Make no mistake, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m used to being in weird environments. Last year, I helped set the Guinness Record for participating in the largest gathering of zombies. But from a sports perspective, sitting at the Hoophall Classic last week, I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t help but think the whole thing was pretty perverse.
The texts and e-mails started rolling in on Wednesday, asking me how I was doing in the wake of Kyrie IrvingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s toe injury. They came from people who know how IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve followed KyrieÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s early career over the last year or so.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m obviously concerned, more for him than about anything else. As incredible a player as Kyrie has looked, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still a freshman. And I know what itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s like to be a New Jersey kid at Duke, where a 500-mile difference can seem like 500,000 miles when youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re alone.
Despite Mike Krzyzewski saying he could be out for the season, I have to hold on to hope that this year is going to have a happy ending for Kyrie. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s got a tremendous medical staff on his side, and the healing powers of youth.
But a part of me misses a simpler time, watching Kyrie do his thing at high school games at Kean University. And thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a part of him that deep down probably agrees with me.
Some thoughts after watching Team USAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s exhibitions against Greece, Spain and France. Apparently, Cablevision doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have ESPN Classic Ã¢â‚¬â€œ thanks, Jimmy Dolan Ã¢â‚¬â€œ so IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have to watch a replay of their first official game against Croatia later tonight. (Though I did watch Russia-Puerto Rico and FranceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s upset of Spain)
I feel like Kevin Durant is in the spot that LeBron James was in a few years back, when we didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know how high his ceiling was. Remember that? We couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t miss a game because we felt he was bound to do something weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d never seen before.
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s where weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re at with Durant.
I went to the Garden a week ago to watch Team USA play France. And as I watched Mike Krzyzewski sit on the bench, studying his players and working the refs, it brought me back to an October night back in 2000, when I sat in the home office in Mike KrzyzewskiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s basement.
Krzyewski is about as close to a living legend as there is in his profession. But he has dreams and aspirations, just like the rest of us. And it was a remarkable opportunity to get a rare window into what Coach K himself would define as success.
Nine years and five days ago, I stood as a senior in front of the Chapel at Duke University and had a conversation with God, as I often did. Usually, we would talk about the health of my friends and family, or what my future would hold. But on this day, I was there to strike a deal.
The terms were that if He could somehow pitch in to help Duke win the National Title game against Arizona that night, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d never need one of my teams to win again for the rest of my life.
I know, really short-sighted of me. What can I say? I was 21.
I owe Mike Krzyzewski an apology, as I had months ago written DukeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s methods off as archaic, and not viable for building a championship contender.
It turns out that Coach K was playing chess while everyone else was playing checkers.
My friends over at Trumbull Island are putting together a pretty extensive and highly entertaining collection of Top Ten lists for the decade, and for the year. As I helped them save Christmas this year, they asked me if I had any contributions, and then suggested Ã¢â‚¬Å“Top random people I met in the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ00Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s.Ã¢â‚¬Â In truth, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sort of like Forrest Gump: I run a lot, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m decent at ping-pong and I often find myself meeting a lot of random Ã¢â‚¬Å“famousÃ¢â‚¬Â people.
I think this is supposed to be a Top 10 list, but it looks like thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not a hard and fast rule for Trumbull, as someone had a Top 71 list. So, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m offering a Top 16 list. This is in no particular order. Most of them are athletes, but not all of them. Also, I have pictures with most of these people, but I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like anyone to know what I look like, so you wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see any here.