Nothing too monumental today, in fact, the highlight for me was probably finding a toffee hard candy in a bowl of mints. Remember: a diverse candy jar is a happy candy jar.
- The NBA named the dunk contest participants, a field of “no-names” that can all soar. Should be a good show as always that hopefully focuses more on the jamming and less on the props and gimmicks. Chase Budinger is the most exciting entry because a) we’ve never had a blonde dunk contest winner, b) the last (and only) time a white guy won the contest, Mr. Brent Barry, Charles Barkley had the best All-Star Weekend quote of all-time: “We need another Million Man March!” and c) the dude somehow overcame his volleyball prowess to become a useful NBA player. If your high school was anything like my high school, the minute a basketball player decided to play volleyball, that was the end. Volleyball turns potential post players into tall goons who lack muscle definition and treat any sort of contact or physicality like the plague. “Wait, I can be a star in a sport and there’s a physical barrier between me and the guys who want to push me, dig their elbows into my back, or step on my shoes when I jump? Sign me up!”
- Big men rejoice! The field of three-point contestants includes not one but TWO post players, and…get this…they’re not even Europeans. Maybe this country can develop fundamentally skilled players after all. Kevin Love and Ryan Anderson will chuck for the trophy, but they won’t pack half the excitement of pioneer big man contestant Sam Perkins’ run in 1997. Perk’s slo-mo release was no match for a timed contest – it was a miracle he got to the fourth rack – but any time we can shout out Mr. Smooth, we’re happy to do so.
- Josh Hamilton is “undergoing a Josh Hamilton makeover” per his interview with Glenn Beck (?) last night. The Rangers are accommodating of the slugger and his fight with addiction, but life as a pro athlete fighting that disease must be incredibly difficult. Temptation lurks at every corner. It reminds me of a Top 10 Anecdote, which Chris Herren shared in the incredible ESPN documentary Unguarded, a film you should absolutely watch immediately. Nick Van Exel and Antonio McDyess took Herren, then a rookie on the Nuggets, and pulled him aside. Well aware of his struggles with substances, they told him they would keep an eye on him during road trips. Van Exel and McDyess even spent their evenings at dinner with Herren to keep him away from temptation, and Herren stayed clean all season. That’s leadership, and with teammates like Ian Kinsler, who traveled to the bar to take Hamilton home during the night of his relapse, Hamilton has hope to ward off his disease.