Tennessee basketball. Wow. Message delivered. That was needed and impressive as the Vols overwhelmed the Kentucky Wildcats in the rematch in Knoxville on Saturday. Then, a day later, the Vols got a monster commitment from a five-star wing player from Florida. Good times.
Kareem Abdul Jabbar. The Sky Hooker auctioned off his memorabilia and made $3 million on things that ranged from his 1987 title ring (pulled almost $400K), an autographed ball from his last game and a slew of other things that any Lakers fan would love. But this was not about Jabbar trying to cover an Allen Iverson hole or an Antoine Walker gambling debt. The 71-year-old Jabbar said almost all of the proceeds would go to Skyhook Foundation, his charity that helps kids learn about science, technology, engineering and math.
Montez Sweat. On a day when the best class of this draft took center stage, Sweat was the best of the best. The former Mississippi State edge rusher clocked a blazing 4.41 40 time at 260 pounds. (Why was he not carrying the ball friends?) How fast is that? Well, it was smile quicker than Julio Jones' and Amari Copper's 4.42 40 times at the combine. Also of note, Quinnen Williams was also an absolute dude at the Underwear Olympics, and he remains as the guy I would take first.
Jacksonville football fans. Reports have the Jags ready to sign Nick Foles, which means a slew of good things for Jacksonville fans. It means a) the Blake Bortles' debacle is over; b) the Jags get a guy who won a Super Bowl without trading any draft picks for him; c) Hit the reset button with the championship defense and window still open. And remember this? How did Foles win a Super Bowl? He had a monster defense and a deep array of offensive weapons. What do the Jags currently have? They have a monster defense, an array of runners and an improving cast of receivers.
Aaron Murray. The former Georgia quarterback got on the field for the Atlanta Legends and got the Legends in the win column. Good moment for a good dude.
LeBron and the Lakers. Wow, complete and total dysfunction right now. Yes, LeBron shoulders a lot of that. Comes with being the lead dog. You get the credit when it's rolling; you get blame when it's failing. And the Lakers are failing. And flaying. Saturday's loss to a Suns team with a .190 winning percentage was the worst team LeBron's every lost two after the first month of the season. Ever. Don't get me wrong, the rest of that cast has been erratic and pouty — remember LeBron went 27-9-16 in Phoenix and is still averaging 27.0-8.7-8.1 on the year — but a missed postseason at 34 will be an ugly mark on LeBron's legacy.
The NFL front office lackeys who feel the need to stretch the boundaries of combine questions. We all remember the Miami front office guy who asked Dez Bryant if his mom was a prostitute. (In retrospect, if that had been a Patriots rep, well, that question in retrospect may have been practical for ownership as well as theoretical.) This weekend someone asked Kris Boyd if he was a two-ball player. Not a two-way player; a two-ball player. "Someone asked if I have both my testicles," Boyd said when asked what was the strangest question he has heard this weekend. Don't these dudes go throw physicals? Don't they have to turn their heads and cough?
Our AAF picks. Had our first losing week in the AAF. Hey upsets happen. And if you are smart enough to ride the under (which went 3-1 this week) you are still collecting entertainment. We went 1-3 on our game picks and 2-1 on our under (we left the Apollos off that list and they still went under) for a 3-4 mark. We are now 12-8-1 on the season, which is still 60 percent against the number.
Michael Jackson's legacy. Not that it was in high regard anyway, but the first part of the "Leaving Neverland" went directly to every whisper and every believed but seldom talked about rumors of the King of Pop's alleged sexual molestation of kids. HBO aired the first part despite a lawsuit filed by Jackson's estate in which the estate claims that the network agreed not to speak ill of the singer. Jackson was acquitted of child molestation charges in 2005. But buckets, the allegations — the main characters are Wade Robson and James Safechuck, each of whom met Jackson when they were boys under the age of 10. Those two tried to file charges against Jackson several years ago, but the statue of limitations had run out.
Local boy makes great
It's funny how the connection can start and then grow.
Keith Mitchell, the winner of the Honda Open, has been known around these parts for a while. He grew uno around here, pounding golf balls with monster swings since before he was 10.
He flourished at the Baylor School before going to the PGA pipeline that UGA. (Hey, we know a lot of folks call it Running Back U. Not sure anyone is going to balk at Power Driver U., too.)
Mitchell was at his best Sunday when the pressure was at it's highest. He made birdies on four of the last seven holes of arguably the hardest course on the year-in, year-out Tour schedule.
He beat Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler, two dudes that everyone has heard of and who are likely headed to the Hall of Fame.
It was awesome to watch because of the fulfillment of lifetime dreams. It was awesome to watch because of the way he handled his nerves and the moment. It was awesome to watch to remember that it was not that long ago that he finished 26th on the season Web.com Tour and was in a state of flux before landing his Tour card and hitting the ground running.
It was a moment that reminded us why we root for folks and teams and the reward that investment can offer. It was a moment that carried equal parts of the respect that comes with working to make your dreams come true and the magnitude — a couple years guaranteed on the Tour and a spot in the Masters — of those dreams actually happening.
Congrats Keith. And thanks for sharing it with all of the folks pulling for you back here in Chattanooga.
This and that
— While we are on Keith's amazing accomplishment Sunday, know this: Mitchell took home $1.224 million Sunday. He has now made $3,374,102 million playing golf. Kudos.
— We only had one college basketball pick over the weekend — Quinnipiac minus-1.5 in a 77-60 win over the St. Peter's Peacocks on Friday — and hit it. Hopefully that will reverse the slide of last week. We will have a pick or two later today, too.
— Speaking of the AAF, here are the scores of week 4 and standings: San Antonio 12, Birmingham 11; Atlanta 14, Arizona 11; Memphis 26, San Diego 23; Orlando 20, Salt Lake 11. In the East, it's Orlando (4-0), Birmingham (3-1), Atlanta (1-3) and Memphis (1-3). In the West, it's Arizona, San Antonio and San Diego each at 2-2 and Salt Lake at 1-3.
— We're all in for this — a TV reboot of "The Sandlot" in which the original cast is back. (It's not like any of those cats had turned down several Broadway plays in recent years. "Hey is that Squints in The Lion King?") It is set in 1984 and the Sandlot players all have kids of their own. Hey it could stink, but we'll give that a roll.
— Speaking of the Lakers' struggles, well, consider longtime fan Snoop Dogg among those who have had it with this version Lowtime. Here's Snoop barking about the dysfunction and offering his mega-dollar seats for $5.
— Speaking of Jags and the AFC South, if Foles is the Jags new QB, the Titans, who won the league a couple of years ago, are now the worst team in the AFC South, right? They would have the worst QB of the four — Marcus Mariota would be behind Luck, Watson and Foles — and the worst supporting cast of the four as well. We mention this as we saw reports that the Titans were right there among the teams that have called about Antonio Brown. We think that makes a ton of sense for a Titans team that is standing still while all their division foes are making moves and getting better.
— Speaking of the combine, not often you hear this, but there were complaints about super freak Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson for throwing the ball too hard. Seriously. Jackson, by the way, is 6-foot-7 and 249 pounds and ran a 4.59 40. If the QB thing doesn't work, you have to give ni, No. 82 and ask him to run some drills at tight end, right?
Weekend winners (other than Mr. Mitchell, if your nasty) and losers. Discuss.
Today is March 4. Thomas Jeffers (1801), Abe Lincoln (1861) and FDR (1933) were inaugurated on this day. They could contend for say, a Rushmore, of some sort, don't you think?
The world's most famous song — "Happy Birthday" — was published on this day in 1924.
One of my all-time favorites — John Candy — died on this day 25 years ago. Sigh.
Rushmore of John Candy projects. Go.