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Ron Artest Calls Rockets Postgame Show As Luis Scola

Despite a 109-99 loss to the Houston Rockets last night, Ron Artest was in a decent enough mood to play a prank on the unofficial Rockets postgame show.

Claiming to be forward Luis Scola, Artest calls in and doesn’t even bother trying to disguise his voice.

Nice to see that some of the guys are staying loose while Laker Nation freaks out over their recent four-game skid.

(H/T Deadspin)

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End Of An Era As Michael Wilbon Leaving WaPo

In the latest sign that newspapers are a dying breed, Washington Post columnist Michael Wilbon is leaving the paper to pursue a larger role with ESPN/ABC.

The former Post intern turned into one of the greatest sports columnists in the business, covering everything from the Summer and Winter Olympics to the NBA Finals.

While I appreciate Wilbon on Pardon the Interruption and eager on his increased role with ESPN/ABC, a part of me is sad to see another newspaper person get swallowed up by the bigger payday television giants are able to provide.

The announcement from Washington Post management is below: Read more

Paul the Octopus Was a PR Stunt

Is nothing sacred?

Paul, the psychic Octopus who correctly picked the outcome of eight World Cup games, died yesterday. But the story doesn’t end there.

According to the Independent the entire thing was an elaborate hoax created by Merlin Entertainments Group.

Paul the Octopus, who provided colorful if inane fodder for umpteen news and broadcast organizations during the World Cup, especially those with no rights to any live action in South Africa, was also credited with predicting correct match results for Euro 2008 games. It should be stressed that, contrary to some reports, that was actually a different octopus, and that the different octopus got other results wrong, but such facts shouldn’t get in the way of a good story.

Next you’ll tell us Santa Claus doesn’t exist.

The Best Part of Bill Simmons' Columns…

Has to be the photo captions. They are so endearingly sincere. Read more

The New York Times Launches Marathon Blog

The New York City Marathon is less than a month away and NYTimes.com’s coverage is already up and running.

On Tuesday, the site debuted On The Run, a blog dedicated to the event. The gist? “Reporters and editors from The New York Times, as well as running aficionados at all levels of the sport, will be contributing to the conversation in the run-up to the Nov. 7 race.”

So far, the blog features posts from Jeffery Marcus (here), Jere Longman (here), Brian Myers (here), and Dave Ungrady (here), as well as a couple bearing the generic New York Times byline. Marcus and Longman both contribute to the site’s Soccer blog, Goal, while the latter two are appearing for the first time.

Hey NFL, You Have a Blackout Problem

Here’s a story that’s not going away: NFL games getting blacked out.

Yesterday we reported that the San Diego Chargers game won’t be shown on local television for the first time since 2004. Additionally, the Oakland Raiders won’t be on local television this weekend.

NFL rules call for games to be blacked out by any television station within 75 miles of the stadium if 95 percent of the available tickets aren’t sold out 72 hours in advance of kickoff.

Time is calling 2010 “The Year of the NFL Television Blackout?” (SEO friendly, no?), but this isn’t a new problem. Read more

Shaq Vs…. Nielsen?

Shaq Vs., the reality show Shaquille O’Neal stole from former teammate Steve Nash, ended its second season Tuesday night. The finale’s ratings fell from the previous year, although the August 3 and August 17 episodes were the most-watched shows in the two-season run.

Still, Shaq Vs. isn’t exactly putting up slam dunk numbers.

Shaq Vs. was the lowest rated of the five original programs on broadcast television Tuesday night, and the second-least viewed. Reality competition Wipeout (ABC; 3.8, 6.933 mil), America’s Got Talent (NBC; 6.7, 11.504 mil) and Minute To Win It (NBC; 3.6, 5.919 mil) put up significantly larger numbers – though Shaq Vs. topped Minute To Win It in the 18-49 demo.

That’s more like an air ball.

Report: Jay Mariotti off of ESPN, Suspended by AOL

AOL Fanhouse columnist and ESPN “Around the Horn” regular Jay Mariotti has been suspended from the AOL site, according to Sports by Brooks. The site also quotes an ESPN spokesperson as saying that Mariotti “is not scheduled” to appear on “ATH” next week.

The news comes just a few days after Mariotti was arrested in Los Angeles for attacking his girlfriend.