5-at-10: Full mailbag with NBA superstars, naming awards for people, an NIL monster, AA in Chatt-town

Greeson thumbnail for lead photo only

Let's handle our business first. We'll start with the Rushmores.

Rushmore of TV characters with a signature food (and someone wisely suggested a human characters version and a puppet/cartoon version) - Jerry Seinfeld cereal, Joey on "Friends" and sandwiches, Omar from "The Wire" and Honey Nut Cheerios, and Ron Swanson from "Parks and Recreation" and all forms of meat, because remember his favorite meal is a 16 oz. T-Bone wrapped with a 24 oz. Porterhouse or as he likes to call it, the 'Turf and Turf.' (Side note: "Parks and Rec" is wicked funny.) Non-human version, far left has to be Cookie Monster and his cookies. It's in his name folks. The Teenage Ninja Turtles and pizza, Homer Jay Simpson and donuts, and Garfield and Lasagna.

Rushmore of the best combination of sports skill/announcing skill - This one turned out to be more difficult than most will know. (And if he had not stepped on his tongue, Phil Mickelson was headed for a spot in this conversation sooner rather than later.) But here are mine. John McEnroe, Johnny Miller, Dizzy Dean and Frank Gifford.

Rushmore of one-named musicians - Prince, Madonna, Bono and Zamfir - dude is the master of the pan flute people. OK, fine, give me Adele over Liberace, Sting and Cher to name but three.

Rushmore of songs with 'mom' in the title - "Mama Tried" by Merle, "Momma Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" by Willie and Waylon, "Mama Said Knock You Out" by LL Cool Jay and "Mother's Little Helper" by the Stones.

And I feel the need to remind everyone that Luka is pretty good at basketball. In a win-or-pack-the-gear Game 6 last night the guy the Hawks traded for Trae Young and Cam Reddish went for 33-11-8 with four steals and all of one turnover. Yeah, that'll do.

And one more, the video clip of Jimmy Butler walking off the floor after the Heat eliminated Philadelphia and screaming, "You took Tobias Harris over me?" to no one in particular and to every Philadelphian this side of Ben Franklin is awesome sauce. Here's the clip, which leads us to our first question.

From Jay

Hey, love the 5-at-10, and trust me when I say, I have been a regular for every single one of them. (Yes, this is an NBA question to myself, so what?)

How would you construct the perfect roster, and who will win it this year?


Such a great question and thanks so much for your continued dedication to the 5-at-10. I'm so glad you asked this question, but I feel in fairness to the rest of the mailbag entries, we must make this your first and final entry.

Deal? Deal.

The NBA's version of a franchise QB - something that is a prerequisite for NFL success - is not a point guard. It's a superstar. A bona fide, A1A, King of the Hill, Duke of New York superstar.

There are a slew of posers out there who turn the softest regular season in sports into eye-popping stats and cloud the confusion that there are more than a dozen superstars in this league.

There are not. Because when the you get to May and the starters are playing 40 minutes and you don't get to score 18 points in a quarter against some dude from the G League who's replacing an opponent's third-best option because of load management, well, then you can see who is good, who is great and who is a superstar.Giannis is a superstar, and right now the best player in the league. LeBron is one of course. Kawhi is one, if he returns healthy. KD is one. Steph is one, but he's on the low end of it.

Joel Embiid has the look of one and the game of one but not the resumé. Same must be said about my favorite player Luka too. And Jokic. And Jayson Tatum. Know who else? Ja Morant. That young fella can go.

But you know who is about to put his name on that list. Jimmy Bleepin Butler. What a dude. There are a slew of very good to great players that will by multi-time All-Stars but do not have the skills or the fire that Butler has to move beyond the great list.

Looking at you CP3, Trae, Devin Booker, Kyrie, Harden and a slew of others.

So either you are going to have to have multiple great players and hope for some luck or you need one of the A1A and then some smarts.

And you need at least one knife fighting dude that strikes fear in the heart of the other side, makes sure the rest of his locker room is prepared to get tough when needed and is willing and able to lock down the other team's best player when it matters. (And when that guy is also your best player, like Jimmy Butler is for these Heat or Kawhi was for when the Raptors won it all, well, you can do something special.)

Those dudes - a Jrue Holiday, a Marcus Smart, et al. - are invaluable pieces come the postseason.

Winner of the Bucks-Heat series wins it all, and I'll take the Heat because of home-court, and you really have to admire the roster construction Pat Riley has done and the buttons Erik Spolestra is pushing.

From Pete

What are your thoughts on NBA/NFL etc naming trophies for people like Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Vince Lombardi, Lamar Hunt, etc. ? How long before skeletons in closets come out?


Man, if some social media controversy comes out about Lady Byng - no not Chandler's mom - then all bets are off. (Side note: The Lady Byng trophy is the NHL award for sportsmanship. It's judged on high standards, gentlemanly conduct and number of teeth, which means fewer fights in the hockey realm.)

Seriously, taking down the Joe Paterno statue was enough for me to never believe in naming awards after flawed humans ever again.

Think about the pedestal on which we placed Joe Pa for a second. And knowing what I know about uber-successful college coaches, arguably the most universally common trait among them is an insatiable desire to control every aspect of their program.

In my mind, there's no way Joe Pa didn't know what Jerry Sandusky was. No way. So yes, I think every time a trophy or award is named for a person it's like buying a social media lottery ticket. Heck, it's way beyond the awards and honors too.

Look at some of the lightning in a bottle stories across sports in the last few months.

There was that photographer who fell during the Rams Super Bowl celebration while taking pictures of Matt Stafford and his wife, and when the spotlight found her, she had some controversial/offense social media posts.

Same with the owner of Rich Strike, who just became the second longest shot to win the Kentucky Derby. Did he make a tasteless joke about our vice president? Yes, yes he did. But man, the 'what abouts' are too numerous to list at this point. Maybe he just should have let Will Smith smack him in the mouth and then be done with it, huh?

From TC

Although I don't typically get all that jazzed up about college recruiting, could not help but notice after reading a couple of recent articles on young Manning going back to last year that Tennessee has never apparently received any consideration?

I get Georgia, Alabama and LSU. Texas was a mystery until I read that the Manning's are close to Steve Sarkesian. But NO mention of Ole Miss or Tennessee?

With Tennessee is this possibly due to a potentially crowded QB room, including Nico "moneybags " from California or simply that Arch has a good chance off starting at these aforementioned schools?

Just interested in hearing your take on this.


I have not followed recruiting in quite a while TC. It is right there with NASCAR as two parts of the sports tapestry that I used to follow very closely and now I'm a million miles away.

But I think almost everyone - be them recruitnik or casual sports fan - is aware of Arch Manning.(Side question: If you are McDonald's are you not pitching Arch with a seven-figure NIL deal, and play off the Golden Arch's at some point? And if he goes to Notre Dame, well, look out. Seriously, what's the NIL ceiling on Arch Manning? Is there one?)

I think Arch is wise to craft his own pay, away from Oxford and Knoxville to be honest. And I think any and every five-star college football player who has a firm offer from Lord Saban and that Smart coach should listen intently. They are putting record numbers of dudes in the league and are going to be a play away from the national title for the foreseeable future.

Your point about the alleged $8 million arm coming to Knoxville makes plenty of sense, if for no other reason than that type of dollar amount is beyond five-stars competing with five-stars. Even if you're Arch Manning, you have to wonder, "If they are paying that QB that much, well, they are not paying him to wear a ball cap."

Like all five stars, I'm not betting against Alabama or Georgia. Period. That's like playing poker with a guy with the same nickname as a city. It's just not smart.

I could see Texas. I could also see the value of playing for Lincoln Riley at USC.

From UTC Mocs

Good morning,

Tweet out of the Lookouts game last night showed Alex Anthopoulos sitting watching the game and his Mississippi Braves.

There to just see the team as a whole or contemplating a move up to Atlanta for Michael Harris II? Chattanooga would be the closest location I guess to see the MS team play.

What say you?


Thanks for this question, and ol' AA - no not Arn Anderson, the Braves hot-shot GM - was back at AT&T Thursday night as well.

Welcome to town, Alex. Hope all is well. Say, about that Freeman thing - never mind.

I think it had to be Harris, or scouting to fleece the Reds come trade deadline. Or as you said, just checking in on the Braves Double-A affiliate in the most convenient place in the Southern League for folks in the A-T-L.

But, if we can close today with a bit of a conspiracy theory that certainly is far-fetched, picture this:

What if AA is in town to scout our town? Yes, Chattanooga.

The Braves own the Mississippi Braves, and as you said, it's not exactly around the corner from the rest of the outfits with the Braves at Truist, the AAA in Gwinnett and the A team in Rome.

And let's say the fumbled football that Jason Freier and his folks - they lowballed their end on the new stadium from the beginning have have politically mismanaged a few steps along the way - have turned a new Lookouts stadium into causes them to relocate.

(Side note: Do I think a new stadium gets done? Yes, but I also personally think it's a lot closer than most may realize, and, that said, I'm less optimistic it gets completed if the Hardball folks do not put more upfront skin in the game.)

But as for the conspiracy chatter, if the Lookouts do move,

Then in a few years, the Braves seek a friendly deal and with much deeper pockets and a baseball-less Chattanooga looking to reconnect to its roots, the Braves come calling with more upfront money and a better name to sell in this area?


Sorry no hate mail of merit this week. That's what happens when you write about tongue-cheek grad gifts and Bumper Reese retiring. So it goes.

Also, there were more than a few very good questions I had to roll over. Some will be items in next week's 5-at-10s, deal? Deal.

Enjoy the weekend friends.