Sports

Oden to Portland; Durant to Seattle
Posted by Daniel Kuo on Jul 1, 2007 - 7:53:00 PM

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The NBA draft took place on June 28, and for the three NBA fans out there who managed to miss it, here are the highlights: The Portland Trail Blazers selected Greg Oden with the top overall pick, and the Seattle Supersonics grabbed Kevin Durant with the second pick.  For those who do know who Oden and Durant are, I’ll say this: I think Oden was the right choice.  Durant may end up being the better player in the end, but there are three to four great athletic forwards out there now for every great center, which means Oden was still the most valuable player available.  For those who don’t know who they are, don’t worry about it; just know that the Blazers and the Sonics will both be really, really good in about two or three years.  The draft also begins an off-season that’s bound to be exciting: Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Vince Carter, and Paul Pierce highlight a long roster of top-tier players that could potentially have a new home next season.

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Wimbledon, one of the most famous and historic tournaments in pro tennis, kicked off on June 25.  The tournament of slick grass courts, mandated white clothing, and strawberries & cream snacks will have handed out a new set of 2007 trophies by July 8.  On the women’s side, it’s a fairly open field: Belgian Justine Henin is the top seed, but grass has never been her strongest surface.  Amelie Mauresmo, Maria Sharapova, and Venus and Serena Williams have all met with success here, but none of them are overwhelming favorites (for the record, I’m saying Sharapova wins it over Serena Williams).  On the men’s side, well…I’ll put it this way.  I’m rooting for No. 3 seed Andy Roddick as much as the next American is, but you’re crazy if you think anyone besides Roger Federer is winning this year.  He’s won Wimbledon the last four years in a row; a fifth trophy would tie Björn Borg’s record for consecutive Wimbledon championships.  When Wimbledon started, he had been the top-ranked player for the last 178 weeks.  And at the ripe old age of 25, he’s only four trophies away from Pete Sampras’ all-time record of 14 career Grand Slam wins.  Forget Lebron James; we are all witnesses to Roger Federer.  He is, quite literally, in the middle of making history.

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On a more somber note, it’s impossible to overstate the tragedy of WWE wrestler Chris Benoit’s murder-suicide.  Benoit, who received the World Heavyweight Championship prize at Wrestlemania XX  in 2004, was discovered with his wife and 7-year old child on June 25.  He had strangled both of them, placing Bibles beside both of their bodies before hanging himself with a cord from his gym equipment.  Police also found large quantities of prescription drugs in Benoit’s house, including steroids.  Obviously, the incident is terrible because of the deaths involved, but it’s also a painful reminder of the beatings that pro wrestlers put their bodies through, physically and mentally, both in and out of the ring.  Can we just all agree, as a human race, to never use steroids, no matter how much pressure there is to win or improve?  For the sake of Hank Aaron and everyone else too?