TSD Memphis

Sat04192014

Sports

Neck-tattoo promo rubs some Grizz fans the wrong way

grizztattoo 600Tattoos are becoming increasingly popular among today's pop culture. Many young adults use their bodies as canvasses reflecting their freedom of expression. To naysayers, visible body art is a professional no-no, with some making exceptions for artists, musicians or athletes.

With that backdrop, the Memphis Grizzlies tonight (Feb. 21st) are moving to do something that seems to be a first in NBA history. The first 5,000 fans to enter the FedExForum for the game against the Los Angeles Clippers will receive a clear sticker with "GRIZZLIES" inscribed on it. The sticker is to go on the necks of fans in honor of new fan-favoriteJames Johnson.

Acquired from the D-League on Dec. 16, Johnson quickly staked his claim to fan support with his athleticism and the spark he delivers off the bench. He is averaging 8.2 points per game and leads the league in three-point blocks.

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Grizz pull out win over Carmelo & Knicks

mikemiller 600The post All-Star game run of the NBA season has started and the Memphis Grizzlies made a step in the right direction pulling out a win against the New York Knicks on Tuesday (Feb. 18th) at FedExForum.

A lift from Mike Conley and a rain of three-pointers from Mike Miller kept the Grizzlies afloat, withstanding New York's second-half surge en route to a 98-93 victory.

Conley had missed the previous seven games with a sprained right ankle. Finishing with 22 points, he was 6-of-15 from the field and scored a season high 10-of-12 from the free throw line. He dropped nine points during the last five minutes of play.

 

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How bobsledding became a black winter sport

bobsledding 600Willie Davenport was born in central Alabama and was a college track standout in Baton Rouge, La. He qualified for four consecutive U.S. Olympic track teams as a hurdler, winning the gold medal at 110 meters in Mexico City in 1968 and a bronze eight years later in Montreal, and, in 1982, was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. Davenport would later become a very successful track coach.

All of which makes it extraordinary that, arguably, Davenport's greatest Olympic legacy may have been in the Winter Olympic sport of bobsled. After his hurdling career ended, Davenport accepted an invitation to train with the U.S. national team in Lake Placid, N.Y., where the 1980 Winter Games would be staged. He wound up, at 36 years of age, making the Olympic bobsled team as a push athlete and managed a respectable 12th-place finish in Lake Placid.

Amid the "Miracle on Ice" frenzy at that Olympics, bobsled was not even a blip on the American sports radar. However, Davenport's Lake Placid run proved to be a historic milestone, impacting both the sport of bobsled and the overall fabric of the Winter Games: Davenport and his sled-mate Jeff Gadley, a college decathlete, became the first black men ever to compete at the Winter Olympics.

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‘Dad, I’m gay’

dadimgay 600Earlier this week, Michael Sam came out publicly with the news that he is gay. When asked about his parents' reaction to the news during an interview with ESPN, Sam said, "I told my mom and dad last week, and they just pretty much said, 'We knew and we love you and support you,'" he said.

"I'm their baby boy. I'm the first to go to college. I'm the first to graduate college. Something like this is just another milestone."

Sam told his Missouri teammates back in August, but he didn't disclose his sexual orientation to his parents until last week. On Tuesday (Feb. 11th) , the New York Times reported that Michael Sam Sr. is struggling with his son's announcement. Michael Sam Sr. told the New York Times that he received the news last Tuesday after his son sent him a text that said: "Dad, I'm gay."

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How a gay football star could change Black America

MichaelSam 600On Sunday night, Michael Sam made history. The college football standout publicly acknowledged that he is gay, making him the first American athlete in a major professional team sport to announce he is gay at the very beginning of his career. Sam's announcement is already one of the biggest sports stories ever, but the timing of his announcement could make it one of the biggest cultural stories ever as well.

Some of you may be scratching your heads right now trying to figure out why this story matters in an age in which the president of the United States is on the record supporting same-sex marriage, and NBA player Jason Collins came out as gay last year. But Sam's story will likely have a far more significant impact than either of these milestones. Here's why:

President Obama certainly has a measure of influence, particularly among black audiences. When he first ran for president, data showed an "Obama effect" among black test-takers whose scores markedly improved when he won. But influencing test scores in a condensed time frame is very different from having a long-term impact on community behavior. For instance, so far there is no data to suggest that the image of the president's nuclear family, comprised of two married parents raising their children and two dogs together, has significantly altered the landscape within the black community, in which single parenthood has become the norm. That is simply to say that altering social behavior in a meaningful way is a tall order for any one man, but it may be particularly tough for a president.

 

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Remembering the 1972-73 Tigers

larrykenon 600The 1972-73 Memphis State University Tigers team was honored at halftime of the nationally televised game between the University of Memphis and Gonzaga at the FedExForum on Saturday (Feb. 8th) night.

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Tigers meet ‘great expectations’ in thriller over Gonzaga

jacksonblock 600With ESPN's College GameDay and the No. 23 Gonzaga Bulldogs in town, members of the True Blue Nation packed the FedExForum Saturday night (Feb. 8). They came with great expectations and the Tigers delivered with a 60-54 win.

For most of the first half, Gonzaga controlled the pace. They were able to force Memphis into a half court set and the Tigers' offense looked non-existent.

Memphis started to speed things up with around five minutes remaining in the half, but the Bulldogs seemed to have an answer every time the Tigers tried to rally.

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Dallas rolls on – and over – the Grizz

grizdallas 600Brevity and directness often mark post-game assessments when the team you are trying to catch and pass for a playoff spot comes onto your home court and beats you solidly.

"They played good. We couldn't stop them," said the Grizzlies Zach Randolph after the Dallas Mavericks exited the FedExForum court with a 110-96 win Wednesday night. "They've got a great defensive team. They play well and they execute."

Randolph led the Grizzlies with 25 points. Late in the third quarter, however, Dallas seized a lead they would not relinquish partly by bringing Randolph under control in the paint. They maintained the lead going into the fourth quarter and led by as many as 17.

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Hall of Fame finally calls on Claude Humphrey

halloffame 600Back in 2007 and just a few days before historic Super Bowl 41, I spoke with Claude Humphrey and later crafted a story that led with this assertion: "A lot people think Claude Humphrey should be in the NFL Hall of Fame."

Seven years later, Humphrey, who graduated from old Lester High School in Binghampton before going on to Tennessee State University and the NFL (where he played from 1968 to 1981), has made it into the NFL's shrine.

Last Saturday (Feb. 1st), the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Selection Committee held its annual selection meeting, electing Humphrey – an exceptionally talented defensive end – as part of the seven-member Class of 2014.

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Memphis routes Rutgers – post-game notes

tigervesrutger 600The No. 24th ranked University of Memphis Tigers trounced Rutgers 101-69 at the FedExForum on Tuesday night. The victory yielded these post-game reflections.

Head coach Josh Pastner

Opening statement:
"This was a great win for the Tigers and we played well. Converting on 26 assists on 36 made field goals will make me happy any day of the week. We did a great job in sharing the ball. Establishing a post presence early on in the game set everything else up. I love that Austin Nichols went 8-of- 9 from the floor. He and Shaq Goodwin had some great moves down there below the rim. Chris Crawford had a big game with his 11 rebounds as well as Joe Jackson with eight assists. Our free throws (17-of-21) were better than in previous games. We held them (Rutgers) to 41 percent from the floor and did some positive things defensively. Overall it was a very good game and a lot we can take heading into our big game this weekend."

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Calathes steps up as a stand-in as Grizz win

nick griz_600With their once guard-heavy roster skimmed down to two backup point guards, the Grizzlies chose to insert Nick Calathes into the starting lineup following Conley's injury against the Minnesota Timberwolves last Friday night.

Usually hitting the floor in limited minutes so Conley can take a breather, Calathes answered the starter's call of duty Saturday at the FedExForum, helping lead the Grizz to a 99-90 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Before tip-off, the Grizzlies announced that Conley would be out for at least a week.

"I knew coach had a lot of confidence in me," said Calathes, who scored a career-best 22 points. "He started me. My job was to run the team. The big thing was to just get the win and not turn the ball over."

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Say what you will about Pam Oliver’s hair, she’s focused on her craft

superhair 600Fox Sports sideline reporter Pam Oliver is expected to rouse quite a bit of attention at Sunday's Super Bowl, all because of a little misplaced hair, Philly.com reports.

As it turns out the veteran TV sports reporter made the grievous mistake of having a bad hair day and it ignited a twitter storm with people comparing her to Chewbacca and more. Her auburn highlights were a bit wonky, her hair did look a little messy, the news site notes, but it still left more than a few people wondering since when sports was about criticizing the reporter's looks instead of paying attention to the analysis.

Sadly, this has not been Oliver's first ride in this rodeo. She has long been the subject of cruel tweets and comments about her hair virtually every game day. There are several parody Twitter accounts about her hair. However, Oliver has a job to do and she lets these things just roll right off her shoulder.

 

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Ice-storm audience gets shot of hot Tigers

tigericebox 600Wednesday night (Jan. 29) North Carolina and Georgia Tech were scheduled for primetime coverage, but thanks to an ice storm in Atlanta the University of Memphis-Central Florida game was upgraded to ESPN2 coverage. And the nation got another look at what this Memphis squad has to offer.

Now, Central Florida has an elite caliber player in Isaiah Sykes. He could have been the best player on the floor for either team, but his 24 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists weren't enough for the Knights.

Knotted at 39, the Knights looked poised to upset the #22 ranked Tigers after the first 20 minutes. But those hopes would be dashed in the second half as Memphis rallied for a ten-point win 69-59.

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