Wells (Smack) and Schill ("It's ..personal") join
cavalcade of critics in the hot new MLB trend. Way
more intriguing: Where's the D from A-Rod's teammates? QUICKIE LIVE! 9-10 a.m.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
Answers to your questions!
Grant Hill: Who will get the loudest
LeBron James: Who will make the most must-see
Any Nugget: Who is the most conspicuous
Steve Nash: Who will be the ASG MVP?
No one: Who will play D?
Complete ASG weekend preview follows ...
ASG: The Celebs
Hilarity ensues when GMs Greg Anthony
and Stephen A. Smith divvy up celebrities to play for
"coaches" Andre Miller and Earl Boykins. (Friday, 7
Ubiquitous celeb-hoops participants Mark
McGrath and Roger Lodge tangle with headliners Nelly
and Ryan Cabrera, best-known for being Ashlee
Simpson's ex. R&B star Brian McKnight is better than
all of 'em.
ASG: The Comps
JV Game: What does it say when the Soph
starting 5 of LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Carmelo and Heinrich
could beat the REAL All-Star squad? Problems for the
Rookies. (MVP Pick: Hometown fave Anthony)
Dunk: Is LeBron competing or what? What if he
ran out of the stands and jumped into it? Best. Comp.
Ever. These are the heirs to the Denver '76 ABA
Dunk Contest? (Pick, without LBJ: Josh Smith)
3-Point: Still trying to figure out how
reigning champ Vashon Lenard is healthy enough to
defend his title, but not healthy enough to actually
play for the Nuggets. Ominous karma signals. (Pick:
Skills: Wait, where's "Brawling" and "Cursing?"
Not even a "Pouting?" (Pick: Earl Boykins)
3-on-3 Shootout: An NBA player, a WNBA'er and
an NBA legend walk into a bar ... (Pick: Team Nuggets,
featuring Alex English)
ASG: The Shoes
The ASG is a peep show for shoe-heads;
it's the Oscars Red Carpet show for kick fetishists.
(For the record: Gray is the hot color for LeBron,
Kobe and Amare.)
Headliner: Air Jordan XX. Watch the mania over
the AJXX (Saturday release). Ray Allen is wearing them
in the game.
As far as shoes go, I'd Superlatize the XXs as
"Biggest. Conversation-Piece. Ever." Expect reactions
to go love-hate, with no middle-ground.
||CHECK OUT THE QUICKIE EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING!
|WHO'S GOT THE MOMENTUM ...|
Virginia Tech: ACC newbie pulls stunner, upsetting Duke|
NBA labor negotiations: Using NHL as a cautionary tale?
Kevin McHale: Win No. 2! T'wolves drop ailing Bron's Cavs
|... AND WHO'S GOT NO MO'|
Emeka Okafor: Top rookie will miss ASG JV event (ankle)|
Suns: Lose to Mavs; Spurs finish with top ASG-break record
Overtime NHL negotiations: Rumors fly, but union denies
Others to watch: Something from the
T-Mac/Duncan/KG adidas troika; the retro-return of the
Reebok Pump (Dee Brown dunk not included); the ASG
sleeper fave could be Jermaine O'Neal's Nike Shox
NBA Beer Crackdown
The league is releasing new guidelines
covering sale (and size) of beer in arenas. (Wait: You
mean "yes" and "lots" didn't cut it?)
Meanwhile, beginning formally this Sunday, fan
behavior will also be monitored by a strict guideline:
No PDA. Get a hotel, lovebirds. Wait a
Dodgers: Give DePo a break!
Brewers: Sheets trade bait?
A's: More Q's than A's
Padres: Pitchers, indeed
Twins: P's ain't the problem
Orioles: Who are these Nats?
Blue Jays: Lacking oomph
Royals: Where's the hope?
Rumors it was a stroke put his
professional future into serious question, even as
fans and foes alike wish him nothing but a quick and
Only two options here, folks: Either he
completes a recovery and stunning return to the game,
or he prematurely ends what I'd argue is a Hall of
Giving mid-majors a shot? Sure, you
could consider Saturday's Bracket Buster
marathon (all day, ESPN2) a vehicle for giving
lesser-knowns a showcase for NCAA Tournament
But, really, the value is getting a look at the
mid-major teams you know will be there
(Pacific, So. Ill., Vermont), so you can have more
info while filling out your office-pool bracket next
In honor of the "D5C" this weekend,
what key lessons of the success of NASCAR can teach
Leverage "hardest-core" fans:
The NHL lacks casual fans, but its "red-meat" base
rivals NASCAR for passion. Tap the loyalty of fewer,
more intense customer connections.
Tighter sponsor integration:
The "sanctity" of jersey space is archaic; just ask
NASCAR. Sell every inch of sweater available, and
Go back to basics; find the strongest areas of support
(i.e., Original 6 cities) and restore interest with
those fans. Let it flow from there.
Make "Game Day" special:
Like NASCAR weekends, the NHL needs to create two
nights a week (one weekday, one weekend) where hockey
can create an "appointment" following.
Mr. Popularity's bump tactics in the 150 cause big
fender-bender, leaving many using backup rides --
forced, by the rules, to the back of the field.
|Today on ESPN.com|
|All-Star Hot & Not|
|Most Underrated ASG Dunks Ever|
|Kenny Smith '90|
|Backward bounce, off glass|
|Terence Stansbury, '87|
|Let Liberty prevail!|
|Isaiah Rider, '94|
|Hate player; love 'tween-legs|
|Steve Francis, '00|
|Had to reach waaaay back|
|Darvin Ham, '97|
|High degree of difficulty|
Bracket Buster aside, the best top 25 games of the CBB
weekend are a "prove-it" for BC vs. 'Cuse (Sat, 6,
ESPN) and Wake at Duke (Sun)|
55 percent of ESPN.com users think that Mike Greenwell
deserves the retroactive '88 AL MVP over Canseco; talk
about "People's Champ."
New "Dream Job": Ex-players compete to be NBA
analysts. As usual, I'll file critiques (and praise of
My Man, Al Jaffe) on Page 3. (Sun, 7, ESPN)
Got some time this weekend? Use your Insider
subscription (you don't have one yet?) to check out
the top 100 All-Time Fantasy Baseball Seasons.
No, seriously: Why won't any Yankees come to A-Rod's
defense? That's SUCH a bigger story than the mere
"A-Rips" coming from outside NY's house.