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July 18th, 2016

It was an interesting weekend in the world of sports.

Phil Mickelson had a great showing at the British Open, but fell just short of winning. His final round of 65 was outstanding, but Henrik Stenson tied a major record with a final round of 63.

The US Davis Cup team looked like it was in great shape after a 2-0 start vs. Croatia. The Bryan Brothers, John Isner and Jack Sock failed to get the clinching win and the Americans were stunned.

Major League Baseball started its second half. The San Francisco Giants were swept by the Padres. There were plenty of exciting finishes and solid performances.

Dave Dombrowski made another deal, getting all-star pitcher Drew Pomeranz from San Diego. Dombrowski got the job done with the Marlins and Tigers, and he has made bold moves in Boston already.

It was also sad to note the passing of NBA star Nate Thurmond from leukemia at age 74. He was an outstanding rebounder and he will be missed.
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July 14th, 2016

Tim Duncan has decided to retire after 19 incredible years with the San Antonio Spurs.

When he went to Wake Forest, he was not a McDonald's All-American. Coach Dave Odom saw potential in the player later known as The Big Fundamental. Duncan was a swimmer from the Virgin Islands at the time, and he took coaching to heart.

Duncan responded to teaching and worked so hard to improve his game. The staff at Wake Forest did a great job with him. It did not happen overnight.

He was a warrior on both ends of the court. In my estimation, he became the best power forward in the history of the game. He was super, scintillating and sensational.

I love stories of athletes that came out of nowhere. He wasn't told at age 14 or 15 that he was the greatest player. He went into the gym and busted his gut, worked out, developed his body and his skills.

Think about his career in San Antonio. Besides all of the personal accolades, he won five NBA titles and did it within the team concept. Gregg Popovich got the most out of him in a positive way, both offensively and defensively.

It is great to see a guy with his class and stature go out with greatness.
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June 24th, 2016

The NBA draft is in the books and as usual, it is all about potential, potential, potential. It takes time to evaluate winners and losers, and you also see guys taken in the second round making a difference like a Draymond Green.

No surprise to see Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram going 1-2, but the Celtics surprised some by taking California's Jaylen Brown third. He is versatile and could be a plus at small forward for Boston. I liked Demetrius Jackson of Notre Dame and Ben Bentil of Providence too, so the Celtics had a decent night.

How many guys will make an immediate impact in the league? Not too many. The bottom line is many players picked will make rosters next season and will have bright futures down the line. It will take some time to have the opportunity to shine.

Some of my thoughts on the draft:

I loved New Orleans getting Buddy Hield. Teaming up with Anthony Davis will be exciting. Hield can shoot outside and having an inside-outside presence like Davis should be special for the Pelicans. New Orleans also added Cheick Diallo, who fell from the first round. He has potential, but he is a project for now.

The Bulls got a versatile PTP'ers in Denzel Valentine. This could be a case of another Spartan, a la Draymond Green, that is better than experts believe.

Minnesota made a super pick at number five, landing Kris Dunn of Providence. New coach Tom Thibodeau will love his defensive tenacity

I was surprised that Baylor's Taurean Waller-Prince was picked as high as number 12. I had him rated a bit lower.

Several freshmen fell out of the first round. I felt for Deyonta Davis of Michigan State, though going to Memphis early in round two could work out. Skal Labissiere and Dejonte Murray slipped to late in the first round.

Time will tell how teams fared.
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June 20th, 2016

What a great game 7 in the NBA Finals. Congrats to the Cleveland Cavaliers, coming back from 3-1 down to win the title. Two of those three wins came at Oracle, the toughest place to win on the road during the regular season.

LeBron James will be in the argument as to who is the best player ever to play in the NBA when his career is over. He now has three rings, and he brought one home to Cleveland. He is in a different world on the court.

I am happy for the fans of Cleveland as they finally got to celebrate. Give Golden State a lot of credit for a great season. Draymond Green had a great game seven, but it was not enough.
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June 12th, 2016

I had a great weekend as part of my 77th birthday celebration.

I went to Cleveland for game 4 of the NBA finals. Thanks to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert for the invitation. It was a super game as the Warriors dominated the final quarter to win. I had a great time with the ESPN on ABC broadcast crew, Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson and Doris Burke were great to me.

The I went to the Cubs-Braves game on Saturday as guest of manager Joe Maddon. It was great spending time with him.

Thanks to my friends Mike Valdes and the gang who made this so special too.
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June 6th, 2016

Muhammad Ali, The CHAMP, was simply the BEST of all the REST! May he RIP.

I was in total AWE when I met him. I got to speak to him at the ESPYs one year and he appreciated it when I mentioned his lines prior to the Sonny Liston fights. I also saw him one year at the Kentucky Derby. I was with Ali and DeWayne Lukas, but sadly, the champ was a shell of his old self.

He meant so much to so many people. He fought against injustice. He was a lot more than a special athlete. He was a world-wide figure. Ali was revered, and that is why his passing was so sad.
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May 31st, 2016

It is going to an unbelievable series between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors for the NBA Championship. Last year when the Cavs played the Warriors they played without Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving but now they have a healthy cast and those guys will really help Lebron James, and bring unbelievable honors to the city. Cleveland has not had a championship in over 5 decades. My gut tells me they are going to find somehow, some way, to stop the outstanding Warriors lead by scoring machine Stephen Curry. Yes, I firmly feel the Cavaliers will win this series in 7 tough games.
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May 18th, 2016

The Philadelphia 76ers did not win many games during the 2015-16 season, but they did win the draft lottery.

Form held true and the Sixers got the top pick, followed by the Lakers and Celtics. It will be interesting to see if LSU's Ben Simmons goes number one, or if Duke's Brandon Ingram earns that honor. I am sure the Lakers would be happy to have either one.

It will get very interesting with Boston's pick at number three. The draft has good talent coming into the league, so it should be fun to watch the next wave of impact players.
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May 16th, 2016

Friday night in Sarasota, Florida was very special. The Ritz-Carlton was the sports capital of the world. The 11th annual Dickie V gala raised over $2.5 million for pediatric cancer research.

Our honorees, Robin Roberts of Good Morning America, Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer and former Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan all have passionate speeches about how cancer has affected their lives. Roberts is a cancer survivor who publicly detailed her fight against the dreaded disease.

Everywhere you turned, there were stars from the world of sports, of television, or media. I cannot thank everyone enough.

Jim Harbaugh, Nik Wallenda, Jon Gruden, Nick Bollettieri, Brian Roberts. College basketball was well represented with numerous coaches, including Kentucky's John Calipari, Mike Brey of Notre Dame, Steve Alford of UCLA, Sean Miller of Arizona, Frank Martin of South Carolina, West Virginia's Bob Huggins, Bruce Pearl of Auburn, Leonard Hamilton of Florida State, Orlando Antigua of South Florida, and Dave Pilipovich of Air Force.

It was an evening filled with passion and emotion. We gave two $200,000 grants for cancer research in honor of the late Julia Mount, a multi-talented youngster who recently lost her battle with cancer, and Chad Carr. Former Michigan football coach lloyd Carr spoke on behalf of the family.

For those who wonder if cancer research can make a difference, we presented our All-Courageous team, 10 children who have survived and resumed more normal activities. These youngsters are so special and have been through so much.

Cancer has affected so many. It affects the kids and the families. That is why I am so passionate in this fight. I have seen so many people hurt in this battle. I have also seen the positives. We must continue to raise money for research to discover more breakthroughs.

My friends, it was total teamwork raising those kind of dollars. I cannot thank the sponsors enough. I cannot thank Mary Kenealy, Janet Allen and their team that helps run the event. Then there are the celebrities, who pay their own way to the Ritz-Carlton for a special evening.

Jimmy V said, "don't give up, don't ever give up." I will fight until my last breath to help these children. You can help in the fight against cancer too. Call 1-800-4-JIMMYV. Donate and help us win this war.


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April 29th, 2016

I want to say a thank you to all the contributors and volunteers who made the 2nd Annual Dick Vitale Telethon a major success. We raised over $131,000 for pediatric cancer that will go towards the V Foundation for cancer research.

Huge thanks to Phil Lombardo and Ray Cole of SNN TV enough for making this event happen. They did a fantastic job! Also a big thanks to the SNN staff for their contributions.

It was a super event that was really well planned and well done!

I can`t thank Mary Kenealy of Mary Kenealy events and her team enough. They did a fabulous job of making sure this event went off without a hitch and that something positive was happening each hour.

Thank you to every single contributor, whether $10 or $10K. Thank you to Buster Posey, former All American of Florida State, and now a super star of the San Francisco Giants, who called from New York and made a major contribution!

Thank you to all, as it was another move in a positive direction to helping children battling cancer.


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April 29th, 2016

The first round of the NFL draft had its share of interesting moments.

QBs went 1-2 as Jared Goff of California went to the Rams while Carson Wentz landed with the Eagles. Joey Bosa went third to the Chargers, who needed a pass rusher. Ezekiel Elliott went to Dallas fourth.

Leremy Tunsil, the OL from Mississippi who was supposed to be a top10 pick, fell to 13th to the Dolphins. Ohio State had five players go in round one. Alabama saw a number of highly-regarded prospects slip through the first round, with Ryan Kelly going 18th.

It will take time to evaluate how teams did in the first round. It is still fun to speculate right now.
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April 26th, 2016

The Cleveland Cavaliers had to work hard to eliminate the Detroit Pistons. It was a sweep, but three of the four games were competitive.

LeBron James had some help in the series. Kyrie Irving showed flashes of brilliance. Kevin Love had positive moments, especially in game one.

The Cavs are the favorites in the East. I don't see anyone in the conference beating them. The Pistons were tough, and Stan Van Gundy's team will learn from this series.
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April 8th, 2016

I was absolutely thrilled as I was honored by the New Jersey Hall of Fame and inducted on April 7th at the Paramount Theater located at Convention Hall in Asbury Park. It was an incredible event hosted by Joe Piscopo of Saturday Night Live. He did a fantastic job with a first class program.

I was introduced by my friend John Saunders from ESPN and it was a night I will always treasure. It was filled with tons of memories as my family and friends gathered for this special vacation.

Thank you to the New Jersey Hall of Fame for allowing me to be a part of such a great class including Derek Jeter of the NY Yankees, Christie Rampone, Captain of the USA Soccer Team,John Stewart of Comedy Central, Cool and the Gang, and a host of other outstanding people.

It was an honor to be inducted into a great group of outstanding people!


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April 3rd, 2016

We had two blowouts in the national semifinals here in Houston Saturday.

The first game was stunning as Villanova blew out Oklahoma by 44, 95-51. Who would have believed that, especially since the Sooners had a huge victory over the Wildcats back on December 7 in Hawaii. Saturday's game was the opposite as Villanova used a variety of players to stop Buddy Hield, who had just nine points. Josh Hart was brilliant for the "cats wit 23 big points. Oklahoma made a second-half surge and cut the margin to 46-37 when Hart made a big basket and drew a foul. That game the Wildcats the momentum again and it was off to the races.

North Carolina took care of business, beating Syracuse in the other semifinal. Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meekks were too much inside for the Orange,. Carolina also dominated on the glass and Syracuse struggled on the foul line.

We should have a great game in the finals Monday night.
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April 2nd, 2016

I have had a great time here at the Final Four in Houston.

Last night, I enjoyed two speaking engagements, representing UPS and Allstate. The latter one also included Texas coach Shaka Smart and we talked about today's two national semifinals. He had a great point in discussing Buddy Hield. He described him as a volcano, capable of erupting at any time.

I love representing two outstanding companies, UPS and Allstate. The March Mayhem bracket challenge comes down to today. If Oklahoma beats Villanova, Buzz Aldrin and I will be tied.

 

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March 28th, 2016

The Final Four is set and Houston has four squads with great experience. Each has a solid coach who has been to the Final Four before.

Jay Wright vs. Lon Kruger and Jim Boeheim vs. Roy Williams. There is so much talent on the court. Buddy Hield. Brice Johnson. Ryan Arcidiacono, Malachi Richardson.

I cannot wait to get to Houston. I will be calling a semifinal and the championship game for ESPN International with Sean McDonough.

My pick to cut down the nets: North Carolina over Oklahoma.
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March 15th, 2016

I had a great time on Tuesday in Houston, the city that will host the Final Four in a few weeks.

I went up against an American legend, Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, in the Allstate March Mayhem Challenge. In past years, they put me up against dolphins, a longhorn and even a groundhog.

My friends, this year's competition will be tough. Buzz Aldrin is a smart man, and he made some great picks. Everybody loves the brackets, baby! You can follow and see who wins by following #MarchMayhem on twitter.com
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March 14th, 2016

March Madness is here. I know schools like Monmouth and St. Mary's were disappointed. Congrats to the 68 teams in the dance.

I had a great time in Nashville calling the SEC title game. Kentucky and Big Blue Nation celebrated a win over a game Texas A&M team.

The stars were shining as Tyler Ulis and Danuel House put on a show.

It was a great regular season, but the best is yet to come.

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March 7th, 2016

Peyton Manning went out as a winner on Monday, announcing his retirement.

He has been plagued by injuries in recent years. He missed a lot of action this season, but came back to help the Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl.

Manning has always been a workaholic who studies and prepares hard. He has been a hero to many, both on and off the field, doing a lot of charity work to help others, while serving as a great teammate.

Next stop for him is Canton, baby!
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March 4th 2016

I love this time of year. March Madness is under way. So is Spring Training.

I am lucky to live in Florida. The Orioles are down the road, as are the Pirates. The Rays are in Port Charlotte. It is great to see young players battling for playing time, future stars getting their first taste of the majors.

I am a huge baseball fan. I have season tickets to the Rays. Soon they will be saying Play Ball for real, baby!
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Quote of the Week

“Rick Barnes and Tennessee got a statement win over Gonzaga."

 -Dick Vitale