published Thursday, May 19th, 2011

5 at 10: Statues, Playoffs, and THE Ohio State University

Remember about our Friday mailbag, and there are still a couple of spots open.

From the "7-Up Stinks Studios," here we go...

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    Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem, foreground left, redirects the shot of Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, foreground center, as Heat's Dwyane Wade, foreground right, watches during the fourth quarter of Game 2 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals basketball series on Wednesday, May 18, 2011, in Chicago. The Heat won 85-75. (AP Photo/Charlie Arbogast)

Playoff parity

Welcome to the party Udonis Haslem, the Miami Heat forward who has battled injuries all year but returned in a big way Wednesday night in the Heat's impressive 85-75 win.

The series is now even at 1, and the blowout vibes and the Chicago juggernaut that was the talk of Game 1 seems like a long time ago.

In addition to Haslem's return, LeBron James delivered a string of haymakers and the ultimate knockout blow in the fourth quarter Wednesday as Miami grabbed home-court advantage. If James gets to the point where we consider him clutch, look out.

Side note No. 1: James has more bounce in his step in these playoffs. It may be motivation from the heat he received for leaving Cleveland. It may be a determination to prove everyone wrong. It may be he's realizing his championship window does not have an indefinite shelf life. But, it may also be that he simply has more in the tank since he did not have to carry his team, night-in, night-out for 82 regular-season games and every playoff contest.

Side note, No. 2: What do we expect from Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs tonight? What will Kevin Durant and the Thunder do to stop him/outscore him? The 5-at-10 is genuinely excited.

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    In this file photo, Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel looks on during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010, in Iowa City, Iowa. Ohio State won 20-17. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Big 10 meetings

Most of the time, the spring meetings for major college athletic conferences are about a couple rounds of golf, collecting the bowl checks and seeing highly educated people wearing leisure wear that ranges from awkward to awful. So it goes.

Well, button our boot straps if the Big Ten didn't go off and develop a couple of interesting storylines Wednesday.

First, Gene Smith, THE athletic director at THE Ohio State University, said he is unchanged and full supportsv embattled football coach Jim Tressel. Well, OK then, Gene. You have been heard. Smith's public reaffirmation could mean that either Tressel knows where all the bodies are buried in Columbus or Tressel may be taking some bullets for his bosses. Ball's in your court NCAA — we saw your not-so-subtle threats and innuendos with Bruce Pearl and the University of Tennessee. What are you going to do with Tressel and THE Ohio State University.

Second, the Big Ten started discussions about paying athletes "a living expense," which could be a sum of money to help athletes connect the ends between scholarships paying tuition and the costs for things such as incidentals and transportation. Big Ten officials tossed out a range between "$2,000 to $5,000" and said they were simply at the discussion stages of these proposals.

It's an interesting concept that will certainly have the attention of every conference around the country. The big boys like the SEC and the Big 12 could never let the Big Ten have a recruiting edge like giving players cash and not violating rules. (Yes, the 5-at-10 realizes the punchlines here are limitless.) Plus, the smaller conferences that could not afford these stipends would have a hard time luring any players — recruits or transfers — from the big schools.

Interesting, indeed.

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    NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speaks during a news conference at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009. The NBA's all-time leading scorer was diagnosed last December with chronic myeloid leukemia, he told The Associated Press in a recent interview. (AP Photo/Lori Shepler)

All we need are the pigeons

Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, AKA Lew Alcindor, AKA Roger Mudoch from "Airplane," has his gogles frosted because the Lakers did not get him a statue outside of the Staples.

C'mon Lew. ("His momma called him Clay, I'm gonna call him Clay.")

Does Kareem deserve a statue? Absolutely. But here's saying that Kareem is actually fifth in the statue line for the Lakers — behind Magic Johnson, Chick Hearn, Jerry West and Kobe Bryant. (Johnson, Hearn and West already have statues, as do Oscar de la Hoya and Wayne Gretzky.)

The bigger question is about this new trend of statues. Apparently retiring numbers has become soooooo last year that now the really big stars need statues on the concourse outside the arenas.

Who knows what's next beyond statues — we've grown from Ring of Honors to retired numbers to statues — so we're going to need to set some guidelines. Here are some suggestions from the 5-at-10 (who feels we may deserve a statue in the coming days):

— You have to spend at least 90 percent of your career with that franchise, and you have to retire from the sport with that organization;

— You have to have contended for multiple champinships or won a title if you were player/coach or have to be a beloved member of the fan base if you're an announcer/administrator;

— There are some intangibles that must be considered;

— There can only be a set number, and that number varies depending on the franchise (the Lakers deserve a few more statues than, say, the Clippers or Hawks or whomever)

Thoughts? Let's say there are three statues outside of your favorite college football team, who are they? Discuss.

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    In this Tuesday, April 7, 2009 photo, football draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. pauses while taping at the ESPN Zone, in Baltimore. Saturday marks the 25th anniversary of Kiper's 1984 debut on ESPN's draft coverage, and while his demeanor and hair haven't changed all that much, his popularity certainly has. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

Feeling the drafts

ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. debuted his Big Board for the 2012 draft. OK, the 5-at-10 loves the NFL draft. You know this.

While our feelings about the draft are well-known, it is impossibly too early to debate the merits of Kiper's rankings — especially since there could be small or big changes to the draft

process will be in the future.

However, Kiper's rankings can offer a glimpse to all SEC football fans about which teams will start the season atop the divisional projections.

There are five SEC players ranked in Kiper's Top 25 — three Alabama players (Dre Kirkpatrick, Trent Richardson and Courtney Upshaw) and two South Carolina players (Alshon Jeffery and Stephon Gilmore).

One other (NBA) draft note: Minnesota Timberwolves general manager David Kahn joked how interesting it is that the NBA draft lottery always seems to generate compelling storylines. This came almost immediately after the Cleveland Cavs, who lost LeBron James in the offseason, won the top overall pick over Kahn's Timberwolves, who have never had the No. 1 overall pick despite being with the Clippers at the bottom of the NBA food change. Be careful David Kahn, because Godfather David Stern does not play in matters of conspiracies and does not have a public sense of humor. One more misstep and Kahn could be sleeping with the "Fish that Saved Pittsburgh" in the professional basketball world.

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    An undated photo provided by the Auburn Public Safety Department shows Harvey Almorn Updyke Jr., 62, of Dadeville. Updyke Jr. was arrested early Thursday morning, Feb. 17, 2011 and charged with one count of first-degree criminal mischief in connection with the poisoning of the historic Toomer's Corner oak trees at Auburn University. (AP Photo/Auburn Public Safety Department)

This and that

— Auburn football beat writers got a crash course in jurisprudence Wednesday. "Al from Dadeville," the nutbar Alabama fan that posioned the oak trees at Toomer's Corner, was indicted on a slew of felonies. Elsewhere in the Lee County courthouse, four former Auburn players — Michael McNeil, Antonio Goodwin, Shaun Kitchens and Dakota Mosley — were indicted on multiple felonies and a misdeamenor. That's a lot of lawyer quotes for sports writers.

— The Braves bullpen failed them late in a 5-4 loss at Arizona last night. Closer Craig Kimbrel had a potential game-ending double-play grounder glance off his glove in the D-Backs' two-run 11th. A runner scored from second base on a wildpitch, and the Braves ran into two outs at third base in the same inning. Tough loss.

— Tiger Woods is going to fall out of the top 10 of the world golf rankings next week. It will be the first time since 1997 Woods will not be in the top 10. According to Forbes, Woods still is among the top 10 celebrities in the world, and the top-ranked sports star. Here's Forbes' list, with how much cash each made in 2010:

1) Lady Gaga ($90 million)

2) Oprah Winfrey ($290 million)

3) Justin Bieber ($53 million)

4) U2 ($195 million)

5) Elton John ($100 million)

6) Tiger Woods ($75 million)

7) Taylor Swift ($45 million)

8) Bon Jovi ($125 million)

9) Simon Cowell ($90 million)

10) LeBron James ($48 million)

At this pace, these folks may be able to afford their own statues.

Until tomorrow.

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Eustice_Chase said...

Can someone explain to me why/how Jon Bon Jovi raked in 125 Mill? I love Bon Jovi as much as the next 80's hair band lover...but it is 2011...did I miss something???

The statue thing is getting a little crazy..i well as retiring numbers....once Jeter retires the Yankess will not have any single digits to hand out to new players...i suppose the idea of 3-digit jersey numbers is on the horizon....Well if you place Statues outside of Neyland would have... Reggie White...T.Martin..and Casey Clausen...right??? no? Ok how about James Little Man Stewart instead of Clausen?? It is no question the Kareem is Statue worthy he holds all types of records...but c'mon... He is not as beloved as Magic...and spent 10 years with the Bucks....Statues should re reserved for Lifers....You cant have 2 statues for 2 different franchises...Im Sorry Kareem...You just arent as beloved as Magic Johnson....Im Sorry...and who knows in a few years...we may feel the same way towards Kobe....doubtful...but possible....

May 19, 2011 at 10:17 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

Easy one on the statue: Hershel Walker, Matt Stafford, and a statue of Knowshon Marino hurdling the player from Miss St. (Those are the only players that I am familiar with in my era that made like any impact) And surely you are not suggesting that Murdock doesnt deserve his statue? I mean after all Ask the lil boy from Airplane how much effort he gives getting up and down the court. (And yes I know, didnt mean to call you Surely) Actually got to watch about 10 minutes of BBall last night before my teenage daughter took over the TV....AI was on. On the this and that: How in the 80's hair band is U2 and Bon Jovi still on that list?!?!?!

May 19, 2011 at 10:20 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

LOL EC....its amazing how great minds think alike! And you cant have big orange statues without including the Great Peyton Manning....thats like sac religious to the big orange country .....

May 19, 2011 at 10:32 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Oso- dont take everything i say seriously...sarcasm is a second language that i speak fluently....

May 19, 2011 at 11:05 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

oh no...i caught the sarcasm in ur choices (or at least i was hopin for the best that Casey was not in ur top QB's ever in Vols History) just pointing out the one of the obvious Vols Statues. Like in Bama their three would be Bear Bryant, Coach Bryant, and The Bear.....

May 19, 2011 at 11:08 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

haha...excellent...Yes !

as for Players Reggie White and Peyton Manning would be the only players to get statues a third would take away credibility....the stadium is already named after Neyland...does he need a Statue also? I dont think so...maybe you could consider Al Wilson...but that is a stretch!!!! but im sure the powers that be at UT would want a Phillip Fulmer statue....sheesh

May 19, 2011 at 11:12 a.m.
patrickd said...

Speaking for Alabama's 3 statues (as if we don't have like 20 of them.)

Paul William Bryant - Can't win 6 National Championships and not get bronzed.

Harry Gilmer - In his career Gilmer passed for 26 touchdowns, ran for 24 touchdowns, passed for 2894 yards, rushed for 1673, PUNTED for an average of 36.4 yards, RETURNED KICKOFFS for an average of 28.7, RETURNED PUNTS for an average of 13.5 yards, and was Alabama's only No. 1 overall NFL draft pick. Give that man some bronze.

Derrick Thomas - Terrell Suggs IS the all-time NCAA sack leader --BECAUSE-- "the NCAA began keeping defensive records in 2000." (cough cough, beefarino, cough). Suggs had 44 career sacks, 24 in one season. Derrick Thomas had 52 career sacks with 27 in one season. He was the Butkus award winner. Only 3 times in Alabama history has a player recorded more than 4 sacks in a game, two of them belong to Derrick Thomas. None of this is to take anything away from Suggs, who the NCAA "recognizes" as the all-time sack leader, after all, he was a finalist for the 2011 Derrick Thomas award. Bronze that man.

May 19, 2011 at 11:18 a.m.
5_at_10 said...

EC —

Got nothing for you on Bon Jovi, other than they did a Greatest Hits album and a world-wide tour in 2010. The frontrunners for the UT statues would have to be Peyton, Reggie and Neyland. (And mailbag regular CelticVol concurs). Love the idea of Al Wilson, but what about Doug Adkins? The 5-at-10 also asks what do you do with John Ward?

And EC, sarcasm is an accepted form of communication around these parts, so have at it. Especially if any of the Clausen brothers are involved (the Clausen brothers are to college football what the Hansen Brothers are to "Slapshot").

Oso —

Similar question for you: Does Larry Munson get a statue in Athens? There are a few guys — Peyton, Bear, Herschel, Spurrier at UF, Bo at Auburn, Billy Cannon at LSU, etc. — that are no brainers, but after that it would be personal preference.

What would you do for the Braves? Hank Aaron, Bobby Cox and .... Smoltz? Chipper? Glavine? Biff Pocoroba?

PDavi —

Great list. Derrick Thomas was awesome (but we did not know he was that awesome). Some Bama fans we know would have shared their answer with Oso and three statues of Bear (60s Bear, 70s Bear and 80s Bear).

May 19, 2011 at 11:29 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

A statue of Kareem outside the Staples Center? He’s not asking for one to go outside the Kohl Center in Milwaukee, since he won a title with the Bucks? Though Kareem launching his signature skyhook would be the most likely choice for any statue of Mr. Abdul-Jabbar, I prefer to have one of him with his eyes wide behind his goggles, his arms outstretched, pleading with the ref for a call that ain’t coming to sum up his true identity of one of basketball’s biggest whiners. Gee, I didn’t come off like a Celtics homer too much there, did I? I mean, I didn’t ask for a statue of Gerald Henderson or anything. Heh heh heh. And a statue of Gretz at Staples? Um, Edmonton won more titles after he left than Wayne won with any of the other three teams he played for after he left Alberta. None with the Kings, none with the Blues, none with the Rangers. Unless she came out of an egg, I wouldn’t know Lady Gaga if she crossed the street in front of me. I’ve seen exactly two of those people on Forbes’ list live and in color. U2 and Eldrick. Big difference? You can count on U2 to deliver a great performance. Eldrick? Not so fast, my friend.

May 19, 2011 at 11:32 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

when it comes to the Braves, I say Bobby Cox and Henry Aaron are it...or is 3 the magic number? Perhaps you make a statue with Glavine Maddux and Smoltz together...that would make for an interesting piece.... but enough with the about the Defense that was played last night in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals...American Idol was more Offensive than that game...but it was a good one!!!! D-Rose seemed to be no-existent at major points of the game...

May 19, 2011 at 11:41 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

You would almost have to give it to Munson...I mean look at what's he done for the Dawgs! And as far as years of service...who beats him!?! The Braves....WOW!!! If im only allowed three...I would have to go Aaron, Cox, and then its a tough one between Glavine and Smoltz for me...but i have to say that I'm leaning toward Smoltz just due to his time there overall i think was longer than Glavines and his total contributions to the team (both as a starter and a closer) out weigh what Glavine did for the team. In the future maybe a mini-me sized one for Chipper...maybe. And I think this is where we see the proverbial brick wall slam into Rose and The Bulls...Dallas vs Heat Final....Gimme the Heat in much as i hate to say it...I cant believe they are this close to pulling this off their first year together!! UGH! I really was hoping they wouldnt win...but right now my heart is telling me that forces beyond our control are moving behind the scenes to make this happen...

May 19, 2011 at 11:42 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Wow Oso...thats a tough does one make that decision

May 19, 2011 at 11:56 a.m.
5_at_10 said...

BIspy4 —

Uh, as big a freak show as Lady GaGa is, well, let's just say if you saw her, you'd go, "Whoa. That has to be the Lady Gaga the 5-at-10 mentioned."

And no, you didn't come off like tooooo much like Johnny Celtics Fan (now if you wanted a statue of Kareem and Danny Ainge mixing it up, then, OK). Great line about U2 and Eldrick — although the 5-at-10 saw U2 at the Georgia Dome in the early 1990s and the opening act whipped them up and down the stage. Granted, the opening act was Public Enemy at the height of its powers, but still.

EC —

The 5-at-10 thought about the Murph, but it's hard to know. What about Ted Turner, who brought the team to the ATL and kept them there when there were 10s of hundreds of folks showing up to old Fulton County Stadium.

As for the game last night (nice AI shoot out for Oso), it was not for the weak of heart or body. Come to play or don't come at all. And Holy Vanishing Cream, what happened to Carlos Boozer? Dude's got a max contract and he's not on the floor in crunch time? Wow.

We'd peg the excitement factor for tonight's Dallas-OKC game at a solid 8.9 right now. Seriously. And the only thing registers at 9 or above is SEC football, March Madness, select Game 7s, NFL playoff football.

Oso —

Agree on Munson. Something about college annoucers and their connection to fans, especially those from the days before every game was on TV somewhere. If it's a pitcher that gets the third Braves statue, we'll go with Smoltz since he didn't go to the Mets for three seasons (Glavine) or start his career with the Cubs (Maddux).

— 5-at-10

May 19, 2011 at 11:58 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

I cant resond right now due to me rollin on the ground laughing over this other TFP online article: Man charged with exposure at Northgate Mall after showing ‘glistening white buttocks’

May 19, 2011 at 12:49 p.m.
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