Learning about sports from a 2½-year-old

Tampa road trip photo album, Part I

Links of the week (more like month)

With some help from the readers, Bill Simmons passes on some links you have to see. Story

Just a reminder: I’m doing a marathon chat for the Jimmy V. Foundation starting Wednesday at noon ET.

Also, we’re back into a weekly routine with “The Links” starting right now. Here’s a whopping batch of stuff that I liked from the past four weeks, as well as some FYI’s and other stuff worth checking out:

• My buddy Dave Dameshek launched his new drive-time show on ESPN Radio in Los Angeles (710-AM). The show will have more of a national bent, so if you’re a transplant living in the extended L.A. area, definitely check it out and don’t be turned off by the fact that Dave loves the Steelers and thinks Mario Lemieux was better than Wayne Gretzky.

• I always enjoy Dan Rafael’s stuff for ESPN.com and especially enjoyed his piece about his top-10 favorite fights from this decade. A must-read if you like boxing. That reminds me, 2007 turned out to be a comeback year for boxing with seven fights that ranged from “very good” to “classic” (Cotto-Mosley, Pavlik-Miranda, Pavlik-Taylor, Calzaghe-Kessler, Marquez-Vasquez and the final Contender fight) and another (Mayweather-Hatton) looming in two weeks. Unfortunately, the fight that received the most hype was Mayweather-de la Hoya … and that fight sucked.

• Speaking of great fights from 2007, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Aaron Downey’s classic one-punch knockout of Jesse Boulerice in a league called “The NHL.” This makes the Jonathan-Bouchard beatdown look like a catfight.

• Here’s an amazing halfcourt shot that a Clippers dancer made between the third and fourth quarter of the Cavs-Clips game. I missed seeing this shot in person by 15 seconds because I was taking my daughter home. Still a little bitter about it. How did this not lead “SportsCenter?”

• Speaking of SportsCenter, this Onion piece about Craig Kilborn’s “return” to Bristol absolutely slayed me.

• Our old friend Ronald Jenkees used the 2006 freestyle rap that Oklahoma’s Malcolm Kelly sang in the Sooners locker room and created a beat to put behind it for an incredible YouTube clip. I thought this was exceptionally well-done.

• Still think there was nothing weird about Dirk Nowitzki nearly pulling a Dave Chappelle with that Australia summer trip? Check out this Dallas Observer feature.

• Here’s a must-read interview at Best Week Ever about a guy who went on a date with LC and was made to look like a drip by the producers. Even “Friday Night Lights” is more off the cuff than “The Hills” at this point.

• Really good YouTube clip of the final out of 2007 World Series, shot Blair Witch style from the stands. Also, multiple Sox fans sent along a neat NESN clip of Tim Wakefield and Mike Timlin having “a moment” after Game 4. As James from Somerville writes, “Anyone who doesn’t tear up at this video either has no soul or is a Yankee fan (assuming there is a difference).”

• Let’s add this to the “Things That Never Happened” department: A homoerotic jeans ad starring the Basketball Jesus himself. This 30-second clip made me question everything that’s ever happened in my life up to this point.

• A few readers made fun of the photo in my “MY ESPN” page because they thought my tips were frosted. Actually, those are just gray hairs. I’ve never had my tips frosted in my life. Sadly, Rob Stone can’t say the same. Which reminds me, here’s the pepper-eating clip that briefly turned Stoner into an Internet star along the lines of the “Leave Britney Alone!” guy and the singer of Chocolate Rain.

• Only someone with kids will enjoy this Gangster Wiggles parody.

• Here’s a clip of Adam Carolla discussing the legendary “Taboo” porn series on his radio show, then singing along word-for-word to two songs from “Taboo 2” because he watched it so many times as a kid. If you don’t laugh at least five times during this, then come away thinking that Carolla is a complete deviant, then I don’t know what else to say.

• Last month’s New York Times feature on Adam Vinatieri and kicking by Michael Lewis takes on a little added significance considering Vinatieri blew the Chargers game. That reminds me, did you know former Niners kicker Owen Pochman wrote a book about his career? It’s true.

• Well, we’re just three weeks away from the improbable Mighty Mighty Bosstones reunion and there’s even a MySpace page with video clips and everything!

• Robby from Ellington reports some good news: Our 2008 baseball season will include
Dick Pole
and Rusty Kuntz. This is even more exciting than the possibility of the Red Sox trading for Johan Santana. And while we’re on the subject, Rob S. from Portland writes, “I am now completely obsessed with rooting for this guy to make the NBA, if only to see the FCC, Stern’s, and Disney/ESPN’s collective head explode. I mean, Mark Cuban would have to grab this guy on principal, right?”

• Ryan R. in Utah found a Web site that fulfilled my dream of mailing out turd sandwiches when warranted: Ladies and gentleman, I present to you, dogdoo.com!
As Ryan writes, “You gotta post this in your links for every T-Wolves fan living in Minnesota right now.”

Here’s a few more from the readers:

1. Mike from San Diego: Here’s a Yahoo story about the origin of AIDS. Since it is now believed AIDS came to the U.S. in 1969, this would give credibility to Jenny being sick in Forrest Gump.

• Note to all the media people picking apart Kevin Durant even though he’s 19 years old and he’s been in the league for exactly four weeks: According to this Seattle Times feature, Durant lives with his mom and plays video games with 10 year old kids, and yet, we’re seeing articles with headlines like “Analyzing Durant’s Early Struggles.” Really? Did you expect Durant to light it up right away as a 19 year old kid playing out of position on a terrible team that doesn’t have a single decent point guard? We’re not giving him a couple of months to adjust? Talk to me on April 1st.

2. Gordie F. from Holland, MI writes, “I saw this on eBay and thought you’d find this funny. Just seven bucks!”

3. Jesse in Newport, OR: “Here’s Jacoby Ellsbury’s homecoming video in Madras, OR. I’ve been through there a couple of times, and, like many other towns with a heavy native American population, it’s a fairly depressing place. Which makes his homecoming parade all the more inspiring.”

4. Tim from Hartford: “Ever seen the YouTube clip where they matched up the video for Tupac’s song “Ghetto Gospel” (which featured the actor who played Bodie) with scenes from Season 4 of ‘The Wire?’ It’s pretty sick – the lyrics match the clips pretty well and the opening and closing scenes of the guy who plays Bodie seem to serve as almost a eulogy for the character. My favorite parts include the lyrics “there’s no need for you to fear me”, over shots of Chris and Marlo laughing, and the lyrics “when you wipe your eye, see it clearly”, over the shot of that fat pain-in-the-ass kid crying. Good stuff, getting me all amped up for Season 5.”

5. Jeff in Roslindale, MA: “I don’t know if you’ve seen this or not, but the former Crunch and Munch guy from the Fleet Center is now trying to run for a seat in the NYC City Council. Since he was a re-occurring topic on your old BSG site, I figured I’d pass this along … ”

6. Shawn from Ontario: “From an e-mail perspective, the potential of Toronto getting an NFL team has to be your worst nightmare, right?”

• Finally, Hank Steinbrenner could end up being the Spaulding Smails of his generation when everything is said and done. Maybe we shouldn’t even make fun of him openly because we need Hank to keep being Hank for comedy’s sake. Anyway, as Marshall from Rhode Island writes, “It’s Einstein and Mozart for dinner, and when he’s looking to plop down in front of the tube and relax, it’s a classic by … Jennifer Love Hewitt?”


Bill Simmons is the founding editor of Grantland and the author of the New York Times no. 1 best seller The Book of Basketball. For every Simmons column and podcast, click here.

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