It wasn’t a super Monday for Knicks upper management as team president Phil Jackson dismissed his handpicked head coach, Derek Fisher, less than two years after he was hired. Jackson cited the fact that the Knicks had lost 9 of their previous 10 games as the key factor for making the change.
Knicks owner James Dolan had to take notice when Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov fired his head coach, Lionel Hollins, right after the start of the new year. Hollins had a far more respected coaching resume than the novice Fisher had. It also has to be noted that the Nets have bupkis in terms of NBA-caliber talent save for center Brook Lopez and now-injured point guard Jarrett Jack. The Knicks in comparison feature perennial NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony, one of the league’s top rookies in Kristaps Porzingis, veteran center Robin Lopez, and sharpshooter guard Arron Afflalo.
Derek Fisher also committed a number of self-inflicted wounds. He did not make anyone in the Garden hierarchy happy last week when he tried to minimize the importance of the Knicks making it into the playoffs this season. I think that it’s safe to say that James Dolan was incensed when Fisher wound up on TMZ and other gossip shows when he started dating the estranged wife of a former teammate, Matt Barnes, who understandably wasn’t happy about being part of a triangle that had nothing to do with Phil Jackson’s favored offensive schemes.
Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes spoke to the press at Citi Field last Wednesday to discuss his new contract the team that pays him $25 million per year for three years.
Cespedes has the right to opt out of his contract after the end of this coming season but he did not even entertain that possibility when talking with the media as he emphasized that he expects to play in Queens for the next three years.
I asked Yoenis his thoughts about how the marketplace treated him as a free agent. I pointed out that his outfield peers, Jason Heyward and Justin Upton, both signed more lucrative and longer-term contracts. He claimed that he wasn’t upset about how things turned out for him. Obviously no one should be upset at making $25 million per year but athletes are a competitive lot.
Cespedes’s agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, told me that the present value of the Mets contract ranks favorably with what Heyward and Upton received. If you look at it on a per year basis, as opposed to contractual length, he has a point.
As soon as Super Bowl 50 ended the Mets sent out a press release touting that Beyonce, who performed at the halftime show in Santa Clara, would be playing Citi Field on June 7. Maybe her appearance in Queens will mean that the Mets will put a ring on it in 2016.
Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. should remind professional athletes that playing in New York does have tangible advantages. He was part of one of this year’s better Super Bowl ads, a Buick spot, as he was a guest at a wedding where a bridesmaid makes an Odell-like catch of the bouquet. Beckham, who has acting aspirations, also had a small role this week on the CBS medical drama, “Code Black.”
Super Bowl 50 was not a well-played game but CBS’s coverage of it was as good as one could have asked. The Tiffany Network was aware that it had a responsibility to cover not just this particular game but properly document the half-century of America’s biggest sporting event. In a particularly poignant segment, all of the surviving play-by-play Super Bowl broadcasters spoke about their experiences. CBS Sports CEO Sean McManus deserves to take a bow for giving Fox’s Joe Buck and NBC’s Al Michaels a chance to bask in the glory of this NFL milestone.
Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton took a lot of criticism for coming off as a sore loser in his post-game press conference. In a way it was kind of refreshing. Most professional athletes will at best admit to a touch of disappointment but they rarely show any emotion when meeting the media after a tough loss. Generally they will credit the other team for being better that day and that they’ll get ‘em next time.
A lot was also made of Broncos QB Peyton Manning incessantly plugging Budweiser when asked about how he will celebrate. It was subsequently reported that he has an equity stake in some regional Anheuser-Busch distributorships. I have a feeling that the executives at Coors, the beer giant which obviously has a very big presence in Colorado, may have been wishing that the Carolina Panthers had won the big game after hearing Peyton plug their main competitor.
Just as baby aspirin isn’t just for infants, healthy snacks marketed for toddlers can also be enjoyed by adults. A good case in point is Happy Baby Organic Yogis which are bite-sized freeze-dried yogurt & fruit pieces.