Between the start of free agency in the NBA, baseball’s impending all-star break, Wimbledon winding down, Spain dismantling Italy in the Euro 2012 final and the most anticipated rematch in UFC history, I think it’s possible that my head is spinning like a top (I apologize for that Seinfeld reference). In any case, there’s a lot happening right now and here are the big stories:
The NBA Draft took place last Thursday at the Prudential Center. As expected, Anthony “I’m Getting Endorsements Because Of My Unibrow” Davis was selected first by the New Orleans Hornets, who also went on to take Austin Rivers. They dominated the draft, as did Portland and Houston due to their multiple first-round selections. The Knicks, on the other hand, were without a number one pick after idiotically getting rid of it to bring in a balky Tracy McGrady for half of their tumultuous 2010 season. In the second round, they drafted Kostas Papanikolaou, a talented big man from Greece who won’t be coming to America for at least another year or two. With more than $200 million invested in Stoudemire, Carmelo and Tyson Chandler, why they took someone who can’t contribute immediately I have no idea.
As players can officially sign with teams on July 11, talks are underway about who is going where. Blake Griffin will ink a $95 million extension with the Clippers, Gerald Wallace is staying with the Nets and, as usual, Dwight Howard can’t make up his mind. First he said sorry for bogging down Orlando and agreed to stay, is now claiming that he wants out to go to Brooklyn, and is currently rumored once again to possibly be going to the Lakers. Is it any surprise that he reportedly said he felt “blackmailed” into signing the opt-in clause with Orlando? Absolutely not. The dude is a head case (albeit a superb athlete) and who knows when he’s going to make up his mind? Maybe he’ll get an hour-long ESPN special dubbed “The Indecision.”
Wimbledon was thrown a drop shot when the number two seed, Rafael Nadal, was upset by the 100th ranked Lukas Rosol, who wound up losing his very next match. Andy Murray, the number four seed for the past couple of years, stands to benefit the most from Nadal’s exit. Murray is still seeking his first Grand Slam title and quite frankly he must win Wimbledon. Nadal, Novak Djokovic and the great Roger Federer have combined to win 28 of the last 29 majors and with Rafa out of the bottom half of his bracket, this is Murray’s time to shine. I think he’ll do it.
Voting finalized this weekend for the MLB All-Star Game and after a record 40.2 million ballots casted, people are pissed. As a Giants fan, I know all too well how much these folks appreciate the team and it’s because of relentless voting by San Fran’s diehards that there is an uproar. For instance, catcher Buster Posey finished with the most votes by any position player in NL history even though Carlos Ruiz should be starting. Melky Cabrera has the most hits in the league and while you could make a case for Ryan Braun starting, you can’t go wrong with The Melkman getting the nod. But third base is the real problem. David Wright is hitting .355 with nine homers, 50 RBI and eight stolen bases yet lost by a whopping two million votes to the “Kung Fu Panda” Pablo Sandoval—who missed a month of the season for the Giants and is hitting .304 with half of Wright’s RBI total, fewer home runs and no stolen bags. The system clearly isn’t perfect (as evidenced by Giants second baseman Freddy Sanchez finishing fourth in voting even though he’s yet to play a single game this season) but if you wanted Wright to start the game, all you had to do was vote as feverishly as the Giants fans did.
And finally, the rematch we’ve been waiting about two years for—Anderson “The Spider” Silva vs. Chael Sonnen—finally takes place this Saturday at UFC 148. Sonnen, of course, beat the shit out of Silva for the first four and a half rounds during their Aug. 7, 2010, match before getting caught in a triangle choke and tapping to Silva. While Sonnen is the ultimate trash talker, it’s been the usually humble Silva who amped this fight up in a UFC phone conference: “What I’m going to do inside the Octagon is something that’s going to change the image of the sport,” he said. “I’m going to make sure every one of his teeth are broken, his arms are broken, his legs are broken.”
This is going to be a fight that should not be missed because it can go either way. Chael, who failed his post-fight drug test the last time he faced Silva, has impressed in his last two victories against Brian Stann and Michael Bisping. “The Spider,” on the other hand, is the greatest MMA fighter of all time and hasn’t lost since 2006. The 37-year-old Silva is the odds-on favorite to win due to the fact that he’s been untouchable since entering the UFC though if anyone is going to beat him, it’s Chael. Other fights on the card include Forrest Griffin vs. Tito Ortiz (who will finally be making his last appearance in the UFC), Cung Le vs. Patrick Cote, Dong Hyun Kim vs. Demian Maia and Chad Mendes vs. Cody McKenzie. How do you think the fights will unravel? email@example.com