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The Outside the Lines ongoing series “The State of Officiating” continues with an examination of NBA officials. Throughout the pre season, NBA referees were the subjects of player and fan ire for enforcing the new “respect-for-the-game” guidelines. Under the new guidelines, players can now receive technical fouls for overtly objecting to foul calls. Earlier this month, Celtics all-star forward Kevin Garnett was ejected after back-to-back technical fouls in a pre season game against the Knicks. With the NBA still trying to move beyond the shadow of the Tim Donaghy betting scandal, Commissioner David Stern has placed an emphasis on officiating and improving the game. John Barr examines NBA officiating and how officials are graded on their performance.
“You know, you hit ‘em, and that’s a technical. And, they go, ‘Really? But, all I said was that that was a terrible call.’ ‘Well, yeah, that’s after you jumped up and down and spun around and kind of jogged down the court. Then you said it was a terrible call.’ All those things add up.” — Scott Foster, 17-year NBA referee
“Nobody goes to a game to watch 500 whistles. Nobody. I just think basketball’s such a beautiful, beautiful game when there’s flow and everything. Basketball’s a really ugly game when everybody’s shooting free throws. I just wish they’d let ’em play a little bit more in the paint, and not call the ticky-tack stuff out front.” – Kevin McHale
“If you watch the post play – (Kendrick) Perkins and (Andrew) Bynum — Joey (veteran crew chief Crawford) called that little bump right there that’s pretty marginal. I busted his chops about it, and when he looked at it, he said, ‘Yeah, that was awful.’ So, that’s a teaching note I’ll relay after a play.” — Bernie Fryer, 28-year NBA referee who in 2008 joined a newly-created department responsible for league referees, while breaking down 2009-10 NBA Finals tape
E:60 Tuesday, 7 p.m. ESPN
How many NBA stars enjoy playing classical piano and attending the opera? E:60 traveled to Barcelona with Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers, the NBA’s “Renaissance Man.”
E:60 tells the story of one of the greatest collegiate traditions in sports. For 50 years, Richard “Butch” Varno, who has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair, has been brought to Middlebury (Vt.) College games by the school’s athletes.
Nigerian Seun Adebiyi, who has a rare, life-threatening disease, has conquered everything from swimming to law school to sliding the skeleton. E:60 highlights an Olympic hopeful’s improbable dream.
Houston Texans’ wide out Andre Johnson is well-known for his prowess on the field, but E:60 reveals another side of the All-Pro receiver, who is helping care for the son of one of his best friends who was shot to death in 2001.
Power Balance is popular with everyone from celebrities like Robert De Niro, Joe Jonas and David Beckham to NBA stars like Lakers forward Lamar Odom who is paid to endorse and market the bracelet. When 26 year-old Josh Rodarmel and his 36 year-old brother Troy co-founded Power Balance three years ago, annual sales were $8,000. In June 2010 sales had skyrocketed to $17 million and the company projects more than $35 million in sales this year. According to Power Balance, it has yet to conduct scientific tests to validate that its bracelets actually improve athletic performance, but Outside the Lines found someone who was doing the testing. Mark Schwarz reports.
“No, I feel the same. Maybe they work for some people and maybe they don’t work for some people so but they are pretty cool to look at.” — Kevin Durant, on wearing the bracelet as a fashion statement
“Based on what we saw, it doesn’t seem to work. No improvement in flexibility. No difference in balance, strength or vertical jump. Absolutely no difference.” — Dr. John Porcari, University of Wisconsin at Lacrosse, professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, who tested 12 men and nine women, including 20 UWL athletes, to determine if the Power Balance bracelet provides more athletic benefits than a rubber placebo bracelet
“…Power Balance has lived and thrived in the ultimate testing environment, the real world…” — Power Balance statement in reaction to the UWL study
The University of Oregon has a new play-calling system this year – one that involves placards with images as diverse as Shaquille O’Neal, a shamrock, and ESPN’s Lee Corso. The signals may mean nothing to opposing teams, but to the Ducks they mean time saved on the play clock and a 7-0 start to the season. ESPN’s Rob Stone traveled to Eugene to learn more and to try his own hand at it.
This offseason, LaDainian Tomlinson, still searching for his first Super Bowl ring, signed with the Jets after being released by the Chargers. The day before his first game as a Jet he shared with his new teammates what has become a yearly tradition for him: reading Vince Lombardi’s “What It Takes To Be #1” speech. Why does LT feel such a connection to the legendary former Packers coach? How were his Jets’ teammates affected by LT’s “performance”? Greg Garber reports.
ESPN Deportes traveled to Mexico to catch up with Cuauhtémoc Blanco and Jared Borgetti, two of the most emblematic Mexican soccer players of all time. Now, in the twilight of their careers, they find themselves playing in the country’s second division league.
Caffeine-loaded energy drinks, popular with high school athletes, are largely unregulated. Tom Farrey writes for ESPN.com in this E:60-branded report.