LeBron James and the champion Heat are rolling impressively through the NBA playoffs, but it was the Dolphins dominating local conversation this week — the Dolphins, who once owned the Miami sports market and are acting like they mean to win it back.
I cannot recall the Dolphins ever having a busier offseason week.
And it wasn’t just the focal point, the NFL Draft, although Miami was the talk of the first round in boldly trading up from 12th to third to select Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan to lead a three-day bounty. Jordan is the highest-drafted defender in franchise history. He also is the first player ever drafted by the Dolphins who at 17 sustained burns on 40 percent of his body in an explosion when some friends were siphoning gas from one car to another in a buddy’s garage.
Beyond the draft, the Dolphins also traded receiver Davone Bess, continued talks to acquire Chiefs tackle Branden Albert, and officially introduced redesigned new uniforms.
Even owner Stephen Ross was making news, saying on 790 The Ticket that former coach Tony Sparano “damaged the whole organization” because “he could never put it behind him” after the team had tried and failed to hire Jim Harbaugh. (Yes, how dare Sparano be upset because his own club publicly embarrassed him!)
Looming over everything for Ross and the Dolphins right now is the May 14 referendum vote on stadium-improvement funds. Proponents launched a major ad campaign this week, and Ross conducted a media tour of the stadium to point out its shortcomings and dilapidation.
I thought Ross arranging for those dramatically collapsing beams was a particularly well-timed touch. I also give him credit for the symbolism of conducting the driving tour in Jed Clampett’s rattletrap truck.
• Hurricanes point guard Shane Larkin, whose father already said his son would enter the NBA Draft, will hold a Sunday news conference to announce what is already known. Beside him, coach Jim Larrañaga will be forcing a smile even though the decision means Jim’s Sweet 16 team will return zero starters.
• Two big names not taken in the NFL Draft’s first round, linebacker Manti Te’o and quarterback Geno Smith, finally were drafted by the Chargers and Jets, respectively. We can presume that Te’o’s imaginary girlfriend was a lot happier than Mark Sanchez.
• Bulls fan Matthew Thompson, 25, is suing Derrick Rose, saying Rose missing the season with an injury has caused him mental breakdowns and emotional distress leading to obesity issues. I would think Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau might have a better claim on all that.
• The Knicks and Spurs can join the Heat in winning first-round series with sweeps Sunday, but the NBA’s big news of week was Russell Westbrook’s knee surgery that could shelve the Thunder star the rest of the playoffs. That sounded like good news for Miami, but the Heat would rather face OKC than San Antonio in the finals, so be careful what you wish for.
• Bucks problem against the Heat is talent disparity, but Milwaukee does lead the series in one category: Odd names. Miami has no answer for Ekpe Udoh, Ersan Ilyasova, Ish Smith or Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.
• Budweiser delivered 1,100 24-bottle cases of Bud Light to Shane Battier’s house for a YouTube ad after the Heat player had said he drank a Bud Light after every win in the 27-game win streak this season. Battier is questionable for Sunday’s game after drinking 26,400 bottles of beer.
• The Marlins were snowed out in Minnesota then played a doubleheader the next day with temperatures in the 30s, refuting the notion that this team’s bats couldn’t possibly get any colder.
• Ricky Nolasco and his agent were fuming because he was made to pitch the second game of that doubleheader after being scheduled for the first. C’mon, Rick! Be a team player and just fume about the lack of run support like every other Marlins pitcher.
• The Marlins are in the midst of a seven-game homestand against the Cubs and Mets, and attendance is such that the club is using inventive discounts and giveaways to all but beg fans to come. My favorite is the “2 for 1” promotion: If you buy two tickets, you get to pitch one inning of relief or have one at-bat.
• The BCS announced that its long-awaited four-team football playoffs beginning after the 2014 season would be called: “College Football Playoff.” Can only imagine how many focus groups and marketing geniuses it took to come up with a name so catchy.
• Thank goodness the College Football Playoff will at long last end all argument and debate, other than the annual incredulous, outraged whining by the fifth-ranked team.
• Championship Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino kept a promise to his team by getting a tattoo, an “L” on his shoulder. Previously, Pitino’s only tattoo was a small butterfly just above his rear end.
• Miami Beach Polo World Cup ends Sunday, horses galloping right on the sands of South Beach. I’d be more impressed if they’d move the event another 50 yards east and make it water polo.
• Parting thought: A bowler named Joe Scarborough rolled the first 900 series in PBA history, three perfect games in a row. “Big deal! We rolled 17 perfect games in a row,” said the ’72 Dolphins.
Visit Greg’s Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily at MiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote.