Free Agency Madness Has Begun
NBA free agency got a little crazy last night when Chris Sheridan reported that LeBron James would sign with the Cavaliers. A short time later, it was rumored that Kevin Love would join James in Cleveland. But as of this writing (6:23 a.m. ET), nothing has happened. One Miami resident spotted moving trucks in front of James's house and figured that it meant that something was afoot, but it turns out that James moves his cars every summer. Mike Miller, a close friend of James, added to the controversy by posting this photo of himself with a LeBron jersey in the background, but he was probably just messing with overanxious reporters. In other news, Chandler Parsons signed a huge offer sheet with the Mavericks, and did so while partying at a club, while Carmelo Anthony has strip clubs in Chicago and New York offering all kinds of goodies if he signs with either the Bulls or the Knicks.
The Real World Cup Winner
Belgium may have lost in the quarterfinals to Argentina, but a L'Oreal scout helped cheer up 17-year old Axelle Despiegelaere by offering her a modeling contract. Meanwhile, it wouldn't surprise me to hear that this English fan had not been contacted.
Jay Cutler's Salary vs. A Raiderette's Salary
The Raiders and their cheerleaders have reached an agreement wherein the team will pay the ladies minimum wage for their work. Between rehearsals, charity events and games, the Raiderettes will now earn $3,000 over the course of the season. We compared this to the salary of other team employees in the NFL and discovered that a practice squad player makes $3,000 in 3½ days, a mascot earns that much in three weeks and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, thanks to his new contract extension, makes $3,000 in 10 seconds.
Lovely Lady of the Day
I first fell in love with Hailey Clauson when she visited the SI offices in April for a 2015 SI Swimsuit casting call. When I saw she had a new photo shoot out for Beach Bunny Swimwear, I decided enough time had passed to make her today's LLOD.
Scenes From Star Wars Night
The Cardinals became the latest MLB team to host a Star Wars Night and it did not disappoint. Chewbacca threw out the first pitch, Queen Amidala looked as hot as ever and Darth Vader watched from the stands. While we're on the subject of theme nights, we're planning one here at SI and if all goes according to plan, it will be tremendous. More info to come.
Is Tom Brady the NFL's 3rd-Best or 90th-Best Player?
NFL.com released its annual list of the league's top 100 players. Pro Football Focus came out with a list of its own, which focuses on "how efficiently a player made plays in the time he was on the field." The two rankings couldn't be more different. While PFF has Eagles guard Evan Mathis at No. 7, NFL.com has him at No. 88. There's a similar disparity in the evaluation of Bengals receiver A.J. Green (No. 9 on NFL.com, No. 97 on PFF). But the most eye-opening difference between the two lists is in their rankings of Tom Brady, who is the third-best player in the league, according to NFL.com, while PFF has him at No. 90. Have the folks at PFF not seen Gisele dance!
From the SI Vault
Andre Dawson turns 60 today. SI first wrote about Dawson in a 1977 story about the Expos' three young, inexpensive outfielders (the other two were Ellis Valentine and Warren Cromartie). Here's what SI said about Dawson way back then:
"Dawson is Valentine's silent partner. 'Andre has to become more aggressive and take charge on the field.' says [manager Dick] Williams, who was so turned off in spring training by Dawson's reserved nature that he did not move him into the regular lineup until May 29. 'It took me a while to feel comfortable,' Dawson says. Still, he never uses two words when one will do, and rarely uses even one.
Born and raised in Miami, Dawson was the 250th player selected in the 1975 draft and signed with the Expos for $2,000. In 186 minor league games he hit .343, and had 41 home runs and 130 RBIs. In typical fashion, the Expos promptly rushed him to Montreal. What better way to placate their disgruntled fans than to give them a centerfielder named Andre—even if he were no more of a Frenchman than Ken Dryden.
Since becoming a regular, Dawson has batted .316 and picked up a new nickname, 'Awesome' Dawson. St. Louis Manager Vern Rapp, who managed Dawson last year at Denver, says. 'Dawson is the kind of complete player who comes along once in a lifetime.'
Odds and Ends
The Washington Post examined each World Cup play that drew a card to see if there was flopping or not ... The Rams are asking their fans whether or not beer should be served at training camp ... Reggie Bush is marrying a Kim Kardashian look-alike at the same San Diego spot where LeBron James tied the knot ... Manny Ramirez nearly was called into action as a Triple A manager last night after a rash of ejections ... Carmelo Anthony had great hair in high school ... Spain's Gerard Pique got over his team's World Cup exit by entering the World Series of Poker ... There is an episode of Seinfeld that was written and cast, but which was never filmed ... You can now buy a toaster specially made for tacos ... I like TIME's cover this week on Cyberwar ... You should never touch a button in a hospital elevator ... A Lego artist created representative scenes for all 50 states.
Funniest Baseball Comedy Sketches
Extra Mustard compiled its favorite baseball comedy sketches, which allows me to link to this masterpiece by Conan O'Brien.