So much amazing is happening in the NBA Playoffs this year, and Grantland is here to help you keep track of it all. Check this space for our takes on moments you might've missed, along with ones you will remember forever. (Click the links for full Shootarounds.)
The United States is unequivocally the best place in the world to watch football. With all 10 of the final Premier League matches available on television or online, even England couldn't hold a candle to the coverage of The Sport of the Future here in America. Look out, competitive camel jumping — soccer is on the move.
And what a day it was. By beating 10-man Queens Park Rangers in a frantic finale, Manchester City won its first league title since 1968, shed their long tradition of self-harm, and validated the business savvy of sheikhs with money to burn getting involved in football. In this week's pod, Michael Davies and Roger Bennett attempt to make sense of it all, while taking stock of the rest of the league — everything from Arsenal maintaining third position to Bolton vanishing through the trapdoor. But the football doesn't stop here. It never does. Just days before the Champions League final, the Blazered Men preview Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea — a day of delight for Davo but a Sophie's Choice for Rog.
1. Chris Paul: !!!!!
Chris Paul! Unstoppable! Unforgettable! Probably some other "Un-s", too! Chris Ryan, whom you might remember as your regular Rankonia writer, nominates our hometown hero for this week's top spot:
"I've watched every minute of the Grizzlies-Clippers series. I've seen Tony Allen try to stop Chris Paul. I've seen Mike Conley, Jr. try to stop Chris Paul. I've seen Allen, Rudy Gay, and Marc Gasol try to stop Chris Paul together. I've seen O.J. Mayo try to stop Chris Paul for 90 feet and I've seen Quincy Pondexter try to stop him at the last second. It just doesn't matter. I don't think I ever really knew what it meant for an athlete to be unstoppable until I saw Chris Paul play basketball in the fourth quarter and overtime. Now that I do, I certainly won't forget it."
Grantland Live! Totally happening this weekend. See you on the Internet (specifically, see you on Twitter; follow us at @grantlandlive) for Celtics-Heat at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday. Who knows, maybe Katniss will show up, and we can all have some fun with Photoshop. Again.
It's entirely possible! Why? Because TIME ZONES SCREW UP EVERYTHING, that's why. Actually it's because I kinda didn't realize that no one hit the button on this sucker until like 10:30 ET on Monday night. (It's a long story.) (Not really. That's basically the whole story.) Oops, sorry, everyone! My bad. Here's The Jalen Rose Show all over again, because I feel bad about this.
It's March and it's madness. The FA Cup continued its slow but steady return to football's radar of relevance over the weekend, with storylines abounding across England. And while the goal-scoring return of Chelsea's Fernando Torres and vaudeville villainy of Liverpool's Luis Suarez are subjects that warrant considerable attention in this week's podcast, all of it pales in significance compared to the condition of Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba after his collapse during the quarterfinal clash at White Hart Lane.
Michael Davies and Roger Bennett review the remarkable storylines and salivate with anticipation at the week of scintillating football that lies ahead, including the seismic Manchester City-Chelsea matchup. The Blazered Men wrap up the pod by discussing the usual: How to fix the Champions League away goals rule, and whether "Ginger Ninja" is officially the greatest nickname in soccer.
The B.S. Report made a special road trip to the White House yesterday to make podcast history: the first-ever podcast with a sitting U.S. President. Take that, Marc Maron! Even if we only had 25 minutes, Grantland editor-in-chief Bill Simmons and President Obama covered a bunch of sports-related topics, including how the President manages to make time to follow sports; his feelings on Linsanity and the Bulls' title chances; whether he considered getting involved with the NBA lockout; the wisdom of a college football playoff system; his feelings on concussions and the NFL; what it's like to throw out the first pitch before baseball games; his favorite White House visits from championship teams; coaching his daughter's basketball team; the pearls of wisdom he recently dispensed to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin; and his answers to two "greatest ever" questions (one basketball, one television).
Bahahaha. Good one, Brian. Well played. We love a good line as much as the next guy. So we were thrilled when the boss suggested bringing back Quotes of the Day after stumbling across some old posts.
If you have a suggestion for Quotes of the Day (Or Quotes of the Week. Whatever. We're still working this out.) e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Subject line: "Quotes of the Week.") Thanks in advance for your contribution to The Triangle.
Injuries are inevitable in professional football. Bones, ligaments, and consciousness are weekly casualties in the war waged between the pickup truck and Geico commercials every Sunday on your TVs. It isn’t funny when football players get injured. Watching their replacements terrible their way through the rest of the season? That is funny.
BQBLers, meet Tyler Palko, Matt Leinart, and Caleb Hanie. They are now starting quarterbacks in the National Football League. In life, contingency plans are rarely given the attention and respect they deserve, and it’s no different in professional football. Just two weeks ago, these three men were their teams’ forgotten Plan B. They received limited reps in practice, were tasked with merely following along on game day, and were ignored once they were back in street clothes. Now they are starting quarterbacks tasked with leading their teams into the playoffs. Their fan bases couldn’t be more concerned, their BQBL owners couldn’t be more ecstatic. There is little doubt that by the time you read the BQBL scorecard a week from today, one or more of these men will have interceptioned his way into a 50-point game. Heck, Hanie could go triple digits in the first half. I couldn’t be more excited to see what these men can’t do in Week 12. But before we get ahead of ourselves, there were some really great awful performances in Week 11.
Big week already in the BQBL; if Thursday night is any indication we should have some really good bad performances in Week 11. But before we get to Sunday’s carnage, lets answer some mail from our fellow BQBLers. Look! Chicks! Two of ‘em!
Hey, big news, everyone! It’s time to announce the results of the First Annual Grantland Halloween Costume Contest. Thanks to the rabble-rousers, mischief-makers, and non-sluts of the world, who sent us photos and costume descriptions over the past few days. We enjoyed every one.
Before we get to the winners, The Triangle had a few Honorable Mentions:
It’s good to have friends — or agents — in high places. That’s what Derrick Williams, the draft’s second overall pick, learned this summer when he received an invite to play alongside Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, and Derrick Rose at an exhibition in the Philippines. Grantland’s Jonathan Abrams recently talked to Williams about how he's handling the NBA lockout, his hopes for a downtrodden Minnesota team, and whether he's prepared for winter weather.
Have you had the chance to make it out to Minnesota yet?
I went right after the draft for like three or four days and worked out with the team, and just got a feel for what a regular workout is like, and the feel of some of the players who I’ll be playing with over there.
How much have you ever dealt with snow? If not, you better get ready.
None at all. I’m an L.A.-area guy where there’s a lot of sunshine, a lot of beaches. Then going to Tucson, Arizona, where it’s 110 degrees in the summer. Now, I’m going to Minnesota where it can be negative at any time or any moment.
BQBLers have been e-mailing us hundredsdozensseveral a couple of times with feedback and questions. Every so often, I will be responding to them with hacky jokes and vague, unhelpful answers. Cool? Cool.