Hot Reads: Jan. 19, 2010

We’re a little delayed this week thanks to last night’s game between St. Joe’s and Towson (read more below), but here we are with this week’s edition of Hot Reads. As we celebrate Martin Luther King Day (Doc Rivers has a nice quote at the Boston Globe) and rue the return of classes, the sporting world is gearing up for what promises to be a scintillating week of Conference Championship games after a decidedly underwhelming Divisional round.

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In the AFC, the Colts and Jets will do battle for the Lamar Hunt Trophy in a tantalizing rematch of Super Bowl III. The game is rife with story lines, starting with the Colts’ Week 16 resting of starters against the Jets to allow them to crawl back into the playoff picture, despite the somewhat misguided view of CBS analyst Dan Dierdorf. The NFC Title game is a matchup of two teams in the Vikings and Saints who have never lifted the Lombardi Trophy, and pits Southern posterboy Brett Favre against the team he cheered on a kid growing up in Mississippi.

The other main headline-grabber in the last week has been Mark McGwire, whose first encounter with fans and media in St. Louis this weekend went well due in large part to the machinations of former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer. I guess the difference between spinning stories about Scooter Libby and The Scooter Phil Rizzuto isn’t that big of a leap.

Elsewhere, the tragic and untimely death of Gaines Adams is recalled by the Chicago Tribune, while the New York Times looks at the efforts of one of hockey’s meanest men on the ice, Georges Laraque, in trying to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

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On the malcontent front, we have Stephon Marbury signing on to play basketball in China (he ought to be a real hit over there; I wonder how well selfishness translates into Mandarin). Staying across the pond for one of those stories that really doesn’t translate well into our American sports consciousness, a fascinating article on how Sir Alex Ferguson, an avowed socialist and man of the people, should step down as the manager of Manchester United as a way to protest the club’s American owners, the Glazer family, and their poor management of the club. I guess that would make Joe Torre an arch-capitalist, Bill Belichick a heck of a dictator, and Noam Chomsky a big fan of the NBA.

To end on a more sentimental note, there a few nice profiles I’ve stumbled on this week. Stan Kroenke, one of the underrated figures in American, and soon to be global sports, is profiled by the New York Times, as is Kevin Boyle, Jr., the most eclectic and comedic member of the St. Partick’s high school basketball powerhouse in Elizabeth, NJ. The Times also turns its attention to Le Moyne college basketball in the aftermath of its upset of Syracuse in the preseason, and a nice story comes out of Los Angeles in which two rival high schools get together to help a fallen friend.

-Matthew De George ’10

Hot Reads is a new weekly feature compiled by The Hawk sports staff that packages the best offerings from the world of sports into a tidy, 500-word package. It will appear every Monday.

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