By Sam Page
January 27, 2016

Hands down our favorite NBA rookie...

​The Spurs' 7' 3", 290-pound Serbian rookie center, Boban Marjanovic has big hands. Like, really huge hands that make everything else look small. Just look at him palming a gallon of ice tea like it's a soda can:

He's put those mitts to good use, too, putting up big numbers with Tim Duncan battling injury. Last week he had 17 points and 13 boards in the Spurs' win over the Phoenix Suns.

...O.K., we like Kristaps a lot too

Happy Birthday to the Great One!

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky turns 55 years old today. If you're not familiar with his career, take a look at his statistics, which seem more impressive now than ever. Jaromir Jagr, still going strong at 43, is one of the greatest players ever. But even he is still over 1,000 points behind Gretzky's alltime record of 2,857.

Alexander Ovechkin recently scored his 500th goal at age 30, making him one of only 43 players to ever reach the plateau. The Great One, however, already had 718 goals through his age-30 season, more than all but four other players (including Jagr) have for their careers! I could go on, but you get the idea — there will never be anyone quite like 99.

Messi's new dog

 

Nuevo integrante de mi familia !!. Gracias amor por este regalo hermosooo @antoroccuzzo88

A photo posted by Leo Messi (@leomessi) on

Congrats to Sydney Leroux and Dom Dwyer!

U.S. soccer star Sydney Leroux and husband Dom Dwyer announced that they are expecting a child on social media this week. You probably remember Leroux from the U.S. national team's thrilling 2015 World Cup win. Her husband, Dwyer, is also a soccer player and they both play professionally in Kansas City. Boy or girl, I expect this baby to be quite the player!

Nick Saban dances

The Alabama coach will go to any length to get a recruit, including, apparently, dancing, like he did at the home of Texas' Jared Mayden.

Today's Peanuts

Ottawa Senators' Erik Karlsson (65) scores as he slides into the net with Buffalo Sabres' Ryan O'Reilly (90) and David Legwand (17) in tow as Ottawa Senators' Shane Prince (10) celebrates the goal during first period NHL hockey action in Ottawa, Ontario,
AP Photo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Overshadowed for the most part in Colorado, Sabres forward Ryan O'Reilly is delivering on his intention to be a franchise-caliber player in his first season in Buffalo.

O'Reilly is credited for being a team leader both on and off the ice, with defenseman Zach Bogosian referring to him as ''a big driving force in the locker room.''

O'Reilly's earned respect for his work ethic by holding half-hour post-practice sessions with teammates. He's leading the team with 17 goals and 40 points.

And a week shy of his 25th birthday, O'Reilly is preparing to travel to Nashville to make his first NHL All-Star game appearance this weekend. This is the type of production and leadership the Sabres were counting on in June when acquiring O'Reilly in a multiplayer trade with Colorado.

Cam Newton is retired from football. He lives outside Atlanta and is a personal trainer at the gym he bought not long after he was cut by the Panthers

Obviously this isn’t Cameron Jerrell Newton we’re talking about, the presumptive NFL MVP and the quarterback leading Carolina into the Super Bowl. But Cameron Lamark Newton is the NFL’s original Cam Newton. 

He’s from Bennettsville, S.C., about two hours from the Panthers’ home stadium. After starting at free safety for three seasons at Furman University, he signed as an undrafted free agent with the Falcons in 2005 and played in nine games over two seasons. He signed with the Panthers prior to the 2007 season but was released during training camp. Newton went back to the Atlanta area for the 2008 season, signing with the Arena Football League’s Georgia Force. He hung up his cleats after one AFL season and opened his gym, Core Fit 360

SI.com caught up with Cam the safety to talk about what it’s like to share a name with an NFL star.


Dan Gartland: So when did you first know about Cam Newton the quarterback?

Cam Newton: I think I was playing for the Falcons. Some type of notoriety came to his name for some reason. So I was like, ‘Wow, this is a guy with my same name that has a pretty good chance to make it.’

DG: I read that even some people who knew you in school will confuse you guys?

CN: I get it a lot. Just today I called the car dealership trying to set up a brake job. Someone was like, ‘Oh my goodness, Cam Newton!' It is absolutely hilarious.

DG: Does it still happen with people you knew when you were younger?

CN: Yep. People who knew me through school and knew I was doing well in sports, they hit me up on Facebook and say, ‘Good game,’ or ‘Keep your head up.’ 

DG: Cam is really known for his celebrations. Did you have any celebrations you did after a big tackle?

CN: I never really got into that. I would just do something with my teammates. I had quite my fair share of big hits in my time. I stole one from Lawyer Milloy. You throw your hand up and then pump your arm down like you're ringing a bell. I would do that sometimes, but other than that it was about business with me.

DG: You're from the Carolinas and I read you ran a football camp up there with your name on it. Do you still do that and does it still have your name?

CN: Yep. We're still Cam Newton's football camp but we call it the Fundamental Preparation Football Camp. I have some former players or we might snag a current player every now and then.

It’s mostly to empower young kids from my community who are, I wouldn’t say less fortunate, but where I’m from a lot of kids don’t get to see what the world has to offer. There’s a lot of things that can pull them away from being focused. So it’s a free football camp that we host. We do get a few local sponsors and we give that money to the recreation department to do whatever with—uniforms and equipment.

We always end with a message. The players give their message, their story. You should see it, it’s 150 to 200 kids sitting at attention. It’s a thing of beauty.

DG: Do you have a team you root for now? I know you played in Atlanta and live there now.

CN: I root for Atlanta and I also root for the Panthers.

DG: I was going to ask who you're rooting for in the Super Bowl but I guess that goes without saying.

CN: Yeah, I’m rooting for Carolina to win but it's kind of mixed emotions because I know this could potentially be Peyton Manning's last year. So I wouldn't be disappointed if the Broncos won. I'd actually be happy for him. But as far as the team goes and my home state, I’m rooting for Carolina.

Just for the record, I get it a lot, people asking questions about do I think [Cam is] cocky and all this other stuff. I love what he’s doing. He had a lot of naysayers rooting against him, whether he could control the locker room, be a leader. What I'm seeing is that he's doing what a lot of teams failed to do, and that's to create a lot of camaraderie within an NFL team. A lot of teams when I played, it was just divided—segmented out, especially the expendable players from the top-notch players. But you see him in photos with his teammates and bringing that team together. It really seems like the collegiate feel, the college atmosphere. I think he's probably one of the first ones to do that.

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