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The ESPYs: Jon Hamm is mad funny as host

Welcome to the ESPYs! You know, that awards show that happens on a Wednesday on ESPN? Yeah, they give out awards to athletes who are like “Thanks, but I totally have an actual championship ring back at home.”

I’ve personally never felt the need to watch the awards show, or as host Jon Hamm calls it “the world’s largest gathering of people wearing sunglasses indoors,” but the idea of missing the Mad Men star hosting was too risky to pass up. Those of you who’ve seen Hamm guest on 30 Rock or make a cameo in Bridesmaids knows that the man with immeasurable beauty can crack a joke or two, and tonight’s awards were no different. Showing no mercy, Hamm poked fun at Dwight Howard, the city of Detroit, and swimmer Ryan Lochte. Some examples of his killer lines: “Honestly, I’ve always been a little wary of the BCS system. I just feel like you can’t completely trust something just because a computer says it.” and “Manti Te’o — fake internet girlfriend or a real girlfriend who goes to Notre Dame? Pretty much the same amount of sex.” Boom. (Check out Hamm’s full monologue.)

We were off to a good start, and thankfully, the show very rarely lost its steam, thanks to some on-point sketches shown in between the awards. Here are the top 10 things that I took away from it:

NCAA to stop putting name, logo on EA video game

Hang on to NCAA Football 2014, all you video game fans. It will be a collector’s edition.

The NCAA said Wednesday it will bar Electronic Arts Inc. from using its logo and name beginning next year. The move ends a lucrative, eight-year business deal with the gaming industry giant and it comes as the NCAA fights a high-profile lawsuit that says the governing body owes billions of dollars to former players for allowing their likenesses to be used for free.

The NCAA said it won’t seek a new contract with EA Sports, which manufactures the popular game, beyond the current one that expires in June 2014. However, that won’t stop EA Sports from producing a college football video game depicting powerhouse schools such as Alabama, Ohio State and Oregon, and the Redwood City, Calif.-based company made that clear.

“EA Sports will continue to develop and publish college football games, but we will no longer include the NCAA names and marks,” said Andrew Wilson, executive vice president. “Our relationship with the Collegiate Licensing Co. is strong and we are already working on a new game for next generation consoles which will launch next year and feature the college teams, conferences and all the innovation fans expect from EA Sports.”

Baseball's Tim McCarver goes deep into Metallica's 'Enter Sandman'

Baseball relief pitchers are like professional wrestlers in that they have great entrance music to announce their presence with authority when they enter a close game in the late innings. And no closer is more associated with his music than the Sandman, New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera, who’s been jogging in from the bullpen to the tune of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” for most of his illustrious career. At last night’s All-Star game in New York, the 43-year-old got the call one last time in his final midsummer classic before his planned retirement. The music blared, the players paid tribute, the fans stood, Rivera mozied onto the mound and tipped his hat. And then… something happened.

Just as Yankees fans finished wiping tears from their eyes (and even as Mets and Red Sox fans applauded in grudging appreciation), Fox TV analyst Tim McCarver — who’s also retiring after this season — dug deep into the song’s lyrics. Perhaps McCarver is a Metallica fan from way-back. Perhaps some Fox Sports intern handed McCarver the lyrics to share with MLB’s mature television audience (mean age: 126). Or perhaps this is just Tim McCarver being the Master of the Universe that he’s always known himself to be. “How ’bout the chorus to “Enter Sandman’…,” McCarver began, as a million Gen-Xers picked up their smartphones in unison. McCarver’s recital of the lyrics is a brilliant blend of professorial condescension and beat poetry that I doubt James Hetfield and Co. ever imagined, even in their darkest nightmare. Click below for audio only, or click here for video of both Rivera’s entrance and McCarver’s… tribute? READ FULL STORY

Read along: 'ESPN The Magazine' Body Issue edition!

Even if you’re not into sports, odds are you’d happily sit down with ESPN The Magazine‘s annual Body Issue. You might flip to the features, which include pieces on how a female athlete’s breasts can be an obstacle (p. 112) and why the 1,700-pound bucking bull Bushwacker “may just have the baddest body in all of sports” (p. 129). But you’re most likely headed straight to the nude photo spreads, which begin on page 51. (You’re welcome.) So you’re not “reading” alone, we’ll read along with you. READ FULL STORY

Jon Snow knows hockey, too! -- VIDEO

Game of Thrones star Kit Harington was among the celebs who attended last night’s Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins. His Leafs lost, but on the upside, he did make the JumboTron. Watch a clip below. We’d give his performance a solid B here (nice to see him smiling). READ FULL STORY

'Splash' winner is [spoiler, on the off chance you care!]

As extreme skier Rory Bushfield (pictured, with Baywatch‘s Nicole Eggert) said, “I don’t think any skier would be impressed if I got beat by a couple of actors.” So who, in the hilarious words of Joey Lawrence’s cohost Charissa Thompson, was crowned “the greatest celebrity diver of all-time in our first-ever Splash grand finale?” READ FULL STORY

Forbes names Tim Tebow America's Most Influential Athlete... proving that NFL teams don't read Forbes

A mathematical formula is only useful if it confirms what the observer knows to be empirically true, like two plus two is four. Applying that logic to something more complex, if I told you that I had a system that could quantify and rank the biggest movie stars of all time, you would be immediately skeptical if my calculations insisted the top 3 were Emilio Estevez, Burt Reynolds, and George Raft. All three actors were stars, of course, but clearly, my movie-star algorithm has a few kinks.

So when Forbes magazine announced that Tim Tebow is the Most Influential Athlete in America, I immediately questioned the whole premise. After all, even though Tebow achieved folk-hero status as quarterback of the Florida Gators and the Denver Broncos, he was recently cut by the the New York Jets after a humiliating season sitting on the bench of a losing team. No other NFL team has picked him up since. Is it really conceivable that an athlete who can’t even persuade an NFL team to give him a chance is sport’s most influential figure?

Yet there he is, ranked in front of the future Hall of Famer (and Saturday Night Live all-star) who displaced him in Denver, Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter, and LeBron James. What gives? Where are the athletes who I actually see on TV commercials, like Phil Mickelson, the Williams sisters, or Danica Patrick? Did the cool kids decide that “Influential” really meant “Overhyped” without telling me?

Click below for the Forbes Top 10 list, full of NFL QBs and Olympic stars basking in the glow of London. READ FULL STORY

Matthew Perry puckers up for the LA Kings' Kiss Cam -- VIDEO

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are in full swing, and yesterday’s Game 3 between the LA Kings and St. Louis Blues brought out the stars, including Taylor Kitsch, Eric Stonestreet, and Matthew Perry. Only one of them, however, got caught on the Kiss Cam. See who Perry smooches in the video below. We don’t want to spoil it for you. READ FULL STORY

Jason Collins on 'Good Morning America': 'I think the country is ready for supporting an openly gay basketball player' -- VIDEO

Jason Collins became the first openly gay pro athlete in a major U.S. team sport yesterday after his personal revelation in a Sports Illustrated cover story. Today, Good Morning America snagged an interview with Collins to discuss his decision and his amazing last 24 hours. ”[You] just try to live an honest, genuine life and the next thing you know you have the president calling you,” said Collins, who spoke to President Obama after his announcement. ”He was incredibly supportive and he was proud of me and said that this not only affected my life but others going forward.”

When George Stephanopoulos mentioned tennis legend Martina Navratilova, Collins said he hoped he could be someone’s role model in the same way that she had been for him. Stephanopoulos asked Collins what he would say to a 12-year-old boy practicing basketball now, who happens to be gay. ”It doesn’t matter that you’re gay,” Collins said. ”But a key thing is that it’s about basketball. It’s about working hard. It’s about sacrificing for your team. It’s all about dedication and that’s what he should focus on.”

Collins added, ”But when you finally get to that point of acceptance, there’s nothing more beautiful than just allowing yourself to really be happy and be comfortable in your own skin.”

Click below for a video clip:

NBA player Jason Collins comes out: 5 powerful quotes from his 'Sports Illustrated' article

NBA center Jason Collins authored a piece for Sports Illustrated today that began with three very powerful sentences: ”I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.” Many have noted that this makes Collins the first openly gay male major American professional sports player and Collins explained that this is one of the reasons he felt it was time to speak. Collins wrote eloquently about his journey through the NBA, as well as his journey from keeping a big secret about himself to coming out and feeling comfortable in his own skin. The piece is incredibly honest and raw and Collins’ bravery has been praised all over the Internet this morning. Bill Clinton tweeted ”I’m proud to call Jason Collins a friend,”  the NBA Commissioner David Stern issued a statement ending, ”We are proud [Collins] has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue,” and Jason Collins’ Twitter following has skyrocketed from about 4,000 to over 18,000 and growing.

However, along with praise there have been a number of ugly comments as well. The Sports Illustrated comments section is littered with posts of Collins’ ”sins, ”deviance,” and other homophobia. Although now, it looks like comments have been shut off on the story. In his writing, Collins joked ”… if I’m up against an intolerant player, I’ll set a pretty hard pick on him. And then move on.”

The whole editorial is definitely worth a read (click over to SI here), here are five particularly powerful quotes: READ FULL STORY

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