LeBron James is the most popular player in the NBA, according to the latest ESPN Sports Poll.For the first time in four years, nearly 13 percent (12.9) of NBA fans said James was their favorite player in the league this season. Of Kobe Bryant, who came in a close second, 12.5 percent of the fans said he is their favorite.The 2008-09 season was the only other time when the Miami Heat star passed Bryant as the top fan pick. The Lakers star won the honor five of six years, from 2006-07 to 2011-12.“The Decision,” a 2010 televised special in which NBA player LeBron James announced that he would switch teams, caused the recent NBA champion’s popularity to decline. In his last season in Cleveland, 15.6 percent of fans thought he was their favorite but after “The Decision” was aired, his popularity went down to 9.4 percent.James has won back-to-back NBA finals, which may have led to his current spike in popularity.
New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert has been playing well for the New York Knicks, he even earned a starting position on the team as a result of his efforts. However, he wasn’t recognized for his game on the court, he was best known for his impeccable flattop.Entering this season, Shumpert decided to cut away the very thing that identified him on and off the court, but that’s Shumpert’s point: His personality had grown larger than the team. He had moved away from basketball as his primary focus and needed to gather himself to win an NBA championship.A photo of the 6-foot-5, 220-pound guard has surfaced online with him sitting in a locker room, without his iconic hairstyle.Shumpert has even made a video explaining why he cut his hair/brand, which can be seen in the video player below.
VIDEO: The Patriots better worry about Julio Jones FiveThirtyEight More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (Jan. 31, 2017), we do a super-sized segment on Super Bowl LI. Will the Matt Ryan-led Falcons offense dominate, or will Tom Brady and the Patriots prevail? Next, tennis expert Carl Bialik drops by as we break down an Australian Open final that was a blast from the past. Plus, a significant digit on an unprecedented sanction in Major League Baseball.Links to what we discussed:ESPN launched its ultimate Super Bowl preview.Neil Paine wrote on the prowess of Julio Jones.ESPN’s Kevin Seifert looks at how Matt Ryan and Tom Brady match up.Tennis is growing older, writes Carl Bialik.In case you missed them, recaps of the Australian Open’s final games: Federer vs. Nadal and Williams vs. Williams.Does the Australian Open’s logo too closely resemble the logo for Netflix’s show “The OA”?Significant Digits: A triple digit this week: $2 million, No. 56, and No. 75. That’s what the St. Louis Cardinals lost this week, as Major League Baseball handed down a penalty that forced the team to pay the Houston Astros the fine and give them 2017 draft picks for hacking into the Astros’ scouting database. Embed Code
I never thought a football game could make me sad. I certainly never expected to have tears in my eyes at the end of one.I’ve experienced various sentiments at games — excitement, boredom, exhaustion, disappointment — but never before have I felt any degree of sorrow, even when my team loses. Instead of crying, punching walls or getting in fights at bars the way that some Ohio State fans do, I get over losses pretty quickly. I like football, but I just don’t think it’s that big of a deal.The game against Iowa was my last as an OSU student and the full realization of this happened to hit me during the fourth quarter of the game.Things started out the same as any other OSU game I’ve attended. A super-drunk frat boy fell flat on his face and had to be picked up by four of his friends right outside the stadium. Everyone sitting around me was drunk, yelling obscenities and being generally ridiculous. And of course, strangers high-fived excessively through the whole game.I got tired of standing after the first quarter, as usual. A drunk kid near us engaged my boyfriend in captivating conversations about John Goodman, hot girls and whether he thought Chinese food could give you AIDS.OSU fans are crazy and have never failed to bring me amusement. It can be annoying at times, like when a drunk kid keeps running in to you or worse, vomits nearby, or when there is a serial farter sitting by you.But Saturday was different for some reason. I wasn’t annoyed, and when the game went into overtime and the cheering in the stadium was at its loudest, I couldn’t help but get nostalgic. I’d never seen an OSU game go into overtime before and I’ve only seen a few close games in my four years here.The four years of college that I thought would never end are about to. I have one quarter left and this exciting game was my last as a student.Looking around and seeing the thousands of people in red not only made me proud to be an OSU student, but grateful for the experience I’ve had at OSU and thankful I made the decision to come here four years ago.The fact that anywhere you go in the country, someone will yell “I-O!” back to your “O-H!” is such an awesome thing. There are things about OSU that can’t be experienced anywhere else, and Saturday I got to really feel that and be a part of one such experience.I didn’t come to OSU because of the football team, and it’s not the most important thing about college for me. But it is one part of it, and Saturday, for one last time, I could get that feeling of pride that can only come from being in the stands at an OSU game.It sounds cheesy, but I couldn’t help but think of other games I’d gone to, and with that, about the rest of my four years at OSU. I’m lucky for the time I’ve had here, for what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown as a person.I found myself tearing up for a split second. It was bittersweet; the win was exciting but the end of the game signaled the last time, at least for awhile, that I would be in the stadium.Drunk, ridiculous fans are all part of an OSU game, just like having to stand for the whole time, paying $50 for a soft pretzel and being crushed by the crowds of people at the end.I wouldn’t trade my time at OSU for anything, and though football doesn’t mean as much to me as it does to some at OSU, the games and all that goes along with them are a big part of the OSU experience.The Iowa game made me realize that and it made me realize I was happy and fortunate to be a Buckeye.
With the first half of the season in the tank, finishing strong in the Big Ten will be the focus as the No. 20 Ohio State women’s volleyball team tries to shift into second gear. The Buckeyes own a 15-7 overall record and a 6-4 record in the conference play. Despite sitting fourth in the Big Ten standings, coach Geoff Carlston said his team still has a lot of work to do this season. “I think the good thing is we will all admit that we have some areas of improvement, and I think our defense has really picked it up and it’s just a lot of little things now,” Carlston said. The Buckeyes have had some impressive wins this season, mainly on the road. Early in the season, OSU upset then-No. 10 Dayton, then-No. 21 Illinois and won a pivotal Big Ten matchup against Michigan State. “We had some big-time road wins and more big wins in general,” said junior libero Julianne Mandolfo. Mandolfo said she understands the team needs to stay focused and continue to work hard to finish the way they want to through the second half of its season. “We just need to keep doing the same things that we’re doing, but just add a little bit more to each game,” Mandolfo said. “Some of the losses were two-point differences, so if we just clean up a couple of points in those losses (they) can become wins in the second half.” The team’s most recent losses included then-No. 17 Purdue and then-No. 1 Penn State. Senior outside hitter Mari Hole said one of the biggest things the team needs to work on is mental toughness. “Looking at the last few games, we still lack some mental strength,” Hole said. “We need to be better at finishing games. We’re good at it, but we’re not great at it.” Carlston said he continues to push his players to be tougher and smarter. “Making those plays at 24 all in the Big Ten on the road requires serving a little tougher, changing the offense … just offensive tweaks and defensive tweaks,” Carlston said. “You got to come into the second round of the Big Ten ready to adapt and ready to be fluid because everyone kind of knows each other a little bit more.” What might set the good teams apart from great ones are the type of plays they make from the 18th point to the 25th point in a game. It’s an area Mandolfo said she sees as an issue. “We’ve actually learned that throughout the whole game, we’ve kept one-on-one with every single team in the Big Ten,” Mandolfo said. “The games we have slipped up and lost, we’ve noticed that at 18 (points), we’ve done some mental errors.” Oftentimes, the halfway mark for any team marks a time for players and coaches to look back and reflect upon their performances to measure where they are. “I still know that there is still a lot that we can work on, but to be honest, I still don’t think we hit our max effort, so that’s always good,” Mandolfo said. Carlston said he is eager for the second half of the season to begin. “I’m excited where our team is,” Carlston said. “We got some good mojo, team chemistry is strong, and the team is feeling good about themselves. So I’m excited to get into the last half.” Hole said she is enjoying every second of her final season as a Buckeye and looks forward to the second act of what has been a fast-paced season. “I’m just starting to get really excited about the whole thing,” Hole said. “Just taking one game at a time, I am just enjoying it. And the fact that I’m a senior, it’s fun.” The Buckeyes are scheduled to travel to Lincoln, Neb., to face the No. 4 Cornhuskers Friday, and then travel to Iowa City, Iowa, to battle the Hawkeyes on Saturday. The Buckeyes lost 3-1 to Nebraska in Columbus on Sept. 22 and they are looking to avenge that loss. “Nebraska came to our place and beat us, so we’re looking forward to revenge, obviously,” Mandolfo said. “Since I’m from there, all my family is going to be there. So it’s just going to be even more motivation to get a win there.” On the road, the Buckeyes have totaled a 7-1 mark compared to their 4-4 record at home. “I think for whatever reason, this group has been strong on the road, so I don’t think we mind being on the road at all,” Carlston said. “If you’re going to beat Nebraska at home, beat Iowa at home, you got to play well for two hours.” Hole felt similarly. “Nebraska is a good team, and it’s going to be a battle,” Hole said. “We are definitely the underdogs, but I think that is in our favor.” Carlston said his team will be ready. “There’s something about this group that they’re not afraid to go on the road and battle,” he said.
Then-sophomore defender Craig Dalrymple (24) skates past a Bowling Green defender Oct. 29, 2013 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 5-3.Credit: Lantern file photoMore than six months after losing the Big Ten Championship in overtime, the Ohio State men’s hockey team is set for its first exhibition of the season on Saturday afternoon in Columbus.The Buckeyes’ exhibition against the University of Guelph will mark the first step in their quest for a NCAA tournament berth, something they’ve been denied for five straight years.Junior defenseman and alternate captain Sam Jardine said the sting of missing last season’s tournament was magnified for this year’s seniors — who have endured three years of postseason disappointment.Before last season’s 5-4 overtime loss to Wisconsin in Big Ten Championship, the Buckeyes failed to make the final round of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs in 2012 and 2013.“The veterans returning have a real bitter attitude toward the way things finished last year,” Jardine said. “It’s been good motivation.”While OSU has eight seniors on this season’s roster, coach Steve Rohlik said the departure of two upperclassmen has created questions for the Buckeyes’ offense.“We’re going to have to have a lot of guys score eight goals,” Rohlik said. “We’re going to have to score by committee and we’re going to have to be good at special teams.”Forwards Max McCormick and Ryan Dzingel, who combined for 24.5 percent of OSU’s scoring last season, both signed contracts with the Ottawa Senators during the offseason.Senior forward captain Tanner Fritz is the team’s top offensive returner. Fritz finished last season with the third-most points on the team (32) despite battling an injury that kept him out of the lineup for five games.Even with Fritz, OSU will have to get offensive contributions from all four lines to compensate for its losses, Jardine said.“The best teams do score by committee,” Jardine said. “I’m personally not worried about our team and the ability to score goals.”Freshmen gave the Buckeyes offensive support last season as first-years combined for 23 goals. Sophomore forward Nick Schilkey led OSU rookies in points with 13 goals and 13 assists.Saturday’s exhibition will give Rohlik his first opportunity to see this season’s seven freshmen compete against college-level competition.“I see a lot of guys playing because I think everyone on our roster can contribute right now,” Rohlik said.The Buckeyes’ returners have already had an opportunity to see the team’s new crop in practice. Fritz said he’s pleased with the class and has made special note of forwards Nicholas Jones and Matt Weis.“There’s two guys that have a ton of skills and read the game well,” Fritz said.Following a year where OSU had six different goalies on its roster, it will start the season with three goalies on its depth chart.Sophomore goalie Christian Frey joined Fritz, Schilkey and sophomore defenseman Drew Brevig on the Big Ten Preseason Players to Watch list. Frey joined OSU midway through last season after playing in the USHL, finishing with a 2.27 goals against average and .929 save percentage in 16 games.Rohlik noted that sophomore goalies Matt Tomkins and Logan Davis will also compete for the starting role.Rohlik said that senior defenseman Craig Dalrymple has not skated at 100 percent this season due to injury, but added the rest of OSU’s lineup is healthy.Fritz reported that he’d been felt an “aching feeling” in his leg during off-ice workouts, but said he underwent a precautionary MRI this week and the injury was not serious.The Buckeyes are scheduled to drop the puck at 4:30 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.
Urban Meyer raises the Cotton Bowl trophy following the end of game against the University of Southern California on Dec. 29 in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. Ohio State won 24-7. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State is one of the most polarizing athletics programs in the country, which makes for some great coverage throughout a year. With 2017 closing, The Lantern compiled nine of the most significant stories or some of the best writing during the year.1) Self-reported NCAA violations prevent Ohio State from recruiting 5-star prospect Micah ParsonsMany who follow the Ohio State football team wondered why the Buckeyes stopped recruiting five-star defensive end prospect Micah Parsons. In documents obtained through a public records request, sports editor Colin Hass-Hill found that Ohio State self-imposed a ban on recruiting Parsons following NCAA infractions during the recruit’s official visit in September.The report garnered national attention with the early-signing period taking place the next day.2) Thad Matta out as Ohio State men’s basketball head coachThis was shocking news that dominated the college basketball news cycle for an entire week. Ohio State fired its winningest men’s basketball coach in school history on June 5, 2017 after 13 seasons. Despite four straight Sweet 16 berths and five Big Ten championships, Ohio State went in a new direction after two straight years of missing the NCAA Tournament.The Lantern published eight articles in the two days after the announcement relating to Matta’s firing.3) Ohio State hires Chris Holtmann as men’s basketball head coachThe coaching search ended with then-Butler head coach Chris Holtmann. Just four days after Ohio State Athletics Director Gene Smith addressed the media about Matta’s departure, Holtmann signed an eight-year deal to become Ohio State’s next head coach. The change in the basketball program was the biggest story in Ohio State athletics in 2017, and one of the largest college sports stories of the year.The Lantern published eight stories relating to the initial report of Holtmann’s hire and his press conference on June 12.4) Ohio State sweeps BYU, wins NCAA men’s volleyball championshipOSU men’s volleyball captains raise their second-consecutive national title trophy on Saturday at the NCAA national championship game. Credit: Sheridan Hendrix | Oller ReporterThe most dominant program in 2017 at Ohio State was the men’s volleyball that ended its historic season with a national championship on its home floor in St. John Arena. The Buckeyes won in straight sets against BYU to win its second consecutive national championship. They also broke the school and conference record for most consecutive wins with 42. Ohio State ended the season 32-2.5) J.K. Dobbins emerging as potential standoutLooking back, this story predicted one of the biggest storylines of Ohio State’s football season. The article foretold the impact freshman running back J.K. Dobbins would have on the Buckeyes’ offense. Running back coach Tony Alford said in August that Dobbins understood the offense “faster than anybody I’ve ever been around in my 22 years.” Dobbins ended up breaking the school’s freshman rushing record with 1,403 and averaging more than 7 yards per carry.6) Hurricane Harvey impacting Houston-native Ohio State athletesHurricane Harvey and the damage it brought about was one of the country’s biggest stories in 2017 — and its impact extended into Ohio State’s athletic department. In this story, Lantern sports editors Colin Hass-Hill and Ed Sutelan explained how, speaking with four Buckeye athletes from the Houston area. The story shed light on the difficulties of witnessing personal tragedies from afar and illustrated that no matter how distant an event might seem, it is likely impacting people in our local community.7) Ohio State’s championship hopes fade away in loss to IowaUrban Meyer paces the sideline during the fourth quarter of the Ohio State-Iowa game on Nov. 4. Ohio State lost 24-55. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorBefore anyone could figure out how or why it happened, it was clear what Ohio State’s 55-24 meant: the Buckeyes were probably not going to the College Football Playoff for a second straight season. While hope resurfaced, especially after winning the Big Ten title, the 31-point road loss was a key reason — if not the reason — Ohio State found itself on the outside the top 4. In this story, Lantern assistant sports editor Ed Sutelan captures the significance of the loss — and why in the years to come, this game, perhaps more than the Penn State thriller or another Michigan victory, will stand out in any lookback at 2017. 8) Ohio State beat itself, then beat Penn StateWhile the loss to Iowa would tarnish some of the shine Ohio State acquired after knocking off then-No. 2 Penn State, Lantern sports editor Colin Hass-Hill skillfully demonstrates in this story just how resilient the Buckeyes were in overcoming self-inflicted wound after self-inflicted wound. It’s a terrific piece of writing on one of the season’s memorable and entertaining games. 9) Bo Jordan alters training regimen in hopes of staying healthyIn one of the sports sections’ best written stories this year, Lantern reporter Jeff Helfrich chronicles how redshirt senior wrestler Bo Jordan has altered his approach to training in order to avoid the injuries that have hindered him for four seasons so he can go out on top as a national champion. With Jordan boasting a 14-2 record through Dec. 17 and a No. 3 ranking in his weight class, so far, so good.
Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano speaks to the media on Dec. 27 prior to the 2017 Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State raked in its best statistical recruiting class under head coach Urban Meyer with two more commitments on National Signing Day, but that wasn’t the biggest news for the Buckeyes when looking at the 2018 season.After rumors circulating that defensive coordinator and safeties coach Greg Schiano was expected to take the vacant New England Patriots defensive coordinator position, Schiano apparently spoke with Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman to set the record straight that he was remaining at Ohio State next season.Greg Schiano tells me he is staying at #OhioState contrary to reports from Monday that he was leaving for the Patriots. Big day for the Buckeyes. Schiano played a key part in landing top OT Nick Petit-Frere out of Tampa.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) February 7, 2018It’s been a turbulent offseason for the Ohio State coaching staff with reports that quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day would leave to become the Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator — he eventually was promoted to offensive coordinator to stay with the Buckeyes — and cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs signing on to become the Titans cornerbacks coach. Coombs was one of Ohio State’s most integral recruiters and position coaches, having produced four first-round picks from his position group in the last four drafts, so losing Schiano would’ve been another blow to the defensive outlook of Ohio State, as well as its recruiting prowess.Schiano said he does have aspirations of becoming a head coach, but that doesn’t have to happen. Adds he loves what he’s doing right now.— Edward Sutelan (@EdwardSutelan) February 7, 2018
Seven Sisters cliffs and coastguard cottages Eastbourne, East SussexCredit:Rex Dr Hurst’s team estimated the pace of the erosion by examining the amount of an isotope of beryllium in the rock platform under the cliffs. This isotope is formed in the top few metres of rock when it is struck by cosmic rays from space and the longer the rock is exposed, the higher the concentration. This enables the estimation of the speed of the cliff’s retreat.Dr Dylan Rood, from Imperial College London, one of the co-authors, told the BBC: “The coast is clearly eroding, and Britain has retreated fast. A nearly tenfold increase in retreat rates over a very short timescale, in geological terms, is remarkable.”The UK cannot leave the issue of cliff erosion unresolved in the face of a warming world and rising sea levels. Cliff erosion is irreversible; once the cliffs retreat, they are gone for good.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The iconic chalk cliffs on England’s south coast are eroding 10-fold faster now than they have over the past few thousand years, a new study has revealed.Researchers have observed that the erosion rate of chalk cliffs at Beachy Head and Seaford Head in East Sussex over the past 150 years has been of 22 to 32cm a year. They have calculated that in the past 7,000 years it was just two to six centimetres a year.The acceleration, timed thanks to a technique that tracks changes in rocks when exposed to energetic space particles, would be the result of thinning of cliff-front beaches, worsened by changes in storm intensity.The researchers, led by Dr Martin Hurst from the University of Glasgow, predict that climate change will accelerate the erosion process. “We were very surprised at the stark difference,” Dr Hurst told the Guardian. “If you have a nice thick and wide beach in front of a cliff, that reflects wave energy. But the beaches have all but disappeared.”The scientists believe the study, published in the leading American journal, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, will help make better predictions for the future about how climate change will affect coastlines.”Our coasts are going to change in the future as a result of sea-level rise and perhaps increased storminess, and we want this work to inform better forecasts of erosion,” Dr Hurst told the BBC.The research was centred on East Sussex and the iconic cliffs at Beachy Head and Hope Gap which were originally laid down 90 million years ago.Coastline management near Seaford, which saw the use of groynes or the shifting of sand and gravel to try to protect specific beaches, has led to the cliffs to the east, including Beachy Head, being starved of sediments.“We need to be aware that when we manage the beach in one place, there is a knock-on effect somewhere else,” Dr Hurst told the Guardian.
Lack of sleep is costing the UK economy billions and increasing the risk of death for large numbers of tired Britons, according to a new report.Scientists evaluated the economic cost of poor sleep in five countries: the UK, US, Canada, Germany and Japan.They found that the effect of sleep deprivation on productivity and health was losing the UK up to £40 billion each year – nearly two per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).People of any age who slept less than six hours a night on average were 13 per cent more likely to die than those sleeping between seven and nine hours. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The scientists reviewed available research evidence on links between sleep, health, mortality and productivity, collected survey data on sleep duration, and ran computer models to come up with their findings.Of all the countries studied, the US experienced the biggest financial burden – up to 411 billion dollars (£329 billion) – due to insufficient sleep. It also suffered the most working days lost as a result of sleep deprivation, 1.2 million.Japan lost up to £110 billion and 600,000 working days, and Germany up to £48 billion and just over 200,000 working days.A poll of 2,000 British adults published earlier this year by the Royal Society for Public Health found that people in the UK slept an average of 6.8 hours. Sleeping between seven and nine hours per night was described as a “healthy daily sleep range” in the report, entitled Why Sleep Matters – The Economic Costs Of Insufficient Sleep.Lead investigator Dr Marco Hafner, from the non-profit research organisation RAND Europe, said: “Our study shows that the effects from a lack of sleep are massive.”Sleep deprivation not only influences an individual’s health and well-being but has a significant impact on a nation’s economy, with lower productivity levels and a higher mortality risk among workers.”He added: “Improving individual sleep habits and duration has huge implications, with our research showing that simple changes can make a big difference.”For example, if those who sleep under six hours a night increase their sleep to between six and seven hours a night, this could add £24 billion to the UK economy.” Improving individual sleep habits and duration has huge implications… simple changes can make a big differenceDr Marco Hafner