It is very rare that I have the opportunity to mix and match different sports but when you get numerous ideas, it's nice to blend them together to hopefully create future discussion so they pick-up steam and eventually happen.
Here are my Top 10 things that I'd like to see happen.
1) If Wayne Gretzky's No. 99 jersey is retired by all NHL teams, the No.9 worn by Gordie Howe should be as well. If it weren't for "Mr. Hockey" there wouldn't be "The Great One." Although Gretzky has shattered many of Howe's scoring records, there are a few that even Wayne would admit are untouchable. Gretzky wasn't a 23-time NHL All-Star because he played in the league 20 years. Howe has played in the most NHL games with 1,767, is the oldest player to play in an NHL game at 52 and the only player to play in the NHL after age 50. Even Gretzky wouldn't have a problem with Howe's number being universally retired because it's his idol. Howe's No.9 jersey is retired by the Detroit Red Wings, Hartford Whalers, and the AHL's Houston Aeros, who have the same name of the once WHA's franchise. It is also kept out of circulation by the Carolina Hurricanes, who relocated from Hartford.
2) I'm still waiting to see when the Detroit Tigers are finally going to retire former players Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker's numbers. Trammell played 20 years with Detroit while Whitaker performed in 19 seasons. These two are known as the longest running "double play" combination in major league history. My advice to Tigers Owner Mike Illitch, you handle everything else with class, it's about time for the No. 3 and No. 1 become visual reminders that these two guys deserved to be recognized with Ty Cobb, Al Kaline and company. ASAP!
3) If the greater New York/New Jersey area can land the Super Bowl, then if the Nets want to make their own headlines, I wouldn't be surprised if new owner Mikhail Prokhorov makes a serious run at LA Lakers Coach Phil Jackson. If Jerry Buss wants to cut Jackson's $12 million salary per year, Prokhorov seems like the type of guy who would give Jackson $24 million. This Russian billionaire figures that 10 NBA titles is worth a lot of coin especially with a forthcoming move to Brooklyn. Since Prokhorov has a bank account estimated at an excess of $13 billion, this would be a great way to make a splash in the NBA and let owners realize this franchise is headed in the right direction plus it will get an excellent player with the No.3 overall pick in this years draft.
4) Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki continue his career in another city. The 7-0, 245 pounder deserves a chance to win a championship ring somewhere else. I'm sick and tired of his owner Mark Cuban for disrespecting other franchises for ugly defensive play that wins titles. Cuban has taken jabs at the Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs, whom have combined to win seven titles. Cuban has no titles but has spent a lot of money in fines because he can't keep his mouth shut when it comes to officiating and now tampering with upcoming Cleveland Cavaliers free agent LeBron James.
5) Even though ABC/ESPN broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy could get some offers because of the numerous NBA vacancies, I'd still like to see him remain behind the microphone. Van Gundy, Mark Jackson and Mike Breen do an outstanding job together. But it's inevitable that Jackson will one day become an NBA head coach because he his so knowledgeable. My lasting image of Van Gundy is when the his New York Knicks faced the Miami Heat, there was a fight and he was on the bottom of the pile in the middle of the melee.
6) Los Angeles Dodgers 82-year old broadcasting legend Vin Scully still calling games into his 90's and actually doing games nationally. There is no reason why Fox or TBS couldn't use him during the post-season. These great broadcasters are passing before our eyes especially with the recent death of Tigers legend, Uncle Ernie Harwell.
7) Please ESPN, get the NHL back. I'd be pleased to see the games on ESPN 2. You've have every other major sport, why not retain this property? I'd still like to know how many people see Versus. Having Gary Thorne, Steve Levy, Barry Melrose and Matthew Barnaby would be a great lineup of on air talent for the fans. Since TNT and ESPN share NBA rights, there is no reason why ESPN and Versus can't work together.
8) The Las Vegas and Kansas City markets get NHL teams so the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets can move to the Eastern Conference. These teams travel has to be brutal continuously changing time zones. Las Vegas would be a natural rival for Phoenix and Los Angeles, while Kansas City and St. Louis would be a great Missouri match up.
9) President Barack Obama to focus on the economy and not picking NCAA basketball tournament brackets or lobbying for James to sign with the Chicago Bulls. If he doesn't make strides with this economy by the end of his term in office, then his home state of Illinois may be the only place that votes for him during the next election.
10) The next NBA labor agreement should have a two-year and out rule. I'm tired of all of these college players going to school for one year then jumping into the pros. It should be either two years or just allow the players to join the league out of high school. This one and done rule is stupid. Eliminating this one and done rule could minimize recruiting problems like we saw at USC when OJ Mayo and Memphis' Derrick Rose left their schools under NCAA investigations due to illegal payoffs and scandals.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at email@example.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.
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