From the "Talk too much studios," let's go.
A.F., Day 1
Let's just go ahead and get this out of the way...
5-at-10: "Hello, we're the 5-at-10 and we have a problem."
Group: "Hi, 5-at-10."
5-at-10: "We're addicted to football."
Group: "Welcome 5-at-10."
OK, we can do this. We can reconnect with friends and family that we have been less attentive to during the last four months. We can make it. We can find a hobby. We can do this. We can pretend to like some of the dreck that's on TV. We can make it the 207 days until college football's opening Saturday.
Who are we kidding? OK, it's less than three weeks until the NFL combine, and the 5-at-10 loves the draft. You know this.
Former Red Bank High star Tim Benford is working toward that combine with the knowledge that a big-time future awaits, as TFP ace John Frierson shares here (Tim Benford working toward NFL shot).
Benford told Frierson he's working on everything, but we all know that for perimeter guys that are not familiar names, the combine is as much about 40 times as anything. A good 40 time can get you drafted - ask former UTC defensive back Buster Skrine, who dropped a sub-4.4 40 at last year's combine. A mediocre 40 time puts untold emphasis on everything else. A bad 40 time will likely mean it's time to find a real job.
Kobe moves up
Where does Kobe Bryant rank? It's a fair question, and if you want to use that as today's question, we understand.
We went another direction (see below) because we're going to offer our answer here.
Bryant passed Shaquille O'Neal to become the NBA's No. 5 career scorer all time Monday. Here's a chart courtesy of ESPN to prove it:
Player (Games) - Points
1. K. Abdul-Jabbar (1,560) - 38,387
2. Karl Malone (1,476) - 36,928
3. Michael Jordan (1,072) - 32,292
4. Wilt Chamberlain (1,045) - 31,419
5. Kobe Bryant (1,128) - 28,601
6. Shaquille O'Neal (1,207) - 28,596
7. Moses Malone (1,329) - 27,409
8. Elvin Hayes (1,303) - 27,313
9. Hakeem Olajuwon (1,238) - 26,946
10. Oscar Robertson (1,040) - 26,710
Bryant also has five NBA titles. It's a nice resume to say the very least.
Where does it rank? We'll say he's the second-best shooting guard in NBA history, right behind MJ.
Some of our regulars around here get miffed when the 5-at-10 tries to compare generations, and they have a point. The rules are different. There are more games and the travel is much easier. But the competition is also better and the demands are overwhelmingly more difficult.
That said, we've been more reluctant to compare positions and declare anyone is the best player as much as the best center or the best shortstop. Even with the generational stuff, comparing positions is more oranges to tangerines than apples to oranges, if that makes sense.
So Kobe is the best 2 guard not named Jordan, and that's pretty rarified Air. (See what we did there? Thank you, thank you very much).
There are a few folks over at ESPN that are flat-out experts. There are a lot of folks that aren't. So it goes, and that probably can be said about every professional organization everywhere (take the TFP for instance, the 5-at-10 is aces, the sports editor is a knucklehead). The main difference for ESPN, though, is that it's on 24 hours a day, everyday - on like five platforms, and that's not including the Ocho with Cotton and Pepper and the wall-to-wall ADAA action ("Cotton needs new shorts.")
Anyhoo, among the best and brightest at ESPN is one Joe Lunardi, who is an expert on RPI and college hoops seeding. In fact he and BCS guru Brad Edwards are the sports coverage aces of the college sabermetrics that matter.
Lunardi's latest seeding was Monday, and his four No. 1s (and the regional site they would play in) were Syracuse (East in Boston), Missouri (West in Phoenix), Ohio State (Midwest in St. Louis) and Kentucky (South in Atlanta).
OK, even we understand that getting a No. 1 seed is better than not getting a No. 1 seed (hold all jokes here FE to the C, we admitted it on the front end), but it just dawned on the 5-at-10 how important the regular season is for Chas9's UK Wildcats. If Kentucky closes out this awesome season with no more than one more loss and they lay claim to the top overall seed (or even the second overall seed behind Syracuse, which as ace TFP columnist Mark Wiedmer points out here (Syracuse cruising toward Fab year) is legit with Fab Melo on the floor), the Cats have a gold-paved road to the Final Four.
A top-two-seed UK team would play its first two games in Louisville before an overflow throng of Big Blue zanies. A regional date in the ATL would be almost as attractive for Kentucky, which has owned a Gen. Billy T. Sherman-esque record in Atlanta - torching all comers. (Too much? Yeah, we thought so too. So be it.)
This and that
- One of the more interesting things discussed in the 12 billion hours of Super Bowl build-up was that Tom Brady was a high school baseball star. He was drafted as a left-handed hitting catcher in the 18th round despite all of the scouts knowing he was headed to Michigan. His high school coach says he was more of a can't-miss prospect than Barry Bonds and Gregg Jefferies, two former MLB first-rounders with whom the coach had worked. Wow, imagine Brady as the starting catcher for the Red Sox. Now imagine Gisele complaining about how the pitchers can't throw strikes. Don't hold the ball so hard, OK? It's an egg. Hold it like an egg.
- This is not sports but it's worth discussion. Did you see the story on the guy who assumed ownership of a $350,000 house in a Dallas suburb for $16 and some paper work? Here's the AP story ($16 house? Dallas area man evicted after squatting). Well, Kenneth Robinson has been evicted, but not before starting a website, writing a book and offering counsel to would-be squatters. Robinson has inspired several folks to imitate his actions, and some even tried to take ownership of occupied homes. What's next, Robinson starting a Squatters Union? Robinson describes himself as "poised, measured, insightful and wise" and says he's part of the "paradigm shift." OK, if Robinson and any other freeloading, fine-print-bending nutbar is part of any type of real "paradigm shift" then the terrorists have won. Sweet buckets of migraines, pass the Goodie's headache powders.
- OK, the 5-at-10 has been riding the UK hoops bus from the start. Hey, A-Davis is fun to watch. But apparently, John Calipari is riding a fan bus of his own (John Calipari's new obsession: Nick Saban and Alabama football). Wow, Coach Cal, we all know Nick Saban has had some success, but if that went much further, those two were going to need a room.
The Atlanta Braves unveiled a new alternative home uniform Monday. It's pretty sweet, and in truth, anything this side of the 1980s Astros' duds would be better than those red jerseys the Braves wore on Sundays at home the last few years.
Plus, the throwback look paid homage to 1966, and any chance the Braves get to honor Hank Aaron should be taken and enjoyed.
Anyhoo, here are two questions tied into the new Braves' unis:
a) Do you think the Braves will have a jersey in Dan Uggla's size this year or will they continue to make him wear the child's XL? Hey, the 5-at-10 was a large tot and in our youth sports days we were known to wear the higher numbers because the higher numbers were the bigger sizes. So it goes. But c'mon, let's get Uggla a No. 11 that fits. For the love of blow flow, there were stretches last year that Uggla may have lost circulation to his hands and fingers because his jersey was too tight.
b) Best uniform in sports is....?