Athlon's Essential 11 Links of the Day

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<p> The best sports links from the NFL, college football and basketball, MLB, the NBA, NASCAR and the world of entertainment.</p>

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for Feb. 15.

Swimsuit cover girl Kate Upton said those two little words that sent pulses racing across the fruited plain: "I'm single." I wonder if Justin Verlander knows.

• Michael Jordan just hit the half-century mark, and to celebrate, Sports Illustrated dug up its 100 greatest MJ photos. Also, ESPN's Wright Thompson goes all long form journalist to give us the measure of the man at 50. The heir to MJ's throne, LeBron James, continues to play Jordan-esque basketball. Finally, today's last MJ link: the 50 Sports Illustrated covers featuring His Airness.

• The NBA Slam Dunk Contest is tomorrow. Believe it or not, this used to be a big, big deal. Athlon ranks all 22 Slam Dunk Contests, from Jordan gems to Jeremy Evans snoozers.

• A meteor exploded over Russia last night. The sports world felt the effects.

An ESPN announcer hit a trick shot prior to last night's Minnesota-Wisconsin game. Then, after the game, Tubby Smith felt like dancing. Appropriate, since the win probably clinched the Gophers' spot in the Big Dance.

The latest on the shocking Oscar Pistorius story.

• Among the revelations and assertions in Mike Piazza's book: Still not gay.

• Sir Charles has outdone himself. Barkley showed up on the Inside the NBA set sporting a tribute to the Alabama football player muggings.

 

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com


Feb. 14

• Happy Valentine's Day. To celebrate, the Detroit Free Press does a fun rundown of sports-themed kisses.Yes, Isiah and Magic did make the countdown.

• More V-day celebrating: Here are the best Valentine's Day-related names in sports.

• Here's a not-so-happy story for Valentine's Day: Oscar Pistorius, the inspirational "Blade Runner" of the London Games, has been charged with killing his model girlfriend. Deadspin reminds us of this now-ironic Nike ad featuring Pistorius.

• One last Valentine's link: Romance is dead — except for on sit-coms.

• Irony alert: Clay Travis declares war on bullying sports bloggers. At least he saves his wrath for the anonymous kind.

Tennessee cops mistook an elderly lady's Buckeye decal for a marijuana symbol and pulled her over. I live in Tennessee and don't mind admitting that we can be dumb sometimes.

Five bold predictions for SEC football's offseason.

The Dookies gave Coack K a present for his 66th birthday: a home win over North Carolina.

• Today would have been Titans great Steve McNair's 40th birthday. Here are five of Air McNair's greatest moments.

• He's coming for you, GloboGym: Steeler James Harrison has signed with the Ball Busters dodgeball team.

• I'm a little late to this dust-up, but Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim unloaded on ESPN's Andy Katz the other night.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com


Feb. 13

• Kate Upton and her cohorts have done the hard work of Swimsuit 2013; now it's time for the publicity tour.

• King James and the Izzone were en fuego last night. Here's a roundup of what you might have missed.

Will Farrell was an usher at last night's Lakers game. He used a rather unusual alias.

Nerlens Noel suffered a gruesome knee injury last night. Let's hope for the best. Pat Forde wonders if David Stern's age rule has endangered Noel's future in the game.

• If you're gonna go out, go out in a blaze of glory, I say. This disgruntled hockey goalie did everything but drop the mic like Kanye.

• As MJ turns 50, SI puts him on their cover for the 50th time.

The importance of in-state recruiting. If your state is a talent producer, that is.

Dan Mullen would like to remind you that there are two SEC schools in Mississippi recruiting at a high level.

• Guys, tomorrow is Valentine's Day. Here's a last minute gift guide. Hint: Plain chocolates, shoes and carnations ain't gonna cut it.

• Tough chick of the day: An LPGA player was bitten by a black widow, cut the venom loose with a tee, and kept playing.

• The Duke-UNC managers game involved a buzzer beater and court-storming. Let's hope tonight's main event can approach this level of excitement.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com


Feb. 12

It's SI Swimsuit Tuesday. Viral track star Michelle Jenneke is in this year's issue. We approve.

• The SEC rules the college football world. Basketball? Not so much. The reason? Money.

I present this Woody Hayes story without comment. I could add nothing to the headline.

Tuscaloosa crime reporter Stephanie Taylor kept popping up in my Twitter feed this morning. The reason? A Crimson Tide crime wave. Nick Saban is clearly losing control. Here's more on the story from Saturday Down South.

Blake Griffin may or may not have switched hands mid-dunk last night. Whatever he did, it was impressive.

• Today's debate fodder: Mandatory compiled the 100 greatest quotes from The Simpsons.

The Olympics are dropping wrestling? Wasn't that like the original Olympic sport?

• Bizarre athlete injury of the day: Francisco Liriano broke his arm trying to scare his children on Christmas.

The lamest nicknames in professional sports. Obviously, Athlon doesn't consider the WNBA to be a professional sport; otherwise, they'd dominate this category.

• Today's out-of-control sports parent: Mike Bibby got ejected from his son's basketball game. The cops had to escort him out.

• The lovely ladies of Swimsuit 2013 presented David Letterman's Top 10 list last night.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com


Feb. 11

• This is the week: Kate Upton. Swimsuit issue. Body paint. Need we say more?

Two Savannah State students snuck into the Super Bowl and taped themselves doing it. Nice security team you got there, Roger.

The 25 signature moves, poses and gestures in sports. Yes, Tebowing makes the list.

LeBron James is on an all-time roll: He's made 49 of his last 65 shots. As King James said himself, "S---, that's pretty good."

• Speaking of guys who are in the zone, Brandt Snedeker has shot 10 straight rounds in the 60s. Nice guys sometimes finish first.

• Florida State's Michael Snaer doesn't always make shots, but when he does, they win games.

• Baseball nerds, rejoice: Pitchers and catchers report. But all is not well for some teams.

• Even better news: Real games start soon in college baseball. Here's Athlon's preseason top 25.

Clark Kellogg compared Victor Oladipo to a baby's bottom: Smooth and explosive. The comment made Awful Announcing, but I thought it was pretty clever.

• A teaser while you wait for spring practice: 5 SEC-ready juco signees.

• The Grammys were last night. I don't know much about what happened, but I thought this photo was funny.

• In honor of LeBron's historic, epic run, here's a tasty ally-oop from the Heat's demolition of the Lakers.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

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