I wrote about golf yesterday and I want to start with two golf items today. I suspect that has never happened before in the history of these rants. There were reports a few days ago that Phil Mickelson had something like $3M of his money linked to a Federal money laundering investigation involving someone who transferred sums of money approximating that amount among bank accounts to fund illegal gambling activities. Mickelson is not a suspect in the investigation nor is he charged but the report of that much money nominally belonging to him and “illegal gambling” makes you sit up and take notice.
Recall a couple of years ago that Mickelson was investigated – and ultimately cleared – in an investigation involving insider trading. I do not remember the details, but “insider trading” like “illegal gambling” conjures up a set of images that is not nearly congruent with the public image that Mickelson works to portray. Perhaps, Messr. Mickelson should consider the advice contained in an old aphorism:
You are known by the company you keep.
If I mention the name Beau Brinkley, you will probably furrow your brow and try to figure out if this is Beau Bridges’ real name or if he is the son of David Brinkley – unless of course you are a Tennessee Titans’ fan. In that case, you would know immediately that Beau Brinkley is the long-snapper for the Titans. This week, Brinkley was playing in a golf tournament in Nashville and one of the sponsors was the Jack Daniels bourbon folks. Brinkley sank a hole-in-one on a par 3 hole and won a sponsor’s prize – a full barrel of Jack Daniels bourbon. He even gets to go to the distillery and sample from barrels to pick the one he wants. I know it is a real long-shot but if the titans win the Super Bowl there will be some kind of team celebration at Brinkley’s place…
The US Women’s National Team advanced to the finals in the World Cup tournament last night beating #1 ranked Germany 2-0. The US will play the winner of the Japan/England game next Sunday in Vancouver for the championship. This is the fifth consecutive shutout for the US women and what makes this shutout all the more impressive is that the Germans had scored 20 goals in the tournament coming into the game. I will not pretend to be an expert in soccer strategy and tactics, but the defense line and the mid-field players on the US team were all over the German attackers from start to finish.
A few days ago, Yahoo! Sports reported that John Calipari had been in several discussions with the Sacramento Kings and this led to the speculation that the Kings might offer Calipari the jobs of coach and GM there. Yesterday, there were reports from several outlets saying that Calipari would stay at Kentucky and that his “discussions” with the Kings’ owner related to former Kentucky players who were now with the Kings like Boogie Cousins and Willie Cauley-Stein.
Normally, I would take that kind of deflection/denial to be a half-truth in the sense that the former players were the justification for the initiation of the discussion but then, things evolved. In this case, I tend to believe Calipari for a simple reason:
John Calipari is a very intelligent man and I think he realizes that whoever is the coach/GM of the Sacramento Kings is doomed at the outset. At least for now, the job(s) in Sacramento are about as attractive as a tire fire.
Calipari’s contract at Kentucky reportedly will pay him $7.05M this year – with incentives on top of that. Of course, an NBA team can offer him more than that if they want to, but it is not as if Calipari is working for chump-change in Lexington. If he were to make the move to the NBA, I would have to think that he would be looking to go to a team that is at the very least poised to be a contender for a Conference Championship. The Sacramento Kings are nowhere near that baseline level of competence. Moreover, the Kings’ owner has a ton of money but also has a seemingly irrepressible urge to meddle in the basketball operation of the franchise. I am sure that fans and alums put pressure on Calipari at Kentucky, but I would be shocked if the AD or the University Chancellor would dare to interfere with the running of the team itself.
I would not be surprised if John Calipari decided to take an NBA job one of these days before he hangs up his whistle. Moreover, he will get offers to do that because he is a good coach – and because he has plenty of his former players in the league. However, I do not think he will be going to one of the “outposts” of the NBA or to a franchise with a meddlesome owner.
In another NBA-related report, the Knicks are supposedly the leaders in the race to sigh Aaron Afflalo and they are offering a 3-year deal worth $38M. Afflalo is a good defender who shoots at a decent percentage aided somewhat by the fact that he only averages 7 or 8 shots per game over his career. Clearly, the Knicks can use any player who is even average on defense; and Lord knows, they do not need anyone else on the floor who wants/needs to take lots of shots. Having said that, I suspect that Knicks’ fans will not create a flash mob that stops traffic for 3 blocks around Madison Square Garden when/if the Knicks finalize this deal. Nor should they…
Finally, an item from Dwight Perry’s column, Sideline Chatter, in the Seattle Times:
“NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. finally popped the question to longtime girlfriend Amy Reimann.
“In keeping with the theme, they’ll be exchanging his and hers piston rings.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………