Two years ago today Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi, and seven others passed away in a helicopter crash near LA.
In the four years since he’d retired from the NBA, Kobe had founded a production company, won an Emmy and an Academy Award, wrote a children’s book series, started angel investing more frequently, and coached his daughter’s basketball team.
He was gonna be as prolific off the court as on it.
Trivia: Who was the last Big 12 team to win the College Football National Title?
B. Texas A&M
D. Oklahoma State
*Answer at the bottom
WATER COOLER TALK
🏈 Sean Payton stepped down as the New Orleans Saints head coach after 16 years, a 161-97 record, and the franchise’s only Super Bowl.
We’re not sure if he’s leaving because of the Saints’ quarterback or salary cap situations – they're $74 million over the cap for 2022, the most in the NFL.
🥊 Jake Paul announced an investment in the UFC's parent company, Endeavor, after a very public feud with UFC president Dana White.
.Jake says the investment is focused on providing long-term health care for fighters and raising fighter pay.
🏀 In an effort to spice up the All-Star week's Rising Stars game, the NBA is allowing four G-League Ignite players (the NBA's alternative to college hoops) to play in the event.
The new format includes a six-game mini tournament featuring four, seven player teams.
12 NBA rookies, 12 NBA sophomores, and now four NBA G-League Ignite players will participate.
David “Big Papi” Oritz makes up the entire 2022 Baseball Hall of Fame class after being the sole player to meet the 75% threshold voted by baseball writers to make it to Cooperstown, doing it on his first try and becoming a first-ballot HoFer in the process.
A 3x World Series champ, including 2004 when he helped his Red Sox come back from 0-3 down to beat the Yankees and make the World Series, Big Papi put up ridiculous numbers:
541 home runs
The controversy? Legends from baseball's steroid era – Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Curt Schilling were all in their 10th and final year of eligibility but none made it in.
Bonds 66% – the all-time home runs leader won't be in the Hall of Fame due to his use of Performance Enhancing Drugs
Clemens 65% – a 7x Cy Young (best pitcher in baseball) was also left out due to his PED use
The bottom line: Ortiz, who tested positive for steroids once in 2003 but was clean for the vast majority of his career and denies the validity of that test, becomes the first player to have tested positive to make it into the Hall of Fame.
AROUND THE LEAGUES
Kieth Yandle broke the NHL’s Ironman streak, given to the player with the most consecutive games played. He’s got 965 straight appearances, dating back to March 26, 2009, when I was in middle school.
In 2019 his streak was almost broken when he lost nine teeth (*not for the squeamish*) midgame. He not only geared up the next day, Yandle came back in the third period of that very same game after some quick dental work.
If you thought Sean Payton’s exit was surprising, imagine a 2022 without Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. Both veteran signal-callers and 2021 MVP frontrunners are considering retirement after early playoff exits.
On the Pat McAfee show in front of 72,000 live listeners, Rodgers said his decision “won’t be a drawn-out process,” meaning we could know his status for 2022 by the time free agency starts on March 16.
Brady’s decision may take longer, and he’ll lean on his family to help “figure out in the future what’s next.”
Looking for another league? Here are a few scoreboards.