power in the Super Bowl in February. Will this be a repeat? We'll break this down more on Tuesday.

But we will ask this - Do we really need what seems like a fortnight between the end of the conference finals and the title series? Man, the Heat topped the Pacers on Friday night and Game 1 is not until Thursday.

We'll also ask this: At what point does Kevin Durant start hearing the criticism that shadowed LeBron James? Durant has been in the league seven years now - yes seven - and has made one NBA Finals. James was in Cleveland seven years before heading to South Beach and has been in the Finals each of the last four seasons.

Still, let's cherish this Finals match-up, which includes possibly two of the all-time starting five if you think LeBron is the best 3 and Timmy Duncan is the best 4.

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Settlement

EA Sports has settled with the class action lawsuits brought by Ed O'Bannon and others.

former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon Jr. sits in his office in Henderson, Nev., in this 2010 file photo.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

The settlement was for $40 million will be divided among three primary suits - 77 percent of the total (after attorneys' fees of course) will go to the group led by former Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller; 12 percent will go to O'Bannon's group and 10 percent will go to another group led by a couple of former NCAA football players.

The settlement will cover players that played Division I football and men's hoops since 2003. Attorneys for the plantiffs estimate that there were between 140,000 and 200,000 players' likenesses used and the varying pay-out to each will be determined by how many players sign up for the retribution.

It appears pretty cut and dried. Here's a portion of the settlement:

"EA's internal spreadsheets show that each avatar was matched to dozens of the real student-athlete's identifying characteristicsFor example, for the NCAA football videogame, EA matched: (1) the name of the real student-athlete; (2) his real-life jersey number; (3) his position played; (4) his hometown; (5) his year of eligibility; (6) his athletic abilities (on at least 22 dimensions, including speed, strength, agility, etc.); (7) his physical characteristics (on at least 26 dimensions, including, weight, height, skin color, face geometry, hair style, muscle shape, etc.); and (8) how he dressed for games in real life (on at least 28 dimensions, including shoes, how they taped, braces worn, undershirts, facemask and helmet styles, etc.)."

Wow.

So it goes and that may seem low, considering the gaming industry is a $4 billion enterprise today.

Still, this is ground-breaking in that college athletes are being reward - and compensated - for people making money off their likeness. From here, the ripples could be far reaching.

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Football back to L.A.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told the Wall Street Journal this weekend that an NFL team certainly will be in L.A. in "five years" if not sooner. He also said it will not be an expansion team.

Wow. So who's headed there?

(Side note: Before we get there, is there a team that surprisingly finds itself in a consistent river of distraction more than the Dolphins? In recent years, it's hard to remember the salad days of Shula and Co. So i goes.)

If there is a leader on the move front it could be the Raiders, who are looking at the greener pastures and new stadium potential of moving to L.A.

You would have to think Jacksonville is in the mix, too. Minnesota is in the process of building a new stadium. Buffalo could be on the move, but the feeling is the Bills would move to Toronto before going across the country.

Here's one: What about the Titans? Could they be headed out West?

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This and that

Atlanta Braves catcher Evan Gattis, center, celebrates with teammate Freddie Freeman, left, after they scored on Gattis' game-winning two-run home run in the ninth inning with Miami Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis, in the background, during their game in Miami, on June 1, 2014. The Braves completed a three-game sweep of the Marlins with a 4-2 win.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

- Your Atlanta Braves swept the Miami Marlins over the weekend, erasing the memories of a Red Sox whitewash. Everyone's favorite rookie Tommy La Stella had four hits in the series and is hitting .400 in his stint with the big club. In the month of May, La Stella was 4-for-12 before going 2-for-3 Sunday; in the month of May, Danny Struggla was 2-for-25. Viva La Stella.

- Phil Mickelson is part of a federal investigation about insider trading. It's reasonable to believe that fact has played a part in what has been the worst start to a season in his 22 years as a PGA player, including missing cuts at the Players and the Masters.

- Tuesday is the one-year anniversary of Yaisel Puig's call-up to the Dodgers. In 154 big-league games entering Monday night, Puig has emerged as one of the game's best players - hitting .329 with a .407 on-base percentage, 30 homers, 82 RBIs and 16 steals.

- Jimmie Johnson is the man to beat in NASCAR. This is not a news flash. That said, it's worth remembering since he has now won the last two NASCAR races. Best of Preps speaker Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished ninth at Dover on Sunday.

- Florida and Alabama will play in the women's softball national championship series.

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Ann B. Davis arrives at the 5th Annual TV Land Awards in Santa Monica, Calif., in this April 14, 2007 file picture.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Today's question

As is our Monday staple, who won the weekend?

If you need something off beat and off the path, well, there was sad news this weekend.

Ann B. Davis died. She was 88. She played Alice on the Brady Bunch and launched countless meat-related jokes since she dated Sam the Butcher on the cult classic TV sitcom.

Side question: Mike Brady made some coin right? Family of eight and a live-in housekeeper? Man.

Who's on your Rushmore of housekeepers/maids? Go.

(Side note: We could have a quick Rushmore of folks with the initial B. in their name: Ann B. Davis, Rutherford B. Hayes, Joe B. Hall and World B. Free for starters.)