The Sports Beat by Brad Pye, Jr.
Brad Pye, Jr.
Los Angeles, CA– Notes, quotes and things picked up on the run from coast-to coast and all the stops in between and beyond.
Super Bowl XLVII will not only be a battle between the NFC Champion San Francisco “46ers and the AFC Champion Baltimore Ravens, but a historic confrontation between brothers—John Harbaugh (Ravens) and Jim Harbaugh (‘49ers). Ray Lewis, the heart and soul of the Baltimore Ravens, the original one, danced by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, 28-13, all the way to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
There is some history being made in the Australian Open. And it all isn’t being made by Serena Williams, the 4 time grand slam winner. Seventeen year old Madison Keys notched her first career victory in the Australian Open by defeating Australia’s Casey Dellacqua, 6-4, 7-6 (7-0) Jan. 14. Keys declared “It hasn’t sunk in yet…” Keys won the USTA wild-card playoff for a main draw berth in the Australian Open. She’s a native of Rock, Island, Illinois. She turns 18 next month.
Keys first made headlines as a 14th-year old, by knocking off then 81s r ranked Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia. Unfortunately, Keys lost in the third round to fifth seeded Angelique Kerber, of Poland 6-2, 7-5. This was her first run to the third round in any major tournament. Get ready Serena, you and your big sister, Venus will have some company in the tennis spotlight. Remember the name Madison Keys. She has moved from 383 in 20010 to No. 149 in 2012. Keys is presently ranked 105. She’s 5-10 ½. with power according to Jose Higueras, the USTA’s director of coaching: “She can hit as big as anybody
The Oklahoma City Thunder’s dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook hit for 41 and 36 points respectively in a 102-99 victory over the Phoenix Suns to become the first team to win 30 games this season.
The Indianapolis Colts’ new Vice President is Jimmy Raye, a Rose Bowl QB for victorious Michigan State, before spending more than two decades as an assistant in the NFL.
Stanford’s athletic department may be the most integrated in college. The AD Bernard Muir is a man of color and two of his major sports coaches are also African Americans—David Shaw, 2013 Rose Bowl Champion and Johnny Dawkins (basketball).
There are some critics who don’t expect Kentucky Wildcats, the defending NCAA Champions, to make the playoffs this season. These critics are just waiting for the arrival next fall of those twin terrors, Andrew and Aaron Harrison. On Jan. 15 the Wildcats had a record of 10-5 and 1-1 in the Southeastern conference.
African American coaches with team in the top 25 include West Virginia Commonwealth’s Shaka Smart, Georgetown’s John Thompson III, Johnny and Dawkins (Stanford).
Three Southland high school basketball teams are among the top 25 teams in USA Today’s Poll, headed by No. 1 rated Meter Dei (Santa Ana), Windward (L.A) and Long Beach Poly High. Virginia Tech’s QB Logan Thomas will return for his senior season. He says the NFL draft can wait.
Like Magic Johnson, NFL Hall of Famer Emmett Smith is a great business man too. Check what USA Today says about Emmett Smith, “Smith used a 15-year NFL career to bankroll a career in business. One company, E.J Smith Construction Company specializes in commercial real estate. According to CelebNetWork.Org, Smith’s holdings are worth $45 million. Move over Magic, here comes E.J.
For the record a defensive back on the All-USA Today All-Star team in 1986 was a guy named Corey Booker. Today this same Corey Booker is the two-time mayor of Newark, N.J. and aspirations as a U.S. Senator.
Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton is taking classes at Auburn and he wants to focus on school and be a normal student. That’s commendable.
My prayers go out for Stuart Scott, the ESPN Sportscaster, and recurrence of cancer. Scott is a fighter. He told USA Today: “I can take this, deal with it easier than some people I see. So I think for the ones who can’t punch a heavy bag, can’t spar, who can’t do any of that, I’ll do it for you.”
The Miami Heat’s LeBron James scored 25 points and also surpassed the 5,000 against the Golden State Warriors on Jan 16 to move past the Lakers Kobe Bryant as the youngest player to reach the 20,000 point milestone Lebron James came to the Staples Center to play the Lakers and scored 39 points, pulled down 8 rebounds and dished out 00 assists as the Heat squeezed out a 99-89 victory. His teammate Dwayne Wade contributed 27 points and 5 assists.
The Heat headed home with the third best record in the NBA. No. 1 is the Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook led Oklahoma City Thunder.
The L.A. Clippers, the second highest winningest team in the NBA has played with Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups et al sidelined at times. There is no way the Lakers can win if Kobe Bryant doesn’t play. The Lakers have won when Dwight Howard didn’t play. Without Kobe the Lakers wouldn’t have a prayer. If Kobe hadn’t played against the Heat, the score wouldn’t have been as close as the 99-90 defeat indicates.
There will not be as many black NFL head coaches in 2013 as there were in 2012. The survivals are the Cincinnati Bengals’ Marvin Lewis, Minnesota Vikings’ Leslie Frazier and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tumlin. Down from five at the start of the 2012 season The Rooney rule didn’t work for African American coaches this time around. Teams were required to interview at least one minority coach before they made a hire.
Did you know that the Patriots’ Chandler Jones, a 22-year rookie starting defensive end is the brother of Arthur Jones, a third year veteran defensive lineman for the Ravens? As a college student in 2012 Chandler was at his family’s home rooting for Arthur and the Ravens, who lost a 23-20 heart breaker. This time around Arthur and the Ravens will have one less rooter, because younger brother, Chandler Jones, will be cheering for the other side this time around.
Incidentally, Jon Jones, the UFC light heavyweight champion is the middle brother between Chandler and Arthur of the trio of boys in the Jones family. It’s all in the genes.
Add me to the list of critics who don’t think Dwight Howard should have been selected as a starter for the Feb. 17 All-Star game in Houston—his sixth as a starter. Kobe Bryant was selected for the showcase game for the 15th time in his 17th career. Kobe’s 15th selection broke a 15 game tie with Jerry West, Shaquille O’Neal and Karl Malone.
The Clippers’ Chris Paul and Blake Griffin were named starters for the second consecutive year. The East’s starters are Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo. The reserves will be selected today, Thursday.