Tom Cavanagh is about to dominate the Celebrity All-Star Game

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I love each and every NBA All-Star event, but the Celebrity Game might be my favorite. Maybe it’s because I know one day I break the single game scoring shot attempts record. Maybe it’s because one time Chris Tucker threw a layup over the backboard. Either way, I know what I’m talking about when it comes to the Celebrity Game. And believe me when I say that Tom Cavanagh is about to completely dominate. No one will have a hope of guarding him. If he doesn’t drop at least 22 points I’ll be stunned. And without Kevin Hart there, the MVP is there for the taking. Tom Cavanagh is going to cement his legacy in the annals of Celebrity Game history. He might even rip off a run like James Denton did in the Celebrity Softball game. The most impressive performance this weekend is gonna be in the Celebrity Game. You heard it here first.

Update: Just saw that Aarón Sanchez from Chopped is on Cavanagh’s team. MJ and Pippen who?

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NBA Midseason Awards

It’s finally time for one my absolute favorite weekends of the entire year: NBA All Star Weekend. And, since I’ve written more than 1,000 words about the NBA in my life, I’m bound by law to present my midseason award picks. Despite what Charles Barkley and the other members of the Today’s Basketball is Bad Cult would tell you, the game is better than ever, and it’s reflected in the competitiveness of the award races. All but one have a handful of legitimate candidates. Let’s jump right in.

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Rookie of the Year- Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

It always feels weird calling someone like Embiid or Blake Griffin rookies when they were drafted a year or two before actually playing a regular season game. Still, them’s the rules, so JoJo is a slam dunk (get it? Because I’m talking about a basketball player? Anyway…) pick to win ROY. This year’s draft class STINKS, and, however limited his injuries make him, he’s clearly the best “first year” player. He’s already putting up superstar numbers. A smooth, athletic 7 foot 22 year old who puts up 20 points, 8 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, gets 8 free throws a game, and shoots a decent 36.7% from 3? While playing only 25 minutes a game? While playing great defense (not the Hassan Whiteside™ “let me chase these 3 blocks so everyone says I’m good on D” brand of defense, either)? Please, keep telling me how the NBA was better before we had guys like this running around.

Apologies To: Dario Saric? Malcolm Brogdon? 20 games of Yogi Ferrell? My 2k player? Anyone??????

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Most Improved Player- Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

After last season’s crazy second half, everyone came into this year expecting the world of Greek Freak, and, somehow, he’s surpassed them. Every non-3-related counting stat is a career high, and the advanced numbers love him, too. His offensive rating (essentially how many points a player accounts for (through scoring and assists) per 100 possessions) is nearly 10% better than last season. Per NBA.com, he leads the league in points in the paint per game, points off turnovers per game, is fifth in fast break points, and is second in loose balls recovered per game (?). The team is kinda bad, but I hate blaming a player so young for that. They’ve had injuries, and being that this is his first season as being The Guy, the roster is still a little wacky and not really built around him. Think I’m finally ready to confirm that he is, in fact, better than Kelly Olynyk and that the Celtics may have made a mistake.

Apologies To: Nikola Jokic (I think he’s surpassed Marc Gasol as my favorite big guy to watch. This guy’s awesome and I hope the Nuggets don’t screw up his career), Zach Lavine, Jabari Parker, Harrison Barnes

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Sixth Man of the Year- Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets

Kind of a sign of the times, but anytime someone has already broken the record for 3 pointers made by a reserve (set last season by my favorite Bosnian NBA player Mirza Teletovic) before the All Star break, I think they should have a shot to win Sixth Man. After booking a session at the Mike D’Antoni Career Rejuvenation Spa, Gordon is back to being a feared scorer after a couple of years on the scrap heap. He’s the second option on the second best offense (by both points and offensive efficiency) in the NBA. I’m sure Jamal Crawford will somehow wind up winning again, though.

Apologies To: Lou Williams, Javale McGee (only 90% joking)

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Defensive Player of the Year- Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

For me, this was the toughest call to make. Rudy Gobert and Kawhi Leonard could easily win this. Give me enough of whatever Doc Rivers spikes his Clippers Kool-Aid with and I’d buy into Deandre Jordan’s candidacy. Even Anthony Davis. But for me, it’s Draymond. He’s been a top 3 defender for three years now, and is the lynchpin to the league’s best (or second best. Depends on how you view Utah) defense. He holds opponents to under 40% in every area of the court besides 15-19 feet (somehow all three are allowing a higher field goal percentage at the rim than Eric Gordon and JR Smith). He just had a triple double with  10 steals. He guards every position at an elite level. He’s third in the league in Defensive Rating. He leads the league in self-created chips on his shoulder and false claims that no one believes in him. After two straight years where he could have easily won, this year he takes the crown.

Apologies To: Rudy Gobert, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, Deandre Jordan, Marcus Smart, Chris Paul, Joel Embiid

No Apologies To: Hassan Whiteside (If you can’t tell, I’ll never pass up a chance to throw shade at Whiteside. He’s such a bum. He’s good at defense if being good at defense means abandoning all defensive strategy, positioning, and discipline to try and chase blocks and easy rebounds. He’s trash on offense too, but has the temerity to say Deandre Jordan can’t play offense? He stinks. He stinks and I hate him.)

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Coach of the Year- Mike D’Antoni, Houston Rockets

While it’s impossible to discount the positive effect not having Dwight Howard on the roster can have on a team, I still think D’Antoni deserves it. If you remember (why wouldn’t you?) my NFL Awards post, I hate when coaches take teams that sucked the year before and make them decent and get handed coach of the year. But D’Antoni has actually put in the best coaching season, and, without him, the Rockets would be nowhere near top of the West. When Daryl Morey was shaping his fantasy version of basketball by having James Harden created in a lab, D’Antoni had to have been an advisor. The fact that it took so long for Harden and D’Antoni to get paired up is a sin against basketball. His system totally unleashed Harden’s full game, and it’s propelled them to the third best record in the entire NBA. Take a look at that roster. They should be .500 at best! If there’s a way for D’Antoni and Harden to share this, they should.

Apologies To: Brad Stevens, Gregg Popovich

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Most Valuable Player- James Harden, Houston Rockets

You know the candidates here. You know the stats, you know the storylines. For me, Harden is having the best season (when did I become a Rockets fan?). The stats are there: third in scoring. First in assists. First in free throw makes and attempts. Second in threes made. Averaging 8 rebounds per game, which, any other year, would lead all point guards by a wide margin (did you know Harden is tied with MJ for the 12th most triple doubles in a season in NBA history?) Sure, he turns it over a ton, but so does Westbrook. His defense isn’t very good (*Charles Barkley voice* Who plays good defense anymore? Tell me, Ernie. Who????). He’s got his team in the 3 seed in the West, and though his supporting cast is better than Westbrook’s, it’s not a huge margin. It feels so wrong not to have the guy averaging 31-10-10 as MVP, but what are you gonna do? Harden is just having a better season.

Apologies To: Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, Kevin Durant (it’d be impossible to get all of them, but imagine if, like, 3 out of the top 4 MVP candidates on the same team? How many titles would they win? Could anyone stop them?), Kawhi Leonard, Isaiah Thomas, Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Jimmy Butler, Anthony Davis, Carmelo Anthony

Archaeology Magazine sent me a Free Gift so I guess the search for the next Indiana Jones is over

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You see that? That’s an exclusive free gift from Archeology Magazine. A free copy of their special Egypt edition (is someone in the Archaeological Institute of America a fellow Yu-Gi-Oh fan?). They don’t send that to just anyone. I can connect the dots. Harrison Ford is 73 years old. Doesn’t have a whole lot of digs left in him. This can only mean that the Archaeological Institute of America (hereby the AIA) has tagged me as his replacement to be the face of the Archaeological world. Frankly, it’s about time. I’ve long been a titan in the fields of research, surveying, excavation, careful brushing, recording, cataloguing, and playing the Uncharted games. If you have any doubts, go back and take a look at all my history papers from like 5th grade through college. I blew the roof off the Peloponnesian War at least four months before 300 made that era en vogue again. I’m the natural heir to the cool archaeologist throne. I just hope Spielberg is on board with this decision, too, so I can get some of that sweet Disney money.

The obvious question is what’s my next move? I can’t rest on my laurels now that I’m at the top. Indy uncovered crazy artifacts and solved millennia-old mysteries on the regular. How can I live up to that? I’ve got to find some good stuff ASAP. So what direction do I go? Find what brought down the Mayans? Tackle Stonehenge? Find the murder knife used by Jack the Ripper? The Bermuda Triangle? I was thinking the most lucrative option for both me and the movie studio would probably be finding Atlantis, but the more I think about it, the more I realize the only thing to do is to find Tom Brady’s lost Super Bowl Jersey.

As I’m sure you all know, Tom Brady’s jersey from last Sunday’s epic Super Bowl comeback was stolen from his locker. Considering the historical weight of the accomplishment, it could be considered one of the more important artifacts in American history. And, as of now, it’s still missing. I can’t let that slide. I can’t think of a more perfect case to start my career as head of the AIA. It has everything: Deception. Intrigue. Adventure. The opposition of a fascist organization. And, dare I say, a touch of the supernatural?

I’ll start by taking the film crew down to Houston, more specifically NRG Stadium. I’ll scour the locker room, grill the entry level Texans employees and random stadium custodians, and gather evidence. On my third day in Houston, I’ll get a hot tip: someone heard someone saw a jersey deep in the Mexican jungle. This is where the action picks up. I’ll make my way into Mexico. Locals will start warning me about a sacred temple in the heart of the rainforest. Legends of a bandit who brought a certain artifact to its doorstep, only to disappear from the face of the Earth. Without the Nazis or Soviets to compete with, I may have to hire mercenaries to try and kill me, unless the NFL sends its Gestapo after me. After finding the entrance of the ancient temple, I’d be captured and detained by my ruthless adversaries. After using my wit and guile to befuddle the low-ranking henchmen keeping watch over me, I’d sneak into the temple. Much to my surprise, it wasn’t much of a temple, but instead was a large courtyard with a pool at the center, with the jersey magically suspended above it. I hear some of the henchmen murmuring: it’s the Fountain of Youth. Then, the leader, be it some European mercenary or Goodell himself, would make an impassioned speech about how drinking from the Fountain would allow him to conquer the world. Once he took a sip, the spirits that guarded the temple would punish such an impure man for drinking the water, and he and his acolytes would be graphically killed. When I approach the Fountain, the jersey descends into my waiting arms. I look at the water, tempted by the possibility of eternal youth.

Cut to Gillette Stadium, where I’m shaking hands with my hero Tom Brady. He holds up the jersey as everyone in the room admires it. He thanks me and jokes he’ll have to wear the jersey everyday in the offseason to reap the rewards. Speechless, I mostly just mumble and make guttural noises until the meeting ends. A representative from the AIA comes up to me and starts asking about what I saw. Downplaying everything, I casually mention finding the Fountain of Youth. He jokingly asks if I drank from it, then scoffs and walks away before I can answer, skeptical about my appointment as leader of his organization. Walking out of the stadium, I overhear a pair of reporters discussing what they had just witnessed. One of them mentioned that I looked rather young for someone so accomplished. I look into the camera and the movie ends.

I think that’ll set the tone for my pop-archaeoligcal career. I’ll quickly established that I only do the flashy projects, so I won’t have to dig up random bowls in Cambodia. I’ll be like the Undertaker: only show up for the biggest moments and receive all the credit. It’s a perfect career. I didn’t want to end my blogging career so suddenly, but I almost have no choice.

My Valentine’s Day Plans

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Guys, I’ve found someone. After years of searching, I finally have someone I can call my own. A love so pure and profound I pity anyone who is unable to share in this feeling of bliss. And now, on Valentine’s Day, it’s time I go public: Chocolate Strawberry Oreos and I are getting serious.

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Arguably the best tasting cookie I’ve ever had. How it took them this long to make, I have no idea. Delicious doesn’t even begin to describe it. It was love at first sight, and we’ve had great chemistry from the moment we first met. I’ve never felt this way about anyone before. Unfortunately, these are limited time only, which means this love was made to burn fast and hot. Luckily, tonight is the perfect time to show Chocolate Strawberry Oreos my true feelings. So, what’s in store? Let’s run through the itinerary of our date night.

Paying Homage to Saint Valentine

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Chocolate Strawberry Oreos is a bit of a religious history nut, so we’re taking part in a reenactment of the legendary Saint’s life at the local Rotary Club. It’s an odd bit of performance art where everyone in the audience gets a randomly assigned part. Then, under cover of darkness, the person playing Valentine illegally weds couples, only to eventually get caught. So, I might end up married to someone else, face religious persecution and martyrdom, or I might wind up executing someone. Anything could happen.

A walk through a strawberry field

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As is typical with someone nearing the end of their life, Chocolate Strawberry Oreos wants to reconnect with their heritage and see the land of their ancestors. No better way that by walking through a strawberry field. Unfortunately, we live in the Northeast, so it’ll be covered in snow. All that will remain will be ghosts of past harvests and the hope that the sleeping plants will one day regain their glory. Kind of a downer when you think about it, but it’s still better than visiting a synthetic strawberry flavor factory.

Dinner

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What Valentine’s Day is complete without a romantic dinner out at your favorite restaurant? Unfortunately, not many high end places will let you bring your own food in, so the options are limited. So, we’re going to go the place I went on the day we met: Taco Bell. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than sharing a couple Naked Chicken Chalupas together. Add in a nice bottle of wine and some nice candles and the mood will be perfect.

Going home to watch Valentine’s Day

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What Valentine’s Day would be complete without this 2010 classic? Almost unthinkable not to watch this once a year. Decent chance I’m the only one who’s ever seen it, but that doesn’t matter to me.

Dessert

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It’d be kind of messed up to make Chocolate Strawberry Oreos eat chocolate or fruit, so all that leaves really are Sweethearts. Not ideal, but we can make the most of it. Maybe blend them up and make some smoothies. Maybe melt them down for some Sweetheart fondue. Maybe I’ll skip this part because they’re gross. It’ll be a game time decision.

Seal the Deal

What happens next? Well, I’ll leave that to the imagination. Let’s just say it involves a glass of milk and me eating a million Oreos in one sitting. Hope everyone’s Valentine’s Day is as good as mine is about to be!

Champions League Knockout Round starts today

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Weren’t expecting this, were you? That’s right, your boy knows soccer, and today is a pretty monumental day in the fùtbol world. The knockout stage of the Champions League kicks off today, and I, for one, am very excited. Over the next month, there’s gonna be some great games, including the shiniest matchup of all: Barcelona vs. PSG.

In an odd twist, the pairings seem to be somewhat randomly created, which is a huge departure from the typical soccer style. Barcelona has to face PSG when there are teams like Leicester, Porto, and Bayer Leverkusen left? Huh? And Real Madrid is facing Napoli, the highest scoring team in Italy, instead of perennial losers Arsenal? What’s going on here? Someone call up Sepp Blatter and have him fix these matchups.

In another shocking turn of events, the Premier League is probably going to be finished at the end of this round. Again. At what point does the title of “The Best League in the World” get called into question? Judging by the fact that the other best teams in the world routinely leave the Premiership for dead, that time should come soon. I mean, Arsenal might have a chance if Bayern pulls an Arsenal and collapses mentally. This year’s Leicester, unfortunately, doesn’t really have a chance against Sevilla, who is an unlikely 3rd in La Liga this year. And Man City, always the shining beacon of hope for the Premier league, is facing a scalding hot Monaco (side note: if I was a pro soccer player, the only team I’m playing for is Monaco. Why be just another cog in the Barcelona/Real/Man United machine? Let me live out my days in the closest thing on Earth to paradise (beautiful coast, no taxes, legendary casinos) and just be a legend there. Not sure why they don’t get more huge names). Honestly, I don’t see any of the three advancing.

As for the rest of the matchups, I’ve got Real over Napoli, Benfica over Dortmund, Atletico Madrid over Bayer Leverkusen, and Juventus over Porto. Can PSG beat Barcelona???? Umm, no. No they can’t. Barcelona doesn’t lose. Last time I checked, Messi isn’t wearing an Argentina jersey kit, which means he’s about to dominate. I don’t really know how other people feel about them since I’m not exactly plugged in to the soccer insiders (although I was a prodigy in 4th grade), but I think PSG stinks. Edinson Cavani is complete trash and the rest of their team is so blah. I think they’ll get run off the field by Barcelona.

So there you have it. Am I a soccer genius, or do I only have a gift for American football? Does anyone besides me even care about o jogo bonito? Should I just stick to Burning Questions stop trying to force my interests on people? Only time will tell.

Prince Fielder is getting his own “cooking” show called Fielder’s Choice

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source– I have a food show that’s going to be streaming on Netflix and Hulu. It’s coming out around the beginning of spring training in March, I believe. It’s not just baseball people. It’s a mixture of baseball people, actors, musicians, chefs and whatnot. They bring out different dishes, and at the end of the show, I give the one I like the most the “Fielder’s choice.” It’s good TV.

Prince had to retire because of a million neck surgeries, but he also had to retire because he kind of sucks now. His decline inexorably began when he went vegan and lost weight, robbing himself of his fat guy power stroke. I guess retirement brought him clarity, because this is an ingenious move. Besides the fact that hosting a show where people just make you food is the ultimate dream job, this is the perfect way to get exposure. Ditch the vegan act and take the show on the road. Stop in the Carolinas, Texas, Nashville, and Kansas City and house a ton of barbecue. Make sure you record the show in a batting cage, and each dish you don’t like you just toss it up to yourself and hit it with a bat to show you still have the swing. Maybe field the side dishes while standing on first base. Next thing you know, Prince is fat again and is getting some MLB tryouts. I guarantee by 2019 Prince is on the Rockies or something and puts up 35 homers again. Brilliant play by Prince. Wish I thought of it so I could get a cut of his next contract.

Also goes without saying that Fielder’s Choice is one of the biggest lay-up tv show names of all time.