Aldon Smith Stabbed

Sources confirm that San Francisco 49ers’ outside linebacker Aldon Smith was stabbed early Saturday at a house party in Santa Clara. The team has since confirmed the incident. Law enforcement reported to the scene after complaints of gunshot fire. After their arrival, officers found two individuals suffering from gun shot inflicted injuries and one suffering from stab wounds. All three were taken to the hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries.

This is not the first time Aldon Smith’s off-the-field actions have made headlines. In January, Smith received a DUI in Miami Beach. His blood-alcohol level charted .194 and .176 after he was arrested at 4:33 a.m, well over the legal limit. According to the police report, other vehicles were forced to break heavily to avoid collisions with Smith, who was swerving in and out of traffic.

A first-round pick out of Missouri, Aldon Smith shined as a rookie, charting 14 sacks and two forced fumbles. This fall, he will be entering his second year with the San Francisco 49ers.

* Photo Courtesy of San Francisco Examiner
Advertisements

What If Wednesday: College Football Playoff

The prayers of college football fans everywhere have now been answered. Beginning in 2014, an annual four-team playoff will determine college football’s national champion. The playoff is a drastic improvement over the controversial BCS system, but what if it had been agreed upon a decade earlier? THE SPORTS DISPENCER analyzes what could have been in this week’s edition of What If.

Playoff Picture

Using the final AP Poll of the regular season, we have predicted the playoff pictures of the past ten years:

2002 Semifinals: 1 Miami vs 4 Georgia     2 Ohio St. vs 3 Iowa

Final: 1 Miami vs 2 Ohio St.

Outcome: The playoff produces a similar result, but controversy is raised over the exclusion of the Pac-10 champion USC Trojans.

2003 Semifinals: 1 Oklahoma vs 4 Michigan     2 USC vs 3 LSU

Final: 1 Oklahoma vs 2 USC Trojans

Outcome: After a marquee semifinal matchup, USC’s potent offense emerges victorious, eliminating 2003’s split national title.

2004 Semifinals: 1 USC vs 4 California     2 Oklahoma vs 3 Auburn

Final: 1 USC  vs 3 Auburn

Outcome: The undefeated Auburn Tigers earn the postseason opportunity they rightfully deserved, but controversy is raised over the exclusion of undefeated Utah.

2005 Semifinals: 1 USC vs 4 Ohio St.     2 Texas vs 3 Penn St.

Final: 1 USC vs 2 Texas

Outcome: Fans are rewarded as the playoff still produces the decade’s most memorable title game.

2006 Semifinals: 1 Ohio St. vs 4 LSU     2 Florids vs 3 Michigan

Final: 1 Ohio St. vs 2 Florida

Outcome: The Chris Leak-led Gators dominate the Buckeyes to give Urban Meyer his first national title.

2007 Semifinals: 1 Ohio St. vs 4 Georgia     2 LSU vs 3 Oklahoma

Final: 1 Ohio St. vs 2 LSU

Outcome: With only one one-loss team, the committee faces difficult decisions to round out the top four, but LSU ultimately emerges victorious.

2008 Semifinals: 1 Oklahoma vs 4 Alabama     2 Florida vs 3 Texas

Final: 1 Oklahoma vs 2 Florida

Outcome: Tebow leads Florida over Oklahoma for his second national title, but undefeated Utah is snubbed yet again.

2009 Semifinals: 1 Alabama vs 4 Cincinnati     2 Texas vs 3 TCU 

Final: 1 Alabama vs 2 Texas

Outcome: Alabama emerges victorious, and TCU becomes the first mid-major to qualify, but the committee struggles to decide between five undefeated squads and one-loss Florida.

2010 Semifinals: 1 Auburn vs 4 Wisconsin     2 Oregon vs 3 TCU

Final: 1 Auburn vs 3 TCU

Outcome: With one year’s experience behind them, TCU makes a run to the finals before falling to Cam Newton’s Auburn Tigers.

2011 Semifinals: 1 Alabama vs 4 Oregon     2 LSU vs 3 Oklahoma St.

Final: 1 Alabama  vs 2 LSU

Outcome: In their third encounter this season, Alabama knocks off LSU to become the SEC’s sixth straight national champ.

* Photos Courtesy of The Smoking Section, CBS Sports, Zimbio, Arizona Foothills Magazine

What do you think? Anything we missed? Any other What If Wednesday suggestions? Comment below and let the discussion begin.

Top 5 Tuesday: All-Time NBA Players

After an impressive 4-1 series win, LeBron James finally has the championship ring he has long coveted. The win is crucial to ultimately cementing James’ legacy as one of the NBA’s all-time greats, but for now, LeBron is on the outside looking in. As the debate rages on, THE SPORTS DISPENCER has scoured the records to compile five of sports history’s finest.

Honorable Mentions: Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Bill Russell, Tim Duncan

5. Larry Bird

A 12-time All-Star and three-time MVP, Boston Celtics star Larry Bird begins our countdown. Throughout his storied career, Bird found success with the help of his well-rounded playing style and high basketball IQ. With career averages of 24.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game, Bird helped lead Boston to three NBA titles, including a seven-game series win over the “Showtime” era Los Angeles Lakers. The series was one link in the legendary saga of the Bird-Magic rivalry. Largely cited as the cause for professional basketball’s 1980s boom, the pair’s heated encounters fueled both careers. Since his retirement, Larry has remained involved in the game he loves. Bird is the first and only person to garner MVP, Coach of the Year, and Executive of the Year honors.

4. Wilt Chamberlain

Perhaps history’s greatest scorer, Wilt Chamberlain posted mind-boggling numbers throughout his career. While sporting career averages of over 30 points and 20 assists per game, Chamberlain peaked in 1961-62 with a record-breaking average of 50.4 points. A quick jaunt throughout any NBA record book proves the extent of Wilt’s domination. Of the more than sixty 60-point outbursts in league history, Wilt accounted for 32, most notably a 100-point performance in March 1962. Chamberlain may lack Bill Russell’s 11 championships, but in 1960 against Russell’s Celtics, Wilt dominated the Boston big man on the boards en route to an NBA-record 55 rebounds, proving his place as early basketball’s premier player.

3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Behind his signature sky hook, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar soared to success throughout his illustrious 20-year career. At 7’2,” Abdul-Jabbar towered over opponents, but his finesse and footwork helped the Lakers great total an NBA record 38,387 points. On defense, Abdul-Jabbar was a fearsome shot blocker. Had the NBA tracked the stat in his early career, Kareem would likely be the statistical all-time leader, but even without it, he ranks third in history. Kareem’s size and skill translated to success on both ends of the court and ultimately earned Abdul-Jabbar an NBA-record six MVPs.

2. Magic Johnson

As the undisputed greatest point guard in basketball history, Magic found success at every level. He totaled 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 11.2 assists per game. Under his leadership, the “Showtime” Lakers took the ’80s by storm, winning five NBA titles over the course of the decade. The well-documented rivalry with Boston Celtics star Larry Bird ended in Magic’s favor. In four championship matchups between the two, Johnson won three of four, resulting in two NBA titles and a 1979 NCAA Tournament championship. A 12-time All-Star and three-time MVP, Magic career spanned three decades before it was tragically cut short by HIV in the early ’90s, but had Johnson continued to play, the NBA’s all-time list may have a different king.

1. Michael Jordan

Whether you call him “M.J.,” “Air Jordan,” or “His Airness” — Michael Jordan’s name is synonymous with greatness and the obvious choice to top this list. The Bulls star accumulated six championships, six Finals MVPs, five regular season MVPs, and 14 All-Star nods. Jordan totaled an NBA-record career average a 30.12 points per game en route to an NBA-record record ten scoring titles. With his signature drive, MJ proved unstoppable around the basket, and his success continued to spread on and off the court. From Space Jam to the “Flu Game,” from “The Dream Team” to “The Final Shot,” Michael Jordan idealized the NBA and earned a spot as history’s all-time great.

What do you think? Anything we missed? Comment below and let the discussion begin.

* Photos Courtesy of The Hoops Journal, WikipediaSport in Law

Euro 2012 Knockout Stage Predictions

This afternoon, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portuguese squad is set to take on the Czech Republic. The bracket is set, the group stage is long behind us, and THE SPORTS DISPENCER has assembled your guide to who will win and who goes home in this year’s knockout stage.

Quarterfinals

Czech Republic vs Portugal

After his two-goal outburst, Cristiano Ronaldo keeps it rolling against the outmatched Czech squad.

Spain vs France

The Spaniards exploit the French weaknesses Sweden exposed, landing themselves in the semis yet again.

Germany vs Greece

In the knockout stage’s most lopsided match, the Group of Death winners cruise to victory over the upstart Greeks.

England vs Italy 

In his second game back, Wayne Rooney helps the English edge past Italy in a highly contested quarterfinal matchup.

Semifinals

Portugal vs Spain        

In a battle of Iberian Peninsula powerhouses, the defending champs find a way to win, advancing all the way to Kiev.

Germany vs England

With the help of their world-class midfield, Mario Gomez shines in a close victory over a talented English squad.

Final

Spain vs Germany    

Joachim Low’s young but talented German squad advanced to the Euro 2008 Final but fell to Spain 1-0. Anchored by Real Madrid star Mesut Ozil, Germany knocks off Spain to stand alone atop of European soccer.             

What do you think? Anything we missed? Comment below and let the discussion begin.

* Photos Courtesy of Zimbio, BeckahmGalaxy.com

                                                                                   

What If Wednesday: Magic’s Retirement

In a surprise November 7, 1991 announcement, Lakers great Magic Johnson publicly announced his positive test for HIV and his intentions to retire. At the age of thirty-one, Magic ended his career with several quality seasons left in him, but what if he had opted to remain in the league? THE SPORTS DISPENCER analyzes what could have been in this week’s edition of What If.

Lakers Contend

After Magic’s exit, the Lakers suffered a severe decline. In 1990-91, Johnson’s final season, Los Angeles went 58-24, finished third in the West, and earned an NBA Finals birth, but after Magic’s surprise announcement, the Lakers fell to 43-39, finished eighth in the West, and met a quick first-round playoff exit. Los Angeles struggled to make the playoffs en route to their worst season since 1975.

Th Lakers sorely missed Magic on the court. His 19.4 points, 12.5 assists, and 7.0 rebounds were crucial to the team’s 1990-91 success, and without him, Los Angeles failed to produce offensively. Had Johnson continued, his mere presence would have revitalized the lineup and kept L.A. a contender for years to come.

Acceptance of HIV

Since his retirement, Magic has become an HIV/AIDS advocate. The Magic Johnson Foundation has “worked to develop programs and support community-based organizations that address the educational, health and social needs of ethnically diverse, urban communities.” While spreading awareness, Johnson has increased societal acceptance of those afflicted with the disease, but had Magic been able to continue in the NBA, he would have further shown the capabilities of those inflicted with HIV/AIDS.

Birth of a Rivalry

By the time of Johnson’s sudden announcement, the Magic-Bird era had come to a close, and with a 1991 NBA Finals victory over L.A., Michael Jordan established Chicago as the league’s best. The three soon united as part of the “Dream Team” for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. A rising star, Jordan had largely viewed the tournament as the final hoorah for the two NBA greats, and with their exits, the league was his.

Jordan went on to win six titles in the decade, cementing his status as the NBA’s all-time greatest. Had Magic remained in the league, however, that may have not been the case. In his final season, Johnson proved his ability to contend. With a few slight tweaks, Magic’s Lakers would find themselves poised to take on Jordan’s burgeoning Bulls, creating a rivalry for the ages.

* Photos Courtesy of LA TimesIndianLacrosse.com

What do you think? Anything we missed? Any other What If Wednesday suggestions? Comment below and let the discussion begin.

Top 5 Tuesday: All-Time NFL Running Backs

On Monday, longtime San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson signed a one-day contract to retire with the team that drafted him. His announcement marks the end of one the NFL’s most prolific running back careers, but did he do enough to crack the top five? As the debate rages on, THE SPORTS DISPENCER has scoured the records to compile five of sports history’s finest.

5. Marshall Faulk

With his rushing accolades alone, the Rams hall of famer is a near lock for this list, but his receiving prowess sets him apart. Long regarded as the NFL’s top receiving back, Faulk averaged an unheard of 64 receptions a year. He remains the only back to ever accumulate over 12,000 yards rushing and 6,000 yards receiving in a career. Faulk proved instrumental in the success of history’s most explosive offense, “The Greatest Show on Turf.” Under his leadership, the Rams blossomed. With the addition of two-time MVP Kurt Warner, the dynamic duo revitalized 1998’s 3-13 squad, culminating in a Super Bowl XXXIV victory.

4. Emmitt Smith

Statistically speaking, Emmitt Smith is NFL history’s most decorated back. In his 14-year career, Smith broke the NFL records for most rushing yards, rushing touchdowns,  and 100-yard rushing games. He remains one of two non-kickers to score more than 1,000 points in a career. With eleven straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons, Smith cemented himself as one of the ’90s top backs. In addition, his well-documented chemistry with quarterback Troy Aikman and wide receiver Michael Irvin put Dallas in the limelight. As “The Triplets” lit up the scoreboard, the Cowboys surged to three Super Bowl titles.

3. Jim Brown

In the pre-Super Bowl era, no back compares to the legendary Jim Brown. A star in Cleveland, Brown’s combination of size and speed dominated the field. In nine NFL seasons, Brown was an nine-time Pro Bowler while leading the league in rushing a record eight times. Without missing a single game, Brown gained notoriety for his punishing style of play. When describing the Cleveland back, Hall of Fame tight end John Mackey remarked, “He told me, ‘Make sure when anyone tackles you he remembers how much it hurts.’ He lived by that philosophy, and I always followed that advice.”

2. Walter Payton

On the field and off the field, Chicago Bears legend Walter Payton made a difference. In his illustrious career, Payton broke the NFL records for most career rushing yards, touchdowns, carries, all-purpose yards, yards from scrimmage, and many more. “Sweetness” rewrote the record books and was a member of the storied ’85 Bears team. Off the field, Payton’s impact resonated far beyond the game of football. Diagnosed with a rare, aggressive liver disease, Walter turned to the role of activist. In his final months, Payton spread national awareness for the need for organ transplants even though it was no longer a viable option for himself. Today, Payton is commemorated annually by the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, an honor bestowed by the NFL upon a player displaying excellence in accomplishing humanitarian goals.

1. Barry Sanders

Throughout NFL history, no man was harder to bring down than the elusive Barry Sanders. With a low center of gravity and legs like tree trunks, Sanders darted through defenses, averaging over 1,500 yards a season. A Pro Bowler in every season, Sanders single-handedly carried the Lions throughout the ’90s. This precisely is what separates Sanders from the rest of history’s greatest. All other running backs had at least one other reliable weapon to lean upon. Faulk had Warner. Emmitt had Aikman. Tomlinson had Sproles. Barry had himself. Opposing defenses knew the ball would land in his hands and strategized accordingly, but time and time again, Barry would do what Barry did best — break tackles, make plays, and run the football.

* Photos Courtesy of 6 Magazine, Emmitt SmithBarry Me Please

What do you think? Anything we missed? Who would you choose? Comment below and let the discussion begin.