Saturday Scorecard: NBA's style trumps substance
Welcome to Saturday Scorecard, the candy and flowers edition. Because it's Valentine's Day, we'll keep things short and sweet - sort of like the sayings printed on those candy hearts.
Who cares? Unless you are a celebrity, rap star or member of an entourage, the NBA All-Star Game has lost most of its relevance in recent years.
Maybe the game of H-O-R-S-E will help. Maybe not. Perhaps they should think about a "US vs. The World" format or the novel idea of having all of the teams represented.
In any event, the anticipation that once surrounded the event has dissipated. It has become more about the glitzy, glamourous party scene and less about the game. You can say the same thing about the Super Bowl, but somehow that still works.
How can the NBA recapture the sizzle? Glad you asked. They can start by putting the game on a major TV network. Then, they can think about adopting a "US vs. The World" format. Have the dunk contest on an 11-foot rim. Finally, they can think about allowing all the teams to be represented.
Did you realize that the Bucks haven't had a representative in the game since Michael Redd in 2004? Maybe a little local flavor would spark more interest in the game. Then again, maybe not.
Quick poll: Which of the following sports events is more exciting today than it was 15 years ago: The NBA Slam Dunk Contest; The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue; The Brewers' first pitchers-and-catchers workout of the spring?
Just wondering: If Brett Favre reneges on his retirement for the second straight year, which team will it be the one that doesn't want him back after the 2009 regular season?
Hall setback: If you had "Bill Hall" in the Brewers' spring training injury pool, collect your winnings now. The Brewers' third baseman hurt his left calf muscle yesterday and may miss most or all of spring training as a result.
The winner in that situation is Mat Gamel, who will see more playing time at third base in the Cactus League as Craig Counsell fills in at shortstop and second base.
Thrown for a Looper: The Braden Looper signing was a bit strange for two reasons. First, the Brewers seemed to be done making moves for the off-season. (Maybe that was a negotiating ploy). Second, people had talked so much about Looper signing with the Brewers in December that, in a way, it seemed like he's been with the team for weeks.
Bright lights, big game: They might not hold the No. 1 and 2 rankings in the country, as they did two years ago, but the Badgers and Ohio State will get the big-game treatment tonight at the Kohl Center.
ESPN is televising the 8 p.m. game (and doing a "GameDay" broadcast at 10 a.m.) and both teams have plenty at stake. Wisconsin (15-9 overall, 6-6 Big Ten) needs a victory here and probably one against Michigan State to buoy its NCAA tourney hopes.
Ohio State (17-5, 7-4) is ranked No. 24 in the country.
Brute Force: He might not have the scoring record, but George Thompson will always own a special place in Marquette basketball history. Thompson, whose record stood for 40 years until Jerel McNeal passed him Monday night at Villanova, accomplished the feet in just three years and without the three-point line. And, he's been a goodwill ambassador for the program for years.
Punishment enough: Many folks think Major League Baseball should suspend Alex Rodriguez for that failed steroid test.
We'll have to disagree on that one.
Rodriguez failed the test. He cheated the game. And, he broke the law. When he gave his sample, however, it was under the auspices of an anonymous survey test. Baseball didn't suspend Andy Pettitte or Jason Giambi and hasn't suspended any of the 103 other players who failed tests. That should not happen.
Start your engine: Is it just us, or does there seem to be a lot less hype about the Daytona 500 this year? The economy may have something to do with it.
Tribute to the King: The Wave will retire Michael King's jersey No. 13 in a pre-game ceremony Sunday. King played 15 seasons in Milwaukee, serving as captain every year and leading the team to championships in 1998, 200, '01 and '05. He owns virtually ever offensive record.
"It has been a complete honor and privilege to have coached Michael King these last 15 years, and I feel no one is more worthy of having his jersey retired than our captain, Michael King," said Wave coach Keith Tozer, who hopes to notch his 600th regular-season victory in King's honor.
The Wave has retired three other numbers - Pete Knezic (5), Steve Morris (11) and Victor Nogueria (27).
The first 3,500 fans to attend the 2 p.m. game against Detroit will receive a commemorative T-shirt.
Van the Man: Marquette senior Mike Van Sickle, whose father Gary is an MU alum and a golf writer for Sports Illustrated, was one of 22 golfers named to the watch list for the 2009 Ben Hogan Award, which is given to the nation's top collegiate golfer.
Van Sickle won several tournaments last year, including his second straight Pennsylvania Open.
Holding court: More than 450 of the top junior tennis players from across the Midwest are playing in the Wisconsin Junior Indoor Championships this weekend at Elite Clubs in Brookfield.
Bango | Feb. 14, 2009 at 7:57 a.m. (report)
NBA All Star weekend is still relevant and the best in pro sports. Um, Pro Bowl? Anyone? All Star game in baseball is okay, but since the tie it's tanked too. I'll take dunks and HORSE any day. NBA, the world's sport.
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