Before the Civil Rights Game and on Jackie Robinson Day at Dodger Stadium last Wednesday, I had the chance to interview Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly in the team’s dugout. We talked about what it meant to wear Robinson's number 42 for the game, and what he admired most about the icon and hero. I was also interested in Mattingly's opinion on what Jackie Robinson would think about baseball in 2015. He told me that he though Robinson might be a little disappointed with the lack of African Americans playing the game and with kids, generally, showing a declining interest in baseball.
Sage Karam, who was a semifinalist for SportsKid of the Year in 2010, is now a development driver on the Chip Ganassi Racing Team. Next month, he will start his second Indianapolis 500. (Last year, when he was only 19, he finished ninth.) He sat down with SI Kids to talk about being a professional racecar driver.
The NBA playoffs began over the weekend, in the opening game of the Clippers-Spurs series, LA star Chris Paul went off. He put up 32 points in 38 minutes to lead all scorers in the Clippers 107-92 win. Not bad for the smallest guy on the court (Paul is 6’0”).
So we thought this would be a good time to give you a first look at Paul on the cover of our May issue, which is all about sports’ short guys:
The Philadelphia native earned a starting spot in his first NBA All-Star Game while leading his team to the top of the Atlantic Division for a second consecutive season.
Breaking down Kyle Lowry's free agency options from last summer is an exercise in "could haves." The point guard could have rejoined the Houston Rockets to form a terrifying trio, with MVP candidate James Harden and Dwight Howard. He could have settled into a supporting role with the Los Angeles Lakers (and possibly earned a bigger one when Kobe Bryant became injured). But those teams didn't offer the promise of a leadership role. The Toronto Raptors, with whom he'd grown as a player since 2012, did. "I ultimately wanted to be in a place where I could say, It's my team," he says of re-signing with Canada's sole NBA franchise.
And it is. Under Lowry's direction, the long-suffering Raptors have gone from cellar-dwellars to first place in the Atlantic Division, and through March 2 they had the second-best record in the Eastern Conference (38--22). Lowry's doggedness on defense and career-high numbers (18.0 points and 7.0 assists per game this season) have pointed Toronto toward its second straight playoff appearance.
The long regular NBA season is over, which means two things: First, no more tanking! And second, the real quest for the NBA Championship is here. The NBA playoffs begin on Saturday, and there are plenty of storylines to carry us through the also-long postseason.
Can the San Antonio Spurs repeat as champs? Can they even make it out of a Western Conference that find two other Texas teams (Houston and Dallas) looking for championship glory? Will the Pelicans play spoiler after squeaking in on the last day of the season? How does LeBron James’ return season to Cleveland end: with a title, or a whimper?
All that and more begins this weekend. And we have our predictions on what teams make it out of the first round!
Golden State over New Orleans in 6: As expected, Anthony Davis has had an incredible second season. But his presence may not be enough to hold off the firepower of Klay Thompson and MVP candidate Stephen Curry in this first round matchup. With the third and fourth best 3-point percentage in the league, it’s going to be tough for not only the Pelicans to stop them, but anyone else from the West.
Driving toward the Alamodome before the soccer game between Mexico and the U.S. on Wednesday, still miles from the stadium and hours away from the match, I began to feel the rivalry. Flags of both countries proudly waved, and swarms of fans decked out in their team’s colors eagerly approached the sold-out Alamodome.
As soon as it was announced that these two teams would play a “friendly” here in San Antonio (meaning a game that wouldn’t count in any standings), I knew that it would be a huge sporting event for a city hoping to welcome a Major League Soccer franchise. It was also an important game to me, personally.
The Los Angeles Dodgers hosted Major League Baseball’s annual Civil Rights Game on Wednesday, and for the first time it was played on MLB’s annual Jackie Robinson Day. But Jackie wasn’t the only Robinson being honored this year. Hall of Famer Frank Robinson received a special award commemorating the 40th anniversary of his becoming the first African American manager in MLB history.
Kid Reporter Max Ferregur had a chance to speak with Frank Robinson before the Civil Rights Game. Robinson talked about his memories of Jackie Robinson, what civil rights means to him, and the work baseball still needs to do when it comes to African American managers. (Currently, there is only one: Seattle’s Lloyd McClendon.) Watch his interview below.