Category: Sports

116 Amazing Facts for People Who Like Amazing Facts

Alvin Ward and Mental_Floss present 116 Amazing Facts for People Who Like Amazing Facts.  Here are three of my favorites…

50. Roger Ebert and Oprah Winfrey went on a couple dates in the mid-1980s. It was Roger who convinced her to syndicate her talk show.

62. Dolly Parton once entered a Dolly Parton look-a-like contest—and lost.

74. Herbert Hoover was Stanford’s football team manager. At the first Stanford-Cal game in 1892, he forgot to bring the ball.

R.I.P. – Clyde Lovellette

Clyde Lovellette passed away yesterday at the age of 86 from cancer.

If you’re a die-hard basketball fan, you probably know that Hall of Famer, Clyde Lovellette was the first player to win an N.C.A.A. championship, an Olympic gold medal and an N.B.A. title.  That puts Clyde Lovellette in the same stratosphere as Bill Russell, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan… of course Mr. Lovellette got there first.

Clyde Lovellette played 11 seasons in the NBA and was a player on three championship teams [one with the Minneapolis Lakers and two with the Boston Celtics].  Of course before he was in the NBA, Lovellette had a great college career at Kansas… and before that an outstanding high school career at Garfield High in Terre Haute, Indiana.

And that’s where my knowledge of Clyde Lovellette comes into play.  When I was a kid, Clyde Lovellette was the Sheriff of Vigo County.  Terre Haute is in Vigo County and that is where I was born and grew up.  Clyde Lovellette lived one block from me.

We all knew Clyde Lovellette as The Sheriff.  He reminded us of Matt Dillon and at 6’9″ he was just an imposing figure.  I have just a few memories of interacting with Mr. Lovellette.  A couple of times hanging out on the front porch of his house talking to neighborhood kids and another time when he came to a Collett Elementary “fair.”  He had a portable “jail” and kids could buy tickets to have other kids put in jail with Sheriff Lovelette keeping guard.

We didn’t know then how famous Mr. Lovelette was or would become.  We just knew him as a man who kept us safe and took the time to come to our school to help us raise money.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Clyde Lovellette’s family, friends and fans.

RIP – Meadow George Lemon III aka “Meadowlark” Lemon

Meadow George Lemon III better known as “Meadowlark” Lemon of Harlem Globetrotters fame passed away today at the age of 83.

Meadowlark played “before Kings, Queens, Presidents, Popes,” and millions of fans in over 100 countries of the world during his career with the Globetrotters which ran from 1954 – 1979 and over 16,000 games.  Dubbed the “Clown Prince of Basketball” Lemon became the face of the Globetrotters and one of the most recognized athletes in the world.

Lemon’s popularity led to commercials, tv and movie roles and two Harlem Globetrotter animated series.  In 1993, fourteen years after retiring, Lemon returned to the Globetrotters for a 50 game come-back tour.  In 2003, Lemon was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame which was just one of the many honor and awards Lemon earned throughout his life.

Lemon was a born-again Christian and in 1986 became an ordained minister.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Meadow George Lemon III’s family, friends and fans.

15 Punchy Facts About “Raging Bull”

Eric D. Snider and Mental_Floss present 15 Punchy Facts About Raging Bull.  Here are three of my favorites…

1. IT PARTIALLY OWES ITS EXISTENCE TO ROCKY.
Comparisons to that other Oscar-winning boxing movie from four years earlier were inevitable, but the two were actually connected. Rocky was produced by Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff, and released by United Artists. When those same producers approached that same studio about doing another boxing movie, the studio said, “A sequel to Rocky? Sure!” That wasn’t what they had in mind (though they did soon enough), but in the meantime, Rocky’s huge success was enough to sell UA on another boxing movie.

5. PAUL SCHRADER FIXED THE SCREENPLAY BY ADDING JAKE LAMOTTA’S BROTHER, JOEY.
It’s strange to imagine Raging Bull without the Joe Pesci character, but that’s how Mardik Martin’s first drafts had it. He was adapting LaMotta’s 1970 memoir, Raging Bull: My Story, co-authored by LaMotta’s lifelong friend Peter Savage (born Peter Petrella). The book didn’t feature Joey as a prominent character, and it had Savage doing most of the things that Joey would eventually do in the movie. When Schrader was hired to build on the work Martin had done and take another stab at the screenplay, he decided the story would be more compelling if it involved brothers rather than friends (blood ties and all that), so he introduced the Joey character and excised poor old Pete. This creative license proved problematic later, when Joey LaMotta sued for defamation because the movie had attributed to him a number of unwholesome deeds (like beating the crap out of a neighborhood mobster) that had actually been perpetrated by Savage.

9. JOE PESCI WAS RUNNING AN ITALIAN RESTAURANT WHEN DE NIRO AND SCORSESE APPROACHED HIM ABOUT BEING IN THE MOVIE.
Pesci had been a professional actor and musician (he sang and played guitar) off and on since childhood, but he called it quits in the 1970s. His 1975 Broadway show with comedy partner Frank Vincent (whom he would later recruit to play Salvy in Raging Bull) had closed after a week, and his first movie, 1976’s The Death Collector (also featuring Vincent), was a flop. But Robert De Niro happened to see that film in 1978, and was so impressed by Pesci’s performance that he pitched him to Scorsese. The two tracked Pesci down and called him at his restaurant to coax him out of showbiz retirement.

Mayweather vs. Pacquiao: The Fight of the Century?

Mayweather vs. Pacquiao: The Fight of the Century?

Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquio are finally meeting in the squared circle tonight to settle who is the best.  Many (including Manny) are calling this the Fight of the Century.

I grew up in the era of Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Robert Duran, Sugar Ray Lenard, Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns and others.  So many great champions and so many great challengers.  So would I call Mayweather vs Pacquiao the Fight of the Century?

Maybe, if you’re talking about the 21st Century.

SB Nation presents a solid case that Mayweather vs Pacquiao is the Fight of the Century in a well made video that is worth a few minutes of you’re time even if you’re not a fight fan.

UFC Fight Night on FOX Sports 1 Results & Final Thoughts

UFC put on a great night of free fights on FOX SPORTS 1 last night.  Let’s take a look at the main card and my predictions…

  • Michael Johnson vs. Joe Lauzon
    Prediction: Lauzon by decision.
    Result: Johnson by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25) making me 0 – 1 for the night.
  • Uriah Hall vs. John Howard
    Prediction: Hall by TKO
    Result: Howard by Split Decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28) making me 0 – 2 for the night.
  • Mike Pyle vs. Matt Brown
    Prediction: Brown by decision
    Result: Brown by first round KO (29 seconds) making me 1 – 2 for the night.
  • Yuri Alcantara vs. Urijah Faber
    Prediction: Faber by decision
    Results: Faber by Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27) making me 2 – 2 for the night.
  • Alistair Overeem vs. Travis Browne
    Prediction: Overeem by TKO
    Result: Browne by first round KO (4:08) making me 2 – 3 for the night.
  • Chael Sonnen vs. Mauricio Rua
    Prediction: Sonnen by decision
    Results: Sonnen by first round submission (4:47) making me 3 – 3 for the night.

Final Thoughts:

  • Conor McGregor, who fought in the prelims in his first UFC fight, is getting a ton of hype.  While it’s true that McGregor won via a unanimous decision, is the hype warranted?  Uriah Hall, anyone?
  • Michael Johnson beat the brakes off of Joe Lauzon.  I was really surprised that Lauzon looked so bad.  Here’s hoping Lauzon bounces back.  Perhaps this fight was the start of really good things for Johnson.
  • Uriah Hall has really failed to live up to his hype.  While Hall looked like he’d be a top contender when he was knocking everyone out and sending them to the emergency room while fighting on The Ultimate Fighter, I thought the talk of him coming off the show and fighting for the title was crazy. It was.  Dana White has even gone so far as to say, Hall is not a fighter.  My guess is that White will give Hall one more fight to turn things around.
  • Matt Brown has won six in a row and is calling for a title fight.  I’d say he’s earned it.
  • Yuri Alcantara took Urijah Faber down within seconds of the first round of the fight.  Alcantara proceeded to put a beating on Faber and it looked like the fight was on the way to a quick end.  Faber showed a warrior’s heart and continued to fight back until he reversed the situation.  For the rest of the round and the next two, it was all Faber.  Very impressive win for the California Kid.
  • Alistair Overeem came out and as expected started to put a beating on Travis Browne.  Hard shots to the head and knees to the gut rained down on Browne… but he wouldn’t quit.  Both men looked tired towards the end of the first round and as Overeem came plodding in, Browne unleashed a front kick that landed square on Overeem’s chin.  As Overeem fell to the mat, Browne followed dropping a couple of hard shots before the ref could step in.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out… will the win help Browne more than the loss will hurt Overeem?
  • Chael Sonnen chokes out Mauricio Rua in the first round!  Sonnen is one of the most entertaining fighters outside of the ring and he is competitive with the best fighters in two weight classes.  Sonnen has to be loving life. I know his fans are.