Suddenly interested in Favre


Suddenly interested in Favre

By Rich Levine

It pains me to pay attention to Brett Favre.

Not that I need to explain why, but heres a quick recap:

Over the past decade, Favres become the poster boy for all thats wrong with todays sports coverage; a muse for lazy, short-sighted writers and broadcasters whod still rather blindly harp on his grit, determination, courage and toughness than recognize everything he does to offset those redeeming qualities. Hes developed and cemented a reputation as one of the most needy, insecure and self-centered stars in sports, which in relative terms is as impressive an accomplishment as his Super Bowl ring. Anytime you hear someone say, You see, this is why I cant stand ESPN!, theres an 80 percent chance theyre talking about Favre.

Quite simply, Brett Favre makes it less fun to be a sports fan.

His presence clouds better, more interesting and inspiring story lines, and always leaves us wanting more. And by more, I mean different; anything other than Favre. It will literally be a relief when he finally hangs them up for good. Seriously, 2035 is going to be a fantastic year.

So given all that, writing a column about Favres latest headline stealing story feels wrong. It pains me. Its like theres a garbage fire burning in my living room and Im ready to toss in a bucket of human hair. Thank God its Columbus Day and everyone's out of the office. Well, everyone except for you. (Sorry.)

But the more I think about Favres alleged voice mails and MMS crotch shots, the more I find myself paying attention.

Im not so much talking about the actions themselves. I mean, yeah, its awful; a stupid, unprofessional move on his part. But Im not going to pretend that Favres the only married guy in America sending sketchy text messages to another woman. Im not going to get on a soapbox and criticize his morals, question his marriage, or call for his head. Although, I will say that I wasnt surprised to hear what (allegedly) happened.

Had Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, or pretty much any quarterback other than Ben Roetlisberger been caught in a situation like this, I might be. But Favre? He hasnt necessarily portrayed himself as the most loyal, stable, considerate or trustworthy guy over these last few years. When I saw the video, I wasnt like, Wow! Brett Favre, really?! This wasnt a Tigers a sex addict revelation. It was more, Ha! Man, Favres such an idiot. Not that I saw the whole incident coming, but it kind of fits. Its not a shocker.

But what is shocking, and what keeps me coming back to this story, are the potential consequences a suspension, and the end of the most impressive and unbreakable record in NFL history.

288 consecutive starts and counting.

For all the trash I can talk about Favre, theres no denying his consecutive-start streak is all kinds of remarkable. Seriously, just think about it . . . the guy hasnt missed a game since 1992!

For comparisons sake, consider the team the Patriots fielded the day Favres streak began September 27, 1992. They started Hugh Millen at QB and Leonard Russell at RB. On that afternoon, a 41-7 loss to Buffalo, New England's leading receivers were Greg McMurtry and Marv Cook. Irving Fryar was still a Patriot; Andre Tippett, too. Dick MacPherson was coaching! This was ages ago.

Its hard to compare baseball and football in this respect, but given Favres degree of difficulty, you can make an argument that his streak is just as impressive as Cal Ripkens. Its beyond legendary.

And the fact that after withstanding 18 years of battle against the biggest, baddest and craziest monsters in the world, this streak has the potential to end at the hands of three pants-less photos is . . . I dont know.

Fitting? Unjust? Hilarious? Karma?

Really, I dont know. But its certainly interesting. Its definitely a Brett Favre subplot that Ill follow intently; one that wont make me want to throw myself into that garbage fire every time it comes up on SportsCenter. Its a story that Im excited to watch play out.
Until Roger Goodell chickens out and only gives Favre a fine. Then Ill just go back to despising him.

Rich Levine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Rich can be reached at Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

Danny Ainge says Lonzo Ball has declined pre-draft workout with Celtics

Danny Ainge says Lonzo Ball has declined pre-draft workout with Celtics

BOSTON -- Like most NBA executives, Danny Ainge loves to get as much intel on players before picking them as he can.  
And with the No. 1 overall pick, Ainge knows he has to do all he can to absolutely get this one right.
That’s why any thoughts he had of drafting Lonzo Ball are likely out the window after the talented UCLA guard refused to work out for the Celtics.
“We tried to get him in for a workout and he politely said no,” Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show.
Lonzo Ball’s desire (or his dad Lavar Ball’s desire; hard to say who in the Ball camp wants him in L.A. the most) to play for the Los Angeles Lakers is one of the worst-kept secrets leading up to next month’s NBA draft.
And with the Lakers holding the No. 2 pick in the draft, turning down the Celtics only increases the likelihood of  Boston passing on him and instead drafting University of Washington star Markelle Fultz.
“It’s not ideal,” Ainge said of Ball's decision to decline working out for Boston. “Listen, we’ve drafted guys that wouldn’t come in for workouts before. It’s not the end of the world. We’ve watched them play a ton. We have a lot of information on them. Sometimes players don’t want to come in, not because they don’t like you, they see our roster. They think they would prefer to go to another team.”
The Celtics, like most teams, have been mum publicly as to who they would take in the draft. But all indications at this point in the process are pointing towards them selecting Fultz with the top overall selection.
And the fact that Ball, the projected number two pick even before the draft lottery order was established, refuses to work out for Boston will only increase the likelihood that Fultz will be a Celtic and Ball and his camp will get their wish which has always been to don a Los Angeles Lakers jersey.

Celtics-Cavaliers preview: Game 5 is about respect for Boston

Celtics-Cavaliers preview: Game 5 is about respect for Boston

BOSTON – From the outset of this season, the Boston Celtics were swimming upstream when it came to getting respect. 

No matter how many wins they racked up, no matter how many upsets they managed to pull off, they were never going to do enough to satisfy the court of public opinion which wanted one thing and one thing only from the NBA: A third installment of Golden State against Cleveland in the NBA Finals. 

The Warriors did their part by running through the West with 12 wins in as many playoff games. 

Meanwhile, the Celtics will try to not just stave off elimination tonight, but continue to delay what so many believe is an inevitable Golden State-Cleveland Final.

Boston’s Al Horford understands that while the league this season has seen lots of individual success as well as teams that have overachieved, the thirst for Golden State versus Cleveland remains stronger than ever. 

“We understand that’s what everyone has been talking about since the beginning of the season,” Horford said. “For us it’s just to focus … and play the Celtic way. And just come out here and fight and we’ll take it from there.”

The Celtics did that in Game 3 with Avery Bradley delivering one of the more memorable shots in the Brad Stevens era, a game-winning three-pointer that hit the rim four times before falling with 0.1 seconds to play as Boston squeaked out a 111-108 win.

Boston did a lot of good things in Game 4 and seemingly went into the half sensing that maybe just maybe they would even up the series at two games heading back to Boston for tonight’s Game 5 matchup. 

But Kyrie Irving picked up the slack for a foul-plagued LeBron James, lifting the Cavaliers to a 112-99 win which puts them now just a win away from advancing to the NBA Finals. 

Not only have folks both in the media as well as fans who have rooted for this series to be over, even merchandise sellers like Dick Sporting Goods have anticipated this series as already being over.

“It is what it is,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “It’s been like that all year; a lot of guys counting us out. At the same time, we’re trying to put ourselves in position to win each and every game.”

While that has been the goal, it certainly hasn’t worked out that way in this series. 

Despite Games 1 and 2 being at the TD Garden, the Celtics lost both games by a total of 57 points. 

And while they won Game 3 and had the Cavaliers on the ropes in Game 4 before losing, they know their chance to play NBA Finals spoiler is just about up. 

“We know that’s the Finals that everybody wants to talk about, what everybody is looking forward to,” said Boston’s Marcus Smart. “We understand it. But we work just as hard as these guys. We just have to keep going out there and working. We’re not going to give it to them, and stuff like that. We just have to make it tough on them.”