LeBron and Barkley exchange insults, as NBA feud blossoms
In his role as NBA analyst for TNT, Charles Barkley called LeBron James “whiny” for the way he’s been faulting the ownership and management of the Cleveland Cavaliers for not assembling a good enough supporting cast. Barkley has a long history of criticizing James, going back to calling it “a punk move” for him to leave Cleveland to sign with Miami. Finally, James decided to fire back: “He’s a hater,” he told ESPN. “I’m not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that. I’m not the one who threw somebody through a window. I never spit on a kid. I never had unpaid debt in Las Vegas. . . . Fourteen years, never got in trouble. Respected the game.” Back to you, Charles: “I understand that this is a different generation, where any time you say something about young guys, they take it personally. They never worry about whether the criticism is fair or not. They take it personally.” He added: “We should do a paint gun sheriff shootout at the All-Star Game.”
All of Barkley’s criticism of LeBron had been justified and accurate. Don’t try to discredit him, LeBron. REFUTE HIM. What? You can’t?
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) January 31, 2017
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 31, 2017
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 31, 2017
Coach K bans his players from their locker room
Mike Kryzewski took a leave of absence from Duke basketball to undergo back surgery. But his convalescence did not prevent him from taking decisive action when he sensed the absence of discipline by his players. When the Blue Devils lost their third of four games – this time at home to North Carolina State – they were in eighth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference. So Coach K unleashed one of his most extreme punishments: he banned his players from the locker room and prohibited them from wearing Blue Devils apparel. No strolls across campus with your jersey on, no wearing your blue and white caps. You’re unworthy.
Dear Coach: What better place for your players to be than their locker room? Isn’t the real problem that their coach is MIA?
Thunder forward breaks his arm when he slaps a chair
Enes Kantor of the Oklahoma City Thunder punched a chair at the team’s bench, out of frustration at the way a game was going. The 24-year-old center/forward smacked the chair so hard that he fractured his right forearm. He’s expected to miss 6-8 weeks of action. Coach Billy Donovan said: ‘I’m disappointed personally because I think Enes had been playing very good basketball.” In fact, he’s the team’s No. 3 scorer, averaging 14.4 points in just 21.6 minutes per game. He’s also third in rebounds, 6.7 per game. “You’re letting your teammates down when you make a mistake like that,” Kantor said. “But mistake happens and we just have to learn from it and control your emotions.”
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Sixty Minutes reveals hidden motors installed in Tour de France bikes
It’s difficult to imagine a Tour de France without cheating, but the CBS news show Sixty Minutes presented a new twist: It’s not just the athletes getting illegal testosterone boost, it’s the bicycles being secretly motorized. Bill Whitaker interviewed Hungarian Stefano Vargas, who invented a tiny, silent, lithium battery-operated motor to be inserted into the frame of the same type of bicycle that’s used in the Tour de France. Although Vargas said he’s never knowingly sold such a modified bike to a professional racer, he has no doubt his 1998 invention has made it into the world’s most famous bicycle race. Videos have emerged of a Tour de France bicycle crashing and the wheels continuing to spin. “If a grandfather buys a bike,” Vargas said, “and it goes from him to his grandson who is racing, it’s not my problem.” The Vargas device is connected to a heart-rate monitor by remote control. When a rider’s heartbeat gets too high, it sends a signal for the motor to kick in.
Palmer not sure his body can endure another NFL season
Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer would like to play another season but is not sure his body will be up to the challenge. Palmer, 37, tweeted Dan Bickley of AZCentral.com: “I guess nothing is ever official until it is, but I’d like to play if my body responds the way I hope.” Palmer will be paid at least $17.5 million if he plays next season, but he did not play well in 2016: 26 TDs, 14 interceptions, a below-average passer rating of 87.2. He was beaten up and worn down and was not helped by an injury-ravaged offensive line. Another factor that might lead him toward retirement is the possible absence of Larry Fitzgerald, who led the NFL in receptions this past season with 107. In September, Fitzgerald told Cardinals teammates that 2016 would be his final year playing football. But he’s due to earn $11 million next season when he will be 34, so it won’t be easy to walk away.
Dear Carson: Your coach, Bruce Arians , does you no favors with his offense that requires holding onto the ball until receivers break open far downfield. Get out while you still have your body and mind intact.
Shanahan loses game plan when reporter walks away with his backpack
The strangest development at Super Bowl “Opening Night” was Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan losing his game plan when a reporter walked away with his backpack. Since Shanahan wasn’t going to need his game plan while being interviewed, he left his backpack in an area where media members were storing theirs. But when Shanahan returned to the area an hour later, his backpack was missing. Immediate suspicion was that New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, notorious cheater, had somehow filched the game plan. After a 15-minute search, a reporter, Art Spander, long-time San Francisco columnist, delivered the backpack, saying he had mistaken it for his own.
Dear Kyle: Does this cast doubt on your readiness to be a head coach? You’re lucky someone as honest as Art Spander had possession of your game plan.
Bennett unlikely to go to Trump’s White House if Patriots win championship
Martellus Bennett, tight end of the New England Patriots, said he “most likely will not” accept an invitation to the White House if his team wins the NFL championship. Meanwhile, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank also spoke out against president Donald Trump. Blank was upset when Trump acknowledged Holocaust Remembrance Day and seemed to forget that 6 million Jews perished under the Nazi regime, thus creating suspicion of Holocaust denial. Blank, who is Jewish, told Newsday: “Obviously it’s a tragic time in the history of the world, not only for Jewish people but for non-Jews as well. And so I think it (the Holocaust) always deserves recognition . . . to remind us of certain characteristics that can take place and to make sure they’re not seen in . . . any of our democracies or institutions around the world.”
Retired Cy Young winner Zito is now a professional musician
When left-handed pitcher Barry Zito came out of retirement in 2015, the Oakland A’s assigned him to their farm team in Nashville. He took that opportunity to join the music industry, writing and singing songs. The Cy Young Award winner of 2002 is 38 and singing and playing acoustic guitar in music clubs in the Bay Area. He has performed to sellout crowds of as many as 250 people. His father composed and arranged music for Nat King Cole, and his mother was a singer. He has received favorable reviews for his strong voice and creative lyrics.
Cardinals give Astros their first two draft picks as hacking penalty
The St. Louis Cardinals are having to pay a steep price for hacking into the Houston Astros’ computer data base. One of the Cardinals’ rising executives, Chris Correa, is serving a 46-month sentence in federal prison, but commissioner Rob Manfred issued additional penalties. He’s requiring the Cardinals to give Houston their first two picks in the upcoming draft and also the salary cap attached to those picks. Manfred also assessed a $2 million fine, the maximum allowed under the rules of Major League Baseball.