Here's the latest edition of Rob's Rants in which NBC Sports Philadelphia's Rob Ellis does just that about the hottest topics in Philly sports.
Big blowhard brand
In news that ranks right behind the sun rising in the East and the Cleveland Browns stinking, LaVar Ball is once again popping off. The latest episode surrounding the carnival barker/helicopter dad comes from his comments to ESPN regarding his son Lonzo's coach, Luke Walton.
"You can see they're not playing for Luke no more," LaVar said. "Luke doesn't have control of the team no more. They don't want to play for him."
At this point, you would just chalk this up to a guy begging for attention and who doesn't care in the least that said attention does nothing but make life more difficult for his rookie son. The same father who in the last year has also pulled his 16-year-old out of high school because he didn't like the coach and removed his freshman son in college because his school had the audacity to suspend his son for allegedly shop-lifting in a foreign country.
But Ball's latest diarrhea of the mouth has brought about a very interesting reaction from some of Walton's fellow NBA coaches. Namely Rick Carlisle, Stan Van Gundy and Steve Kerr. Carlisle, also president of the National Basketball Coaches Association, and Van Gundy were highly critical of ESPN for writing the story and giving Ball the platform to say what he said. They went as far as threatening non-cooperation with the network when it comes to access, interviews, etc.
This is a slippery slope. Networks, including this one, pay big bucks for the rights to broadcast games. The players and coaches are paid handsomely, in part because of those deals. So there is a partnership. But that pact does not give the coaches or the owners or the leagues the right to tell networks what stories they can or cannot do. You may disagree with Ball, you may be sick of him and the whole circus that follows him, you may hate the TMZ-ization of sports, and I would agree with you. But the reality is, sports are covered differently in 2018 than they were 10 or 20 years ago. Gone are the days of highlight, postgame soundbite, next highlight. For better or worse, debate, controversy, salaciousness sells.
The leagues do not have the right to dictate content. And Ball has every right to his opinion, even if it is stale and not in the best interest of his kid.
Let me get this straight, the Flyers and the entire Metropolitan Division have a mandated bye this week? The orange and black last played Sunday and won't play again until Saturday. Keep in mind, the NHL all-star break is coming up later this month and they are off again for five days? The Flyers finally appear to be gaining some consistency, having won three in a row and four of their last five and they're being shut down for six days. Awesome.
The Sixers last played Friday and next play Thursday in London. Granted this is not your typical flight or travel game — the Sixers are considered the home team — but six days in between? Then they don't play again until Tuesday. Two games in the span of nine days in January?
Timing is everything
Monday night's national championship game between Alabama and Georgia lasted 3 hours and 50 minutes. It ended at 12:10 a.m. I know the argument about the West Coast and splitting your audience when it comes to start times, but Alabama's overtime win over Georgia was a classic and it's a shame that most kids and folks who have to get up early for work missed it.