Hollins gets dirty

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Hollins gets dirty

Sports Illustrated recently asked 146 NBA players: Who is the league's dirtiest player?

Here are the results:

1. Reggie Evans, which makes sense since he's the only active player to tear off an opponent's scrotum during a game.

2. Kevin Garnett, which is fine.

3. Metta World Peace, who would probably get a few more votes if they took the poll today.

From there it went:

4. Jeff Foster who's since retired. (Pour out some milk on the concrete)
5. Chris Paul always game for a crotch shot.
6. Gerald Henderson very well-deserved; he's been a cheap shot artist since college.
7. Kevin Love bit of a surprise, then again 13 boards a game don't come easy.
8. Kurt Thomas sometimes I get scared just typing his name.
9. Anderson Varejao Automatic.
10. Eduardo Najera Not a bad career you had, Eduardo Najera
11. Ryan Hollins Wait, what?

Yes, THE Ryan Hollins. Who I never realized had any sort of NBA reputation aside from "the seven footer who can't rebound" is considered one of the dirtiest players in the league.

And you know what? I like it.

When it comes to the playoffs, you can never have too many dirty players on your side. Guys who are willing to mix it up, and agitate the other team. It also helps when said agitator isn't all that important. And Ryan Hollins certainly isn't.

Maybe he can be Boston's psychological answer to Ivan Johnson?

Anyway, the Top 15 rounded out with:

12. Dwight Howard should be higher.
13. Shane Battier the second Dukie on the list.
14. Jamaal Magloire that's "Worst All Star in NBA History" Jamaal Magloire, to you.
15. Raja Bell missed the last month with injury, but still crazy after all these years.

In closing, I have only one question:

Where's Dwyane Wade?

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Rodney Harrison apologizes for saying Kaepernick is ‘not black’

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Rodney Harrison apologizes for saying Kaepernick is ‘not black’

Former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison apologized on Twitter for saying Colin Kaepernick wasn’t black after saying in an earlier radio interview that the 49ers quarterback wouldn’t understand the discrimination people of color face every day.

“I’m a black man, and Colin Kaepernick, he’s not black,” Harrison told a Houston radio station. “He cannot understand what I face and what other young black men and black people or people of color face on a every single [day] basis when you walk in the grocery store, and you might have two or three thousand dollars in your pocket and you go up into a Foot Locker and they’re looking at you like you’re about to steal something. I don’t think he faces those type of things that we face on a daily basis.”

Kapernick, who ignited a controversy when he refused to stand for the national anthem before a preseason game to protest racial injustice, is biracial. His birth mother is white and he was adopted by white parents.

Harrison, now an NFL analyst for NBC Sports, later tweeted the following: 

 

 

 

Red Sox welcome Betts’ surprising power surge

Red Sox welcome Betts’ surprising power surge

BOSTON - With one quick flick of his wrists Monday night, Mookie Betts drove a pitch into the Monster Seats, marking his 30th homer of the season.

The homer put Betts into exclusive company in team history. Only two others before him -- Ted Williams and Tony Conigliaro -- had ever reached the 30-homer milestone before turning 24. 

It's a reasonable assumption that, with five weeks still to play in the regular season, Betts will more than double his home run total (17) from last year, a remarkable jump.    

More to the point, Betts wasn't projected as a power hitter. In 2011 and 2012, Betts played the first 72 games of his pro career career without hitting a single homer. 

The power began to manifest itself somewhat the following year when he belted 15 homers between Low-A Greenville and High-A Salem, but still, few envisioned that Betts would show this kind of power at the major league level.

He was athletic, with extra-base capability, and speed. But a 30-home run hitter? That wasn't in the cards.

"That's pretty cool, hitting 30,” allowed Betts after the Red Sox' 9-4 win over Tampa Bay. "But that's not the reason we play.''

 For several minutes, Betts did his best to deflect questions about his milestone, consistently emphasizing team goals "first and foremost” over his own personal achievements.

"Trying to affect the game in some form or fashion,” he shrugged. "We're in a race right now and that's way more important[than individual stats].”

Still, Betts himself acknowledged that his homer total has come as something of a revelation.

"I definitely wasn't expecting [this kind of] power,'' he said. "But I'll take it while it's here.''

Maybe the power explosion shouldn't come as a shock, however. Betts has always demonstrated exceptional strength and fast reflexes, exhibiting the sort of "quick-twitch'' athleticism that make scouts drool.

He's improved his pitch selection and recognition, and it surely hasn't hurt to be part of a powerful Red Sox lineup that currently has him hitting behind David Ortiz and in front of Hanley Ramirez.

"Experience...knowing when and when not to turn on balls,” Betts explained further. "There's a whole bunch of things that kind of go into it.”

As he's gained confidence, Betts now picks certain counts where he allows himself to take bigger swings, though he's careful to  point out that he's not ever trying to hit homers.

"Not necessarily trying to hit a home run,'' he offered, "but trying to drive [the ball]. Those things come with experience and knowing when and when not to. I'm not trying to hit a home run. They just kind of come.''

In this, just his second full season in the big leagues, they're coming more and more frequently -- whether anyone expected it or not.

     

Brady believes Patriots will have plenty of emotion, energy without him

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Brady believes Patriots will have plenty of emotion, energy without him

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady has been an emotional leader for the Patriots since he took over the starting quarterback's gig back in 2001. He leads the team out onto the field. He screams and yells and holds his teammates accountable and generally plays with a level of passion that borders on hysteria. 

Brady was asked how the Patriots might cope without him for the first four weeks of the regular season.

"We’ve got a lot of great leaders on this team," he said. "The veterans, I think we’ve got like -- we’ve got a lot of really good players, a lot of really good leaders. I think we’ve always done a good job cultivating guys to step in and fill the void. I think we’ll do a great job with that. Between our coaches and our players, we’ve got a lot of great leaders, so I’m very confident in that. We’ll go out and play with a lot of energy and emotion that we always do."

The last time the Patriots went without Brady for an extended period of time was in 2008 when he suffered a season-ending knee injury. Brady explained that during that stretch, he wasn't able to expend much energy watching games because he was so focused on getting well. This time, he hopes to return to the team with an improved perspective on his job.

"It will be tough to watch, but it will be fun to watch in some ways to see what it looks like when you’re not there," Brady said. "That’s a different perspective. Hopefully I can use that perspective and then come back with better perspective saying, ‘Wow, I really noticed some things that maybe I wouldn’t have seen had I been there.’ So that’s kind of what I’m going to try to do."