It’s that time, once again … to feel the LOVE.
In honor of the day many feel was invented by Hallmark, Hershey’s and FTD, the Macho Sports report is reaching back to dig up and dust off a little something I call my “sports loves” – the people, teams and things in the world of sports that make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside … or at least deserve some love in my eyes.
Without further ado, let’s run down the things I love, or have come to love, for this Valentine’s Day:
Golden State Warriors G Stephen Curry. I have to admit, I love this kid’s game, and part of me wishes the Kings were smart enough to reach for him back in 2009 with their fourth overall pick. I mean, sure, they got Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans with that pick, but where is he now?
No, Curry could have been the shooter the Kings could have had to build around – Lord knows if he was still around in 2011, they certainly wouldn’t have had reached for a shooter like Jimmer Fredette in that year’s draft – in which case, they could have taken a guy like, oh, I dunno, Kawhi Leonard.
In any case, I’m glad he’s doing work for one team in Northern California – even more so for a team that currently has the best record in the league (42-9). His potent scoring ability is a wonder to behold, and for new head coach Steve Kerr to take advantage of both him and his fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson, it has to be further commended.
His shooting prowess reminds me a little bit of a Kings sharpshooter from the good ol’ days: Peja Stojakovic. Speaking of which, Curry is gunning for a title Peja already has, in three-point contest champion, later tonight – so you know I’ll be rooting for him, there.
Then, there are commercials like this one for ESPN:
You can’t help but to, at the very least, like the guy.
New Sacramento Kings head coach George Karl. I’m well aware of the jobs the 63-year-old future Hall of Fame coach has done with other floundering clubs, and that’s why I’m at least encouraged that he will lead the team for at least the next three-and-a-half seasons. Sure, I’m a little sketchy on how this whole head coaching turmoil thing turned out, but at the same time, I can’t be mad – the Kings ended up with a guy that has won 1,131 games in 26 seasons.
And, best of all, this is something that Karl WANTED to do – he loves coaching so much, he was willing to stick it out with a struggling team in Sacramento that hasn’t had a winning season since 2006, and hasn’t even had a season of 30 or more wins since 2008. He sees potential in the team’s starters, and recently compared centerpiece C DeMarcus Cousins to a young Shawn Kemp during Karl’s days with the Seattle Supersonics. His philosophy of a fast offense and a solid foundation on defense is just what the team needs to be successful, and he believes these players can achieve that.
Now that I think about it, I’m psyched Karl is coaching this team. Good luck the rest of the season, Coach Karl. I’ll be eagerly watching what you can do with these guys.
San Francisco Giants SP (and resident folk hero) Madison Bumgarner. It’s difficult to put into words how monumental of a postseason MadBum actually had – simply because all the appropriate superlatives have been used already.
Epic. Herculean. Incredible. Bar none. Unbelievable. Mind-blowing.
All this from a humble, soft-spoken 25-year-old farm boy from Hickory, North Carolina. Unless you’re a Dodgers or Royals fan, it’s difficult to hate a guy who just pulled off one of the greatest World Series pitching performances in Major League history.
Need I remind you – and I probably don’t – that he came off a complete-game shutout in Game 5, on two days rest, and threw for five innings of relief in Game 7 to win the World Series. He was directly responsible for three of the Giants’ four wins in the series, practically carrying the team on his back, and he shrugged it off as if it was routine.
Now he’s the bonafide ace headed into a 2015 season with a ton of questions in the starting rotation. Knowing him, despite the team’s ultimate fate this year, he will pitch “Country Strong” with the stone-faced efficiency Giants fans know he is capable of. For these reasons and more, I won’t shy away from it: I love this Paul Bunyan of a man.
The San Francisco Giants “Dynasty.” Call it “Even-Year” Destiny. Call it San Francisco Karma.
I call it a Giants dynasty.
Now, it’s true – in 2011 and 2013, injury-plagued Giants teams missed the postseason. Nonetheless, think about what the Giants did in even years – with a revamped lineup and pitching staff, the team managed to win Commissioner’s Trophies three different times in a five year span.
How Manager Bruce Bochy put together these rag-tag teams and turned them into champions? I’ll never know. But the grit and determination that embodied all three of these World Series-winning teams are admired by all Giants fans – including this one.
So, say what you want about how this can’t be called a Dynasty – I say it is. And to me, that’s all that matters.
Welterweight champion boxers Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. This isn’t really about the individuals, themselves. Because I think it’s well-documented that I love Manny Pacquiao – as a proud native Filipino, he will always hold a place in my heart in the world of sports.
Mayweather, on the other hand, can go suck an egg, as far as I’m concerned. Apologies to Mayweather fans, but he always came off as a jerk – and even knowing he has the gift of gab, and he’s all about business, he never rubbed me the right way.
Despite all that, I love both fighters for the efforts they have put forth in attempting to put together the superfight boxing fans have been waiting almost a half a decade for. Serious talk had ramped up between the two sides over the past month or so.
Now, there are reports that a deal has officially been made for a fight in Las Vegas, on May 2nd, for a purse of $250 million.
Better late than never, I suppose. See you in May.
Cleveland Cavaliers F LeBron James. I remember when this guy was the most hated sports figure in America, as he said 25 words that will live in infamy:
That was five years and two NBA Titles ago for LeBron and the Miami Heat. For awhile, a lot of people never thought he would ever be back to the team that drafted him – especially after the bridges that owner Dan Gilbert seemingly burned in his letter to the fans shortly after “The Decision”.
Then, James lost his second NBA Finals with Miami. He opted for free agency with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Glibert took his letter down. Pat Riley practically dared James to stay with the Heat.
And the rest was history.
Now, at 33-21 with a lineup consisting of F Kevin Love and G Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers will have a measure of momentum headed out of the All-Star Break. And with the hometown kid backing them up, I’m gonna love watching them go on a playoff push.
San Francisco 49ers LB Chris Borland. I loved this guy from the moment he was drafted in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft, simply because of his makeup – he was an underrated, undersized tackling machine out of a Big 10 school like Wisconsin, and he had an uncanny sense for getting to the ball-carrier.
I had no idea that he would be so invaluable during his rookie season, though – but, because of prolonged injuries to both Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, he saw significant playing time. And, boy, did he make the most of it.
In a stretch of 6 games near the end of the season, Borland averaged 14.3 tackles per game, and contributed heavily to an injury-plagued defense. If not for him, the 49ers might not have even sniffed a .500 record. Hopefully, the new defensive coaching staff will have him primed and ready to play with a healthy Willis and Bowman in 2015, and his production will continue to soar.
LPGA Golfer Michelle Wie. She won her first major at the U.S. Women’s Open, fulfilling a destiny thrust upon her at an early age. She’s not letting it go to her head, and having a good time as a 25-year-old working her way back to women’s golf superstardom.
And that’s part of the reason why I love this woman. You know, that, and the fact that she celebrated her first major win by drinking beer out of the trophy and twerking in her hotel room.
That, and her recent cameo appearance on Hawaii Five-O.
That, and a recent report that she beat Charles Barkley at a game of Beer Pong.
Ah, Michelle. Loves it.
ESPN Personality Sarah Spain. God, I love this woman.
Ever since she appeared on my radar of sports media personalities to watch, Spain has been a force that you can’t help but either be attracted to or repelled by. For me, it’s the former.
She has strong takes, an intelligence that is welcomed in the world of sports talk, a sassy attitude and a sultry voice that you can’t ignore. I wrote a soliloquy on her once not very long ago, and her willingness to attack the ridiculousness of sports talk topics. That’s when, I think, I fell in love – well, as much as a random sports blogger can fall in love with a sports media personality without it being weird.
But, in any case, I love her new ESPN Radio show with Prim Siripipat on Saturdays, where the duo talk sports for two hours with their own unique twist on things. I remember giving it a listen on the Podcast archive of ESPN Radio about a week ago, and I heard Spain say that she cared for neither the Seahawks nor the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Go ahead and give me more reasons to love you, Sarah. And good luck with the show.
Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sher–
HA HA HA HA – Yeah right.