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    LeBron James and His Freedom

    LeBron James and His Freedom

    I love LeBron James. I love the way he plays basketball. He is freakishly athletic–he’s a 6-foot-8, 260-pound freight train that bulldozes his way up and down the floor, while having the court vision and passing skills that are unheard of for a player his size. Then, of course, is his otherworldly leaping ability. I remember watching LeBron in a regular season game in 2008 and being dumbfounded. James went up and caught what was supposed to be an “alley-oop”, but was thrown far too high. When LeBron caught it, he was eye level with the rim. With his size…

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    Reflections on Auburn’s Amazing Last Couple of Weeks

    Reflections on Auburn’s Amazing Last Couple of Weeks

    Auburn University is playing in the National Championship game this year. That statement was highly improbable in the beginning of the college football season this year. It definitely would’ve been an inconceivable thought last year, as Auburn went winless in SEC. This year, however, has been quite a different story. The day after Thanksgiving, Auburn faced the University of Alabama in the “Iron Bowl” and the season took a turn.

    Tie game. One second left. The Crimson Tide’s last drive comes to an end and must attempt a 57-yard field goal (which would have resulted in an unbelievably iconic ending to…

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    Mike Tyson and Gang Lighten Up

    This is pretty amazing, ht DZ:

    Iron Mike is at it again, and this time he’s brought some other hall-of-fame athletes. The short clip beautifully embodies a certain kind of freedom, each according to their own…interesting and sympathetic careers/lives. The root of the commercial’s charm is its candor–each athlete simply doesn’t take themselves very seriously. The sting of their ‘transgression’ is gone. “All is right with the world” indeed, I must say!

    Derrick Rose, Sneakers over Stats, and the Beauty of Empathy

    Derrick Rose, Sneakers over Stats, and the Beauty of Empathy

    I remember visiting my brother in Memphis during basketball season in 2008: Derrick Rose was the talk of the town. With a 6-foot-4 frame, Rose was slightly taller than most of the point guards he went up against and could jump higher and run faster. Rose came out Simeon High School in Chicago, a hotbed for freakishly athletic ball players–Rose was certainly no exception. After a phenomenal freshman year at Memphis, Rose was the first overall pick in the NBA draft the following year.

    If you remember, in our NBA Season Preview of sorts, Derrick Rose’s return to the NBA–after sitting out…

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    Mike Tyson and His Beloved Trainer

    Mike Tyson and His Beloved Trainer

    If any professional athlete has the gift of gab, it is Mike Tyson. Words have proven to be profoundly significant in his life, from the infamous interviews about his relationships with the women in his life, to cussing out/threatening opponents in press conferences, to his now rather candid reflections on his crazy life in documentaries and stage shows and now his new autobiography. Grantland‘s Jay Caspian Kang’s recent piece on Tyson’s life and career is an extremely thoughtful observation on the complexities which mark Iron Mike’s life. The article especially sheds light on Tyson’s relationship with his former trainer/guardian, Cus…

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    Thoughts on the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin Saga

    Thoughts on the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin Saga

    Racism; blame; weakness; bullying and hazing–terms with which you are familiar if you know anything about the recent story concerning Miami Dolphins offensive linemen Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin. For the past couple of weeks, this story has absolutely dominated sports news networks, reporting recent developments and consequent commentary. First the focus was strictly on the vulgar text messages sent by Incognito to Martin, which lead to the discussion concerning “locker room culture” in the NFL as well as on the college and high school athletic levels. Various Dolphins players have answered questions about Incognito and Martin, and both Dolphins…

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    The Appeal of Running and Shooting and the Foolishness of Giving

    The Appeal of Running and Shooting and the Foolishness of Giving

    Football fans love quarterbacks. Basketball fans love point guards. In this week at Mbird sports, we’ll examine some key elements that make up the two positions, and try to make some distinctions as to why they are so beloved, while noting how they may be even more attractive today than ever.

    Joe Namath. Peyton Manning. John Elway. Joe Montana–what’s the appeal? Is it the all-american poster boy persona? The rocket arm? Maybe it’s how they dissect defenses/secondaries with ease, and place the ball exactly where they want. Is it leading offenses downfield and calling audibles amongst screaming fans, keeping everyone calm…

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    The Mockingbird 2013-2014 NBA Season Preview

    The Mockingbird 2013-2014 NBA Season Preview

    It’s an understatement to say that it is currently an exciting time in the world of sports, but it really is. The World Series starts tonight. College football and NFL is beginning to heat up and bowl games and playoffs we all love will be here before you know it. That’s not even to mention that the NBA is about to start. On that note, I thought it’d be most appropriate to whet our appetites for the upcoming season by mentioning a few of the most compelling stories in the league.

    1. LeBron James and the Miami Heat

    LeBron James had an…

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    The Dopamine Thrill of Winning and Suspended Animation

    The Dopamine Thrill of Winning and Suspended Animation

    Did you get to check out The Atlantic piece DZ quoted in last week’s weekender, “Parents Ruin Sports for Their Kids by Obsessing About Winning”? As soon as I read it, I knew taking a closer look was inevitable this week in Mbird sports!

    DZ was right, the title is anything but subtle. In the piece, Lisa Endlich Heffernan admits to her own proneness to turning athletics into an avenue for performancism, not just for her child but for herself:

    Every sports cliche you can think of, I have uttered: teamwork, respect for the coach, being part of something bigger than yourself,…

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    Magic Johnson’s Smile, John Calvin’s Selfless Christian Life, and God’s Grace

    Magic Johnson’s Smile, John Calvin’s Selfless Christian Life, and God’s Grace

    During the NBA season, you’ll see an extremely chipper analyst on ESPN: Earvin “Magic” Johnson. I’ve always had a great respect for Magic, not only for the way in which he played the sport he loves, but for the ways in which he has spoken about those he loves. I still remember watching old–and incredible–VHS tapes like NBA Superstars and Michael Jordan’s Playground and seeing Magic contagiously smile as he described just how great Michael Jordan was. It seems as though Magic’s first inclination has always been to point out the good of those around him, be it…

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    The Mercilessness of College Football’s Win-Now Age

    The Mercilessness of College Football’s Win-Now Age

    What an interesting time it is for college football. Lane Kiffin and Paul Pasqualoni were fired from their jobs last week–Kiffin from USC and Pasqualoni from UConn–after only three years of coaching. After The University of Southern California suffered a loss to Arizona State this past Saturday, Kiffin was let go. Finishing his career at USC with a 28-15 record amid difficult NCAA sanctions, Kiffin’s coaching at USC isn’t universally perceived as failure. For USC athletics, and their fans, however, it’s failure with a capital F. ESPN’s Ted Miller says it best:

    The problem with coaching USC is you’re coaching USC. If you…

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    The Dodgers Went Swimming (and We Would Too)

    The Dodgers Went Swimming (and We Would Too)

    Major league baseball, perhaps more other professional sports, has intricacies that are taken very seriously. This manifested itself last week, when various Los Angeles Dodgers players began to celebrate their win against the Arizona Diamondbacks by jumping into the pool at Chase Field, home of the D-Backs. The Dodgers’ victory over the Diamondbacks clinched the NL West, which is a feat worth celebrating, for sure.

    There has been lots of talk about the Dodgers’ celebratory actions, of course, most of which seeks to answer the question as to whether or not it’s worth getting upset over, or is it just not worth all…

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