Clearing my head and notebook  ….

Bosh farewell

Chris Bosh’s NBA career is officially over after the Miami Heat waived the former all-star because he hasn’t been medically cleared to resume playing basketball after he sat out last season.

It’s an unfortunate ending to Bosh’s career. His last game was more than a year ago on February 9, 2016, but by then Bosh knew the struggles he was facing, having been diagnosed with an illness in 2015 that made him susceptible to blood clots. He twice was placed on medical reserve over the course of two seasons because of blood clots in a lung and a calf.

He didn’t play at all last season.

Through it all Bosh didn’t spend much time feeling sorry for himself. While the sabbatical allowed him to spend more time with his wife Adrienne and their five kids, it also let him focus on his charity, Team Tomorrow.

Team Tomorrow partners with other community groups to assist children and families in need.

“Chris changed his life and basketball career when he came to Miami,” Heat president Pat Riley said in a statement. “And he changed our lives for the better. … He is, without a doubt, one of the greatest players in the history of the franchise. The number “1” will never be worn by another player and we can’t wait to someday hang his jersey in the rafters.”

Then there was this Tweet from LeBron James: “Bigger than basketball! My guy for life. #Klutch #StriveForGreatness.”

Only 33, Bosh won a pair of NBA titles in his seven seasons with the Heat. He was a first-round draft pick of the Toronto Raptors in 2003 out of Georgia Tech, where he was the ACC Rookie of the Year in his only college season.

The decision by the Heat means the final two years of Bosh’s contract will be voided. But with four years remaining on his deal, Bosh will still be owed $25.3 million by the Heat  next season and $26.8 million for the 2017-18 season.

Miami should hire Bosh for their community relations department or at least partner with him in future charitable efforts in South Florida.

Swimming feud

If nothing else, we can count on Lilly King to have the guts to call out her Russian counterpart.

After winning the 50-meter, 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke events at the Phillips 66 Swim Nationals in Indianapolis last week, the Indiana University sophomore secured three more showdowns with Russian rival Yulia Efimova later this month at the FINA World Championships.

Efimova and King are ranked 1-2 in each of the events with Efimova currently holding the stopwatch advantage in the longer distances and King claiming the No. 1 ranking in the 50.

The matchup comparisons: 50-meter breaststroke – 1. King, 29.66, 2. Efimova 29.88; 100 breaststroke –– 1. Efimova 1:04.82, 2. King 1:04.95; 200 breaststroke – 1. Efimoa 2:19.83. 2. King 2:21.83.

King burst into international acclaim last summer in Rio de Janeiro by calling out the International Olympic Committee for allowing Efimova to compete despite two failed drug tests. She then beat Efimova head-to-head in the 100-meter breaststroke while setting an Olympic record in the event.

Still, King left Rio with something to prove when she failed to qualify for the 200 breast finals. Despite also earning a relay gold medal, King has used that 200-meter disappointment as motivation to improve her strength and endurance over the past year.

It’s why the FINA World Championships in Budapest promises to be a summer treat for anyone who delights in sports rivalries. King and Efimova know they are battling for breaststroke supremacy and neither can accept losing to the other.

The finals are set for July 25 in the 100, July 28 in the 200 and July 30 in the 50. Whether she sweeps all three of those races or not, King already has proven herself to be a special athlete on the world stage.

Headlines

From Fark.com: “Pickleball is spreading in Florida. Hopefully there’s a cream for that.”

From SportsPickle.com: “Cavaliers to give Tim Tebow a tryout. ‘We’re looking for winners.’ ”

From TheOnion.com: “OB-GYN assures Serena Williams fetus developing serve on schedule.”

From Fark.com: “Boxing fans tweet reports of a robbery in Brisbane.”

From SportsPickle.com: “NBA Eastern Conference offers membership to Northern Iowa and McNeese State.”

Hot shot

The Philadelphia 76ers are banking on a huge payoff from veteran guard J.J. Reddick after he agreed to a one-year, $23 million contract as a hired sharpshooter.

That’s an obscene contract for the 33-year-old Reddick, a 6-foot-4 guard who had never earned more than $8 million in his previous 11 seasons. His last deal was for $27.7 million spread over four seasons and he may have been overpaid then.

To justify the raise, you’d think the former Duke star would either have to double his scoring or somehow be the catalyst behind flipping the 76ers’ 28-54 record. The 15 points he averaged last season with the Los Angeles Clippers was his lowest scoring total since 2013.

Battle of the sexes

Granted, John McEnroe didn’t give Serena Williams enough credit when NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro suggested Williams was the greatest tennis player of all-time, man or woman.

But right or wrong, McEnroe was merely clinging to his belief that men tennis players hold the edge over women in strength and quickness.

Here’s an excerpt from the that NPR interview:

McEnroe: “Best female player ever – no question.”

Garcia-Navarro: “… Some would say she’s the best player in the world. Why qualify it?”

McEnroe: “She’s not … If she played the men’s circuit she’d be like 700 in the world.”

That got Serena riled up enough to respond on Twitter:

“Dear John, I adore and respect you but please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based.”

Serena, of course, isn’t even the best player on the women’s tour at the moment since she’s taking the rest of 2017 off to have a baby. But even in her pregnant, inactive state, she’s still ranked No. 4.

Even McEnroe has to admit that there’s not a player on the men’s circuit who could pull that off.

Straight talk

During an NBA Draft podcast, former Indiana University coach Tom Crean didn’t endear himself as an analyst with Syracuse basketball fans when he said power forward Tyler Lydon hadn’t proven himself worthy of being a first-round draft pick after Denver chose him 24th overall before trading him to Utah.

He primarily knocked Lydon’s defensive ability, suggesting the 6-foot-9 forward wasn’t tough enough to be an NBA starter. Predictably, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim responded by calling Crean “an idiot.”

But hey, in defense of Crean, ESPN analyst Chad Ford also didn’t view Lydon as a top 30 pick.

 They said it

– RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com on NBA Awards: “Russell Westbrook was named the league’s MVP. A surprise winner was Giannis Antetokounmpo for most improved speller.”

– Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: “Blake Griffin signed a 5 year, $173 million contract to stay in Los Angeles, saying ‘I want my legacy to be a Clipper.’ Translation, Los Angeles visibility and the playoffs without NBA finals pressure?”

– Brad Dickson of the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald, after SI.com ranked all of Rocky Balboa’s opponents: “Who says that sports websites don’t cover boxing.”

– Eric Kolenich of the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch, after QB Derek Carr was given a record $25 million-a-year contract extension: “Apparently the Raiders are getting in the gambling mood ahead of their move to Las Vegas.”

– Jim Barach of WCHS-TV in Charleston, W.Va., after Magic Johnson called Lonzo Ball the “new face of the Lakers”: “Which is fine as long as that face doesn’t have the mouth of his dad.”

Soccer cop

When the United States beat Ghana 2-1 in a friendly last weekend, the best story of the day wasn’t the USA youth movement that was on display from coach Bruce Arena. Frankly, the best story didn’t even have a USA storyline.

It was the second-half substitution that allowed Samuel Sarfo to enter the game as a central defender for Ghana in the 81st minute.

His previous involvement with his country’s national team in 2016 was in an entirely different defensive role. A Constable with the Criminal Investigations Department of Ghana, he had worked security for the national team in the past.

“It was a dream come true,” said Sarfo. “That is the dream of every young chap growing up in Ghana to don the national colors.”

Sarfo, 26, is captain of semi-professional team and grew up with many of the national team players. He said they had supported his addition to the squad.

Double jeopardy

No one can question the passion Arturo Garcia has for Mexico’s national team. After the team advanced to a Confederations Cup semifinal against Portugal, Garcia told his wife he was going to the store for cigarettes.

Instead, he boarded a flight to Germany, where he then rented a car to drive to Russia. He reportedly spent his life savings on the trip only to see Mexico give up a tying goal in the 90th minute and then lose in extra time.

For his trouble, Garcia also managed to strain an Achilles tendon while on his fantasy vacation. But hey, at least the story he had to tell his wife was well documented.

 

 

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