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Jason Collins makes NBA debut with Brooklyn Nets, Twitter responds

The moment Jason Collins took the court for the Brooklyn Nets on Feb. 23, he officially became the first openly gay player in the NBA. At the Staples Center in L.A., Collins helped his team achieve a six-point victory over the Lakers. More importantly, the game served as Collins’ official return to the NBA since coming out. Watch the historic moment below:

And as can be expected in today’s Twitter-happy world, celebs and others took to social media to talk about the moment. We’ve rounded up some of the best tweets about Collins’s big day:

Olympics Closing Ceremony recap: The best moments and the terrifying, terrifying, terrifying bear

Perhaps someday we will live in a world where the Olympics are always happening all of the time. Alas, we currently inhabit a cruel reality where the Olympics take place for a mere fortnight every couple years. And so last night we said good night to the Olympics in Sochi. Good night, teenaged figure skaters! Good night, jokes about curling followed by the epiphany that curling is pretty cool! Good night, insipid NBC commentary and insipid snark about the insipid NBC commentary! Good night, awkward cutaways to Putin!

The Closing Ceremony of Sochi 2014 took viewers on a journey through Russian culture. Who better to guide us through the festivities than Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, Sunday Night Football commentators and world-renowned Tolstoy scholars? READ FULL STORY

Olympics recap: Mikaela Shiffrin makes history with only one ski, Viktor Ahn is the speediest speed skater of them all

Welcome, welcome to an Olympic night filled with speed skating, a little slalom — say that three times fast — and more speed skating. Tonight’s Olympics coverage was all about the final women’s alpine skiing event, and more speed-skating crashes than you could possibly handle. Add in a little more Shani Davis disappointment, and that’s about it!

First things first, our Olympic Stud of the Day honor shall be handed to America’s own Mikaela Shiffrin who became the youngest slalom gold medalist at the age of 18. Not only that, but for a moment in her second run, she almost fell over, saving herself by completing her turn on one ski! Then, she was able to recover and beat out one of her skiing idols by a full half-second. Yep, I think it’s safe to say that a one-ski maneuver to get gold deserves a little something special. Now, we’re off to the races!

Short Track Men’s 500-meter: The first thing I learned tonight was how incredibly stressful it is to watch short track races. With less than a minute to find your way to the front of the pack, people fall … a lot. In the quarterfinals alone, we witnessed multiple falls.

There’s the classic collision:













The fall-turned-yoga-pose:













Or the no-one-to-blame-but-yourself crash:













In fact, after America’s J.R. Celski fell on his own in the race (but then got up and finished), the judges decided an earlier fall in the race was the result of a Korean skater, and therefore, said Korean was disqualified so that Celski made it through to the semis. Talk about drama!

And while we’re talking about Celski, did you guys hear that he once made a documentary featuring Macklemore and Ryan Lewis? So he just earned like 1,000 cool points, right? And when you consider that he also holds the world record in this race, he only gets cooler. However, all that coolness didn’t help him in the semis, where he was eliminated in what Apolo Ohno described as “40 seconds of pure mayhem, carnage, and chaos.”

But there was one skater who seemed to laugh in the face of chaos, and his hair looked like this:

Ahn

Enter Russian skater (and former Korean skater) Viktor Ahn. Ahn took hold three gold medals in the Torino games and now had the opportunity to be the first man to win gold in all four speed skating events (not in the same games). In the finals, Ahn started out in last. Then, before I could blink, one skater fell, and suddenly Ahn made his move all the way to first to win gold! And then he proved that his hair wasn’t the only awesome thing about him when he celebrated like this:













Alpine Skiing Women’s Slalom: Elsewhere in Sochi, all the pressure seemed to be on American skier Mikaela Shiffrin. The reigning world champion, Shiffrin was going up against her skiing idol, Austrian Marlies Schild, in a very difficult slalom course. But the 18-year-old prodigy was able to execute a solid first run down the mountain, something that made her adorable parents very happy. As the commentators put it after Shiffrin’s first run, “Dad’s pumped; mom’s relieved.”

However, run two proved to be more challenging for skiers with the soft conditions of the course. American skier Resi Stiegler fell during her second run, and she wasn’t alone. Marlies Schild’s sister Bernadette also went down. Proof:

























According to our commentator, Bernadette suffered from “over-skiing.” I hate when that happens, don’t you?

With only one skier left to complete her second run (Shiffrin), Marlies Schild was sitting pretty in first place. If she won, she would be the oldest competitor to take home gold in the event. And if her admirer Shiffrin won, she’d be the youngest. Here’s how they were feeling about those fun facts:

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Seconds into Shiffrin’s run, the skier started to go a little too fast, even getting airborne at one point. Luckily, Shiffrin only needed one ski to complete a turn, and her recovery from that heart-stopping moment would earn her the gold.













As she put it in a post race interview, “Start grinding out that gold guys, I’m coming.”

(Also, what is Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and how does that relate to this event?)

Short Track Women’s 1000-meter: Back to the blades, it was time for the semi-finals, and once again, the falls kept coming. America’s Jessica Smith made it through after the skater in front of her fell of her own accord.













And after another two bit the dust (and were both penalized), it was time for the finals! Sadly, Jessica Smith took fourth as Korea’s Park Seung-Hi skated her way to gold.













Speed Skating Men’s Team Pursuit: Oh hey, Shani Davis! Time for a little redemption? No? Okay, that’s cool. Teaming up with Brian Hansen and Jonathan Kuck, Davis took the ice for the team pursuit. Sadly, the trio lost to Canada in the quarterfinals. Let’s just say that synchronicity was not their strong suit. Although Davis was the only one without goggles on, so at least he looked cool. Meanwhile, we saw that The Netherlands defeated France (by a big margin), before coverage ended. Who will win gold is nothing if not a mystery waiting to be solved. Moving on …

Short Track Men’s 5000-meter: Jumping straight into a final, we saw the return of J.R. Celski and Viktor Ahn, who both hit the ice with their teammates in what would become my surprise favorite event of the night. I’m still not entirely sure how it works, but I love how these teammates literally push one another to help move the relay along. And the number of laps, which I thought would surely bore me, only had me more intrigued. Who was going to give out? Surely they had to be tired, right? But I was wrong! This was one race that was fought until the final moments.

Let me back up: After an early wipeout, this race quickly became all about Russia and the U.S. Even though the U.S. team was ranked number one after the World Cup, Russia was in the lead for much of the race. But with only 15 laps left to go, we passed them! Wait! With only 7 laps to go, Ahn passed us back, and now Russia was in the lead! In the final laps, it was back to Celski versus Ahn as they anchored their teams. And finally, Russia came away with the win. But if I do say so, the event was the real winner, because it quite literally stole my heart. I mean, watch how they push their teammates along:













Fun, right?

And finally, I will leave you with my Bob Costas snarky comment of the night: “Can you take a selfie on a flip phone? I’m just a decade or two behind the technological curve. We’re just about finished with primetime tonight. Hope you all enjoyed it on those newfangled color TVs.” Oh Bob, you kill me.

Olympics Recap: The brilliant wipeouts of Snowboard Cross. Plus: A touch of Seacrest!

NBC’s primetime Tuesday coverage of the Olympics was filled with chilly thrilling spills, as crazy weather bedeviled crazier sports. The women competing in the Alpine Giant Slalom faced rough terrain, while the men competing in Snowboard Cross faced rough terrain and the fact that Snowboard Cross is basically a demolition derby without any safety protocols. Summer Olympians Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams crossed over into a whole new weather pattern, competing in the Women’s Bobsled (or “Bobsleigh,” as they call it in Westeros.)

That all led up to the exciting debut of the Ski Halfpipe…but that all led up to the reappearance of Ryan Seacrest, who was cryogenically unfrozen out of the refrigerator Bob Costas keeps under his desk and allowed to participate in NBC’s Olympics coverage due to contractual obligations his obvious skills as a sports-minded person who knows all about those sporty sports.

Let’s take a look at all the latest excitement from Sochi: READ FULL STORY

Olympian Nick Goepper holds contest to date him. Our endorsement...

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Ski slopestyle Olympic bronze medalist Nick Goepper is currently holding a contest on social media to win a date with him. Because his two biggest fans at EW.com, Mandi Bierly and Samantha Highfill, have officially bowed out — one of us is twice his age, both of us need someone old enough to drink* — we’ve decided the least we could do is offer the 19-year-old Indiana native some professional insight into which lucky lady deserves a sleigh ride with him. (Yes, that’s one of the options he’s mentioned.) Of what we’ve seen — we could only call this “work” for so long — here are the top #iwanttodatenick contenders.  READ FULL STORY

Olympics recap, Day 5: Shaun White's bum run, Russia's record-breaking pairs skate, and Sochi's biggest luger

In retrospect, the haircut might have been a bad idea.

Tonight’s biggest Sochi story: The sad saga of two-time Olympic halfpipe champion Shaun White, which NBC is hoping fervently you hadn’t heard about before primetime. The Flying Tomato came to Russia hoping to add another gold medal to his collection — but will leave instead with a disappointing fourth-place finish. Was White’s downfall telegraphed when he sheared off his glorious, Sampson-esque locks? Could a subpar halfpipe course — riddled with bumps and slushy patches — be to blame? Was snowboard’s elder statesman simply no match for a younger, dashing Swiss-Russian armed with an awesome nickname (I-Pod), a hashtag-inspired signature move (the “YOLO Flip”), and his own striking head of hair?

The world may never know. In the end, all that matters is that White had a killer run in the event’s qualifying round — scoring a spectacular 95.75 — but failed to impress in the finals, handing the victory to 25-year-old Orlando Bloom lookalike Iouri Podladtchikov. The Swiss boarder’s winning run scored a 94.75; if White had flipped and landed as well as he did earlier in the day, he’d have gotten that threepeat. But even if you’re a White fan, it’s tough to grumble about I-Pod’s triumph. Just look how ecstatic he was to snag the gold!

READ FULL STORY

Olympics Recap: Jamie Anderson wins big. Plus: The many faces of Gracie Gold

NBC’s primetime coverage of the Olympics on Sunday was all about the ladies. Jamie Anderson tore up the inaugural Olympic Snowboard Slopestyle competition. Gracie Gold took to the ice and gave a commanding performance…although not as commanding as Julia Lipnitskaia, the Russian skating superstar. Presumably both young ladies feel nothing but deep respect for each other as opponents, but let’s just assume for that they are the estrogenized figure-skating reincarnation of Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago, and this is all building up to an epic showdown in the individual competition. (Miley Cyrus will fill the James Brown role with a performance of “Party in the USA.”)

2014′s official will-they-or-won’t-they couple Meryl Davis and Charlie White performed a lovely ice dance, although now there are allegations about score-fixing, because we all know that ice-dancing is just a front for the mafia. (Which mafia? Oh, I dunno, maybe all of them.) Oh, and NBC sent Mary Carrillo to Siberia, presumably hoping she would just get the hint already. Mary discovered a whole network of ice caverns, containing a veritable ice king. What did this have to do with sports? Nothing. Everything.

Most Endearing Disappointed Reaction
Teenaged snowboarder Ty Walker couldn’t make the cut for slopestyle. Here’s how much that bothers her:

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“Whaddaya gonna do?” she seems to be saying. “I’m 16, and I’m an Olympian snowboarder. I’m already cooler than like almost everyone who’s ever lived. I guess I’ll come back in four years and win then? Just think: In four years, you’ll feel really old, and I’ll be 20!”

READ FULL STORY

Socialympics: Olympic skier Nick Goepper's bathtub photo takes gold (#nude)

In our ongoing coverage of the Sochi Socialympics, the U.S. athletes continue to deliver. Here’s a look at the medalists for Feb. 2 and Feb. 3. READ FULL STORY

Super Bowl 2014: Best and Worst Commercials

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This was not the best Super Bowl for commercials (or football)! You know it’s an off year when two of the most memorable spots involve Greek yogurt. That’s just a rather bleak landscape in general, “live culture” notwithstanding. Meanwhile, my favorite healthy snacks Doritos and M&Ms, which usually bring it hard for the Super Bowl, barely registered. Below, 2014′s Best and Worst ads: READ FULL STORY

Super Bowl chill: Will fans stay until the bitter end?

You can practically hear the collective sighs of relief from NFL headquarters on Park Avenue as the weather forecast for Sunday’s Super Bowl is relatively balmy compared to the bitter polar vortex that has consumed New York and New Jersey for much of January. The first outdoor cold-weather-city Super Bowl has always been planned under a worst-case scenario that included snow, howling wind gusts, and freezing temperatures. Now the National Weather Service reports that the game-time temperature should be in the mid-40s with modest winds and only a 20-30 percent chance of precipitation, before slipping into the 30s and possibly flirting with the freezing mark at night. That’s typical playoff football weather in places like Chicago and Green Bay, but unprecedented for the Super Bowl, which is typically held indoors or in a more temperate locale, like Florida or Arizona. Still, the NFL has to feel like it dodged a snowball that the major storyline for its marquis event won’t be the mercury in MetLife Stadium’s thermometers. READ FULL STORY

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