The Climate

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Aaron Brooks

Five things we now know about Houston's No. 0:

1. Brooks went for 34 points Sunday, exploiting the Lakers' biggest weakness -- perimeter defense.

2. With Yao Ming hurt, the Rockets now have a badly needed new scoring option in Brooks, who looks to have transformed the Rockets into a different team (slash and kick) with (maybe) three games left in the second-round series.

3. There are certain times where he'll just say, "Screw it, I'm wearing a postgame bow tie."

4. His performance Sunday may have been the best by anyone named Aaron Brooks in professional sports (of roughly 372).

5. His first step is quicker than mine. And yours. And perhaps anyone else's in the NBA.

Dinara Safina

The world's No. 1 women's tennis player is finally starting to become a household name, even among non-tennis fans. First, she has a Russian last name that's downright pronounceable, then she calls out her has-been older brother (Marat Safin) to either step up or shut it down, and finally, with the French Open around the corner, she's content to win tournaments and let Serena Williams embarrass herself -- both in front of microphones and on the European clay. Three for three.

NBA Playoff Mohawks

With Glen Davis, Von Wafer, Samuel Dalembert and Ron Artest, this, if nothing else, is the year of the playoff Mohawk. Other hairstyles that were up for the official playoff hairstyle include: "The Flowing European" sported by Sasha Vujacic and Luis Scola, and the "Poofy Ginger Mini-Fro" sported by Brian Scalabrine and, between you and me, LeBron James if the Cavs make the finals. Shh.

The New York Mets

Behind an offense that looks to be coming together and a pitching staff that, well, includes Johan Santana, the Mets have piled up seven straight wins on their way to first place in the NL East. Fans worried that too much attention would jinx the team's streak should rest easy, though -- not even Howard Stern Show producer Gary Dell'Abate could derail the Mets' run with his fantastic challenge to the Cincinnati mayor's opening-pitch throne.

Norm Macdonald + Bob Uecker

If you can't laugh watching Macdonald on DavidLetterman's show telling stories about hanging out with Uecker, the Brewers' longtime play-by-play announcer, you're far closer to being an automated cyborg than you are to anything resembling flesh and bones. Also, if you can find it, his appearance on the previously mentioned Stern show last Thursday is just as golden, with some Harry Caray and more Uecker stories thrown in for good measure. The radio stories may or may not be family-appropriate.


Former Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller is suing EA Sports and the NCAA because of college football players' likenesses being used in the hugely popular NCAA Football video game, resulting in what looks like a strong case. As easy as it may be for me to blame a failed ASU QB statue for being a veritable turd in the punch bowl, the blame clearly rests at the feet of the NCAA, with one hand clenching a sack of cash (marked with the obligatory "$$$") and the other writing a press release that amounts to, "Who, us? Whaaa?"

Andre Ethier

Right when non-Dodger fans were about to learn the name of the guy leading baseball's best team in home runs and RBIs, Manny Ramirez goes and gets himself suspended for getting mixed up with the wrong women's fertility crowd. Ethier, who has enjoyed the fruits of having Ramirez hit in front of him all year, now starts an East Coast road trip in a noticeably weaker lineup. According to sources, Ethier understandably feels betrayed and is now thinking long and hard about asking for Manny's friendship bracelet back. Don't ever let anyone tell you being a big leaguer is easy.

John Wall

Of all the things you could do to take advantage of your status as the No. 1 high school basketball player in the country, breaking and entering would have to be somewhere around ... hmm, well maybe ninth or so.

Anyway, shortly after Wall was briefly detained for a B&E in Raleigh, N.C., basketball power broker Sonny Vaccaro went on a radio show and implied there would be a major announcement regarding Wall's future this week, with many speculating that Wall could be making a move to a European club next season. This plan actually makes sense, provided the highly touted guard can somehow sign with a French team, which puts him in the perfect position to break and enter once again -- this time into the Louvre museum, where he can finally solve the Da Vinci code, once and for all.

NBA Officiating

Really, this item should have its own coffee mug for how long it should spend in this part of the column, but this week just felt especially right. Or, I suppose, Wright. I have no idea what more Antoine Wright could've done to sell the fact that he was fouling Carmelo Anthony at the end of Saturday's Mavericks-Nuggets game. Bring out the ol' Mario/Donkey Kong mallet? Try a horse collar? By the time the playoffs are over next month, Ed Hochuli won't seem nearly as bad, will he?

The Arizona Diamondbacks

While the entertainment value should be quite high, the hiring of A.J. Hinch, 34, to replace Bob Melvin as manager all but assures at least four tense run-ins in the coming months (or even weeks) with some veterans. They'll undoubtedly take shots at Hinch that will (hopefully) be along the lines of "Listen kid, I was (insert baseball verb) before you were even in diapers!" And then after the clubhouse differences are sorted out through a series of wacky situations, everyone will learn a little lesson about teamwork. Sorry about that, I just watched about 19 minutes of Rookie of the Year and I'm hoping for the best.

Dan Rubenstein hosts and produces the SI Tour Guy video series for and co-hosts The Solid Verbal college football podcast with's Ty Hildenbrandt. He can reached at or on Twitter.