Teammates vote against Lamar Odom receiving share of playoff money

Lamar Odom just never seemed right ever since landing in Dallas,  TX to play for the Mavericks.

He went from playing all 82 games for a Laker squad, starting in 35 of them, while averaging 14.4 points per game and 8.7 rebounds. This season: a distracted Odom played in 50 games, started 4 of them, and averaged 6.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per contest.

Now, his teammates have voted to deny the $14,000 playoff share every player were to get for their trip into the first round.

“If the Lamar thing would have worked out and if he would have played like the year before when he was the best sixth man, I think we would have had a shot,” Dirk Nowitzki told ESPN. “It would have given us another playmaker, another guy that’s long, that can defend and rebound.

“But for whatever reason the stuff he was going through off the court was just too much. He couldn’t help us the way he wanted, the way we wanted, and we had to move on without him.”

Odom co-stars with his wife Khloe Kardashian in a reality show, and even Mavericks franchise owner Mark Cuban admitted that might be a distraction.

Was it a distraction?
“To our guys? No,” Cuban said. “To him? Possibly. I do think that if you know you’re on camera all the time, you know you’re on camera all the time.”

While his play deteriorated, I still don’t think a $14,000 playoff share will be all too much for him to lose sleep over. Heck, the man’s still crying over the Lakers dumping him.

The 2003 NBA Draft and Minnesota

While watching Game 4 of the Knicks vs. Heat first-round playoff series on Monday, it dawned on me that four of the top-5 picks in the 2003 NBA draft were on the court playing that day.

LeBron James (MIA, #1 pick to CLE), Carmelo Anthony (NYK, #3 pick to DEN), Chris Bosh (MIA, #4 pick to TOR) and Dwayne Wade (MIA, #5 pick to MIA) were playing at Madison Square Garden in New York on Sunday.

A highly anticipated series featuring many star players, and rightfully so, it was in the playoffs.

Now, while the Heat have the upper hand 3-1 in the series and will most likely take it in Game 5 down in South Beach, Fla., there is one lone player not represented by either team that was drafted in the top-5 of the 2003 draft.

Darko Milicic, though drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 2003, receives his paycheck from the Minnesota Timberwolves for once starting, but more recently benched for the foreign basketball-monster Nikola Pekovic.

Minnesota sports, everyone.

Big East leader resigns amid conference realignment

“Conference realignment” or the shifting of teams from conference to conference in the NCAA, had the world by storm just last fall. 

While the talk and subsequent actions have simmered down for the time being, Big East commissioner John Marinatto resigned Monday as leader of the conference with the shiftiest of sand – the Big East. 

The Big East lost Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC last fall, all while losing once-committed TCU as well as West Virginia to the Big 12. 

While the major pieces seem to have fallen, there was once talk of 4, 16-team superconferences – and that is still a possibility. Though, Marinatto’s exit shows the strain this time of change has on the head of a bleeding conference. 

(It is worth noting the Big East gained members in Boise State, Houston, SMU, San Diego State, Memphis, UCF and Navy in either football or all sports in the coming years.)

Gopher football gets one prime-time game next season

The Gophers football program will host only one prime-time game at TCF Bank Stadium during the 2012-13 season – the same amount as last year.

The Sept. 22 tilt against Syracuse has been chosen by the Big Ten to be played at 7 p.m., while the rest of the Gophers six home match ups will kickoff during the day. Last year, the Gophers other six games kicked off at 2:30 p.m.

The Gophers will open their season against UNLV on Aug. 30. Minnesota’s lack of success in the visible sports of football and basketball have kept their national appearances low. 

Last season, Minnesota men’s basketball only received three games on networks like ESPN and CBS. 

RGIII already starting QB in Washington

Robert Griffin III hasn’t taken an NFL snap, yet he’s a starting quarterback earning a starting quarterback’s salary. 

The heisman trophy winner from a year ago, Griffin III was drafted with the 2nd overall pick in the draft to a dismal Redskins organization. Mike Shanahan has already announced he will start game 1 of the season come September. 

“He’s the starter. Period.” Shanahan told ESPN. 

Call it a lack of options or blind faith, but the Redskins have clearly placed all their eggs in one basket. If you recall, they traded the St. Louis Rams for the second pick in this year’s draft to grab Griffin III. The price: three different first round picks and a second round pick. Do the math, they spent five picks on Griffin III. 

He’s the starter. But, Morpheus, is he the one?

The faces of the NBA

Amare Stoudemire, who had to miss Game 3 of a first-round playoff series against the Miami Heat due to a self-inflicted hand injury, will start tonight in Game 4 – an elimination game as the Knicks find themselves in a 3-0 hole.

Stoudemire wasn’t slicing up fresh carrots for dinner, however. He punched the case of a fire extinguisher in frustration after a Game 2 loss in South Beach, Fla. injuring his hand and requiring several stitches.

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While this is a random event that could happen to any frustrated athlete within reach of a glass-case, the NBA has seen a mixture of poor behavior in its shortened 66-game season.

 

 

Metta World Peace (formerly known as Ron Artest) was suspended by the NBA for seven games just weeks ago for throwing an elbow into OKC Thunder James Harden. Harden received a concussion from the blow.

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The Laker forward will be back with the team in the playoffs and ultimately bring his poor character back with him. Not to harp the Lakers, but as an example of this wretched trend in basketball: their star center Andrew Bynum threw an elbow to Dallas Mavericks point man J.J. Barea in the waning seconds of a Game 4 loss in the 2011 Western Conference Finals.

Though Bynum received a flagrant foul for the action, it exemplifies a trend of divas and poor sportsmanship in the NBA today.

University of Minnesota undergrads spend 2nd most per student towards athletics

According to a report done by Bloomberg, the University of Minnesota athletics department spends 2nd most in the Big Ten, $255 per student, and 1st in the Big Ten, with a total of $7.8 million spent from undergrads towards athletics. 

While the report focuses on schools like Rutgers, who charge each undergrad an average of $1,000 towards athletics, the Gophers athletics department still tops one of the most prestigious football and basketball conferences in the NCAA. Why? 

Spite? Easy to believe, suck the students dry to boost the revenue machine. However, the Gophers aren’t a revenue machine and this athletics department is anything but spiteful. Downtrodden, maybe. That is until Norwood Teague is handed the keys on July 1. 

See, for those who don’t know, the last 10 years have been run by a man named Joel Maturi. A fantastic sports mind with the heart of a lion. However, he lacked the business bone. He had people skills for fundraising, but certainly never seemed to make it a priority. By placing football on the same plane as, let’s say, men’s and women’s gymnastics, he had spread his athletics department too thin to be successful. 

Not to say 25 sports is too many, but a man like Norwood Teague, who a former associate AD of his at VCU told me was the “best CEO-type i’ve ever worked with,” says that there will be change in Minnesota. At least there’s an unprecedented hope for it. 

Family of Seau reconsiders brain study

The family of Junior Seau is reconsidering its decision to allow researchers to study his brain after the star linebacker for 20 years shot himself in the chest this week. 

Seau’s family, which is of Samoan descent, is consulting with a group of its elders on a number of matters, according to ESPN. 

Seau was a monster linebacker and emotional leader of the San Diego Chargers for 13 years. He died in Oceandside, Calif. He was 43. 

While his death is a tragedy, some might recall his car accident in 2010 after he drove off a cliff, which also occurred roughly five hours after his arrest for domestic abuse charges. 

Although cultural rules say otherwise, I strongly believe his family should allow Seau’s brain to be studied for the benefit of sports medical science and his fellow players. 

In February of 2011, Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson shot himself in the chest, leaving a note saying he wanted his brain donated to the study of football head injuries. While Seau did not leave any indication, it is hard to ignore the parallel that he shot himself in the chest as well. 

Mbakwe announces his return to basketball, not hollywood

I’m all for public relations, I’m all for promotions. 

It’s marketing, it’s capitalism. I get it. 

But, as Trevor Mbakwe proved in this YouTube video: you can’t make up for bad acting with editing. I say this because I personally know the creator of this video: Gopher Athletics very own videographer and not-even-graduate-yet John Tipton. Excellent with the camera, but you can’t overcome every variable.

 

 

Mbakwe announces return