Tomorrow marks the beginning of another NCAA Basketball Tournament, and we are definitely amped up for the coming games. The beginning of the tournament also got us thinking about some of the most popular basketball-related themes. Where basketball is concerned, there really are only a few big ones, but they're all memorable and instantly recognizable.
"I Believe I Can Fly"
There are a lot of songs that are created and then later appropriated for movies. "I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly was not one of those songs. Written for the 1996 live action/Looney Tunes mash-up "Space Jam," the song help propel the movie into the box-office stratosphere. It also earned a life of its own outside the movie, and in addition won two Grammy Awards for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best Rhythm & Blues Song.
This week, the Utah Jazz made headlines when they added a new player to their team. Five-year-old JP Gibson, who has leukemia, signed a one-day contract with the Jazz and was the star of the last night's scrimmage. Wearing a Jazz jersey with the number "1" on it, Gibson even managed to wow the crowd with his two-handed slam dunk.
Prior to Gibson's superstar moment on the court, he met with Jazz President Randy Rigby and signed his contract in front of the press. His family — Mom (Megan), Dad (Josh), and 2-year-old sister, Elsie — was on hand to celebrate. The event was part of the "Anything Can Be" project, which helps families who are impacted by childhood cancer.
And the press release the NBA wrote announcing the ordeal? It's priceless. The release calls Gibson a "free agent" and says "financial terms were not released" (naturally). Check out some photos from the (adorable) event after the cut.
Thanks to the addition of hometown hero LeBron James, as well as the soon-to-be addition of Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers fans have been eagerly awaiting the release of the 2014-15 NBA Schedule. After weeks of anticipation, the schedule was finally released last night which revealed the full 82 game schedule for the Cavs. If you are a fan of LeBron, the Cavs or just the NBA in general, here are the top five games you should be watching:
vs. New York Knicks
Date/Time: October 30, 2014 at 8 p.m.
The home opener. The game all of Cleveland (and probably the entire state of Ohio) has been dreaming about since LeBron announced he was coming home. It will be the first real game for the new-look Cavaliers which feature not only James, but also Kevin Love, who will be playing his first real minutes for the home team.
Some people make a lot of money. Like, so much money the rest of us peons can’t even fathom how much money that is. Aside from being a celebrity, it seems like sports is the place to be if you want to be so rich that you can swim in a pool full of money.
According to a recent article, the highest paid employee at most public colleges is not the college president, but some type of sports coach. Most coach football, although some coach basketball, and one highest paid coach does hockey. Many earn in the low millions (as if "low millions" is a thing anyone would pass up).
But their salaries sort of pale in comparison when it comes to what professional sports players make. Sports Illustrated released a list of the top 50 best paid athletes... and they make so much. They could probably buy an island. For their pet giraffe. And that pet giraffe could have a pet monkey. And that pet money of the pet giraffe has its own island, too.
Here are the top 10 paid athletes according to that list. (For the full list, click here.)
10. Zack Greinke, $29,020,000: Greinke, who is 29, plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers and, for that alone, makes $29 million. He also makes $20,000 in endorsements. The Dodgers tend to have the highest payroll in all of the majors, with four of their players on the list. Greinke's contract was at one point the biggest ever for a right-handed pitcher, with a six-year, $147 million deal.
In one night, the Los Angeles Lakers went from teetering on the brink of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2005, to beating the Houston Rockets, leapfrogging them in the standings and clinching the seventh seed. NBA basketball as its best.
The Western Conference playoff teams are now set and, unlike the Eastern Conference where the Heat are far and away the favorites, the West has more teams that have a legitimate shot at going to the NBA Finals. Here is how I view the eight playoff teams out West:
Contenders: Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs
The Oklahoma City Thunder dominated their way through Western Conference in 2012 before losing to the Miami Heat in the Finals. This year could be more of the same. Kevin Durant is the best player in the NBA not named LeBron and he will not slow down in the postseason. If point guard Russell Westbrook can play up to his ability, the Thunder will be tough to take down again in 2013.
While the Thunder may be favorites, the Spurs also have a claim as contenders. Veteran leaders Tim Duncan and Tony Parker have been great all season, playing "Spurs" basketball that coach Gregg Popovich has built over the years. While San Antonio does not have the superstar players that OKC has, they may be the better team at playing as a collective unit.
Challengers: Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies
All season long, the Denver Nuggets have been one of the most exciting teams to watch in the NBA. The Nuggets are the forgotten team of the Andrew Bynum trade, but that trade landed them Andre Iguodala, who has been great for Denver all season. No team scored more points than the Nuggets and if they can carry their scoring ability into the postseason, they can beat anyone in the league.