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Two Gretzky’s, One Jeter

MLBlogLogoAs if being the son of Wayne Gretzky wasn’t enough of a media burden, Trevor Gretzky also had to deal with some “unecessary attention” while attending high school in Los Angeles alongside the sons of Joe Montana and actor Will Smith.

That’s just one of the interesting answers the Cubs baseball prospect gives MLBlog editor Danny Wild. Gretzky says Derek Jeter was a big inspiration growing up; dad, while with the New York Rangers, took him to Yankees games. The Great One’s Son also confirms the logic of his jersey numbers progression:

MiLB.com: You’ve worn No. 9, 19 and 29 so far. I’m guessing the nine is a nod to dad, but let’s say you reach the Majors, what number are you going with on the back of your Cubs jersey?

Gretzky: It’s always been a dream to wear No. 99. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to wear it one day. That’s irrelevant right now – I’ve got to focus on getting my career where I want it to be.

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ESPN Source: Knicks-Phil Jackson Deal is ‘Pretty Much Done’

HuffPostLivePhilJacksonA few weeks ago, we shared a plaintive, open letter to the New York Knicks from a lifelong fan currently living in London. When Nick Geltner posted that letter, he could not possibly have imagined a better answer to his prayers.

According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, the Phil Jackson-New York Knicks president of operations deal is now all but completed, though an official announcement might have to wait until next week. That announcement will surely send Los Angeles Lakers fans off the other coastal edge; purple-and-gold supporters have been hoping (against hope) that Phil would come to the rescue of his fiancée’s tattered team.

From the top of this afternoon’s ESPN item:

Jackson and the Knicks are expected to finalize a deal that will give the legendary coach control of the club’s front office by the end of this week, according to a league source.

“Everything is pretty much done,” the source said. “There are just some little things here and there that need to be worked out, but the Knicks are very confident that this is essentially done.”

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From London, Lifelong Knicks Fan Posts Pained Open Letter

NickGeltnerPic2Although Nick Geltner (pictured) is currently working far away in England as a sports editor-producer, he grew up in New York and remains a die-hard Knicks fan. Watching from across the pond, texting about each miserable game with NYC area friend Jonas, it has become for him – like so many others – unbearable.

Indeed, the 2013-14 NBA season will go down as the one during which the Lakers and Knicks combined for some epic drubbing of the league’s two most valuable franchises. Geltner, in a fantastic open letter, begs the team to get better while sharing fun anecdotal detail from his career as a journalist:

While covering the NBA, I had the chance to interview the greatest player to live, Michael Jordan… The man who ruined my childhood. Yet it was an honor to grow up watching him. What he said in that interview with me? I can’t remember.

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Jets Guard Keeps on Shining After Being Named Team’s Most Media-Friendly Player

WillieColonJets_FeaturedThe latest New York Jet to win the award named after New York Times beat writer Gerald Eskinazi is guard Willie Colon. The 2013 Eskinazi Award, voted by the 20 or so sports journalists who currently cover the NFL team, honors the player deemed to be most “media-friendly.”

The award was announced on Christmas Eve and, as further reminder of why the former Pittsburgh Steeler was this year’s recipient, there is now an interview with the guard on Sirius XM NFL Radio. Colon, whose one-year contract with the Jets ends with this Sunday’s game against the Dolphins, was asked if he’d like to return with the team in 2014, hopefully under current coach Rex Ryan:

“Of course I want to be a Jet,” Colon said. “This is home for me. My family is happy I’m home. I’m happy I’m here. I’d like to finish a Jet but we all know there’s a business side of things. I’m 30-years-old. I still feel like I’ve got a lot left in the tank.”

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Latest Knicks Loss Has Reporter Reaching for His Eagles Greatest Hits CD

The first thing New York Daily News Knicks beat writer Frank Isola did after the team’s disheartening Sunday night loss to the Pelicans was try and process the numbness in his game report.

NYDNIsolaKnicksHeadline

Here’s Isola’s lede:

James Dolan always believed this Knicks team would make history and he was right. These Knicks now hold the franchise record for futility at Madison Square Garden, the newly transformed MSG, that is.

And here’s his third paragraph:

The numbers are downright staggering: nine straight losses overall and a franchise-record seven in a row at the Garden. Who knows, maybe the Knicks will never win again.

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LA Kings Anthem Features Strange View of the Weather

Have you caught “We Are Los Angeles,” the new ditty put forth this NHL playoff season by the LA Kings? It’s from The Goon Squad and features the following lyric: “In any weather, a Kings, a King forever.”

Hmmm. Not sure about you, but every time FishbowlLA has hit STAPLES Center for a game, it’s been pretty much the same weather. Maybe The Goon Squad is singing about when the team is on the road, but then, that doesn’t really jive with a song about why the team is synonymous with LA.

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A Rolling Stones Song List for Lakers Fans

There was zero satisfaction Sunday at STAPLES Center. A day after the Rolling Stones ran through their customary pre-arena-tour small club show at The Echoplex, the black-and-blue purple and gold mercifully kissed a miserable 2012-13 season goodbye.

In honor of this weekend’s intersection of “45 & Stinking” (Lakers) with “50 & Counting” (Stones), we’ve compiled a very special song list. This one’s a little different than the one Mick jumped through Saturday night, but for die-hard Lakers fans, it’s the only one that makes sense:

“Sad Sad Sad”
“The Worst”
“Stop Breaking Down”
“Shattered”
“Out of Tears”
“Rock and a Hard Place”
“Doom and Gloom”
“Dear Doctor”
“Biggest Mistake”
“It’s All Over Now”

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Sportswriters Running Out of Words to Describe Kobe Bryant’s Senior NBA Citizen Feats

Last fall, Sports Illustrated and most other experts promised us a 2012-13 Lakers rose garden. Last night, at the end of a season that has turned out instead to be all about the thorns, Kobe Bryant willed his team to victory at Portland’s Rose Garden.

Bryant is doing things at age 34 that most NBA players ten years younger can only dream of. Even Mr. Hockey Gordie Howe, who just turned 85, is probably shaking his head over last night’s 113-106 one-man show.

So how are sportswriters describing Bryant’s season-high draining of 47 points in a place where the team usually gets stomped? Take your pick: “implausible” (LA Times); “epic” (ESPN Los Angeles); “thrilling” (Yahoo)…

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Shaq, Phil, Jeanie and Fellow Lakers ‘Superman’ Hang Out at HuffPost Live

This was anything but the usual HuffPost Live Google+ hangout. Ahead of tonight’s retiring of Shaquille O’Neal‘s Lakers jersey at Staples Center, host Marc Lamont Hill welcomed Shaq, Phil Jackson, Jeanie Buss and (a little later into the conversation) Kurt Rambis. Before O’Neal, Rambis also famously earned the nickname “Superman” from Chick Hearn.

There’s no better way to get in the mood for tonight’s induction ceremony (or follow it up later) than by watching this half-hour conversation. You know it’s a good HuffPost Live segment when one of the network’s other hosts, Jacob Soboroff, chimes into the chat room with, “One of the great HPL interviews. Well done.”

A favorite part for us was when Buss reacted to Shaq’s first set of comments, explaining that she had never heard the story of what Jerry West told #34 when The Big Newcomer first joined the purple and gold. The story magically ties into what is scheduled to transpire at Staples tonight.

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Matt Kemp Travels to Sesame Street

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp is the latest local athlete to pay a visit to Sesame Street, appearing on the iconic children’s show Thursday.

And since the kid inside of you is wondering, the word of the day was attach.

As in I hope the surgeon who performed offseason shoulder surgery on Kemp made sure to attach it back to his body.

[H/T Big League Stew]

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