I know most sports fans across America are football-focused right now, with Sunday’s AFC and NFC Championship Games determining which two teams will get to travel to frigid New Jersey and play in the Super Brrr.
Bear in mind, though, down here in Miami we barely remember what getting this deep in the playoffs even means, considering the Dolphins last were in the AFC title game before the NFL started using Roman numerals, because Rome hadn’t been invented yet. (Actually it was 1992. It just seems that long ago.)
That’s why basketball and the Heat need to be our main topic here, especially after probably the most eventful regular-season week in franchise history. Let’s take it in approximate chronology:
Dwyane Wade celebrated his birthday early in understated, unassuming fashion by renting a three-deck yacht wrapped to look like one of his designer sneakers. (What, you were expecting a Publix ice-cream cake?)
The team was honored at the White House for its second consecutive championship. ( LeBron James and President Barack Obama posed for a photo, and it was good of the most powerful man in America to do that for Obama. I heard at one point they announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, the president … ” and Pat Riley stood up waving.
The Heat lost three games in a row — its worst streak in two years — before beating the 76ers on Friday night. ( Charles Barkley, Stephen A. Smith and other latent critics oozed back out of the woodwork to reiterate that this Big 3 thing will never work out.)
Miami traded reserve center Joel Anthony for point guard Toney Douglas. (Deal was unpopular in locker room. Like a household pet, Anthony hardly contributed anything but was much loved.)
Greg Oden played! It was only eight minutes off the bench, but, following several knee surgeries, it was his first game in slightly more than four full years. (Oden’s next appearance is tentatively scheduled for early spring, 2018.)
LeBron ended the week by writing a heartfelt birthday message to Wade on Instagram that included pledging to be friends for life “no matter what happens in the future.” (Naturally, the tea-leaf-reading media jumped to interpret that as a foreboding indication James might bolt after the season.)
Only this team can make even the drone of an NBA regular season seem interesting.
• Ryan Tannehill’s wife, Lauren, made headlines when she left a rifle in a rental car. Why does she have a rifle? Hey, somebody has to protect the quarterback around here.
• The national group, Dolfans Who Miss Jeff Ireland, plans a meeting tonight at the Waffle House. Corner booth.
• That reminds me. There are indications the Dolphins are utilizing some of Ireland’s interviewing techniques in searching for his replacement. The club has not yet hired a new GM, but has determined that none of the candidates’ mothers was a prostitute.
• Candidates linked to the Dolphins’ GM search have included, alphabetically: Lake Dawson, Eric DeCosta, Ray Farmer, Brian Gaine, Tom Gamble, Dennis Hickey, Omar Kahn, Jason Licht, George Paton, Marc Ross and Brian Xanders. I think it would be quicker to list everybody not interviewed.
• On the bright side, the Dolphin GM search is expected to end sooner than the NFL’s Ted Wells investigation of the Richie Incognito/ Jonathan Martin matter. Here’s how long that probe has been going on. Since it began, Incognito and Martin both have had kids who are now also bullying each other.
• The NHL announced the Panthers would host the 2015 draft at their Sunrise arena. You know what hockey fans would like to see in that arena even more than a draft? A playoff team.
• A goal by Cypress Bay hockey player Jake Levy was featured on ESPN SportsCenter, answering the question, “There’s high school hockey here?”
• Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw signed a new deal making him baseball’s first $30 million-a-year player. “Man. Wish I made that much!” said the entire Marlins roster.
• Major League Soccer is to make a decision by February on David Beckham’s bid for a Miami expansion team. Unnamed sources tell Random Evidence the bid will be successful, unless it isn’t.
• Update. I heard that Dan Le Batard, in protest, just gave his basketball Hall of Fame ballot to the Food Network.
• Tennis’ Australian Open goes on despite searing heat. Over there, when the scoreboard flashes 148, it could be the mph of Novak Djokovic’s serve, or it could be the racket-melting temperature.
• Next Sunday’s always-unpopular Pro Bowl is “presented by McDonald’s.” Suggested Pro Bowl ad campaign: “I’m Not Lovin’ It.”
• Jets tight end Kellen Winslow found himself on a police report after a woman said she saw him “pleasuring himself” in his car in a Target parking lot. Sounds like a flag for illegal use of hands!
• Former Dolphins receiver Davone Bess posted and removed a Twitter photo that appeared to show marijuana, then was arrested for assaulting an officer at an airport. And how was your week!
• Parting thought: Marlins president David Samson is on the new season of TV’s Survivor. Hey, anybody who can keep a job this long working for Jeffrey Loria seems well suited, indeed.
Visit Greg’s Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily at MiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote and also on Instagram, Vine and Facebook.