At Christmastime, it's long been the fashion for sports columnists to write an annual column about what various people in sports want to find under their tree — a new quarterback for this coach, a starting pitcher for this general manager and so on.
But, of course, the Christmas of Santa Claus isn't the only one. There's also the message that is found in the Gospel Of Luke, which we can all of us, of all faiths, support — as the angels sing: And on earth, peace, goodwill among people.
In 1984, the Portland Trail Blazers chose Sam Bowie, a 7-foot-1 center from the University of Kentucky, with the second pick in the college draft. The Chicago Bulls then took Michael Jordan.
The words "Bowie over Jordan" are part of pro basketball lore, and are still a source of pain for many fans of the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers. Bowie's tenure in Portland was marred by leg injuries; Jordan became a legend. ESPN recounts it all in a documentary about Bowie on Thursday night.
I've never had any interest in hunting. Among other things, I'm a terrible shot, but I have friends who hunt, and it appears to me to be a perfectly reasonable sports hobby — certainly every bit as honorable as fantasy football. Moreover, shooting a deer or a duck with a bullet seems to me no more inhuman than catching a trout or a marlin with a hook.
Oh, sometimes I get a little piqued that those who hunt and fish are ennobled as "sportsmen," while people who play golf are just golfers and people who bowl are just bowlers. But then, that's just me being picayune.
Stop anyone on the street in Europe, Latin America, Africa and even Asia, and chances are they'll know the name Lionel Messi — and they'll probably know what he did this week. The soccer phenom scored his 88th goal of the year, which is widely thought to be a world record.
And the year's not over yet.
On Sunday, Messi, 25, scored his 86th goal of the calendar year in a Spanish league game against Real Betis, in Seville. The goal, Messi's second of the game, gave Barcelona a 2-1 win over Betis, with the announcer booming, "A new goal king!"
The entertainment industry seems to give us only three things: sex, Justin Bieber and boxing.
Justin Bieber aside, don't producers know almost nobody cares anymore about boxing? But here we have Clifford Odets' period piece, Golden Boy, back on Broadway, and — achtung! — a musical of Rocky mounted in Germany.
Plus the usual same-old, same-old treatments are floating around. Eminem wants to make a boxing movie. Really. Worse, there are actual plans to have Sylvester Stallone fight Robert DeNiro in a boxing film. OMG — I am perfectly serious.
As the National Hockey League lockout drags into its 86th day, which featured news that more games have been cancelled including the All-Star game, some of the league's biggest stars are getting plenty of action back in their home countries.
In Russia, major NHL players such as Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin are giving a boost to the fledgling KHL—the Kontinental Hockey League.
Russian NHL players are scattered throughout the KHL teams that still carry names from the Soviet era when Russia dominated world hockey.