Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe slips from nation’s most popular athlete to No. 3


What does it say about American sports fans that Kobe Bryant slipped out of the top spot in a poll of America’s favorite athletes and Derek Jeter replaced him on top of the list?

That’s what happened in the annual Harris Poll of the most famous athletes in America (via the Orange County Register).

What maybe the most amazing thing is that Kobe is tied at No. 3 with Michael Jordan. (Payton Manning is No. 2.) MJ is in the top 10 nearly a decade after he walked away from the game (more than a decade after he left the Bulls, for those of us still trying to erase the Wizards years from our minds). His staying power as a sports celebrity — and powerful marketing tool — is really astonishing.

The only other NBA player on the list was newly minted MVP Derrick Rose, who came in at No. 9 in what was his first year in the poll.

LeBron James had been No. 6 last year but fell out of the poll this year as he fell out of favor with many Americans.

According to the poll, Jordan is pushed into the top 10 by the “EchoBoom” crowd (ages 18-34) who have him as their overall favorite. Those were the people coming of age after the prime of Jordan’s career and know him more as the legend. For those of us looking for someone to blame for Jeter being on top of the list, it is the Baby Boomers (ages 46-65) as they ranked him as their favorite star.

Report: Matt Barnes texted friend that he beat up Derek Fisher, spat in wife’s face

Derek Fisher, Matt Barnes, Russell Westbrook
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Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes reportedly attacked Knicks coach Derek Fisher for dating his estranged wife, Gloria Govan.

New details are emerging, and they cast Barnes in an even worse light.

Ian Mohr of the New York Post:

Sources told The Post that Barnes became incensed when his 6-year-old twin sons, Carter and Isaiah, called to tell him that Fisher was at the house.

Following the dust-up, Barnes, 35, texted a pal that he had not only assaulted Fisher, 41, but also took revenge on Govan, one source said.

“I kicked his ass from the back yard to the front room, and spit in her face,” the text read, according to the source.

If this becomes a criminal case, Barnes’ text could incriminate him.

In the court of public opinion, the presence of Barnes’ children and his spitting in his wife’s face make this even more disturbing.

Unfortunately, not everyone views it that way. Too many are laughing off the incident.

Albert Burneko of Deadspin had the best take I’ve seen on this situation:

When an accused domestic abuser shows up uninvited at a family party to—as a source put it to the New York Post—“beat the shit” out of someone for the offense of dating his ex, that is not a wacky character up to zany shenanigans. It is not reality TV melodrama or a cartoon or celebrities being silly. It is the behavior of a dangerous misogynist lunatic. It is an act of violent aggression. It is a man forcefully asserting personal property rights over a woman’s home, body, and life. It differs from what Ray Rice did in that elevator by degree, not by kind, and not by all that much.

I suggest reading it in full.