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July 17th, 2017

Wimbledon gave us more great memories this year.

Roger Federer showed why he is the greatest of all-time, winning his 19th major championship and eighth gentleman's singles crown, both records. He beat Marin Cilic in straight sets in the finals. At age 35, he showed why he is so special. Last year, he was sidelined with a knee injury and his future looked bleak. Now he has won two of the three Grand Slam events so far this year.

How impressive was he at Wimbledon this year? He beat Cilic, Milos Raonic, Thomas Berdych and Gregor Dimitrov en route to the title, four highly-ranked, talented players.

Venus Williams went for her sixth Wimbledon women's crown but fell to Garbine Muguruza of Spain. Muguruza won the final nine games of the match to prevail.

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July 10th, 2017

It has been an interesting first half of the baseball season.

 The Dodgers have been on fire, winning 26 of 30 games going into the break. The Astros have run away and hid from the AL West. The Brewers lead the NL Central while the Cubs, Cardinals and Mets are below 500. The Twins and Rays are over .500.

 

 Here are my choices for awards for baseball's best at the All-Star break:

AL MVP: Aaron Judge, Yankees

NL MVP: Paul Goldscmidt, Arizona

AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Judge

NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Cody Bellinger, Dodgers

AL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: AJ Hinch, Houston

NL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Dave Roberts, Dodgers

AL CY YOUNG: Chris Sale, Boston

NL CY YOUNG: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

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July 3rd, 2017

 

The NBA free agency period has taken over the headlines.

There have been big moves with Chris Paul dealt to the Rockets and Paul George to the Thunder. There have been players going elsewhere for big bucks like JJ Redick to Philadelphia for $23 million.

There have been big money re-signings like Stephen Curry, Blake Griffin and Kyle Lowery.

I am concerned that NBA stars of free agency will create power teams and unfortunately, many mediocre ones.

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June 26th, 2017

The hottest team in baseball is the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The team has won 10 straight contests. On Sunday, they trailed Colorado 5-0 early. They were down 6-4 in the seventh inning.

It helps when you score five runs on four wild pitches. Plus Cody Bellinger had his sixth multi-homer game.

You can point at several people for the team's success. Bellinger has provided a spark since being called up. Clayton Kershaw is one of the top pitchers in baseball. How about some credit to manager Dave Roberts? His team is always prepared and he has utilized different combinations to gain versatility in his lineup.

This team is going to be dangerous.

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June 24th, 2017

"We had a great time at the Tournament Club of Iowa in Polk City, IA as we raised money for kids battling cancer through The V Foundation. I can't thank JoEllen and Craig Mettille enough for their dedication, generosity and for hosting this event for the 7th year raising a cumulative total that has exceeded 1 million dollars. They are really genuine people who care about others.

The event was emceed by Bobby Hansen, former outstanding Iowa State star who also played in the NBA and part of the '92 Bulls Championship team led by Michael Jordan. They honored Fran McCaffery, head basketball coach of Iowa, whose son Patrick is a cancer survivor. He and his wife Margaret not only were honored but also made a nice contribution as did the second honoree, Hall of Fame Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. I loved being the keynote speaker here and sharing stories about cancer survivors.

We also had three youngsters who were battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and are now in remission: Michael, Justin, and Cooper. It was really a special night and we're so proud of the dollars that we raised. Once again, a big big thank you to the hearts of gold JoEllen and Craig Mettille."

 

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June 23rd, 2017

The 2017 NBA draft is in the books. There was a great amount of talent going to NBA rosters.

 

Here are some thoughts from draft night.

A number of teams were winners. It starts with Philadelphia getting Markelle Fultz to open the draft. He will team up with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid to provide a solid young trio. The Sixers used other picks to bolster the future roster.

 

I liked the Sacramento-Portland deal. Zach Collins will be a star up front for the Blazers. Caleb Swanigan also adds another big body up front. The Kings added DeAaron Fox, Justin Jackson and Harry Giles, three guys with winning experience. If Giles can stay healthy, this is a big move.

 

Chicago got a nice deal, adding Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn and Zach Lavine in the Jimmy Butler deal. Certainly Minnesota was thrilled to get Butler and Justin Patton.

 

Charlotte made a good decision in selecting Malik Monk at #11 overall.

 

Phoenix got Josh Jackson and he is my early pick as Rookie of the Year. Devon Reed is an outstanding defender.

 

It would be easy to say Cleveland lost because it did not have a pick.

 

If I had to pick a losing situation, is was the large number of underclassmen that had eligibility remaining and went undrafted.

 

That list included Kobi Simmons and Chance Comanche of Arizona, Antonio Blakeney of LSU, Isaiah Briscoe of Kentucky, PJ Dozier of South Carolina, EricMika of BYU, Jonathan Motley of Baylor, Cameron Oliver of Nevada, LJ Peak of Georgetown, Devin Robinson of Florida, Melo Trimble of Maryland.

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June 19th, 2017

The NBA draft should provide excitement galore this week.

This is one of the deepest drafts in years and several players should develop into stars for years to come.

I really like Duke's Jayson Tatum and Josh Jackson of Kansas.

Lonzo Ball of UCLA also has a bright future. Keep an eye on Gonzaga's Zach Collins to reach his potential.

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June 14th, 2017

It was not a shock that Golden State won the NBA title. Can they become a dynasty?

The potential is there because Steph Curry and Kevin Durant are young and hungry. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson will be back too. The Warriors have done a great job with the supporting cast and players like Andre Iguodala and David West having vital roles.

Cleveland fought hard and LeBron James did everything he could. The Cavaliers have decisions to make and need to regroup.

Golden State is in good position for the future.

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June 12th, 2017

What a weekend in sports.

The Pittsburgh Penguins won game six in Nashville to earn its second straight Stanley Cup. Sidney Crosby won his second straight MVP award.

Rafael Nadal won his 10th French Open singles title. He beat Stan Wawrinka easily.

Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia won a surprise winner of the women's final. She was ranked 47th in the world before winning.

The Yankees blitzed the Orioles in baseball. The Cavaliers extended the NBA Final to a fifth game.

Great weekend for sports fans.

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June 5, 2017

Golden State set a record with its 14th straight playoff win. The Warriors have looked great in going up 2-0 vs. the Cavs.

Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have dominated on the offensive end.

The Warriors have forced turnovers and scored easily in transition. Cleveland has to go back to the drawing board.

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June 1, 2017

The Cavaliers and Warriors battle for the third straight year with the NBA championship at stake.

There is so much star power as The Cavaliers and Warriors battle for the third straight year with the NBA championship at stake.

There is so much star power between these two teams. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson will be tough for Cleveland to stop.

The Cavaliers have Kevin Love plus a dynamic duo in King James, aka LeBron, and Kyrie Irving. I think they are the best duo in the game today.

Tyronn Lue showed he could put together a game plan to win last season. I know most people are going with the Warriors.

I am going with the Cavs in seven in a super series. LeBron and Kyrie get it done.
tween these two teams. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson will be tough for Cleveland to stop.

The Cavaliers have Kevin Love plus a dynamic duo in King James, aka LeBron, and Kyrie Irving. I think they are the best duo in the game today.

Tyronn Lue showed he could put together a game plan to win last season. I know most people are going with the Warriors.

I am going with the Cavs in seven in a super series. LeBron and Kyrie get it done.

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May 29, 2017

My buddy, John Perseo, whom I have known for over 25 years, died on Saturday.

I can simply tell you, that if you wanted a real friend in life, John Perseo was your guy. He would go out of his way and do anything for you.

John was an incredibly passionate person. He could talk to you about a variety of topics and you would hear his passion in his voice.

He could discuss politics, going over issues of the conservatives and the liberals. You talk about getting fired up!

If you wanted to talk about college football, all you had to do is mention Penn State, where he attended school. His eyes would light up when talking proudly about the Nittany Lions. He could tell you everything about Penn State’s coaches and players.

John also loved to have conversations about food. He had a role in a number of Italian restaurants over the years. His passion was unreal, especially over Italian food.

His biggest passion was the love of his life, his wife Janet. She is a special woman, who teams up with Mary Kenealy to form the vital dream team working to make the Dick Vitale gala a success.

Janet’s work ethic and passion are so special. I cannot express it enough in describing the love John had for Janet.

John was also a fighter. Earlier in his life, he beat cancer. He led a productive and positive life.

John was a special person who made so many friends in the Bradenton, Sarasota-Lakewood Ranch area. He was loyal and caring. He was there for you when you needed him. You could always count on him.

I am sure he is up in heaven now. He will be missed, but never forgotten. His passion will live on forever.

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May 22, 2017

Always Dreaming saw its Triple Crown hopes disappear on Saturday at Pimlico.

It was a close race, but the Kentucky Derby winner faded down the stretch. It was Cloud Computing that scored the upset victory.

Cloud Computing was a lightly raced horse. Horses that ran at the Kentucky Derby were pushed on Saturday and did not fare well. They had something taken out of them in the first leg of the Triple Crown.

No Triple Crown this year.

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May 15, 2017

Sarasota was the sports capital of the world on May 12th. It was a special night as as we raised over $3.1 million for pediatric cancer research at the Dickie V. gala.

Over 870 people were in attendance at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota as the Jimmy V Foundation was the beneficiary of major generosity.

We honored Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly, West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins, and ESPN’s Chris Berman, who was unable to attend following he tragic passing of his wife, Kathy.

The sports world was well represented. Everywhere you turned, there was another celebrity and I cannot thank them enough for their support.

College football had Kelly, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and former Georgia coach Vince Dooley. There were many former Notre Dame players in attendance, including Ron Pawlus, Autry Denson, Willie Clark and Marc Edwards to name a few.

College basketball’s coaching fratenity came out big time. Besides Huggins, there was South Carolina’s Frank Martin, Notre Dame’s Mike Brey, Georgia Tech’s Josh Pastne, Memphis coach Tubby Smith, Miami’s Jim Larranaga, Floride State’s Leonard Hamilton, Florida’s Mike White and former Indiana coach Tom Crean.

The NBA had former Cavaliers star Austin Carr and former coaches Mike Fratello and Richie Adubato.

The real stars of the night were the young boys and girls that have fought hard against the dreaded disease. I introduced my All-Courageous team. These youngsters have proven that the dollars work to help.

We also gave special grants in the name of my buddy, former ESPN announcer John Saunders. His daughters Jenna and Aliyah came on-stage and accepted the grants.

In the 12 years of the Dickie V. gala, we have now raised over $21 million. My friends, it is not enough. We have to keep fighting to beat the disease that affects so many lives.I will work hard until my last breath on earth, begging and pleading for support. Only four cents of every dollar for cancer research goes to pediatrics and there is something very wrong with that.

Kids should be able to go play outside instead of suffering through tough times.

We will keep going. Next year, we will honor Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh, ESPN’s Mike Grenberg and Florida State’s Hamilton.

 

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May 8, 2017

King James and the Cavaliers swept the Raptors. That was vital for Cleveland as they get some rest before facing the Celtics-Wizards winner in the Eastern Conference final

Toronto was shorthanded with Kyle Lowery injured. The Cavs looked much better on defense the last few games. This was a one-sided series compared to the competitive series vs. the Pacers.

Kyrie Irving was a major factor too. Cleveland looks like it can make it to the NBA Finals again the way they are playing.

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May 1, 2017

The NFL draft was exciting for the fans and players alike. Philadelphia looked like a great city to host it

I was impressed by a number of teams. The Browns helped their cause with Myles Garrett and Deshone Kizer leading the way. Seattle traded down to add a number of picks and helped their secondary. Arizona and Tampa Bay made several nice picks.

There were some surprises. The NFL could have sent a message by not drafting Joe Mixon after his off-field problem. The Bengals went for the Oklahoma running back.

It will take some time to evaluate the draft.

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April 24, 2017

The NFL draft is this week. The future of 32 NFL teams and a lot of young men will change overnight

Will Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett go first to the Browns. Will Cleveland surprise people and go with a quarterback.

There are a lot of talented players available. Will we see teams trade up or deal down in the first round?

It should be exciting to watch.

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April 22, 2017

I had a great time speaking at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes banquet in Branson Missouri. We stayed at a beautiful resort the Chateau Lake Resort an absolute first class hotel. The banquet was first class in every way. I can’t thank Brian Mitchell who is the executive director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in south central Missouri for his incredible hospitality. Brian has a terrific sense of passion and pride in teaching people how to develop values that are vital to making it in the greatest game of all, the Game Of Life.

I enjoyed being their keynote speaker and the crowd was a very delight to address. Gathered were many outstanding student athletes who are more then just athletic, but really have a firm foundation with terrific moral views and values.

It was a night my wife and I will always treasure, as it was filled with many golden memories.

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April 17, 2017

LeBron James, I mean King James, willed the Cavaliers past the Pacers by one point. Kawhi Leonard scored 32 points in San Antonio’s big win over Memphis. John Wall had a solid effort in a victory over Atlanta. The Greek Freak led the Bucks past the Raptors. Joe Johnson had the winning hoop as the Jazz stunned the Clippers. Draymond Green’s all-around game was vital for the Warriors.

This is the time of season where the stars come through.

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April 12, 2017

I was absolutely thrilled beyond belief to be honored by the Athletes for a Better World event. It was an incredible event. Famed journalist for the Boston Globe, Bob Ryan did a fantastic job and I can’t thank him enough for his kind words introducing me. It was really special to be the recipient of the John Wooden Citizen Cup Award.

The banquet honored outstanding student athletes. It was night filled with great memories as my wife and I shared our time with Lovie Smith and Vince Dooley. The night was filled with lots of emotion as many of these youngsters honor had to battle big time odds to get to the top of the class. A night I will always treasure!

It was a special night to have my name identified with Coach John Wooden. Previous winners of the award are a who’s who of sports, like Peter Manning, Calvin Ripken, Pat Summitt. To be on the list with those honorees, gives me goose bumps.

A special thanks to all the people to the Athletes for a Better World.

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Quote of the Week

"The amazing Roger Federer is absolutely the GOAT!! He now has a record eight Wimbledon men's singles titles."

  -Dick Vitale