Sports highlights, plus banished words of 2012

WNBA Finals MVP Tamika Catchings
Photo by Charles Hallman

AnotherViewsquareTwo members of our MSR sports experts’ panel recently released their 2012 best sports stories.

Nate Parham of Swish Appeal places at the top of his list the Indiana Fever winning the 2012 WNBA championship. “I think Tamika Catchings [the finals MVP] has done so much for women’s basketball…throughout her career. I think the entire women’s basketball world was rooting for her to win a championship. People are comparing it to LeBron James [winning his first NBA title this year].”

Baylor’s undefeated season “obviously was a huge story,” Parham says. And although the Minnesota Lynx became the first defending champion to lose in reaching the WNBA Finals since Detroit in 2007, they were among “a lot of interesting short stories” this year, continues Parham. “I think people like the story of the Tulsa Shock on how hard they played during the season. Nneka Ogwumike was a great rookie and [has] a chance to be one of the top power forwards in the league.”

BlackSportsOnline’s Robert Littal ranked Gabby Douglas becoming the first Black female to win the Olympics all-around gymnastics title, Manny Pacquiao’s recent knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez and the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal high on his 2012 top-stories list.

“I thought the whole concussion issue…that has been happening in the NFL was one of the main stories happening throughout the entire year,” adds Littal. “I also thought that LeBron finally getting that championship ring along with the Olympics — getting that monkey off his back was a huge story as well.”

He also believes that the NHL lockout has been underreported to date, says Littal. “I haven’t heard…anybody talk about it except the die-hard hockey fans.”

Both Littal and Parham offered their 2013 prognostications.

“I’m really interested [in] if [quarterbacks] RG3 [Robert Griffin III] or Andrew Luck make it into the [NFL] playoffs,” surmises Littal. “You rarely see high draft picks like that get into the playoffs in their first year. I don’t think a number one [Luck] even had a winning record in his first year or even a number two [Griffin].

“The Lakers…can they pull it together,” asks Littal. “Is LeBron a one-hit wonder or will he get on a run like the Jordan’s and the Kobe’s and the Pistons of years past and win multiple championships in a row? Is Tiger Woods ever going to come back? I think [there’s] a big story if [a knockout] can happen to Pacquiao: Is it possible that could happen to Floyd [Mayweather]?”

“[Brittney] Griner’s transition into the WNBA [next spring] will be a big deal,” adds Parham. “It is an opportunity for the league to get a little more prominence,” noting that ESPN will be showing the 2013 draft in prime time. In women’s college basketball, “I think there are some teams across the country that are taking a step forward,” he believes.

He surmises that the Lynx’s 2012 finals embarrassing loss that “nobody predicted” could be a blessing in disguise. “I think the Lynx losing actually opened things up,” says Parham. “This could be a big tipping point [for the WNBA]. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Lynx and the Fever [make the finals] again in 2013.”


2012 banished words

It’s time for our annual list of overused words that must be redacted from our language, permanently banished to never-ever-used-again land by marching them down the plank to oblivion. Like the Monkees, here they come, the 2012 Banished Words (BWs) or the Bowwows:

• Hash tag: I really thought this was a food identification rather than something athletes and their followers on Twitter use. Speaking of Twitter and Facebook, all make-up abbreviations (i.e. OMG, BFFN, CT, OCIF), we should SUT (stop using them).

• Skill set: “The player has the skill set…” Is this anything like the Erector Set one of my friends got for Christmas when we were young?

• “Only a…,”as in “He or she is only a sophomore.” If only a competent play-by-play or analyst person would finally realize how silly this sounds and stop saying this.

• Anything “nation.” This nonsensical BW should never refer to a sports team.

• Student-athlete: This should never be used in NCAA public service announcements, especially during mega-money telecasts (in which they don’t get a dollar).


Did you know…?

Answer to last week’s question: Before she became a top sports executive, Benita Fitzgerald Mosley made history in the mid-1980s. Name the historic feat.

Mosley became the first Black woman to win a gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles in the 1984 Olympic Games. A two-time Olympian (1980 and 1984), she also won gold at the 1983 Pan American Games and was an eight-time national champion and 14-time NCAA All-American.

Our “Did You Know” series will resume next year.


Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to