'Sopranos' All-Time Best Sports Scenes: TRAINA THOUGHTS

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1. On June 10, 2007, Tony Soprano, his wife, Carmela; and son, A.J. sat in a New Jersey diner listening to the Journey classic "Don't Stop Believin'" and eating onion rings, while his daughter, Meadow, was delayed in joining them because she didn't know how to parallel park. Once she finally got in the restaurant, the music stopped, cameras faded to black and everyone watching thought they lost power or their cable went out.

Since that day 13 years ago, The Sopranos series finale, and Tony's fate, remains a hot-button topic.

During quarantine, I did another rewatch of the entire series, and after thinking Tony was killed in that scene, I now believe he was not killed. 

Also, during that rewatch, I kept noticing what a big role sports played in The Sopranos. There were appearances by Lawrence Taylor, Tony Siragusa and Eric Mangini. All the kids played sports. Poker, horse racing and sports betting were central themes.

So in honor of the anniversary of the show's final episode, here are the top five sports-related scenes (with bonuses) in Sopranos history.

• 5) Tony perfectly showed you how a degenerate gambler thinks when he was furious he won only $10,000 on a Jets game because he knew it was a lock, but Carmela wouldn't let him bet more money. Tony even called the $10K win a "loss" while raging at Carm.

• 4) The "Executive Game" was a highlight of the series for many reasons. Silvio's cheese rant during the poker game is an all-time scene. You had Frank Sinatra Jr. at the table. And money was referred to as "boxes of ziti." And, of course, we had a classic Richie-Tony showdown after Richie "disrespected" the game.

• 3) The only disappointing thing about Silvio threatening a girl's high school soccer ref was that things didn't get physical. But Sil's tribute to Billy Martin was a nice touch.

• 2) In one of the most memorable scenes of Season 1, Tony badgers Uncle Junior on the golf course about performing a certain sex act.

• 1) If you watched The Sopranos, I don't have to say anything other than this: "He never had the makings of a varsity athlete."

Bonus scene: I can't embed this scene because it takes place at the Bada Bing and body parts are shown, but Tony and the gang losing their bet on Buffalo in wild fashion would probably rank No. 2 on this list.

If you want more Sopranos and sports, I recently had Steve Schirripa on the SI Media Podcast, and he talked about how he cheated when the show filmed scenes of him playing basketball and dunking.

2. A brand new Sports Illustrated Media Podcast came out this morning, and my guest is Nate Burleson from Good Morning Football and CBS Sports.

Burleson talked about the events in the United States since the killing of George Floyd, how he feels about cops, how his grandfather being killed by a cop shaped him as a kid, what he tells his kids about dealing with the police, the Drew Brees controversy, Vic Fangio saying racism isn't a problem in the NFL, whether he was ever uncomfortable in an NFL locker room and much more.

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play.

3. LeBron James continues to speak out about important issues, and he should be praised every time he does it. He's the biggest athlete on the planet and he can easily be quiet, but he chooses to put himself out there. 

4. Michael Jordan caught a 442-pound fish Tuesday.

5. I don't even know what to say about this bonkers Jameis Winston quote.

6. RANDOM YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE DAY: Found this Between Two Ferns bloopers video while in a YouTube wormhole Tuesday night, and it cracked me up.

7. SPORTS HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY: This 2013 Padres-Dodgers brawl was made even better by Vin Scully calling it.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.